How do you eliminate the numbers game in Parliament? Elect a person in a true democratic way, suggests S. Gokulraj, author of “Reforms to Save India”. “People are eager for a change. But, they need to be aware. They start voting from 18, select the MP or MLA and forget about it,” he says. Gokulraj is an entrepreneur from Tirupur.
His book creates awareness about the Indian electoral system. He compiles a list of 10 reforms in the core areas of executive, legislative and judiciary. “I met dignitaries such as Narendra Modi, Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam, the Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam and a number of judges of High Courts and got their feedback too. Though we call ourselves a democracy, the representation of people is limited,” he points out.
The author says change is the way forward to eradicate poverty, and unemployment, and make the country wealthy.
Plans for reform
Gokulraj, who also runs an NGO called Reformers to Save India, has drawn out a plan to meet college students in top 20 cities across India before the 2014 elections. He also wants a signature campaign from 10 crore people and submit it to the election commission to bring about changes in the elections. “I also plan to file a public interest litigation at the Supreme Court, and to send a copy to the President of India who has the ordinance power to make the changes,” he explains. He calls it a movement to bring a change in time for the 2019 elections.
The book, interspersed with graphics, explains how the system functions. It also points out its flaws, and offers solutions in the form of new reforms. “The people should have the power to select the government they want and eliminate coalition politics and a hung parliament. The Single Transfer Direct Preferential voting system, followed to select the President of India, is the solution for general elections too. It empowers people to select the person they want directly as they cast a primary vote for a person of their choice and a secondary vote for their second choice. I also suggest that we should call back our representative after two-and-a-half-years if he fails to perform,” he says.
Gokul has a number of suggestions…The President should be the speaker of the Lok Sabha, the question hour should be at the start of the proceedings and not in the end…He says: “During my UPSC preparations I realised how corrupt the system is. Politicians have manipulated it to their advantage. An election reform is the solution.” At the ministerial level, he suggests three ministers for every ministry. “A health ministry should have an executive minister with a background in medicine, and selected by the UPSC. And a shadow minister from the opposition party, and an elected representative from the ruling party. Education qualification should be mandatory,” he insists.
In administrative reforms, he says complacency has to be addressed. “Employees in Government offices should be made accountable. They should have monthly targets.” In finance and administration, he recommends a self-sufficient revenue model.
“Each district or the municipal corporation should maintain the treasury and use 50 per cent of it for development activities. This model helps faster implementation of development activities in the district.” He also mentions introduction of EVCC (Electronic Voting and Complaint Registration Card) which can be used as an ATM card to register complaints on bad roads and drains.
Gokulraj discusses a Corporate Cluster Cooperative Farming in agriculture, where corporate houses adopt villages, invest money in agriculture, and buy the produce from famers in bulk. “Economically weaker sections can be rehabilitated by attaching them to agencies such as the employment exchange that generates jobs for them in the Government and corporate sector.”
He says a compounded court system is the solution for judiciary reforms. A multi-court complex to deal with crime, social issues, family problems, business and corruption, and deadlines for judges to clear the cases.
The author also explores reforms in UPSC. “One exam selects officers for 24 postings. Because of the ranking system, we tend to lose a qualified doctor to an unconnected revenue department. When individual exams are conducted, the best of the talent can be put to use in the respective fields,” he says