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   Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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Isn't democracy deficit?
By D-Sector Team


Democracy seem to be at the crossroads. Marred by frequent adjournments, much of what the parliament is supposed to perform has begun to occur outside its premises. The decision taken by the house are often debated and discussed outside the parliament. Much to the dislike of the members, decisions on public policy are now being influenced by the public these parliamentarians seem to represent. No wonder, this trend is being resented by the treasury benches! While 'representative democracy' has been in place, it is the 'participatory democracy' that is being questioned.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the elected representatives represent their parties more than their constituencies. Seeking monetary compensation for raising questions on behalf of the public has been one of the many shocking dispensations of social concerns by the august members. 'Participatory democracy' has been a crucial 'deficit' that the public is trying to reinstate. By taking strong position against public opinion, the parliament is hitting at the very foundation of democratic principles. Isn't dissent the strength of democracy, be it inside the house or outside?



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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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