Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Professionalism in politics is the need of the hour

Politics has always been dominated by the babhus who have a ad hock way of reacting to the circumstances. Most of them seldom think about the big picture, concerning themselves in petty vote bank politics. Politics is as much science as it is an art. It involves as much careful planning and analysis as taking quick and dirty decisions to resolve issues.

Politicians in India have always been judged by the aam junta during the elections, and those who fool the public gets away with poor performance. instead, politics should be treated like just another job, where an official review should be conducted once or twice in a year and the minister (and his office) should be commended or criticized based on his performance. This will bring a layer of credibility.

Transparency of operation is a very key issue towards making politics a clean profession. Any citizen should have the right to question the workings of a bureaucratic system without too many hassles. In this regard, the RTI (Right to Information Act) passed in 15 June 2005 is a step in the right direction. Any person may request information from a "public authority" (a body of Government or instrumentality of State) which is expected to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally. Though this act is good in principle, there are many grey areas that need to be addressed before this act starts serving the intended purpose.

The ruling government should come up with a set of action points that are planned to be achieved in their tenure at the office, similar to the common minimum program (CMP) proposed by the ruling UPA government.

Also important is the role played by bodies like Lokayukta in probing the corrupt officials and bringing them under the purview of law. But, for this to be effective one needs a dynamic leader like former Lokayukta head Mr. Justice N. Venkatachala who was instrumental in busting scams to the tune of 270 crores in Karnataka, leading from the front.

The role of media in this endeavour cannot be undermined. Their role is not just in exposing the scams and criticizing the political policies, but also to applaud constructive and pragmatic decisions taken by the politicians, without leaning towards any political ideology or principles.

Politics is a game where the rules are set by the players themselves! Unlike a corporation, most of the times, there will not be a quantifiable and achievable goal set. Hence it becomes imperative to define a professional framework, to get people to not only believe in, but also to actively participate in the political system.

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