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India's Political System Is Still Colonial And Needs To Be Decentralized: Bimal Jalan

According to Reserve Bank of India's Former Governor Bimal Jalan, the most important thing at the top of his mind is the political system

According to Reserve Bank of India's Former Governor Bimal Jalan, the most important thing at the top of his mind is the political system.  At an event held in Delhi, he said “Why is it we have the same colonial heritage in terms of the role of the government. What I have suggested and the ideal solution is decentralization of powers that ensures internal and border-centric security in the hands of central government. In terms of implementation of policies, it should be the prerogative of the state government. And they (policies) should be disbursed by achieving what you have said you want to achieve. For example- it was announced that poverty would be abolished by 1980. The bottomline is now you (government) have the capacity to do what needs to be done.”

While unveiling his book titled ‘India: Priorities for the future', “The whole point about priorities for the future is that we have a majority govt for the first time after 2014 which is in a position to take decisions, (come out with) new reforms, simplify our political system and so on and so forth. That was the inspiration to write this book which is divided into two parts i.e. the era of 1980-2000 and 2000-2015, which were distinct in terms of the evolution of the policies and the government structure. During 1980-2000, there were nine (union) governments out of which six had a term of less than one year. Therefore, not much could be done in terms of improving the economic environment. During 2000-2015, we have had three majority owned governments (NDA, UPA, UPA) but they were also coalition based ones.  We still couldn’t do well although there were some comparative advantages that we had like technology, plentiful labour, investment and capital rates, etc. so you had all these factors of production that could aid high growth and simplify policies. This was owing to some compulsions. Now since 2015, we have a majority party at the centre which can do what is important for the country.”

He went on to say, “There is also something called anti-defection law which should also apply to parties which get fragmented in the interest of maintaining continuity in govt systems. We have regular incidences of fragmentation of parties and also need political reforms. So instead of 20 years, it should take 6 months to prove whether accused is guilty or innocent.”

While concluding he stated, “Going forward, we can also ensure that we take steps to ensure to simplify our policy making process and implementation. Why can’t we say you give us an annual plan and hold a single ministry responsible to implement and publish the same i.e. in terms of dashboard? Things have fundamentally changed in terms of governance and due credit must be given to the present government for implementing a monitoring mechanism. It is great progress which will take place in parts of the country for power infrastructure sectors, etc.”

Bimal Jalan was speaking at THINKERS Sandbox, an event held by THINKERS & Penguin Random House with YES BANK and the YES Global Institute as the Presenting Alliance Partner

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