Helping Transform India’s Future – Part 3

26/11 and the political response to it made me realise how hollow and shallow our own leadership was. The elections provided an opportunity to do something. A question I asked myself was: What can we do? This is how I answered it in early Jan 2009:

There are about 100 days to the elections in India. These will be be the 15th national elections in India’s history. I like to think that the 2004 elections were the last of the 20th century elections, and these will be the first of the 21st century. We, the People, need to give a decisive mandate in this election. India cannot afford another five years of fragmented, coalition politics. So, the question to ponder is: what can we do? How can each of us make a difference – besides casting our one vote?

India needs an engaged civil society. Politics cannot be bifurcated completely from our lives. So, what can each of us do? What can we do as a group? Is there a way to create a bottom-up, emergent organisation using next-generation community and interaction tools to amplify messages? Given than 42% of India did not vote last time, can these “non-consumers” create a decisive swing?

Only 100 days stand between us and a new government coming to power. Whom would we like to see form the next government? Given that the India of 2009 is very much different from 2004, can we really make a difference? Whatever our decisions and answers, we need to make it quick.

Continued tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Helping Transform India’s Future – Part 3

  1. Agreed,

    Given the fact that most of us do not understand the importance of voting, it is important to impart an awareness to voting.

    People who vote could be offered taxation benefits. Any voting cycle can be mapped to his/her PAN card and any non voters would attract an extra 2-3% of tax for not serving the duties for your country. Now although, this might not seem logical and people would argue about this. I have seen a similar kind of system work wonders in Australia where the success rates for voters have changes dramatically. People actually fear getting taxed extra or the fear to do social work on the weekends and vote out of compulsion. This compulsion allows the mentality to vote and then the voter has to take some time out to weigh the pros and cons.

    It is a radical approach like this that might change the way people look at elections.

    Another radical solution would be for the election commission to publish a balance sheet of all achievements against the promises made during the budget speech.

    This could be published as a full page article and in all leading dailies in all languages for the state/pan india.

    This also allows the user to gauge the success for the overall government and considerably sways away the effects of vote bank politics.

  2. I think the UID project is something we should have done decades back.

    No regrets – assume the technology benefits have done us good, and get it right this time. We need tracking to help us make any decisions.

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