Launch of the Sone Ki Chidiya Total Reform Movement on 4 June 2013 at Jantar Mantar
The Sone Ki Chidiya movement, a movement for total reform of India’s dysfunctional governance will be launched on from Jantar Mantar on 4 June 2013 after a public rally from Ramlila Maidan to start at 4 pm. A number of participants (including farmers and ordinary Indians) and speakers from across India and the world are expected to attend despite the searing heat of Delhi’s summer.
India’s governance is in a terminal condition, with virtually every institution having collapsed. The collapse is not surprising. What is surprising that India did not anticipate this collapse, for we have blindly followed policies for the past 65 years policies which have failed everywhere else in the world.
The excuse often made that “India is different” is entirely invalid. We know this because the economic and governance systems in ancient India, based on Chanakya’s wisdom (Arthashatra), were in many ways similar to those of the most modern economies today. Such systems led to India’s success. It is a basic truth that principles of economics and good governance apply to all societies at all times.
Our failed policies include lifetime tenure and pension for senior public servants, along with constitutional protections that make it almost impossible to get rid of corrupt officers, leave alone the incompetent ; direct management by government of key aspects of the economy with discretionary political and bureaucratic decision-making control, which leads inevitably to corruption; and in-built incentives for politicians to become corrupt or turn a blind eye to corruption. As reported in The Economist, Lant Pritchett of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard calls the Indian bureaucracy “one of the world's top ten biggest problems—of the order of AIDS”.
Our system’s dismal performance is classic text book case study. No policy in India, for instance, passes a net benefit test. And any public servant who innovates is shunned. Only corruption and sycophancy is rewarded. In such an India why are we surprised when nothing works? And even Communist China is now overtaking us in every way.
There have been some movements for reform in the recent past but it is unfortunate that these have focused on half-hearted simplistic “solutions” like the Jan Lokpal Bill which are not even a palliative to India’s terminal disease, for they do not scratch even the surface of its underlying failures. Such “reforms” have become a mirage, misleading the people into believing that things will improve “if only” the Lokpal Bill or some such band-aid were passed by Parliament.
The reality of India is that corruption is only one of our many system-wide failures. Delayed justice, police tyranny, crumbling infrastructure and sheer obtuseness of public servants grind down our will to live, destroy our plans and make it impossible to dream of a great India. The poor can’t set up even a tiny business without paying bribes to policemen and other corrupt inspectors. And even large companies, fed up with governance delays and corruption, are choosing to invest outside India.
The Sone Ki Chidiya reform movement will address all underlying disorders of this terminal patient. It is committed to world-best policy and governance frameworks, including electoral reforms that will motivate good people to enter Parliament, total removal and replacement of the IAS and other tenured services by modern public services, and testing all polices against a 10-point test that includes cost benefit analysis and considerations of strategic gaming.
A summary of key outcomes that India can then achieve (in the short run) is available on the Sone Ki Chidiya Federation website as part of a draft Agenda for Change. No existing political party will bring these reforms forward since most of them benefit (through corruption) from current arrangements.
And so, the Federation is determined to make its views known through rallies and events. The Sone Ki Chidiya Movement Organising Committee invites all Indians to join this movement and fix India’s terminally sick governance system. Together, we can recover the ethical, cultural and spiritual fabric of our once-great nation. Let’s make India a country where no child, woman or man goes hungry or feels unsafe.
We believe that if the reforms proposed by the Total Reform Movement are implemented, India’s growth will become unstoppable, making it a Sone Ki Chidiya once again.