Reality Check for the Ruling party

In the wake of several controversies and scams surrounding the ruling government of India, the fact that needs to be pondered upon is what is going wrong with the ruling party. With the Finance Minister pronouncing in the Union Budget that the government was looking towards a more transparent and result-oriented economic management system in India, the fact that only the subsidies to the poor and curbing the wasteful expenditure should be examined is a smaller picture of a bigger realm that surrounds the functioning of the government.

As examined by M.K. Venu in his article "Lessons in Inclusion", in The Indian Express (Dated March 18) reamarks, the bigger picture suggests that the UPA is aware of the "productivity deficit" that is existing in the government's functioning. This productivity deficit, as the writer states, is not just about economic efficiency; it is also about the way the state needs to reinvent itself and its institutions to manage the aspirations of a billion people. Indeed, the functioning of the state government tantamount to the progress of its people; consequently, better prospects for the government in ruling.

What the government, presently, needs to do is "re-conceptualize" the notion of power that exists in the society currently. With the state being under pressure to turn this power into a "productive force," the re-conceptualizing of the notion of power seems a viable option. For the power to turn into a productive force, the state will have to scrutinize every aspect of its functionaries who are working with them. The surmounting corruption has highlighted the roles of the smaller functionaries working within the government for the government; however, not truly performing the "function" that they are meant to perform. Rather, they have been misutilizing their "money and muscle power" to meet their ends and thus become "productive" in the eyes of the government. How far these "productive" works have been fruitful for the aam aadmi is yet to be deciphered.

Be it the Commonwealth Games, the 2G spectrum or the Aadarsh society scam; the ever-increasing amount of the scams have thrown the UPA government in a bad light. Mr. Venu remarks in his article that broadly the term "productive force" would mean that which seeks to give a sense of identity, order and capacity to the people at large. However, the difference would lie in understanding what would be needed to operationalize it. The government, in the wake of liberalisation, has attempted to alter the existing delivery mechanism-through smart cards, direct cash transfers- of public goods and services. This rise in India's global economic order has driven the state and ruling political elite to create new structures and institutions which enable power to flow productively through the entire system. This view of the writer cannot be disagreed upon.

The UPA government's attempt to provide Unique Identity Cards to all the citizens can be seen as a possible attempt at creating a structured existence for its citizens. However, this process of providing structured existence is not going to be easy with the abysmal record of the states in trying to maximize the productivity of power. The rampant corruption that has existed at all levels have resulted in this abysmal record. Drawing a comparison with the West, Mr. Venu says that those industrial societies have already made a transition from feudal to democratic order and created a grid of productive power systems largely accessible to all. So, where is India lagging behind? The productive potential of power to be pursued to bring about social and economic equality and order has failed with Congress because the party had was a coalition of powerful vested interests, says Mr. Venu.

The Congress has been unable to grapple with situation of how to ensure use of power productively. It can, however, learn from some of the ministers like Nitish Kumar and Mayawati who have come out strong and made the use of “power” productively. Rather than merely limiting themselves to the words, these ministers have worked for the upliftment of their states in a literal sense. They have able to establish, in Mr. Venu’s words, an “element of trust” with their voters; which is an important thing to consider if a party wished to remain in power. However, it does not seem to be a case with Congress; they had established their “trust” with the voters but the clouds of scams and the recent Wiki leaks exposures have shaken that.

The Congress needs to take some learning lessons from the successful counterparts in the states rather than just implementing mere strategies. In order for those strategies to come out successful, the image of the party that has been dented needs to be repaired in a way that will restore the faith of the citizens in its government. May be then the party can think of a so-called “successful” comeback; however, if it does not mend its ways, then it will be too late for it to even stand up to the pedestal that it has achieved till now.

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