Transformational Versus Conventional Governance

Prof. Rajvir Sharma12

For the last many years there is something in the air that seems to be different, something non-conventional trying to impact and impel minds of the people of India to think afresh to change their lives and attitudes to enter into a transformational mind space.Concept of new India has been brought to the centre stage implying thereby that India must prepare itself for an intellectual, social and Cultural Revolution in order to shed its image of a poor, backward, dependent, client state on the global map. Its message is that we, as people, shall have to be prepared to mould and adapt to the new philosophy of change oriented  politics and governance as envisioned by the transformational leaders and modernize, if not totally abjure the age old politics based on parochial considerations of caste, creed, region, religion and so on.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is strenuously focusing on creating a new socio-political culture that could nurture a vibrant and developed nation in a holistic sense.  While India should have all elements of modernity in matters of governance touching upon values, structures, methods and practices involved in shaping the social, political and economic systems of our country, the relevance of India’s traditional social and economic values need not be ignored for ushering in a self-initiated and humane change.

New India campaign of the BJP led NDA can also be seen in the context of not only globalization, liberalization and privatization acrossnations, but also in the context of changing power games in the international political arena, regional and global both. India is being recognized as an important player strategically and in the field of world peace and stability even by the countries that traditionally have been dominating global institutional and constitutional mechanisms.


This change in the world view can be sustainedonly by maintaining new economic and military strength India has acquired now and by taking due cognizance of the internal and external threats and hindrances to prevent India from marching on the transformational path. Externally, therefore, India is to build bridges with the existing and emerging power poles, nay to become a power pole in its own claim and internally, the opposition will have to play role ofa constructive critic in her endeavors to achieve the rightful place in the conduct of foreign policy sphere. Invoking help from outside forces like Pakistan against the government needs be shunned unequivocally. Secondly, there should be consensus on issues pertaining terror, security, defense and economic reforms to face the ground realities.

The other area of difference and debate between the government and opposition relates to the role regarding welfarism, subsidism or should tread a new path of making poor self-reliant by increasing their income through sustainable means. The first policy has created vested political interest of gaining and retaining power and legitimacy as was the case in the past 60-70 years.The poor remained as poor,though received occasional help either as loan waiver or subsidy tied into a dependency relationship with the state, The poor remained client to the political class. However, the success of the shifting policies is unlikely if the opposition combined, for the sake of electoral victories, whether it happens or not, carries a risk of pushing the government back to the old techniques of politics and governance and inhibit in the process the efforts at building a new self-reliant nation and society.

 These issues apart, I think it is the most opportune time for India to build partnership between the state and the society to make a new India. Yes. We have seen in the last almost 70 years of Indian Independence g that the state-led process of social and economic change has been quite tardy and slow.The internal and external image that we acquired was that of a divided society characterized by dissensions, crime, conflicts, poverty, violence and the one incapable to make its own destiny, further inflicted by corruption and a huge rich poor gap. Now, if we have to dream of a new India, we have to have India free from these viruses that pushed us into a tendentious gorge of hopelessness, haplessness and desperation, and change India into a country of hopes, opportunities and confidence necessitating  collaboration between the government, the opposition, the people , the media and the civil society

In order this to happen, it is incumbent that the political and economic institutions and structures and social ways of behavior also recast themselves, besides putting the agendas and techniques of theopposition and the government in a bi-partisan sphere. This is a great missing link to day and a great hindrance too in the way of creating and sustaining a new national mood.

Sometimes, the nonconventional means to tackle povertyand empower the people generally and the poor specially prove more effective insupplementing a number of pro-poor schemes of the state. The difference in approach lies in reshaping the national mood. While I am not here to go into the whole details of what the Modi Government has done in this direction, it is imperative to draw attention of the country to some of the historical initiatives that mark an everlasting impact on the life of the rural population as a whole but on the poor specifically. For instance, the Prime Minister appealed to the conscience of the nation to be compassionate to the poor women and surrender their Gas subsidy. This paid dividends. A large number of people spontaneously agreed to forego their subsidies and huge number of the poor families could get Gas connections in their homes. Though it was a small gesture on the part of the people’scontribution to amelioration of the lot of the poor, it had sent a big message across the nation.

The second most important impact generatingcampaign is the Swachhta  Abhiyan, This programme is not about cleanliness alone, it is going to make a big difference to the life of the people, more so of the dalits and the suppressed. It will save them from human and economic miseries. Clean and neat surroundings will save them from many diseases caused by the mosquitoes as well as anxieties of life. It will save them from social indignities and exploitations and harassments. Further, imagine a situation when a person, god forbid suffers from diseases like diarrhea and has to go out for defecation under the scorching heat at 45degrees temperature. Would he/she not be exposing himself/herself for a greater life risk than using a toilet within the premises of the residence? It will save them a huge amount in terms of medical expenditure.

The third noticeable campaign related to fitness India challenge.The idea again is to tell people that by remaining fit they will not only be hale and hearty, they would also improve their economic health. Individual fitness would lead to collective fitness ofIndia. It would add to act as both a preventive and curative system of maintaining health. It would increase the levels of confidence, hope and energy of a person. Let us unite to make it a success. It would be a zero-cost method of making a young, vibrant and glowing new India.

(The writer is senior consultant, IGNOU. Views expressed are personal)

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