Bewildering political dynamism in India
Politics is a dynamic situation
Politics is a dynamic situation. It keeps changing election after election. Well this seems to be an old adage. It appears that politics has become a bit too dynamic. Till about three decades back, the Parliament and the legislatures had a major role to play in governance.
There were times in late 1980's when the government departments used to burn midnight oil to give a comprehensive reply to the questions raised by the members. The members hardly missed a chance to get whatever information they wanted in the form of supplementary questions and there have been any number of occasions when the questions used to get converted into a detailed discussion.
There used to be disruptions in the Parliament or legislatures, but a quick solution used to be found and both the ruling party and the opposition used to adopt give and take policy. But then political dynamism slowly led to a situation where today most of the state assemblies have no calendar for holding Assemblies and even if they are held, it is just for couple of days or at the most a week or ten days.
When they are held, all that one sees is ruckus and suspensions and of course the meaning of parliamentary language has totally changed. Choicest abuses have become the order of the day. In the past the Speakers never used to speak outside. But now we are seeing some assembly Speakers making all kinds of comments which does not be hove people holding high constitutional positions.
Even in states like Kerala where the literacy rate is high, few days back we have seen how the legislators behaved on the floor of the house breaking furniture and pulling out microphones. The Parliament fortunately still has a calendar of sittings but then we are seeing how both sides are conducting themselves ever since the monsoon session commenced.
We have seen how no public representative is concerned about discussing issues and finding a logical solution. Even most of the bills are passed amidst din by voice vote when the speaker says those in favour may say 'Ayes'.
No one knows how many said 'Ayes' and how many said No as the shouts of Ayes from the side of ruling party gets drowned in the din. The big question is what are we achieving by such kind of parliamentary democracy.
The country is reeling under the impact of Corona pandemic. The economy of the country is badly affected though we have some Chief Ministers who claim that their State is still a rich State. The common man is facing a grave situation with steep increase in fuel prices.
The governments whether it be the Centre or the States which swear by the common man for votes and which are competing with each other announce certain direct cash transfer schemes more with an eye on by elections and next general elections.
They don't seem to be bothered about the problems of the genuine taxpayers. The hike in fuel prices has resulted in increase in the consumer price index and the prices of basket of goods and services that are typically purchased by households have gone up manifold. In fact, the impact of this on domestic budget has been devastating.
According to the latest statistics, the tax component in the fuel prices is about 57 per cent. Economists say has resulted in adding a burden of about 26 per cent on the common man's budget. No government is willing to share even a part of this burden by reducing the tax percentage.
Both the Centre and States justify their decision not to reduce the taxes citing Corona and the subsequent pressure on exchequer. Centre claims that it has announced some packages but most of them have not helped the targeted sectors in anyway because of the fine print that makes those sectors ineligible.
Amidst this scenario, it is being said that the capital gains tax may be hiked. There are divergent views on this. Some say that this could be a balancing act between government revenues, household budgets as well as assessing systematic risk.
But those who are opposing it say that such a move could be fair from corporates' perspective but it would do more harm than good. Higher CGT, they say will have unintended consequences on the feelgood sentiment of financial markets.
Quoting global economy, experts say that it may not wise to fix something that is not broken. We should not repair something that is working well. Decision to hike CGT at a time when the world is looking to invest in India could lead to discouraging investments, experts opine.
What could be a better way to deal with the situation perhaps could be is to increase tax revenue by plugging loopholes and see that the tax practitioners play a bigger role in better compliance.
Well there are many such issues which the Parliament and Legislatures should discuss and come up with out of box ideas to see that the both the government's and the common man can get back to the pre-Covid situation. But our politicians have no time for any such discussions.
We have seen how the opposition is trying to stall the proceedings of the Parliament on the issue of Pegasus which if true might have affected the big wigs whether it be people like Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee or some media personnel. This does not mean we support such measures. If true it certainly is a serious issue. But then both sides refusing to relent and allowing the Parliament to be in state of pandemonium is also not proper.
It appears that neither the government nor the opposition is willing to give up its ego. In between we have strategists who want to hurriedly bring all those parties which are opposed to BJP and Modi together. This is not first time that efforts for a loose coalition was made. Before making yet another effort to regroup parties with different ideologies, they should first try to win the confidence of the common man, stand by him during difficult times and take up issues like price hike and how to see that he gets some relief.
None of the opposition parties which are eyeing to come to power in 2023 are even thinking of such measures. They want to stall the Parliament, waste public money and come to power.
Such experiments are not new. From 1977 we have seen many alliances taking place and hardly any of them worked well. That happened when the country had some stalwarts as leaders of different political parties. Maybe that was one of the reasons why such experiments failed. All of them had their own egos. The same problem exists even now though the quality of leadership has changed.
In the recent past, the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu also made efforts to bring these very parties, the Congress party, NCP led by Sharad Pawar, TMC led by Mamata Banerjee etc and the result is before our eyes. People have rejected their moves. Still they do not seem to have learnt any lessons.
The BJP on its part has not done anything too great to sustain absolute support it got in 2014 when the slogan that resounded the country was 'Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar.' But then it has been able to win the next election more because of the failure of the opposition parties.
Let's take a quick look at the non-BJP parties which are in ruling in states. They are busier announcing schemes after schemes for different communities which are given fancy names like blessings (Deevena) or (Bandhu) which means someone who is closest to you or closely related to you.
This kind of political dynamism is leaving the common man bewildered. What is the real aim of the political parties? Remaining in power for generations or providing Surajya (Good Governance.)? Well it's time people decide what they want.