Friday, March 1, 2024

Aruna Roy Rues That NGOisation Of The Government Has Been Halted

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By Anang Pal Malik

Democracy may be direct, or indirect. A small country like Switzerland practices direct democracy. It becomes impracticable as the size of electorate increases, and indirect democracy is adopted. In case of direct democracy, people actually assemble and vote on each budget, and on each legislation. They also take stock of the actions of the government.

In case of indirect democracy, the same functions are performed by representatives chosen by the people. The actions of the executive are reviewed by the parliament. Parliament also controls budget and frames laws. It also approves all expenditure.

Leftists were trying to overthrow Indian constitution through revolution, first by masses, and when it failed to come about, through armed gangs. Some factions of the Left are still working at the later option.

But rest of the leftists have found a new way to subvert Indian democracy: by creating extra-constitutional, unelected, self appointed and self perpetuating, and oligarchic in nature, authorities; which are to lord over the elected government in the name of ensuring accountability, transparency, audit of development programme and schemes, reviewing actions of government servants, ensuring human rights, ensuring rights of various groups, etc. So we have seen in recent years an explosion in the number of NGOs, Commissions, Tribunals, Regulatory Authorities: the unconstitutional bodies doing unconstitutional work of sitting in judgement over the elected government and hijacking parliament’s function.

Media, controlled and manned by the Leftists, has played along, and the educated Indians have been so dumbed down by the Left controlled education that they are not even aware of how their government has been taken over by the Leftists, without them ever having been voted in.

Of course it is the natural result of socialism that the bad always rise to the top, and so it is with politicians in India that the bad have risen to the top and are ruling. But to prevent that we need to dismantle socialism, not to sabotage the democracy. Because so long as socialism is there, whatever process we choose to pick up the rulers, the bad will always rise to the top.

Of course with the coming of BJP into power, this process of sabotage of Indian democracy by the NGO crowd has been halted, and therefore the Leftists are howling.

In the Indian Express of today, Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey are angry that NGOs are no longer ruling the corridors of power in Delhi. The article by them is commented upon in detail below. Portions in double inverted comas and italicised are theirs, followed by my comments on the same.

No one in the last two decades has come to power with greater euphoria than the Narendra Modi sarkar. It has taken less than a year for that euphoria to recede and change to disappointment. There are sufficient reasons for this change. The celebrations of the first year in office of this government are in sharp contrast to the plight of the common person.

Who is disappointed? In opinion polls, over 75% approve government’s work. Of course NGOs would be disappointed. That is expected. And when did common man become common person? Salute to your gender sensitivity.

The callousness of the government is most noticeable in its attitude to social sector issues. It does not seem to realise that rights-based legislation were not a UPA creation, but a reflection of the aspirations of millions of Indians struggling to procure the most basic entitlements. In its desire to establish itself by discarding past achievements, the current government is making a cardinal mistake. Nothing could be more symptomatic of this narrow partisan approach than the prime minister’s statement on the MGNREGA in Parliament. It is shocking that the PM could promise to build a programme only to establish its monumental failure. This statement sent a strong message down the line to discredit and mismanage the programme. It is a failure not only of leadership but of vision and governance. The PM’s rhetoric sounds hollow even to his own party. The Madhya Pradesh chief minister has publicly stated that the MGNREGA is one of the best programmes in independent India.

The rights and entitlements which give a citizen right over the money of his fellow citizen are not rights and entitlements but collectivisation of incomes. This is unconstitutional. This is against the God given Fundamental Right of Right to private property. And MGNREGA is not only unconstitutional but fraudulent. Jobs are a byproduct of other economic activities like business, industry, and trade. No economic activity can be undertaken just to provide jobs to anybody. It is impossible. It is misuse and waste of public money. Public money is to be spent for the expenditure of government and for works of public utility. It can not be spent on sham works to give “jobs” to somebody. And BJP CM of MP endorsing it means nothing. He is just another Leftist in BJP.

They were an attempt by India’s poorest citizens to claim delivery of basic services and ensure accountability. The people’s right to participate to ensure delivery and to monitor these programmes arose from numerous failures.

Authors give away the game here. India’s poorest citizens were never in picture. It was NGO crowd out to use the crisis caused by the failure of socialism to grab power.

The demand for transparency, the right to question, audit development programmes and their implementation, arose from this.

Government processes are totally transparent and are reviewed by parliament annually. Parliament questions every action of government. Audit of all government expenditure is done by parliament through CAG.

This framework is being undermined through budget cuts and the attempt to replace rights with cash transfers, which are much more in a paradigm of doles and handouts. Bank accounts without money and spurious promises through contributory pension and insurance schemes cannot replace the crippling of existing programmes. Even as earlier programmes and laws are ridiculed, there is no vision or direction for what is to replace them.

Budget is not being cut, instead the government is trying to live within its means to arrest debt, and to curb runaway inflation, the legacy of profligacy of the last government. All the so called “rights and entitlements” were doles and handouts only, by different names. The robust economic growth is to replace them.

If this government felt that the earlier legislation were a complete failure, it should have issued a white paper on the shortcomings….”

No white paper was required. The fact that Indian economy was collapsing, and international credit agencies were about to downgrade our sovereign rating, is the proof enough.

Much of rural India has found itself reeling under a loss of social sector entitlements and scrambling to save whatever resources it has. In the farming community, many might not be personally affected by the land acquisition ordinance, but most are affected by market-driven policies on minimum support prices and inefficiencies in the provision of fertilisers, irrigation, etc. The obstinacy of the government in repeatedly reimposing the ordinance has only confirmed the rural sector’s fears that these are the days of “company raj” and “bure din”.

The rural India is in distress because not enough industrial jobs have been created because of the policies of the last government, and thus the land has more people dependent on it than it can support.

The government has probably begun to realise that the MGNREGA is one of the less expensive ways to provide basic support, especially in times of distress. But the PM’s earlier message has been internalised by the system to such an extent that even the PMO’s later assurance to extend support for the MGNREGA has not been able to change things on the ground. People are still unable to get work. What could be a more decisive example of poor governance?

MGNREGA is failing because it is fraudulent in its conception. Not because of any governance issue. It must be scrapped. It is unconstitutional.

The attack on participatory governance has been even more surprising.

When did we sign up for participatory governance? This is nothing but government by NGOs. We have parliamentary system, and for all its imperfections, it is working fine. As for accountability of government servants, they are accountable to people through parliament. They can not be made accountable to NGOs, Commissions, and Courts. This is subversion of democracy, plain and simple.

The fact that this is a “Modi sarkar” and not the “NDA or BJP sarkar” is proclaimed repeatedly and deliberately. It is testimony to the undemocratic nature of the government’s current internal politics. Critics gave the BJP credit for its (comparative) internal democracy. The ruling party is now defined in the feudal mould of a single ruler, rather than a party that functions collectively and democratically. The chaiwalla image has been replaced by that of a sartorially conscious leader with a designer suit. All decisions are taken by the PM, and he is constantly travelling abroad.

Aruna Roy has problem with “Modi Sarkar,” but she was fully enjoying the NAC sarkar of Sonia Gandhi, an out and out unconstitutional and dictatorial arrangement, the oligarchy in its purest form, the open subversion of democracy.

Finally, the attack on activists, NGOs and other dissenters on development politics is unwise and deeply damaging to our democratic framework. People committed to the welfare of marginalised communities and the environment find themselves branded as “anti-national”, with a completely warped sense of what true national interest is. We can only hope that the people will assert their rights and demand that promises be kept and that we will see a more inclusive and plural India.

In democratic framework, people express their approval and disapproval through ballot, not through self-appointed & foreign funded NGOs. National Interest is also decided by people through voting into power the people whose programmes they like. There is no other known method. NGOs do not represent the will of of people. They only represent themselves and seminar circuit crowd. And India is far more inclusive and plural than any country in the world, and is doing fine.

All in all the article is just another piece resorting to word play, use of high sounding words, but pushing the Left agenda of subversion of Indian democracy through creation of extra-constitutional authorities to lord over the elected government.

Read the Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey article here.

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