Revitalising Indian Democracy, Maj Gen Vinod Saighal, Gyan Publishing House, Pp 267, Rs 590.00
THE author has an innovative scheme up his sleeve – that is, a Model for Restoration of Good Governance (MRGG). He wants that the trend of rising criminalisation of the polity and allied aspects to be arrested and the Representation of People’s Act 1951 to be amended to exclude “serious” criminals from contesting election. He also admits that parties would not agree to it. Hence “winnability” at all costs is one of the overriding criteria for allocating seats.
Another valid complaint by him is the ripping up and resetting of pavements, which continues non-stop for years, irrespective of whether they are in good shape or not. In VIP areas, the quality and material used is better in comparison to that used in certain other areas. In the earlier years, pavements that were once laid remained well-embedded but today replacement continues unabated because the standards are not maintained.
He laments the lack of concern for maintenance of ecology and biodiversity of a region despite knowing that this is leading to shrinkage of habitats that are still rich in biodiversity. In Myanmar, the new government has decided to stop the construction of a mega dam by China on the Yitsone river in Upper Burma. Had the project been completed, the Myanmar government would have earned money from electricity but 90 per cent of it would have been sold to China though nearly one hundred thousand people would have got displaced and sent to shanty towns to lead a ghetto-like existence.
In Odisha, Vanvasis are being exposed to disease-spreading towns due to large-scale activities in the pristine tract called the Nyangiri Hills held sacred by them for centuries. There are many other examples where the so-called modernisation is being forced upon hapless people who have been guardians of the undisturbed forest habitats so critical for human life.
Unsustainable economic development has not been reigned in and here the author criticises the decline in governance at the Centre and also in Delhi state. He lashes out at the Delhi state government for the mishandling of Commonwealth Games held in October 2010, during which economic corruption still continues to create ripples – “the main reason being that the very top echelons seem to have totally gotten away with it.”
The author also writes about the aims and objectives, the charter, management of funds, etc. and other such details that are part of the processes. Politicians of all hues could give a reading to this book.
(Gyan Publishing House, 23, Main Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002; www.gyanbooks.com)