India! I dare you to be rich

Category Archive: Swarna Bharat Party

10 main reforms to take to the people of Delhi in the forthcoming elections

There are some tricky jurisdictional issues about Delhi that come into the picture, as well. These will need to be better understood. However, I had done some thinking around this issue some time earlier, so I’m noting these points for ready reference. I’d like to add that I’m not committed to these being the ten top reforms, and am open to being persuaded about more promising reforms for Delhi. The manifesto of the Swarna Bharat Party will contain a more comprehensive package, but this is a preliminary list of top 10 reforms.

1. Change in the departmental structure and bureaucratic management to ensure accountability

Without making the bureaucracy accountable, NOTHING can be achieved. This reform will not be as comprehensive as that detailed in SKC agenda. But much can be done directly by the Delhi government. The reform includes combining departments into a few large departments, each headed by a Super Secretary to the Government. The Super Secretary of each department – who will supervise all IAS and other officials in the departments – would be appointed on a contract of three years in the first instance at a salary of around Rs.75 lakhs per annum. Such Super-Secretaries would be eligible for a performance bonus of up to Rs 25 lakhs per annum for meeting their performance contract, which would include tight control over corruption and the delivery of high quality services. Such persons would be recruited from the open market. Any IAS officer wishing to be considered for such a role would need to resign upon appointment to such a position.

This reform will ensure hassle free interaction with government offices, e.g. licensing (RTO), water and electricity departments, etc. As accountability dramatically increases, corruption will dramatically decrease.

This will involve a radical increase in the level of transparency. The Super Secretary will be required (through KPIs) to pro-actively publish data related to government activities along with expenditure records (such as details about each road or park).

2. Drastic increase in the number of necessary jobs

The overall theme of liberty with accountability in the SKC agenda will ensure that Delhi becomes the golden land of opportunity. In addition, government jobs will be created in two basic areas: (a) radical reshaping and improvement of roads and waste management; and (b) radical improvement in landscaping and public amenities in Delhi.

These jobs will create hygienic living conditions in Delhi. All open drains will be closed and strewn garbage eliminated. These will also create aesthetic surroundings through god roads, clean parks, greenery, underground electric cables etc. In particular Delhi’s roads need to be straightened (particularly around older villages, and all tiled sidewalks replaced with cemented blocks. All sidewalks will provide disabled access for people with impaired mobility. These actions will generate a vast number of new jobs and also make Delhi the most liveable city in India. In a few years time, Delhi could aim to compete with the better cities of the world.

Public safety will be made the direct liability of the Super Secretary of the infrastructure department, with any damages for injury from roads/ sidewalks paid personally by the Super-Secretary. Parking on sidewalks will be heavily fined. Specific parking places will be created and auctioned across Delhi in the colonies, to ensure that no car blocks traffic or the side walk.

3. Dramatic change in the real estate system to eliminate all black money from the system.

This change would take around three years to implement, but after that there should be no possibility of any black money in any real estate transaction. This will also include complete overhaul of the developer system to ensure that the mafia that currently operate in this sector are brought to book.

4. Dramatic change in the school system to ensure that the poorest of the poor start receiving high quality education

This would involve full implementation of details outlined in the SKC agenda. This would take around 3-4 years to implement, given the significant change involved. In the meanwhile, great focus would be given to improving teacher quality. This will ensure that all schools have decent infrastructure, e.g. toilets, library, furniture, etc.

5. Radical improvement in the water supply and sewage system

This will involve either implementing incentives in the government water undertaking for performance, or if that’s not possible, then entirely privatising the system through public tender and bringing it under regulatory control. Supply will be provided at a regulated cost that takes into account future infrastructure needs. Unauthorised habitations will also be provided water – at cost. Temporary Infrastructure will be built as matters of property rights are resolved (these matters can take around four to five years to resolve, after the land system is entirely modernised). Sewage management will be professionalised, as well, with appropriate incentives.

6. Radical improvement in the electricy system

This will involve more intense regulation, and ensuring that incentives are aligned with desired outcomes. Supply will be provided on payment.

7. Transport system to be revamped entirely

In particular, focus will shift towards managing the demand side through appropriate congestion levy. The taxi and auto markets will be fully liberalised, and bus competition will be increased through innovative models such as kerb rights allocation. Supply side improvements will also be undertaken to the extent these are cost effective.

8. Revamp of agriculture

The APMC acts will be abolished and farmers in and around Delhi freed from the requirement to sell in mandis. This will allow for competition in the wholesale sector, In the long run, proper wholesale produce markets will be established.

9. Drastic reduction in unnecessary business regulation

Delhi will be made the most business friendly city in India by drastically eliminating all unnecessary regulation, and ensuring that all modern techniques are implemented to make it easy to do business in Delih. Under no circumstances will innovative technologies like Uber be prevented from operating in Delhi. [I request the PHD chamber of commerce and other industry associations to provide their business improvements suggestions for Delhi]

10. Radical modernisation fo the health system

Delhi does not exercise control over many of the large hospitals in Delhi. However, the SKC agenda will be implemented in Delhi to the extent possible, and all means of increasing competition in the health sector considered and implemented.

In addition, overall administration will DRAMATICALLY improve and corruption will reduce even more dramatically, almost to be come non-existent in three years.

DESIRABLE BUT CAN’T BE DONE BECAUSE DELHI IS NOT A FULL STATE

1. Electoral reforms as outlned in SKC agenda

2 Change in the local government system as outlined in SKC agenda

3. Full reform of the justice system

4. Rezoning of lands to allow high rise residential buildings within 20 kilometres of Connought Place (subject to aircraft clearance requirements)

5. Elimination of poverty as outlined in the SKC agenda

6. Security: Although the Delhi Government does not have Delhi Police under it’s control, the Delhi government can cover all public places with world-class CCTV infrastructure with active remote monitoring. In addition a citizens’ volunteer force can be organised to help people report crime.

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Indians are spending billions on higher education abroad, determined not to return to India’s socialist nightmare

Lok Nath sent me an email he had written to a government functionary in 2009. I've extracted and lightly edited (and cleaned up spellings). Let me say he is very passionate and has said it very well. LET LOOSE THE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM AND INDIA WILL DO WONDERS.

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Our great Architects [have] ensued that NOT everybody gets quality education. Why do Indians have to go to Australia and other countries to study at the first place spending 20-30 times the tuitions in India. They are all from middle class families whose only aspiration is a good education for their children.

These students never want to come back, believe me. If one is 1000 does, out of "mera bharat mahaan" principles, he/she only comes back to work for a multinational company only to get disappointed vis-a-vis the quality of life that their peers have and starts hunting for jobs again.

Had they been assured a quality education in India that they DESIRE, they would never go out at the first place.

Now here [are] the statistics:

 -About 350,000 foreign students (close to 100,000 being Indians) study in Australia. India gets 8,000.

-There are over 3300 Universities and Accredited Colleges in USA for a population that is a quarter of India

-UK and Ireland has over 250,000 Indian Students

-The US and Canada has over 500,000 Indian Students.

Here of some of suggestions:

1) For the kind of population esp. the young population we have, we need at least 2000 more universities of International capacity. This is what a well-read liberal economist has to say on his blog.

Adjusted for population size, relative to Australia, India gets 133 foreign students. That is not a typo. Let me spell it out: it is a hundred and thirty-three, not one hundred and thirty-three thousand. Australia get around three thousand times the number of students per capita compared to India. (India is approximately 60 times Australia’s population.)

How much do Indians spend in studying abroad? Estimates range from a conservative $5 billion to a generous $10 billion per year. That a humongous sum. Why do Indians go abroad to study? Because they are forced to. India does not have the colleges and universities for them. Why? Because the government does not allow free entry into the education system. It’s the Congress party with its Nehruvian licence-quota-permit-control raj. It makes them money. It helps them get votes by restricting supply and then doling out the limited supply to favored vote banks based on religion and caste. They — the people of the Congress party — make money while the country suffers huge losses.

2) You need to build a system of lifelong education.

3) You need to build a framework of continuing education by establishing "professional societies" of equal credibility as in west.

 3) Get the existing faculty to deliver. Put the content for free on the internet

 4) Let Private sector manage this all. Don’t regulate the fees like a pseudo-socialist. The fees can be offset by the whole ecosystem of Govt. sponsors and banks.

 5) Let Banks fund the education with liberal repayment. 

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Further draft proposal for Workshop II: India’s liberal political strategy: 2014 and beyond

Around a month ago I proposed a workshop to determine India's political strategy for liberals

I've revised the slides and published on Onedrive, here [Simplified, bit.ly link: http://1drv.ms/1nEyUNy​]

If you wish, you may comment. This workshop – if held – will be a highly selective workshop, but if you show any special ability to contribute I'll keep your thoughts in mind. If you show me any special reason why you should be invited, I'll consider that as well.

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Open invitation to India’s BEST TALENT – to express interest to join as National Executive member of Swarna Bharat Party

Swarna Bharat Party, India's national liberal party, is nearing registration. Created on 1 June 2013, papers were lodged with ECI in July. Then, based on the requirements, an advertisement was placed in a number of papers seeking objections. Thereafter a detailed meeting took place with ECI on 5 February 2014. Finally, a slightly amended constitution and various other documents were provided on 5 March 2014.

Now, we are beginning the process of shortlisting National Executive members.

Subject to agreement of the President (Dipinder Sekhon) I expect to take on the official role of Honorary Vice President of the party (there will be many Vice Presidents). SBP allows OCIs to take become members but not pay any fee (OCIs can join only on an exception basis).

In anticipation of SBP registration, I'm commencing the process of seeking expressions of interest from ALL LIBERALS of India (who are either in an existing liberal party or have not yet joined any party) to join the National Executive of this party. 

SBP is committed to very significant levels of transparency. A few key selling points are attached. We should aim to build a party that India needs and can be proud of, for the long haul. While we would aim to contest in 2014 subject to registration by ECI in the next few days, we should think of the next 500 years.

The duration of the membership of the Initial National Executive of SBP is one year, under Article 9a of the SBP Constitution. The initial NE membership will be unelected (as specified clearly in the Constitution) and will not be able to be fully representative of the entire country.

The current prescribed fee for National Executive members is Rs.1 lakh (payable in advance) but for the unelected initial NE members, I'd like to bring this fee down to around Rs. 20,000 (to be finalised in consultation with the shortlisted NE members).

Either way, please expect to pay a reasonable amount to join in such a senior role, which is going to guide India in the coming year. Only OCIs (like me) don't have to pay (in fact, should not pay – it being prohibited under the law). But I will contribute in many other ways, as I've done for the past many years.

I do expect those who take the role of NE members to be ACTIVE in spreading and building the party. This is not a decorative role. They should also be very active on email/internet. We are not going to physically meet except perhaps once a year.

Procedure

I will compile the list of those who have express interest and – in consultation with relevant party members – will offer a membership (and office bearer role, if so considered desirable) to the shortlisted members. Others who apply will definitely be accommodated in other ways. We have HUNDREDS of positions/roles in mind.

In addition to NE members, we'll soon need hundreds of others, such as State level executive members and others. Details of various committees are provided in the Constitution, attached. At the moment, I'm ONLY seeking to build the National Executive. 

Please write to me at sabhlok@gmail.com. 

I look forward to your contribution in building something India NEEDS and will be proud of. We are not hooligans like AAP, nor corrupt like Congress and BJP, and we want system change. We'll build a party that is systematic and transparent, that we can offer to our children and grandchildren with pride.

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What Swarna Bharat Party brings to India. A short message (draft #1)

I've tried to outline what SBP brings to India in a short message. Please provide your thoughts and comments. This is a first draft.

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Have you ever experienced a sudden astonishment upon seeing something new? That would be similar to someone who has lived his entire life in a small village and only visited a nearby small town. If an opportunity comes for him to visit Delhi and look at the large shopping malls, Rashtrapati Bhavan and international airport, his astonishment knows no bounds. He can’t imagine how people built these things, and how they produced what is sold in the malls, although he can recognise some elements of his life in the dirty and shabby streets and homes of the slums and villages of Delhi.

Similarly, when a person who has lived his life only in Delhi visits a modern developed country like USA or Australia, his astonishment is complete. He can’t imagine how an entire city can be so clean, its people so well-to-do, and the absence of corruption in getting a drivers licence.

The average Indian has never visualised what it is to be prosperous. So he doesn't understand how poor and backward India is. Our country can be compared with a broken village school while most people in the developed world live in what can be described as an air-conditioned palace, in comparison.

India was once the world’s richest country but never as rich as the West is today. 

The West moved rapidly ahead of India about 250 years ago through a dramatic change in the society's systems and expectations. Everyone became more free, and businessmen were respected. There was freedom to speak, freedom of occupation, and governance that protected property rights.

There was a time, long ago in the time of Chandragupta Maurya when India followed many of these principles, and became a rich nation. But at some point in time, liberty became constrained in India. We became a hierarchical, caste based  society where opportunities were limited only to a few.

Indians who live abroad are very successful and prove that there is nothing wrong with Indians. That is because they are allowed to succeed in the West, while in India they are blocked.

Who blocks us from succeeding? Our government does that. India is one of the world’s worst places to open a business. It takes a very long time to get approvals to start a business. Then you have to pay bribes at every step. Finally, taxes are very high if you manage to succeed. We have created a place where only the corrupt are rewarded.

India is like a butterfly caught in a permanent state of being a pupa. Our government has blocked us from succeeding. 

Swarna Bharat Party is deeply aware of the fundamental cause of India’s misery: its lack of liberty. India ranks among the lowest in the world on social and economic liberty. Even on freedom of the press and freedom of speech we are one of the lowest in the world.

Restrictions on freedom block people from becoming rich (socialism) or block people from saying what they wish (often in the name of religion). The net effect of these restrictions is chilling: it freezes the mind and creates poverty and misery.

The people of India can solve their own problems if they are allowed to act on their own with support from the government only for the poorest of the poor. Indians can create the world’s best schools, best hospitals, best businesses, best jobs if left to themselves.

The West has continued to progress; its citizens have become better fed, better clothed, better housed and better transported; class and social distinctions have narrowed; minority groups have become less disadvantaged; popular culture has advanced by leaps and bounds.  All this has been the product of the initiative and drive of individuals co-operating through the free market. Government measures have hampered not helped this development. The invisible hand has been more potent for progress than the visible hand of government.

We know this works. We have direct evidence in the case of telecom in which the moment the government lifted its dead hand from the industry, everyone could aspire to get a phone or a mobile phone. When private airlines were allowed entry, prices dropped and businesses could quickly travel across India. Imagine if Infosys had been in government hands. We know it would have been making losses now, instead of being a money and job spinner for India.

And we know that all politicians (starting from Rahul Gandhi) go to the best private schools, IAS officers send their children abroad. But for the rest of India, they force everyone to study in third rate government schools. They block private schools and choke private enterprise at each step.

Swarna Bharat Party is the only party in India totally committed to freedom (with accountability), with special emphasis on opportunities to the poorest of the poor. Swarna Bharat Party is also committed to the idea of world-best economic innovative policies that meet the cost-benefit test.

We are offering India the world-best Sone Ki Chidiya Total Reform Agenda. We are committed to openness, transparency, and recognition of talent within the party. We aspire to the highest levels of internal governance.

Join Swarna Bharat Party. You will never regret this decision. It costs only Rs.100 to get life membership.

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DRAFT visual depiction (click for larger image, and for Word version here)

SBP culture:

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Now is your opportunity to ACTUALLY FIX India’s problems. Swarna Bharat Party.

Although its process of registration is still underway, it is now only a matter of weeks before SBP gets registered as India's first classical liberal party.

A notice inviting objections was issued nearly a month ago:

In English

1. The Hindu – 20 & 22 Sep 2013
2. Rastrawadi Times – 20 & 22 Sep 2013

In Hindi

1. Rashtriya Sahara – 20 & 22 Sep 2013
2. Chandra Jyoti Lokvani Times – 20 & 22 Sep 2013.

Within days, if no objection has been received SBP should have completed all formalities for registration.

SBP is India's first classical liberal party. Its predecessors in India (broadly classical liberal) include Rajaji's Swatantra Party and Sharad Joshi's Swatantra Bharat Party. SBP's sister parties (with broadly classical liberal focus) are Lok Satta and Jago Party.

SBP is intended to be an AGGREGATOR party – to bring together a vast number of good people who believe in liberty and good governance. It will also constantly accept new leaders and reshuffle its leadership team to accommodate other parties that may wish to (at some stage) merge into this NATIONAL LIBERAL PARTY.

This is now your opportunity to FIX INDIA'S PROBLEMS.

Your platform is now almost ready.

Please express interest in contesting the 2014 elections as SBP candidates. Details here.

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