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Category: Swarna Bharat Party

Preliminary dot points for the Horasis 2 minute pitch

I’m refining the pitch, and now have assembled some dot points that I’ll try to finalise in consultation with the London team, then print it and practice it once.

Thoughts appreciated asap


Introduce self and the party. A bit about me and why I resigned. India needs a liberal political party. Article in TOI, manifesto.

We are here to reach for the skies. Tired of being at the bottom of the world

Indian businesses are running a one-legged race or a sack race. Likewise our one hand is tied behind our back. And no party has a clue about how to fix governance. Every country has radically changed, some change in appearance every 10 years. But India looks and feels like what it was 50 years ago.

Our party gives a big vote of confidence in India’s private sector but a vote of no confidence in India’s governance system. There is not a single good policy in India that can be considered a role model for the world

What is the cause of shoddy governance? Socialism and socialist incentives

Nehru vs LKY on profit

Without fundamental governance reforms nothing can be done – electoral/ bureaucratic – and economic/ freedom of expression

How SBP will benefit business

This is party for transforming India, but this dream, this vision will remain unfulfilled if we do not seize this opportunity.

This party reflects the work of 20 years. It now needs your support to take off

Minimum government maximum governance should no longer remain an empty slogan

Key message, if India has to attract more FDI it needs fundamental governance reforms

If the plans we have articulated in our manifesto had been implemented, by now, within three years, a lot of things would have changed. But India continues to be stuck at a low level equilibrium 3 years after the Modi government – because Mr Modi is continuing with the same old broken governance model. The changes made are cosmetic.

Existing socialist parties were perhaps natural at the early stage of India’s democratic development. But as India matures, it needs a party wedded to liberty in all its forms and shapes. And able to adopt the world’s best ideas of governance.


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Further draft two minute introductory speech for the Horasis conference

Based on extensive feedback on my previous draft introductory pitch, I’ve done the following:

  • I’ve taken “me” and my story almost entirely out of the picture. Although this initial talk is supposed to be an introduction about oneself, I think I should focus on my message: I have to answer the reason WHY India needs a new political party. If people want to find out more about me, they can do so separately, later. Or they can just google me.
  • In 2007 in my TOI article on the bureaucracy I pointed out the contrast between the excellence of the private sector in India and the rotten performance of the public sector. I think that should be my main plank at the conference – particularly where the majority of participants are from the private sector. These guys are really good. They have been let down by the world’s worst governance system.
  • The third key thing I’m doing is to tell the assembled participants that they need to get involved (Call to action). I’m showing them that this is not rocket science but that it will require a significant, coordinated effort.

Of course, I always speak extempore, so these frameworks are merely means to assist me to organise my thoughts. What I finally speak will be determined on the spot.


Dear xx, my name is Sanjeev Sabhlok. I’m a founder and the overseas coordinator of Swarna Bharat Party, India’s only liberal party – that started functioning in a small way last year.

I think there is not much time available for this introduction so I’m going to keep it really short and to the point.

The issue here is about us as Indians and what we are achieving – in relation to (or in comparison with) what we could have achieved. The gap is monumental.

I have not only lived in India and served in the IAS for many years before resigning but also keep visiting India regularly from Melbourne, probably once a year on average.

The most astonishing thing that one observes is the excellence of the Indian private sector and the miserable performance of our public sector. Wherever the private sector gets involved, our performance is close to the world’s best. But wherever the government needs to do something, our performance plummets.

This is essentially the story of two India’s – one an India driven by enterprise, by innovation, by creativity. And the other India driven by despair, by corruption, by ignorance, by incompetence, by lethargy and practically every other evil that one can think of.

But even within the governance system, it is about the breakdown of basic governance. We can somehow send satellites to the moon but we cannot build a straight road, cannot build a drainage system, cannot ensure the supply of water and basic utilities, cannot ensure basic law and order, cannot ensure integrity of the police system or the integrity of the justice system.

We have been let down completely and totally by our public sector, by our governments which have failed to fulfil their most basic functions. We have the most corrupt government in the whole of the Asia Pacific region.

It feels as if the country is walking on one strong leg (the private sector) and one rickety leg (the government sector). The net result is as bad as having two bad legs.

There is nothing inevitable about this situation. Good governance is not rocket science. It is difficult but not impossible to understand incentives and to design systems to ensure accountability.

I can talk a lot about fundamental things like liberty, fundamental things like freedom of expression, freedom of occupation, and many other such things today but I will not do that.

I want to keep this conversation focused on governance and governance reforms. Since you as businesses or as investors are most dramatically affected by this.

I think we need to get very serious about governance reforms.

The only reason why we have this kind of governance system is because we have been continuing the British model unthinkingly for the past 70 years. And we added many other things that guarantee an increase in corruption and incompetence.

The different perspective of Nehru and Lee Kuan Yew towards profit also tells us a lot about the causes of this deplorable governance system.

Nehru told JRD Tata ‘Never talk to me about the word profit; it is a dirty word.’” At around the same time, Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore was telling his people that “You make profit into a dirty word and Singapore dies.”

We need free markets, unilateral free trade and massive economic and tax reform. That is a given, but we need even bigger and powerful governance system reforms.

We can talk a lot about the short-term experience of one Indian government or the other. But I’d like to remind us that the key issue facing us is that the Modi government has done nothing – absolutely nothing – to transform the design of the governance system of India.

He is effectively running the same run down machine that the British left behind.

Governance involves understanding incentives and aligning them to outcomes. The slogan of minimum government maximum governance has remained just that, since the Modi government does not understand that objectives do not equate to outcomes. It requires a level of detailed understanding of incentives that is completely missing from the governance system design.

By the way, in this regard, as well, Lee Kuan Yew was a pastmaster, a grandmaster of governance. He understood how incentives work like few others have ever understood.

We therefore need to look beyond short term minor policies and put them in context. We must focus on the big picture, and the big picture is that India is going nowhere unless it dramatically reforms its governance system.

The big picture story is that we are pretty much at the bottom of the world in governance systems. The big picture story is that none of the existing parties have the slightest clue about what can be done to fix this problem.

Those of us who dream of liberty should forget it since when even the most basic ingredients for governance are not to be found, the idea of liberty is likely to be wishful thinking.

Note that this is not a criticism only of the current BJP government. It is a criticism of the entire superstructure of our governance system that we have been implementing for the past 70 years. All existing major parties are complicit in the creation of this dysfunctional system.

Once again, because of the shortage of time, I will not go into too much detail here. A lot of information is found in a book Breaking Free of Nehru which can be downloaded from the internet.

My question to you is: what are we doing about this.

This issue is the elephant in the room that everybody can see clearly but no one wants to do anything about.

Expecting the existing parties to do anything about this is a delusion. They are a direct part of the system.

We need to change things, and shake them up. Else nothing will improve no matter how many Modis we get.

I will not go into concepts like socialism and liberalism which are given different interpretations by different people. But let us agree that we need a party that brings to India the best governance systems of the world.

This party that we need should ensure a system where dishonest people cannot enter politics and any incompetent people are removed instantly from the bureaucracy. We want a system where honesty, accountability and competence are expected as a matter of course.

This is the party that I have helped to found, and it has started operating in a small way from last year. This is called the Swarna Bharat Party of the Golden India party.

This is also India’s only liberal party. It is a party that believes in liberty and equal opportunity. It is a party that brings the world’s best policy frameworks to bear in designing any policy. It is a party of the sort that India has never seen before.

I am here to brief you about this party and how you can get involved in completely transforming India’s rotten governance system.

My message is very simple. We can keep talking about these existing parties till the cows come home, but we will have made no progress whatsoever. What we need is a world-class political party where the top talent of India can assemble, where the best ideas of policy making are understood and formulated, and from where accountability is built systematically into every part of the governance system of India.

Once again there is very little time to talk in detail about this, but I invite you to look at Swarna Bharat Party’s manifesto which is available on the Internet, and to get involved in supporting the development of this world class party for India.

At this conference are assembled some of the brightest brains that India has ever produced. I think if we can work together on a project to completely change India, we can actually make it work.

I recently wrote an article about this party in the Times of India and I am providing a copy of this article for you to review, which is lying on the table out there.

In this short introduction there’s insufficient time to elaborate, but I’d like to end by highlighting three big reforms that India needs: Electoral reforms through state funding of elections on a per vote basis; bureaucratic reform to eliminate the IAS (and all tenured services) and to replace them with a contractual, fully accountable bureaucracy. And fundamental reforms of the justice system including funding it more than 10 times its present level.

I think this should do as a brief introduction.

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Can anyone who knows copyright law assist in sorting out this ambit claim from Saregama Publishing?

The other day I noted a claim by Saregama Publishing on the video of an SBP rally.


It appears that this Saregama Publishing is persistent on such matters. See a similar dispute here.

I’ve received a response from Google, screenshot below:

Does anyone with any legal background in this wish to provide any thoughts? This is an obnoxious use of copyright and we should – if we have the knowledge and expertise to fight this – challenge this.

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Draft introductory two minutes at a session of the India meeting at Interlaken next weekend

According to the Horasis conference arrangements I’ll get 2 minutes to introduce myself and thereafter will be asked a range of questions regarding the Indian economy by the chair of the session.

The introduction will therefore be very important to set the scene.

I had a few minutes to dictate an outline into my mobile phone earlier today. I’m putting this draft out for comment – in case anyone has time to review and provide suggestions for improvement. Note that this may be longer than 2 minutes so I’ll speak impromptu depending on the time available.


In 1982 I started a career in the IAS. But 18 years later I resigned. Since then I have lived and worked in Australia. For well over a decade now I have been advising the government of Victoria on matters of economic policy.

I think the best introduction I can offer is that I’m a man on a mission. I had this boss a few years ago who continuously saw me spend every minute of my spare time focusing on reforms for India. This is what he called me – a man on a mission.

I think the mission I have is something I hope all of you would see as worth having, by the end of this session. My mission is simple: to not only only make India a First World country but take it well beyond any other nation.

For a very long time now I have been extremely dissatisfied with the way the Indian governance system works. Twenty years ago a realisation dawned upon me that India’s miserable performance is not an immutable law of the world.

I decided that I was no longer going to accept the idea that my political masters – to whom I reported then – must necessarily be corrupt.

I decided that I would no longer accept the idea that 50 years after independence we still make excuses while the rest of the developing world – which started well behind India – has gone far ahead.

I must mention the role of a South Korean student at the University of Southern California who brought the final sea change in my perspective about what one should be doing with one’s life.

We were standing one day below the Economics building at the university, having a smoke. Yes – I used to smoke at that time once in a while. This Korean student asked me why is it that Indian students are so intelligent and yet India is in a miserable condition.

This is a common question, and we always have excuses. First I pointed out that our political leaders are utterly useless and corrupt. Then I also pointed out that our bureaucracy is hopelessly arrogant, incompetent and corrupt.

In this way I pointed the blame at others. I was let off from this blame.

But later on that night I thought about this a bit more and asked myself – is this all that’s there to life? Pointing fingers at others? Do we not somehow need to take responsibility at some level for the state of affairs in India?

It had already become clear to me over the first fifteen years of my service in the IAS that there was simply no one out there in India who was interested in reforms. Even the 1991 reforms had no owner – and we all know how ridiculously feeble these reforms had been.

India needed extraordinary reforms of governance and of economic policy. And yet all our political parties were wedded to the idea of socialism.

I had long questioned the idea of socialism but it had became very clear to me towards the end of my doctoral studies in the USA that socialism – the root cause of India’s governance failures – had to go.

And so I decided that day that India needs a liberal political party – grounded in the philosophy of liberty – to implement the much-needed reforms. Since then, from February 1998, except for a short period of time, I have consistently focused on this goal.

I will not go through the trials and tribulations I have experienced on this journey. Suffice it to stay that from around July 2016 we have now got a real and functioning liberal political party in India – the Swarna Bharat Party. A couple of months ago I wrote an article about this party in the Times of India. A copy is available [specify where] if you are interested.

This new party is not yet well known among Indians nor does it have a large number of followers – yet.

BUT here is the point. We must reach for the skies. We can’t be happy scraping bottom of the barrel. That is not good enough.

Getting to the top is not an impossible job. It is a difficult but not impossible job.

Many nations across the world have successfully overcome the hurdles on the way to becoming of first one nation.

This will require changing the way we function, the way we think. And will require funding and promoting the message.

It need not have taken me 20 years to reach this stage for a country the size of India where so many people know exactly how progress is actually achieved. We have some of the smartest brains in the world, some of the most innovative business leaders.

But what is needed is the determination to change. We need to determine that this miserable situation cannot be allowed to continue.

What I have managed to do over the past 20 years is to work towards and finally be part of a team that created this platform on which the best leaders of India can assemble and take India forward.

Now it is up to all of you assembled here to put your best foot forward and to start supporting this party that is determined to make a real difference.

The engine of the party – it’s manifesto – has been built. It is a wonderful manifesto, on par or better than the best in the world. Nothing like it has ever been written in India before. I invite you to download it from the party’s website and to read it.

Our key principles include: everyone must have the liberty to pursue his own happiness; we will protect their freedom through an efficient police and judiciary; we will defend India through a strong army; we will interfere unnecessarily in economy.

The party now awaits the energy and ownership of all of you and your families and your relatives and your friends.

This party was never about me. It is only about India. My focus has been to build strong nternal systems as well as the policy frameworks that will take this party forward.

We want the very best talent of India to come on board and start experimenting with different ways of communicating the message to the people.

It is not up to me to tell you how to communicate the message. Neither is it for me to tell you how to win elections.

In fact the answers to your questions all lie within you. I can definitely try to answer some of your questions but I know that when you get involved you will find better answers then I can possibly give.

So my main message today is that this party – which was sorely needed by India even in the 1950s -has finally arrived.

This is the party with a vision for India – a vision that no one has ever articulated before. It is a party of liberty. It is party of integrity.

India has been going through a learning curve of democratic functioning. We have made many mistakes. We have spent seventy years experimenting with socialism.

And yet we are a democracy. That is our strength. We have the opportunity now to change India’s direction. Let us give liberty a chance.

I look forward to participating in this session and meeting as many of you as possible during this meeting.

I would like to thank xxx for inviting me here.

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