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Author: Sanjeev Sabhlok

Swatantra Bharat Party manifestos – by Sharad Joshi

Sharad Joshi was a great Indian liberal. He drafted an excellent manifesto for Swatantra Bharat Party.

Unfortunately, his manifestos are not readily available on the internet, so I’m publishing the copies I have, here:

The 1999 manifesto of Swatantra Bharat Party

The 2014 draft manifesto of Swatantra Bharat Party

I am trying to dig up old emails (a mailing list) and may find another one or two versions. But in the meanwhile, this should do.

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Proposed training program on political liberalism and policy reform – August 2018

I’m planning to hold a two week training program (with 2 days in the middle for field visits) on political liberalism and public policy.

Potential dates: 13 August to 25 August 2018 (to be finalised), venue: the village library in Bhadohi district started by one of the founders of SBP.  Participants must be members of Swarna Bharat Party. Everyone must pay their own cost (including travel, lodging and food). I will be the sole “teacher” but the training will be held in an interactive/ open discussion format. I will ask questions and prompt the participants to search for the appropriate answer. The medium of instruction will be Hindi (but with a mix of English).

Prior to the attending the training, participants should have at least tried to read BFN, DOF and SBP manifesto. Participants are also advised to read at least some of Hayek’s, Mises’s and Milton Friedman’s works before the training program.

The program will (illustratively) include the following topics:

  • The history of economic development of the world and India’s predominant place for 18 out of the past 20 centuries
  • The meaning of individual freedom and the difference with the ideologies of collectivism
  • The history of the development of liberalism
  • The key requirements of a liberal society
  • Basics of the price system (invisible hand) and the use of knowledge in society (Hayek’s insights)
  • The impossibility of the socialist calculation (Mises’s insights) and the millions of lives lost from socialism.
  • The public policy making process – problem identification all the way to cost-benefit test
  • The shortcomings of a cost-benefit test
  • India’s history of liberalism (a bit of pre-independence, Shenoy, Rajaji and Masani, Sharad Joshi) – and the uselessness of think tanks.
  • The control over India since independence by collectivist ideologies like socialism and Hindutva. Historical relationship between Hindutva and Nazi fascism.
  • What is wrong with RSS and Deendayal Upadhyaya? What is wrong with AAP and such “good” efforts?
  • The distortion of the institutions of India by the collectivists and the inevitability of mass-scale corruption
  • What distinguishes the West (including Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong) from India?
  • How has China progressed so quickly?
  • What can we learn from Singapore?
  • The design of a good governance system
  • Local government
  • Judicial reforms
  • Defence policy and foreign policy
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of trade and occupation
  • Property rights
  • Example: Agriculture policy
  • Example: Education policy (primary, secondary, vocational, tertiary)
  • Example: Urban planning
  • Example: Transport (roads, rail, air)
  • Example: Health
  • Example: Environment and waste management (including “Swachh Bharat”)
  • Example: Energy (electricity, gas, oil), water (including ground water)
  • Example: Heritage and archaeology
  • Example: Mining
  • Example:  Defence production
  • Example: Equal opportunity and reservations
  • Any other relevant policy/ strategy topic

A training manual is being prepared for the party. This manual will be refined through this training workshop.

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The contemptible Arvind Kejriwal

I came across an image of Arvind Kejriwal wearing a Muslim skull cap and was curious whether it was a fake or true image.

It is true.

This pretend religious activity is morally repugnant. This is ugly politics.

A cheap and ugly politician, is Kejriwal. Earlier I had thought he was merely a socialist hooligan. But now my impression of this man has fallen even lower.

He is no better than any junk politician from any major party.

दो कौड़ी का मनहूस आदमी.  ऐसे गधों से दूर रहो .

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Is voter education going to change things in India?

ADR and others have spent decades in “voter education”. Some believe that more voter education will help.

I believe this is both unnecessary and deals with the wrong problem.

While it may be the case that some voters do not make a thorough analysis of options, they almost always select the best candidate on offer. That is what explains the constantly shifting voting patterns across the country.

The real problem in India is on the supply side. Candidates with poor ethics are selected by parties deliberately since all parties must necessarily be corrupt in order to succeed (as explained in BFN). The few candidates with good intentions who do enter generally do not have the time or money to campaign and reach out to voters. But there is virtually none who is both honest and competent – and willing to spend time and money to campaign.

The incentives built into the system force corrupt and even criminal candidates to be selected (they must spend crores of rupees – and only the corrupt have such money).

Voter education won’t work to even remotely address the problem. Voters are much smarter than we think. They don’t need to be told how to vote. They will always pick the best they can, given the information available to them.

Those who believe in voter education are likely to achieve genuine results by themselves contesting elections. Give the voters a real choice. If you are better than the rest, show it by contesting.

But from what I know about India for the past many decades, such persons do not contest (and even if they do, they will not campaign vigorously for 2 years, and they will not have the resources to campaign vigorously).

Unless 300 good people enter the parliament and change the systems’s underlying incentives, the people of India must be prepared to live with what they have – a truly sub-optimal situation.

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