Who am I?
I joined the IAS in 1982 in Haryana cadre. After marriage to a fellow officer I chose to move to Assam cadre. I worked in various capacities, including Deputy Commissioner of Barpeta district, Professor of Management at the Lal Bahadur National Academy of Administration and Commissioner in the Government in the State Government of Meghalaya in the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India.
Since February 1998, I have focused on reforming India’s socialist and corrupt governance. I resigned in January 2001 and left India after my first attempt to form a liberal party did not take off.
Since March 2001 I have worked in two agencies of the Victorian Government in Melbourne, including since 2005 in the Department of Treasury and Finance where I advise the government on economic policy matters.
I was a National Science Talent Scholar and topped my university in B.Sc. (Hons, Maths) with Physics and Chemistry. I obtained two MAs in economics (one from USA) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business (Australia) as well as a doctorate in economics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
I formed the India Policy Institute in 1998, Freedom Team of India in 2007 and Liberal Party of India in 2005. I joined Sharad Joshi’s Swatantra Bharat Party in 2004 but resigned in 2005, and jointly founded Swarna Bharat Party in 2013. (Please refer to my April 2017 Times of India article regarding the party.)
My view is that socialist Indian governments have created skewed incentives in India’s governance system. Without fundamental governance reforms, economic reforms cannot succeed. Our governance system is close to the world’s worst. With such a system we can do nothing to uplift India.
People often ask me why I am here in Australia and yet talk about reforming India. Why?
It is not out of choice but compulsion that I’m here in Australia. I left India in 2000 since there was no demand for liberty and good governance.
I wouldn’t have left India if the reforms I had proposed in 1999-2000 had been considered by the Vajpayee government. I took a lot of these reform ideas to his right hand man, Ashok Saikia, in addition to other senior officers across the Vajpayee government.
I would not have left India if the liberal party that I then actively tried to set up in 2000 (an idea I had envisaged in February 1998) would have been established (people I had worked with to get it started: Parth Shah, Madhu Kishwar, Subodh Kumar and Sauvik Chakraverti).
I would have returned to India if my efforts of January 2004 – which led to significant momentum for Sharad Joshi’s Swatantra Bharat Party – had led to genuine uptake by Indians. Resources were needed to be raised but none were forthcoming. I might have returned if the later 2005 Liberal Party of India that I started had gained momentum. But that didn’t go anywhere either.
Thereafter, I would have still returned to India had people like Nandan Nilekani whom I met in around 2010 were willing to fund the Freedom team of India to find leaders to kickstart a liberal party.
After all this didn’t happen, I would have still returned to India in 2012-13 if Ramdev was an honest man and the clear commitment he gave me to establish a liberal party (and raise significant funds) had been fulfilled. He backed off after the party was fully ready to launch. We launched it anyway, in June 2013 – and it was good that corrupt Ramdev was not part of this journey.
Even today I am potentially able to return to India if there are sufficient number of leaders on the ground and sufficient funds. But from everything that I have seen over the past twenty years there is zero possibility of any large-scale assembly of liberal leaders and adequate funds.
Given this situation, I’m better off in Australia where I have some time to experience some cutting edge policy debates and learn about things that one day may be useful to India.
See a partial record since 1980: https://sanjeev.sabhlokcity.com/publications.html
My detailed message is found in my 2008 book, Breaking Free of Nehru (download here). The book is highly commended by Gurcharan Das, author of India Unbound. (He is also member of Swarna Bharat Party.)
The manuscript The Discovery of Freedom is nearing completion (download here).
Cabinet secretariat newsletter: I wrote a detailed article on bureaucratic system reforms in India’s Cabinet Secretariat newsletter.
The Wire: I have written on electoral reforms in The Wire (here).
Freedom First: I wrote numerous articles in Freedom First a few years ago.
MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL AND A FEW KEY LINKS
A few key videos:
SPEECH AT PATANJALI in 2012 (I have TOTALLY severed my links with corrupt Ramdev since then)
I also gave a talk at Jantar Mantar on 23 December 2012, with Swami Ramdev:
My opening remarks at the National Reform Summit, Haridwar, 5-8 April 2013
My closing remarks at the Summit
Here’s a 2013 radio interview in NRI Samay.
Please consider reading this interview (a Word document) before reading further.
Also my last testament.
You might also consider reading this discussion of my work at BabusofIndia.
Political philosopher and Indian politician
My role in the Indian bureaucracy gave me an inside understanding of our governance system through close interaction with India’s bureaucratic and political elite. As I studied the issues further, including through further academic study, it became clear to me that India’s failures of governance arise from bad policy. It is not poor implementation that causes India’s problems – for bad policy can NEVER be implemented “properly” in the first place. Bad policy that is to blame for at least 99% our governance failures. That is a key insight that most ‘educated’ Indians still don’t have.
In February 1998 I concluded that our bad policies can’t (and won’t) be changed by our existing political or bureaucratic leaders. I therefore needed to join (or form) a (classical) national liberal political party and become a part of a political alternative to transform India’s governance using evidence-based world-best policies.
In pursuit of this goal I resigned from the IAS in January 2001 [India Today report].
Since then I have worked towards the reform of India’s governance from the “outside” – as a politician.
I’m not a typical politician but a political philosopher and politician nevertheless – focused entirely on forming government in India. I am convinced that no existing political formation or leader provides India with the kind of viable solution that I do. I am therefore determined to work with you to reform India.
But you may well ask in bewilderment: “But how can you be (or become) an Indian politician when you are not even an Indian citizen?” I agree that you have good reason to ask this! For late in 2005, after three failed attempts to form a liberal political opposition [see this, for instance], I decided that given the lack of interest among Indians for good governance I should quit this ambition and take Australian citizenship.
However, I soon also took Overseas Indian citizenship which entitles me to “recover” my Indian citizenship within one year, should – in my lifetime – India actually want to become a modern, ethically governed prosperous nation.
In late 2007 I revived the political strategy with a revised platform (Freedom Team). Should I receive CLEAR signals that India needs me, I will return to India, resume my Indian citizenship, and contest elections. The window of time for that is now rapidly shrinking, however: just another ten or fifteen years remain, outside of which I will not be able to (physically) participate in the political process in India.
Why do I matter (to you)?
What I bring is critically important for your survival and success in India. I offer the ONLY viable solution to India’s pathetic mis-governance (Breaking Free of Nehru).
All other alternatives have failed – and will fail. Socialism, colonial bureaucracies, communalism: none can succeed. Other alternative efforts – including those of Baba Ramdev (or even JP of Lok Satta), that don’t focus SOLELY on increasing freedom (subject to accountability) – could well create more problems for India than they (may) solve.
It is therefore in your interest to join hands with me – with the Swarna Bharat Party, whose leaders offer India a truly modern governance system. Please support SBP in every way that you can.
More about me
Most importantly, however, please read my book/s and writings to understand me (and my vision for India) better. If you wish, you can browse through these blog posts that have some autobiographical content. (e.g. this essay that formed part of my application to USC).
Given limited financial resources, I actively use the internet to reach out to those who are interested in a better India. You can easily find me on Facebook,Twitter, Plaxo,Myspace, Sulekha, Orkut, Shelfari,Yahoo, and Google Page. I’m here to help you help yourself.
I’ve been conducting some explorations – here.
I welcome your feedback/comments at email@example.com.
Blog posts that explain more about me
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