Entrepreneurial politicians

Oct 27 2013, 05:40 IST
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SummaryFive legislative assemblies have elections in November-December 2013. Political parties are fielding candidates who’ll get elected

Five legislative assemblies have elections in November-December 2013. Political parties are fielding candidates who’ll get elected on their emotional hold over the locality they belong to. These elected representatives with scant administrative knowledge generally depend on bureaucrats to govern. As professionals, bureaucrats naturally care more for career ascent; their mandate is to execute official rules and regulations, not to meet voter expectations.

I believe if Indian politicians were to acquire an entrepreneur’s caliber, the lot of the governed would positively improve. An entrepreneur can set a vision for the common good. With domain knowledge and risk-taking ability, an entrepreneur administers to make things happen, as the objective is to promote industry growth and create wealth for the people. But not everybody can be an entrepreneur. Similarly, everybody cannot be a politician.

That’s why I was very happy to hear that a personality like Nandan Nilekani, with outstanding entrepreneurial skills, is likely to be a candidate in the next parliamentary election. His extraordinary global knowledge, leadership and forward-looking vision to bring technology for transparency and improvement of life from the bottom upwards can transform tomorrow’s India. The condition, of course, is that the political party he represents does not disturb his practical vision and accurate focus to drag him to their old-fashioned, disconnected-from-the-masses political ways.

Just as abolition of illiteracy does not come without specific effort, political standards cannot change unless professional politicians drive politics. A government programme on how to make Indian politicians and civil service more entrepreneurial-driven would be very useful. If minimum knowledge and skill criteria are established to qualify for public and political office, we won’t be worrying whether those with criminal records will be eligible to govern us. The masses will benefit when political leaders become entrepreneur-driven.

The real estate boom is an example of how ignorant, unprofessional politicians can be harmful. Suddenly, a city corner gets 5,000 additional apartments, yet infrastructure surrounding this improves barely 10%. Won’t these areas become miserable 10-15 years down the line? Governments and bureaucrats are not taking an aerial perspective of what the side effects could be. From independence onwards, there’s been lack of vision or initiative to reform civic areas in hygiene and security. I’ve seen expensive apartments having large open drains alongside carrying black sewage dirt of the city. The foul smell reaches the third floor, yet occupants with low civic sense don’t revolt, nor does

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