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December 1, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

It is high time we stop talking and start acting… nothing else will change our country! I wouldn’t delve into the pain that we have been through or the anguish of many others.

However, what I propose is an ACTION plan to target the root of all our problems – the mediocre polity and the irresponsible media.

1. Circulate this to all alumni groups that you’re a part of (e.g. pan-IIMXL, pan-IIT, pan-REC, etc)

2. Get a group-level commitment from the alumni leadership as well as inputs / feedback from these alumni groups

3. Create an ENVISIONING GROUP to finalize the work plan and roll it out based on self-nomination with recommendations from peers / peer nomination

4. Envisioning Group to draft the action plan and create discrete work products

5. There are two approaches that can be pursued in our action plan:
(1) Create a SHADOW GOVERNMENT (as in the UK governance model) to focus on governance issues – reviewing government policies, drafting new recommendations and providing a citizen-government interface as required
(2) Directly enter into politics by forming an independent party and contesting elections

The second approach might be pursued at a later stage but the first approach can be instantly taken up based on the action plan prepared by the Envisioning Group… and the plan is as proposed below:

6. Identify WORKING GROUPS that need to be constituted for implementing the action plan (along with the expected effort / proficiencies required for each of the working groups)

7. Communicate the plan to the complete volunteer groups to seek feedback and support

8. Incorporate feedback and then issue notification for WORKING GROUP nominations

9. Review the nominations and ensure independence (prevention of conflict of interest with current political establishment in a manner similar to what is done with consulting firms)

10. Create the WORKING GROUPS with clear roles and responsibilities

11. Each of the Working Groups needs to prepare their internal plan for actual roll-out and get going!!!

12. Alongside these groups, there will be a need for additional volunteers to run the SHARED SERVICES GROUPS such as Media Relations, Legal, Finance, Administration to basically provide shared services support to the Working Groups
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH… now can we please start acting on it??


Important suggestions from readers open for consideration (being compiled as they appear on the comments to this post):

1. The working groups may be decentralized across regions for easier operations

2. An approach of “parallel government” shouldn’t be followed since it might be short-term and might derail governments… rather we should work on studying various areas and providing our recommendations

3. We need to leverage RTI and other such provisions to demand accountability from the government and possibly strengthen non-profit organizations deploying these for the same

4. It would be good to make reccomendations on various areas of governance and then the risk of implementing it falls on the government. Once the common man realizes the merit of our recommendations and sees no action, the government’s credit is at stake

5. Need to nurture it more rather than marely putting it out on blog as just an idea

6. Some areas to be covered by working groups are: Security, Internal, Extremist – Terrorism, Extremist – Naxallite, General Policing, Cross Border, Terrorism, International Propaganda and Support and Other Socio-Economic Issues

7. Every citizen who votes for some candidate with a feeling of “voting for best of the worst” has an alternative now… as per the Article 49-0 of the Constitution, a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn’t want to vote anyone! If a candidate wins by “x” votes and there are more than “x” voters who have exercised this right, the poll results will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Also, the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them

8. One long-term measure is to enter into active politics and clean the system

9. We need to build awareness amongst the voting public on vital issues – healthcare, education, public utilities, economy, national security – and that is where these working groups can identify and communicate what the government is doing for us and what is not being done for us

  1. December 1, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Idea sounds good, its really high time we did something concrete instead of talking about it. I’m up for this idea, but I guess we need to operationalise it in terms of the details and timelines, lemme know which way I can help. FYI I’m from the 07 PMIR batch of XLRI.

  2. December 1, 2008 at 12:01 pm


    After the tragic events of last week in Mumbai, I began thinking about the pathetic condition that India’s political fraternity has put us in. We are so vulnerable to external factions making a joke of our political system that the sheer thought is embarassing! The current system has become so rotten with all the scumbags that sit in decision making posts that it is time to stand up and do something about it. It is very sad to see that it takes us Indians a catastrophe like the Mumbai incident to start introspection. The news channels have had a field day with their ‘uninterrupted’ broadcasting of the ‘event’!!

    After all is said and less is done, it is time to do something about the root of the problem. The political system has to be changed. We pay so much tax that it is mind boggling! Some questions that need answers:

    Where does all the money go? Why do the politicians demand such a high level of security? Why do we justify this security, rather what is their fear? Why does it take the entire defense system of the country to provide security cover to such incompetent and predominantly illiterate politicians? Why do we sit and watch quietly when some politician brings an entire cities traffic to a complete halt? BIG QUESTION: WHY IS 60% OF INDIA’S POPULATION STILL POOR? There are so many parts of the country that do not have electricity, water, sanitation, education, medical facilities, and basically do not have any kind of amenities. The extremes are so obvious!

    I can go on and on… The fact is, We pay tax to improve the country. But the money goes away in feeding the corrupt politician. So the only feasible solution is to stop paying taxes till we decide to elect a government that will use the money justly. We have to unite and take a decision. I urge whoever will read this to come forward and join me in this initiative that i have started. Only then can we make an impact rather that just talking about what can be done. Let’s begin doing and stop talking!

  3. December 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    it is a great idea dude!! the UK governance model is a good model to replicate, but then it is not really a very successful model. i am sure the action plan we develop will have aspects that need to be addressed in each part of the country. try and decentralize the process. there has to be a working group for each region. other than that let me put some thought behind this and respond.. these are few of my top of the mind suggestions :)hope they add some value to the effort

  4. Shubham Mittal
    December 1, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Dear All

    While the spirit behind this action is much appreciated, the means proposed are not. The idea of a parallel government is the first that has occured to many groups on such occassions- in North East, Kashmir, Bihar and various other places in India, not to mention foreign countries. It is often plagued by the fact that it loses steam or direction over time. It is often the intent of terrorist groups to trigger such activities, so it derails the government- North East India being a case in point.

    As Arvind Kejriwal of “Right to Information” fame mentions- citizens can get the government to take action on any issues that are raised, we need to take it up proactively. Its a shame that after so much effort RTI is weakening in many parts of the country. As citizens we need to utilise these weapons afforded to us by the hardwork of such people. Playing a regulatory role through RTI and other associations (like ones created in Bangalore) in a disciplined manner,we can bring about the same effect that is intended through a shadow government. The idea may sound less glamorous, but it has been proved to work wherever people have taken up such causes. Small steps like these taken everyday with determination and discipline can yield great results, without disrupting existing mechanisms or dividing the country on varoius lines.

    We need to be careful that we respond with wisdom, and not react with anger to such events.


  5. December 1, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    It is very encouraging to see positive support for our intervention!

    I do agree with the comments from Shubham and Nefarious… however, when I mentioned a shadow government based on the UK governance model, I do in essence mean that we would have to tailor our efforts as per the needs of India and that the UK model is like a starting point for us. Our action plan has to create something relevant to us!

    As for Shubham’s point of ineffective parallel government, I think that’s very justified… when we talk about shadow government, we have to understand that we are not talking about full-time involvement and hence no formal “shadow” governance. What we need to do is perhaps in line with what Arvind also says… basically have a group of individuals with the relevant expertise in a particular area of governance… who would review the work of the government thru RTI and other mechanisms, suggest recommendations and basically communicate it to the general public… so that all of us as a whole can demand that from the government.

    The bottomline is to give every Indian a politico-neutral perspective of how a particular policy / legislation / scheme has to be implemented… and provide medium for us to demand it from the government… so as to increase the government’s accountability.

    I hope you got the essence… further feedback and suggestions are definitely welcome!!!

  6. Anurag Verma
    December 1, 2008 at 6:08 pm


    Completely agree with your idea no 5(i). It would be good to make the reccomendation coming out of this elite group whether or not being implemented by Govt. In case govt risks not to approve this and common Man realized the worthiness of the idea, it will again play on the creditworthiness of the govt.

    Need to nurture it more rather than marely putting it out on blog just as an Idea.

    XL 05, NIT-N(01)

  7. Anurag Verma
    December 1, 2008 at 6:09 pm


    Completely agree with your idea no 5(i). It would be good to make the reccomendation coming out of this elite group whether or not being implemented by Govt. In case govt risks not to approve this and common Man realized the worthiness of the idea, it will again play on the creditworthiness of the govt.

    Need to nurture it more rather than marely putting it out on blog as just an Idea.

    XL 05, NIT-N(01)

  8. Nasty By Nature
    December 1, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Would recommend Junta to suggest ‘Target Areas’. We can then classify them into phases and try to form a review/recommendation committee through peer nominations for these phased out target areas.

    Phase 1

    >> Security
    >> Internal
    >> Extremist – Terrorism
    >> Extremist – Naxallite
    >> General Policing
    >> Cross Border
    >> Terrorism
    >> International Propaganda and Support

    Phase 2

    The Other Socio-Economic Issues

  9. Johnny
    December 2, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Article 49-0 of the Constitution

    Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section “49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn’t want to vote anyone!

    Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called “49-O”.

    Why should you go and say “I VOTE NOBODY”… because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system… it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public….

    this is a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India… show your power, expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting… so don’t miss your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O).

    ” the people of India, can really use this power to save our nation”. Use your voting right for a better INDIA.

  10. Nasty By Nature
    December 2, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I agree that this can be an effective tool from barring useless candidates from contesting elections and lets put in efforts like floating it on the web to spread this information.
    However the question lies that even if these candidates are stopped from contesting elections, how do you ensure that the next set is a worthy one??

  11. December 2, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    The only long-term answer to that, Nasty, is people like you and me entering active politics, trust me dude, else we will never really be able to completely ensure we have the right people for the right job, and here I’m not talking about one or two, of course thats how it will start off, but a gradual nationwide movement wherein the educated youth get into the murky political waters…For the mentioned tool, we need to use RTI and force the political parties to disclose the background of every candidate they field, and this can be done by sustained pressure on them by the local body of this nationwide movement we need to build up quickly. Guys, honestly, I realised this is the right time for us to launch this movement, for this is the time public anger is at its peak, and we need to channelise that, else like everytime else, public memory isnt exactly long-lived, unfortunately!

  12. MKR
    December 2, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Its very heartening to see this initiative as well as the responses. I am also one among the ‘agitated’ citizens over Govt. apathy and I do wanna do something to change this. Nevertheless, I have some reservations. To me this initiative appears to be an ‘audit-like’ of the government (nothing but politicians). Politicians will simply refuse to audit their work (read as how they award contract; quality of contract work;) bcoz its their ‘money earning source’. Even though tools like RTI exists, they can use muscle power to stall the auditing exercise (Manjunath & Sathyendra Dubey). If this audit has to succeed, then it has to be a nation-wide movement of the scale, even politicians cannot control. For that to become nation-wide movement, few of ‘us’ have to take that up full time for planning, marketing, recruiting, operations, funding, etc. In the due process, some volunteers will get killed initially. Are we ready for this?
    Another idea: Why suddenly so many of us wanna do ‘something’ to change govt. attitude? Why have we woken up today? Everyday so many poor ppl who cannot afford private docs are dying in Govt hospitals. Hundreds get killed in road accidents. Do you mean to say its bcoz of driving negligence? No way, its bcoz of improper design and maintenance. And of course flood and hunger deaths. We are suddenly active bcoz terrorism hits everybody across strata. We fear and are able to empathize the impact. Similarly, make politicians feel the impact. Let them come out of their ‘Z’ security status and fear like you and me. We cannot do that.
    All I am trying to say is, its not a simple exercise to implement our ‘internal-agitations’ unless some of us take it as full time and ready to sacrifice our lives. So the best thing to do is, educate the mass (voting public) on all the vital issues – economy, national security, health-care, etc so that they understand all these before falling prey to ‘colour TV’ ‘1Re rice/wheat’ etc before voting. Small groups can be made to talk to ppl and create awareness and increase their education level.

  13. Nasty By Nature
    December 3, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    MKR … the pain and anger to change has been in the heart of every individual for years .. its just that there are several events which trigger the change and this act of terrorism and the continual media coverage has made the volcano erupt … however … still I want to change things but am not able to see things happening … it has been quite encouraging to see the masses come out in public today to show the nation that public is awaking …

    sayan … I agree that motivated and educated youth can change the face of Indian politics and for sure fast track the growth process .. but the question is .. how do we start … I have a suggestion .. I do not know how practical … We build a site where all the political constituencies be published and people can upload their resumes for the job of the MPs and MLAs of that constituency. We need to get some very senior people who have retired from active politics / public service / academics or any other area to review these resumes and select candidates and let these candidates contest election … I know this idea is too wild … but …

  14. Ashish Chandra (XLRI 07)
    December 5, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I am sure there must be level headed people in Pakistan who share the same sentiments… who condemn these incidents and share the same feeling and want to do something about it. It could be a good idea to initiate contact with them. I am completely for what Moid is suggesting and willing to devote time for this cause.

  15. Uncensored
    December 5, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Moid …. maybe you can add one more idea presented above of reviewing uploading resumes of the candidates to a website and allowing Junta to review it before voting.

  1. December 1, 2008 at 11:15 am

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