Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Direct transfer is the way to go

From the Indian Express

To a question by Lord Meghnad Desai — why can’t we transfer money, say a dollar a day, directly to the poor? — Chidambaram said, “Cash transfer Publish Postdirectly in the hands of poor is the single most popular program to poverty alleviation until we provide them jobs. But we need to have the money for it. We will need to dismantle the existing schemes and the system. I will do my sums tonight to see if we have the money.”
Mr. Chidambaram need not do the math. He can have all the information here
My calculations shows that each BPL (below poverty line) family can get Rs 2500 per month by cutting the subsidies which have been instituted to alleviate poverty. An biometric based Unique Identification Number is the way to go to prevent fictitious claimants for these transfers. Tying this to PAN & making PAN mandatory for all financial saving transactions can weed out the pretenders.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Regional Parties Bachao Front

There has been a call from the highest level for a two party system in the country. This has set alarm bells ringing in the head quarters of the regional parties. They have now united under a single banner to safe guard their interest.

The Regional Parties Bachao Front ( RPBF) have been strongly opposed to the unrestricted entry of national parties in elections. Meanwhile several national parties have entered the election frey and are expanding their operations aggressively. These developments in the regional politics are having an adverse impact on a large section of people who are represented by regional parties across the country. In this backdrop the Regional Parties Bachao Front is putting forward a proposal to adopt stringent regulations on the entry on national parties in various states.

  • The RPBF proposes that a system of licensing should be introduced for national parties. Any national party contesting more that a specified number of seats needs a license from local licensing board.
  • A dedicated committee/board/department should be set up by the local bodies, with representation from regional parties, which should be empowered to grant licenses to national parties.
  • Licenses should be given on the basis of a population criterion, i.e. not more than X number of national party candidates per Y population. The criteria may vary between states and cities depending upon the nature of the elections and the votes needs.
  • Besides a system of licensing for national parties, a number of steps need to be taken by the Government to prevent the emergence of monopolies of national parties in elections. A single national party should not be allowed to capture a large vote share share. For this it is important to restrict the number of candidates that a single party can field in a city, state as well as region.
  • In order to prevent the development of big national party monopolies, it is also important for the Government to ensure its presence in the elections. Several regional parties have become defunct , which need to be revived. Government should fund these parties. Partnerships between existing regional parties can also be considered, in areas where synergies exist.

I can already hear screams from my fellow country men that this restricts the choice that our voters will have. My fellow country men would also argue that the intelligent Indian voter can be trusted to keep the regional parties alive, just to keep the national parties in check etc.

So my question to my fellow country men is, if the above proposal sounds ridiculous from the voters view point why is not this proposal ridiculous?. This restricts the voters ( and non voters) economic choice. Why are we slow to condemn proposals that restrict choice in the economic space, but are quick to condemn restrictions of choice in the political space?