India’s Politics – A view from the Backbench is an insider’s account of the functioning of India’s democracy. Though the Indian constitution has some of the most idealistic regulations to protect an individuals rights and the growth of the country, the reality in India is very different.Fighting elections is very expensive, and is one of the major causes of corruption. The elected representatives ultimately have the most decision making power, and sometimes misuse the power to accumulate funds for future elections as well as personal gain. Though large amounts are allocated to different poverty alleviation programs, only a fraction reaches the intended beneficiary due to the leakages in the system, and a large amount is cornered by middlemen and officials incharge of implementing the program. Unfortunately, there is little incentive for honest and competent officials who implement the programs efficiently. For elected representatives, the perks are multiplied manifold when they are promoted to a position in the council of ministers. To avoid the loss of power, many MLA’s are willing to make any kind of compromise. In an era of coalition politics, many small political parties hold the balance of power, despite controlling only a small number of MPs or MLAs.
Also many bills which have a far reaching effect on India’s economy and social life are often passed without adequate discussion.
A good read which provides a realistic glimpse of India’s politics.
A view from the Backbench
By Bimal Jalan
First published in Viking by Penguin Books India 2007