Democracy 3.0

Dear friends, answers to these questions will lead to a new form of democracy which we can call Democracy 3.0. Please try to answer any of these questions or even discuss….

1. The time when modern forms of representative democracy was being invented & implemented (French, American Revolutions, AD 1780+), the demography a person represented was very small, a maximum of 1-2 lakhs. Politics, economics, technology and society was not that much diverse at that time; so the skill-set of an educated person was sufficient to take decisions for his/her constituency on all issues/sectors coming into his/her jurisdiction. But when we come to India in 2011, the population an MP represents is nearly 20-50 lakhs while an MLA represents nearly 2-8 lakhs. Economy, polity, society and technology have diversified a lot and modern systems have been more comprehensive and complex. The number of issues/sectors coming into jurisdiction of an MP is nearly 144 [Union List-97 + Concurrent List-47] while that of MLA is 113 [State List 66 + Concurrent List 47].
Now questions arise:
– Is a single MP/MLA competent/skilled enough to represent his constituency on all issues coming under his/her jurisdiction?
– Can we have multiple representatives from each constituency to represent different issues?
Both questions can be clubbed as: Single representative Vs Multiple representative
One of the possible answers to these questions is that that every district or block in India is having an executive set-up. But then again question refines that “bureaucrats do not represent public opinion, even if we assume that bureaucrats will collect public opinion on different issues and attain legitimacy similar to that of an elected representative, then the presence of an elected representative is redundant and (s)he has no role”.
2. From the beginning of present form of democracy, there is a mechanism of collecting public opinion over governance and legitimizing the government per se periodically. This is mostly done through elections, once in few years ranging from 3-7 years. The process of election is:
– Different political groups publish their agenda and nominate a candidate from a constituency
– The candidates advertise their agenda to votes of his/her constituency
– Voters give their opinion/preference about different candidates through voting
– Votes are counted, results declared
Earlier, most of the process was manual but now it is gradually being substituted/ complemented by ICT & Computers. At the time of invention of collecting people’s opinion through elections, the entire process required many months but the current developments in the field of technology have empowered us to accelerate the entire process in weeks or even days.
Now questions are:
– Can we increase the frequency of elections?
– Can we directly ask opinion of people directly on decisions/policies rather than asking them to elect a representative who will further take decision on behalf of people?
3. Earlier, it was difficult to involve people directly in decision-making. There has been definition of jurisdiction from beginning but people participating in decision-making were representatives only.
Now let us assume that we have a system in which people are directly participating in decision-making process. So, there will be some challenges:
– What will be the issues on which we need direct public opinion? What will be their frequency?
– If we identify the issues on which we directly need public opinion, then how can we map issue and corresponding demography?
– Assuming above two conditions, how can we determine jurisdiction of public opinion? Means what will be the weight of public opinion on different issues?
4. Developing as well as developed nations both have big problems related to transparency & accountability. Scale of corruption, corporate greed, terrorism and authoritarianism are withering legitimacy of governments across the globe. Baring strategic issues, increasing transparency & accountability in all other sectors/issues shall be a necessary step in restoring confidence of people in democracy and governments. Also, defining upper limits on working days required for a work to be done by a public servant shall help in reducing corruption and improving delivery (this step has been taken by many state governments in India like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi).It can be achieved through:
– public disclosure of entire decision-making process in every step of each & every decision along with person(s) taking decision at each level
– public disclosure of expenditure of each unit of public money in every office
Now questions arise:
– What will be the frequency of public disclosure of expenses say daily, weekly, monthly yearly?
– What will be the scale of public disclosure of expenses say disclosure of aggregates or disclosure of minutest details including bills?
– Will continuous disclosure of public expenses, decision-making process and accountable persons adversely affect working of public servants?
5. India needs electoral reforms in which empowerment of voting rights is the most important component. Many ideas floating in the air include:
– Right to reject all candidates
– Right to select a candidate (Vote) and Right to reject a candidate (anti-vote)
– Right to recall
– Compulsory voting
6. Most of the current and former political representatives and public servants do not get salary compared to corporate workers. Taking into consideration of job complexities and accountabilities, what should be their salary?

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