Well thought out concepts and policies are good or bad to the extent that they are interpreted and implemented as such. Democracy is one such concept which has been misinterpreted by people who have huge stakes in allowing the true definition of democracy to be implemented. One should not take the literal meaning of Democracy as government by the people too seriously as it is next to impossible for every citizen of the country to be a part of the government. Do not forget that murderers, rapists, high profile thieves are all citizens of this country and if they are all allowed to govern this nation, then God save this nation.
‘The village is a cesspool, a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness, and communalism’ said Dr. Ambedkar which many urban dwellers who never had an opportunity of being a part of the village will hardly understand. To make villages self-sufficient and the basic unit in our governance structure was the dream of our father of the nation. To reconcile such extreme perspectives about the village and take governance to the grass roots of this country was a challenge. Challenges can be handled in various ways. One way of handling challenges by the rulers of this country is analogous to thrusting a lollipop in the mouth of a crying child. The problem remains unsolved but a cosmetic surgery at least reduces the symptoms for a while. The same strategy was used to take democratic decentralization to its next level. The 73rd and 74th amendments to the constitution are the results of such an endeavor, something that most of us celebrate. The time for celebration is over and it is time to rethink and make further adjustments to make democratic decentralization more successful.
As the population increases, the number of levels between the Parliament of India, which is the ultimate legislative body and the citizen have to increase. The state ‘Vidhan Sabhas’ can be considered as the level immediately below the Parliament of India. A glance at the constitution of India makes it clear that the structures at the centre and the state are a kind of replica of each other. There may however be a change in the nomenclature of the various institutes. An extension of this principle required a ‘District Assembly’ to be set up, which is a view proscribed by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission also. Villages make up taluks, taluks make up districts, districts make up state, and states make our nation.
While it may not be feasible for every gram panchayat to have a legislative assembly, it is not a possibility that can be ruled out for the future if our democracy really succeeds. What is feasible now is the setting up of ‘District Sabhas’ comprising of legislators elected directly by the members of the ‘district constituencies’. Three to four district constituencies should form a constituency for a single state constituency. Three to four state constituencies should form a constituency for a member of parliament. Thus, one can visualize a team of legislators from the national level to the district level who should work for the development of that particular region. This will also make it more easy for the citizens of a particular region to take their grievances to the local leader who can then either dispose off at his level or take it to higher levels until the grievance is attended to.
A governance structure as envisaged in the previous paragraph coupled with electoral reforms can actually take governance to the door steps of every citizen of this country. With the increase in literacy and civic sense of the citizens, every citizen will contribute in the making of policies which will shape the life of every citizen of this country.