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Author: Bimal Jalan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670999296
In India’s Politics: A View from the Backbench, Bimal Jalan, ex-Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and best-selling author of The Future of India, turns his gaze to the complex mechanics of the political system in the country.
As a Member of Parliament, Bimal Jalan has watched the workings of India’s politics closely. While there is much to be proud of in India’s achievements as a vibrant democracy, there are some areas of concern which require attention. In particular, Jalan finds that the emergence of multi-party coalitions as a regular form of government—and their relatively short life expectancy at birth—has brought about a sea change in political dynamics. The search for power and the compulsions of coalition politics are increasingly the primary drivers of political behaviour in India today. This development, combined with the need to cope with global terrorism, lawlessness and economic disparities during a period of high growth, calls for some urgent reforms in the working of India’s vital political institutions.
Jalan puts forward a ten-point programme to make India’s parliamentary democracy more stable, transparent and accountable. According to him, constant vigilance is indeed the price of liberty and if some of the emerging trends are not reversed, India’s democracy ‘by the people’ could become more and more oligarchic—‘of the few and for the few’.
India’s Politics: A View from the Backbench is an insider’s account of how politics is practised in India, and to what effect. It is one of the most important studies of India’s political system to have been written, and is especially relevant today, as the country celebrates its sixtieth year of Independence.
THE REWARDS AND DISCONTENTS
Growth and Democracy
Votes and equity
The Price of Liberty
THE POLITICS OF POWER
THE CORRUPTION OF POLITICS
Causes of Corruption
Costs to society
A Career of Choice
THE DIMINISHING ROLE OF PARLIAMENT
Taxation without Representation
The Silences of Parliament
Coalitions and parliament
THE EXECUTIVE AND THE JUDICIARY
The Principal of Collective responsibility
The politicization of Administration
Separation of Powers
THE REFORM OF POLITICS IN A RESURGENT INDIA
An Agenda for the Future