Policy snippets – parked or disputed

This section has been removed from the main FTI site today (4 April 2009) to avoid misunderstandings among passing visitors. The aim is to resolve these matters and convert them to regular FTI policy, after which this blog can be deleted.

C) Parking lot (including issues for 2nd/ later terms) – for further discusion

Jammu and Kashmir
The special status accorded to the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be reviewed.


suggested that this is related to a whole of J&K policy, the key focus of which should be the welfare of the people of J&K. Suggested that this policy be considered only for the 2nd term of the government, after key reforms of governance have been firmly embedded in the first term.

Entry permits in border areas (North East)
Restrictions on freedom of movement of Indian citizens in certain border areas will be reviewed.


suggested that this review be held over for the 2nd term of the government, after key reforms of governance have been embedded.

Administrative system reform
Lateral entry (and re-entry) into the civil and administrative services will be encouraged, with the exception of certain services such as IPS


suggested that the proposed reform will abolish IPS, IAS, etc. All senior positions will be open to competition, hence this is redundant.

Distinction between state and religion
A Uniform Civil Code will be promulgated


suggested that there are other means to achieve this end in a free society – eg. uniform minimum standards, etc. Uniformity in personal law (apart from minimum standards) is violative of individual freedom – details in BFN.

Minority rights


Suggested that everyone is a minority of one, so everyone must have the same ‘rights’. Mentioning any one (or group) by name is discriminatory. Property is the only one which is particularly weak in India. Second, it is suggested that the language of ‘rights’ is best avoided. We need freedom with agreed frameworks of justice and accountability.

Political system reform
Finally, MPs and MLAs will be paid significantly more than they get today, while abolishing their hidden perquisites.

E) Issues with vehement disagreements

1. Special protection for the views of minorities. Some members of FTI argue for special protection for the views of minorities. Others are vehemently opposed to even the mention of the word ‘minority’.

Argument for:
“I consider my religious right to believe and propagate my belief as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Indian constitution. The same rights should exist for people who belong to other religions and for irreligious people .No majority should be allowed to stampede those rights and hence the need for special protection for the views of minority.”

Argument against:
“the ‘rights’ of individuals are all the same, whether they are minorities or not. I don’t think there is any minority in the eyes of a government. The moment such a word is used, hell will break loose, since 1000 interpretations will be formed of this word, and everyone will start looking for special privileges under the law. FTI will have to be religion-blind, else this organisation will collapse in a few days. If we are not focused on good governance, and start commenting on religion, we are going to be finished, for that space is already ‘taken’ by rabid religion based parties. The membership of the Freedom Team is fully compatible with any belief such as atheism, agnosticism, and religious fervour. We all come together to create a society where everyone can think their own thing so long as we don’t injure others. I do not believe a government has any business to recognise any ‘minority’ based on religious classifications. The government must be ‘religion-blind’, ‘caste-blind’, ‘tribe-blind’, ‘language-blind’. It must only implement the law. In the end, each of us is a minority of one, and each of us needs the same protection from the government. I advocate that a government has no business to ask people about their ‘religion’ etc., in the Census. That is the job of universities who may conduct social research. It is none of the business of a government.”

2. “FTI must admit the positive contributions made by various religious groups”

Argument against:
It is not the business of FTI as a group, or the government, to comment on the activities of entire groups of people engaged in the private pursuit of their soul’s liberation.

3. Proportional representation:

4. Political system reform
Finally, MPs and MLAs will be paid significantly more than they get today, while abolishing their hidden perquisites.

Arguments for:
“Let me be a little but blunt and use myself as an example. I earn Rs. 40 lakhs today (in exchange rate terms, including my superannuation contributions) even as a relatively junior officer in Australia. An average MP earns a little bit more. Senior politicians earn Rs. 1.5 crores. Senior bureaucrats earn Rs. 1.8 crores. I have not one paisa of dishonest earnings in my life and no intention to earn such money. So why will I (or anyone who earns significantly more than this in India or elsewhere) sacrifice his family and personal earnings simply for the joy of ‘serving’ India?

“I suggest that India needs me (or more precisely, people like me) and my skills more than I need India. This is not arrogance but a mere statement of fact. People like me can create billions, even trillions of dollars (for convenience let’s use dollars) in wealth for India, but not for free. I believe in speaking the blunt truth. Today Indian politicians make crores of rupees in black money; they appear to ‘sacrifice’ but then loot the country clean. I promise to not do that, nor will anyone on FTI do that. A house in India costs Rs. 1 crore rupees; good education costs in lakhs of rupees. FTI members need to earn sufficiently so they can live and not have their families haunted by poverty. So why should any FTI member offer to work for India for less than Rs.20 lakhs? Are we wanting only the corrupt people to enter politics?

“I would urge you to read my book which talks at length about this problem. In Australia the politicians speak honestly about this: everyone agrees that you get the politicians you pay for. They therefore insist on paying their representatives well. In my view this is a core policy of FTI. It is core reform India needs. It doesn’t matter if as a result more ‘goons’ will enter politics. Today not ONE really good and competent person enters politics. Not more than a handful of good people have entered politics in India for 60 years. At least in the future SOME good people will enter politics, and give the voters a chance?!

“In my book I’ve outlined a detailed plan by which MPs will get more, but only if they deliver results. Bonuses will be payable on exceptional delivery of GDP growth and sustained reductions in levels of corruption and poverty. I want a virtuous cycle to be set up in India, and to get rid of this vicious cycle of corruption and poverty.

“We are the owners of the company called India and our MPs our employees who manage the company. Therefore the standard incentives of agency theory applied to private sector companies should be adopted to reward the efforts of MPs. Let us treat them like employees and reward and punish them suitably. For instance, once India becomes the least corrupt country in the world, these MPs can be given a one-off increase and a pat on their back.” – Sanjeev

Arguments against:
“cannot buy the argument that once good emoluments are offered all the good people will jump in to the election fray and bad elements chased out. There is every possibility of goons coming in to the fray with added vigour and chase the good people out”

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