FPTP gives at least SOME chance for majority governments to get established. PR gives no chance at all for that to happen.
That means governments become more confused, confounded and impotent. We get weak governments that can't deliver anything.
Now hold this thought. Let me take a little detour and come back to this.
I have been talking to some people in India's planning commission over the past few days and notice that the planning commission is beginning to propose some GOOD ideas – for the FIRST TIME EVER.
The speech that MMS gave while announcing reforms was based on a paper prepared by Arun Maira who has extensive private sector experience and has been broadly talking sensible things for some time. Maira headed BCG in India and is therefore skilled in strategic analysis. I'm astonished that the planning commission managed to get such a person. Not since Shenoy have we had a sensible planning commission member. [Actually, let me hold off on calling Maria "sensible" till I read his book, Remaking India - One Country, One Destiny and find out to what extent he is thinking on the right lines.]
It was Maira's work that MMS was referring to when he said:
The Plan for the first time introduces alternative scenarios.
Scenario one is called “Strong Inclusive growth”. It presents what is possible if the policy actions outlined in the Plan are substantially implemented. One can expect a number of virtuous cycles to start operating, leading to positive results on both growth and inclusion. This is the scenario we should aim for.
Scenario two is called “insufficient action”. It describes a state of partial action with weak implementation. The virtuous cycles that reinforce growth in Scenario I, will not kick in, and growth can easily slow down to 6 to 6.5 percent. Inclusiveness will also suffer. This is where we will end up if we make only half-hearted efforts and slip in implementation. It is my sincere hope that we do not do so.
Scenario three is called “policy logjam”. It reflects a situation where for one reason or another, most of the policies needed to achieve Scenario 1 are not taken. If this continues for any length of time, vicious cycles begin to set in and growth could easily collapse to about 5 percent per year, with very poor outcomes on inclusion. I urge everyone interested in the country’s future to understand fully the implications of this scenario. They will quickly come to an agreement that the people of India deserve better than this.
I'm sure the 12th plan is full of miserable policies (most of the planning commission is still socialist), but at least I'll try to read the document now. We only got a lot of garbage from the planning commission for 60 years. We may have something (partially) worth reading, finally, from its portals.
My experience with planning commission is extensive and unhappy. I won't go into details here but let me just say that it was the most socialist organisation one can imagine, even in 2000. I'm glad that some reform oriented thinking is creeping in.
But that's not the point I'm making in this post. So back to the main point.
Mamata Banerjee is quitting UPA. The coalition is teetering. She wants to create a POLICY LOGJAM.
One of the greatest economics illiterates of India, Mamata is determined to block India's success.
Not content with destroying West Bengal (along with the communists), she is now determined to destroy India as well.
This should ring a CLEAR WARNING (even for "tubelights") about the dangers of PR.
Had India been following PR, we would have been unable even to have the 1991 reforms. India would have by now splintered (or be in the process of splintering) into many pieces.
I should know. By early 1990s I was working as Joint Secretary/ Addl. Secretary in Assam and what had become clear was that INDIA HAD NO MONEY. India had no money to pay government officials, teachers, even defence. It was being bankrupted at an alarming rate. And insurgency in Assam and NE was becoming out of control.
Had the 1991 reforms not come in, and some credit extended to state governments, the states would have gone bankrupt.
At that stage, the North East would have almost certainly split from India. Like USSR split into its constituent parts, India would have gone back to some form of pre-1947 disorder.
Let us all remember one thing: Without a strong police and armed force, India can't survive in one piece for long. India is prone to Balkanisation (it is after all a sub-continent). That's a basic message every policy maker should thoroughly understand. It was first suggested by Chanakya. When the Mauryan empire forgot this lesson, India splintered and became vulnerable to all kinds of foreign attacks.
Although the chances of India's Balkanisation appear low today, they were VERY HIGH in the early 1990s, and were getting higher. How can you run a country without ANY money? Wild inflation would have come in, and in the unrest, the country would have splintered.
With proportional representation India will Balkanise faster than you can blink your eyes.
Sardar Patel was in favour of a STRONG steel frame for India (IAS, etc.) and that principle must ALWAYS be followed in India. India' constituent assembly also deliberately picked a quasi-federal system with an exceptionally strong centre. For the same reason. India is not yet ready for total federalism. It needs to operate a tight ship for at least another century, and then more powers can be given to the states. (That having been said, local government must be very significantly strenghthened).
We need a government that has a clear mandate.
FPTP is not perfect. If socialist parties gain majorities, they can destroy India, too. But PR is guaranteed to paralyse and destroy India.
FPTP can create a "policy logjam". PR can entirely split the log-raft (India) into component logs.
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