Mainly posting because I haven’t posted in a long time. This is just to articulate a few thoughts. One of the problems with the current version of Indian Parliamentary system is unfairness. The second is is inefficiency.
By unfairness I mean the unequal importance given to different regions. Say, the North East region. When you allot only two seats to Arunachal Pradesh, you are basically saying that state isn’t important.
This is dangerous, especially for insurgency-inflicted regions like Manipur. This particular state is among the most backward in India and the current situation will ensure that it remains so for years to come. The sad thing is, much of the insurgency stems from local disputes between tribes unlike the Maoist problem, this enjoys very little popular support. But while the people of Manipur live their lives on a day-to-day basis, never knowing when it will all be over, the Centre is too busy with other “important” issues like the UP elections.
This indicates only one thing- your life isn’t important if you do not belong to a state which has a high population. While it does make sense at one level, it’s success clearly depends on altruism. It’s like a resource allocation system- high priority processes need preferential treatment, but you also need to ensure that eventually all processes which make requests get their allocation in time. Which is the reason this has failed so miserably in India- high population states with lots of seats hog all the attention and smaller states get denied.
One way this can be countered is by scaling up the number of seats of every state to comparable levels, but this will lead to many other problems. Another way is to cut up states in such a way as to make most states equal in population, but this is infeasible as well. A third way is to for unions of states [say, clump together all the NE states in a bunch] for federal legislatures, the two Houses of Parliament and then scale them up. This will, of course, give them collective power, but the problem may persist at the inner level.
By inefficiency, among other things, I mean the way parochial interests come in the way of good decision-making. The recent circus over the FDI issue is an example of how regional parties can completely derail the process of legislation to serve their narrow regional interests. Regional narrow-mindedness shouldn’t come in the way of legislations affecting the whole of India.
It might have made more sense to allow only those political parties to contest national elections which have a sizeable pan-Indian presence. Of course, the Left parties would get left out of the process [which would be a pity, since their ideology is truly relevant to the entire country as a whole], but it will be beneficial in the larger picture.
The third thing, of course, is the constant idiocy of walk-outs and stalling of Parliament sessions, costing millions in taxpayer money.
This one, of course, has no solution.
Okay, to sign off, here’s a picture of Obama making the expression which went viral on the Internet and ultimately joined the hallowed company of the rage-face memes: