Making Politics Worthwhile

As the debate around the Jan Lokpal, corruption, etc gets more nuanced, its worth considering systemic changes. Yes, we need more impartial and effective policing, we need make giving and taking bribes “uncool”.

We also need to restructure governmental work, and political rewards such that
  • For employees, the salaries and remunerations are attractive enough (esp true for policemen and teachers – not just in govt schools) for enough interested folks to want in.
  • There are incentives tied in to our benefits, at the policy and execution level.
  • The above are big enough for enough people to aspire to take these up professionally, while not compromising on ethical issues
  • If enough honest folks are interested in these “jobs”, it might negate nepotism, incompetence, etc.
Basically, make it worth someone’s time to be a politician, at various levels, and totally worth their time to act in our favour collectively. 

Say, if a local level political could legally make 25L a year, a lot many more smart people might get interested in taking it up. At a city level, you’d make the compensation higher – does a 1-3Cr sound ok? At a state and national level, it coculd be 3-25Cr.

And a lot of the compensation must be linked to metrics derived from developmental and growth indices. 

Right now, a lot of capable folks in regular jobs clearly perceive politics as something you can make a career out of only if you’re ready to compromise on your ethics. 

Can we change that, somehow?
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2 comments

  1. Biswarup Sarangi

    Sameer bhai, yeh meri tippaniyan hain.a> Most if not all government jobs are held in the highest regard throughout the length & breadth of the country in terms of a solid chess-board move that puts you in the centre of all the squares that you can see. Why is it so? Is it because of the immediate, undeniable lure of garnering gur through non-official means? Or is it because govt servants never have to worry about non-performance and can never lose their jobs (ironically-jobs that they never have to work too hard at-once in)? Is it the centuries old notion of the govt being an omnipotent/unquestionable demi-god single physical entity that cannot be questioned? If people applying for govt jobs think the salaries are too low-they should simply NOT apply for the jobs and look elsewhere to make ends meet. The justification of low salaries as a premise for accepting bribes is totally unacceptable.b> As far as politicians go, their status is above the bureaucracy/executive because for all practical purposes-they run the show as long as they’re in power.Amounts like 25lakh or 1-3 crore should not be benchmarks or deterrents in deciding the threshold level for resisting dishonesty. If I’m a politician w/o morals , why should any amount be a deterrent in me wanting to make money by illegal means?

  2. Anonymous

    Oh no, the idea was not to justify bribery because of low salaries. The idea is to "open up" that kind of a career as a viable, attractive option for a larget set of folks. That in itself should help attract better talent, keep them focused on the job for the right reasons. Right now politics attracts, by and large, the wrong sort of character, or one who resigns him/herself to the path of ethical compromise.

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