The Loksatta View
These 15 points provide the contours through which I believe liberal, problem-solving, and accountable politics can help shape a society and a government:
- Citizens have rights to speech, views, religion, and trade among themselves - these must not be abridged by the state except in rare cases.
- All citizens have a right to a minimum standard of human dignity guaranteed by society at large, and by the state.
- The state's first responsibility is to guarantee the rights of citizens, and maintain equality of all persons before law.
- Citizens have the right to participate in institutions of governance, not merely be represented in them.
- National and state elected reps must be chosen in proportion to the vote share of their parties in elections.
- The structure of government should be based on principles of convergence of services, and subsidiarity in decision-making.
- No level of government can impose unfunded mandates on another level. In all budgets, entitlements must be funded first.
- District and City governments should be full-fledged third tier of federalism, with significant autonomy and authority.
- In local government, there should be one elected rep per 1500 voters. Local govt should be entitled to automatic share in taxes.
- Government should be limited to clear 'public good' activities, and focused on delivering measurable outcomes.
- Fulfilling human potential and eliminating avoidable suffering should be cornerstones of governance.
- Economic, social and ecological choices made today should not jeopardise the well-being of future generations.
- The state must be a neutral guardian of public assets. All transfers to the private sector should be transparent, and on a competitive.basis.
- Investigating agencies must be strong and autonomous, prosecution should be independent of government, courts should ensure speedy justice.
- In international fora, the state should uphold universal human values. Within this framework, national interest should be the abiding principle.
National Vice President, Loksatta Party