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:

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

Ashwin Mahesh

National Vice President, Loksatta Party