New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) Urging sweeping changes in the manner in which India governs itself, Vice President M. Venkiah Naidu on Friday said the state, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary should work together and inspire synergy to ensure all-round development of the nation.
He laid special emphasis on expanding the Supreme Court and the establishment of more benches in different parts of the country, as recommended by a parliamentary committee, to end the inconvenience caused to litigants who travel long distances and spend a huge amount of money and energy to access justice.
Election petitions and criminal cases against political leaders must be decided quickly by special benches of higher courts in a time-bound manner of six months to a year, he said after launching the book “Rethinking Good Governance” by former Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai.
“Through his astute commentary presented in the book, Shri Rai has focused on institutions such as the Parliament, the Supreme Court, Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Central Vigilance Commission and the Central Information Commission, among others.
“Leveraging his long and distinguished innings in public life, he has done a commendable job of proposing a reform agenda, suggesting how the credibility of these institutions, once eroded, can be restored,” Naidu maintained.
Opining that the welfare of the common man must be the enduring theme of our vision for transforming India, he said that it was the pious responsibility of all to ensure that the fruits of democratic good governance reaches everyone, especially the ones who were at the farthest end of the development spectrum.
“Today, India is surging forward, fuelled by its vibrant economy, supported by its scientific and technological progress, aided and abetted by the energy of its burgeoning youth population and helmed by a stable and progressive government.
“The Prime Minister’s zeal for reforms, reflected in his mantra of Reform, Perform and Transform, has given a new impetus to the transformational development of our country.
“Today we dream of being a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25.
“Reaching this lucrative goal would call for nothing short of the combined and united efforts of the government, the public institutions and the civil society,” Naidu contended.
Turning to the legislature, Naidu said that while some of them were functioning well, there was considerable room for improvement in many of them.
Noting that the Constitution has vested the Parliament with sufficient instruments through which it could enforce accountability of the government, Naidu said that the efficacy of these instruments could only be as good as the parliamentarians and political parties who deploy them.
Observing that the role played by an effective opposition in a parliamentary democracy could never be undermined, Naidu said it was up to the opposition “to hold the government to account and to provide constructive criticism and meaningful interventions in the legislative process as and when necessary”.
“Disrupting proceedings of the house is not the way forward,” he added.
“As I have repeatedly emphasised in my public speeches, I would like legislators across the country to discuss, debate and decide not disrupt.
“We must realize that today’s enlightened citizenry, especially the youth, are watching the actions of parliamentarians very closely and questioning their actions, motives and attitudes not only within the House but outside as well.
“Parliamentarians must always be mindful and respectful of the aspirations of the common man and carry on with rectitude and propriety, serving as model citizens of the country,” Naidu said, adding: “We need legislators who are well-informed and well intentioned and capable of articulating a well-presented viewpoint, not those who are eager to rush to the well of the house.”
Emphasising on the need to constantly evaluate governance strategies and its outcomes, Naidu advised policymakers to be flexible and open enough to bring about course corrections whenever necessary.
He wanted them to accord priority to the quality of service delivery on all programmes and schemes and ensure that the intended benefits reached the people in time.
In his address, Vinod Rai said the man on the street “is becoming discerning”, leading those in positions of power “think that they live in glass” as their actions were under constant scrutiny.
Contending that the government must ensure “decorum in its administration”, he also noted that while several arms of the administration had been refined over the years, “those in a neighbouring country had delivered not an iota”.