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Looking Ahead


Difficult and strenuous as the election campaign will be in the states facing polls, it should be considered the easy part in the context of what comes next. Whichever party wins the election, it will be faced with a succession of immediate challenges, leaving no time for celebrations or rest.

It is being hoped that the electorate will deliver a decisive verdict, as that is the primary need of the hour. People have, hopefully, realised that a weak government will exacerbate matters because it will lead to the same old horse-trading and defection politics that has been the bane of earlier years.

If the decision on a clear mandate is to be taken, the time is now. The future government will, as it is, have its hands full with the most immediate task – the economy in Covid times. The needs of the poor, environmental decline, a strained agriculture sector, sustainable management of natural resources, etc., are the major challenges. The failure to deal effectively with these will take the shine off a new government, no matter how big a mandate it has won. As such, there will be need to ensure this hurdle is successfully overcome.

As always, a new government will be tested by the traditional adversaries, particularly if it is formed by the BJP. They will act fast as they will not want the government to settle down or prepare. As such, even as the government takes office, it will have to initiate steps to perform well in the short term, while initiating long-term changes in the strategic approach.

An important need is to bolster the institutions that have been undermined. Otherwise, there will be no improvement in performance. The bureaucracy needs to be given operational autonomy and the forces of law and order trained and equipped to perform effectively. The judiciary has to be enabled to perform within a fixed time-frame, because a large part of people’s problems are rooted in the failure to speedily punish the crooks.

Policy reforms must also be implemented, particularly with regard to infrastructure development and industrial growth. Rules and regulations for business have to be made simpler and fewer, but strictly enforced. Labour law reform will make or break industry. Modern technology needs to be utilised to make procedures transparent and accountable. A culture of meritocracy has to be introduced into the bureaucracy. The ineffective subsidies and sops need to be focused into a few well-targeted areas without reduction in total allocations. Budgetary reforms will be required to boost revenues and manage deficits. Education and health sectors have to be given the highest priority. The list is endless.

As stated earlier, winning the elections will be the easy part!