Council of State: A sound plan for India

This is a terrifying clich,, but it is perhaps best illustrated by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the former President of Sri Lanka, to change the governance structure of her country in response to the terrible crisis it is facing. In this case “the need is (indeed) the mother of invention”. But what does it need? “The main problem is that Sri Lankans have lost all faith in politicians,” he told me. Isn’t that what we are facing now? So, can her solution work for us? I think there may be.

What Ms Kumaratunga is proposing is an organization that runs parallel to the government. It is, of course, subordinate to it, but it must always be consulted and, as she added, “very seriously asked.” This organization – and I’ll tell you about it sometime later – is designed to give space and opportunity to prominent members of civil society.

Known as the “Council of State”, it has a five-year term and consists of 36 members, nine of whom are politicians, but 27 others who are nominated by civil society organizations such as professions, business and the private sector, academia and various nominations from civil society of non-governmental organizations. . Presidents are prestigious citizens. It may be a former politician, but he cannot be a practicing man. Kumaratunga says the council has two main functions. “It examines key laws and policies before the Government presents them to Parliament”, particularly those relating to the economy, governance, health and education. Secondly, “it can propose laws to the Cabinet and the Government”.

If you think this is the same as the National Advisory Council of the United Progressive Alliance, you are not wrong. But it is more than that. First, it is not limited to people who admire and respect Sonia Gandhi. It involves people of all perspectives. They should be recognized in whatever field they choose to plow.

Ms Kumaratunga said it intended to be a formal and permanent part of the Sri Lankan government and not an emergency response to the current crisis. If approved, incoming administrations would no longer appoint a “state council” that would work in conjunction with the government.

I think the purpose behind Kumaratunga’s proposal is clear and direct. Provide a permanent platform for independent, respected, intelligent and informed voices to advise and guide the government, and to expand the platform for finding, discussing, amending and ultimately agreeing with the administration.

To put it mildly, it delivers To know – Being Italian, of course The right word On occasion! – They are limited to debates on television and to columns in newspapers, a tool for the government to listen and consult specifically before making important decisions. Of course, the government is free to ignore the council. If not, Kumaratunga acknowledged that the government would be “degraded”. But the council should be given ample opportunity to consult and take its opinions, criticism or appreciation seriously.

That’s the catch, of course. What happens to proper consultation and effective consideration? Can hand movement be avoided or reduced? Of course, it can. But if it is formally necessary, it must be formally passed on. It reduces the chances of escape. After that, we can only rely on everyone’s sense of respect and integrity.

I think something similar in India makes a lot of sense, perhaps, especially in this moment where the country is becoming increasingly polarized and the government is perceived as fragmented.

If we had a state board, I doubt whether the note invalidation would happen. I’m sure the goods and service tax could have been better thought out. And almost certainly the lockdown was inconceivable at the four-hour mark. Can these three good reasons be the work of former President Kumaratunga’s proposal?

The opinions expressed by the authors of the Karan Thapar Devil’s Advocate: The Untold Story are personal

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