To govern well, politicians must keep less powers: FM
Politicians should shun the normal temptation of having more and more power and divest themselves of it, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.
He said an effective government must have a high value of credibility.
Addressing a book release event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the third anniversary of the Modi government, Jaitley said that one of the earliest policy decisions taken by the government was to eliminate any scope of discretion. It paid dividends, he said.
"In order to govern effectively, governance must have a high value of credibility itself. And, therefore, the normal temptations which politics and politicians have that more and more power must be vested in us, you really have to divest yourself of that power.
"Eliminate all discretions, which even with the best of intentions in the past, has brought discredit to governments and let an objective criteria, a market mechanism decide, take various decisions," the finance minister said.
He said one of the first important decisions of the prime minister was that at least in matterswhere commercial benefits were involved, politicians should maintain an arm's length distance and divest themselves of all discretions and let the market decide.
"I think that pays dividend," Jaitley said. He highlighted how the prime minister used radio as an effective tool to communicate directly with public, over half-a-dozen people who thought they had sole monopoly in conveying and communicating things.
"Media has become, and rightly so, extremely powerful. We saw the declines of the radio taking place. It was almost becoming a defunct medium. The FM radio revived it a little bit and I think the prime minister spotted the strength of the radio itself and the strength was not merely in communication," Jaitley said, referring to Modi's radio broadcast 'Mann Ki Baat'.
He said merely giving interview to half-a-dozen television anchors or addressing a ritual of a press conference in Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan was not the art of communication.
"They are merely carrier of a message. Do you have the ability to go above their heads and talk to the people directly?" Jaitley asked. He said Modi used radio as a medium to talk to the people directly. Jaitley said there was no better political communicator than Mahatma Gandhi who had defied the British administration through his Dandi March.
"The world and the western media were mocking at him Gandhi) when he announced the Dandi Satyagraha. And he made it so simple that you just march and pick up a little salt and that is all it requires to defy the British authority and it sent an electrifying current across the country.
"So what was initially considered by many commentators and the media to be a maverick act proved to be a turning point in a history and I think we need to learn from that," the finance minister said. Two books – 'Mann Ki Baat: A Social Revolution on Radio' and 'Marching with a Billion-Analysing Narendra Modi's Government at Midterm' –were released by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan at the function, presided over by President Pranab Mukherjee.