One Way to cleanse politics: Eligibility test for would be MPs and MLAs

Politics has become a dirty word. It implies corruption, misuse of power, insensitivity, unaccountability, nepotism etc.

And just like nobody ever bothers about how to clean a filthy pig, people have stopped bothering on how to clean politics.

One reason why people have stopped bothering about this is that one and all have accepted that the goal of politics is to get rich and stay rich. Politics seems to have been completely delinked with the key word – “Governance”

I would like to appeal to one and all that let us link politics with only one objective – governance.

And we would not take even a moment to acknowledge that governance is no mean task.

We need intelligent, diligent people to drive governance. I am sure India has got whatever it takes to have 1 billion happy people. But resources keep running into the wall called politics which consists of people who feel politics is the best way to amass wealth and power.

Is it possible that the way used by top colleges, organisations, banks etc to select the desired people is used for selecting people who will be allowed to contest Parliament and assembly elections?

I propose a two stage selection process to judge the suitability of people aspiring for contesting elections.

The objectives of this test are:

1)  To attract talented, committed and sincere people to politics and governance.

2) To replace the unruly elements and criminals with disciplined and ethical people who genuinely desire to make governance their career.

3) In the long run, to equate career in politics with a career in governance, which is both clean and rewarding.

The first test would consist of questions on issues important for that constituency, that state and the nation as a whole. It would also include questions to assess the candidate’s understanding of basic economics, civics, environment and general science. It will also include the candidate’s sensitiveness to gender, caste and race issues. It would also include a psychometric section designed to assess the governance potential.

This test will be conducted two year prior to the scheduled elections.

There will not be any educational qualification as an eligibility criterion but there will be some credit given to graduates. The lower and upper age limit to write the test will be 25 years and 35 years respectively. The candidate will be required to furnish details of his bank statements and Income tax return for the last three consecutive years.

In the test the candidates will be asked to mention the political party with which he / she is associated or would like to associate with. There will be an option for “not yet decided”.

The written test will be followed by a second stage for the shortlisted candidates in which, the communication skills of the candidates will be tested.

The shortlisted candidates will undergo training on the basics of good governance. Once this training is completed representatives of various political parties will be allowed to address the candidates who are “not yet decided”, to influence them to join their party.

There are lot of people from almost all the constituencies who migrate to big cities in their pursuit to serve as a civil servant. So we should not say that the test is tilted in favour of highly educated people of urban areas only.

It is possible that this idea has some flaws. It is also possible that this idea is out rightly rejected as a “ridiculous pipe dream”. But so was the idea of flying.

If you agree even partially with this idea, then do share this to try and make this a part of a national debate.

Thanks for your time. Your feedback is highly valuable.

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8 thoughts on “One Way to cleanse politics: Eligibility test for would be MPs and MLAs

  1. The issue at hand is of Moral Bankruptcy whose symptoms might not be as visible.. The whole process entails to a single objective-somehow, anyhow, get and retain power. If you agree, that gaining power is the first goal of politics(as evident with Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP) , then i would like to raise a concern here.. Having got the power to implement it, what if one finds that its implementation could jeopardize their power, without which the ideology is useless in any case..The solution then?
    Ashok Khemka, senior IAS Haryana in an interview proclaimed “Governance jo hai sirf niyat ki baat hoti hai”.. A man is known by the company he keeps. Guilty by association … I might be committed to the cause but what if I willfully turn a blind eye to the misdemeanor of my associates.. Dr. Manmohan Singh comes to mind… How does your aforementioned process tend to address this Sir??
    The prospect of an good governance seems like a tantalizing mirage in a desert of thirst…

    1. Thanks for the read Nitesh. Your concern is a testimony to the intellectual inertia which is a natural outcome of years of inaction on the part of concerned and scrupulous people. I believe that cleansing can only be a gradual process. Our nation survives because of all the scrupulous people in our bureaucracy, judiciary and armed forces who still keep the interest of the nation ahead of their personal interests. But politics has attracted and coagulated the majority of the negative people who are bleeding the nation. If a rigorous selection process does not matter or does not have an impact why do we use it screen and select civil servants, armed forces personnel, judges etc.? We do so because apart from selecting the best, it also minimizes the chances of the unfits and misfits getting into the system. We should rather try and fail than go down without trying. Should lungs of the people who smoke stop functioning because anyways tobacco is seeping into the blood stream? The selection process is not a guarantee to good governance. It is just an attempt at filtering the people whom we expect to govern us. The better the quality of the entrants, the higher the chances of better governance.

      1. You threw a rock in my mirror of skepticism… It is all a game of probabilities here, the proposed filter should to a good extent separate the “DIRT from the GRAVEL”… You mention the intellectual inertia prevalent among-st us.. Come to think of it on a personal level, we may often believe that things are true not based on evidence, but based on repetition. Our minds may begin to believe something if we hear it enough times, and look for evidence that confirms our already-held bias… Or maybe we have created an incentive for everyone to share the same idea, the idea that good governance is a misnomer, we hold back , just in order to confirm our sense of self righteousness.. Or maybe we are just callous.. When enough very smart people have said the same thing repeatedly, it can be extremely difficult to dislodge that idea .. This is why , it is usually difficult to accept an opposing point of view as rare as the one you propose here.. Despite these challenges, such opinions that contradict widely held ideologies are beginning to gain momentum… and it is important be a cautious participant of this spring .. Kudos !!

      2. Nitesh, you are one those very few people who read this post despite the title. Otherwise many would have skipped reading, finding the title itself a bit ridiculous. But that’s the world. We believe in the effectiveness of fairness creams and shampoos not because of good products but because of dazzling advertising. Because people start believing that whatever they want is possible after all. That’s the power of advertising. And when top economists and academicians start endorsing ideas and ideologies which are cancerous, the decay of a society begins. Nitesh we are living amidst the decay and cancer. To fight cancer from within is daunting. Ideas like these have a high chance of being eaten up by cancerous growths. But the energy of your thoughts has decided to focus on the light. And if the youth in general sees this light and aspires for it, the future may be bright. 🙂

  2. sonalo yadav

    i appreciate ur opines but i want to ask u question that u talked about the basic education which should be possessed by the people in politics but ias officers who are highly qualified acquiring all sorts of knowlege are themselves getting involved in such type of corruption wen a so called neta orders them. knowingly ias officrrs are involved in such type of activities then why we claim to netas and why this test???

    1. Sonalo, Thanks for the read and asking this very pertinent question. First, as your comment implies, we expect the IAS officers to be more scrupulous than the netas (even if they succumb to the pressure from the latter). This is primarily due to the rigorous selection process that aspiring civil servants have to go through. Second when the “neta”will also be the one who has cleared another rigorous selection process, the chances of corruption are likely to diminish. I am not claiming that corruption will be eliminated but I expect that governance would be more systematic and purposeful. Regards, Rupesh

  3. harsh shukla

    the idea..is really good..sir….but i think most of the people votes…on the basis of cast and religion , mainly in rural areas and in urban areas vote are given on the names of the big parties like bjp and congress . Ability and capability of the candidate is not considered.

    1. Thanks Harsh. True, this is how usually people vote. But there are 2 points worth considering. 1) People do so because they don’t have any choice. AAP success in Delhi Assembly polls has shown that the promise and expectation of better and clean governance can bring a change in the way people vote. 2) It’s not that ability of the candidate is not “considered”, instead the governance potential of almost all the candidates is “unknown” so it has to “ignored”.

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