TITLE: CHANAKYA’S NEW MANIFESTO
AUTHOR: PAVAN K. VARMA
Chanakya’s New Manifesto proposes a comprehensive blueprint for change. We cannot continue as we are, and must gather the resolve to bring in effective governance, a true democracy, a corruption-free state, a security-conscious nation and an inclusive society. If we fail, India may never succeed. Our future is at stake.
Chanakya (c. 270-380 BCE) was classical India's greatest thinker and teacher. Through his unparalleled ability to devise result-oriented military, political, and administrative strategy, he overthrew one king, crowned another and paved the way for the establishment of India's first great empire. His seminal work, the Arthashashtra, arguably the world's first comprehensive treatise on statecraft and governance, was written approximately two thousand years before Machiavelli's The Prince.
The book is a reflection on ideas of change that the writer says is meant for youngsters - aged between 15 and 35 - to draw them into the functioning of the country and join the refrain against rot. The narrative is in the voice of one of the greatest thinkers and teachers in Indian history - Chanakya - as his response to the various crises that beset modern India. The writer has drawn up a practical and detailed plan, modelled on the Arthashashtra, to bring about reform and change in five key areas that require urgent attention
· Governance- The focus areas are lack of economic reforms, education, agriculture, infrastructure project, railways and inflation.
· Democracy- It spoke about the criminalisation of politics, the entrenchment of black money in our system and acceptance of dynastic politics.
· Corruption- The author suggests combating corruption using financial accountability of political parties using technology, bringing in transparency in dealings and judicial reforms for detterent action.
· Security- It articulated the importance of foreign policy, defense preparedness and an intelligence gathering mechanism.
· The building of an inclusive society- This topic brought to light the dark side of the uncaring and indifferent India that cannot be called progressive unless it includes everybody.
Whether it is laying the foundation for an independent and effective Lokpal, or decriminalizing politics and successfully weeding out the corrupt, the solutions he proposes are substantive, well within the constitutional framework, and can make all the difference between intent and action. Chanakya’s New Manifesto prescribes setting up of a five-member Governance Appraisal Panel (GAP) which will independently evaluate the performance of the government and submit annual report to the President of India. According to the suggestion in the book, the GAP should comprise a leading economist or a corporate sector personality, a distinguished journalist, a respected former bureaucrat, an academic of eminence in the field of governance, and a retired chief justice of India or a retired Supreme Court judge. And they should be picked up by a selection panel comprising Prime Minister of India, the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India.
Chanakya's New Manifesto is both a call to action as well as a deeply insightful account of the challenges facing the country today. It is a book that should be attentively read by everybody with a stake in India's future.
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