Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why democracy?

....PIO (Person of Indian Origin)...will get lifelong visas...thousands of cheering Indians at Madison Square...."Happy?" he asked...chants of "Modi, Modi"....."There is even more to come," he said.... 
People often ask: what is the point of democracy? It is simple really, it confers legitimacy on the rulers as no other system would. Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi is Prime Minister for all of India (even if many Indians did not vote for him, they accept the system which elected him).

This is why as many as 50 senators and congressmen (names?) greeted Modi in the "Garden" on a Sabbath Sunday, while just one year ago he was not even allowed to set foot on American soil.

People will (rightly) complain that democracy is helping legitimize majoritarian rule (if not legitimizing crimes committed in their name). The answer is however not to abandon democracy but to fight for a country with better protection for minorities. In other words India needs to transition from an illiberal democracy to a liberal one. That is a work in progress, and it is true even for ancient regimes (for example, see Ferguson, Missouri, where a police officer was shot on Saturday night...a fallout over the race riots earlier).
A diverse country such as India would be (in our opinion) best served with a proportional representation system (plus a minimum threshold) as is prevalent in advanced democracies such as Germany (where a lot of authority is vested in the states just like in India).

Applying such a formula retroactively for the 2014 elections would not have changed the picture very much. Thus, for example, Mayawati would still be without a single seat. Congress would have been in a better position with 100 seats.  

The key point is Congress never fought for electoral reform when it was blessed with super-majorities (last time under Rajiv Gandhi in 1985). In those days the goal was to use the brute force of First Past the Post (FPTP) system to enforce dynasty rule. If you choose to live by the sword, it is fair to die by the sword as well.

India was once known as a world of snake charmers, now the magic that its people have woven "with the mouse" in the IT sphere is world-renowned, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi here Sunday.
"I was in Taiwan some years ago, someone wanted to ask a question and was hesitating. He asked if I won't feel bad, I said go ahead. He said I heard India is a land of black magic and snake charmers. I said no, our forefathers maybe would play with snakes but we play with the (computer) mouse," he said in his address to a gathering of Indian diaspora at the Madison Square Garden.
Getting rid of maze of laws

Taking a swipe at the Congress-led UPA, Modi said the earlier governments would keep harping on the number of laws they has come out with, but he has made it his mission to get rid of the "maze" of "useless" ones.

Addressing a gathering of thousands of the Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden, Modi said: "Earlier governments would keep harping that we have made this 'kanoon' (law) and that 'kanoon'.. I have started a new one - the old 'kanoon', I have thrown away the 'bekaar' (useless) ones."

"It was like a 'jaal' (maze) of 'kanoon', if one gets in, then they cant get out. I have set up a committee to examine them. If everyday, I can end one law, then it will be an achievement," he said to loud chants of "Modi, Modi".

He said good governance should be of easy ways for the people, to fulfil the people's needs in an easy, lucid way.

PIO cardholders to get lifelong visa, announces Modi

PIO card holders will get lifelong visas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Saturday to thousands of cheering Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden here.

"Happy?" he asked as the crowd cheered his announcement with chants of "Modi, Modi". "There is even more to come," he said smilingly. He announced that NRIs staying in India for long had to visit the police station, and "there is no need for them to do that anymore".

Modi said the government will join the People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes for the diaspora and a new scheme would be announced soon.

He also said the Indian missions in the US would grant long term visas to US citizens and US tourists would get visa on arrival in India.


50 US Senators, Congress greet Modi

Modi was greeted by 50 US Senators and members of the US Congress at Madison Square Garden as he arrived to address the Indian diaspora.

Indian singer Kavita Krisnamoorthy rendered the Indian national anthem, which Modi was seen mouthing along.

Chants of "Modi, Modi" rent the air as he began his speech.

'India blessed with democracy, demographic dividend, demand'

At an opportune cusp of circumstances, blessed with a vibrant democracy, with 65 percent of its people under the age of 35, and a market of 1.25 billion people, India will scale new heights in the near future, the prime minister said.

Addressing an around 20,000-strong gathering cheering Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden, Modi said India is the youngest nation in the world and also the country with an ancient civilisation.

He said 65 percent of the people are under the age of 35 and with the IT ability of Indians "there is no need for such a country to turn back and look".

Modi said it is "important to recognise our strengths and mobilise them to go forward fast".

Referring to the elections, in which he led the Bharatiya Janata Party to power, Modi said the 1.25 billion people of the country had given their blessings to govern and it was akin to god's own blessings.

He said democracy is India's biggest strength and also its demographic dividend.

The third advantage is the demand - "the entire world has its sights on India and it knows that its 1.25 billion people is a huge market", he said.

"These three things are present in one country, this is not there anywhere in the world. And on the basis of this India will cross new heights - it is my belief," said Modi to loud cheering and chants of "Modi, Modi".

Have not taken 15 minute vacation so far: Modi

Winning elections is not for sitting on a seat but a responsibility, said Modi, noting that he has not taken even a 15-minute vacation since taking over the helm of the country.

To loud chants of "Modi, Modi", the prime minister, in his address to the Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden here, said the people of India and the diaspora have conveyed the strength of democracy through the April-May elections, which saw the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party sweep to power.

"I will not do anything to make you lower your head. The government you have chosen will not leave anything out," he said to loud cheers from the huge gathering.





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