Day 9 – Q 2.Has the recently concluded general elections strengthened the conviction that presidential form of government would be a better option for India? Critically comment.
2. Has the recently concluded general elections strengthened the conviction that presidential form of government would be a better option for India? Critically comment.
क्या हाल ही में संपन्न आम चुनावों ने इस विश्वास को मजबूत किया है कि सरकार का राष्ट्रपति रूप भारत के लिए एक बेहतर विकल्प होगा? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।
India opted for parliamentary form of government based on Westminster model where executive is directly responsible to legislature whereas in presidential system election is more about national leader elected on the basis of his/her charisma with limited accountability.
Elections in India are being fought in a style of presidential form due to hero worship, where Charisma matters more than manifestos or ideologies of parties. It can be seen in case of recent elections and in many previous elections too, where leaders like Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru won elections around their charisma.
Suitability of Presidential form for India:
- Stable government- The president will be elected by the people and will be voted out by them. He will not have to appease unreasonable allies and indulge in compromises all the time.
- Increased efficiency of legislature- The legislature will be free to do its work, that is to pass laws, instead of devising methods to criticize the government. It will truly engage the electorate with the democratic process.
- Promotion of merit- The president will be fully in charge of the executive. He will be able to attract the best and brightest to his cabinet, irrespective of their political affiliations.
- Internal democracy- It will force political parties to be more democratic and robust. All political parties will have to choose their best candidates, as there will be a direct head-to-head contest.
- Clear choice- The parliamentary system has distorted the voting preferences of an electorate that knows which individuals it wants but not necessarily which parties or policies.
- Tough and unpopular decisions- A system of directly elected chief executives at all levels, panchayat chiefs, town mayors, Chief Ministers (or Governors) and a national President, elected for a fixed term of office with clearly defined authority would permit India to deal more efficiently with its critical economic and social challenges.
- Consensus building- The President will have to win the support of people of varied groups, interests, and minorities and would have to work with Parliament to get his budget through or to pass specific Bills.
Issues with adopting the Presidential system in India:
- Authoritarianism- The president can assume dictatorial powers
- No accountability- The executive is not responsible to the directly elected legislature
- Conflicts- If the president belongs to one party and the legislature is controlled by another party, it can lead to conflict and paralysis.
- Ignorance of interests of minorities- In a diverse country like India, it can lead to a situation where the views of an individual can override the interests of different segments.
- Lack of autonomy- Bringing ‘outside’ talent in a presidential system without people being democratically elected would deter people from giving independent advice to the chief executive because they owe their appointment to him/her.
In India context given the vast number of parties and maturing stage of democracy it is preferable to continue with Parliamentary form due to its stability and other advantages. Also, as per the recommendations of Swaran Singh committee, India need not replace the current system. However, India can explore option of having direct election of Chief ministers at state level to experiment with Presidential form of government.