Why India Urgently Needs Honest and Clean Governance

Education is important, it changes the way you view and understand things. Any country requires three basic things. First, every citizen wants law and order and security. Second, they want speedy justice. Today in India there’s no fear of law for criminals, considering that it takes courts 10-15 years to conclude a case. There are some 3.2 crore cases pending across our courts. If there is fear of law, half of our problems will be solved. The third is clean governance. If you ensure all these three, the government will have sufficient resources remaining to spend on education. They hardly spend on it now (only 3%). It should be double that percentage. Unless someone is educated, he or she doesn’t have a stake in society.

We have to create 10 lakh jobs a month considering today’s realities, which is not a joke. In the last five years, we’ve hardly created 22 lakh jobs – we need to create 1.2 crore jobs a year. Add to that, 80% of the workforce is not even ready for the industry. The government is not making any investments into solving this problem.

I think that honest, clean governance is the starting point for everything. You may have the best of economic policies and the best of the people running the government. But if the system is not honest, the implementation will be terrible. That is what we have witnessed in the last five years.

I had been thinking about leaving Infosys for about a year or so. During that time, Mr NR Narayana Murthy had also returned to serve the company.

I finally decided to quit on December 24, 2013, around the time the Delhi election results were announced. It was a big turning point, one that made me think of joining the party. I officially resigned on December 31 and joined the Aam Aadmi Party the very next day.

Contesting the elections was a separate decision, considering how in middle-class backgrounds, politics is not even the last option. Convincing the family took some time. Which middle-class family would want you to join politics?

The country is going through a critical phase and we can’t change history. Whatever has happened in this country in recent years is because of the incorrect policies pursued coupled with corruption. Decision-making has come to a total standstill. We need good, stable policies and better implementation. Every economy goes through a cycle – it’s not that India will stay stagnant at 5% for the next few years. Good policies and honest implementation will bring growth back. It’ll take some time – you can’t return to 8% growth in one year. But the next one year is critical. If governed well, this country will change.

To do this, we will need people with experience in a diverse set of industries and backgrounds, who have managed scale and understand the complexities, to join the system. Yes, there are experienced people in both the Congress and the BJP but they are not honest, which makes both ultimately the same.

Take the example of coal. They had a policy, but if they had implemented it honestly, we wouldn’t have had the coal scam. Because of the tendency for quid pro quo, they gave coal blocks away to people with vested interests. Based on that, people invested in power plants. When the scam was exposed, the Supreme Court stepped in and asked the government to deallocate the coal blocks. Since now you can’t dig that coal, the investments in the power plants have all been wasted. Now they are importing the coal and it increases their cost of operations. That is not the right way to implement policies. Which is why say, clean and honest governance is the starting point.

Some say that clean and honest governance is too utopian a possibility. But that is the starting standard for any good economy. Otherwise, we won’t budge from where we are now. We may have a stable government, but if they continue to indulge in scams, nothing is going to change.