Indian political system : A victim of the problem of multiple controllers.

Cases – Indian political system : A victim of the problem of multiple controllers

In this article I will again try to explain the political situation of a country like India in a technical manner and describe its problems using some of the characteristics of the controller design pattern.

As we know every well design system needs a hierarchy of controllers nested at various levels of granularities so as to ensure that the system works in a predictable manner.

If Projects and Families as systems needs a controller, don’t we think that even our country also needs a controller. As compared to Projects and Families, Country is a many times more complex system with numerous subsystems nested at different levels of granularity. Now as with any well designed system, if our country is a well designed system as well , then we need a controllers working properly at all levels of granularity.

So how is the controlling infrastructure of a country like India designed to function?

In India there are three levels of controlling infrastructure which is used to control this country as a system

  1. Executive
  2. Judiciary
  3. Legislative

These three levels are meant for controlling different aspects of a system called as country as well as to control the controlling power of other levels of controllers.

We also know every system or a subsystem needs a single instance of the controller to control the system effectively. Now the question is how decide who should be the controller of the system?

Another problem with controllers is … we know controllers should be singleton and they should be unidirectional as well .. this is not a problem with other types of controllers ..but with human controllers the situation becomes a bit tricky… human beings have emotions and have the capability to think and hence the moment they are made the controllers and they get the power of unidirectional communication there are chances that they can become autocratic and uncontrollable themselves.

So there has to be a way to control the Human Controllers who becomes uncontrollable and autocratic.

India basically follows the democratic process of election. If you look into the basic definition of democracy … the most simple definition that you can come across is “By the people , for the people etc”.

Now let us understand democracy in a technical manner ....

To me democracy is nothing but the components being controlled being given the change to decide who their controller will be on the basis of majority. As there is a realistic chance that the elected controller may become autocratic or may not deliver its duty or behaviors properly , there should be mechanisms in place to throw the errant controller out of the system [like for example the term for a democratically elected government is 5 years for LokShaba ie every five years the people of this country will be given a chance to decide their controller ].

The legislative wing of the controlling infrastructure follows the democratic process of selection wherein people [the components being controlled] are given the chance to decide their controllers [from village “Sarpanch” to the “Prime Minister”] at all levels of granularity [from villages to the Nation]. As people at different levels can have different issues to be taken care off with different choice of controllers, the Indian constitutions allows the selection of different democratically elected controllers for different levels of granularity.

For example

  • The villages being controlled/governed by Gram Panchayats led by the Sarpanch.
  • The districts being controlled/governed by the Zilla Parishads led by __________.
  • The states being controlled/governed by the State Government led by the Chief Minister.
  • While the country being controlled/governed by the Central Government led by the Prime Minister.

As districts , states and country are pretty complex systems… a single controller may not be able to control all the aspects for a particular level of granularity. Hence ministers are made accountable for their individual departments like finance, home, education, health care , PWD etc both at the state and the central level controlled by the Chief Ministers and Prime Minister respectively.

From a system design perspective most of the thing looks fine with the controlling infrastructure with clear checks and balances available at all levels of granularity. Hence democracy as a concept is successful and preferred by Nations. However the concept of democracy is likely to be exploited by vested interests in countries like India and other South Asian Countries.

In the next section let us understand the flip side of democracy in countries like India.

Democracy and Social Security

The latest reports says that more than 500 million Indians lie below the poverty line or 1/3rd of the global poor are found in India ie more than 500 million Indians struggles for a single meal every day …

Or 41 % of India lives below the international poverty line. When we say that 500+ million Indian struggles for a single meal every day …. Do you think they have the luxury to be educated? And if they are not educated , how will they decide / choose who should be the controller?

Do they care to decide what is good and bad for the village/district/state/nation etc when they are hungry and their immediate goal is to survive and make their family survive every day?

Unfortunately this is what Indian Politicians thrive on … they lure these poor uneducated people with glamorous promises and sometimes by giving them some money [which they need desperately]) , wine etc at the time of election and make them vote for them.

Ask yourself why is it so easy to certain elements of the society to divide the people on the basis of the dirty caste politics?

The root cause is poverty and lack of education.

Let us understand it is these 500+ million poor and uneducated Indians who decide who they controller (state and central government) will be and not the Indians who are privileged to be educated so as to decide what is good and what is bad?

One of the excellent examples of this happened a few years back when the ruling over confident NDA government misunderstood this fact and preponed the general election riding on the Shining India campaign thinking they would definitely win because of their development work only to realize that atleast 40% Indians who are poor are no way concerned about whether India is shining or not. They lost the elections and have not come to power till date.

Now ask yourself will Indian politicians ever be interested in eradicating poverty and educating people when they know that these are the guys who help them win the elections..

If we closely look into the countries with democracy who have succeeded in the true sense … like “United States”, “United Kingdom”, “Canada”, “Australia” etc … It has been primarily because of the “Social Security” that a country provides to its country men. When the country men are assured that their basic needs like food , shelter and water is taken care of … then he/ she is in the better position to decide on his controller.

While if we look into the countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc … where poverty is rampant … expecting poor hungry people to decide their government or the controller is a very risky proposition.

If we closely look into the countries who have progressed, either they have been countries who like USA, UK , Canada etc who have incorporated democracy with the concept of social security or have they have been countries which are non democratic and still functions under a Monarch.

Understanding Coalition Governments

Another problem that India has been facing off late both at the state and national level is the problem of “Coalition Government”.

In India any political party who wishes to govern the country should have 2/3rd of the majority to claim its stake.

Unfortunately in the past 10 years there are large number of political parties that have sprung up playing politics on the basis of caste, creed , race, social issues, regional issues etc etc and hence the votes of the citizens are now divided between the Big Political parties and these smaller parties as well. This trend has virtually created a situation that one single party getting a complete majority is very unlikely. In this situation one of the big political parties have the take the support of these smaller parties [in exchange of key ministries, monetary and political favors] to reach the magical number of 2/3rd majority to form the government. This arrangement is called a coalition government wherein Prime Minister mostly belongs to the bigger party. There is nothing technically wrong with Coalition Government with Prime Minister being a single controller for the system. As these smaller supporting parties know that it is not possible for the current government to survive without their support, they start blackmailing the bigger parties and the prime minister for all their illicit demands and invariably the Prime Minister becomes helpless and over a period of time the coalition partners starts controlling the government creating a situation of a system with multiple controllers. There have been numerous examples wherein small coalition partners creates numerous problems stalling a lot of development activities . One of the recent Prime Ministers introduced a new word called as “Coalition Dharma” where in Prime Minster is forced to overlook a lot of wrong doings of its partners to keep the government afloat.

Similar is the problem at state level as well, where in the Chief Ministers of the Coalition let state governments are rendered useless and the coalition partners starts collectively controlling (or ruining) the state/ country.

The only solution to this problem could be either the citizens of this country should understand the problem and build a consensus of voting for only the first 3 big parties or the election commission should take steps to limit the number of parties that can contest an election.

Although most of us don’t realize it, the political landscape is severely plagued with the problem of multiple controllers and unless something is done to resolve this problem the nation (system) will be definitely headed for a failure.

Hemant Jha
Founder - VPlanSolutions
Researcher, Trainer