Dysfunctional democracies.

GV Rama Rao By GV Rama Rao, 12th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1yx8193w/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

India and the USA are two large democracies, and both are dysfunctional.

Democracy in the USA..

The democracies in the USA and India, today, are shining examples of dysfunctional democracies. In the USA the president, a democrat, has to deal with an almost hostile opposition in the Congress and Senate. Most of the bills and reforms he wants to introduce are vehemently opposed by the opposition which is now ruling the roost in both the houses. The recent case of the Israeli Prime Minister addressing the Congress at the behest of the GOP against the Iran deal the president was working out shows the government is dysfunctional. While the Secretary of State is trying to work out the nuclear deal with Iran hundred elected members of the GOP wrote directly to the Iran government affirming the agreement would be wrecked once the president demits his office. How can the president function in the face of an opposition that has numerical strength in its favor?

It is also surprising how a nation that has elected a democrat as the president has also voted for GOP members to form a majority in the Congress and the Senate. This shows either a fault in the electoral college system that elects the president or the American people as fickle minded.

Democracy in India.

The situation in India is even worse. The ruling party has a massive mandate and a clear majority in the lower house of the Parliament. This should make it easy for the government to enact any legislation it deems fit. However, the party is in the minority in the upper house called Rajya Sabha in which the members are elected by an indirect ballot. The members were elected by the elected representatives who won an election some time back. The recent elections show the people's mandate strongly in favor of the ruling party. However, these representatives who occupy their seats in the upper house by virtue of their election held a few years back now hold the ruling party to ransom and put up innumerable blocks for passing any bill. The net result is the government can not pass any law without the co-operation of the opposition. The parties opposed to the government smarting under the electoral defeat want to settle some scores and object to every clause for reasons often not logical but extraneous. The net result is the government is unable to make any reforms.

The opposition parties think of their own constituencies and lose sight of the greater good of the country. They do not see the merits of a legislation before opposing it. Some do it just because they think they are dutybound to oppose any measure initiated by the government. Some oppose it as their party or party members have been subjected to scrutiny by the central administration agencies.
There seems no way out of the logjam both the democracies face. During the last two years, the government in the USA was forced to close down some of its services twice as the funds were not voted in time. In India, the government which had promised development and not populist measures has not been able to make any perceptible progress.
In India, there is another dichotomy between the Armed Forces and the bureaucracy. All political parties are committed to one concept called OROP, but the civil bureaucrats in the defense ministry are setting up innumerable roadblocks for implementation of the scheme.

Conclusion

It's often said democracy is the worst form of the government, but, unfortunately, there is no better alternative. It's also said that we get the government we deserve. As a corollary, we also get the opposition we deserve.
I'd like to ask my countrymen where do we go from here?
I'd like the learned Americans to give their valuable opinion on this matter.

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Comments

author avatar Lalitha.n.
13th Mar 2015 (#)

Well written about dis functional democracies.The solution to have effective functional democracy is yet to be found.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
13th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks for your visit and comment Lalitha.

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author avatar Carol Roach
13th Mar 2015 (#)

here in canada we have more of the British system so they governing party is in power and the royal opposition will try to stop a bill but they are not always opposed sometimes they think the bill is a good idea

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
13th Mar 2015 (#)

Our constitution is a combination of British and American systems. It slows down the process of legislation.

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author avatar M G Singh
13th Mar 2015 (#)

We also in India follow the British system and overall the power is with the lok sabha in case a bill is refused assent in the upper house the government can call for a joint session and pass the bill. this has worked and some bills are passed

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
13th Mar 2015 (#)

Madan, Thanks for your comment.

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author avatar Utah Jay
13th Mar 2015 (#)

The United States of America is not a Democracy in any form or shape. It is a Republic. We are ruled by the Constitution and not the majority, but it is a common mistake. Many of our residents are confused on this matter and could not quote much of anything from the Constitution as the liberal school system has failed to teach this subject for some time now. It is really very sad.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
13th Mar 2015 (#)

My dear Jay,
A Republic is also a democracy.
How can the president function in your country when both the houses have a majority of the opposition party?

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author avatar Utah Jay
19th Mar 2015 (#)

This is how Republics work, very slowly as there are checks and balances. The problem is that our President wants to go around the Constitution and this must not happen. This is our Republic working as it should. And I strongly disagree, as did our Founding Fathers would and did, who all strongly stood against any kind of Democracy. For they knew that when the populace learns that they can vote themselves redress the Democracy is over and the Tyranny begins. It is like Benjamin Franklin said after the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when asked by a lady "what form of government did you give us Sir", and he replied, "a Republic my Lady, if we can keep it".

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author avatar Utah Jay
19th Mar 2015 (#)

You see in a Republic we vote for like minded people to represent us, as we are all the government. What you are watching is that the people have voted for like minded people in the House and Senate to protect us from an out of control President. It really matters not what the left run media is spout off. The truth is that this is our Republic in action. We simply will not allow the President to go beyond his bounds.

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author avatar Utah Jay
19th Mar 2015 (#)

He is not our king.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
19th Mar 2015 (#)

My dear Jay,
I do not wish to and cannot argue about politics in the USA, but I fail to understand how you could elect a democrat as a president and put chains around him by electing Republicans in both houses. Either you want a democratic government or a republican gov ernment, but not a mixture of both. I can appreciate the need for checks and balances but not the need for chains around someone's neck to prevent him from functioning. I'd like some other American readers to comment on this and clarify this matter.

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