Thursday, December 2, 2010


India still lacks quality schools to teach politics and governance

Of late there have been considerable debates around youth and their lack of participation in Indian politics! The irony is that despite India being the youngest nation in the world, which boasts about its demographic dividend, it sees miniscule participation of youngsters in politics. The average age of Members of Parliament in the 13th Lok Sabha has been around 55 years – in a country with an average age close to 30 years! India has more than 40 percent MPs aged between 50 to 90 years. But then, while on one hand, there has been a slow but gradual increase in the number of young politicians, on the other hand, the same young politicians were seen making no tangible difference to the overall political scenario of the country! The socalled young MPs participated only in 7 percent of the debates with attendance that would put our ageing politicians to shame!

Take for instance China – a country with similar demographic like India – which has, unlike India, 75 percent of political seats occupied by young technocrats. The chief issue here is not only about youngsters entering politics but about whether these youngsters perceive politics as a non-professional career that promises nothing but a non-productive experience. And on top of that, in India, politics is seen as a criminal exercise and a vocation that calls for ‘no-expertise’ and ‘no-professionalism’ – all thanks to shortage of educated politicians and true technocrats! Ironically, there exist no popular institutions in India that teach politics and governance, unlike the West. China for that matter has Chinese Academy of Governance that teaches and prepares future government employees, while the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University) produces some of the world’s best ministers ranging from ambassadors to members of parliaments (Israel, New Zealand, US and even for other countries) to Presidents of various countries (Mexico, Mongolia, Liberia, Singapore, Ecuador). Similarly, alumnus from Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, The Fels Institute of Government, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Matsushita Seikei Juku institute in Japan, Bulgarian School of Politics, Colombo School of Politics, to name a few, not only chair respectable and powerful positions in their nation, but can be found as heads of states and departments across the world. So much so that even non-democratic country like Kuwait has a National Democratic Institute.

Compared to all these world class institutions, the handful that we have are struggling to match up to the world standards – for example the Indian Institute of Public Administration at central level; and similar State Public Administration institutes. But we have no institution that is dedicated to politics and governance per se! An institution like Netagiri in Ranchi has tried to show the silver lining by teaching politics and governance, but has still not able to produce any big name in the field of politics. Even IIPA and similar other institutions have practically no alumnus who have made their mark on the national political canvas.

Schools of governance and politics should not only churn out technocrats and young politicians but should also bring in paradigm shift s in the whole perception of politics, resulting in it being seen as a conventional career that calls for expertise and professionalism. Worldwide, schools of governance have churned out leaders who have not only led their country effectively but also led various supra-institutions! And I can’t emphasise less about how much we as a nation need such institutions!


1 comment:

  1. don't think i am getting personal sir.
    before saying about others we should be the change we wish to see... so its better u involve in politics and be an example for several youngsters..