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Articles
07 May 2013

Reform need not be a dirty word

Written by Shri Jayant Chaudhary (M.P)

Jayant ChaudharyReform need not be a dirty word

Rashtriya Lok Dal MP welcomes partial decontrol and calls for further reform in the interest of all stakeholders

The verb ‘reform’ is defined in the Oxford dictionary as to “make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it”. An improvement should in theory be acceptable to a large majority of the constituents affected by the change.

However, in the Indian context, reforms, especially those related to markets and economic institutions, have often elicited mixed reactions. We can take some respite in that we are not the only ones seemingly immobilised by this suspicion of change; as we watch, Europe is acrimoniously debating the issue of austerity versus public spending.

In my view, the Indian experience of economic liberalisation has been largely positive; however, opening up our markets and issues like foreign direct investment (FDI) are still subject to criticism from various constituents of the political spectrum. During the parliamentary debate on FDI in retail in December 2012, the example of the sugar industry was used by some opposition leaders to highlight how the industry-farmer supply chain arrangement ends up hurting the poor farmer.

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Articles
14 April 2013

Voters' identity being exploited for poll gains

Written by Shri Jayant Chaudhary (M.P)

Jayant ChaudharyVoters' identity being exploited for poll gains

The emergence of individual voter’s economic and social aspirations to the fore has changed the way political campaigns are run.

The role of identity in politics and political campaigns has changed over the years. I have heard stories from people who participated in the massive public rally in Delhi on December 23, 1978. These are the people who remember being carried on the shoulders by their elders as children to be part of the rally. They could only hear the words but were too far from the stage to see the faces of the speakers. For them, this particular  rally was a historic and momentous occasion; a spontaneous show of strength by the silent majority, the landless, the tillers, workers and the rural artisans. Events that led to the public gathering of December 1978 had subsequently changed the tone and tenor of the political message given by the leaders of our country. The rural identity, the issues of the farmer and the mazdoor are part of any developmental debate that takes place even today. In this year’s debate on the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha, the word kisan (farmer) and krishi (agriculture) appeared close to 400 times—which is perhaps telling of this continued sensitisation. But, unfortunately, despite the change in the language employed to woo the voters at the ground level in terms of political strategy, in the midst of an electoral campaign in most parts of the country—from the selection of the candidate to the manifestoes—it is not the identity of the farmer or the mazdoor that is seen to be important. It is the fragmentation of the varg (category) into the jaati (caste) and even gotra (clan) that has an impact.

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Latest Interviews

JayantjiHoping to reclaim lost ground in UP, Jayant Chaudhary takes charge of RLD

The son of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh has been criss-crossing western Uttar Pradesh, and has almost simultaneously effected a generational change in his party.

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