The economic reform process initiated in 1991 has posed fresh challenges of governance. In the light of the changing domestic and global situation, the role of the Indian state in the coming decade has to be clearly defined.
The assumption that market is the answer to all our challenges is a dangerous and irrational one. The state needs to focus on the irreducible role of government that is required to fulfill human potential and promote rapid economic growth. Abdication of the state or its inefficiency in these critical sectors will spell disaster to our future.
The non-negotiable role of the state in four broad areas needs to be clearly recognized and reemphasized. The first is in the area of public order, justice and rule of law. Deficiencies on this front have led to decline in trust in the state’s capacity to protect life and liberty and enforce rights.
This in turn has aggravated the tendency to resort to violence and crime to obtain rough and ready justice, promote sectarian interests, or achieve ideological goals. Ensuring access to speedy and efficient justice, protecting rights of citizens, enforcing rule of law, and maintaining public order are all inseparable and they form the bedrock of a civilized society and sound liberal democracy.
The deficiencies in this vital area need to be plugged through judicial and police reforms, better citizen participation in governance, transparency and more effective and integrated approach to public order maintenance.
The alacrity with which we constitute various committees and commissions of enquiry is matched only by the inaction on the voluminous reports laboriously produced. Public trust and confidence is shaken by such ritualism and tokenism.
We need to institutionalize mechanisms for independent enquiry and mandatory implementation so that public confidence and social cohesion are strengthened Governance at all levels must ensure orderly justice and peaceful resolution of conflicts in a complex and dynamic society.