How do you get anything done?

Reading and writing about the land acquisition bill has made me somewhat gloomy, and question how you can get anything done in a Democracy like India? Congress is intent on blind opposition to whatever the government proposes instead of educated debate, and since the government doesn’t have enough seats in the Rajya Sabha, it can’t pass any bill on its own.

That may just be a good thing too because had they been able to pass any bills on its own they would most likely pass certain bills that are not really in the best interest of everyone but just the vote bank that they cater to.

In this environment then, how do you get anything done?

I was reminded of the US government shutdown in 2013 when I was thinking about this. The US has these constitutional limits on borrowing that they have and once you reach the limit, the government can’t borrow anymore and since the government is financing itself through borrowings, once the limit hits, they aren’t able to pay their bills which most importantly include salaries of government employees.

This is an artificial limit in the sense that the US is not borrowing from another country but from its own Federal Reserve so in a way the amount that it can borrow is unlimited. The shutdown came into effect because the opposition party there – the Republicans vehemently opposed what’s commonly known as Obamacare, and wanted the Democrats to make cuts that would make Obamacare defunded and more or less untenable.

The Democrats and the Republicans went into a standoff and common Americans sufferred. Ultimately a deal was reached, and the limit was raised, but it was not after a lot of damage was done.

At the end of it people viewed the Republican party negatively in this face off and put a big part of the blame on them for the shutdown that took place.

I think Indians can take heart from that situation because ultimately if the Modi government’s efforts are thwarted by the Congress just for the sake of opposition, and the people take note of it and protest, they will have to withdraw such opposition.

The power of the people is what counts and recent examples like Net Neutrality and repealing Section 66 has shown that the voice of people now more than ever is heard and is more powerful than ever in this country.

5 thoughts on “How do you get anything done?”

  1. And yes, getting any work done is actually very difficult, even at the smallest level such as a residential society. My society has just 28 members and yet we can’t get everyone to agree on the most basic of things.

  2. If I understand correctly, the Republicans made a lot of gains in the 2014 elections in the Congress and the Senate, isn’t it? So while you say “people viewed the Republican party negatively in this face off”, and while one thinks it would hurt them in the elections, it did not hurt them at all, and in fact might have actually helped them. Indian political parties too think this way. They think they can make gains by being obstructionist. Sadly, it often turns out exactly that way.

    1. I’m referring to the sentiment at the time backed by polls that newspapers conducted, about the views of registered Republicans on that time. I’ll see if I can find a link to any of those articles.

  3. Hi Manshu,

    I know you are big supporter of BJP and I am too. But its unfair for congress as BJP was doing same thing when Congress was in power.

    1. It is very difficult to be a big supporter of BJP when they haven’t been able to make progress on any major issues in the past one year. We have seen some progress, yes, some announcements as well, but no big projects have taken off and lately the FM has gone after some companies for back taxes, and that is a worrying thing.

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