..there’s no limit to what 1.25 billion free men and women in a free market with free enterprise can accomplish if the government gets out of their way and leaves them free to follow their dreams..
..that government is best which governs the least because its people discipline themselves…
At the heart of every civilized society is the fundamental belief that each individual is endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and justice.
It is to safeguard these rights that citizens form a government.
The primary and limited role of a government, therefore, is to protect the life, liberty, and the rights of its citizens, and to adjudicate differences by providing equal justice for all.
This was clearly enunciated in the US Constitution in 1787–the first document ever on the role of government. The first three words of that doctrine were “ We the People”. These powerful words affirm that ‘ we the people’ are choosing a government to serve us.
The Constitution of India also starts with “ We the people” to reaffirm the notion that ‘we the people’ intend to form a form a government to serve us. And, like its US counterpart, it too clearly enumerates that the role of government is limited to protecting our life, liberty, and rights and providing fair and equal justice.
Fast forward to today. Unfortunately, the government in India is anything but limited. Instead of performing the limited functions for which it was created–protection of life, liberty, rights and justice–it has expanded its authority into every aspect of daily life. Thousands of laws and regulations expand the reach of government and in the process stifle business enterprise and suffocate the lives of its citizens.
Clearly, the government in India no longer serves the people–it serves itself. The contract with people is broken and it is getting worse by the day. It doesn’t matter which political party is in power–the scope and size of government keep growing.
We have a choice to make: either we submit to big government, find a way to pay for it, and put up with its coercive excesses, or, move towards a smaller less intrusive government and give up many government programs. We cannot have both.
The future of India cannot be big government, self-serving politicians, and powerful bureaucrats. This has been tried for the past 70 years and the results have been disastrous. It is time now for a serious debate on the role and size of government in India.
Contract with India is an attempt to raise awareness of these issues through a weekly blog. These blogs will focus primarily on the interaction of government policy with the economy and financial markets. By translating the arcane language of economics and finance in a straightforward easy manner we hope to highlight the real crux of the economic and social problems facing this country.
You may disagree with some of my views or those of experts who will contribute periodically to these columns, but you must open your mind to these ideas. Why? Not just because they have been proven to work, or because they form the institutional structure for most developed economies, but also because it is through the convergence of reasoned and disparate ideas that ‘we the people’ can create a better society for ourselves.