24 Mar 2024  |   07:40am IST

Elections is an exam and those appearing in it should be marked

An annual parameter-based assessment with a local jury’s inputs will be able to grade performance of elected representatives; The people are the masters to pick and elect; they need performance that can be measured
Elections is an  exam and those appearing in it should be marked

Those who are elected by the people are selected to serve. It is akin to hiring the head of the department or a CEO of a company. But this is much bigger. Here your company is the largest public sector institution that can ever be - a people’s company. Here the investment is priceless. It’s an investment of trust. Therefore the return on investment is mandatory. It’s not optional.

A people’s system where marks are given annually for five years is needed

A true reflection of the performance of a chosen one hired by the people is passing the people's test on issues that matter. A system to judge them on these parameters needs to be developed.

Choosing a representative is more than pressing a button on a machine

These are disruptive and innovative ways of honest electioneering which is a true agenda of both the voter and the voted. And a window needs to be opened to make electoral politics go beyond that single day when the voter goes to vote. The relationship has to be restored to the people becoming the master and the politician a “public servant”. This equation is lopsided now.

Each year, from the time of the election, there should be a poll with weightage given to each participant with the identity and entire profile of the person. 100 marks should be given each year for each parameter. At the end of the term, the elected person should be judged with 500 marks for each parameter.

Only when threshold marks are crossed should the person be allowed to contest once again. And if the score is below a fixed threshold level the person should not contest again.

The judging across the five years (subject to additions and tweaking) should be on the following parameters:

1)    Whether the elected person has honestly carried out duties and allowed the progress of the village, or town area without indulging in any sort of corruption

2)    Whether civic infrastructure in terms of roads, waste management, urban mobility, parking, etc, shows a marked improvement without causing major inconveniences

3)    Whether in semi-urban and  rural areas, important village infrastructure like management of bundhs, sluice gates, and agricultural infrastructure is maintained and developed

4)    Whether the elected person takes the side of the people when it comes to the observance of all rules regarding land management, construction, CRZ, etc.

5)    Whether health infrastructure in the town or village is maintained, with doctors, medicines, etc, to be the first referral point for patients

6)    Whether  while maintaining a merit-based system, eligible locals are given preferential recruitment in skilled and non-skilled jobs, within the constituency

7)    Whether beneficiaries of social welfare schemes have received their monthly or one-time payments on time, and backlogs, if any, are cleared expeditiously

8)    Whether issues of concern and/or benefit to the constituency have been raised in the House consistently

9)    Whether the elected person is available to the constituency to meet people, listen to their grievances and take action on promises made

10) Whether the elected person serves all and not just his/her own people or voters, as a true representative of all voters, in a harmonious and inclusive manner

Who tabulates the marks and judges them?

Quite obviously there has to backend team gathering data tabulating the marks over the years and tabulating an average mean score. In addition, a jury of six to ten of the finest publicly respected and credible minds will also independently judge the performance of the elected representative annually as well as at the end of the term. Their average marks will also be added to the mean score and a combined final score established. The entire process has to be supervised by a system which is independent of the government or a political party.

The purpose of this exercise should be honest feedback not coloured by political interests. While it is impossible to wipe out biases, especially in a small state like Goa, a five-year exercise with everyone participating encouraged, has the potential to nullify any political biases.

If our thought processes change we will be able to get democracy back on track, make it meaningful, inclusive and finally about what is fundamentally the most important, all about people.


Iddhar Udhar