Educationist perspective on rating the politicians through Holistic Electoral Competency Rating (HECR)


By

Dr. Harsh Purohit
Associate Professor (Finance)
Chair - ICICI Bank Chair for BFSI
Banasthali Vidyapith
Rajasthan-304022
 


Unfortunate, yet with corruption growing steadily and dangerously, the entire system particularly the political, is under stiffest of scanner.  The author feels that if a survey is conducted in any urban/rural place, majority will doubt the credibility of even the leading politicians- an alarming signal. Noted expert in Indian Management, Prof. Subhash Sharma has conceptualized that Holistic development of the nation takes place by combination of Grassroot development, Entrepreneurship development, Institutional development and Corporate development (Sharma, 2007).  Right now the Government seems to show its concern for economic development (welcomingly much more inclusive than before) and even the hon'ble PM has cited 9% targeted growth in 12 th five year plan (2012-17) as 'very ambitious', given the global uncertainties likely to impact capital markets & trade.  Prof. Sharma (2007) has expressed the need for a country to look beyond per capita income & inclusiveness by conceptualizing R.I.C.H. model where stress has been placed on Resources, Income, Consumption and Happiness.  All facets of Holistic development of our country are affected by role played by a value chain involving spiritual, social & market values.  Now it is worth to point that even though the role of state (Government) seems to be lesser in market driven economy, the need to catalyze and be a guiding force for various facets of Holistic development can not be underestimated.  With elections reasonably  far away the author likes to explore if there can be rating for a politician just like applicable for an IPO or CP or any other Debt instrument or Corporate Governance or Universities.  In the world of finance, rating is just an indicative yet a very useful piece of information for retail and institutional investor.  The ratings seem to be unbiased as well and the million dollar question is- 'Can we have a rating mechanism for a politician or a party? Can it be indexed?   While rating a party can not be a very easy task, rating a politician can not be impossible.   As usual to any new idea numerous issues may require brainstorming:

(i) Who will rate the politician?  How about the rating/reliability of the people associated with the judgement process.

(ii) What should be the criteria to select members of such rating agency?

(iii) What will be the legal issues of a rating issued by an agency?

(iv) What would be the variables that shall determine rating of an electoral candidate?

(v) What if there is a mushrooming growth of such agencies?  Will this create further confusion for voters?

(vi) With large number of illiterates and lesser aware people (more dangerous than illiterates), can the rating be understood in right context?

(vii) In absence of a regulator, can such agencies remain unbiased and efficient?

(viii) What are the international experiences?

The apprehensions have no end but are not convincing enough to deter someone from making a modest start.  Armstrong and Graefe (2010) identified 60 variables but the purpose was not rating before elections but rather to prepare an index to explain outcome of US Presidential elections. Another idea can be to benchmark qualities of great political leaders and identifying entry level competencies.

The author however strongly believes that better way can be to identify certain parameters (Panchmukhi Vishleshan- the term inspired from Panchmukhi Vikas practiced by a unique institution- Banasthali Vidyapith lead by a visionary educationist, Prof. Aditya Shastri) that can be helpful in making an assessment. Shri Anna Hazare has also pressed for the need of electoral reforms though rating may not be in his immediate agenda. In order to arrive at the parameters opinion from a randomly selected sample comprising of senior academicians at Banasthali Vidyapith, Administrators, and other stakeholders was sought to arrive at following parameters:

A) Awareness Parameters:
a) Our constitution  b) India's struggle for freedom & contribution by various freedom fighters c) Overview of political, economic & global environment d) Role of market in economy e) Awareness of local problems f) Our culture & uniqueness.

B) Track Record, personal & family conditions:
a) Academic achievements b) Achievements by solving some local problems.
b) Any civil/criminal cases & submission of electoral candidate in the defence.
c) Family structure
d) Personal wealth and sources of Income
e) General health condition of candidate

C) Vision, Mission & Execution
a) What creative ideas the candidate has envisaged to solve the local problems?
b) What minimum promises the candidate can make (if elected) in 6 month, 1 year and 2 year time frame, for solving local problems?
c) What else the candidate wants to do?

D) Opinion
a) What is the viewpoint of the candidate for the burning issues affecting the nation like corruption, reservation, education etc?
b) What shall be the priority of the candidate, if elected?

E) Affirmation
a) Is the candidate ready to resign if the 6 month, 1 year or 2 year targets are not met?
b) Is the candidate ready to resign if any civil/criminal charges are proved against him by the High Court?

A candidate may be asked to submit about all above in writing and than face an interview.  The final report should bear his signature assuring all above is true & valid.

The above can be called as HECR (Holistic Electoral Competency Rating).  The HECR parameters and weightage may vary based on:

i) New Candidate
ii) Old Candidate (Winner/Looser earlier)
iii) Candidate seeking a ministerial portfolio (needs assessment about awareness of ministry as well)

For new candidates the weightage can be 30% each for A and B while 20% for C and 10% each for D and E. While for old candidates the weightage can be different (yet to be explored). The score obtained by candidates can be indexed and compared, and a rating can be assigned based on index value.

These thoughts may bring a variety of reactions (how about Shri Anna Hazare floating such rating agency, Can CRISIL float such agency, Can political parties be allowed to float such agencies? And certainly, shouldn't Banasthali Vidyapith the epicenter of noble work think about this initiative? Should the 74 year young Hazare and the 76 year jubilant Banasthali Vidyapith join hands on this? etc.)

Imagine a politician contesting and all his oral/print/video promotions carrying HECR prominently just like we have it for financial products.  The idea seems tempting in an era where getting rid of corruption seems so difficult even though a step in form of Jan-Lokpal is creating unbelievable stir nationwide. 

To end with the doha of Kabir:

Kabira jab hum aye is jug mein ; Jug hanse, hum roye
Aisa Kartab Kar dikha; Hum hanse jug roye.
 


Dr. Harsh Purohit
Associate Professor (Finance)
Chair - ICICI Bank Chair for BFSI
Banasthali Vidyapith
Rajasthan-304022
 

Source: E-mail September 12, 2011

          

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