Blueprint for Revolution in Politics — 2
Today I Learnt : The posts such as Mayor, Deputy mayor, ward councillor are unpaid posts. there is no salary paid — except in Chandigarh.
In Chandigarh, the mayor gets paid Rs. 20,000. Deputy mayor 10K and ward councillors, 5K.
In TN alone, there are a few thousand ward councillor positions (elections for these posts are coming up soon). MH Local body elections are coming up as well.
One must ask why people are spending money, and fighting over themselves to get to these posts. It is essentially the building block position of the entire government structure — all said and done, apart from statewide schemes, these are the posts in which someone can actually improve standard of living.
Since 2013, there have been independent PILs (Public Interest Litigation)s filed asserting that these roles have to be a paid position, as those who might want to step into those offices (for the purposes of serving and lot exploiting) would need a steady income, and these are not part-time roles.
The Madras High Court in June 30th, 2016 closed the case saying, that whether those positions or paid or not, is upto the state government.
Depending on the state government, to issue salaries, would create a recursive loop, where those in position might use this as leverage to get the local body representatives to dance to their beat. Jingabajing to their tune. Hop the loop to their songs. You get the idea! :P
The alternative then, is that the money — be it to campaign and sustanence — has to come from the community where these representatives stand to serve. In a way that might also be a good thing because now you know who your paymasters are, and there is no conflict in ensuring that you serve their best interests. It also makes one accountable to the public — in a more meaningful way.
If the money contributed is tax deductable, if there are any rules on maximum contributions (so that no one person or org jeopardizes the autonomy of that position) and if the names of all the contributors and contributions are made public, it might work.
There are models such as Patreon (https://www.patreon.com) that work for pledging Patronage for Artists and Musicians. (Individuals pledge small amounts of money each month, that is released either on a time period basis, or on the basis of progress of work)
I wonder if that would work for a governance model like this. The other alternative is to get a bill passed in the state legislative that gives them a salary.
Note : There is a risk of a few, biasing the outcome of governance, now that there is a formal way to incentivize these officials. Hence the reason why Part 1 is important. If those who run for office don’t do it for the right reasons, no amount of safeguarding would help — and we will be, as we are right now, left to chasing our tail trying to cover every loophole, essentially rendering that office inert and useless.