(1) As I was browsing through the Urbanomics blog this morning looking for references on EPZ or SEZ performance, I was struck by his post on the declining level of political participation in States that have prescribed minimum education standards and hygiene standards. On the face of it, these two would appear to be welcome steps. But, the political participation in the States that embraced these measures has fallen. Therefore, is it now time to abandon these initiatives and re-embrace status quo ante?
This is the item that drew my attention:
5. In December 2014, Rajasthan passed legislation that mandated functional toilets and minimum educational qualifications (Class X for Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti, Class VIII for Sarpanch, and Class V for Schedule areas) to stand in local body elections. Haryana followed suit for Panchayat elections. The Supreme Court, in another example of kritarchy, upheld the legislations mandating minimum educational qualifications to stand in local government elections. The implications are profound.The conditions have resulted in the shrinking of the pool of candidates who are eligible to contest. In Haryana, the education requirements—matriculation for the general candidates, Class VIII for women and Scheduled Caste men and Class V for Scheduled Caste women—has disenfranchised 78% of all men, 89.1% of all women and 62.1% and 67.5% of Scheduled Caste men and women, respectively, according to Census 2011 data… Of the 6,207 sarpanch elections across Haryana, 274 were won unopposed and 22 went vacant. It’s more or less the same story in Rajasthan where the January-February 2015 election saw 260 sarpanchs getting elected unopposed, compared to 35 in 2010.The level of political participation fell across a range of parameters.