Street protests in India, when anchored by a cohesive unionised force (from civil society), or in response to an event or pressing social issues, still have a powerful signalling value and cost across India.
Deepanshu Mohan, Professor of Economics and Director, Centre for New Economics Studies, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
As reported, during the discussion, the Union government clarified that the new laws and provisions regarding hit-and-run cases in the newly-launched BNS has not yet come into force, and the decision to invoke them will be taken only after consultation with the All India Motor Transport Congress.
The word ‘consultation’ remains the key here. One could only hope that a government drunk on power, exhibiting an insatiable need to project and establish absolutist control sees this, while learning more about the craft of legislation (and its implementation) in India.
After breaking parliamentary procedures and precedent, mass-suspending Opposition MPs, to enable House sessions to be utilised for railroading bills into the Parliament, without deliberation or discussion, the street-agency led engine of protests or ‘people’s power’ is perhaps the only way the Modi government realises time and again how India’s legislative exercise – from its design to implementation – cannot avoid a process that embraces consultative, stakeholder-led dialogue with all parties involved.
Ad hoc centralisation of power through reiterated mechanisms of public institutional capture, coercive legislation, while banking on extensive PR-led rhetorical management done in the name of neo-nationalism and ‘populising one leader’ – irrespective of a party’s electoral support – doesn’t convince affected groups or communities across India on the viability of laws coming into effect for their own interests.
Street protests in India, when anchored by a cohesive unionised force (from civil society), or in response to an event or pressing social issues, still have a powerful signalling value and cost across India. It’s part of a bottom-up organic force that legitimises resistance against any government that fails to take groups into consultation for laws/executive action.
Published in: The Wire
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