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Swarna Bharat Party: Urgent reform in electoral system needed to attract honest people in politics

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Mr Vishal Singh, President  of India’s only liberal party, Swarna Bharat Party highlighted the need to reform India’s electoral system if honest and competent people are to be attracted into politics.

He further added that the Westminster system and a First Past the Post voting methodology which India adopted are the proven systems that worked well in many countries. However, in India, we have distorted the underlying incentives of the electoral process, leading to incentives for corruption among politicians.

No Indian is born corrupt. It is badly designed systems that lead to corruption. In our system, politicians stand to lose a lot of money when they contest elections. Those who get elected therefore seek to recover their costs, with compound interest. On top of this, we pay our politicians relatively poorly. This creates a perfect storm of incentives for corruption.

Simplistic solutions like Jan Lokpal do not address these huge incentive pitfalls. While there must be a system to punish the corrupt, it will not act as preventative with the kinds of incentives we have in India.

He said the first part of the solution is to reduce the opportunities for corruption by focusing on core function and high quality but minimal regulation of the market. The second part of the solution involves minimising politicians’ losses in the election and paying them well.

Mr Vishal Singh said that all candidates should be reimbursed Rs.15 per valid vote cast, up to a maximum of Rs. 70 lakhs. Along with this, the security deposit should be significantly increased to ensure that only serious candidates contest elections. Genuine candidates can, if needed, borrow money for their security deposit, assured of reimbursement for the votes they will receive.

Further, the salaries of elected representatives should be raised significantly, while eliminating all perquisites such as free travel, telephones, furnishings, vehicles or loans.

Mr Vishal Singh assured that such reforms will dramatically enhance the proportion of honest representatives who enter India parliaments. The SBP manifesto details the other essential and associated reforms that the party will implement.(Image-wikimedia)

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)