Iron Triangle For National Objectives

Monday, March 10, 2014
By Satish Khanna

Satish Khanna was Former Group President at Lupin Ltd and now helps entrepreneurs to create International alliances

The Iron Triangle concept is very Japanese, very logical, quite proven and possibly has significant relevance for contemporary India to achieve national objectives.

During Meiji period after 1868,the Japanese system amalgamated the spirit of Samurai (Loyalty, Obedience, Courage, Honor, Benevolence, Sincerity, Self-Discipline, Wisdom and Politeness) and the capabilities of Merchants (ability to work hard to make money, maintaining low profile, keeping continuity of the business entity as supreme duty) and opened up the Japanese economy to the external world. We find the Japan of today, even in the twenty first century, possessing all these traits among its people and establishments.

In Fifties-Sixties-Seventies-Eighties, of the previous century, once again when Japan was to reconstruct their nation after American occupation, post world-war II, the Japanese Government, Japanese Business and Japanese Bureaucrats jointly made an Iron Triangle that worked seamlessly together to “Order the Society and Direct the Economy to meet pre-defined National Goals”. This way, they built fastest growing economy out of being in shambles prior to that.

Some may challenge Japanese system by saying that they have been in economic slow-down period for almost two decades now and why should India pick up any lessons from them because they are not a performing nation.

But, the fact is despite long economic slow-down it is a nation that has many landmarks to its credit. It still is the third largest economy in the world, with least crime rate in the world, with highest quality standards in the world, with leadership in the Automobile Industry in the world, with highest life expectancy in the world, with the best public transport system in the world, with status of being the world capital of Robots and surely has the most hard working, diligent and strong human value systems driven society in the world.

We in India have to do some introspection as to how do we define our national goals for the future. There should be a formal national debate led decision, need be even national referendum, to freeze the top ten national goals that India must achieve over the next 10 years. These goals should be agenda of every politician, every bureaucrat, every business house and in fact every citizen. These goals should not belong to any particular political party or state or business house. Each political party must derive their poll manifesto from these common national goals, ideological difference can be only as to how they are going to achieve these national goals.

Thereafter, the Governments at centre, state and district level must put the national goals above the politics; Ministers should be made accountable to deliver on the national goals and CAG like audit agencies through DAVP like bodies must inform the public as to who did and who did not do enough to achieve the goals; Mechanism should be developed which defines the shelf life of politicians and political establishment suitably linked with their deliverance on the national goals.

Dynasty politics has converted state and national politics into a business of amassing personal wealth at the cost of nation. Next generation in the dynasty politics tend to come to politics for the continuation of the wealth amassing process rather than patriotic objective of doing something for the nation.

Bureaucracy too needs to be elevated in terms of respect it gets in the society. These positions are not meant for collecting money but for rendering services for building and running the nation. Bureaucratic jobs and positions cannot be auctioned. We do have lots of capable and clean bureaucrats in the country and that kind of breed has to be encouraged.

Business houses and the professionals working in the private sector should address all the economic goals of the nation; Bureaucracy and politicians must create conducive atmosphere where innovation led clean business is supported by eliminating undesirable controls that are stifling economic progress; enough checks must be put in place to kill the thought of making quick or ill gotten money by the business houses.

National leadership should be committed to a holistic approach for integrating politics, bureaucracy and business for meeting national goals. This Iron triangle should Order the Society and Direct the Economy to meet pre-defined National Goals. We know, it is not as simple as written here, but do we have a better alternative approach.

We in India have to do some introspection as to how do we define our national goals for the future. There should be a formal national debate led decision, need be even national referendum, to freeze the top ten national goals that India must achieve over the next 10 years.

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