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While one agrees that issues like fertility or sanitation should not be used as criteria for disqualifying candidates, some of your other arguments seem flawed. Legislative institutions in India (including panchayats) represent the most privileged jobs in India. However their central purpose is not to provide employment (of which they account for less than one percent of India’s workforce) or to engage in superficial tokenism (even though it is the most visible aspect), but to fulfill the larger legislative role of meeting Indian public’s aspirations. Thus efficacy of this group is the paramount concern in which lack of basic literacy among legislators cannot be treated as a minor issue. As analysts or activists one cannot complain about this lack of efficacy or for that matter quality of Indian legislators (including increasing number of convicted criminals) on the one hand, and at same time decry attempts to address this issue as limiting the choice of the voter or discriminating between the educated and the illiterate. After all, whether it is panchayat or parliament, the same processes are at play. Governance in India, even when presided by the honest, is an extremely complicated affair with leakages and delivery cost of every state intervention accounting for bulk of the expense. Any elected official, who cannot even read what she is signing, leaves herself at the mercy of her bureaucrats or more educated handlers. This is neither helpful nor desirable. Moreover, candidature for public office, not only in Indian villages but also at every level and in any democracy is circumscribed by criteria that exclude some. It is also a common practice in specialised jobs even in non-public organisations. In itself, this practice cannot be dismissed as regressive and discriminatory.

24/02/2015 09:00:14

@narendramodi VillagePanchayats in the country and to use the hall a LTD company ??? ????

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KISHANLAL GUPTA , India 02/06/2015 07:27:55

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