In his book, making India work, William Nanda Bissell has endeavored to directly confront the poverty facing India by recognizing the enormous potential that the country has at its disposal. This is in spite of the high levels of grinding poverty that afflict more than 60 percent of the population. As Bissell has rightly observed, India is not a poor country. Instead, we ought to blame the poor management structures in the country for the problems that we are now faced with (Bissell, 2010).
In addition, Bissell has pointed out that India considers itself to be a superpower, and yet well over 60% of the countrys population is faced with grinding poverty. The transformative ideas that Bissell proposes are intended to ensure wealth generation at the grassroots level, as opposed to relying on a trickle-down effect. One cannot help but observe how Bissells book is an attempt to provide solutions to the problems that been forecasted by Mahatma Gandhi in his fundamental principles of living.
According to Gandhi, need, as opposed to greed, ought to constitute the foundation of all forms of consumptions and in light of this, he made a clarion call for , that is, that can easily be access by the people. In addition, he also warns us against blindly imitating the consumption and industrialization patterns that are a characteristic of the western nations. In his book, Bissell has endeavored to capture four fundamental ideas:
Bissell proposes the adoption of a government structure that consists of four levels. In this case, Bissell recommends that the community should constitute the fundamental and active unit of government, effectively replacing the Panchayats (Bissell, 2010). Bissell proposes that the community should be made up of 25,000 people.
In addition, he has also recommended that districts should be replaced by a group of 100 communities, or what he refers to as an Area. Moreover, a collection of 10 Areas would effectively replace the state. At the highest level of these 4 stages of structural governance is the Nation (Bissell, 2010). Bissell has advocated for a simplification of the government, in addition to ensuring that its roles are reduced by way of setting standards, individual rights, and monitoring and regulating compliance.
Furthermore, Bissell asserts that this structure would be most ideal in helping to reduce the bureaucracy that characterizes the Indian government. At the moment, there are 22 million strong government servants and Bissell is convinced that this figure should be reduced to .
The Indian government has assumed a scattered approach in its quest to alleviate poverty. As a result, only a fraction of the financial assistance really reaches the intended beneficiaries. As a result, a majority of the Indian shall still remain poor. In order to end the poverty cycle, Bissell recommends the adoption of a voucher system, one that he has called Targeted Catalysts.
In this case, the Targeted Catalyst would ensure that each individual is guaranteed of receiving six fundamental services namely, drinking water, nutrition, healthcare, sewage disposal, education, and legal assistance (Bissell, 2010). The private sectors would be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that these essential services are provided to those in need, for purposes of increasing effectiveness and efficiency.
Therefore, Indians in need of these vital services would receive the vouchers from the government and present them to the private service providers, who would then have to be reimbursed for the services provided by the government (Bissell, 2010). Further, Bissell has recommended that the reimbursement value should be pegged on the quality rating of such a private providers, meaning that those who are in a position to provide better services also receive better pay.
The prevailing excesses of taxes namely, capital gains tax, incomes tax, excise duty, and sales tax, among others, often . In addition, a high collection and compliance cost is often attached to these taxes (Bissell, 2010).
In a bid to overcome these shortcomings, Bissell has proposed the adoption of a simple system of taxation that is primarily based on property tax that is an annual rate of one percent on the value of property, to be collected by communities. Bissell further contends that even as the prevailing tax system has the potential to realize approximately $120 billion in terms of annual revenue, nonetheless, the proposed new system has the potential to realize a total annual revenue collection of $300 billion at a lesser cost than that accrued by the current system of taxation (Bissell, 2010).
In addition, Bissell argues that embracing the proposed new system of revenue collection would ensure that the community government becomes empowered since most of the revenues collection, along with a spending of the same on the identified Targeted Catalysts would effectively occur at the Community level.
Bissell has endeavored to unearth the underlying cause of the failure by the modern day capitalist nations. In this regard, he argues that todays capitalism has not succeeded in placing the deserved value on the real cost of production, such as the environmental cost of producing products, the actual cost of production, as well as the cost of disposal (Bissell, 2010).
As a result, Bissell argues that there is need to take into account the real cost of a product when we are computing its pricing. In the same way, as citizens, access to clean water and air constitutes the basic human rights and as such, we are entitled to these. Bissell has also observed that environmental exchanges shall enable those communities that have invested in clean water, biodiversity and forest to trade credits with their counterparts who are still aging behind.
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