Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Parliament and the academics

Elizabeth Warren is the head of the US Congressional panel that monitors the end-use of the funds allotted by the US Treasury to various institutions to combat recession. She is neither a Senator nor a House Representative. She is a Harvard Law Professor. She specialises in bankruptcy law and has authored a well known book "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke". The American administrative system generously makes use of academicians to benefit the legislature. Other members of the panel are of course legislators. Having an academic in such panels is helpful in many ways. Knowledge inputs will doubtless be more. Political bias may be less. Lateral thinking will be facilitated. People's trust in the legislature will be strenghthened.

Should not the Indian Parliament adopt a similar system? If professors who have no axes to grind are involved in such committees, it will have a synergistic effect that will help legislators to improve their own functioning and academics to operationalise their knowledge. It will promote transparency and will benefit the nation immensely.

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