NEW DELHI: A strong pitch was made today for having Presidential system in India instead of Parliamentary setup, which has shown "severe flaws" over 65 years of governance, especially in decision-making, affecting progress.
"The idea (of having Presidential set up) is worth discussing. There are severe flaws with the Parliamentary system," Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, noting that the focus in Parliamentary setup has been more on saving power, especially in cases of coalition government. Tharoor made the statement during a function where a book 'Why India Needs a Presidential System', authored by founder of Hindi daily Divya Himachal Bhanu Dhamija, was released here.
He rued that elections are contested with a focus on becoming a Minister and felt the Presidential system would be more stable. He suggested that like President, the idea of having directly elected chief executive at state and mayors at city levels be considered.
Tharoor observed that in a Presidential set up, leaders from smaller states can stand a chance to lead a nation vis-à-vis in Parliamentary set up, which may produce a top leader like a Prime Minister from politically strong state. He also cited example of Uttar Pradesh which has produced more Prime Ministers than any other states.
Tharoor though maintained the powers of President should be balanced and fundamental rights of citizens be ensured. Senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar echoed similar views and stressed Presidential set up was required to ensure "speedy" decision-making. "International reports put India amongst most corrupt countries. Similarly, the number of malnourished children is huge in the country. The difference between rich and poor is widening. Farmers are committing suicide. These are results of pursuit of existing Parliamentary system," the former Himachal Pradesh chief minister said.
Kumar said Indian need not replicate US Presidential set up in its bid for better governance, but frame a system envisaging its own requirements. Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar though felt Parliamentary system was better than the Presidential as he expressed apprehensions that the latter may produce a dictator affecting an individual's right.
Nayar lauded first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for shaping India's democracy, and said he too favoured a Presidential set up, but changed his mind after Indira Gandhi clinched the coveted post as he elaborated developments during Emergency and his own experiences during the period. "I was in favour of Presidential set up. But I changed my mind after Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister. India must stay democratic, pluralistic," he insisted.
During his address, Dhamija said he wrote the book following his experiences of staying in US and India and the "pathetic" condition of the country. He announced to also release a Hindi version of the book, which he said has been made "credible".