India, the world’s largest democracy is now poised emerge from its slumber to enter the global greats. While a strong and entrepreneurial working population will be the major catalyst of this change, the importance of the ruling class in this growth cannot be denied. With an increasingly proactive urban populace participating actively in the political dialog, the question of whether a certain level of education should be made necessary to hold a ministerial post is slowly emerging.
The advantages of such a change are quite clear. An educated politician will not only be able to take better policy decisions on critical issues of national interest, but an intellectual ruling class will also improve India’s image on the global scale. Most developed economies have businessmen and graduates from Ivy leagues in senatorial positions, which certainly gives them a substantial advantage while making policy decisions. That being said, this move is somewhat antithetical to the concept of a perfect democracy as well as a bit detached from the ground realities of the country. We still have a literacy rate of around 74% which is a huge improvement over our pre-independence number of 12%, but still lagging considerably over most nations. Only 3.1% of Indians complete tertiary education, which makes having this group represent the broader masses seem a bit elitist. Also an elected representative from a rural uneducated constituency will probably need to be somewhat similar to the people to fully comprehend the nature of their problem and work on redressing it. Taking both sides of the issue into consideration an ideal middle ground will have to be reached, to come up with an effective and pragmatic solution.
There have been a set number of constituencies reserved for women candidates throughout the country. The idea of a meritocratic reservation, wherein a certain number of constituencies are reserved for people with a degree from an accredited college can be pitched. While this will keep the fundamental ideas that our founding fathers had intact, it will also give a good mix of the intelligentsia to our upper and lower houses.