“Good governance cannot just be outsourced to the government. Last for the citizens too,” says Rohini Nilekani

New Delhi: Samaj (Society) is the basic sector for which Sarkar (government) and bazaar (Economy) were created to facilitate greater public interests, and all three must work together, author and philanthropist Rohini Nilekani said on Friday.

Nilekani chatted with Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of ThePrint, and Sandhya Ramesh, Senior Editor-Science, during an Off The Cuff session.

She talked about her new book, ‘Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar: A citizen-first approach’, the role of youth in politics, climate change and its impacts, and gender inequality.

Nilekani said her book aims to encourage public discourse on state and social accountability. She also said that youth should be involved in debates about India’s future, as young people in a “democracy like ours” are important to “be part of an active citizenship”.

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“You can’t outsource good governance”

Nilekani said youth, especially men, do not feel empowered enough to participate in political debates and bring about major changes in society. To counteract this, she claimed, public policy/policies and programmatic funding are needed to help young people have institutions that build more social capital.

She also said there can be no empowerment of women unless men also feel empowered to bridge the gap so both sexes can fulfill their potential.

“You can’t just outsource good governance to the government, it’s important that citizens help shape good governance. If we don’t get involved, we lose ground,” she said, stressing the need to get involved in solving local problems.

She went on to point out that youth are asking more questions and engaging in debates about climate change, education and wealth inequality.

philanthropy needed

Nilekani said philanthropy will always be there and it’s something even ordinary people do, not just billionaires.

She also mentioned how Samaj, sarkar and bazaar came together during the pandemic to provide resources and that “it is the best example of rapid integration”. She said societies tolerate wealth creation because they “assume it will spur innovation, create jobs, and also create better societies.”

Nilekani said the pandemic has proven the country has “the best public infrastructure in the world” where people are both digitally empowered and coming together to help one another.

“There is a great human capacity for empathy and coexistence, and the moral leadership of the Samaj gotta come up,” she added.

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