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Election : A Provision of “Social License to Operate" (SLO)

Election/vote in a democracy like India is the most significant and valuable method of achieving of social licenses by the political parties to operate politically a democratic government. Voters allow this license depending on some parameters of personal benefits and for the purpose of all-round development of the Nation. Validity of this social license to operate the government is for a maximum period of 5 years. Thereafter, either voters renew it through re-electing of the same political part(ies) or provide it to other political parties (earlier as opponent or whatsoever). According to Thomson and Boutilier (2011), “a social license to operate (SLO) is a community’s perceptions of the acceptability of a company and its local operations.” Social license is something that can be granted by the community and maintenance of social license is an ongoing process. Thomson and Boutilier identified four levels of the SLO and a lower SLO indicates a higher risk. It may be a danger when accessibility of essential resources i.e.  Financing, legal licenses, raw material, labour, markets, public infrastructure are being restricted.  Losing/lapse of a social license to operate the government is extremely a high socio-political risk. Social license to operate involves hierarchically in a pyramid structure where top is for psychological identification, approval and acceptance and at the bottom it is considered as withheld or withdrawn.  Therefore, when the psychological identification would be disturbed, risk of acceptance or rejection would be in higher risk.

Political Parties of India with different manifestations (philosophies and principles) are in a threshold of losing supports of voters in different times.  For example, Indian National Congress, the oldest political parties of India has been in a corner place of Indian national politics in respect of victory of seats. Another is very relevant example of the Left Front parties of West Bengal ruled for 34 years are no more rather than a witness.  Does it a cause and effect of political awareness/sensitiveness of people in India? Are voters concerned about election of better government through their social license to operate?

  Is not losing of popularity of a political party or losing of social license to operate by a political due to abuse or misapplication or implication of social license to operate the government? Many times, the elected government is dictated and dominated by the particular political part(ies) ruling the government. Biasedness towards supporters and making new supporters or interest groups for votes are involved with various evils and idle mechanism i.e. threat, fear, and violence. There is lack in social accountability and transparency. Further, political politics are the prime hindrance of development politics as whole. Too much opposing of government and its planning and development models without true and factual assessment is another burden loaded with Indian multi-parties politics. Swami Vivekananda opined that development planning and programmes should be formulated after assessing people’s urgent needs by the people themselves.  It would be the best approach of real sense of development and reformation for the country. It would surely be rained its fruits to the people, and they would be rescued from their generational sufferings of poverty, hunger, ill-health and unemployment and so forth. But each and every planning is guided by the particular mission of the political parties. Further,  Swamiji guided that it would be better than to support others who are helping to suffering than to help the sufferings.  Eventually, opponents in India’s politics do not follow it almost in all cases.

Therefore, SLO should be effectively used for real sense of development and building of a strong Nation. Shifting of the desired goal of development or luring the voters would be adversely impacted in the future of the Nation. 

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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