India: Re-synchronizing Elections for Better Governance


  • India, with over 96.88 crore voters, prepares for 18th Lok Sabha elections.
  • High-Level Committee submitted a report on holding simultaneous elections.

History of Elections in India

  • Lok Sabha and state assembly elections were held together from 1952-1967.
  • Desynchronization happened due to frequent dismissal of state governments using Article 356.
  • Supreme Court’s 1994 judgement (S R Bommai vs. Union of India) curbed misuse of Article 356.

Benefits of Simultaneous Elections

  • Saves administrative costs.
  • Optimizes manpower usage (election officials, security personnel).
  • Reduces disruption to public life.
  • Allows long-term focus on governance and development programs.
  • Shifts focus from electioneering to accountability for politicians.

Addressing Concerns: Local vs National Issues

  • Argument: Simultaneous elections may overshadow local issues.
  • Counter-argument: Evidence from past elections shows voters differentiate between national and local concerns.
    • Examples: Odisha (2019) and NCT of Delhi elections.

Operationalizing Simultaneous Elections (Phased Approach)

  • One-time tenure curtailment for some state assemblies ending near previous Lok Sabha election.
  • Extension of terms for some state assemblies beyond five years.
  • Once synchronized, Lok Sabha and state assembly elections held together, even in case of premature dissolution.
  • Premature dissolution elections only for “remainder of the term,” not full five years (similar to by-elections).

Local Body Elections: A Separate Case

  • Combining local body elections (panchayats, municipalities) with others may not be practical due to:
    • Variation in state laws governing local body elections.
    • Sheer number of local bodies.
    • Responsibility for local body elections lies with state election commissions, while ECI handles Lok Sabha and state assembly elections.


  • Desynchronization resulted from misuse of Article 356.
  • Simultaneous elections will promote good governance by making politicians focus on long-term plans.



Bengaluru’s Water Crisis: A Warning for Indian Cities

Bengaluru’s Woes

  • Worst drought in 4 decades leads to severe water shortage in Bengaluru (14 million residents).
  • City needs 2,600-2,800 MLD water but receives barely half.
  • 7,000 out of 13,000 borewells have dried up.

Reasons for the Crisis

  • Historically, Bengaluru relied on human-made lakes for water.
  • Urban expansion (IT boom) led to:
    • Loss of water sources (lakes became dumping grounds).
    • Increased concretization hindering groundwater recharge.
  • Decades of ignoring warnings:
    • Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) report (2017) – 85% of lakes polluted.
    • NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report (2018) – Bengaluru among 21 cities running out of groundwater by 2030.

Authorities’ Response

  • Strict curbs on water misuse and fixed rates for water tankers.
  • Utilizing milk tankers for water supply and takeover of private borewells.

A National Issue

  • Bengaluru’s crisis reflects a looming threat for most Indian cities.
  • CWMI report (2018): 21 cities, including Bengaluru, face groundwater depletion by 2030.
  • Potential 6% loss in India’s GDP by 2050 due to water scarcity (NITI Aayog).
  • Lack of proper water management across Indian cities.

Potential Solutions

  • Supply Management:
    • Repair leaky pipes to reduce water loss.
    • Explore alternative sources (rainwater harvesting, treated wastewater, desalination).
    • Promote water-efficient agriculture (drip irrigation).
  • Demand Management:
    • Public awareness campaigns for water conservation.
    • Tiered water tariffs to incentivize conservation.
    • Promote water-saving technologies (low-flow showerheads, faucets).
  • Improved Governance:
    • Install water meters for fair billing and identify high-consumption areas.
    • Strengthen water management institutions and inter-stakeholder coordination.


  • Bengaluru’s crisis is a wake-up call for Indian cities to adopt sustainable water management practices to avert future scarcity.


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