The difference between team selection and handouts

Biskitbaba explains all male cabinet for Delhi government

It is sad that this explanation is necessary, but with AAP vounteers cannibalizing the credibility of their own women leaders to somehow prove them not required in the cabinet, this post becomes necessary.

To a bunch of people conditioned to respond to any issue of identity with assumptions of special favors and handouts, it may come as a surprise that when you speak of the top of an organization (which a government is), it is more about responsible team selection than favors.

A diverse city needs diverse perspectives to understand thoroughly. There is a HUMAN aspect, not just “competence” at churning out and implementing ideas. A person who has an experience of being a religious minority is more likely to spot potential problems that could impact religious minorities because life has given them that lens. A person who is from a caste that has known being treated as inferior is likely to have more practical suggestions to empowerment than someone who has not suffered disempowerment and approaches it as a conceptual problem – albeit with phenomenal “merit”.

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@vidyut, @_aamjanata”]Differing perspectives on a team are an asset, not a handout or reservation.[/tweetthis]

Similarly a woman is likely to have instinctive feel if something would or would not suit a woman’s realities than a man. It is no coincidence that all those jokes about men not understanding their wives and all the complaints of insensitivity from men happen. Men and women see the world with different perspectives. What can seem normal to a man can be a problem to women and vice versa. Not having a woman on board opens up potential for costly mistakes too, since humans doing the delivering don’t matter so much as efficiency in delivering.

Does this mean that you can cover the whole diversity of Delhi with six people? Of course not. But is it necessary to at least attempt to cover large chunks broadly? Damn right it is. If a chunk of 46% is not represented, the decision making body is POORER QUALITY because the risk of their decisions being potentially not efficient goes up.

Also the arguments that women would prefer to be chosen for merit rather than gender – or vice versa – that women should not be chosen for gender are both irrelevant.

Should a single woman have preference over a man because of her gender? No. Should a team with no women on it go out of its way to choose one? Yes. Is it insulting to that woman to be chosen because of her gender? I don’t think so.

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@vidyut, @_aamjanata”]When men will “deliver” promises on women’s rights and women are “incompetent” what does it mean?[/tweetthis]

If I were part of a team that had to send six participants to do a physical task – the nature of which we didn’t know. And the leader chose participants for various qualities like say…. speed, strength, heavy weight, light weight, tall and short. I may be a superb strategist or I may not be as “efficient” as others on the team or I would never want to get a job for my short height – but if I bring in a quality the team needs, should I do it? Damn right. It is responsibility. It would be absurd to call this a handout.

The cabinet is a team setting out to rule Delhi. No one has an idea of what competencies the team was chosen for, so I would not comment. But if 46% of the “challenge conditions” will think in a certain manner people on my team don’t, would I choose someone who thought like them? Damn right I would. It would be a competence, not handout. Not tokenism, not symbolism. It would be the right thing to do, because when facing unknown challenges, that person would have familiarity with something the others don’t. Would it matter whether that person wanted to be selected for her being a woman? If I were a leader? No. It would be her responsibility to put her ego aside and be there because she was a woman and the team needed a woman because 46% of the target citizens were women.

This isn’t a handout. This is responsible team choosing. If the cabinet is indeed chosen for merit, then the parameters are incorrectly set if they leave such a large target group unrepresented. Apart from this being unfair to the women of Delhi, it makes for a poorer quality cabinet.

‘Look at “XYZ woman politician” women shouldn’t be on cabinet’

It is not just absurd logic (there are bad male politicians too. Keep the cabinet empty) it is extremely insulting to the women MLAs as well as AAP by implying that AAP women are no better than those you hold in contempt. It basically exposes your misogyny – to put it mildly – apart from making you sound insane.

Can you cover every minority? Why not Sikh, Christian, OBCs, tribals and my dabbawala?

Ideally, you would have all represented, but it may not be possible in such a small cabinet. You could exaggerate it to ridiculous levels, but if you are aiming to understand instead of just trivialize an issue as important as this, it is possible to understand. The attempt must be to have perspectives that can at least understand some of the disadvantage, if not completely. Any minority person is more likely to understand issues of religious sensitivity. Any lower caste person is likely to be aware of hierarchies better than someone who has never been seen as socially inferior for fact of birth. Similarly, there are a thousand different ways women think, but a woman is still more likely to understand them than a man. Failing a woman, a member of the LGBT community could be included (if the women really were so terrible and you hid it during the campaign) – another example of not “reserving for women” but still achieving a perspective on gender bias related disadvantages.

One counter question for you. How are you certain that the six cabinet members selected are not handouts? Are handouts given only to women?


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9 thoughts on “The difference between team selection and handouts”

  1. I agree with Vidyut on this. Life itself perpetuates through diversity and lack of diversity leads to extinction.
    Diversity breeds creativity while the lack thereof leads to stagnation – and many philosophers have likened stagnation to death when talking about ideas and revolution.

  2. You did clarify it in your previous article.
    And I rebutted it.

    True. There is merit to the argument that inclusion of a Female in the cabinet does bring something valuable to the table.
    No one can deny that.

    Is it AAP’s Priority right now? Apparently NOT. That finishes the debate.
    You think otherwise. That’s OK. But debate is still over.

    Again, you think it would be good to include woman. AAP thinks so too, but right now they need something else. You’re right. They’re right. The End.

    Now to your question, “How are you certain that the six cabinet members selected are not handouts? Are handouts given only to women?” No one knows the criteria of selection. So they may or may not be handouts. What to do? Ask for another handout, this time based on gender? I’m not asking for handout or anything else, you are. I don’t think selection of anyone is handout. I think they deed what they needed to do. What they thought best. Even what they wanted to do. What’s their prerogative.

    I would like to ask you to write an article about Why woman MUST be part of the Cabinet. “Should be” isn’t enough, because AAP MUST not indulge in appeasement of Bhakts or Counter-Bhakts. They are fighting against bigger powers, and taking chances is in nobody’s interest. In these trying times, Binni & Shazia are not required. Perhaps personal trust among those 67 might be the biggest criterion of the selection for cabinet. Perhaps some lobbying took place. Perhaps AK decided on the cabinet dictatorially. Who knows?

    You do understand that this is War, not a game, don’t you? Desperate times, Desperate measures.

    1. Let me put it like this. Many, many of people who supported AAP do not want a male only executive. Other MLAs are not even present in cabinet meetings. AAP has led people to believe that it supports equal power to women, which is among the reasons I supported AAP. As far as I am concerned, AAP told lies to get people like me to speak well of them. They did not deliver, so they went back on their own word. I’d suggest you read AAP’s statement on women’s day last year. They have endorsed the women’s reservation bill in it. They signed the womanifesto. And now, with women’s safety and other issues as a key agenda for delivering, they think women aren’t capable to even participate in solving their problems. As far as I am concerned, they did election jumlas to hide their misogyny. You may pretend to hold accountable, but you hold accountable to your interest, which clearly isn’t powerful women in politics. I differ.

      1. Nope.

        You say AAP duped you. That’s NOT the case. No one can dupe you. Your tweets stand in testimony to that. You supported AAP, ‘coz you had reasons, many of them I guess. No because AAP duped you. Now you find something not according to your liking (perhaps you’re stuck with the stand you took), & you blame AAP for it. That’s NOT done. But hey, your choice. But there isn’t any Lie or Jumla, as you would have others believe.

        And anyways, absence of woman in AAP cabinet is in no way reflection of the capabilities of Women MLAs. If it is, you should prove that. (Again, you Must prove that). AAP’s cabinet is simply a set of People they chose to achieve what they have already promised. The context is very very narrow. 70 points of the manifesto. You get a plumber to fix a leaking pipe. They need a plumber, not a doctor. This doesn’t demean the doctor. Point being, they chose what they needed “right now”, end of matter.

        Including a Woman in cabinet is empowerment? How? Because there’s Power? Where’s Power? Does Indian Democracy work like that? Does AAP work like that? Are you sure of it? Won’t the AAP cabinet change in future? Isn’t it possible they’ll bring in Women candidates when their expertise is needed & expertise of current cabinet ministers is redundant at some particular epoch? What’s the fuss with “here & now”? Why don’t you ask AAP to provide water to all on the first day itself?

        As I said before, having a female perspective is indeed a super thing on many (many many) issues, but currently AAP’s priority may be different. Why is it so difficult to understand or accept? And all this havoc, not because AAP has failed in any single of their 70 points of manifesto, but because “right now” there is no woman in the cabinet.

        I would say you need to have some perspective.

    2. Although on a legal standpoint, your view that cabinet is CM’s personal team seems to be ok, but there is a major flaw in that approach.
      CM himself is a public figure. He has to be accountable for his actions. There has to be explanation, norms etc when appointing someone – even if they are not always followed, when the norm is bypassed there should be a good reason and explanation.
      Trust is difficult to build but easy to break. Especially public trust.

  3. I avoided posting any comments on this either here or twitter etc, but unfortunately some people are refusing to give space for alternate viewpoints so putting down my views here. This is 4th or 5th article here apart from innumerable tweets etc, making it appear that this is the biggest burning issue for Delhi Govt, so a counter has become necessary to illustrate that alternate valid viewpoints exist.

    > A diverse city needs diverse perspectives to understand thoroughly.

    Ill-founded as far as cabinet selection is concerned. This may be a valid line of thought for legislators (MLAs/MPs) but we don’t follow a proportionate system of representation and forcing it otherwise into other areas (candidate selection) without taking all its aspects into consideration would be harmful rather than improving anything. However, that is a completely separate discussion.

    A cabinet is required to be a team that the CM selects for execution of the overall plans, that the CM has confidence in (as far as ability to execute) and so on.

    > There is a HUMAN aspect, not just “competence” at churning out and implementing ideas.

    There is no question of “competence” here. One would assume that all MLAs are competent in the first place else party would be giving tickets to “incompetent” persons. See above: its about the team a CM thinks best for execution.

    > But is it necessary to at least attempt to cover large chunks broadly?

    Again ill-founded argument. Cabinet is not about representation at all. Legislature is.

    > If a chunk of 46% is not represented, the decision making body is POORER QUALITY because the risk of their decisions being potentially not efficient goes up.

    See above. Also note that the system has been envisaged such that executive is answerable to legislature for this reason among others. It has been recognized that “getting voices heard” is via the legislature while cabinet is the executive arm that implements those voices. Which is the reason for reserved constituencies and so on. Ideally the overall direction of executive as well as all decisions would include the consent of the legislature as well as guided by it, at least the MLAs of own party, though we have seen this being subverted in some states.

    Then again this proportionate representation argument for cabinet has no basis in reality. One can very well argue the same about 20+% OBCs, or christian/buddhist representation and so on. Each and every of these segments has a unique set of problems and precisely the same arguments as you pose for women representation holds for these too. Then again note that the issues for muslim women are on the whole quite different from those of upper-class hindu women which are different from dalit women and so on. This should not be a consideration for a cabinet as described before (and only for legislature).

    > Any minority person is more likely to understand issues of religious sensitivity.

    This is incorrect in large parts. As a crude example, but nonethless to illustrate a point, a Muslim person is less likely to understand the issues of a Parsi, for example, than a Hindu who has Parsi friends or who has worked in the community. Similarly a Dalit understanding issues of a disabled person is an unlikely event just by virtue of both belonging to minority/oppressed segments.

    The argument to include women because of larger proportion is also not well founded. Smaller minorities require stronger voices so that their voices do not drown away. There are plenty of strong voices among the women, organizations and so on, so it is unlikely that their voices would not be heard. The same does not hold for other minorities like disabled people etc.

    Which is why all this makes sense for MLAs where it should be represented, while the executive should work under their guidance.

    > Ideally, you would have all represented, but it may not be possible in such a small cabinet.

    Cabinet is not about representation, much less proportionate representation. It is a team handpicked by CM to carry out the voice/need of all sections of society as carried through by the legislature.

    1. Highly recommend that you stop flaunting your ignorance of sociology and get any reputable psychologist to back these dismissals of representation. There is no doubt your view is shared by many, because increasingly it appears that AAP’s much bragged about holding leaders accountable is another election jumla. Anyone who does that gets attacked.

      1. > Highly recommend that you stop flaunting your ignorance of sociology and get any reputable psychologist to back these dismissals of representation.

        Sociology or psychology or both, make up your mind? And as if all your articles have been vetted by “reputable psychologists”. Anyway, coming back to the real point: this is not about sociology/psychology rather are the very basics of our constitutional structure. The reason why cabinets are much smaller than legislatures. Latter is about representation, while former is a team that a CM has confidence in that it can deliver the plans for the state. Then the cabinet/executive is directly answerable to the legislature thus making the voice of people via representative system (of MLAs/MPs) of highest importance.

        There are, of course, alternatives, and different viewpoints there ranging from validity of representative system itself (e.g. proportional system) to direct referendums etc.

        Its time to realize that there are alternative valid viewpoints having their own reasoning, and anyone appearing to defend the cabinet selection need not be labeled as bhakt or whatever.

        > Anyone who does that gets attacked.

        Hmm, as far as I see almost all “attacks” came from people holding the view that women need representation in the cabinet, and by not doing that the Delhi Govt has somehow become a “male bastion”, while others were defending their own views and they are termed as being “bhakts” just “flaunting ignorance” as you put it. Regardless I don’t care about who attacked who, rather what are the substantial points being made and I tried to respond to all of those from your article in my previous comment.

        Your essential argument is that cabinet must be representative of the general population as far as possible. My response is that in our constitutional structures by design this holds water for the legislature which is the real representative. The cabinet is a team that enjoys the confidence of a CM as far as delivery of plans goes, and has nothing to do with representation as such. These are the basics of our constitutional structures. It would do good to stick to the substantial points rather than going on tangents as was done in your reply.

    2. One thing which you are completely ignoring is public interface. Public will feel more easy with the minister and will be more open if the minister is similar.
      A simple question – will a woman who has been wronged find it easy to go to a police station if all the cops are male?

      Although I agree its about legislation and not executive wing … But the independence of executive in India is a myth. Legislature is the real executive directing the executive wing to do their will. So that’s a moot point.

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