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Rightsizing the law: Laws are like fingernails; they keep growing if not cut

Source | The Economic Times : By Vasundhara Raje

Rajasthan started the year 2015 with 592 legislative Acts; it will end 2016 with 279. Of the four phases of this project – repealing, consolidating, examining relevance and putting laws online.

The state completed repeal last year, finalised consolidation in May , and began putting laws online last month.

An antibiotic reaction to the examining relevance phase from parts of the legislature and bureaucracy means that, for now, we won’t reach the stretch goal of only 100 Acts we set for ourselves

But a 50% reduction in legislation is still worth celebrating and is an important reminder to lawmakers that laws are like fingernails; they keep growing if not cut.

Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel once said, “I love the word question because it has the word quest in it.”

I often turn to this quote because as politicians it is hard to figure out the right questions and impactful quests given the noise of short-term events, vested interests and implementation capacity .

We aim to continue innovating by working with the state judiciary to analyse cases filed under our remaining 279 Acts so we generate the data for analytics that can guide our quest for continuous improvement.

The Rajasthan Laws Repealing Bill 2015 represented feedback from 66 departments over 100 meetings and repealed 248 Acts- the last time a principal Act was repealed by the state assembly was 1962.

The consolidation phase started last year but has been more complex and difficult; the education and revenue departments have more than 70 Acts each.

We identified nine departments with the most consolidation impact and began internal department reviews followed by meetings with the administrative reforms department and Bibek Debroy .

The state government will soon be ready to present legislation to our assembly that will consolidate 79 Acts into 14.

But the question of how to reduce the suspicion and increase the trust between citizens and lawmakers surely leads to the quest of reducing the transmission losses between how laws are written, interpreted, practised and enforced.

Other upsides of less legislation include less corruption, nepotism and judicial intervention

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