Can India leave a mark on its history?

Perhaps it is the first time in history of the world that any country is having so qualified persons responsible to run a country. The present younger generations can’t think of a better team at the helm of the nation’s affairs. The President of the country is world class technocrat. The Prime Minister is world class respected economists. The Finance Minister is Harvard educated legal luminary. The Chairman of Planning commission is again a highly reputed and experienced economist. Can one think of a better team? But will the team produce the result expected by the billion strong people of India? Though I wish that they do, the results of the first six months in office is not very encouraging at least in the field. It is not only what I think. Many assess their performance as an average. This Sunday in Times of India, Shri Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar wrote in his column with a caption-‘six months of timid waffle’-

“Lots of words and little concrete action. His one clear strategy seems to be a single-minded focus on surviving for a full five-year term, and if this means waffle and timidity, so be it. …. His main strategy can be summed up as: do not displease Madam, and do not displease the Left. Do not test the limits of your power, just concentrate on survival. This is not what I had expected. …. Manmohan Singh has frequently talked of the need to improve governance, to reform the dysfunctional administration, police system and judicial system. Yet we see no sign of action, only suggestions to set up a new committee on administrative reforms. This is waffle. Umpteen committees have given umpteen recommendations on reforming the administrative and judicial system. We need action, not more committees.”

Dr. Singh as well as Mr. Chidamabaram had been talking about many things providing a lot of hopes in near future, but I think they must concentrate on some specific projects so that all common people including me start getting a feel of some activities speeding up all around. When I talked with the truck drivers about the progress of GQ (Golden Quadrilateral) Super expressway, they don’t report any significant progress between Agra and Kolkata. Every time I talk to my village home in Bihar and enquire about the possibility of electrification of my village that falls under the constituency of Meira kumar- the celebrated daughter of Babu Jagjivan Ram, the reply is hardly encouraging. Why can’t we move faster on roads and electricity? Is it because we don’t have fund or we don’t have the will to get going faster? Can the PMO or Finance Minister, if not PM himself come out with a system to measure the government performance for the last six months? Why can’t it be some 10 major items, say the Km of road constructed, the number of villages connected by roads and electrification completed, number of employment provided by private and public enterprises, or in social sector, telecom targets related to internet, number of water bodies renovated, KM of irrigation canals built, number of healthcare centres created, etc. Instead of having a vague and very general common minimum programme, why can’t they give to nation specific targets of performance? Why can’t they change their criteria of performance from money sanctioned or money spent to work or project completed?

It will be worthwhile to talk of some prestigious projects and complete them in a time frame rather than going on promising many moons. Dr. Singh promised to develop Mumbai to become Shanghai. And is there a follow up after that announcement? And now Sheila Dixit talks of taking Delhi to Hong Kong or Kwalumpur level. Can they get the roads to the standard of those cities in next 4 years? Can they get the transport system to that standard? Can they provide the civil amenities- drinkable water and electricity to that standard?

With the great team at the helm of affairs India and Indians want a difference in governance and a visible change and speedy activities all around. Can we see it happening in years left of their governance?

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