Where Man Mohan Singh Could Have Helped?

How should we assess our PM, when he has completed half of his tenure? As per one report based on the data available on March 31, 2006, out of the 742 ongoing projects of the government of India, only 91 were actually completed, though 273 projects were due for completion. The total anticipated cost of the 742 projects is slated to rise steeply by Rs 48,483 crore from Rs 2,79,081 crore to Rs 3,27,564 crore, reflecting a jump of 17.37 per cent in the overall. Surprisingly, the time overrun ranged from three to 252 months. With all the projects completed as per schedule, the exchequer would have got nearly Rs 50,000 crore, and it would have added to the GDP tidy two or three percentiles in the form of the multiplier effect of goods and services flowing from the projects.

India expects its efficient economist prime minister and his team to improve on the implementation of the dream projects rather than bombarding the people and mesmerizing them with the announcements of mind-boggling values. Let him see that all the dream projects such as Bharat Nirman, Sarv Shiksha Aviyan get implemented in the time frame planned.

As reported, after an almost one-year lull, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has awarded three contracts for national highway sections. Ministry officials, on their part, have been blaming the public-private partnership appraisal committee (PPPAC) for the delays in awarding the contracts. The Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) is still not complete. NHAI has already extended it twice from December 2004 to December 2005. Perhaps, it may finish only by mid-2007. With so much of criticism from every quarter, particularly the prospective investors, the Prime minister would have taken some personal interest and pushed the ministry and NHAI to perform instead of discovering the excuses. If transportation minister is inefficient, why can’t he be changed? And if necessary, why can’t the prime minister talk about it confidentially to DMK chief? I am sure DMK must have some better substitute.

Let us look at the situation of power. Every one knows that no progress can even be dreamt without electricity. Now the minister discovers that BHEL is not having sufficient capacity to supply the equipment in time. BHEL currently has an order book of about Rs 45,000 crore. And this becomes the excuse for achieving only 75 per cent of the targeted capacity addition of 41,000 mw during Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-07). And after so many years, the power minister of the country says, “the power capacity addition in China stands at 3 lakh mega watts and there were at least five to six manufacturing companies meeting the annual capacity addition of nearly 60,000 mw. We need to learn from the China experience and have more manufacturers to support our power programme.” How long will our ministers keep on learning today from China, earlier from Japan, Korea, or US?

People expect the prime minister to get over the situation where the minister keeps on making such excuses instead of finding the solutions. I still expect that the prime minister must bring younger and efficient ministers where the executions are critical for the development of the country.

And there is one another area where I feel our PM would have made his personal contribution that could have facilitated investment in manufacturing sector. He would have concentrated on the actions for starting and doing business in India that is all on measurable, easy and without a hassle. His experience would have helped him. His honesty of purpose would have made bureaucrats respond positively to attain it. And would have been a big achievement of his government. Perhaps, even now the PM can do something in the remaining two years of his tenure as PM.

I only expect our PM to do what he can do the best.

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