Unfortunately no transcript of what all went on in the first meeting of Manmohan Singh with select five editors, is available. However, his pretty long introductory note is available on Prime minister’s website that I went through and found really disgusting.
Manmohan Singh almost accuses media by his statement: ‘the role of the media today in many cases has become that of the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge.’ In a democracy and with perception of Ram Rajya as the target for good governance in the mind of the people of India, even one man can be ‘the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge’.
Unfortunately, Manmohan Singh lives in the past, and remains content with 50% score, whereas the next generation doesn’t want to get satisfied with anything less than 100%.
Manmohan’s reference to his Cambridge days reflects that:
“When I was a student at Cambridge, Sir Paul Chambers, who was then the Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries, came and addressed us on who is a good manager, who will be considered by industry as a good manager.
He told our student group that, in an uncertain world in which we live in, if 5 out of 10 decisions that I take ex-ante turn out to be correct ex-post that would be considered as a job well done. If out of 10 decisions that I take, 7 turn out to be right ex-post that would be considered an excellent performance. But if you have a system which is required to perform 10 out of 10 cases I think no system can be effective and satisfy that onerous condition.”
Can it work in this era with severe global competition?
Perhaps, it is wrong to blame him. He has gone old. A younger leadership is a must today, be it Rahul or even Sonia Gandhi. Perhaps that’s the reason that presently most of the heads are younger persons. Persons like Manmohan can only be advisors to the prime minister, but not the prime minister or CEO himself.
Manmohan also doubts the effectiveness of CAG and committees such as JAC: “whether it is the Comptroller and Auditor General, whether it is a Parliamentary committee then they analyse post facto. They have a lot more facts which were not available to those who took the decision.” Is it not dangerous for the country that the PM have such poor notion about the constitutionally established agencies for providing the checks and balances?
Interestingly, Manmohan didn’t allow the TV channels to cover his meet with the five journalists. So when the journalists came out, the media men jumped on them with questions to know what happened. While listening to the invited journalists, I got a feeling that they were really elated by this exclusive honour to be with the prime minister and talked very high of the Prime minister’s dialogue and of even composure and the confidence shown. One thinks, he is very much in control.
Manmohan, however, have grabbed the headlines@ of all newspapers and also found a place in editorials today. It has happened, because Manmohan had after noises in press and even from his own ministers broken his silence. Otherwise it would have been a small news item somewhere in middle pages.For many, Manmohan broke his silence, but only just.. For some, Manmohan Singh failed to dispel policy paralysis fears.
Manmohan Singh agreed that his government is described as the most corrupt-ever, but he doesn’t have any magic wand to correct it. He claims, he is neither weak nor lame duck.
If Manmohan would have formed a drafting committee with main opposition parties and come out with a strong Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare would not have appeared on the scene. If Manmohan would have taken some positive steps to seize or bring back the black money stashed in foreign banks or got an ordinance on the issue, Ramdev would not have grown as menace for him requiring police action of that scale on common people in midnight.
If Manmohan is not lame duck, will the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle exhibit it? Can he appoint some real efficient ministers, some even from outside the Congress such as NR Narayana Murthy? After all he was picked up for ministry as outsider. If Manmohan was innovative, he could have reengineered the portfolios and administration to leave back his lasting contribution.
Unfortunately, Manmohan is neither proactive nor he has any priority; otherwise he would have focused to get some really urgent bills such as the Land Acquisition one passed. This single bill is holding back the development of the country. Hundreds of projects have remained on paper for years with no land to proceed. If Manmohan would have been efficient, the sectors such as infrastructure= power, road, or healthcare and education would have been on booming.
Further, why could he not address the nation instead of talking with select five? Why can’t he instead of blaming opposition call them for a national debate? The nation would have loved to see a debate between him and Advani on national issues as it happens in US. With extensive penetration of TVs, it would have cleared the confusion from the minds of a large number of people.
@‘No magic wand to banish corruption’, ‘Can’t return to licence permit raj, have a police state’, ‘My govt is being termed most corrupt ever’, ‘Buck stops with me’, and…