Dear Mr. Chidambaram: A Reminder

I respect you as one of the best performing cabinet ministers and parliamentarians.Your speeches are so interesting and assuring. So I would have loved if you could have kept up the promises you made in your budget speeches. It would have enhanced your credibility. I am also one who wish to see you as prime minister even if Gandhis select you following the Sonia-Manmohan model.

Let me take you to the Budget of 2004-05 where you as finance minister had said, “I now turn to one of my big dreams. Water is the lifeline of civilidation. We have been warned that the biggest crisis that the world will face in the 21st century will be the crisis of water.”

“I therefore propose an ambitious scheme. Through the ages, Indian agriculture has been sustained by natural and man-made water bodies such as lakes, tanks, ponds and similar structures. It has been estimated that there are more than a million such structures and about 500,000 are used for irrigation. Many of them have fallen into disuse. Many of them have accumulated silt. Many require urgent repairs.”

There were some water bodies all around my village too, but most of them have disappeared, filled and encroached for either construction or cultivation. The entire nation got excited with your proposal to launch “a massive scheme to repair, renovate and restore all the water bodies that are directly linked to agriculture”.

Was the proposal implemented? If not, why couldn’t you follow it up?

I shall remind you about your second promise in the 2004 budget speech. That related to a proposal to facilitate all ITIs to be adopted by some companies to make its training and skilling relevant so that the industry get trained and skilled young men and women ready to take up responsible position.

How many of ITIs of the total in India have tied up with industry?

Can your office publish a white paper on just these two promises? How will rate yourself on the implementation of these two proposals?

How can the country develop if promises are not kept? I am sure the failure to execute both the proposals were not due to lack of fund.

Mr. Chidambaram, we expect you to take the country out of the present financial gloom. It can happen only if the government works.

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