Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dr. Man Mohan Singh : Honest, Decent Prime Minister



In the last couple of weeks of Sep, 2012, to be precise around 14 Sep, 2012, several things happened. Firstly, Prime Minister Mon Mohan Singh, unshakled by Congress party, unleashed a slew of economic measures. These included raising price of diesel, reducing subsidy on cooking gas and inviting FDI in multibrand retail. Direct consequence of these measures was major partner of UPA II government, the All India Trina Mool Congress parting ways with the government. This effectively reduced government to a minority government. However, this did not cowdown our mild mannered prime minister. He promised further reforms even at the risk of losing power. The moves set opposition parties in a tizzy, almost releasing cat among pigeons. Same parties that were accusing Dr. Singh to be an ineffective and incompetent puppet, started branding our prime minister as seller of countries interest to foreigners.
 I have full faith in our Prime Minister, Dr. Man Mohan Singh. Dr. Singh is a good economist, may be a poor administrator. The functional relationship that worked in UPA II, I am guessing, that prime minister will take care of runing government while Mrs. Gandhi will take care of managing the politics. Infact, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee was doing just that – managing politics. As UPA II came on social justice plank, congress party wanted to do more for poor and downtrodden. Congress plan was backed by NAC, an advisory body made of prominent people of society. NAC came up with ambitious plans to help poor. To fund thses programs, money was needed. However, aggressive NGO’s and NAC members were stalling reforms, industrialisation etc. in the name harm to environment and poor. The whole process was complicated by aggressive allies like TMC, that opposed all reform proposal yet demanded a moratorium on interest payment for three years. Prime Minister did not want to have Mr. A Raja as minister, yet coalition compulsion forced him to give Mr. Raja a ministry. All these apparent loss of control over administration probably made Dr. Singh a disillusioned man for most of the second term of UPA. He was unable to control decision making, yet he was to take blame for all mismanagement as head of government. He probably could have resigned. May be that was his fault. However, as things unravelled in last couple of weeks, real Dr. Singh has come out. Backed by his party, Dr. Singh is doing what he does best, that is economic reform.
Can Dr. Singh be accused of selling our country to foreigners? I think this is an ingenious argument. There are many progressgive states that are proreform. States can allocate land without much discussion to industrial houses. Yet these states are not called proindustry or selling out. Yet, when our prime minister proposes a policy that gives option to states to implement it at their will, prime minster becomes proforeigner. Nothing can be further from truth. Left parties had always opposed any move that they consider antipeople and neoliberal. We know where the state of West Bengal stands with respect to any index of development after 30 years of uninterrupted left party rule. So acute is the shortage of fund, that chief minister of state cannot implement any development program in the state. I would have thought BJP and Mr. Modi to come out in support of our prime minister. Because BJP pursues similar philosophy of development, and Mr. Modi is a favorite of industrial houses because of his proindustry agenda. If retail business is good for Ambani’s, Kishore Biyani why it is bad for Mittal’s? If government is worried about Indian players are unable to compete with foreigners, then they should make rules of partnership between Indians and foreigners. If most Indian supermarkets are not doing well, then BJP has nothing to worry for kirana store owners.
I think this selling out to foreigner slogan is being coined by left and right because these parties feel outmaneuvered by our prime miinister – a good economist and an honest and decent prime minister.
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