Too Many ‘We Don’t Know’ Aspects Call For Clarity

kamal-morarkaThe new Government has now completed more than a hundred days, but the average citizen still doesn’t know what exactly it stands for. Some indications are there that the Prime Minister made a small Cabinet, that he tried to make a cluster of Ministries for quick clearances, environment clearances have been eased out, etc. But how does it translate on the ground, we don’t know. The functioning is quite secretive, unlike all the previous regimes where newspapers reported who met the Prime Minister, etc., etc. I am now told that most of the industrialists in the country have already gone and met the Prime Minister. But there is no photograph, like previously, in the papers. Neither the industry captains nor the PMO has disclosed as to who has met whom. Not that it is very important, but the fact remains that in a democracy people are more comfortable if they know what is happening. The Sangh Parivar members have also been meeting here and there and they of course are very happy that their Government is in place. They are also saying or claiming that the Government is doing very well, and the Kashmir problem will be solved because in the elections this time the BJP is going to win in Kashmir. All these kind of moth-eaten theories are going around, without understanding really what the problems are and what the solutions are.
The corporate sector seems to be upbeat, but there is nothing on the ground as yet to show that there is any change from the UPA-2 situation. Japan has promised a lot of money but money was promised even in the UPA-2 regime. Merely because money is coming in doesn’t guarantee anything.The question is, what are the terms of that money, who is going to benefit, etc., etc., we don’t know.
Meanwhile, certain other things are a little disturbing. One is the appointment of a former Chief Justice of India as a Governor. Of course it is patently wrong for the Government to even offer any reward to a former Chief Justice; it is an insult to him. But it is even more surprising that the gentleman concerned has accepted it. I don’t think that the office of the Chief Justice of India becomes any more hallowed or dignified by such conduct. In fact there is a strong case that after the Chief Justice retires he should not be allowed to do arbitration or to do any work. For that we can go on the American pattern that once a Chief Justice retires he should get a salary throughout his life. In America of course he is a sitting Chief Justice throughout his life. In India we should also find some way that he need not look at anybody for day-to-day living.
Now comes the American trip of the Prime Minister. At a personal level it is a big triumph for him, because a country which refused him a visa is going to accept him now, welcome him with the red carpet. But then that is neither here nor there. He is going there as the Prime Minister of India, not in his personal capacity. Prime Ministers always get a good reception in America. His highlight will be the big gathering that he is having of NRIs. I believe a 20000 crowd is going to collect, which is a big political event that America would have ever seen, because such crowds don’t collect in America and certainly not for a foreign dignitary. But because of the big Gujarati diaspora and other NRIs becoming excited, they will give him a rousing reception and that will create a little buzz in New York and Washington.
What will be the content of his discussion with Obama, we don’t know. What does he seek from America, we don’t know. There is an old nuclear deal which is pending, from Manmohan Singh’s time with George Bush, but nothing happened after that. Do we want to push it forward? We have Indo-American military exercises, which are totally wrong in conception. But that has been started by the UPA and is going on. UPA-2 itself had a strong, more than friendly relationship with America. So it is not as if they are translating from a socialist regime to a market-liberal regime. The regime remains the same. The new Prime Minister wants to rely more on Japan and China, because he is not sure about America’s attitude. But for America it is not important who the Indian Prime Minister is. For America India is a large market. For us India is a nation. This distinction the Prime Minister should keep in mind. To allow India to be used as a market may make corporates happy and may translate into glittering malls and flyovers and roads and highways, but it doesn’t add to the ethos of India. The poor man will remain poor, there is no way out. The previous Government thought that they had found a way out, that they allowed the corporates to function a market economy and they created a regime for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and other things to help the poor – food security etc. So if they are going back to the socialistic pattern of society, they found a new paradigm –allow the rich to run their businesses in their usual way and try to do something for the poor. Now what is the achievement of this Government and this Prime Minister we don’t know. MGNREGA, whether it is to go on, whether it will be strengthened, whether it will be weakened, we don’t know. Food security we don’t know. We do know that the corporate sector will be given more and more advantages and leverage. How it will translate into prosperity for the aam aadmi or for the nation as a whole, we don’t know. Earlier there is some clarity in the matter, the better it is.


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