There is a huge credibility gap for the government
Manmohan Singh government is now in an unsustainable dilemma
The government is there now for quite a time and it hasn’t started any of its promises into real action. No programme had captured the imagination of the people so far. The poor, the farmers, the minorities or the unemployed have any hope that their lot will improve thanks to a new government.
Why this disillusionment?
There are news behind the news these days. I myself started searching for additional newspapers to wet my thirst for authentic information. To understand the inexplicable actions and events and developments in Delhi. The visiting Pakistan Prime Minister seeks an audience with 10, Janpath and he is disappointed. He seeks out Vajpayee in retirement and shares his confidences. The PM is seem as quite politically unimportant?
Even Rashtrapathi Bhavan seem to be sending different signals.
There are indications that there is no real inner conviction in this Prime Minister. So, as an economist, I can tell boldly that economic management is not just fiscal management or manipulating deficits or growth figures.
(When Dr.Manmohan Singh and Dr.Jagadish Bhagawati were research scholars at Nuffield College, Oxford in the 1959-61 period, I was an undergraduate at New College, Oxford)
Under Singh India hasn’t been seen a political State. It had turned itself into a bureaucratic State. Yet, there are many arbitrary decisions by this government, in its short tenure. Political lightweights are carefully selected and placed in key ministries. Also, every India knows that the CBI was transferred under political control. We all know what it had done so far. So, Singh government surely can’t be expected to deliver on transparent governance.
The Rajya Sabha Types and the non-functioning character of the Lok Sabha and the very extra-Constitutional authority and the sulking of heavyweight Congress leaders give me an eerie air of unreality. Every incumbent Prime Minister is bound to have his or her amount of praise and media coverage. Vajpayee was perhaps the one PM who got overwhelming media attention. And yet, he got defeated badly! So, an incumbent Prime Minister has to do things with the sure knowledge the voters would have their own “popular will” expressed next time.
There are certain public perceptions on a whole range of issues. The transparency of government actions in very many sensitive issues is suspect.After seven months, what the government had actually achieved? In the areas it promised new initiatives?
The PM’s job, at any time is not easy. More so now. When politics is becoming a routine in political existence. The prolongation of the government itself is now taken as quite a performance!
There is no excitement of a new government in power. There is no colour or dash or controversies of substantial kind. No big questions or big pictures. There are already indications to the contrary.
Disillusion seems to be setting in. Newspapers and magazines lost their credibility thoroughly. After over-playing their bias under the previous regime. Newspapers hide and resort to subterfuge and conveniently avoid uncomfortable news.
How to describe the Prime Minister’s political orientation or orientations? In political terms? Or the government he heads? Conservative, liberal or quasi-socialist or plain government constituted by electoral verdict’s compulsions? It looks like an Alliance of necessity and blatant opportunism.
Luckily, the economy and the society have picked up their own momentum. I dare say the economy gained this momentum ironically without the government doing much about it! Yes, this government is simply functioning without becoming unaware of what the IT, the software services exports have done to give our economic growth its resilience and dynamism. Our economy, I dare assert, would grow and sustain itself by this internal dynamism without our economists and experts doing nothing!
There is a huge credibility gap for the Prime Minister. The fact he is not directly elected by the people, not a member of the Lok Sabha, only a member of the Rajya Sabha makes his credibility doubly discounted. The Rajya Sabha itself is these days accused of so many credibility issues. The power structure of the governments and parties in India is changed into many layers of power. Most RS types are “unelectable” by people. The unelected persons, make a mix of many undesirable elements.
By “consensus” (or selfish interests?) the then Opposition (Congress) and the present Opposition (BJP) and the minor constituents all agreed to change the “basic structure” of the Constitution to have the favourites of party presidents to become RS members. In effect, Constitution makers! What an irony! The controversial consensus is now before the Supreme Court, and sometime hopefully it would pronounce what prove to be a historic judgement, in 2005.
The parties today don’t have leaders. They are supremos! There is a strong dose of unaccountable power, power of money, influence, total lack of any morality whatever, not just the political morality. Thus, our democratic polity today is both strong and at the same time vulnerable. In such an emerging, unaccounted power groups, centred around the party supremos, what sort of moral authority a Prime Minister can have?
In an environment like this, what a professional economist or economic bureaucrat can do politically? Practically nothing! So, more and more politics has come to mean how many months or years a Prime Minister can remain in his chair. So, readers can make their own judgements.
Image Source : duckside.mandarinaduck.com