How things are going?
There is some slackening, no doubt!
The second UPA government shows lots of fatigue. For the simple reason that any second win like the one UPA had did, is a cause for worry. For one thing, there are the very same faces everywhere! So, that is there to get excited about?
Manmohan Singh is there again with all his old faces. It would thought too rude to say the same old faces and the same old men!
Yes, what is new about the second terms Manmohanamics, as we can call his new term?
The Prime Minister himself seems to have been caught unawares of the US economic crisis. There is no one in India it seems to have come out with any response, tentative response. Not even one telling Indian phrase! Economic recession has impacted the Indian economy, right? But no one is saying this even!
Why not someone say boldly, at least for clarity sake that the Indian economic growth slowdown is plainly an outcome of the US economic recession, right?
So, what new economic reforms as such possible. Not anything dramatic would come out of the present situation prevailing in the USA. There is a historic record unemployment rate, the US joblessness is measured and monoritired so minutely there and there is nothing more so say by the Indian observers.
The one or two things that might be relevant is to monitor the return of the Indians from the USA.
There has been a significant numbers seen at the many micro points though at the Delhi level no one seems to be very much worried. In Delhi, of course all are mostly government servants, big and small and therefore the government employed experts too don’t seem to be very much worried.
Delhi sometimes can be very strange and very strange happenings only take place in such an eerie environment.
The PM is becoming more and more less and less audible! Why? It looks like that from this long distance. He doesn’t even seem to be talking at all sometimes.
There is a growing or it looks like that a disconnect that is emerging from the top. Nor the Congress President seems to be much worried.
The news from the grass roots, the very working of such prestigious schemes like the rechristened Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee scheme is not working as fully as we all imagine. Readers can see the report from our last page on how the situation assumed some explosive dimensions in Rajasthan where the social audits are abandoned in some places and even the very collectors and local MLAs are party to the large scale scandals. One wonders, given the current runaway prices and the disenchantment of the aam aadmi, even the favourite phrase might survive the next election.
There is no systematic thinking as to what alternative line of action or new initiatives that could be taken.
Instead we are getting some damning reports such as the Tendulkar’s committee’s findings, an academic exercise and so could carry some weight with the public and the policy makers.
The poverty rate is somewhat huge for even what we suspected to be advanced states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
So, what big schemes that could tackle such big challenges like restarting the economic engine?
The big infrastructure projects that are expected in a big way, as envisaged even by outside experts and experienced corporate men like Deepak Parikh who the other day said on the NDTV Profit that unless some long term vision for say, as he said, the expected urban expansion that could absorb said Mr.Pariskh, from the current 300 million people to say,600 million in the next 10 to 20 years, we need to think big and plan big.
Wayer he mentioned in particular for a city like Mumbai. It is a huge challenge.
So, where do we go to find water for meeting the needs of an expanding Mumbai?
He also mentioned about agriculture.
What he said were all just directly relevant to our own mission.
Parikh said that our food production is not expanding, in fact, he gave a figure, and between 2001 to 2008 our food production is not so dramatic as to justify the huge fertilier subsidy we pay now. He gave the figure of something like Rs.90-95 lakh crores! Just nearly one hundred lakh crore for fertiliser and yet we don’t have enough return by way of sufficient food production.
We have to raise the productivity of our soil says some experts, just just we have to do the same old thing like going for new seeds as such. Seeds we can get, we can just adopt new technologies. One expert says that Brazil by taking our pepper root cutting had adopted to increase pepper productivity what prevails in Kerala to double yield in Brazil.
So too other food crop seeds.
So, it looks we have to deploy many innovative thinking.
The Prime Minister bemoans the bureaucracy in our science administration but then he is the Prime Minister!
He is not able to do things himself!
So, the very idle talk of economic reforms ,the only thing we heard from the PM is disinvestment.Yes,we have started though very modestly.
There are no other preoccupations. The Finance Minister is clearly bogged down in his fiscal deficits and tax collections.
As for agriculture, everyone talks, no one has any holistic approach.
As for the performance of the ministers it is a mixed bag.
The clear damage has been in the External Affairs. Between S.M.Krishna and his deputy, it will end up, the External Affairs’ own affairs as a case of twit and tweeter! They may make the otherwise stiff lipped dept as standing joke!
As for others, there is indifference performance in a whole range of ministries.
Heavy portfolios, power, alternative energy, the more sensitive nuclear energy is bedewilled by nuclear accidents than getting foreign collaborations. If more collaborations are talked we might become a standing joke in the world as well!
And so on and on…
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