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Sorry sukma, we have ministers like rajnath singh

By PREM CHANDRAN Governance is no child’s play. All leaders who take up positions are not necessarily competent enough to .....




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04-26-2017
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Thumbs up Sorry sukma, we have ministers like rajnath singh


By PREM CHANDRAN

Governance is no child’s play. All leaders who take up positions are not necessarily competent enough to handle the job they have at hand. Bluff-masters carry the day, as is also the case with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Turn to Sukma, where 25 CRPPF jawans were gunned down by Maoists, within days after the same group of ultras struck and killed a lesser number of people. Story goes that the jawans, all of them together (! ), were having their lunch when the Maoists struck at their camp. A repeat of what happened in Uri, Kashmir. In a highly sensitive area like Sukma, this is how the security forces conducted themselves, and proved to be sitting ducks for the marauding army of over 300 Maoists. In other words, they courted trouble and death by their callous indifference to the ground situations. They were neither alert nor in combat mode.

There’s little wonder how things go wrong. It transpires that the CRPF is functioning without a head for the past two months. Properly functional governmental mechanisms will not leave such a key post vacant even for a day. In normal course, a replacement is searched for and decided on months in advance of the retirement of officials holding top slots. The failure to do so goes to show that the Narendra Modi government is not serious about its job. This is evident in very many respects, and will be laid bare in due course. The man who heads the home ministry, under which the CRPF comes, is Rajnath Singh, a supposedly battle-hardened Thakur from Uttar Pradesh, who held the reputation of being a schemer. Now he also has the ill-reputation of being one with a lack of manners. How else would one explain the scenes in which he sits imperiously, foolishly cross-legged, with his Prime Minister, as if to prove a point. The point he proved, however, was of his lack of civility, lack of proper upbringing. Had he compensated this with good performance as Home Minister, he would still have earned some respect. Neither the CRPF, nor the BSF, which too indulged in foolish acts along the western border one too often, conducts itself in a professional manner under the leadership of this incompetent politician.

It’s all too clear that India’s security establishment lacks a killer instinct; which the Pakistani and Chinese soldiers have in great measure. We have seen this in Uri, where too, in the early morning hour, terrorists from across the border effortlessly found their way into the military camp, headed straight to the mess where jawans were busy filling their bellies. The terrorists played mayhem, killed many, and reached up to the residential quarters as well, holding the families of military officials hostage. There was nil alert on the part of the security forces at the camp -- reason why terrorists were able to reach right inside without any challenge or hindrance. Manohar Parrikar as defence minister possibly paid a price for this kind of casualness which he allowed, but he found fresh sanctuary in Goa yet again.

Blaming the Modi government for the weakening of the governance system – including in the matter of elephantine corruption in the bureaucracy -- is fine, but only to a point. The drift in India’s governance mechanisms began from the time Indira Gandhi exited from the scene, or perhaps it started even during her period. In the minimum, she had an understanding of the nation and its problems.

Under the family inheritance system, Rajiv Gandhi, a greenhorn in governance, got into the post of Prime Minister, running the nation based on his whims and fancies. His westernised mindset and sense of discipline as a pilot helped matters to an extent. But how much understanding of governance, how much concern he had in upholding the strength of the systems, is a debatable point. Narasimha Rao, a seasoned administrator was the next in line – after of course the chaotic interregnums of VP Singh, Chandrasekhar et al – and he did good thing; like ending the Khalistan terror on the western side, and insurgency in the North-East, and above all working with Dr Manmohan Singh as his finance minister to put the derailed Indian economy back on the right tracks. Here are full marks to both Dr Singh and Rao, in that order. India has not looked back in its economic engagement ever since, though aspects like the inequality that it spawned, or the concentration of wealth in fewer hands, are matters of worry.

Indira Gandhi had bluffed her way through many things. The rootless Indian Left, charmed by a set of rootless pretenders and self-seekers projecting themselves as intellectuals, played the background music for her actions. Their foolishness is legion, as always. Her bank nationalisation was projected as a highly progressive measure,by India's brainless-wonders called Leftist intellectuals and the two communist parties, though sensible leaders like Morarji Desai had seen red in it and warned the nation. As it turned out, and looking back to the step now, after nearly half a century, one is aghast at its consequences. In the years that followed, politicians in government interfered with the functioning of these banks, helped their near and dear ones to draw hefty loans without sufficient guarantee, and they all funnelled money to their personal cash chests. Bad debts of these banks now run into billions, and those who looted the banks this way have moved much of the money into safe havens abroad. These banks are under the verge of a collapse, or would soon be, unable to bear with the weight of bad debts and non-performing assets – a euphemism for loss-making industrial units that drew hefty funds from banks without providing sufficient guarantees. Men like Vijay Mallya are touting excuses and fiddling further with the system through the legal mechanisms. Getting the money back from them is easier said than done. Much of such loans will ultimately be written off, and the burden will be on the government, on each of us, rather. The people were taken for a sweet ride.

A strategy adopted by Indira Gandhi to stay afloat was to speak up for the poor. Her Garibi Hatao slogan won her votes. She could do little to achieve the end. The number of India’s poor is growing phenomenally year after year. Just about 20 per of the population, generation after generation, are having a cushy life at the expense of the rest of the population. Farmers are in dire straits. Their produces do not fetch proper price, as system makes sure that the city-based elites get things cheap. The sweat of the farmer is not recognised; unlike in China, so to say, where government fixes price for farm produce at reasonable rates; sell or throw it into the rivers. This is social justice. By contrast, in India, farmers are committing suicide by the dozens every month, as crops fail and they fail to return the loans they have taken for raising the crops.

Ditto, Narendra Modi is following the footsteps of Indira Gandhi, bluffing his way through his five-year term, half of which is over, and no serious work was done yet. He was brought to the forefront through a mass upsurge against the corrupt Congress-UPA government. Now, he and his party are winning election after election, the latest being the municipal polls in Delhi. Modi has two more years to go before which he faces the electorate. Chances are that he and his party will return to power, as the Congress is down in the dumps. The rest of the regional groupings and the Left lack the credentials. They will repeat with their ego-clashes and break governments sooner than they formed one. They are essentially regional satraps without a vision for the national uplift.

What is a Mamata Banerjee if she’s not a disruptor? Who will trust her to lead the nation in these difficult times? Or, what are the southern regional satraps good at other than making hay for themselves and their families? Or, what is a Sitaram Yechury or Sudhakara Reddy other than paper tigers practising media-managed party push? Arvind Kejriwal is not in the national reckoning; and the Delhi municipal election results have put paid to his ambitions to aim for the PM post. He’s not cut for it. Modi and the BJP are still the best bet. But, if they fail the nation too, the future for India will be bleak. In the minimum, men like Rajnath Singh should do their job. -- premcee@gmail.com INDIA HERE AND NOW

Last edited by Premchandran; 08-05-2017 at 03:59 PM : splitting para
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