Message to ministers: perform or perish
Thus screams the byline of this new report that is titled : "Enough is enough, Manmohan wants to pump in purpose". After we have seen how ministers disregard his sagely advices, are we to really believe that Dr. Manmohan Singh actually means his message "perform or perish"? By that yardstick, the first person who has to perish is the Prime Minister himself!
The 51% FDI in retail decision is being talked about a lot. It is also being talked about as if this is THE policy reform that will cure all our ills. And as usual, the blame is being passed on to the opposition for stalling a "reform" measure thereby bringing in immeasurable misery upon the country. If there is anyone to be blamed for this fiasco, it is the Prime Minister himself. In the two press conferences that he was asked about reform process, he mentioned only GST and never once mentioned FDI. He knew there are deep divisions within allies and the congress party itself, yet made sure it went through the cabinet in a jiffy. Leave the opposition parties aside, this bill was put on hold because the allies and members of Congress party were against 51% FDI in retail. If the Prime Minister is so incompetent to rein in his own allies, why blame the opposition for "policy paralysis"?
The news report mentions that the "thrust areas" vary from social spending to infrastructure development to administrative reforms to anti-corruption to North-east to what not! Basically, this encompasses the whole gamut of issues currently at hand. In each of these areas, the government performance has been dismal by any standard. And it has dawned upon the leader of the country that he has to "review" these areas on a monthly basis.
An economy in distress needs direction from an "economist" Prime Minister, but here we are - jumping with joy that the Prime Minister has decided to "review" certain "thrust areas" on a monthly basis. Even one step upwards from the abyss this government is in, is being celebrated as if a whole new dawn is upon us. If Manmohan wants to "pump in purpose", he needs to lead, not review. But then, we are asking for too much from this Prime Minister who is a perfect example of the famous quote "there go my people, I have to find out where they are going so that I can lead them".