LAST CHANCE FOR AN ABSENT LEADER
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has long been lauded for his pivotal role in liberalising the Indian economy, has been dubbed as an “underachiever” by a top US magazine which says he appears “unwilling to stick his neck out” on reforms that will put the country back on growth path.
He was hailed as the man who saved India. Twenty-one years ago, with the authorities in Delhi obliged to fly 47 tonnes of gold to London to be secreted within the vaults of the Bank of England as collateral for an emergency loan for food and fuel, Manmohan Singh, then serving as finance minister, got to his feet in the country’s parliament to deliver a budget that broke, shatteringly, with the past.
“We shall make the future happen,” said Mr Singh, announcing a series of liberalising measures that cut away India’s notorious red tape and ended the so-called Licence Raj. “Let the whole world hear it loud and clear – India is now wide awake.”
The reforms introduced on 24 July, 1991 – the privatisation of some government companies, the reduction of import duties and the introduction of foreign investment – are credited with sparking the economic regeneration of the country and improving the lives of millions of people. In something of an air-brushing of history, Mr Singh received the lion’s share of the credit, while the role of the prime minister of the day, PV Narasimha Rao, was omitted.
But two decades on, the quietly-spoken Mr Singh, who studied by candlelight in a small village to secure a place at Oxford University and then the World Bank, finds himself accused of abject failure. Critics from business say his reforming zeal has evaporated and slowed the country’s growth, while political opponents say he has overseen an administration that has revealed itself to be mired in corruption. From within his ruling Congress Party there are repeated, if oblique, demands for him to step aside ahead in favour of his presumed successor, Rahul Gandhi.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has spent more that three thousand days in office, a privilege not shared by anyone from outside the first family of Indian politics.As the man now walks his last mile towards the sunset ,there seems to be no achievement to his credit other than his sense of survival amidst some of the worst scandals in Indian history.Nine years ago when he took charge the growth rate stood at eight percent .India in sync with global market was in rise.Still,India was not shinning contrary to the self-defeating slogan of the previously BJP government .In other scenario there was no one better than Manmohan Singh –India’s first Economist Prime Minister to take the story forward.It did not happen in spite of his first 5 years that saw the reluctant politican mastering the game and the end of his term,becoming a best selling item for the Congress in general elections 2009. “HE WON THE ELECTION & LOST INDIA” .Slumbering at a pitful 4% growth rate & the free falling rupee turning into one of the worst performing currency in the world,India @ 67 is not a matter for joy. The Manmohan Singh of UPA-II was a repudiation of the Manmohan Singh circas of 80’s.The two big corruption scandals of his term the Coal Gate and the 2G Spectrum have shown us a negative signal in the world market.Manmohan Singh the modernizer was one of the wisest man from the east he is now one of the meakest head of a moribund government that has already abdicated its responsibility , economic aswell as political.
At the eleventh hour of his reign,Can Dr. Singh his inner savious and become saviour of UPA?He still has the words,even though some of them are purely escapist.He is not When India needed strong political leadership ,Manmohan Singh was not that leader.It was an amazing first in any democracy when he declared independence from his own discredited cabinet.The Prime Minister is still not the prime force of Indian Politics. A decade is a long time in the life of a nation, and what a waste was it for India.
India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh helped set his country on the path to modernity, prosperity and power, but critics say the shy, soft-spoken
79-year-old is in danger of going down in history as a failure.
The architect of India’s economic reforms, Singh was a major force behind his country’s rapprochement with the United States and is a respected figure on the world stage. President Obama’s aides used to boast of his tremendous rapport and friendship with Singh.
But the image of the scrupulously honorable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government.
Every day for the past two weeks, India’s Parliament has been adjourned as the opposition bays for Singh’s resignation over allegations of waste and corruption in the allocation of coal-
The story of Singh’s dramatic fall from grace in his second term in office and the slow but steady tarnishing of his reputation has played out in parallel with his country’s decline on his watch. As India’s economy has slowed and as its reputation for rampant corruption has reasserted itself, the idea that the country was on an inexorable road to becoming a global power has increasingly come into question.
The irony is that Singh’s greatest selling points — his incorruptibility and economic experience — are the mirror image of his government’s greatest failings.
Under Singh, economic reforms have stalled, growth has slowed sharply and the rupee has collapsed. But just as damaging to his reputation is the accusation that he looked the other way and remained silent as his cabinet colleagues filled their own pockets.
The Path To Power
1982: Appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, holding the post until 1985: Later becomes the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India.
1991 :Elected to the upper house of parliament. Named Finance Minister by Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao.
1998 :Leader of the opposition in the upper house of parliament while the Bharatiya Janata Party holds office.
2004 :The United Progressive Alliance coalition – formed after the 2004 elections and led by the Congress party – nominates Dr Singh as Prime Minister.
You have to give it to Manmohan Singh on this one. When the whole nation keeps lamenting that our PM doesn’t speak, talk or even whisper,Singh today surprised the oppostion and perhaps even his party members by showing an agressive , fiesty side in the Rajya Sabha today. Who knew, who we ask! Certainly not Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, who must have done a double take when the PM launched an attack on him. So what really happened? While delivering his statement on the current worrisome state of the economy, BJP MPs created a ruckus (as usual) and started shouting ‘PM Chor Hai’. This seemed to tick our PM off, who then reminded the House about his position and stature and basic standards of decency.
In an unprecedented attack on the BJP led opposition for disrupting the Parliamentary proceedings, Manmohan Singh exchanged aggressive remarks with Arun Jaitley, and said that he commands a certain respect despite what the members say.
“Have you heard of any country where MPs shout and walk to the well of the House and say ‘Prime Minister chor hai’.Despite what some members may say, I do command a certain respect in the council of ministers,” he told the Rajya Sabha.
Manmohan Singh took on the BJP, saying it should allow parliament to function if it was worried about the country’s economy.”Parliament is the supreme body in the country and is not allowed to function session after session,” Manmohan Singh said.
“I am glad the principal opposition recognises the need for consensus in the house. But building consensus is the responsibility of both the government and the principal opposition. But their conduct in the house is otherwise.The principal opposition has never reconciled itself that it was voted out of power in 2004,” he added
This remark caused commotion in the house, with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members noisily protesting.After Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien intervened, order was restored.
Manmohan Singh went on: “Have you ever heard of a situation in any parliament where the prime minister is not allowed to introduce his council of ministers.
But a sharp retort was soon in sight, as expected from Mr Jaitley.He responded sharply, and said: “Have you heard of any democracy where PM won a vote of confidence by buying members of parliament?” referring to the infamous cash for votes scandal.
Jaitley, who also lashed out at the explanation of the economic crisis and the depreciating rupee, urged the Prime Minister to decide whether the government will pick prudence or populism, a reference to the massively-expensive food security scheme that was cleared by the Lok Sabha this week.
Jaitley had earlier criticized the Prime Minister’s explanation of the economic crisis and the depreciating rupee, stating that Dr Singh’s track record as prime minister was of populist policies, not reform.
“If you continue to follow the course, then the legacy that you leave behind will not be the legacy that you left behind as the finance minister. That legacy was different,” he said.
Dr. Singh earlier in the day said that the Central Government is taking steps to reduce current account deficit and added that growth will improve in the second half of fiscal year.
“There are concerns and justifiably so on how rupee fall will impact economy, the movement of the rupee recently is a matter of concern to the government,” Dr. Singh told the Lok Sabha while making a statement on the current economic situation.
Whether or not Manmohan Singh 2.0 version is here to stay, his aggressive stand to establish decency in the Parliament is a surprise but welcome move. Of late, the language and despicable behaviour of our MPs has been downright shameful. They may have had a solid point , given the falling rupee and battered economy, but stopping to such low levels of chanting ‘PM Chor Hai’ in the Parliament is deplorable. Even though they may have criminal records, dicey credentials and questionable levels of sanity, the Parliament in which our MPs sit (rarely debate) has some modicum of sanctity left. So does the post of the Prime Minister of India.
Speaking of which, it was a refreshing change to see Singh in an agressive mode to counter a cheap act by the MPs. For years, Manmohan Singh has played the role of a silent statesman, much to the frustation of the citizens and to the delight of the opposition. His non-reactions and meek responses to issues of importance have always left us asking for more from him.Here’s wishing that we get to hear him speak with conviction and volume in the days to come.
A RTI filed to the PMO by RTI Activist Himadrish Suwan reveals & exposes that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is not “ MON” he has spoken quite well but not influential that can reach the ears of common man.
He may be accused by critics of keeping silent in the midst of a crisis but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may have set a record of sorts by delivering 1,300 speeches during his record tenure in office beginning May 2004.
Starting June 24, 2004, the PMO has a faithful record of all of them which only RTI can reveal/expose . Singh has been PM for a little over nine years or around 3,325 days and this means he has delivered a speech at least every third day.
Although the PM has hardly addressed a press conference in the capital, he has not lost many opportunities in making speeches while reserving his detailed interactions to when he travels with a media contingent on a trip abroad.
Usually, his comments during an “on board” press conference provide a window to his reactions to current events ranging from politics, economy to foreign policy.
Perhaps keen to set right the impression that Singh is reticent, the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday put out the figure of the number of speeches on micro-blogging site Twitter. These speeches include Singh’s number of inaugural and closing addresses at various conferences, organized by different ministries in the past over nine years. They also include his addresses to Congress plenary functions. The RTI hence revealed that the Prime Minister has delivered 1300 speeches over nine years.
The play Andheri Nagri, Chapuat Raja is a story about a student who goes to the weird kingdom where the king has decreed all things to be sold at the same price. Taka ser bhaji, taka ser khaja (vegetables sold at the same price as exotic dates). Thieves, intending to rob a house, get killed by the collapse of a wall they broke and the mother seeks justice. There then follows a ludicrous blame game, with the owner of the house blaming the mason, who blames the bricklayer, who blames a passing Mullah who diverted his attention, whom the judge orders to be hanged, but since his neck doesn’t fit the standardised noose, the judge orders the nearest person whose neck does fit to be hanged instead, which happens to be the student. He later escapes the noose. The blame game is quite familiar in India today, each time a corruption scandal evokes.
Thus, to overcome India’s serious concerns and challenges which include’s Corruption, Rupee Depreciation, Policy Paralysis, which are one of the major factor for the Prime Minister to take into consideration , in order to preserve his tenure as a true “Arthasastri” Prime Minister not so called “ Anarthashastri”.
But we should never forget the positive part of Dr.Singh. For that he needs motivation & applaud. Remember to judge a coin by both of it’s side .Hope Dr. Singh in a handspan of month proves himself somehow effective as it is his last chance to prove himself as a strong leader.
“Hazaron jawabo se achchi hai khamoshi meri, na jaane kitne sawalo ki aabru rakhe. (My silence is better than a thousand answers, it keeps intact the honour of innumerable questions),” Singh said reciting the urdu couplet, asserting this has been his “general attitude”. But will this attitude prove him as a leader or just an absent leader??????