Thursday, November 11, 2010

Misfit Ministers, Vision less Ministries and a Stunted Growth

A. Raja is either a big crook or has some misplaced nerves in his cranium. There have been reports which have claimed that he has cost a damage to the exchequer worth Rs 1,60,000 crores. To give you a contrast, the official figure of CWG budget is Rs 15,000 crores, i.e. 9.375 % of the damage which Raja cost. So, if Raja had not done this, we could have hosted CWG 10 more times in 10 different cities or could have fed millions, or could have reduced our fiscal deficit  by a considerable margin.

It is so disheartening to see that even after such serious allegations; A Raja still thrives as a minister in the centre. This can be directly attributed to the multi – party coalition government evil.

A look at A Raja’s profile would tell you that he studied law and is an advocate by profession. Now this is where I lose track; He was apparently made a minister because of the ‘dalit’ tag which he carries with him. I fail to understand that why a ministry like the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was allotted to a person who is an advocate. India is a world leader in information and technology and has the second largest mobile phone subscriber base. This field is undergoing immense changes which could be calculated on a per minute basis and the financial matters associated with these industries are unique and has no precedence in any other industry.  It would have done a world of good if we had an engineer or an economist or at least a person who knew what spectrum meant, to have been running the ministry.

So the question remains; what criteria decide the person for a portfolio. I understand that portfolios are distributed among allies. But, can’t a party decide whether there is someone from their party who is ‘capable’ to handle a particular ministry. Why does the Indian democracy see the allotment of portfolios as a reward to one’s political achievements? I’m sure DMK could have found an able candidate from its party(or at least from their supporters) who would have met the criteria I mentioned before. But Mr. Karunanidhi was more interested in gratifying his own family and his immediate political crutches. This is a trend which could be seen across all parties irrespective of their ideologies.

Another thing worth noticing is the preferential treatment given to different ministries. India would not have seen many law ministers who had an engineering background, or a Hindu Minister heading the ministry of minority affairs or an urban technocrat running the rural development ministry. However when it comes to ministries like IT & communication or health etc people seem to relax the allotment sensibilities.

The way A Raja has handled his ministry; it has reiterated the fact that we need specialist ministers. We need ministers who have the ability to conceive visions for their respective ministry.

If we could somehow get the first cabinet of our country, which had people like Nehru, Sardar Patel, Ambedkar etc. who were people with conviction and a master of their own fields, back into the present India, we could achieve more… much more. 
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