Nobody expects any groundbreaking economic or business initiative from this government. This government would be a continuation of the same policies and procedures that ruled us for the last five years. In fact it would be a continuation of the same policies that has ruled us from 1990’s, irrespective of the party in power.
For all our ministers, governance simply means sitting in the minister’s chair, signing files, discussing projects with prospective partners, ensuring they look completely legalistic by putting them through the bureaucratic channels so that CVC is taken care of completely, handling intra-departmental transfers, commissions, agencies through appropriate structures etc..
Very few ministers have complete perspectives of their ministries and definitely no larger perspective of their ministry with respect to the people. They rarely understand the implications of their ministry to government, people and their daily lives.
In fact many of them perceive clearly that governmental ministries are far removed from people. They know the only people who interact with these ministries are big businesses and people for personal gains. Hence they adopt their functioning to suit that.
Most of the ministers come to touch with the people not through their ministerial work, but through the work they get done in their constituencies. Mostly this work is related to roads, street lights, walls of schools buildings, playgrounds etc.
So why should Dr. Singh’s ministries be different this time..? People in the ministry are not at all different.
The only reason is, Dr. Manmohan Singh is different.
He has not become the politician, but remained the economist and a leader he ever was all through this five years.
Last time when he became Prime Minister, he was pushed into that post by Sonia Gandhi. This time he has led the Congress Party. People for the first time saw a non-political economist as their leader. They have given a mandate to his leadership. Though this may not be exactly what people thought when they voted, the collective will of people seems to be clearly indicating their appreciation of Dr.Manmohan Singh’s leadership.
And hence my expectation that Dr. Manmohan singh should drive his ministers to be different.
So what can be done differently..?
Instead of talking about achievements in 100 days or work in the first 100 days, which is nothing but a gimmickry, ministries should set their goals for the next five years. The following is my action wishlist for the UPA ministers.
1. Understand the ministry completely in the first 100 days and define 20-30 objectives that they would like to achieve in their five years. Define the top ten 10 broad objectives to be definitely achieved in their ministry for the rest of the five years.
2. For each objective specify measurement parameters and the way it would be measured.
3. For each objective and measurement, specify a metric to be achieved.
4. Define how each of these objectives are going to impact on people’s lives. In fact the top ten needs to be decided based on the impact they make on people.
5. Specify the schedule in which each of the objectives will be met in the next five years.
6. Make a plan and really work on these objectives.
7. Let the Prime Minister present his status report with respect to these objectives and measurements.
8. If they need to change some of these objectives in-between, they can. But then there has to be sufficient reasons for that.
9. Let the ministries discuss the objectives, measures and metrics cutting across political spectrum and involve their inputs, apart from industry and common people’s inputs.
10. Let there be a debate in this country on the merits and demerits of the objectives, measures, metrics, plans and schedules of ministries. Let there not be debates on who went to attend an emergency first and took photographs or who profited from the ministry how much.
Ofcourse what I have written seems dreamy, filmy, far-fetched and one that has not happened in any country of the world. Let India be the first in providing such a governance policy to the world.
After all Indians were the only one billion people who gave back power to a technocrat than a politician.