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Performance of Modi Govt and the Parliamentary logjam: Need for a fresh look
Dr V.K.Bahuguna
Performance of Modi Govt and the Parliamentary logjam: Need for a fresh look
PHOTO : TIWN File Photo : Prime Minister Modi being welcomed by Tripura CM at Agartala Airport

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government is poised to enter its third year soon. This government is first with absolute majority since late Rajiv Gandhi headed a majority government after the 1985 Lok Sabha elections.

For a long period during the past 30 years the fractured electoral mandate ushered into an era of coalition governments at the centre leading to rise of regional satraps and consequently a political culture of confrontation, one-upmanship, and unruly disruptive competitive politics in the Parliament and State Assemblies.

The sittings of both houses of parliament have reduced and the sittings days in assemblies can even be counted on fingertips. No wonder people are jittery with this type of negative politics especially on the unruly disruptions on flimsy of parliament leading to wastage of tax payers’ money.

This type of democracy was not visualized by the founding fathers of our constitution and it is gradually eroding the democratic fiber of the country.

The direct telecast of proceedings of parliament is abetting this type of politics. The political class is conscious of telecast of the proceedings and hence tries to impress their supporters and the media play willing host to such unruly political games.

Such tactics are preventing the legislative business to be transacted leading to policy paralysis and administrative logjams in implementation of the professed goals of the government.

No government can function on such situation efficiently. The political opinion among the masses is veering to the point that the last session’s opposition tactics of blocking passing of key bills like GST is obstructive and the congress party mandarins must think of how to balance the protests on such matters being a party that ruled the country more than 60 years with fine gains.

The government had gone out of the way to accommodate the views of the opposition but the intransigence is still continued and the public opinion is totally against such blockade.

Indian parliamentarians are no doubt patriotic but must realize that their primary duty is making law and to make better laws they need to debate notwithstanding their political agenda politicians must adhere to their basic duty of law making and commitment to fundamental values of a modern democracy.

Now on the performance of the NDA government. The Prime Minister himself had done well in all fronts and had enhanced the image of the country world over.

He had been successful wherever he went from USA to France to Britain to China to Japan to Australia to Canada, Arab nations to all neighboring and other countries far and wide in forging new bonds and sorting out unresolved issues like supply of Uranium from Australia and Canada, garnered full support for his ‘Make in India’ slogan and developing strategic ties with important nations.

He had solved the most difficult issue of conclaves of adverse possession with Bangladesh and today that country is unhesitatingly cooperating with India in all fronts including the issue of terrorism and transit to North East.

The Ministry of External Affairs to some extent failed to build up on the immense goodwill generated by Modi as they reacted lazily on the new constitution of that country. Afghanistan, Maldives and West Asian countries like Saudi Arabia, EAE are forging partnership.

His land mark bold stopover and bonhomie in Lahore with Nawaz Sarif had set the two leaders on a path of reconciliation and people are watching the sincerity of the Pakistani establishment including its army. Defence Ministry had done well by agreeing for the one rank one pension for the ex-service men and have sorted out delays in procurements besides, giving a strong message to Pakistan on terrorism.

On the domestic front the government had done fairly well on several fronts. First, the Mudra scheme for 6 crore entrepreneurs’ 60 % of which are SC, ST, OBC and Minorities and Second; the Jan Dhan scheme for financial inclusion of a large number of poor people and third; remodeling the rural development schemes; fourth getting the coal and telecom auctions right for the benefit of the states to mention a few.

The negative politics politicians practice in India was fully in scene in JNU imbroglio recently; the BJP’s lack of experience in psychological governance of India’s intellectuals, their ignorant supporters are egged upon by self proclaimed intellectual chatterati of society and of course all powerful and deceptively self seeking bureaucracy is telling loudly on the public perception of the governance under Modi regime.

I was told by one very well informed senior citizen that some of the party leaders are behaving in the government in a most arrogant and partisan manner and are the mirror copy of old entrenched governance culture.

The Prime Minister can deal with political angle but bureaucracy will be a hard nut to crack as they have a vice like grip on the system.

In this regards it would worthwhile to quote a few lines from a book “With Three Prime Ministers” authored by Mr. HR Bhardwaj a congress loyalist, review of the book was published in Pioneer. Mr. Bhardwaj writes “We have government servants who do not serve but oppress the poor and the helpless, police who do not uphold the law but shield the guilty; tax collectors who do not collect tax but connive with those who cheat the state, and whole legions whose only concern is their private welfare at the cost of society. His remark that ‘fence is eating the crop’ must be taken seriously by the present rulers if they want to bring change.

A few illustrations. The Environment Ministry had done well in some respects but bureaucratic politics is eating its vital organs and if the Ministers signs on dotted lines bureaucrats play pranks deftly by projecting falsehood as truth when their interests clash.

The forestry institutions are being ruined by brazenly targeting the honest officers and choking the institution of both funds as well as competent man power. One instrument costing 1.5 crore was installed in Jodhpur research institute for nanotechnology in 2013 is gathering dust in absence of funds and staff in all research establishments is getting salary for no work.

All India Climate monitoring projects are dead.

His Environment Minister is a prisoner of bureaucratic tactics and behaving in congress style.

The Governor of Arunanchal Pradesh could have waited for few days for summoning the assembly and his actions are causing embarrassment to government.

The Prime Minister must tackle the bloated egos of the bureaucracy and take action for wrong advice.

He could include mature and experienced politicians and experts in his government who can bring innovative ideas and instill fear in the bureaucracy as well as the fringe elements in the party so that agenda of governance are achieved.

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Dr. V.K.Bahuguna is the Chairman of the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management and former Civil Servant and takes up the issues of the public interests.

Dr. V.K.Bahuguna can be reached at”bahugunaifs@gmail.com”

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