Thursday, July 3, 2008

Of Ministers and Governors

        Rumours soaring in the air on the hit-list of the Samajwadi Party. The Finance Minister, the Petroleum Minister and The Governor of the Reserve Bank!

Never in the field of Indian politics was so much demanded of so many by so few.

        While I do not think that any(or for that matter, all) of these demands will be accepted, it's a fine time to reflect on the Finance Minister, whose position, for the first time, seems a bit shaky(yes..the you don't know what you have till you lose it time ;). Mr. Chidambaram has not done the best possible job as the Finance Minister. His policies have more or less remained on the same track as that of the NDA with certain sweeteners like the NREGA and the loan-waiver scheme added for public satisfaction. The defects of this strategy have come back to haunt the government now. A couple of days ago, Mr.Chidambaram appeared on Karan Thapar's show "The Devil's Advocate" with a one word mantra to salvage the current scenario-"communication". Unfortunately this mantra(we are actually great...why don't people see it?) has become the standard tool employed whenever a government realizes that the people are turning against it. One remembers L.K.Advani, in the waning years of the NDA government, consistently bemoaning the inability of the Government to educate the people about its achievements.

        The elementary answer to the Finance Minister's flawed argument is that there is nothing to communicate. The Government has reached a dead-end. Any substantial development will have to involve a considerable policy-shift by the government and the Congress Party. This is something neither of them can/will do. They are too far gone. So the only option is to sit back,hope/pray(check out the CM of Andhra's solution--"CM relies on rain to save reign") that the various 'crisi' will subside over time and talk about vague,generalized solutions like communication.

        However the removal of the Finance Minister or the RBI Governor is no solution either. Their removal will in no way bring about any change in policy implementation or the framing of policy not to speak of the underlying assumptions that give rise to policy. Mr.Chidambaram will most probably be replaced by another Sonia-bhakt who will walk the very same path. The governor of the RBI will be succeeded by another career office with the same training and approach. This is one case where a symbolic gesture could not only not improve things but possibly make them worse. Better a Chidambaram than an Arjun Singh any day I say!

PS. The real fun will be if this rumour is revealed to be just that ! A rumour.


Anonymous said...

"The governor of the RBI will be succeeded by another career office with the same training and approach."

I guess the remedy is to undertake heterodox approaches depending on the approaches' proximity to the structure of the Indian economy.

And, such approaches do exist. :)

Prasanth said...

True enough..
The only issue being that the training an officer receives at the IES doesn't exactly aid him/her in considering heterodox approaches..Brings us back to the basics of teaching economics again :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Very much.