Saturday, May 24, 2008

Report card after 4 years: Exceeds expectations?

After four years in office, the UPA Government could have done more to the people of this country than what it has. Many cynics wondered if the centre would be in power to see this day because of the sheer number of opportunistic political partners it had struck an alliance with!!

Irresponsible opposition:

Despite that, in an opinion poll, the findings of which were published by TOI, people feel it has been better than the NDA simply because the NDA has been able to project itself as neither a unified nor a responsible opposition. Opposing for the sake of opposing and criticizing for the sake of criticizing has become the hallmark of all the opposition parties across the country, be it at the centre or the state level.

Disruption of parliament sessions continuously to the extent that the speaker was forced to consider some truly innovative measures and the missing liberal face of Vajpayee hasn’t done the BJP any good. This must have in large measure contributed to the public perception of better UPA performance. The nuclear deal is a quintessential example of how opposition parties in our country behave today.


Progressively, the UPA has at least given some hope to rural employment in the form of the introduction of the NREG scheme and its extension though some doubts remain as this article in THE HINDU points out:

“The problem NREGA faces can be stated in very simple terms. Its ostensible purpose is to overthrow the old contractor-raj but it has done little to offer an adequate replacement. Gram Panchayats have been designated the chief implementing agency but they have not been provided with the support structure required to execute the programme.”

It has introduced some innovative modern reforms like the RTI and the ‘Prevention of domestic violence’ act. Communal harmony has prevailed and we are forced to mark this out for such is our state of affairs. The introduction of women’s reservation very much late in the term makes one doubt the intentions and will but nevertheless something is better than nothing. The nuclear deal is path-breaking but is currently facing some problems as regards its future.

Coalition and vote bank pressures:

The centre has fallen prey to its regional and opportunistic partners in the DMK and the left in the case of the removal of a performing Telecom minister and almost grinding the visionary nuclear deal to a halt. It has fallen victim to the vote bank pressures by exhibiting reluctance to work on the creamy layer concept and also in the huge farm loan waiver which addresses neither small farm holds nor the problem of moneylenders. If the Government had stood up to its partners, it would have been difficult to see this day. It appears to be surviving on the basis of some strange compromise formula whose border lines always appear slurred.

Opinion poll indicators:

The opinion poll does not cover rural India and many important cities so at best, it is an urban indicator. More than anything, the findings show that the expectation from this Government was little in the first place.

Another pointer to have emerged is that the urban society as a whole is yet to factor in issues like stagnation over the nuclear deal and the plight of the farmers before giving their verdict for both these hardly affect their day to day lives!!

Some ministers/improvement areas:

The Home minister stands out here. Without being a member of Lok Sabha, he has been very lucky and should be thankful in large measure to Sonia Gandhi (which he obviously is!!) for being the home minister. He has some strange understanding when it comes to drawing parallels as he has recently demonstrated in an interview.

Little said about our health minister, the better. He seems to have a totally skewed list of priorities. When primary health care and infant mortality need to be addressed, he is busy on getting his revenge over Dr. Venugopal and advising our movie stars. Human resources minister must be given the shrewdest politician award for the manner in which he has succeeded in getting the OBC quota implemented and the way in which he is trying to address the creamy layer issue.

Our agriculture minister can do a world of good for the nation’s people if he changes his portfolio to something like ‘Cricket affairs’. Surface transport and shipping is in very ethical hands indeed!!

What our leading dailies say:

TOI editorial is clear that the current regime has miles to go. It attacks the Left:

“.. the achievements in political and administrative reforms are in sharp contrast to the impasse on economic reforms and the sloppiness in handling the nuclear deal with the US. Yes, much of the mess is because of the Left’s ideological intransigence. But did not the government allow itself to be bullied by the Left? As the government begins the last lap it could well confront the Left and push for economic reforms and the nuclear deal.

THE HINDU is yet to come with an editorial but Harish Khare finds that the Left has appropriated the opposition space:

“If the BJP and the NDA find themselves stranded in the margins of political imagination, it is because the Left parties have managed to appropriate the opposition space. Be it people-centric issues or the disquiet over the proposed closer ties with the United States, the Left was first off the block in protest.”

Looks like, We’ll have to wait for some time more to know what the voters will say!!

1 comment:

Varun S said...

UPA government has been terrible in its ability to decide something. They always fear the Left. I used to have some respect for Left once upon a time, but I think after all this blackmail that Left has been doing, I have simply lost all that little respect I had.

During the best of our "prosperous" days, our left have left our oil companies bleeding, instead of grabbing more oil reserves with that extra money out of prosperity. Why the hell should the oil companies pay for the oil price which has zoomed from $60 to $135 in less than 2 years (while our Oil prices have not gone up so proportionately Rs.40-> Rs 50? Why shoudnt that be passed on to consumers? [Only if at some point you pass on the burden to customers, people will start thinking of ways to use less oil. If you keep things rosy, people will continue to gobble up, as they are cheap.]

Left's policies have been contradicting themselves. They dont want navaratna companies to go Public, but they want their navaratna oil companies to bleed and get off the Navaratna list and sell them off? I donot know what they are thinking..

As I m speaking IOL has little over 2 days of liquidity left in its balance sheet. To run its business, it has to mortgage its assets. Wat the hell. Its because of you and me, to whom they are selling Oil at subsidized rates that the company has gone bleeding.

Indian democracy is in shambles because of the Left, who themselves are soul searching for ideology. They dont want a Nuclear deal with US, but they agree to other countries. What the hell! If they had blocked the deal and said, Invest a few billions on Thorium research and get out of this deal totally, I would be happy. But the Left is all worried only about US, forgetting the whole Energy problem.