Former Presidents and Prime Ministers rarely speak, but when they do, the nation should listen to them with rapt attention. They represent the wisdom of the nation. They are expected to be non-partisan, render constructive advice and at times send a powerful message even to their own political party to act in broader national interest. Having consistently held Dr. Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister in high respect, I expect the same from him.
I have read his interview in the latest edition of “India Today”, particularly his concern that the Prime Minister and the Government are not reaching out to the opposition. He feels that the Government is not doing enough to move up the country’s economy.
I am sure if Dr. Singh would dispassionately analyse the present Government, he would really realize the India has a Government where the Prime Minister has the last word, where natural resources are allocated without corruption through transparent process, where industrialists no longer visit North Block to push files/decisions, where environmental clearances are dealt with in routine and not stalled on sadistic or corrupt considerations. Has there been any change in the work culture of the Government? During the UPA Government, the public sector banks were hardly run by their own Boards or even by North Block. They were run from 24, Akbar Road. In Power and Infrastructure areas, sectoral challenges were not addressed during the UPA. It is the present Government which is clearing up these accumulated challenges.
Many stalled infrastructure projects have now started moving. India’s journey is from ‘policy-paralysis’ to a global ‘bright-spot’, as the fastest growing economy moves on notwithstanding major challenges.
On consultations with the opposition, almost all political parties except the Congress, support the GST. The Congress has done a volte face. Both the Parliamentary Affairs Minister and myself have discussed the GST with every senior Congress leader in Parliament. Is the Congress position on “Constitutional cap” not motivated by real politics? The economist in Dr. Singh should advice his party that tariff are not provided for in the Constitution. This is what nation expects from the senior leaders and statesmen like former Prime Ministers.