I am an ordinary and lowly Indian voter. In that capacity, I wish to appraise Mr. Narendra Modi who has been the Prime Minister of my country, India for the last about 2 years.
Mr. Modi ran a stupendous campaign in 2014. He held out assurances for things India badly needed: development for all, minimum government maximum governance, end to corruption, repatriation of black money, ease of doing business, etc. He impressed with his sincerity. He won the confidence of the people who made him the PM.
I was one of the millions who enthusiastically wanted him as the PM and hoped for ‘achhe din’ (good days) to begin with him in the saddle.
But my enthusiasm started turning into disappointment within days of his taking over. I shall enumerate here some of the steps that he took that brought disappointment to me.
FIRST. Perhaps one of his first official acts was to select a retired IAS officer as Principal Secretary to the PM. He also made known his intention to pack his personal secretariat (also known as the Prime Minister’s Office or PMO) with senior IAS Officers. Now India has been free for nearly 70 years and during this period, its administrative services have been dominated by IAS. It has enjoyed such dominance and clout that let alone administrative, all top positions in the Government, public sector undertakings, regulatory bodies etc. including those requiring highly technical, specialised and professional qualifications are held by members of this service. The result is reflected in the country’s progress in 70 years. I think, I can do no better than quote what Mr. Ashok Khemka, presently a Chief Secretary rank IAS officer in Haryana said in an interview with Madhu Trehan of Newslaundry on 7.9.2013:Here are some of the points he made:(i) no creative job can be expected of IAS as a service, (ii) IAS always backed by a technical service or person (iii) IAS makes no contribution to society and (iv) IAS is a fools’ paradise.
With PMO in the IAS grip, total government is their domain. I think this is not good for the country.
SECOND. The PM virtually debarred all party veterans above the age of 75 from all active political work.
THIRD: His cabinet excluded some persons who had earned a name for competence and integrity in the Cabinet of the previous NDA government headed by Shri Vajpayee causing some unease in the party.
FOURTH; The Cabinet Ministers appointed by Shri Modi, reports said, were not given the authority to choose even their own private secretaries or PAs.
FIFTH; The PM chose to have direct interaction with the Secretaries over the heads of their ministers. (The fact remains, however, that it is the hard work of some of the Ministers like M/s. Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goel ,Mr. Venkiah,Smt. Sushma Swaraj that are earning laurels for Modi Government and not any of the Secretaries).
SIXTH; The PM chose to spend lot of his time abroad in international diplomacy.
The above are some of the issues that disappointed me because I felt they were not in consonance with his pre-election assurances. That this disappointment is not confined to me alone is shown by the results of Delhi and Bihar elections. However, I have no doubt that a lot of encouraging initiatives have also been taken and a number of innovative schemes for the benefit of the people introduced though the mood of the people remains down-beat.The global economy has something to do with it. Mr. Modi has still 3 years left and he has not lost any of his verve. Let us hope, people at large will yet experience ‘achhe din’ and will have reason to take pride in the country’s march to progress and prosperity.