Monday, May 30, 2016

Assessment that doesn't rely on ....... Power & Politics / The Sunday Standard/ May 29, 2016

Assessment that doesn't rely on lutyens' and corporate cosy clubs but on performance

Bias is boss. The recent ratings of Modi’s ministers by various agencies show unanimity is subverted by subjectivity. Accessibility, visibility, connectivity and maneuverability of ministers dictate perception. As a result, those with access to huge funds, elevated social status and high visibility in appropriate forums, including the media, ranked high while ministers with less accessibility, media patronage, financial lebensraum to oblige favour-seekers and are targets of corporate ire tanked.

Frankly speaking, this rating too is affected by personal biases. But with a difference. It is based more on my reporting experience of over 35 years, and not by how many times I wined and dined with powerful but discreet ministers, tycoons and diplomats. It is based on speaking to bhakts, karyakartas and foes and friends of the ministers. Making an objective job card of all the 26 Cabinet ministers and 12 MoS holding independent charge is a tough call. I have restricted my assessment to the top ten, by using the cardinal principle of ‘Sirf Kaam Machaye Shor’ (only performance makes a noise).

1. Nitin Gadkari, 61, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, and Shipping
Spends more time on the road than at work. The minister who thinks most out of the box. A risk-taker who changes the rule if it obstructs his agenda. Has activated jammed highway projects, cleared new ones and upgraded existing ones— a spend of over Rs. 2 lakh crore till 2019. On an average, about 20 km of road being added to the network daily. Changed road taxation policy, toll collection laws, made waterways transport a viable business. Established better coordination with state governments.  (9/10)
2. Dharmendra Pradhan, 47, MoS (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas
Low profile. Spends more time researching his portfolio than making aluring promises. Implemented many of the PM’s social schemes by exploiting rock-bottom crude oil prices. Ensured gas conections for the maximum number of rural folk. Was able to implement the Give It Up campaign, thus saving over `12,000 crore in welfare. Over two million gave up subsidised connections. (8.5/10)
 3. Sushma Swaraj, 64, Minister for External Affairs
 Despite frail health, the most frequent flier in Modi’s cabinet, and not just to glamorous destinations.  With 5.1 million Twitter followers, one of the few mantris who remain cyber-connected with not just diplomats but also with ordinary Indians. Resolves issues instantly. Created a world record by safely getting back the most number of captives from countries in IS-occupied territories. Though it is the PM who calls the shots on global affairs, Swaraj is his most effective ambassador. (8/10)
4. Rajnath Singh, 65, Minister for Home Affairs
 This low-profile ministry lands in the news only when terror attacks or Naxal violence happens. Gets no credit since secretive tactics make victories classified. Using a comprehensive information network, has aborted many terror conspiracies hatched across the border. Infiltrators prevented from striking in India. Brought down Naxal attacks. Police reform process, stuck in budget constraints, restarted. Made Centre-state relations smooth. Most accessible minister to BJP workers. (7.5/10)
5. Smriti Irani, 40, Minister for Human Resource Development
Despite modest educational background, the youngest-ever HRD minister is the government’s most effective communicator, compared to most predecessors with degrees and pedigree. Purged the educational system and other government-sponsored think-tanks of Leftist elements. Stuck to agenda, unconcerned by attacks from elitist elements within the party and outside. Introduced sweeping reforms and finalised the New Education Policy, which will send Macaulayputras on the run. (7.10)

6. Prakash Javadekar, 65, Minister of State (IC) for Environment, Forest
   and Climate Change
 Transformed the political and bureaucratic ecosystem. Created a record by clearing over 2,000 languishing projects. By interacting with stakeholders, including the states, transformed an anti-growth ministry through a Jack the Beanstalk approach. Mojo: Grow with Green. Darling of both big biz and environmentalists. (6.5/10)

7. Piyush Goyal, 52, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, 
    New and Renewable Energy
NDA’s Great Innovator. USP is a robust monitoring system. Revived most PSU power utilities. Mission: Green Energy. Distributed a record number of LED bulbs. Garnered maximum bids for coal mines, most of which are yet to start production. Power reforms sluggish with state companies chalking up huge losses. (6/10)

8. Suresh Prabhu, 62, Minister for Railways
 Has used every trick in the book to bring railways on track and convert it into a corporate-style public sector entity. Mantra: use technology over human resources to make the infamously accident-prone Indian Railways safe. His Swachh Rail emphasis on selected, high-traffic stations paying off. The ministry has given big orders for new rolling stock and other equipment to private entrepreneurs. No safe clean rail journey for rural travellers. Instead of finding new sources of revenue, resorted to raising passengers and freight fares. (5/10)
9. Arun Jaitley, 63, Minister for Finance, and Information & Broadcasting
Modi’s most well-connected, visible and ominously influential minister. The din he makes speaks louder than actual work done. Most successful in diverting attention from ministry’s failure. Status quo-ist. No fresh ideas to tackle the economy. Raised revenues by taxing the poor and middle class, while keeping the interests of rich and corporates intact. Achieved revenue generation boost from increased indirect taxation rather than inventive thinking. Deficit under control primarily due to plunge in crude oil prices and reduction of budget allocation for various social sectors.  (4/10)

                           10. Radha Mohan Singh, 66, Minister for Agriculture
 NDA’s worst performer. Despite India’s growth of over 7 per cent, agriculture growing at less than 1 per cent. No proper administrative and fiscal system for farmers. Over 35 per cent of the country is drought-stricken, but this farmer is wandering in the wilderness. No new reform introduced. No future road map. This list may be disagreeable to those for whom publicity, and not perception, decides the parameters of performance. But then, that’s what objectivity about subjects is all about. (3/10); Follow me on Twitter @PrabhuChawla

1 comment:

editor said...

very. ice article sir.regards
Tarun sharma,editor,