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Updated: December 15, 2011 18:35 IST

Enough is enough, Manmohan wants to pump in purpose

Smita Gupta
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a meeting of UPA leaders, on the Lokpal issue, at 7RCR in New Delhi on Tuesday. After a series of mid-term review meetings, Dr. Singh has identified the thrust areas that will form the core of his government's governance agenda.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a meeting of UPA leaders, on the Lokpal issue, at 7RCR in New Delhi on Tuesday. After a series of mid-term review meetings, Dr. Singh has identified the thrust areas that will form the core of his government's governance agenda.

With elections in mid-2014, government can't lose more time simply putting out fires

Determined not to be distracted any longer from the prime business of governance by difficult allies, an uncooperative Opposition and civil society groups on the offensive, the Prime Minister's Office will now monitor on a monthly basis over a dozen thrust areas, ranging from anti-graft measures to social sector programmes to infrastructure projects. With general elections in mid-2014, the United Progressive Alliance government, clearly, cannot afford to lose more time simply putting out fires. The message to the ministers is: perform or perish.

At the end last week of a series of mid-term review meetings, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, government sources said, identified the thrust areas that will form the core of his government's governance agenda. Dr. Singh has asked his new Principal Secretary, Pulok Chatterji, to brief him every month on the progress, after which directions will be given to the ministries concerned, and this will be followed up by the sectoral officer in the PMO.

With the PMO finding it hard to answer convincingly accusations of policy paralysis, especially after the recent attempt to permit FDI into multibrand retail came a cropper, the Prime Minister, official sources said, now wants to pump some energy and purpose into his government — especially as much of the criticism has been of his own office.

Not surprisingly, measures to strengthen the anti-graft machinery gets top billing, with the controversial Lokpal Bill first on the list of subjects that will receive the PMO's attention. Supplementing this will be electoral reforms, getting 5,000 gram nyayalayas — magistrates' courts at the mandal level — off the ground; a public procurement law to help create a transparent system to manage natural resources such as telecom spectrum and mining rights to help the government counter charges of crony capitalism, and draft laws for Judicial Accountability and Grievance Redress (which were cleared by the Cabinet on Tuesday).

In the social sector, the focus will be on measures to tackle malnutrition, increasing employability through skill development training; following up on the Sachar Committee recommendations for Muslims; and ramping up health insurance coverage under the Rashtriya Swasthya Beema Yojana. Simultaneously, development projects for the neglected northeast and J&K announced by the Prime Minister are on the government's priority list.

In infrastructure, the creation of a cold chain for farm storage; the National Highways Development Project; upgrading seaports; and improving the coal, power distribution and fertilizer sectors will be under the scanner.

Finally, the government wants to fast-track the critical Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, follow up on the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission's recommendations, and ensure speedy implementation of the eight Climate Change Missions aimed at achieving enhanced energy efficiency.

Under the UPA, the PMO has, of course, always had a Delivery Monitoring Unit to review flagship programmes and initiatives and ensure time-bound, effective delivery of programmes by the ministries. But clearly, the government's thrust areas have changed — and been vetted after the recent mid-term review. Now, the ministry concerned will have to upload its report on the 5th of each month; the posting of status and comments on the sector side by the 9th; collation, with comments, of a consolidated monthly report, by the monitoring unit, and submission to the Prime Minister by the 12th. It's back to basics.

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There are many important bills in this parliament session. Some of which should have been taken care earlier. I agree with NCP that Lokpal should not be passed in hurry or under pressure. However, Team Anna had done tremendous discussions and it might require finishing touch only.H'ble Prime Minister must react to restore his faith.

from:  Sachpa
Posted on: Dec 16, 2011 at 12:29 IST

The allegation faced by Dr.Singh is showing its colours though he is partially responsible for the misgovernance.People are losing faith in govrnment which is a red sign in democracy.The path showed by Anna is supported by people because government is limping in showing interest in public concerns.No wonder why Mr. Singh is trying to explain his stand on the government policies which seems to b paralysed.At least our PM should not let his image tarnish,and make a clear personalised stand.As mentioned,are they only doing it in the name sake of 2014 elections?? If so,the minds of electorates are really to be tested.

from:  Shaishav
Posted on: Dec 16, 2011 at 11:46 IST

What is the use of having an honest prime minister? He can't make a single decision, he is a captain of the ship and is responsible for all its crew member.

from:  Rohit
Posted on: Dec 16, 2011 at 08:12 IST

Another feel good leak of belated governance, too little too late. Why was the accountability of the sundry ministers and public servants not invoked at the start of the second term? Why are ministers and official spokespersons allowed to speak irresponsibly on policy and cabinet decisions on TV and print media? Sometimes I feel that dynamism and purposeful action with vigor in a younger person as PM may be preferable to a wise sage who can not command compliance.

from:  Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Dec 16, 2011 at 02:08 IST

The useless and ineffective govt couldn't do anything so far and wants to act now for the time lost. Too late Mr.Singh. The economy is faltering and price is raising. It is getting worse day by day. I will make sure i will vote against congress at any cost.

from:  Mr.Indian
Posted on: Dec 15, 2011 at 19:29 IST

Though it is Govt's job to control corruption why they are not serious about curbing it. If Anna Hazare took it as a social obligation of everyone,All should support the movement &stop this menace of Corruption. But the people in present Govt. are trying to throw stones on the Annna Committee members who are struggling hard . Their morale is being weakened by people like Digvijay, Sarad Pawar ,. PM should not allow such acts by his own party &allies.

from:  bangaraju
Posted on: Dec 15, 2011 at 10:09 IST

The resolve after misgovernance for 8 years just with an eye on election, shows how hypocrite this Govt is and the PM has played the leading role of misgovernance either directly or by default. They should resign immediately and face election if they have the courage to think that they did everything well.

from:  Buku
Posted on: Dec 15, 2011 at 07:47 IST

Sri. Manmohan Singh sometimes wakes up especially when he is told that 2014 is not far off. When kumbha Karna woke up the earth trembled, but when Sri. Manmohan Singh wakes up, we laugh because a live man cannot sleep eternally.

Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 16:51 IST

Yes Anti-Corruption crusaders have wasted 1 year = 365 days of 2011 in hollow sloganeering (zindabad/murdabad) without achieving anything. Last time big movement against Rajiv Gandhi (bofors case) led by VP Singh got him PM's post but bofors case still not resolved despite non-Congress govt for 10 years. Indians want results not bakwaas!!

from:  Shaleen Mathur
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 13:54 IST

one swallow does not make a summer!!!what were they doing all this while? sleeping? Or does govt. think they can change their image by this last minute enthusiasm.?

from:  karthik
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 12:31 IST

It was a reactive Government, and is, and will always be. I can say this by the character of it's constituents (includes Ministers within the Party, and Allies, and outside support). Ajit Singh being the latest entrant just reflects on this principle. People who know the character of the latter well, will confirm my opinion. Crude, absolute lack of value & principle, & 'want-to-win-at-whatever-cost' attitude. Thus the alliance. Manmohan saying this is too little, too late. He (PM) will surely go down the axe in history books. But he would have (as he already has) taken the ship down with him. This is the cost he will have to pay with for protecting Gandhi's, and their turf, irrespective of values. That is if he understands the meaning of the latter (difference between being bookish, & being educated/learned).

from:  Sunit Jang Bahadur
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 12:12 IST

Let the PM keep going to the basics and learn the basics,India will take ages to catch up with the rest of the world! Bravo PM!

from:  R.M.Murthy
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 12:09 IST

I fully agree with Mr K Vijyakumar's comment that, if the allies are distracting the governance, the honest thing that the UPA should do is to quit office and seek re-election. It is really strange logic of the greatest economics wizard that is our honourable PM who does not seem to understand this simple principle of democracy. What he really seems to want is: he will allow his partymen and the business houses to loot the country at the expense of common man and woman and exploit all our valuable natural resources but the coalition partners should keep quiet and the opposition should not question the government and the social activists should not raise their voices ! What a strange logic Mr Manmohan Singh. I, like many others, strongly believe that enough is enough of your government and the time has come for you to go, otherwise the whole country will perish !?

from:  J Gopalakrishnan
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 12:09 IST

For an honest person like Mr Manmohan Singh the country will remember him in case he perishes with a clean image instead of running a corrupt government with the support of parties like D$K etc.He must understand the anguish of the common man of the country.

from:  kewal singh
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 12:03 IST

The PM is a gentleman and highly polished and has been bearing the sins of a handful of polititians, mainly from the allies and his own party's from Maharashtra like Kalmadi and the ex-chief ministers and he did not show them the door because of the precarious coalition status and his goodness. By and large, the other ministers do not have any corruption charges. In contrast, see what is happening in Karnataka, Uttarakhand and MP ruled by BJP. Every one who is someone in the party is looting the State with a vengeance. I wish that the PM puts his foot down firmly with regard to corruption and inefficiency in his Govt and regain the goodwill of the people. The opposition and some of the out of date, dogmatic allies and is of course hell bent to sabeutage liberation policies like, nuclear energy policy, FDI in retail, etc which even China has adopted. The opposition will adopt every trick in the trade to discredit and disrupt the good work. Please be beware !

from:  Ayyar
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 12:01 IST

Capable economist does not necessarily imply capable PM, this logic seems to have hit Mr Manmohan finally. Effective implementation of schemes is the need to the day, our country is in desperate need of good governance not at policy design level but at policy implementation level. Rupee is the worst performing currency in Asia, India has recorded least growth among the BRIC nations, the numbers speak for themselves. We need a nation that can self sustain, be shock proof to external factors. To achieve all this we need inclusive growth, citizen friendly governance and most of all capable leadership.

from:  Akash
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 11:52 IST

The most tolerant PM at last has to take this decision, I appreciate if the ministers uderstand and work towards national interest instead of their own selfish ambitions. the Business community looting country increasing their self assests Reliance, Infosys, TCS, ONGC big gaints of India etc., they also should come forward to route out the curruption in society and support the deprived poor. Why they are alianating themselves while calling Govt is not doing anything on the policy front? first they should learn to support to what is important to the nation then their requests. Hope the whole nation voice out to reform our political system to be honest and with uttermost integrity to the nation INDIA.

from:  John
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 11:30 IST

This is what we really needed from the two pillars,legislatures and executives.PM is clear but what about CMs,MPs,MLAs,party leaders alied or opponents.They appear to concentrate on power and politics,eyeing always the elections near or far off.One thing is common.They all talk about the farmers,down trodden and youth.But they do not have an unified approach to handle them.PM says it is not enough to put down fires.court says not to add fuel to the fires.All should grow out of this fires and fuels and think of other things which could uplift humanity as a whole.the emphasis should be more to raise the humans themselves rather than raising their standard of living.

from:  Seshachalam Gopalakrishnan
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 10:50 IST

PMO has to demonstrate courage to face disaster like FDI and No safety even in expensive hospitals.Why should Mamta Banerjee be allowed to tell media that FDI policy is retired hurt and shall bat later ? Why No Work No Pay norm has double standards and why absent ministers are allowed to collect salary say ex-railway minister mamta didi who again keeps dozens of state portfolios with her including Health Ministry in West Bengal but is unable to monitor safety standards ?

from:  Rakesh Manchanda
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 10:43 IST

It is surprising the PM's list does not include achieving food security through increase food production. India's food production at 230 million tons has been staying static for the past several decades. With the exploding population, the food availability per person is decreasing putting tremendous stress on development of physical and mental capabilities in the masses. At this rate our nation will produce human resources inferior to all other countries in the world including the sub-Sahara regions. How are we expected to solve our various problems such as food shortage, lack of drinking water, sanitation, malnutrition, child mortality etc., etc. if we don't have programs to develop our brains which is crucial for India's development leader of nations? We should face the food shortage at a war footing.

from:  Dr. Lux
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 10:39 IST

Nice to hear the PMO's agenda for every month.Atleast now they realised that they have to look into the neesd/welfare of 1.2 bilion Indians.Let us watch how they deal with each ministry in implementing the schemes down the line.

from:  Manjunath
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 10:32 IST

Our PM is creating a wolf which is vegetarian!

from:  Atis
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 10:12 IST

It is good that Hon. PM Dr.Manmohan Singh has at last did the most reluctant exercise- Notice to his ministers to perform or perish, Talk less & do more. It must be seen whether these gentle words have any salutary effect on 'seasoned' Ministers! The saying 'Habits die hard' must go wrong? My earnest wish to our large democracy is that any Indian national can contest & get elected as MP/ MLA only twice and a sum of Rs. 100 Crore for MP and Rs. 20 Crore for MLA must be given tax free by the union/ state govt. only once to have financial self sufficiency so that the elected member can fully concentrate on peoples problems with utmost sincerity and seriousness. Lokpal should monitor all members and those indulging in bad practices must be suitably checked. Youth, SC/ST and minorities must be offered best guidence so that they perform best in nation building. Money spent on Power Gen./Irrigation,Quality infrastructure is retrievable, hence encouraged. Trash-free India must be a reality !

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 09:48 IST

Looking at the message to the Ministers "perform or perish", we can anticipate a bright future for India! The PM is of course capable to do a lot good things for the country. He should not miss this opportunity to prove that he is loyal and faithfull to the nation.Hearty Congratulations to the Anna Hazare Team!

from:  Gnanam
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 09:26 IST

Mr. Manmohan Singh, nice that you realized this in the latter half of your second term as PM. Or is it just another ploy.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 09:23 IST

The Prime Minister is in office because of the support from the allies and some parties from outside.If they withdraw support his government falls. Hence they are as important to him as his own party. If they are distracting the PM from the business of governance, the honest thing for him to do is to resign and not complain. By the way why should the governance of the country by the PM and his cabinet depend on co-operation from the opposition? Are the civil society groups on the offensive just for being offensive? In any case is there anything wrong in their fighting for a cause on behalf of the people of this country? Lastly the PM would do well to realise that the Congress party is in office only because votes are split among a number of parties. He and his party are in office even though the Congress recieved in the 2009 election only about 17% of the valid votes cast.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 09:17 IST

So since elections are nearby purpose has to be infused if no elections or assured of victory none of this would happen. Feel really sorry and ashamed at the way India is going.

from:  vishnu
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 09:16 IST

The Congress lead UPA-2 was most ineffectual in governance, plundered national wealth for personal gains - 2G scam, CWG scam, Adarsh Housing scam etc etc - and has lost people's confidence in general. Therefore, in essence this government has lost it's moral authority to govern, and will fall under it's own weight in the near future. The trumpeting of next general election in mid 2014 looks a farce, and the country will have to brace itself for an early general election.

from:  LS Ullal
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 09:17 IST

Mr. Singh should think everyday as the last day of his term in office and perform and also make his Ministry perform as per his will and directions. Anyways its better late than never!!

from:  Ajay Kisshor
Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 at 08:56 IST
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