Special Report – Modi’s cabinet expansion will pave the way for more reforms.
By Bipin Sharma
The much expected Modi cabinet expansion has finally happened with induction of as many as 19 ministers along with one into the council of ministers. While the 19 ministers will be holding the charge of MoS (Minister of State), Prakash Javadekar is the only one to be included in PM’s cabinet. There are a lot of new faces barring exceptions like Vijay Goel and Faggan Kulaste.
It’s an ‘expansion’ as some new ministers have been inducted, and a ‘reshuffle’ since few incumbent ministers have been replaced by new ones.
The political rivals and the critics are entitled to have their own views on this new political development, but at the end of the day, Modi and Shah have emerged the winners who need to be commended for the reshuffle. One reason for expansion could be attributed to the forthcoming polls in some states like UP and Gujarat, but the key driving force remains to ensure maximum governance and more development.
The non performers have either been allocated different portfolios or dropped. Similarly, ministers like Prakash Javadekar have been given the charge of the prestigious HRD Ministry, while Ravi Shakar Prasad has been moved out of Telecom, and is now in charge of Law & Justice and Electronics and Information Technology. Smriti Irani is in charge of the Textile Ministry and Jayant Sinha moving from finance is now MoS-Civil Aviation. Veterans like journalist MJ Akbar, Vijay Goel, PP Chaudhary, AM Dave, SS Ahluwalia all find a place in the government, while Anupriya Patel from Apna Dal Party has been given the charge of Health and Family Welfare to manage.
Albeit the critics, the opponents and some sections of media are analyzing it as a promotion for some leaders and demotion for other ministers, the actual reality may be different, and something known to only PM Modi or Amit Shah.
However keeping in mind the political astuteness of Modi-Shah duo, one would vouch with a reasonable amount of conviction that the two would not err in keeping their house in order. The fact that they have a rock solid command over the state of affairs coupled with the unstinting support that they enjoy from their party cadres, the question of any discontentment, promotion or demotion does not arise. The focus of the PM seems to be only on development from day one of his assuming office, and ensuring that both houses of the Parliament run sans any disruptions or adjournments.
Ironically at a time when the focus of our politicians and social activists should be towards bolstering the pace of developmental reforms in the country, many believe that the attention is being diverted towards ‘non issues’ to not just put the government in the dock, but also to malign its image. When the Parliament goes into frequent adjournments, it is the ‘nation as a whole’ which suffers. Due to gratuitous delaying of key bills, humongous loss is caused to the nation and its citizens who are eventually deprived of reforms. Significantly, the image of the nation takes a beating globally when due to petty politicking and for settling old scores, dirty linen is washed in the public. Giving a big push to FDI in different key segments holds the key to ‘development’. This consequently will do wonders to the economy of the country. The overall number of reforms that the government of the day introduces will determine its eventual success.
At times of extreme crisis, when our politicians are expected to give a clarion call for peace and restraint, they behave negligently by hailing terrorists and anti national elements as some sort of ‘Martyrs’ and heroes. The recent killing of terrorist Burhan Wani is a classic case in point when his killing led to series of violent protests leaving many dead and injured. When state leaders hail terrorists as Martyrs, the citizens of the state are bound to get influenced by that. A terrorist who nurtures the nefarious design of mass destruction is a terrorist, and cannot be accorded the status of a ‘martyr’ by any means or standards. We are able to sleep peacefully because of our brave Army soldiers and other security forces who stand guard for our well being when we are asleep. Thus it should be left to the discretion and wisdom of the Indian Army to do what really needs to be done in the crisis moments. The humungous loss inflicted by violent activities in Kashmir is a big loss to the exchequer, and eventually the re-building process will all have to be borne from the hard earned tax payer’s money.
Equally appalling has been the violence that happened during the Jat agitation which left Haryana reeling under a huge economic burden. Ironically, this loss too would be borne through the tax payer’s hard earned money. In such a scenario, it thus becomes impractical to expect a sudden turnaround and fast economic prosperity. When states after states continue to burn due to issues that have been blown out of proportion, the growth is bound to get hampered. Resorting to violence will certainly not resolve matters, instead will only aggravate the situation, and complicate matters to a point of no return.
In the last two years of NDA government at the helm of affairs, PM Modi has passionately worked towards giving shape to myriad ambitious plans and programs. Initiatives like “Make in India”, “Digital India”, providing a favourable environment for the Start-up ventures have done a world of good towards creating more jobs. Unequivocally speaking, while there is scope for many more mega projects and initiatives, it can happen only when the different political parties clearly decide to put an end to all their political slugfests in the larger interest of the nation.
Strangely, when there is stalemate on action taken against those involved in corruption and embezzlement of funds, the opposition parties raise a big hue and cry in the parliament. On the other hand, when stern action does get initiated by the ruling government, there are murmurs all over about the government being ‘‘authoritarian’, and having an ‘intolerant’ attitude towards the plight of the common man.
Taking contradictory standards on sensitive issues will only jeopardize the economic prosperity of the nation.
The focus should be on passing the GST Bill as it would indisputably be one of the greatest taxation reforms in the country. One tax for the entire country..