Dr Manmohan Singh is 78 years old. But, he has categorically ruled out retirement!
The PM’s interaction/ meeting with the press yesterday, that lasted 80 minutes, is definitely to dispel the impression that UPA government (second term) is drifting. Let us acknowledge; after Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Manmohan singh is the only Indian PM to be elected for two consecutive terms! And, he is not keeping the chair warm for Rahul Gandhi, as felt by many. The PM has decided to get a younger cabinet, co relating with the ‘youngest’ Indian population in the world, as mentioned in his press meeting. This is probably the first occasion, he has spoke to the Press, at so much length.
There is a widespread notion, it is Sonia Gandhi, chairperson UPA alliance, who is in control. Few people know that Dr Manmohan Singh is a silent doer and he shuns publicity. No doubt, Sonia is a high profile person; in contrast to the PM and may appear to be the policy maker. Well, that is not true. The successful track record and rich experience in the career of PM speaks for itself. He has held high positions in the past too; and has pioneered economic reforms as early as in 1992.
The challenges faced by the present Indian government are enormous and it calls for collective responsibility of all the coalition members in the UPA alliance – the Maoism rebellion in West Bengal needs to be solved as early as possible, before the trust on the central government is lost. The perennial Jammu & Kashmir issue is still burning! To add to that, deployment of Chinese troops in the PoK part of Kashmir valley, may strain the relationship between India and China. It is suspected that China’s priorities have changed in South Asia. The reasons indicated by China, for deploying their troops in PoK, are not convincing. China has also claimed a stake in the disputed area of Arunachal Pradesh. Now, this is disturbing, especially due to ‘growing’ economic clout of China in the world.
He did not talk about implementing the Nuclear civil liability bill that has been passed in the parliament; impending to the first visit of US President Barack Obama to India, coming November. He has not spelled out his plan to educate the masses and implement the Right to education Act in vigorous manner at the grass-root level. FDI investment in Multi brand Retail requires his voice of support so that globalisation of the retail sector is ensured. India- Pakistan political and business relationship needs to be improved!
But, looking at the positive aspects of the present situation; there is lot of scope to build cooperation and better relations between India and China in the areas of FDI, transfer of technology, bilateral trade. BPO Outsourcing from United States will not stop; despite it being recently banned in the Ohio state. Supreme court will give a free hand to the central government and not interfere in policy matters ( like it did in the FCI food-grain wastage issue).
We are on the right path and that is reassuring. As I said earlier; Dr Manmohan Singh does paint the ‘big picture’ as a sombre one; but he is clear sighted and by default – a low profile doer and does not indulge in irrational exuberance or undue populism. And, he has admitted in public that he is not a talker (like LK Advani is) rather he likes to put his head down and work!!