17 September 2012

The abuse of the C word

There is one 'C' word that is being tossed around like small boats in strong winds: Courage. Every small thing that people do is being marketed as being a decision of courage.

Take a look at what the Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh said after his beleaguered coalition government announced some major economic decisions on the FDI front. Dr Singh asserted that it would take “courage and some risks” to break the policy logjam while strongly arguing in favour of higher FDI and FII inflows. Justifying the economic need for the hike in diesel price, he pointed out that rational energy pricing was critical especially when “our energy prices are out of line with world prices.”

I wonder where Dr Singh’s courage was all these years when the economy was floundering. If the UPA government (read Sonia Gandhi and Dr Singh) took risks today, in making these major FDI decisions, why did they rollback the same decision on FDI in multi-brand retail last year? 

Where was their courage then?

Can they be deemed cowards because Mamta Bannerjee and her ilk threatened to withdraw support and pull out from the coalition and hence on risk of losing her support, they rolled back such major decisions?

The Congress and its coalition partners should remember that they were elected to govern the country and take it on the road to prosperity through good governance. Good governance is what is sorely lacking today, especially after political expediency and fears of survival have become the guiding lights of the UPA government. 

Dr Singh clearly forgot that the policy logjam was the result of his government's dithering on major economic issues. India's economic growth has slowed down from 9% to about 5%, less a result of external forces (like eurozone crisis) and more a consequence of lack of effective governance.

Preventing corruption and punishing the corrupt, even if they are your colleagues, Dr Singh, requires courage. 

In fact, another famous person also used the ‘courage’ word on the same day, albeit in a different sense; Arjun Rampal cheekily remarked that “[It] takes so much courage to get on the ramp in a bikini. [...] I have been in the industry for 15 years now, but haven’t still mustered the courage to don a bikini.”

We would not miss anything even if Arjun Rampal does not wear a bikini; but we, as a nation, stand to lose much if Dr Singh and his government fails to govern efficiently. 

So much for Dr Singh’s courage! 

1 comment:

Avinash K said...

Rolling back the decision last time as they weren't ready for mid-term polls if Mayawati and Mamata were to pull out of UPA in 2011. But I guess this time around in 2012, the derating given by credit agencies and policy paralyis highlighted by international media should've made MMS to force thre reforms even if it meant mid-term polls. Brave decision ill executed, UPA should've tried to bring consensus among the party members and allies. And also should've promoted the reforms instead of letting people hear about all the negative propaganda.