Planning Commission is dead. Its successor must focus on ideas over implementation.
Rajasthan’s decision to ‘target’ free medicines and diagnostics is contrary to the recommended role.
But will a nodal ministry at the Centre solve all issues in a federal structure such as ours?
The Prime Minister is writing blogs complaining about criticism — which may be better than prime ministers who never complained, or blogged, or spoke — but it still points to the fact that every government faces a period of settling in where things are unsettled. In other words, it’s easy to turn positives into negatives, or the other way round. Some examples:
Honeymoon period: Meant to be a time when everything is rose-tinted, the birds are singing, bureaucrats are working, the system — inside and outside — is in sync and love is in the air. Conventional wisdom dictates that the honeymoon period lasts 100 days, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a sorrowful blog, complains that his hasn’t lasted even 100 hours (that’s slightly over four days for the statistically challenged). This basically means that the time between swearing in and being sweared at has shrunk considerably.
Rollback: Used to be Mamata Banerjee’s signature song, but now everyone is giving a different spin to rollback, depending on who’s backing whom. In this case, it’s to do with rolling stock belonging to the railways —meant to be the “bitter medicine” the government had promised — but with allies saying it wasn’t fair, some fares were revised, others postponed, and eventually, the proposal, along with an entire train, got derailed. This means that the time between going full-steam ahead and running out of steam has also shrunk considerably.
Safe sex: Used to mean prophylactics and other methods to prevent unwanted incidents and afflictions, but now the good Dr Harsh Vardhan, who happens to be the union minister for Health, informs us that the safest sex is fidelity. Somewhat harsh, considering that it suggests that being faithful to one’s partner is more effective than using condoms. Fidelity is not much use in the fight against AIDS, but the doctor went on to enlighten us even more with his remarks that sex education should be banned. Not very healthy advice, considering such views were last heard during the Middle Ages.
Swiss banks: Hidden money, hot pursuit, secret numbered accounts and Swiss trolls ready to make explosive revelations about Indians with black money. We have been there before, every five years or so. The last time was when Baba Ramdev took it upon himself to personally breach Swiss banking laws. And since the issue is back, we shall know the names any day now.
Or will we? Whenever the Swiss promise to reveal hidden bank accounts, someone always manages to misplace the keys.
Amma’s almsgiving: No one does populism better than Jayalalithaa, from sewing machines to TVs, subsidised idlis to mixer grinders, and a laundry list of schemes that have endeared her to the poor. So much so that her political life has been one long sop-opera. Her latest is Amma Pharmacies, where the poor get cheap medicine and, in return, she gets the political equivalent of continued…