Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Unspoken in PM's Speech

Is it possible for two nations to live in the same country?

The PM's speech, spoke of a nation having a few problems and a bright future. He spoke of challenges, which he was confident of surmounting within foreseeable future.

Alas, I am not a citizen of the sunshine nation the PM so fondly spoke about. In fact, not many can claim the citizenship of the promised land. I live in a nation, where this independence day has bought ominous signs of foreboding, which fills us with gloom and despair about the future of this great country.

The PM spoke a lot and meant very little. The speech was laced with the names of  programs, the government had undertaken to improve the living conditions of citizens. What it did not have, is the description of the magnitude of failure these flagship programs have been.

He spent a lot of time talking about creating new jobs for the youth of the country, but did not answer the basic question of  "How was he going to do it?". Policy paralysis may create an air of denial, it certainly does not create jobs. When the rating agencies predict of a slowdown, it essentially means lesser jobs on the factory floors and more angry people on the streets. Europe is too fresh a lesson in this regards for any short/long term memory loss to erase.

The highlight of the speech was, off course, the promise of providing electricity to every house of the country in the next five years.  In fact, every time I sit down to write a blog, I pray that booting my laptop does not trip the whole of western grid.  Forget FDI in retail, even if you ensure electricity in every house, you would kickstart the economy, create jobs and ensure a next term in the parliament.

Another issue touched upon in the speech was the need of having transparency and accountability in public life, and the good progress the government had done in the area. This was like a student writing an exam, and then giving himself a 100% for the answers. The conduct and seriousness of the government in bringing an effective ombudsman(or lokpal) is no open secret. The speech could have outlined a road map for the plausible future rather than dwell upon the improbable past on this matter.

The speech finished with a comment that no power in the world could stop India from achieving greatness. I agree, we do not need world powers to stymie our growth when the government is doing an excellent job at it.

The only good thing about the speech was that it was over. But, at the end, I had a lingering doubt--- Should the Independence Day speech not be made by a person who is truly Independent?

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