Monday, December 20, 2010

Sir, your policies are doing wonders for our corporates’ growth. In last 10 years they have leaped from Rs 4Cr scams (remember Sukhram..) to the Rs 1,76,000 Crore ones now. What a Sustained growth!!

Manmohan Singh, current prime minister of India.Image via Wikipedia

The PM of a Banana Republic?

When did it become more important for a Prime Minister to assuage ‘corporate nervousness’ than to address ‘national nervousness’?

The Prime Minister finally broke his silence to assuage the ‘nervousness of the corporate sector’ over phone tapping. Important as it was to send this signal, after all it is no one’s case that the Government should indiscriminately monitor phone conversations, it is even more important to worry about the signals Manmohan Singh did not send. He is not the Finance Minister of this country, he is the Prime Minister. The nervousness among some corporates is but one part (a minor part, despite attempts by some to selectively emphasise this aspect) of the fallout of the Radia tapes.
Did the Prime Minister not want to assuage the nervousness of the ordinary citizen on hearing these tapes? Did it not occur to him that concerns about India becoming a banana republic, thanks to phone tapping, actually conceal the fact that the tapes suggest it may already be one? Does it not occur to him that there is considerable reason to worry when people like Tarun Das, closely associated with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), boast of how they pitched “big time” for the ‘surface transport’ portfolio to be allotted to Kamal Nath?
Tarun Das has clarified that, “In exchanging ideas with people about a wish list of responsibilities, I did talk about ‘surface transport’ for him. When I used ‘big time’, I mean forceful.” What is not clear is who these ‘people’ were. On the very evidence of these tapes, Tarun Das is one of the few people in the country who has direct access to the Prime Minister.
On 4 July 2009 at 20:21:52, Tarun Das tells Niira Radia: “We need to clear this up because my point is that I met the PM today half an hour alone, one-to-one…”
On 8 July 2009 at 09:27:26, Niira Radia talking to Sunil Arora, former CMD of Indian Airlines, says, “Sunil, hi, listen because I have to quickly rush, woh Tarun mil raha hai Prime Minister… uske liyepointers bhej do Tarun ke liye [Tarun is meeting the Prime Minister… send some pointers for him], ki what has been ailing it and what have been the issues including the unions and all that…” {Read On}