Friday, August 30, 2013

Prime Minister Communicates in Rajya Sabha - there is hope for Indian parliament

After a long time, I watched Rajya Sabha in session and listened to the Prime Minister's statement about the economic problems and the discussion that followed.

It demonstrated that Manmohan Singh can communicate! It is sad that he does it so rarely. He comes across very nicely in small groups (obviously televised as I have never seen him in person) and interviews  but sounds boring in speeches.

I wish he would have a monthly one-to-one interview, possibly with a different interviewer/channel each month.

I recall the disappointment with V P Singh's talks on TV after he became the PM. Somehow, his language and presentation moved from conversational and inspiring to bureaucratic and stiff. Possibly, TV was a new medium in India and his advisors must have been bureaucrats. Today, he could have seen Obama, Blair, Clinton and realised the alternative styles and ignored the bureaucrats.

V P Singh as PM seemed to talk as a PM was supposed to "talk" - serious and remote. It was sad and that stiffness probably caused his ideas and aims of social justice to be missed by the public. It is ironic that there was no opposition to Mandal after his government fell. I like to believe that discussions on social justice at that time might have resulted in far better mechanisms for positive discrimination to achieve some common aims than the rigidity of reservation percentages.

Back to the discussion in the Rajya Sabha today.

The points raised by the opposition were pertinent though surrounded by verbosity. I wish they would follow the elevator pitch. Were their interventions as precise and pointed as one which would not be longer than an elevator ride, effectiveness would have been far greater. They may even learn from twitter. Raising one pointed issue may raise the level of debate and cause discomfort to the government to a far greater extent.

It was ironic that when the PM responded and pointed out that a functioning parliament is critical for investor confidence, the opposition interrupted him repeatedly. They didn't seem to realise that they were proving the PM's point!

I loved PM's one liner to an interruption I could not hear - "I am not the custodian of files in the coal ministry."

One question which no one asked - why consensus in parliament is needed to improve bureaucratic processes and reduce red tape?

No comments:

Post a Comment