Dream team at work

Known as an action man, Suresh Prabhu has been focusing on customer service

Contrary to perceptions in certain circles that Narendra Modi is the only man in the Cabinet and the rest are helpless executors of his will, the NDA government owes its successful run over the last one year to a committed team of ministers, who, with their dynamism and competence, have steered their respective ministries towards the desired goals.

It is but natural that, in the pecking order, Union minister for finance, corporate affairs and information and broadcasting Arun Jaitley, tops the chart of Mr Modi’s favourites and is considered the No. 2 after the Prime Minister. Mr Modi’s confidence, or rather dependence, on Mr Jaitley, who has always been his vociferous defendant even during the critical post-2002 phase of his political career, was reflected when he was given independent charge of two major portfolios — finance and defence.

Though the responsibility of the defence ministry was subsequently given to Manohar Parikkar owing to Mr Jaitley’s paucity of time and health constraints, he was entrusted with information and broadcasting portfolio, a crucial component of Mr Modi’s outreach to the masses and the media.

Apart from working on a slew of critical reforms in the financial sector including GST, tax rationalisation and divestment, Mr Jaitley played a key role in rolling out the government’s pro-poor flagship programmes including Jan Dhan (banking the unbanked), Jan Suraksha (securing the unsecured), Direct Benefit Transfer and MUDRA Bank (funding the unfunded).

The government came to power riding on an anti-corruption wave and it was but natural that Mr Jaitley worked in close tandem with the Prime Minister in cracking down on black money and making governance transparent through e-auctions etc.

Enhancing the value of rupee, controlling inflation, boosting export growth, implementation of a non-adversarial tax regime, setting up a Public Debt Management Agency and resolving the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) issues are among the challenges confronting the finance minister.

On the I & B front, DD News has undergone major changes and is now competing with commercial channels in grabbing eyeballs. Thanks to the Prime Minister’s ‘Mann ki Baat’, AIR is also going through a revival phase.

When Mr Modi announced in Paris the decision to buy 36 Rafale jets in ‘Ready to Fly’ mode, not many were aware of the backroom spade work done by defence minister Manohar Parikkar in meeting the long standing demand of the Indian Air Force for a modern fighter aircraft which was struck in a tedious negotiation process for decades.

Ever since assuming office, the IIT graduate, known for his integrity and decisiveness, has been pro-actively pursuing the One Rank One Pension demand as also attending to the urgent requirements of the armed forces.

When Smriti Irani took over as the HRD minister, many questioned the former television actor’s educational qualifications. But, she has been working overtime to implement the Prime Minister’s pet schemes such as ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ for the girl child, toilets for girls in government schools, special scholarship schemes for the North East students etc. However, controversies ranging from her poll affidavit to scrapping of four-year undergraduate course, academic appointments, autonomy of universities and alleged saffronisation has dogged her from day one.

Known as an action man, Suresh Prabhu has been focusing on customer service, safety, modernisation and technology upgradation of the railways, India’s lifeline. Promises such as cleanliness of trains and railway stations, quality of food and availability of seats etc. are not yet visible though this go-getter minister’s priority remains bringing railways to the pink of health.

Former Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh has ruffled many feathers with his controversial tweets and presence at the Pakistan National Day event wearing a green jacket, yet his personal supervision of the Yemen evacuations has not only won him accolades from critics but also foreign governments.

As minister of state with independent charge for power, coal and new and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal played a key role in e-auction of coal blocks, which apart from generating revenue has helped in enhancing power generation in the country. The target of 24x7 power to all Indians by March 2019, uninterrupted power to farmers in next two years, 1 billion tonne coal output by 2019 etc., are among his promises whose implementation would be keenly watched. Indeed, all eyes in the coming days would be on the performance of these Ratnas of Mr Modi.

(The author is Adjunct Professor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal)

( Source : dc )
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