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No tears for you, Mr. Manmohan Singh; only contempt
Mr. Manmohan Singh is arguably the worst Prime Minister India has ever produced. Yet he holds a press conference and praises his own performance. And not a word from the Congress. If Manmohan Singh can praise himself, I am sure that his critics, 67% of Indians, have a right to highlight his failures.

Times Poll published in Times of India of January 4, 2014, gave the public perception of Mr. Manmohan Singh’s performance as PM. 4% said excellent; 11% said good; 18% said mediocre and a whopping 67% rated the performance as disastrous. Yet he holds on to the chair as a leech holds on to its prey.

His interview to the press on January 3, 2014 was a travesty of probity. It was one of those rare occasions where an eminent person evaluates his own performance and praises himself. Since he has tried to portray his performance as good, it is only fair that his critics should list out instances of non performance and malfunctioning of his government.

Economy

The high point of Mr. Manmohan Singh’s CV is his credentials as an economist. Let us therefore start with the performance of his government in the field of economy.

1. Exchange Rate: In 2004 when he took charge an US dollar was about Rs 44. Today after about 10 years of his being at the helm, the US dollar is about Rs 62. At one time it had dropped to over Rs 68.

2. Current Accout Deficit: India’s current account deficit doubled from what it was in 2006 to US$ 365billion in 2013.

3. Trade Deficit: India’s trade deficit was only US$ 14.3 billion in 2004. It has increased to about U$200 billion in 2013. In other words the trade deficit increased 15 times in the 10 years with Manmohan Singh as PM.

4. External Debt: India’s external debt stood at US$121 billion at the end of December 2004. It has bounced to US$390 billion or more than 3 times during Manmohan Singh as PM.

5. Flight of Black Money: By international estimates, over 120,000 crores of rupees were taken out of the country in the past decade and deposited in various tax havens around the world. There can be no doubt that foreign banks and public sector banks had a major role in the money laundering. FERA was replaced by FEMA to facilitate money laundering. No visible action has been taken against any Hawala trader. It is the price of his economic liberalization.

6. Vegetable Prices: By his own admission, Mr.  Manmohan Singh has been unable to control prices. The government’s attempts to import onions to bring down prices was too little too late. The prices of vegetables have nothing to do with farmers getting more money as claimed by the PM as governments do not procure vegetables. Extreme price rise is due to hoarding and black marketing and represents failure of governance.

7. Free Trade Agreements & Reduction of Import Duties: This is another fad of the PM which has been disastrous for the economy. Trade deficit with China has grown from US$4 billion in 2004 to US$ 40 billion in 2013. With low technology, low cost Chinese goods flooding the market, Indian manufacturing is being destroyed and jobs are being lost. With FDI in retail being allowed and MNCs being allowed to import 70% of products sold, the state of Indian manufacturing and employment will further reduce.  

8. Employment Generation: The GDP growth rate during Manmohan Singh’s tenure has been high mainly due to illegal mining, increased foreign investment and increased consumption. Actually GDP growth has little meaning as it does not distinguish between production and consumption, between growing food and producing whiskey and so on. Because the growth rate was achieved without increase in manufacturing and production, the employment generation has not matched the growth rate.  Growth has also not been inclusive.
 
9. Financial Regulation. Financial regulation under UPA- I & II has been lax. Multi level marketing scams, chit fund scams, commodities exchange scam, etc have robbed the lay investors, pensioners, small investors of thousands of crores. Regulation of banks of banks has also been lax. “Know Your Client” norms have been flouted, money laundering condoned and banks have been allowed to accumulate over Rs 100,000 crores as NPA.

10. Growth of Public Sector. Under Manmohan Singh, unlike in China, the growth of our public sector has stagnated and in some cases reduced. Public sector plays a very vital role in our economy and development of backward areas. It is the only tool for controlling profiteering by the private sector and MNCs.

11. Food Grain Exports. Millions of tons of food grain like wheat and rice are allowed to rot each year due to lack of proper storage. No attempt has been made to export surpluses possibly to keep world prices high to benefit foreign MNCs.

It will be seen from above that the decade with Manmohan Singh as PM has been the worst decade for the Indian economy.

Project Implementation

The Government's project monitoring and implementation agencies have been proved to be grossly inadequate.

1. National Highway Projects. Time and cost overruns are the order of the day. Over 400 highway projects have had to be cancelled or retendered.
2. Power Projects. Many power projects have been delayed. Some have not started even years after being given green light.
3. Railway Safety. Accidents continue to take place; AC coaches continue to catch fire. There is acute shortage of locomotive drivers and safety staff. A strike is looming. Who cares?  

National Defence


1. State of Readiness. The last Chief of Army Staff lamented at the poor combat readiness of the armed forces. He was made to retract his statement but that does not change the reality of aging equipment, high unserviceable state, shortages of ammunition, missiles, anti tank weapons etc.

2. Modernization. The modernization plans of the Armed Forces, particularly that of the Army and Air force, are 15 to 20 years behind schedule. Hardly any effort has been made to indigenize defence production. Even non lethal equipment like TATRA vehicles purchased with technology transfer agreements are not produced in the country. Technology transfer clauses in defence contracts are not implemented. Artillery guns, anti tank missiles, helicopters, and aircrafts in use are over 30 years old. In fact no major modernization has taken place after Rajeev Gandhi.  

3. Manpower Shortages & Morale. There is about 80% shortage of Captains and LTs. Men and officers do not play together. Officers and men are over worked. Morale is low. Officer- men conflicts have increased and could ruin the army. Bureaucrats keep playing one up-man-ship games with their service counter parts and even have been hauled up by courts on contempt charges for not implementing court orders.

Foreign Policy

We are a soft nation, softer than a banana republic. No country takes us seriously.

1. Policy of Appeasement. We follow a policy of appeasement. We give away islands and warships to Sri Lanka while they refuse to honour treaties or protect the human rights of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils. The British PM brings up the issue of war crimes and genocide against Tamils but India remains silent. It even provides economic aid and trains its armed forces. India’s reply to export of terrorism by Pakistan and border violations by China is cowardly by any standards.

2. Inability to Protect Tamil Fishermen. India with the world’s fourth largest navy cannot protect its fishermen from being arrested and ill treated by foreign navies.

3. Kashmir Solution. The PM claims that he had almost solved the Kashmir problem. Why talk of the big fish that got away? Is it because we cannot catch even small ones? In any case what was the solution?

4. India-China Border Agreement. Some agreements were signed recently between India and China. Is the Indian Parliament if not the Indian people entitled to know what territories and rights have we signed away?

Action Against Corruption and Inefficiency

The 10 years of Manmohan Singh as PM will be remembered as the “Decade of Scams” in the Indian history. So much have been written and said about the scams that it may be adequate to list out the major ones like 2G Scam; Rs 450 crore telephone exchange scam courtesy Dayanidhi Maran; Coal-gate; Adarsh Society; Encroachment of Defence Land (12,000 acres of Defence Land has been encroached and no visible efforts are being made to remove encroachments); Rotting Food Grains scam whereby million tons of grain procured by the government are allowed to rot in the open due to inadequate storage; Illegal Mining Scams where mines have been allowed to operate without environment clearance and mine more ore or coal than permitted etc.

Not only has the government taken no measures to reduce corruption but is going all out in protecting the corrupt by every means possible like penalizing whistle blowers, not giving sanction to CBI and other investigating agencies to interrogate and proceed against corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and all kinds of delaying tactics. The judicial system is also being crippled by not filling the vacancies of judges at various levels and not providing judicial infrastructure like court rooms, equipment like computers etc and non judicial staff.

Conclusion

 The instances of non-functioning or malfunctioning of UPA1 & 2 are almost endless. The Prime Minister is the head of the government. He is fully responsible to ensure that the ministers appointed by him perform their duties honestly, efficiently and in the interest of the nation. He cannot pass the buck and say that he is not responsible for mala fide acts of omission and commission on part of ministers and bureaucrats.

Mr. Manmohan Singh has not only failed miserably to control and guide his council of ministers, he has reduced the PMO to an office of influence peddlers and wheeler dealers; a post office for processing letters written to the PM by unscrupulous politicians, industrialists and lobbyists for granting illegal favours which are not in the interest of the nation.

Mr. Manmohan Singh can be credited with the dubious distinction of leading the Congress to some of its worst electoral defeats in history. He has done more to destroy the Congress as a leading, century old, political party than any BJP leader including Narendra Modi. He is totally unapologetical about his dismal performance and the damage he has caused to the nation and the grand old party. Amazingly, Congress High Command continues to have him as their leader.

No tears on your departure Mr. Manmohan Singh; only contempt.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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