Monday, December 22, 2014

All the Prime Minister's Men


          We have a prime minister who believes in 'minimum government and maximum governance'. No wonder that to achieve this mission prime minister needs a strong office of his own so that Prime Minister's Office can formulate policies for all the ministries and keep an vigilant eye on the required and timely implementation of the ideas generated by the 'best brains' in PMO headed by Narendra Modi. As you know that apart from portfolios like Personnel, Public Grivances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space and all other portfolios not allocated to any minister, prime minister, for the first time, also has assigned himself with the responsibility of 'All Important Policy Issues'. I was trying to recall the period when a prime minister did not have the responsibility of  deciding important policy issues on his shoulders in last 67 years of independent India?

          But prime minister Narendra Modi has preferred to emphasize on this priority and thus underlined it. That is why perhaps, he has a larger sized PMO than his predecessors. What if Modi's mentor Atal Behari Vajpayee ran the country with the help of only 12 members in his personal staff? And who cares for UPA's prime minister Manmohan Singh who could acquire a remarkable place for India on the economic map of the world during last ten years while having only 11 members in his personal staff? Our new prime minister has a personal staff whose size is more than five times bigger than that of Vajpayee or Manmohan. Modi has a personal team of 64, apart from 158 office staff in PMO, to bring 'Achhey Din'. Don't you think that a 222 members' strong ring of committed officers belonging to different ranks is essential for a prime minister who wants to change the cosmetics in one go?

          Don't count the number of security personnel, intelligence people, following vehicles, standby aircrafts, etc because they have been available to any prime minister as per the requirement of that time. If you are a person with mega dreams in international and national arena, whether they are realistic or not, whether they are achievable or not, you have every right to try your bit without giving a blink and worrying for resources of financial nature or of a nature of principles and values.

          That is why, I have no objection to Narendra Modi's style of PMO where he has one National Security Advisor, one Principal Secretary, one Additional Principal Secretary and one Secretary to assist him. He also has a right to have 4 Joint Secretaries and 10 Directors to serve him. I also have no objection if there are one Joint Director, one Senior Personal Private Secretary and 10 Personal Private Secretaries to assist him.

           To help Modi fulfill his duties as Prime Minister there are 4 Under Secretaries, one Reference Officer, one Assistant Director and 20 Section Officers at his disposal. He also has 25 Private Secretaries and 59 Assistants always in attention to implement his orders. Modi is served by one Senior Hindi Translator and two Junior Hindi Translators. He also has one Assistant Reference Officer and one Accountant to look after his day-to-day work. In addition to this, there are 26 Personal Assistants to make the working comfortable. Our new Prime Minister also have the support of 7 Stenographers, 39 Upper Division Clerks, 5 Lower Division Clerks and one Library Clerk. 17 SCDs, one Carpenter, 3 Dispatch Riders, 4 Photostat Operators, 5 Daftaris, 4 Senior Peons 33 Peons, 2 Farrash, 5 Safai Karmacharis and one Helper. It makes a total of 158.

          Modi has another 64 people in his 'personal staff'. They include 2 Principal Secretaries, one Public Relation Officer, 4 Officers on Special Duty, one Information Officer, 3 Senior Personal Private Secretaries, one Personal Privete Secretary, one Under Secretary, 4 Executive Assistants, 3 Assistants, 3 Personal Assistants, 2 Section Officers, 7 Private Secretaries, one Hindi Translator, 4 Staff Car Drivers, 3 Lower Divisional Clerks, one Daftary, 16 Peons and one Helper.

          Atal Behari Vajpayee had only 12 people in his personal staff when he was the prime minister--one Secretary, one Private Secretary, one Lower Division Clerk and 9 Peons. Manmohan Singh had 11--one Secretary, one OSD, one Additional Private Secretary, one Assistant Private Secretary, one Personal Assistant, one Dispatch Rider and 5 Peons. And they could run the country with this much little help.

          Just to mention, White House has a staff of 468 to enable Barack Obama to keep an eye on the whole world so that he can put himself in to service of achieving America's mischievous, and most of the time dangerous, goals. I tried to find out the details of the members of personal and official staff at the disposal of Valdimir Putin, president of Russia and Xi Jinping, president of People's Republic of China, but utterly failed.

          I know that it shows you in bad light if you start raising questions on a prime minister who has formed his government only six months back that too by getting a clear majority after three decades in a complex political situation through which our country was passing all these years. But I have been asking one question to myself for these six months that what is called 'governance' or for that matter 'maximum governance' in a democratic country? Forget governance, there is no single definition for the concept of democracy and different scholars since 5th century BC have given different definitions of democracy.

          Whatever are the definitions, one thing is clear that any democracy has to respect basic human rights, political rights, civil rights, liberty rights, due process rights, welfare rights and equity rights. The governance, minimum or maximum, in a democracy therefore would entail participation, rule of law, inclusion, accountability, responsiveness, transparency and efficiency.

          I hope, these democratic values will always be safe in the lockers of all time strongest PMO which has only one key and that is with Narendra Modi.

No comments: