Policy / Work Jam:: Nation pays a heavy price for media led Cabinet reshuffle stories. Can the PM take note of this and stop such Practices


The first news about cabinet reshuffle came in May and were carreid out by all newspapers (http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/cabinet-reshuffle-buzz-begins-116052001036_1.html). And than periodically they kept coming. So first it was to happen on 26th May, than first week of June and than immediately after PM’s US tour , than after Yoga day.
While we have been hearing this for more than a month at the time of writing this post, nothing as such has happened.
Can anyone understand the repercussions and effect of all these media led news for daily consumption. It has a direct effect on GDP as work gets paralyzed across all sectors. While the GDP is pegged at 7.8 , the ground realty is different and has lot of weakness.
While cabinet reshuffle may happen or may not, but one thing that certainly is happening in the background is- Nothing is happening . Visit any central govt office. what one observes is a gloomy atmosphere and environment of uncertainty. Therefore all work gets stuck up, no one is willing to take initiatives and personal involvement and engagement goes missing.
The government must remain alert and must stop such news about cabinet reshuffles firmly. No one gains through such media centric speculative news except that it contributes towards increasing lethargy and gossips in all central offices.
The ever smart Babus are waiting for the new masters. All files are lying pending as no one knows who will occupy the seat and what will be his instructions. There are favourites and dislikes amongst Babus to the choice of their ministers. So,me feel comfortable to a particular minister while some pray to God that anyone comes but not him. And therefore everyone is in waiting mode.
Than there are subordinates and other staff who feel demoralised because there is no activity and encouragement from above. The ministers are also helpless as they are unable to wield their powers and ask the bureaucracy to speed up work, All are busy in scrapping pending works mostly related to personal matters, TAs and one or two important policy issue.
Issues that are in the larger interest of the nation, critical thought process etc goes missing. And why sir, because there is an impending cabinet reshuffle. And is there any official statement about cabinet reshuffle? the answer is NO.
In the process, the nation pays a heavy toll to this rumours. If cabinet reshuffles are so important than it must be done with swift hands without giving time to the media to show their favourites and or criticize whom they don’t like. A lot of stories get planted by vested interests to take jibes at ministers and make mockery of them through self cooked stories. The reasons and logics that are given are bizzaree and no one knows from where they have sprung up. It is difficult to say what effect they might have on any senior officer under a minister or the minister himself. Who would like to obey a ‘media projected weak ‘ minister if he is ill spoken and ridiculed.
Instead of such practices it will be much better of the honourable Prime Minister kick starts competition among the ministries and praises the performers, so that message goes to the non performers. A much better approach would be to make annual appraisal of each ministries and than make decision on them . This can be done every summer or winter or financial year ending…
However, We feel that this is no time to go for a cabinet reshuffle. All the non performing ministers can be given a certain time frame, say 6 month deadline to shore up performance and deliver. Thus it will lead to good competition and only the fittest will survive. The government need to adopt professional methods and tools. Cabinet rejig can also be done by removing or taking one minster at a time . so that there is no big media frenzy.
The govt. has already committed a blunder in the case of RBI governor. The Governor should have been offered a new responsibility that suits his personality. Instead the govt made a mess of it. NO it is not Mr Rajan who is the looser. It is the country that is a looser in all such cases.
While organization reshuffle can wait indefinitely and media should also be allowed to have their fun time in such cases, cabinet reshuffle is not an issue to be played by. It has serious repercussions and the government is answerable to all such events.

Asheesh Shah
Author: Asheesh Shah

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