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Atul Singh

Manmohan – Ever a Courtier, Never the King

Finally the wheels are coming offIndia’s much vaunted economic growth has slowed down to 5.3%. Its current account deficit has been pushed to the highest level ever. Manmohan Singh, India’s Prime Minister, has increased subsidies, failed to formulate any reforms and continued to borrow merrily with no qualms or concerns.Finally, even Manmohan’s clean reputation is under threat. One scandal has followed another, making him the Prime Minister of the most corrupt government since India’s independence. Last year, a massive anti-corruption movement broke out throughout the country, and the government’s response to it was typically Machiavellian. Instead of addressing the concerns of its citizens, Manmohan’s government targeted the leaders of this movement, even briefly putting them into jail without due process. The fact that they lost nerve and released them is some consolation that the Nehru dynasty can no longer go back to the days of the state of emergency when they summarily threw people into jail.More worrying than even the corruption is the institutional decay under Manmohan. India’s diplomacy has been like a ship without a rudder. For a country of its size, India’s diplomacy is puny – it has a grand total of 700 diplomats. These diplomats have been floundering in recent times because they have no clue as to who they are supposed to answer. The same is the case for India’s intelligence apparatus, which a senior intelligence officer described as barely functioning.The Economist has called the Indian state decrepit. It is actually worse. It is a rent-seeking monstrosity of colonial times, whose foundations were laid in the 19th century. India’s citizens have to bribe the very officials who are supposed to serve them. Few institutions function and those that do are under threat. Manmohan has done incalculable damage to India’s military, its most reputable institution. An honest… Read More