Editorial: Managing ‘Power’ Meters
New government has outlined its ambitious but achievable action plan. There may be allegations of ‘plagiarism’ and ‘repackaging’, but it has definitely instilled a ‘new hope’ in the masses. Whatever little doubts critiques had were addressed by a stunning replying by the PM to the joint session of parliament on the President’s address in the Lok Sabha. Still for achieving the outlined inspirational plans three levels of power meters will play crucial role.
Firstly, rectifying power parameters in Delhi is a critical task. The capital has its own power centres and there is a larger perception about lobbies working in various ministries. Modi has already taken steps to curb the roles of intermediaries in the government functioning. Clear circulars regarding blanket ban on appointments of kith and kin in the personal staff is a welcome step. The role of sycophants may also take a back seat. But unless people experience hassle free non-corrupt governance; witness transparency in mechanisms; and, change in moral outlook and moral standards, the sanctity of democratic institutions will not be restored.
Secondly, much discussed about ‘ensuring 24 X 7 uninterrupted power supply’ is another power meter. It is true that Delhi is facing severe power crisis and the absence of democratically elected government has worsened the issue. But the fluctuating weather conditions, excess power demand due to augmenting temperature or disturbance in distribution due to stormy weather, have also added the fuel. But it is not only a problem of Delhi. In fact, Delhi creates power crisis for other states through extra consumption without production.
Incidentally, on this issue, history is repeating itself. When Narendra Modi assumed power in Gujarat as its CM, the state was going through the same kind of power crisis. Unprecedented makeover of the power generation through PPP and by effective use of renewable energy sources, Gujarat became a role model for other states through its Jyoti Gram project. For a solution to this problem, coordinating with various states for energy management through ‘cooperative federalism’ and building asense of healthy competition is crucial for power management. More importantly resource and distribution management through advancement in technology alongwith responsible use of non-storable resource like power is equally critical in this regard.
Thirdly, managing power equations at the global level is more pertinent for the new government. World respects power, is a thumb rule of this realist international order, and Modi through his foreign policy gestures have already conveyed the right message. Still while going into the nuances of power projections and execution at the global level mere ‘right tone’ will not suffice.
Pakistan is a fuming like volcano and a general proposition that ‘peaceful and democratic Pakistan useful for India’ looks a distant dream. China and the US are already competing for engagement and balancing these power centres will be a difficult task for the new government. Immediate neighbourhood had lost respect for India. Regaining not only respect but rightful space is another dimension of global power management.
India’s policy towards the international Organisations like the UN and the WTO will be tested in the coming days too and the government will have to play its cards cleverly on crucial issues when power pressures will be applied from all quarters.
Though these three power meters look separate they are interwoven and unequivocally interlinked. But by display of strong political will to rectify these three power meters, the Modi government can turn the action plan of Development through Good Governance a reality.
– Prafulla Ketkar