Will the monsoon session be a washout?

Will the monsoon session be a washout?
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Will the monsoon session be a washout?

Highlights

The monsoon session of Parliament will begin from Monday.

The monsoon session of Parliament will begin from Monday. If the mood of the Opposition is any indication, one can be certain that most of the time would be lost in protests and ruckus leading to frequent adjournment of both houses of Parliament which again would result in waste of money and time and the problems facing the common man will remain where they are. The Opposition will also not be able to display its wisdom in highlighting the omissions and commissions of the government and put them in a tight corner.

If there is pandemonium in the Parliament, the Government would be very happy since it will give them an opportunity to easily escape and put the blame on Opposition for not taking up issues for discussion. The Opposition instead of showing greater concern about the "angry face of lions," atop the new Parliament building which was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently should focus on the hungry face of the common man on account of steep rise in prices of petrol and diesel and the cascading effect it has on essential commodities, lack of proper coordination between Centre and states on different issues, or the revolutions that are powering a better India.

During last two years, pandemic had played havoc with people and their lives. At a time when people were trying to put their derailed lives back on track, the Ukraine war has added to their miseries but all political parties - ruling BJP and Opposition- have gone into election mode and are resorting to toxic public discourse.

Every party wants to see the doom of its opponent and in the process, people are facing gloomy situation. The prices of all commodities have shot up manifold, banks have revised repo rates, increased interest on home loans etc and reduced interest on fixed deposits striking a blow to the senior citizens who look for some decent returns post retirement.

While the Union Finance Minister would claim that country is in midst of 'Achche Din,' the Opposition keeps poking at the government asking where are Achche Din? No one wants to move out of this and adopt a practical outlook. The BJP being in power at Centre feels everything is going in right direction. The Opposition says everything is going in wrong direction.

No party makes any effort to stop, look back at the big picture and come up with ideas and suggestions to make life of the common man a little more comfortable. The political parties refuse to recognise that in a country like India which is full of complexities needs to harness every shoulder in moving the wheel of the economy faster, find solutions to the problems facing the country. No party makes any effort to come with new ideas and deeds based on the requirements of the people at ground level.

All that they know is announce freebies and utilise money power. Parties are set to hold meetings with their MPs on the strategy to be adopted during monsoon session of the Parliament. They will list out issues like MSP, rising prices of all essential commodities, the problems faced by farmers, how to improve the purchasing power of the country so that India can soon become $10 trillion economy.

But hardly any of these issues will come up for discussion as neither sides would be willing to accommodate the other and discuss the people's issues. Even during the few occasions when some discussion would take place, the government would evade a straight reply. This is what has been happening in almost every session of the Parliament or in Assemblies.

Before elections, some parties and leaders' resort to walkathons. Ask why this and they will reply to understand the problems of the people. Does it mean that they were not aware of people's problems so far? Were they fighting for the people without knowing their problems? May be?

It's high time, the political parties understand one thing. People may get attracted for freebies for some time, not forever. The incident that happened in Karnataka on Friday where women of a family which suffered due to communal clashes in Bagalkot district refused to accept the packet of Rs two lakhs and threw it back into the car of opposition leader S Siddaramaiah and shouted, "we do not want your money but we want safety and peace"!

It is not that freebies are being announced only now. In the past too, many governments came up with certain schemes. But then it used to be more of a balanced policy while now the large number of freebies are pushing states into debt traps. The question is who is to be blamed for this.

The political executive comes up with certain ideas based on their vision. It is the bureaucracy which must study them carefully and tell the political executive about the pros and cons of the proposal and suggest necessary fine tuning if need be before it becomes a policy.

In the past officers used to submit a report, discuss in detail with concerned minister or chief minister before a final decision was taken by the government and once a decision was taken, it was their responsibility to implement the policy effectively. When N T Rama Rao became the chief minister for the first time and came up with some scheme, the then Principal Secretary in CMO had certain reservations about it.

He went to NTR and explained to him about the plus and minus points and told him, "Sir since you are the CM your decision would be final but before that please consider the points submitted by me." NTR re-examined the issue, discussed with some of his ministers and finally decided to drop the idea.

Does such a situation exist now? Recently, in a discussion on how present bureaucracy functions on a TV channel, a former chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh L V Subramanyam said in one incident he had raised certain queries about some proposal of CM and one of his colleagues in the CMO told him that it would be better to just accept what CM says since we were moving towards "presidential form" of government where CM was the ultimate authority.

The bureaucracy is supposed to be the ears and eyes of political executive and a bridge between the government and the common man. They are expected to apprise and convince the government about the ground situation, assist the government in framing policies. The government is supposed to discuss the proposed policy in detail within the cabinet. But is such elaborate exercise taking place now is a major question. But then who cares?

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