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Great Expectations From Congress

THE Modi government appointed retired and experienced Shaktikanta Das, a postgraduate in history, as the RBI Governor after Dr Urjit Patel resigned from the post. Das is not a qualified economist, and it has been reported that the board that oversees the RBI functioning are also filled by ideologues and bureaucrats. The nation is lucky that the Congress has displaced the arrogant BJP in the Hindi heartland so democracy and rule of law have a chance to flourish once more. BJP spokespersons have warned that this is a temporary setback and they will more rigorously go after the Gandhi family to show how they have swindled the nation. Their line of argument is that whatever the Congress has done since the independence is wrong, and whatever the BJP has done so far is right. It is hoped that the Congress will now show us they are a party with a positive difference. I hope that the Congress will act on the promises made to woo voters and will be magnanimous towards the BJP. I also hope that the Congress leaders will not be loudmouths, will not fight with each other and will not be arrogant. I expect that they will work hard to find solutions to vexatious problems.


The Padma Conundrum

THIS is with reference to the Padma awards announced  on the eve of January 26.  Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri  are the second, third and fourth highest civilian awards in the order of merit and experience. ‘Exceptional’ and  ‘distinguished’ are the words used while decorating men and women with these awards. The highest honour – ‘Bharat Ratna’ – is not given every year.  Controversy over the   Padma awards keeps on surfacing from time to time.   Maybe, last Padma awards were an  exception when hidden gems were discovered and honoured. The Padma selection committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and consists of home secretary, secretary to the President and four to six persons of eminence which recommends names to the President for approval. Though the NDA government scrapped the system of ‘nomination by ministers’, grumblings and rumblings remain because its replacement  “any citizen” meant anyone  can propose anybody. Self-recommendation is also allowed and there were a few winners in this category over the years. But the general grouse is  bureaucrats holding all the aces.  It is puzzling that eminent persons have to apply for the high civilian awards of the country. Many stalwarts, with self-respect, have therefore not found themselves in the list, and some have rejected the awards for several reasons.





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