Couple of weeks ago, Dr. Manmohan Singh our esteemed Prime Minister sought to put corporations in their place by lecturing them on social responsibility. Apart from lecturing them on their moral shortcomings for earning hefty profits, he asked them to respect workers and invest in their education and welfare. I chuckled to myself when I read that speech and the Hindi phrase – ulta chor kotwal ko daate – instantly sprang to mind. While taking a moral high ground, he failed to mention the lack of government support for such corporations in achieving any of those objectives let alone admit government’s equal if not more wasteful spending. Atanu Dey even wishes he had the opportunity to write Manmohan Singh’s speeches following which he would put things in perspective. Given Manmohan Singh’s previous experience with economic policies of this country, you would think he knows better than to doubt the role of Indian corporations in our economic growth.
To paraphrase Clinton, it is the government, stupid! There is no better example of public wastage and ill-consideration of tax payers monies than our dear Indian government’s still-stuck-in-socialist-age agenda. Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar has written a perfect response to Manmohan Singh’s moralistic outpourings by pointing the finger back at the government:
Thou shalt stop traveling in cavalcades of half a dozen vehicles, for which all other traffic is forced to stop. You told the CII that conspicuous consumption did not go down well in a poor country. But surely traveling in a cavalcade that forces other traffic to stop is more conspicuous than anything Mukesh Ambani or Azim Premji do. You really must stop it, right?
Thou and thy fellow ministers shall move out of palatial government bungalows and shift to modest houses. Top businessmen are buying houses in Delhi for over Rs 100 crore apiece, but their residences pale in comparison with the multi-acre houses that you and your ministers occupy. This does not sit well with your concern for the aam admi , right?
The entire article – Ten Commandments for Dr. Singh – is a must-read. I wonder if it evokes a response from the Prime Minister. I seriously doubt it will. I feel sorry for the man.