BJP govt has completed almost one- third of its tenure in office. Overall there are many achievements and few misses. In a hurry to disapprove the Centre-right ideology, a battery of left-leaning intellectuals disillusioned the masses by spreading venom against the govt. A 24 x 7 headline frenzy media led from the front in multiplying the negatives while very rarely summing up the positives. Having said that, there is no denying that there are some gaps which need urgent attention.
A govt by and large, pivots around few key ministries which set up the direction and tone of the governance. Any weak link among the cross-functional teams has the potential to derail the entire buildup. Since past 20 months, few of the ministries like Railways, Transport, Defense etc. are on the right track but few of the ministries like PDS, MSME etc. need a fresh start. Some of the ministries like finance, home affairs etc. had started with a wave of optimism but gradually lost in oblivion and require a ‘Ctrl + Z’.
Cabinet reshuffle and allocation of portfolios are all about maintaining equilibrium among ambitions of political heavyweights, awarding brilliant performers, sacking non-performers and including fresh legs.
Here is a suggestive list for cabinet reshuffle:
BJP Cabinet Reshuffle: Arun Jaitley as Home Minister:
Jaitley and Modi were always perceived as an odd-couple for economic reforms. Though Modi’s no-nonsense and Jaitley’s suave image had the credibility to stand out on the pre-poll promises. Modi had done a remarkable job in containing corruption at the top level in the govt but Jaitley had failed to use his Lutyen connections to pass key reforms like GST and Bankruptcy bill. At times, Jaitley appeared to be defending himself rather than the govt. Clearly the experiment has failed.
Jaitley along with Rajnath was the architect of Modi’s elevation for the top job. The gratitude ought to be paid. Both Jaitley and Rajnath is under attack from opposition for various reasons. Removing Jaitley from finance ministry will give Modi unscreened control over finance ministry. Appointing Jaitley as the home minister will give a new chief to home affairs especially after Pathankot attack where India’s internal security is on a threat. The excellent media management skill which Jaitley inherit will further help the govt.
BJP Cabinet Reshuffle: Rajnath as External Affairs and Commerce & Industry Minister:
Two of the incumbent ministers, Shushma Swaraj & Nirmala Sitaraman respectively have done an excellent job in their respective ministries. Now it is the time to carry forward the good work. Rajnath and Modi are tuned into the core which will ease the burden on Modi. Moreover, the experience of Rajnath in handling home affairs will give an extra edge for external affairs as in coming months most of India’s foreign policy will hover around Pakistan.
Giving an additional portfolio like commerce & industry will not only honour his seniority but also help in tying the commerce and external affairs in the same thread.
BJP Cabinet Reshuffle: Piyush Goyal as “Finance Minister”
A charted accountant by profession who has served as a board member of SBI & BOB, took charge of then defunct & corrupt power and coal ministry and turned it to right side up. By launching schemes like DDUGJY & UDAY, he raced against time in a direction to achieve the Prime Minister’s ambitious goal of 24 x 7 quality power. He engineered a revival of stalled power plants, E-auctioned coal blocks, increased coal production and added record distance of transmission line. With an experience of heading BJP’s treasury bench and now a proven go-getter, he is ready to take the important job. He will add the fresh energy to the ministry and can seamlessly team up with Modi and Jayant Sinha. Piyush Goyal had done wonders as the chairman of election information campaign committee and there is no reason to believe that he can’t put the ministry in growth pedestal.
BJP Cabinet Reshuffle: Sushma swaraj as “Minister of I&B and minister of parliamentary affairs”
In Modi’s outstanding foreign policy, a lot of credit goes to Shushma Swaraj. When Modi was at the top of the realm, the nuts and bolts were looked by her. It is a shame that a seasoned politician and excellent orator like her is kept in a shadow of the prime minister. There is indeed some past to it and her closeness with BJP veterans is a challenge to Modi & Shah but this is not a plausible reason of not unleashing her. She was in charge of both I & B and parliament affairs ministry in Vajpayee govt and will carry her experience when need the most.
BJP Cabinet Reshuffle: Meenakshi Lekhi as “Minister of micro small and medium Enterprise”
The department of MSME will be a good stepping stone for young and dynamic Meenakshi Lekhi. A revamped ministry will not only benefit Prime Minister’s pet project make in India but will create a number of jobs. There is a huge potential to make rural population self-sufficient.
BJP Cabinet Reshuffle: Nirmala Sitharaman as “Power, coal, new and renewable energy Minister”
Even though Piyush goyal has done a wonderful job in turning the fortune of power & coal ministry, a lot of hard work is still required. Just like Mr. Goyal, Nirmala Sitaraman possesses a lot of academic and professional accolades. As a commerce ministry, she worked extensively on ease of doing business which is reflected in World Bank’s report where India jumped 12 ranks within a year. Under her leadership, India clinched a historic pact at WTO without any compromise. She will be an ideal replacement for the incumbent minister.
BJP Cabinet Reshuffle: Rajiv Pratap Rudy as “Minister of consumer affairs food and public distribution”
The stories of the meteoric rise in prices of some essential commodities (for the case of onion and pulses) is no different than that of UPA regime. There were no forecasts, no proactive measures, late actions and floppy supply chain controls. Any such incident permanently dents the credibility of the govt. which lasts long in people’s mind. An energetic leader is required to stop the occurrence of such events in future. Moreover, India’s rotten public distribution system requires an overhaul. This will give the visibility of govt schemes to the aam aadmi. The political compromise can be made by offering Chirag Paswan any MoS.
This re-organization may invoke some ire among the peers but at the time when there is a perception that brand Modi is diminishing and hope for achhe-din is receding the repackaging is the need of the hour.
There are many variables which drive a person. For some it is their self-motivation and zeal to excel against all odds while for others it’s all about following Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Gradually, as time passes, the complacency sets in and a comfort zone appears. Therefore, Winston Churchill can’t be more right when he said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”