Sunday, September 28, 2014

Employee - Manager Relationship

In mid 2012, when Pranab Mukherjee was contesting for the president, Finance Ministry was taken over by Manmohan Singh. Many business analysts said that, good time for the markets had started, since Finance Ministry was now going to be managed by Manmohan Singh. I could not understand how could things change, since Manmohan Singh was PM and he was anyway superior to the Finance Minister.

Later on I asked myself, how many times, I changed my code just because my manager told me so. Especially, if the manager was the one whom I mentored some time back, but, now became my manager for various different reasons.

The following in the book, The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjaya Baru, has given me some insight on this.

In March 2012, he (Manmohan Singh) was not even aware till the day before the budget was to be presented that his finance minister Pranab Mukherjee was going to introduce a new corporate tax policy, with retrospective effect, that would have disastrous consequences for investor sentiment.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

P.V.Narasimha Rao Cremation

Excerpt from The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjaya Baru

After Narasimha Rao died, I had accompanied Dr.Singh to Rao's house on Delhi's Motilal Nehru marg. As the PM entered the house, Patel pulled me aside. Narasimha Rao's children wanted the former PM to be cremated in Delhi, like other Congress prime ministers. Impressive memorials had been built for Nehru, Indira and Rajiv at the places where they had been cremated along the river Yamuna, adjacent to Mahatma Gandhi's memorial. Even former prime minister Charan Singh, who had not belonged to the Congress, and Sanjay Gandhi, who was only an MP, had been cremated and memorialized in the vicinity. However, Patel wanted me to encourage Narasimha Rao's sons, Ranga and Prabhakar, and his daughter, Vani, to take their father's body to Hyderabad for cremation. Clearly, it seemed to me, Sonia did not want a memorial for Rao anywhere in Delhi.

I reflected for a few minutes on Patel's request and felt it would not be appropriate for me to convey this message to the family. They had every right to make the demand they were making. Why should I involve myself in this matter? I kept my counsel and walked away, not saying a word about Patel's suggestion to Rao's children when I met them to express my condolences. Later that evening I was told the Congress Party had got Rao's family to agree to fly his body out to Hyderabad by deploying Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S.Rajashekhara Reddy to persuade them to fall in line. The Congress Party refused to allow Rao's body to be brought into the party's headquarters on its way to the airport, and Sonia chose not to be present at the Hyderabad cremation.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sonia Gandhi - Protocol

In most of the official functions of the government, Sonia Gandhi sits in the first row. An MP cannot sit in the first row. Even as the chairperson of the NAC (National Advisory Council) with Cabinet rank, she can sit only in fourth or fifth row.

Rashtrapati Bhavan had made a minor alteration in the seating procedure during President Shankar Dayal Sharma's time. Sharma, India's President from 1992 to 1997, had authorized that the spouse of a former prime minister would get the same protocol status as a former PM. The reasoning was that if a former PM had been accompanied by his spouse at a Rashtrapati Bhavan event, the two would have been seated together. This issue had not arisen for previous prime ministers because Nehru, Indira, Morarji Desai and Narasimha Rao had all been pre-deceased by their spouses and the spouses of other deceased PMs were clearly not in the habit of attending state functions. Sonia was the first widowed spouse of a PM in public life.

Courtesy: The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjaya Baru

Sunday, September 07, 2014

P.Chidambaram on Cell Phones in 2004

Cellular mobiles are indeed a sign of progress, but what matters to the poor is a village telephone that works.

- P.Chidambaram on Jan 18th, 2004.

Courtesy: A View from the Outside by P.Chidambaram