Friday, May 27, 2022
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Rigging The PMO : South Bloc

It's not a level playing field. The business of governance is subverted by a group of industrial houses.

Rigging The PMO : South Bloc
Rigging The PMO : South Bloc Rigging The PMO : South Bloc

Should two individuals and a clutch of business houses dictate a democracy's economic agenda? In the India of the bjp, the PM's principal secretary, Brajesh Mishra, and the officer on special duty (osd) for economic affairs, N.K. Singh, call the shots. Key economic decisions are being thrust on the nation, to the comfort of a few business lobbies. It started in 1998 with Singh's ascendancy to the pmo. It has got worse today. Mishra and Singh constitute the powerful arms of the Prime Minister's Office (pmo), which has now become an imperial power centre, riding roughshod over the bureaucracy and foisting controversial decisions on various ministries without so much as consulting them.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this better than a letter written on January 29 by telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh to industries secretary Piyush Mankad, who is vested with the authority to approve foreign direct investment (fdi). In it, Ghosh speaks of how his ministry and his minister had been bypassed by a Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted specifically by the pmo, which cleared fdi of up to 74 per cent in the telecom sector. This was done despite strong objections from the telecom ministry, which had put it categorically in writing that no country allows over 49 per cent foreign equity in telecom.

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