Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rationalizing Government - A Leaner, Meaner Council of Ministers

Warning : This is a long post. But then it is an ambitious task.

Manmohan Singh must be having a tough time priming so many ministers. Take a look at this. As of now there are 49 ministries & 2 departments being handled by him & 38 other ministers. Plus 40 Ministers of State (without independent charge). It’s time to trim. Here is a way to ensure that our cabinet bears less resemblance to a walk-in wardrobe.

1. The Ministry for Women & Child Development will be brought under the Home Ministry, which will then be renamed the Home & Hearth Ministry. After all, Indian Culture says that a woman’s place is in her home. The 'food' portfolio will also be brought under the Home & Hearth ministry, because within home, a woman’s place is specifically in the kitchen. Pramod Muthalik will run this ministry. And given his concerns about youth, the Ministry of Youth Affairs will also come in here. So will the Ministry of Environment & Forests. After all, Muthalik is well versed in jungle law.

2. The Ministry of Health will be merged with the Ministry of Culture as both are about bans & compulsions. Ramadoss remains the ideal man to run this. Consumer Affairs might as well come in here because he anyway keeps poking his nose into it. And Public Grievances will be a good addition as Ramadoss gives a lot of grief to the public. And finally, the Ministry of Statistics because he is, well, mean.

3. Our tribal belt is more or less controlled by naxalites (with whom we even have ceasefires once in a while). The Ministry of External Affairs will therefore take over the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. And for the same reason, the Ministry for Development of the North Eastern Region too. Mamata Bannerjee will take over this portfolio. She may not know much about tribes but is wonderful at diatribe.

4. Our national defence appears to largely constitute of words, threats, accusations & codemnations. The I&B Ministry will therefore be brought under the aegis of the Defence Ministry. Kalyan Singh can head this because he currently seems to be sitting on de-fence. He will also be given the Ministry of Petroleum to fuel rumours. And the Ministry of Textiles to effect cover-ups. Kalyan will get the added responsibility of Sports because he seems to show some potential in the triple-jump.

5. The Ministry of HRD and the Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment are euphemisms for imposing reservation. They will hence be subsumed into the Ministry for Railways. Lalu can continue to head this as he is …er…well-trained.

6. The Ministry of Power will become a giant ministry. Parliamentary Affairs will be added to it, as political power is the only kind of power that is available in this country. And once Parliamentary Affairs is added, Natural Gas obviously comes in. Our government is usually formed by parties with no majority. Hence Minority Affairs is added here. And the constant rifts & alliances make this the logical place for the fission & fusion of the Dept. of Atomic Energy. This mega-ministry can, however, lead to megalomania. So Sharad Pawar will run it. He has a reassuring name that sounds like ‘shared power’.

7. In line with the various subsidies, sops & waivers, the Ministry of Finance will now also include Public Distribution (or redistribution, to be precise). The Ministry of Steel will be renamed the Ministry of Steal, and added to this portfolio. The Ministry of Mines will also be brought in here. In any case, whatever we earn, the FM thinks, “It’s mine.” Ramalinga Raju will be put in charge of this ministry because he is an expert in…er…‘creating’ wealth.

8. The Ministry of Agriculture shall merge with the Ministry for Water Resources and the Ministry for Chemicals & Fertilizers. After all our farmers need water for their crops to drink and chemicals for er… themselves. Indra Nooyi can be invited to run this. Her stint in Pepsi has given her great understanding of sugar, water & pesticides.

9. The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation will be merged. After all, a lot of the urban poor are currently staying in our monuments. Noting the fact that more people visit Infosys than Taj Mahal, Narayanmoorthy will assume charge of this ministry. And because of that, we shall also bung in the Ministry of Science & Technology as well as the Ministry of Communication & IT. May he bring ROM Rajya to our country.

10. The Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways and the Ministry for Civil Aviation will be brought under The Ministry for Overseas Indian Affairs. This is because, if an Indian wants to see roads, highways or some civility in aviation, he has to go overseas anyway. Sonia Gandhi will run this augmented Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs because she even married an overseas Indian.

11. The Ministry for Urban Development with be merged with Ministry for Food Processing Industries because all our cities are one big jam. Deve Gowda can head this one and continue to put us all in a pickle. The Ministry of Space will be added here because he has a lot of it (between his ears). Deve Gowda will also get the Ministry for Rural Development because he has painstakingly converted many cities into rural areas.

12. The Ministry for Commerce & Industry will be made part of the Ministry for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises. This is because our government diligently ensures that all our industries stay small & medium. Prakash Karat will run this ministry because he has the right attitude – he views every growth as a cancer. The Ministry of Labour & Employment will be added here to help him push his agenda. And the Ministry of Pensions because a lot of people wish that Karat took his and retired.

13. The Ministry for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises will now also include the Ministry of Planning. This would enable them to do some heavy planning with little industry. The Ministry of Personnel will be added here because our public enterprises have a lot of public but no enterprise. Vijay Mallya will run this as he his very heavy and very public.

14. We often wonder why on earth we are still harping on Panchayat Raj. So it is logical to merge the Ministry for Panchayat Raj with the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Raj Thackeray can run this because he could also be called Punch-ayat Raj. And he is good at slinging mud. A true son of the soil.

15. There are a few things that we completely lack today but we fondly wish we had sometime in the future. Like wind power, solar power & justice. These will be clubbed into one Ministry. Comprising what was previously the Ministry for New & Renewable Energy and the Ministry for Law & Justice. Bejan Daruwala will run this futuristic ministry.

Phew. Finally we are down to just 15 ministries. This honest, simplified structure would make our government leaner and enable them to become meaner.

Oops, I forgot about the Ministry of Coal. Let's close it down and transfer its responsibilities to the Election Commissioner Navin Chawla. After all, he’s constantly answering nature’s coal.

Disclaimer : Obviously this is fictional. Look at the title. How can anything that has rational & government in the same sentence be true? After all, if we demand rationality from politicians, they’ll ask us to try the ration shop.


Monday, February 9, 2009

No More Tweets For You

We've been Putting for some time now. And it has been most enjoyable (at least, hic, for me). Anything to do with spirits & conversation usually is.

But writing a blogpost means that I have to hunt high & low and unhealthily scrape the bottom of various barrels to string together a collection of PJs. My fingernails then take some time to grow (before I can start scraping again, I mean).

Enter Twitter. Where a PJ can be sent in solitary splendour, and that too instantaneously, before inconvenient things like scruples & judgment come in the way. 

But then, a problem with Twitter is the lack of interaction. I send my Tweet, and then can only imagine, the groans of unsuspecting readers. 

In the past, I've posted what in my opinion, are the best of my Tweets. But what about the rest? Don't they deserve to be condemned, castigated & censured too? If you can't prick them, how will they bleed?

Which is why I've now started a new blog (or technically speaking - a microblog) where I can post many times a day by simply copy-pasting my twitter updates. 

So if this blog attempts to replicate a reasonably long drink, that one is more a series of shots. Hence the name - Short Puts. (Suggested by advertise_meant).

Do check it out at And the more comments you leave, the more chance it has, of becoming some sort of wikipedia of PJs. 

And btw, my fingernails have grown quite a bit since the last post in this blog. So I shall be putting a new one soon. Cheers.