Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Homilies coming from the mouth of a religious preacher may not be surprising; because that is his job. When one is to hear Dr. C. Rangarajan, he would naturally expect to hear what exactly ails our economy and what steps are being taken to cure that; because he heads the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of the country. But hearing him in the convocation of Utkal University was to hear homilies only, studded with ‘should’s and ‘must’s. Sad.

Asking us to believe that a new vibrant India has emerged only after liberalization of economy, he highlighted five areas, which he believes, warrant priority attention. And with this started the homilies.

“Growth of agriculture has several implications for the economy. It leads to a reduction of poverty, a greater expansion in employment given the Indian situation and a more broad based growth” he said as if we do not know this truth! Admitting that “recent period has seen a slowing down of agriculture”, he said, “We should focus on the agriculture sector”. He further said, “We need a comprehensive agricultural policy encompassing a higher level of public investment, a shift from subsidies to investment in terms of public expenditure, consolidation of holdings, a proactive programme to foster exports, intensified agricultural research to raise yields particularly of dry land crops and evolving a better cropping pattern”. If the country needs a comprehensive policy to reverse the located slowing down of agriculture, why has the government not framed it? Instead of telling why agriculture has slowed down in recent years he has delivered homilies like we should focus on agriculture! Is it expected of the PM’s chief economic advisor?

He says, “Very nearly the whole of the household savings in financial assets is appropriated by the public sector”. But again says, “Government expenditure ‘should’ shift in favour of capital expenditure”.

Why such ‘should’s?

Should people hear functionaries like chairman of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister to hear ‘we should do this or we should do that or we must do this or we need that’?

For how long should we hear these homilies?

When functionaries like Dr. Rangarajan address the public, they should refrain from peddling the ‘should’s and tell us what exactly is happening to our country and what exactly the government has done or is doing to discharge its duties to the country so that the citizenry is able to know of its position vis-à-vis the government it has elected.

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