New Delhi, Feb 21: The 114 paragraph joint session speech by President Pranab Mukherjee was drab and yawning even by the standards set by our politicians. It also shows how far and detached our rulers are from the common people.
The speech is prepared by the Union Cabinet and the president gets very little leverage to change the tone of the address. But for an erudite person like Mukherjee (since it was his first speech to the joint session) it could have been easy to tweek the speech and make it relevant to the people in whose name the governance is carried out.
In the age of Twitter and Facebook there was no mention of crippling bandh being subjected on the country and the citizens. The effects of the bandh are going to be felt in this financial year's accounts books and as one of the few nations on the Earth fortunate enough to have growing economy, we can ill afford it.
The government had full one day to include a paragraph on the bandh, and touch the sentiment of prople with an admission of loss and incorrectness of the bandh as felt by the first citizen of the nation.
The speech paid passing mention of the measures to be taken to tackle corruption while it wasted words and words on various schemes that are nothing but votebank policies.
What did the government say on the corruption: "My Government remains committed to ushering in reforms for greater transparency, probity, integrity and accountability in governance. To this end, my Government attaches priority to the enactment of legislation proposed in the Whistle Blowers' Protection Bill, the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organizations Bill, Citizens' Right to Grievance Redress Bill, and The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, which already stand introduced in the Parliament. My Government is also considering amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act to punish the guilty and protect the honest public servants more effectively. "
The last sentence is crucial. It is considering an amendment of corruption act to punish the guilty and protect the honest. Why considering? Is this not the first task in fighting the corruption?
Here is the full text on President Pranab Mukherjee's speech in the Central Hall of the Parliament as he opened the budget session of the Parliament on Feb 21.