INDIA HAS A SEPARATE COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY NOW..AND WITH IT SOME PERTINENT QUESTIONS?

The much talked about second cabinet reshuffle and expansion of the Narendra Modi government is over. And it has thrown some very curious talking points.

One of them is about the introduction of an interesting innovation – a separate Ministry of Communications.

The routine practice so far has been about clubbing together these two elements of the communication ecology – telecommunication and information-technology – in a single ministry. Manmohan Singh had his Communications & Information-Technology minister in the government that was followed by Narendra Modi who appointed Ravi Shankar Prasad as the Communications & Information Technology minister when he formed the government in May 2014.

That is not the case anymore.

Manoj Sinha who was a junior Railways Minister so far has been promoted as the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Communications in addition to his old portfolio, ie., MoS (Railways).

Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was the Communications & Information Technology minister so far, is now Electronics & Information Technology minister along with the additional charge of the Ministry of Law & Justice.

And before the July 5 reshuffle, the economically vital sectors of any country in the modern times – telecommunication and information-technology – fell under his purview.

Now that there is a separate Ministry of Communications – the pressing question is – what this ministry would look after?

As telecommunication has been removed from the ambit of the Electronics & Information Technology ministry and put under the Communications ministry, we come across some pertinent questions.

A Google search on the definition of Communications says – “means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers”.

Furthermore, the Wikipedia writes about the Information & Communications Technologies (ICT) as – “Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information”.

It means the Communications ministry should cover the telecommunication sector as well as the computing technologies, i.e., internet (means of sending or receiving information). At least that should be the case – going by the available definitions in the related literature.

But then what Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad would do with his Electronics & Information Technology ministry?

Google search about the term information technology returns with the following definition – “the study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving, and sending information.”

While it defines ‘electronics’ as – “the branch of physics and technology concerned with the design of circuits using transistors and microchips, and with the behaviour and movement of electrons in a semiconductor, conductor, vacuum, or gas”.

In simple terms, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology also concerns with the telecommunication sector and the computing technologies. It would create problems if the roles are not properly demarcated and defined then.

Also, the Government of India web directory page on the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology shows that the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY), Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Department of Posts together form the Ministry.

MoC&IT-GOIWD

So, there is a clear case of overlapping in the functional areas of the now separated Communications ministry and the Information Technology ministry. And this functional overlapping has been the reason, so far, behind clubbing all the communication technologies together in a ministry.

In a communications ecology increasingly dominated by smartphones along with the growing penetration of information technology in everyday life – something that is again driven by telecom revolution in India – DeitY and DoT must coordinate and act together to ensure an efficient monitoring environment. Also, we need to keep in mind here that almost all the major telecom firms are also big internet service providers.

How would they feel if they are regulated by two separate ministries now – as DoT is now under the Ministry of Communications while DeitY remains under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology?

In other words, there would be two ministries to approach now – one ministry for the telecommunication related practices – and the other ministry for data issues – and the related baggage of dealing with two functional heads and the trail of manpower that follows them. It can simply turn out to be a too difficult to handle.

And where would the Department of Post would go?

A separate Ministry of Communications sounds good but the government needs to answer these questions first. Obviously, the government would have thought on this line. Let’s see the blueprint it comes out with.

©SantoshChaubey

WHAT EXACTLY WOULD MODI SARKAR’S NEW ‘COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY’ DO?

The article originally appeared on DailyO.

The much talked about second Cabinet reshuffle and expansion of the Narendra Modi government is over. And it has thrown around some rather curious talking points.

One of them is about the introduction of an interesting innovation: the ministry of communications.

The routine practise so far has been about clubbing together these two elements of the communication ecology – telecommunication and information technology – in a single ministry.

Dr Manmohan Singh had his “communications and information technology minister” in the government that was followed by Narendra Modi who appointed Ravi Shankar Prasad as the communications and information technology minister when he formed the government in May 2014.

That is not the case anymore.

Manoj Sinha, who was a junior railways minister so far, has been promoted as the minister of state (independent charge), communications, in addition to his old portfolio, which is, MoS railways.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was the communications and information technology minister so far, is now the electronics and information technology minister along with the additional charge of the ministry of law and justice.

The economically vital sectors of any country in the modern times – telecommunication and information technology – fell under his purview.

Now that there is a separate ministry of communications, the pressing question is – what would this ministry look after?

Has telecom been removed from the ambit of the electronics and information technology ministry and put under the communications ministry?

Or, would this independent entity – named as the communications ministry – have some other sectors to cover? If so, what would be those sectors?

A Google search on the definition of Communications says: “means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers”.

Furthermore, Wikipedia writes about the information and communications technologies (ICT): “Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.”

Now that there is a separate ministry of communications, the pressing question is – what would this ministry look after?

Has telecom been removed from the ambit of the electronics and information technology ministry and put under the communications ministry?

Or, would this independent entity – named as the communications ministry – have some other sectors to cover? If so, what would be those sectors?

A Google search on the definition of Communications says: “means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers”.

Furthermore, Wikipedia writes about the information and communications technologies (ICT): “Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.”

While it defines “electronics” as “the branch of physics and technology concerned with the design of circuits using transistors and microchips, and with the behaviour and movement of electrons in a semiconductor, conductor, vacuum, or gas”.

In a simple language, the ministry of electronics and information technology also concerns with the telecommunication sector and the computing technologies. It would create problems if the roles are not properly demarcated and defined.

Also, the government of India web directory page on the ministry of communications and information technology shows that the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Department of Posts together form the Ministry.

MoC&IT-GOIWD

So, there is a clear case of overlapping between the functional areas of the communications ministry and the electronics and information technology ministry. And this functional overlapping has been the reason behind clubbing all the communication technologies together in a ministry.

In a communications ecology increasingly dominated by smartphones along with the growing penetration of information technology in everyday life, that is again driven by telecom revolution in India, DeitY and DoT must coordinate and act together to ensure an efficient monitoring environment. Almost all the major telecom firms are also big internet service providers.

How would they feel if they are regulated by two separate ministries now – in case DoT is given under the ministry of communications while DeitY remains under the ministry of electronics and information technology?

In simple terms, there would be two ministries to approach – one ministry for the telecommunication related practises – and the other ministry for data issues.

But if the government is not going to put DeitY and DoT under two ministries, then what else option is left there?

So, there is a clear case of overlapping between the functional areas of the communications ministry and the electronics and information technology ministry. And this functional overlapping has been the reason behind clubbing all the communication technologies together in a ministry.

In a communications ecology increasingly dominated by smartphones along with the growing penetration of information technology in everyday life, that is again driven by telecom revolution in India, DeitY and DoT must coordinate and act together to ensure an efficient monitoring environment. Almost all the major telecom firms are also big internet service providers.

How would they feel if they are regulated by two separate ministries now – in case DoT is given under the ministry of communications while DeitY remains under the ministry of electronics and information technology?

In simple terms, there would be two ministries to approach – one ministry for the telecommunication related practises – and the other ministry for data issues.

But if the government is not going to put DeitY and DoT under two ministries, then what else option is left there?

©SantoshChaubey

SO..WE HAVE AN INDEPENDENT COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY NOW..BUT WHAT WOULD IT DO?

So, the much talked about second cabinet reshuffle and expansion of the Narendra Modi government is over.

And it has thrown some very curious talking points.

One of them is about the introduction of an interesting ministry – the Ministry of Communications.

Manoj Sinha who was a junior Railways Minister so far has been promoted as a senior minister. No he has not been made a Cabinet Minister. But he has been given the independent charge of his ministry.

He is now the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Communications.

Now what this Communications Ministry would look after – that is the million dollar question.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, a senior NDA member was the ‘Communications & Information Technology’ minister so far. The all important sectors of any country in the modern times – telecom and information-technology – fell under his purview.

Now, after the reshuffle/expansion, Mr. Prasad is the ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ minister – with additional charge of ‘Law & Justice’.

So, what will these two ministries do – ‘Communications’ and ‘Electronics & Information Technology’?

Has telecom been removed from the ambit of the ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ ministry and put under the ‘Communications’ ministry?

Or this independent entity named as the ‘Communications’ ministry would have some other sectors to cover?

A Google search on the definition of ‘Communications’ says – “means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers”.

Furthermore, the Wikipedia writes about the Information & Communications Technologies (ICT) as – “Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information”.

It means the ‘Communications’ ministry should cover telecom as well as computing technologies, i.e., internet (means of sending or receiving information). At least that should be the case – going by the available definition in the related literature.

But then what Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad would do with his ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ ministry?

The Google search about the term ‘information technology’ returns with the following definition – “the study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving, and sending information.”

While it defines ‘electronics’ as – “the branch of physics and technology concerned with the design of circuits using transistors and microchips, and with the behaviour and movement of electrons in a semiconductor, conductor, vacuum, or gas”.

In a way, the ministry of ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ also concerns with telecom and computing technologies.

So, there is a clear case of overlapping between the functional areas of the ‘Communications’ ministry and the ‘Electronics & Information Technology’ ministry. It would create problems if the roles are not properly demarcated and defined.

Obviously, the government would have thought on this line. Let’s see the blue-print it comes out with.

©SantoshChaubey

SO, WHAT SORT OF EXPANSION WOULD IT BE TOMORROW?

Narendra Modi is going to expand his cabinet tomorrow. The names that will figure there tomorrow in the list of the oath-takers are almost certain. Though the official list is yet to come out, the probable names have become more or less clear. The Rashtrapati Bhavan has been informed and as per the reports, the ceremony will begin at 11 AM.

Why we are buying the names because of the leads that we are getting when we look at the list.

The probable names are: SS Ahluwalia, PP Chaudhary, Anupriya Patel, Vijay Goeal, MJ Akbar, Anil Madhav Dave, Mansukhbhai Mandavia, Mahendranath Pandey, Purshottam Rupala, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Krishna Raj, Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, Ramdas Athawale, Subhash Bhamre, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Ajay Tamta, Ramesh Jigajinagi.

A look at them tells they are a mix of possibilities – to tame the considerations of experience – to exploit the permutations and combinations of caste – and to send a message – that no one is secure and the game is going to be performance based.

Though the last prospect looks watered down here – because many ministers whose names were doing rounds as the possible drop-outs are not going to figure there tomorrow – as much we know – so far.

In a country like India where elections are held every year – and where elections are basically contested on factors like caste, community and regional affiliations – performance cannot be the sole criteria for judging a minister for a particular portfolio.

2017 will see five assembly polls – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur. Of these five, the BJP will try all to win Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Though the BJP is now the biggest political party in terms of its governments in the state assemblies, it is true that no party can claim to run the show in the country unless it has an emphatic presence in Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state that sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha (and the maximum number of Rajya Sabha MPs) – the state from where the BJP began its journey to take the political centrestage – but a state where the party has been reduced to the 3rd spot. Though the party has wasted the last two years after the absolute win of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in the state, winning 73 out of 80 seats (with 2 seats of its ally Apna Dal), its strategists still think that it can win the state once again.

So, Uttar Pradesh will have to get a proportion in the cabinet expansion accordingly. Uttarakhand can be an upcoming battle royale after the BJP’s failed attempt to impose the President’s Rule in the state. Now winning the state has become a prestige issue.

The major transitions, transfers and omissions will be based on the equations the upcoming assembly elections in these two states – because Manipur is not that important from an electoral point of view – because Punjab is a lost chance – and because Goa, too, is going to be a negative prospects zone with rising anti-incumbency against the BJP government there.

Representation from states – representation from castes – and representation from experience sub-sets would depend on that.

©SantoshChaubey

THE UNION BUDGET TO HAVE IMPRINT OF MODI’S POOL OF EXPERTS

The Union Budget tomorrow is going to be the second Budget of the National Democratic Alliance government led by Narendra Modi in nine months.

The first one was presented in July 2014 by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after the Modi government was inaugurated in May 2014. Then, the government was just one month into the office, nothing to look back to take steps forward.

Now, nine months into the office, there are developments in retrospect that are needed to be factored in while looking forward. And there will be an intensified level of scrutiny therefore.

In addition to the regular factors affecting the state of the Indian economy, another major element that is going to have its imprint on Budget, is the talent pool of the economists inducted by Narendra Modi in key policymaking functions of his government.

It was already visible in the Rail Budget that focused on consolidating on what is there than to engage in economically insane populism. Sources say the team of experts including the Ministry of Finance Advisor Arvind Subramanian, the NITI Aayog chief Arvind Panagariya and the NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy and the senior officials of the prime minister’s office played a major role in spreading out the policy concepts on the paper.

They are seen as free market experts believing in the primacy of the market to drive the growth and they are expected to follow the suit with the Union Budget.

We should be ready for a no non-sense Budget that would give enough of talking points, to the proponents, and to the opponents. If there has to be some space for populism, it is expected to be in context of the upcoming Bihar assembly polls later this year and the West Bengal polls in the first half of the next year.

But overall, it is expected to be a balanced Budget intending to kick-start the Modi’s vision of making India a manufacturing hub which can meet its requirements internally and at the same can acts as a hub of the export oriented global financial system.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

EULOGIZING GODSE, DEFENDING RELIGIOUS CONVERSION: MODI NEEDS TO REIN THEM IN FOR 2019 RE-ELECTION

Whenever Narendra Modi talks about his vision of India, he talks long term, of continuing governing India at least for the coming two terms, till 2024.

Modi’s reputation on governance and the promises he has made would need that much time and the country and its voters who voted for him would rationally and logically give him the window of these ten years, provided he performs regularly, coming out with report cards on regular intervals that talk of real, solid development.

The political opposition looks nailed and in disarray at the moment. The positive atmosphere for Modi is complemented well with the factors like low international oil prices and healthy inflation rate. His foray in international diplomacy is marching handsomely ahead with Barack Obama as the chief guest of the Republic Day 2015 function.

So, it’s a good harnessing ground for him — except the internal factors of his party, his party’s coalition and the elements of ideology that could potentially derail the show, denying Narendra Modi re-election in 2019.

The country and the voters would expressively reject any attempt to eulogize the likes of Nathuram Godse. Eulogizing a Nathuram Godse is akin to the evil intent to kill the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, a direct affront on the Indian democratic institution. And that eulogy coming from a member of Parliament from Modi’s party is ominous. It doesn’t matter if the person retracted or not.

The country and the voters don’t need mass religious conversion ceremonies. The country and the voters don’t need the ministers and politicians defending such moves and doing politics over the issue. It leaves most of us, who are looking for development, in bad taste.

The country and the voters don’t need debates or extensions over headlines like ‘India a Hindu nation’. It is simply not acceptable, going by the reality of the India of the day, and its realpolitik of the future.

Narendra Modi needs to rein them in. He must rein them in.

The country and the voters who voted him in have given a mandate in the name of development. The large and ever expanding middle class and the huge youth base vote basically on the priorities that can make their lives better, can ease the basket of monthly burden most of the families have to carry. With majority appeasement and polarization, this was the other major factor that gave BJP majority on its own.

This vote base is demanding and reacts actively. Perform or perish is what should be in government’s mind.

If it slips away, it will be difficult for Modi to come back in 2019.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MANOHAR PARRIKAR AS THE NEXT DEFENCE MINISTER? A NEEDED CHANGE INDEED

Reports say Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar may be inducted as the next Defence Minister of India.

If that indeed happens, as the Narendra Modi Cabinet expansion is due and is expected to take place during July 9-11, that would indeed by a heartening news.

Though Manohar Parrikar denied it just now and even said that it was a dead news after he came out of the meeting with the prime minister, there are grounds to think so.

The five most important ministries, Home, Defence, External Affairs, Finance and Railways, need five men of highest integrity and credibility in a country like India where much of the social fabric depends on how these ministries function or how the prime minister gets these ministries to task.

Obviously, all the prime minister’s men including the prime minister himself are supposed to following the values reflecting utmost integrity and honesty while running the government. But, we know, practically, that is not possible.

Now, to be frank, we cannot rely on the absolute degrees of these two modes of functioning – how these ministries function – and – how the prime minister gets these ministries to task. For the best case scenario on functional parameters, it has to be the best possible mix of these two.

And induction of a man of personal integrity and honesty like Manohar Parrikar would help Modi in delivering better. This we can say on assessing Modi as the taskmaster, the administrator while discharging his governance related duties. Politics aside, he has established his reputation as a development oriented politician who has delivered.

And Manohar Parrikar is a person like him. If assessed on the overall parameters, he is even better than him. And he can deliver efficiently and effectively, in a ministry that has been riddled with mammoth corruption. The deals have been so murky and controversial that India’s defence preparedness has been effectively pushed back by years. High level officials including at ‘chief level’ are facing probe.

A person like Manohar Parrikar can certainly be the answer to the questions that would be in Narendra Modi’s mind while he would be thinking of reducing Arun Jaitley’s workload who is currently holding the additional charge of the Defence Ministry.

Let’s see how valid this sources based news comes out to be – on Sunday – or on any day during July 9-11. Narendra Modi is in Varanasi November 7-8 and he is leaving for Myanmar on November 12 for a long foreign trip. So, November 9-11 are the ideal days to zero on and the ‘sources’ say it’s going to happen on Sunday.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/