When I mentioned that Maran was made a Union Minister with Cabinet Rank during his debut in the Lok Sabha, I got an earful from fellow bloggers who felt that it was a retarded thinking and so I am writing a detailed post on this!
Let’s look at the kind of people an Union Minister like Maran gets to work with!
Secretaries of the different Departments in the Ministry: In the last count, the Departments were Department of Telecom and the Department of Post. Each Department is headed by a Senior IAS officer usually with many years of experience at different levels. Would have started as a Deputy collector of a district and served in many capacities acquiring exposure to different perspectives before being appointed as a Secretary. And all of us know what it means to become an IAS in the first place! Then there are Members of the Telecom Board and Advisors, each being a titan in his /her own field.
Heads of the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU): From the Ministry Website, the following are the PSU.
BSNL, MTNL, VSNL, ITI, TCI, C-DOT, HTL
As you can see, each of these units are giants in their own areas and are led by people who have perhaps given their entire working life moving up the ladder.
My basic questions are
How can one be effective in managing this vast network without any prior experience of dealing with such power centres?
And if it doesn’t take much to handle this task, then why are we making so much of noise about the individuals manning such posts and the posts of Ministers?
If all it requires is young blood, then why are we having our Leaders in their 70’s or even 80’s still sticking to their posts? Why not an upper age limit for the post of Ministers at all levels?
If no prior experience or qualifications are required for such posts, then why insist on such criteria even for entry level positions?
Whenever I broach the subject of educational and experience criteria for Ministerial posts, I am repeatedly shouted down with the example of Kamaraj as an outstanding politician who was not formally lettered and the flippant argument that we would have lost his services had we insisted on any educational criteria.
But the same people conveniently gloss over the fact that he became a Chief Minister at the age of 51 after decades in public service and experience in various levels. He started his political life at the age of 18 which means that 35 years of field work preceded his assuming office as the CM. I am told that he knew every village in Tamil Nadu and its unique problems and I cannot say the same about anybody else now.
There’s more on this and I will continue to write!