USA to teach Indian MPs?

You would not catch them attending a leadership programme at one of our universities or management institutes.

But twelve of our ministers will be off to Yale University to attend the fourth annual Programme for India’s Parliamentarians that was launched in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and India-US Forum of Parliamentarians.

From the fairly seasoned Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi to the young Union ministers of state Ajay Maken and Agatha Sangma, from the ruling party to the regional and religion-oriented ones it is a diverse mix.

What do these people hope to learn? What is the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians about? Is it a lobbying group? Or will it help brainwash our MPs to understand the American system better?

Besides undergoing a seven-day leadership programme at the Yale University campus beginning June 9, the MPs would travel to New York and Washington for meetings, discussions and interactions with US politicians, policy analysts and senior government officials. “The India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme is pioneering in the amazing diversity of topics explored; in the outstanding, cutting edge quality of the world-renowned lecturers; in the truly bipartisan nature of the multiparty delegation,” said Singhvi.

This is not about individuals going abroad for education or even professionals attending seminars or conferences. These are our elected representatives who will shamelessly sit and listen to some American on how to be leaders in India, a country that is vastly different in every way. Mr. Singhvi is the spokesperson of the ruling party and has been holding forth on policy decisions. What are we to make of the things he has been saying? That he needs an education?

Will any of these ministers be asked to speak and address US parliamentarians?

Since FICCI is involved, there is obviously the economic angle. The angle of how to pass files for industrial houses and possibly multinationals. Who is paying for their trip?

Forget all this leadership baloney. They are being had and, worse, loving it.

Where is our self-respect?


  1. FV, the problem maybe that the alternative to allowing private industries to come up in the future is better than state-run companies running in the red year after year and funded by the tax payer -- these state owned companies are ruled by very very large workers unions, which in turn are very large and solid "vote banks" for various politicians. The reason why Mamata or Lalu want to become Railway ministers is because they can get a lot of free sops for their local constituency by abusing their authority as railway minister.

    There is this argument that cutting red tape and allowing Indian entrepreneurs to invest their own money to run their own businesses may be a good thing to do, at least until we have the problem of "too much corporate influence on politics"....but seems to me we already have too much corporate influence in politics, when we should be having too little.

    The answer lies in the crooked politician -- he has his/her finger in the worker's union pie and in the corporate interest pie...anyone wonder why Sharad Pawar wants to be in the BCCI and also hold a portfolio of agricultural minister, or why everyone wants to be "telecommunications minister"?..so that all the "public airwaves", i.e., frequencies for broadcasting TV signals and other signals, can be sold to friends and family for a low cost (or for a hefty deposit into the minister's personal swiss bank account) rather than be sold in an open auction and generate the maximum revenue, and furthermore, only auction the leasing rights for bandwidth for a certain number of years, not a one-shot sum of ownership of the entire spectrum. If a criminal is creative, there are a dozen ways to make a ton of money without getting caught (because of lack of public scrutiny into such things).

  2. It is not uncommon to see govt. officials in any state in India to say things like "We need to make the public transportation in and therefore we are going to take a study tour of Europe. Because of immense problems in local transportation, the committee will be spending some extra study of the excellent public transportation facilities in Paris and Switzerland", and this little tour of Indian political princelings to the USA probably falls in this category.

  3. correction:

    "...the public transportation in [insert your favorite city] and therefore we are going to.."

  4. The corporatisation can be at the industry level as well as the political level.

    The politicians on a power trip is quite easy to pin down. Yes, they do want special privileges and portfolios, but business houses are very much behind this move, to make sure their man is in the right place where they want him.

    It is this give-and-take that pushes for these fake 'leadership' programmes.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.