The UPA government has pushed through the overhaul of its ministry at the crucial hour with only a year to go into the next parliamentary elections. But is the reshuffle more about playing to the corporates so that they get the impression that the policy paralysis is finally over?
"The government is focusing on a narrow band of economic reforms. There is no doubt that there will be push towards even though there is a credibility crisis of this government, " said noted psephologist and India Against Corruption (IAC) member Yogendra Yadav.
However, this is not the correct time for such measures, he said. "Normally, at this time the government targets the aam aadmi. You want to see whether your rural development ministry is in place or whether your welfare schemes are working, " he added.
The government might succeed in bringing some minor changes though they may not reflect in the vote bank, according to him. He said, "The problem is Manmohan Singh does not think like a politician. He has proved that sometimes politicians are essential for good governance."
But Sanjaya Baru, former media advisor to the PM did not agree. Baru, the director of Geo-economics and Strategy of International Institute for Strategic Studies, said, "It's not about a narrow band of economic reforms. The rate of investment came down severely in the last two to three years. How do you reverse investment?"
"You need to spend money everywhere. Not just schemes like the NREGA," he said.
According to him, 'get investment going' is the PM’s message."That (corporate confidence) will bring the votes. It is not some corporate sector getting benefit. When industries come, more employment opportunities are created. That brings votes rather than doling out NREGA money, " he added.
Vinod Mehta, editorial chairman of Outlook felt that though the government had sent a strong signal to the corporates and boosted their confidence, it had done precious little to the common man. "You can't just satisfy the corporates. You need legislation in the important areas like land bill and food security bill."