We are seeing a tendency of the government trying to bring in major reforms and announcing big projects in a hurry. Few months back the Modi government had taken the ordinance route for introducing the Land Acquisition Ordinance. While signing the ordinance President Pranab Mukherjee had question the government about the urgency behind this move. The government might be having a majority in the Lok Sabha for passing the Bill but it lacks numbers in Rajya Sabha. The Congress and regional parties have been opposing the bill in the upper house.
The government had also launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana in a hurry. Banks were asked to open atleast 7.5 crores account in a short span of time. Most of the accounts were opened by flouting KYC norms as there is a possibility of same person opening multiple accounts for availing the benefits of government subsidies, scholarships, pension etc. The RBI has already expressed its concern in the manner in which the Jan Dhan Yojana has been launched.
Modi has spoken about building 100 smart cities across the country in a phased manner. Seven smart cities will be set up between Delhi and Mumbai under the DMIC project, which is being built in partnership with the government of Japan. He could have instead spoken about building efficient and user friendly ports. The port trust board meetings must have full attendance and the board should constitute of those members who have a reasonable or vital stake.
The efficiency of port labour must be improved by imparting regular training to them and their performance must be evaluated on a regular basis. The port craft needs to be modernized and cargo gear should be kept in a well maintained condition. If you have a look at the port crew handling mooring ropes while vessel enters or leaves the locks, you will understand the things better.
Corporatisation may be good but it is necessary to take the port labour into confidence first. IAS officiers might have occupied the post of Port Trust chairmen but all of them may not be efficient and may not have a desire to bring about the changes vis-à-vis the efficiency, as amply demonstrated by past performance. The government must go ahead with privatization process on a case to case basis. Give a few berths for private operation first. Will the government privatize the police and customs too? Therefore it is necessary to bring about minor changes first in a sincere manner instead of making drastic amendments without any vision. On a larger canvas, remember that today citizen development is the need of the hour.