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Scrutiny
  
Yes, No, No, Yes Minister!
Holding Multiple Ministries Often defeats The Very Purpose of Holding Them
09/12/2010

A big problem that has been prevalent in India since Independence is that the national polity has always overestimated its potential. That is perhaps why taking up multiple ministries has become a norm rather than an exception in India. There are around a dozen ministers currently holding more than one portfolio.

The issue has also become contemporary, especially after the highly efficient, capable and effective Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal took over the additional responsibility of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Both are very important ministries and Kapil Sibal has the wherewithal to lead the two ministries. But then, he is an exception when compared to other ministers.

Sharad Pawar, one of India’s richest and most irreverent politicians, as of current day has three portfolios – Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Food and Public Distribution (apart from being ICC President). The name of K. V. Thomas should also be mentioned here, who is currently serving as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Minister of State in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Food and Public Distribution. Another name is Bijoy Krishna Handique. The Minister of Mines is also holding the post of Minister of Development of North Eastern Region. There are many other examples – C. P. Joshi, Kum. Selja, Sriprakash Jaiswal and V. Narayansamy, who are managing multiple portfolios.

Ministries are pivotal to the proper functioning of democratic India, and should not be handed over as largesse or as bargaining chips. And if factors like efficiency, accountability and result based governance are put on the back burner, allocation of multiple ministries remains nothing much more than a cruel joke – with the exception of Sibal.

By:- Akram Hoque
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