Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cabinet collective responsibility and dams (update)

Update on my posting of yesterday!
Good, but the PMO should have also pulled Ramesh up for his utterances on the dams in Arunachal!

PM pulls up Ramesh, BJP demands action
May 10, 2010
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh was in the eye of a storm on Monday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pulling him up for his comments against the Union home ministry, and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party demanding action against him.
Singh told Ramesh not to comment on functioning of other ministries when he spoke to the Minister soon after his return this morning from Beijing where he made the critical remarks.
During the telephonic conversation, Singh told Ramesh that it was "advisable for Cabinet colleagues not to make comments on the functioning of other ministries, especially with regard to relationship with important neighbours like China," sources in the Prime Minister's Office said.
The prime minister's blunt message to the environment ministry came two days after Ramesh said in Beijing that the home ministry was "overly defensive" and "alarmist" in its approach towards entry of Chinese companies in India.
"There is no confusion in our policies towards China and we continue to strive for constructive engagement with Beijing," Singh told Ramesh.
Ramesh, while talking about the India-China warmth developed during the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change, had suggested that the Home Ministry needed to be "much more relaxed" in its approach to Chinese investments in India.
He had said that the security establishment was putting "needless" restrictions on Chinese investments in India as "we are imagining demons where there are none".
The Home Ministry also snubbed Ramesh, saying, "It is wrong to say that the security establishment was biased against the Chinese companies.
"Chinese companies are already present in India in a big way. They are working in a variety of sectors, including in telecommunications sector. I don't think there is any discrimination happening from the government's side," Home Secretary G K Pillai said.
Ramesh was incommunicado.
The Congress is also unhappy over Ramesh's remarks, with a senior leader saying, "An adverse comment against the policy and functioning of a ministry as sensitive as home affairs, that too in a foreign land, cannot be justified. If there are differences of opinion over an issue, these have to be resolved at party and government fora."
BJP slammed Ramesh and asked the Prime Minister to take "action" against him.
"The comments of Ramesh in a foreign country which were critical of the government are highly objectionable. It is unbecoming of a Union minister. The prime minister owes an explanation the internal squabbling within ministers and take action against him," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
When asked whether BJP will seek Ramesh's resignation for his comments, Javadekar said "definitely, if the PM does not act (against him)."
He claimed that Ramesh has given the "most bizarre" explanation for his comments that the ties between India and China developed post Copenhagen summit will suffer if the security guidelines on import Chinese telecom equipment are not revised.
Supporting the restrictions, the BJP spokesman said, "It is a known fact that Chinese hackers have targetted Indian websites, therefore, the home ministry has rightly issued the guidelines."

And then from PTI

Arunachal students body demands Ramesh dismissal
Itanagar, May 10 (PTI) An apex students body of Arunachal Pradesh today demanded immediate dismissal of Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh for advocating Chinese investment and equipment for mega hydro-power projects to be developed in the state bordering China.
"Ramesh should resign immediately or else the students would start a democratic movement throughout the state," Takam Tatung, president of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU), told a press conference here today.
Earlier, the students burnt effigies of Ramesh at Bank Tinai, the business hub on the NH-52A.
On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pulling up Ramesh for his comments at Beijing on home ministry, Tatung said the prime minister should also explain why Ramesh had undermined the interest of the tribal people of Arunachal when they are currently boycotting Chinese goods to protest against Chinese claim on Arunachal.

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