Cry Baby Cry


Arshid Malik

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Ex-Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is doing a good job sitting in the opposition while creating a ruckus over almost every move that the newly formed coalition government means to make. That is what opposition parties are for and since he is their “fire-brand” leader he has every “right” to spit fire when the present government criticizes his mishandling of affairs and suggests measures to set the “record” straight. But Omar Abdullah is not just another guy from the opposition so that he can fling “all kinds of mud”, for he is an Ex-Chief Minister and having held this pristine post in the government of Jammu and Kashmir for what can be cited as a considerable period in the political history of Jammu and Kashmir he is supposed to act a bit wiser and relax a tad or so. If the new government of the state headed by a veteran political figure does criticize the policies of the previous regime they must have given it some thought for they are not sitting in the opposition hurling thingies into the thin air. Rather the government led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is standing up to a challenge, in fact many challenges which were left unaddressed or vaguely attended to by the previous regime which includes one of the gravest tragedies that ever hit Kashmir in the past 10 or so decades and that is the devastating and debilitating floods that rendered tens of thousands of Kashmiri people homeless – not that the present government has done anything substantial for the flood-affected till date except table talk but by way of policy making it seems to be on the right track. Then there is corruption, bad roads, power availability, and carcass of an educational system, a wreaked cultural heritage and what not. Obviously when new governments take over the reins of power it is the previous regimes that are to be held responsible for any messes that are lying around and because it factually so and there is no blame-gaming involved. The point to be debated is whether the new government would be able to take care of things and when it exits (which it has to one time or the other) it makes sure that it does not leave messes around – which is a rare case scenario for almost all governments do.

The ex-chairman and financial advisor to the state government and now Finance Minister of the Jammu and Kashmir Haseeb Drabu whose budget speech sharply pointed at getting rid of what he calls the “begging bowl” syndrome of Jammu and Kashmir, he was pertinent that the state needs to become economically self-reliant or in the words of the minister himself “fiscal autonomy” – now that sounds splendid, doesn’t it after having listened to previously elected governments harping the issue autonomy  with a capital A which is as intangible as a dream itself. Now that is a very important point which holds a lot of water since the state has the potential to sustain economically given its resources like the horticulture industry, craft and culture, heritage and tourism and then water. Why does the state have to go to the center every time with what Drabu calls “the begging bowl” when we can sustain ourselves? What is needed is planning and Drabu being an economist, who received a D.Phil. in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and started his career with the Government of India in 1990, first with the Perspective Planning Division of the Planning Commission of India, then as a consultant to the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister and finally with the Tenth Finance Commission; he then joined the media and became an editor at Business Standard, where he set up a research bureau. Subsequently, he served as a consultant to the Asian Development Bank, knows all too well how to do it. The Finance Minister has suggested drawing a white-paper charting the stretch of fiscal crisis in Jammu and Kashmir over the past six-years. Away from the jargon of the marketing industry, a white paper when being drafted or presented by a government is a policy paper that seeks to intervention into long-standing issues while tracing back “mismanagement” and thereof devising a remedial policy. That is an economist talking but our ex-Chief Minister is upset as to why the proposed white paper is gauging the length of his tenure as the chief minister of the state only. It should go far beyond that in time is what Omar has suggested. Poor guy has really taken it to his heart. But somehow he was also cited to have said that he wouldn’t mind if the present Finance Minister means to draw a white paper for the past six years only and that really is a “cry baby cry” attitude.


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