On May 22nd, President Pratibha Patil administered the oath of office and the oath of secrecy to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
President Patil is the first lady President of India and is serving her first term.
Prime Minister Singh is the first non-Nehru to be voted back to power for a second, continuous term.
And along with Prime Minister Singh, 19 Cabinet Ministers were sworn in.
While more Ministers will be sworn in over the next few days, an interesting compilation from NDTV.com:
3 of the 19 Ministers are below the age of 60 (Mamta Banerjee is the youngest, at age 56);
10 of the 19 Ministers are between the ages of 60 and 70;
6 of the 19 Ministers are above the age of 70 (S. M. Krishna is the oldest at 77 years of age; Dr. Singh is the 2nd oldest, he will celebrate his 77th birthday on September 26th).
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Ensuring that the global economic crisis does not derail India's growth is crucial said Prime Minister Singh. (A hint for Dr Singh: shut down the ability of unknown foreign money to gamble in India via P-Notes and India's problems will be solved.)
And Pakistan remains a pain in the neck.
But there is another enemy within: corruption.
I hope Prime Minister Singh creates a slot for a Minister for Corruption.
Not to increase it, but to reduce it.
The fight for portfolios It does not matter how old or young a person is.
What matters is the work they do.
And honestly they do their work.
Rahul Gandhi is credited for turning around the fortunes of the Congress party in UP.
He is also credited with the decision to field 11 younger candidates from the Indian Youth Congress. Eight of those 11 won the elections.
The real issue is not youth v/s age; or energy v/s experience.
Nor is the issue whether the DMK will get what they want or sit sulking outside the government (by the way, let them).
The real issue is the possible lobbying to ensure that friends of the powerful get the more general portfolios of Finance and Commerce.
And the more specific portfolios like Agriculture, Civil Aviation, Defence, Fertilisers, Petroleum, Shipping, or Telecom.
That is where the big bucks are.
That is where the big bang of reform can have an impact.
Or the big bang of selected preferential reform can help a favoured few.
The value of all products, goods, and services sold in India every year is about Rs. 49,50,000 crores (about USD 1.1 trillion).
Wouldn't it be helpful if even 0.01% of India's annual GDP was spent on a Ministry of Corruption with its own investigations staff, its own courts and judges, its own jails?
Rs 500 cores and some really dedicated people - that's all it takes to cleanse the rot of corruption.
The Cream Team has added so many service charges and surcharges' in the previous 5 years - and this is one that all would willingly pay.
Meanwhile, we can help in our own small way.
When the traffic light is red, we should stop.
And not go through it knowing that Rs 30 will get you the green light to move on just in case you get caught.
Sometimes leadership comes from stopping - not from age or from experience.
What is India's biggest problem? Click here, to let us know.
Don't Miss: Ajit Dayal's view on the outcome of the elections!
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Note: The Honest Truth is authored by Ajit Dayal. Ajit is a Director at Quantum Advisors Pvt Ltd and Quantum Asset Management Company Pvt Ltd.. Views expressed in this article are entirely those of the author and may not be regarded as views of the Quantum Mutual Fund or Quantum Asset Management Company Private Limited. To write to Ajit, please click here.