Not Just A Few Good Men (and Women)

Letter from the Editor: Why are senior corporate leaders willing to answer Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's call and become a part of his government?

Published: Feb 5, 2010

Nation building is an intensely romantic idea. Today, for some, it may be far more alluring than say, building a business enterprise. Or else, what would explain why senior corporate leaders are willing to answer Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call and become a part of his government? Is it a surge of idealism or a deep urge to prove oneself? Or simply trying one’s hand at something new and different?

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Whatever be the reason, it couldn’t have come a day too soon. At Forbes India, we’ve been tracking this experiment closely for the past few months. The task of governance represents the biggest challenge facing the nation. We need new ideas and approaches to get the benefits of development to over a billion people. In other words, the concept of a 21st century government that’s in sync with the people’s aspirations for a better future.

Our comprehensive cover package this issue (19 Feb) helps kick off the countdown to the Union Budget on February 26. In this issue, we first understand the economic policy imperatives facing the finance minister through an interview with his chief economic advisor, Dr. Kaushik Basu.

Our centrepiece is about the hot-button policy issue of the moment. The process of inducting businesspeople into the government isn’t new. It was attempted twice in independent India earlier — with mixed success. We offer you a historical perspective to set the right context. Next, Associate Editor Malini Goyal, who anchored this package, takes you right inside the corridors of power where four different leaders from the world of business are trying to transform governance like never before. We offer a compelling close-up of their motivations and cultural challenges — and also understand their big ideas to improve implementation.

In deference to the old adage what gets measured gets done, the government is in the process of putting in place a transparent and rigorous performance management system to monitor each of the ministries. Soon, you’ll be able to track the performance of every ministry through an online system. What did it take to build this new system? We’ve spoken to the man at the centre of it all, Professor Prajapati Trivedi, the new secretary (performance management). Make sure you read his first person account.

Progressive governments around the world are pushing through significant innovations. There’s plenty to learn from the experiences of the US, Singapore, Chile and New Zealand. Read our interview with David Osborne, one of the foremost global experts on public policy and governance.

We will be back with more insightful coverage of the economic policy in the weeks ahead.

(This story appears in the 19 February, 2010 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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