Sunday, January 24, 2010

Governance Drama

A newspaper ad released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development carried the photograph, among others, of a former Air Chief Marshal of Pakistan. This created such a big furore that apologies flowed freely from the Prime Minister's Office and the minister concerned. A detailed enquiry has been set in motion.

This episode raises many questions about the functioning of the ministry and also about fragility of governance. The ministry blames the Directorate of Audio-Visual Publicity for the 'blunder'. DAVP blames the ministry. PMO claims it was not consulted (since a photo of the prime minister also figures in the ad, reference to PMO would have been in order). 'Blunder' is an orphan. Nobody owns it. That unfortunately is the basis of our governance.

After all, why this ruckus about a photograph? If a foreigner is relevant to the subject matter, what is wrong in using his picture? We are over-sensitive to issues that don't matter and totally insensitive to matters of importance.

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