A real fake interview with Manmohan Singh from his Twitter feed

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India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Photo:http://pmindia.nic.in)

Since India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is averse to giving media interviews, I thought it might be a good idea to convert his Twitter feed into a pretend question and answer format. Think of this as a performance interview which has never taken place but is being performed on the basis of what he has actually said about various subjects.

I managed to get some interesting reaction from him about President Barack Obama’s comments in an interview with the Press Trust of India expressing concern over the issue of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector.

This is a world exclusive because Dr. Singh has not commented on Obama’s controversial comments anywhere else. Of course, his comments are mainly observations from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD’s) World Investment Report 2012. Nevertheless, I have managed to get something.

I also chose to ask him about the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA or MNREGA), which has been described as “the largest social welfare program in the world.”

Here is my brief “interview” with India’s prime minister drawn entirely from his official Twitter page. Needless to say that the questions have been formed later to suit the answers in the glorious tradition of fake journalism.

Do note that I have quoted his Twitter feed verbatim even though I have changed its order to make it into a cohesive narrative.

Q: President Barack Obama has said India limits or prohibits foreign direct investment such as in the retail sector. How would you respond?

PM: India is the 3rd most desirable destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)–UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) World Investment

Q: But complaints persist among the investing community that FDI is increasingly harder to make.

PM: "FDI inflows to S Asia turned around as a result of higher inflows to India, the dominant FDI recipient in the region” UNCTAD World Investment Report 2012

Q: There is growing concern that FDI has declined significantly recently.

PM: FACT: "The two large emerging economies, China and India, saw inflows rise by nearly 8 per cent and by 31 per cent, respectively" : UNCTAD

Q: Since I am not getting a direct answer, let me change over to a subject that you love to talk about. As we approach the conclusion of your second term as prime minister, what would you say is your government’s single biggest achievement?

PM: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is perhaps the UPA Govt’s (United Progressive Alliance government’s) most popular and successful flagship program.

Q: Why?

PM: It is probably true that no welfare scheme in recent memory has caught the imagination of the people as much as MGNREGA has.

Q: Do facts bear your claim out?

PM: FACT: More than 120 million jobcards are issued in MNREGA each year and more than Rs 37000 crore (Rs. 370 billion or over $7 billion) is earned by villagers across the country.

FACT: MNREGA reaches and benefits 50 million rural households in the country – almost one in four families.

Q: What is your expectation for MNREGA?

PM: If the local bodies can rise to the challenge, the MGNREGA can very well become a ‘silver bullet’ for India’s rural renewal.

Q: What is the basis of your optimism?

PM: The MGNREGA offers the promise of entitlement, empowerment, security and opportunity to millions of our marginalized citizens.

Q: One hears a great deal about late payments for those who find work under the scheme.

PM: The problem of late payments has to be addressed in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme.

Q: Is it true that no welfare scheme in recent memory has caught the imagination of the people as much as MGNREGA has?

PM: It is probably true that no welfare scheme in recent memory has caught the imagination of the people as much as MGNREGA has.

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About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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