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Members of Parliament – A Performance Appraisal September 3, 2010

Posted by Gomathi Reddy in Desi Indian, News and Current Affairs, Politics.
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Meeting Human Resource(HR) managers is part of my job.  We discuss about the various learning components that must get mapped to the employees’ profiles, acquire or create relevant content and then plug them into the talent management chain of the organization.  While going through one of those corporate sweat sheets on employee performance appraisal, I was left wondering if Performance Appraisals(PAs) can ever go beyond income justification,  and focus on developmental possibilities of the individual.  Even simple jobs that carry an annual pay tag of Rs.1.2L, are judged on parameters that at times can be a little overwhelming for the candidates.  Conversely, these appraisals have also been helpful to those willing to work on their success ladder.

While running through one more of those PAs, I couldn’t help comparing these appraisal review sheets and their probable pay hikes with the current pay revision of our Members of Parliament(MPs).  If our MPs were weighed on those parameters, where would they stand?

Since the central leadership or their respective party leaders do not seem to have the power or the responsibility to evaluate the MPs on their performance, I decided to wear the cap of a citizen HR head(ala citizen journalist) and give them all a simple PA format, which should help us understand if our representatives are actually representative of our class and worth, to the country’s highest office.

For the sake of simplicity, I drilled down my list to three of the current crop of popular MPs from Tamil Nadu, who have managed the Union Ministerial berths.

Mr.M.K.Azhagiri, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Got the berth because: He is the son of Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu – Principal ally of the United Progressive Alliance(UPA) at the Centre. Seen as a trouble monger to his younger son MK Stalin, the Deputy CM of Tamil Nadu.  Would prefer to have him outside the reigns of power in Tamil Nadu, yet satisfy him with a “powerful” post.

Mr.M.K.Azhagiri – Self evaluation on a scale of 0 to 10:

Communication: 6 in Tamil, 0 in all other languages.  I really don’t care if people in the parliament understand what I am saying and I care two hoots to what they have to say about our country. My communication is a bone of contention for them, not for me.  I hardly attend the parliament, so why ask such impertinent questions?

Product/Technical knowledge: What is knowledge?

Time Management: Extremely good – I balance between my home and work, in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Delegation Skills: I hardly delegate. My thondargal, take care of everything, and I don’t interfere in what they say and do.

Meeting commitments: 10 – Very committed to my personal goals.

Problem Solving/Decision Making: I DECIDE when a PROBLEM has to be created.  I don’t get into solving problems. Solving issues is more on Kalignar and Thalapathi’s plate.

Steadiness under Pressure: I am a survivor.

Creativity: I leave all that to my son, who is a movie producer.

IT/Equipment/Machinery Skills: I only know to operate the video camera – The only equipment that was useful to my life.

Reporting & Administration: Administration – 5.  Reporting: 0. I don’t report to anybody.

Responsibility and Ethics: Ha, ha…you do have some sense of humour!

Mr.A.Raja, Union Minister for Information Technology and Communication

Got the berth because: Close confidante and “family friend” of Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.  Andimuthu “Spectrum” Raja, rose to the national centre stage because of his “creative” bidding and license allocation processes in the 2G bandwidth.  Flashes the Dalit card whenever cornered, and was chosen to head the ministry again, to “continue his good work.”

Self evaluation on a scale of 0 to 10:

Communication: 4 in Tamil, 3 in English, In any other language – Do not want to disclose.  As Minister of communication, I prefer digital sound over analog matter. Product/Technical knowledge: Enough technical knowledge about BOPM(balance of power and money)

Time Management: 20% – for the ministry 30% for family affairs, 50% – for explaining or writing off past ministry deals and deeds.

Delegation Skills: I am the DELEGATEE for Kalaignar.  I am not supposed to delegate.

Meeting commitments: 5 – I am committed to denying commitments.

Problem Solving/Decision Making: Rapid decision making skills. Everything is rolled out on a first-come-first serve basis, well within 45 minutes, even if that means making huge losses to the ministry.

Steadiness under Pressure: I don’t budge however strong the allegations…er pressure.

Creativity: 9 – Highly creative in manipulating the truth.

IT/Equipment/Machinery Skills: Solid machinery skills, where people are the machines.

Reporting/Administration: Reporting – You must ask Kalaginar and his family. Administration – whatever is required to cover tracks.

Responsibility and Ethics: Very responsible in being a “family friend.”  Highly responsible in damning IT and telecom scams.  Very ethical in keeping my word with telecom companies.

Mr.Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Textiles

Got the berth because: Grand nephew of Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.  Business savvy, and knows his way around New Delhi socialites. Won the “Best behind the scenes owner-promoter” award from the SUN group under his brother Kalanithi Maran. Pliable with ideas and ideals, if the family business is the Damocles’ carrot.

Self evaluation on a scale of 0 to 10:

Communication: 5 in Tamil, 7 in English and 2 in Hindi. Can understand the language of money and power.

Product/Technical knowledge: Predisposed to satellite power – My heart follows anything prefixed with a “satellite” – satellite stations, satellite towns, satellite telecommunications, satellite phones, satellite TV…soon I’d like to be known as “Satellite Dayanidhi Maran”  I am working hard on acquiring this reputation. Knowledge…well a peripheral knowledge would do, to impress the average Indian citizen. My PR manager will do the rest, including managing my online reputation.

Time Management: 40% – for the ministry 40% for family business,” 20% – walking the tight rope between party leadership and brother, Kalanidhi Maran’s world of business demands.

Delegation Skills: 5 – I know when to rap and when to tug the leash. Loyal lieutenants are hard to come by, though.

Meeting commitments: High on commitments to Tiruppur textile mills owners, but low on steadfast commitments.  Can keep up commitments for a maximum of one month.  The ban on cotton exports is a case in point, which lasted just a month.  The ban was promptly revoked within a month, as Gujarat and Maharashtra cried hoarse over fall in Indian cotton market in the commodities market.

Problem Solving/Decision Making: 3 – Understand problems are a plenty.  But, I can only execute what Kalaignar wants me to get done.  Despite the national cause at stake, I decide in favour of appeasing a few sections of workers/communities in Tamil Nadu, at the behest of my leader, who knows the true pulse of the people.  To be honest, I know nothing in this area.  All help, always welcome.

Steadiness under Pressure: 8. Have to eat my shoe most times, but I do it, ‘cause self-respect and politics are strange bed fellows.

Creativity: Can smile and guffaw, at all times, especially when the media is around.  Is this what you meant by creativity?

IT/Equipment/Machinery Skills: 5 – Working on improving skills.  But successfully managed to look like a “10” even when I was a “0”.

Reporting/Administration: To whomever required and whatever is required to keep the Maran family flag, flying high.

Responsibility and Ethics: Responsibility – 6. Ethics – Don’t know what it is for you, but for me, it is a highly relative term, that cannot be graded or rated. My fumbling of the TATA-Sky controversy and the way I handled it like a goon minister, during my tenure as Union Minister of IT and Telecom, is representative of my class, on ethics.

Apart from these, there are also

S.S. Palanimanickam Minister of State, Finance – Chosen to represent the Thevar community;

S. Jagathrakshakan, Minister of State, Information and Broadcasting – Chosen to appease the Vanniyar community, while he made full use of his New Delhi connections to get over his fiasco of collecting illegal donation for admissions to his Medical college.

S. Gandhiselvan, Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare – Chosen to assuage the Gounder community;

Actor Napoleon, Minister of State, Social Justice and Empowerment – Chosen to appease and empower the filmdom, I suppose.  Blame it on my ignorance, I never figured out what Ministers of State do, given that not much is being done even by their respective Union Ministers.  In fact, some of the MPs, across parties, have the dubious distinction of attending the parliament with the singular purpose of disrupting the parliament proceedings and setting a bad example to our youth and children.

And all MPs, including those with minimal attendance and job skills viz., education, performance, knowledge of the country or the world, work ethics, capabilities, leadership qualities, get a flat pay hike and perks i.e. a whopping Rs.45 Lakhs per annum, per MP.  This is our money, the tax payer’s money.  And how do you think the bill got passed?

You guessed it right, with a clear majority – The MPs voted in unison for their own steep rise in their pay checks, while we the tax payers, read the newspapers in stunned silence, grapple with rising prices, inflation, uninitiated and unexplained rise in interests for loans, failing EMIs, and continue to put up with those dreary dreams of living a decent life.

But I must give this one – We are a great country!  As citizens, we think that we are larger than our nation, as every election brings with it the responsibility of choosing our representatives.  We choose the best of the lot – the ones who test out resilience, patience and tolerance at their highest levels, for the next 5 years.  And then we spend those years, writing blogs and reports, on why and how THEY’ve failed us.

It is time to self-evaluate if we deserve to be citizens of this country.



1. paddy - September 6, 2010

Your last sentence is the root-cause. All the foregoing is a symptom of the callous/selfish behaviour of the citizens of this country. The rich manipulate, middle-class remains armchair critic and does not play an active part in politics/governance and the poor grab the money-for-vote offers. In our kind of democracy, yatha praja, thatha (Andimuthu)Raja !

2. Dele - August 15, 2011

The MPs are of course working to fix the country but a lot of constituents are still not happy. There can not be a better way to know if the MPs are perofrming up to expectation than to vote for them. There is website where everyone can vote for their MP. http://www.whoisyourmp.com

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