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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PM-EDITORS INTERACTION: Manmohan Singh's opening remarks!
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NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 29, 2011 19:55 IST.

New Delhi:  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with five editors this morning. During a two-hour discussion, he answered questions about what he thinks of Rahul Gandhi taking over as PM, the controversial Lokpal Bill, and whether his party often undermines his government.

These are the opening remarks the PM made to the five editors.

"I think that there is a growing perception that this government is in siege, that we have not been able to deliver on our agenda. An atmosphere has been created in the country - and this I say with all humility - the role of the media today in many cases has become that of the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge.

Now that way no Parliamentary democracy can function and I would like to tell you that if you are taking governmental decisions, particularly big macro decisions, we don't know all the facts and yet we have to take decisions. When I was a student at Cambridge, Sir Paul Chambers, who was then the Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries, came and addressed us on who is a good manager, who will be considered by industry as a good manager.

He told our student group that, in an uncertain world in which we live in, if 5 out of 10 decisions that I take ex-ante turn out to be correct ex-post that would be considered as a job well done. If out of 10 decisions that I take, 7 turn out to be right ex-post that would be considered an excellent performance. But if you have a system which is required to perform 10 out of 10 cases I think no system can be effective and satisfy that onerous condition.

We live in a world of uncertainty and ex-post whether it is the Comptroller and Auditor General, whether it is a Parliamentary committee then they analyse post facto. They have a lot more facts which were not available to those who took the decision.

I am not saying that it is not possible that some people may deliberately do wrong things, but in many cases it would turn out in that sort of a scenario it is very difficult to operate. So we must create in this country an environment in which Governments, Ministers and civil servants will not be discouraged from taking decisions in the national interest when all facts are not known, they will never be known. We take decisions in a world of uncertainty and that's the perspective I think Parliament, our CAG and our media must adopt if this nation is to move forward.

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