How can India’s political leaders go about creating their war cabinets? To start with, they need to be humble and set aside their ego. These are not qualities that get a person to the top of the political ladder. And yet, the war-like crisis that the nation faces calls for humility. Only when the leaders are willing to accept that they (or their surrounding bureaucrats) do not have the answers will they open their minds to inputs from the outside. Only when the leaders are willing to start trusting people from the outside will they be able to attract the best talent. Only when they are willing to listen and give freedom to this new team will our nation transform.
The alternative is too depressing to even contemplate. The healthcare and economic crises will get compounded by government actions which worsen the problem – as we have seen in the past two months. Indians will be set back many years in their slow walk forward to prosperity. Indian businesses (especially the small and medium enterprises) will take many years to recover – if they can survive.
Here is a 10-point war cabinet plan for India’s political leaders to take India forward:
- Create two primary missions – for healthcare and the economy
- Identify a leader for each of these missions – a leader who is not a politician or a present or past bureaucrat
- Give freedom to the leaders to build their teams
- Meet with the team every few days initially so there is a complete alignment in objectives
- Have a daily 15-minute review with the leaders – the equivalent of a ‘stand-up meeting’
- Ask the teams to deliver an action plan within 30 days – not difficult because the good ideas are already out there
- Create a mechanism inside government to ensure execution of these plans – without bureaucratic roadblocks
- Create public dashboards to ensure transparency on outcomes
- Speak to the people weekly to keep them updated on the thinking and actions taken
- Keep the team in place for the next two years
India needs a new beginning. Business as usual will not work in the wake of the devastation caused by the virus. Creating war cabinets is a way to convert the crisis into an opportunity, and put Indians on an irreversible path to prosperity.
Additional Reading (from the past two months):