The more things change, the more they remain the same. Clearly, a dictum that our irrepressible minister for rural development Jairam Ramesh takes to heart. Yes, for those of you still in doubt, he is the rural development minister though you might be forgiven for thinking that he still speaks with his former environment minister's hat on. The flamboyant minister who transformed the once-moribund ministry of environment into something, well, sexy for want of a better word, is not averse to speaking on the subject even though a new minister is in place. And, we do see that Mr Ramesh is also not averse to chopping and changing his opinions a bit.
But then, we are no great sticklers for consistency. No sooner had he released United Nations Development Programme’s 2011 Human Development Report, the loquacious minister blasted the developed world for unsustainable practices leading to environmental degradation. And the US is the biggest culprit, he says. Oh dear, our memories must be failing us, but at one time we thought he was not all that much in favour of developed and developing world divisions. But never mind, we admire his interest in other subjects that concern us all. We are glad he is not one of those like say the redoubtable Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers, MK Azhagiri who has no views on anything or in any language known to most of us. And we are glad that he does not have off-the-wall views on issues as several of his colleagues do.
But then, speaking on other ministries is rather a pastime with Mr Ramesh. In the past, he was not above a few words of advice for other senior colleagues. We are all for this, why should there be turf sensibilities in a Cabinet ruled by consensus? So, let’s hope that others don’t get all huffy when colleagues comment on their portfolios. And we are sure that Mr Ramesh will be the first to welcome remarks on his ministry which has not topped the charts under the watch of others before him.