Saturday, November 14, 2009

Manmohan Singh In Bottom Half Of 'Most Powerful' List; Pips Osama bin Laden To Claim #36 Spot

IT'S OFFICIAL. Manmohan Singh is indeed the weakest prime minister India has ever had.

No, I've not crossed over to the BJP. My information comes from a source much valued by the Prime Minister himself – the business magazine Forbes.

Forbes' first ever list of the World's Most Powerful People has only 67 slots - one for every 100 million people on the planet. And Manmohan Singh, at #36, is in the bottom half of the list. (In the NAM era, the Indian Prime Minister was ALWAYS at the top of the heap.)

Indeed, he ranks way below sundry central bankers, software developers, investment bankers, CEOs of Wal-Mart, GE, Berkshire, ExxonMobil and Toyota, Wall Street brokers, a football club owner, a telecom mogul, Rupert Murdoch, the mayor of New York, and even the propaganda chief of the Communist Party of China!

Saving India the blushes, Manmohan Singh has fortunately managed to beat Osama bin Laden, who's just one step behind him, by a whisker. (Imagine the fun if the rankings were the other way round!) Indeed, it's a telling comment from the oracles at Forbes that Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Tenzin Gyato, aka the Dalai Lama, are snapping at Bin Laden's heels at numbers 38 and 39.

And, hey, at #50, Dawood Ibrahim, described as the CEO of D-Company Inc. (you have to be a CEO in ANY Forbes' List) hasn't done too badly either. In fact, he's ahead of Laxmi Mittal AND Ratan Tata!

Nevertheless, along with Mukesh Ambani, Laxmi Mittal and Ratan Tata, South Asia has done reasonably well. So what if the “most powerful” are actually feeding on crumbs.

The criterion for selection, according to the oracles at Forbes was quite straightforward.

“First, we asked, does the person have influence over lots of other people?... Then we assessed the financial resources controlled by these individuals. Are they relatively large compared with their peers? For heads of state we used GDP, while for CEOs, we looked at a composite ranking of market capitalization, profits, assets and revenues...Next we determined if they are powerful in multiple spheres... Lastly, we insisted that our choices actively use their power...

There are only 67 slots on our list - one for every 100 million people on the planet - so being powerful in just one area is not enough to guarantee a spot. Our picks project their influence in myriad ways...

To calculate the final rankings, five Forbes senior editors ranked all of our candidates in each of these four dimensions of power. Those individual rankings were averaged into a composite score, which determined who placed above (or below) whom...”

Well, the oracles have spoken. And here's why these worthies from South Asia made it to the coveted List.

#36 Manmohan Singh: Has nuclear arsenal at disposal.

#37 Osama bin Laden: Casus belli of two US-lead wars costing over $1 trillion.

#38 Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani: (Though) less powerful than bin Laden - can't find him in his own country - still has keys to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

#39 Tenzin Gyatso aka Dalai Lama: Tibetan exile keeps China honest.

#44 Mukesh Ambani: Busy building world's first $1 billion home.

#50 Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar: As boss of Mumbai-based organized crime syndicate D-Company, reputedly oversees international drug trafficking, counterfeiting, weapons smuggling.

#55 Laxmi Mittal: Romance with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair exposed in 2002 'Garbagegate', when Mittal reportedly sought Blair's help in cash-for-influence bid for Romanian state steel mills.

#59 Ratan Tata: Calls Nano "The People's Car"; in nation of a billion, environmentalists call it eco-disaster.

Then there's an India List (total 7, i.e. one for every 150 million) compiled by Forbes India editor Indrajit Gupta listing the Most Powerful Indians. Sorry, No 'Paa', SRK, Tendulkar, Katz, Mayawati, Advani, Pawar etc.

Here are the 'Magnificent Seven' and why they matter

#1 Sonia Gandhi: The most powerful Indian is an enigmatic woman of Italian origin. Her command over the Congress, India's ruling party, is total.

#2 Manmohan Singh: Indians trust (him) to do the right thing - whether it's economic reforms or the trade-off between development and social equity.

# 3 Nandan Nilekani: UID has fired the public imagination and drawn volunteers from all walks of life.

#4 Ratan Tata: Is India Inc's best brand ambassador.

#5 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Offers (Art of Living) practitioners a tool to deal with urban angst.

#6 KG Balakrishnan: (The Chief Justice) ruled political parties cannot call for strikes that disrupt public life.

#7 Aamir Khan: (Surprise, surprise) As an actor and a filmmaker (he) has consistently demonstrated it is possible to break new ground in a business driven by clich├ęs.

The Complete List

Barack Obama
Hu Jintao
Vladimir Putin
Ben S. Bernanke
Sergey Brin and Larry Page
Carlos Slim Helu
Rupert Murdoch
Michael T. Duke
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud
William Gates III
Pope Benedict XVI
Silvio Berlusconi
Jeffrey R. Immelt
Warren Buffett
Angela Merkel
Laurence D. Fink
Hillary Clinton
Lloyd C. Blankfein
Li Changchun
Michael Bloomberg
Timothy Geithner
Rex W. Tillerson
Li Ka-shing
Kim Jong Il
Jean-Claude Trichet
Masaaki Shirakawa
Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al Nahyan
Akio Toyoda
Gordon Brown
James S. Dimon
Bill Clinton
William H. Gross
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Lou Jiwei
Yukio Hatoyama
Manmohan Singh
Osama bin Laden
Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
Tenzin Gyatso
Ali Hoseini-Khamenei
Joaquin Guzman
Igor Sechin
Dmitry Medvedev
Mukesh Ambani
Oprah Winfrey
Benjamin Netanyahu
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Zhou Xiaochuan
John Roberts Jr.
Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar
William Keller
Bernard Arnault
Joseph S. Blatter
Wadah Khanfar
Lakshmi Mittal
Nicolas Sarkozy
Steve Jobs
Fujio Mitarai
Ratan Tata
Jacques Rogge
Li Rongrong
Blairo Maggi
Robert B. Zoellick
Antonio Guterres
Mark John Thompson
Klaus Schwab
Hugo Chavez

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this - saved me the trouble of heading into Forbes, and I was able to find your column, Roger!

    Powerful or not, frankly, I'm happy we have MMS as prime minister instead of some sadak chaap. We have lots of those in every political. We need to get moving and find a replacement for MMS, some one who is as honest, dedicated to pragmatic national development, inclusive, rather than exclusive - otherwise we'll sink rapidly to the bottom of th developing nation's list.

    Who do you think could actually do as well or better than MMS, in the next round? My vote goes to Chidambaram.


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