Appraisal history of Manmohan Singh- A case study of ‘Peter Principle’ Concept

The Peter Principle was first introduced by L. Peter in a humoristic book (of the same title) describing the pitfalls of bureaucratic organization. The principle is based on the observation that in a hierarchy, members are promoted so long as they work competently. Sooner or later they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent (their “level of incompetence”), and there they remain, being unable to earn further promotions. This principle can be modelled and has theoretical validity for simulations.

Peter’s Corollary states that “in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out their duties” and adds that “work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence”.  

Applying it to Indian Political organization and Mr.MMS

In Indian politics, quite clearly, today we have the Peter Principle at work. Our PM Singh has been promoted to his level of incompetence. A bureaucrat has been made FM and then PM, and he cannot take the heat any more.

From 1991 – 1996:

In 1991, he was appointed as a FM by then PV Narasimha Rao when India was in a deep financial crisis. Rao have chosen Singh as a FM because he needs a Yes Boss kind of minister where only technocratic solutions to the financial crisis were the order of the day, not worrying about the political compulsions and Singh was the best person for that Job. In result PVNR managed the things politically and Singh applied his financial background and introduced financial reforms. Singh was more of a finance secretary rather than a FM at that time.

2004 – Current:

In 2004, when Sonia decided she is not going to take PM Job, she needs a puppet, a competent technocrat, but incompetent PM, who is a Yes Boss kind of mentality for that job, be there in the job as long as Sonia wanted and resigns whenever Rahul wants to take over as a PM and hence MMS got another promotion – this time as PM. Singh’s only job was to stay loyal and allow the Dynasty to claim credit for any good done by the UPA and for all bad happens, get blame back or ignore the responsibility.

Things went on very well as long as there is nothing phenomenal happened and Sonia and UPA again took advantage of the honest image of MMS, showed him keeping all others in the shadow and got re-elected in 2009.

But when the things are going bad to worse, the incompetence levels within MMS have over shadowed his competency levels and finally today he has now risen to his level of absolute incompetence where he cannot control his own team mates, cannot fight against the Dynasty leadership and the allies based on the political compulsions and coalitiation dharma.


Perhaps the best way to address the Peter Principle in a corporation would be to institute a policy of demoting employees — without the stigma of failure — to their most appropriate level of work competence. If an employee isn’t working out in a higher position, allowing him to go back to whatever position he excelled in would avoid the effects of the principle. This would, however, require the supervisor who made the poor promotion decision to admit they made a mistake, an act not often found in the higher levels of a hierarchy.

But Sonia may not be ready to accept that mistake or she is deliberately made that mistake and allowing MMS to continue in this post as long as she wants him to be and is trying to make him the scapegoat of all the blunders made by UPA and its allies.

When Advani’s Presence is enough evidence to hold him responsible for Babri, Can’t we hold Sonia responsible for all UPA wrong doings because she is the chair person of UPA? May be Sonia is waiting for a right time to kick MMS out and present Rahul as a pure alternative and say forget whatever happened because MMS was incompetent and we have thrown him out and now you elect my Son as PM 🙂


Is PM shying away from taking the combined responsibility?

In response to the cable, dated July 17, 2008, sent to the State Department (162458: secret), accessed by The Hindu through Wiki Leaks, the PM says cables via WL “speculative, unverified information. I have not authorized anybody to take bribes on behalf of me”.

When Court accepted Nira Radia tapes as clear “evidence”, why can’t we accept Wiki Leaks as contemporaneous records, relevant in investigation and use them as source of investigation; however as a nation, regretfully we have not created independent systems of investigation.

As per MMS logic, if you win an election, you are no longer accountable for anything you did before that. Interesting. If that’s the case, why congress, digvijay singh keep talking about Gujarat & what happened there because Modi won an election , not only once, but twice after it? So Mr. PM, ask your govt to withdraw all cases against Modi and declare him as non-accused when you don’t  want to discuss what happened in the past and declare yourself as honest only because you won more seats this time. Double standards. IS NT IT?

On the scams around and his inaction, MMS said Coalition dharma has prevented him to take action and today he says I am not aware anybody around and i didn’t authorize any one to do this. He was showing VICTORY symbols even before the Parliament voted on that day, which only indicates he knows everything and only shows his irresponsibility in accepting the truth. The PM should just acknowledge that this is what happened and that that’s how things are rather than cast doubts over the veracity of Wiki leaks reports. It only makes him look worse.

Clearly, there is a pattern to the PM’s evasion of responsibility, His reasoning is this: I am honest, and I cannot be accountable for anyone else’s dishonesty. He has no idea what is happening in the country and what his government and party are doing in the country. He is rubberstamp PM and does need to know anything as he does not make any decisions. He is enjoying his time while country is being looted by people from his party and coalition partners. MMS may be an honest person; at the same time an absolute Nikkamma and disgrace to PM’s position.

He is forgetting one of the fundamentals of Team management role and his skill set “Be accountable and responsible on whatever your team does” .If a team keeps failing, failing, failing, either change the team or change the team leader. The PM of India must be a visionary, innately honest, charismatic, passionate, communicative, a trouble-shooter, tough and battle-ready; not some one who says I am honest and I don’t know what’s happening arround.

Is MMS just running away from these challenges and shying away from the responsibilities?