Saturday, August 31, 2013

INDIAN REFORMS OR SHORT CUT TO DISASTER

Indian population of one billion plus had seen high hopes of an end to their woes and miseries in the hands of the trio of highly acclaimed economists but all their hopes and aspirations seem to have bitten the dust because they have miserably failed to put their knowledge to its best use. The polity has all along been thriving on hollow promises, high sounding slogans and true to its basic baser instinct of fooling citizenry at large and lust for power, UPA II has worked hard to manipulate the two path breaking reforms (in their words), namely the food security bill and the land acquisition bill.
It is not that the Indian government on the whole and these three musketeers in particular do not understand the total implications of their actions on the health of the economy and deterioration of the psyche of human resource of India. But their lust of power pushes them to the dictum of everything is fair in love and war, the war to grab power and dictates them to resort to anything and everything that can fetch votes, not withstanding its negative impact on the nation.
It is really sad that total Indian polity has failed to take the food security bill in the correct perspective and all politicians in the country wanted to excel each other in blowing away public exchequer in the most undesirable and inefficient manner. They fail to realize that the country's resources are limited but these vote banks are quite capable of blackmailing the polity into submission knowing its need to ensure votes for its mere existence.
Much has been said about land acquisition bill and that it will have far reaching effect on the fortune of our farmers. A few points any learned politician of the country will like to answer.
  • In next five years how much of land from how many farmers/ farming families is likely to be acquired? May be a couple of thousand of farmers and fooling around 200 million voters, in the same way as fooling around 300 million voters for reservations in jobs by doling out 1 lakh jobs during the last 65 years. What a great achievement ?
  • Who is going to reap the benefits of land acquisitions by government for infra projects, industry and urbanization? Is it not a fact that much before the actual land acquisition comes into play, the sharks belonging to power corridors, the kith and kin of politicians, their stooges and cronies manage to corner all land. The bill is an effort to give them the huge windfall benefits. If there was iota of sincerity in the minds of the polity, to give the real benefit to the farmer or the real landowner, some safe guard against this activity could have been incorporated, otherwise in present form, it is only an effort to maximize the gains of Vadheras and the likes of them along with the piddlings of the power corridors.
The seemingly innocuous land acquisition bill  is an effort to multiply manifolds the illegal earnings of who's who of the power corridors and to fool the farmer at large to grab his valuable vote for the black motives of the polity. Its overall impact on the economy,  its growth and to the urbanization of the country is going to be highly negative. Land acquisition bill will push up property prices by 30% along with making land acquisition a long drawn process riddled with uncertainties. Every cloud has a silver lining and hopefully the provisions contained in the bill will be used by landowners at nuclear power plant sites to see an end to the call on nuclear power in India : our worst enemy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

INDIA CALLING OR CRYING: WE ARE ALL TAINTED, WE WON'T ALLOW OUR LIFELINE TO...: United we stand, divided we fall . The Indian polity remembers this saying only when their sole life line to existence in politics i.e. co...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

FOOD SECURITY BILL IN CORRECT PERSPECTIVE

Food security bill is the latest burning issue of Indian politics and seems to highlight the compulsions of the polity. There is no denying the fact that food security is the first basic big element in the chain of value addition in the earning ability of an individual, his health and India's march towards poverty alleviation. Food subsidy bill talks in terms of providing food to 50% of urban India (377 million) and 75% of rural India ( 833 million) at highly subsidised rates at a whopping cost of Rs 1,30,000 crore to the exchequer. Add to this the cost of pilferage, grain rotting and logistics inefficiencies, an estimated amount of Rs 60,000 -70,000 crore. A cost of about Rs 2,00,000 crore for meeting the basic food requirements of 800 million of Indian citizens after 66 years of rule by politicians totally dedicated to the cause of the common man. A matter to be proud of ???? Still let the country grant them credit for at least imbibing the motto 'BETTER LATE THAN NEVER'. ( Excerpts from http://veekay-indiandreamsvsreality.blogspot.in/2013/08/wrong-economics-or-wrong-intentions.html )
There are a few basic questions that any well meaning citizen of this country fails to understand.
  • The timing of this bonanza of dole/freebie : India has been governed by this very polity for the last sixty years plus ( In fact more than 75% have been there for 25 years or more and in many cases  the power has been passed into the hands of 2nd and 3rd generation ) and all these years, election after election the common man has been misled/fooled into believing that his woes and miseries have been reduced by successive governments responsive to all their causes including food, shelter and clothing and their utmost concern for their upliftment. Today all of a sudden, 833 million people of the country need subsidized food for their basic existence and that too in the 10th year of rule of Congress and its allies. Add to this the fact that Indian economy is almost at its nadir and is fighting the menace of inflation coupled with high fiscal and current account deficits along with rupee devaluation. Is this the right time to indulge into an activity of providing additional 2 lakh crore to 3 lakh crore subsidy. But alas, this has got to be done now and now alone because this is perhaps the last straw for the sinking ship of this Indian government  which does not have any worthwhile achievement to boast of and is totally mired in corruption scams, Even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) feels that Food security bill will eat into India's finances but the government instead of showing some sincerity and honesty towards the national interest is simply bent upon looking for its own future and is playing vote bank politics.
  • Why there has been a shift from the lofty principle of food for work to food for right to exist/life. The Indian citizenry to the Indian polity is like ants feeding wheat flour to whom by  Indian polity  is a path towards their Nirvana ( In this case a ticket to electoral victory and another chance to suck the country for their own luxuries and benefits ).
So much for the intentions behind this so called noble desire to serve the humanity. To an independent observer the following gaps/ lacunae very smartly left uncovered  by the policy makers are big irritants and will take the nation and its economy to dogs in the long run.
  • There is no mention of the fact or any provision in the act about the period for which the provisions of the act will be applicable. Similarly, as the years roll by and with the likely growth of GDP, will there be any change in the quantum of subsidy and the number of beneficiaries. In a country like India where the only obsession of polity is to play to the gallery of its vote bank and coming to power by fair means or foul, making such provisions has little value as we have seen in the case of reservation policy and earlier subsidies. After all India has been ruined by a plethora of subsidies which could not even be rationalized leave alone doing away with them.
  • Add to this the urge of the governments to play to the agriculturist vote banks and lobbies as also the fact that the prices of food grains will keep on going up courtesy inflation and costs of inputs, food bill subsidy will keep on growing.
While any sane person will not and should not grudge providing food security to the poor. It is well known that a healthy mind grows in a healthy body.  Healthy body and healthy mind are the two basic prerequisites of the human resource development which is one of the major next gen growth engine of the Indian economy. But food security bill must be taken up in the right earnest with an eye only on the future of India. Any digression from this to make it a ploy for vote bank politics now or in future will kill all chances of India becoming an economic superpower through unmanageable budgetary deficits. The choice is before Indian polity. Rise to the occasion for the sake of country and your beloved masses. For this threshold moment leave your baser instincts and lust for power in the interest of the nation otherwise be a mute witness to the reality of Is India progressing or regressing and Indian citizenry will never forgive you for having failed them in their long term aspirations.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

WRONG ECONOMICS OR WRONG INTENTIONS

Pseudo economics, artificial actions and on all policy fronts with the sole consideration of vote bank politics have pushed India into a situation which is certainly not the envy of even the best of the supporters of the present government of India. It is only the modern day equivalents of historical court jesters and those excelling in the art of boot licking and sycophancy of the power corridors to succeed in their own dubious self interests who are all praise for the government actions which have failed to produce any positive results  on inflation front, the mother of all problems related to the economic health of the nation and the resulting rupee devaluation and a dwindling economy. Common sense says that the buying power of the rupee in the Indian market directly has a strong bearing on its buying power in the international market and yet strangely the only action taken by government of India is tightening of monetary policy through reserve bank without much effect on the inflation front but significant deleterious effects on the Indian economy. The real challenges before India the potential superpower of 21st century seem to have gone in the background and the Indian economy has been caught in the vicious cycle of slowing growth, fiscal deficit and current account deficit. All actions by the hi fi economists of the country seem to be hitting a wall perhaps because no concerted and sincere effort is being made.
Economics, governance and inflation are so much interlinked that any slackness in economics or governance will not allow inflation to come down to acceptable limits till such time the benefits of NREGA and increase of per capita income through increase in GDP are nullified by the increase in unemployment and dwindling growth rates of GDP. Similarly, Fiscal deficit and current account deficit do temporarily come down with decrease in international commodity prices of gold, crude etc and will go up as the commodity prices rise again. Unless and until the oil economics is viewed and managed in totality, oil economics will be the eternal bane of Indian economy and India's growth story. On the gold front also, Indian rulers are conveniently and merrily forgetting the basic fact that it is the most convenient method of absorbing black money. Increasing import duty can be a short term deterrent for some but in the long run the demand for yellow metal will not reduce and it will give incentive to more black money generation through smuggling route.
Why is it that every measure to take care of the woes of the common citizen has to be detrimental to the country? The answer is pretty simple, all actions are being taken by keeping  the interests of nation and its poor millions in the background and the  baser political/human urges to gain control over vote banks at the forefront. Food subsidy bill is a representative case in point.There is no denying the fact that food security is the first basic big element in the chain of value addition in the earning ability of an individual, his health and India's march towards poverty alleviation. Food subsidy bill talks in terms of providing food to 50% of urban India (377 million) and 75% of rural India ( 833 million) at highly subsidised rates at a whopping cost of Rs 1,30,000 crore to the exchequer. Add to this the cost of pilferage, grain rotting and logistics inefficiencies, an estimated amount of Rs 60,000 -70,000 crore. A cost of about Rs 2,00,000 crore for meeting the basic food requirements of 800 million of Indian citizens after 66 years of rule by politicians totally dedicated to the cause of the common man. A matter to be proud of ???? Still let the country grant them credit for at least imbibing the motto 'BETTER LATE THAN NEVER'. But what is the compulsion of 
  • Giving it as a dole for the empty stomach, a liability of human body and not barter it against the output of two working hands which are the biggest asset of every human being. Why can't the polity ensure a monthly income of Rs 7000 for a household of five persons ( 35 days wages split between 2 adults ) or Rs 47 per day per head through a payment against work. The expenditure can be met by clubbing  together money spent on all the doles, freebies and the allied wastage, pilferage and administrative costs. Imagine the miracle of additional 300 (working days) X 100 million (working hands) available man days in a year, a figure even all the European nations combined together cannot dream of.
  • Not adopting a methodology that would be most cost effective and least contributor to mismanagement and corrupt practices that have been the bane of majority of government programs and actions.
Why can't these brilliant men at the top think of achieving food security, work security and health security all by a single action of good governance and forgetting subsidies. Perhaps the polity lacks the courage and will to tell their vote banks that they are getting everything as compensation for their labour and work. Or may be the vote bank tells them that payment against work is acceptable from polity that deserves to rule and not from polity which relies only on corruption and corrupt practices for ruling the country.

Monday, August 12, 2013

WHAT IRKS INDIA'S POLITICIANS

While the word corruption irks the common man because it is the biggest impediment in his march towards end of poverty and miseries, the same word corruption irks the Indian politicians because it is the sole lifeline to their ability to earn a livelihood, to win elections, to come to power and to retain power.The political class as a whole takes a very strong exception when such comparisons are made but do not support any measure that could control corruption even in a small manner.
For achieving success in their lofty dubious goal of not allowing any controls on the demon of corruption, the evergreen goose that lays golden eggs for them, they sing the song of danger to democracy, danger to constitution, danger to principles of jurisprudence in complete harmony and unison. They have the power at their beck and call  to subvert and negate small actions by odd bold bureaucrats to rein in individual cases of corruption, a system under their thumb to neutralize bigger scams and legislative powers to annihilate even the observations/ rulings of judiciary.
And all this in the name of governance and policy making. Following actions and utterances of the polity during the last two years go a long way in showing the glaring differences in the perception of corruption mitigation of a common man and that of the rulers.
  • Handling of Lok Pal Bill : The society wants it. All politicians want it as a public posture but nobody wants it in actual. In fact no body can deny the fact that An insincere polity is the crude Indian reality and it will never its own hands with any of its actions.
  • Political parties under the Right to Information Act ( RTI ). The national government and the congress has been boasting for bringing in RTI but when Central Information Commission brought political parties under the ambit of this act, the same party along with all others has introduced a bill in Lok Sabha to keep political parties out of the purview of RTI act. Divided on everything else, political parties unite against RTI act as corruption and corrupt practices are their fundamental right.

SOLAR ENERGY: BEST BET FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH

The Indian government's thrust on inclusive growth is laudable and it is well known that growth, prosperity, healthcare, education and improvement in living conditions are all dependent on availability of power and an energy security model based on large power producing plants and a massive transmission and distribution system is neither viable nor feasible in rural areas whether remote or otherwise. A city conglomerate with a population of  about 2 million and an area of about 200 sq. kms is a concentrated pocket requiring something like 200 MW of electricity and the costs incurred on bringing in electricity from a large power plant 150 to 200 kms away can be justified but imagine a rural cluster of 5 villages in the same area with a population of  may be 5000 and an energy requirement of  5 - 10 MW can hardly justify the costs of being on a national grid system. India today needs many fold increase in its energy generation to cover all industrialization and households electrification needs. Firstly, this quantum of energy requirement cannot be met without resorting to renewable energy sources and secondly putting a national grid in place to cover all nooks and corners of the country may not materialize in the coming few decades even if the country decides to forget the cost, commercial aspects and the economy of energy production, transmission and distribution. Power engineers and policy makers anywhere must never forget that solar is simple, keep it simple to retain its edge when looking for solutions to energy security. It is because of such concerns and considerations of giving boost to rural industrialization that Brasil, Indonesia and now Zambia has opted for Solar energy to boost rural industrialization.
Of late the government of India has started realizing the importance of development of solar energy and it has proposed a target of 20000 mw by the end of 13th five year plan, though too little and too slow in view of the potential and advantages of basing India's energy security entirely on renewable energy concepts. The Indian prime minister has asked Bharat Heavy Electricals ( BHEL ) to take lead in developing solar power technology. It will be wonderful if other engineering giants are also involved in this national endeavor to make India into a global leader in the field of power from renewable energy sources. It was equally heartening to note that Dr Kakodkar, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, one of the most vociferous advocates of nuclear energy has bracketed solar along with nuclear for the ultimate energy security of the country. Nuclear energy is debatable and a very contentious issue in the light of false safety promises and likelihood of catastrophic accidents. In comparison solar has no thorns attached to it and easily emerges as the only wise option. It is not just for nothing that many advanced countries are putting in all their eggs in the basket of renewable energy, so much so that their yearly additions to power from renewable energy sources are to the tune of 4000 mw and higher and solar power being the highest contributor.
The whole world takes cognizance of the fact that India   is  at  the  thresh  hold  of  a  huge  step forward to become one of the economic super powers of  21st century because of a huge opportunity knocking on its doors with a combination of favourable factors like vast technical and management  human  resource at much lower expense,  an  awesome demography  advantage   coupled   with   an enormous demand for all kind of consumer goods, infrastructure, housing and healthcare needs even if one talks about extending  the benefits of development to a level of reasonably good living as per the European standards to the 1 billion plus population of the country. Add to this the need and inner desire on the part of all nations to shift over to renewable energy sources for energy security because of global environmental concerns and finite nature of all fuel based energy. Total reliance and a super thrust on renewable energy is a must for India becoming a global leader and the sheer magnitude of India's additional power requirements in the coming two decades should prompt the country's leadership to find solutions which can give the country leadership in newer power technologies for all times to come.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CORRUPTION, THE HARBINGER OF PROSPERITY FOR CHOSEN FEW AND MISERY FOR BILLION PLUS

Corruption is the sole lifeline of existence of Indian polity. It governs their ability to earn a livelihood, their ability to win elections, the ability to come to power and even their ability to retain power. And all this under the garb of politics. As it is the word politics was and has never been a very honorable word in the society. Its connotations have always been far from positive. From time to time it has been defined in a very polished but realistic manner
"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first". Ronald Reagen

No guesses for naming the oldest profession, it is well known to every individual but what is the role of a politician in this profession. Is it that of the client, broker or the sex worker. One dare not hazard a guess for all the three will take exception to being compared with a politician

"Politics is the last resort for the scoundrels"George Bernard Shaw

To what extent these statements are true in the other countries but in India it is not last but first refuge of any and every scoundrel. It is not a coincidence that out of 776 Members of Parliament (MP's) and 4120 state legislatures ( MLA's), more than 30% have criminal cases regarding murder, attempt to murder, robbery, dacoity, etc pending against them. And why not? For this is the only profession that can make a hero out of an antisocial element, let his illegal wealth grow, provide some dignity to such impudent louts possessed of almost no virtue and help them tremendously in hoodwinking the law of the land and allow them  going scot-free on  technical grounds or through benefit of doubt. There are a  number of  occasions when MLAs and MPs from  jails were  brought to legislative houses and  parliament so as to  save the Government of  the day. Such is  the value and  importance of these elements (with their tonnes of black money, goonda power, and vote garnering capabilities) to even the saints in politics that these saints not only close their eyes to their black deeds but let them grow exponentially in their black deeds.
In recent times the nation has been a mute witness to the absolute unholy alliance of almost entire polity of the country to defeat following watershed decisions that could have have changed the corruption scenario in a very big way which in turn could have revolutionized the course of development of the country and above all the poverty alleviation which is ironically the sole declared aim of each and every political worker.
  • Lok Pal Bill
  • Political parties under the Right to information act
  • Supreme court directions on banning criminal elements for contesting of elections and continuing as legislatures
  • Giving autonomy to Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI )
The agony of the nation lies in the fact that instead of doing something concrete to find an end to this malaise of corruption, the entire polity of the country  has come together, in fact to find ways and means/ flimsy excuses to 
not let anything happen in the right direction. For them the guiding principles are that 
  • No harm should come to even a single imaginary righteous man ( righteous not because he is honest but because he could manipulate to escape conviction for lack of evidence or legal loopholes) even if 100% of legislature gets occupied by corrupt and criminals.
  • And once a powerful man manages to hoodwink legal process, his integrity becomes impeccable and he can occupy even the most sensitive position.I wonder why the same yardstick is not applicable to bureaucracy where even an iota of doubt on one's integrity can have far reaching consequences.