Monday, 31 July 2017

Education: What is its purpose?

What is the purpose of education? If you were to ask a small group of teachers, administrators, students, parents, etc to address this question, how difficult it would be to reach a consensus?
  • No matter what ever global problem you are dreading, the solutions always include education, never is it without an education component and sometimes cannot be done without education.
  • Education is to teach creative and analytical thinking. To spark curiosity, imagination, and love of lifetime learning. Education is a lifetime journey, not a destination or a transaction.
  • The purpose of education is prepare our children for higher education, teach them to navigate social interactions with peers from different backgrounds, and to help them become tax paying members of society. 
  • Should young people become educated to get prepared to enter the workforce, or should the purpose of education be focused more on social, academic, cultural and intellectual development so that students can grow up to be engaged citizens? Education should prepare young people for life, work and citizenship.
  • No matter what progress is made to shift the practices and content of daily classroom instruction, inequity will continue to be a substantial limiting factor. Real sustainable improvement depends on addressing inequity in areas such as well-paid employment, health care, food, and housing security. You can’t have one without the others.
  • In the US, historically, the purpose of education has evolved according to the needs of society. Education's primary purpose has ranged from instructing youth in religious doctrine, to preparing them to live in a democracy, to assimilating immigrants into mainstream society, to preparing workers for the workplace.
  • And now, as educators prepare young people for their futures in a world that is rapidly changing, to create adults who can compete in a global economy? To create lifelong learners? To create emotionally healthy adults who can engage in meaningful relationships?
  • Most college men have a misconception of the purpose of education. Most of them think that education should equip them with the proper instruments of exploitation so that they can forever trample over the masses. 
  • Some others think that education should furnish them with noble ends rather than means to an end.
  • Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.
  • School education should prepare students for life - for college, for work, for living within a family and within a community, and for participating effectively in the democratic process.
  • Schools have always been about developing students for life and work. And life is much more than earning a living; it is also living a life.
  • A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.
  • The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.
  • Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education. 
  • If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts.

Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point 
where they can learn on their own ... Noam Chomsky.
The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know ... Albert Einstein
I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people ... Newton

My View:
Education does not have a single purpose; it serves multiple objectives, and the relative importance of each of these objectives can be very personal. Education is to support children in developing the skills, the knowledge, and the dispositions that will allow them to be responsible, contributing members of their community. To be a good friend, to be a good mate, to be able to work, and to contribute to the well-being of the community. Children should learn civic knowledge and master civic skills, respecting others, working collaboratively, acting in a way that is fair and just, and being an active participant in the life of the community. Greed of money and power, if not desisted, destroys an educated person to a great extent. Today, the world is suffering due to the greed of educated and superiority complex of unworthy.

China Vs India

  • China's defense spending at 10.7% of its budget is $150 billion, is five times of what India spends @1.5% of its GDP - the lowest since 1950-51.
  • Our armed forces lack strategic reconnaissance to peer 300 km deep into China or Pakistan and detect mobilizations.
  • India doesn't even have a full time defense minister since 5 months.
  • China's military is undergoing modernization, where as India failed to implement long debated modernization plan and is saddled with outdated equipment.
  • Our howitzer ammunition is adequate only for 10 days of intense warfare against prescribed 40 days. 
  • Any sign of exhibiting weakness here by China, could boost its rivals.
  • Doklam is a narrow plateau lying in the tri-junction region of Bhutan, China and India. Doklam is a disputed territory and Bhutan has a written agreement with China that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, peace and tranquility should be maintained in the area. This is not really an issue between China and India. New Delhi sees this as an opportunity to drive a wedge between China and Bhutan and maintain its control of Thimphu.
  • Both Bhutanese and Chinese herdsmen have grazed there for generations, as claimed by both the countries.
  • The Chinese perspective is that Doklam area belongs to China, it therefore follows that the construction of a road is a normal activity in this own territory. The present standoff between is reflection of India’s deep distrust and strategic anxiety towards China. The tussle at the tri-junction goes beyond the 89 square kilometres of territory to the larger issues.
  • Rising nationalist sentiment since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power has only worsened ties between the two sides, as evidenced by the rhetoric by Indian officials since the standoff began.
  • The Chinese economy is slowing. It has an ageing population, an ecologically ravaged landscape and mounting debt that is 250 per cent of GDP. China also remains a brittle and opaque polity. 
  • In China, internal circumstances might have driven military to adopt hard line posture, both political and domestic, and the need to rally public support for the military.
  • China's adventurism at Doklam, if successful, brings it closer to our 27 km Siliguri corridor (chicken's neck) the vital land connection to North Eastern states. Doklam is a significant ­security challenge for India.
  • Our military modernization with combat readiness will be ready by 2020 only; IAF's dip in combat aircraft with 32 of 39 sanctioned planes is perilous; Navy is short of both submarines and anti submarine warfare helicopters.
  • Along the LAC all weather roads and strategic railway lines to rush troops and supplies are either incomplete or paper bound. China in contrast have completed most of such things.
  • China is in no mood for compromise in Doklam. The message is very clear. Unless India withdraws troops there is no scope for deescalation or talks, while India is saying let both sides withdraw troops and then talk. The deadlock and tensions are likely to remain for some more time.
  • Yet the conflict will be disastrous for China mainly due to terrain being favorable to India. China might suffer greater causalities than India in case of assault at Doklam. 
  • Any assault at Doklam will seriously hurt China's self image as emerging Global  power and Asian hegemon.
  • Since China is not sure of a decisive victory against India, its aggressive & hard line rhetoric, its military superiority, border infrastructure, massive mobilization of troops along side border and drills are aimed at winning the war without fighting.
  • It would be absurd for China to start a war over its own actions and that too with a small & tiny nation, Bhutan, which had security relationship with India.
  • In the event of war, it would be limited to army air strikes. India would have greater strike power due to air bases located in plains where as China's airbase in Tibet is at higher altitude which restricts its pay load carrying capability. Neither can advance into other's territory without suffering heavy causalities. Hence Doklam might not trigger conventional full scale war.
  • The fallout could be China, may in future, openly support Pakistan in all its border disputes with India.
  • "It may difficult to shake a mountain, but it is even more difficult to shake PLA" said a Chinese military officer "India is truly different than that it was in 1962. We really don't want to engage in a war against India." indicating Beijing's awareness that a war with India would be disastrous. Its loud rhetoric doesn't mean action.

There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare ... Sun Tzu

Read also India-China border standoff

My View:
Chinese muscle flexing over Doklam is probably aimed at reducing its own stresses and uncertainties due to its massive military overhaul to be completed by 2020 and domestic political considerations for rallying public support for military ahead of PLA's 90th anniversary. However, our military deficiencies arising out of Modi's wrong priorities and meager budget allocations especially over the past three years could prove costly for him as well as India. On economic front, Indo-China war could prove catastrophic for both the nations especially India going back in time line by over a decade. Finally, there is substitute for dialogues and war solves no problems.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Nawaz Sharif ousted by Pakistan's Supreme Court

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with his son Hussain Nawaz

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding office for life. 
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigned following the judgment despite having reservations on the verdict. Following the judgment, the Pakistan Cabinet stands dissolved. The court also ordered a criminal investigation and trial against Nawaz Sharif and his family.
  • The court disqualified him from office over allegations detailed in the Panama Papers. The disqualification was for life, that was the law for the moment.
  • The court ruled Sharif  “is not honest … [and] therefore, he is disqualified to be a Member of ”parliament,” and, consequently, the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
  • Nawaz Sharif not only served as chairman of the board of a Dubai-based company Capital FZE, he also drew a salary of 10,000 dirhams between Aug 7, 2006 and April 20, 2014 — till nearly a year after assuming office. The sticking point was that Sharif did not declare this income in his nomination papers.
  • UAE's labour laws mandate that all employees must receive a salary through a bank account, failing which the firm can be blacklisted and shut down. This technicality proved to be the former prime minister's undoing.
  • Where respondent did not disclose his assets, it would amount to furnishing a false declaration on solemn affirmation in violation of the law and he is not honest, the court concluded. Sharif would, therefore, have to go. All five judges concurred.
  • Panama Papers documents alleged that three of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s four children—Maryam Safdar, Hasan Nawaz, and Hussain Nawaz Sharif—used shell companies to buy property in London. Nawaz Sharif, whose party was democratically elected in 2013, has denied any wrongdoing.
  • A document was purported to be written in February 2006 but court-appointed investigators concluded that it was forged, noting that it used the Calibri font, a Microsoft licensed typeface that was not commercially available at the time.
  • Sharif was in his third term as prime minister. He previously served from 1990 to 1993, when he was dismissed by the president on corruption charges, and again from 1997 to 1999, when he was ousted in a military coup. This is his third term as prime minister, that ended abruptly by Supreme Court judgment.
  • Next general elections are scheduled for 2018.
  • None of Pakistan’s 15 prime ministers have completed their full five-year term, victims of military coups, corruption, and, even death.
  • Sohail Warraich, a prominent Pakistani journalist remarked “It was a colossal miscalculation. He probably thought they’d take it to the edge and then let him off. He didn’t read the signs.” It was a catastrophic miscalculation.
  • Justice Azmat Saeed responded with “we cannot resort to exceptionalism by making a departure from the settled law and inventing a new set of rules merely because Respondent No.1 holds the Office of the Prime Minister. The last time in our legal history, when such a course of action was followed, it had tragic consequences.”
  • A barrister opines that the “tragic consequences” were visited not only upon that prime minister but on the nation as a whole and the long-term credibility of the Supreme Court itself. If there was ever a judgement that begs review, this is it.
  • Whoever replaces Sharif will have to tackle Pakistan’s worsening ties with the United States, frayed relations with India, and persistent attacks by Islamist militants including the Pakistani Taliban and Islamic State. The economy is benefiting from vast investment from China, but economists are concerned about falling currency reserves and dwindling exports.
  • Yet by respecting Supreme Court verdict and resigning as PM, Nawaz Sharif effectively thwarted Army's intervention in political power play.
  • With Sharif's exit our problems with Pakistan won't get vanished, rather they would get more complicated. With no aid from USA, internal economy in doldrums, Pakistan will continue to rely on China for assistance and status quo will continue.
Through the Panama Papers judgement, the balance of power had been tilted in favour of the Supreme Court and the qualification of parliamentarians had been threatened. The parliamentarians, feeling threatened, might react by getting together for a constitutional amendment aimed at curtailing or restricting the scope of powers of Supreme Court under Article 62 of the Constitution.

My View:
Pakistan Supreme Court should be appreciated for enforcing law equally even for a prime minister. Even though the offence is relatively smaller with no loss to exchequer, the law doesn't provide any exceptional treatment to VIP's. This is similar to "Prime Minister jailed for traffic offence". At times it could push the nation into turmoil. Recollect what happened in 1975 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was unseated by Allahabad High Court for a small election offence. It ended up in emergency and political unrest for several years. In a democracy, law must be enforced without discrimination, at any cost without fear of consequences. Kudos to Pakistan Supreme Court for its fearless judgment. Our SC Judges must learn some lessons from our neighbor, whose democracy is far junior to us and relatively immature.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Nitish Kumar, CM of Bihar for 6th time!

On July 26, 2017, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has resigned, citing irreconcilable differences with ally RJD on the issue of corruption charges against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav. Legislators of NDA constituents and JD(U) will elect Nitish Kumar as their leader, Sushil Kumar Modi says; BJP will be the part of the government.

On July 28, 2017, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar won the floor test in the State Assembly. Nitish Kumar and the BJP, won the test with all of their 131 votes intact. They needed 122 votes to win. The Opposition garnered 108 votes. 

The Bihar elections 2015 saw the coming together of JD(U), RJD, and Congress as Grand Alliance that was voted to victory. Out of 243 seats, JD(U) bagged 71 seats, RJD 80 and Congress 27, totalling 178. BJP's previous tally of 91 was reduced to only 53 seats. Nitish Kumar became the chief minister of Bihar for the fifth time and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's son, Tejaswi Yadav, became the deputy chief minister.
  • Earlier in 2013, Nitish Kumar left the NDA after Modi was declared the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. A BJP leader quipped "We did not leave him, but he left us in 2013".
  • Modi tweets “For the bright future of the country, and especially Bihar, it is the need of the hour to rise above political differences and join the fight against corruption.” Political differences and immoral alliances can't be equated.
  • In 2015 Bihar elections, Modi in his aggressive campaign, addressing over 30 rallies and announced Rs 1.25 lakh-crore development aid package and failed with no action till date. The PM said the package would be in addition to Rs 40,657 crore pledged to ongoing highway and power projects bringing the total to Rs 1.65 lakh crore, besides Rs 8,500 crore of unused money from Bihar’s last central package.
  • Citizens can see through such moves of parties suddenly getting bright ideas on development a month before the elections. People may be happy to take the benefit but they will also ridicule it and do their own thing. Biharis did not go for Modi's dangled Rs 1.25 lakh crore carrot. They preferred 'work on the ground'. It is BJP leadership's gross underestimation of Aam Aadmi's intelligence.
  • Similar is the fate of Modi's development packages announced to Sikkim and J&K.
  • BJP does not favour mid-term polls in Bihar. When it is 'elections ka jumla,' all is fair, as Amit Shah says.
  • In the existing alliance Nitish Kumar is junior partner to Lalu Prasad Yadav where as his in new alliance with BJP he will be dominant partner. That makes all the difference apart from bringing him closer to Delhi's power corridors.
  • BJP even though mandated to sit in opposition will now occupy positions of power and rule the state, albeit immorally.
  • After Jayalalitha's death, Modi's brazen attempt to meddle in Tamilnadu without even a single MP/MLA seat for BJP, were stalled by Sasikala's adamancy which landed her in jail with a quick judgement in a 20 year old disproportionate assets case.
Nitish Kumar Gymnastics - Cartoon by Dr. Subramanian Swamy

In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, 
the great difficulty lies in enabling the government first to control the governed; 
and in the next place obligate it to control itself.

How can an unprincipled fight corruption with immorality?

My View:
After Indira Gandhi came back to power in Jan 1980, Bhajan Lal the then Janata Party's CM in Haryana immediately defected with a huge chunk of Janata Party's MLAs to Congress and continued as CM. This brazen act made him notorious as an exemplar of 'Aayaram Gayaram' culture in which opportunist politicians show no principles & loyalty. Nitish Kumar's brazan acts of today are similar to that of Bhajanlal then. In Indian Politics there are no permanent friends; no lasting principles & nothing else except any & every method to stay put in power. Nitish Kumar on one hand talks about fighting corruption of Lalu Prasad Yadav's son and on other hand resorts to much worst political & moral corruption to retain his CM chair by jumping into NDA. People of Bihar are betrayed by all politicians. Their 2015 mandate stands mangled. Corruption exists in all walks of life but politics of immorality, unprincipled and spiritual corruption is the worst of all. There may not be immediate loss of anything to public at large but its inherent effects in long run are incalculable.

Drug menace in Malaysian Township, Hyderabad

Police caught red handed two young girls and three boys while they were having ganja at Malaysia Township under the limits of KPHB Police Station, here on July 21, 2017 at 4pm. On a tiff off, the KPHB police raided a flat in the Malaysia Township and detained Ektha Negi, a software employee, along with Gopi Sadhana, a fashion designer. The police also detained Muvva Nithin, Devaraju Uday, Marupalli Abhilash on the information given by the young girls in the same Township. Police seized 60 gram ganja from them. The police said the detainee told them that they purchased ganja from an unidentified person at Tolichowki.

Here are some facts:
  • I live in the flat just above the flat that was raided by police and girls were caught with Ganja on July 21, 2017. 
  • The flat is rented by three unmarried techie girls since over 2.5 years ago. Some girl vacating the flat and some other girl joining the flat was inconspicuous. Among present occupants two are north Indian and third one local. I never heard of any nuisance created by them. Some boys visiting their flat regularly was common but any kind of nuisance by them was never discussed.
  • I have never felt the smell of their Ganja smoking. However the gentleman in front of their flat tells that he & his wife felt unusual smell few times when they cross crossed each other in corridor ans their door was open.
  • The Residents Association has never warned the landlord or the tenants about their alleged illegal activity of Ganja smoking. Prior to approaching police they should have demanded vacating the flat by the occupants suspected of Ganja smoking, which was not done in this case. The tenants were not given any kind of benefit of doubt nor any eyewitness to illegal activity thus giving rise to doubts of framing them by Association for reasons best known to them.
  • While there are over 10 other flats with suspected ganja smoking activity in the township, why this flat occupied 3 girl techies was targeted for police raid is not known.
  • Publicizing their names and photos and parading them in front of media like criminals, even before crime is established and against their will, not only destroys their reputation but also they could lose their jobs and their marriage proposals will get destroyed.
My View:
Drugs unheard in Hyderabad five years ago, is omnipresent today. Even though laws world wide are stringent, drug menace is ever increasing and threatening youth in particular. Such is its power and temptation of disproportionate profits. In India, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985( NDPS Act) prohibits a person to produce, manufacture, cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. Drug peddlers have liability of 10-20 years of RI, drug consumers a liability of RI up to 1 year. Addicts volunteering for treatment enjoy immunity from prosecution. In this case, even before asserting whether the girls are peddlers or consumers and their willingness for deaddiction, police parading them in front of media, destroying their image, jobs, marriage prospects is unfair.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Jan Dhan Yojana fails to deliver!

  • Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), launched by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on Aug 28, 2014, is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner. Account can be opened in any bank branch.
  • The plan envisages universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household, financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension facility. In addition, the beneficiaries would get RuPay Debit card having inbuilt accident insurance cover of र 1 lakh.
  • PMJDY accounts also allow an overdraft facility of up to Rs 5,000 in one account per household, preferably held by a woman member. 
  • The Prime Minister personally mailed to Chairmen of all PSU banks to gear up for the gigantic task of enrolling over 7.5 crore (75 million) households and to open their accounts. He categorically declared that a bank account for each household was a "national priority". 
  • Total of 7 Crore (70 million) bank accounts have been opened with deposits totaling more than ₹5,000 crores as of Nov 6, 2014. As the government met the target, Govt revised the target for opening of bank accounts under the PMJDY, 7.5 crore to 10 crore by Jan 26, 2015. Almost 75% of the accounts or 5.66 crore, have no money.
  • In the name of financial inclusion, the government has created more problems for the poor. The project is well intentioned and perhaps necessary for a country in which 40% of the population is unbanked. But, in the hurry to roll out the project, proper communication, especially to the undereducated and the poor, could not happen. Significant percentage of people haven't returned to the branches to do serious transactions.
  • The scheme has been criticized as an effort to please voters that has created unnecessary work-burden on the public-sector banks. It has been claimed that the poor deserves food more than bank accounts and financial security. Further, these accounts have not yet added considerable profits to PSU banks. Offers like zero balance, free insurance and overdraft facility would result in duplication. Very few people are eligible to get the life insurance worth ₹30,000 with a validity of just five years. The claimed overdraft facility has been completely left upon the banks and only those people would get the overdraft facility with satisfactory transaction record.
  • While JDY has inflated the number of account holders, it has done nothing to boost the volume of transactions. As on March 24, 2017, public banks, regional rural banks and 13 private lenders reported that 92,52,609 accounts were frozen under JDY due to lack of transactions.
  • In the first two weeks of demonetisation, the total balance in no-frills accounts under the JDY increased to Rs 72,834.72 crore, a jump of Rs 27,198 crore in 14 days, of which most money was deposited in an effort to convert black money into white money by black money holders. The scheme, took 16 months until Dec 2015 to accumulate a balance of Rs 27,283 crore, 
  • The total cost of operation of Jan Dhan accounts by State Bank of India is Rs 774.86 crore, Parliament was informed on Mar 28, 2017. Banks had to incur a cost of at least Rs 200 on opening each account apart from the manpower cost and this totals roughly Rs 1,500 crore for just opening the accounts.
  • The profligacy of Modi on his hurried, ill conceived schemes without adequate preparation and then projecting failed schemes as successes impoverishing nation is highly despicable. The quantum of money spend for campaign & publicity by all related agencies is too much for developing economy like India. India needs a statesman as Prime Minister, not a rogue politician.
  • Public Expenditure Wastage Control Commission must scrutinize all waste expenses of public money by any one and every one for compliance of procedure and economies of expenditure observed including PM & CM. And if not followed, it must levy immediate financial penalties on such person and also recommend to competent higher authorities to consider and take punitive steps against such persons. All within a time frame of three months. Only disaster management expenses, certain defense expenditures and nuclear related expenses could be exempted.

Thrift is my guiding principle ... Indira Gandhi 
What ever is worth doing, is worth doing slowly.

My View:
Banks are ill equipped to handle this huge number of new account holders leading to deteriorating of services. The costs of managing these accounts are huge for already NPA stressed banks. Most of the Rs.5,000 over drafts per account will turnout to be irrecoverable and unless centre absorbs and writes off these amounts bank's margins will again come under severe stress. Poor banking connectivity is another constraint. Significant number of people had opened multiple accounts under the scheme, adding to the existing problem of dormant accounts. When Indira Gandhi got elected from Medak (Telangana) in 1980 she compelled PSU banks to open branches in Medak district. After few years almost all branches were wound up would due to lack of business and viability, booking significant losses. Needless to say any scheme prior to implemented should be researched, tailored to suit local needs and planned to implement over a time frame for producing lasting results. But unfortunately almost all Modi's schemes are announced hurried and launched without any preparation with massive national & international publicity costing hundreds of crores of rupees to nation and then they just fail. This is no way a democratic government should function. Hence, every government expenditure must have prior legislature approval and budget provision voted so that sufficient discussion of priorities takes place before announcement and implementation. The only exception could be defense, disaster management and nuclear related matters.

Monday, 24 July 2017

ICC Women's World Cup final 2017: India throws away victory!

India's Final Match Score Card

Harmanpreet Kaur's batting highlights in world cup semi finals

  • England defeated India by nine runs to win their fourth ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 title. Chasing a target of 229, India were well on course till the 42nd over but a dramatic collapse ended their hopes of a historic win. 
  • England rode on Anya Shrubsole’s 6/46 to beat India by nine runs and clinch their victory. 
  • India's Punam Raut scored 86 and Harmanpreet Kaur 51.
  • Indian team's play during the tournament was aptly described as - they strove, they fought, they dominated, they struggled and then they lost.
  • India's batting was well until 42nd over with score card at 191 and Punam Raut fell for 5th wicket. Still India had 8 overs, 5 wickets to score just 38 runs i.e. 4.75 per over and victory was reachable.
  • Earlier India in semifinals, riding on the singular & scintillating batting of Harmanpreet Kaur's unbeaten knock of 171* off 115 balls with 20 fours & 7 sixes, defeated Australia by 36 runs to seal the spot in the final of the 2017 ICC Women's World Cup.
  • India's defeat is mainly due to losing nerves by middle & lower order while top 4 bats-woman did reasonably well. They lost last 5 wickets before adding 23 runs only and losing the match meekly.
  • Due credit to England team for maintaining their nerves cool and pressure on India team.
  • A record 50 million people tuned in to watch this World Cup, an 80% increase from 2013.
  • The intensity of this final has no close comparisons. Such was the manner in which both teams fought that it had everything. From dubious running, dropped catches, missed run-outs, debatable third-umpire calls to brilliantly set fields, sharp cricketing brains, smart bowling changes and game changing spells, this World Cup final was a highlights package right till the very last ball.
  • For years, women cricketers had taken a backseat, were neglected and ignored. Their male counterparts were worshiped while the fans could barely blurt out a name or two from women's teams. All that has changed as the women took centre stage in the 2017 event in England. This tournament will be a springboard for women's cricket around the country, and around the world.
  • Finally, it is India that lost the match resulting in England's lifting the World Cup.

What men can do women can do better.

Good manners and invisible gains

  • Good manners can never be out of fashion. The rules and norms relating to manners and etiquette are time tested and are universal in nature. 
  • All societies encourage inculcation and adoption of good manners and behaviour. So, good manners are there to stay. 
  • We hear from generation to generation that there has been a consistent and continuous decline in the general standard of human behaviour. 
  • No child today considers it to be an indication of ill mannerism when he or she, while talking to parents are simultaneously responding to text messages to not one but multiple people in multiple group chats! 
  • In twenties, you could score points with elders by showing up and speaking respectfully.
  • It is inappropriate behaviour if one would not listen, with total abandon to all other things except focusing on what was being said alongside perfect eye contact.
  • The alternation to good manners has been possibly the consequence of the rapid pace of technological progress, the cell phone, the message texting and the ever growing social media, a reason for the decline. 
  • For misbehaving by children and the loss of good behaviour to progress - technology is the reason which encapsulates that each one of us under the garb of the misleading concept of ‘multitasking’ pays no attention and heed to basic norms of courtesies. 
  • If discourteous behaviour is the standard of the society why would the corporates experience a different behavioural standard both in lingua and action?
  • The changing lifestyles ought naught to make us lower our standards of good behaviour. Good behaviour triumphs over all obstacles, impediments and challenges in life.
  • If the new tech savvy generation believes that the decline in behaviour is synonymous with enlightenment; this view and path is perilous.
  • Never talk of others what you could not talk to them. 
  • Never spoke ill of a person not present.
  • Real politeness is invisible.
  • One way to be polite is by not touching people unless they invite it. 
  • Politeness buys you time.
  • Each person is an emissary and an ambassador to his family. He represents his parentage.
  • The absence of pride and arrogance will dictate a person’s manners.
  • The ill-mannered will spare no sarcasm to inflict wounds with long term damaging ramifications upon others. In fact, over time ill mannerism becomes part and parcel of a person’s life if it remains unchecked.
  • Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life's riches.
  • Good manners are planted in childhood years, but they gather strength and are cultivated over time.
  • People deserve more attention than a gadget. Wherever possible turn off your mobile phone in social situations.
  • Those who read voraciously, history, literature, poetry, and read a load of them, always tend to carry a very high standard of good behaviour. They can never be rude or discourteous. 
  • Display of manners will always be spontaneous and never pre-meditated. 
  • Good behaviour is by far more superior to good physical look and appearance.
  • Good manners come around more by upbringing and not merely by principles.
  • In discussing work-related issues, a clear distinction must remain that it is not a declamation contest. The purpose that it is not to win an argument but it is to solve a situation. 
  • Never resort to using expletives in conversations. 
  • Any act that causes anxiety is reflection of ill-mannered behaviour and any act that soothes your inner person is reflective of good manners and good upbringing. 
  • Courtesy is the inseparable companion of virtue. 
  • No one should forget that civility costs nothing. 
  • Be mindful that courteous manners have to be matched by great talent. 
  • Nobility and humility are not distant cousins but Siamese twins.
  • Good behaviour is never alone; the practitioner will have many neighbours; only if one is careful to do on the hill as you would do in the hall. 
  • Practice and not merely possess virtue of good manners. 
  • Investment in developing good manners will never give negative yields.
  • Manners that reflect personal integrity, lofty idealism, faith in the corporate values and objectives always command unqualified respect. 
  • Good upbringing allows handling praise with grace. 
  • Those possessed with good manners are fearless, morally, socially and intellectually. They are neat and tidy. No confusion in their work or in their mind.

When his secretary arrived late to a meeting, and blamed his watch for his tardiness, 
George Washington replied, Then you must get another watch, or I another secretary.”  
For Washington, being on time was a way of showing respect to others, 
and he expected to be treated with the same level of respect in return.

My View:
A person with good manners generally thinks, talks and does the same the things and hence no wastage resources. He is predictable with no hypocrisy and others find easy to deal with him. Therefore he attracts people to collaborate or work with while ill mannered people sees people drift away from them. Good mannerisms costs nothing but invisible gains are many.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Venkaiah Naidu nominated for Vice President. Why?

Senior BJP leader and party veteran Venkaiah Naidu was picked up as the ruling NDA's vice-presidential candidate to contest against opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi. Naidu's name was finalised at a meeting of the BJP parliamentary board here attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and other senior party leaders. There was no happiness in Venkaiah Naidu's face, rather he was sad for punishment meted out to him.
  • Why was the 68-year-old leader was coerced to file his nomination for ornamental Vice President position? 
  • Naidu openly expressed his desire to continue as Union Minister and continue in active politics. 
  • This is despite and not showing any interest in either President or Vice President positions, which are ornamental positions. Not once but several times.
  • Why was his preference ignored and decision made against his wishes? 
  • Ramnath Kovind, who was nobody when Naidu was National President of BJP, was already nominated for President's post. Even Modi was his junior in party. 
  • Nominating Naidu to work under Kovind is nothing short of an insult. 
  • This is in contradiction to Modi's earlier assertion not to sacrifice anyone from his cabinet for President & Vice President positions. 
  • This is analogous to Congress style of destroying an active & powerful person coercing him to resign and accept ignominious positions like Governor and afterwards fade out.
  • Venkaiah Naidu was one of the first persons in BJP to switch loyalties from Advani and join the rogue group headed by Modi in 2013. He stood as his confident and trouble shooter all these years and was suddenly shown the exit door by Modi. Why? What are the real reasons?
  • In 2002, AP CM Chandrababu Naidu was vehement that Modi should resign as Gujarat CM in the wake of Gujarat Riots. Chandrababu Naidu even made statement that he would arrest Modi if he enters AP. When Modi tried to meet Chandrababu Naidu at Delhi to explain Gujarat riots matters, he was denied appointment by Babu. 
  • After Modi became PM, Chandrababu Naidu (AP CM now) tried to bend backwards to please him but that didn't cut ice with Modi. 
  • Venkaiah Naidu and Chandrababu Naidu belongs to neighboring districts, same caste and very close to each other for over 4 decades. Modi never trusted either of these two Naidu's except using them.
  • Of late Venkaiah Naidu's confidential remarks that Modi is becoming increasingly inaccessible even to his cabinet and his aversion to listen to genuinely good things must have reached Modi.
  • Contradiction with Amit Shah regarding BJP to grow independently breaking alliance with TDP in TS & AP is another point of friction.
  • Venkaiah Naidu prevailing over Telangana's BJP leaders to break its TDP alliance was another issue with Amit Shah.
  • AP BJP leaders who don't like Venkaiah Naidu are of the opinion that breaking away with TDP and allying with YCP would get them greater share of power positions than what Naidu was granting them. The elements led by Ram Madhav convinced Amit Shah.
  • Chandra Babu Naidu being a tough bargainer would never yield even a single extra position where BJP is not fairly stronger than TDP. That irks BJP state leaders who wants to piggy ride on TDP's back to power positions .
  • Amit Shah is convinced that unless Venkaiah Naidu is eased out of BJP and alliance broken with TDP, junior leaders in AP & TS, BJP won't grow in AP. While Modi knew the reality and prevailed so far, has now yielded to Amit Shah & Co.
  • Now it is a matter of time, BJP will break alliance with TDP and ally with YCP well before 2019 elections and Jagan surrendering to BJP as quid pro quo favor to go soft on his CBI & ED cases. 
  • Chandra Babu Naidu may very well pay huge price for trusting Modi even before 2014 election results. Intelligence is jumping out of sinking ship well in advance. Chandra Babu Naidu should preemptively walk out of NDA and go to public explaining injustices meted out to AP by Modi & Co.
  • And this would make Ex-Congress leaders in BJP like Purandeshwari, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, Kanna Lakshminarayana etc, BJP Kapu leaders like Somu Veerraju and TS BJP leaders like M.Krishna Reddy etc many more happy.
  • But BJP, with no grass roots cadres in rural areas and their ideologies vague and no worthwhile poor & peasant policies, making inroads into rural AP & TS is an uphill task.
My View:
If by a good chance, Chandra Babu Naidu and KCR gets re-elcted with BJP opposing them, BJP will get doomed and suffer severe damage in Telugu states of AP & TS. Naidu should assert his forgotten pride of Telugu people and make Modi's injustices transparent to Telugu people. Naidu & KCR should remember development is not the prime thing concerning people. Above that are good governance, minimal corruption, long term vision and taking care of poor & peasants. Needless to say, Venkaiah Naidu paid a bitter price for keeping politics above everything. He should have been more loyal to his motherland - the state of AP rather than Modi & BJP for their selfish dirty politics which inflicted injustice to AP.  Advani would be smiling for Venkaiah Naidu's debasement for ditching him in preference to rising Modi in 2013.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Tsar Bomba

  • On 30 October 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the Tsar Bomba nuclear bomb over the Novaya Zemlya islands in Arctic Russia. To this day, this is the largest nuclear weapon detonated.
  • The 27-tonne Soviet Tsar Bomba (king of bombs) was the most powerful weapon constructed.
  • Officially named AN602 hydrogen bomb, it was originally intended to have a yield of 100 megatons, but this would have posed problems with the radioactive fallout. Later, the Tsar Bomba was reduced to have a yield of only 50 megatons of TNT.
  • In an atmospheric test in 1961 it had a yield of 50 megatons - 3,300 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb and 1,400 times as powerful as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs combined.
  • The bomb served no military purposes. It would be too heavy to carry and there was no plane able to do intercontinental flights with such a load. 
Tsar Bomba Test Location
  • The Tsar Bomba was dropped the at 11:32 AM Moscow time, from a height of 10.5 km over Mityushikha Bay in Novaya Zemlya. The bomb detonated at a height of 4 km. The descent from the height it was dropped from until the place of the detonation at 4,000 meters above ground took 188 seconds, just enough time for the pilot to fly to a safe distance. 
  • Just one second after the detonation, the fireball was already 4 miles wide, and the light could be seen at distances of over 2,000 kilometers. The mushroom raised to a height of about 64 km, over 7 times the height of Mount Everest.
  • After the explosion, the surface of the island was leveled, and the rocks melted. Some reports indicate that windows were broken in northern Finland and Norway too. Complete destruction was observed over 40 km radius and severe destruction over 60 km radius.
  • A 100 Mt weapon can level urban areas in a zone 60 km wide, cause heavy damage in a zone 100 km across, cause 3rd degree burns in a region 170 km across and eye damage to 220 km. Such a weapon can only be used as a means of destroying an entire urban region including suburbs and even neighboring cities. With its dense settlement, use of such a weapon in Europe is equivalent to an attack on a major portion of an entire nation and its population. 
  • The energy released on the earth's surface by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami was estimated at 26 megatons of TNT is half of that of Tsar Bomba (50 megatons of TNT).
  • The weight of this 50 Mt Tsar Bomba was 27 tonnes and was nearly equal to the TU-95's maximum payload, and two and a half times its normal weapon load.
  • The Tsar Bomba was flown to its test site by a specially modified TU-95V release plane, flown by Major Andrei Durnovtsev. Taking off from an airfield in the Kola Peninsula, the release plane was accompanied by a TU-16 observer plane that took air samples and filmed the test. Both aircraft were painted with a special reflective white paint to limit heat damage. Despite this effort, Durnovtsev and his crew were assigned only a 50% chance of surviving the test.
  • It was decided that a full 100 Mt detonation would create too great a risk of nuclear fallout, as well as a near certainty that the release plane (and crew) would be destroyed before it could escape the blast radius.
  • The Tsar Bomba was the culmination of a series of high-yield thermonuclear weapons designed by the Soviet Union and the United States during the 1950s.
  • The creation of the Tsar Bomba was the result of political calculation by the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. A de facto moratorium had existed between the U.S., USSR and UK and two years of discussion had been conducted regarding formal limitations on nuclear testing. The Cold War continued at high pitch and the decision to break the moratorium with a "testing spectacular" that coincided with the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was a move cast in the same mold.
  • Khrushchev in the meeting of Soviet weapons scientists declared that tests would resume in the fall to 'show the imperialists what we could do', a decision that came as a surprise to the scientists present. Khrushchev specifically cited as the primary motivation a political rather than a technical justification. His view was that the international situation was deteriorating.
  • It was also referred to as Nikita Khrushchev's promise to show the United States a "Kuz'kina Mat'"(an idiom roughly translating to "We'll show you!") at the 1960 United Nations General Assembly. 

World's Most Powerful Neclear Bomb - Tsar Bomba

Friday, 21 July 2017

Is privacy a fundamental right?

The government is pushing for Aadhaar but critics say it violates privacy, is vulnerable to data breaches and helps government spy on people. The Centre has maintained that right to privacy is not a fundamental right and citizens are not guaranteed the right to privacy under the Indian Constitution. The petitioner’s counsel in the Aadhaar case, has compared the situation to one under a totalitarian state where people were being forcefully tagged and tracked by the Centre. The Supreme Court’s nine-judge constitution bench would revisit its rulings that said the right to privacy was not a fundamental right and then hear petitions against the 12-digit biometric identity number.
  • An eight-judge bench in 1954 and also by a six-judge bench in 1962 ruled that privacy is not a fundamental right in the constitutional provisions. Textually it is correct today that there is no right to privacy in the Constitution. Even freedom of press is not expressly stated but courts has interpreted it.
  • Whether there is any “right to privacy” guaranteed under our Constitution or not and if such a right exists, what is the source and what are the contours of such a right as there is no express provision in the constitution.
  • Supreme Court in case after case realised that the rights to liberty and freedom of expression cannot survive if the right to privacy is compromised. Privacy is crucial in digital age. A democracy cannot exist without the Right to Privacy.
  • Without right to privacy, the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India and more particularly the right to liberty under Article 21 would be denuded of vigour and vitality.
  • Privacy can reside in several articles. Lack of privacy can have a chilling effect, triggering freedom of speech protections under Article 19(2). The question of protecting privacy could not depend on first determining the location of the right to privacy. History teaches us that without privacy, the consequences are unimaginable.
  • The relationship of the right to privacy with Aadhaar enrolment is what complicates everything. The government is pushing for Aadhaar, saying it is necessary to plug leakages in subsidy schemes and to ensure benefits reach those targeted but critics say the move violates privacy, is vulnerable to data breaches and helps government spy on people.
  • If the object of Aadhaar is smoothly functioning government benefit schemes, why give law enforcement agencies or indeed anyone else access to the database at all?
  • The Aadhaar Bill has been passed with no public consultation about the privacy safeguards necessary for such a database and no provision for public or independent oversight. The rights to liberty and freedom of expression cannot survive if the right to privacy is compromised.
  • Allowing Aadhaar to go ahead unchecked in the manner, seeking linking aadhaar to almost every transaction and aspect in life, is effectively reducing the citizen into a 12-digit number and transforming the country into a concentration camp for the citizens.
  • Aadhaar has had an invasive and controversial presence well before the government’s attempt to legitimise it. Our Attorney General (funded by our taxes) has argued that we have no right to privacy. Attorney General KK Venugopal argument that the framers of India’s Constitution “consciously omitted” privacy as a fundamental right is his imagination in wrong direction. Any version of the Aadhaar Bill would have been subjected to close scrutiny. The Bill was deliberately mislabelled as a money bill to avoid scrutiny by Rajya Sabha creating even more suspicion.
  • Privacy is an amorphous term which is not absolute and cannot prevent the State from making laws imposing reasonable restrictions on citizens. Attempting to define the right to privacy may cause more harm than good.
  • In order to recognise privacy as a right, it would have to be defined first. But this would be a near impossible task as an element of privacy pervaded all fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
  • Right to privacy is a pre-existing natural right which is inherent in the Constitution, even though it is not explicitly mentioned. The right to privacy is recognised as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The concept of privacy is embedded in liberty as well as a person's honour.
  • Even if the court now finally finds that Aadhaar violates the right to privacy, the damage is already done with the vast majority of the population already enrolled, their information already held in insecure databases, and linked to public and private services. We should all, of course, be praying that the court finds that there are 40 years of consistent judicial support for a fundamental right to privacy, and this cannot be taken away by the government so callously.
Privacy is essential to autonomy and the protection of human dignity. Privacy enables us to create boundaries and protect ourselves from unwarranted interference in our lives. Privacy protects us from arbitrary and unjustified use of power by states, companies and other actors. It lets us regulate what can be known about us and done to us, while protecting us from others who may wish to exert control. Privacy is a fundamental human right. Over 130 countries have constitutional statements regarding the protection of privacy. Despite international human rights law, it’s all too common that privacy is violated by states and companies. While we should continue to fight for our privacy under the law, the best thing we can do as users to who value our right to anonymity, is to use internet tools. 

My View:
This BJP/NDA government headed by Modi by aggressively promoting expensive cashless transactions with artificial cash shortage is just like sales chief of those companies rather than leader of the nation. He has no respect for rights of citizens. His aim is to increase revenues not by promoting economic activity but by tracking almost all transactions and arm twisting people and collecting more taxes for funding his trophy projects and worthless ideas while leaving poor & peasants in distress. Can you imagine leader of largest democracy in the world arguing in Supreme Court that citizens, who elected him, have no right to privacy except what ever is granted by his stupid brains? His thinking doesn't understand that privacy is fundamental right of humans and doesn't require any constitution or laws for recognizing this.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Agrarian crisis: A wake up call

  • The Modi government needs to move beyond empty rhetoric and gimmicks to clear policy formulation and implementation to solve the agrarian crisis, which has been brewing for years now. 
  • The timing of the current, almost nationwide, farmer agitation that is strikingly unique. It has erupted in a year when the farm sector seems to have achieved all the cherished objectives: an above 5% growth rate and record production not only in food grains but also in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The Union government has claimed successful implementation of various schemes for the agriculture sector.
  • The fact of the matter is that beyond all these seemingly positive factors, there is grave economic distress in the rural areas in general and in the farming community in particular. It is a crisis that marked the advent of economic policies of liberalisation in the farm sector and has persisted right from the early 1990s.
  • The two principal demands of the agitating farmers, loan waiver and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, which provide for a 50% profit margin on input cost—not only summarise this grave economic distress in rural areas but also point to the probable solution of the problems.
  • The BJP’s election manifesto in 2014 said that once in power, the party “will take steps to enhance the profitability in agriculture, by ensuring a minimum of 50% profits over the cost of production, cheaper agriculture inputs and credit; introducing latest technologies for farming and high yielding seeds and linking MGNREGA to agriculture”. 
  • The loan waiver concept was addressed by Modi himself at various meetings during the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh. Evidently, both the issues that form the root cause of the current farmer agitation were in the radar of the BJP for a considerable period of time.
  • The schemes devised on the basis of one’s understanding need to generate a sense of benefit in the targeted sections of the population. Various schemes announced, sought to be implemented, and celebrated as great success by the Modi government as part of its third anniversary celebrations will highlight this mismatch. 
  1. Crop insurance: At its core, it has nothing to do with increasing farmers’ income but is just a risk coverage for which farmers are paying a premium. The real beneficiary is the government since the risk of paying compensation has now shifted from the treasury to the insurance companies. The loser is the farmer since he or she has to first cough up a premium in order to be eligible for insurance. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY): crop insurance is compulsory for farmers availing themselves of loans and voluntary for non-loanee farmers. A farmer has to pay 2-5% of the premium fixed by the insurance company. The remaining amount of the premium is subsidised by both the Centre and the States under a 50:50 plan. There is no cap on the maximum amount that insurance companies can quote as premium. If any State is unable to mobilise resources as dictated by the insurance companies, the scheme will come to a standstill.
  2. Statistics jugglery: The government has also been trying to mislead people with statistics jugglery. It claimed that the total number of farmers covered under the scheme for the kharif season alone between 2014 and 2017 was 56.52% more than the number covered between 2011 and 2014. Whereas the scheme was implemented only from 2016. The efficacy of the much-advertised insurance scheme can be inferred from the reply in the Rajya Sabha on April 7 that out of payable claims of Rs.3,47,413 lakh, only Rs.69,802 lakh had been paid under the PMFBY and under the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS), out of payable claims of Rs.79,599 lakh, only Rs.1,570 lakh had been paid since kharif 2016.
  3. National Agricultural Market (eNAM): The government claims that more than 400 mandis (markets) have been linked to the portal. The target is to connect 585 mandis with eNAM by March 31, 2018. The objective is to allow farmers the freedom to sell their crops. The government claims that as of May 15, 83.57 lakh tonnes of agricultural produce worth Rs.19,802.98 crore had been transacted through eNAM. While the figures look impressive the reality is that farmers are yet to be allowed to sell at a different mandi, not even in a neighbouring one, through eNAM. The reason is resistance by commission agents as well as lack of proper infrastructure. Who will guarantee that the produce sold by farmers adhere to basic standards if the trader who wants to buy is located 100 kilometres away? What is happening now is that the data of business transacted in a mandi are just being uploaded on the eNAM site, showing it as having taken place through the portal. The government mooted an idea of not allowing sale of produce priced below the minimum support price (MSP) in eNAM was dropped in the wake of opposition which cited it as interference in free market economy. Like MP Govt, Centre could have announced trading below MSP a crime, but administrative backup was missing.
  4. Soil Health Card: This has found prominence in terms of the Modi government’s agriculture initiatives. This scheme, launched in a hurry is akin to employing quacks in every village to attend to the medical and health needs of the people without any arrangement for medicines. This long-term project will start producing results after 20 years if implemented seriously and effectively. The government did not have the equipment to test soil conditions on such a huge scale. Nor were trained technicians available. Moreover, farmers do not know what to do after getting the soil health card. Where do they buy the “medicines” to treat the soil? Who will spend the money? Is there a guarantee from the government that their produce will increase? Unless and until these basic questions are addressed, the soil health card scheme will be an utter failure. Gujarat had apparently achieved 100% coverage under the scheme when Modi was the Chief Minister, but did it make any positive impact on the farm economy? The scheme is hardly a novel idea but a continuation of the “apni mitti pahchano” (identify your soil) scheme set in motion by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
  5. Neem-coated urea: Another much-advertised scheme is the use of neem-coated urea, which is, again, a continuation of a UPA scheme, and it has nothing to do with productivity at the farm level. It only checks the industrial use and smuggling of urea. 
  6. Price stabilisation fund: The government initiated the Price stabilisation fund in the 2014-15. Budget to protect farmers from market volatility, but the allocation of just Rs.500 crore showed a lack of seriousness and understanding of the problem.
  • The contradictions in agriculture policy formulation are stark and visible. On the one hand, the government has been talking about “doubling farm income by 2022” through integrated farming. It has also identified allied activities to be covered under integrated farming, which include poultry, animal husbandry, fisheries and beekeeping, etc. India has been the world’s largest exporter of buffalo meat over the past four years. The ban on slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh, the largest exporter-State and then the ban on selling cattle at cattle markets for the purpose of slaughter, and cow vigilantes have made inter-State movement of cows and buffalos literally impossible. On the same basis, the government also discontinued the successful “Kamdhenu scheme” of the previous Samajwadi Party government that had made Uttar Pradesh the top milk producer in the country. Selling unproductive cattle for slaughter is an integral part of dairy farming, which makes it commercially viable. These stringent rules will render dairy farming uneconomical and unsustainable. How can a farmer survive if he or she is asked to rear unproductive cattle and is not allowed to sell them? The impact is visible now in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh where unproductive animals are destroying crops, and the farmer feels helpless. Poultry farming and dairy have not been considered agricultural activities and have been brought under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax.
  • The export-import policies in agriculture trade are working against the interest of farmers. The imposition of a minimum export price to protect the interests of consumers has resulted in a skewed policy paralysis against farmers’ interests. Thankfully, there has been no export ban on any agricultural commodity during the three years of the NDA government. But, at the same time, there have been no concerted efforts to boost it further and this has resulted in negative growth in export of farm commodities.
  • The problems in the farm sector are complex, but the solution is simple, and that is bringing about parity of agriculture produce with industrial products and services, the farmer with the economic worker, and farming with other enterprises. 
  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) had rightly identified the problem as follows: “Price shocks have become frequent. The pressure to meet family expenditure, to meet the necessities of modern life, has been forcing farmers to embrace risky ventures by using borrowed funds. Risks unleashed by market forces and price crash in many cases are leading to agrarian distress and sad situations like farmers’ suicides.” The panel had presented recommendations as well, and like other reports on agriculture, failed to attract the current government’s attention.
  • The current nationwide farmers’ agitation after a year of record production and 5.2% growth is a wake-up call for politicians and policymakers to initiate a structural reform so as to provide a “minimum income guarantee” to farmers, like the MGNREGA does with labourers. 
  • A loan waiver is only be a temporary measure but necessary to correct past imbalances. But the future needs remunerative and deficiency pricing. Modi government needs to move in on the agricultural sector, as in other areas of governance, beyond empty rhetoric towards clear policy formulations and implementation. Cosmetic rechristening and restructuring of programmes of old governments will not help in this suggested policy course correction. The current situation and its political ramifications also ring a warning bell for the BJP as far as the 2019 general elections are concerned. Among landowners and farmers in agricultural areas, more than 50% had voted for the NDA in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. 

A country can't prosper at the expense its farmers.

My View:
Modi never has any intention of walking the talking. His policy is to promise and forget. He thinks fudging of data, high decibel publicity and rhetoric will work always. Sadly "One can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but one can not fool all of the people all of the times". His doing nothing during three years for farmers is not an accident but intentional. He has no idea about agriculture, problems and aspirations. With opposition in total disarray and ineffective it is only farmers who can bring high flying Modi on to ground.

Hindu Raj: Ambedkar’s warning

  • Proponents of Hindu supremacy knew that democracy could be used to establish a Hindu Raj. They and their followers have sought to use the vote for ends of power using the Hindutva card.
  • If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country.… Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost - wrote B.R. Ambedkar in 1946. He was against majoritarianism, which in the Indian context meant unbridled rule of the majority community, the Hindus.
  • Unfortunately for the minorities in India, Indian nationalism has developed a new doctrine which may be called the Divine Right of the Majority to rule the minorities according to the wishes of the majority. Any claim for the sharing of power by the minority is called communalism, while the monopolising of the whole power by the majority is called nationalism. Under these circumstances there is no way left but to have the rights of the Scheduled Castes embodied in the Constitution. 
  • In the forties, even Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was sometimes accused of being soft on the Hindu Revanchists, who believe in and practised tit-for-tat in that turbulent and fateful period.
  • Patel’s retort to BM Birla on announcement of Independence: “I also feel happy that the announcement of June 3, 1947 at least settles things one way or the other. There is no further uncertainty. I do not think it will be possible to consider Hindustan as a Hindu state with Hinduism as the state religion. We must not forget that there are other minorities whose protection is our primary responsibility. The state must exist for all, irrespective of caste or creed.”
  • Ambedkar was perceptive. It is not necessary to declare India a Hindu state formally by amending the Constitution and making Hinduism the state religion. The same result can be achieved by administrative measures. The Supreme Court has held secularism to be part of the basic structure of the Constitution which cannot be discarded even by constitutional amendment.
  • Ambedkar thought that the elaborate constitutional provisions on administration would work. He told the Constituent Assembly on November 4, 1948, when he moved for the adoption of the Draft Constitution: “While everybody recognises the necessity of the diffusion of constitutional morality for the peaceful working of a democratic Constitution, there are two things interconnected with it which are not, unfortunately, generally recognised. One is that the form of administration has a close connection with the form of the Constitution. The form of the administration must be appropriate to and in the same sense as the form of the Constitution. The other is that it is perfectly possible to pervert the Constitution, without changing its form, by merely changing the form of the administration and to make it inconsistent and opposed to the spirit of the Constitution. Can we presume such a diffusion of constitutional morality? Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic”.
  • The leaders of the Congress sought to inculcate secularism right from the first Congress held at Bombay in 1885. S. Srinivasa Aiyangar, president of the 41st Congress in 1926, articulated the credo of secularism very ably. So did Vallabhbhai Patel in the presidential address to the 45th Congress at Karachi in 1931. Hindu-Muslim “unity can only come when the majority takes courage in both hands and is prepared to change places with the minority. That would be the highest wisdom.”
  • But by then, forces that did not share the Congress’ ideology, did not participate in the freedom movement and were charged with revivalist hate had come to the fore.
  • Nehru once remarked that Hindu communalism was the Indian version of fascism, and, in the case of the RSS, it is not difficult to perceive certain similarities. The leader principle, the stress on militarism, the doctrine of racial-cultural superiority, ultra-nationalism infused with religious idealism, the use of symbols of past greatness, the emphasis on national solidarity, the exclusion of religious or ethnic minorities from the nation-concept—all of these features of the RSS are highly reminiscent of fascist movements in Europe.
  • With an RSS pracharak, Narendra Modi, known for his antipathy towards Muslims, as Prime Minister, and Yogi Adityanath chosen by him as Chief Minister of India’s largest State, Uttar Pradesh, we have crossed the threshold to a Hindu state. The BJP’s presidential candidate, Ram Nath Kovind, is “deeply rooted in the ideological stream of the RSS”. A brand new rubber stamp has been manufactured for the Rashtrapati Bhavan, 25 years after the last rubber stamp, R. Venkataraman.
  • We now have a Prime Minister whose Hindutva puts Vajpayee’s Hindutva in the shade. Lynchings of Muslims has become common. So are cries for a Hindu state. Yogi Adityanath said on the Hindu Swaraj Diwas that no Indian should be hesitant about being proud of his or her Hindu identity.
  • The drive will pick up speed. Modi made blatantly communal speeches during the Uttar Pradesh election campaign, as 65 former civil servants recalled in their open letter. He will do worse for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. He aims to claim that he has fulfilled the BJP’s triple demand. His Kashmir adventure had “solved” the problem. For a uniform civil code, no other Prime Minister has so relentlessly campaigned for a reform of Muslim law. As far as the Ram temple at Ayodhya is concerned, he will say: “have patience, I have crossed the threshold to a Hindu state in India. Can’t you see the dread on the faces of Muslims, Christians, Dalits and other minorities?
My View:
Democracy in its true spirit is rule by people. Among all models, the model of rule by majority is the most popular and probably the best. That doesn't mean that minorities can be thrashed out by majority. Rule of the law must prevail. This Hindutva philosophy will only lead to civil war, sooner or later. In a democracy, ruled by majority, it is the duty of majority to uphold the rights & dignity of minorities. Polarization of people on the lines of religion, caste or creed - is not democracy. It is only a distortion and perversion. In a society corrupted with religious extremism all constitutional provisions and laws of the land will not work properly and the country will be heading for anarchy. When constitution fails, it is mafia that rules and then nation will be heading for disintegration!

Hindustan or Lynchistan?

  • They were no soldiers executed in war, civilians butchered by deadly terror groups, or rebels crushed by state power. They were the people of the world's largest democracy, who were hunted, beaten and tortured to death by vengeful, bloodthirsty crowds. Bodies desecrated, they died in extreme fear and pain, pleading innocence and begging for mercy. All for a word the Indian Penal Code (IPC) does not even recognise: 'lynching'.
  • Heart-wrenching horror have gripped the nation, as Indians kill Indians in some of the most grotesque mob violence, in total disregard for the law. Horrific reports of people being tortured or dying terrible deaths are surfacing every week. Yet our leaders remain silent. Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi do anything to stop this madness?
  • At Aligarh, railway police stopped a woman in burqa and were surprised to see Nazmul Hasan, a man emerging from under the veil. Hasan confessed to using the garb as a ruse "I thought no one would target a woman." The lynching of a Muslim boy on a train had put the fear of lynching in his heart. 
  • Lynching, as a legal term, does not exist in India, but it's seen as the extrajudicial punishment and murder of someone by a mob.
  • The slaughter of cows is banned, consumption of beef restricted, in most Indian states, though millions of Muslims and Dalits depend on the meat and leather industries. Vigilante groups seizes cows from people they accuse of illegally transporting them, or sending for slaughter, have become active across the country. Most of the lynchings are being committed by them in the name of the cow. 
  • Lynchings is a "new phenomenon" and what makes these incidents different is its extreme violence and brutality.
  • Thirty-two people have been killed in 20 cases in the past three years. Almost all victims were Muslim or Dalit; 70% were suspected of killing or smuggling cows. The accused in almost every case of killing were linked to 'gau rakshak' or cow vigilante groups. Even in cases triggered by rumours of rape or child-lifting, the victims were Muslims or Dalits.
  • Law enforcers witnessed the lynchings but did not do anything (at times they collaborated); No politician visited the families of the victims or made immediate public statements; in most cases, the charges against the accused were flimsy charges and given bail. The victims (even if dead) were charged of cattle smuggling and trading.
  • On June 29, 2017, PM Modi made an appeal at Ahmedabad. It came after thousands of citizens protested decrying the government's inability to protect citizens from lynchings in social media. Within hours of PM Modi's condemnation, mob India reacted by unleashing a new spate of lynchings in Jharkhand. In the week that followed, at least three more people were lynched.
  • With the new issue of beef and cattle trade, lynching is becoming ubiquitous. It can happen anywhere, anytime.
  • It's strange how normal people turn beasts when part of a crowd. A raging crowd can affect an individual's behaviour. It's is contagious now. A mob also provides cover for the release of deep-seated emotions: anger, fear, suspicion, resentment, frustration, prejudice, malice. Lynchings and riots do not necessarily rely on criminals.
  • The ordinary citizen seems to be in the throes of an epidemic of anger: with their incomes, their quality of life, their relationships, their political leaders, the lack of jobs, healthcare, decent education and opportunities. With all the grave uncertainties of life, rage spills over into collective violence. People take the law into their own hands when 'fear' takes huge proportions, making it an issue that they feel must be dealt with instantly.
  • Cow vigilante groups are a huge network of young people, who are enrolled as members, given ID cards, responsibilities, mentors to take instructions from and even work in shifts. They also get informed by ex-cow smugglers. If caught, vigilante justice usually involves some hard slaps, punches and kicks, nothing more. For the unlucky it can cost a life.
  • Social media have made mobbing and lynching easier. A WhatsApp message, with pictures of dead children, had been circulating for a month.
  • Two people died in the first lynching at Jadugora. Mohd Naeem, blood-soaked and pleading to villagers with folded hands to spare his life. He was a good son to his ageing parents and a good father to his children, said his family members, refusing to accept the compensation of Rs. 2 lakh offered by the district administration.
  • There have been almost no convictions or punishments, even in high-profile cases, and perpetrators seem unconcerned about the consequences of their actions. Our laws are quite adequate to deal with lynchings. Murder in any form falls under Section 302 of the IPC. But there are loopholes that needs to be plugged.
  • What makes this moment unique is the silence of the political leadership. PM Modi has spoken against lynchings only after about 20 mob lynchings this year. That silence has become the hallmark of almost all top NDA leaders and chief ministers of BJP states. That silence has also generated a growing belief that our leaders have no answers for the problems that face us.
  • The silence from the top is juxtaposed by inflammatory speeches from below. The frenzy of hate speeches was leashed somewhat with finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley saying "their statements (were) not appreciated by the party at all".
  • The Union government issued a circular, banning sale of cattle for slaughter in cattle markets. The circular was first stayed by the Madras High Court and later by the Supreme Court. 
  • Violence has always been an undercurrent in our society. There is a great degree of social connivance, otherwise lynchings won't happen. People are always violence-prone, selfish, looking out for their own interests. What keeps them in check is the fear of the law. The lynchings happening today are in many ways a continuation of our inability to impress the rule of law upon people. So what leaders say, and how, is very critical. The silence of leaders over lynchings gives encouragement. The more you find impartiality in law enforcement, the better are the chances of curbing violence. 

It is not mere intolerance. It is the emergence and establishment of an oppressive regime that wants to do way with the minorities of India and proclaim Hindu Rashtra as conceived by the founders of RSS.

Secular and democratic forces should unite under a banner to counter this cultural intimidation. If a state fails to have power over such fundamental forces that asphyxiate the rights of the disadvantaged, it is very much a failing state.

In UP, as against 41 rapes last year, there were 179 this year. Murders went up from 101 to 240 and cases of dacoity rose from three to 20. All these are not communal crimes or ones engineered by Hindutva outfits. But it is the unleashing of Hindutva outfits that has contributed to building up this climate of fear.

My View:
As RSS pracharak, Modi propagated its cosmic theory wherein every Muslim is a traitor and a potential terrorist. Modi in his unreleased book, describes scavengers assigned role in the caste order as a job bestowed upon them by Gods. Modi, a hardcore RSS pracharak has no respect for constitution, institutions, judiciary or legislatures and possesses fascist tendencies. He has no great qualities or accomplishments of any kind but yet he was able to mesmerize people with his speeches and relentless publicity. The manner in which he collaborated 2002 Gujarat riots resulting in 2,000 Muslim deaths, large scale destruction of Muslim properties & livelihoods and displacement of lakhs of Muslims is a telling example of his hatred of Muslims. By unleashing order, that was stayed by Madras HC and SC later, banning cow slaughter, cattle trade and beef consumption, he has overnight destroyed livelihoods of millions of Muslims and Dalits throughout the country. With the senseless demonetization, Modi has destroyed livelihoods of millions of people in informal sector and agriculture. Yet he shows the whole world and make them believe that he is savior of India. During his three year rule of nation there is no area which has shown improvement and there is no accomplishment worth advertising. The deteriorating Kashmir situation and tensions with neighboring Pakistan and China are the pinnacle of his failures and maladministration. Job-less growth and growth-less jobs are the highlights of our economy today. The results of his hurried roll out of mangled GST, will surface after few months. Needless to mention that he (as Gujarat CM) was singularly responsible for stalling GST six years ago during UPA regime.