Saturday, 30 September 2017

Defense Minister orders army to clean garbage!


  • In just three weeks, the new Raksha Mantri, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, has moved from the top of the charts to below the mid-way point with her latest and only ridiculous order asking/ tasking the army to clean up garbage and litter in the high altitude areas, left behind by uncaring and uneducated tourists.
  • Unless she understands and applies her mind to the legitimate tasks of the armed forces and their pride and ethos, she is unlikely to be accepted fully and the charts will keep sliding south.
  • The recent cabinet reshuffle is the BJP plan for the 2019 General Elections and the appointment of the new Raksha Mantri (RM) is more in gender terms rather than abilities! There was a sense of relief that this government has stopped treating the Defense Portfolio as a temporary pastime for its cabinet ministers.
  • It seemed that after three years of governance, Modi had at last learnt that Defense was neither a part-time portfolio, nor one for a light-weight leader.
  • Modi rewarded a loser (Arun Jaitley) at the elections with the two most important portfolios, viz. Finance and Defense, possibly may be due to non availability of talent. He glossed over fact that the Jaitley did not like the military, as he blamed them for his losing the only election he fought in his long political career.
  • Modi might have realized that giving two major portfolios to one person are fraught with danger. 
  • Nirmala Sitharaman was a professional; was intelligent; dedicated; and possessed common sense. She had handled her commerce portfolio well but built up a positive reputation of a feisty lady who kept the rapacious bureaucracy in line and carried out her assignments quietly.
  • Apparently this was done at the behest of PMO to clean up garbage left by tourists in high altitude areas and other sundry instructions regarding cleaning up military stations, cantonments and bases. These orders are absurd, to put it mildly. 
  • The mandarins sitting in the PMO have issued a stupid and illogical order stating that the army will clean litter left behind by uncaring tourists in high altitude areas, obviously abandoning their operational tasks and training. It is the dumbest order in the last half a century, if not more. If you use the armed forces for carrying out non-military tasks, the result will be catastrophic.
  • Since the Swach Bharat Abhiyan has made little headway, the government wants to boast of at least cleaning up the litter of tourists so that their propaganda machinery can at least save face by tom-toming this!
  • Defence Minister, PMO and the MoD to rescind this absurd order immediately.

When you promote a good worker who turns out to be a bad supervisor, 
you end up losing a good worker and saddled with a bad supervisor.

Common sense tells us that there is no way 'Swach Bharat Abhiyan' in its present format can succeed despite a spend of Rs.200,000 crores between 2014-19 except that it provides a platform for massive publicity for Modi & BJP which anyway no one believes its tall claims. In the process degrading and demoralizing armed forces is unpardonable. Modi as Gujarat CM in his book 'Karmayog' of 2007 writes that scavenging was an 'experience in spirituality' for the Valmikis. Modi also describes scavengers assigned role in the caste order as a "job bestowed upon them by Gods" that outraged Dalit groups and Modi silently withdrew the book from circulation. Unless running water in taps provided, improved hygiene and drainage facilities created, solid waste management systems implemented, illiteracy eradicated, all sections of people brought above poverty line, the ills associated with poverty will continue to haunt us in some form or other. Until then reckless spending will only serve publicity and scandalous purposes. And Nirmala Sitharaman proved instantly unworthy of a ministerial position, not to talk of MoD, by signing that inapt order.

Basanth Kumar P, IAS spends Rs.16,100 for daughters marriage!

In these modern days of  "to be famous for being famous", living a life of a role model is neither easy nor appreciated. Kudos to Patnala Basanth Kumar, IAS, VC, VUDA, Vizag and his family for spending just Rs.16,100 for daughter's marriage despite affordability and holding high public position. A great role model for emulation by all.

These days marriage expenditure is anywhere between Rs.10 lakhs to Rs. 100 lakhs for middle & upper middle classes. It is sheer wastage of money and vulgar display of wealth. Wastage of food items will be at its worst.

Community marriages (mass marriages) provide alternate platforms for simple marriages and alleviate the financial burden. Government & NGO's  should promote community marriages.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

మోడీ దుష్పరిపాలన: భారతదేశము సర్వనాశనము

Yashwant Sinha is a senior leader in BJP
He was Ex- IAS officer and was AB Vajpayee's Finance Minister between 1998-2002
His son Jayant Sinha is Minister of State for Civil Aviation in Modi's cabinet at present

Even though Yashwant Sinha holds grudges against Modi, but whatever he said is largely truth and a truthful person can't be despised. Building economy is painfully slow process but destruction is rapid. Modi's autocratic tendencies and Jaitley's incompetence have landed the nation, which was otherwise going on smoothly despite its known age old ills like corruption, black money etc, into this imbroglio and recovering may take its own sweet time and in the process poor and peasants will pay huge price. Unemployed youth will suffer loss of good career, life in disarray and many could end up in illegal and anti-social activities. Modi & Jaitley duo must exit otherwise BJP would be shunted out in 2019 general elections.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Yashwant Sinha Indicts Arun Jaitley's 'Mess'

  • I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister has made of the economy. I am also convinced that what I am going to say reflects the sentiments of a large number of people in the BJP and elsewhere who are not speaking up out of fear.
  • Jaitley was, to begin with, a lucky finance minister, luckier than any in the post-liberalisation era. Depressed global crude oil prices placed at his disposal lakhs of crores of rupees. This unprecedented bonanza was waiting to be used imaginatively. The legacy problems like stalled projects and bank NPAs were no doubt there and should have been managed better like the crude oil bonanza. But the oil bonanza has been wasted and the legacy problems have not only been allowed to persist, they have become worse.
  • So, what is the picture of the Indian economy today? Private investment has shrunk as never before in two decades, industrial production has all but collapsed, agriculture is in distress, construction industry, a big employer of the work force, is in the doldrums, the rest of the service sector is also in the slow lane, exports have dwindled, sector after sector of the economy is in distress, demonetisation has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster, a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them and countless millions have lost their jobs with hardly any new opportunities coming the way of the new entrants to the labour market. 
  • For quarter after quarter, the growth rate of the economy has been declining until it reached the low of 5.7% in the first quarter of the current fiscal, the lowest in three years. The deceleration had started much earlier. Demonetisation only added fuel to fire.  According to the old method of calculation, the growth rate of 5.7%  is actually 3.7% or less.
  • SBI chairman stated that the telecom sector is the latest entrant to the long list of stressed sectors.
  • The reasons for this decline have been allowed to accumulate over time to cause the present crisis. It was not difficult to take counter measures to deal with them that called for devoting time to the task, serious application of mind, understanding of the issues and then working out a game plan to tackle them. It was perhaps too much to expect from a person (FM) who was carrying the heavy burden (Defence, Divestment & Corporate Affairs) of so many extra responsibilities. The results are there for all of us to see.
  • The only new thing is the reconstituted Economic Advisory Council of the prime minister. Like the five Pandavas they are expected to win the new Mahabharat war for us.
  • Forty leading companies of the country are already facing bankruptcy proceedings. Many more are likely to follow suit. The SME sector is suffering from an unprecedented existential crisis.
  • The input tax credit demand under the GST is a whopping Rs 65,000 crore against a collection of Rs 95,000 crore. The government has asked the income tax department to chase those who have made large claims. 
  • We protested against raid raj when we were in opposition. Today it has become the order of the day. Post demonetisation, the income tax department has been charged with the responsibility of investigating lakhs of cases involving the fate of millions of people. The ED and the CBI also have their plates full. Instilling fear in the minds of the people is the name of the new game.
  • Economies are destroyed more easily than they are built. It took almost four years of painstaking and hard work in the late nineties and early 2000 to revive a sagging economy we had inherited in 1998. Nobody has a magic wand to revive the economy overnight. Steps taken now will take their own time to produce results. So, a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha election appears highly unlikely. A hard landing appears inevitable
  • Bluff and bluster is fine for the hustings, it evaporates in the face of reality. 
  • The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters.
  • P Chidambaram said that Congress is happy that Yashwant Sinha has echoed their criticisms of the government. He also tweeted "Yashwant Sinha speaks Truth to Power. Will Power now admit the Truth that economy is sinking?"

Everyone in the country knows our economy is distressed and in deep trouble due to foolish acts of our PM & FM. Some speaks and many (BJP/Modi bhakts) won't. After inflicting irreparable damages, what is the point in appointing 5 member Prime Minister Economic Advisory Council or working out on a meager Rs.50,000 crores stimulus package or announcing Rs.16,000 crore free electricity for all by end of 2018 benefiting 4 crore poor people. Any change in economic direction will take few to several years and nothing much can be expected before 2019 elections. Destroying the institutions like Planning Commission etc have had its effect for this directionless economy. Unless Modi learns to respect experts and take their advice - discarding the habits of consulting quacks and astrologers, India has no future. Alternately, people of India may find Modi's substitute in 2019 and they will.

Vikas gando thayo chhe (Gujarat development gone berserk)

Man telling his curious friends that he is "looking for vikas"

Viral social media campaign on poor infrastructure has the party worried ahead of polls

The much vaunted ‘Gujarat model of development’, once the poster-child of economists, has “gone crazy”, according to the top trending hashtag on social media. With State elections barely two months away, the ruling BJP is worried.

Over the past two weeks, witty posts, satirical memes, and audio-visual capsules — all with the Gujarati hashtag, ‘vikas gando thayo chhe’ (‘Development has gone crazy’) — have gone viral on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. Mostly shared by youngsters, it has turned into a trending social media campaign that has put the ruling BJP on the defensive.

The campaign began spontaneously after the monsoon rains that left potholes in roads across the State, including in cities such as Ahmedabad, and the government’s claims about smart cities and world class infrastructure took a beating. Soon, people started sharing photographs or video clips of caved-in roads, decrepit State transport buses, roadside garbage dumps, flooded streets, and figures of swine flu-related deaths, all tagged with the catchy ‘vikas’ punch line.

Sensing an opportunity, the Congress party’s social media teams latched on to the campaign. As the phenomenon became a talking point across age groups, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani responded by blaming the Congress. “Those who are saying ‘vikas gando thayo chhe’ have themselves gone crazy,” he said. Recently, party president Amit Shah felt compelled to ask the State’s youth not to “fall prey to anti-BJP social media campaigns.”

However, many BJP leaders admit that they are unable to counter the forceful social media posts on fuel price hikes, high GST rates, and job losses.

“This campaign is a huge success. Even BJP supporters are forwarding these posts,” said Saral Patel, a Congress social media volunteer.

Though the Congress social media team has taken credit, the phrase “Vikas gando thayo chhe” is attributed to 20-year-old Sagar Savalia, a civil engineering student and member of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti which leads the Patidar quota agitation.

“On August 23, I received some photographs of a dilapidated State transport bus. I forwarded them with the line, ‘Stay Away! Vikas has gone crazy in Gujarat’, and it went viral,” Mr. Savalia told The Hindu.

Modi & co will not learn lessons on their own. They must be dumped into garbage. Otherwise they will destroy the nation beyond recognition with their funny adventures. They don't know how to rule a nation democratically. The present 5.7% GDP growth if corrected with low oil regime benefit and fudging economic data with new parameters, the real GDP growth will be less than 2% and massive job losses indicates economic collapse of nation!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Modi's vikas gone berserk in Gujarat

  • In 2014, 'Vikas' (development) was the plank that helped Narendra Modi transition from Gujarat chief minister to India's prime minister.
  • Vikas now symbolises the frustration of those who feel let down by the BJP in general and by Modi in particular.
  • The phrase 'Vikas gando thai gayo chhe (Vikas has gone berserk)' is reverberating at every nook and corner of the state and there is no way the BJP can control this. The phenomenon was felt in a big way during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad in Modi's company.
  • Throughout Abe's visit to Gujarat, the people kept on circulating pictures of well-lit landmarks like the Nehru Bridge, Ellis Bridge and Sabarmati Riverfront, which is Modi's dream project, with the caption – 'Diwali of Vikas' father (Modi)'.
  • Some of these pictures carried the question – 'Kona baap ni Diwali? (Whose father's Diwali is this?)' and the answer below was 'Vikas na Pappa ni (Vikas' father's)'. These pictures had an insert of Modi with the caption Vikas gando thai gayo chhe.
  • While the Vijay Rupani-led government in Gujarat and the officials of the Modi-led Central government tried to play up the launch of the Bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, the agitated people were in no mood to relent and came up with new humorous and sarcastic takes on it.
  • The first one hit out at the prohibition policy in Gujarat with a message that went – 'Amdavadis can now hop on to the Bullet Train, enjoy the drinks in Happy Hours in Mumbai and return back home by the same train. There is no need to go all the way to Rattanpur (a town on Rajasthan side of the border with Gujarat that has become infamous for Gujaratis going there to binge on alcohol).'
  • The second one said – 'We do not go in for even new vehicles during Shraddha period and here the foundation is being laid for the Bullet Train. Hope this train will run?'.
  • People made jibes at a channel running the headline 'Bullet yug ki shuruat (Beginning of Bullet era)' by posting a counter on Modi's tenure that was marked by anti-Muslim pogrom and the subsequent phase of 'fake' encounters that said – 'As if it (the bullet era) started 16 years back in Gujarat'.
  • There was another message referring to Railways Minister Piyush Goyal saying that the Bullet Train in Japan and he were born on the same date. The question posed was whether India is seeing the advent of yet another 'Iron Man'.
  • Another quoted the Maharashtra chief minister saying that the Bullet Train would lead to an increase in the country's GDP. This was taken down with the comment – 'Perhaps he has not seen the latest GDP figures'.
  • Then Rupani was quoted as saying that Modi perplexes everyone with new concepts every day. The qualifying comment was – 'Every Indian is under this impact since 2014'.
  • With Navratri round the corner, Garba songs have started coming out in the market with lyrics like 'Vikas gando thayo chhe'. The video of this song also has a morphed visual of Rupani saying the words.
  • There are references in the songs, saying that Vikas has become an integral part of inflation, fuel price hike, poverty, public loot in the name of Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation etc.
  • Modi had used Navratri as a platform right from 2003 onwards to give a makeover to his image of a hardline Hindu leader. Now it is the Vikas videos that are hitting at him and several of them are expected to come up by the time the Navratri revelry hits its peak. And they will in all probability keep on playing in local autos and shops right till the State Assembly polls.
  • There is also an audio message from an Ahmedabad resident that has gone viral where the speaker has taken on Modi for the poor management of the Indian railway network. He says: “Earlier people used to send the message that they have reached their destination. Now they say that they have reached ALIVE. Abe agreeing to put in money for this Bullet Train despite Modi's poor track record only shows that Amdavadis are shrewd businessmen who can take anyone for a ride.”
  • He then goes on to load his message with high-pitch sarcasm adding – “Modi has been trying to run the Bullet Train named Vikas for the last three years but blame it on his inexperience he has put it in the reverse gear. "Bhakts are happy that the train is running but are not aware that it is running in the reverse direction. Hence the GDP is going in the reverse direction, the rupee is on the reverse against the dollar, business and employment are also in reverse and so has been the impact of demonetisation. "The economists have been shrieking at him to apply the brakes. But since he is running this train for the first time, every time he tries to apply the brakes he steps on the accelerator. "The request (to Abe) is that there is no problem if you give a Bullet Train but please explain the functioning of gears and brakes because you will go back with a fruitful business deal and Modi's Vikas will derail at the speed of the Bullet Train.”
  • Vikas jokes are doing the rounds among every section of the society. The most prominent one is about Zilla Vikas Adhikari (District Development Officers), Naib Vikas Adhikari (Deputy Development Officers) and Taluka Vikas Adhikari (Block Development Officers) asking the government to remove Vikas from their designation because people are tempted to suffix 'Gando thai gayo' (Has gone mad) with it. 
  • There is another message that comes as a question – “Why did nine girls break their engagements in the last one week?” The answer is – “Because the name of the boy was Vikas.”

Be nice to those you meet on the way up because you will meet them on the way down

This reminds me of popular saying paraphrased as what you throw up will come back and fall on your face with double the speed and weight. While anti Congress propaganda so far was the work of BJP's paid backroom boys and its unemployed troll brigade aspiring to be in limelight this one anti Modi propaganda in social media is from disgruntled people who felt severely let down by Modi during the past 3.5 years. Modi often claims that he is relentlessly fighting corruption but if he wants to walk the talk he must disclose source of funds to BJP and its expenses to public. Unless he does that, what ever he talks is shallow and hollow.

Monday, 25 September 2017

UP makes mockery of farm loan waiver

  • In the run up to the assembly polls, during Mar 2017, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised that if BJP is voted to power in the state, loan waivers will be the top priority at the first cabinet meet. The promise turned out to be effective and got votes for the BJP. However, to avoid making it seem like they had failed the voters, the Adityanath-led government delayed the first cabinet meeting to put off any decision on loan waivers. Later, the Centre refused to offer money, which forced the government to use state's own resources.
  • In its first cabinet meeting in April 2017, the UP state government announced that under the farm loan waiver scheme, crop loans up to Rs 1 lakh will be waived off for small and marginal farmers. However, as cabinet ministers ceremoniously distributed loan waiver certificates to farmers across districts, it turns out that many of the beneficiary farmers have received waivers of amounts as petty as Re 1 or Rs 1.50 for over 17,260 farmers.
  • One of the more predictable outcomes of the massive farm loan waivers is, while they are a solution to relieving rural distress in the short-term, they also result in a reduction of capital expenditure on agriculture and allied activities, rural development, irrigation and flood control by an average nearly 30%. Cut in capital expenditure in productive areas likely to act as a drag on growth for such states.
  • UP’s expensive farm loan waiver has forced the Adityanath-ruled state to cut back on revenue and capital expenditure in key areas like energy, transportation, social welfare and nutrition.

Modi never walks the talk. He is worse than Congress in this aspect. During UP elections, his announcement of farm loan waiver made all the UP farmers believe that everyone will get farm loan waiver. After winning, centre backed out of its commitment and state was to shoulder the burden the loan waiver expenses. Citing resources constraint the farm loan waiver was limited to Rs. 1 lakh for small and marginalized farmers only and even that turned out to be mockery and farce. As usual Modi never touches this embarrassing item again in his life. Rules must be modified to instantly dislodge PM, CMs & Ministers from their positions and debarring them from public positions for next five years for failing on publicly made promises.

Deendayal Upadhyaya: Who features in every Modi speech?

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya (1916-68),
RSS Pracharak & Bharatiya Jana Sangh Ex-President
  • Until 2014, he was unheard in public life nor found any space in Indian history but yet finds reference in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's every speech. He is Late Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.
  • He qualified the civil services examination, where he got his nickname as Panditji for appearing in the examination hall wearing tradition dhoti-kurta and cap. Deendayal Upadhyay did not join the government service. He rather became, in 1942, a life-time volunteer of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which he had joined five years ago.
  • He never participated in freedom movement in line with RSS ideology and cooperated with British for its continuation of colonial rule in India.
  • In 1951, Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Deendayal was as appointed as General Secretary of its Uttar Pradesh branch. After Mookerjee's death in 1953, Deendayal Upadhyay was instrumental in shaping the ideology and socio-political principles of the BJS for next 15 years.
  • He contested for Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, but failed to attract significant political traction and did not get elected.
  • He kept company with Nanaji Deshmukh and Sundar Singh Bhandari, RSS pracharaks who went on to play a critical role in anti-Congress politics in the 1960s and 70s. 
  • Deendayal Upadhyay is best remembered for his principle of "integral humanism", which has been defined as "a classless, casteless and conflict-free social order". It talks about the integration of indigenous "Indian culture" with the social, political and economic fabric of the nation. However, his critics point to his lectures saying he was "biased" against Muslims. Some also criticised him for not seeing evil in caste system.
  • He died on Feb 11, 1968 at Mughalsarai in UP, while travelling in a train under mysterious circumstances. Balraj Madhok, another of Jan Sangh’s founding members, has said categorically on many occasions that Upadhyaya’s death was a murder, not an accident. The then President Zakir Hussain and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were among the dignitaries who paid tributes to Deendayal Upadhyay. 
  • On June 11, 2014, in his maiden speech in the Lok Sabha Modi said “We are people who have grown up with the ideals of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya...who taught us the principle of Antyodaya. This government's priority is the benefit of the most underprivileged, going by the ideals of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Lohia and Gandhi.”
  • On Sep 11, 2017, Prime minister Narendra Modi praised his work and honoured his statue along with Swamy Vivekananda but this was criticized by many as Modi was misusing his power to impose the RSS ideology on youths and trying to saffronise young minds.
  • Last year, PM Narendra Modi had started the nationwide celebration programme to mark the birth centenary of Deendayal Upadhyay.  A budget of Rs 100 crore was allocated for the functions. Such brazen abuse of the government’s machinery and funds to commemorate the birth of a politician who belonged to the present ruling party is patently unconstitutional. 
  • The BJP has called its national executive meet in New Delhi on the centenary birth anniversary of Deendayal Upadhyay in the national capital on Sep 25, 2017. More than 2,200 including chief ministers are expected to attend the executive meet. Tributes will be paid to him while the party members will discuss and devise strategy to counter the negative narrative about GST and demonetisation. Deendayal Upadhyay will be portrayed as the inspiration for economic and pro-poor policies of the Narendra Modi government. But, many still don't know who Deendayal Upadhyay was.
  • The BJP is now on a mission to propagate his ideas to counter the challenge from the Congress, which was the most dominant political force.

Deendayal Upadhyay's biographers maintain a studied silence on his role and activities till 1947 and suddenly jump to 1947 to tell us that he was made Sahpracharak of UP in 1947 etc. During the tumultuous period in India's history, between 1942-45, one does not find any self-criticism on his part rather a subtle justification for non-participation in the anti-colonial struggle. Worst is that RSS cooperated with British for continuation of their colonial rule by giving written assurances to British. Modi's RSS career and politics started after the death of Deendayal Upadhyay in 1968. He was neither a disciple nor a follower of Deendayal Upadhyay. What can be seen as common is that their anti-Muslim and Hindutva tendencies which are questionable in secular democracy. Profound humanitarian vision of Gandhi is being replaced with the parochial notions of people like Upadhyaya. The young people who have not read the history of the country are easily persuaded by Modi's rhetoric. The greatest tragedy of India today is the lack of good leader. Consequently we will have Upadhyayas being thrust upon us.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sadar Sarovar Dam: Incomplete but Modi inaugurates!

Amid protests and allegations of little work done on it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, spent his 67th birthday on Sep 17, 2017, in his native Gujarat and dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam to the nation. Rehabilitation of the submergence-affected population is about 80% incomplete, but the Prime Minister declared the project complete! 

  • The foundation stone of the Sardar Sarovar Dam was laid by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on April 5, 1961.The Planning Commission finally approved the project in 1988. The construction on the project began 26 years later in 1987, when his grandson Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. Sardar Sarovar Dam is the most controversial development project of the nation. 
  • Sardar Sarovar Dam (1.2 km long dam is 163 metres deep) is the biggest dam in the world after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States. The project aims to benefit about 10 lakh farmers.
  • The Sardar Sarovar Dam has two power houses - river bed power house and canal head powerhouse. The two powerhouses have the installed capacity of 1,200 MW and 250 MW respectively. Power generated from the Sardar Sarovar Dam will be shared among Maharashtra 57%, Madhya Pradesh 27% and Gujarat 16%. The dam has so far produced 4,141 crore units of electricity, so far.
  • Sardar Sarovar project was estimated to cost Rs.6,400 crores in 1988. The construction was backed by funds from the World Bank. Revised estimates in 1996-97 was Rs 13,000 crore. The present project cost is around Rs. 60,000 crore. 
  • There is no credible assessment of the costs, benefits and impact of the project. Whether the project was boon or bane - reviews conducted once by World Bank and another by Govt of India and in both cases, the outcome was the project in its current form should not go ahead. That answer was available about 25 years ago.
  • Sardar Sarovar Project is expected to supply drinking water to 29 million inhabitants across 131 towns and 9,633 villages in the state of Gujarat.
  • The project is still incomplete with over 43,000 km of canals (out of total 70,000 km of canals) yet to be completed despite the BJP ruling the state for the last 22 years. All the incomplete canal network of the project are in the drought-prone areas of Kutch, Saurashtra and north Gujarat. The SSP’s basic objective is far from achieved. State government is guilty of criminal negligence for unilaterally reducing canals length from 90,000 kms to 70,000 kms without consulting Narmada Control Authority and truncating the benefits to state.
  • Experts opined that if water tables were improved and electricity tariffs reduced, there was no need to build such a large dam. There were other options available. Neither Central Gujarat nor Ahmedabad were a priority for the Sardar Sarovar Project. Planned priority work is not happening.
  • The celebrations for the completion of the dam are merely a poll plank. The CAG and Planning Commission had earlier pointed out that due to incomplete canal network, farmers are losing about Rs.1,800 crore every season.
  • The Narmada Bachao Andolan led by activist Medha Patkar has claimed that after raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, about 40,000 families in 192 villages in Madhya Pradesh will be displaced. The government has put the number of displaced families at 18,386 in Madhya Pradesh. 
  • According to an estimate, more than 5 lakh families are battling displacement problems.
  • The consistent struggle by social activists spearheaded by Medha Patkar on environment and rehabilitation issues to dismantle the project built a huge amount of pressure on the World Bank forced to review the project. On concluding the fact that inadequate assessment had been made by the Indian government, the World Bank cancelled the loan in 1993.
  • The 150-km stretch of the Narmada downstream from the dam is now dry most of the year and the claim of 600 cusecs being released is not supported by any clinching evidence. The livelihood of at least 10,000 families depending on the Narmada estuary stands destroyed. 
  • In the next assembly elections run up in 2018, BJP will have to answer several tough questions like reduction in canal length, incomplete canals in North Gujarat, Kutch & Saurashtra, illegal diversion of waters in canals, no additional acreage brought into cultivation during the past five years, delays resulting in huge cost over runs with no additional benefits and most importantly incomplete rehabilitation issues etc. 

Modi is expert in chest thumping few positive achievements and never touching any negative things or wrongdoings and manages media to sing to his tune. So far he was successful with his rhetoric, oratory skills and charisma. But he can't fool all the people all the times. He is bound to face music for his lies and misdeeds in Gujarat itself in 2018 and price nation has paid by then is enormous. While selective truth hammering is any politician's trait, but people expect absolute truth from Prime Minister's mouth and truth is the last thing Modi speaks. At the sight of telling lies to public, Prime Minister, Chief Minister & all Ministers must be disqualified from their positions, the rule book should be amended.

Lost in siren city

Lost in Siren City - Ashok Malik 

This article was published in Oct 2012 but still relevant

Is Modi his last man standing?

Development is not a buzzword but a toxic word

Despite its widespread usage, the meaning of the term ‘development’ remains vague, tending to refer to a set of beliefs and assumptions about the nature of social progress rather than to anything more precise. Development fail to address poverty or to narrow the gap between rich and poor, but in fact it both widens and deepens this division and ultimately creates poverty, as natural resources and human beings alike are increasingly harnessed to the pursuit of consumption and profit. The survival of the planet will depend upon abandoning the deep-rooted belief that economic growth can deliver social justice, rational use of environment, and human well-being.

  • The word ‘development’ as a buzzword is in vogue for almost 60 years and its actual meaning is still elusive, since it depends on where and by whom it is used.
  • Everyone uses it as she or he likes, to convey the idea that tomorrow things will be better. 'Development' has been widely used as a hard drug, addiction to which may stimulate the blissful feelings that typify artificial paradises.
  • President Truman merely wanted to include in his 1949 Inaugural Address as a fourth point that would sound ‘a bit original’. So from the very beginning, no one not even the US President really knew what ‘development’ was all about. This did not, however, prevent the word from gaining wide acceptance.
  • There was an unquestioned assumption that “development”, whatever it was, could lead to improvement in the situation of 'poor people’. And no one cared to define it properly.
  • Any measure (foreign investment, lowering or raising of trade barriers, well-digging, literacy campaigns, etc) was justified ‘in the name of development’, making even the most contradictory policies look as if they were geared to ‘improving the lives of poor people’. This trick has been highly instrumental in preventing any possible critique of ‘development’, since it was equated almost with life itself.
  • During the cold war period (1947-1991), the great powers disagreed on almost all issues except one: ‘development’, the magic word that reconciled opposite sides. Its necessity and desirability were not debatable, and the two ideological adversaries vied with each other in promoting it across what was then known as the Third World. ‘Development’ was mainly used as an excuse for enticing ‘developing countries’ to side with one camp or the other.
  • This political game turned to the advantage of the ruling ‘elites’ who were influential in international arenas, rather than grassroots populations.
  • To reconcile the requirements to be met in order to protect the environment from pollution, deforestation, the greenhouse effect, and climatic change and to ensure the pursuit of economic growth that was still considered a condition for general happiness has resulted in the coining of the catchy phrase ‘sustainable development’, which immediately achieved star status.
  • It is impossible to bring together a real concern for environment and the promotion of ‘development’. ‘Sustainable development’ is nothing but an oxymoron, a rhetorical figure that joins together two opposites such as ‘capitalism with a human face’ or ‘humanitarian intervention’. Hence the battle to define what ‘sustainable development’ is really about.
  • The ‘new era of economic growth’ was certainly not in favour of those who considered environmental sustainability a top priority. Despite increasing concerns for the environment protection, but the popularity enjoyed by the idea of ‘sustainable development’ is overwhelming. Increasing number of people feel that something has to be done to lessen the impact of human activity on the biosphere due to the mounting environmental crises. And yet, ‘development’ whether sustainable or not remains high on the agenda, and no one seems about to forsake it.
  • Irrespective of ideologies, no politician would dare to run on an election platform that ignores economic growth or ‘development’, which is supposed to reduce unemployment and create new jobs and well-being for all. Small investors and ordinary people expect an increase in profits or wages. ‘Development’ has become a modern shibboleth, for anyone who wishes to improve his or her standard of living.

The undeniable success of ‘development’, linked to its undeniable failures in improving the condition of the poor, therefore needs to be called into question. Those who are ready to recognise that ‘development’ has not really kept its promises are also loath to discard the notion altogether. Failures, they would say are from erroneous interpretation or ill-considered implementation. After all, God himself may not answer all our prayers or grant all our requests, but his righteousness remains beyond doubt. In a nutshell, ‘development’ could be defined as: the essence of is the general transformation and destruction of the natural environment and of social relations in order to increase the production of commodities (goods and services) geared, by means of market exchange, to effective demand

  • A country is the more ‘developed’ the more limited the number of free things that are available: to spend an afternoon on the beach, to go fishing, or enjoy cross-country skiing is nowadays impossible unless one is prepared to pay for it.
  • In a ‘developed’ country, human beings are also turned into ‘resources’ and are expected to know how to sell themselves to potential employers. Prostitution may be officially condemned, but it has become the common lot: everyone is for sale.
  • Poverty is proof of the ‘good health’ of the capitalist system. It is the spur that stimulates new efforts and new forms of accumulation. Economic growth – widely hailed as a prerequisite to prosperity – takes place only at the expense of either the environment or human beings. 
  • World segregation is such that those who enjoy a so-called ‘high standard of living’ hardly come into contact with the poor and may thus cherish the illusion that their privileged circumstances may sooner or later spread to humankind as a whole. But climatic change, the greenhouse effect, and nuclear clouds cannot be contained and affect everyone, rich and poor alike, perhaps in the not-too-distant future. This is the real meaning and the real danger of globalisation. 

It is clear that ‘development’ is not a buzzword but a toxic word. It has been used time and again to promote a system that is neither viable, nor sustainable, nor fit to live in. The benefits that it still confers on a tiny minority are not enough to justify its continuing acceptance, in view of the lethal dangers that it entails. This is being progressively admitted. Given the amount of information that have been gathered on the manifold man-made hazards that impinge on our daily lives, why is it that we do not believe in what we know to be certain? The answer, probably, lies in the fact that our belief in ‘development’ is still too strong to be undermined by the scientific certainty. A change could be conceivable if we recall the Amerindian wisdom that teaches us that ‘we hold the earth in trust for our children’. It is high time to debunk the ‘development’ buzzword. To do so means that we must define it relying on actual social practices, rather than wishful thinking. We must be aware of its inclusion in a corpus of beliefs that are difficult to shatter, expose its mischievous uses, and denounce its consequences. The most important thing is that there is life after ‘development’ – certainly a different one, but there is no evidence to suggest that we would lose on such a deal.

All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us 
face to face with another problem - Martin Luther King Jr

In India there would be no speech by politicians or officials or anybody without reference to the buzzword 'development' which in fact justifies, promotes and expand their activities and vested interests in multiplying their profits albeit unjustly, undemocratically and often unlawfully. Every rich and 'street smart person' tries to jump into the bandwagon of  'development' gang and corners some share of the booty. Those who can't in the name of ethics & morals, will get lost in this siren world to lead ignominious life. Excepting escaping from extreme poverty by masses, there is no justification for destruction of ecological assets and deterioration of social life in the name of 'development' and 'capitalism'. China's development if loaded with the factors of ecological destruction and erosion of human values, it would be negative. Finite world doesn't have enough resources to support ever increasing population without erosion and degradation. 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Noble prize winner's shame

IN HER 2012 Nobel lecture, Myanmar’s de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, made an impassioned appeal to the world not to forget those who are suffering “hunger, disease, displacement, joblessness, poverty, injustice, discrimination, prejudice, bigotry” and war. Aung San Suu Kyi declared, “Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.” This is not the world of the Rohingya in today’s Myanmar.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the same beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner, is presiding over an ethnic cleansing in which villages are burned, women raped and children butchered. Aung San Suu Kyi, the widow who defied Myanmar’s dictators, endured a total of 15 years of house arrest and led a campaign for democracy, was a hero of modern times. Yet today Suu Kyi, as the effective leader of Myanmar, is chief apologist for this ethnic cleansing, as the country oppresses the darker-skinned Rohingya and denounces them as terrorists and illegal immigrants. For shame, Suu Kyi was honored for fighting for freedom and now She uses that freedom to condone the butchery of their own people?

  • On Aug. 25, fighters from a small militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, staged surprise raids on 30 police stations and an army base in Rakhine State, where many Rohingya live. The attacks, in which 110 people died, including 10 policemen and many of the militants, triggered a crackdown by Myanmar’s military.
  • Since then Buddhist-majority Myanmar has systematically slaughtered civilians belonging to the Rohingya Muslim minority, forcing over 400,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, with Myanmar soldiers shooting at them even as they cross the border.
  • And “ethnic cleansing” may be an understatement. Even before the latest wave of terror, the brutality toward the Rohingya might qualify as genocide.
  • But Myanmar denies carrying out atrocities against the Muslim minority, consisting of around 1.2 million people in the northern Rakhine state who have been refused citizenship of any country.
  • They are raping women, looting homes, burning houses, shooting people, killing children, infants thrown into river, decapitating veterans etc. 
  • A reporter covering this described “I’ve covered refugee crises before, and this was by far the worst thing that I’ve ever seen.”
  • Suu Kyi genuinely believes that Rohingya are outsiders and troublemakers. But she knows that any sympathy for the Rohingya would be disastrous politically for her party in a country deeply hostile to its Muslim minority.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi was applauded when she received her Nobel Prize because she symbolized courage in the face of tyranny. Now that she’s in power, she symbolizes cowardly complicity in the deadly tyranny being visited on the Rohingya.
  • “My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep” -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, wrote a pained letter to her. 
  • Rohingya were confined to concentration camps or to remote villages. Many were systematically denied medical care, and children were barred from public schools. It’s a 21st-century apartheid.
  • Suu Kyi and other Myanmar officials refuse to use the word “Rohingya,” seeing them as just illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, but that’s absurd. Evidence exits to prove that Rohingya population was well established even before 1799.
  • At the end Myanmar government will respond to pressure, because that’s what won Suu Kyi her freedom. Yet there has been far too little outcry for the Rohingya. Pope Francis being an exception among world leaders and speaking up for them. He said "Strong political leverages need to be exercised to stop this egregious assault on a stateless people." 
  • UN has previously dubbed the Rohingyas, who are also denied access to university education and in 2013 were hit with a two-child policy, as “the most oppressed people on Earth”.
  • There are petitions online calling for Suu Kyi to be stripped of her Nobel, but there is no mechanism to take away the prize.

Ignoring a possible genocide only encourages the persecutors.

Aung San Suu Kyi presiding over 'ethnic cleansing' and killing and/or driving out ethnic Rohingya doesn't befit her Nobel Prize winner status. Unfortunately Rohingya are without any kind of citizenship and a friendless community and are destined to suffer like Tamils in Sri Lanka. No one in the world is really bothered about them. Bangladesh was kind enough to accommodate them as illegal immigrants and provide shelter, at least for the time being. Modi is attempting to deport 40,000 Rohingya in India just because they are Muslims, labeling them as possible terrorists, despite no crime records against them, ignoring India has accommodated refugees from Tibet, East Pakistan (Bangladesh), Sri Lanka etc in the past who are largely Hindus. UNO and the champions of humanity are silent? Why?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Jaitley's Rs.50K stimulus package. Will it work?

  • Arun Jaitley more or less announced Rs.50,000 economic stimulus package by loosening fiscal deficit from 3.2 to 3.7% to halt economic slow down which slipped from 7.1% to 5.7%. It was actually projected to grow from 7.1% to 8.1% this year but for demonetization, unprepared and hurried roll out of 'mangled' GST etc.
  • History and experience had shown that any where in the world 'stimulus packages' never yielded targeted results except giving some initial confidence boost.
  • Chinese government went on spending trillions of dollars since 2008 to boost its sagging GDP growth rate but ended up in piling up huge national debt and white elephant trophy projects which are even more difficult to maintain & service. GDP remained stagnant below 7%. 
  • This Rs.50,000 comes from printing currency notes which will result in higher 'inflation' which in turn hurts poor & poorest most. It tantamount to taxing the lower classes for the benefit of upper classes who gets the benefits. In other words we are following the economic model aptly described as "Socialize the risks and privatize profits". Ridiculous!
  • The 2009 US $787bn Obama's stimulus package had actully contracted economy by 2.8% and jobs saved were no where nearer to targeted saving of upto 2.3 million. Tax concessions which were expected to increase consumer spending have resulted in individuals saving those tax concessions in view of uncertain future. The Stimulus for small business helped create jobs. The aid helped, but many states were so underwater that their losses outweighed the federal assistance.
  • More than stimulus package which is a 'monetary policy', a 'fiscal policy' would give much better results rather little bit slowly. 

If you haven't done anything for yourselves, your life is not wasted.
In democracy, governments can't be overthrown; they collapse under their own weight.

If stimulus package solves problems, they why limit it to Rs.50,000 crores, make it Rs.5,00,000 crores. The caution indicates their doubts about results. A popular saying says 'if you are not sure of results, then don't do it'. Modi's senseless decisions of demonetization and subsequent unprepared, hurried and mangled GST roll out have hit the economy by several lakhs of crores of rupees etc are such undemocratic decisions that is short off war with common man. Consequences are surfacing incessantly there after. There is no escape from consequences of wrong doings. Stimulus package with a meager amount is another attempt to divert public attention and to claim government is responsive. What is needed is sound thinking, careful planning and meticulous implementation. None of the Modi's team members are good for anything. It doesn't require more than common sense to say that this stimulus package will not succeed and nation will be burdened and people impoverished. At best this will add some more fire to Modi's advertisement and publicity! Within three days of demonetization, it was amply clear that it was heading for colossal failure and arrogant Modi refused to take any corrective steps like restoring status quo ante or allowing old notes also to continue for at least three months. Instead he made impassioned appeal to people to bear the pain for 50 days and thereafter targeted results would be imminent. But what happened is 'all pain and no gain'. Even Supreme Court, the constitution protector, failed in its job by remaining a mute spectator by passing just a remark 'discontinuing of higher denomination notes appears to be carpet bombing and not surgical strike'. Modi is worse than VP Singh of 1990. One more foolish decision by Modi will be enough to see Rahul Gandhi as PM in 2019. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

GST to end of informal sector?

  • The tax evasion propensity of Indians stem from some deep seated hangover from feudal times when the state was exploitative and citizens considered taxation system as - exorbitant and arbitrary; fundamentally illegitimate; excessively burdensome; irrationally complex; patently corrupt; simple greed. It is usually a varying combination of the above. As long as people are poor and less educated and governments are irresponsible, inefficient and blatantly corrupt in public spending, efforts for higher tax realizations will be thwarted by its citizens.
  • GST is supposed to absorb informal sector into formal economy and result in higher payment of taxes to exchequer with builtin incentives for compliance. This also leaves trails of transactions making difficult for the GST dealer escape from income tax. 
  • Any tax policy is as good as it is administered. One of the worst effected wings of government by 'corruption' are commercial and income tax departments. So without even evaluation it can be safely concluded that GST would have very limited success in increasing tax realization, at least to begin with.
  • Without tax evasion what would chartered accountants and lawyers would do? At least 50% of them are engaged in tax evasion activities not only in India, but world wide.
  • No one in the world pays taxes smilingly. That would be very strange economics and irrational. Even in USA, income tax compliance is estimated at 80% and they are proud of it as an achievement. For India to reach that level it would be long and focused journey.
  • The informal sector dealer is now compelled to maintain books of accounts, raise invoices for all transactions, pay income tax, file GST and IT returns etc. This increases its over heads reduces its inability to operate on razor thin margins, raise funds with high interest rates etc.
  • Informal sector owned by less educated people and operated by semi skilled people get no support from government, banks or institutions and survive on their own with their borrowing interest rates as high as 36% per annum and survive on razor thin margins. They work long hours with less or no holidays and provide livelihood to 90% people and contribute to GDP by over 45%. Most of them doesn't have enough margins to comply with GST requirements. GST is an attempt to destroy them and is not in national interest. Unless government provides as much support they provide to formal economy they have no business to interfere in their working. Just because government issued a fiat, they are not going to wind up their activity and vanish. They will survive adjusting in what ever the way it is possible. The corrupt officers will end up squeezing out more money from them.
  • So far 'cash economy' and 'white economy' are largely intertwined. With GST making such things difficult 'cash economy' will run in parallel with 'white economy' which is even more dangerous.
  • Those who can modernize, raise bank loans for its working capital etc will go ahead and survive or they will completely migrate into 'formal economy'. Lacking intrinsic financial strength and ability to comply with the complexities and overhead expenses most will opt for going out completely into 'cash economy'.
  • This would result in one more layer between consumers and manufacturers with proportionate increase in prices. 
  • This parallel 'cash economy' will thrive unless GST rates are brought down to below 10% which renders 'cash economy' nonviable.
Anywhere in the world in the past, GST was adopted by several countries to streamline business activities so that tax compliance becomes simple, affordable and hassle free. In Australia, with full one year preparation, GST roll out impacted economy significantly and intangible benefits started accruing after two years. Only in India, mangled GST (which is no different to VAT) was seen as sacred cow which would eliminate tax evasion, increase tax collections for governments and would push GDP growth upwards. Impatient to wait for preparations to get completed which needs about an year, GST was rolled out with in 3 months with weak GSTN infrastructure and ample confusion everywhere. Expectedly, economic activity was seriously impacted and informal economy got adjusted with cash transactions and loss of jobs were enormous in SME segment. And now Govt is looking towards sky for God's help, who in any case won't help any one. Govt pundits must understand that incentivisation means not refunding a portion of tax paid on compliance but minimise taxes so that voluntary compliance increases. Finally, no matter what our pundits in ivory towers do, informal economy is going to stay in some form or other for many more years or even decades.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Rahul Gandhi better than Narendra Modi

Rahul Gandhi's speech and Q&A at Berkeley
  • At UC Berkeley, on Sep 11, 2017, Rahul Gandhi critiqued the Government of India without resorting to insult or abuse.
  • Rahul was so disarmingly candid that the BJP government in Lutyens Delhi panicked and held a press conference to hurl personal insults at him. 
  • The final straw was the assassination of activist-rationalist-journalist Gauri Lankesh. It was  a planned murder by a trained shooter. Enough is enough. The gang in power must go.
  • Rahul is better than Modi and for that matter 'anyone is better than Modi'.
  • Rahul will lead the next government, given Modi's self-inflicted fatal injury of demonetisation that has pushed the economy into free fall, and given Modi's broken promises of job creation.
  • Rahul Gandhi is more dignified than the crass and nasty Modi. 
  • It is obvious to increasingly more voters that Modi's taunts and abuses were mistaken in 2014 for toughness and determination.
  • Modi's reliance on clever acronyms makes clear his disdain for wisdom. 
  • Demonetisation was not deliberated or calibrated, but an ill-advised move that Modi blindly jumped into.
  • Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan felt that demonetisation would hurt the economy in the short-run without long-run benefits and was not offered the usual two-year extension of tenure; Modi prefers his own decisiveness to expert advice.
  • Calling Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi "pappu" or "shehzada" does not behove someone occupying the Prime Minister's position. It is learnt that Modi has appointed 20 IT professionals to attack Rahul Gandhi in synchronised fashion, which is an act done in frustration.
  • The BJP rumour machine manufactures lies about Rahul (and he mentioned this at Berkeley). They say he is disinterested, he is reluctant, he would rather holiday abroad, that his sister is smarter, etc. The nastiest lies have been disproved in court, but unemployed trolls like Subramanian Swamy nevertheless continually recirculate them. To Rahul's credit, he does not get bogged down countering each and every bit of calumny.
  • BJP leaders had no right to attack the Congress, especially Rahul Gandhi, because the "ancestors of BJP" were working in connivance with the British Whereas Rahul's ancestors were fighting for independence of India and were jailed for prolonged periods.
  • Rahul is basically an introvert. This is a fact of life. Some humans are introverts. Despite being an introvert, he still manages to attempt a shake-up of India's oldest political party or to address massive election rallies.
  • He's not a bully. At Berkeley, he honestly answered questions from the audience. Modi, on the other hand, doesn't even meet the press, disparaging the media with such vehemence that his troll machine takes the cue and substitutes abuse for argument. Heck, Modi doesn't even take questions from his own partymen, as Member of Parliament Nana Patole said a fortnight ago.
  • Rahul will not hesitate to take aboard some strong hands when he forms a government. This is a clear contrast to Modi, an insecure man who can only head a Cabinet of duds. Even fellow traveler Arvind Panagariya had to leave.
A pessimist might say that even if Rahul as PM did absolutely nothing, he would still be better than Modi. The Delhi deputy chief minister who worries there will be no alternative to Modi in 2019 will be proved wrong. It is likely that Rahul's government will never plumb the depths of incompetence we currently see. 

Rahul Gandhi's speech even though well drafted but delivery and subsequent questions & answers were immaculate. He might not be a saint in the past, like any other politician in India, but there were neither untruths nor exacerbation. This reminds me of Rajiv Gandhi's press conference during his first visit to USA after becoming PM in 1980s which catapulted him to an invincible slot then. Kudos to Rahul Gandhi for taking up the onerous task of opposing the invincible Modi for 2019 general elections. While trouncing of UPA in 2014 was a historical necessity, defeat of Modi & BJP and saving India in 2019 is even more important than that.

GDP Growth rate precarious

  • Economic growth is caused by (1) an increase in aggregate demand and (2) an increase in aggregate supply.
  • While the increase in demand is linked to consumption and requires enormous liquidity. Where as supply increase to match increased demand requires investment and easy working capital.
  • With stagnant incomes in all classes resulted in demand decrease.
  • With stagnant private investment and fragile PSU Banks - working capital for industries is limited and supply side is also restricted. This also restricts exports.
  • With no jobs created during past three years economic activity remained stagnant.
  • Jobless growth & consumer spending growth are unsustainable beyond a point.
  • Infrastructure building remained stagnant.
  • Demonetization impacted informal sector sector and agriculture beyond imagination and about 5 million casual jobs evaporated.
  • GST roll out resulted in inventory reduction everywhere. Mangled GST badly implemented resulted in confusion and unscrupulous traders are collected higher GST and paying nothing to Government. At least 30% dealers haven't registered with GST but are actively collecting GST and pocketing the same. Cash transactions and GST evasion is on very large scale.
  • China recorded average GDP growth of 10.5% during 2003-12 but remained stable at 7.4% thereafter. This despite government's investment of trillions of dollars to enhance growth, which is unsustainable.

Modi & Jaitley should understand that country's economics are complex and there is no single pill to boost GDP growth. Having destroyed racing economy with demonetization and further impacting with mangled GST roll out without adequate preparation impacting economy greatly and GDP growth is limping at 5.7% which otherwise would have been close to 10%. Now Modi & Jaitley are facing dilemma with cash starved treasury and banks, boosting GDP growth is no easy task. With prevailing indicators revival is unlikely prior to 2019 elections.

Rohingyas deportation: How?

  • Rohingyas are disowned by Myanmar. They were not even listed in the 135 ethnic groups.
  • In his recent visit on Sept 5, 2017, Modi expressed concern over “extremist violence” in Rakhine, but didn’t mention the alleged persecution of the minority Rohingya Muslim community, which the United Nations says could turn into a humanitarian catastrophe.
  • Modi and Suu Kyi's joint statement talks about range of issues and back patting each other but conspicously silent of Rohingyas persecution and fleeing away from Myanmar.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi's strategic silence on Rohingyas persecution matters indicate that she has no control over Military and majority Buddhist population is anti-Rohingyas. 
  • There is very little chance of Myanmar accepting Rohingyas back into Myanmar and in the absence of any citizenship of Rohingyas, deporting them back to Myanmar wouldn't be easy and is impossible in near future.
  • While Rohingyas revolt groups in Myanmar do have links with Al-Qaeda and ISIS etc, there is no evidence of any link between Rohingya Muslim refugees in India numbering about 40,000. No case was registered on Rohingyas living in India so far.
  • In the past India had opened its doors to Tibetan refugees, Hindus migrating from Muslim-dominated Pakistan, and Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka during armed conflict between the Sri Lankan army and Tamil separatists. But all those are Hindus but Rohingyas are Muslims.
  • This deportation statement of Rajnath Singh only indicates their (BJP) antipathy towards Muslims.

Humanitarian action should be about saving lives and alleviating suffering 
and must be placed above politics and political interests.

If only UNO steps in to solve the Myanmar crisis, Rohingyas  will be able to return to their homes in Myanmar. But no one in the world seems to be interested in Rohingyas. Bangladesh and India are worried about managing over half million refugees in Bangladesh and about 40,000 in India. For Rohingya refugees they may have to live with the problem indefinitely. Modi by declaring Rohingyas as 'terrorists', just because they are Muslims and without any evidence as a sufficient reason for deciding to deport them, has not only abdicated from his moral duty of providing shelter to refugees and taking care of them but also supported inhuman acts of state sponsored genocide in Myanmar has instantly shot in his foot degrading India as a nation. Unfit to be leader of this great country.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Rohingya genocide in Myanmar

  • Rejected by the country they were born in and shunned by the neighbouring states, the Rohingya are among the the most vulnerable amongst forcibly displaced groups. The Rohingya are impoverished, virtually stateless and have been fleeing Myanmar in droves.
  • Rohingya are an ethnic group, largely comprising Muslims estimated at more than one million, who predominantly live in the Western Myanmar province of Rakhine. They speak a dialect of Bengali, as opposed to the commonly spoken Burmese language.
  • Though they have been living in the Myanmar for generations, Myanmar considers them as persons who migrated to their land during the Colonial rule. So, it has not granted Rohingyas full citizenship. According the 1982 Burmese citizenship law, a Rohingya (or any ethnic minority) is eligible for citizenship only if he/she provides proof that his/her ancestors have lived in the country prior to 1823.
  • Myanmar's government denies them citizenship and sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh - a common attitude among many Burmese.
  • Discriminatory policies of Myanmar’s government since the late 1970s have compelled hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya to flee their homes in Myanmar. Most have crossed by land into Bangladesh, while others have taken to the sea to reach Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
  • In July 1978, after intensive negotiations mediated by UN, Ne Win's government agreed to take back 200,000 refugees who settled in Arakan. In the same year as well as in 1992, a joint statement by governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh "acknowledged that the Rohingya were lawful Burmese residents". 
  • The Rohingya trace their origins in the region to the fifteenth century, when thousands of Muslims came to the former Arakan Kingdom. Many others arrived during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when Rakhine was governed by colonial rule as part of British India. Since independence in 1948, successive governments in Myanmar, have refuted the Rohingya’s historical claims and denied the group recognition as an ethnic group. The Rohingya are largely considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
  • The Myanmar government has effectively institutionalized discrimination against the ethnic group through restrictions on marriage, family planning, employment, education, religious choice, and freedom of movement. 
  • Widespread poverty, poor infrastructure, and a lack of employment opportunities in Rakhine have exacerbated the cleavage between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya. 
  • Violence broke out in 2012, when Rohingya men were accused of raping and killing a Buddhist woman. Buddhist nationalists responded by burning Rohingya homes, killing more than 280 people and displacing tens of thousands. Human Rights Watch characterized the anti-Rohingya violence as “crimes against humanity.” 
  • Most displaced Rohingya have been forced to take shelter in squalid refugee camps. Others have turned to smugglers, paying for transport out of Myanmar. “The fact that thousands of Rohingya prefer a dangerous boat journey they may not survive to staying in Myanmar speaks volumes about the conditions they face there,” said Amnesty International in 2015.
  • More than 370,000 Rohingya have left Myanmar, approximately a third of the estimated Rohingya population in the country. They migrated to Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
  • In 2016, Myanmar’s first democratically elected government came to power, but it has been reluctant to advocate for Rohingya and other Muslims for fear of alienating Buddhist nationalists and threatening the still fragile leadership.
  • Since a dramatic Rohingya exodus from Myanmar in 2015, the political party of Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has taken power in a historic election, the first to be openly contested in 25 years. But little has changed for the Rohingya and Ms Suu Kyi's failure to condemn the current violence is an outrage and her failure to defend the Rohingya is extremely disappointing. The point is that Aung San Suu Kyi is covering up this crime perpetrated by the military.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, has denied that ethnic cleansing is taking place and dismissed international criticism of her handling of the crisis, accusing critics of fueling resentment between Buddhists and Muslims in the country. In September 2017, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said her government had “already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible.” Suu Kyi has little control over military and public opinion, with large number of Buddhist population is against Rohingyas.
  • Suu Kyi has been criticised internationally for her attitude towards the Rohingya, and there have been calls for withdrawing the Nobel Peace Prize. But it was also at Suu Kyi’s instance that the Annan Commission was appointed, and she has welcomed the report. The powerful military has, however, has rejected the report.
  • The United Nations reported in September 2017 that more than 120,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh due to a recent rise in violence against them. The situation is expected to exacerbate the current refugee crisis as more than 400,000 Rohingya without citizenship are trapped in overcrowded camps and in conflict regions in Western Myanmar.
  • Many Rohingyas have fled to southeastern Bangladesh, where there are over 900,000 refugees, as well as to India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. More than 100,000 Rohingyas in Myanmar live in camps for internally displaced persons, and the authorities do not allow them to leave.
  • About five lakh Rohingyas have already taken shelter in Bangladesh over the last two decades and is clearly unwilling to take in more. The country has opened its border for Rohingyas upon UNHCR’s request and continues to shelter Rohingya in over-crowded refugee camps at Cox Bazar.
  • Approximately 40,000 Rohingyas living in India. They reached India from Bangladesh through the land route over the years. Rohingyas in India were “illegal immigrants” and they will be deported soon, a decision that has surprised many given the record of India accepting refugees.
  • India’s national security fears are based on intelligence reports linking some Rohingya's front organisations with Pakistan and ISIS. But no individual Rohingya in India has yet been linked to any terror organisation. They live in dismal conditions in cities across India. Statements by MoS Home and some senior BJP members that the 40,000 Rohingya in India are a generalised threat, have fed off existing Hindu-Muslim communal faultlines.
  • No one believes the Rohingya crisis will be resolved soon, leave alone Myanmar accepting the Rohingya as citizens. India’s plan to “deport” the 40,000 Rohingya refugees is impossible. There is nowhere to deport them. They belong to no country, and no country wants them.
  • A UN spokeswoman in 2009 described the Rohingya as "probably the most friendless people in the world".
  • In the past India had opened its doors to Tibetan refugees, Hindus migrating from Muslim-dominated Pakistan, and Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka during armed conflict between the Sri Lankan army and Tamil separatists. But all those are Hindus but Rohingyas are Muslims and Modi & BJP doesn't have any heart for Muslims but Rohingyas speak in a language that has predominant Bengali dialect.
  • Modi had visited Myanmar and he only referred to “extremist violence” in Rakhine in his public remarks and the India-Myanmar joint statement only mentioned the terrorist attack by Rohingya militants against security personnel on Aug 25, 2017. 
  • Faced with an upset Dhaka, India modified its position on Sep 9, 2017, when it issued a new press release acknowledging that the there was an “outflow of refugees” from Rakhine. Since then, New Delhi stepped up providing relief assistance to Bangladesh. The first plane carrying relief aid reached Chittagong on 14/9/17, and the second consignment reached on 15/9/17.

Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has been described by UN's top human rights official as "ethnic cleansing". Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar (akin to PM), claiming of being follower of Gandhism, maintaining stoic silence for the atrocities of Military on Rohingyas is totally unacceptable. Her noble prize must be withdrawn. Modi heading Hindutva government is unlikely to accommodate Rohingya Muslims in India as refugees. But deporting them back to Myanmar is neither easy nor feasible. And none in the world are much concerned about them except the neighboring Bangladesh & India. They hardly have any choice. What they will do, time will only unfold. Hard action on Myanmar is unlikely. See the Indira Gandhi's response in 1971 for resolving East Pakistan issue when her diplomatic efforts for over an year did achieve nothing. The least we should do is to keep sending relief material to Bangladesh to take care of lakhs of Rohingyas in their refugee camps, while pursuing diplomatic international pressure.

In the meeting of Indira Gandhi with Henry Kissinger at New Delhi in July 1971, Mrs Gandhi was persistent in asking Kissinger to plead with Nixon that he should try to restrain Pakistan from what was being done in East Pakistan because the conditions there were  becoming intolerable and it was almost becoming impossible for India to remain silent. Kissinger would not give any assurance that Nixon would do something about it. Rattled Mrs Gandhi said if that was the position she may have to do something herself which she was reluctant to do. At this, Kissinger asked her rather as to what she intended to do. She stood up and pointing towards the General Manekshaw (in full military uniform) told Kissinger that “if the US Government and US  President cannot control the situation then I am going to ask him to do the same”. And she did it later in Dec 1971 that led to liberation of Bangladesh.