Sunday, 31 December 2017

Empathy deficit disorder

  • You may not realize it, but a great number of people suffer from empathy deficit disorder (EDD). Although empathy has become something of a political buzzword, it is surprisingly difficult to define. Its meaning has shifted significantly over time. 
  • Empathy deficit is a highly consequential characteristic of antisocial personality disorder, a psychodynamic formulation.The origin, maintenance, and possible resolution of this profound deficit are not very clear. 
  • Sympathy is, "I understand how you feel" whereas Empathy is, "I feel how you feel." Even the narcissist can be sympathetic. Empathy is certainly more important and that builds healthy, mutual relationships, an essential part of mental health.
  • Normal variations of mood and temperament are increasingly redefined as new disorders. The EDD is becoming more pronounced in today's world.
  • Empathy excess is much rarer than empathy deficit. While people with empathy excess suffer alone, those with empathy deficits cause others to suffer. Or at least some of them do.
  • Zero-positive empathy people are with autism but their systemising nature means they are drawn to patterns, regularity and consistency. They are likely to follow rules and regulations and the patterns of civic life. Zero-negatives empathy people are with borderline antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. They are capable of inflicting physical and psychological harm on others and are unmoved by the plight of those they hurt.
  • Given that testosterone is found in higher quantities in men than women, it may come as no surprise that men score lower on empathy than women. Another biological factor is genetics. 
  • Our increasingly polarized social and political culture of the past few years reveals that EDD is more severe than ever. It has profound consequences for the mental health of both individuals and society. Yet it's ignored as a psychological disturbance by most mental health professionals.
  • EDD keeps you locked inside a self-centered world, and that breeds emotional isolation, disconnection and polarization. That's highly dangerous in today's interconnected, globalized world. 
  • Lack of empathy has consequences for the most vulnerable and for politicians too.
  • More troubling are differences in empathy and compassion between upper classes and lower classes. Higher class individuals actually had a more difficult time recognizing emotions in others. Lower classes develops more perceptive social skills than the upper in making empathetic connections. Lower class individuals proved to be more generous, charitable, trusting and helpful compared to upper classes. Upper-class people, in spite of all their advantages, suffer empathy deficits and there are enormous consequences. 
  • One of the more surprising and confounding facts of charity in America is that people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate greatest percentage of their income. Those with earnings in the top 20% contributed 1.3% of their income to charity and those in bottom 20% donated 3.2% of their income.
  • Overcoming EDD is easier than you may think. Literally, you do feel another's pain or other emotions. You can overcome EDD by retraining your brain through conscious practices. Generosity and altruistic behavior light up pleasure centers of the brain. In effect, what you think and feel is what you become. And it means you can learn to grow empathy and overcome EDD. 
  • Empathy could also be taught in schools. Surely beliefs are a much bigger cause of evil than biology or upbringing.
  • The rush to harsh judgment with troubling frequency is amplified by social media. In social media, anyone can share with the world their own hasty conclusions formed more by the pressure to be first rather than to be fair.
  • Trolling is now reasonably common but rudeness is barely given a second thought before self-publication, displays a massive empathy deficit, a reckless indifference to others.
  • Being able to see different points of view is what helps people to be reasonable, or you don't understand someone until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
  • When strangers told each other about painful moments in their lives, there was more empathy expressed by the less powerful person. 
  • The most effective leaders are outstanding at abilities that build on empathy, like persuasion and influence, motivating and listening, teamwork and collaboration. This fact of social life poses a danger for leaders.
  • A remarkable number of people who are supposed to be devoting their lives to representing others seem clueless about how their constituents actually live and what they need.
  • Leaders at higher levels are most in danger of coming down with empathy deficit disorder, as you rise through the ranks fewer and fewer people are candid with you, willing to give you frank feedback on how you seem to others.
  • Almost two-thirds of working Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. And they’re worried sick about whether their kids will ever make it. They need leaders who understand their plight instead of denying it. At the very least, they need leaders who empathize with what they’re going through, not those with EDD.
  • According to Barack Obama, the "empathy deficit" is a more pressing political problem for America than the federal deficit.
Empathy deficit disorder -- do you suffer from it?

Modi's decisions of demonetisation, GST etc subjecting large numbers of lower classes to avoidable hardships, loss of jobs, income erosion, destruction of economy, agrarian distress and so on are reflection of enormous empathy deficit disorder suffered by him and pointing needles towards his authoritarian tendencies & attitudes. Modi’s penchant for style and no substance has a chilling similarity with Mussolini’s Fascist Italy with less concerns for efficient governing of people in solving their economic problems but focused more on the spectacle of power, on the visual and impressive display of symbols, myths and rituals. His focus is only on strategies for winning elections one after another and anything else is part of this larger scheme of things for achieving his goal by any means no matter what ever is the price the nation has to pay. So far people were mesmerized to believe his sincerity but all the people cannot be fooled all the times.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Triple Talaq bill: An opportunity wasted by BJP

Economic Times | Page 9 | Dec 30, 2017

  • In August of this year, when the Supreme Court decided against the validity of instant triple talaq, the government was blessed with an historic opportunity: to define the parameters of a clear and effective law that would secure justice for the victims who had fought for it. 
  • The bill in its current form was a rushed attempt to make a point and it is evident from the drafting. Seven sections (including the title), make up the entirety of the two-page law.
  • Upon reviewing the bill, this is an opportunity lost by BJP.
  • Rhetorical commandments kept aside, bill is silent on the details of their enforcement. 
  • While Congress supported the idea in principle, the copy of the bill elicited surprise as it confined itself to prescribing only punishment of three years for violators and a subsistence allowance for women.
  • BJP was not open to consultations but opposed any changes and attacked every amendment as a personal insult. The government conceded no consultation have taken place.
  • Given the process of enforcing that penalty is so cumbersome and painful for the victim, does the bill achieve its objective?
  • The complaining woman has to undergo indignities of having to prove her charge (to the high degree required in criminal law) before the police or the magistrate.
  • The Bill provides for a subsistence allowance but fails to define whether the same is an amount in addition to maintenance or is it a part thereof. The BJP refused to acknowledge, let alone answer these questions.
  • The law minister without addressing the concerns raised, launched attack into a prepared speech on the historical significance of the proposed law.
  • The government could have ensured greater financial security for Muslim women in the new law instead of the conflicting sections. But making effective laws is neither this government’s strength or priority.
  • The bill is passed by Lok Sabha and will come for Raj Sabha's passage. In RS, BJP don't have majority and they need Congress support for passage. If the bill is passed with Congress support, Modi will become champion of Muslim women's cause, first time in India. If Congress ensures defeat or stalling of the bill, Congress will be seen as enemy by Muslim women. Either way Modi wins! 
  • It is a 'gullible Muslim women' vote winning strategy by rogue Modi without any depth in the welfare of Muslim women. 
  • Modi is trying to hang on power by harping on short public memory but his stars are not good since all his adventures have boomeranged during past two years except winning elections..

This bill doesn't specify what it will do if a Muslim man resorts to abandoning wife without saying 'triple talaq'. Now 'triple talaq' might get reduced but abandoning will increase outside the law.

It doesn't require any sense or common sense to conclude that Modi's eyes were in getting political mileage by converting Muslim women as his 'bhakts' by pretending as their saviour without doing anything. This law is neither enforceable nor serves any intended purpose. Modi's eyes are on the eight state elections in 2018 and general elections 2019 and this bill will enable Muslim women vote (~7%) for him. Afterwards, if they go to hell, it is no concern of his.

Even though out of context ... Talaq is not a criminal act by any stretch of imagination. And arrest without evidence and 3 years prison liability is in violation of fundamental rights. Wife abandoning is much more severe than 'Talaq'. Modi has not only committed that offence but also used his PM position to block his wife's passport application cruelly. Even as CM of Gujarat he created panic and terror to his wife while she was serving as teacher.

Failed state

  • Failed state is unable to project authority over its territory and peoples, and it cannot protect its national boundaries. 
  • The governing capacity of a failed state is unable to fulfill the administrative and organizational tasks required to control people and resources and can provide only minimal public services. Its citizens no longer believe that their government is legitimate, and the state becomes illegitimate in the eyes of the international community.
  • A failed state is composed of feeble and flawed institutions. Often, the executive barely functions, while the legislature, judiciary, bureaucracy, and armed forces have lost their capacity and professional independence. 
  • A failed state suffers from crumbling infrastructures, faltering utility supplies and educational and health facilities, and deteriorating basic human-development indicators, such as infant mortality and literacy rates. 
  • Failed states create an environment of flourishing corruption and negative growth rates, where honest economic activity cannot flourish.
  • A strong state provides core guarantees to its citizens and others under its jurisdiction in the three interrelated realms of security, economics, and politics. State failure comes in degrees and is often a function of both the collapse of state institutions and societal collapse.
  • A failed state cannot maintain a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence and minimize internal conflict. It cannot formulate or implement public policies to effectively build infrastructure and deliver services or effective and equitable economic policies. 
  • It cannot provide for the representation and political empowerment of its citizens or protect civil liberties and fundamental human rights. State failure manifests itself when a state can no longer deliver physical security, a productive economic environment, and a stable political system for its people.
  • The total collapse of the state marks the final, extreme phase of state failure, and very few states can be described as completely failed or collapsed. 
  • Many states suffer from various degrees of weakness and are therefore potential candidates for failure. Weak states were failing with increasing frequency, most of them in Africa but also a handful in Asia and the Middle East, and failed states are known to be hospitable to dangerous warlords and groups that commit terrorist acts. 
  • Somalia and Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, are examples of states failure completely.
  • Understanding the dynamics of state failure and strengthening weak nation-states in the developing world assumes new urgency.
  • 25 Most failed states in the world are:

India qualifies many aspects of 'failed state' but not yet failed. But if you look from view point of poorest man it is definitely a failed state.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Fragile State Index for India 2017 is 72/178

Fragile States Index 2017 by Fund for Peace 

  • The Fragile States Index 2017, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure.
  • Though the FSI does not predict unrest or turmoil, it does provide early warning of the conditions that can likely give rise to instability.
  • India's ranking is 72/178 and 77.9/120 slipping by 1.6 points from previous year. However among BRICS nations India is better than Russia(67) only, whereas China (85), South Africa(96) and Brazil(110) stands better than India.
  • If a shock of some variety were to occur - from a natural disaster to a recession to localized communal violence – that such events in any of these countries could have dire consequences given the pre-existing conditions of fragility.
  • While the economic trajectory tells one part of the story, the gap in public services between the urban areas and rural areas (where over 60% of the population still live) hints at growing disparities.
  • During past decade 2007-2017, worsening was significant for India. All our neighboring countries have improved during the decade.

Other than change of guard following adverse elections results, democracy is non existent in India. Citizen rights undermined, justice dispensation limited to upper classes, civic services at their worst especially in villages and urban poor areas, rule of the law never followed, and so on is reflected in the Fragile States Index 2017 showing at least 106 countries better placed i.e. 72/178 is matter of shame for this largest democracy in the world even after 70 years of independence. Almost all neighboring countries did get better ranks than India speaks volumes about our chest thumping of democracy and claims of emerging economy shouting. Rather we have to guard ourselves against slipping into the category of 'failed states'.

Modi doesn't mean what he talks!

Modi doesn't mean what he talks and 
doesn't talk what he means
... Jaitley certifies on behalf of Government in Parliament

Then why Modi talks and confuses people?

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Wealthy people are less ethical

  • Pity the rich. They drive their expensive cars with little respect for the law. Most of them (not all of them) break the rules thinking they won’t have to face the consequences, and they even take candy from children. Being wealthy is what drives the unethical behavior.
  • Their unethical behavior is driven by the fact that they see nothing wrong with greed. Their wealth makes them less dependent on others, less concerned with how they're viewed and it gives them more resources for handling trouble (like traffic fines) should it come along.
  • Drivers of expensive cars were four times more likely to cut off another vehicle and ignore the right-of-way than drivers of cheaper cars. The most flagrant offenders: Mercedes drivers.
  • Police officers often face lecturing from the drivers of fancy cars when they pull them over for a ticket.
  • Lower-class individuals are more physiologically attuned to the suffering of others than their middle- and upper-class counterparts. The difference in ethical behavior might be about opportunity rather than moral fiber.
  • The pursuit of self-interest is a more fundamental motive among society's elite and the increased want associated with greater wealth and status can promote wrong-doing.
  • According to a string of new studies, it's not clear if being rich increases unethical behavior or if such behavior is what allows people to become rich in the first place.
  • Those given an unfair advantage believes they deserved to win. They attributed their successes to their own individual skills and talents, rather than their highly favorable circumstances.
  • If rich are made to feel psychologically a little less well-off, they become way more generous, way more charitable, way more likely to offer help to another person.
  • A few at the top are indeed generous, as evidenced by Bill Gates and others.

Information is empowering

  • Information: Facts provided or learned about something or someone. 
  • Knowledge: Information and skills acquired through experience or education. The theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
  • Information is only a means to empowerment. Knowledge is power and sharing knowledge is empowering
  • Information is free. Knowledge is not.
  • Information is empowering. It can make us stronger, more confident, more in control and more able to claim our rights. It enables us to grow and learn. It helps us to make good decisions, engage with each other, build knowledge, create informed communities, connect globally, and in many other ways. 
  • Information provides individuals with knowledge to address public issues, scrutinize government and become active participants in the democratic process. It reveals and clarifies the basis for government decisions, discloses environmental and health dangers and sheds light on error, mismanagement and illegal activities.
  • Facts and figures doesn't speak for themselves. They have to be examined and interpreted by reason. Information results in improved records management, prompts routine disclosure of information, and results in better government services and efficiencies.
  • Unless information is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.
  • Information is power, but interpretation is more powerful. Data taken out of context can have unintended consequences. Transparency alone is not the great equalizer. When we're overloaded with information, wisdom is obscured.  

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; 
this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, 
receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers 
... United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In common use almost every word has many shades of meaning, 
and therefore needs to be interpreted by the context ... Alfred Marshall

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Gujarat elections 2017 - facts & future

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is India’s most successful politician of the 21st century did not have a challenger, either from within the party or outside it. Barring the few stubborn states he had smashed the opposition in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Apart from hiccups in Delhi and Bihar, the prime minister was on a one-man charm offensive as he stormed state after state. The most stunning were the victories in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Assam, in the first half of 2017. Now, he has retained Gujarat and won Himachal Pradesh, taking the NDA kitty to 19 states.

  • In Gujarat, Modi has been challenged by Rahul Gandhi, the politician whom the BJP ridiculed most.
  • In narrow defeat, Rahul has become the principal challenger to Modi. It is a challenge which will be repeated in different parts of the country through the next 18 months - the two parties face off in eight states, culminating in 2019 General Elections.
  • In Gujarat, Rahul took on the Modi magic, exploiting the frustrations and grievances. While Modi sweated in over 40 campaigns and 90 road shows, Rahul, in the company of 3 young turks, was at ease engaging people and pointing out Modi's all round failures. Rural Saurashtra responded.
  • In Gujarat, BJP won 99/80 against Congress with 3 others. Total 182.
    (BJP 115, Congress 61, Others 6 in the outgoing Assembly)
  • It is neither a victory for BJP, nor is a defeat for the Congress. While tense Modi stands diminished, confident Rahul stood taller.
  • Congress party’s vote percentage when compared with the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 increased from 33.5% to 41.5%, whereas that of the BJP dropped from 60% to 49%.
  • In 16 seats, the Congress lost by a margin of less than 3,000 votes. 
  • If the four major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot are kept out, Congress won 71 seats against the BJP’s 53.
  • BJP was completely wiped out in 5 of 33 districts in Gujarat.
  • It was a huge gambit for Rahul as he took on Modi directly in Gujarat, where the prime minister has a cult following.
  • Even in defeat, Rahul Gandhi has got an enhanced stature, and the Congress has got a morale booster as it prepares to take on the BJP in a direct contest in the upcoming assembly elections.
  • Now the BJP has to stop dreaming about a Congress-mukt Bharat.
  • Gujarat is a reminder to Rahul Gandhi of the main problem facing the Congress - a weak organisation and an uninspiring state leadership. 
  • Modi has a credibility problem. What ever he says, his forces, his organisation repeats that. But the country is not listening to it - said Rahul Gandhi, in his first comments on the poll verdict.
  • BJP trolls in social media has become much weaker with Modi's autocratic tendencies and failures whereas Congress became much stronger and aggressive.
  • “The tide is turning for the prime minister and the BJP. Modiji’s home state has made this clear. The anger and dissatisfaction on the ground was so palpable,” said Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev, MP.

Modi saddled with cosmetic successes and all round failures - demonetisation's bad effects still lingering, badly rolled out GST unlikely to produce any worthwhile success in next 18 months, agrarian distress, unemployment, inflation, oil prices rising, economic indices worse than 2014, sinking PSU banks, CBI court acquitting UPA in 2G scam completely and so on effecting all sections of population and his magic fast fading out, winning 8 state elections in 2018 and general elections 2019 won't be easy for him, especially with Rahul Gandhi shaping up well while Modi's authoritarian & arrogant tendencies becoming a point of discontentment. BJP insiders including cabinet ministers wished victory for Congress in Gujarat so that Modi will start learning walking on the ground.The budget 2018 and 2019 will surely be welfare & rural oriented but without much money available these might not get him desired results.

Why politicians lie?

  • Politicians lie, or don’t tell the whole truth, because they have to. It is a global phenomenon.
  • We all know that politicians tell lies. We expect them to stop once they hold office. No longer. In campaigns, and in office, politicians and their aides or supporters deliberately lie about matters of importance. 
  • At one time, citizens could count on their officials and candidates to either tell the truth or say nothing. Not any more. 
  • In order to brush away the delusion and confusion that hides the truth from us, we need the truth, because only an accurate description of the facts will allow us to make sound, sane, and sensible decisions.
  • It is amazing how often politicians lie with ease and then, their unwillingness to admit that they lied. Politicians’ words were distorted, misrepresented, twisted, exaggerated, or taken out of context. They overstated, understated, or misstated. But, of course, politicians never lie, at least that’s what they say.
  • Politicians have a personality that allows them to be evasive, to live with lies and keep a straight face. Not all people can do that. That is why many people are not willing to serve in a political role. They detest the process they will have to follow, a process an inevitable byproduct of the political system we chose to have.
  • Politicians know their followers will believe them, even in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Politicians and their adherents live in an echo chamber in which everyone watches the same news channel, listens to the same talk radio, reads the same newspapers and web sites, and hangs out with the same like-minded people. There exists an impermeable membrane that prevents conflicting information from entering.
  • In elections, what was fascinating was that the more a candidate lied, the higher they went in the polls. The person who lied the most won. With no real arbiters of the truth, there were no penalties for lying.
  • The public ignorance makes lying an effective political strategy. Politicians lie because the cost/benefit ratio for lying is in their favor. Politicians run this calculation when they create or shift a damaging narrative, attack an opponent, or respond to indefensible claims against them. Most politicians know when they are lying. So, politicians lie when they believe that dishonesty is the best policy for getting elected.
  • People don’t want to hear the truth. Truth hurts and no one wants to hear things that threaten their existence, their beliefs, or that will make them uncomfortable. It is decidedly better for politicians to tell people what makes them feel comfortable. Why should politicians be the purveyors of bad news when they can tell fairy tales with happy endings and come out the victor.
  • The more democratic the system, the more lying there will be. In a democracy a leader has to make difficult maneuvers in a politically competitive environment. That is what democracy is about.
  • CEOs of very large companies, leaders of major conglomerates and of countries exhibit very similar leadership styles. They are evasive, play their cards very close to the vest and do not share information if they can help it. They use big words to obscure their real intentions. They often lie, skirt the truth, too.
  • The higher you ascend up the hierarchy, the more political the environment becomes. There is a struggle between the interests. As a leader you have to maneuver between all these pressure groups and powerful individuals, and survive the maneuvering.
  • Being truthful is like a military leader making his battle plans known to the enemy during a war. Up there in the organizational hierarchy, whether of a country or a corporation, it is a war.
  • Lying by political leaders is what we expect from totalitarians. Free societies require truth and honesty.
  • The problem is inherent in objective journalism. In objective journalism, with an unfortunate amount of truth in it, there is no objective reality, there are only sources and they are rated by their credibility, and credibility is an attribute of status.
  • There are only competing sources and competing spin and the journalists either don't know it or don't know what to do about it, journalists no longer own reality.
  • People have not lost trust in journalism because they're liberal or biased or opinionated, but because they are not aggressive enough.

I offered my opponents a deal: if they stop telling lies about me, 
I will stop telling the truth about them  ... Adlai Stevenson, 
US Presidential Democratic candidate said in his 1952 campaign speech

While lies are impressive, truth is unpalatable. Lies travel much faster than truth. Probably that might be reason for people resorting to lies very often more so by politicians, corporate CEO's, journalists and so on. Public memory is short and also there are no penalties for lying. In the recent Gujarat elections Rahul Gandhi spoke truths but could impress less where as PM Modi resorted to wholesale lying which reverberated across media and the country and he ended up winning the election which otherwise would have been lost. Nehru was the first and the last Prime Minister who spoke truths fearlessly not bothering for consequences.

Monday, 25 December 2017

How much is enough?

  • "How much is enough?" is a good question. Anyone involved in capitalism and markets will find this question uncomfortable. It is a qualitative question and is about how money makes us feel about spending, saving and giving and values we stand for.
  • Enough is the quality of having everything you need and want but nothing in excess and nothing that burdens you. 
  • Income to meet the expenses of frugal living, a home, a car, insurance for health & life, provision for children education and their well being, provision for health shocks, leisure, passions and retirement - is what is enough. 
  • The best thing one can do to children is to give roots & wings. And the worst thing is to give them a mountain of wealth under which they will get buried never knowing what they are and what they wanted to be in life.
  • Our culture is geared towards endless consumption and upgrades. Reasonable wealth is comfort. Meaningful testament to a life is well spent.
  • While personal debt is bad, public debt is necessary not only for prosperity but to avoid economic disasters. A good economy must serve the needs of many instead of the few.
  • A great economist told students that the capitalist system was capable of delivering such a sustained and steady increase in output that workers would eventually have all the material goods they could possibly want. They would need to toil for only 15 hours a week and could then spend the rest of the time enjoying themselves. Capitalism was a means, a rather distasteful means, to this end.
  • Capitalist economies are efficient, but workers were unsatiated by any material possessions, and devote any of their time to their pleasures. The new servant class which emerged and served the needs of neo rich were paid little more than subsistence wages.
  • Modern world is characterised by insatiability, an inability to say enough is enough, and the desire for more and more money. Economics, a narrowly focused discipline in which there is no distinction between wants and needs, has driven to the end of a cul-de-sac. 
  • The short-term need to get the economy moving again should not deflect policy-makers from reforms that will lay the foundations of a saner, more stable world.
  • Progress should be measured not by the traditional yardsticks of growth or per capita incomes but by the seven elements of the good life: health; security; respect; personality; harmony with nature; friendship; and leisure. 
  • Job security is much weaker and the pressure on the environment has increased.
  • There is more to life than gross domestic product. Growth at all costs has become enshrined as the goal of economic policy. We live in a country divided into workaholics who have more money than they know what to do with and millions of unemployed and under-employed citizens struggling to make ends meet on the proceeds of work in the informal economy.
  • In the middle, there are the debt slaves worried about the mortgage and often one pay packet away from penury. We ought to be able to do better than this. They favour a society with liberalism, social democracy and the good society is within reach.

A little house well filled, little wife well willed and 
little land well tilled are the greatest riches ... Shakespeare 

Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point ... Bill Gates

The fortunate man is he who, born poor, or nobody, works gradually up to 
wealth and consideration, and, having got them, dies before he finds 
they were not worth so much trouble ... Charles Reade

Earnings beyond certain point usually result in gaudy life style - excessive spending, amassing wealth, paying excess amounts for services without much substance. These activities contributes to increase in consumption and wastage, emissions and abuse of nature. Every luxury looses its vigor after 20 uses. You begin to own many things and eventually things will own you. Display of wealth or possessions is not only vulgar but also reflects low self esteem, make others feel jealous, lose real friends and win false acquaintances. They become more and more insensitive and end up knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. 

Warren Buffet believes that setting up his heirs with a lifetime supply of food stamps just because they came out of the right womb can be harmful for them and is an antisocial act. The perfect amount to leave children is "enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing." Bill and Melinda Gates are giving a $10 million only for each of their three children with a remark "It will mean they have to find their own way in life". 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

The economy of debt

  • Economies work best, generally speaking, when people are making decisions based on economic fundamentals, not on tax considerations.
  • Debt magnifies risk. If companies or individuals rely on large amounts of leverage, it’s much easier for bad decisions to lead to insolvency, with significant ripple effects in the wider economy. 
  • A debt-ridden economy is inherently more fragile and more volatile. Encouraging people to take on debt qualifies as a genuinely bad idea.
  • Subsidizing debt seems harmless simply because we’ve always done it. But the fact that you’ve had a bad habit for a long time doesn’t make it less dangerous. 
  • All of the debt-created money has to be spent into the economy so it will be available for paying off debt. If that doesn’t happen then there will be a scarcity of money even if enough new loans are made to keep recreating the money that disappears when debt is paid off.
  • Money saved is money held out of the working economy. Savings that earn interest, compound the problem because not only is the saved money held out of the economy, it’s acting as a magnet to draw additional money out of the system. The accumulated interest money is generally added to the savings rather than spent, compounding the interest and drawing more money from the system.
  • What is real in the real economy is the people, talent, knowledge, technology, infrastructure, resources, etc., and most importantly the good will, industriousness, and positive intentions of the people.
  • The working economy is trying to pay huge debt out of those tiny blocks of money. To avoid default, it pays the interest, and borrows more money. The producing economy is suffering from a severe scarcity of money, and it’s working under a system where the only way to get more money into the system is to borrow it. So we have a vicious circle where the necessity to pay the existing debt creates scarcity of money, and the only way to relieve the scarcity is to borrow more money, which aggravates the scarcity, which is only relieved by borrowing more money.
  • Essentially it’s operating like a pyramid scheme. In order to stay alive it has to grow, and the only way it can grow is to cannibalize and destabilize itself further. The more it grows the more and faster it has to grow, and the more unstable it becomes. 
  • Exponential growth is when something grows by multiplying itself. If something grows by a percentage, eventually it will double. The numbers are becoming completely disconnected from the real world.
  • Debt isn’t the only thing forced to grow in the economic model. To feed the expanding debt, the whole economy has to grow. It has to expand whether the people in it need it to or not. Manufacturing must increase, sales must increase, and consumption must increase. Businesses have to expand to stay afloat. Their marketing departments convince more and more people that they need to buy more and more stuff. Stuff that uses valuable resources to produce and then often gets sent to landfills a few years later.
  • Since the money scarcity and debt pressure keeps increasing, economic growth becomes more and more of a squeeze play. Businesses in the working economy must grow, but overall they have less and less money to do it with, so they’re continually trying to get more from less. The trend is to cut the work force, cut wages, cut benefits, cut the quality of the product or service, and of course, outsource the labor to foreign countries with low wages and poor labor protection -- anything that can be done to get more out of less.
  • In the process of creating more debt we are also creating more money, yet the scarcity of money gets worse and worse. 

  • Economy ends up with a two-class society—interest payers and interest receivers. The interest payers would be working hard and scrambling to stay afloat. The general trend would be that they work harder and longer and receive comparatively less and less for it. 
  • The interest receivers would be accumulating more and more resources, living more and more lavishly, and inventing new games to play with money.
  • Financiers and investors of all sorts are essentially interest receivers. That includes pension funds, insurance funds, charitable trusts, and various institutions in many areas of society. 
  • People who are paying on mortgages, student loans, auto loans, and credit cards are obviously payers, but many people in the modern world are both payers and receivers.
  • Financial progress in the middle class has generally been to work your way from payer to receiver. You start out buying a house and putting money into a retirement fund. You work your mortgage down and your retirement fund and investments up, and eventually you can retire as a receiver.
  • Then there are the people who fall out the bottom of the payer class. Sometimes they become a different type of receiver—receivers of charity or receivers of welfare.
  • If you yourself have made the transition from payer to receiver, you might hope that your children and grandchildren will be able to do the same. With relentless exponential debt growth, the transition becomes less and less possible.

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

While debt is unavoidable, it is wise to keep to as minimum as possible. While we all have debts, debt ridden entities must take extra care in prioritizing spending, avoiding extravagance and wastage. Under all circumstances frugal living is best and that generates lasting happiness. Economic progress at the expense of ecology in reality is destructive.

FRDI Bill aims looting depositors

  • FRDI is  Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill (FRDI), 2017. The purpose of Section 52 in FRDI Bill 'bail-in' is to absorb the losses incurred, or reasonably expected to be incurred, by the covered service provider and to provide a measure of capital for it so as to enable it to carry on business for a reasonable period and maintain market confidence in it.
  • Under FRDI Act, any stressed bank can freeze deposits indefinitely or refuse deposit repayment or pay part amount in full discharge of deposit unilaterally or issue securities in lieu or do in what ever fashion in the best interests of running bank's business without hindrance. In Cyprus, depositors lost almost 50% of their savings when a “bail-in” was implemented. 
  • At present, each depositor of banks is protected up to a limit of Rs. 1 lakh by the guarantee of the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC). The amount insured by DICGC per depositor in a respective bank has been Rs. 1 lakh, since 1993. The bill repeals the DICGC Act, 1961, and subsumes its functions into the resolution corporation. Conservatively this limit would have been at least Rs. 5 lakhs, if not Rs.10 lakhs, which was not enhanced during past 24 years.
  • Bank deposits are popular in rural areas because of a lack of alternate opportunities like mutual funds or stock markets. Further, given the small size of savings of the majority of citizens, the deposit schemes of banks seem an attractive option. Most retired employees keep their life time savings in deposits and live on the deposit interest paid to them on month-on-month basis. In an emerging country like India, where financial instruments are scarce and alternatives like financial markets aren’t developed, a bail-in as a resolution mechanism should be avoided. 
  • The depositor whose money is given as loan to the borrower is likely to lose his share of deposit in case of a “bail-in”, whereas the borrower who availed himself of the loan is likely to get off scot-free. The “bail-in” concept is a double whammy.
  • The 'bail in' is an evil scheme to 'bail out' the owners (Govt of India in case of PSU banks) with depositors money (of middle and lower classes) without their consent for their incompetence and mischief in managing their banks prudently.
  • When the government recapitalises a bank, it uses taxpayers money. It can be argued that using resources contributed by taxpayers who are not related to stressed banks is unfair. This bail-in resolution mechanism uses depositors’ money, who are not owners of the bank, and is also unfair.
  • There is already a resolution mechanism for all financial service providers, which is available with the RBI. We also have an insolvency and bankruptcy code. We have National Company Law Tribunal. Where is the need for a new resolution mechanism? The Bill is fundamentally flawed because it has been blindly copied and pasted from the Western model, whereas the situation in India is totally different. 
  • At present the bank deposits are over Rs 110 lakh crores. 67% of depositors holds 8.6% of deposits less than Rs. 1 lakh. 33% of depositors hold deposits over Rs. 1 lakh. The term depositors of above Rs 15 lakh is only 1.3%, who holds 55% in terms of amount of the total term deposits. And government wants to lay its hands on this money to cover their failures in managing banking system.
  • No one trusts the government when it says 'trust me'. Why should any one trust the government with imminent hair cutting of their deposits? Why worry depositors when the government intends to protect them? Why have the bail-in clause at all if the government will stand behind bank depositors? Modi & Jaitley must explain.

In order to cover up the failures, the centre wants the common depositors 
to forego their life-savings ... Mamata Banerjee

If government was concerned about welfare of depositors, it would have simply increased DICGC per depositor from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakhs or Rs.10 lakhs and wound up failed banks as per prevailing laws of the land. The FRDI is aimed at passing on the losses of banks to gullible depositors with haircut and running their inefficient banks detrimental to public interest. Like demonetization, GST roll out etc this FRDI is evil intentioned and is bound to fail. Government is by the people, of the people and for the people. Any scheme of things aiming at looting common man's money will be shot down by people. Common sense tells us that recapitalisation must be done by owners themselves not others. In case of PSU banks, central government is the owner and recapitalisation must be done through central government budget only. Any other way is not only wrong and immoral but will also fail.

Friday, 22 December 2017

2G Scam ... Where is it?

In the infamous 2G SCAM case 2011, that catapulted Modi & BJP into power in 2014 dislodging the corruption tainted UPA government of Manmohan Singh, the CBI Court Judge OP Saini delivered judgement on Dec 21, 2017 acquitting all the accused persons and companies criticising the prosecution for pursuing the case in a disinterested and diffident manner and observed that prosecution has failed to prove any of the charges beyond reasonable doubt. He also held that there was no criminality or conspiracy in spectrum allotment and said some people created a "scam by artfully arranging a few selected facts and exaggerating things beyond recognition to astronomical levels".

It was seven years ago when CAG report on the 2G scam giving the then UPA government jitters, which ultimately led to its downfall. CAG had stated that licenses had been issued to ineligible applicants who had deliberately suppressed facts, disclosed incomplete information, submitted fictitious documents and used fraudulent means for getting licenses and thereby access to spectrum. The licence holders had sold these stakes to the Indian/foreign companies at high premium within a short time. The premium earned by these new companies was estimated to be the true value of the spectrum. In a free and fair bidding process, these profits should have gone to the government. CAG in its report had never stressed on presumptive loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crores that was based on the 3G price discovered in 2010.
  • Special judge OP Saini came down heavily on the CBI, charging the agency with shoddiness and approaching the case in fits and starts. He had absolutely no hesitation in holding that the prosecution miserably failed to prove any charge against any of the accused, made in its well choreographed charge sheet.
  • Special judge remarked that everybody was going by public perception created by rumour, gossip and speculation. However, public perception has no place in judicial proceedings.
  • Though the Supreme Court had cancelled 122 licences allocated declaring them illegal, a special CBI court today said "a huge scam was seen by everyone where there was none."
  • The judge laments the role of "prominent public-spirited persons" who went on and on about wrongdoing but had no evidence to submit. Apparently this means that nobody had any good or first-hand evidence in his possession". 
  • Dismissing the allegations, the judge said that for “the last about seven years on all working days, summer vacation included, I religiously sat in the open Court from 10 am to 5 pm, awaiting someone with some legally admissible evidence in his possession, but all in vain. Not a single soul turned up.”
  • The biggest beneficiary of the alleged 2G scam is Mr. Narendra Modi as he became the Prime Minister and lots of people believed the allegations. Today, the former CAG Vinod Rai is one of the strong advisors of the Modi government, posted on various boards and organisations and has been rewarded for what he has done.
  • What is illegal from administrative law point of view may not necessarily be an offence from a criminal court’s perspective. 
  • The Supreme Court declared in 2012 that the allocation of 2G spectrum by UPA government was illegal and an arbitrary exercise of power and cancelled all 122 telecom licences allotted. This hurt India’s competitiveness & saddled banks with Rs. 4 lakh crore of debt resulting from licence cancellations & auctions. 
  • It was a policy decision taken by the then administration, and policy decisions do not have to be always right and there is room for error and improvement. The SC judgement of cancellation was always hasty, wrong and unjustified, and caused huge losses, damaged reputations and caused economic crises. You can be sure that this will be added ground for proceeding against India in the BIT Arbitrations. The lesson is what the SC told us many years ago, that courts should be slow to interfere in economic and policy decisions, said Ramji Srinivasan, senior advocate, Supreme Court.
  • The CAG's use of the word ‘presumptive loss’ has left a question mark on the CAG’s credibility which is an act of ethical wrong doing on a gigantic scale. The former CAG, Vinod Rai's twisted logic produced a figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crores notional loss to the exchequer has not played by the book. He subjected the polity to great convulsions resulting in huge and unquantifiable losses in terms of businesses and investment withheld. Many more reputations and myths would come unravelling. 
  • It is said that the folklore about corruption is bigger than the actual incidence of corruption.  Could this be true of the 2G ‘scam’ as well?
  • The Indian economy is yet to recover not just from the SC's hasty cancellation of 122 licenses, but also from the public hysteria and moral panic that marked the period. It is that which created policy paralysis and the investment crisis that continues to this day and not any supposed corruption.
  • Industry analysts said the apex court’s 2010 ruling had led to massive job losses, closure of several businesses and value destruction of assets worth thousands of crores. The 2G spectrum scam brought the entire industry to its knees. Now the court says no one is responsible for it. Its a bizarre situation and gives the affected operators an opportunity to seek compensation.
  • Former PM Minister Manmohan Singh said  'a massive propaganda was unleashed against my government over the 2G spectrum allocation. The judgment speaks for itself.'
  • Arun Jaitley said the special CBI court’s acquittal of all accused in the 2G scam should not be treated as a “badge of honour.” If this is not, then 'what is badge of honour.'
  • Reminding BJP that it had pegged its campaign against the UPA government on the 2G scam, the Congress demanded an apology for ruining careers, companies and blocking investments to the country. PM Modi, FM Jaitley and other BJP leaders must apologise to the country. BJP stands exposed today before the country.
  • A war of words has broken out between the UPA and the NDA leaders over the verdict and its political ramifications which will only intensify till 2019. Suddenly, the sinners are looking less than sinners and the saints no longer come across so saintly.
  • The CBI and ED will appeal against the special court’s judgment acquitting all the accused in the 2G scam case. But without tangible evidence what is the use of appeal?
  • The 2012 SC judgment was on the question of procedural irregularity and of civil liability. The trial court judgments in the CBI and ED cases were concerned with charges of criminal and corruption charges and prosecution cannot use the 2012 SC judgment as evidence of criminality in an appeal in a higher court.
  • The scale and scope of the scam claimed by the innumerate dramatis personae of that period on news television was always imaginary. Lakhs of crores were not misappropriated. Instead there was the sort of misuse of process that was common before the UPA, common during the UPA, and continues to be common now, even under a supposedly clean government. Of course there are no large-scale scams of the scale that was claimed for 2G under Narendra Modi! Because, it turns out, there weren't under Manmohan Singh either. At a stroke, the sole and solitary claim that Modi had to his running a better government than Manmohan stands extinguished.
  • History will not be kind to these forces of disinformation, who with willful ignorance or malice created a perception of an epochal, history-breaking, record-setting scam. Who will be held accountable for the public perception created by rumour, gossip and speculation? Somebody must. 
  • This shows that how battles won in Supreme Court are often lost in courts below, said senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan.
  • Politically, Congress will not only emerge stronger but also assertive and aggressive in the run up to 2019 elections tearing into Modi's blunders and lies. Modi is now realizing value of his allies for continuing in as PM.

On any issue public decides first, court decides last. 
Media influences public opinion.

Corruption is omnipresent in India. Nothing moves without it. The root cause is the mind boggling political spending, greedy businesses and irresponsible bureaucracy apart from indifferent public. No saints left in India. Everybody is corrupt in one sense or other. But scams are different. While corruption is slow poison, scams are akin to cyanide. Today BJP is most cash rich party and its spending in recent UP and Gujarat elections is unprecedented. All that money is neither accounted nor from contributions.

The perception of 2G Scam is clearly visible, the failure of prosecution by CBI & ED (directly works under PM Modi & FM Jaitley) is easily palpable. The consequences of 2G Scam for the nation is humongous for which Congress and BJP and their leaderships are accountable. Price is being paid by people of India similar to or even worse than Bofor's scandal of mid eighties. Politics by Modi & co. for dislodging this case is not ruled out. Some of the acquitted are Modi's friends and Modi making unscheduled visit to ailing DMK leader Karunanidhi points needle of suspicion towards Modi too. Modi seems to be interested in only winning election after election and saffronisation of India and any other thing is just a lip service. In recent Gujarat elections BJP suffered erosion of over 10% votes and same thing is bound to happen in 2018 state elections and 2019 general elections. Without strong allies, Modi continuing as PM beyond 2019 is ruled out. This is visible from Modi's sudden change in attitude towards friends like Shiv Sena, TDP, TRS, BJD, DMK etc. Development and reforms are bound to slow down or even take back seat. 

In in the intervening period several lives were jailed and harassed, families suffered, companies incurred losses or even wound up, investors lost money, employees lost their jobs. Who is responsible for the mess?

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Implosion of trust

  • The year 2017 witnessed the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs.
  • Trust in media fell to an all-time lows, while trust levels in government dropped and is the least trusted institution. The credibility of leaders also is in peril: CEO credibility dropped globally to an all-time low, plummeting in every country, while government leaders remains least credible.
  • The mass population distrusts their institutions, compared to the informed public.
  • The implications of the global trust crisis are deep and wide-ranging. It began with the Great Recession of 2008, but like the second and third waves of a tsunami, globalization and technological change have further weakened people’s trust in global institutions. The consequence is virulent populism and nationalism as the mass population has taken control away from the elites.
  • Current populist movements are fueled by a lack of trust in the system and economic and societal fears, including corruption, immigration, globalization, eroding social values and the pace of innovation.
  • Politicians and the government are in real trouble. People don’t think they are the solution. They simply don’t trust them. The majority of people believe blunt, outspoken, spontaneous straight-talkers over rehearsed and diplomatic communicators.
  • The cycle of distrust is magnified by the emergence of a media echo chamber that reinforces personal beliefs while shutting out opposing points of view. People favor search engines and more likely to ignore information that supports a position they do not believe in.
  • People now view media as part of the elite. The lack of trust in media has also given rise to the fake news phenomenon and politicians speaking directly to the masses. Media outlets must take a more local and social approach.
  • The dispersion of authority is evident. An ordinary person is now just as credible a source of information about a company as is a technical or academic expert, and far more credible than a CEO and government official.
  • Business is viewed as the only one that can make a difference. Many believe a company can take actions to both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the community where it operates. Moreover, among those who are uncertain about whether the system is working for them, it is business that they trust most.
  • Yet business finds itself on the brink of distrust of the public seeing it stoking their fears. A majority of population  worries about losing their jobs due to the impacts of globalization, lack of training or skills, immigrants who work for less, jobs moving to cheaper markets and automation.
  • Business is the last retaining wall for trust. Its leaders must step up on the issues that matter for society. It has done a masterful job of illustrating the benefits of innovation but has done little to discuss the impact those advances will have on people’s jobs. Business must also focus on paying employees fairly, while providing better benefits and job training.
  • Trust in business & NGOs dropped. Employees are trusted more than CEOs. In many countries people have lost faith in the system. Trust in traditional media and social media dropped. Only online media received the biggest bump in trust.

Now a days, we don’t trust anything, or anyone. Mistrust is high, morale is low and trust is in crisis.Trust has been so much corroded that we now trust leaked information much more than traditional news sources and algorithms over human editors. Trust in institutions has evaporated to such an extent that falsehood can be misconstrued as fact, strength as intelligence, and self-interest as social compact. To rebuild trust and restore faith in the system institutions must move beyond their traditional roles of business as actor and innovator; governments as referee and regulator; media as watchdog; and NGOs as social conscience. Companies can build trust by treating employees well, offer high-quality products and services and listening to their customers. With employees more credible than a CEO, companies should work harder to get their customers and their expert employees to speak and advocate for them as much as possible. Companies have to show that they are not just listening but are also learning and responding to any feedback that they are given. The winners will be those that are more open, responsive and leverage the collective voices of both their employees and their customers.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

BJP wins Gujarat & HP without shine & bragging rights

  • BJP winning (1) Gujarat six times in a row and (2) winning Himachal Pradesh, ousting Congress, with a 2/3 majority is by no means a small achievement for Modi but what is lacking is its shine and bragging rights.
  • With 49.1% of the vote, the BJP lost 10 percentage points from its 2014 Lok Sabha tally.
  • NOTA grabbed over 5.5 lakh votes, or just under 2% of the votes polled.
  • Gujarat voters have handed the BJP its sixth straight victory, but tempered the win by reducing its majority to 99 – its lowest tally since 1995.
  • The ruling BJP won 36 of the total 40 seats spread in six major cities and that saved the day for the BJP in the tight contest between PM Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
  • CM Vijay Rupani and DyCM Nitin Patel won their seats while five serving Ministers and Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora were defeated.
  • The PM Modi’s 20-minute speech reflected his worries and the party’s vulnerabilities despite the victories.
  • Though BJP has won despite the anti-incumbency factor, the State polls turned into a photo finish unlike the landslide and much below the BJP’s target of winning 150 seats. Saurashtra, the BJP’s stronghold since 1995, dealt the party a big blow, as the Congress won 30 out of 54 seats in the region.
  • In Saurashtra's 11 districts, the BJP got nearly wiped out in 5 districts.
  • Most of Modi's speeches at rallies focussed on divisive themes. Mandir-Masjid, Mughals, Pakistan, Ahmed Patel, Salman Nizami, etc., he practised classic dog-whistle politics that might have stoked passions among some sections of the electorate.
  • Whatever the BJP leaders may say, the victory by an extremely slim majority and well short of its aim of 150+ seats is a setback.
  • With the kind of spirited fight provided by Congress, BJP's proclaimed goal of a “Congress-mukth Bharat” suffers severe set back.
  • In Himachal Pradesh, despite the big win, the BJP faced the ignominy of seeing its chief ministerial candidate, Prem Kumar Dhumal, lose to his Congress rival.
  • BJP may be tempted to believe that neither demonetisation nor the flawed roll-out of the GST regime has dented its support among traders and the middle class. But the heart-stopper in Gujarat has given enough reason for it to rethink, do a reality check and reconnect with the remoter parts of India.

Notwithstanding the fact that BJP won Gujarat elections 99/80 defeating Congress, the truth is that Modi has addressed 34 rallies & 97 road shows campaigned like a CM not as a PM, never mentioning any of his development schemes but relied entirely on divisive & religious polarisation, Pakistan, Mughals, Muslims, Mandir-Masjid, abusing Congress leaders and arousing passions etc. Modi did everything like a street politician to win elections forgetting that he is holding office of PM and is oath bound to uphold its dignity and sweated like never before. On other hand Rahul Gandhi, in the company of 3 young turks, was at ease engaging people questioning ruling party of its failures, visiting temples, raising concerns of agrarian distress, unemployment, failed demonetisation and GST etc. While Modi was assisted by his entire central cabinet & several other BJP leaders from other states Rahul Gandhi was virtually alone. Modi put Gujarat above nation by postponing parliament's winter session and condensing its duration so that he could campaign more in Gujarat. Modi subverted EC by influencing it in delaying announcing poll schedule to enable his announcing sops to Gujarat. The kind of money spent for BJP's campaigning and liquor flowing in this dry state has dented his claim as crusader against corruption and black money. Modi's spectacular show in riding the sea plane (specially flown from Karachi for this show) a day before campaign ended is in violation of his own security protocol. Modi’s penchant for style and no substance has a chilling similarity with Mussolini’s Fascist Italy with less concerns for efficient governing of people in solving their economic problems but focused more on the spectacle of power, on the visual and impressive display of symbols, myths and rituals. With BJP winning 99/80 against Congress Modi diminished himself while Rahul Gandhi stood taller posing as a challenger for 2019 general election while his dream of  “Congress-mukth Bharat” stands buried. Like any other programmable computers, tampering EVMs is neither easy nor very difficult and its alleged tampering by BJP will never be known. The talk of the town is that many Modi's cabinet colleagues silently wished defeat of BJP in Gujarat so that he starts learning to walk on the ground. In order to preserve our democracy it is necessary to have a narrow & rigid election campaigning code and also prohibit constitutional office bearers taking up any assignment for a period of two years after retirement.

Monday, 18 December 2017

BJP wins in Gujarat !

Today i.e. Dec 18, 2017, Gujarat election counting completed and BJP won in 99 seats (54%) and Congress+ 80 seats (44%), just 6 seats above the magic mark of 93 seats. In a 182 seat Gujarat Assembly - although it is a record 6th straight victory for BJP, all is not well for BJP and Congress put up a brave, spirited, tenacious and resurgent fight.
In 1985 Congress headed by Rajiv Gandhi won 149 seats (82%) restricting BJP to just 11 seats (6%). BJP never won Gujarat elections with any landslide victory. 

Now in 2017 elections, BJP's victory is with the lowest margin in the past 25 years, just 54% of seats. This is despite PM Modi addressing 37 rallies like a state CM, using street language abusing Congress and its leaders especially Rahul Gandhi and his family and invoking religion and Pakistan with no mention of his reforms (like demonetisation, GST etc) or Gujarat vikas model etc. Model poll code was violated by PM Modi himself many times. Quantum of money spent and liquor flowing in this dry state is immeasurable with lion's share of BJP (the champion of crusade against corruption & black money). Almost all media was captive in the hands of authoritarian Modi reflected by hours of coverage for Modi and often as low as a minute for Rahul Gandhi.

EC was blamed all along being partial to BJP and EVM tampering by BJP. EC lost its credibility by its wrong behavior only to please authoritarian Modi.

The way campaign was conducted by spirited & tenacious Congress led by Rahul Gandhi associated with 3 young turks - Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani sent shivers to BJP & Modi that compelled Modi to stretch himself and sweat out with fears of imminent defeat. 

Modi successfully fooled people of Gujarat once again since 2002 with his narratives, arousing passions, anti Muslim rhetoric, abusing Congress party etc with out doing much to the state of Gujarat or India. Today, Gujarat's human development indices are no better than Indian averages. Economic indices makes no sense for common people, poor people and farmers. Sound minds of India expect miracles by electing educationally and morally illiterate to power.

If any sanity of mind is left with Modi, he will go very cautiously with further reforms which only favours rich and hurts poor and focus on reasonable share for welfare, agriculture and rural development. With several states going to polls in 2018 and general elections 2019, analysts expect cautious behavior by Modi & co. But Modi is a man in hurry with habit of seeking quack advises, no economists left in his inner circle, empty coffers, unfavorable oil prices etc, he will be tempted to resort to wild adventures which would be disastrous for nation and that would be end of BJP in 2019 elections.

Narendra Modi’s seaplane flight from the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad to the Dharoi dam in Mehsana district on the last day of campaigning, is not only flouting his own safety norms but the question is whose plane is that. The aircraft is identified as N181KQ, landed in Mumbai on Dec 3 2017. It was said to have flown in from Karachi. The plane is owned by the Bank of Utah as a trustee and is USA registered, real owner is unknown. The flight logs of the aircraft show it has been across the globe made stops in New Zealand, Indonesia and Muscat before going to Karachi. The million dollar question is who brought this to India and paid for its trip to India for Modi's spectacular show.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Unorganised sector has large hidden potential for job creation

  • Unorganised sector's large hidden potential for job creation is the best hope for India.
  • Every politician and economist talks about 'development' and 'job creation' all the times but nothing much has happened during past 5 years.
  • Unemployment rate is stable mainly due to falling labour participation rates among children and women. Also because of hidden unemployment due to unemployed getting engaged as casual workers or absorption in family enterprises and underemployment of many workers.
  • Despite youth bulge in population there is no youth bulge in workforce and hence there is no demographic dividend.
  • We have large number of poorly educated workers.
  • Employment conditions will improve with an increase in the share of organised sector.
  • Earnings per worker improved by 2.3% in organised sector and 4.2% in unorganised sector between 1999-2000 and 2011-12 but gender equality in the work declined.
  • Recent trends show unemployment increase from 3.8% (2011-12) to 5% (2015-16) due 5 million 'employment loss'.

How large is the job gap? How soon can India reach a point where there is no hidden unemployment and all who want work can find it at a fair wage and decent work conditions?

  • Current surplus labour at 117 million (52 million who can be withdrawn without loss of production, anther 52 million who are not at present in labour force but are able and willing to work and 13 million who are reported unemployed)
  • Annual additions would be about 6-8 million.  
  • Can we absorb about 16 million a year in decent work and reach full employment by 2030?
  • China's model of export driven job creation looks less attractive due to global slow down, growing protectionism and growth of robotics and automation.
  • Growth in manufacturing with matching skill development, infrastructure construction, urban development, housing, information technology, investment in energy will produce many jobs but far less than availability.
  • The organised sector can't deliver jobs on the scale required. Job creation requires skill development for productivity enhancement.
  • Powerful trade unions are able to take care of very limited proportion of workers.
  • Labour reforms are required to ensure fair wages, competition and decent work conditions.
  • Wages of production workers declined from 15.4% of GVA (2000-01) to 8.5% (2011-12) in unorganised sector.
  • Vast majority of workers in unorganised sector lack security and suffer wage differentiation by caste, community, gender, geography for identical tasks.
  • Some reforms for protection and wage determination of workers in unorganised sector are necessary. Labour policy must address inequity and exploitation issues. 
  • For India to meet its job creation obligations, unorganised sector, with growth, reform and modernisation, is big hope with tremendous hidden potential. 

Unorganised sector, as its name suggests, doesn't follow many rules & processes and are outside income tax department lens. But its ability to provide vast number jobs fuels economic growth and contributes a lot in the form of indirect taxes. The recent demonetisation & GST proclaims formalisation of informal sector but in reality it has destroyed unorganised sector and that is evident from loss of 5 million livelihoods and GDP growth drooping from 9.1% to 5.7% and government(s) going penniless. But as they grow over time they themselves will migrate into formal sector with increased revenues, profits and benefits of formal sector. It makes sense for government(s) to allow this sector to function without fear or reverence, who will eventually become good tax payers too.

Agriculture sector with land reforms, land aggregation & cooperative farming, farm mechanisation, efficient & assured irrigation, rain water harvesting & ground water table increasing, remunerative pricing, crop insurance, efficient markets, quality inputs, warehousing & cold storages, food processing units etc will enhance rural development and reduce rural urban migration etc.