Sunday, 29 April 2018

Political narrative slipping out of Modi’s hands

It is not unusual for governments to become unpopular in their last year or two. But what surprised many is that the same thing happening to Modi, the master communicator, the king of narrative, the man who sets the agenda others follow, the slayer-of-demons who won UP despite the failure of demonetisation, and who knows how many rabbits he could still pull out of his hat.
  • The gory details of the brutalisation of women, recently at Kathua, J&K and Unnao, UP,  shocked people and angry protests followed. PM Modi maintained stoic silence for weeks as usual, breaking his silence only after public outrage, protests that continued even after the government has woken up. April 2018 could well have been December 2012. The intensity then was much greater, but the pattern is similar.
  • The government appears to be out of control and has lost its grip over the political narrative. Every week there’s a new crisis that makes the government look worse than it did the previous weekend. The negative headlines drown out PM Modi’s photo-ops.
  • A year ago, after winning UP elections with three-fourths majority, the Modi government looked so powerful people thought it would rule forever. Everyone had exclaimed. Modi and Shah inspired fear and awe alike. 
  • On July 31,2017, the provincial princeling of Patna, Nitish Kumar, felt compelled to give into the force of gravity, falling into the BJP’s waiting arms. Nobody can defeat Modi in 2019, he had declared triumphantly.
  • Exactly a month later, on 31 August, GDP for the Q1 of 2017-18 were published. India’s GDP had fallen to 5.7%, the impact of demonetisation was writ large. It was clear that things weren’t going to look up anytime soon because the mangled, badly designed and hurriedly rolled out and messy implementation of GST on July 1, 2017 slowed down business activity and hurt job creation. 
  • UP voters knew the truth is that demonetisation had failed to save any black money but voted for the BJP for other reasons. But demonetisation and GST hurt everything: jobs, rural economy, private investment, government revenues, consumer confidence and so on. The government cherry-picked economic data to defend itself. Spin-doctoring can make you believe any lies except the bit about the money in your pocket. 
  • The government managed to carry the political narrative over disastrous demonetisation and GST as successes, only till the GDP numbers were out. Since then, the Modi narrative has fallen week after week. Less than a year after the stupendous victory in UP, the Modi juggernaut is not looking beyond the pale of the cycle of anti-incumbency that inevitably follows mandates of hope.
  • Week after week, the Modi government’s own tall promises made through lofty slogans -- Beti Bachao, Digital India, Re-exam warriors, Co-operative federalism, Na khaoonga na khaanay doonga, Chowkidar of public money, Saffron Ambedkar all have boomeranged on Modi's face.
  • I&B minister Smriti Irani’s attempts to muzzle the press with the fake news bogey backfired. An unprecedented press conference by four sitting Supreme Court judges fuelled speculation that the government was interfering with the independence of the judiciary. The government’s attempt to shove Aadhaar down people’s throats without a consensus furthered its anti-democratic image.
  • The BJP’s big reply to its critics was that it keeps winning election after election. The party’s good performance in the NE was overshadowed by its humiliating loss of Gorakhpur & Phulpur in UP. Dalit alienation by Yogi government in UP forced the BSP to ally with SP that raising doubts over the BJP’s election machine.
  • The Gujarat election result was a victory that didn’t feel like one. Instead of improving BJP performance dropped to below 100 seats for the first time since the party’s rise to power, due to farm distress. The story was repeated in bypolls in Rajasthan’s Ajmer and Alwar. Farm distress and unemployment both became big stories that overshadowed the government’s tall claims. This, more than anything else, cast doubts over the party’s invincibility, and the inevitability of their 2019 victory. 
With an year to go for the 2019 general elections, Narendra Modi landed himself perfectly on a sliding slope, with no hope for him to rise and shine again? 

Modi proved himself as the worst PM India ever had, so far, did nothing for poor, peasants, unemployed youth & common man and focused in only enriching richer people, who hitherto fills his coffers. He ruthlessly destroyed informal sector which provides employment to masses but doesn't pay taxes. He has only empty rhetoric promises for them only to be forgotten in next few seconds. He doesn't care for constitution, democracy, rule of the law, laws of the land, institutions, traditions, allies or anything that comes his way. He was only successful at winning almost all elections till date. When he loses elections in 2019, which is almost a certainty, BJP leaders would be more happier than anyone. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

VIP hate speeches rise 500%, under Modi


The use of hateful and divisive language by high-ranking politicians has increased almost 500% in the past four years, an NDTV data collection exercise has found.
  • A day, or a week doesn't go without some senior politician - a member of Parliament, minister, MLA or even Chief Minister making a hateful comment, be it in the language of bigotry or calling for violence. The rise in use of social media by politicians has only amplified this disturbing trend.
  • NDTV collated the data from public record, internet, as well as using their reporters, scanning nearly 1,300 articles and going through 1,000 most-recent tweets of top politicians and public figures. NDTV says that this is not a perfect record, and doesn't claim to be comprehensive. 
  • From May 2014 to the present, there have been 124 instances of VIP hate speech by 45 politicians, compared to 21 instances under UPA 2, an increase of 490%. 90% of hateful comments made during the NDA's current terms are by BJP politicians. 
  • During UPA-2, 21 political leaders made hateful comments, of which 3 instances (14 %) were from the Congress, which anchored the coalition. Politicians from the BJP took the lead, recording 7 instances of hate speech.
  • Of the 45 leaders responsible for hate speech since the Modi government came to power, in only find six cases (only 5% of all instances) of evidence of a politician being reprimanded or cautioned, or issuing a public apology. 95% of the time, the 'VIP hater' faced no consequence.
  • In at least two cases, hate speech appears to have paid off. 
  1. Yogi Adityanath, the current CM of UP, was a MP from UP when, in Nov 2015, he said "There is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and that of Hafiz Saeed". In Sep 2014, he ascribed the rise in riots in Western UP to the population growth of a minority community. "In places where there are 10 to 20% minorities, stray communal incidents take place," he said. "Where there are 20 to 35% of them, serious communal riots take place and where they are more than 35%, there is no place for non-Muslims." In all, there are 6 instances of hate speech by the UP CM. All were made before he was promoted to his current office.
  2. Anant Kumar Hegde was a BJP MP from Karnataka when, in Mar 2016, he said, "As long as we have Islam in the world, there will be no end to terrorism. If we are unable to end Islam, we won't be able to end terrorism." In Sep 2017, he was promoted as Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Since 2014, Mr Hegde has made seven such hate speeches. Three months after being made union minister, in Dec 2017, Mr Hegde declared that the party would remove the term "secular" from the Constitution, saying "These people who call themselves secularists are like people without parentage or who don't know their bloodline."
  • Mr Hegde is one of three serial 'VIP haters' in poll-bound Karnataka. Shobha Karandlaje, a  MP from Karnataka and the general secretary of the Karnataka BJP, has posted at least nine hateful tweets since June last year. Pratap Simha, another MP from Karnataka, has also posted four hateful tweets since September last year. 
  • In further proof that hate has no consequence on the careers of political leaders, at least 21 political leaders (or 48%) had recorded more than one instance of hate speech. They were not reprimanded for their hateful comments, nor did they issue apologies. Prominent amongst them is T Raja Singh, a BJP MLA from Telangana, who has repeatedly made public speeches inciting violence. In Nov 2017, he threatened to burn down theatres screening "Padmavat." Since Dec 2015, Mr Singh has made at least ten hateful comments.
  • BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has written hateful tweets against Muslims, posting at least 17 of these since Sep 2017.
  • The reluctance of BJP to crack down on its hate speech 'offenders' is due to the fact that the its top leadership does not seem averse to playing the communal card, albeit using veiled language. Prominent amongst such instances are speeches by BJP party president Amit Shah, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
"If there is a cemetery in the village, there should be a crematorium as well; If there is electricity on Ramzan, it should be there on Diwali as well; there shouldn't be any discrimination," Mr Modi had said in Feb 2017, during an election rally in Fatehpur, UP, in the run-up to the assembly elections that his party swept. 
  • During the same campaign, Amit Shah sparked controversy with this comment: "If by any mistake, BJP loses, the victory and defeat may be in Bihar but fire crackers will go off in Pakistan."
  • Read the source article for complete list of hate speeches by BJP and UPA leaders.

Hate speeches are the hall mark of BJP's propaganda, especially during elections and during parliamentary debates. Modi goes way beyond others with deep desire to eliminate all national parties and establish monopoly of Hindutva forces paving the way for Hindu Rashtra. He fails to understand federal cooperation with states, diversity of the nation and the need to have balanced approach for unity & integrity of the nation. His facial expressions and body language evidently expresses his thoughts, intentions and actions. With his intolerance, arrogance coupled with lack of skills required for administering a large nation, and India was so much divided today like never before. For the first time since liberalisation in 1992, Indian economic outlook was so much distressed. Modi must be credited with shooting at the Tyres of the racing car (Indian Economy) without having an iota of what he was doing with his hare brained demonetisation and senselessly designed & hurried roll out of mangled GST.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Return of protectionism

Prime minister Narendra Modi has applauded India’s latest budget delivered by his finance minister Arun Jaitley, but the parallel chorus is fading out by the day. It was Utrjit Patel, RBI governor last week, this time it’s Modi’s former advisors, Arvind Panagariya, who was also deputy chairman of the Niti Aayog until August 2017.

The RBI's monetary policy committee listed out reasons why inflation could stay well above the RBI target of 4% throughout the next financial year. RBI expects a rise in food and vegetable prices, crude oil prices and cost of health and personal care. Three other factors that will likely fuel inflation emanate from Jaitley’s budget. 
  • Proposal to raise minimum support price (MSP) for farm products
  • Hike in custom duties for various products including industrial inputs
  • Wider-than-expected fiscal deficit
All this assuming that the south-west monsoon will be normal this year. The future of investments is  as bleak as it was before. For Modi government, these  nonchalant jabs from the RBI governor it is yet another sign that its populist budget may not help push the growth pedal. 

Substantial liberalisation under PV Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India became the first democracy to achieve 8% plus growth for nine years beginning in 2003-04. The top industrial tariff rate fell from 355% in 1990-91 to 10% in 2007-08 and imports and as proportion of the GDP expanded to 30% and exports to 24% by 2011-12. Sadly, a new generation of bureaucrats seems to have now replaced its more enlightened predecessor. It is on course to erect the wall of protection all over again. 

Those who cannot remember the past,
are condemned to repeat it ... George Santayana

Much is said about liberalisation and globalisation which benefited only one half of the world population while leaving other half in distress. What is visible is the constant economic growth that had eradicated extreme poverty and at the same time helped rich to become extreme rich, albeit unjustly. The casualty is environment, over extraction of non replenishable natural resources and workers with stagnant wages in developed nations. Today, US has accumulated trade debt of $20 trillion, up from $1 trillion during 1980's and has no clue or any forward looking plans to repay that debt and trade gap of $100 trillion is likely in next few decades and is saddled with huge industrial work force with stagnated wages. On other hand, China armed with huge trade plus faces deterioration of social values, degradation of landscape & environment and over exploited 150 million labour force with no human rights for over 30 yearsEconomics are complex and any change usually has unintended consequences. Over dependence on either exports or imports, for prosperity, is detrimental to any nation. The prudence lies in living within means and/or maintaining manageable trade gap at all times. Economic growth is never a true indicator of progress, development and wellness of any nation.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

15th Finance Commission: Diversion of funds from South to North

The Fifteenth Finance Commission’s Terms of Reference (ToR) have evoked a sharp response from southern states. The ToR mandates the Commission to use 2011 population for tax sharing and devolution of resources instead of 1971 population as was the practice in the past. 

The ToR seemingly fair to use the current population data has far reaching implications.
  • Between 1971 and 2011, except Telangana, population shares of four southern states in total declined from 22.01% to 18.16%. Thus, other things remaining the same, use of 2011. population for sharing resources means a decline in the flow of resources to these states.
  • Population share has also declined in Assam, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab and West Bengal. Thus, use of 2011 population would also affect economically less prosperous states like Assam, Odisha and West Bengal.
  • Between 1971 and 2011, while the population in south India went up 85%, the BIMARU states in north India (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh) went up by 144%. 
  • In the past, tax-sharing formula was a combination of factors reflecting equity, need and efficiency. Population being a neutral indicator of need has been used by all 14 finance commissions. 
  • The 14th Finance Commission gave 17.5% weightage to 1971 population in the tax-sharing formula, it also gave 10% weightage to 2011 population to reflect demographic change. 
  • The fundamental question is ToR asking FC to assess fiscal needs of states for tax sharing and grants is nothing but binding the Commission’s work to a particular reference population is arbitrary and unfair to all the stakeholders including the Commission.
  • In reality the Southern states are more productive and contributes largesse to exchequer and are ruled by non-BJP parties apart from lower population growth. Where as Northern states contributes much less to exchequer and have higher population growth and are ruled by BJP. Hence 15th FC ToR effectively transfers more funds from performing - non BJP ruled - Southern states to non performing - BJP ruled - Northern states. This is not only atrocious and audacious but also condemnable on the part of PM & FM in framing discriminatory ToR for 15th FC.
  • The 15th FC ToR also penalises those states with efficient administration in terms of population growth and higher productivity and incentivises ineffieffient, non performing states with higher population growth. This is ridiculous.
  • Since decline in population in 10 states is real and its adverse impact on resource transfers is real, designing an appropriate grant mechanism to reward these performing states is the responsibility of the Union Government. 
  • The only way is to scrap all the ToR and allow FC to frame its own rules for allocation of resources. The incentive or rewarding performing states should be done through a grant mechanism instead of tax sharing. 

See the hopeless reasoning given by FM, Jaitley arguing like an fee paid advocate of northern states without even mentioning the grievance of Southern states who stand to lose their rightful share of resources for reason of good performance. He doesn't even mention the anomaly of northern states getting Rs.1.60 for every Re.1.00 contributed by them to national exchequer whereas southern states getting Rs.0.64 for every Re.1.00 contributed by them to national exchequer just by center changing population reference from 1971 to 2011 in ToR without any authorization from anyone.
Ever since independence Southern states (with 24.35% LS seats only) suffered discrimination in the hands dominant Northern states only by virtue of population and 3/4th LS Seats. The present BJP regime headed by Modi with Arun Jaitley as FM are even more blatant discriminators, especially with entire South held by Non-BJP parties. This is no good for unity and integrity of India. Strong national parties like Congress and BJP have already done enough harm to South during past 70 years of Independence. Weak centre can perform better, judiciously even at the expense of rapid unsustainable growth. Then only even LS can function meaningfully and institutions exercise their autonomy. Strong centre with absolute majority for a national party tends to subvert constitution, undermine rule of law, rule whimsically and autocratically making institutions irrelevant. It is time to dump these national parties and let states be ruled by regional parties and form coalition of like minded parties with common minimum program at the centre. Then only North-South discrimination will end and rule of the law will prevail.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Solar Energy - Limitations

As per the Paris Agreement, India committed to increase the amount of electric power from clean energy resources to 40% by 2030. A total of 175 GW of renewable energy installed capacity was promised to be achieved by 2022, of which 100 GW is the target set for solar power alone.
  • A performance analysis study by a pioneer in the power generation industry, calculated that for every megawatt of solar power capacity installed, an average output of a mere 19% is extracted.
  • In a recently set up ‘the world’s largest solar power plant’ in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat is with a total capacity of 40 MW, the electricity generation of this plant is about 63.8 million units, merely at 18.2% of its total capacity. 
  • For obvious reasons – night, monsoons, dust, storms – solar power is neither produced all day nor throughout the year. Thus, solar power plant's capacity utilisation factor (CUF)  will never exceed 20% of its capacity.
  • The lofty cost of rooftop solar panels overrides the tangible benefit in the eyes of customers,  despite 30% subsidy. Due to the instability in solar power production, the dependence of households with rooftop solar on coal based electricity/diesel generators will persist.
  • A far bigger problem is that solar power is given preference when supply exceeds demand, so thermal plants have to back down. The plant load factor (PLF) or capacity utilisation of coal-based plants was 76% six years ago, but it is now just 58%. Above 70% PLF Thermal Power Companies are profitable, at 58% they are in trouble and at 48% they would go bust.
  • Solar power looks great when the sun shines, but stops at sunset, just as power demand soars to its evening peak. Much thermal power has to remain idle during the day, ready to pick up the slack when solar production suddenly stops. This forced idleness carries huge costs hidden by ostensibly cheap solar power quotations.
  • Solar power appears cheaper with provision of cheap land, tax subsidies, incentives, accelerated depreciation, viability gap funding and capital equipment subsidy. Once these are all removed the picture will be different.
  • The true cost of solar power (sans implicit and explicit subsidies) at Rs 6/unit without storage and Rs 8/unit with storage. A captive coal-based power station working flat out yields power at just Rs 2.50/unit, far cheaper than solar power. 
  • Solar costs are falling fast. The slower we go, the more solar costs will fall. So speed is not a virtue. Raising solar targets repeatedly looks green and good, but has hidden, potentially disastrous costs.
  • Both thermal and solar capacity creation must slow down. Breakneck speed for solar power will break the neck of thermal plants and banks.
  • The deceiving picture of the output from a major component of renewable energy and the promise of government for 24×7 electricity for all, the idea that India’s dependence on coal based power will decrease in the near future seems naïve. 
  • The government has not reduced its coal output targets and plans to raise coal output from the current 550 million tonnes to nearly a billion tonnes by 2022.
  • The much advertised ten-fold increase in solar power may seem like a game-changer for the renewable energy sector. But on close examination it becomes clear that the power yield from this increased capacity on an average will be as little as 20% of the total capacity, and this will make little difference to India’s emissions.

Guaranteeing 24x7 power supply is a gigantic task. In the absence of economic batteries, solar energy suffers from its limitations. However it is very cost effective for remote villages, agriculture pump sets not serviced by regular sources of electric power. In cities and towns it could be used for water heating and for reducing electricity bills. Much of power demand for commercial, domestic and street lighting occurs during evening and night hours and has to be met from non-solar resources only. With all its limitations, still solar power could be used to reduce power demand during day time hours. The higher the solar power generation the higher would be stand by sources of power thus efficiency of power sector gets reduced translating into higher tariffs apart from creating power system operational issues. Therefore, solar power can never replace conventional resources of power fully and at best it could meet 20-25% power demand. 

Sunday, 8 April 2018

రాజకీయ రంగస్థలం!

రాజకీయమంటేనే అరాచకీయం. ఆ అరాచకీయాన్ని అద్భుతమైన ఆదర్శాల పేరు చెప్పి మరింత అపసవ్యంగా ఆవిష్కరించి, వికారంగా తీర్చిదిద్దేవాడు నాయకుడు. ఎన్నికల గాడిపొయ్యి మీద డేకీసాలో రాజకీయాన్ని పోసి, సీట్లతో మంటపెట్టి, ఓట్లతో కలబెట్టి, హామీల పోపు పెట్టి, కులమనే వెల్లుల్లిని ఫుల్లుగా దట్టించి, మతమనే మసాలాను ఘాటుగా పట్టించి, బాగా ఉడకనిచ్చి వేడివేడిగా వడ్డిస్తే ఉంటుంది చూశారూ ఆ మజా.. అధికారం నషాళానికి అర అంగుళం దూరంలో ఆగి కనిపిస్తుంది. దాంతోపాటు పక్కన నంజుకోవడానికి పచ్చ నోట్లు, పుంజుకోవడానికి పచ్చటి సీసాలు ఉంటే సొర్గం మన ముందట తడబడుతూ నిలబడ్డట్టే! ఐదేళ్లకోసారి పండక్కి మాత్రమే దొరికే ఈ స్పెషల్‌డిష్‌ తినేవాడికి ఇంపు. చూసేవాడికి కంపు!

రాజకీయాన్ని వండడం అంత తేలికేం కాదు. ఏమీ తెలియనట్టే కుట్రలు పన్నగలిగిన అమాయకత్వం... పైకి తెచ్చిన వాడినే వెన్నుపోటు పొడవగల అకుంఠిత విధేయత... జాతికి జరిగే నష్టాన్ని కూడా పట్టించుకోనంత నిస్వార్థపరత... దేశం నాశనమైపోయినా లెక్కచేయనంత దేశభక్తి... అనునిత్యం అతికినట్టు అబద్ధాలు చెప్పగలిగే నిజాయతీ... నిన్న సాయంవేళ ఇచ్చిన మాటను ఇవాళ పొద్దున్నే మరచిపోగలిగేంత జ్ఞాపకశక్తి... సిగ్గులేకుండా ఆత్మస్తుతి పరనింద చేయగల నిష్పాక్షికత... ధనికుల కోసం మాత్రమే ఆలోచించేంత దారిద్య్ర నిబద్ధత... బేవార్సు విధానాలకు భేషుగ్గా భాష్యం చెప్పగల సైద్ధాంతిక చతురత.. కుర్చీ కోసం ఇటు నుంచి ఎటైనా దుంకగల అ–చంచలత... ఇవన్నీ ఉన్నవాడే రాజకీయాన్ని రుచిగా వండి వార్చగలడు!!

కుల రహిత సమాజం కోసం కులతత్వాన్ని పెంచి పోషించగలిగే మహా నిబద్ధత... మతాతీత దేశం కోసం మారణహోమాన్ని రెచ్చగొట్టగలిగే లౌకికత ఉండడం అదనపు అర్హత. భూమి తనచుట్టూ తాను భ్రమణం చేస్తూ, సూర్యుడి చుట్టూ పరిభ్రమణం చేస్తుందట. కానీ మన నాయకుల ఫలితమా అని భారతదేశం కులం చుట్టూ భ్రమిస్తూ, మతం చుట్టూ పరిభ్రమిస్తోంది. కాలం గడిచేకొద్దీ కులం– మతం కాలగతిలో కలసిపోవడానికి బదులు కల్లోలమే సృష్టిస్తున్నాయి.

ఓట్ల కోసం, సీట్లకోసం నేతలు ఇప్పటిదాకా ప్రజలను కులాలు, మతాలు వారీగా మాత్రమే చీల్చారు. కులాలను, మతాలను కూడా చీల్చేయడం ఇప్పుడు మొదలైంది.

హిందువుల్ని కులాలుగా విడగొట్టి, ముస్లింలను మతంగా కొల్లగొట్టి, లౌక్యంగా గెలవడం నేర్చుకున్నాయి లౌకికవాద పార్టీలు. హిందువుల్ని మతంతో ఏకం చేసి, ముస్లిముల్లో సున్నీ, షియా, తలాఖ్‌ల తకరారు పెట్టి ‘అమిత’ చాతుర్యం చూపారు బీజేపీ వారు. దీనికి దీటుగా, పోటీగా ఇప్పుడు ఏకంగా హిందూ మతాన్నే ముక్కచెక్కలు చేయడానికి లెక్కలేశారు కాంగ్రెస్‌వారు.

ఓట్లొస్తే చాలు, సీట్లొస్తే చాలు, కుర్చీలో దర్జాగా కొలువుదీరితే చాలు! కాకి వాలిన కారులో కూర్చోవడమే నచ్చని పరమ హేతువాది... మూఢ నమ్మకాలకు వ్యతిరేకంగా చట్టం చేసి కూడా, మంత్రించిన నిమ్మకాయ చేతిలో ఉంటే తప్ప ప్రచారం చేయలేని నిష్ఠా గరిష్ఠుడు... దేవుడిని కొలిచే మఠాధిపతులను తప్ప దేవుళ్లను నమ్మని నాస్తిక శిఖామణి ఇప్పుడు.. మోడీని పడగొట్టేందుకు తొడగొడుతున్న దేశ రాజకీయ యోధులకు ఆదర్శప్రాయుడు! కర్ణాటకను గేమ్‌ ఛేంజర్‌గా భావిస్తూ, సిద్దూ [సిధ్ధరామయ్య] ప్రయోగాన్ని, ఫలితాన్ని చూసి అదే మార్గంలో పయనించాలని దేశంలోని నేతలంతా తహతహలాడుతున్నారు! భశుం!!

చివరాఖరు: గోరఖ్‌పూర్‌ ఎన్నికల్లో బీజేపీ ఓడిపోయిన తర్వాత, పార్లమెంటు సెంట్రల్‌హాల్లో ప్రతిపక్ష ఎంపీలంతా, మోదీ నిరాదరణకు గురైన బీజేపీ అగ్రనేత మురళీమనోహర్‌ జోషికి శుభాకాంక్షలు చెప్పడం మొదలుపెట్టారట. ఆయన కూడా మందహాసంతో వాటిని స్వీకరించారట. ఇదంతా చూస్తున్న మంత్రి ధర్మేంద్ర ప్రధాన్‌... జోషి వద్దకు వచ్చి ‘మీరిలా చేయడం ఏమీ బాగాలేదు. తప్పుడు సంకేతాలు వెళతాయి’ అన్నారట. ‘నేను ఎప్పుడేం చేయాలో చెప్పేంత వాడివయ్యావా నువ్వు’ అని గద్దించారట జోషి. మోదీ మీద విపక్షీయులకే కాదు; స్వపక్షీయులకూ ఎంత కోపం ఉందో ఇంతకుమించి చెప్పాలా?

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Modi and BJP fading away in Hindi heartland

In 2014-15 BJP president Amit Shah's proclamed an uninterrupted BJP rule at the Centre for the next 50 years. Even those who factored in unforeseen political challenges had little doubt that the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah would have an easy ride at least for 15 years. But such conviction is a thing of the past. These observations were made by a senior BJP leader from UP within days after the BJP suffered shock defeats in the byelections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur. UP CM Yogi Adityanath, the BJP's latest mascot candidly admitted that they had been done in by overconfidence. 

  • As in March 2018, BJP is in power 15 states and shares power in 5 other states. While 3 states are in Congress fold, 6 states are ruled by regional parties.
  • Despite its massive presence in the country, today BJP is trembling with negative vibrations across the nation and elections for 5 states are slated for 2018 and general election for 2019 and Modi is desperately searching for a magic wand, that will work.
  • In a span of 10 days, BJP suffered stinging defeats in UP’s Gorakhpur and Phulpur, constituencies held earlier by CM Adityanath and DyCM KP Maurya. While Tripura was wrested by BJP ending the 25-year-old Left Front regime, BJP surrendered their 27-year-long  domination of Gorakhpur to a loose alliance of the SP and BSP. In Bihar, revived alliance with the JDU did not bring any benefit as RJD retained the Araria LS constituency and the Jehanabad Assembly seat. Indeed, you never can take the Indian electorate for granted.
  • In the RS polls, BJP’s strength in UP Assembly assured its victory in 8 seats, but it managed to win another seat by engineering cross-voting from the opposition to ensure the BSP candidate’s defeat. Managing a victory in a RS election through backroom manoeuvres is in no way a measure of public opinion.
  • The reports from the Hindi heartland States of UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, MP and many more affirm that the popular mood is definitely turning against the BJP. The party is witnessing a steady erosion of support on account of agrarian crisis, the economic hardships on account of demonetisation and GST reforms, and the general failure to live up to the high expectations generated through the rhetoric of leaders like Modi. There is little doubt that this is bound to reflect in reduction of seats for the BJP in the 2019 general election.
  • The fact of the matter is voters in the Hindi heartland States are fed up with BJP and they need to face it squarely without taking recourse to convoluted logic and lame excuses. The vote share of the BJP fell by 1,04,495 in Gorakhpur from the 2014 count and by a massive 2,20,102  in Phulpur.
  • It is more daunting for the BJP since a mere arithmetical aggregation of SP and BSP votes of the 2017 Assembly elections shows the two parties ahead in as many as 50 of the 80 LS seats in the State. If this arithmetic is getting supplemented by an emotive appeal, a potential SP-BSP alliance will make rapid strides in UP’s electoral politics. Projections on the basis of a cumulative vote share assessment of the 2017 UP Assembly election results are that the SP-BSP combine has a lead of 1.45 lakh votes across 57 LS seats. The BJP and its allies lead in 23 seats by 58,000 votes, a sharp fall from the 71 seats won by BJP and 2 seats won by its allies in 2014.
  • Akhilesh Yadav, SP president and former UP CM is of the view that the voter dissatisfaction with the BJP regimes at the Centre and in the States is fast acquiring big proportions and is bound to spread nationally in due course. He opines that Gorakhpur and Phulpur were merely precursors. 
  • Akhilesh Yadav said that efforts to portray the BJP defeats in Gorakhpur and Phulpur as the mere fallout of electoral arithmetic is a mechanistic assessment that fails to take into consideration the larger social, economic and political context marked by misrule, the human misery caused by that misrule.
  • The TDP  decision to leave the NDA and move a no-confidence motion against the Modi government is another indication of BJP mishandling its NDA allies.
  • The manner in which the BJP’s sought to counter the no-confidence motion underscore a sense of panic. The party seems to have unleashed the AIADMK, which has become completely servile to Modi and Shah after  Jayalalithaa’s death, and the TRS to continuously disrupt Parliament on some pretext or the other so that the no-confidence motion cannot be taken up. It seems that like the UPA-II, the Modi Ministry is desperately seeking to run away from parliamentary inspection. The debates on the no-confidence motion would have been telecast live and this too could have added to the government’s discomfiture. But such desperate filibustering will ultimately aggravate voter disenchantment with the Modi government.
  • The opposition parties have reinforced attempts to rally anti-BJP forces. While the Congress laid out its plan of action for non-BJP coalition in a special plenary and others are seeking to stitch an alliance of regional parties and these are based on the premise that the BJP is no longer in the position of strength that it enjoyed in 2014. 
  • In the RS election in UP, the SP. and the Congress had announced support to the BSP candidate but lost due to cross voting in favour of 9th BJP candidate. The BJP leadership saw in the situation a chance to make mischief between the allies to split them. However, in the press conference that Mayawati said that BSP saw through the BJP’s dirty tricks and vile political games and horse-trading and made it clear that the alliance would continue. 
  • BJP and RSS knew that Yogi Adityanath’s stock had taken a big beating. Projected last year as a potential successor to Modi, he has been exposed as an inefficient and ordinary “non vote catcher” leader who cannot even retain his own pocket borough that he had literally lorded over for decades. That does strengthen the Modi-Shah duo as the only vote catcher in the BJP, but the Hindi heartland States account for approximately 200 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha.
  • The BJP is known traditionally to be an urban-centric party. The low turnout in the urban areas in the Gorakhpur at 33% and Phulpur 31% was disconcerting in the context of electoral challenges. This showed that the rural antipathy towards the party continued, its urban core base was resolutely refusing to rally behind it. It remains to be seen how Modi and Shah will tackle this. Certainly empty rhetoric cannot contain these jolts and there is widespread agreement with this observation among the Sangh Parivar rank and file.
Having not ruled the country during first two years and misruled the country with disruptive reforms without preparation and leaving all vulnerable people to their fate without any support, time is now for Modi and BJP to pay the price. No matter what he does, his graph will continue to plunge, an RSS survey has warned Modi. The only way to limit damages is to go for flash polls. That is almost certainty if Karnataka result stuns BJP, which is likely as per opinion polls. Arrogance and dictatorial attitudes will never pay. Consequences are inescapable. Modi's wrong behavior and non-performance and corruption & scams etc has no bounds, much worse than Congress and UPA. Modi must realize that empty rhetoric will not work all the times.

The art of giving up

The irony of life that as soon as you think you have things figured out, the rules change.
  • The simple rule of success is - More! Acquire more words. More food. More toys. Take more classes. Earn more degrees. Once we enter the working world the objective remains the same. Acquire knowledge. Gain experiences. Get better. Take on more. And More! 
  • Life, it would seem, is about the acquisition of more knowledge and more skill and more responsibility. And those most likely to be successful are the ones with the greatest capacity for more.
  • But then the rules of success change in the second phase of life which is about giving up. Doing less. It is about focusing on what you were meant to be doing, leveraging your greatest strengths and passions, and letting everything else fall to the side.
  • Most successful are not the ones who can do everything, they are the ones who can do something, and do it exceptionally well. It is their confidence in the few things they excel at.
  • An obsession with success can have negative side effects on what matters even more in life: being happy. Are successful people necessarily happier?
  • Kids today face tremendous pressure to succeed, but is such success worth it?
  • Most of us sacrifice our present-day enjoyment for the sake of a future that may never really arrive. Researchers interviewed people in the winter years of their life, and asked them what they would change about their past if they could re-live their lives. The study revealed that people consistently wished that they had been a little less work-oriented, a little less focused on being successful, and a little more pleasure-orientated, a little more focused on enjoying life. 
  • When looking at success over the span of an entire career, it is our willingness to give things up that matters much more than our capacity to take things on.
  • The acquisition of knowledge and experience is an extraordinary gift. But once you find it, you must summon the confidence to let other things go. You must delegate to others more talented than you. You must focus on the challenges that most excite you. This is what authentic leadership is all about.
  • Success to a point requires gaining as much knowledge and experience as you can get your hands on. But breaking out to achieve the life you are capable of living eventually requires the strength to let it go.

But even more basic than figuring out which goals to pursue and which ones to abandon, is having the clarity to accord the goal of leading a happy and fulfilling life your number one priority. Do you have it? If not, be aware that you may grow to be one of those who, like the participants in the study, regret having sacrificed enjoyment for the sake of success.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The art of giving

  • The true Art in Giving is to give from the heart without any expectation of a return.
  • A gift is something that is enjoyed by the giver who revels in the pleasure of giving something special and also enjoyed by the person who receives the gift.
  • Very often it is not money or belongings that people need but a personal act of kindness, it's the advice reassurance, a kind word, compliments or a smile. 
  • Sharing resources or time is never easy. There are many who have discovered joy in this simple yet difficult art. Sharing our resources, time, ideas, skills, etc. with those in the need of it may find its way back into our lives in diverse ways. Despite limitations and challenges, there are many people who have made a deep impact on society.
  • Everybody has something of value for another person. It could be a kind word, a simple smile, some appreciation, the sharing of some special knowledge, even a helping hand or a bit of support during a difficult emotional time.
  • With most things in this world, there is only a limited amount of what one can give away. Generosity and kindness are not bound to these same material limitations.
  • Every single act of love, kindness and generosity will multiply and return many times over. The more one give the happier one will feel. The reward of charity depends entirely upon the extent of the kindness in it.
  • Life's paradox is that one limit the power of giving by having an expectation of getting something in return. When one give without any thought or desire for something back, the returns will be truly limitless.
  • Life is like a river of energy, continually flowing. A fast flowing river is full of life and clear water. What happens when a river stops moving? It get very muddy, and stagnant. 
  • The acts of giving and receiving are a continuous process of circulation that continues the flow of life’s energies. For one person to receive someone else has to give. 
  • True giving, without expectation of anything in return is as effortless as breathing. How much is too much to give? One may never know, so just give until there's nothing else.
  • An ego based form of giving is giving with an expectation of something in return. This is not giving at all but a form of barter. 
  • The intention behind giving is the most important thing. The intention should always be to create happiness for both the giver and the receiver.
  • Giving with resentment will ultimately will come back with resentment. In this case, not giving the gift at all is a better option. What one gives out is what comes back in direct proportions to the feelings in the act of giving.
When you meet someone, you can silently send them a blessing, wishing them happiness, joy and laughter. This kind of silent giving is very powerful. When you do this, you will suddenly find people around you opening to you in joy and happiness. Make a decision that wherever you go, to whoever you meet, to give. As long as you are giving, you will also be receiving. The more you give, the more will flow back to you and be returned many times over. Giving creates a pattern of happiness, joy and love in your life beyond your wildest expectations.

Kindness in words creates confidence. 
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. 
Kindness in giving creates love ... Lao Tsu

Due process of law

It is axiomatic in a democratic society that no one should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, i.e. to be given a chance to be heard and present a case according to the rules set forth by the authorities before any action can be taken. Failing this, any action of the government to take one’s life, liberty or property is void and of no effect. Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person. It is a course of formal proceedings carried out regularly and in accordance with established rules and principles that enables fair treatment through the normal judicial systemIt is also a judicial requirement that enacted laws may not contain provisions that result in the unfair, arbitrary, or unreasonable treatment of an individual. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the individual person from it. 
  • Due process guarantees that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
  • When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due process violation, which offends the rule of law. 
  • The law of due process generally evokes the right of an individual to be heard before the imposition of punishment or penalties by the government.
  • Due process does not mean you have the right to be believed, just that you have the right to be heard.
  • Due process in court is one thing. But in the court of public opinion, it is a much more fluid notion, entangling questions of what is fair, what is reasonable to believe, and what rings emotionally true.
  • The due process of a court action is often a very complicated and lengthy affair, involving pretrial discovery, witnesses, and a judicial proceeding. But given the stakes of loss of life or liberty, that makes sense. 
  • The due process depends on context. The hearing may be very summary or informal or requires a jury trial with a standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • The due process depends on the value or importance of the deprivation, and to some extent on the likelihood that more process might change the outcome. In the criminal context, where the stakes are higher, the amount of process is greater.
  • For everyone, due process connotes only procedural protections: the process due (e.g., notice, opportunity to be heard) before someone is deprived of something.
  • It is an obligation owed only by the government. A private person does not owe “due process” to another private person.
  • In the case of employees the due process would be minimal. And it is important to note that employee can waive their right to insist on due process by resigning from employment and may well waive any due process rights that the employee otherwise would have had.
  • At bottom, due process is our protection against arbitrary governmental action and is triggered only when the government acts. It does not apply to the press or the court of public opinion, or to private employers.
Due process gives all people the basic right to receive “written notice and an opportunity to be heard” before government takes any steps to deprive them life, liberty, or property. The subjects gets opportunity to speak against the deprivation, i.e. to appear in front of a judge to explain why this deprivation should not occur and how the subjects are in the right, and the government should not be permitted to take your life, liberty, or property.

The importance of legacy media

In today’s world of information overload, it is estimated in 2016 that every second approximately 6,000 tweets were put out, more than 40,000 Google queries were searched, and more than two million emails were sent. In this deluge, how do we navigate through the minefields of lies, spins, and partial truths?
  • There are principles such as first-hand knowledge, verification, bearing witness, and accountability that govern the flow of news. The term ‘fake news’ legitimises outright lies and and partial truths and cannot be linked with the word ‘news’ allowing the debate to be framed as a textual problem, while it is an ethical and social one. 
  • The exponential growth in polarised websites and social media activism aimed at ruthless propaganda before elections and trying to invoke Article 19 to defend this act of criminality undermines democracy itself.
  • In the complexity of information disorder, the words ‘fake’ or ‘news’ is woefully inadequate to capture this polluted information ecosystem.
  • There is a discernible movement away from the constant blur of breaking news on television screens and social media platforms.
  • In this environment, legacy media* is regaining its place as a credible information provider. Majority readers have started valuing the process of stringent gate-keeping that forms the bedrock of journalism. *Media such as radio, television, and especially newspapers are considered as legacy media where the receiver does not contribute or interact with the content and remains totally passive.
  • The importance of slow journalism is that it takes time to do things properly with the values of journalism — context, analysis and expert opinion. They cut through the noise by not following modern news production methods that are filled to the brim with reprinted press releases, knee-jerk punditry, advertorial nonsense, and churnalism. Instead, they prefer slow journalism as an antidote to menace: Intelligent, curated, non-partisan news coverage designed to inspire and inform.
Being one of the last to break news can inform readers in a way that the constant stream of 24x7 news updates cannot. One of the best things about a print edition is the virtue of finite space. They don't fall into 24/7 news traps: the speculation, conjecture and hot air. It is up to the readers to support journalism and not fleeting social media trends.

We systematically overestimate the change that will occur in two years, 
while underestimating the change that will come in the next ten years ... Bill Gates

Monday, 2 April 2018

నరేంద్ర మోడీ జీవితంపై ఆంధ్రజ్యోతి ప్రత్యేక విశ్లేషణ


Is Modi a two-faced PM? 
ABN Special discussion with Political Analyst C Narasimha Rao 
over Secrets of PM Narendra Modi's Personal life. 

 Part 1

 Part 2

 Part 3

Part 4