Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Sardar Patel statue - farmer's fume

The world's tallest statue, the Statue of Unity dedicated to the iron man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is all set to be unveiled by PM Narendra Modi on October 31, 2018, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. The work of 182-meter tall statue has been completed after round the clock work by 3,400 labourers and 250 engineers at Sadhu Bet island on Narmada River in Gujarat costs Rs.3,000 crores.
  • The 182-metre (597 ft) statue is the tallest in the world and is twice the size that of Statue of Liberty in New York City, which stands at 93-metres and four times the size of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. It is built from 90,000 tonnes of cement and 25,000 tonnes of iron.
  • Larsen & Toubro won the contract in October 2014 for its lowest bid of Rs 2,989 crore (US$420 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. Gujarat government is reported to have paid more than half of that amount. The remainder came from the central government or public donations.
  • Work on the statue started in December 2013 and was to be completed in 42 months. This was extended by another four months because the critical design phase took longer than expected.
  • "Instead of spending money on a giant statue, the government should have used it for farmers in the district," Mr Vijendra Tadvi, a 39 year old farmer, said, adding that farmers in the area still lack basic irrigation facilities. The statue is complete and Mr Tadvi has found more work as a driver on construction sites. But he is still unimpressed by the government's largesse. All of this is about 10 kms from Mr Tadvi's village, Nana Pipaliya, in the largely poor, rural and tribal Narmada district. Many of its households continue to live in hunger, primary school enrolment has been falling and malnourishment persists, according to a report published in 2016 by the state government.
  • But the government believes the memorial will boost the district's economy, as they expect about 2.5 million annual visitors. 
  • According to the 2011 census, some 85% of the district's working population is engaged in agriculture, a sector which is dominated by small farmers who own two to four acres of land.
  • In the shadow of Patel's statue, farmers have resorted to stealing water. They say they can see the water passing by their farms through a canal that transports it from the dam, but it's illegal to divert the water so they are forced to steal it. One of the farmers said he had laid a pipe underground from the canal to his farm, adding that nearly all farmers in the area did this to survive. "We don't have any option but to take the water illegally as there are no sources of water left for us."

Modi’s penchant for talking big and doing nothing has a chilling similarity with Mussolini’s Fascist Italy is that in the Mussolini regime, politics starts to be less concerned with the act of governing people in an efficient way, for instance, in solving their economic problems. Instead, it is focused more on the spectacle of power, on the visual and impressive display of symbols, myths and rituals and impressive speeches. In terms of everyday life this takes the shape of a domination of form of visual appearance, effects over the content. It also means that politics ceases to be measured by political criteria. Politics itself assumes the form of an artistic act. Ever since Modi became CM of Gujarat in 2001 and then PM in 2014, he has done nothing for the farmers of India in general and farmers of Gujarat in particular, except doling out empty speeches. Needless to say this Rs.3,000 if spent for the benefit of farmers would have changed the course of farmer's lives in about 4 districts forever. Alas good things are rarely done.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Income-tax act, a national disgrace

In 1991, Nani Palkhivala called the Income-tax Act “a national disgrace” because of its “maddening instability“. He expressed anguish at the “pathological change mania” that had gripped the Finance Ministry which caused it to make repeated and mindless amendments to the Law. He also expressed disappointment with the Indian public who endured injustice and unfairness with “feudalistic servility” and “fatalistic resignation“.
  • Administrative justice demands compromise. There is no pre-determined solution to the problem of tempering power with justice. 
  • The cardinal error is to mistake amendment for improvement and change for progress. 
  • A stable fiscal policy is to a nation what a stable family life is to an individual.
  • The obsessive attitude that the exercise of power must take the form of churning out new laws and regulations is shared by the legislature and the rule-making authority alike.
  • No class of people stands to benefit more in the long run from just administration than the administrators themselves.
  • Government depends upon the approval of the governed.
  • Fair play in administration will enlist the citizen’s sympathies and will enormously reduce the friction with which the machinery of government works.
  • Good administrators should take care that the machinery is properly tended and that the lubricant of justice is supplied in the right quantity at the right points.
  • Today the income-tax Act, 1961, is a national disgrace. There is no other instance in Indian jurisprudence of an Act mutilated by more than 3300 amendments in less than thirty years.
  • The tragedy of India is the tragedy of waste – waste of national time, energy and manpower. Tens of millions of man-hours, crammed with intelligence mild knowledge – of tax gatherers. tax-payers and tax advisers – are squandered every year in grappling with the torrential spate of mindless amendments. The feverish activity achieves no more good than a fever.
  • We legislate first, and think afterwards. Sections are introduced which never come into force, because they are repealed or substituted before the date they are scheduled to come into operation. In the event, complexity is heaped upon complexity and the confusion becomes worse confounded.
  • Legislative work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This is a branch of Parkinson’s Law and its operation has caused Parkinson’s disease in the body of our fiscal code.
  • The avalanche of ill-conceived changes and complications, which may be compendiously called “legal litter”, is mainly responsible for the poor quality of our tart administration.
  • In the UK there are less than 29 million income-tax payers but the number of references filed in the High Court is only around thirty in a year. In India there are only five to seven million income-tax payers but the number of references filed in our High Courts is around 6,500 a year, in addition to about 1,500 writ petitions. These figures reflect the tremendous public dissatisfaction with the quality of the law and of fiscal administration. 
  • The situation is continuously aggravated by the deluge of new amendments – the indigestible verbiage; and the flood of litigation is heavier today than ever before.
  • These are people that have lost the power of astonishment at their own actions. When they give birth to a fantastic passion or foolish law, they do not start or stare at the monster they have brought forth… These nations are really in danger of going off their heads en masse, of becoming one vast vision of imbecility ... G. K. Chesterton, in his essay “The Mad Official“.
  • The rot begins when wild actions are received calmly by society.
  • We Indians are a “low arousal” people. We endure injustice and unfairness with feudalistic servility and fatalistic resignation. The poor of India endure inhuman conditions. The rich endure foolish laws and unending amendments which benefit none except the legal and accountancy profession, and instinctively prefer to circumvent the law rather than to fight for its repeal.
  • One of the main reasons for India’s backwardness and stunted development is that we as a nation have no sense of time at all. We are individually intelligent and collectively foolish. 
  • Taxes are the life-blood of any government, but it cannot be over-emphasized that the blood is taken from the arteries of the tax-payers and, therefore, the transfusion has to be accomplished with the principles of justice and fair play.
  • Let us never forget the wise words of Justice Hughes who observed that no democracy can survive without respect for laws and institutions, but that in a free democracy laws and institutions will command that degree of respect which they deserve.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

With majority eluding in 2019, BJP has to accommodate allies

As things stand at the moment, it is unlikely for BJP to get simple majority in 2019 elections but will retain the position of the single largest party. Assuming that large parts of the opposition remain together, BJP may hold on to at best 210 seats in the Lok Sabha. This would bring the BJP to the size of the Congress in the last UPA government. 
  • Regional parties that are not currently in it but have been at one time, like some of the Tamilian parties, may join in. Which were once there but have become opponents (TDP, BJD etc.) could join again or remain neutral. Therefore, even if the BJP loses 70 or 80 seats, it should still be possible for the party to return to power.
  • This will be an entirely new situation for Modi, who became the chief minister of Gujarat without having fought a single election. He has always led a majority government. A few months into his term, Gujarat burst into flames.
  • Modi's only experience is as a CM in heading government where he controlled the full majority and often a two-thirds one. Old leaders were sidelined. New loyal faces were brought in. Modi picked and chose his Cabinet and dominated by holding all the key portfolios.
  • Amit Shah, the second most powerful leader in the country today, was not given cabinet rank and was kept as MoS in the decade he served under Modi in Gujarat.
  • Modi’s brilliant campaign of 2014 then produced a similar situation in Delhi and he was the undisputed leader of a party that had previously had some divisions but was always more disciplined than the Congress. Old leaders like LK Advani and MM Joshi were shunted out. Others like Sushma Swaraj had to submit. The party is seen as a big happy family today but it is not. BJP also has many who are capable of doing more but are being deliberately held back. With BJP having less than 210 seats, these individuals & regional leaders will assert themselves in a way that they are not doing now. 
It will be fascinating to see how Modi, for the first time in his political life without a majority, will manage the ambitions and the conflicts. At 210 seats, the position of the PM will be like that of Manmohan Singh. He was wrongly seen as weak, rather than the position of a man whose allies have a veto on his actions. There is no defence against such allies except for martyrdom. One can sacrifice the government, or one’s position, and move on. But if one wants to lead in a government where the majority is missing, then allies will have to be accommodated. This is something which Modi never did. Running a minority government requires flexibility and the ability to swallow humiliation. Allies will make sure that their hold is made public and this will mean getting the government to bend a few times. It will be fascinating to see how Modi manages this, particularly for those who have observed the meteoric trajectory of his career. Minority governments and khichdi coalitions has not hampered India’s economic and social growth. Those who fear a minority government or a hamstrung BJP should not despair. Coalitions are not evil. What will be instructive will be to see how Modi manages one.

Modi & Amit Shah duo would like to sit in opposition and allow a 'kichdi' coalition take charge and collapse with its own contradictions in an year or two and win back in mid term polls emulating fall of Janata Party and return of Indira Gandhi in 1980. Although not easier, RSS have given clear direction that it would like Modi to pave way to more acceptable person like Nitin Gadkari to lead BJP lead NDA government. Easing out Modi & Shah is a big challenge for RSS and softliners. 

Monday, 8 October 2018

Communism, Democracy & Socialism

  • Communism and democracy are two different ideologies that have rendered great impact in the world. Communism can be termed as a socio economic structure that stands for the establishment of a classless, egalitarian and stateless society. Socialism is an economic system while communism is both an economic and political system. Communism is regarded as an extreme form of socialism.
  • Democracy is a political system of governance either carried out by the people directly or by elected representatives.
  • Communism is a political ideology that is based on a common ownership, mainly concerned with equality and fairness. In communism, the power is vested in a group of people who decide the course of action and decide on the activities of the public. They may interfere in the public life of others. On the other hand, democracy also stands for equality in the society, is governed by a group of elected people. Democracy is a rule by the people and the elected representatives are bound to fulfill the wishes of the society.
  • In communism, the government has complete control over the production and distribution of goods and all the resources and is shared in the society equally. But in democracy, this aspect is not there.
  • In communism, it is the society that holds the major resources and production. This prevents any single person or a group of people from raising to a higher position than others or becoming rich. In democracy, free enterprise is allowed, which means that people or groups can have their own businesses that can lead to rich and poor in society.
  • Socialism supports the view that the goods and services produced should be dispensed based on the productivity of an individual. In contrast, communism believes that the wealth should be shared by the masses based on the needs of the individual.
  • In socialism, personal properties can be kept, socialists make sure, however, that no private property will be used as an instrument for oppression and exploitation. Communism treats all goods and services as public property to be used and enjoyed by the entire populace.
  • Democracy is based on the principle that all citizens have equal rights. In democracy citizens have certain liberties and freedoms that are protected by the constitution. In communism private ownership is not allowed whereas in democracy it is allowed.
Socialists regard capitalism as a threat to equality and public interest. They believe, however, that there is no need to eliminate the capitalist class because it can be used as a good instrument in the transition to socialism as long as it is properly controlled. Socialists also believe that capitalism can exist in a socialist state and vice versa. From the point of view of the communists, capitalism must to be destroyed totally in order to give way to a classless society.

Politics and Policies

Politics is defined as a science or art of governing, especially governing a political entity like a nation. A policy is defined as an overall plan that embraces the general goals. A policy is a course or action that is proposed by a government, an individual, business firm, or a party. It is not that political parties adhere to certain policies, but almost all individuals have policies. Most companies follow policies. A policy is a commitment or statement of intent. A policy is a set of rules or principles that guide decisions. It is because of the policy that people, an organization, or a party is held accountable.
  1. Politics can be defined as a science or art of governing or government, especially governing a political entity like a nation. A policy can be defined as an overall plan that embraces general goals.
  2. Politics refers to authority and refers to public life. Politics generally revolves round government and its activities. Politics is a term that refers to the organizational process.
  3. Policy can be termed as a “principle.”
  4. A policy can also be termed as a commitment or statement of intent. It is because of the policy that people, an organization, or a party is held accountable. Policy is a set of rules or principles that guide decisions.
  5. Political parties run the government which all adhere to certain policies.
  6. A policy can also be said to be a course or action that is proposed by a government, an individual, business firm, or any party.
  7. Politics refers to the theory and practice of governance.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Responsibility is the price for freedom

Freedom exists only within a framework of rules. Freedom is simply an opportunity to find a definition for yourself, a true, authentic individuality, and a joy in making the world around you a little better, a little more beautiful. Excise and enjoy your freedom in true sense. 
  • Like so many things in life, freedom is not free. We cannot justifiably have one without the other. The more comprehensive and diversified the social order, the greater the responsibility and the freedom of the individual. 
  • Freedom is inseparable from responsibility. If I have the freedom to think, it is my responsibility to think positively. If I have the freedom to speak, it is my responsibility to speak properly and meaningfully. If I have the freedom to act, it is my responsibility to act correctly. I have no right to excise my freedom to breach other’s privacy. 
  • If you don't want to take responsibility, you can't have freedom either. If you shun responsibility, you have to accept slavery in some way or other.
  • Freedom of choice which means freedom to choose, to act in this way or that way, to do good and evil. Every individual’s freedom is limited by the others. 
  • Nothing can satisfy a human need and greed (be it for freedom as well). Extreme freedom results in catastrophe and responsibilities prevent it.
  • Those who do not have enough freedom will inevitably crave more of it. 
  • Freedom is just not limited to speech, thought, follow a particular religion etc but freedom from fear, anxiety, worry etc are also equally important. Freedom is an amazing thing, but as with most amazing things, too much of it can be more than you bargained for. Especially if you’re not prepared to handle it.
  • There is an important dimension to freedom that is often forgotten: freedom of will. 
  • Our freedom may be constrained and our choices limited, in the moment when we choose, we experience freedom. 
  • True freedom is closely linked to self-control. Only a self-disciplined person can decide to do something and accomplish it. True freedom is the freedom to follow one’s conscience and maintain one’s personal integrity. This is freedom of will. It leads to more of a sense of liberation and fulfillment. 
  • The joy of freedom is not only to be able to choose, but to be able to choose well—to choose the right and the good, and be responsible for the outcome rather than blaming.
People like freedom because it gives them a sense of mastery over things and people. They dislike responsibility because it constrains them from satisfying their desires. Every thought, word and deed in our lives shapes our character. We create our own character through the decisions we make.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Urban Naxal: Labeling to malign

Eminent historian Ms. Romila Thapar
“We were all born Indians, lived as Indians all our lives. (The five arrested) activists are fighting for good causes and terming them urban naxal is a political move,”  the eminent historian Romila Thapar said. She asked government to define the phrase “urban naxal”, saying either they do not understand the meaning of the term or the activists like her do not.

She petitioned the Supreme Court against the house arrest of five Left-leaning activists Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha and said these are the people who are fighting against social injustice. The five activists have been under house arrest since August 29. Supreme Court in its judgement on Sept 28, 2018 refused to interfere with the arrest of the five rights activists.

“We were all born Indians, lived as Indians all our lives. These activists are fighting for good causes and terming them urban naxal is a political move.  First ask the government to define the term urban naxal and then tell us how we fall into this category.", she said. 

Politicians including Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have referred to the five activists as “urban naxals”. “Any democratic institution cannot take law into its hands. It has to go through a certain procedure. Arrests are the last step of a probe it is not the first step of an investigation,” Ms. Thapar said. "Arbitrary arrests on implausible charges means the police can walk into our homes and arrest us — either without a warrant or a warrant written in a language we don’t understand and then accuse us of activities about which we know nothing.”

When the state takes itself too seriously, it begins to suspect all dissent. Labelling helps in defining and maligning opponents. It also helps obfuscate the issues and distract public attention.  It is a political strategy of “labelling to malign”. Urban Naxal is today’s label and Anti-National was a label popularized by BJP in the recent past. We are now at a juncture when disliked dissent is sought to be suppressed through legal subterfuge and clever naming. Labels such as anti-national and urban Naxal are glibly employed by Modi regime that seeks to become overbearing both in law and the sphere of ideas.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

IL&FS: Rs 91,000 crore mess

IL&FS Head Quarters at BKC, Mumbai
IL&FS Financial Services MD & CEO Ramesh Bawa along with four independent directors and a non-executive director quit on Sept 21, 2018 just hours after the parent IL&FS informed lenders that it would be unable to make payments on ₹250 crore of debt falling due. On Sept 30, 2018, rating agency ICRA had downgraded IL&FS citing factors like liquidity pressure and high debt levels - to BB from AA+. The central government on Oct 1, 2018 dissolved the 15-member board of IL&FS in a move to revamp investor confidence scalded by the firm’s defaults and fears of a credit freeze. The board was replaced with a new six-member panel headed by Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank Uday Kotak. The board of IL&FS has unanimously appointed Hemant Bhargava, Managing Director, LIC and nominee on the board of the company as Non Executive Chairman with immediate effect. The newly-appointed board is expected to chalk out a resolution plan and submit its first take within 15 days.
  • The troubles at IL&FS had been intensifying since July, when the company's founder Ravi Parthasarathy has resigned as the Non-Executive Chairman of IL&FS, which he served for over 30 years, citing health reasons. Parthasarathy, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad joined the IL&FS in 1987 as President & Chief Executive Officer and was appointed as Managing Director in 1989. He was later designated Executive Chairman of the company.  
  • IL&FS also failed to repay corporate deposits subscribed by the Small Industries and Development Bank of India (SIDBI). It only repaid ₹50 crore out of 250 crore.
  • Some group companies have started defaulting on repayment of commercial paper and other instruments to the tune of ₹300-400 crore. 
  • IL&FS Group has shown a loss of ₹2,670 crore for the year 2017-18 in consolidated balance sheet. The leverage is about 13 times as the borrowing of about ₹91,000 crore is on on the base of equity capital and reserves of about ₹6,950 crore. IL&FS is burdened with a consolidated debt of around ₹91,000 crore, of which ₹55,000 crore is housed in the special purpose vehicles created to build infrastructure ranging from roads to power companies. 
  • Among the public sector banks, Bank of India has the highest exposure of Rs 2,388 crore. The company also owes Rs 1,841 crore to Yes Bank, the maximum among private lenders.
  • IL&FS has deep business ties with the roads ministry and its agencies such as National Highway Authority of India. States and the centre, including their agencies, owe as much as ₹16,000 crore in receivables to ILF&S. The company claimed in its recent letter to its employees stated that "had the concession authorities released our monies", IL&FS would not be in the current situation.
  • IL&FS was due to repay ₹1,066 crore of its debt by October and around ₹1,953 crore between September 26 and September 30. The company needs an immediate capital infusion of ₹3,000 crore and is planning a ₹4,500-crore rights issue. 
  • LIC and ORIX Corporation are the largest shareholders in IL&FS with their stakeholding at 25.34 % and 23.54%, respectively. Other prominent shareholders include ADIA (12.56%), HDFC (9.02%), CBI (7.67%) and SBI (6.42%). 
  • Its woes are shared by other infrastructure funding institutions in India that have been unable to cope with projects that have got stuck and become unviable. IL&FS needs nearly ₹15,000 crore in financial support to avert a collapse and could only be saved if lenders agreed to take a big haircut.
  • IL&FS had compromised on corporate governance and risk management norms. The risk management committee of IL&FS did not meet between 2015 and 2018, except once in July 2015. IL&FS has not been able to take up any new infrastructure projects after 2015.  
  • The fact that the company continued to pay dividends and huge managerial payouts regardless of looming liquidity crisis shows that the management had lost total credibility. The company paid dividend of ₹65.70 crore in 2017-18. The company posted a standalone profit of ₹584 crore in 2017-18. Average managerial remuneration increase was 66% in 2017-18 and the average salary increase of other employees during the year was 4.44%. Last year Ravi Parthasarathy, the Chairman, got a 144% jump in remunerations to ₹26.3 crore, Hari Sankaran, Vice-chairman and MD, got a 3.86% hike to  ₹7.7 crore and Arun K Saha, Joint MD & CEO, 10.43% hike. 
  • The financial mismanagement of the IL&FS is apparent from its rapid debt built up and misrepresentation of true state of financial fragility, which is being reflected in unprecedented rating downgrade from highly rated to a default category.
  • The report also warned about repercussions due to lack of authentic information in the market about the financial status of 169 unlisted group companies of IL&FS.
  • The group will sell its corporate headquarters in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) to raise funds to stave off repayment challenges and switches to an asset light strategy. The sale of the corporate headquarters is expected to fetch Rs 1,300-1,500 crore. IL&FS is also planning to sell some 25 projects, which will reduce its debt by Rs 30,000 crore.
  • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs got a lookout notice issued for former directors Ravi Parthasarathy and Ramesh Bawa, and serving directors Hari Sankaran, Karunakaran Ramachand. However, Ravi Parthasarathy is in London at the moment for medical treatment and there is no clarity about when he will return. All others are said to be in India.
  • Board directors can’t be absolved of their obligations by resigning abruptly. That wouldn’t absolve them of any wrongdoing. The government on Mon Oct 1, 2018 ordered an investigation by SFIO into IL&FS and its subsidiaries after they failed to make repayments on time, damaging investor confidence and sparking fears of defaults by other NBFCs that roiled the markets. 
  • The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) kicked off its probe into financial irregularities at IL&FS by questioning the top management, searching the group’s offices and gathering information from its servers. The agency will also question the ousted directors and former chief Ravi Parthasarathy. 
  • Apart from the board members sacked on Oct 1, 2018, the agency will also question those who resigned recently amid defaults and rating downgrades. For instance, Ramesh C Bawa quit as chief executive and managing director of IL&FS Financial Services on September 21, the day it defaulted on an IDBI letter of credit that came due. 
  • Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited (on behalf of the Government of Gujarat) and IL&FS are jointly developing Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) project since 2006 when Modi was  CM of Gujarat. IL&FS is an 50:50 investor and co-developer in the project. About 866 acres of real estate is to be developed for commercial, residential etc to provide one million direct & indirect jobs in Financial, IT & BPO segments. After 12 years and as on Jan 1, 2018, the GIFT city has 2 million sq.ft. operational and 3 million sq.ft. under development out of has 62 million sq. ft. in its master plan. GIFT has attracted about $1.5 billion in investments. About 150 companies have started operations employing just 8,000 people. The city hopes to employ a million one day.
  • "It is completely baseless to say that ₹70,000 crore worth of project (GIFT City) has been handed-over to IL&FS. In all the phases of GIFT City development, only ₹10,000 cr is projected to be spent on entire infrastructure development," says the Gujarat government.
  • The Congress on Sept 30, 2018 stepped up its attack on PM Modi, with party President Rahul Gandhi alleging that public savings (funds from SBI and LIC) was being used to bail-out the debt-ridden IL&FS group. 
  • The Congress has raised the issue and warned of "an impending 'Lehman Brothers-type' economic crisis facing the country". The IL&FS crisis has also dented equity investors confidence in the entire NBFC space. Congress party has called for a forensic audit of the group over the disbursement of ₹42,000 crore in the last four years.   
The central government's swift action to seize control of IL&FS, within hours of payments default, and ordering investigation is more typical of China's command-and-control economy than a free-wheeling democracy like India, stunned investors by surprise. It indicates that Govt, FM, PM etc are aware of the situation for the past several months but actions were announced in a dramatist manner. The restoration of confidence of the money, debt and capital markets, the banks and financial institutions in the credibility and financial solvency of the IL&FS Group is of utmost importance for the financial stability of the nation. Modi & Jaitley have few options since the economy was already grappling with surging fuel prices and a plunging currency and widening fiscal gap. Any company going bust due to mismanagement, reckless spending, non transparent operations, financial frauds, political corruption etc and Govt attempting to recapitalize with a hope to turn around is generally futile. Very rarely, say 1 or 2 in 100 will succeed. The classic examples are Air India, BSNL which went from bad to worse to worst. The best way is to wind up these companies, liquidate its assets and pay up prorata due amounts to creditors even if it entails loss of credibility. That would at least send clear message that government will never bailout any company at the expense of public interest. Lenders are hopeful of recovery with 10-15% haircut, but when it really happens it could be as high as 25-30%. Govt must ensure that who ever has committed process violations must be prosecuted and punished, but in India the statistics show dismal 6% conviction rate. The new board members suffer legacy issues and none has any experience in infra space to handle the crises and instill market confidence.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are equal

  • Retired Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Ajit Prakash Shah, declared scathingly, “The Republic of Intolerance that India has turned into in the last few years reflects and confirms to us our collective psychological malady, where we have lost sensitivity to the pain of our fellow citizens, and have become numb to the increasing loss of rights as citizens.”
  • Justice Shah confessed that his own roots were seeped in saffron: “My grandfather was one of the founding members of the Hindu Mahasabha in pre-Independent India. I grew up reading the poems of Veer Savarkar.”
  • He said, “Until the day the RSS declares that Islam and Christianity are equal to Hinduism and other religions born in India, there will be little scope for social harmony.”
  • He said that those who lead the mob violence are clearly doing so with impunity, while fear spreads amongst the minorities. The mobile phone and the violent content it brings to you has become a terrorising device, with mob lynchers recording their acts and spreading them.
  • The home ministry has directed wide publicity of the severe punishments that participation and abetment to mob fury can draw, it needs to be seen how sincere the government is in implementing this stated intent, Justice Shah said.
  • The Indian media has been a big disappointment. “Far from questioning the government on behalf of the people, the media today circulates fake news and questions those who question the government. If the media at large feels compromised, barring a few exceptions, then democracy is in peril. Lynchings have to be condemned by news anchors, not used as ‘masala’ for prime time television,” he said.
  • Justice Shah said that in the recent judgement of the Supreme Court directing continued detention at home for activists accused of conspiracy, the value was is in the dissenting verdict of Justice DY Chandrachud. 
  • “Dissent is being curbed. Sloganeering is becoming a test of patriotism. When Akhlaq was killed, it wasn’t his body that was sent for post-mortem first. It was the meat which was sent for testing,” he said, pointing out the prejudice in the law and order machinery.
  • “When violence happens in small doses, and regularly, we find it hard to remain angry, and accept it as commonplace.”
  • The hope for the nation lies in common citizens refusing to accept any deviation of the founding values of the Constitution, Justice Shah concluded.

The one-day event saw nearly 2,000 people register to attend and listen to various speakers, which also included the articulate MP Shashi Tharoor and student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.