Nandigram horror

nandigram.jpgFifteen innnocent lives were gunned by men in Khaki in Nandigram in West Bengal. Amidst the politicking of industralisation and development of the state, displacement of rural people are engineered by the machinery run by the Marxists. A self professed champions of poor, the red politicians of Bengal are known for high class hypocrisy. Drive one issue in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura and oppose the same in the rest of the country. This has become the DNA of  the Indian Leftists. Despite experts sounding warning bells and upraising of common people against the proposed chemical complex in Nandigram, the Marxists are hell bent to bring the Indonesia based Salim group to blindly chemical industralise the state.

Having lost the control of Little Buddha in Kolkata, the politburo in Delhi thinks that singing the Bengal’s CM tunes is good for the party for the time being. On the other side of the Leftist spectrum, V. Achutanandan in Kerala is professing anti-capitalist philosophy which is the baseline of the Marxists. How to ride both the veteran horses – Buddhadeb and Achutanandan in the same cart? This is a big headache for Prakash Karat sitting in the national capital. One, the Bengal Chief Minister was popular before the Nandigram episode so touching his position will back fire the young general secretary and put his political future in the dark . Two, Buddhadeb has emerged as the modern face of Marxists. Without him the industrial growth and real development is not possible. So pat him in Kolkata and abuse other politicians who do the same. What a convenient class of politics which the Marxists practise?

West Bengal which is sliding down the development graph for many years has just started to concentrate in development. With Communist goons running the state and the entire apparatus of the the government under the control of party men it is difficult for the other view people to exist in the state, leave alone taking against the policies and programmes of the Left front government. It is visible during the elections. A complete booth capturing and intimidation of the voters are normal in Bengal. Those who oppose the policies are killed mercilessly. This is called Communism under the shadow of democratic government in Kolkata.

Whether Singur or Nandigram or any other fertile land area, the public representatives should not touch it. They should know that it is disastrous for the present situations and the future generations. Industralisation is necessary but not at the cost of well grown agricultural lands. Lakhs of hectares of barren lands which are lying unused  should be given to the industralist. It can be given even free of cost as long it benefits the people and the country at large.  Unless this thinking comes to stay with those at the helm of governance, public protests and violence are inevitable.

Underestimation fries India Pakistan in the opening matches

Rahul Dravid sounded so confident before boarding the flight to Caribbean. Many cricket fans thought that this year there is bright chances for the men in blue. The same feeling was given by Pakistani captain Inzmamul Haque. Although his side is handicapped by the absence of popular players, Haque promised to lift the cup. The arch rivals of cricket from south Asia entered the far land to bring home the glittering world cup 2007. If the starting is the sample to be taken for the efficiency of India  and Pakistan then there is nothing left out except total disappointment.

Pakistan’s early surrender to Ireland and India’s clowny play with Bangla Desh does not board well for both the teams. The major blunder is complete underestimation of the rival teams. There is very few in the cricketing world estimated that Ireland and Bangla Desh will triumph. Even their own countrymen did not pose hope in them. With all the pressure and no confidence in the tiny teams building up, it is to their credit a thorough professional game was given by Ireland and Bangla Desh.

After winning the toss, India elected to bat in the hope to score tons of runs. There is no fault in this decision. It is common to opt for batting with the weaker side in the opposition. But the crime is casual play and complete underestimation of the bowlers and fielders. The veterans as usual ditched the team and disoriented the million fans back home. Virendra Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Mahinder Dhoni  all fell so quickly. The consolation was Saurav Ganguly and Yuvaraj Singh. The prince of Kolkata was disciplined by the decision of the board to chuck him out of the team. After he was thrown out of the team, even advertisers pull him out of all the deals. Saurav got frustrated and decided to concrete more in cricket. Above all the solid support of his fans from Bengal and around the country helped him to get back to cricket. Now he got the concentration in cricket than advertisement, money and merry making. The same punishment should be given to all others who are too much in modelling than cricketing. It is humanely impossible for them to concentrate in ten fields. More importantly the coach should be changed and powerful Indian cricketers like Kapil Dev or Gavaskar should be opted instead of foreigners. This will save alot of money and embrassment for BCCI. Lastly but not leastly the entire BCCI should be professionalised. Now it is a completely politicised body with ministers and MPs occupy the powerful positions. How is it possible for the ailing Sharad Pawar to manage the crucial agriculture portfoli, BCCI, his party – NCP and tens of other departments? It is high time the Govrnment of India takes a bold decision to get rid of politicians from the management of sports.

The reformation of the Indian cricket is long overdue. The earlier it is done the better for the country. This is not just a sport but it is a national passion where million of the citizens mortgage their time and soul to see India win the cup. Whereas the cricket dons spend more time in modelling, T.V interviews and merry making. It is high time they are trimmed and disciplined to save the nation from disgrace on the ground. 

Parliamentarians in the age of technology

mps.jpgThe revolution in technology is suppose to wake up the public representatives from the deep slumber and make them to reachout to their constituencies more efficiently. Alas! that is not happening with the Indians. The response of the MPs, MLAs and local leaders are becoming worst with the every passing day. Neither they are addressing their constituency problems nor attending the parliamentary sessions. The attedance in both the houses of parliament are sliding every session. This is despite a quality improvement in the lives of MPs in the last few years. Now they are provided with a laptop, mobile phone, Rs. 2 crores annually to spend for the constituency and many more fringe benefits. Especially the younger MPs are the most disappointing in responding to the public queries.

I asked MPs across the political spectrum about the budget presentation. Here is the response I got.

Veteran Congress MP from Kerala – “I have better work to do at home than sitting in the parliament to hear the boring budget speech”

A vociferous BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh – “Oh! budget I will watch from home”

CPI(M) MP from West Bengal – “The party expects us to be in parliament. But I can skip because of my personal work”

There is only 5% of the MPs, 3% of MLAs and 1% of the local representatives responded to our emails. Very few can reply to the postal letters and telephone calls. In comparison to the similar survey conducted 10 years back the situation is worst now. But the senior leaders like Pranab Mukherjee, Maneka Gandhi, Yashwant Sinha are better off in responding to public matters.

what are they doing with the MP post? Not attending parliament, not visiting consitutency often, no response to public queries. It seems that they are all busy in making business. In the consumer world, any amount of public support is insufficient for them to meet the dream world. Hence they resort to cheap business. Running after contracts, sealing petty deals, heading the sports clubs and other ordinary men’s job. Sadly some MPs from North are engaged in kidnapping and ransom business. 

Things have taken topsy turvy. Even in inner party elections the concerned leader demands bribe from his fellow party men. In Congress one of the veteran from Madhya Pradesh who is now the cabinet minister of prime portfolio used to run his money show during elections. When the party was in opposition from 1996 to 2004 he got plump states as the incharge. In Karnataka local body elections he had demanded Rs.50 lakhs from a prominent party activist and trade union leader for the chairman post.  Despite the person belonging to minority community which the party is suppose to champion the cause and 30 years of hard work in the grassroot levels he was denied the seat because of his inability to pay Rs.50 lakhs as bribe to the central leader. How else can the old war horse of Congress can use the oil coupons for Iraq and indulge in crores of corruption? All the humanitarian concerns are left in the air. This is happening across the political spectrum. We are in the merry making times. Why not our public representatives too? Let all of us eat, drink, sing, dance and be merry! In order to do this let us indulge in scandals and scams without any worry!!

The budget blues

budget.jpgThe Finance Minister comes under verbal attack from some quarters every year in the months of February and March. But this year criticism is coming from all sections of the society. The usually cheered industry and business groups are expressing their unhappiness over the 2007 Union Budget. Why is this ambience of uneasiness over P.Chidambaram’s budget presentation despite the country growing above 9 percent, record inflow of foreign investments and huge cash reserves? The shooting inflation, sluggishness in agriculture, forward trading in food grains and the sudden increase in interest rates for bank loans are considered to be the villains in this happy hour of vibrant economy. Unless and until, these bad ingredients are prevailed upon, the final outcome of UPA’s recipe will be disastrous. Already the voters of Uttrakhand, Punjab and Mumbai have given shocking jitters to the ruling coalition. At this negative backdrop, the budget presented does not provide enough consolation or assurance to address the apprehensions of the nation. Higher allocation for defence and social sectors, jobs for physically challenged, attention to the rain water harvesting and commencement of concern for agriculture can be termed as the positive inputs from the North Block. From the past experiences it is clearly that the mere hike in allocation of resources is not sufficient to ensure smile in all faces. Most of the backward states do not utilize the given funds for 11 months and rush to use the bulk amount in the financial year ending month of March. Even then they cannot use nearly 40 percent of the allocated funds. In this scenario a tight monitoring and a quarterly or if possible a monthly pinpricking is essential. One cannot stop with it. It must be ensured that the funds go for the purpose meant. This is the biggest challenge for the F.M in the days to come. In order to understand the macro picture of the budget it is crucial to dissect and analyse it patiently.

Escape from tax?
Generally the Indian budget imposes taxes on the citizens and corporate companies. But this year, the FM after the strong negative dosage from his colleagues, soft tuned in the tax matters. However he managed to exploit the emotions of one and all and hiked the education cess from 2 to 3 percent. The ‘Dream Merchant” clearly knows that whatever it may come, Indian will never refuse to contribute towards education development. After all that is our strength and weakness. This increase is to fund the political fantasies – 27 percent reservation for OBC candidates in the central universities. The anti-quota lobby may refuse to pay the education cess. That will polarize the country’s opinion and put the system in hot conditions. Secondly, most of the cess paying citizens are not happy with the way in which the funds are utilized. The primary purpose of the education cess was to improve the quality of elementary education and bring more out of school into the classrooms. After three years there is no substantial change in the basic education scenario in the country. Quality seems to be missing apart from the learners. In order to take the nation in the higher path of knowledge engineered growth a thorough professional approach is needed. Not the current method of appeasement on the basis of religion and caste for the sake of votes. This may pave short term gains to the ruling party but in the long run it will ruin the foundational structures. The F.M in private may agree to this point and wants to implement performance based funding. Unfortunately his hands are tied and thought process is dictated by the political compulsions often provided in installments by his party colleagues. So the UPA is getting ready for collective collapse electorally!

Outcome budget is not heard
A person can demonstrate his sincerity by showing his performance in the past and ask for more funds to develop his vision. P.Chidambaram tried doing that for the past two years through the outcome budgets. Unfortunately very few people have gone through it and brought it to the public discussion. Even the media channels which are sweating it out 24 hours day and night did not find it worthwhile to debate. Seriously this is a bad trend in the Indian democracy. As the budget is a vital engine to carry the country forward, an objective introspection and analysis is required.

One can find only noisy discussions about the budget with three statistics repeated every where as if there are no other factors matter. The above 9 percent growth rate, amount of foreign exchange at hand and foreign direct investments. Is the growth rate the final indicator of the Indian economy? Absolutely not. From economic experts to layperson on the streets everyone is chest thumping about the growth rate. As the national security advisor exploded in an international meeting held in Geneva that the terrorists are controlling the Stock market, what is the assurance that the growth rate figures are not manipulated? My caution and criticisms are to ensure vigilance among the public regarding these statistical figures. One day the common people should not feel cheated.

The low growth agriculture is not much discussed. The advise of experts like Dr.M.S.Swaminathan are put in cold storage. Regularly he is ringing the warning bells from the official corridors and in the press. But who is there to listen to his sane advise? Driven by the powerful industrial lobby the entire establishment of the centre and states are blindly dancing to their tunes. I am afraid that they will push India back to PL 460 beggar status. Some super intellectuals are proclaiming that farm sector should be dumped and service sector be prompted with full zeal. This is a fundamentally wrong notion. As no oil nation now we are dependent on the mercy of other countries, this situation should not come to us in the food sector. F.M’s attention to the farm sector must get the applause of the rural population. Encouragement to rain water harvesting, renovation of water bodies and more credit to the kisans are positive signals. But these are tokens of support. What the farm sector needs today is that an all out support of the entire nation. It cannot be regenerated by more money alone.

Through his cool team, P. Chidambaram has brought a record 35 million tax payers and a collection of Rs.442,153 crores. Who is there to sing praises for him in this front? Ironically, his political opponents outside and inside his party are waiting to show him the door. The budget blues and electoral fallout are the easy instruments for them to corner the charming vaishti clad F.M. Clever P.C knows how to manage all those negative folks with a bright smile. But can he give smile to aam admi in the coming days?