Friday, December 30, 2011

What Ails India and Remedies Thereof

There could be a never ending list of what ails India but on the top of the list is the insincerity and lack of will on the part of the legislature and executive to remedy the causes. This is reflected everywhere, be it the governance, economics or politics. Every action on the part of polity in the country is done keeping only one thing in mind and that is how to keep the government intact and how to ensure the government's future. No doubt this has to be the sole object of a political party but then there has to be a limit to compromising your policies and political agenda. in no case resorting to dubious means for economic empowerment of the party, its cadres, stooges, cronies and clout can be allowed.
Politics, Economics and Governance
The basic principle adopted in Indian Governance both by the union and states all through has been to keep politics above economics.Strangely the rulers in the country have refused to realise that good economics and good politics could co exist through good economics with far better results both in politics and economics. The political class of this country in entirety is very vocal in its concern for the country's economic, political and military power as also for the social and economic upliftment of the weaker section and poor masses but strangely precious little is being done in this regard. The subsidies, freebies, reservations and quotas doled out have been nothing but vote bank politics with the sole purpose of garnering votes in the name of a community, caste, religion etc. etc.. without reality doing anything substantive for the community. There are about 500 million people below poverty line i.e. about 200 million adults. Indian polity is noble and benevolent enough to see that they have a stomach which needs to be filled up but fail to see their two hands which are a big asset to any country if put to constructive use. They can as well do away with all subsidies and doles and provide them a job for 25 days a month and further do value addition to their earning power by training them to become painters, drivers,plumbers,electricians,masons etc and strengthen blue collar worker's club which will be a laudable step in the development of the country and unskilled workers. These people will then walk with their heads high and they will be in a position to provide medical care, education and other basic amenities to their wards.
Governance and Corruption
No amount of laws can weed out corruption till such time the nation has a will to do so. We all know "Where there is a will There is a way" If there is will to mitigate corruption there are plenty of ways of doing it and if otherwise there are plenty of ways of not doing it. Somehow our ruling classes have taken a fancy to the latter, for the country has enough laws and enough powers vested with the executive to take care of graft, corruption and black money. All that is needed is good intentions and proper operationalising of these laws.Good intentions and good governance can control corruption to a large extent which is responsible for:

  • Reducing India's tax collections by almost 50%
  • Adding up to 50% in annual black money generation
  • Escalating  maintenance costs by minimum 200% annually
  • 30% Loss of revenue from sale of electricity
  • Adding 50% to nation's subsidy bill
Judiciary and Investigating Agencies
Strengthening both organs by the desired extent so that any legal case does not take more than 2-3 years starting from lower courts to high court/ supreme court as the case may be.
Monitoring different asset classes
Devise and adopt a mechanism so that the total assets of any citizen comprising of land and real estate, gold, shares, and bank deposits etc. are available at the end of each financial year on the click of a computer button along with his income and tax deposits
Doing away with discretionary powers of executive
Discretionary powers no doubt are the essence of any administrative schedule but in India they are always used with ulterior motives and hidden agenda. In the light of this all discretionary powers should be done away with in all commercial matters, allocation of immovable assets, doles in the form of extensions and after retirement appointments, for in a country of 1 billion plus there is no dearth of qualified and competent experts from within the active serving people. The nation may suffer in a few genuine meritorious cases but controlling motivated wrong doings in more than 99% cases will perhaps be a significant step in graduating to bad governance from the existing corrupt and motivated governance.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

UPA Economic Reforms : End of an Era?

The economic reforms in India were started by Dr Manmohan Singh in 1991 when he was the finance minister of India. The same were carried forward by NDA under the leadership of AB Vajpai. Ironically now the UPA under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh (the man known as the father of the economic reforms in present day India), has failed to undertake any worthwhile economic reforms. Worst of all, UPA I and UPA II have been mired with large scale corruption starting from grass root level to large scams involving a vast majority of the Indian executive including political executive.
The scale of corruption and the helplessness or more appropriately the unwillingness on the part of government and powerful and mighty class of India to check or kerb it is taking the country to dogs. High corruption along with lack of willingness and ability to give good governance has put the development of the country on the back seat. Additionally, it has given a big opportunity to the 'true blood sucking politicians' who only believe in some vote catching phrases, slogans and policies to strengthen their cronies, stooges and party cadres which help them in garnering votes during elections.
The economic reformists have been pushed to the background and forced to resort to telling the Indian public that the global economic scenario is bad and we are facing a global slowdown. The statesmen among the lowly  politicians of India should realise that the opportunity of changing the economic order and destiny of a country is at its best when others are facing difficulties because of some political events affecting our globe or their own bad governance.s Hopefully the Indian polity and government realise it sooner than later that "A fundamental change in governance of the country is the key to all other changes" and the mitigation of corruption and black money is an absolute must to make use of this unique opportunity that has come India's way as a result of global economic miseries.All that is desired out of our polity is some sincerity and honesty of purpose in kerbing corruption, tax avoidance and unearthing huge black money available within the country as also outside the country.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

INDIA CALLING OR CRYING: Heard on the Street on Indian Polity

INDIA CALLING OR CRYING: Heard on the Street on Indian Polity: Government is not the owner of the citizen's income and therefore, cannot hold a blank cheque on that income  AYN RAND INDIAN POLITY and...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CORRUPTION IN INDIA

All politicians in the India have shown a lot of concern on the black money stashed in foreign banks but very conveniently forget the amount of black money available in the country through corruption and graft alone. If only we take into account the executives and functionaries of Indian central and state governments we can realise how big the corruption demon is and what could be achieved for the prosperity of the country and its hapless poor millions if only we manage to recover a major proportion of it. The recent cases of an engineer, a clerk and a peon who have amassed tens of crores of rupees through misuse and abuse of their positions in the government are real eye openers in this regard. These cases are certainly not the isolated cases of corruption but lead to the logical conclusion of organised and systematised corruption at all levels of government. If these insignificant government officials can amass crores and crores of rupees, imagine the extent of money gobbled by the higher ups in bureaucracy and polity.
In India there are about 10 million government servants. If one assumes that only 50% of them have the opportunity to amass wealth through corruption because of their involvement with high value programmes and public services and out of these 5 million only 10% indulge in such loot which is far from truth. In fact very few Indians will agree to such a small percentage of corrupt officials. With a measly sum of rupees 1 crore as the average figure of disproportionate asset and wealth available with these employees we get a staggering amount of Rs 5 Lakh crores. This amount is extremely conservative by all yardsticks and is still equal to half the annual budget of India, more than covers the fiscal deficit estimate (5% of GDP), can help in doubling the annual outlays of infrastructure sector and social programmes of the union government.One sincere and honest step of the government can catapult the march of the Indian nation towards being a prosperous country for one and all. If government takes on itself the mitigation of corruption and black money demon in the next year or so, it need not resort to populist hollow vote catching slogans and actions to the detriment of the country. The masses will give them the next government on a platter. Let them have a positive approach rather than the present negative and easy approach to fool the people to remain in power.

Monday, December 12, 2011

ECONOMICS, GOVERNANCE AND INFLATION IN INDIA

India perhaps is the only country in the world which boasts of economists of international repute at the topmost levels of governance. All the efforts and solutions on the part of government are not yielding the desired results on inflation in India. At the same time they have resulted in considerable deceleration of economic growth. Why?
  • These economists have failed to keep in mind the basic principle of "Demand and Supply of goods". They are concentrating only on demand and supply of money which is not working to the nation's expectations.
  • The small decrease  in the rate of inflation is only a mirage, for it appears to be a result of high base effect and glut of farm produce and vegetables that is witnessed in winter months.
In Indian economy in present context, there is little scope of controlling the money supply in the hands of consumers.
  • Firstly, because it is a result of NREGA disbursements to the poor workers and leakage of funds to the on ground managers of the scheme.
  • Secondly, per capita income increase in the country as a result of GDP growth.
  • And lastly, the graft and bribe money in the hands of government officials and additional illegal beneficiaries of much talked about Inclusive growth as well as Social, Political and Economic empowerment planks.
Out of these money supply resulting from graft, bribes and corruption is the only one which can be minimised through good governance, whereas the other two are desirable to meet India's goals to become a prosperous nation in a decade or so. Therefore the right approach to fight inflation lies only in increasing productivity and more supply of goods in the market. The actions required to do the same need no elaboration as they are well known to government and its functionaries.
A few reminders to the government of super economists.
Good Economics and Good Governance is Ideal
Bad Economics and Good Governance is A Compromise
Good Economics and Bad Governance is Undesirable
Bad Economics and Bad/Corrupt Governance is A Disaster
Also all experts of a field must remember the importance of non expert opinions for arriving at the correct and ideal solution to problems for they are totally engrossed in higher sciences and tend to ignore/overlook common sense solutions if available.This is amply demonstrated in the following:

  • In all work study teams presence of a non expert is mandatory along with the experts to enable them to consider common sense approaches also to arrive at best possible solution.
  • Albert Einstein, a noted physicist had to be reminded that his small cat could also get in and out of the cage through the big door provided for the big cat and did not need a separate additional small door.
  • Henry Ford assembled his first prototype car in a room with a small door which along with the wall had to be broken to get the car out for its first trial run. After parking the car in the same room after the successful trial he assured the owner that he will get the room repaired to its original state, little realising that he will need to take the car out again and again for subsequent test runs.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

INDIAN ECONOMIC GROWTH : GOVERNANCE Vs GLOBAL OPPORTUNITY

The last few years have seen Indian economic growth at 8% plus and the government has been claiming this to be the result of their growth oriented policies and positive economic environment through good governance. How unrealistic and untrue can the government claims be, is borne out by the fact that in spite of policy paralysis, high rates of inflation, Reserve Bank actions to curtail money supply, likely high fiscal deficits, rampant corruption and government inaction in the matter, India will achieve a growth rate of 7% plus
This is only a pointer to the fact that Indian economic growth is a result of global opportunity that beckons the nation. Firstly there is an economic lull in the developed economies because of non viability of growth avenues in industry, financial sector etc. because of lack of requirements and a very high labour cost. These nations have abundant capital, technical competence, know how and engineering backup through which they are securing their future. India has emerged as one of the favourite nations for their investments because of the following:
  • An insatiable demand and requirement for all kind of goods and infrastructural inputs for the next two decades at least.
  • Availability of cheap labour, technical manpower and management resource.
It is imperative that Indian government takes some immediate steps to do some value addition in the fields of infrastructure improvement, providing friendly and favourable environment for investments,coherent policies, sincerity in governance in tackling corruption, graft and black money to achieve a better economic growth rate. The global opportunity is certainly there for the asking but will not be there for all times to come as with passage of time other countries may become more lucrative for investments and technology transfers.Let us not forget that during the last three decades China in spite of being a communist country, and smaller countries like Turkey, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia etc.without a very promising human resource were more favoured nations for the developed world.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Corruption, Black Money in India : Aadhar the only Viable Solution

Corruption amongst politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, other government functionaries and corporate world is rampant in India. Though the cases that come to light through media everyday are a minuscule sample of the menace of Corruption, Black Money and Bad Governance, the government and the polity have shown scant concern in this regard. A few raids, some action on the part of vigilance authorities and once in a while expose by media efforts cannot produce any meaningful dent on the extent of corruption, black money and bad governance malaise which is deeply rooted in all aspects of Indian economy, governance and day to day lives of all Indians. To whatever extent we may reinforce our anti corruption machinery, judicial system and laws we can only manage to put a scratch on the problem. The real fight against corruption and black money will come through good governance and administrative action only.
Aadhar project of the Unique Identification Authority of India can be the real aadhar of the nation's fight against corruption and black money. The project was given concurrence by the government as an exercise to give identity proof to 1 billion Indians. Slowly and slowly when the total repercussions of the Unique Identification Number started unfolding themselves, the polity seems to have developed cold feet suddenly.Firstly because it takes away the punch from the slogan of inclusive growth and social, economic and political empowerment and secondly it puts their survivability in politics in question as major support to elections comes through these cadres and such tainted money. The amounts involved are simply mind boggling. A sum of Rs 1,50,000 crores which goes into corruption and black money through leakages, bribery and pilferage in welfare benefits such as subsidies, pensions, NREGA, India Awaas Yojna, mid day meals and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. After all these are the only sops that can be offered to their political loyalists at 2nd and 3rd level. In this country who wants to have power without any financial gains attached to it? Who wants to serve the nation and its masses free of cost? The UID project has come under attack from all flanks. The very basis of of unique identification number i.e. procedures for data collection and potential errors therein as well as concerns over privacy are being challenged. What kind of hidden agenda or ulterior motives are behind this, is any body's guess.

Real estate along with all other asset classes is the other main source of corruption and black money. The only viable solution seems to be through linking of all immovable and movable assets with UID number. These assets will include all commercial and residential property, all agricultural land, gold and jewellery, all vehicles ( commercial and private ), all luxury items, DMat accounts, investments in commodities, banks and mutual funds etc. etc.. Along with these linkages the following steps are also a must.
  • Government should have the power to acquire about 5-10% of real estate deals in the secondary market by paying 10% premium to the declared value of the deal.
  • Practice of power of attorney in respect of real estate should be abolished.
  • All Discretionary powers in the hands of government functionaries should be withdrawn because in India they are always used for one's own hidden agenda and ulterior motives.
Once the investment avenues of ill gotten money are plugged, we can see a ray of hope in improving the living standards of Indian masses at a much faster rate.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BAD GOVERNANCE IN INDIA:ROADS & INFRASTRUCTURE

Roads, highways and expressways are a very important mode of transport in a country and have enormous impact on the economy and connectivity of people and places. The sector demands a priority from the government for approvals, land acquisition, funding etc. which are not forthcoming at a pace India requires to achieve double digit growth of economy and bringing in some aspects of comfort and conveniences in the day to day lives of its people. All because of bad governance i.e. not having an integrated approach between various agencies involved. All this has affected the pace of development of the road network development in a big way.
The state of Roads and their maintenance is  invariably substandard so much so that during and after monsoon months they are not worthy to be called metalled roads ( pucca roads ).On roads full of large pits and eroded rough stretches, no vehicle can move even at speeds of 30 kmph resulting in longer and inconvenient travels. The petrol consumption for the same journey is almost double of travel in normal conditions. This condition prevails all over India for about 6 months in a year meaning thereby that petrol consumption during this period is almost double.What a waste of our our precious foreign exchange! How much it will contribute to subsidy burden and annual fiscal deficit? On the top of it the wear and tear, break down damage cost to the vehicles and the annual repair bill of these roads costs to the nation a few thousand crores . Bad governance in India and insensitivity to the woes of its citizens and little concern for nation's assets is the hallmark of our governments.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

FDI in RETAIL in INDIA:WHY SO MUCH OF OPPOSITION

The decision of government of India to allow FDI in retail business has been the focus of so much of commotion inside and outside parliament. Whereas the government is certainly to be blamed for the timing of the decision particularly when more pressing and rewarding issues like fight against corruption, graft and black money, setting our electric power generation industry in order and increasing the pace of infrastructure development which need immediate attention. The opposition parties are just playing petty politics for short term gains and nailing the government with larger ulterior motives by instigating their vote banks with half baked truths. Interestingly the main opposition i.e. BJP was the original exponent of the idea of FDI in retail in India as early as the year 2000.
To day's call for keeping all shops and Kirana stores closed by various unions is motivated by reasons known to them only, for their businesses have not suffered in metros where large retail stores are already existing and are selling goods at substantial discounts to maximum retail price mentioned on these goods. The politicians who have taken up their cause have never raised an eyebrow on avoidance of various government taxes by this sector and its huge contribution to the black money generation. They have never taken up the issue of the wages, working conditions and benefits that are the right of all employees working in these stores. Their concern for workers and nation are simply deplorable.
To day Anna Hazare, a highly respected Gandhian leader who has taken up the issue of corruption in India on his shoulders and awakened the Indian masses for a war against corruption, has also jumped into the fray with  his objections to FDI which are out of sync with the modern concepts of globalisation.

BAD GOVERNANCE IN INDIA:POWER SECTOR

Power is the back bone of industrial growth and improving the lives of masses of a country. It is surprising that despite of talking big on Energy Security and massive plans to increase India's installed capacity from the present 1,60,000 mw to 8,00,000 mw in 15-20 years and to 16,00,000 mw in about 30 years, we are sleeping on introducing energy management concepts in this sector.The various aspects of this sector are grossly mismanaged and need immediate attention on the part of both, the government and consumers.
  • Power production - Majority of country,s power plants are running at a maximum  of about 75-80% of installed capacity.
  • Energy transmission loss and thefts account for 30-35% of the installed capacity.
These two factors alone account for about half of the installed capacity. While the industry, business consumers and the household consumers are crying for more and more of quality power supply, our governments are not bothered to address any of these concerns.
  • Massive Energy capacity addition plans have been announced and approved during the last few years but without any concerted effort on the part of various government ministries, departments and agencies. Large sums of money have been invested but additional electricity is not available to industry and other consumers, sometimes because of issues related to environment clearance, acquisition of land, non availability of coal, gas etc, and finally because of transmission facilities not being in place. With all the expertise available, with all the good and sincere intentions of the polity and government, with all the concerns for the nation and its poor millions, we are mute witnesses to this bad governance.
  • National grid not being in place, requirement of additional power needs at one location cannot be met with the availability of surplus power at another location in the country by diversion and the surplus power is a total loss.
Lastly the consumers from all walks of life - government,business establishments,industry and household sectors should be encouraged to  have solar passive architecture, heat insulation technologies and adopt non grid electricity sources where ever and when ever possible.

TRUE FACE OF INDIAN POLITY

The winter session of Indian Parliament has started last week. The government proposes to introduce a large number of bills which are meant to address the hot issues of corruption, graft, black money etc., as also various others meant for the good of Indian economy and progress of the nation. Surprisingly, ten days have passed without any business being conducted in the parliament.
The government blames the opposition parties whereas these parties blame the government for this logjam. The fact of the matter is that politicians by and large are just playing dirty politics over frivolous matters so that somehow or the other Lok Pal bill, Citizen Charter bill, Judicial Accountability bill, Whistle Blower bill etc., in fact everything connected with corruption, graft and black money do not come up for discussion in the parliament. As if opposition's stance on black money and price rise was not enough, government ill timed the issue of FDI in retail to add fuel to fire.After all most of them have their vested interests. They all know the answer to ailments of Indian economy  but who wants to cut the branches of the tree of corruption, who wants to cut the limbs of graft and black money demon. None of them, for this in essence is the golden hen which provides them personal prosperity. It also provides them security to survive in the power game through so called inclusive growth of their near and dear ones, cronies, stooges, loyalists and political brokers.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

FDI in RETAIL in INDIA: A CORRECT PERSPECTIVE

The total retail industry in India is of the order of Rs. 2.3 lakh Crores and 95% of it comprises of normal Kirana shops, mom & pop stores and about 5% of organised retail sector. The latest government decision to allow 50% FDI in retail is seeing a lot of resistance from the opposition parties as well as some of the constituents of UPA. This action of government will add a small percentage to the organised sector of retail Still the contribution from normal Kirana stores will be in excess of 90%. It is hard to understand the rhetoric of employment opportunities getting reduced as a result of this and it appears to be similar to the fears that were raised when decisions on computerisation of government departments, LIC and banks was taken a few decades back. In fact more job opportunities of a different kind and higher order will emerge which will give all the benefits of employment which accrue from organised sector employment, to our youth.
Any capital inputs to the retail sector will upgrade our back end infrastructure, logistics capabilities and  realty sector directly and benefit the employees involved in giving them better remuneration, working environment and social security. The unorganised sector of retail is a major contributor to black money through excise duty, sales tax and income tax avoidance. Big retail outlets will help reduce this tax avoidance and contribute to the tax kitty of the country.
Those opposing this step are playing petty politics and are in fact working against the interests of their major vote bank of poor citizens of this country as the farmers will be deprived of getting better value of their produce and small time Kirana stores of getting cheaper goods from wholesale mega stores. In fact they are only resorting to mud slinging and slogan mongering for it aids them in cornering the government for immediate political gains. If we don't take decisions that will bring about major changes in our work force capabilities, say from unskilled to semi skilled and finally to skilled one, we are not going to add to their's and country's earnings. The dream of becoming a prosperous and developed nation will never become a reality.

Indian Nuclear Power Option:A Fraud On the Nation

Indian government seems to be in undue haste to sink trillions of rupees of the nation on the nuclear power option as energy security which is defunct, redundant and out of sync with the best available options in the 21st century and  future ahead. No other nation on this globe seems to have any conviction on this energy security option, not even the main advocates and suppliers of nuclear power technology themselves.
Apart from the safety and environment concerns associated with nuclear power option, it is the civil liability magnitude which seems to be beyond any tangible solution. The total damages in the case of a full blow  out can be thousands of lives, condemned area of about 10000 sq. kms. and effects lingering on for many decades. In terms of money, the damages amount to a whopping sum of Rs 90000 Crores or higher. Who is going to pay? If Government of India has to exercise nuclear power option, what provisions have been made for blow out damages? If damage amount is taken care of, even the much touted lower cost of nuclear energy production becomes much more than the cost of production of solar and wind energy.Lastly, what surety is there that India will be ensured nuclear fuel supplies for all times to come; for tomorrow the economic and political interests of nuclear cartel countries and India could clash. Or does India has to be under the black mail threat for all times to come once it exercises the nuclear power option. Do we have a suitable and fail safe penalty clause included in these contracts for we are going to sink a fortune in these plants.
While Germany has decided to phase out its nuclear power option completely by 2030, the French and British governments are under tremendous pressure from a vast majority of their populace to phase out nuclear energy completely by 2050 or so.In USA no new nuclear plants have come up during the last three decades. It cannot be just a coincidence that the most developed countries are fighting against the very presence of nuclear power plants on their soil. Indian government is either oblivious of the concerns that are bothering the citizens of developed nations or is holding them back from the nation for reasons best known to it.
India is likely to add up about 5 lakh mw of electrical power in the coming two decades and a similar demand is likely to emanate from Asia and Africa who are likely to be denied access to nuclear power.The energy requirements of developed world will be confined to small amount of replacement of their obsolete plants. In this scenario, the advanced countries will like to delay the employment of huge funds for developing renewable clean energy technologies till such time they earn huge sums of money from their earlier investments in nuclear power technologies. The same money will be deployed for researches and industrial infrastructure development for clean renewable energy technologies.This is the right time and opportunity for India to make best use of trillions of rupees to be spent in power sector by giving impetus to relevant researches, technology development and manufacturing facilities for renewable clean energy options and become world leaders in this field which is going to be the backbone of development and prosperity in the immediate, intermediate and long term future.The government policies are certainly denying the nation the golden opportunity to become world leaders.
Let us wake up and not allow these politicians to opt for nuclear power option and deny the nation the golden chance to become world leader. Even a mother does not feed milk to its own child unless it cries.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nuclear Power In India:Our worst enemy

Those who are advocating the case of nuclear power for India are the worst enemies of the country and are in fact playing into the hands of Western Giants by nurturing their quest to remain global super economic powers and technology leaders for the coming fifty years at least. Let us not fall into this trap and place trillions of dollars as the cost of nuclear power plant technologies in their hands. These technologies are definitely defunct and out of sync with the energy security concepts of  21st century. The huge sums of money gained by these countries through sale of these technologies will enable them to remain technology leaders through major researches and engineering infrastructure development in the upcoming fields of wind and solar energy. Let those in power and policy makers of the nation show to the nation that they are working for Indian National Interest in the same way as US and French leaders are working for their country's interests.
It should be clear to one and all of this country that western nations have not suddenly developed special love and concern for India and its poor masses for nothing. They are only ensuring their own economic interests. For if today India does not buy 30000 mw of nuclear power plants, all their efforts and investments in research and technology infrastructure development for nuclear power plants will go unrewarded as none of their favored friends are willing to buy new nuclear plants or replace the earlier ones.They have little incentive for pouring in large sums of money in solar and wind power as catering to replacement requirements of nuclear and thermal power plants is a smaller economic activity and new economic powers like Germany, Japan, China and India are also gearing up to have a share in this pie.
For India, the opportunity of developing wind and solar energy is something like 75000 to 80000 mw in the coming decade. If we harness our research talent and expertise of engineering giants of the country for technology development, we will reap the benefits of this massive in house requirements and opportunity of massive scale up of engineering operations. We can easily become the world leaders and exporters of these technologies to the whole world.
So far for the opportunity to become world leaders in the field of power generation. Let us now concentrate on the problems associated with nuclear power generation which in themselves are strong enough reasons for abandoning the path of energy security through nuclear options.
  • No nuclear reactor can be 100% safe. A normal accident of whatever magnitude in any industry can at worst affect a couple of lives for once, whereas the worst possible nuclear accident can destroy thousands of lives,affect very large tracts of lands and couple of generations of those involved in the accident. These accidents could be a result of engineering failures, natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunami, terror attacks etc.
  • The capital cost of  1 mw of nuclear power plant is approx. 40 crores which as it is exorbitant. If we add the cost of radioactive waste management ( about 10% ) and insurance liability cost against terror attacks and accident damage ( 100% or even more ), nuclear power  becomes only a liability to the nation. This is perhaps the reason that no new nuclear power plants came up in USA during the last three decades and Germany has decided to totally abandon it by 2025. Japan will be no longer be replacing their old reactors. Australia the second largest producer of nuclear fuel has no nuclear power plant.
  • Problems of proliferation, susceptibility to theft or sale to terrorist and criminal organisations
  • Extremely long gestation periods of 10 - 15 years
  • India will always be prone to blackmail at the whims and fancies of fuel suppliers. After all we have been subject to this blackmail earlier also.

Indian Reality:Rudderless Education system

Successive governments have been telling us that education is the foremost priority for them. In spite of that we still have millions of illiterates even after 64 years of independence. The first and foremost priority must be accorded to literacy drive and simultaneously evolving an education system and infrastructure that could do some value addition to the earning prospects of an individual and his contribution towards the growth and prosperity of the country.
We are producing graduates and post graduates in large numbers and a majority of them in mere IIIrd division. We do not realise that we are wasting our money and scarce resources on these people. All such students or candidates get through in examinations because the universities as well as teachers do not want to have low pass percentages. Additionally it encourages discretion, graft and favouritism etc.during selections in jobs and puts sub standard candidates on government posts.
Our education system produces about 3 million graduates ( B.A.'s ) , about 1 million technical graduates, 0.18 million MBA's, 0.27 million polytechnic diplomas and 0.75 million ITI's. Out of all these so called educated and qualified class about 80% are simply unemployable. Instead of contributing towards India's progress, they are just a drain on the system as a lot of government money is spent on these colleges and institutes. These people invariably find jobs in the government sector wherein utter discretion is used in the name of  'Interview' and a lot of money changes hands in the form of bribe. One is not surprised to read reports in newspapers that over 8000 teachers in Bihar failed class V test. Only 5% of our Information Technology graduates are employable in the real sense and when it comes to Engineering Graduates and MBA's, a vast majority of them get placed at sub 1.00 Lakh annual packages. So far for the story of white collar job aspirants.
In the Skilled manpower segment which is the essence of progress of productivity of a country the situation is all the more worse. Firstly the quality and standard of skilled labour and supervisors is simply not up to the mark. Secondly we have a very distorted pyramid structure when technical manpower is in question. Imagine for 1 million engineering graduate pass outs per annum, we produce only 0.27 million diploma holders and 0.75 million ITI's. On the top of it we have about 200 million unskilled workers who just have two hands as their competence. There is an urgent need to convert these hands into Semi Skilled ones or Blue Collar Manpower  which includes Plumbers, Masons, Carpenters, Electricians, Drivers and workers in leather, jewellery and textile industry to name only a few. It is only in India that in these categories we have only 2% of manpower with any formal vocational training. In Industrially advanced countries more than 90% workers have proper vocational training which helps increasing the productivity and quality of produce and earnings of the individual.
This is the result of collective wisdom of our elected representatives who claim to have only nation's interest and the welfare of poor masses in mind when they form policies. The fact is that they have not shown any sincerity or concern towards the country or its Aam Admi during sixty years of meaningless and politically motivated governance. My Country men, it is time to wake up, for only good, selfless, sincere and honest people at the top can guide the nation and its poor millions to prosperity in less than a decade.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Indian Governance:Motivated and Guided by Corruption

The menace of corruption should only be talked of and should never be addressed to is the guiding principle of all political parties in India. If it were not true we would have seen some measures, some activity to fight it and reduce it over the last six decades. If only our rulers were  a little sensitive to this problem or in fact not motivated to let it escalate for their personal,  party or political gains, it would not have grown exponentially. Even to day when we have a very large parallel economy affecting the achieving of social and economic goals  at the desired speed, there seems to be little effort to put even a symbolic control on corruption, an effective control is perhaps expecting too much from our motivated politicians.
Corruption results in black money which in turn is a result of discretionary powers vested with the authority in our country where discretion is only motivated by self interest rather than the good of organisation and country. This fact is known to all those in power whether in States or Centre but self interest and political interests and compulsions force them to keep their traps shut and make them insensitive to the demons of corruption and black money.The total polity of this country talks only of black money stashed in foreign banks, for getting it back is a long drawn affair and is riddled with so many international complications and the time so gained gives them a golden opportunity to carry on endlessly in mud slinging on each other and keep all avenues of earning ill gotten money for themselves, their parties and their relatives, friends, cronies and political clout.
We have never heard of 10 to 15 lakh Crores of black money being generated every year which is almost equal to our annual budget and it requires action solely by the Centre and State governments. Surprisingly no politician of this country has ever talked about it. The reasons for not doing so are best known to them but do not require any rocket science for a common man to guess their ulterior motives. Imagine how fast  poverty eradication, education and health care for one and all and giving a comfortable and meaningful life to the have nots of this country can progress if our annual budgets can be doubled through controlling black money generation.
Sisters and brothers of India, whether from villages or cities, from  any religion, caste or creed,rich or poor, don't be taken in by any of the tricks of politicians, for end of corrupt people  and corruption will be the end of your poverty and miseries.Your poverty is a direct result of  corruption  by  those in authority and power.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The true colours of Indian polity

Lok Pal bill logjam has rocked entire India excepting the polity who are only playing  a game of chess or just doing shadow boxing. Every politician who counts in this country has been talking  that Anna's fast should end. Wise men, if you had even an iota of sincerity of purpose and honesty streak in you, you could have done something substantial during ten days of  his fast in parliament with all the good intentions you guys have been claiming to have to get his fast ended. Instead we had a stunningly weak bill introduced in the parliament, raised the normal political bogey of simultaneous murders of democracy, constitution of India, institute of parliament, social fibre of the country, even the integrity of the country etc. etc.. and finally that Lok Pal is not the panacea for eradication of corruption and it needs many more laws and enactments. In fact it appears that all these bogeys and wise talk is resorted to so that their right of colluding to and perpetuating the corrupt practices in this country is not taken away.
Gentlemen, nobody is against parliament, no disrespect to the institution but the leaders have collectively made a joke of themselves by safeguarding  personal and party interests by dillydallying even on the first small step towards having a corruption free India. You have to find ways and means of " How to do something and not how not to do it. " Even now nothing is lost , use all your discretion for once for something that is for the good of the country and its poor masses and save Anna for guidance on many other crucial matters of concern to poor and downtrodden of the country. You will be doing  great service to this country.

The lure of being a politician in India

When India got independence, politicians were a very respected lot for they had entered this arena with a strong urge to do something for the country and its masses. But today it is a different story all together. It is not for nothing that every individual in the country who is not barred from entering politics by being in government service is lured into politics. You only need to monitor the wealth accumulation in the hands of those in politics, starting from a street level, panchayat level or municipal level politician to state level , all India  level  etc., you will know the reason. The deeds of bigger politicians are there in the newspaper or electronic media for everyone to see but it does not mean that others are saints. All the smaller fish in this profession get paid through allocation of property, purchase orders, contracts. export licences, transport licences, managing selections, transfers, postings and promotions of government officials as touts to those in power. So much so even helping in getting a ration card or a voting card is also business for some.
The centre and state level politicians have access to a bigger pie for they can enact laws and bend rules to further the interests of their stooges and cronies. They keep on hiking their perks, salaries and pensions without obligation to any code of conduct. They have a special right to interfere in matters pertaining to executive decisions under the garb of looking after the interests of their constituency and its voters. They have huge funds to give as doles to a selected few in their constituency. They can float various corporations and psu's to favour their friends with big fat salaries and perks. All this is not for free as the famous axiom ' You scratch my back I will scratch yours ' is the rule of the game.
Enough to highlight the furthering of self interests in the name of shaping the destiny of this nation and improving the lot of masses. Little is done and more hype is created to fool their vote banks. It could very easily be said that politics is the first love of corrupt, corruptible and tainted citizens of this country.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Indian War against Corruption - Whose War

Surprisingly we have many voices from polity of the country and intelligentsia of the country who tell us that corruption will not end by having a strong Lok Pal but still nobody seems to have the inclination or honesty of purpose to spell out what measures are required. The aim seems to scuttle the movement against corruption by not letting materialise even the first important step towards the ultimate goal.
These politicians through their cronies and stooges along with certain persons with distorted thought process and vision are making the last ditch losing battle to ensure that Anna's ( India's ) fight for corruption does not culminate into a success story. Ever since Jan Lok Pal Bill draft has come into public domain and war against corruption has gained momentum, we are hearing all kind of bizarre, crooked and distorted arguments against Anna as well as the bill. It all started with the rhetoric of the movement being anti Parliament, anti constitution, anti people and what not. Then it was called the tyranny of the unelected and unelectable. Next attack was on the honesty of the the whole team Anna and because they were falsely labelled as corrupt they had no business or right to talk about mitigation of corruption. Perhaps that is the reason all our politicians have never tried any meaningful approach to fight this menace. Suddenly some people came up with the idea that since foreign countries are not happy with the  rapid progress being made by India, they are trying to destabilise the government of the country. What rotten argument ! These foreigners are wise enough to understand that if India can destroy the demon of corruption and black money, it can progress at may be double the present pace. Or may be they are wise enough to understand the pulse of Indian Polity, in that, these people  will hang on to any straw to maintain status quo. After all we all know that there is no business that gives returns higher than the business of politics. One earns tons of money without any investment, without any professional earning ability, only through unabashed use of associated power and authority, discretion and manipulations of rules and regulation, nepotism and favouritism etc. etc.. Lastly it is being made out by a few   that this is a movement of middle class urbanites as if the benefits of ending corruption will accrue only to this class and as if the downtrodden have nots will be more miserable  if this fight succeeds. What dirty politics to divide the masses! Sisters and brothers of India, whether from villages or cities, from  any religion, caste or creed,rich or poor, don't be taken in by any of these tricks of politicians, for end of corrupt people  and corruption will be the end of your poverty and miseries.Your poverty is a direct result of  corruption  by  those in authority and power.

Corruption in India:Apathy or Compulsion of politicians

Corruption is the biggest menace and enemy of our country. You hear this day in and day out from politicians of all shades and colours. BJP the main opposition party says that they have been raising this issue all along and have been fighting tooth and nail in parliament on various scams that have rocked the country in recent times. BJP, Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India (M) and Bahujan Samaj Party are only maintaining an anti government stance on the issues of Lok Pal and fight against corruption. They do not want to take any initiative in these issues of utmost national importance.Because both, those in power and those out of power cannot win elections unless they give corruption empowerment to their cronies and followers down to the level of village and mohalla leaders. The government on its part claims to be equally concerned about corruption and quotes the prime minister message on this independence day wherein he declared war on graft. Surprising still no word on black money. Is it a slip or a calculated omission? 
Some excerpts from PM's speech :
"In the last few months many instances of corruption have come to light. In some cases, functionaries of the Central government face allegations of corruption. In other cases, it is the functionaries of various State governments".
The Extent of Corruption Menace is being undermined in this statement. There may not be even 5% cases where  corruption is not there.
"Any government awards contracts worth thousands of crores every year. There are frequent complaints of corruption in these decisions. We had constituted a committee to suggest measures to reduce corruption in government purchases. The committee has recommended that, like many other countries, we should also have a public procurement legislation which lays down the principles and practice with regard to government purchases. We will introduce a Bill in Parliament by the end of this year to enact such a law".
 As if the country did not have procedures and principles all these years.This just appears to be an effort to show some thing to the simple masses of the country so that they remain silent for another six decades. Incidentally, all government contracts are awarded through various committees and after getting a certificate from the chairman that the prices are reasonable.
Sometimes the government talks about compulsions of coalition governments when dealing with corrupt people. The same is said when some path breaking economic or administrative action is to be taken. Are we not being made to pay too high a price for coalition governments.Why can't the government or any other party  put up bills in the parliament with an honest approach to kill corruption from this country and show it to the country once and for all who wants to kill this demon and who wants it to grow.This has not been done in the last six decades and is perhaps not likely to be done in future also for they know that someone out of them only has to be the winner in elections irrespective of whether ninety percent vote or abstain during elections.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chance of a lifetime - A piece of wisdom to the unwise polity of India

You guys have looted this country for six decades at a stretch. You have played with the policies, rules and regulations, power of discretion, absolute misuse of authority to further your monetary interests, to further the monetary interests of your city, town, village and street level political goons who ensure victory for you in elections.You people get remuneration and unlimited perks from the government funds. What benefit these associates get legally? You give them the access to fill their pockets through graft, corruption and black money generation making use of your powers unabashedly.
Gentlemen , it is a wake up call for all of you. It is God sent opportunity to get your names in the history of this nation. It is an opportunity to ensure government for yourselves for maybe next fifty years.And above all an opportunity to eradicate poverty and giving an enviable life style and conveniences to the billions of common citizens of India in just five years. The choice is entirely yours for you are the ones who are responsible for the neglect and miseries of these billions through a combination of your corrupt governance and bad governance over the last sixty years.
The 5-8% growth in GDP that too for the last few years only, that is being boasted of by the government could be catapulted to 15% and beyond if only corruption and black money could just be halved. This is beyond my imagination as to what level of growth we could hit upon if corruption and black money could be eradicated and black money stashed abroad could be brought back. Gentlemen, this is the opportunity that is beckoning you.
Find out just one man who is INCORRUPTIBLE  in the true sense of the word ie. who could not be bought for  because of his lust for money, lust for wine and woman, lust for power or lust for having a great name. I understand there is danger of being deserted by more than 50 % of these fair weather friends if the right kind of administrative and judicial reforms with an absolute sincerity and honesty of purpose are put before the parliament. Let the bills be defeated . Let the government fall. But in the ensuing elections if you put up a stone as a candidate, people will see to it that it emerges as a winner and the people who oppose these measures will find it difficult even to walk on the streets of this country.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Indian Governance - A Corrupt governance

We have heard of good governance and bad governance. A good governance is desirable to achieve best possible results, a bad governance can be forgiven and tolerated to some extent for in this case the decisions of the government do not originate out of ulterior motives but are the result of wrong judgement. The agony of Indian Governance is that all decisions are a result of corrupt motivation in one form are the other.
The scams like 2 G, CWG, Adarsh or the mining scam in Karnatka and other states are just a few samples of thousands of such scams going on in this country where the country's resources like minerals, land, spectrum etc. and tax payers money is being wasted at whims and fancies of political bigwigs using all discretionary powers to favour themselves directly or indirectly. The present day government takes credit for the action taken by it in these cases. But imagine the  amount of effort that was needed to convince the government for action by media, opposition, civil society, CAG, CVC and even the Supreme Court. The extent of involvement of judiciary, CBI, and other government organs only suggests that they cannot handle five more such cases in a reasonable period of time particularly looking into the attitude and sensitivity of the government in all these cases.
The discretionary powers of the authority are meant to safeguard the interests of the nation, whereas in all these cases discretion was used to favour one party or the other. The nation is given to believe that in 2G spectrum allocation, the decisions were taken in the light of of prevailing government policies on the matter, the policies which were framed some fifteen years back looking into the requirements of that time. These powerful politicians and bureaucrats bend the rules under the garb of discretionary powers to help themselves, their near and dear ones or their favoured ones when looting this nation but when it comes to do the same for the good of the nation they behave worse than clerks even and go verbatim by the rule book. The motivation for doing so is not very hard to understand.
The CAG report on CWG mess is said to be pointing out to procedural irregularities only and there is no mention of the word scam. Even a clerk in the government won't succumb to procedural irregularities unless and until he has his axe to grind. The motivation on the part of of all bigwigs involved to commit such irregularities is not hard to understand. Incidentally even if no procedural irregularities are resorted to, there is still a corruption margin of 30 % of the project cost because of use of less quantity, substandard materials and not adhering to construction specifications which cannot be checked once the civil work is finished.
To control such occurrences we require some sincerity of purpose on the part of those who rule this country. This cannot happen till such time we advocate the motto ' Loyalty to the chair and not to the nation ', and the political parties do  rely on persons wedded to moral ethics and who have some substance, sincerity and honesty of purpose in their thought process and not on persons who have been bestowed only with extraordinary gift of the gab to defend even their wrongful actions. Incidentally majority of spokespersons of all political parties are advocates who adhere only to professional ethics where their utmost priority is to defend their client irrespective of the fact whether the client is right or wrong. The moral ethics take a back seat in their profession and they carry the same during their governance stints also.
As a first major step towards fighting corruption let us do away with all discretionary powers so that we graduate into the realm of bad governance from the present state of corrupt governance. By doing so we will only be causing damage to government kitty that too in some cases and will not be filling the coffins of corruption money which has spiraling damaging effect on the economy.

Indian Governance - A Sham

Some views of Indian Polity on corruption
The asking for a meaningful Lok Pal Bill by Team Anna has been termed as a danger to democracy, tyranny of the non elected and non electable. If this is so we are all proud to escape the slur of being  Electable.
Anna has no right or business to talk of corruption in this country because there are charges of corruption against him.The basis for this charge is the observation of a commission some 7 years back. Why no action by this honest government? What was the motivation of no follow up action ? Honesty I believe !
Those tainted with corruption have no right to take up the cause of fight against corruption. That is perhaps the reason our politicians are so insensitive to this cause and are not taking action against it. True to their convictions at least ! 
Fundamental rights are not absolute rights in the context of fast and Satyagrah by Anna Hazare on fight against corruption by the party who claims to inherit values from Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Corruption in India:Our Birth Right

The events of last few months involving the drafting of the Lok Pal Bill, the actions of the government on the 2 G Scam, Adarsh Housing Scam, CWG Scam and the views and actions of Indian Polity on the biggest menace eating into our struggle of developing India gives an impression that we are fighting for Our Birth Right --- i.e. CORRUPTION. In this endeavour all political parties and all politicians seem to be contributing with all their might, passively, actively or silently like they were contributing when Bal Gangadhar Tilak  gave the slogan ' Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it' way back in 1898 irrespective of their political and economic ideologies. The government claims that it has taken action against senior ministers and politicians but only when it became clear that shielding them will be their Waterloo. Who found out these scams? The government with all its powers and machinery never bothered to find out as to what is going on in this country. It was only press and media who exposed manipulations and corruption in these scams. Are these the only scams and corruption cases that have happened in this country during last five years? When black money issues are raised we talk only of Rs 70 lakh crores which is stashed away in foreign countries and the government expresses its helplessness in bringing it back because of international laws and procedures. Government, opposition and everyone in the country who matters does not talk of  Rs 10-15 lakh  crores being generated every year for it requires action solely on their part.
What should we expect from these people when the first small step towards having an effective Lok Pal has generated so much of commotion in political circles that erosion of parliamentary system and democracy are talked about when it comes to incorporating suggestions by a group of people invited by government itself to prepare a blue print of the bill, suggesting thereby that wisdom, morality and national concern are the sole propriety of handful of these politicians half of them are members of parliament through appointment ( indirect election) while the others carry at best a backing of 25% of electorate of their constituency.
It is surprising that every body in politics claims to be gravely concerned about corruption and having a powerful Lok Pal but nobody seems to have even a basic blueprint of the bill ready and are working in damage control mode after the issue has been thrust on them by team Anna. The total effort is not concentrated on having an effective Lok Pal institution but on scoring political points over rivals and ultimately whom to blame for not getting the bill through. In the worst of the circumstances if the bill has to be passed the aim is to have a lame Lok Pal standing on one leg waiting to fall with the slightest whiff of air.
By excluding CBI  from the ambit of  RTI, while the intentions of government about fighting corruption and bringing in transparency in governance are clear, the silence on the part of other parties on the matter only smells of a collusion amongst the polity for maintaining status quo in all matters of national interest. The lame excuse of CBI handling cases involving national security is just a ploy for keeping it outside the purview of RTI, for separate wings must be dealing with cases of corruption and national security and even if this is not the case, separate wings could be created for strengthening the claim of good governance and transparency.
Indian polity has a flair for coining high sounding vote catching slogans. These days we hear a lot about inclusive growth and empowerment of masses. In principle both the phrases are wonderful but in a country where 70% of the money is known to be going into individual pockets when accountability on ground cannot be established. Is it not an effort to establishing your political clout through indirect bribe. Or in simple words, you participate in the national loot in a small way and allow us to grab the major chunk peacefully. We have heard programmes and slogans like Community Development, Roti Kapda aur Makan, Jai Jawan Jai Kissan, Garibi Hatao and we are not any better on these fronts. Similarly after five years or so we will come across some new vote catching phrases and generation after generation the poor will have to live as poor and be at the mercy of free India's democratically elected masters.
In the end one could only say ' God bless this country and millions of deprived, starved and hapless citizens who are being condemned to this fate by the rulers of this country.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ashamed To Be An Indian

"I am ashamed to be a Hindustani" said Rahul Gandhi , Congress general secretary and the man considered to be the next prime minister of India. This was said when he saw the plight of farmers protesting against acquisition of their lands for Greater Noida Phase II in U.P. a state governed by one of the opposition parties. Surprisingly the same sort of problems are faced by the poor including poor farmers all over the country and even in states governed by congress and its allies but not an eyelid is battered by the so called and self acclaimed 'Masiha' of the Indian Poor.Let us not shed crocodile tears over the fate of poor of this country with a view to keeping only politics and vote banks in mind.
After sixty years of democratic rule in the country, as well meaning, sincere citizens with self respect we are ashamed to be an Indian because of anything and everything going on in this country, a few of them are recited below.

  • We are one of the most corrupt nations of the world and we are not prepared to take cognizance of this fact.
  • We are no.1 country in the generation of black money and we do not want to take any action.
  • Even after 64 years of independence, we have 450 million people below poverty line without even shelter, clean drinking water, basic health care, sanitation facilities and food for survival.
  • Even now we resort to food and fuel subsidies where only 20% reaches the target group and some part goes in administration costs and the biggest chunk goes into the pockets of mighty and powerful of this country.
  • We have grossly inadequate judicial system in the country. All kind of cases relating to criminal offences, economic offences, land and property disputes can and can be made to drag in courts for decades without any relief to the complainant and punishment to the guilty.
  • After 64 years of independence we are not utilising even 10 % of our river water potential culminating into frequent floods and droughts.
We do have the resources and wherewithal to achieve these in a short span of about five years provided we are sincere in our approach and don't resort to political play. Let the government begin in right earnest in introducing bills for bringing forth the desired laws and expose those who try to stall them and leave the rest to Indian electorate. Let us give these matters a sincere and earnest try without resorting to political slogan mongering and gimmickry.

    Corruption and Black Money:Our Main Priority

    It is not a coincidence that India is one of the most corrupt nations on our globe. With the kind of people ruling this country and the concern they show to the burning issues of corruption and black money we are bound to improve upon our ranking in the list of most corrupt nations in the coming years. These days there is a lot of hue and cry about corruption and black money and the issue is being constantly raised by media and non political civil society. While Anna Hazare led a Dharna and fast for impressing upon the government to have an effective Lok Pal in the country, Yoga Guru Ramdev fasted for government action on curbing the demon of corruption and retrieving black money.The reaction to these two small initiatives on the biggest menaces eating into the nation's wealth and resources has been simply pathetic. Everyday a multitude of ministers of Central Government and party spokespersons of Congress talk of law making being the purview of the elected members only.It is not understood how Anna Hazare and Ramdev are going to enact laws concerning Lok Pal and fight against corruption. May be our politicians are simply reminding themselves about their powers and duties towards the nation which they have not cared to exercise during the last sixty years. None of these leaders can absolve himself of the responsibility of failing the nation on these counts for most of them have been in the government for more than twenty years.
    Both Anna Hazare and Ramdev  have been termed to be the mouthpiece of BJP and RSS. Therefore their Satyagrah is a danger to the security, integrity, communal harmony and democracy. First of all it is not  certain whether BJP and RSS are any more serious about these issues, for over the years they also have kept these as sparring weapons to gain politically. Secondly does the issue becomes unimportant, loses relevance and is not in national interest if BJP and RSS are seen raising it or are associated with it. Thirdly if these two are so dangerous to the country, the government is failing in its duties by not banning them and is not working for the country but against it.
    Let us have an effective Lok Pal. Let us have effective laws to take care of corruption and black money or face the nation's fury for not doing what is in the best interest of the country. This can be done only if the political might of this country decides to serve the country instead of serving the interests of their political clout, for all dubious economic activity always has a political backing.

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Energy Security:Clean Energy Technologies : The Best Place To Be In

    US President Barack Obama wants America to stay way ahead in the global race for clean energy innovation and wants his country to make sure that the new technological breakthroughs do not take place in countries like China and India. Such is the importance of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources and the growing realization across the world that clean energy technology is the way to future as it is going to help spur job creation and economic growth for years to come.
    Surprisingly these lines and thought process of the Head of the super economic power of this globe do not cut any ice with Indian leaders and technocrats. For some strange reason and logic they only want to ensure Obama's wish and vision by buying from US and France nuclear power plants for trillions of dollars so that these nations have enough funds in their kitty to spend on research, technology development and creation of relevant industrial infrastructure to remain technology world leaders for future also.
    Let us spend all the money meant to be spent on our nuclear energy program i.e. a sum of 9.6*10^12 i.e.  1.0 million crore rupees for 20000 mwatt of nuclear power to be added in the next decade or so. Cost includes  measures for waste management, disaster compensation insurance and stringent safety norms likely to be imposed in the light of Japanese disaster. In comparison 200000 mwatt of wind/hydro or 60000 mwatt of solar power can be installed at the same cost. On the top of it  environment issues,  security hazards and risks, disaster possibility and above all dependence for fuel on other countries will no more be issues of any concern. Let us give opportunity to our research labs, our engineering giants and i am convinced that we will add much more power in the coming decade and huge financial and opportunity inputs in these renewable energy technologies will catapult India to be the world leader in these fields.

    Saturday, April 30, 2011

    Energy Security - Nuclear Energy:The Worst Option

    While the advanced countries on this globe are working towards abandoning the nuclear energy options, we in India true to our tag of third world nation are going gaga  over nuclear energy options. Surprisingly our policy makers very conveniently prefer to close their eyes to 3 mile island, Chernobyl and Fukushima Dai-ichi disasters. The nation is constantly being fed on half baked truth of Nuclear Energy as the only viable Energy Security available and the accompanying safety concerns are being underplayed. By selling nuclear energy plants to India, the US and French presidents may be guilty of working against the humanity but they are certainly working in the best interests of their countries.Through these sales they are ensuring extra jobs to their countrymen, earning huge  amounts from investments made by their countries in the fields of infrastructure and technologies for nuclear plant engineering in sixties and seventies of last century as also making these huge funds so earned available for research and technology development in solar and wind power sectors which will enable them to retain their status as world leaders even in the upcoming field of renewable energy science, engineering and technology. But why are our leaders, policy makers and technocrats helping them out in realising their goals? Why are they ignoring what these advanced countries are doing for their own energy security during the coming decades?
    Let us do a little bit of fact finding regarding status of nuclear energy programs of these advanced countries.
    • In USA during the last 25 years no new additions have been made to nuclear energy. During the same period they have added about 80000 mw of wind and solar power and as an endeavour to have more and more of clean energy, huge sums are being allocated to these energy sectors to replace conventional thermal power plants in spite of a very powerful nuclear lobby.
    • France is perhaps the only country which has been increasing its dependence on nuclear energy up to now. They are also feeling the heat of lagging behind in renewable energy which is the most sought after and viable technology on a major part of our globe.
    • Germany is going ahead with the complete phasing out of nuclear power by 2022 simultaneously aiming to boost electricity generation from non polluting sources like wind and solar to 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 from less than 20% now.
    • South Africa is seriously thinking about not going ahead with proposed nuclear energy plants. Rather they think it will be wiser to invest in the new energy solutions i.e. renewable sources like wind and solar.
    • Japan has placed a moratorium on setting up of new reactors and are seriously reviewing all present installations.
    • China has an installed renewable energy capacity of  80000 mw ( wind and solar ) while they are aiming at about 40000 mw of nuclear power by 2015. Their priorities on energy sources are quite inevitable in their policies.
    It is very clear that whole world including nuclear energy reactor designers and fabricators namely US and France are going slow with this much touted energy security solution. The reasons are not very difficult to apprehend when we go into the details of economy and problems of proliferation, nuclear waste management and safety concerns.Nuclear power plants come at an exorbitant cost of Rs 25 crores / mw and in fact this may escalate to about Rs 50 crores when measures for waste management, disaster compensation insurance and stringent safety norms likely to be imposed in the light of Japanese disaster are taken into account. In comparison wind, hydro and thermal power can be installed at a cost of about Rs 5-6 crore per mw and solar energy could be installed at Rs 16-20 crore per mw. Additionally nuclear power plants have a very long gestation period of 10-15 years and investment recovery period of 25-40 years.
    The radioactive material is susceptible to thefts by or eventual sale to terrorists or international criminal organisations. The accidental release of radioactivity as a result of reactor accident, terrorist attack or as a consequence of some natural disaster can be catastrophic. The scientists and technocrats would like to say that chances of such an occurrence are 1 in a billion or a trillion but can they deny that such an occurrence could as well be the 1st one and the balance of (1 trillion - 1) occurrences can be catastrophe free.
    The environment hazards arising as a result of nuclear power plants cannot be ignored. For India add to this the all time dependence for nuclear fuel on other countries rendering us prone to blackmail at the whims and fancies of these suppliers.
    In the light of all this is it advisable to go in for this option when much better and safe options are available? Let wisdom and national interest prevail on our politicians and nuclear technocrat lobby so that we do not fall prey to US and French interests and in the bargain lose our chance of leading the world in the transition to renewable energy solutions. Let us make best use of our being backward in per capita energy consumption, for US, Europe and China combined together will not add or replace 8,00,000 mw which India is planning to add during the next decade or so.We have the opportunity of fine tuning wind and solar energy technologies and cut down their costs through development of large scale manufacturing facilities without having to bother about our earlier investments in any energy field becoming redundant and superfluous.

      Wednesday, April 20, 2011

      Corruption In India - The Fight Against

      After the government order on formulation of the Lok Pal Bill draft, there have been all kind of reactions from politicians, intelligentsia and journalists. Some think that the drafting is the job of legislatures, some think that Lok Pal institution cannot put an end to corruption while a few think that there is not much of corruption in the country. The vast majority of Indian citizens however are aware of the huge corruption in the Indian economic system with its tentacles rooted deep in all walks of life as also the fact that Lok Pal Bill if at all it comes into force will be like touching the tip of the iceberg in our fight against this demon called corruption. A lot more legislation and governance methodologies will have to be adopted to put an end to corruption practices. The noise being made about the individual members and the kind of aspersions being cast on them does not give much hope to poverty ridden millions of this country. In fact the concerted effort being made by the polity of the country in maligning these members is aimed at nipping this evil of an effective Lok Pal Bill in the bud. After all we should not forget that these very politicians have seen to it that nothing happened on this front for the past forty years. It is well known that India does not have men at the top who could be called incorruptible. For some money is their waterloo, for some wine and woman and for some it could be the lust of power. In India the mighty and the powerful are all guilty on one count or the other otherwise they will not be either silent spectators or partners to the rot of corruption engulfing this country.
      I was naive when I wrote in these columns that fighting corruption will in no way clash with the political, economic, social or any other policy agenda of any party or politician. But I was absolutely wrong, in fact I  realize that maintaining status quo in this matter is the topmost agenda for all of them. The script of the story of Lok Pal Bill should be clear to any Indian even with an iota of intelligence. In the first instance a draft will be formulated ( that too if the pressure by civil society and media is maintained ) leaving enough scope for other parties to find faults and not to vote for it. This will be managed in such a subtle manner that the country will never know as to who was for it and who was against it. In fact the unwritten collusion amongst all politicians of this country over corruption has been so strong that we have no winners and no losers in this issue even after forty years of dilly dallying. If any sincerity to the country and its masses is still left in these politicians, let them come out openly with their vision of the bill and commit publicly that they will see the smooth passage of this bill in parliament provided it contains all features  mentioned in their vision. Incidentally the strength of all national and major regional parties in both the houses is much more than what is required for enacting this bill. The country is witness to their  being unanimous and behaving as constituents of a national government when matter relating to their salaries, pension and perks were taken up in the parliament. Let them for once show the same attitude towards this national cause of fight against corruption.

      Good Governance : Subsidies - Let Us Forget Them

      In India 37% population of the country i.e. about 45 crores or 10 crore families live below poverty line which means an earning of less than Rs10/- a day per person. It is imperative on the part of the government to help this large chunk of population to enable it to live above BPL and contribute effectively to furtherance of development process.For this government provides food subsidy, fuel subsidy and has embarked upon programs to provide houses, drinking water and sanitation, rural roads, health, education and minimum employment guarantee program.
      All these programs are wonderful and the intention is also commendable. It is not understood why the authorities are blindly following the subsidy route when they all know that not even fifty percent of the subsidies reach the target group and more than half the amount in such activities is the administrative cost. Also why we  only see 45 crore mouths to be fed and not 20 crore hands who can revolutionize the fortunes of this country in no time. Perhaps it gives a feeling of greatness to politicians and inflates their ego to a level where they feel that they are the 'Ann Daatas' ( food providers ) to such large section of humanity. Or simply put, this methodology is more vote catching than actually looking after the welfare of poor class Or the lure of partaking in the accompanied loot encourages them to toe this faulty line. 
      Let us assume we adopt the methodology of providing employment to 10 crore family heads for 25 days in a month at a daily wage of Rs100 on the lines of NREGA. This gives a daily earning of Rs 17 to each member  of 45 crore BPL family at a total cost of 3,00,000 crores to the government. It places 2600 crore more man days at the disposal of government in addition to 400 crore man days likely to be generated through NREGA (yearly allocation of Rs 40,000 crores ). This huge sum of Rs3,00,000 crores can be made available by rationalizing government expenditure in the following manner.
      • No need of any food subsidy from centre and states making available a sum of 1,25,000 crores a year as it is food worth Rs 25000 crores reaches the target group, the rest is absorbed by administrative costs, pilferage and going into wrong hands.
      • No need of any subsidy on kerosene, thus saving Rs16,000 crores which largely goes as administrative cost, theft and adulteration in diesel.
      • Rationalizing subsidy on diesel. This should be made available only for agricultural sector use and goods movement through trucks. By doing this an amount of Rs 30,000 crores can be saved on the diesel subsidy and used for this noble mission. Use of subsidized diesel by passenger cars, government ministries like railways, defence, road transport etc., industry and power generators is a colossus waste of government resources.
      • Rationalizing subsidy on cooking gas by taking out home users paying an annual I Tax of Rs 5000 and above and stopping pilferage for use by commercial establishments can result in a saving of minimum Rs20,000 crores in this subsidy.
      • Annual funds of Rs 40,000 crores earmarked for NREGA will stand merged into this activity.
      • Government spending of Rs 58,000 crores on Bharat Nirman will carry a manpower expenditure of about 20%, adding another Rs 11,600 crores.
      • The other social sector allocation of about Rs 1,00,000 crore along with the social sector spending of all states can easily cover the balance Rs 58,000 crores out of envisaged Rs 3,00,000 crores required for providing a meaningful above poverty line existence to our people. Still where ever necessity of providing help is felt direct cash payments could be resorted to.
      A few musts to achieve definite success in this program :
      • In such an endeavor the NREGA wages and direct cash payments where ever or when ever necessary should be linked to inflation index.
      • All payments should be paid into the bank accounts of beneficiaries. For this banking sector has to gear up in a big way otherwise the Indian innovation will see to it that there are lots of pilferages and manipulations.
      Such a program will have a bigger chance of success as there is least chance of pilferage for only one authority is involved in certifying work done and paying into the account of the worker. With the help of UID linked bank accounts the payments can be monitored effectively. All these families could be linked to ESI scheme and provided healthcare benefits We will have 45 crore additional Indians with their heads high and a feeling that they are living on their own earnings and not on the doles and freebies provided by politicians and  other mighty and powerful of the society.




        Friday, April 8, 2011

        Corruption and Black Money -The Big Guzzlers & Creators


        You open any newspaper, you switch on any TV news channel, a day cannot pass without a few headlines about corruption and bribery scams. Such scams will invariably be connected with land, housing and real estate. In fact all activity related to this one particular sector be it allotment, sale and purchase, construction, purchase of material or renting and hiring brings in corruption, black money generation and deployment, tax avoidance and criminal activity. This sector and its progress are said to be the index of economic health of a nation. Imagine the extent of degradation of economic health of a nation when the same sector is under the cloud of corruption and bribery scandals one after the other particularly when only a negligible percentage of such cases catch the eye of media. In fact for every case that comes to limelight thousands of cases go undetected.
        Buying and selling of property normally involves 30% of payments through banks and the rest is by cash. It gives huge opportunity of absorbing ill gotten money ( be it from bribery, corruption, tax avoidance or any other illegal activity) to the buyer and simultaneously produces the same amount of black money in the hands of seller.
        In the construction business also cheque payments and receipts are kept to a bare minimum. Material purchases worth 10 lakhs are normally made against a bill of may be1.5 to 2.00 lakhs. This is true about all materials starting from bricks, timber, plumbing and hardware accessories, electrical fittings etc. to name only a few. The advantage to buyer and seller both can be understood by anybody for it does not require expertise in rocket science. Similar are the facts when it comes to hiring or renting of property.
        Gold is the next big culprit when it comes to absorbing of black money and its creation for gold buying and selling is also mainly in cash. As a general rule all asset classes are equal culprits in this game of black money generation and absorption.

        Corruption and Black Money In India:Control Through Good Governance


        The Finance Minister and the Indian Government is all the time boasting of a GDP growth rate of about 8.5% per annum and a promise to maintain the same for coming few years. Can they in the same breath talk of any one  particular value addition in this process excepting one fact that they have not totally frittered away the national resources in doling out concessions in the name of Aam Admi in form of subsidies, freebies etc. etc.. The golden opportunity that the compulsions of high wages in advanced nations has given to India with its cheap and qualified work force with the right demographic profile as also the limited privatisation in the early nineties is certainly not being properly utilised. Imagine if the opportunity is backed by good governance as was done by Japan and Singapore, where we will be after a decade or so. Needless to emphasize that presently we are being plagued by real bad governance.
        A few suggestions from an Aam Admi which can catapult the GDP growth and fate of  have nots of this country in a manner much beyond our imagination.
        • Declare a war on Corruption & Black Money. ( All Political Parties and MP's should not have any objection to this for it cannot come in the way of their political and economic agenda )
        • Make necessary arrangements to get back all black money stashed in foreign countries.
        • Do away with Quotas and Discretions of all political appointees and officials.
        • UID project should be given topmost priority so as to be completed in two year time. ( Make available all resources and money ) Its role in achieving better tax compliance, controlling subsidy leakages and midday meal program leakages cannot be undermined as it can certainly reduce them by 25%. But what about the balance 75% and we can make an even bigger dent in such dubious earnings if only we make it a point to link UID number to all immovable property and all major asset classes as also luxury items like cars, motor cycles, refrigerators, tv's, watches etc..
        • Government should acquire powers to buy minimum 2% of property and land deals in secondary market every year at 1.1 times the declared value (chosen by a random number generation technique).
        • Power of attorney in respect of immovable property should be done away with.
        • All reinforcement directorates to be beefed up many folds.
        • Three tier checks on economic status of general public individuals, government officials, politicians, business and corporates.
        • Reinforcement of judiciary to take care of economic offences and disputes to a level so that no case hangs in the courts for more than nine months.
        • And lastly all rags to riches stories and exponentially growing businesses should be reviewed for ascertaining their tax compliance.