Sunday, 29 March 2009


A politically charged discussion between two friends who probably come from two different sides of spectrum ....

Comment why PM says a particular community has first right to country resources … why not equal right for all the communities ... i am sure personally you too would not like your children to feel second rated in place of their birth..

Response Supposing this were true, would you vote for someone who justifies violence using this as an excuse? I call this creating a brotherhood of victimhood. I assure you I have never felt we were made to feel in anyway ‘second rated’ in our own country. This type of hate politics combined with violence against every minority is what brought some of our politicians to power, and I fear unless we firmly stop them we will see more of this.

Comment You can see what MMS has said here. The whole content of the speech .. (we can go into what he meant what he didn't .. or how innocent it was) and here and here

Response I went through the links and I agree this is divisive politics, he must have known or should have known what he was talking about. All reservation except reservations meant for economically backward cause bitterness and hate amongst people ( though I support reservation for first generation learners amongst dalits). At a time when we are already going through such communal divides, this could only mean vote-politics.

Comment there has never been any justification of violence and i guess there will never be

Response I agree(that's true even for enticing for violence).. You mean making hate speeches etc?

Comment What breeds ugly behaviour is when we force ourselves to take notice of only certain issues like we go banana when a pub is attacked As for 'Going banana when a PUB was attacked'

Response that was an example of blatant breaking of law and order and using culture (!) to justify it. Trying to undermine it did BJP a lot of harm, BJP HAD A CHANCE TO WIN OVER 45% VOTERS AND THEIR FAMILIES in India by strongly condemning that shocking attack instead they spoke of saving our culture(!). I know their are many who might think it is okay to honor kill or beat up a women for drinking/being too free/wearing jeans/ going out alone etc but then they are born in the wrong country. This was a horrendous act, and needed all that and even more attention than it got. Please do not try to trivialize it.

Comment but remain silent when girls denied education ..i do not see any justification of choosing crimes or comparing which one is lesser ...

Response And this one should have got attention too, but not (like you mentioned in your last comment) because the victims belonged to another community. Are you trying to say BJP cares about the welfare of all communities? Or that BJP supports progress of women ? Why didn't they condemn the PUB attack? (btw they did condemn the attack for whatever it is worth) Or they will only support the progress of those women who are willing to be 'traditional and compliant' - one of my biggest grouse against BJP is their narrow minded attitude towards women, their narrow mindedness, and attempts at controlling how women must behave, who they must marry (like they mustn't marry outside their community)- THEY FORGET WE ARE ALL EQUAL - when a party is so blatantly - so openly discriminating against anyone who will find it difficult to protest (including women)- when they have never done a thing to deny this (Have they?) how does one understand that they are genuinely concerned about the education of girls? Did they do something to help here? Like open more schools just for girls? I have seen the switching from skirts to salwar kurtas in schools after BJP came to power - and that is very symbolic of the kind of affect they have on already rampant gender discrimination. No such rules anywhere for boys who continue to wear trousers and shorts. Is this Indian culture? Or BJP culture? Stuck between the bad and the worst possible, I will choose the bad any day.

Comment : its funny isn't it ... as long as you criticize Pub attacks and Varuns you are liberal.. the moment you question why the girls in UP can be pushed to the side of 'un-education' you get to told how bad BJP is .. and the kind of things it has done and then as a afterthought yes btw we should pay attention to that issue as well .. isn't that funny .. you will trust that BJP is behind all the attacks on pubs even though we can not conclusively prove that BJP indeed is behind those attacks .. and how BJP is not interested in even education of girls .. but then how do you explain that in this instance the govt at all levels (state & centre) was not in BJP hands and they didn't do anything .. but then still we can shift it on BJP and walk away ..

for your information check this link
and let me assure you all of them do teach girls .. i will welcome if you know otherwise

we do not care if people attached to 84 can become ministers but then we must believe the worst thing that has ever happened to india is RSS .. anyone who raises 84 or talks something differently than the accepted norms must be an RSS or BJP person .. but thats not true ...

Response : I Understand ..................................... (unsaid: but i will never tell these facts to any one else)

Disclaimer: All these are just personal views and do not support or deride any thinking

Saturday, 28 March 2009

IPL part 2

Quoting from this week's India Today's cover story on IPL

"Home Minister P. Chidambaram could not have put it better—“IPL is a shrewd combination of sport and business. There is no reason to add politics to this combination.’’ There was no way politics could have been kept out either.A majority of states were willing to take responsibility for providing security at their own risk. Chidambaram says that only three states and one Union territory— Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Chandigarh—got back with their official response. What he forgot to mention was that they were the only ones to respond to the third reworked schedule. Most of the other states—barring Maharashtra and Delhi—had sent letters expressing their willingness to hold the matches with some changes in the schedule. All the changes had been made by the IPL in the last schedule it submitted to the Government. They were made to come up with a re-worked schedule thrice but received no clear response from the Government."

Read the complete story here

Friday, 27 March 2009

A different walk!!

Of late really getting into some long debates on blog-world ..

Since IHM decided to post part of my comments and respond to them i thought it could be good if i post all of my comments as it is out here.

Happy to see you taking a keen interest on this. I would be happier if you can do a post on realities of Pilibhit .. its far removed from our metro's and its something totally different than what our English media is trying to make us believe.

But even then Varun must be punished as he has added a great deal to the rising intolerance in our country. But then he said something very very good (even baddies say some good things at times) .. that he is a hindu and not apologetic about it ..

You are right that this will not help getting a an equality for women but a strong opposition of the recent decree against girl’s education in UP by a particular community could have ensured that 2-3 lac girls do not remain uneducated .. thus greater chance of achieving better live for them .. and helping the equality thing as well.

You might also be interested in doing a search on a meeting done by Cong in Punjab in a Mosque where the leaders welcomed a decree against BJP .. i think even that is communal .. or when SP leaders visit mosques only to ensure their votes ..

Check how PDP is demanding to change the name of Anantnag to Islamabad. Agreed it used to be called Islamabad in past but with the same token can’t some idiots justify the demolition of Babri.

Their was an attack on Mangalore Church banana plantation.. and the guys who did that had a great explanation for doing that.

Search something on whats happening between Panas & Kandhs and how Kanths have cornered all the recourses in kandhmal even they are only 16% of the population.

Between 1991 to 2001 govt records of Kandhmal shows that their were two conversions (Orisa has a law to report all conversions to class 1 Magistrate and it was enacted in 60s well before BJP came into pic) but then the census shows that the christen population has raised 6 folds or move to Murshidabad and see how the districts demography has changed so drastically or how the same commies say that BJD is a secular party.

Ask a question that movie called FIRAQ which was ready since last Sept is released only now.

Or when a prominent political leader from south questions the credentials of Ram .. isn’t that trying to entice bad blood .. or demean a set of followers … can he question others with the same ease?

Varun is part of this system and probably he tried to benefit from the raising intolerance that has come into our society but then I think our habit of chickening out from debating larger issues without bias is doing a far greater damage or by remaining apologetic about ourselves.

End of it you can say that I am chickening out from debating what Varun said .. :)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Original Reformer!!

In 1991 our budget deficit was at around 12% with dwindling forex reserves. In stepped a silent Prime Minister(He spoke least number of times in Lok Sabha for any PM who has completed the full term of five years) and a bold reformer as Finance Minister who was given a mandate to reform. The reformer started the chain (although some would argue that it was Yashwant Sinha who took the first step but could not do anything as he lacked the political backing) the silent PM watched, clapped and kept the reformer untouched from any political bickering.

Thus we opened our market, allowed FDI and slowing we started integrating our economy with rest of the world. Taxes were streamlined and we started discussing what role Govt should play in setting up of industries or investing public money to create companies (thus started talking of disinvestment). Although he tried but could not create the needed environment for more ‘controversial’ reforms in labour laws. First three years were good for reforms. But then came a bit of lull as the party started loosing elections.

Then came new Govt and another reformer as FM who was one of the best qualified for the job. He was bold enough to push tax reforms (streamlining them further), push disinvestments and he did present the dream budget.

We had another change of guards at the top and then we had couple of guys (one after another) manning our Finance Ministry with a full fledged Disinvestment Minister as well. They tried to push further economic reforms, streamline taxes, tried to create an environment for more FDI in different sectors, more modernized labour and land laws.

All along since the start of process of opening up we had Govts from different political camps but there were certain underlying themes and understanding as every successive Govt tried to reduce our fiscal and revenue deficit, tried to pull Govt money out of sectors were it should not be, tried push easier monitory policies, reduce the unplanned expenditure of Govt, of lowering the interest rates. We even put a mechanism to limit our fiscal and revenue deficit and defined a time frame to reduce it to a manageable level,

It seemed we are out of the old says of high un-sustainable deficit and high inflation / high interest rate period.

Then politically even something better happened. The erstwhile reformer was now the Prime Minister and the man who last presented the dream budget was our Finance Minister again. Together they took the country to new heights of growth and our GDP growth started touching 9% mark.

Everything looked ‘happening’. The income of average Indian was growing very fast infact some reports say that it has actually doubled in first seven years of new century.

We even inacted a law for Financial responsibility. Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, with terminal goals in 2009-10 of a revenue deficit/GDP ratio of 0.0% and fiscal deficit of 3%.

But then somewhere down the line it seems the Govt gave quiet burial to economic reforms.

Slowly but surely high interest/high inflation regime came back (albeit it was more of a global phenomena rather than any Indian doing).

Disinvestment was dropped from any Govt jargon. Tax complications, Labour laws and land laws almost remained as it is without any serious push to modernize them. Some of ‘shinning’ sectors which were the success stories of era of economic reforms like real estate became over heated.

Then in last one year everything started unravel. Although the budget estimates for 2008-09 promised a revenue deficit of 0.5% and a fiscal deficit of 2.5% which were in line with our FRBM act. But then there are too many big ‘off-budget’ items (accounting for almost 3-4% of the GDP) like loans waivers to farmers many of whom were loan defaulters (although they in the first place were given a loan which they never had means of paying it back), sixth pay commission and the flag ship program of rural employment (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)).

This is coupled with a year of low growth which has an impact on tax revenues. Govt also announced stimulus packages for industry.

It started showing on Government’s statement of accounts as well as it showed it contains the seeds of a larger fiscal mess, gross market borrowings for the current fiscal year 2008-09 has balooned to Rs 3,06,000 cr ( to put the numbers in perspective its Rs 838 cr daily every 7 days of the week), which is multiple times of the original estimated Rs 1,33,300 cr.

Compare this with previous (NDA) government which had left behind a deficit of only 4.8 per cent of the GDP at Rs 1,32,103 cr while the current Government’s interim budget has a deficit of 6 per cent of the GDP at Rs 3,26,515 cr.

All this combined would push the deficit levels to 8-9% (combine with with deficit of states which could account for another 3%) and we have deficit level of 11-12% which is similar to levels of 1991.

As fallout, which we experience in our daily life, all this deficit (and borrowing by Govt) is pushing (or keeping) the interest rates at a high level (mostly in double digits or high single digits). Govt borrows from the market (by issuing short term and long term government securities (bonds and gilts) and with this high demand of money, the interest rate paid on bonds (and gilts) will remain high, which in simple term would means that Govt is a far more attractive borrower for banks than common man (or industries). So the loans for us (and industries) will still remain very costly thus impacting our ability to invest for example to buy a house or invest in something productive.

For other effects (which we hardly notice), India’s attractiveness as investment destination is directly linked to its fiscal health. Not directly but the fiscal health determines the sovereign rating and the rating impacts the investments. With the fiscal health going down inflow of foreign investment and currency bound to be lower. Throw in the global slowdown into this and you get a far more complicated picture.

So we are probably back to square one with new Govt will have to take some urgent measures to put the things back in order. Perhaps we need yet another Reformer who can match the ‘magical wand’ of our original reformer.