Saturday, October 17, 2015

Beef Over Beef

Farmers at work in Myanmar

The politicians in India are debating diet of nation, some of them with quite loose tongues (Sangeet Som, Manohar Lal Khattar, Assasuddin Owaisi, Mohammad Azam to name a few). Meanwhile, the filth elected by popular mandate has forgot that alternative to beef is pulses, with regards to protein content and as a staple component of Indian diet and at Rs 200/kg those are now costlier than beef. So, while beef is a politically ill-advised diet, pulses are no longer pocket friendly.

This brings us to focus of government in last 1 year and 6 months. Mr. Modi has been on a world tour attracting investment in Indian manufacturing sector, the Make In India programme and his passion for providing Facebook to every Indian is world famous. The effort has attracted investments, albeit it seems directed wrongly. The country needs to focus on infrastructure, but politicians (including Mr.Arun Jaitley) have forgotten the infrastructure is not only railways and roadways (Mr. Gadkari might, dreamily, relay whole Indian highway network and go gung-ho about it). It also includes support and networks for an agrarian economy, alternative energy schemes, housing schemes which are affordable. Clean India campaign is very praise-worthy and some impact is visible now-a-days. Yoga politics is a personal choice with little or no implication outside RSS shakhas.

The current vision and policy seems to be short-sighted and should, probably, be revised to focus on modernizing the farms of India. And modernization is not to be confused with mechanization. The entrepreneurs in India today are well placed to help develop alternative crop collection, storage, sorting and distribution systems and also market them. Replacing red-tape ridden food programmes of governments. With large, educated workforce, a big part of which are engineers, doctors, managers, agriculturists the focus ought to be on incensing them to work in creative endeavours like rural economy and not jumping into urban rat-race or chasing an unreal American dream, loaned by corporations.

There have been reports and observations of a collapsed real-estate sector. The reason for which are misplaced focus on developing luxury housing, ignoring the sustained demands for low-cost housing. An unsold inventory of nearly a million apartments indicates stagnation in demand of such projects and a bad case of hollow urbanization of a truly rural nation, such 'development' is resulting in loss of prime agricultural lands in Doab regions of Ganga and Yamuna and pressurising resources in other parts of India.

Ideas in this post might sound socialist, but are truthfully capitalist and rightist on any economic parameter and if India's right wing fails to steer it forward in those directions, that would be the true failure of the Indian mandate and the Modi government. The beef would be then with the rightist hope and missed opportunity of a global scale.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Half-Baked Federalism

A ribbon produced in support of Federation of Australia in 1899.

 India is a federation of states. A federation heavily biased towards central government. The idea of an extremely strong centre might have been historically important, but with growing economic and social integration of states within the federation, the nation should think of granting more autonomy to states, primarily within the constitutional provision and sometime even amending those provisions.

The autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir has been a question of debate. In retrospect, it seems, many are against it because it is available to that state only. Given similar autonomy to Maharashtra or Bihar or Punjab, they will hurriedly leap at it.

About 70 years into independence, the nation should essentially look into concepts like dual citizenship (domicile requirements in colleges are doing it indirectly). The federation should be strengthened by transferring more rights to states. And inhibiting abrogation of elected state governments (aka The President rule) other than in extreme situations.

Per my perspective, dual citizenship can help deal issues of large scale in-migration (and thus infrastructure mismanagement), child labour, labour abuse, human trafficking etc. States should be given authority to admit or deny citizenship on the basis of parameters like education, skill and may be patronage(in cases like that of Teesta Seetalwad, where she feels at risk in Gujarat - I don't buy into her arguments though).  Right to live, work anywhere should be subject to conditions. Essentially, citizenships should be looked into as something to be earned (an incentive of good education can be citizenship of Karnataka or for that matter Bangalore and so on). This will also make local electorate to force their representatives to develop infrastructure in their places rather seeking asylum in other states in squatter settlements in sub-human conditions (read slums of Delhi and Mumbai).

The states should also be strengthened monetarily and pseudo-states like Delhi should be avoided. The monetary strengthening requirement can be seen in begging and sanctioning of grants like the package Bihar got in a recent poll rally, in what can be seen as one of the filthiest display expected of a prime minister (will never achieve unbeatable Rajiv Gandhi, "jab bade ped girte hain..."). Revision of revenue share of states from 32% to 42% is one such step and essentially needs to be incorporated into policy and should not be dependent on mercy of a central government. We can't be sure if our next prime minister will come with experience of being a state chief minister (probably that should be made into an eligibility criteria for the post of PM) and thus would be as understanding of such federalist policies or not.

With limited knowledge of mine, I am able to highlight some of the goods that some of state reforms can bring about. Essentially there are more goods that can be achieved and there must be some flaws in suggestions I have mentioned, these should be ironed out and a better federation should be evolved.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


This republic day, 2 protocols were not followed for goodness. In the first case, the tradition of inviting ex-CMs of Delhi to republic day parades was broken by not extending invitation to Mr. Arvind Kejriwal. In the second, the prime minister of India himself received US President at airport. The latter is not unprecedented, Manmohan Singh has done it before. The publicity and mania surrounding the visit was unprecedented though.

I, for one, feel relished at Kejriwal being uninvited. The very person who last year was shouting against republic day parade, carrying out bazooka rallies; while being the CM of the state - 4 seats short of majority but never shy of enjoying the pleasures of office and using 49 days to do publicity (it didn't matter how much was mandated by public, only 40% of Delhi's seats were his) for his future ambitions to become PM of India. The goons he promoted as ministers in his cabinet were carrying out raids without warrants and the rallies to get full statehood were suspended with dismissal of 2 police officers. The protocol was 'broken', but that's still not unlawful as protocols are guidelines and are only moral obligations. The shunning of a protocol for it is being used by someone for propaganda is a positive step forward.

The latter protocol is that ministers and not the chief of state receives the guests, even premiers of other nations, at airports on arrival. This was overlooked in favour of an image building exercise, sending out a visual vibe to the world. The gesture could capture world media's attention towards growing stature of the nation is a positive development. Reciprocity shown by Mr. Barrack Obama is heartening and, if implemented word to word, shall bring about good of the two states.

Below I highlight a recent status update on my FB profile, the post was evoked by disenchantment towards rogue behaviour of a supposedly 'well-wishing' Mr. Kejriwal. The degree of intrusion these elements can bring to the state of Delhi by socialist mindset, uncaring of the concepts like feasibility, economics and several other factors...

That's exactly what you expect from AAP, intrusion in your life. They can call you, you never registered with them, and ask you to vote for them in "aane wale vidhansabha chunav". 
Your unwanted calls are reason enough to mark you SPAM. Last year you were entering houses without warrants, now you are calling without reason. A leaflet describing your aims could do better, but you believe in entering houses. 
And thy subsidy promises will be funded by our taxes. We surely don't want to spend our taxes on your publicity stunts. Enjoy, while you dream of taking oath on Feb 15. Rudeness is your culture, since systems you don't understand.

Saddening that the freebies are able to lure so many people that you actually might score big numbers. The city is already in shambles at many fronts, and your kind of politics is no help. Its very much being an Ostrich, "burying thy neck while the problems approach". 
Never call me again. I believe in humanism and your semi-leftist approaches have been of no use. Opportunism is first tenant of your policy. 
To Arvind Kejriwal, to persist is important. Because if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. That's perfectly your case.

Happy Voting on February 07' 2015.