Sunday, July 31, 2011

Twenty years on, a forgotten anniversary: Economic Reform

Twenty years on, a forgotten anniversary is a good pointer. The author has raised a right issue at a right point of time. Economic reform initiated by Congress in 1991 has brought good fruits to the country. This way economic reform is a good political product for the cong. Why Cong is not promoting and marketing it by celebrating its 20th centaury to take its political benefit. It looks foolish on the part of the Cong, but there are some valid reasons, not doing so.
One, along with good it has brought some bad things. There are chances of digging out those bad things by opposition. There is always two side of any policy.
Two, country is infected with the issue of corruption. This is a by-product of economic reform. Reform didn’t accompanied by any measure to check economic corruption. This lack in reform has no explanation.
Three, from first August Parliament session is started. Cong doesn’t want to take any risk for giving any issue to opposition.
Four, Celebration is an offensive action; Congress is defensive on all fronts. Thus, it is not possible to take an offensive position from a defensive situation.
Five, Manmohan Singh was the architect of this reform as finance minister in 1991. Now as prime minister, he is facing rough weather and not enjoying same position in public as it was then. So, if house is not in order how one can enjoy.

Merit Vs Blood

This is really a great article. Highlights Merit over blood. To be a developed nation soon, it must take shape of a rule in India. Tata and Infosys has set yardstick for others to follow. What I see, this is to accommodate the changes in order to sustain and grow. In day to come changes will be fast, so rest will have to follow for the survival.
Indian politics are also in transition to acquire the corporate management style to meet the fast changing scenario. If they are adopting the management then they are bound to follow the associates too. Without merit, gaining power will not be easy. If the political sector adopts the principles of merit over blood, corruption issue will subside greatly- Leading to good governance. Thanks to Tata and Infosys for setting this trend in Indian industry sector and introducing this best practice from the west and European countries. But who will lead to set this trend in politics. I think this is a dream now but for sure it would happen when competition in politics will increase and ICT intervention coverage will be more than 60%. It is as of now 6.9%.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

We are running out of time, says Obama

Economic crisis is still a big challenge for Obama. Though it is gifted him by Bush, but he can’t be exonerated completely. He got chance to remove this problem. But if it is persisting, does it mean he is under performing on this front? To answer this is not easy. But one excuse he has. He got less time in view of its gravity. This is second worst economic crisis in American history.
Country is going to default. If it will happen, country’s credit rating will go down. Going credit down will bring so many problems and develop many complications. Deadlock of not raising the debt ceiling has very valid political reasons. Increasing tax or imposing new tax on wealthy is not suiting the opposition. It will displease republican vote bank. While not raising limit and cutting fund will annoyed democrats’ voters.
The political economy is the main issue for both the parties. To find a solution of this problem, we need to fix the responsibility for this. Republican Bush depleted the exchequer and brought the country in deep debt. His mismanagement and wrong political decisions ruined the country’s fiscal structure. This developed a bad political product in the form of economic crisis. This was one main reason among others Republican Party’s defeat in 2008 election.
Obama inherited shattered fiscal status. He is trying to solve this, but still not eradicated. He can’t throw complete blame to Bush now. He has to share it his part. He can say he need more time, but this is blot on his governance capability on economic front. Opposition can charge him as non efficient on this issue.
This deadlock has brought down the image of the country worldwide. Any further delay in resolving the issue will cause irreparable image loss. Both republicans and democrats will not like this situation for political gains or losses. Politics is not above the nation in a condition when both are responsible for this. Thus, they should understand their contribution to this menace and act hurriedly in nation interest.
Obama is one of the most intelligent modern political actor. So far he is not in any controversy and no corruption issue has been raised against him. Killing Bin Laden, number one enemy of the country, recovered his sagged image. Now this issue is a litmus test for him. Seeing his record, we hope, he will sort it out without much loss. To see his acumen see my blog;

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

America’s New found love for India

USA is supporting India for UNSC permanent seat. It wants India loom larger at world stage- particularly in south Asian region. Through all such love it wishes to achieve something very valuable. President Obama is a mature politician. It is all best steps of his well architected future politics. The foremost hidden agenda behind all these is his re-election for which he has declared his candidature. He is trying to kill many birds with a single stone.
Recent visit of secretary of state Hillary Clinton has expedited this process. Her statement “we want more India in the world” is an indicator of big change in international policy of US in south Asia. It wishes to use Indian shoulder to further its interest in this region. Presently Obama is the best political marketer worldwide- using full potential of ICT. He has a shrewd plan to sell his defective Afghani political product to India. Further he is trying to set-up a new equation to balance China using the shoulder of India with Japan in this reason.
India embraced socialistic pattern to develop itself after independence. In cold-war era, India was with USSR. This was just opposite to marketer approach of USA. Hence, a wide gap created between two countries. In 1991, Indian economy opened its tightened door for market players. This shift from socialistic to market friendly was a big event in economic history of India. Then finance minister ManMohan Singh played a key role in this hard decision. From here gap started reducing between two big democracies of the world.
Usually IITans dream visiting, working, living in US. As a result the best technical Indian brains drained to America. With time they got deep rooted. Gradually along with them, other stream’s top brains also migrated. Indians hard working quality (24x7) gave them an edge over Americans as they follow the five- day week and tight-time schedule work culture. The combined effect of hard work and best brain paid Indians. They got good positions and economically became sound. The advent of ICT catalyzed this process and galvanized Indians’ profile. Outsourcing accelerated the gap reducing rate and snatched bulk Americans jobs.
Obama promised to reduce glaring unemployment in 2008 election. As per his promise, he imposed many restrictions on outsourcing, just after assuming office. This saved US jobs but hit hard Indians and annoyed them. Indian communities who voted and gave election donations were distracted from Obama. Knowing this trouble some fact, he tried to reduce this resentment by giving many good positions to Indians in his administration. Now he has declared his candidature for reelection in 2012. He, being an intelligent politician, knows the damages due to Indians’ annoyance on outsourcing issue.
To reduce resentment and to bring them in 2008 position , Obama moved strategically in November 2010. Keeping eye on re-election, as part of strategy, he coined his country’s support to India for permanent seat in United Nations Security Council during his visit to India. This gave a soothing effect to Indian-Americans. He knows well the powerful Indian community. Indians have proved that they are hard working, knowledgeable, intelligent and amenable to different situations. In support, I would like to cite: Dipak C. Jain had been Dean Kellogg business school of more than eight years. He made it the best marketing school worldwide. Now Nitin Noharia is Dean Harvard business school. Duos are best education industry leaders. Likewise in other fields also, Indians are at top.
To bring the country out of economic crisis, US need a big market and good partner. Obama has a feel of growing power of India. Big and open Indian market is attractive for Americans. By enhancing friendship with India, US can harness the benefit of Indian market. And this will help it a lot in reducing economic crisis at home. Indian community will act as bridge between Obama administration and India .
President Obama announced to withdraw troops from Afghanistan rejecting military commander’s advises for a more modest reduction plan. Obama planned to withdraw all 33000 American soldiers from Afgan by the summer of 2012. This is also a political move. Now Afgan action is a proved bad political product. To fill withdrawal vacuum, who is the best option. From strategic point, India too has interest in Afgan. It is capable to handle such situations. India has experience of tackling terrorist activities in Punjab and J &K. Delay in withdrawal is not possible due to political reasons. Families of cops deployed in Afgan are eager to see their dears back at home. This withdrawal will woo American families to fetch their vote and support in 2012. This is the reason Obama expedited withdrawal plan ignoring the advises of military commanders. Now it is trying to sell this bad product to India.
After Bin Laden incident, American’s perceptions towards Pak have changed. They consider Pak more foe than friend. Laden was number one enemy of US. Pak sheltered him for long and lied US about his hiding. US invested huge money and time to set score of trade tower incident. Laden hiding disturbed the US-Pak equation. In addition, Obama administration would show respect to its citizen’s changed perception about Pak by changing equations with it. This will help in getting citizen’s confidence and politically economical in view of 2012 election. Disturbed equations with Pak, compels US to search a new partner in the south Asia region.
Growing power of China is an open secret. China is giving US a tough competition in all fields. This has damaged so called supremacy of US. Cheap China products are reducing others market including US. So China is hitting USA commercially. China’ growing role at world stage will further affect the commercial and political interest of America. USA, being a market oriented country, will not tolerate shrinkage of its market and business. Arresting growing power of China is a need of hour for Americans. As usual, to do this US needs someone’s shoulder. In South-Asian region, under present circumstances, India’s shoulder is the best option.
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton in her visit to India in July 2011 said she wished to see more India at world stage. This, new found growing love for India, is a strategic part of Obama’ re-election action plan. He knows without the support of strong India- Americans, repetition will not be easy. In view of his election and economic crisis, he is trying hard to woo Indians in his country. Obama is a proved good political marketer. His edge over others is his open mind to accommodate the changes. Along with his diligences, he is using all potential tools of modern technology to leave others behind. He used potential of social media to win in 2008. So, his upward love for India is not to benefit to India and Indians. It is rather for his focus on 2012 target and commercial benefit of the USA and its citizens.
If we evaluate this love from India’s angle, India has to move very cautiously. USA, a hard core commercial country doesn’t fit even with India’s basic thought process- a socialistic nation. In case of any commercial interest conflict, India will get same treatment like Pak. So, Pranab Mukharjee told Hillary that India doesn’t want to interfere in Afgans security affairs. India should take utmost precaution so that US should not be able to use its land for its own gain and to show its so called supremacy to the world. In transition position India must bargain to have favorable clauses in partnership deed. Now, weak USA will concede and come to terms. This is must to avoid so called American aura to ensure commercial benefit of the country.
Hence, prima facie, new found love seems not good. It is a well planed political marketing move of Obama. We know love is blind. Hence Chances of slippage is great. To save from slippage on USA love path, India must tread very cautiously to watch the interest of Indian citizens.
(Views are personal)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our political actors are not Kalidas.

Who should pay for the elections? Not the state

I do agree cent-percent with the logics and reasoning given by renowned and esteemed author. He has great experiences as he is working in this field with ADR (since august 1999) in close coordination with election commission and other associated organizations. He has contradicted the idea of starting of funding of elections to start with-SC/ST and women. By giving the support of Law commission findings and views of CECs, very rightly, he says, first we need political reforms- pre requsits for such funding. Without setting political houses in order on different issues like internal democracy, annual audit, transparency etc, state funding will deteriorate the situation- means money power will speak more loudly. It will be like giving a knife to monkey which will harm everyone including himself- not knowingly.
Without completing national level consultation, circulation of cabinet note by law ministry for soliciting comments indicates some foul play like lokpal bill. Author has indicated correctly that present and past CEC is opposing including law commission findings, then what type of consensus we talked about. Is law commission findings and CECs views having low weight than so called opinion censuses- even national level is yet to conduct? I think, seeing the public demand and mood against them, they are trying to show the same path to electoral reform bill like Lolpal. So that it also can’t gets the consent of parliament for many years- as lokpal is pending for 42 years. It may be a diversion tactic to avoid political reform. As government knows the next agenda of Anna is political reform. Hence it can be seen as a move to block their way before they start.
If we see the things from the initiator’s angle, we found them right in their actions to make electoral reform another jokpal. None would like to make a law which will interfere in their own workings – as did by Kalidas. Now, they are free to mold as they wish. But after electoral reforms, it will be difficult for them to fulfill their wishes. It is not a wise step on their part to make strong and good laws. They have two options then. One, don’t make laws as till date. Two, if compelled to act, then make very weak and ambiguous to manipulate easily. Out of two which one is adaptable? Under present circumstance when country is reeling under the heat of corruption at top level- thanks to judiciary- sitting idle like past is not possible for the government. Hence option one is ruled out. Then option two is workable. Tactic is, give it a controversial start so that it should have a controversial life at least 42 years.
Inspite of knowing fast moving political scenario, our political actors are not able to come out of their inertia. They are still trying to do politics like past. This is not possible now at any cost. To support this, Obama’s election is a good point to be cited. A study finds that w e live in a age where 60 percent of Americans routinely assume that every politicians is lying to them ( Trippi, 234). So, fed up with whites’ double standards and lies, they elected a black head of the nation. They slapped the leaders and gave a red signal to old politics. Likewise in India, things are similar to USA. Powerless Anna and Baba set some ideas before nation and public is driving this idea with a super fast speed- not imagined by our law makers. In this judiciary is playing its role and not sitting ideal. The judicial actions are accelerating the speed and doing praise worthy work.
A section of political actors are denouncing it as judicial over reach and activism. While doing so they forget about their inactions and act of sins. They don’t want to be honest, but they wish to see others dead honest. India is a big democracy and vote is an indicator. If we conduct a referendum for good actions among Legislature, bureaucracy and judiciary, I am sure Judiciary will get the highest numbers in their favor. In changing the situation ICT role can’t be ignored. ICT has affected all walks of life like politics. Obama is a product of ICT that’s why he is also known as internet president. It is difficult to change the oldies. So hope lies with the youngsters. That’s why all political parties are pushing their youth wings to act in full swing. They are trying their best to attract youths as they are amenable and ready to accept the change. They are also aware of to potentials of modern tools and technology like social media. The new political trends can’t be set in reverse gear.
Concluding this, is author expecting our political actors to be modern Kalidas? They should cut same branch on which they are sitting to fall down – as we know about our historical Kalidas. No, I too oppose this as they are not like Kalidas. But thanks to author for highlighting this issue which in not in national interest from any angle.
(Views are personal and based on different findings and references)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baba- outstanding; Obama- good and GoI-bad

I read “The way to Satyagragh” by Madhu Purnima Kiswar in ToI dated 18 July. I don’t agree with the author’s biased view and anti tone. She has written treating Baba Ram Deo an incarnation of God. After all, as we know, he is from a simple family of Haryana. No doubt, he doesn’t keep a good social team like Anna. Anna has a team of gems- Kiran Bedi, Arvind kejriwal, Prasant etc. to advise him and to take collective thoughtful decisions. So, he mostly relies on his own wisdom on social front. Not giving arrest at stage and bearing women’s attire to disguise are two of the many possible actions. There might be many other better options like offering arrest at stage itself.
Author’s sarcastic comment on yoga and on manner of arrest is objectionable in its flavor and tone. To support this point:
One: I would like to mention the way Government of India ( GoI ) cracked on sleeping persons in midnight on 4th June in Ramlila ground. GoI has plenty experienced leaders, IAS (steel frame) and others at their disposal. But this step of GoI attracted too much criticism. It was termed as trouble inviting decision. If one measure this step from law and order handling scale. It would prove a blunder. This is the reason Supreme Court took actions suo-motto.
Two: In July 2009, police arrested black Harvard professor Henery Louis Gates Jr, President Obama reacted aggressively on this. Obama said police who arrested professor ‘ acted stupidly’. On this statement criticism started. To control the damage, Obama settled the issue by inviting all the parties to a beer party at white house without any delay. Obama having world-class advisors and he himself very learned committed mistake. The reaction was not up mark and he took corrective measure to control further image deterioration.
If we compare the decision with GoI and Obama, one can easily conclude that he didn’t pick the best option but not did blunder like GoI.
Furthermore, for the first time Baba played social game. He has no prior experience of such movements. This is a big lacuna with him. This is one reason among many for his sufferings.
If I need to rate (relative marking) Baba, Obama, and GoI on issues as discussed above, my comparative rating will be: Baba- outstanding; Obama- good and GoI-bad. In government, annul performance is measured in the descending order of work quality- outstanding, very good, good, satisfactory, bad.
On above rating, any criticism against Baba is not convincing. Criticizing is the easiest work. But taking quality decisions in a charged atmosphere (in mobs) and emergency situation is a Herculean task. As professor, author may be excused on her views and tone. But the achievements of Baba can be realized only by a guy dealing in law and order as SDM, ADM, DM, DC. None other can get the real touch like this author. Inspite of all turmoil no casualty and everything passed off peacefully. What is the net result? Indian black money issue is an international issue and talk of the town.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Unreasonable Plea of GoI on SIT

On black money issue Supreme Court (SC) formed a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to monitor the progress of investigation. The SIT formed by Government of India (GoI) was made of officials. The role of officials who act as puppet to ruling party and GoI can do anything fruitful on this daunting task? Sagging image of Babus and not implementing court orders in letter and spirit compelled judge to think some ways to give results. This is necessary to save the public faith in the system.
Actually court orders are passed by judges and it is complied by babus in the directions of political bosses. If order is affecting the interest of babus and leaders, its implementation will be only a show-off just to avoid court of contempt. Therefore, actual justice as desired by the judgment is denied. As a result, on one hand this weakens the very purpose of judiciary and on the other hand aggrieved is forced to eat half-baked chicken. Additionally Government machinery looses public faith by overlooking actual implementation.
To protect the interest of all stakeholders- judiciary, aggrieved, babus and political actors- Judges are monitoring the progress of implementation. This gave good result and babus got free hand to work as per rule. This reduces the undue pressure on bureaucracy. And in turn public hailed the judicial actions. Seeing the time consuming process for Black money issue, they modified the SIT and inserted two tough and honest judges along with others. This annoyed and irritated GoI. There are solid reasons for doing this. Without retired judge SIT has no faith of public under present circumstances. Overburdened judges don’t have time to spare for this issue over a period of time. This complex issue needs combined effect of all wings. So, without judges in SIT, whole exercise would be not that useful. As rightly said justice should not be only done but it should also be felt.
With a plea that judiciary is taking over executive functions, GoI has moved a review petition in SC. This step of GoI is not in its favor. Government has to think why this situation arose. Is government not responsible for this? Answer is yes. If answer is yes then the role of Judiciary automatically comes in picture to see where government lacks to check growing black money by not following the rules and regulations enacted for this. Compliance of judicial order is the first and foremost duty of the court. If government is not implementing the judicial order and making it a point of joke, then it is the pious duty of the court to evolve some mechanism like SIT. Otherwise judicial faith will loose its ground form public mind.
Well known that Hasan ali would have not arrested if SC was not monitoring the case. Baba Ram Deo popularizes the issue and what treatment he got. This is good enough to prove the Government thoughts and intention on black money. Here public sees intention of SC and Govt. There is no suspicion about SC but it is not good for GoI. This is a self suicidal step for the Government. If Government is doing well, what is to worry, anyone can monitor. This action has strengthened the public opinion that GoI is trying not to do anything on black money issue. GoI is trying to foil the efforts of all other wings. If judiciary will stick to its present SIT and will not allow any amendment. Its image will improve further. Through this GoI is trying to make SIT controversial to win over the situation. But under present situation this tactics in not going to succeed.
Personally, I am of the opinion that if judiciary is passing any judgment and its compliance is done as per the intent of the judgment, Then what option is left with judiciary. Moreover, it is the duty of the court to get its order complied as intended. SIT is just a mechanism developed- seeing the intention of GoI-to implement the order passed about the Black money. Where the judiciary is doing the role of executive? Getting implemented the order through a mechanism with the help of retired judges is not intrusion in the executive domain. Instead Judiciary is helping the government by giving him a good tool in the form of SIT. A combined effort in needed for this complicated issue. Inspite thanking the Judges, They are being blamed by GoI on jurisdiction. Hurt to see this ugly situation on the part of GoI. Hope good sense will prevail and GoI will not insist it further.

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Friday, July 15, 2011