Development and its false notions.


We as the citizens of this country has been aspiring for development, Everybody wants to see our country’s progress because right for a decent living with minimum amenities in place to satisfy our needs is democratic rights of each and every citizen of this country. We vote candidates from different political parties based on plank called “Development”. Have these representatives of the people do justice to their promise to the people, I think this question lingers large on everybody’s mind. The most recent stampede in Mumbai on the railway overbridge proves a point beyond doubt that Govt priorities changes once they are elected to power, they consciously forget their responsibilities towards common people of this country because either they have an agenda to pursue which has been far away from the realities on the ground or a misplaced notion for development . However, they pursue policies to favour the rich and corporates, help them gain maximum profits for the corporates out of it. In today’s environment, it has been increasingly evident that the Govt policy measures are not in sync with the reality, But politicians have consciously tried to pass the message to the larger audience that they are trying to build a new India. what is this new India means to common people, Is new India, govt talking about leave farmers to die because of not able to pay their debts, or children die out for not receiving the oxygen on time , or scores of people are left to die while standing in the queue to withdraw their savings from the bank,But frankly speaking all these campaigns by those in power is nothing but an effort to keep us living in fool’s paradise with hope that sometime someday something better would happen . Now, let’s take the incident happened in Mumbai around 25 valuable lives had been lost in the stampede, it is well known and many times it has been brought to their notice that the railway overbridge is 120 years old with the narrow passage which inadequate to handle the volume of passengers who commutes daily. But on the other hand, we have seen PM launching a bullet train project from Surat to Mumbai with a project cost 10,000 crores. But left to lurch in perennial neglect Do you think it is because of the misplaced priorities and opportunity for photo shots to be in the realm of public life as” Vikash purush “. I think beyond that govt’s has scant regard for the valuable lives of the common people. So it is quite natural to think that launching a bullet train project attracts more eyeballs, improve the optics than the repairing, improving the existing infrastructure of the railways. The major source of income to govt comes from the taxpayers money through direct and indirect taxes, Out of that major source of revenue comes from the indirect tax sources which you and I pay while purchasing our grocery or filling petrol in our vehicles , but the moot question is where do they spend the money collected from us ? Had they been spending the resources wisely frequent occurrence of rail accidents could have been avoided.

Misplaced priorities.

In the last several decades and increasingly so in the last three years, the optics of development for this govt has been through series of announcements of schemes, But very little budget or money has been allocated to improve the situation. Take in the case of rural distress and farmers problem, in the last three years we have not seen any concrete or well thought out plans to address the problem faced by the farmers, Now we have started debating whether the demonetization has delivered its objective , still many argue that the long-term benefits would overweigh the short-term problems. How is it possible when Govt allowed the daily wage workers, farmers to starve and die of poverty. When you have global oil prices at all time low, how can they still allow it to be costlier in India without passing the benefits to the common people? These issues need immediate address rather than ministers after minister trying to justify the move by showing very less importance to issues affecting the common man on the streets.

Optics matter more than the reality.

A responsible government and its administration should be spending the time to address the issues faced by the masses and how they could solve the issues faced by the public at large. In the case of demonisation as the biggest administrative act by the govt has failed miserably, because the reports are out in the open which states more than 90% of the money in circulation came back to the banks. So the purpose of the demo has failed completely. One shock after the other flawed implementation of GST has destroyed the backbone of the economy further, So serious of shocks had already put the ailing patient in ICU, which takes for the patient to come out of the danger. But the optics created by Modi government being that they are sincere in their efforts to attack the black money and GST has been hailed as the biggest reform since independence. If Govt has had any seriousness in curtailing the black money in circulation they should have acted with resilience in bringing the black money stashed abroad, And also should have imposed more taxes on the elites, If they had done any of these it would have signalled some credence to their sincerity in curbing the black money. . Job losses have hit economy badly which really pulled GDP growth down, overall distress in rural economy has taken the situation to such a low, perhaps it takes time to recover.

Inclusive development

You cannot have changed priorities once you get into power Because elected representatives carry the hopes of millions of people who daily fight to survive, lead a life of dignity. So any development for that matter should be inclusive in nature which takes care of the basic needs of the common masses. Take for instances the agriculture’s contribution towards GDP has been declining steadily for couple of decades , Govt, after govt promised to take care of the concerns faced by the farmers, But little has been done to improve the situation, like this many sectors be it education or healthcare which needs a lot of attention and care to improve it. So a real development is nothing but taking everyone together, For the last 3years we have seen hue and cry happening over cow vigilantism and nationalism, Do such priorities of the Govt do any good for the
80% of the population?

Cost of Bullet train

The project cost is expected to be Rs.110,000 crore ie is which works out to be Rs.217crore per km. In 2016 Indian railways reported 186 deaths which go up to 325 deaths, why Modi goes for this expensive project when the entire railway infrastructure meddles with problems of long-term neglect. so it has been the classic case of misplaced priority.

Source:  Frontline October 13, 2017.

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The Futile exercise called Demonetization.


 

 

When RBI published its annual report on August 2017, the writing on the wall met its true fate. The historic move by the Modi government to demonetize high-value currency notes was termed by many as a right move in the best interest of the nation, But it turned out to be historic blunder which has not yielded any significant results as expected. Every body has been waiting for the central bank to publish its report, Perhaps were hopeful that it would at least meet some of its objectives. But the finally the report from RBI showed that demonization exercise was completely ill sought and unwarranted. The Initial objectives behind demonetization were to clean the economy from counterfeit notes, black money, terrorism funding. Has our government stated objectives have been achieved? I think in the light of the RBI report the answer is an emphatic no.
However, BJP, as a national party has benefited heavily due to demonetization in the political sense, in contrast to the expected economic sense. In the hindsight the demonetization has been complete dampener for the economy especially in the informal economy, no surge in job creations but only aggravated the situation further, the unaccounted money held in cash is very minimal, so unearthing black money through this activity has been minimal , Terrorism and its funding has not seen any decline, the recent skirmishes across the border has only increased.

The shift in goal posts.

Since the report by RBI came out in the public domain, comments made by FM Mr Arun Jaitley is nothing but a laughing stock. Our honourable FM told that nobody understood the objectives of demonetization better than him, in his statement the foremost objectives expected from demonetization exercise is to convert cashless economy to digital economy. But however, the report suggests that Govt has fallen short of achieving even that also.

Highlights of the RBI report

1)99% scrapped note are back into the banking system ie means almost all the currency which was in circulation came back into the banks
2) Total number of fake 500 rupee (old series) and 1,000 rupee notes detected between April 2016 and March 2017 was 573,891
3) Withdrawn notes to the tune of 24.02billion, But in proportion to the identified counterfeit notes is close 0%.
4) Even in the previous year with out demonetization, the number of counterfeit notes identified was stood at 4404,794.

After effects  of demonetization

Even my personal experience with the many of the small scale shop owners during proved that their business activity has been steadily declining, even their average sales in provision stores & hard ware shops has been witnessing a steady decline in sales around 30 to 40% compared to pre demonetization months. The 80% cash economy in the upcountry market has been hit massively. more over people are worried pump money to start new ventures, even they had stopped taking more stocks for their existing business. Profit margins have been hit heavily, that is evident from their delayed EMI payments.
The most critically affected are farmers and construction workers, the move to demonetize the currencies of 500 & 1000 proved like adding insult on to the injury especially the crisis faced by farmers across the country. I think BJP as a party has seen a mercurial increase in their coffers with over flow of contributions into their party funds. I think more than any Indian, the benefit of demonisation has been completely utilised effectively by the present ruling party. The Govt of the day should take accountability for the failure of demonetization, Instead of that govt is busy shifting their goal posts very frequently to cover up their failure.
A lot of concerns has been raised on the performance of the economy, especially the GDP is below the expectation , Job losses are heading north, Low private investments, Govt’s start-up, Make in India plans never took off as expected barring few, perhaps we need to acknowledge the govt going gung ho for making tall claims, successfully running campaigns in social media, public image.

Media’S act as a lip service of the Govt

The Modi Govt could have done many things better as they have a strong majority in the centre, instead of that Modi dispensation has been busy whipping up passions on nationalism & patriotism, Cow vigilantism & completely overthrowing the democratic credentials of our nation. People have voted for a strong governance, but in the last 3 years, performance has fallen short of expectations. I think we need to put the blame squarely on the media also.The role of media houses owned by major corporates are doing the Job of mere Lip service, acting as a PR machinery of the Govt, Media’s role in a democracy is to constantly act as a countervailing force, how ever in the last 3years media has been dancing to the tune of the Govt.

Farmer Suicides & Govt’s Inaction


farmer's distressAt present GST and land acquisition bills which are pending to be passed are the main concerns expressed by authorities in the govt than the continuing rate of increase in farmer’s suicides. The last week stock market indexes has fallen due to economic fallout in Chinese market, yesterday govt of India under the leadership of Modi has called all corporate leaders for a meeting to discuss about falling output in manufacturing sector and suggested them to invest more to improve the situation and it is reported that corporate leaders have asked further rate cuts to make the interest on loans more attractive. So Govt of the day is too much concerned about the happenings in Chinese economy and its probable consequences which might inflict our economy at large, But so far we haven’t heard anything from the govt officials or nor they have called any meeting with experts to tide over the situation . Is the Govt taking time to find out a solution to this situation? Or is Govt acts so insensitive to this pressing situation faced by farmers across various states in India? Various states on other hand has published the census report in which farmer’s suicide shows a declining trend , they have played down the rate of suicide as it has been committed by section of population who are non farmers. So it clearly shows that rather than addressing the root cause of the problems faced by the farmer’s, Govt found the easy route by fudging the census reports.

farmers distress 1

In India 53% of the population depends on agriculture or agri related activities , As per the NCRB farmer’s suicide accounts for 11.2 % of all suicides reported , But experts giving conflicting reasons   like poor monsoon, crop failure, Bad government policies ,public mental health so on so forth. But distress in agricultural sector have been given blind eye , other than announcing relief packages when elections are due , most of the time the packages announced by state and central govt don’t reach to suffering farmer’s . Agriculture is still considered as one of the major of source economic activity in our nation , but section of the farmer’s who are marginal farmers leaves their field and moves to cities to seek other source of income because of various reasons like, i.e. they are not able to get reasonable price for their produce , which really put them in to situation where their debts keeps piling up , as last resort they quit farming , sell their farming land and worst with no hopes to survive , they might commit suicide. Since 1995 we have around 30,000 farmers‘s suicide, which is an alarming situation, that needs to be addressed.

  • Wide scale depletion of groundwater which leads to scarcity of water for irrigation
  • Massive scale of deforestation which leads to monsoon becoming unpredictable
  • Extensive use of chemical fertilizers which could affect the fertility of the soil
  • Non Availability of credit facilities from banks & cooperative societies leads to over dependence for credit from others sources with   unaffordable higher interest rates.

Beyond everything the support, reaching to those affected farmers by the Govt& others agencies would help them with confidence, gives hope to get out from the situations. In the era of neo liberal reforms, reduced spending for social sector schemes, short-term visions to improve the GDP growth, market driven economic policies, more support and cushion with lot of freebies given to improve their profits are being the main agendas of the govt since 1998, So focus on agriculture& Agri related sector has become a sector of tertiary importance.