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.

Three years of Modi govt


3years of ModiModi came to the national politics as one of prominent political personality who derives his strength from the earlier days as an RSS pracharak, Later became an undisputable leader for BJP in Gujarat,  ruled the state as  CM  for three consecutive terms. His rise to prominence in national politics was even more successful and illustrious in terms of carving out a biggest victory for BJP as a political alternative to congress. He is considered as the most effective campaigner for party, and also considered as powerful personality who repeatedly shown how to attract & address large gatherings in many parts of India with his effective oratory skills above all his penchant to sells dreams to the people of the nation, He promised  the people  to change the nation’s fate if he is elected to power  , His power slogans “Sab ka Saath sab ka Vikas “ roughly translates to being with everyone and development for all. Modi has completed three years in power, but still many of his promises still remain unfulfilled, but few areas in governance has seen some marked improvement compared to the previous governments. The expectation from this Govt is really huge, mammoth tasks to accomplish. But how far he is successful in fulfilling those promises is a million dollar question.

Corruption & red-tapism

We need to give thumbs up for the Modi government, that high-level corruption has reduced significantly, Because of the ultimate power, control vests in the hands of Mr. Modi. Highly centralized decision making,  absolute control over the governance & party leaves no room for his cabinet ministers to bypass. Right from planning to final roll out of schemes his signature is almost there in every decision govt takes. So in terms of control and direction, the PM scores high, which resulted in the corruption levels to come down. When previous UPA govt is marred with scams after scams, Govt under Modi is able to cultivate a neat and clean face in the eyes of the public.

Vision & agenda

I think Modi is successful in setting up a vision which sets everyone to appreciate him, He visualized& coined the initiatives like  Startup and Stand up India and Make in India which truly signifies the vision with a futuristic move to make India completely self-reliant and make our economy strong and vibrant. The idea to promote entrepreneurship and making India a manufacturing Hub are very much the right set of intiavies to take our nation to a force to reckon with.  However Modi promised to create two millions of jobs,  But ironically the the job losses are on an  alarmingly high rate, which might put the economy in  a state of paralysis.

Economy & Growth

GDP and others figures  shows a reason to be happy  , how ever  growth in agriculture is seeing steady decline with increasingly higher rate of farmer’s suicide. Informal sector economy is completely out of sorts and after demonetization   things have  only aggravated . The jury is still not out on demontisation, it seems to be that the benefit expected out of this drive  did  not yield results as predicted. But the successful  passage of GST bill in both houses is considered as shining one in its armory. There are disputable claims and doubts expressed on GDP figures and manner in which figures are arrived at. But generally the Modi is successful in creating an impression that he is honestly putting all his effort to take the country to growth trajectory.

Nationalism & unrest

I think ever since Modi came to power , the freedom of expression , voices of dissent are treated  with disdain,  stamped with the  tag of anti nationalist.  The culture of majortanism has taken control over the basic democratic principles of  tolerance , health discussions and deliberations. The self proclaimed vigilantism  on what to eat and wear became daily affairs in many of the BJP rules states. Modi so far is not successful in reining in those fringe groups who runs freely taking law on their hands. This approach of the govt has made  the minorities to feel  more insecure. The Kashmir issue has seen heightened tensions and deaths of locals after fighting with security personals. The Govt should have acted more responsibly in dealing with issues in Kashmir.

Foreign relations & forging ties

Modi is always in the news  while visiting foreign nations and  he is successful in forging some good relationship with foreign countries and continued to strengthen the relationship with USA  and other European countries . But on the flipside the relationship with china is certainly a reason to be worry for. As an amibitious and powerful nation in south Asia , Our relationship with close neigbours especially Srilanka& Nepal is not in best of it terms.

Conclusion

But overall if you take the last three years of Pm Modi , certainly this govt has done certain things right but  there are areas which need more to be done especially issues of   maintaining social harmony and Promoting consent in issues of national importance, Unilateral decision making without considering the views of opposition parties is not a good sign for healthy matured  democracy like Bharath.

Two years of Namo….


modi

Modi govt has completed two years in governance  and  three  more years to go for next general election in 2019. The Govt under the leadership of Modi wants to drive home a point that communicating the govt’s achievement   is far more important than the actual delivery of the schemes rolled  out   in the ground level and  the benefits the common man  had derived out of   the initiatives . The tall claims made by the various ministers in  medias shows that it was really a  calculated move  by the PR machinery of the party just before the final grand ceremony to celebrate the 2-year completion of his Govt. The interesting fact is that Modi never ventured himself to give an interview to India media ,but he chose to  show his face to an  international media , PM wants to send out a  strong message that he is a global leader  in the making . I think the media houses in India  is also equally up to the task of giving report cards in their channels of Govt’s major Hits and misses. But we should give credit to Mr Modi  &  most trusted lieutenant Mr Amit shah who carries the party’s internal affairs carefully the way PM wants its to be done. Modi, on the other hand, is focused on building his image globally  as the  tallest leader after Mr Nehru.  Now coming to claims and accomplishments of Mr Modi so far I feel  the claims in terms of achievements  is somewhat exaggerated  with lies &  bolstered facts. Modi could have done a great job if he had visited the areas which were affected by worst drought in the nearest history of India and  also supported the affected farmer’s families committed suicide because  of the  agrarian crisis. He is under the impression  that  just  mere announcement of  grandeur schemes would take care of the situation.

During Modi’s days of campaigning in 2014, he has made  Big  promises which have led to this impressive victory for BJP now two years has passed since then

Promises  to  bring back the black money  stashed abroad.

I think so far the govt has failed miserably in bringing back the black  money abroad , Nothing concrete on the issue of black has happened . Even after getting valid information with leads , later  followed by leakage of  Panama paper in the public , Govt of the day failed miserably to act on the issue.

Uniform civil code.

They have promised to draft a uniform civil code , but in the last two years no action has been taken  on the issue  nor  any  legislation had been passed.

Make in India

The campaign called Make in India couldn’t make any impact so far , As per the recent figures manufacturing output is at its low . One crore new job creation still remains as a promise but never took off. The failure in job creations has started to hurt the economy badly.

Foreign relations.

Barring  the few success, I think the relationship with our neighbours are at its low , failed to judge and handled the issues relating to  Pakistan badly. The relationship with Nepal, Bangladesh and China has not improved any further ,but with few I think it got more worst than ever before.

Corruption & Grafts.

I think at the level of ministries corruption has reduced significantly , Because the control was so centralised under Modi regime , the room of indulging in corruption is very less. But at the middle level and lower level the issue of corruption stills looms large.

Management of Economy

I think the management of economy gives mixed signals with a growth rate of 7.5 to 8% , But job creation , capacity addition and lower credit growth would hurt the economy in the long term.

The conclusion is that some areas govt has started positively , But  the overall performance of the govt in the last 2 years is not satisfactorily because this govt came to power with huge expectations , But so far the there exists a huge  gap between  achievements versus promises.  Anyway,  three more years to go it remains to be seen how far they can match their rhetoric with real action on the ground.