Friday, March 4, 2011

Lame Duck, sitting Duck or...

Opinions expressed below are purely my own. They may be amateurish, uncorroborated, and purely satirical. I do not incline to any political org as well. Read on…

The union of India is going through perhaps one of its craziest years since independence. We have the economy of a billion people growing at 9% on one side and the unearthing of scams worth billions on another. Investors cannot be blamed if they are left confused as to whether they should be privy to the Indian growth engine (by of course paying their dues to the babus) or stay out of the mesh completely for fear of instability.

Last week Pranab da, with a smile on his face congratulated himself on containing the fiscal deficit last year. He prided himself on the increasing money in the coffers (on paper that is – planned deficit of 5.5% of GDP turned out to be only 5.1% for the year 2010 - 2011). In lay man’s terms, he said that he managed to reduce the government’s losses in spite of the rising expenses last year. Obviously thanks to the measures undertaken by his ministry; A day later we had an interesting article in our national daily about how the perceived gain was purely due to inflation!!

And inflation is something every Indian is aware of now. Thank to the spiraling prices of almost all commodities, we all know now that it’s all due to inflation. But why are the prices increasing? Well.. no clue on that front. One would think the Prime Minister being an economist of repute might have some clue. But well as my colleague remarked, he seemed as clueless as any when onion prices went for a toss sparking food inflation to record highs. And if the purchasing power of money has gone down, then we have our black economy to further complicate it – apparently worth 50 Lak crore or as some say about 50% of the GDP. So that would mean, as the Govt tries the fancy measures of interest rate hikes and Repo rate changes, the money supply in the economy would be well beyond the reach of any policy formulators. Unsurprisingly, even as the prices of essential commodities soared, we had luxury car makers reporting their highest ever sales in India. We had all the major luxury car makers growing at over 70 % last year !!
Definitely encouraging signs. Only if we can discount the fact that we still house hundreds of millions of poor destitute on our streets. Either these will have to die out or resort to some other means. And some other means they definitely are resorting to; that brings us to Maoism. The recent kidnapping of the Orissa collector seems to project them in the right light, showing clearly that while the capitalists have gained out of the mineral rich states, their own people have been left high and dry. They have been deprived of the riches exploited all around them.

Talking about environment, the Environment Ministry has finally got someone worthy I believe. Mr Ramesh seems a worrying factor for many industrialists. Finally we get to read of projects halted or stalled and at odd times threatening to be broken down (of course just for the record; nothing can really happen) . While we are on the topic of development, I think it’s important to talk about the black swan. Many of you might not have heard of this amazing story cocking. Think of this – what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Bihar – A sleeping Lallu, lots of fodder or simply the word Bimar? Well, change all that coz Nitish seems to be weaving his magic now. His second term as the state’s CM seems to be on the right track. Their growth story has been an aberration of sorts. Considering the fact that they are set to outgrow our national growth rate in the coming year, one should stand up and give him a bow now!
And to think of it, lallu who became world famous for converting the railways into profit ruled this same state. Not only did he rule, but he made sure this was not fit to be ruled by anybody else too! It is perhaps the paradoxes of life that we had him presiding over the railways, which now seems like the boom years. Sadly not many remember that it was the same old Nitish who decided to set the railways right when he was the R.M just before Lallu!

Anyways, not much can be gained talking about it now. But talk we can of the Bengal tiger. Mamta didi seems to be roaring now with all her might. The determined lady made sure she chased the Tatas out of singur. Lest any of you forgot, she caused thousands of crores of losses – not to the economy per se, but to all the multitude of small and medium enterprises which were due to set their plant in and around the TATA plant in Singur. After all the mayhem, she now talks of a railway factory in singur! Of course she will know how to handle the land issue this time around. In her desperate move to woo the people before the WB elections, she has presented a rather populist Railways budge this time around ensuring that the railways will only go the wrong direction; announcing a plethora of new initiative, not forgetting that the ones she announced the year before and the one before that still remains on paper due to lack of funds!

If one were to ask about all this to our beloved gentleman – Pradhan Matri ji, he will quietly blame it on coalition dharma - “ boss, We have to make compromises”. But how much do we bend before breaking the back completely. Raja looted right in front of his eyes and instead of punishing him outright, he had the legendary Sibal come out and defend him!!! Not a single paisa was lost to the excheaquer it seems. Mr sibal, the shrewd lawyer was of course taught a lesson by the highest court asking him to behave himself. Rather what was he thinking of himself. After the CAG comes out with losses to the tune of laks of crores, this gentleman in suit comes on media saying “boss – all wrong. Nothing was lost”. Hello!! We are not a banana republic here!

Talking about Raja, one is reminded of Radia. And the whole array of journalists whom we mistook to be above any wrong. Our very own Barkha was caught cupid. To be fair to her, she did her best to convince people of her innocence – well, sorry for using the word; there was no crime she was guilty of actually. Just that its only that we opened our eyes to journalism and the way they report the so called breaking news from “Sources”.

We can maybe bear with all this. After all politicians are bound to be named and renamed. What we cannot bear is the way the judiciary is taking shape. A former CJI, currently the NHRC chairman is being accused of accepting bribes! After which every now and then we have reports of one or the other justice having accepted notes. Now this is what we call the red signal. Justice delayed is denied. That has been the case in our country so far, but when we realize there is no justice as such, we lose all hopes in the future!

As if all of what’s happening was not enough, we had our beloved P.M appoint a corrupt man as the head of the Anti corruption Unit of the country. Now what was Mr Singh thinking. That we would all get up and say – what an idea sirji!!! There is a limit to goofing around and this Govt has done enough of it. From adarsh to CWG. From 2g to S band. It’s all going overboard now!

Yet, the economic survey reveals that our economy has shouldered the recession bravely. The macroeconomic factors indeed seem pleasing. But for it to remain so, we need to make sure governance is not deteriorated any further. Mr singh, though soft and timid did show us that he knows how to get what he wants. The Indo – Us nuclear deal was a case in point. And to give him credit, the fact that we have Raja already behind bars – at least for investigation purpose, is indeed a remarkable feat. Not any time in the recent history of our country did we hear of a serving cabinet minister being pushed behind bars with so much speed. If he can carry on with the same fervor and determination, we can show to the world that we are serious about our country.

Mr prime minister, you have it in you to show the country the right way of governing. You owe it to this nation now. Though you may be ruling without any of us electing you, you do have the blessings of many. To make good of that, you will need to make sure all the allegations against your government is brought to light at the earliest. Kalmadi is being raided. Raja is being probed. But these are not end results. For once show us that this country can deliver in justice too. Let the world know that a country of such brilliant minds are indeed capable of maintaining order. Like you said, you are not any lame duck. But please be the golden duck now and give us results. We need to see the culprits indicted. Not after they die but while they and we are living.

The country wants this from you now!


cmuks said...

bang on... include refroms too, this govt came in with reforms placard but that is also lost amidst, scams and coalition dharams...

V Rakesh said...

Merely reading about the many problems faced by this great nation causes one a great deal of strain, one that is perhaps bordered on the feeling that despite a huge call for change and reform, not much may emanate as a result thereof.

Very well written, as always!

AJai said...

as usual I'm late reading your posts. This had the V.R. Krishna Iyer feel to it. ;-)

But let's not get too hasty. I think we need to give the country time. Note I don't say polity but country. We will need lots and lots of shock treatment to get over the complete mess of things. That doesn't come about easily in a democracy. But the good thing about a democracy is that ulitmately... it will come... and I think we should have faith in that.