Archive for September, 2012

Money does not grow on trees

‘Money does not grow on trees” I heard my mother say this way back in the early 40s.It was then just during and after the Second World War and there was acute scarcity of rice and other commodities. Life was difficult for us kids when we did not know the value of money and made demands. Then my mother told us once ‘Money does not grow on trees’ She was not a Harvard educated woman neither was she in power. She was trying to put some sense in us by sayings with which we were familiar -because we had coconut trees-mangoes and guavas trees. She was just an 8th standard educated homemaker. So we understood what these trees yielded and their limitations. That was a good reminder to us children who knew to climb the trees and pluck the fruits but surely there was no money yielding trees!
Now after about 70 years I am hearing the same words from the Prime Minister of India –a Harvard educated economist who addressed the aam admis and reminded them that -‘Money does not grow on trees’. Should we not be immensely grateful to him for sharing this piece of wisdom which he suddenly was enlightened with. He also shared with us some that sent down the shivers-that we are in the same crisis as in 1997.He appealed to us to strengthen his hands.
Mr Prime Minister-do you think that aam admis do not know that ‘money does not grow on trees’? Is a shared piece of enlightenment to which you suddenly woke up to or is it a rebuke?
Granted Prime Minister we are kids-we are ignorant and do not understand the nuances of economies as your economic advisor Mr Rajagarajan and the Planning Commissioner Montek Ahluwalla (the latter said that the diesel price hike is good move but not a reform)do so let us thank the PM for this sharing. But then you in the same breathe talked of a crisis similar to the one experience in India in the 90s and then no one wanted to loan us even money. How did you wake up to this piece of knowledge suddenly? When did this crisis loom large and what were you doing all these 8 years. By your very admission of the crisis have you not admitted that you are responsible for the crisis? Please tell your Congress men/women not to point at the NDA and for everything parrot like repeat that the UPA followed the same policy as the NDA be in the 2G-Spectrum or in the natural resources of this country. But then don’t you have your own policy? Why had you to follow the NDA policy? Is that not accepting the fact that you as an economist did not have an economic policy of your own? Why this suddenly awakening from your hibernation Have the remote control been switched off now? Why had you not appealed to the nation to strength your hands if you had requested your scam indulging ministers to put in their papers? Were you such a spineless Prime minister that you simply looked the other way when they were looting the country and now you plead to the people to strengthen your hands? Strengthen your hands for what Mr PM-to sell this country to the foreigners? Was it not enough and satisfying to you that you are remotely controlled by Mrs Sonia Gandhi of foreign origin? Tell me which county and which people would accept this situation when as a PM you are unable to proceed with reforms, when you are unable to stem the crisis and when you give us the impression that you seem to shiver of fear and allow the Sonia Gandhi headed NAC to dictate terms-chalk out bills and pass it on to you.
Did you not know that the resources of this country belong to its people? Now why are you coming just when you hardly have two years to go to tell the people that unless we bring in firm reforms we are doomed? Which world were you in? Mr Prime Minister did you realize that your so called reforms are all acclaimed by the Corporate world. While the aam admis are groaning and moaning under the price rise. Why is it that your government is trying to import coal from Canada and sell it for a lower price to private persons? Are you their broker? Why do you want to cause this loss to the aam admis money? Why not at least sell it at the same price? What kind of economics is this to buy at one price and sell it at a lower price? Where does the profit go from the private entrepreneurs (politicians and corporates).Is that another scam in the making?
You say that subsidy must go –and you compare us with Pakistan and want us to thank our stars that there the petrol and diesel is more costlier than in India..Mr Prime Minister what were the austerity measures you unfolded to curb the heavy spending of the GOI. Was there a white paper placed in Parliament? By the way thank you for reminding us that money does not grow on trees. But it looks that money grow in scams-in the 2-G spectrum- Money grows in the bowels of the earth when Mr Chidambaram says–the coals are there safe within the mother earth.hence we have the coalgate scams growing money Then why this cancellation of the coal blocks? So with the mother earth below –and up in the air waves money grows and multiples for your ministers(some of then) and the netas to loot. What did the economist in you then do –why were you so unfazed?Yes I forgot to mention that the money which do not grow on trees grew in the Swiss banks? From where and how did the money come to be stashed away in tax havens? The President who had the names of the looters and the black money people did not want to share their names quoting all sorts of treaties. We are simple people and do not understand the functioning of this secrecy. All that we know is that people’s money has been swindled and hoarded and it is as simple as this-people have a right to know who these swindlers are. Now Mr Pranab Mukherjee is safely cocooned in the Rashtrapathi Bhavan.Why have all conspired against the aam admis?
We are told that the Opposition did not allow the Parliament to function.Parliament was blocked and we had the media-both print and electronic faulting the Opposition for this.To some extent one would agree that Parliament is the best forum for the expression of democracy.But our Parliament has been turned into a debating Club.The full throated gets the marks and they are satisfied that their duty has been done. What was the result of all the debates in Parliament these years that you were in power?It was only on blocking Parliament that A.Raja put in his papers.What had happened to all the scams including that of the Common Wealth Games?Has a single person been charge sheeted.Why debates I would like to ask the UPA.And we had Mrs Sonia Gandhi taking umbrage at Advani saying that this government is illegitimate.Her catholic instincts were scandalized.What is the legitimacy of this government.A juggerly of numbers.If one M walks out there is another M to lend support and it the seond M has his own private agenda then there is a third M waiting by the sides.So this is the legitimacy of the UPA 2 and we call this democacry.No,there is a new perceptionh-that of a co-alit ion dharma.What is the opposite of legitimacy? Hence why did Mrs Sonia Gandhi get so perturbed bv that ‘illegitimacy’ word that she prodded her party men and women to shout back and condemn. This is Parliament functioning. To ask questions money is given-Money bags are exhibited on the floor of the Parliament and we call this democracy? If for one vote Buta Singh could exchange suitcase of money-that becomes legitimate. We do not want this kind of governance and term it democracy. Mr Prime Minister when had democracy two power centers? What is the exact role of Mrs Sonia Gandhi in governance? How are why are you obliged to heed her advice? Is it because she handpicked you for the Prime Minister’s post? What does she understand of the economics of this country and for that matter the aspirations of the people of this country.
I would totally agree with Mamata-she may be a firebrand but she had some common sense-more than some. She terms your government as rule of the foreigners by the foreigners and for the foreigners. Watching your so called reforms one would agree in totality with her. Are we to watch the total surrender of this country to foreigners in the name of reforms? Remember the East India Company they came as mere traders and then ruled this country and became an Imperial power. But then when on a visit to the UK you praised Britain for what it did to India. That is your mindset. Even when you were heading the World Bank did you Mr Manmohan Singh stand up for the under developed countries. The same when you were in SAARC? You have a kind of a mind set that is subservient to the Imperialistic powers and to anything and everything foreign. A scan of your workings will reveal this. You showed a kind of a stubbornness when it came to signing the N-deal and you were prepared even to resign Why had you not shown the same grit and courage when it came to dealing with the scams and the scam esters? What goes beyond my ordinary comprehension is the fact of your inactive posture all these years and you have suddenly come out of your hibernation-It did hurt when you were termed as the ‘underachiever’ by Time and later when a damaging progress report of your governance as PM was made by the Washington Post. May be these two rattled you. Because you are very sensitive what the foreigners say of you-of what they get out of this country and what they think and feel of your governance.
We want democracy but we must decide on what kind of democracy the Congress can offer when it has no democracy of its own. It is a fact that you cannot give what you do not have when dynastic regimes are established. What has come to stay when even a reluctant Rahul Gandhi is being pushed as No 2 in the Congress party it is very apparent that brains and hard work do not count. This is a sad commentary on the state of political environment that has been created in this country. Do you call this democracy? And then to lament that the Opposition blocked Parliament and the media steps in to calculate the amount of loss in crores when Parliament did not work. But then what about the loss in lakhs of crores of rupees when Parliament did work but achieved nothing except shouting at each other. Please do not turn Parliament into a debating society and think that running the Parliament thus is a mark of democracy. Running the Parliament is your duty and it is the duty of the government to have taken the Opposition in confidence on all major issues. Would the heavens had fallen if all the coalgate blocks were cancelled and that condition which the Opposition held out for allowing Parliament to function was met? You and your party were not keen on running the Parliament so why blame the Opposition.
Finally Mr Prime Minister please see that Hasan Ali Khan,Telgi and others pay their taxes or declare them as criminals and put them behind the bars. It is a travesty of truth when you want only to burden the common people and allow these tax evaders to go scot free. If you really mean business then bring back the Black money hoarded in tax havens and do not take us for a ride. Your FM cites that more reforms are to come –if you are not able to hold the price line and bring down the prices of the ordinary food items, vegetables, cooking oil and those things which people (half the population)who require only 6 cylinders a year need, then what is the use of these reforms?
The people will not sit back and watch you making this democratic Republic a banana republic and convert the GOI into a Corporate. That is not democracy. We are simple people and understand only simple logic. We will not allow looters to be in the government and we will not tolerate the netas to lord over us. We will not allow the food grains to be fed to rodents and fatten then while half the population go hunger. We will not allow the dual power centre and we want democracy to uphold the Constitution and not tamper with it. We will not allow the nation to be segmented into ghettos on the basis of religion and we will not sit back and watch ministers like SM.Krishnan waste precious time and money on talking of group tours in Pakistan without making any substantial progress on terrorism with his Pakistani counterpart. It is like fooling around and running round the bush without facing serious concerns. This is just one example of the way ministers work.
If Parliament does not work how much of work do your ministries turn out and what does it costs the aam admis to run this GOI? Accountability for the hard earned money is a prerequisite in good governance and we find it nil. What streamlining have you done in governance? What austerity measures had you taken during your tenure? Please do not point at the NDA and tell us that you follow its policy. That’s a shame and at least the NDA did not have two power centres and had no dynastic rule. This is a contradiction to democracy and hence not allowing the Parliament to function alone is no negation of democracy. The functioning of Parliament must produce fruitful discussions-debates and bring in logical legislation not while away the time. We ordinary people are fully aware of the way the political class like leeches are sucking the blood of the nation and weakening the polity. This will not endure for long.
I hope in the name of reforms you are not adding to the burden of the already burdened aam admis and then go waving the HAND asking for their votes-you will get none. What a pity Prime Minister that like Peter the Piper you are piping the reform tune but we shall not follow you for we are not children to follow Peter the Piper to their doom
You had lost a chance Mr Prime Minister to go down in history as a reformist when you failed to usher in reforms in 2009.Today as Mr Swapan Dasgupta says in his ‘Rousing a sleeping giant without moral authority’(TOI 23rd Sept)”If PM Singh was indeed the great reformer he is portrayed to be he would have unleashed Indian’s “Animal instincts” immediately after his May 2009 victory when he had little to fear but fear itself. Instead ,he waited till the GDP growth had fallen below 6%,the rupee is fragile, inflation soaring, the fiscal deficit out of control, politics vitiated by corruption scandals and business confidence at an all time low”.It is in this context that it looks ridiculous for the PM to ask the people to strengthen his hands at his sudden boldness and burst of energy-but unfortunately it is too late…..Mr Manmohan Singh has squandered the good will and the trust people had reposed in the Congress and hence it is the Congress’swan song that he has just began to sing.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,

September 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm 6 comments

The Washington Post and its postmortem of the UPA2

The profile of Manmohan Singh in the Washington Post has ruffled the feathers of the Congress. This party is like an ostrich which buries its head in the sand. Not a single sentence in The Washington Post can be faulted. It is a true assessment of Manmohan Singh and the government he heads. It is a pity that the Congress leaders fail to learn and to rewrite their  script. Instead it demanded the WP to apologize. Typical of the Congress which cannot stand truth because it does not abide by truth.It was so quick under the prodding of the new combative Mrs Sonia when it demanded that Advani take back his remark that the UPA 2 is an illegitimate government. Well the Washington Post has mirrored its true reflection which means this government has lost its legitimacy. When one is not legitimate what is it then? The author has voiced the opinion of millions of people-and sketched the contours of a PM which is not very flattering. In fact it reveals the true  state of affairs  and the personality of the PM. From an ‘underachiever’ he has slipped down to a tragic figure.
The unflattering profile is cent percent true. Manmohan Singh should have long ago put in his papers- instead he presides over the most corrupt government India ever had-he preferred to look the other way when as the author puts it when his ministerial colleagues were filling their pockets. Is this a sign of honesty? No wonder the paper has drubbed him as intellectually dishonesty. As an economist he refused to usher in any economic reform to arrest the sliding down of the economy-the devaluing of the rupee and the raining of scams. Insensitive to all this Manmohan Singh clung to his power. If he had an iota of self respect and integrity he would either have resigned or at least demanded the resignation of his corrupt ministers. No, he had to pretend that he sees nothing-hears nothing and speaks nothing. Well then he is  PM of ‘nothingness’ Why should Ambica Soni be so agitated that she wants the matter to be referred to the MEA.?Is it because the  Congress leaders are immature that they cannot digest the truth?
This is one of the many fallouts of allowing a super PM to function; a mini parliament –the National Advisory Council-handpicked men and women of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, with the set objective of advising her. Why a NAC? Does all other party presidents have a NAC which the public exchequer funds? If she needs advise as the President of the Congress party then the party should fund the NAC-not the public The drafting of bills and the recommendations of the NAC then finds their way to the PM. And this is a violation of the Constitution because the backdoor advisors-or a mini parliament is not envisaged in a democratic set up. The Prime Minister then finds himself obligated to accept their recommendations. What for and why God alone knows. The gradual nibbling away at the democratic institutions-depleted the vitality of democracy.Manmohan Singh is aware of these but then his indecisiveness-his dithering at every stage demeaned his stature and not enhanced it.
He was a robot-the remote control was Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Everyone right from the top-including his council of ministers down to the man on the street was fully aware of this.Two power centers in appearance but only one power centre that had power-the other was namesake centre.It was No 10 Janpath to which people flocked and the leaders –be they Congress and or its allies went to. The making and the unmaking of a leader depended on the perception of Mrs Sonia Gandhi.This was well known. And where was the Prime Minister in this power play? He was the humble, subservient, grateful vassal of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. How could this not dent the dignity, the credibility and the prestige of the Prime Minister? And why the ruckus and furore when the Washington Post came out with the correct picture?
What is the self-worth of the Congress party which is mired in scandals and scams and is the most corrupt. It somehow lives in an ivory tower and thinks that everything is square and fair with its double speak. Imagine what ridiculous figures the national spokespersons of this party cuts when they bravely utter sound bytes just for the sake of holding on to their positions as national spokespersons. Why should they cut such ridiculous figures in defending the indefensible? Of course one can sweep aside persons like Renuka Chowdry who has no substance to utter but is only a face –but what about the others? Have they no sensibility and sensitivity?
Look at the downfall of Manmohan Singh from a high pedestal of credibility and acumen down to illegitimacy-lack of credibility and abettor of corruption. The question rises then who is more corrupt-the abettor of corruption, or one who directly is involved in the act of corruption-The   one who takes the money and fills one pocket or the one who sees it and pretends that nothing is wrong.
What cannot be missed in this is the fact that the PM is under oath (of course the other ministers too are) that he would act without favor or fear. He is the custodian of the people’s faith in governance and clean governance. He has betrayed that faith-he has violated the solemn oath and hence will belong to the dustbin of history when the history of democratic India is written. This is the price he will pay for being a stooge-a lame duck and one who wanted at all cost to stick to power. Thanks to Mrs Sonia Gandhi who led him down such a lane and brought in this state of affairs.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,

September 7, 2012 at 8:14 am 10 comments


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