H C Singh

India’s Foreign Policy – Identity – Strategy Conflict

Nehru was Prime Minister of India, even during interim government before 1947, of cabinet of equal number of ministers from India (Hindus and Sikhs) and Muslims. But Nehru did not have much say as Liaqat Ali Khan (a nominee of Jinnah who later became PM of Pakistan) was Home Minister. Jawahar Lal Nehru did not have much say except in International Affairs which, too, were insignificant. Similarly after independence when Nehru was PM and Sardar Patel was Home Minister and minister of states Nehru did not have any or much say except in Foreign Affairs.

Similarly after 2004 our economist PM Dr Manmohan Singh does not have much say in Home Affairs and in other matters even in economic matters Finance Minister is all in all. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister in the government of Narsimha Rao was well respected as he brought liberal economy in place of ‘closed’ socialist economy since Nehru. But from 2004 Manmohan Singh is virtually a Foreign Minister. He had dozen of trips abroad meeting George Bush, Obama of USA mainly for nuclear agreement and visiting other European Countries for international collaboration and visiting for International conferences of various categories.

But luckily, to the credit of Dr Manmohan Singh, during 21st Century Foreign Policy of India vis USA, Pakistan and some other countries of Europe and Asia has become more important than ever before. It has become more complicated and ideological than ever before. India’s Foreign Policy is now being compared with that of USA.

Now Foreign Policy is quite much important for nation building. If India has good relations with countries like USA India stands to gain in International prestiege despite USA’s involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and even Pakistan. India as an Independent country is not approving US actions in the above mentioned countries. Though as part of foreign policy and broader interest we do not, as a government, criticize USA though many political parties and even some members of UPA openly criticize US involvement in these countries we have to follow – strategy in Industrial Affairs and foreign policy which does not go against India’s basic idealism of peace and non-involvement in other countries affairs. Here to substantiate my and India’s point of view in foreign policy. I would like to reproduce some extracts from the book by Tobias F Engelmeier who is though born in Germany is founder and Director of environmental consulting company:

Since India, in his view, is still militarily and economically weak for the foreseeable future, it should adopt a diplomacy based on wit, moral discipline, persuasion, the intelligent pursuit of self-interest and the use of ‘soft power’. In order to do so, it needs to be more flexible and engagingly active than it was in the past.

The idealist element, so the argument goes, creates goodwill and political capital. ‘Legitimacy is certainly a good in itself; but it also has instrumental value, and is part of the armory needed to conduct realpolitik’. India ‘must be willing to play a role in the global ‘battle of ideas’. Focusing on its democratic and pluralist value – legitimacy, Khilnani believes, will give India considerable power and assures its independence as well a its indispensability. This is not only good for India – it is also good for world.

The international system is not the only significant determinant of foreign policy in India. While structural realism may still be the leanest, most elegant overall theory of international relations, trusting entirely in it will lead to ‘errors in judgment and theory’. India, this great and difficult political experiment, requires a much closer look.

From the above comments which are intensive and of far reaching consequences it will be clear that India can not go by Gandhi’s Idealism that “ends and means and morality and reality are inseparable” India has to pursue realistic Foreign Policy keeping the interest of India, its unity and integrity always in mind.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | India | , , , | Leave a comment

India and China

Growth rates of India and China 1980 – 2004

India is number 4 in GDP and over all development after USA, China and Japan. But in another 20 years or so India will be number 3 only USA and China will be ahead. In information technology India was ahead of China in 2004. China is trying to go ahead. According to Subramanium Swammy’s findings “China and India have become front runners in cutting – edge technologies: IT, mass communications, bio technology, pharmaceuticals and nuclear and space sciences. The two have a vast part of scientific personnel and technologists with proven capacity for original research …… but” Chinese telecom facilities are atleast 10 years ahead of India.”

The vast difference between India and China is that while India is a democratic federal government China is, in contrast, still a communist dictatorship though it has conceded some private enterprises and some liberal measures. As China’s birth rate has become much lower than India, the population of two Asians giants is almost equal.

In India there is corruption almost in all spheres, politics – infa-structure , economic development, administration, police and municipal work of all types while in China there is insignificant corruption. Corruption is retarding India’s progress in all fields. As a result Indians who migrate to foreign countries particularly USA, specially as in information technology and as doctors, are doing much better than even the local citizens.

India is multilingual, multi religious and multi-cultural country while China is by an large unilingual with one Chinese culture and virtually no religion except in Eastern part where there are Muslims in majority with language of their own.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | India, World | , | Leave a comment

Naxal Problem And its Solution

During British Rule and even Mughal Rule extending to 1000 years or so, the Naxal problem was not heard. Both British and Muslim Rules left the Naxal area untouched, to let them do as they were doing before their rule. These areas like areas of East India, Assam, were virtually outside their administration. Naxal created no problem of any sort, by intrusion into Muslim or British ruled areas. Mughal and British rulers were content with their conquests and administration of rest of Hindustan as known during Muslim rule and India, as modified from Indes, under British rule.

But with partition and Independence of India and Pakistan, both the countries faced with perennial problems of fight and terrorism, India from Naxal areas and Pakistan from NWFP. It must be added that NWFP after conquest of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Khalsa Army remained absolutely peaceful for 30 years of Sikh rule and thereafter for almost 100 years under British rule there was no problem of Taliban or other terrorist groups.

But with coming of Congress rule in India after departure of last British Army Chief and Governor General, Naxals, started showing their strengths. In the first 20 years of independence there were clashes with Indian Army because of their intrusion in adjoining states of west Bengal, Jharkhand, parts of AP, MP and Maharashtra. But by the 90’s of last century Naxal problem became a headache for Indian Government and a number of state governments. Similarly Taliban problem of NWFP, in particular, had become so intense that it could not be controlled by Pakistan and so American support in money and through Air Attacks by US Forces hitting Taliban areas, by Drone planes, in NWFP and Balochistan.

But India is trying to solve the Naxal problem by its own means. So far India has been using mainly Army to subdue the Naxals, but there have been heavy casualties for decodes of civilians as well as military personnel. Now India seems to be trying other method of compensating the militant Naxals who surrender before the Indian Army and also provide them jobs pensions and other facilities so that they permanently become good citizens of India, productive and useful and set an example for other militants Naxals to throw down their arms and become good peaceful and working citizens like them.

As military action for decades did not succeed in curbing or eliminating Naxal attack. This policy of giving them temptations of money, work and peaceful life for them and for their families if they are married or get married. Bharti Jain in an article in Economic Times of 7th September has given details, official or unofficial, but relevant which are given below.

“Vocational Training along with a monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 each for up to three years, Rs 1.5 lakh in fixed deposit with a three-year maturity and additional incentives up to Rs 25,000 for each surrendered weapon or ammunition. These are some of the key benefits on offer under the Centre’s new surrender-cum-rehabilitation guidelines for Naxalites finalized on August 26.

The Centre, as part of its multi-pronged conflict management and resolution strategy, has designed the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for Maoists to provide gainful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to the surrendered Naxalties and also ensure that they do not find it attractive anymore to return to the Naxal fold. Importantly, the policy will be implemented along with firm action by the counter forces against Naxalites who indulge in violent acts.”

It is hoped and appears quite certain that the above mentioned policy of government which has come after long time will help a lot, may be it takes a few years to convince all Maoists and Naxals to become good citizens of India with jobs and compensation.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | India, Indian History | , , | Leave a comment

Social Accountability

Government spends tax payers money to improve the lot of poor, particularly those living in rural areas. But the problem is that it is not certain that even a fraction of money allotted reaches the poor in villages because of the fact that implementation goes down from Centre to State, State to District level, from District to Local administration in village or group of villages. At the lowest level down from District level, because of corruption the really needy and destitute farmers hardly get 10 to 20% of 25 to 30% farmers. There should be social auditing at all levels particularly at District and below District level.

“According to latest procedure and implementation of tax payers money, it is said that the experience of other developing countries suggests that using new expenditure and budget management IT system as the lynchpin for organizational reform, could work in India. This process, while beginning at the national level would have to be down to the states which are key to better expenditure management, even when funds originate from the centre. Structure must follow the strategy from the centre. Structure must follow the strategy of getting from outlays to outcomes.”

It is not enough for the government to allocate money, it is more important to be vigilant through a system as outlined above that the money allotted reaches the persons, particularly in villages, poor farmers, poor artisans like cobblers and black-smiths and it should be monitored form down to upward. There should also be a N.G.O as well as government sponsored organization to keep constant watch so that there is no fraud in disbursement at lowest level.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Corruption, India, Political Commentary | | Leave a comment

Steep decline in Tatas Net Worth

It has been pointed out by Mobis Philpose and Ravi Anantha- Narayan in Mint magazine that “Tata Motors tangible net worth goes negative”. Tata Motors debt as of today is Rs 34,974 crore, borrowing from 24 Banks, including State Bank of India, Citigroup inc, Standard Chartered and JP Morgan Chase & Co. Tata Motors could go bankrupt if the Banks had denied loans or tried to recover loans already paid. “The reason Banks aren’t running scared yet is the strong backing of the parent group Tata Sons Ltd” Banks think that under no circumstance the parent Company will let one of its companies (Tata Motors) default or go bankrupt.

However the final comments of the authors of the article named above is that “Losses continue to mount at JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) and they could be an instance of playing with fire for banks and equity in vesters.”

From the above strongest ever remarks for any Tata Company it appears that Tata Motors are in deep trouble and could go bankrupt. If it happens (Tata Sons don’t save Tata Motors) it will be unprecedented and will have impact on other companies and industries which are struggling but are in heavy debt from the Banks or other sources.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | India | , , | Leave a comment

Income Tax Arrears

In Maharashtra alone income tax arrears to be recovered till date amount to Rs 203 lakh crores from top 100 tax payers. Worst state is that Hasan Ali Khan’s dues make up 35% of the total IT areas i.e Rs 50,345 crores. How could Income Tax authorities sleep over such a large amount of IT arrears without taking strict action against defaulters. Enforcement Directorate came into the picture to investigate the case under Foreign Exchange Management Act. It is stated by a senior IT official that Hassan Ali Khan and his Kolkata based associates whose names figure in the list of those who have parked or deposited large amounts to evade income tax in Swiss Banks which together account for Rs 71,465 crores which is over 33% of the total tax arrears in the country. So for the IT authorities have not gone ahead to recover from Swiss Bank as there has been no official confirmation or communication from Swiss authorities. Thus IT authorities could only attach properties of Hassan and his wife that, too, provisionally.

If the Maharashtra State Govt. had recovered even 1/3rd of IT arrears to date the amount would have become Rs 50,000 crores. Some ofwhich could be easily utilized for relief to farmers in vidharba area who are daily committing suicides which have crossed 650 suicides during the current year. This could have saved many farmers from committing suicide, in desperation, and many thousand others who are in distress, not getting adequate food for their families and some on the verge of dying either through starvation or through diseases or eventually through suicide. This is a sad commentary on Income Tax Deptt of Maharashtra. It could be to an extent the same or similar failures in other metropolitan towns and even in many states.

This means failure of Central Government to make strict laws for income tax recoveries and also punish the defaulters as well as Income Tax Deptt officials for their failure in recovering such huge dues from defaulters. Ultimately the Govt of India is responsible through its Income Tax Deptt. whose inaction or lethargy had cost the country so much. To prevent such failures on part of Income Tax authorities, Central Govt most pass Strict laws holding concerned IT officials responsible for not recovering hundreds of crores of IT arrears.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Corruption, India, Political Commentary | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crisis of Dyeing Tradition

There was a time about 60 years ago when more than one hundred families were engaged in dyeing business, now there only three brothers continuing this tradition and keeping it alive. Three brothers are known as Chippa Brothers, Farooq, Ellas and Yasin with the only factory in Pipar City, 60 km from Jaipur in Rajasthan. It is the only factory where hand block printing is done with natural dyes. The natural dyes are made from turmeric, alum and indigo mixed with various other natural colous. Making such natural colors is a technique that has been passed on to the three brothers from generations for over 200 years.

As the three brothers own the only factory of making hand blocks with natural dyes, they have made lot of money though they started with living in Kucha home, now all the three brothers are educated and are living in banglows with each having his own car. But they are optimistic that they will continue to earn enough from this traditional business. Yoscen who markets the products of the factory on behalf of all the three brothers has switched to computers saying “we had to do it, otherwise we wouldn’t survive the market” he further says “People are finally beginning to understand what it means to own a hand – block printed natural dyed dupatta or sari.”

The whole country wishes them good luck as they are keeping 200 years old tradition alive with their hard work and modernizing with computers, where necessary. It is hoped that others who have been associated with dyeing with natural colors will also get encouragement and may start or join them to increase the output.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Achievers, India, Muslims | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Return of Indian Migrant after Losing Jobs

India’s economy and unemployment in India are going to be hit hard, as reported, 2 lakhs Indians have returned after losing their jobs in UAE, in particular and other gulf states like Kuwait, Bahrain. In addition Indians are also returning from Malaysia and also some other countries- total if Indians losing jobs and returning home is likely to be 3 lakhs in a couple of months. This is a big crisis as most of the Indian migrants to Gulf States had taken loans and are now dependent in govts help and relief.

The above information has been provided by global consulting firm DELOITE for the overseas Indian Affairs Ministry. It has also outlined specific programs for the unfortunate returnee migrants. Shri Manoj C G in his article has outlined the measures that the Govt of India should undertake for migrant returnees from gulf countries. A para from his article is reproduced below.

“ In the short term, the study outlines, the Government should introduce emergency employment generation schemes for returnee migrants, set up temporary camps in foreign countries to provide asylum to those who have lost their jobs, besides providing them free return tickets and financial assistance in the term of subsidized loans to help them to repay loans taken for migration purposes.”

For others who have already returned there should be separate employment exchange “setting the help desks” to provide information about jobs available in the country and abroad.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | India | , , | Leave a comment

Suicides of Farmers

There have been seven suicides of farmer in one day in vidharba region of Maharshtra, raising this year’s number of suicides by farmers in distress to stunning number of 639 as reported by a Non Government organization (NGO) on Saturday the 5th September 2009. Prolonged dry spell has damaged standing crops of soyabean and cotton. These are two main cash crops of the region. Even the genetically modified BT cotton seed could not stop the pest attack, as it was claimed, as more than 90% farmers had used BT cotton seed, the spray of pesticides to their crops could not save these crops that is why such an unprecedentedly large number of farmers have committed suicide, particularly in district of Yavatmal.

Though for the last two months there has been dry spell in most of Vidhaba, in some areas shortfall of rain has been more than 40%. It is strange that neither the State Government of Maharashtra nor Y B Chavan Agriculture Minister of Central Govt who belongs to Maharshtra did not take relief measures in time to save farmers from comitting suicide in such large numbers. There have been no such suicides to that extent in any other state though many states particularly in the south India had faced drought and are coping with the miseries.

Every year Monsoon fails or is in shortfall in many areas of India, mostly Southern states and Rajasthan, sometimes parts of Punjab and Haryana. It is high time Central Government appoints a permanent high powered body with lot of stocks of food grains and also with good amount of funds for relief to farmers in distress.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Corruption, India | , , | Leave a comment

Economic crisis in Shoe-Making Industry

There is also great set back to shoe making industry in Agra and Kanpur particularly in Agra. It is said in an article by Trepathi and Chaturvedi “it is biting that Agra artisans began by making boots for Emperor Akbar’s infantry and graduated to fancy shoes before getting hit by rising costs and shrinking markets”

There are many factors leading to decline in the manufacturer of, particularly hand-made, shoes. Decline in the demand in India and abroad because of recession, rise in prices of leather and other raw material, competitions from China that is exporting cheap footwear of all types for men, women and Children mostly made from synthetic material but looking fine. USSR had been importing bulk of shoes and boots from India. But after its dismemberment, there is a steep fall in the import. The slowdown has affected 25-30% of the market which has made more than 2 lakhs of workers in great difficulty.

In Kanpur there were 500 tanneries even 30 years back but now there are only 100 because of restrictions of government besides the general decline in demand for leather.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | India | , , | Leave a comment