H C Singh

Extent of poverty in India – Causes and Cures

It is known worldwide that, leaving some African countries aside, about 30 percent Indians are below poverty line. Though in the latest census there is marginal improvement but Indian poor, uneducated, living in slums or begging are found everywhere in villages in towns and in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata . On the other hand rich have become richer and even living standard of middle class has improved much more than the decline in poverty or uplifting of poor in villages and cities. That is, in brief, the status of the rich and well to do and conditions of Indians poor, even after almost 65 years of Independence. How can poverty in India be eradicated or reduced significantly? India is one of three or four highly developed Industrial power and one of the most highly developed country in information technology and software development. It is the reason that countries like USA have more technologies from India than they have their own.

About the decline in number, percentage of poor or below poverty line during last 60 years upto 2004-2005, the authentic figure and percentage is as outlined by the Elevant Five year plan 2007-2012 (Documented) has almost double the total number of poor in India remains the same.

‘India is nation of over 300 million poor people, a number that has barely declined over the last three decades ‘ Plan document has very significantly pointed out. All growth benefit the poor, but the appropriate definition of pro poor growth should be that it benefit them disproportionately. It is clear that rapid growth will be essential but for growth to benefit the poor disproportionately, it will have to be accompanied by more rapid employment expansion that hitherto, greater investment in health , education, water sanitation and child nutrition than so far and directly targeted poverty reduction programme.

It will equally interesting and enlightening that in some states poverty reduction is noteworthy, as best as any other country of the world but, at the same time some states of India have lagged far behind in poverty reduction as quoted below.
“Some states have been particularly successful to reducing the head count ratio in 2004-2005. The states with lowest head count ratio of poverty are J & K (5.4%), Punjab (8.4%), Arunachal Pradesh (10%),Haryana(14%), Kerala(15%), Gujarat(16.7%). At the other end of spectrum are Orissa(46.3%), Bihar(41.3%), Madhya Pradesh(38.2%) and Uttar Pradesh(32.8%).

Entire 11th Plan document, is worth going through to acquaint oneself of what is happening to alleniate the poor marginally while rich are becoming much more richer and middle class people of India are doing very well.

It is reported by the Children Health Organization that every year 2 million children are still born world over mostly in poor countries of Africa and developing countries of South East Asia. In developed countries like USA, Britain, France and Russia there is regular health care for women in distress while in poor and underdeveloped countries there is not much health care particularly for poor mothers living in villages and slums in the towns. If the government cares for poor women the number of still born children can be substantially reduced. “Women accounted for 34 % of principal and 89% subsidiary workers in agriculture”.

Government at the centre and the concerned states must pay attention to Tea and Coffee plantations as it is an important sector which gives tea and coffee to Indian citizen but earns lot of foreign exchange. It is known that good quality of tea fetches 5 to 10 times as that, too, in foreign exchange, particular demand for good and splendid quality tea is known to be in good demand in countries like Japan. Government should provide interest relief to tea and coffee growers. Another important sphere which demand government attention is fisheries and fishing policy particularly the marine fishing that provides employment and livelihood to more than a million in coastal states like Kerala. By export of good quality fish government earn substantial foreign exchange .Thus government should take measures and provide stringent measure to develop marine fishing. It should have a special marine fishing policy to so that there is security for fisherman. There have been many incident where fisherman have perished. Government should support their families, compensate for lost fishing boats.

There has been often crises in agriculture and many farmers, particularly in part of Maharashtra commit suicide because of poor crop production. Eleventh Five year plan documents which refer to Agricultural sector as this sector employs nearly 60 percent of our labour force. The growth rate of agricultural sector is perhaps the lowest. It has been around 2% for decades. Government should adopt through another Green Revolution so that growth of GDP in agricultural sector rises to at least 4 % as Industrial GDP in India is between 8% to 10%.

Elevant Five years plan document has touched all aspects of growth in India. But only few aspects have been mentioned above which are crucial for the improvement of life and working condition of poor sectors. If government pays more attention to eradicate or substantial reduce poverty in India it is important not only it should pay attention to industrial sector, which to is important, but to agriculture and fishery sector as well as tea and coffee plantation sectors.

April 22, 2011 Posted by | India, Indian Economy | , | Leave a comment

How India won Independence and How India became closer to USA

Without help in any form from USA or other countries India won Independence in 1947 after a struggle of 100 years from 1847 when British East India Company Conquered Ranjit Singh’s Sikh Empire mainly through British conspiracy with the clandestine assistance of Dogras Dhyan Singh who was Prime Minister and his brother Gulab Singh. From 1847 to 57 British rule was in turmoil and there was uprising of 1857 what British called revolt and India considered First war of Independence. British succeeded by employing the entire then Indian allied troop headed by British Army with latest weapons, canons and trained artillery. After prolonged struggle Muslim rule of almost a thousand years ended and the last Mughal King Bahadur Shah though nominal, confined to Red Fort, was taken prisoner and extradited from India.

Next most historic event was Jallianwala Bagh massacre by the British General O’Dyer killing more than a thousand unarmed citizens, men, women and children who had gathered to listen to Indian leaders. This cruelty of British was turning point in India’s fight for independence. Even Gandhi who was till then pro British joined and ultimately led the independence movement though through non-violent and peaceful means. Leaders like Subhash Chader Bose wanted Independence by all means. Bose was elected Congress President but as Gandhi opposed it he resigned. He went to Germany and then during 2nd world war beginning to fight for India’s Independence through Indian National Army.

Had Allies not been supported by USA, Britain would have been conquered by Germany as France and all the European countries. Thus, British after 1945 war losses in men and material realized that it would not be possible to rule such a vast country like India. So Indian independence movement both of Gandhi and Subhash Bose succeeded and in 1947 India won Independence. This is in brief how India won Independence despite Churchill’s opposition which resulted in partition of India and creation of Pakistan. Nehru became Prime Minister of India and Sardar Patel Home Minister. Gandhi who had become Mahatma opposed partition of India and in view of partition riots initiated by Pakistan under Jinnah right from August 47. Thus Mahatma Gandhi started fast on 15th August 1947 instead of celebrating independence of India, by prolonged struggle spread over 100 years. He was ready to go to Pakistan for which he paid with his life.

During Nehru era from 1947 to 1964 and for some years thereafter India had close relations with USSR and Nehru followed Socialist pattern of Society and controlled economy almost banning private enterprise. This policy became injurious to India’s growth and economy as it became more of inspector rule and hub of corruption all over. India’s GDP during this period of State control of economy remained static. It is India’s defeat in 1962 against Chinese aggression in North East of India that Nehru woke up to the horrors of following a communist USSR and approached USA for assistance, which reluctantly USA gave though with conditions. Here after era a mixed economy started. After Nehru’s demise in 1964 because of the shock of defeat of 1962. Hereafter relations with capitalist countries particularly USA started developing fast. This is how communist influence declined and American cooperation and influence increased since 1964 onward.

Earlier US President Clinton had visited India. It too, was a remarkable visit as he was very popular at home and abroad especially in India. But President Obama’s visit in November 2010 after commonwealth games was very significant as well as memorable. He promised, among other economic, social and agricultural cooperation that India deserves to be permanent member of UN Security Council, like USA. UK, France, Germany and China. For this announcement he got tremendous applause both from the government and people of India. Here are some extracts and valiant points from his speeches and agreements.

President Obama’s India’s visit along with his wife to India was historic in many respects. In one of his speeches he welcomed India’s rise in comity of nations as a great and fast growing democratic country. He said ‘ I believe that in one interconnected world increased commerce between the connected states and India can be and will be a win-win proposition for both nations ‘There was business and entrepreneurship conference between more than 100 US businessmen that accompanied Obama and India’s top businessmen in equal number to discuss and finalize trade agreements between two countries.

There was agreement between Reliance Power and US Exim Bank to provide about 5 billion US dollars in financial support for development of up to 8000 mw of gas powered electricity generating units and in addition up to 900 mw solar and wind renewable energy facilities. Spice jet of India and Boeing of USA concluded an agreement for the sale of 30 B 737-800 aircrafts for the commercial use by Spice jet. In the sphere of Railway improvement in India, there was agreement to manufacture and supply 1000 diesel locomotive in 10 years, about 100 such locomotives every year. This will make Indian Railways more efficient and modern. To help India provide houses for the poor, an agreement for production of equipment and manufacture of pre fabricated house has been reached. There are many other MOU’S and agreements, details of which cannot be given in this brief survey. Support of USA to India is vital as India is no more dependent on Russia or any other country for its development and rise as a big power in all spheres in another 10 to 20 years.

December 18, 2010 Posted by | India, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary, USA | , , , , | 1 Comment

French President Sarkozy’s visit to India a landmark in Indo-French Relations

It is the first time that a President of France has paid a visit to India which is significant, if not more, than visits by American President Obama or any other foreign Head of State to India in recent times. Despite unprecedented crises in Parliament of India, during his visit French President got warm welcome by both the PM of India as well as Chairperson of ruling UPA and opposition leader in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, who was amongst the few ministers invited to dinner hosted by PM Manmohan Singh. Media gave befitting coverage for all the days when French President with his wife was in India. It was really a new era in Indo-French friendship as well as economic and even for stronger defense ties. In many other fields too like use of solar energy for which French firms have promised big investments. Indo- French relations in trade and cooperation in food processing will henceforth be noteworthy. Indian people will anxiously wait to see remarkable cooperation in trade and increase in visit of students between India and France, as never before. So far India had economic and social relations with USA and UK; and USSR before its breakup.

Latest survey indicates that fiscal position of USA is worse than that of Europe despite recession all over the Europe and USA for the last two years. It is also known that in Europe Spain and Italy are in bad shape so far as their economies are concerned. France, Germany, UK and Baltic state are reasonably better off and are now in a position to improve. That is the reason that President Sarkozy of France is so confident that he has agreed to help India in overcoming certain economic and social problems. Here are some details of the agreements between French President and Indian PM.

India has been purchasing from France, since 1985, Mirage aero planes. During Kargil war in 1999, Indian Air Force used these French planes to quell Pakistani aggression. India was then able to drop laser guided bombs as well as conventional bombs. Thus two mirage squadrons flew more than 500 sorties in about 200 strikes mission during this limited war. After crushing defeat of Pakistan by India in 1975 war Pakistan appeared to be preparing for some sort of revenge. So India was in hurry to equip its air squadrons. India wanted to purchase fighter aircrafts from France, which were small and also known to be capable of repeated sorties. India therefore purchased 76 single seater and 4 double seater aircraft from France. By 1998 India France strategic defense partnership came into existence. As India has a vast coast, it’s thinking of purchasing submarines from France to guard its coast effectively.

There is equally significant cooperation between India and France in the sphere of agriculture. France is prepared to double the exchange of agriculture and food products after Sarkozi’s recent visit. This will give boost to Indian agriculture as well as food processing techniques France evidently has better techniques and experience. In this connection it will not be out of place to assert that India had pledged good relations with USA, since 1962 war with China, but neither USA nor UK or any other European Country offered defense equipments and fighter planes to India. Prior to dismemberment of USSR it was USSR that supplied India MIG aero planes and aircrafts which India was not able to use in Kargil war against Pakistan, because it was not an all out war. USSR assistance and cooperation in many fields continued up to 1964 as our first PM had thought of developing India on USSR model with some limitations as USSR was a communist dictatorship while India was a democratic state. So Pandit Nehru found the middle path of Socialist pattern of society which miserably failed. It was only thereafter that India started improving economic and defense cooperation with other countries including France.

As outlined in brief above France helped India in defense the most when India needed the most in Kargil limited war. Naturally India welcomed the most President Sarkozy’s visit in December 2010. Many agreements and MOU’s have been signed between President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is hoped that these will be implemented by India and France without any reservations. Thus we wish and hope there will be, in particular, much increase in trade in the field of agriculture and food as never before besides more cooperation in defense and even in nuclear energy by forging stronger ties. France is celebrating ‘Year of India’ in its resort town Saint Tropez, during 2012. So far no Asian, European or American country has thought of celebrating ‘Year of India’.

December 14, 2010 Posted by | India, Political Commentary | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charges against Spectrum Raja and his dismissal under 2 G Scam

Finally spectrum Raja, Communication Minister, who has been charged with massive unprecedented loss to the nation, has been forced to resign. But his resignation alone has not silenced the opposition because he is still adamant that he has done no wrong and has resigned because Karunanidhi had advised him to do so. But in fact grave charges of corruption and resulting loss of more than one and a half lakh crore of rupees to the exchequer, almost confirmed by Comptroller and Auditor General of India. After long silence PM’s advice to DMK chief brought Raja down to earth. However AIADMK has been waiting for an opportunity to challenge the aging DMK chief who had got half a dozen ministers in Central Government of Congress led UPA and was well enthroned in Tamilnadu itself. She has openly said on TV interview a number of times that AIDMK which has 9 MP’s in Lok Sabha plus CPI-CPM would not let the UPA government fall, as Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh feared. She has also organized mass agitation against her rival DMK in Chennai and elsewhere in Tamilnadu and AIDMK followers finally convinced both Sonia Gandhi UPA Chief and Karunanidhi that Raja’s continuation as central minister will lead to irreparable loss to the political status and power in Union Government as well as in Tamilnadu. This realization or writing on the wall was enough to oust Raja.

But still, naturally enough, the opposition was not pacified so there was again hungama in Parliament and both houses had to be adjourned, during last week. Opposition parties are fortified. Dropping Raja from ministership was not enough. It is no punishment for such an unprecedented fraud and loss to the nation. Not accepting the CAG report and not placing the case of Raja before joint parliamentary committee were other important factors. Opposition has been emboldened by Karunanidhi ultimately ‘advising’ Raja to step down as in the eyes of opposition both DMK Chief and UPA Chief Sonia Gandhi did not accept the findings of CAG and also did not accept reported charges in Media and by the opposition for such a long time.

For the first time Supreme Court of India had reported that Prime Minister of the country remained silent for such a long time about unprecedented corruption charges amounting to more than One lakh fifty thousand crore in spite of findings by CAG and submission of report with all the relevant proofs and papers.

Supreme Court on 22-11-10 also raised objection to the appointment of PJ Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) as there was a criminal case against him since year 2000, when he was in Kerala as secretary Food Dept, for import of Edible oil and the case was still not closed. The Supreme Court bench headed by CJ asked the Attorney General representing the UPA government. “Without looking into the file, we are convinced that ‘if a person is an accused in criminal case, how can he function as CVC’. In view of Sushma Swaraj’s dissent the SC may consider that there was lack of consensus in the appointment of Thomas as CVC, and come to the conclusion that Thomas was defending A Raja, his communication minister in 2 G Scam. Before Thomas was appointed CVC in September 2010 he was Secretary in the Telecom ministry under which 2 G spectrum scam occurred. A Raja who was minister was under attack for a long time for the biggest scam which had cost the exchequer or India Rs 1,75,000 crores. It is also noteworthy that leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha had raised objection to the appointment of of Thomas as CVC but her objection was ruled out. The petition before the SC alleges “The PM and Home Minister recommended Thomas’s name despite the fact that Leader of opposition objected to it. So the leader of opposition was forced to record her dissent. Hence her presence was rendered meaningless in the appointment”.

Another aspect which is the most Important relates to opposition demanding meeting of JPC on 2 G Scam and Congress has been opposing Joint Parliamentary Committee. This has resulted into Parliament not functioning for 10 consecutive days so far Even Mamta Banerjee has joined the opposition in demanding JPC meeting. From Oct 25 Mulayam Singh Yadav has been on Dharna outside Parliament demanding JPC meeting on 2 G Scam. A solution must be found and PM and UPA should ponder over it. What is wrong in holding a JPC to let the Parliament function? Investigation in 2 G Scam, particularly the role of A Raja, who is no longer a minister must ne expedited.

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian Economy | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ayodhya Verdict Review and Solution

When the Ayodhya Verdict was announced by Allahabad High Court all political parties and all Hindus and Muslims heaved a sign of relief, expressing satisfaction over a long awaited verdict. The verdict was balanced and not one-sided. Even the governments of UP and Delhi, in particular and Central government, too, which were fearing unrest after H.C Verdict had deployed thousands of security Personnel to maintain peace. Before the announcement of historic verdict BJP and its allies feared that verdict might be completely in favour of Muslims allotting whole of Babri Mashid complex to them. On the other hand Muslims particularly Sunis too, feared that verdict may be fully in favour of Hindus. But High Court seemed to be just to both Hindus and Muslims.

Learned judges of Allahabad High Court in their just verdict had divided Babri Masjid complex of 60 acres of land in three parts, giving two parts of Ram temple and Sita Rasoi to Hindus and third part where part of Babri Masjid stood to Muslims. With the passage of time both Hindus and Muslims decided to go to Supreme Court in appeal for improving the HC award in their favour. It must be mentioned that two judges of High Court out of there viz, Honourable judges Aggarwal and Khan gave majority Judgment that created history because one of the two judges was a Hindu and other Muslim. While the third judge of HC, Mr Sharma went too far in favour of Hindus, so his views have been ignored by both Hindus and Muslims.

P.C. Chidambaram, Home Minister, belonging to Congress Party in UPA, has announced that the verdict of Allahabad High Court has not approved demolition of Babri Masjid. But the Congress is worried because after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, Congress lost to BJP, it fears that if it opposes, in any manner the verdict of Allahabad High Court, it may lose power to BJP in 2012 general elections. So congress is in dilemma. It cannot afford to favour Muslims and it cannot dare appose the verdict or demand is dilution in favour of Muslims. Both Hindus and Muslims are thinking of appealing to Supreme Court. Till then there would be calm and peace as there has been after HC verdict and even for ever. Both Hindus and Muslims and the whole of country should be grateful to two learned judges of Allahabad High Court who gave a verdict of peace and harmony between both Hindus and Muslims and in India. Hope peace and harmony is further highlighted by the following statement by learned secular minded Islamic Scholar Maulana Vahidudin Khan- “Either leave it to the government to implement the court verdict or agree to the relocation of Babri Mosque. There is in reality no third option”. This appears to be the best solution for Muslims to be allotted free of cost land equal to the existing Babri Masjid as well as with reasonable amount for construction. Hindus would be very happy to get the entire Babri Masjid complex for building Ram temple that could be one of the best temples in whole of India, though they, too, like Muslims are thinking of appealing to Supreme Court so that they are not left behind and to demonstrate to the entire Hindu Community that they want the entire Babri Masjid complex to build a befitting Ram Temple.

On 16th Oct both Muslim and Hindu organization decided to appeal to the Supreme Court. First came the decision of All India Muslim Personal Lal Board (AIMPB) to challenge the Allahabad High Court verdict after their special meeting. AQ illyssi its spokesman said after the meeting that “we are only claiming our property back. A mosque cannot be gifted, shifted and sold.” Nirmohi Akhara counsel retaliated in a few moments on the same day: Akhara wants the management rights of the temple and the entire Babri Masjid courtyard in its possession. Earlier Gagan Das head of the Akhara and Hashim Ansari, the original plaintiff had been negotiating a peaceful settlement. But when the Sunni Muslim dominated AIMPB took hardliner’s view, Akhara Mahant Bhaskaran, too, decided to appeal to the Supreme Court defending his decision strongly: Going to Supreme Court is our compulsion now as Sunni Board has already decided on it. Thus on both sides hardliners have had the way over moderates, atleast for the time being. Still it is heartening to note that both sides are willing to negotiate. Now both the parties and the nation has to wait patiently of the decision of Supreme Court which may take months as SC may call for the ASI (Archeological Survey of India) report which is already with HC.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Hinduism, India, Indian History, Muslims | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kashmir – Support by Deoband For Unity with India

It is a lesson for Geelani, his supporter colleagues and followers as well as even for Omar Abdulah that a massive conclave of Deoband clerics have snubbed the separatists in Kashmir. It is first time that on 10th October Darul Uloom Deoband spiritual leaders of Sunni Muslims of India have openly come in favour Kashmirs accession to India saying openly in a congregation that Kashmir is integral part of India, have openly condemned the Kashmiri separatists, who led the recent agitation for so called Azadi for 5 months that resulted in loss of about hundred lives of mostly innocent youth of Kashmir and even women for no fault of theirs. They were instigated and led by separatist time and again, even during curfew, to pelt stones on Security personnel. Latest and the worst was attack on school buses carrying school children to their schools or returning from schools after 5 months idleness at home. Thirteen children were hurt but parents insisted that buses should continue to run. Unfortunately Omar Abdullah the PM of Kashmir too lost temper recently and blamed Central Government as well as accession of Kashmir to India not realizing that it was his own failure during last six months in particular to build confidence in favour of Kashmir as part of India.

Views and comments of important Muslim leaders of India, for the first time since partition of India on religious ground and creation of Pakistan which after 63 years is in turmoil because of Taliban on one hand, their frequent suicide bombing right upto Islamabad and Lahore and Karachi. On the other hand frequent bombing by USA, on Pakistan in absolute violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and a threat to Pakistan’s government. Pakistan’s failure as a Muslim state has opened the eyes of Indian Muslim leaders who have come openly in support of India’s unity and Kashmir’s unity with India which is a secular state, caring for all religions equally.

Senior religious leader, Darul Theolegiun, Abul Rahim Bastawi description of India has far reaching significance, which has not been said so far by any Muslim leader of India. Bastawi, Darul theolegiun said “India is bouquet of all types of flowers. We cannot allow any of the flowers to be taken away.” The resolution passed by Darul conclave made it further clear though not in poetic words of Bastawi but equally significant. The resolution passed in the enclave on Sunday said: “the long pending demands of Kashmiri people must be addressed within the framework of the Constitution of India.”

Both Geelani and Omar Abdullah must go through the views expressed by Bastawi a noted theologian as well as the resolution passed by the most important conclave of Muslims and instantly change their views for the sake of Kashmir and Kashmiri people who have suffered a lot because of separatists like Geelani’s instigation and incapacity of Omar Abdulha, in handling the situation being head of Jammu and Kashmir. All Kashmiri leaders and people should not forget the criminal folly of Pakistan in 1947-48 of sending non – Kashmiri militants from NWFP trained and financed by Pakistan to enter Kashmir, kill and loot Kashmiris indiscriminately at a time when there was standstill agreement. Pakistan had sent its army in support of Jehadis to capture Kashmir’s capital Srinagar. It prompted Hari Singh to sign instrument of accession of J&K to India and on the plea of Sheikh Abdulah and Sardar Patel to send Indian Army to stop the aggression and save the lives and honour of many and save Kashmir. Rest is history well known, defeat of Pakistan’s Army and Jehadis and Cease Fire.

October 12, 2010 Posted by | India, Indian History, Muslims, Pakistan, Political Commentary, Terrorism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dalits in India – Search for Common Destiny by Sukhdeo Thorat: Brief Review and Comments

 First of all, it does not seem proper to call schedule castes as Dalits, particularly to title the book – ‘Dalits in India’. No doubt that in accordance with Hindu caste system there are about 30 percent Shudras or Dalits but Gandhiji called them Harijans i.e children of god and even the British under 1935 Act referred to them as Scheduled Castes ie, castes in a schedule. Since then they have not been called officially and academically Shudras or Dalits. Subtitle – Search for a common Destiny is really commendable.

No doubt the author of the Book Shri Sukhdeo Thorat has done lot of research on the subject collecting information on the conditions of SC’s since independence. There are dozens of tables about their progress and improvement in their conditions. It shows clearly that none of the governments at centre during last 63 years has done enough to improve their lot significantly as was required in the 1950 constitution of Free India which granted reservations for 15 years in the hope that by 1965 their will be no need for reservations for them as they would be equal to higher castes, having overall better living conditions by way of providing proper facilities for their education, employment, wages, housing. Various government did not bother to examine the important provision in the constitution and implement these as pointed out below. Part III of the constitution of 1950, specified Fundamental Rights of all citizens, after abolishing untouchability once for all as per Article 17 of the constitution and its violation punishable in accordance with law. Part III of the constitution further spelled out right to equality, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, sex or place of birth and ordained that there will be equality of opportunity in matter of public employment for all citizens to any office under the state. In addition it provided freedom of speech, expression, peaceful assembly and movement of citizens of India in any territory and to settle any where in India in any state and to settle anywhere in India.

Article 46 of part IV of the Directive Principles of State specifies that the state shall promote educational and economic interests of the weaker section of the society, particularly of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and protect then form exploitation. Article 330 of the constitution provides for reservation of seats for SC’s and ST’s in the House of People (Lok Sabha). Similar provision was made in Article 332 for reservation of SC’s and ST’s in the legislatures of the states, in proportion, as far as possible, to the population of SC’s and ST’s in the state.

Finally in the interest of scheduled castes and Tribes. Article 338 of the constitution provides for setting up National commission for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, specially to investigate and monitor all matters relating to safeguards provided for them in the constitution, to evaluate working of safeguards provided in the Constitution.

Besides the provision in the Constitution outlined above for SC’s and ST’s there have been civil rights Act of 1955, The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) ordinance of 1975. Under these rules the state government may appoint an officer not below the rank of Sub-Divisional Magistrate for the purpose of making an inquiry and submit the report of inquiry to the central government for placing before parliament.

In 1989, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act was passed providing for courts for such offences relating to atrocities. Offences of atrocities under 1989 Act include causing injury or even insult to any SC or ST by forcibly removing his clothes or to parade him naked. It is also an offence to dump excreta waste matter, carcass or any other obnoxious substance in his premises or neighborhood. There are many other offences causing insult or injury deliberately and details of punishment for such offences, and enhanced punishment for subsequent conviction. Special Courts can impose punishment which will be not less than one year.

So many provisions have been made and so many Acts have been passed even after the coming in force of 1950 Constitution yet it is well known that in many states untouchability still exists and scheduled castes are not even allowed to enter certain temples and thorough fares. They are not allowed to own or build houses in areas where higher caste people live and practice business. There is hardly any punishment or enforcement of these penal provisions in these areas. Even the employment of manual scavengers and construction of day latrines have been prohibited by 1993 Act but these continue to exist all over India, particularly in rural areas and J.J colonies in the cities and poor day labourers settlements in urban areas.

To sum it up, historically SC’s have not been allowed to own agricultural land. Inspite of many provisions in the constitution and other Acts, there is high incidence of landlessness among SC’s. The best course, as suggested by Sukhdeo Thorat is for the government to create a ‘pool of state level acquired land under ceiling laws and from other public land such as waste land which is free from legal problems’. Land so acquired may be given to landless SC’s. Government may also adopt measures to enforce strictly provisions about quota for jobs both in public and private sectors, education for SC’s in rural areas in particular, and to end atrocities so that they become educated, employed and are fearless and have ‘common destiny’ with other citizens in next 20 years, so that there are no Dalits or SC’s at all, for all times to come.

October 7, 2010 Posted by | Hinduism, India, Political Commentary | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supreme Court verses the Constitution by Pran Chopra – Brief review and Comments

There was hundred percent honesty in Judiciary of India during Nehru era for more than two decades. It is well known as to why judiciary was made an instrument of government, particularly by Indira Gandhi who set aside the constitution and imposed Emergency in whole of India for the first time, and it is hoped for the last time ever. During Emergency virtually all the state governments were dissolved and all prominent political leaders of opposition including Jai Prakash Narain who never hankered for political office or ministership and who was a freedom fighter along with Gandhi and Patel.

In contrast to give a few examples of how even after Emergency politics got corrupted and some judges and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) a tool of the government. Lalu Parsad Yadav who was Chief Minister of Bihar had to resign from Chief Ministership because of Fodder Scam of thousands of crores of rupees. Despite proven charges in courts, he has not been convicted but, for political reasons, was included in Central Cabinet for a number of years. It is well known that Paswan accepted bribe of Rs 60 lakh from the then Congress PM P.V Narsimha Rao. It was proved as he had deposited huge amount in the bank and so was convicted. He too, thereafter became a minister in the Central Cabinet.

Another case is of UP Chief Minister Mayawati who is often required to save the central government of Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi. It is only on Sept 27, 2010 that Supreme Court has rapped CBI and Mayawati for getting her petition of 2008 against her prosecution for disproportionate assets case adjourned several times. The Court lashed at both Mayawati and CBI “if both of you are together then we shall not hear this case at all” Supreme Court bench added “Sometimes the petitioner (Mayawati) wants time to fill an application, sometimes you (CBI) take time file your reply to it”.

Though India under British rule had a written constitution 1935 Act, upto 1947, when India became free. But Independent India had its own constitution after prolonged deliberation in Constituent Assembly in 1951. In India constitution is supreme like USA which has the oldest written constitution in the world. Though after World War II European countries, even like defeated Germany have a written constitution which they also consider supreme. Pran Chopra rightly points out that Indias constitution is “preserver of federal system of India. No document institution or authority is Supreme to it. Our constitution has given authority to Supreme Court to interpret the constitution. Though India’s Parliament, as representative of all the people of India is supreme but it is to act within the limits of the written constitution. Parliament can make amendments but within the limit set by written constitution and are not ultra vires to the constitution.

It is in this context that I K Gujral who became later the Prime Minister of India was shocked to observe the saddening conduct of some honourable chief justices during the Emergency: “I recall the visit of two honourable chief justices to Moscow during my tenure there (as India’s ambassador to USSR) and how they defended the misdoings under emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi) of the era”.

Former chief justice of India A M Ahmadi has posed the fundamental question can the Parliament pass any constitution amendment without proper and extensive discussion in the Parliament? He cites the example of for former speaker P A Sangma and some of his successors when “guillotine is applied and a lot of legislation is passed without any discussion. The power to enact a law does not merely mean that you place a law on the table of Parliament and take it as passed”. It is a significant contribution of Chief justice Ahmadi for future Parliaments before they pass any law or constitutional amendment.

Sovereignty is with “we the people” as first line of preamble of the constitution makes it clear and not with any of the three organs mentioned above former PM of India and former Chief Justice of India as well as there are many other personalities who have expressed their similar view’s in ‘Supreme Court verses Constitution of India’, to name the few, Pran Chopra who provided a detailed article for discussion as well as for contribution of articles by eminent persons like former PM and Chief Justice of India and others. Govt of India and the Parliament have now realized that there should be transparency in Judiaciary, no corruption because of Judges having close relations with lawyers. Accordingly a comprehensive bill is being introduced in Parliament shortly for this purpose.

To sum up, Indian constitution is mainly meant, because it is a written constitution, to guard the fundamental rights of Indian citizens, right to life, freedom of speech, sanctity of democracy and for perpetuation of federal system, to keep India united, so that all federal states have freedom of having their own language and culture. Thus it is foremost duty to every member of Parliament, every member of judiciary and CBI which has come to be known as instrument of government and all the members of executive to honour and preserve the written constitution, despite the amendments which are essential because of development of society, not being static. Constitution and its spirit is thus sacrosanct.

October 5, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Doctors Strike And other Strikes And Bands

It is unprecended, not only in India but in the whole of world that doctors (in Jodhpur hospital) remained on strike for little more than there days, resulting in the death of 57 patients because of immoral and irrational negligence of doctors. Now it is confirmed that 37 patients lost their lives because they remained unattended by doctors. Even death due to negligence (non-attendance) by doctors is unpardonable. Obviously they did not realize the pain, suffering and cries of the kith and kin of those who passed away in hospitals unattended. Some must have lost the only bread winner of the family. How will the family manage and survive now? Some might have lost the only child and they will cry for years and may be throughout their lives. Who can console them and how? Some might have lost their mothers, from where they will get mothers to love them as much as a mother who has given the birth can only do.

In Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital there was complete strike though even for one day. However it was claimed that its Out Patient Department (DPD) continued to function. In a hospital where daily 6000 patients visit OPD how all the patients be attended properly when most of the doctors were on strike and all the departments of 1800 beded hospital were closed? How can patients with serious ailments like that of heart, kidney or pregnancy be attended properly and carefully? However it is satisfying that the strike in Safdarjug Hospital was called off after one day and not like Jodhpur hospital where it went on for 3 days causing lot of deaths.

Reason for going on strike by hundreds of doctors in Jodhpur and Delhi is the same. In Jodhpur one doctor is said to have been assaulted by the relatives of a patient who died. While in Delhi it is said that such assault on doctors occurred three times. Doctors say that there is not enough and proper security for them to be able to perform their duties. True, but the way out is not total strike. It could be, to be rational and keeping in view the oath of doctors to serve the patients and medical rules, the concerned doctors who were assaulted could protest, go on strike and even on hunger strike to attract the attention of state and hospital authorities. But under no circumstances total and uncalled for strike could be justified. This action of Jodhpur hospital and Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital doctors for going on total strike can not be forgiven and forgotten. Though to an extent state governments, Central Health Ministry and the apex medical organization, too, have not done enough and in time to avert or even bring an end to the strike in few hours. They should also take steps so in future there are no assaults on doctors. At least government of India, if need be through constitutional amendment declare medical services of doctors and other hospital staff as an essential service and permanently ban the strikes in hospitals.

There have been strikes and bunds in many states, particularly in West Bengal where there is every now then a state or Kolkata bund. In Kerala,too, there have been quite a number of strikes and bunds. Recently there has been strike in banks, by Airline staff and by MCD staff in Delhi. Industrial workers in many countries of the world have earned right to go on strike to get higher pay because of inflation etc and get more benefits. In India, too, industries, private industries, in particular, may continue to exercise right to strike. All strikes and bunds result into suffering by the affected people and loss in government or industries income. For example as Airline Services did not operate on the day of strike, thousands of crores of rupees were lost. Strike by bank employees caused suffering and loss to thousands who were committed to draw money and make payment as promised.

To sum it up, strike in all essential services should be banned. Government and industry should be, first of all, consider to the demand of workers, through their trade unions and discuss much in advance with the representatives of trade unions and concede to their just demands so that there is no strike. Leaders of uncalled for and unjustified strike, as recently in Jodhpur hospital, in particular. Should be punished, in accordance with law and with the advice of concerned heads of industry or organization as the ease may be.

September 13, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian Economy, Political Commentary | Leave a comment

Reforms in India to Meet increase in Urban Population in Governance in India

It is well known that urban population is increasing very fast, not so in European countries and America where there is lot of urbanization but in Asia and Africa, particularly in India. For example during last 50 years Delhi’s population before independence was hardly 5 lakhs. In 1947 due to partition of India about 4,70,000 refugees came from Pakistan and settled in Delhi. Since then Delhi’s population had been increasing in percentage more than any other city of India and perhaps anywhere in the world. It is estimated to be now more than 1 crore. In 50 years Delhi’s population has grown ten fold. Similarly India’s population after independence was only 35 crores but in 2010 it is estimated to be more than 105 crores, 300 percent increase.

Inevitably problems of housing, infrastructure, health, education and transport have increased manifold though India’s GDP has been rising, particularly since India abandoned Nehru’s socialist pattern of society with rationing and controls and virtually ban in private enterprise in industry, GDP since Narsimha Rao became PM and appointed Dr. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister, private enterprises boomed exceptionally and slowly and steadily. GDP also increased from 1% to 8 to 10 percent per annum. Thus, as was inevitable urban population increased tremendously because laborers from villages moved to cities for well paid jobs. Education, too, spread all around and more and more workers got trained for better jobs in industry and even agriculture because of Green Revolution. Thus increase in urbanization gives more opportunities and also demands more facilities by the government and municipal administrators.

Government of India in 1992 passed 74th Constitutional Bill amendments restructuring Indian federal system thus empowering rural and urban local bodies. This led to decentralization of authority and power to be used according to requirement of urban highly populated cities like Delhi Bombay, Calcutta to frame their own local and regional laws to meet the needs of time and specific requirement of each city and village or Panchayat requirements. These amendments are historic and ever lasting. Because of these constitutional amendments Delhi state could do its best, without further constitutional amendment, to use resources to the requirement of Common Wealth Games because unprecedented rains, water logging and corruption to complete the required infrastructure, stadium and housing requirements of the visitors to important event in Delhi and India, success of which would be India’s honour. Success of CWG despite many bottlenecks, natural and man-made, will make India shine.

Decentralization under 74th constitutional amendment of 1992 meant that central Government of India and state governments were to devolve powers and functions to about 3000 urban local bodies in the country. It became mandatory for state governments to pass legislations to empower local bodies in the state. In compliance with 1992 constitutional amendment Municipal Corporation of Delhi(MCD) is one of the largest in the world as it provides civic amenities to about one crore forty lakh, i.e. 14 million people living in union territory of Delhi or Delhi State. In 1992, an elected government for National Territory of Delhi was constituted with 70 legislative council Members with a Chief Minister of Delhi. It came into operation to deal with complex problems of national capital, cantonment, old Delhi and rural areas of the union territory.

Maharashtra government passed Nagarpalka Act in April 1994, entrusting, Municipal powers, functions and responsibilities to urban Local Bodies and wards committee.

Similar provisions, suiting each state have been made in all states. There are also provisions, for urban Environmental management. Management and disposal of waste products. Provisions for squaterers settlements, particularly in Delhi’s Jhuggi Jhampri clusters.

West Bengal Government in compliance with 47th CCA of 1992 set up a Metrolian Planning Committee which covers three Municipal Corporations, 38 municipalities and 133 panchayats.

Tamilnadu government in pursuance of 74th constitutional amendment of 1992, focused it intention on Chennai Metropolitan area inhabited by about 5 million people consisting of Chennai corporation area, eight municipalities and many town panchayats surrounding it. In the municipalities sate appointed commissioners and elected local governments have the responsibility to see the development from all aspects.

To sum it up, 74th constitutional Amendment of 1992 was a landmark in the development of all the major cities of the country. Every state, as some examples have been given above, set up requisite committees, urban councils, panchayats and other institutions required and recommended by the 74th amendment. There is no doubt that there is allround improvement in the urban development all over the country particularly the overpopulated cities of Delhi the national capital, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

September 9, 2010 Posted by | India, Political Commentary | Leave a comment