H C Singh

Lokpal Bill or Lok Divide Bill

Even during the latest meeting, called for and presided by PM on Sunday the 3rd July 2011 could not resolve the differences between government and the opposition, though the meeting was attended by BJP leader Advani, while other non UPA political parties by cotted it. Government’s version or draft of Lokpal bill has been called by BJP as Jokepall bill. One of the main causes of discussion is inclusion of PM and his officer under the Lokpal Bill. Even UPA ally DMK who have a number of ministers in UPA besides like karunanidhi’s daughter and other tainted one who are facing judicial inquiry. PM Manmohan Singh, who speaks rarely in public, has come out with a statement that Lokpal must work within framework of constitution. How can Lokpal be outside constitution if PM is involved? PM and the government have to answer.

Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, top most activists against corruption have challenged government’s draft of Lokpal bill. There are so many independent and autonomous departments at present. In the opinion of Kiran Bedi and Kejriwal what can a citizen do if a judge, the CAG, CEC, CIC is corrupt. He can do nothing. In some cases the Parliament can impeach the wrongdoers. But despite the strong and credible evidence of corruption in so many cases, no one has been impeached in 62 years”. Thus only the corrupt are afraid of Lokpal bill. Corrupt person like a Raja have been free for many years despite charges against them.
India’s Supreme Court has shown concern over black money of lakhs of crores of Rupees in foreign banks against which, even government was aware, did not taken any steps to recover it for so many years. A bench of Justice H Sudarshan Reddy and Justice SS Nijhar and Justice BP Jeevan Redy who will head the 13 member SIT. Another retired SC Judge MH Shah will be Vice Chairman of the highest ever judicial team to probe black money or any other failure of the government. Naturally the government is upset and even worried but is helpless. Central government has advanced the consideration of Lokpal Bill in the next session of the parliament. People all over India particularly vast majority of people of Delhi support Lokpal bill crusade against corruption and black money.

Despite meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Anna Hazare is preparing to go on fast in support of Lokpal bill and is very much opposed to government version. Though government had nine rounds of meetings with Anna Hazare group but to no avail.

Law Minister Moily, in a letter to PM in April after Anna Hazare fast, had warned PM not to linger the issue of Lokpal Bill as it was agitating more and more people. Moily had then stressed the PM and government should not stand on prestige on any issue. But PMO though released the letter but ignored the suggestion of law minister Moily
He had also suggested that a CJI should be chosen to head Lokpal Bill committee and no minister should be its member. Had Moily’s suggestion been accepted there would not have been such a storm over Lokpal bill. It has been reported that former CAG Vinod Pai was behind all gigantic scams like that of A Raja 2G, Kalmadi’s CWG and even KG Basin. In addition CAG Vinod Rai was responsible for Gorkkov deal of 2009 relating to procurement of Russian aircraft. Defence deal of 2009 with kickbacks galore. If CAG’s misdeeds are an example how can any other department under the present government can be trusted.
If Anna Hazare goes on fast, as planned in July 2011 itself, there is no doubt that the response will be far more than in April.

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Politics | | Leave a comment

Will Anna Hazare be 21st Century Gandhi?

Gandhi fought for India’s independence, then considered, most important and many thought it will not last but Mahatma Gandhi was considered apostle of non violence and is known as such not only in India but throughout the colonies of British, Portugal and France, in South East Asia and Africa. Gandhi is remembered after 60 years, as pioneer of passive resistance and non violence. Even US President Barack Obama has Gandhi’s photo in his office. Ofcourse in India, then home of non-violence, Gandhi’s photos and statues are everywhere. In India, Gandhi’s lasting contribution was also boycott of British manufactured cotton textiles and clothes which led to industrialization of India and employment to millions of workers in Indian factories and handicrafts that was symbolized by the spinning wheel or Charkha, India benefitted a lot from Gandhi’s encouragement to Indian Industry and Indian handicrafts to this day. In contrast in Britain tens of thousands of workers, particularly in Lankashire became unemployed, most of them British women workers who were paid less wages for the same work than their men counterparts for the same work.

These are the lasting contributions of Gandhi the Mahatma to India and the world in the 20th century. Now about the likelihood of Anna Hazare becoming 21st century Gandhi or Mahatma, especially for India, if he succeeds in eliminating corruption in India in all spheres, industries, income- tax, police, civil servants and politicians.

Already after for couple of days of his fast in Jantar Mantar area of Delhi adjoining Connaught place and hardly 1 km from Parliament House, more than 500 people mostly young joined Anna in his fast unto death against corruption. On 5th April, two former Chief Ministers, Chautala of Haryan and Uma Bharati of Rajasthan who tried to get some limelight and came to meet Anna Hazare were booed and ‘shooed off’ virtually pushed out by Anna’s followers, particularly by those who had joined the fast. Sharad Pawar, a politician, now also known for Corruption was criticized and dishonoured so much that he quit from chairmanship of the organization he headed.

Watching for a week unprecedented response to Anna Hazare by millions of Indian citizens against corruption, the UPA, infact the Congress, got so worried that it virtually, after 3 days government sent for negotiations Sibal and two other with Parshant Bhushan. Government surrendered to Anna Hazare’s basic demands. Anna’s followers all over India felt jubilant as they had won the first battle in 2nd war of Independence, now against corruption. Wars, wether these are World Wars or for Independence of country or Independence from corruption can not be won in a day or week. The first battle against corruption launched by Anna Hazare has been won. Anna Hazare has already announced 15th August 2011 the date for winning war against corruption. If the UPA II fails to surrender or concede victory to Anna Hazare’s war against corruption then it is likely that there will be no end to peaceful demonstrations all over India to demonstrate solidarity and determination to win the war against corruption for whole of India.

The second war of Independence is against nationwide, corruption, which during last seven years under UPA II touched sky because of 2G scam, corruption in CWG and appointment of Thomas as CVI. However after accepting the demand of Anna Hazare during 4 days fast and nation wide agitation, the government virtually accepted defeat and agreed to Anna Hazare’s demand to pass the Lokpal bill as comprehensive as Anna’s adviser Shantibhushan and other suggest by 15th August. Central government of India, to save its prestige and possible fall went half way in accepting Anna’s demands. But halfway in tackling corruption is not at all acceptable just as halfway independence of India i.e. Home rule was not acceptable to Gandhiji. During 1st war of Independence, Gandhiji’s non-violent agitation continued till 15th August 1947 when India got complete independence.

It is unprecedented that Lokpal bill remained untouched during last 42 years and no attempt was made to consider it or pass it. Out of 42 years Congress was in power for 37 years and only for 5 years BJP was in power, so it is mainly the Congress and now UPA who were sleeping over it. Even during 7 years when UPA II has been in power it did not think of taking into consideration, as UPA II was not serious about eliminating or even reducing corruption.

That is why the government did not ractify U N pact against graft during last six years though India signed UN convention against graft in 2005. During last six years India’s PM Manmohan Singh visited USA almost six times. If Indian government was serious, it could ratify the UN pact against graft in a year or two. But it is understood that Department of Personnel and training steadfastly opposed it. But why the government if convinced and serious about ending corruption, did not overrule DOPT and ratify it. Had the government ratified, it could get the black money of lakhs of crores in foreign banks and also take action against those who had cheated India to evade tax. As the government was not ready to disclose the names in public, despite repeated demand by opposition, in particular, as many politicians including ministers and high officials of government were involved. Government of India should have ratified the UN pact against graft immediately and got lakhs of crores of people’s money back.

It is apt to conclude this review with Anna Hazare’s own words. To a question: How hopeful are you that the government will accept your demands. Anna Hazare the great and determined replied as under:

“I have started the fight and I will not back off. The country has had enough. Just count the number of scams and the amount of money involved in it. The scamsters are not going to jail. The Lokpal Bill will send them to jail and they will be punished for their crimes. The government wants to keep everything secret.” After giving some details about governments negligence and failure in tracking corruption, Anna Hazare announced: “I am ready to sacrifice my life for this bill”. But neither people of India who had supported the nation-wide agitation for 4 days, nor the government of India could afford that Anna to become bed ridden, so all wished that Anna should live long. Here are some significant views expressed by Anna on government officials, particulars, ministers and also on Gandhiji.

“The agitation is for the people of this country. It will get rid the nation of corrupt leaders. I am not associated with anybody. I am a follower of Gandhiji and he would not have liked today’s situation in the country. The corrupt leaders and officers are more dangerous than terrorists. People ask me being a Gandhian how could you advocate hanging corrupt people. My answer is that today times have changed. You need Shivaji’s sward to enface Gandhian principles.” About the corrupt leaders and officers Anna says what is apparently correct that “when they themselves are corrupt how strong will the Lokpal bill be that they pass. I am not against any government. I only want a corruption free nation”. Anna Hazare finally in the interview warns the government by giving example of his agitations in Maharashtra: “My earlier agitations have caused fall of two Maharashtra governments. I do not want the government at the centre to fall. But if they continue to be intoxicated by power, the public will teach them a lesson.” His interview, as above, is both an advice to the government and a warning. To the people of India Anna Hazare, 21st century Gandhi, has advised that they should be ready for long struggle with determination to win the second war of Independence against corruption in their nation. People should ignore dissenting remarks by Kapil Sibal and even Advani or any politician or political party and, if need be, carry on nation-wide agitation till they make India shine as absolutely free from corruption.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Politics | , | 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

Implications of 300 percent increase in MP’s Salaries

With pay and allowances hike of 300 percent for Indian MP’s , an Indian member of parliament would be getting 68 times in relation to per capita GDP: while on the same basis a Japanese MP gets 6 times and an Italian MP 7 times. Even an American senator or member of House of Representatives gets 35 times. How strange and unreasonable when India is still having 35 percent citizens who live below poverty line of which atleast 15 percent i.e. half do not have guarantee of two course meal of simple rice and Daal(pulse) or Daal and Roti and quite a number of them commit suicide because of inability to feed themselves and their families because of drought, debt that they cannot repay or just poverty.

It is also well known that more than half the number of MP’s in India are crorepatis. Why should they need 300 percent increase in their salaries and perks? Even MP’s like Lalu and Yadav demanded forcefully further 10 percent increase besides 300 percent increase already approved by cabinet. To continue to get their support the government of India has acquiesced to their demand though on August 25 when the Bill to hike the salaries and perks of MP’s was tabled this 10 percent hike was not included but, it is said that it is likely to be accepted in due course at the time of implementation of this cabinet decision approved by parliament.

Besides the salaries, perks are quite comprehensive, which, too, have been revised and enhanced. Constituency allowance has been doubled from Rs 20,000 per month to Rs 40,000 plus Rs 10,000 pm increase in pension and office allowance of Rs 40,000 pm. This is not all. He gets rent free bunglow with furniture, telephone, internet etc in Lutyens New Delhi on prestigious roads like Aurangzeb road, Ferozshah road or spacious accommodation in roads east and west of Rashtrapati Bhawan with Rs 2 lakh and one lakh per month rental value. All these increases will result in overall expenditure of Rs 142 crores per annum while lumpsum one time expenditure will be Rs 118 crores for paying salary arrears since 15 Lok Sabha was constituted. Hike in pay, allowances etc approved will add to on MP’s cost to Rs 37 lakh a year or Rs 3 lakh more each month. In addition an MP will get 34 single air journey tickets a year costing Rs 5 lakh and unlimited rail and steamer travel.

Impact of all these hikes in MP’s salaries and allowances will have on MLA’s. Already Delhi administration has approved increase of 200 percent in pay and allowance of each MLA. There is likely to be demand for similar hike in pay and allowances for MLA’s in all the other states and union territories of India. This demand may create difficulties for some states who may demand help from centre to implement as this demand by state MLA’s is due to hike in pay and allowances of MP’s to more than 300 percent. On 27 August Lok Sabha voted for revised MP’s salary and pension bill, not taking into consideration requests and demands for enhancement. Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal admitted the need for a mechanism for enhancement of salary and perks of MPs though it was a verbal assurance. It is hoped that this mechanism, which may take into account the rise in cost of living and impact on MLA’s of all state government, will be worked out in consultation with states etc and be announced.

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Gujarat An Enemy State?

For months, CBI and indirectly central government have been targeting Amit Shah Minister of State for home in BJP’s Gujarat government and known to be close to the Chief Minister Narendra Modi. T.V and press have been highlighting Sohrabuddin case, so closely and consistently as there was nothing else in India and world to be reported. CBI had decided to put behind bars Amit Shah but CBI Court on August 4, 2010 rejected the plea of CBI for remand of 5 days saying that note submitted by CBI against Amit Shah “was not sufficient even to prime facie establish that he is an accused” on the basis of arguments by senior advocate and BJP MP Ram Jethmalani. This judgment of CBI court by additional Chief judicial magistrate A. Yadav is a set back to CBI and helpful to both Amit Shah and Gujarat CM Modi also indirectly it gives boost to BJP.

New revelations about Sohrabuddin’s past in terrorist activities have come to light. It is almost confirmed that this Sohrabuddin is not an ordinary criminal or a murderer but he has been having links with and had been associated with notorious terrorists, Chhota Dawood alias Sharif Khan who was a henchman of Dawood Ibrahim. Later Sohrabuddin joined the other notorious henchman of Dawood, Abdul Latif Sheikh, who was entrusted with spreading terror in Gujarat. Latif had entrusted with safeguarding weapons, sent by Dawood to spread violence in Gujarat in 1994 which included 24 AK-47 rifles, 100 grenades, many pistols and vast amount of ammunition, which was recovered by Gujarat police from a well, following his arrest under TADA. Sohrabuddin was arrested and remained in jail for five years. After release from Jail by Supreme Court order Sohrabuddin once again took to murders, extortion and all types of crimes.

What Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat meant by saying that centre treats Gujarat as an “enemy state”? As Gujarat is integral part of India like any other state it was not appropriate for Modi to use the word of “enemy state” because enemy state is an independent country which is waging war against India and spreading terrorism and is inimical to India, like Pakistan. Modi infact, it seems, meant that congress and central government are hostile to Gujarat because it is a BJP run state. Similarly Modi and BJP have no faith in CBI which they consider Central Bureau of Indira Congress. As BJP is the only major political party which had once formed central government and ruled India under prime ministership of Vajpayee, so congress has been fearing since 2000 that BJP may not overthrow Congress government of UPA II and once again come to power.

In contrast Congress government and CBI have done nothing during last 26 years to convict the criminals, including congress leaders congress workers and police offices and personnel who instigated and joined in anti Sikh riots and massacre of thousands of Sikhs in 1984- not a single congress politician or Congress worker or policeman has been convicted or jailed despite so many commissions. Even in Gujarat, Muslim criminals who burnt the train killing 76 Hindus, not a single criminal has been sentenced but Amit Shah home minister of Gujarat along with many Police officers including DG police have been arrested because of the so called fake encounter to kill hardened criminal and murderer, Soharabuddin.

To sum it up Gujarat is not an enemy state. It is one of the States of India which have non-congress governments like UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa. It does not seem proper to arrest and grill for a number of days Amit Shah, minister of State for home in Gujarat as per CBI Courts judgment. DG Vanzara was, it has been reported in the press, one of the best police officers, famous for taking strong action against terrorists. It has been reported that DG Vanzara and his team of dedicated police officers and personnel were successful in getting 250 terrorists convicted, thus making Gujarat free from terrorists and terrorism. Congress and central government as well CBI should ponder over these aspects in view of their services to Gujarat and India for eliminating terrorism from Gujarat and making terrorists fear and therefore curb terrorism from whole of India.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Anti Sikh Riots 1984, Corruption, India, Political Commentary, Politics, Terrorism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brief Review of India from Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond – By Shashi Tharoor

This is the most famous and perhaps the best book written by former Asst Secretary General of UN and former cabinet minister of India. As Shashi writes frankly without inhibitions a number of politicians and even writers and intellectuals get agitated. As a result Shashi Tharoor became controversial as a writer as a politician and as an intellectual. Accordingly he had to tender his resignation from the coveted ministership of UPA. Basic facts about India, its past and future, despair and hope are as under:

Most important development from midnight of August 15, 1947 to present day (millennium) is economic development. Under Nehru era because of socialistic pattern of society and state central of industries the economic growth was virtually static. It is only after Narsima Rao included in his cabinet brilliant economist Dr Manmohan Singh who had been in World Bank before coming to India as governor of Reserve Bank and ushered a complete change in economic systems. Economic growth jumped to 5% of GDP to 8.7% and was about to touch 10% of GDP. In Shashi Tharoor’s words country’s dynamic growth, averaging 5.9 percent annually at the cusp of the millennium and rising to 8 percent by 2007 with talk of even 10 percent in the next 5 years and “India’s gross domestic produce is rising so rapidly that it increases each year by amount that exceed the total GDP of Portugal or Norway.” The other significant fact is that “ India’s foreign reserves in 2007 exceed 140 billion dollars enough to cover fifteen months” worth of imports sixteen years ago, the country had to mortgage its gold in London because the foreign exchange were dry”.

Shashi Tharoor is against fundamentalism or communalism, whether it is of Hindus or Muslims. Though Shashi says he is a Hindu and is proud of Hinduism, its thousands of years old culture. In his own words: “I, too, am proud of my Hinduism. I do not want to cede its varieties to fanatics. To discriminate against another, to attack another, to kill another, to destroy another’s place of worship on the basis of his faith is not part of my dharma, as it was not Vivekananda’s. It is time to go back to these fundamentals of Hinduism. It is time to take Hinduism back from fumdamentalists.” Tharoor blames Muslim communalism, under Muslim League before and after independence and the partition of India and partition riots engineered by Muslims first in Bengal and then in Punjab, for the “ Hindu resurgence is the mirror image of Muslim communalism of 1947” Shashi Tharoor elucidates in few words. “Hinduism is a civilization not a dogma”. About bombing by Muslims in Bombay, in particular and elsewhere in India, Tharoor rightly and optimistically says “Bombs alone cannot destroy India, because Indians will pick their way through the rubble and carry on as they have done throughout history.”

Inspite of wide spread corruption all over the country in administration from villages, Tehsils, Districts, Provinces and the central government, inspite of separatist tendencies here and there, inspite of threats by neighbours like China and Pakistan, India will march ahead. In Shashi Tharoor’s words: “Corruption, violence, sectarianism, the criminalization of politics and widespread social tension all mounted during a period when a degree of economic liberalization opened up a new entrepreneurial ferment.” Shashi Tharoor is very optimistic about India’s future and rise in the comity of nations amongst the top 3 or 4 nations despite, at present, about 60 percent people living below poverty line because there is continuous rise in the jobs for all technocrats, doctors, business managers, farmers and even all types of labourers, organized or unorganized. India is definitely going to shine come what may.

 It is apt to conclude with Shashi Tharoor’s own words, “New ideas emerging from new experiences refresh and alter traditional ideas based on old experiences but do not replace them. One does not have to believe in the cynical view of history to accept the upanishdic idea of constant rebirth of the timeless. India is arguably the oldest continuing civilization in the world, one that in essence has throughout remained connected to, and conscious of its own antiquity (whereas Greeks, Egyptians and Persians had to rediscover or reinvent a past from which history had ruptured them). Secularism can only be effective when reconciled with and assimilated into, this continuing civilization” but “ Indian secularism should mean letting every religion flourish rather than privileging one above the rest, while ensuring that tradition of dharma infuses both in public policy and private conduct.”

 

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Biography, Corruption, Hinduism, India, Indian Economy, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Old Demand for Creation of Three New States-Positions Today

Demand and periodic agitation for creation of three new states viz, Gorkhaland, Talengana and Vidharba has been three or more decades old. While during last decade or so new states of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Uttaranchal Pradesh have been carved out though there was no upsurge matching the demand for creation of, particularly, Gorkhaland and Telangana.

Demand for separate of Gorkhaland has been the oldest, since the demand for separation of Gujarat from Maharashtra and creation of Punjabi speaking state of Punjab and separate Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Though States Reorganization Commission had erred in clubbing Maharashtra and Gujarat as well as in keeping Haryana and Himachal with Punjab. The mistake of SRC was rectified after prolonged agitation in Punjab and Gujarat-Maharashtra.

There has been right from beginning resistance to conceding state of Gorkhaland though linguistically there is nothing in common between Gorkhas and Bengalis, though Gorkha dominated areas have been part of Bengal during British times. So many agitations and after many meetings, it now seems that there is imminent possibility of compromise and conceding of Gorkha interim authority as proposed by the Central government and West Bengal government. It is reported that on July 24, 2010 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) agreed to the proposal of Centre. Negotiations on the jurisdiction of proposed Gorkha interim authority will commence on August 17. It is hoped that the proposed tripartite meeting between representatives of Central government, West Bengal government and GJM will be fruitful and useful. It will make Darjeeling once again a great tourist centre for both Indian and Foreign tourists.

Demand for separate Telengana state, too, is very old. Though because of fast unto death by Telangana’s present day leader, K Chandrashekhra Rao, to break his fast and avoid unrest as after the first Telengana leader Sriramalu’s fast unto death and his ultimate death, government virtually agreed to concede to creation of Telengana. But because of Andhra Pradesh capital going to Telengana there were second thoughts. B N Srikrishna committee was appointed to consider the feasibility of separate Telengana state. The committee is to submit its report on 31 December 2010. If this Committee does not recommend separate Telengana state, Rao threatens to launch massive agitation. There are by-polls on July 27 on 12 Assembly seats which became vacant as TRs supporters had resigned. The results of these by-polls will show whether people of Telengana area are for the creation of separate state of Telengana. However if Telengana state is not conceded the issue will remain alive as it has been for last more than 30 years.

Demand for separate state of Vidharba out of Maharashtra is also very old but there has not been much agitation. Because of INC leader and central cabinet minister Chavan, the demand remains latent. But a time may come when Chavan, who founded INC to oppose the Congress, particularly in Maharashtra wants, the demand for vidharba will once again become strong. Will the central government wait for agitation to concede to their decades old demand?

Finally, still it is pertinent that centre should intervene and have tripartite meetings for Telengana and Vidharba also just as for Gorkhaland, so that these 30 years old problems are solved once for all.

July 28, 2010 Posted by | India, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Train Disasters and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee

Throughout her tenure as Railway Minister in UPA government, Mamata Banerjee, leader of Trinamool Congress of West Bengal has done nothing to streamline Railways functioning and prevent the possibility of accidents. All these years she has been busy with West Bengal policies to become ultimately the Chief Minister. She has many times skipped attending crucial cabinet meetings even when in Delhi.

In the latest train disaster in Sainthia that occurred at 1:50 AM on July 19, 2010 in which 66 unfortunate passengers lost their lives and more than 100 got injured, many seriously. But Railway Minister reached after 7 hours at 9 AM. Had Mamata given instructions to send rescue teams and relief trains promptly many lives could have been saved as many seriously injured could be sent to nearby hospitals for emergency treatment. But Mamata Banerjee simply and spontaneously blamed CPI and CPM for conspiracy. It is apparent that both time and money, as a cabinet minister of government of India she used for her personal benefit. Instead of serving efficiently as a railway minister, Mamata from day one indulged in West Bengal politics, first to win corporation elections, which she won. Thereafter she has been busy in wooing public for forthcoming state assembly elections so as to realize her ambition of becoming CM of West Bengal. Central Government kept quiet because support of Trinamool MP’s was essential for UPA Government to survive. So Mamata had her way.

Now about a number of train disasters, and mishaps during Mamata’s Mamata’s tenure as Railway Minister. There have been two horrible accidents in two months of June and July 2010 besides seven other comparatively minor accidents, a total of nine accidents during the span of one year between 2009 and 2010. Yet there have been two more instances on July 20 when prestigious Rajdhani Express was about to meet twice serious accidents when like Sanitha train tragedy as the coupling connecting the engine to the train broke. Why? Where were the technicians and engineers to check whether coupling was strong enough or well connected? Though the coupling was attached to the train in 3 hours by the engineers, the Rajdhani train had hardly covered 25 Km that the coupling again gave way and the engine decoupled again. Ultimately another engine was brought from Mughalsarai, Rajdhani to resume journey. Passengers were lucky that there was no train coming from one side or the other to hit their Rajdhani. But what can be said about Railways efficiency or carelessness?

To recollect, long back when Lal Bahadur shastri was Railway Minister in Pandit Nehru’s Cabinet there occurred a Railway accident. Promptly, Shastri accepted moral responsibility for the mishap and resigned as Railway minister. Mamata should have realized that gravity of first major railway disaster on May 29,2010, when Maoists tempered with railway line killing 148 passengers. But our Railway Minister instead of taking prompt remedial action blamed the West Bengal DGP and Police. Similarly in the Saithia accident she promptly blamed CPI and CPM instead of initiating action to fill important crucial vacancies. It is reported that “there are around 98000 sanctioned posts for railway drivers who operate about 17000 trains daily on the Indian Railway network. There are 26000 vacancies out of then 14000 for assistant loco pilots alone”, said shiva Gopal Mishra general secretary of Northern Railway men’s Union.

In addition there are 85,100 safety related posts lying vacant as per CAG’s report. CAG castigated “railways had failed to show any improvement in signaling and telecommunication systems.” Had steps been taken to improve the vital safety measures, these disasters could be averted. Why lakhs of posts in railways are lying vacant when there is so much unemployment and so urgent a need for filling these parts?

It is reported that many files are piling up on Railway ministers table, some important files lying on her table for months because Mamata Banerjee is not available or attending office. Tenders beyond the value of Rs 100 crore even for the purchase of safety equipment cannot be issued without her approval and signatures. So there has been inordinate and unforgiveable delay in the purchase of safety equipment during Mamata Banerjee’s ministership.

Mamata did nothing to get at least crucial vacancies filled and essential equipment purchased since she became Railway Minister by her own choice. It is still high time that instead of being known as absentee railway minister Mamata gracefully quits or relinquishes railway portfolio, so that there are no further train disasters and loss of hundreds of lives.

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian Economy, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bharat Bandh And Implications of Bandh Politics

Because of increase in petroleum prices, there has been, perhaps for the first time a Bharat Bandh of such a magnitude, supported by all the 20 opposition parties led by BJP and left parties. Political parties like BJP and the leftist parties like CPI & CPM which have nothing in common and ideologically opposed to each other from inception joined together for the first time in Bharat Bandh. Even S.P of Mayawati has been hostile to both BJP and leftist parties joined the Bandh. UPA II of Sonia Gandhi, its Chairperson and Manmohan Singh its PM provided them the opportunity, as never before, to join a common national agitation ie, Bharat Bandh.

This Bharat Bandh resulted in complete shut down of India that is Bharat. There were no flight, incoming and outgoing, Trains did not start or were stopped by protestors on the way. Buses did not move out though in Mumbai 80 buses were badly damaged. More than 40,000 trucks did not move from anywhere. No taxis, no auto rikshaws, no hand pulled or cycle rikshaws were seen anywhere. Despite heavy rains in parts of India roads were full of protestors with flags of various opposition parties raising slogans against price rise of essential commodities like rice, wheat and Dal besides declared increase in petroleum prices. There were loud slogans against Congress and UPA. There was some violence here and there but mostly it was a peaceful agitation or Bharat Bandh.

Many opposition leaders were arrested or courted arrest like BJP President Nitin Godhkari, Arun Jaitly and Rajnath Singh, to name a few. However many Shiv Sena workers in Mumbai were arrested, though all were released after the Bandh ended.

But loss to the country of thousands of crores of rupees cannot be ignored. Worse than that is the loss of daily wages to lakhs of poor workers and farm laboures who work and earn a few rupees for their family’s daily food. Due to inflation of food articles, prices are high- price of 1kg of rice is now 35 to 50 rupees while a few years back it was only Rs 15 per Kg. Similarly price of Dal has skyrocketed from Rs 20 Kg to Rs 100 KG or even more: Rise in petroleum prices will further add to inflation of food articles, vegetables and even fruits because transportation cost will increase.

Inflation and Bandh politics hits the 30 to 40 percent poor the most and also further 20 to 30 percent of lower middle class. It is only upper middle class and rich and very rich classes whose food budget is 10 percent or less of their monthly income who are not affected by inflation and Bandhs.

There are no total strikes or shut downs in any other country, not to speak of Europe or USA Australia but any other country of Asia, Africa, or Latin America. Why Bandhs are in India alone? Why can’t India, which is rising in information technology and other spheres, do without Bandh politics? Government of India and all the opposition leaders should ponder over it and find the solution so that there is no Bharat Bandh again and no Bundhs or shut-downs in other states and India continues to rise in all spheres of economy.

July 9, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian Economy, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Caste-ridden India – That is Bharat

After 60 years of 1950 constitution which abolished untouchability and ordained that reservations for SC and STs’ would be for only 15 years; it was felt that India would make progress in all fields – social, economic and political and India that is our Bharat will become a casteless society. Sardar Patel who was India’s first and best Home Minister had, besides supporting wholeheartedly India becoming a casteless society was opposed to reservations for so-called minorities. When some Muslim leaders had raised the question of reservation for Muslims in parliament Sardar rebuked them that India is a secular country and “those Muslims who want reservations can go to Pakistan”. It was then felt that in 15 years time there will be marked improvement in the living standards, education and employment of SC and STs’. But unfortunately our politicians and political parties did not pay any attention to these fundamental issues and were concerned with being in power or retaining power in politics. In 1964 India’s first PM Nehru died and thereafter there was struggle for Prime Ministership.

Thus in 1965 no politician bothered to think of or do anything for SC and STs’ so that there is marked improvement in their condition in society. It is unfortunate that politicians and political parties who have ruled India for the last 60 years, for political reasons and for political power more and more castes were being included for reservation, in particular the OBC’s. Thus instead of India becoming casteless society, today India is a caste-ridden society, a democracy in name only because democracy’s main features are equality of all citizens, no discrimination of any sort of Caste or Status.

How and why there has been deterioration in social, political and economic spheres during last 60 years? Why India, our Bharat, instead of going forward is going backward? Who are responsible for this reversal?

There are about 2000 castes of OBC’s in central list, though each State has a list of its OBC’s. There are some professions like that of Dhobi (washer man) which are SC’s in States of West Bengal, Bihar, UP and Rajasthan but are included in the list of OBC’s in Maharashtra. How can SC’s and OBC’s be considered one. There can be some other castes, particularly in Tamilnadu which may be SC’s there but OBC’s in other southern States or vice versa. How can OBC’s of all 2000 castes be considered backward when some are big landlords and prosperous businessmen or professionals. For example Badal of Punjab who is Chief Minister and his son Dy.Chief Minister can be OBC’s entitled to concessions. Similarly Hooda and Chautala of Haryana present and former Chief Ministers can come under reserved categories. The case of both Yadavas is similar. They have been ruling one State or other. There are many so-called other backward class (OBC’s) cabinet Ministers and Ministers in many States. There are Jats who are holding high position in Civil services, information technology, professors and principals as well as vice chancellors.

There have been occasionally murders, killing because of ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s objection to marriages in same gotra though same gotra marriages were declared legal in 1945 by Bombay High Court. This judgement is of great significance which has since been ignored though it was much before the codification of Hindu Code Bill. It is unfortunate that to gain political support former Chief Minister of Hariyana, Om Prakash Chautala and Congress MP Jindal are supporting the ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s ideology and actions and even want legal support. If somehow ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s get legal support this will mean, that our judicial system of justice will have no jurisdiction in ‘Khap’ Panchayet’s and thereafter in all Panchayets all over India though gotra politics is medieval : that will take India much more backward.

Latest unfortunate and ill-considered action of UPA-II government is inclusion of caste in 2011 census without bothering about its implications. Central leadership seems to have succumbed to pressure, particularly from two Yadavas, and allies. There are thousands of castes and tens of thousands sub castes. How these will be coordinated into four major castes? Moreover there are millions of citizens who don’t believe in caste system and do not and would not like to mention their caste for the census. There are 18,000 categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes listed in 2001 census.

 If India is to be a progressive and modern democracy it take steps, though 45 years late, to end caste system by 2025 so that India is determined to move forward and not backward. If a constitutional amendment is required, just as provision in 1950 Constitution that must be enacted. For this all parties must sink their differences and rise so that India advances like Christian dominated countries where there is no caste system at all. Even Muslim countries who have their problem of Burqa, have no caste system, thus no discrimination, all citizens being equal.

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, Hinduism, India, Indian History, Muslims, Political Commentary, Politics, Religion | , , , , , | 2 Comments