H C Singh

Working of Congress (UPA) Govt. (2004 – 2009)

During last 4 – 5 years lakhs of employees of hundreds of companies have been laid off. What the UPA Government has done for these companies and their employees many of whom have been laid off and many others have been working on reduced pay. It is only big companies like Indian Air lines prestige.

Besides thousands of small companies, hundreds have closed down and the remaining are trying their best to survive with reduced number of employees. Art and crafts are suffering the most because these are unorganized and there are no foreign purchases.

Here are few examples of dying crafts. Wooden to making, carpet manufacturing and silk weaving. There are other crafts too, shawl making embroidery on clothes which were made in demand in India and abroad.

Dying Crafts

An award winner toy maker, R Acharia Lembhiah who is 95 years old and had been making wooden tags throughout his life. When 60 years ago lost NIZAM of Hyderabad sat on the throne, the tag maker had created a “huge banana with gold colored petals”, the petals unfolded and showered on Nizam. Nizam was ecstatic and showered patronage on the toy maker. But today the same toy maker and others are without work as no one is purchasing their wooden tags which are fetched Rs 15 to 5000 and some specially commissioned once even huge amount of Rs 55000 which today would be about Rs 7 to 10 lakh.

Ashok Das has suggested following there steps to be taken by the government for the revival of such a splendid art:
(1) Lifting the ban on the raw material, Puniki wood . (2) Pension to all eligible artists after 60 years
(3) Stipend for anyone willing to join the trade
(4) Providing funds for marketing
(5) Insurance came for all artists.

Dr Manmohan Singh

India’s Prime Minister for second term, was born in 1932 in a small village in Jehlum Distt of West Punjab now in Pakistan. He comes from an ordinary family. In his own words Dr Manmohan Singh says: “I grew up in a small village with no electricity, no roads and no safe water and had to walk for miles to go to the nearest school.” After partition his family like lakhs of other Hindu Sikh families migrated to India. Manmohan Singh’s family settled in Amritsar. As he was very intelligent and studious, from the age of 15, young boy Manmohan spent whole heartedly all his time and energy to studies. Thus in 1954 his efforts brought fruit and honour not only to him but to his entire family as he got 1st class first in MA Economics and was awarded fellowship/scholarship of Cambridge University in England. There he did his PhD and became Dr Manmohan Singh.

After a couple of years he had arranged marriage with a school teacher Gursharan Kaur who has stood by him all through and also developed as an intelligent sober 1st lady accompanying the Prime Minister in all his visits abroad to meet Presidents and Prime Ministers of various countries like USA,UK and other, with dignity and grace befitting First Lady.

Dr. Manmohan Singh first taught in Delhi School of Economics and then went abroad to USA for assignment in World Bank etc till he was offered prestigious appointment as Governor Reserve Bank and thereafter Secretary to Govt of India in Finance Deptt and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission. It was Narsimha Rao who chose him as a modern economist in 1991 and appointed him as Finance Minister in his cabinet, because of his competence as an economist and being man of integrity and honesty. Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, with the support of Narsimaha Rao liberalised Indian economy. This was a great break from the past closed economy which was in due cause appreciated and hailed by all political parties and leaders. Thus Dr. Manmohan Singh became apostle of liberal economy and free trade.

After the fall of Narsimaha Rao and Congress and thereafter of BJP which ruled under able leadership of Shri Vajpayee for full term of of 5 years, in 2004 Sonia Gandhi who being from Gandhi-Nehru dynasty though Italian by birth, did not know much about constitution of India Indian polity. She could hardly speak a few words in English and Hindi that too from notes prepared and supplied by her coterie. She could not assume the responsibility of Prime Ministership though it was said she ‘sacrificed’ this high status. After lot of deliberations and discussions with other congress leaders, the choice of Prime Ministership felll on Dr Manmohan Singh because he was a renowned economist of world fame, man of highest integrity and honesty and in addition he was not a politician. He once stood for elections in Lok Sabha in 1999 from New Delhi Constituency but lost. Thereafter Manmohan Singh did not have courage to stand for Lok Sabha elections but remained contented with nomination from Assam to Rajya Sabha. He was leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha in 1999 and thereafter when Congress won the 2004 elections, he was the obvious choice for Prime Ministership. Thus Dr. Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister of India.

During the 1st term 2004 to 2009 he remained very cool and considerate. He was more concerned with signing nuclear deal with President Bush, though this nuclear deal has become controversial.

In a recent interview, Amartya Sen Nobel Laureate had all the praise for Manmohan, as he called him, both for his economic policy of liberalism as well as his courteous behavior with every one whether it is “George Bush or King of Bhutan”. It will interest everyone to quote Amartya Sen as under:
“I don’t think these policies have been neo-liberal. Had they been we would have done much worse in economic crises. As an old friend may I say that people seem to miss? He is immensely well behaved with absolutely everybody, people say things like “when I saw him with Bush he looked so happy and so supportive” . But you see any picture of Manmohan and he always looks friendly and supportive….. I would defy you to find a picture of Manmohan looking angrily at any one. I haven’t seen one in 54 years I have known him. Whether that is a lacuna in a politician…. But if there is a fault, it is a fault of generosity and courteousness.”

I don’t Think what glowing tribute Amartya Sen had paid to our Prime Minister, as an economist, as a courteous politician and as a superb smiling human being, Amartya Sen has paid to any other living politician or economist in India and even abroad.

Here I have my personal experience about Dr. Manmohan Singh’s regard for talent, hard work and born handicap of an ordinary individual. I had met Shri Mani Ram Sharma who, despite his handicap of deafness by birth passed IAS examination thrice but was rejected on madical grounds. Maniram himself told me “that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself called my file and on it ordered that I should be given class I job because of my talent and hard work. So I got a class I job in Communication Ministry for the last few months and am getting Rs. 30,000 PM and sending home to my old parents Rs. 10,000/- every month.” So this is our Prime Minister a splendid economist with sublime feelings for the poor, talented and needy.

During 2009 election campaign, L K Advani of BJP who thought and loped to be Prime Minister went out of the way to accuse Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he is the weakest Prime Minister, has no say in UPA Government and does what Sonia Gandhi says or wants. This was highest provocation. Manmohan Singh might have ignored Advani’s outburst but Sonia Gandhi goaded Prime Minister to give Advani befitting reply. This Prime Minister did. For the first time he spoke like a seasoned politician blaming Advani the Dy Prime Minister for the release of terrorist on the conditions dictated by them. Thereafter Manmohan Singh once again became his true self as stated by Amratya Sen, a symbol of generosity and courteousness.

While election campaign was in full force, 77 year old PM Manmohan Singh underwent heart surgery: it was the third one. But after only 10 days rest after surgery he started attending to the office work. 2009 General elections gave humiliating defeat to Advani and BJP and glorious victory to Congress and UPA. Manmohan Singh became PM for second term.

But there seems to be no rest or respite for courteous and generous Manmohan Singh. Sharamal Sheikh agreement with Zardari which mentions Baluchistan has raised havoc for Manmohan Singh and Congress Government BJP, in particular,was vociferous in condemning it as India’s submission to Pakistan without any reason as Baluchistan was just a province of Pakistan which like NWPP is in turmoil because of activities and sabotage by Baloch Taliban.

Now Pakistan alleges that Raw intelligence agency of India is helping with finances and arms in Afghanistan with the help of India’s Consulate in Kabul as well as India’s Consulate in Zahedan, Iran, close to Baluchistan. Pakistan’s allegation that India supports Baluchistan Liberation Army leader Brahandogh Bugti and says that it has given documentary evidence of Bugti’s meeting with Raw officials. There are many other allegations in the Pakistan dossier provided to India like Raw is running safehouses in Afghanistan for Baloch rebels with the help of Indian Consulate there.

Though PM and Sonia Gandhi are not apparently upset by strong condemnation of Sharmal Sheikh agreement by opposition more vigorously by BJP and even by a section of congressmen though there opposition is mute. But Manmohan Singh said, he had similar problem when he signed nuclear deal with USA. He went on to say that in 1991 he had dedicated himself to economic reforms saying “I was criticized by the Right, by the Left” he added “Fifteen years down who will today say that what I did then was wrong The Nation Stands Tall, proud fast growing”. In the same way Monmohan Singh defended the nuclear deal in Parliament, saying “we have achieved an agreement that is good for India and good for the world – The agreement with the United States will open new doors in capitals across the world”

In the case of Sharamal Sheikh agreement PM has this to say that despite opposition even from a number of congress numbers this is an opportunity to resolve differences between neighbours, India and Pakistan once for all. Here I quote last para from article by Sunita Gupta:
“Unfortunately for Manmohan any defence of his position by party members has been muted. But if history is any indication it is unlikely that the all-round criticism will be an obstacle for the PM. For by now the country is familiar with the fact that behind Manmohan’s mild manners is steely resistance, he has vision for the Subcontinent at peace with itself and he will pursue it”

This is another tribute to Dr. Manmohan Singh that he is man of steely resistance just as Amratya Sen’s tribute was to Manmohan “ He is immensely well-behaved and absolutely happy and supportive – generosity and courteousness”

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