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Krishna Kumar Singh, also known among friend circles KK and among close relative Krishna; Matriculation from Mithila High School Balour, Darbhanga in 1959, Graduated in Political Science Honours from C M College, Darbhanga, Bihar University in 1963; Joined post-graduate in Political Science the same year but dropped; joined Naxal movement under Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Satya Narayan Singh and Umadhar Singh in between but circumstances compelled to join literary work, clerk, proof readers etc in different publishing houses for livelihood; Finally joined journalism as career in different English newspapers and before my retirement from active journalism, I worked in The Times of India for about 19 years and retired as Chief Reporter  a few years back; continuing in journalism-reading more and more, writing more and more and praying to Almighty more and more-currently writing for different national English and Hindi dailies and magazines..

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

BAD SHAPE OF INDIAN ECONOMY HAS NOT ONLY DECLINED ECONOMIC GROWTH OF INDIA BUT ITS RUPEE HAS TUMBLED !



              India's economy, growing fast in the last ten years, has taken worse down turn. Alarming bell is ringing in the entire country. The rupee is in trouble and no body is quite sure what to do about it.Today itself, the Indian currency has tumbled to Rs 65.35 paise against a dollar ! There is widespread anxiety over the fact that the Indian government has yet to curb the currency's downfall since it started its down turn in May this year.Inflation and price rise  are giving agonising moments to the people of India. Recently, the Deutsche Bank, in its report, says " Indian rupee may reach as low as 70 in the coming months" Echoing the similar sentiments, the Economist Jayati Gosh says, " This is big one.But it has been building up for a while due to many reasons: the growing 'current account deficit' (CAD), the industrial slow-down, the lack of infrastructure development, the negative investment in the country." She sees the crisis as evidence that "the model of development which focuses on only GDP growth" has run its course. What is needed now is "wage and employment-led growth".

             Although, I have little knowledge of Economics, I have ventured to write on Indian economy in a number of essays on my sites-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com-----describing about fault-line with our policy makers in shaping the economy of India since independence. In this very topic, I am just putting forward the alarming proportions of Indian Economy, based on the facts with Indian government as well as national and international newspapers, news magazines and websites !

            In the last few years, Indian economy is going on bad shape, which has slowed from its rapid 9 percent growth rate to a forecast of between 5.5 percent and 5.7 percent for this financial year. After the 2008 world economic crisis , vastly affecting the USA, which had to pump huge money to banks from bankruptcy, India had recorded 9 percent GDP growth for at least two years but in recent weeks rupee have tumbled., losing a sixth of its value against the dollar this month alone, Share price have fallen, commodity prices are rising, investment is stalking, growth is slowing and the Indian government is under a huge balance of payments deficit. A sense of impending doom is building. Compounding the fears are signs that other emerging economies in Asia are also vulnerable, drawing inevitable questions as to whether this could turn  into a repeat of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

         Opinions are badly divided for such beating of Indian economy ! One section believes that part of the problem is not India's alone. With the U S Federal Reserve expected to start tapering off a stimulus programme that has pumped cash into global economy, investors have grown wary on the emerging markets they became so fond of in recent years. Countries running their own current account deficits have borne the burnt of the mood swing: currencies in India, Brazil and Indonesia, among others, have seen drops as investors-pull money out ahead of the Fed's anticipated tightening. Another problem of facts is that Indian economy has some home-grown structural problems has exacerbated the flight of foreign funds. An economist with the Capital Economics in Singapore, Daniel Martin has said, " If you are an investor, you want to put your money where there is going to be growth. The shine has come off India, It is not glaring success story it was a few years ago."Other experts trace problem to the failure of Manmohan Singh's government to push through structural reforms that could boost growth. The ruling UPA led by the Congress Party's emphasis on huge government subsidy schemes, such as jobs for the rural poor, has added to an already big fiscal deficit. Economist Surjit Bhalaa has said, " just trying to accelerate growth from present low level (annual GDP growth is now down to five percent) will help the economy."  More over India imports much more than it exports and so the current account deficit is at an unsustainable 4.8 percent. Until, it brought down, there can be very little hope of reviving investors confidence in the economy.

        The intensity of down-turn is so hard that apart from affecting poor and middle classes in the country, riches have also been badly affected. Mukesh Ambani, a towering industrialist and capitalist,, who lives in a one billion $ 27-storey Mumbai skyscraper complete with swimming pools, three helipads and a 50-seat cinema, is down to his last 17.5 billion $ after the plunging value of the rupee wiped out a quarter of his fortune, in dollar terms. Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of the Reliance Industries, which operates the world's largest oil refineries, has lost 5.6 billion $ of his personal wealth since May one, according to the Bloom berg Billionaires index.Ambanies shares in Reliance Industries have dropped 15 percent since mid-July.Developing economies  excluding China have seen an outflow of 81 billion 4 in emergency reserves since early May, as central banks try to prop up their currencies. Indonesia has lost 13.6 percent of its reserve, Turkety- 12.7 pc, Ukraine-10 pc, according to central bank data complied by Morgan Stanley.Surprisingly, India's Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram , who has tried to reassure investors that "there is no reason for excessive or unwarranted pessimism , failed to give any tangible result.

           Core issues, slowing down Indian growth are now hurting currency-and by proxy, Indian consumers who want to buy, say, an imported phone or foreign car makers that need to import parts. Those fundamental weaknesses-poor infrastructures, unreliable power supply, difficulty in securing land and lots of sticky red tape-are all keeping foreign investments out of the country and that is problem for a country that imports far more than it exports and thus needs to finance a large current account deficit. When the CAD widens, the rupee's decline accelerates further. So even at a time when many emerging markets are looking risky to investors, India is looking riskier than most. In the process , gold is also a big problem in India.. Gold has played an important role in skewing the trade deficit. A century ago, the Economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that India's irrational love for gold was "ruinous to her economic development" and the obsession still runs deep. India's annual production of gold is barely 10 tonnes, so last year it imported 860 tonnes, which were made into jewellery or stored as coins and bars in family safes ! The government is now trying to stem the hunger for gold by increasing import duties. This has revived gold  smuggling, a menace which in the 1960s led to creation of the Bombay now Mumbai, underworld. Not only that, it is estimated that households and Hindu temples are hoarding about 25,000 tonnes of gold bars and coins. Jewellers are lobbying government to implement a scheme that could unearth 10 percent of the hoarded golds.

         Although there is growing anxieties about future, India's middle class may not have lost faith yet in the possibility of economic regeneration. Just we Indian have become afraid of 1997-98 Asian economic crisis.The trigger for the run on the rupee has been news from Washington that the Federal Reserve is considering scaling back-"tapering"- its bound-buying stimulus programme from next month. This has consequences for all emerging market economies: firstly, there is fear that a reduced stimulus will mean weaker growth in the US, with a knock-on impact on exports from the developing world. Secondly, the high-yielding currencies such as the rupee have benefited from a search for yield on the part of global investors. If policy is going to be tightened in the US, then the dollar becomes more attractive and rupee less so. But while the Indonesian rupiah and the South African rand are also feeling the heat, it is India-with its large trade and budget deficits-that looks like the accident most likely to happen.. On past from emerging market crises go through three stages: in stage one, policy makers do nothing in the hope that the problem goes  away. In stage two, they cobble together some panic measures, normally involving half-baked capital controls and selling of dollars in an attempt to underpin their currencies. In stage three, they either come up with a workable plan themselves or call in the IMF. Thus India is on the cusp of stage three !

        What ever may the facts of India's economy down turn, the country has also its own compulsions. Tribal population and their forest are facing dangerous situation as union and state governments have allowed multii-nationals and capitalists to open factories in the forest areas depriving them of their homelands by violating Forest and environment laws Large number of poverty prevails in India. Education and health programmes are dismal in the rural areas where most of the people live in the country. I do not oppose economic liberalisation for the development of the Country. But there are certain basic things, which are best needed for the country like subsidies on food, housing, shelter etc. But subsidies are being gobbled up by rich people like subsidies on petrol, LPG, fertilisers and diesel. There must be some yardstick not to provide such benefits to affluent .Food Security Bill has been now enacted and it will definitely eliminate hunger. For education and health , there are many measures, it must be vigorously implemented. For employment, there is guaranteed job under MGNREG- it must be accelerated. For these welfare measures , need of hour is to stop leakage and corrupt practises ! Huge amounts are given as subsidy or remission to the industrialists and capitalists must be stopped without any further delay. Law must be enacted to give 50 percent reservation in Parliament and sate legislatures to women to empower them completely. Women population are about 50 percent but they are being ignored in India. Large number of scams, which have come up with the entry of economic liberalisation, has also cost the country most. Money earned through corrupt practices must not only be stopped but confiscated. Black money stacked in foreign banks by Indian rich must be brought back- All these measures will bring India into a robust ECONOMY in The GLOBE

Saturday, 17 August 2013

SCARS OF PARTITION STILL HAUNTS INDIA AND PAKISTAN !

     
              Scars of wounds, pains and anguish, even today,in the wake of partition in 1947 of greater India (Bharat) are giving agonising moments to the population of both India and Pakistan in Asia. Since partition both the countries-India and Pakistan-are indulging in only  enmity,war,communal tension, bitter struggles for territories  etc. On August 15, 2013 when the people of entire India were celebrating the Independence Day, strange thought started creeping in my mind, "if both India and Pakistan would not have partitioned, we would have "United  India", most powerful country on the GLOBE.,Recent border skirmishes and killings and counter-killings of army men of both the countries are not only pained me but old reminiscences have kept me wandering in my thoughts !.

                Finally, Britishers succeeded in dividing India into "India and Pakistan" by adopting 'divide and rule policy'. And both nations were freed from British rule in August 1947.Sadly, this partition resulted in killings of over two lakhs of people in both the countries another over 50 lakh people became homeless because of huge repartition of people from one country to another.Devastating tragedies had shaken both the countries. Exactly I remember the wordings of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the main architect of partition in the wake his sidelining in the Congress party led by 'Mahatma Gandhi and Co.' had said, while making an aerial survey of the situation on the ground because of huge number of persons being killed by each other as well as refugees making their way away from their respective  ancestral homes towards villages and towns ,  they had never seen or been to earlier, expressed pain and anguish  and he (Jinnah) plunged plunged into  shock. Jinnah had commented.  "oh. what  have  I done ?"-that was the shock, he expressed-no one accompanying him answered !Within months, millions of Hindus and Sikhs would have their ancient homes in Punjab and Bengal and trek to an uncertain future across unknown geography. Millions of Muslims would make their way to Pakistan, convinced that it was  there they would live in dignity  as masters of their destiny.

             Before discussing other aspects , I must mention the circumstances leading to the partition of the country by British Raj1 A study of the Jinnah papers, the literature that has grown around Jinnah and Pakistan give the impression that essentially an introvert and a narcissist with an insatiable craze for going to the top, Jinnah was given a raw deal as a congressman. He was only utilised and exploited and thrown away when not needed. He had been an ardent Congressman who had taken to be the ambassador of the Hindu-Muslim unity. A statesman like Gokhale had seen in him a front-rank born leader. Sarojini Naidu had said about Jinnah, "......a naive and eager humanity, an intuition quick and tender as woman's , a humour gay and winning as  a child's-pre-eminently rational and practical, discreet and dispassionate in his estimates and acceptance of life, the obvious sanity and  serenity of his worldly wisdom effectively  disguised , a shy and splendid idealism which  is very essence of the man".
          Jinnah's narcissism and interovertism had thrown a cloak over his core of steel that would not bend although lashed by the furies of circumstances. His domestic life was not very happy. He married late in life and after a short period of bliss the couple separated, His sister Fatima Jinnah sacrificed her life for her brother and looked after him. The brother and sister together weathered many phases in life-some times oblivion, occasional excitements, years of hard thinking and work, careful planning, cautious journeys in India ans abroad, parleys with Muslim Leagures giving up the Congress, , planned interviews where Gandhiji and Sapru could cut no ice then frenzied advocacy of Pakistan,  A quite man , who once denounced communal representation and who said he was proud of being a Congressman and an Indian  and advocated  partition as an inescapable solution of an Indian blazed as the champion of the two-nation theory in India and creation of the Pakistan, the toy-dream of a few Cambridge Muslim scholars as the panacea for the Musilms here.An ardent Congressite, who was not given his proper honour in the inner Congress coterie and who had   to say at the Howrah station platform to a friend"-this is parting ways". Subsequently Jinnah had to leave India for a while and settled down in England to start as a lawyer.

               But he was waiting, keeping himself abreast with the thoughts-current in India and in the right moment, he came back to India at the call of Liyaqut Ali Khan  . The Muslim League crowned him. The many, who could hardly speak Urdu and seldom wore  a sherwani and pyjama in the public over night became the Messiah of Muslims. He had given that time strong confidence and warning to the millions of Muslims.He had his desolate days, exploited and  neglected by the Congress.. He started dictating terms to Gandhiji .And thus, after cabinet Mission plan had to go and independent Pakistan and India were created? Did he not  through blood sheds, riots, arson and loot. Did Jinnah look for his revenge for all the ignomity  poured on himl? Did he not outclass Gandhiji, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Bhallav Bhai Patel ? Mountbatten was out Gandhi Ji  put on the shelf when he wanted to become Governor-General Of Pakistan. Gandhi ji called him "Quaiad -E-Azam" in his parleys prior to the partition of India. Once only years before as a Congressite Jinnah had used the word "Mahatma" about Gandhi . In the later parleys he always addressed him as ""Mr Gandhi" and would not listen to him but only as leader of Hindus. Nemesis works out through mysterious ways but with Jinnah he was clearly given raw deal which he nursed secretly and gave it back when the time came.

              The metamorphosed Jinnah spoke and wrote in the following strains," India of modern conception with its so called present geographical unity is entirely the creation of British who hold it as one administrative unit by a system of bureaucratic government whose ultimate sanction is the sword and not the will or the sanction of the people behind the government so established. This position is very much exploited by Hindu Congress and another Hindu organisation, the Hindu Mahasabha. India is a vast sub-continent. It is neither a country nor a nation. It is composed of nationalities and race but the two major nations are the Muslims and the Hindus. Talk of Indian unity as one constitutional government of this vast sub-continent is simply a myth................Muslims under the subjugation and hegemony of the Hindu Raj over the entire sub-continent of India which means that Muslims shall be merely transferring their bondage of slavery from the British Raj to Hindu Raj."

               When one look back  Jinnah as Congressman from 1906 to 1920, he was actively associated with the Indian National Congress. At that time it was observed several times that Jinnah received his political training under Dadabhai Naroji whom he first met in England and later worked as his secretary for 14 years Jinnah had also  close association with Surendranath Bennerjee and G K Gokhale and often referred to Gokhale as " a practical politician" Gokhale had also his regard for  Jinnah. and had said, " he has true stuff in him  and that freedom from all sectarian projects will make him best ambassador for of Hindu-Muslim unity". Jinnah had taken active part in Congress session of 908, 1910, 1913 and 1917 and he used to speak disapproving the scheme of communal representation in local bodies. Jinnah left the Congress on September 30, 1921 when he was convinced that the Congress was going wrong way with Gandhiji at its helm .Later he started giving fiery speech against Congress and Hindu Mahasabha  as Muslim League chief .He had spoken for the safeguards for minority. He bitterly criticised  Jawahar Lal, Gandhiji, Rajgopalachjari and the Hindu Mahasabha. Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru was described by Jinnah as "most subtle and plausible and therefore all the more treacherous." he asked the Muslims to maintain "complete unity and solidarity". Jinnah's tirade and resentment was so strong for creation of Pakistan that almost all leaders including Gandhiji, Subhash Bose, Jawahar Lal, Tej Bahadur Sapru , Mirza Ismail, Jayakar had failed cope Jinnah. In 1942, it was momentous year for Muslim League under the stewardship  of Jinnah . Jinnah had become idol of Muslim League and Muslim -minded people . In between and independence and partition , many incidents happened and ultimately India was partitioned and India and Pakistan were created in August 1947 by dividing from brothers to brothers , fathers , sons, daughters, and eveybodies and every things . And partition left a greatest scar on the Indian sub-continent !

                    The Editor of the Daily Star, a newspaper published from Dhaka, Syed Badrul Ahsan, in a recent signed article-"The Legacy of Partition" has written, " Sixty- six years after  partition , one would do well to take stock of the ramifications of the vivisection of the land. Hindus and Muslims have only seen their relations worsen through the decades, to a point where communal ism continues to define life all the way from Pakistan through India to Bangala Desh. Hindutva undermines the secular vision that was once Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru's legacy. In Pakistan and to certain extent in Bangala Desh, religious bigotry threatens to wreck liberalism of all sorts, India's Muslims remain largely backward, poor, and, in a very big way, less than well-educated. In Pakistan, Hindus are as good as non-existent ; and the tiny Christian  minority is always the target of blasphemy law peddlers in the  Bangala Desh's Hindu population has been on sharp decline, despite the country's self-proclaimed secularism; its Christian community become smaller by the day; and after Ramu, its Buddhists are not sure this is their country any more.. Post -partition Indian has thrown up the likes of Bal Thackrey, who thought all Muslims should be kicked out of the country. Today, it is controversial, none too Muslim-friendly Narendra Modi who dreams of being prime minister.In Pakistan and Bangala Desh,  that a Hindu or Christian or Buddhist can not play leading role in politics and in the administration........"

            " ........if India's BJP tout Hindu nationalism, Pakistan's political parties continue  to see nothing beyond Islam, while Bangala Desh's right wing discovers, through 'Bangala Deshi nationalism', a clever way of repudiating Bengali nationhood in favour of a shrewd pursuit of religion -based politics. Secular politics never took roots in Pakistan. In India and Bangala Desh , it has been forced to the ropes. The division of India has led to a diminution of politics through the rise of dynasties across the old country. The Bhutto's in Pakistan, the Nehru-Gandhi in  India and Mujib and Zia clans in Bangala Desh have created perfect conditions for mediocrity to thrive in politics. Behind these larger dynasties come the little ones-in politics,  indeed nearly everywhere. The modern day republic is thus but another name for monarchies in new wrappings", Ahsan writes.

He further  writes lambently , " Partition  saw the best among the Hindu community -teachers, philanthropists , doctors,-leave Muslim Pakistan  and make new home across the newly drawn frontiers. It was Muslim gentry, as in West Bengal, make the arduous decision to move to the new state of Pakistan in hope of better future. Both groups, as also their descendants, have remained trapped in nostalgia. Artistes  and writers have seen their futures devastated by partition. The singer Noor Jehasn went off to Pakistan together with Saadat Hasan Manto, Khuswant Singh, Kuldip Nayar and Inder Kumar Gujaral, their homeland suddenly foreign territory for them, resettled in an India vastly different from the one they had known earlier. Sahibzada Yaqub Khan trooped off to Pakistan   even as his parents and siblings decided to stay on in India, Jinnah, Liyaqut  Khan, H S  Suhrawardy and Buutto abandoned their homes in India and made new homes in Pakistan . Pakistan has seen democracy, to a great extent, minus the aberrations of the 1975-77  emergency, thrive in in India.. In Pakistan, army have undermined  prospects of democracy four times and continues to wield unbridled influence over making of policy. In Bangala desh, the ,liberation of which was a revolt against Pakistan , military coups have led to the systematic murder of politicians  and leading freedom fighters.

           Louis Mountbatten and Cyril Radcliffe, who gave us divided homes and villages and provinces. It gave us three wars.  It gave the people of the sub-continent  defence budgets  that have left them impoverished .

           And we are , after sixty six years after independence in 1947, in dark over the" legacy of partition remains questionable".


REFERENCES :-I have written many essays like Ominous Signal for Secularism in India (July 21, 2012); Muslims in Globe vis-a-vis in India (17 July 1912); Communal Harmony  in India since Medieval Period (29 March, 2012); Why not Communal Harmony  in India and Pakistan ? (August 24, 2013); Why this Hate Campaign Against Muslims of the World ?(16 October 2012) !

Thursday, 15 August 2013

AMARTYA SEN AND AND JAGDISH BHAGWATI SPATS VIS-A-VIS INDAN ECONOMY:: BOTH WAITING FOR LAST LAUGH !

                              The recent spat and criticism and counter criticism over eminent Economists- Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and  Jagdish Bhagwati is unfortunate ! Both are distinguished economists. Both of them have worked on a broad spectrum of issues.Sen is best known for his work on public choice and development while Bhagwati for his work on trade.. They are respected throughout the globe for their economic theories.. Both are liberal, neoclassical economists, who support deregulation and disapprove of existing subsidies. Notably, in the recent past both Sen and Bhagwati have made their minor disagreements  into a slanging matches. Bhagwati has been repeatedly attacking Sen in public and in the print, while Sen expounding on his point through interviews and ope-eds largely without mentioning Bhagwati about his views !

                          Both Sen and Bhagwati have been in race in co-authoring  books , available in the market.Bhagwati has long disapproved  of Sen. On the other hand Sen, who has recently co-authored a book-"An  Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions", co-authored with Jean Dreze, the Nobel prize winning  Sen ,  has  pointed out in an interview that he "does not understand why my book has received an angry reactions or why he is being called anti-growth and pro-redistribution." One of reasons of spat may be - Sen had spoken about food security, and fast space of controversial development in Bihar under Nitish Kumar chief ministership,while releasing a book on Bihar Economy  in New Delhi , authored by JD(U) MP and Economist N K Singh (IAS retd) Sen had also voiced his reservation over Narendra Modi becoming prime minister of India. Such remark of Sen has blown up out of proportion  in media, which is being termed a Congress view points !

                         On the other hand, Bhagwati's co-author Arvind Panigrahi, has praised Gujarat's growth in several pieces. Perhaps, that made Bhagwati, the Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi's best friend And these differences between Bhagwati and Sen escalated the 'tension' in the economic thoughts and principles between them. Now such differences have percolated to open fight between Modi and Congress, which are making headlines in the media. In his latest broadside against Sen, Bhagwati managed to mention his book frequently, insisting in it, he had proved how Sen was anti-growth , a point many reviweres ,surprisingly failed to mention.
                  In my opinion, all these spats are unseemly and uninformative spectacles.. Academics continue to be divided over simple mechanisms of growth and how it can be achieved in the India context-purely through deregulation, as Bhagwati would agree or with a simultaneous push to education and health as Sen wants. Sen has almost completely avoiding commenting on Bhagwati's views although Bhagwarti has become increasingly personal and petty in his attacks on Sen.Sen broke Bhagwati-as-Voldemort rule in recent letter to The Economist. The liberal British Magazine had run a review of Sen and Jean Dreze's new book; the reviewer happened to mention Bhagwati in passing without specifying that he, Bhagwati, was right and Sen was wrong. This was red rag to Bhagawati, who wrote Sen only paid "lip service" to growth. This was too much for Sen, who wrote explaining he did his PhD on how to stimulate growth and the first collection of essays he edited was titled " Growth Economics" In fact Sen is perhaps the greatest living scholar of the original philosopher of the free market, Adam Smith !

                       Bhagwati, then wrote an article for the Mint that basically returned, even more harshly, to his complaints about Sen. Bhagwati's books are littered with disparaging remarks about Sen; indeed, reading between the lines of his last book reveals even more such remarks, some of them from resentments that date back to the early 1960s when both were young professional economists in New Delhi.

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                                       LOVE TANGLE: A senior journalist and Editor of the Outlook India, Uttam Sengupta, in a lighter vein, has written  ,on the Facebook ,Bhagwati is angry with Sen because Sen perhaps eloped with Bhagwati's girl friend !  Another senior journalist commented and replied to Uttam Sengupta on the Facebook, it is possible for Sen as Sen has married third time with the wife of his one of the friends in US by eloping her friend's wife.
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                  Sen won Nobel Prize for his work on social choice and welfare as also propounded by Prof  Kedarnath Prasad, a former vice-chancellor  of the Patna university. Bhagwati is path breaking trade theorists. Bhagwati's Ph D students included Psul Krugman, who propounded trickle down economy. Sen's  PhD students included Kaushik Basu.. But , in fact Bhagawati is called more an economist's   economist than Sen., who at Harvard, for example had an office in the Philosophy department, not in Economics depatment. Sen is considered one of the unique and most respected living academic philosophers and a close associate and a fellow teacher of both the left-of-the-centre John Rawals, the leading philosopher of 20th century and liberation icon Robert Nozick.

                                 Similar controversy had arisen in Great Britain in October 1932 and the two economists- John Maynard Keynes and Fredrich von Hayek- had exchanged letters in The Times , London! Both of them used to keep mutually in esteem. " That was the only beginning of life time of public sparring between two individuals, who disagreed vehemently on economic policy. Echoes of their  debate resonate even today in places such as the United States or Europe in shaping competing views of how best to combat the recession in which the global economy is still stuck"

                                What makes the Hayek-Kenes battle of ideas different from most distinguished intellectual controversies is that ideas of these two men had a profound impact on economic policy in the USA, Britain and elsewhere. The "Keynesian Consensus" that governments needed actively intervene to combat recessions by spending more became orthodoxy after the end of the Second World War and held sway for almost three decades. Then with the problems, known stagflation, a combination of high inflation and high unemployment, the faith in Keynesian economics broke down for a time and a new policies such as deregulation and privatisation came to the fore, In this, Hayek, as well as Milton Friedman, had a huge impact. However, Hyek might not have had the last laugh. Keynesian economics, which had been rubbished by many senior economists, has made a come back in the wake of global financial crisis and the battle of ideas is far from over.

                              Just the same Bhagwati-Sen debate has come after over 78 years, taken place in Great Britain ! I strongly feel the Indian economy will have same impact as Hayek versus Keynes had on the West ! Just We Indian will have to watch, who will have last laugh- Sen or Bhagwati with economic policy and development in India!

                                Although Both Bhagwati and Sen have had huge impact in different ways on economic liberalisation in India, many owed debts to Bhagawati's long advocacy, going back to the 1970s, that Indian economy needed open up. In the process slain prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had initially started efforts in the teleccommunication sector and other fields also by liberalising Indian economy amid stiff opposition. But the fact of realty was that the then union finance minister Manmohan Singh was a Cambridge classmate of Bhagwati . More recently, more over one can see the imprint of Sen's rights-based approach in many large schemes unveiled by the UPA, the most recent being the food security bill., Sen, who was critical of many details, was broadly supportive of the idea of creating an entitlement to food, which builds philosophically on the "capabilities approach" to well-being that he developed with philosopher Martha Nussbaum. As it happens, Sen was also at Cambridge in the days when Manmohan Singh and Bhagwati were there. In fact, all of them won Adam Smith prize in different years !

                                Notably, the direct salience might be the fact that Sen's long -time colleague, Jean Dreze, a former member of the National Advisory Concil, Sonia Gandhi's think tank for the UPA. But what about the Indian economy, which has turned down-ward trends,? will the present debate on the appropriation of balance between growth enhancing policies on the one hand and social spending on the other side make a difference on actual economic policies of which ever government takes power next year ?

                           
                              "...... The Keynes-Hyek debate of past provides some useful clues. The ideas of both were translated into economic policy, both because of historical circumstances and also because they were championed at crucial moments by politicians who carried conviction in their ideas, To put it crudely, the Soncond Workld War was a great natural experiment for Keynesian economics. Massive wartime spending-one type of government spending not exactly what Keynes in mind-essentially ended Great Britain Depression.......By the same token, Heyek's free market ideas were championed first in Britain by Margret Thatcher and than in the US by Ronald Regan. Whether one love them or hate them. Thatcher and Reagan had very definite clues on what they thought the right economic models for their respective countries."

                            A columnist of repute has said, " we are not in a war and nor do we have idea -driven politicians like Reagan and Thatcher The feud between Sen and Bhagwati and their various disciples and collaborators is great fodder for newspaper columns and TV talk show, it is not evident that the niceties of this debate are going to resonate with the Indian electorate or have much impact on the election campaign to say nothing of the economic policy platforms of any of major parties. ore likely, the impact of ideas of these two great economists will work indirectly as suggested by Keynes himself. By shaping the politicians not necessarily even   today but in future think about economic policy, the different emphasis of Sen and Bhagwati might well have a longer term impact. In a shorter term, it is more likely the perspectives of both Sen and Bhagawati will colour the way see important economic news. The Sharp drop in the poverty rate during the tenure of UPA raises the question of what was responsible. Those sympathetic to Bhagwati will point to rapid growth during these years while those sympathetic to Sen will point to the large increase in programmatic expenditure and initiatives such as the Msahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme."
                           
                          In my opinion such debater on economic policy is good sign where great econoimc thinkers have been publicly discussing India's economic policies. It is shaping us as battle of ideas between those who see themselves more on the right versus those who see themselves on the left. Ideologically driven debates seems to have finally arrived in India like US and other European countries. It is not that only Indian politicians used to figure out economic policies of India !

                          Sen has often and publicly argued in favour of greater liberalisation, ending red tape, labour laws reform and cutting fuel power and fertiliser subsidies. Bhagwati has  argued for second track of reforms in social sector areas though he would prefer public money be spent on say school vouchers that let poor parents pay for private schools. Both are little concerned about fall in India's growth rate. Sen argues it has fallen as much as its competitors; Bhagwati has blamed tight monetry policy and the freez-up in clearance following outrage over scams, adding government proposals could reverse the side. Both of these are, pretty much what the government also claims. Real differences between Sen and Bhagawati about Indian economy are: Sen wants more public funding (as distinct from public provision) of basic goods. Bhagwati argues this is secondary to focussing on growth.  Sen says, growth depends on creating a dynamic work force capable of learning on the job, which needs health and education. Bhagwati wants laissez-faire growth will raise income sufficiently for the workforce to be able to invest in their own health and education. Both these mechanism can be true. In fact both probably are true, which means the differences are even smaller than is claimed-just a question of which can work faster and more effectively. One path can hardly be abandoned for the other; both mechanism will need government attention. Nor is either major political party likely to act on only one mechanism, at the cost of other !

All these controversies are creation of media and the eternal quest in the India media to make absolutely everything relate Rahul Gandhi versus Narendra Modi !

Sources: NYTIMES, WASHINGTON POST, GUARDIAN, ECONOMIST,   OBSERVER , THE TIMES OF INDIA , India govt websites and various other websites.

                       

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

INDO-CHINA DISPUTES NOW SHIFT TO WATER GRAB FOR DAMS IN HIMALAYAN RIVERS , DANGERING ECOLOGICAL BALANCE !



                   It is dam building spree in Asian countries like China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan etc, endangering the globe's most famous mountain range -Himalaya. Most of the Himalayan rivers have been so far relatively untouched by dams near the sources.Now with the vast dam construction sprees, foot water resources have plunged into risk zone. In the process, all these countries have engaged themselves in  a huge "water grab"in the Himalayas for constructing hydro-electricity generation units for boosting up their economy, At least Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan has planned for constructing more than 400 hydro dams which, if built, could together generate over 160,000 MW of electricity-three times more than United Kingdom uses. Apart from that, China has alone planned for about 100 dam construction to generate a similar amount of power from major rivers rising in Tibet. A further 60 or more dams are being planned for the Nekong river, which also rises in Tibet and flows south through south-east Asia. Now, the two Asian giant power-India and China, are competing each other to harness the rivers as they cut through some of the world's deepest valleys. It is estimated most of the proposed dams would be tallest in the world, for generating 4,000 MW, as much as the Hoover dam on the Colorado river in the USA.

             Ecological and environment balance is already under tremendous pressure throughout the globe. Dam construction in Himalayan mountain and forest range will further disturb environment and ecology.Climate change will further warm the world and will trap millions in the world in poverty. A world Bank report has cautioned the people of these predicaments and says, " we could see a plus 2o C scenario in rise in temperature in 20 to 30 years and plus fouroC by the end of century". Amiya Kumar Bagachi in his book "Perilous Passage-Mankind and the Global Ascendancy of Capital has said, " Much of the advance of European capitalists and other members of the European ruling class was at the cost of the colonised and enslaved peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Capital expansion following the Industrial Revolution involved unmitigated exploitation of natural resources and world labour. The search for profit-led to the colonisation of the world and the pauperisation of much of what is today called the Global South. The over exploitation of the fossil fuels has meant that climate change has become an imminent threat. Underdeveloped nations will continue to bear the burnt." A scientific  report commissioned by the World Bank, " Turn Down herat:Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience" looks at the possible impact of global warming by 2oCelsius and 4o C on the most vulnerable parts of the world.

                       Recent haphazard construction of dams in Uttarakhand, a tiny state of Indian Union in Himalayan range has resulted into nature fury to worse scale, killing thousands of people and damaging property of crores of rupees. My three recent blog essays : Threat to  Life on the Earth vis-a-vis the Earth itself Threatened; Uttarakhand Tragedy due to Nature's Fury and Also a man-made Devastation and  Dangerous Signal for Nepal Because of Climate Change in Himalaya........... have dwelt in length about the shape of devastated globe because of climate change and disturbances in ecological balances in various region of earth , particularly Asia  .www.kksingh1.blogspot.com

                       Further more, climate models suggest that major rivers running off the Himalayas, after increasing flows as glaciers melt, could lose 10-20 of their flow by 2050. This would not only reduce the rivers' capacity to produce electricity, but would exacerbate regional political tensions. The dams have already led to protest movements in Uttarakhand,  Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam and other northern states of India and in Tibet. Protrsts in Uttarakhand, which was devastated by floods last month, were led by Prof G D Agarawal, who was taken to hospital after a 50-day fast but who was released this week. A member of Ganga Avahan, a group opposing proposals for a series of dams on Ganga, Mallika Bhanot has said, " there is no other way but to continue because the state government is not keen to review the dam policy"

                        More over, the governments have tried to convince and calm people by saying that many of the dams will not require large reservoirs but will be "run of the river" constructions which channel water through tunnels to massive turbines. But critics say that the damage done can be just as great..Shripad Dharmadhikary, a leading opponent of the Narmada dams and the author of  a report into Himalayan dams the river flow, has said, " These dams will shift the complete path of the river flow." Everyone will be affected because the rivers will dry up between points. The whole hydrology of the rivers will be changed. It is likely to Aggravate floods . A dam may only need 500 people to move because of submergence but because the dams stop the river flow it could impact on 20000 people. They also disrupt the groundwater flows so many people will end up with water running dry. There will be devastation of livelihood along all the rivers."

                        According to Ed Grumbine, visiting international scientist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Kunming;  in next 20 years "could be that the Himalayas become the most dammed region in the world".Grumbine, author of a paper in Science has said , "India aims to construct 292 dams....doubling current hydro power capacity and contributing six percent to the projected national energy needs. If all dams are constructed as proposed in 28 of 32 major river valleys, the Indian Himalayas would have one of the highest average dam densities in the world, with one dam for every 32 km of river channel. Every neighbour of India with undeveloped hydro-power sites is building or planning to build multiple dams, totalling at minimum 129 projects."

                       If the present pace of building multiple dams on all major rivers running off the Tibetan plateau by China is likely to emerge as the ultimate controller of water for nearly 40 percent of the world's population. Tashi Tsering, a water resource researcher at the University of British Columbia in Canada has said, " the plateau is the source of the single largest collection of international rivers in the world including the Mekong, the Brahmputra, the Yangtse and the Yellow rivers. It is the head water of the rivers on which nearly the half the world depends. the net effect of the dam building could be disastrous. We just do not know the consequences."

                               Notably the border disputes between India and China appeared to have shifted from land territory to water. Water in rivers in Himalayas and other mountain range along Indo-China border is going to be apple of discord between India and China in the light of harnessing the water for electricity by constructing dams.. Indian Geopolitical analyst Brahma Chellaney has said , " China is engaged in the greatest water grab in history. Not only it is damning the rivers on the plateau, it is financing and building mega-dams in Pakistan, Laos, Burma and elsewhere and making agreements to take the power. China-India disputes have shifted from ;land to water. Water is new divide and is going centre stage in politics. Only China has the capacity to build these mega dams and the power to crush resistance. This is effectively  war without a shot, being fired."

                          Chellaney has further said, " India is in the weakest position because half its water comes directly from China; however, Bangala Desh is fearful of India's plans for water diversions and hydro power. Bangala Deshi scientists were of the opinion that  even a 10 percent reduction in the water flow by India could dry out great areas of farmland for much of the year. More than 80 percent of Bangala Desh's 50 million small farmers depend on water that flows through India.Bangal Desh is fearful\

                            In my earlier blog essays, I have written about disastrous consequences from dam constructions. Dams construction will gradually increase the chances of flood as we have witnessed in Uttarakhand recently. Haphazard construction of dams without serious planning will not only make entire Himalayan range vulnerable to floods but also serious implications of earthquake in far and wide areas. Virtually , there have been no exercise prior to dam constructions by these countries . No attention has been paid on the human and ecological impact of dams.  The Co-coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams  Himanshu Thakkar has said, " We do not have credible environmental and social impact assessments, we have no environmental compliance system, no cumulative impact assessment and no carrying capacity studies. The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest, developers and , consultants  are responsible for this mess."

                                        For dam constructions and other related projects, India and China have notoriety in displacing tens of millions of tribal and other persons by constructing big and giant dams like Narmada and Three Gorges over the past 30 years. Surprisingly both India and China are keeping silence over how many person have been affected or affected persons have been reallocated and how much land are being submerged after the construction of new dams in both these countries. Tsering has said, " This is being totally ignored. No one knows, either, about the impact of climate change on the rivers. The dams are all being built in rivers that are fed by glaciers and snowfields which are melting at a fast rate."

                Thus - there is supremacy for water at the cost of crores of people of Asia. And Himalaya will be in danger !


Sources :Internet sites including The Observer, China and India, Universities other sites !

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Creation of new states in India open Pandora's box as decision is made politically !



Since Independence, it is invariably seen that successive political leadership take decisions, keeping in mind only 'politics and pressure tactics'. In this essay, I will put facts about  creation  of new 'States' since independence. Recently the Union government of the UPA led by the Congress, has given green signal to create "Telangans  state" of the Indian Union, bifurcating the areas from the old Andhra Pradesh! Mainly the successive union governments have kept in their mind the 'political aspect' and  language  in creating new states spoke since independence. Thus people, who mostly spoke the same language were brought together in one state. In the process, the successive governments ignored minority languages and dialects within the areas. Several north Indian states are all predominantly Hindi-speaking states ! Demand for economic viability, regional autonomy and other factors were never considered in creating new states.Demand for separate state of Telagana  , which has been merged with  other Telgu-speaking regions to create the state of Andhra Pradesh in early 1950s despite vehement opposition , was never considered.. And since than, agitation for creation of separate Telagana  state continued unabated. At that time also the SRC, had not recommended merger in 1954 only  because the areas was passing through communist-led uprising. The struggle  of the Communist uprising for the first began in Telegana areas because of social and political discrimination of the  merger of Telagana areas were completed. At that time, the then Prime Minister Pundit Jawahar  Lal Nehru, while giving a note of dissent over merger of Telegana areas with Andhara Pradesh, has cautioned and said " this particular  marriage should contain provision for divorce".

Now the pave for  new Telagana  state has come out, again on "political consideration," many, both of Telagana  and Andhra regions, have many reservations. At the time of merger of Telagana  with Andhra  for an united Andhara Pradesh state ,the concern of the people of Telagana  areas were mainly economic including distribution of resources-such as river water, as the headwaters of the Krishna and Godavari rivers were in Telegana but the planned irrigation projects at coastal Andhra. There were general apprehension that Telegana region was not so developed, especially in education sector ,  in comparison to other parts of the state -hence  Andhra elite will usurp job and other opportunities in the united Andhra Pradesh.Such reasons continued to haunt Telengana people and they intensified their agitation for separate Telegana state since long .Eminent Columnist Jayati Ghosh has written in The Guardian , "The concern of the Telagana  people have indeed been justified but the Telagana  is by no means the part of the state that is struggling most-that dubious privilege rests with Rayalaseema region and some northern districts. The state capital-Hyderabad, which is emerging as modern   metropolis, lies squarely within the region. While it is true, that locals have fewer of the coveted jobs in Hyderabad, in most other respects it is hard to make much of a case for economic discrimination of the region......"\

"........but the sense of injustice has remained to some extent, and has been periodically fed by political forces. The Telegana Rashtra Samithi Party was formed in 2001 when some leaders split from the Telgu Desam party to focus on the one demand. Since the TRS has been in alliance with the Congress party at the national level, the Congress in turn has blown hot and cold on this issue. The first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government promised Telegana statehood but did not deliver. Many hunger strike and riots there, it seemed that this on-again-off-again state of affairs would continue, possibly indefinitely, comments Jayati.

But in the changed political scenario Congress led UPA government, in the recent past, started giving  new thinking  and gave go ahead signal for creation of Telagana state. Political calculation seems favourably to Congress in dividing Andhra Pradesh. The Congress party has currently 35 Lok Sabha seats from united Andhara Pradesh , thanks to charismatic leader but corrupt local leader  late Y S Rajshekhar Reddy, who had later started behaving like feudal lord  in the state .Realising its mistakes in giving long rope to late Reddy , the Congress started cutting to size his son and he is prison on various charges of corruption despite the facts that Reddy's son has huge mass following. Congress must have thought that the party will be routed in Andhara region because of late Reddy's influence-hence it created a new state of Telegana for rooting  up the Congress in Telegana region.

 Not only creation of Telegana, many states including Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Maharshtra, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, and many eastern states were created on ethnic and languages formula as well as political consideration. Master Tara Singh of united Akali dal fought for creation of separate Punjab on language formula by separating Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and he succeeded in 1950s. Karnataka had also been created on language basis by carving out from the then Madras state, now Tamil Nadu. Likewise , Gujarat was created from taking away territory from old Maharshtra state. Even today there is fight for Chandihgarh  for respective capital town  between Haryana and Punjab. However, Chandigarh is governed as union territory .Such fight is bound to creep up over location of Hyderabad as joint capital of both proposed Telegana and Andhra Pradesh. Both the regions are harping for their respectve capital- Hyderabad. It will be appropriate for Hyderabad as a suitable capital site for Telagana because entire areas of proposed areas of new state are situated in and around Hyderabad  . All round development of Hyderabad has become bone of contention  for Andhra Pradesh and Telagana  for their capital-ultimately a plan has been presently thought out for location of capital of both states at Hyderabad. And later , there is proposal to declare Hyderabad as union territory .

How the political considerations take place in creating new states ? The best example is the creation of Jharkhand, which even after huge natural resources and small in size , is going down to the drains because of rampant corruption and instability. Originally, there was plan to create Jharkhand state following bifurcating tribal population as well as forest and mineral resources, by merging tribal-dominated areas from West Bengal and Odisha. The agitation for Jarkhand state by tribal population and their political wings were for amalgamating tribal areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Bihar for new Jharkhand state. But both Odisha and West Bengal government declined to part away their areas from their respective sides. And axe failed on  joint Bihar, thanks rto weak political, leadership of the then chief minister of joint Bihar Laloo Prasad Yadav and his hunch that he will not remain chief minister if Jharkhand and Bihar areas remain united because BJP had upper hand in the number games .And Laloo added fuel to the fire and at a great loss , Bihar was divided

 During the NDA government of Atal Behari Vajpayee, a Jharkhand state was created only bifurcating parts of tribal dominated areas as well as mines, forest and mineral resources on political consideration because  BJP had largest number of seats in Bihar assembly from tribal belt of Jharkhand. Bihar was left  a poverty -ridden state because of weak leadership.Likewise, Uttar Pradesh was also divided at that time and a new state of Uttarakhand was created-here again the BJP had majority support in the areas. And both state-Jharkhand and Uttarakhand continued to be worse-governed states in the country because of instablity as well as immature leadership in both states. Uttarakhand,  has been virtually perished  in recent past because of unplanned decision on development and Jharkhand because inefficiency of political leadership and corrupt practices by all hues of politicians. People of both the states are languishing  with no development in their economy at the sight.

It is said that creation of new states without any serious thoughts open Pandora's box in India ! Just with the announcements of creation of Telagana state, people of other parts of the country-Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal etc have opened new agitation fronts for creation of new states by bifurcating  Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal. Smart and concentrated agitation are going on in these states for harping for new states in their respective zones . The people of Darjeeling have started agitation for Gorakhaland, people of Assam for Bodoland, Maharashtra for Viudarbha, Uttar   Pradesh for  Harit Kranti, Purvanchal and also two other tiny states by bifurcating the present Uttar Pradesh.

All these agitation are getting momentum in the respective states by the regional separatists across the country  and the Manmohan Singh government keeping mum over the issue. Property worth crores of rupees have been destroyed in the ongoing agitation in Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh besides killing of hundreds of people in  agitation in recent past.

Although, I do  share the views that present states must be reorganised but not on this fashion , SRC must be revived for taking rationale decision in reorganising states as envisaged in the Constitution. Some academician have expressed their views that creation of new states will balk anise the India, some say smaller states should be created for  good governance  inclusively While justifying the creation of smaller states in India some of us have given examples of USA where there are as many as over 42 states and that country is doing well in all respects. China is also smaller in areas in comparison with USA.Similarly, some have cited the examples of China also, which have 34  provinces including municipalities, autonomous regions and two special administrative areas  They must know that USA has vast areas  (four times more) in comparison to India-the USA has land mass of 9629091 square km and 3717813 square miles  where as India has areas of 3166414 square kms and 1222559 square miles. Like wise, China has 9706961 areas in square km and 3747879 square miles . Population of USA is 316418000  , which comes to 4.45 percent of world population while India's population is  1232320000 , about 17.3 percent population of the world, and China's population is 1359250000, about 19 percent population of the world. Amid these vast areas and population both USA and China time to time reorganise their states for good governance and development following the recommendations of legally constituted committees for the purpose.

Jayato Ghosh has said, " some argue that this is fine, because smaller states are easy to govern. And there may well be a case for another SRC to look into all of these issues. But the recent history of newly formed states such as Jharkhand does not suggest that things are always better in smaller states. What is clear is that created the Congress party, in its push for some immediate political benefit, has let the genie pout of the bottle-with very uncertain consequences. One again, we are reminded that we need to be careful what we wish for."

In India politicians must not take decisions on whims and dictatorial manner for the good of the country. There must be rationality in any decisions the governments takes !