My Views

Mass Street Protest – Not for India

Posted in India and World, Internal Security, Reality Check by dullar on January 31, 2011

When the Arab world is boiling and people have descended into streets demanding a fair, able and righteous governance, the world has been gripped by a sense of awe and confusion. What has made the people to come to streets? Is it ripple effect? Or surfacing of long suppressed agonies and frustrations? Many analysts and commentators are now talking about further spreading of the protests in different corners of the world, at various level – national, regional or local.

In India, common man has always thought of such protests as – are they worth fighting for. Democracy, some say, along with Judiciary and more so, 2 decades of economic reforms have insulated a large section of society from the day to day problems of governance and livelihood. People, above middle class, have been less concerned about corruption, politics, scams etc because their life’s goals are fulfilled and rooted through corridors of market economy, which by and large has sustained its growth through last 2 decades. Urban population happy with their (Increasing) monthly pay-slips, and pseudo-satisfied in increasing consumption are not the protest material.

For some time, rising inflation has dented the pockets of common man but there is little evidence of their dented spirits and faith in the market economy which continue to be promising. The section of society which lives below lower-middle class is the one which can provide for any protest whatsoever. But they are the voices which mean less than less in the power corridors- both economic and political. They are amorphous, segmented and unorganized to prove to be any danger of concerted protest, if at all.

The only form of threat of such street protest in India lies in pockets. Kashmir’s youth protest sometime back is one of them. But they have been effectively, if not sustainably, controlled, thanks to organized and fully controlled army, which operates under the garb a democratic political environment in the valley.  Further the central government dolled out some economic packages to temporarily feed envious Kashmiri youth. In the south, Telangana movement has been on fire for some time and will continue to do so, as it is also fueled by young blood of college and university students. Their demand have some color of genuineness but a long drawn out political and administrative path for dispute redressal might puncture the steam out of people’s spirits.

Democratically elected governments, police, independent judiciary, grass-root governance systems, civilian controlled army and para-military forces, and a rapidly growing economy are very effective in insulating mass street protests in India as witnessed in Arab world.

 

Trends in Indian Election Politics

Posted in Polity, Reality Check by dullar on March 10, 2009

It has been quite a long time since the coalition politics, backed by a fragmented electorate,has descended in the political scene in India and political alliances to gain power have been the order of the day. Political parties with different colours and hues devise different strategies to lure the voters and align with other political parties across regional affiliations. Here are some of the general observations about the new age political scenario in India:

1) Accept it or not INC (Indian National Congress) and BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) are the only two truely national parties. Dont go into definitions. Others small national parties and state parties align with these two political parties to gain power in State Assembly and the Lok Sabha. Although few political parties like CPI and CPI(M) are trying to build athird alternative, called Third Front, for some time. But it has met a limited success as far as bringing different regional political parties under one umbrella.

2) National parties are getting weaker day by day and the regional and state parties are becoming stronger. It can be easily concluded by the fact that two biggest national parties only come to form government when the regional and state parties support them with required simple majority arithmatic.

3) There is a much competition among all political parties to forge pre poll alliances in the wake of forthcoming general elections. But as far as the profits and losses of these alliances are concerned different parties are at different angle of the recieving end. National parties expose weaknesses and unpopularity in the states when they go and bargain seat sharing with the state parties. The electorate is slowly shifting towards the regional and state parties in the long term. See the recent case when the long standing alliance between BJD and BJP fell flat for the want to bigger pie of the Lok Sabha seats.

4) State elections are fought on the grounds of performance of the sitting government and the anti-incumbency rules is not always followed. The third term of Congress government in Delhi is just one example. Incumbent governments in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh came into power for second time.Yes this is again debatable, but fact remains fact. The economic liberalisation and reform preiod sice last decade has given much needed financial leverage to the states and with their economies the governeance is slowly improving. The incumbent government which passes the fruits of modernisation to its public increases its chances to retain power.

5) The key issues thus are good governance, economic development, basic infrastructure (roads, power, water), job creation amd corruption free administration.

6) The role of identity is ubiquitous in the polity of this nation in both physical and temporal framwork. Caste plays (as always) deciding role in getting the election ticket and getting the vote. Different political parties take due care infielding their candidates and it largely depends uponthe caste and indentity demographics of the constituency. There has been different blocs of forward castes, backward castes, reserved castes and now newly formed block of Economically backward castes (EBCs). Caste factor play a very important role in alliances of different blocs. Muslims form a different bloc of votes.

7) Rise of BSP is a new development in the Indian Polity, especially after the last UP elections. It has managed to pull together the forwar cates and the reserved castes to sideline the backwar castes in the state of UP and the strategy has brough immense results for the BSP supremo Ms Mayawati. Now she is all set up to replicate the model in other states where there is a sizable reserved castes population like Maharastra.

New strategies has to be carved out by all the political parties if they want to remain afloat. Voter of 21st century India is more smart than his fore fathers. Some issus like, roti, kapda, makaan has always been the there for every election this counrty has witnessed but the realm of their definitions has changed in the modern liberalised world. The recession hit economy has added its share of challenges for the parties. No matter what part mere politics play in the reuls of the elections but the party which goes to the voters banking upon its past performance and futuristic agenda will have greater chances to be rewarded. By the way, no one can deny the possibility of last minute chaos of post polls alliances, political bargaining and horse tradig among the elected candidates.

Lahore Tremors

Posted in Cricket, Internal Security, Pakistan, Reality Check, Society, State, Terrorism by dullar on March 6, 2009

The aftermaths of 3/3 are slowly unfolding. And what is worst hit that cricket itself. Pakistani cricket is doomed for many years to come. Like the security personnel who have become shaheed protecting the Sri Lankan team, cricket is also going to pay its part of that shahaadat. It was yet another nail in the cricket’s coffin, and jihads have hit that nail very hard. What was conspired, has already happened in Lahore or Pakistan but its shockwaves have travelled east and we are frightened more than shocked.

The same home minister who took the charge of home affairs after the 26/11 tragedy and resolved to provide a secure and free environment to the citizens of this country who were already shaken to the core by the ghastly act, has now seems to be succumbed under the pressure. He dont want to divulge the secuirty forces to secure our cricketing avenues for the IPL. After people of this country faced the Mumbai challenge with grit and sensibility and never allowed fear to overpower our freedom, home ministry is giving signals of fatigue, more so after the Lahore attacks. Experts has cited many parellels betwen 26/11 and 3/3, but one point where two incidents stray apart is the way Indian side is seen to be going at backfoot as far as assuring for security for the sport in near future. Cricketers and cricket stadiums have always been a kind of potential target for the terrorists. The danger of same is now more real in South Asia which is already bleeding with many terrorist attacks in many major cities. The ideal way to deal with all this should be to increase the security cover, gather intelligence about the whereabouts of terrorists and their activities, and put a brave public face in the national and international media so that the public sentiments should not be hit byt the jihadi terror agenda.

A vibratnt, democratic and strong state should never put hinderances on the freedom of its people. State should gather its resources to provide best security ot its citizens. It should not shy away from such responsibility citing lack of security forces, be it General elections or IPL. Postponement of IPL for the already discussed reasons would amount to a failure of Indian state in more than one sense. It will also give signals as how government is going to provide security for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

In the name of security

Posted in Cricket, Internal Security, Reality Check, Society by dullar on March 5, 2009

There has always been security concerns for the much hyped and popular cricket mania summed up by the name of IPL. But this year’s edition of the sporting saga has clouded in some unprecedented security dilemnas and the talk of its postpoonement is doing rounds in the union home department. States has also shown much concern regarding the same. The reason cited is the non availability of enough security personnels who can cover general elections and IPL, both being held in the months of April and May.

Its highly unfortunate that we have concluded onthese lines. General elctions are the biggest festival of this largest democracy in the world where people celebrate their identity as free and sovereign republic and exercise their most powerful right, that is to choose their forthcoming leaders. Cricket is the next big thing that happen in this country in the modern times. The craze and enthusiasm by which this sport sweeps the entire nation is no secret to anybody. Its in this sense that watching and following cricket shows a sense of freedom for people.

Known for its one of the largest security personnels in the world, has such a day come in the life of this nation that there is not enough security for the people when they watch their most favorite sport. Can state afford to curb the freedom of its people to this level that it do not allow some twenty or thirty thousand people to assemble at a place to watch a cricket match. Now the government is mulling over these restrictions on the cricket tournament, tomorrow some other thing can come under the scanner of their twisted priorities. General elections are coming, state do not have enough security forces, so all the people are advised to be in their homes. Is this what we call the celbration of our democracy. Oh no, by the way, people can come out and attend the political rallies and election campaigns, as such events are full under the security cover. Politicians are the only heroes and vvips that we can afford to secure. Yes, they are also much qualified to provide some wuality drama and entertainment to us. Not for one day or one month, but for 5 years in and out of parliament.

Postponement of IPL for security reasons will be very sad and unfortunate precedent, if set.

Where do they stand?

China, most populous nation inthe world, fastest growing nation in the world with above 10% growth rate, (one of)the most authoritative regimes in the world, has once again successful in giving jitters to the world, but (of course) for wrong reasons. With daily updates poured on the news websites related to the excesses of the chinese authorities on the eace loving mnks of Tibet there is something on which the interested readers is missing. What exactly is the bone of contention between the china and Tibet, what is its current status and what, afterall, everybody is trying to achieve or say think what they want to achieve.

Tibet(Dalai Lama)’s stand-

1)Want full blown autonomy on the lines of Taiwan and  Hong Kong under the rule of two authorities one nation. Beijing is not ready for this.

2)Extension of the TAR(Tibetan autonomous Region) to the adjoining provinces which contain sizeable population of monks(upto 60% of the total tibetan monks living in China). Again beijing is against this.

3) Operational autonomy in running the administrative, economic, religious affairs of Tibet.

Apart from refusing to give some breathing space to Tibetans Beijing has lived perfectly upto its image of authoritative, autocratic and communist regime of crushing the demands in some manner or the other.  There are other more subtle ways in which Beijing has undermined the standing of Tibetans in Tibet and world over.

1) Influx of huge numbers of Huns in the TAR who are imposing themselves economically, politically and demographuically.

2)Intrusion in the management of religious affairs of monks.

3) Quietly suppressing the political dissent in the region.

4) Potraying a friendly picture in front of world by promoting tourism and economy of the region whose benefits are reaped largely by the Huns.

5)Connected Lhasa to east by rail in order to facilitate quick and timely transportation of armed forces when required.

6) Pursuing a long termed policy and strategy of unifying and unforming the demographic make up of Tibet, This has seriously undermined the religious nature of the TAR.

7)Having captured the institution of the Panchen Lama, the second-ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism, Beijing is preparing the ground to install its own puppet Dalai Lama after the present aging incumbent passes away.

And if somebody asks me where does India stand in all this, i would counter ask, does India has a standing at all, a standing which matters? For more curious readers i will try to deal this in a different post.

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India UnIncorporated

Posted in Reality Check by dullar on April 23, 2007

Look at the figures below and you will be startled at their magnitude itself.(With Inputs from Hindustan Times feature, HT Research)

  • Total workforce in India (this includes persons beween 15 years to 60 years officially) — 457 million.
  • 92% of this workforce, that is, around 420 million is in unorganised sector, that means they are either not registered or in do not maintain a taxable account of their business.
  • 98.5% of the workers in the unorganised sector, that is, about 414 million workers are not covered under any social security scheme officially. Just imagine the kind of business insurance sector can do in this area.
  • 98% of the total enterprises in India are in the unorganised sector.
  • 60% of the GDP of India comes from this so called unorganised sector.
  • It accounts for 67% of India’s total savings.
  • Government of India annual Survey of Industries estimates that though the number of unorganised manufacturing enterprises is 130 times than that of organised enterprise, its average value added per worker is six times less than that of formal sector.
  • In last two decades or so, over 90% of India’s new jobs have been created in the unorganised sector.

In most general terms, informal of unorganised sector involves hawkers, marginal service provides, domestic workers, and family enterprises etc. Most of the business done in this area is not covered under any official credit schemes. In majority of cases, they are financed by local money lenders, who exploit the conditions of workers, which itself has been a big concern for the unrest in unorganised sector. Poor skill set, poor credit facilities, poorworking conditions, unregulated wage rates, non existant social security are the issues which have long bogged down the overall potential of this sector.

Till date government is not been able to draft a Comprehensive Unorganised Sector Social Security Act. Most of them have failed to draw a consensus from the law makers. The major reason for this is that unorganised sector workers have no political voice at any level and the enforcement of some already existing schemes, laws, and acts are next to none.

Human Trafficking- Recent Shocker

Posted in Polity, Reality Check, Society by dullar on April 20, 2007

The recent arrest of Member of Parliament, the highest law making institution of Indian Republic, in Human Trafficking case has come as a shocker to whole nation, and the whole incident has brought disgrace to its people. When law maker are the law breakers, what example they set for others. More shocking is the fact that he couldnt not be cought till this incident. Everytime either he used to throw dust in official’s eyes, or there may be a underground conspiracy when immigration officials themselves are involved in the whole thing. They are guilty of neglegence at duty to say the least. It is also the classic example of how VIPs make use of their status in order to indulge in influential criminal acts. They are misusing their privileges in order to make short cut money in huge proportions.

The magnitude of Human Trafficking in South Asia, including the counteries of Bangladesh, pakistan, Nepal, India is so much that they figure in US’s Special Watch List on Human Traffcking in 2006. A Trafficking in Persons Report 2006 prepared by US Department of State has also raised serious concerns about the growing tentacles of this worldwide menace.But the point is why is there so much of cases in South Asia. No doubt that level of poverty in these counteries is mcuh to blame upon but individual counteries has not been able to make enough stringent laws and at the same time there are serious implementation issues. South Asian Countries were ruled by England till few decades back and millions of labourers migrated then to work in foreign counteries rules by Britishers.The legacy is still continuing in South Asian counteries when the people settled in other counteries are facilitating the migrations, both legally and illegally. People from India(states of Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Gujarat, UP etc) are ready to do anything in order to land in offshore counteries. In Punjab being an NRI is a dream of every child. Poor are lured by middle men, that they will have a bright future in foreign counteries, they pay hefty amount of money for that, and in end they find themselves in deplorable conditions, specially women and children are worst suferes.

The solution for this problem lies in multi-pronged strategy. One is to adhere to “three P’s”- prosecution, protection, and prevention. make stringent laws, prosecute the guilty in earliest possible time, protect the people from falling trap to middle-men, and in in long term make preventive measures. These will include making people more aware, creating opportunities for them of sustainable employment or livelihoods, improving the conditions of Women etc.The report also mentions a victim-centered approach to trafficking which requires us equally to address the “three R’s”- rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration, of the victims.

Defeat Well Deserved

Posted in Cricket, Reality Check by dullar on March 23, 2007

After the way India played, it do not deserve to win. It do not deserve to be in the island country any more, it do not deserve to be in world cup anymore.
India’s strength became India’s biggest weakness. God’s failed again for this country’s billion faithful devotees. Millions have a very tough time tomorrow as they will be in utter grief and sorrow over the defeat. For them its not the cricket team that will be oust from the world cup scene but, the hopes, the hopes they have put on the team that will be belied, wish unfulfilled.

I as a person in my previous post appeared to be undeterred by the sentiments of defeat is feeling too low. Somehow, it appears that the air around me is numb and engulfing me with a sense of despair. Som realities are hard to swallow.

Fall in Poverty levels

Posted in Economy, Reality Check, Reports by dullar on March 23, 2007

Two related stories in yesterday’s Mint regarding the issues of poverty and rural economy gave a new addition to the perspective of falling poverty levels and the reasons behind. These are- A new rural economy and ” Poverty at record low” ( i cudnt find the link for this on the website, though read in the paper yesterday).
The revealations are:
1) Substaintial fall in poverty levels( down to 21.8% in 2004-2005 from 26.1% in 1999-2000), thanx to the 2nd generation reforms.
2) Change in the consumption pattern all across the board, including rural india.
3) Fall in rural unemployment is greater than the fall in urban unemployment. It may be due to increasing diversification of agriculture, increase in enterprises(both service and industrial) in the rural areas, greater migration og unemployed youth from rural areas to urban areas in searc of employment thereby increasing the unemployment rate in latter.
4) New Urban enterprises grew at a lower rate than the rural enterprises.(former-3.71%, latter- 5.53%). Former may be due to the fact that in the urban areas starting an enterprise requires adequate skill level, approvals from government, and plethora of other issues. In rural areas, enterprises grew may be coz of increasing intervention by government, subsidies given for the equipments and various schemes of bank loans, SHG initiatives.
5) Increasing diversification and investments in non-farm activites at village levels. Youth are left to their own initiatives given that agriculture cannot absorb increasing population burden and consequent employment demands.

Social Change @ 8 percent

Posted in Reality Check, Society by dullar on December 6, 2006

Sagarika Ghose writes in her blog as how social change and social reform in 21st century should be like. She writes that some form of social reform has always been taking place inIndian society, sometimes led by saints, sometimes by educational elites and intellectuals. But why then she now wants government to lead the social change in society. The very assumption that government led by power elites will work for a social reform is doubtful. The power elites of country are always concerned and interested in statu quo and conservative in their outlook. India being a democracy doesn’t effect that basic character. Though constitution provides for a political democracy but still the very reason of absence of economic and social democracy lies in that very fact. Even the so called people’s left government in West Bengal gives a damn to its farmers when it asks police to evacuate land for a car making company.
If a social reform has to be brought in this country, then it have to rely on its people only and not on the governments and political elites. Afterall rights have to be fought for and not to be begged before governments.

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