Category Archives: Governance

Dude, where goes my tax money?

How would you feel if your hard earned money is taken away and “redistributed” to the  mostly political activists or favored constituencies of the respective parties in the name of the poor? or blown on some minister’s foreign jaunt or better still into the black hole of hair brained schemes like the NREGS and for the purpose of sending more and more rich or middle class OBC kids to the IITs, IIMs and other institutes of higher learning while myself who has by now paid a good amount in tax money since the last 4 years cannot rely on the government to provide proper services in return- i have to drive on pathetic roads, put up with unreliable and erratic power supply, pathetic public transport, drains that overflow at the first burst of monsoon and added to that the country sorely lacks an efficient public health care system, primary education system and so on and so forth.

India will reform much faster and things will change for the better much more sooner if only more and more Indians demand accountability from the government for how it is spending their hard earned money it collects as taxes.

Narendra Modi should be commended for being the first person to demand such accountability. I completely agree with him that the government should be held accountable for how it spends the taxes it collects from the people.

Should the brightest student in a class be forced to dumb down to accommodate the dullard?

The essence of democracy prevents Indian politicians from giving honest answers to such questions. Ever since “equitable growth” and “inclusive development” became consensual buzzwords, India’s policy framework has been geared to target the last person in the last row. On paper this sounds noble but the reality is less appetising. In the guise of giving a leg up to the needy, we have punished enterprise, rewarded criminality, indulged mediocrity and brutalised the vulnerable. The Incredible India of smiling peasants and the Fab India-kitted woman prancing about on a Rural Employment Guarantee picnic — a la the ads during the IPL telecasts — exist entirely in the imagination of demented propagandists.

The mindless attachment to failed mantras has blunted the politicians’ capacity for innovative thinking. This may be a reason why Modi’s plea to the Centre to let Gujarat enjoy complete fiscal independence for one year has been met with incomprehension or drawn a hysterical response — including the silly assertion that he be charged with sedition.

The chief minister’s demand that revenues from Gujarat be largely spent on Gujarat is a radical departure from existing federal norms. At present, the Centre collects the lion’s share of all major taxes, including income tax and customs and excise duties, leaving the states with the crumbs from stamp duties, irrigation cess, tax on liquor and VAT on consumer sales. A percentage of the central revenues are ploughed back to the states under the Finance Commission’s guidelines. But the returns are never proportionate. Additionally, the Planning Commission doles out the capital expenditure on approved schemes.

The present system was centred on two principles: the government in New Delhi should be a redistributive Centre and development should be centrally planned and not left to the market. The system worked without major hiccups as long as the Centre played the role of a neutral arbiter and until the public sector occupied the “commanding heights” of the economy.

Both assumptions are no longer valid. While the market economy has ushered rivalry between states for private investments, fiercely competitive politics has forced ruling dispensations to be more responsive to voters. At the same time, the growing mismatch between those who pay taxes and those who benefit from government expenditure has produced strains in places as far removed as Darjeeling and Mumbai. There is a feeling that revenues generated in the region are inadequately ploughed back and that the present system favours the inefficient. Likewise, there is dismay over the culture of non-accountability that governs grandiose schemes such as the loan-waiver and the NREGS. Some people, it would seem, pay their hard-earned money in taxes while a small, privileged minority squanders and loots it recklessly. Most important, the system is not geared to apportioning accountability for expenditure. A politician in, say, Jharkhand doesn’t give a damn for fiscal rectitude because he knows that the funds at his disposal have actually emanated from somewhere else.

In saying that Gujarat should have a greater say in the money it gives to the Centre, Modi is not seeking sops and handouts. Shorn off its polemical flourish, it is a call for a new mindset that treats those who pay for nation building with respect.[link]

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Filed under Governance, India, Indian Politics, Indian States, Infrastructure Politics, Social Issues

Naxalite Nightmare

Ajai Sahni writing on Rediff warns that left unchecked the Naxalites can become a big security nightmare for the Indian state.

The ‘Red Corridor’, extending from ‘Tirupati to Pashupati’ (Andhra Pradesh to Nepal), has long been pass in the Indian Maoists (Naxalites’) conception. Maoist ambitions in India now extend to the farthest reaches of the country, and this is not just a fantasy or an aspiration, but a strategy, a projection, a plan and a programme under implementation. A multiplicity of Maoist documents testify to the meticulous detail in which the contours of the current and protracted conflict have been envisaged, in order to ‘intensify the peoples’ war throughout the country’.

These documents reflect a comprehensive strategy, coordinating all the instrumentalities of revolution — military, political, economic, cultural and psychological — harnessed through the ‘three magic weapons’ Comrade Mao spoke about: the Party, the People’s Army, and the United Front.

The Maoists have established regional bureaus across a mass of nearly two-thirds of the country’s territory (Map 1) and these regions are further sub-divided into state, special zonal and special area committee jurisdictions (Map 2) where the processes of mobilisation have been defined and allocated to local leaders. As these maps indicate, there are at least five regional bureaus, 13 state committees, two special area committees and three special zonal committees in the country. This structure of organisation substantially reflects current Maoist organisational consolidation, but does not exhaust their perspectives or ambitions. There is further evidence of preliminary activity for the extension of operations to new areas including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Meghalaya, beyond what is reflected in the scope of the regional, zonal and state committees. A ‘leading team’ recently visited Jammu & Kashmir to assess the potential of creating a permanent party structure in the form of a state committee to take the Maoist agenda forward in the state.

Within this broad geographical spread, the Maoists include, in their inventory of ‘immediate tasks’, among others, the following:

  • ‘Coordinate the people’s war with the ongoing armed struggles of the various oppressed nationalities in Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and other parts of the Northeast.
  • ‘Build a broad UF (United Front) of all secular forces and persecuted religious minorities such as Muslims, Christians and Sikhs�
  • ‘Build a secret party apparatus which is impregnable to the enemy’s attacks�
  • ‘Build open and secret mass organisations amongst the workers, peasants, youth, students, women and other sections of the people�
  • ‘Build the people’s militia in all the villages in the guerrilla zones as the base force of the PGA (People’s Guerrilla Army). Also build armed self-defence units in other areas of class struggle as well as in the urban areas.’

The Maoist strategy is clearly to fish in all troubled Indian waters, and to opportunistically exploit every potential issue and grievance to generate a campaign of protests and agitations. The principal vehicles for these ‘partial struggles’ are ‘front’ or ‘cover’ organisations of the Maoists themselves, on the one hand, and a range of individuals and organisations best described, in a phrase often attributed to Lenin, as ‘useful idiots’ — well intentioned and often gullible people who are unaware of the broader strategy and agenda they are unwittingly promoting through their support to specific and unquestionably admirable causes.

The last category can include everyone from the Human Terrorist Rights Mafia, Mainstream Media personalities to so called “intellectuals”, some of them could perhaps be well intentioned and gullible but some others might well be Communist sympathizers and quislings.

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Filed under Governance, India, Indian Politics, Indian States, International Communism, Law & Order, National Security, Terrorism, The Indian Subcontinent

Nandigram Massacre

Communist thugs massacre poor, innocent, defenseless villagers in Nandigram, West Bengal because they dared to stand up to their tyranny and prevent the commies from stealing their land and livelihoods.

Warning – graphic video

With the fall of the Soviet Union died the Communist ideology. Now the surviving communist regimes in China, Cuba and West Bengal state in India have lost their ideological veneer and have become plain thugocracies who maintain their power only through sheer terror, intimidation and cheating. They always arrogate themselves the right to speak for the common people but have no qualms to kill them if they dare challenge them in anyway and ofcourse with the usual accompanying gaudy red rhetoric that it is all for their own good !!

This is similar to what is happening in China, very much admired by Indian communists and their sympathizers in the media and intellectual circles, where the Communist government there is stealing land from its poor farmers for the sake of “development”, which could mean anything from a factory to a shiny hotel and golf course, through intimidation and violence. The Chinese government is also involved in a massive organ trafficking scam stealing organs from poor people to sell it to rich foreigners.

Update- Nandigram Media Archive at  sacredmediacow.com

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Filed under Freedom of Speech & Information, Governance, India, Indian Politics, Indian States, Infrastructure Politics, International Communism, Law & Order, National Security, Social Issues, Terrorism

Illegal Bangladeshi Immigration Into India

A two year old TV documentary, perhaps originally produced by and telecast on Aaj Tak, on the issue of illegal Bangladeshi immigration to India and its links to rising terrorist violence in many parts of the country. It is quite well researched and well made with interviews of many experts, on the ground investigations and hard data.

In the words of former CBI director Joginder Singh- India is ‘tolerating’ upto 5 crore(50 million) illegal immigrants on its soil.

p.s- The program is only in Hindi with no English subtitles. But if you have a working knowledge of Hindi it is not very difficult to follow.

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Filed under Freedom of Speech & Information, Geopolitics, Governance, India, Indian States, Law & Order, National Security, Terrorism, The Indian Subcontinent, TV/Movies

Samjhauta Train Blasts handiwork of Pak-based militants: India

End of ALL Speculation. It is not the Martians, not the mythical Hindu terrorists and certainly not the flying spaghetti monster but terrorist militant charity “freedom fighter” groups based in the territory of our own “loving neighbour” to the west having nearly 28 years of worldwide experience in doing these kind of things –butchering innocent civilians and then hiding behind a wall of lies and denials.

February 21, 2007– Security agencies probing the Samjhauta Express blasts on Tuesday night said the incident was the handiwork of Pakistan-based militant groups.

Highly-placed sources in Union Home Ministry said they had “vital clues,” which included a telephonic conversation between a caller from Delhi to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The sources declined to give out the identity of the militant groups behind the blasts, but hinted at sleeper cells of Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

These militant groups, the sources said, have adopted a new modus operandi of detonating low-intensity blasts with explosive materials comprising readily available combustibles.

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Govt Plans Cradle Scheme to ‘Save the Girl Child’

This is something that should have been done much earlier. This is a worthy effort to check the menace of female infanticide and foeticide in the country.And unlike the many hair brained social schemes cooked up by this government till now. This one might actually work if implemented properly.

Centre mulls ‘cradle scheme’ for girl child

“Don’t kill your daughter. The government will raise her.” Taking to desperate measures to check the alarming rise in female foeticide, the Centre is planning a “cradle scheme” for abandoned girl children.

Under the proposed ‘palna’ or cradle scheme, the government plans to open a centre in each district where parents can leave their girl children if they do not want to bring them up themselves.

“We want to put a cradle or ‘palna’ in every district headquarters. What we are saying to the people is have your children, don’t kill them. And if you don’t want a girl child, leave her to us,” Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury said in an interview.

The ‘palna’ scheme has been proposed to be put in place during the 11th Five Year Plan as part of a slew of measures to fight the menace of female foeticide.

Now atleast the unwanted girl child will have a chance to live and perhaps some lucky ones will even find a new home and a new life somewhere else rather than ending up in the garbage dump in the backyards of hospitals across the country.

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Peace talks with ULFA was a Mistake: Assam CM

This is what the Yankees call as a’Flying Pig moment‘. When a politician actually admits his mistake and even says sorry to boot.

The UPA government’s deplorable soft attitude towards terrorism has only lead to a spurt in terrorist activity all over the place by emboldening the terrorists. One cannot negotiate with Terrorists who refuse to disarm and instead use these generous “ceasefires” as a mere timeout to regroup and rearm for the next round.

NEW DELHI: Indirect talks with the separatist group United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) through the People’s Consultative Group (PCG) was an incorrect step, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Monday.

It was a wrong move by the central government to continue peace talk with the ULFA. They got their sweet time to regroup themselves and now they are again spreading terror,” said Gogoi while addressing a press conference on the 33rd National Games.

Gogoi said he was also to be blamed for the wrong step.

“I am also to be partly blamed for this process because the central government had taken me into confidence for the talks with the ULFA,” he said.

Yet it is hard to shake off the lingering suspicion that this “abject admission” at this time has got something to do with the fast approaching election season in states like UP whose migrant labourers suffered the brunt of ULFA’s ethnic cleansing brutality.

Earlier posts on the Assam situation: 1, 2, 3, 4

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