Sunday, October 12, 2008

India's Five Year Plans

Ever since India got its independence, we are working our economy as per the Five Year Plans. This system of framing Five Year Plans was a good arrangement devised, by which the growth in different spheres could be suggested monitored while functioning and changed if the necessity arose. These mega plans have served us as building blocks of our national economy. A brief overview of these plans would give us a fairly clear picture of our developmental programmes. These plans would also highlight for us the targets set through these fifty years of India’s independence.
The First Five Year Plan came into existence for the years 1951 – 1956. This had a public sector outlay of Rs. 2356 crore – while the actual expenditure was only Rs. 1960 crores. The Private Sector investment was 1800 crores. The chief features of this plan was the spread of community development projects and an effort to raise the living standards of the people.
The Second Five Year Plan was to cover the period from 1956 – 1961. this plan had its set objective in industrialization – the building up of rural India and the enhancing of employment opportunities. Now, in this Plan, the Public Sector outlay was Rs. 4800 crores, and the actual expenditure was only Rs. 4672 crores. The Private Sector investment was Rs. 3110 crores. It was in this period that the National income rose by 19.5 per cent.
The Third Five Year Plan covered the period from 1961 – 1966. This Plan targeted an increase in the national income by about 5% per annum. Besides this, self sufficiency in food and the development of sectors like steel, fuel, machinery and power had become the prime objectives. The public sector outlay was Rs. 7500 croes and expenditures was Rs. 8577 crores. Private sector investment was now Rs. 4190 crores. This plan failed owing to price rise of about 20 per cent, Chinese aggression, Indo – Pak conflict and to cap it all a poor monsoon. All these factors contributed to failure of this plan. The year 1964 – ’65, was declared as a period of ‘Plan Holiday’.
The Forth Five Year Plan was then made to cover the period of 1969 – 74. This Plan had two main objectives. It had ensured that growth would be followed with stability and self reliance.
At this time still another target to be followed was the attainment of social justice and upliftment of the weaker sections of the society. In this plan, the Public Sector outlay was Rs. 15902 crores, and that of the Private Sector was Rs. 8980 crores. It seems that, the target levels were always now being set too high and so, here again the target growth of 5.7% was never achieved.
The Fifth Five Year Plan dates from 1974 – 79. This plan once agains aimed to remove poverty and achieving self reliance. This plan started a minimum need programme with measures for checking inflation. This time the outlay for the public sector was Rs. 3030 crores and the private sector outlay was Rs. 2704 crores. This plan was terminated in the fourth year only i.e. 1978 only. The national income increased at 5.2 per cent.
The Sixth Five Year Plan covered the period from 1980 – 85. This Plan had several objectives like growth rate of the economy, reduction in poverty and unemployment, improvement in the general quality of life. An eye was also to be kept on the growth of population and improvement was to be made in the ecological and environmental assets of the nation. Provising the Public Sector outlay was made Rs. 97500 crores that for and the private sector was Rs. 75710 crores. In the process of this plan period, the national income grew at 5.4 per cent per annum.
The Seventh Plan period covered the years 1985 – ’90. This also targeted growth in the production of food grains, the increase of opportunities of employment and the raising of productivity in all sectors of economy. Now the public sector outlay was Rs. 180,00 crores. In this period many targets were even exceeded. The annual growth rate of GDP was 5.8 per cent as against the plan target of 5 per cent. The production of food grains increased however, public sector savings fell short of the target. The gap between income and expenditure of the Government increased.
The Eight Five Year Plan was from the year 1992 – ’97. This was delayed by two years. This plan had also set for itself several objectives, like the generation of employment, control of population growth, spread of elementary education and the growth of economy, in order to enable the Indian economy to compete with major free markets of the world.
The Ninth Five Year Plan was to cover the year from 1997 to 2002 and has an outlay of Rs. 8,80,000 crores. This plan was rather ambitious.
With an overview of the Indian Five Year Plan we can say that they have undoubtedly been tools in the boosting and the shaping of our economy. We have been able to meet many of the objectives laid down by the plans. These plans have succeeded in building the industrial and economic infrastructure of the country. The growth of the Private Sector can also be attributed to these plans.
These plans have helped us in building ourselves, but, they are not without their limitations and bottlenecks. The major setbacks are redtapism, bureaucratic delays, unstable Governments, misallocation of resources to non priority areas. With these on going hazards, our economy faces a slowdown and thus, the growth rate is now less than 5%. The core sectors are being ignored by planners in the interest of their short term gains.
While making such plans we must remember to project a well balanced plan so that development of infrastructure and improvement of standard of living of the messes go hand in hand. So, in brief, we can say that such plans form a very good and efficient system but such planning should be balanced and must be worked in a systematic way. Goals must be set for all sections of our society and we must ensure that the implementation of these set goals are followed to the last word and it must be seen that the goals must see that all sections of the society grow along simultaneously.
However, down the line, there has been something wrong, somewhere and that is why as we see the economic scenario in India there is a considerable gaping gap between the haves and the Have Nots. This in itself indicates that there has been something intrinsically wrong in our economic policies which have made the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. This not the purpose of any develop in economy. The year’s financial programming must see that the benefits accrue to the poorest of the poor. We have had slogans of Garibi Hatao but, in practice they were just eye catching slogans, not apparently meant to be followed by successive Governments of the last fifty decades. If this slogan had been earnestly worked upon, be sure we would not find this poverty in India, and India trailing behind in the list of third world powers.

The Economic Liberalization

Let us first consider as to what really does this word of economic liberalization mean. This means in very simple terms, a free market economy. The idea of liberalization endorses to is to eliminate an inefficient and non productive system.
It was during the early eighties that, the need for boosting up Indian economy was first felt. Even though the performance in all sector, the economy had not yet developed an strength to really take off. Moreover, even by this decade of the eighties the benefits of all the development had not yet percolated down to the masses. Economic progress was undoubtedly seen but, it was felt that, it was not enough to propel the engines of growth. While India was still languishing under the pains of undergrowth, the economies of China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Singapore were performing very well in contrast. There had been a marked rise in their per capita incomes which were enough to provide good standards of living to their entire populations.
At this juncture, the Indian Political scenario changed and in 1989, Rajiv Gandhi came to power. It was he who decided that, now it was high time that India should also come towards a free market economy. The economic front of all hues welcomed this move. The idea was to get rid of an inefficient and unproductive system and bring in a new and transparent economy which would also globally oriented. It was now that imports were liberalized, exports increased, all because an efficient Exim policy. Import of gold was liberalized in the 90s, and it was now decided by the Government to open Indian markets for foreign products and technologies.
After the death of Rajiv Gandhi, there were continuous changes in the political scenario, but these reforms managed to continue. The years 1995 – ’97 witnessed a slow down in the economic growth in the regime of the United Front Government. However, from the year 1998 onwards the new BJP Government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee has to undertake the responsibility of continuing the economic reforms started in the eighties. This present Government of the BJP has done very well by bringing more items for importing, under the category of Open General License (OGP), which is expected to promote more and better dialogue between importers and foreign vendors for their particular items.
This pace of economic liberalization would also show in terms of lay off of inefficient staff of the PSUs. This step though harsh is quite inevitable, e.g. the Government has for decades been paying salaries to useless staff of the National Textile Corporation Mills, a number of sick mills of the NTC may have to be sold off to the Corporate Sector. With a rapid pace of economic liberalization, firms from other countries would fill our markets with quality goods at cheaper rates. The Indian fill our markets with quality goods at cheaper rates. The Indian manufacturer is already feeling the pinch in the Sectors of the computer, textiles, light machinery, consumer electronic goods, and several other consumer goods items.
With the liberalization of economy, it is imminent that, exports and imports would both get an impetus, thus fastening the economic growth of the country.
Let us now analyse how this economic liberalization would help the common Indian masses. This liberalization would enhance the living standards of the Indians in general. The Indian consumer would now have a wide range of choices in television, music system, cars, clothes and textiles and several other consumer products. This has come into being because of the competition with foreign players in India. Computerization is expanding at a very fast speed, and so now, we are producing the best machinery products and services with foreign collaboration. Redtapism is also seen to be reducing, and the once adamant bureaucracy is now seen helping in the growth of Indian economy. The latest techniques in management are now being adapted by us.
Besides these advantages, the Private Sector has also been allowed a free hand in domestic foreign trade. The system of licensing has been liberalized.
Now, the rural masses are also enjoying the advantages of the liberal policies of the Government. All rural areas now have access to colour Tvs, cable network and telephones. The STD and ISD have also reached the interiors of rural India. Besides just these, the rural people are also now enjoying a better standard of living, due to the coming of new and cheaper technologies in the Indian economy scenario refrigerators, TVs, computers, water pumps, health facilities, medicines transport and vehicles are the blessings of this liberalized economy.
This flourishing of a liberal economy of India is of course, not without its drawbacks. The multinationals who have entered the Indian scene, have elbowed away several local competitors from the scene, which has made the local manufacturer suffer heavily as, they have lost the battle in the competition against Multinational Companies. This economic liberalization has opened for us huge vistas of a free market system. In this system, the rich may be able to compete but the 52% of our population that is below poverty line will no longer succeed in getting a Government loan or a grant, so, this small business community will get enmeshed in the labarynth of absolute poverty. Thus, in a way this liberalization of economy will make the poor still poorer.
Thus summing, we can say that, economic liberalization is a slow and cumbersome process. In this process each one of us has to join hands with the state, and learn to waster less and produce more. The state and the individual must move hand in hand do that the nation grows as one single unit. We should not get scared of any of these teething troubles of economic liberalization and continue to go ahead with the process till we get out of the woods and become an economic power like China and others.

Corruption in India

The last two decades of the existence of independence, India has seen a steep upward trend in the graph of existing corruption. The media, the public, the variety of forums for discussions and debates for the higher intellingensia are all neck deep buried in highlighting the rampant corruption in every sphere. In this debate the rural folk are also not far behind.
These days they are also very well aware of the malpractices in the highest of levels of all places. So much so that now, the average Indian has reached the highest level of disgust and disappointment at the way things are moving in this country.
Let us first of all understand what is meant by corruption and corrupt practices. In brief, anything that is below all standard norms of morality in a country, is called or defined as corruption and corrupt practices. These norms are a fixed standard in any given society, and when these are broken we say that, a society is getting corrupted. This corruption as we see it today is not a development that has come overnight, it has been a continuous process for the last several decades and, to – day it has seeped into the very blood stream of the system.
What we have to study next is, why and how this monster of corruption has taken such a firm hold on India so much so that, the country of the legendary Harischandra, the honest has reached the position of one of the top ten or so of corrupt countries of the world. This is no mean achievement, and has taken a few decades to fructify. It is not that, corruption did not exist earlier, it is not that to – day there are no honest people, then why do we all yes, I say all feel that, corruption is rampant everywhere and all the time. This is because of the simple reason that this malady has spread through the entire length and breadth of our social fabric and gone down to the deepest levels. How has this come to be? Would be quite a pertinent question.
The corrupt practices have now become our lifestyle to such an extent that, we do not seem to feel that there is anything wrong in what all we are doing., and that things should not be as they are. We, on the contrary are inclined to justify all wrong saying that, without doing wrong we cannot exist or be functional.
When we start thinking that corruption is a must, then I feel that the situation has reached a point of no correction. This present apathy shows how far the degradation of our values have reached, and how low the system has dipped. When we start justifying all the wrongs we do, it is the beginning of the end., as, we are not only doing wrong, we are at the same time thinking that it is correct, then where can the scope be for correction? It would be rather interesting to note and specify as to how this process of continuous degeneration started, for it is the root that grows into a magnum tree. It is thus of great value to know who put the seed that grew into this poisonous tree. In this connection, it is understand that, this degeneration started from the top echelons of society, and then percolated downwards, without a hurdle.
Who is at the top or the apex of our society? It is the set of people who have all the power that is invested in them by, us the people. Now, it is for the goodwill of this top layer of society to give the country’s society the trend it deems fit. Now, this layer at the top has been the politician who rules the country, and to say that the seeds of India’s corruption were sown by this class of our society, which has been at the helm of affairs of the country and today they have brought us t this point of no return as far as corruption is concerned. Where are politicians like Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, and above all, the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi? It appears that India has stopped producing men and women of such integrity. Perhapse the breed of such politicians and other men have stopped taking birth. Where is that erstwhile political party, the Indian National Congress, that loyally fought for the freedom of the country, where is the discipline to follow the clarion call of Mahatma Gandhi? All it seems to have been lost, and the same Congress that fought against foreign rule and ousted the foreigners is now all set to install a foreigner as the head of Independent India. What has all this come to, what can be the implications of a foreigner as the head of the state seem to be lost to this Congress which worked to oust the foreigners – what a degradation of values. Have we Indians lost all self respect, that we ourselves invite a foreigner to rule us? I dareasay we have become so immune to all finer feelings that we do not mind doing anything as long as we meet our ends. All this is the ugliest face of the corruption in India.
All our ethics, our self respect and love for our motherland is lost somewhere in the last fifty years. Today we are standing at the threshold of a new millennium with, the eerstwhile Indian National Congress and many other parties without a single leader of stature. What does this show that, in the span of more than century, Congress has failed to produce a single leader, leave alone a leader of the stature of Sardar Patel and the like. Today the sets of politicians of all political parties are just money spinning actors just working to establish estates for their seven generations. The vision of a great India in the yes of the freedom fighters has been lost somewhere in our move in the last fifty years.
When the oldest political party, the Congress presents such a dismal picture of honesty loyalty and service, what can be said or expected from the other much younger political parties. They are all bound to follow the footsteps of this erstwhile conglomerate of greedy money spinning politicians. Today, all the new political parties are following the path tread by the elder brother, the Congress, resulting in a mushroom growth of political parties all of the set pattern with no goals, no ethics, no ideals and no ideologies.
This level being the highest level of our society is seen to have become most corrupt in the last two decades and the public is very well aware of the multi-scam decades of the eighties and nineties. Now, the scenario at the very top, can hardly allow for any space for any honesty to persist in any other layer of society. So, from this topmost layer, corruption has percolated to all levels and in all spheres of activities, and all this sure enough because it suits the politician. The politician has encouraged the bureaucrat to be corrupt, and in turn the bureaucrat has enjoyed the protection of the politician, in all his nefarious activities. From the senior bureaucrat the virus of corruption has slowly and steadily seemed down to the lowest levels of functionaries. This has become a totally corrupt and incorrigible institution.
The Indian society in all its entirety is corrupt to the core, and now corruption is like a drug, without which the addict finds it difficult to survive. With this slow and steady and continuous spread of the fangs of corruption, today the situation is such that, there is no place or activity which is bereft of the fruits of corruption. Now, corruption has become our way of life and to uproot it is a Herculean task.
The tentacles of corruption can be dealt with only with an iron hand, and above all, must start cleaning from the top echelons of society. However, as we have seen umpteen times, this does not happen. Our experience shows that, as soon as a big name is involved in any corruption case, there is a lot of hullabulloo for some time, and it all dies down with the passage of time and the corruption continues unabated. How does this happen? This is very obvious for all those who have to be at the clearing end are bought, so, no damage can ever come to the so called high ups. This is the main reason why there is never any breakthrough in any scam. In this situation it will be a wonder if anything tangible can really be achieved for, the high ups cannot be touched, and the lower formations need not be touched – so we remain where we were at the beginning of any case.
The scams which have come to light in last one decade have amounted to multi – crores, they are being dealt with but, it is so shocking that no politician has yet been punished for siphoning off so much of wealth of a poor country, what can be expected in a country when its protectors themselves become criminals. When the senior can not be punished how can there be any cleaning at the bottom. It would not even be fair to punish the lower rungs of the ladder when the higher rungs continue to bask in the sunshine of their riches. The way in which these cases are being dealt with clearly indicate that no one will be hurt as, all those, yes all those who matter are involved in corruption. So, at present, the situation is of “who will bell the cat?” Everyone knows who the corrupt are but, the irony of our system is such that no one can be touched. If this situation remains any longer, it is a wonder if there could be any light at the end of the tunnel.
India is reaping what it has sown, and the seed of corruption has grown up into a full size magnum tree which perhapse cannot be changed, replaced or cut. It appears thus that for the time being at least, we have to bear with it. Only God can do some magic.
Irrespective of the status of the wrong doer everyone, big or small, high or low, must be dealt with an iron hand, and that also at a fast speed. What is the use of just a show of dealings against corruption, while in reality all cases are just quietly shelved banking on the fact that, public memory is very short. All these cases are just a farce into which now, the Indian public an not be very easily fooled. At present there is no remedy for this tragic situation we are in, except pray to God that, HE gives unto us a dictator who is capable enough to deal with this ogre of corruption with a strong hand or else it appears that we are doomed to drown in the deepest depths of corruption and that, we will soon find it impossible to come out of the labarynth knit around us by our own men – yes our own men

Public finance of India

Let us first understand what is meant by Public Finance. Public finance of country, as is obvious by the name, is the money collection of a country’s Government by way of taxes. The sources of revenue of the States and the Centre are called the public finance of a country, and this is because this amount of money is the money earned by the public and given to the Government for development works, and this is exactly why this money is termed as public finance.
Lately, the sources of revenue of the State and Centre have both declined considerably and the contribution of tax revenue has come down from about 37 percent in 1950-51 to just a 12 per cent in 1993-94. In the case of Central revenue, the direct tax share has declined from 36 per cent to 16 percent, while in the State tax revenue has taken a dive from 38 per cent to 11 per cent. On the other hand, rate of indirect taxes, the revenue has gone up from 14.14 per cent to 14.57 per cent. At this direct and indirect taxes. Direct taxes are taxes levied on the individual for his income, for his purchase etc. On the other hand, indirect taxes are taxes which are levied as extra to the cost of an item, e.g. customs tax. As item which has been bought for say Rs. 1000% is brought to India. There at the customs counter, the purchaser has to pay some extra amount as a tax on the item already bought and paid for. This is termed as an indirect made for the purchase of an item.
As far as India is concerned, in our discussion of Public Finance, we have to consider other points also, such as the distribution of incomes. The distribution of incomes and property in india are at such a variance that, the tax base for direct taxes becomes very very narrow. Besides this, there is a wide range of tax evasion. This problem of tax evasion is being met by the Government by reducing the rate of taxes, on the top of the scale. The real problem in india is this basic problem of tax evasion and it is this only which makes the revenue earnings minimal. This is because the category that can and should give the maximum tax, is just the category that evades tax, which in turn results in revenue loss for the Government. Besides these people which include the highest earning gentry, there are several small business in which there can not be an assessment of the actual incomes, and so, this category also gilts the Government. Thus it may be seen that, in India it is only the salaried class which only is bound to pay the tax regularly and correctly, and this is the class which has the least income. Thus, the poor and the rich classes in India all manage to avoid taxation and thus population. This tax evasion should be dealt with an iron hand, and the richer classes who take the lion’s share of income pay nothing or a nominal tax, should be forced to pay the tightful tax. It would be quite relevant to talk at this point of the VDIS scheme of the Government implemented in 1997, which brought out millions of worth of tax from the rich classes who had all along evaded tax.
There being an evasion of taxes all along, the non-tax revenues have seen an upward trend. This is due to interest receipts on loans given to various sectors for social and economic services. The failure also of a large number of public enterprises to generate surplus, makes this source of public revenue also get depleted.
On the other hand, the total government expenses as a percentage of the GDP has recorded in increase between 1950-51 and 1993-94. Development expenditure has shown faster growth in this period, compared to non-developmental expenditure. The expense incurred on education, health and family planning has been five fold in relation to the GDP, whereas, public expenditure on agricultural and rural development in ten times more than the increase in the GDP, between 1950-51 and 1993-94. Since there has been a faster growth of public expenditure in relation to the revenue, the gap between the expenditure and the revenue has been growing steadily. Though this gap has been encountered by borrowing from the Reserve Bank of India, it has brought with it an increased burden of interest so be paid. The central loan jumped from 2000 crores to 98000 crores between the period of 1950-51 and 1997-98and the interest burden hiked 200 time, over the same period. Even the States are facing a similar debt problem. Even foreign debt has increased at a phenomenal rate, it increased from 32 crores in March 1951 to 11000 crores in 1961 and at the end of 1988, this foreign debt is 23 times more than what it was is March 1961. These deficits of the Central and the State Government are an increasingly depressing phenomena of the Indian fiscal scenario.
Another important phenomena of the India fiscal system is the growing dependence of the State Government on the Central Government which becomes a continuous drain on the central pool of money resources.
To cap all this drawback of India’s public, finance is the worst factor to be encountered and this is the administration of the public finance. The concealing or evading of taxes should be minimal through an efficient administrative procedure. However, estimates show that, the actual tax evasion in India is in some cases even up to ¾ of the actual liability. This attributes to the major chunk of financial loss of revenue and also helps in developing a “parallel economy”.

Even since independence, the Government of India has been continuously resorting to the printing press via the Reserve Bank of India by means of issuing ad hoc treasury bills. The R.B.I. could refuse to print currency notes but it has not done so as yet. It has only pointed out from time to time the problems that can arise by creating paper money, which has all these years fuelled inflation. However successive Indian Government have recklessly shown a deficit graph going constantly up till at last in 1992-93, the deficit amount rose to Rs.12,300 crores. The unchecked Government expenditure mounting higher and higher every year has been the major cause of an unprecedented price rise through the years.
Now if a balance has to be struck in India’s public finances, expenditure of the Government must slashed down, and the mischief of tax evasion must be dealt with an iron hand. Without these who points being followed strictly and immediately, no retrievel of our financial position could be achieved.

What is Nuclear Non – Proliferation?

What is really meant by Nuclear Non – Proliferation? In simple explanation, those countries who have accepted the Non – Proliferation Treaty, have accepted the right of a few powers to have and develop their nuclear weapons. On the other hand, the nations that have the view that, nuclear weapons contribute defence of the last resort, believe in the norm of nuclear proliferation. In reality, the majority of the nations of the world have had no say in evolving nuclear norms since this technology was almost unknown to them.
If nuclear Non – Proliferation is the international norm, it is these powers who have conveniently exempted themselves from all inspections and they allow all technology transfer among themselves. Even to-day, the five major nuclear powers do not commit themselves to the ultimate goal of a world that will be free of nuclear weapons. These nations advocate capping of all the non nuclear nations to prevent them from developing their know how and capability. In the comity of nations if some nations continue to keep their weapon laboratories and do not allow any inspection of the same, and also continue to go ahead with their researches in the subject, how can non-proliferation ever become a yardstick or a norm? if the non – nuclear countries are to accept capping their nuclear projects, all the nuclear powers should also be brought under international scrutiny. These double standards in the nuclear race cannot hold for long to any sense of common and natural justice. It is against all norms of natural justice that, the big powers continue to delve in their nuclear projects and the same five powers continue to ask the other nations to stop it all forthwith.
If non-proliferation is to be the norm then why is the united States promoting proliferation of British nuclear missiles? Today if the agreement between United States and Russia was to be implemented a number of weapons with most of the powers will be found to be many times more than what they were when the NPT was signed. Is this how the world is expected to observe the non-proliferation norms?
It is this discrimination among powers of the world which India has been strongly opposed to. India’s view is quite in line with laws of natural justice for India says that, either all powers big and small destroy all their nuclear weapons and simultaneously also stop all work on it, or, all powers, big or small should be allowed to grow into nuclear powers. On the face of it, India’s view is absolutely logical and in all fairness but, the brother the United States of America has been urging India to sign the Nuclear Non – Proliferation Treaty – (NPT). India however feels that elimination of nuclear armaments is a global problem and not just a regional problem. India has been producing plutonium from the mid sixties which means that, India has been having access to weapons material for quite a long time.
If India is not willing to sign the NPT, the United States suggests that, India and Pakistan should hold bi-lateral talks on the nuclear problem and find a solution. The United States has also suggested a Conference of five nations i.e. India, Pakistan, United States, Russia and China. To this suggestion, the response of China was that, it would be willing to participate in the said Conference only if its own arsenal would not be a topic of discussion. On the other hand, India feels that, apart from Pakistan it has to take serious note of the highly developed nuclear arsenal of China. However, besides India and Pakistan, there are more nuclear powers in the Asia – Pacific region, for instance Israel has a nuclear arsenal, North Korea has plutonium production reactor, Japan and South Korea can develop nuclear weapons if they so desire. In general the list of such countries would include Germany, Canada, Italy, Sweden Spain etc., Thus in order to make such a Conference a reality a large number of countries would have to be included, some nuclear states, some nuclear capable states which not have signed the NPT, and also some states that have signed the NPT, but can develop nuclear weapons fairly well.
In this process the initiative was taken by Rajiv Gandhi who foresaw a time bound elimination of all nuclear weapons. However though our ultimate target has to be total elimination of all nuclear weapons we have to prepare a long term plan in the time table. In reality, the United States does not foresee elimination of all nuclear weapons in the near future so, in these circumstances we expect other nuclear weapons States and nuclear weapon capable states also to retain their weapons.
Though the non – proliferation seems to be a distant dream, there are certain elements which may be agreed upon by most countries. Firstly, the Comprehensive and universal test ban, secondly an agreement on ‘non – use’ of nuclear weapons, and thirdly transfer of nuclear technology should be subject to peaceful use provision.
Seeing the Yugoslav situation, the Gulf War, and a lot of other turmoil all over the world the talk of ‘one world’ appears to be quite a misnomer. In such a situation, India can not be expected to dismantle its nuclear capability that has been built up in the span of the last forty years, and that also at the behest of the big brother, the United States wants it to be so. India on the contrary must maintain and also develop its nuclear capability and nurture high technologies. Lessons to be learnt from nuclear energy are of vital importance for developing self reliance, that cannot be overlooked in the hope of much talked of globalization.

The Indian Economy Today

The horizon of Indian Economy is presently very bleak and dark, and so has it been for the last fifty years. The slow and sluggish Indian Economy can be attributed to a number of factors that have prevailed in India ever since we got our independence. The factors are many, and they are, recession on the home front, recession in all commercial and industrial playgrounds, and above all these the political instability. All these factors have together led to the complete sluggish growth of the Indian Economy. In this disappointing scenario, the only redeeming feature seems to be the economic scenario on the International horizon, which is also fraught with recession, and it is this that gives India a slight breather.
The fate of Indian economy is largely dependent on the trends of the world economy and it is this world economy that is now in the clutches of the worst ever crisis. The Stock Markets are crashing, industrial production has slackened, political upheavals are a common feature and the decline in exports in terms of important commodities is prevalent on a world wide scale. With all this in the world, it cannot be expected to find India escape unscathed or unblemished.
However, even with all this disappointment all around, we may recover from these painful shocks. Mr. yashwant Sinha, the Finance Minister 1998 – ’99, seems to be very optimistic and believes that, Indian economy would surely revive soon. It would be rather relevant at this juncture to add that, the present financial position of India, is the pent up results of decades of mismanagement of finances, and not a crisis created overnight. Mr. Yashwant Sinha has presented a very compact reform package. A few of the salient highlights of this package are as follows :-
a) The Kar Vivad Samadhan Scheme which is likely to fetch Rs. 30,000 Crores.
b) The FDIs to be doubled.
c) An intervention of the Foreign Exchange Markets.
d) Spending on the infrastructure.
e) Clearing of fast track Projects.
f) Simplified Tax rules.
g) Privatisation of Insurance.

This is just a part of the tax reform package offered for our presently ailing economy. A few facts and figures would now help us comprehend the real scenario.
During the first quarter of the year 1998 – ’99 industrial production has grown by 5.4% compared to 3.7% of 1997 – ’98. The Agricultural production has been rather good. Direct tax collections have grown at 41.1% during April – June 1998. Corporate receipts have also risen by 120%. Besides all this, in order to salvage the economy out of its present unstable condition, the Government has planned to give a major thrust to the Private Sector Projects. The finance sector has also to be restructured, and reforms are to be initiated in the Insurance Sector. Tax and Company Laws are also in grave need for major reforms. Together with all these there has to be a marked increase in the inflow of investments. Foreign Investment norms are also to be set up.
All these plans of revitalizing the Indian Economy would come to nought if the Government at the centre remains unstable or gets changed. It is true that Indian Economy is going through a turbulent time, however, economic observers feel that, the Indian Economy would surely be retrieved, and that, its position and growth will be much better than most of the other economic players of the world. At this juncture since global economy is facing a decline, the interest of the world has been generated in Indian economic growth. The recovery cannot be predicted but, it is a happy trend to see that the Government is working hard towards the cherished goal of an economically strong and healthy India.

Computer Revolution

The world’s technological horizon is dominated by the computer since the year 1970, and by now, it has entered into every sphere of human existence, and in the last two decades it has taken over charge of all that was once man’s handiwork.
A computer is an electric device which helps in boosting our efficiency and helps us in being more creative by taking up the work of repetition itself. The computer helps us create programmes, communicate and also help us to earn. To day, even in India it is beyond our imagination to conceive of any avenue where computer has not made a dent., may it be in business, banking, publishing engineering etc., This change over to computerization is welcomed by all and sundry but, it leaves one burning question in the minds of people. We are all apt to believe that, computerization is apt to throw men out of employment, no it is not so, this belief is just a misnomer. The reason for this is that, a man who was once doing the job of a clerk would now be able to execute more productive assignments, thus contributing his best to his employer society and the nation. The computer is expected to ensure enhancement of knowledge levels, productivity, earnings and living standards of the society. If India wants to emulate the economic super powers of the world it is necessary for India to completely computerize, and link the Indian economy and industry with International information in a super big way. This can be made possible only with the help of the computer and the Internet networks.
It was in October 1977 that the private sector Internet Service Provider ushered into India. And this was a great step forward, in the growth of telecom and communication industry. This single step is expected to open new avenues of technology in this country, in the next century. The Internet is a complicated web of satellites and cable network connecting millions of computers across the world. With this advent of the computer, information is shared in the form of data, pictures and graphics. The application of the Internet would include surfing, and access to data.
In India there are about 93000 computers linked to Internet so far. The ISPs have to give a bank guarantee equivalent to license fee for one year. In India, the VSNL, i.e. the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd is the only provider of Internet Services. The Internet has come as a storm in the Indian business and industry. Indian manpower is about the best in the world, in about almost any sphere of work. Now we have really arrived into a new world of a global village.
In the Indian context, computerization is absolutely necessary as, tele – communication and satellite imagery are both computer based. Life in urban Indian is dependent on the telephone, E-mail, fax, internet connectivity and cellphone and all these services warrant the usage of the computer, for their operation and maintenance. Even in rural areas the computer can play an important role in crop development, software for seed research, crop diseases, rural industry and rural education. The avenue of rural tele communication has been revolutionized by the computer.
The computer could be of great value in education. This is because all information is stored and managed by computers, and so they become necessary in the modern times and are also accessible to all. India can hope to become a country of world standards, only when it computerizes its economy, business, scientific and all other operations. Only this technology can help India to benefit on all fronts. It is a certainty that the new century would belong entirely to the computer.

The Information Technology

The close of the 20th century brings the world well nigh a revolution in information technology. In the last decade of the 20th century this technology has entered with quite a bang, and now, it is found in every home, each office, and every area of feasible entry. However, we are on the threshold of further achievement within a few more years.
The remarkable point to be noted at this juncture is, to understand how much India has contributed in the growth of the field of information technology, on the global horizon. For example, the annual revenue of India’s software industry would be reaching U.S. $ 6 trillion mark by the year 2000 A.D. Recognising the annual recession in the market worldwide by 1995 – 96 India’s Software export was 16.2%. This is no mean an achievement. We have the mobile phone, pagers, computer games, internet and software for application. We also have the E-mail or the electronic mail which is a high speed communication system, through the internet. This system of communication is very cheap, being as low as Re. 1/- per page. This is prevalent everywhere in the Western world and is now catching up fast in the Indian scenario. The future of communication system would include, E-mail connection, a telephone with STD facilities and a modern card. This system of E-mail would eliminate postage, courier and telephonic conversations. All kinds of data and information can be sent through the E-mail.
The next area of development in the pipeline is the E-com which is already prevalent in the West. This concept is also quite easy to understand. We would send an E-mail to our grocery shop for our grocery requirements. this would be sent through the Internet to the shop, and our items would be delivered to us. In the same way, firms would float their tenders and projects through the Internet. All those concerned would discuss the Project on line through the Internet, orders would be placed on the Internet and the execution of the order would also be done through the Internet. This concept of E-com is fast picking up in the Indian industry also.
Still further, another significant development in the field of information technology is the coming up of the Internet shops, in the urban areas of the country. Through this convenience, a host of jobs can be done. We can send and receive E-mail, surf through the sites of the Internet and collect any required information. The Internet is also a provider of fun, as, all city guides, magazines newspapers, news of fashions movies and other shows are all available on the Internet. Just as in the last decade we have been crazy about video games, henceforth in times to come people would surf through the Internet for any information on education, business, entertainment and leisure.
In times to come, a new technology may enable us to use our telephone as a mobile. A base set would be connected to the telephone line at home or office and we could carry an instrument similar to the present mobile phone and thus communicate with the place where the base set has been installed and, above all, all this will be at no extra charge. In the new millennium we may also see satellite phone. Through these satellite phones we could talk to anyone, anywhere in the world. Thus the coming of the information technology would make office work simple and all this without much paper work.
Vital growth areas in information technology are likely to include multimedia, animation, computer, aided design and artificial intelligence. The constraints in such development would be basically investment of money, resource shortage and policies of the Government. However, inspite of all these constraints the signs are for a very healthy growth of Information Technology.

Inflation in India

Inflation as an economic phenomena may be described as the continuous upward spiral of prices in all parts of the economy. This can be described as a boost to the economy, but, if it is not properly handled we may be burdened with rising prices which may prove detrimental to economic growth. The economic situation in a country can be analyzed under the following heads of production and distribution.
When we talk of production we are considering the fields of agriculture and industry. In the agricultural arena, the productive process involves all farmer’s activities in the fields together with the working of co-operatives for providing of facilities like better seeds, fertilizers etc., and last but not the least the facility of proper marketing by the co – operatives to enable the farmer to get the return for his labour which should be reasonable enough an amount for him to be able to look after his domestic needs and responsibilities.
This is desirable to enable the Indian farmer to progress. This seems to be quite logical and simple, but does it really benefit the farmer, how does it aggravate or remedy the process of inflation. In its effort to help the farmer, the Government buys the grain from him, and we have huge warehouses stacked with grain which is expected to feed the Public Distribution System. For this, experience has shown that, the lengthy distribution system has often resulted in a lot of wastage of food grains, while the Government on its part, is trying to fix a high price for the farmer’s grain and send food for the common man. Here again prices are fixed by the Government and steadily keep increasing resulting in aggravation of the inflationary process. If the farmers are provided facilities of better seeds, implements and marketing facilities, production would improve and the market forces of supply and demand would automatically fix appropriate prices.
In the same way, in the industrial sector, also, the Government can help to finance Projects which are found to be socially and economically beneficial, and there are fewer loans not paid back to banks. Thus even in the industrial sector it is important to have the national interest uppermost in the minds of the authorities. It is not uncommon to see large Projects worth crores of rupees going halfway and then being abandoned. If it was not a useful Project for the Nation, why was it ever started, and colossal sums of money wasted in it? The same trend has aggravated the upward spiral of the ogre of inflation, ever since the advent of industrialization in free India.
In the politically independent India we have seen great industrialists like the Tatas and the Birlas who have without fail combined industrial progress with rational utilization of their profits for the benefits of the people. We can be sure that, if their examples were followed for our guidance all the help in the form of Capital goods and money loans from the IMF and the World Bank would, in the span of half a century see India at a much better economic position than we are in, to day. As the number of rules and regulations increase there is less participation of market forces and prices continue to be fixed at higher and higher levels, with each passing year. Unless we learn to spread out our gains over a large number of people the inflationary trend will continue to be fuelled.
Every time we have the national budget raising any petrol or diesel prices, we see gradually all prices receive an impetus to rise, and inflationary trend just continues unabated. Hence, in the industrial sphere also we see how artificial fixation of prices leads to further inflation.
In India the importance of small scale industries cannot be ignored. In this area also we see that though, co – operatives are prominent and do a lot of good to the village artisan, but, once again, the marketing which is done by the co – operative, it is of great benefit but, once again the worker still does not get a proper share of the gains. The artificial fixation of prices in no manner ensures the gain for the workers because of the inflationary trend fuelled by fixation of prices rather than the sharing of profits by a larger number of people.
In essence, we have seen that, though India has progressed with the passage of time, this progress made does not compare favourably with other countries like Japan who managed to bounce back on the International Economic scene. Inflationary trends are essential when we have just started to invest in capital goods from foreign markets, and are just building up the infrastructure of roads, railways and dams etc., but that phase soon after a few decades should get over, when the industry starts using their machines to the optimum capacity, and the transport system facilitates trading activity even to the remotes part of the country, and the poverty line includes lesser people with each passing day.
It would be very unfair to say that, nothing has been done but, it definitely needs correction as far as large resources of the country stand blocked in the form of ‘Black Money’. The gap of this unaccounted money is becoming tighter and tighter on the economy. The result of all this being that, we have innumerable houses lying vacant, and myriads of people without houses, we have plenty of students needing admission to schools and plenty of trained teachers, but there is paucity of schools why? This all happens when we have unaccounted money and we cannot do much with it except pay high prices – and this class of money further fuels inflation. This is the fertile soil for all corruption which erodes the economy still further.
At the individual level also as citizens of India we can help in curbing this process for example, when we buy anything do we insist on taking a receipt for it? I daresay most of us do not, because, not taking a receipt helps the shopkeeper to save his income tax, and the customer saves the sales tax. Hence the system is today flourishing because each one of us, yes, each one of us is contributing to the very existence of ‘Black Money’ and this in turn restricts the spread of benefits of progress to the poorer classes, hence a major part of the Indian population continues to live in abject poverty, with a total lack of facilities, education, and have, hardly any chances of progress. Prices must come down by the play of market forces and not in the form of depression leading to increase of unemployment and poverty.

The Political Imbroglio in 1999

The political scenario of the year 1999 could be easily adjudged as the worst possible existing since 1947. What we see is the net result of a continuous degeneration of the politicians and political parties. The mushroom growth of political parties each one with its individual agenda and its own partisan ideologies has added to the already political chaos on the central scene in 1999.
We know that, in the year 1999 till now the government was of the BJP and its allies, and the Congress and other parties were in the Opposition. Now, the obvious question that arises in the mind of any literate Indian is, why was it felt necessary to remove the Government. Why was the Vajpayee Government toppled when, it was in no way worse than any Government that held the reins since 1947. Why did, a State party that allied with the Government withdraw its support? Besides all this on the government side, the question that arises is that, why did all the other parties that were in the opposition concentrate all their efforts and fullest attention on the programme of toppling the Government? Above all, when the Opposition felt a desperate need for a change in the Government, why was there no alternative made before the fall of the Government, was manipulated? Above all, when all the parties on the Opposition held together tilt the Government, why did they break apart after the fall? What happened to make these parties fall apart? All these steps that were undertaken by the parties in the Opposition very clearly indicate how much our politicians are genuinely looking after, or are even interested in looking after the interests of this poor country that India is. They do not seem to realize that, a poor country like India can ill afford the hobby of annual elections. However, the caretakers of the country do not seem to feel any remorse at what they have done, and continue to do. Instead of at least, verbally repenting for what has been done we see each day each party only blaming the others for the dilemma, as if that sorts out all the problem.
The situation as it stood in March 1999 was that, the Vajpayee Government was starting stabilizing itself, and getting applauses for its multi-dimensional achievements and its policies, and this the Opposition could not just quietly swallow. Some political mischief makers started playing up the sentiments of possible changes and lo ‘and behold’ the desires of latent leaders took the clues and started the imbroglio plans, with dreams of high chairs in the offing. This saw the getting together of all the parties in the Opposition joining hands to dislodge the existing Government. They went to the extent of even saying that, Mr. Vajpayee must go, and “within the next one minute”, a Government will be in position. With this sort of comments it is not difficult to understand the logic behind the activities of the Opposition. They just could not bear to see the Government to stabilize as they were not used to staying without power. As far as the Opposition parties were concerned all of them had their own designs, aims and objectives in maneuvering the ouster of the Government and as soon as Mr. Vajpayee was out there was a list of contenders for the chair of the Prime Minister. What does this show? Is it not the hope of putting their own man on the chair of Prime Minister that prompted all of them to oust the legitimately elected Government? Finally on this point only they broke as, the Congress nominee was not acceptable to all. This so very clearly indicates that, the chair of the Prime Minister was the only concern of all and sundry and the country of course the concern of none.
It is so obvious that, if the Vajpayee Government was really doing so badly and did deserve to be throughout then, the Opposition parties should have fixed up an alternative before throwing out the Government. For a simple example, all of us want to continue to improve our careers but, we do not leave a job before getting a new one and that also better than the one in hand. However, this basic theory defies the understanding of our great politicians. They did not seem to realize that, a country cannot remain without a Government so, if they really wanted to do good for the country, they should have at least made a shadow Parliament and a shadow Government – no, but this was not found to be necessary by the opposition as, their sole purpose was to destroy rather than to make. Their purpose was not to give good governance to the country which they say that the Vajpayee Government was not giving, but, their only objective was to undo what was being done. They had no imagination of what they would plan for the future. Their eyes were just pinned on a simple destruction project.
In India after independence, Governments have come and gone but, the Vajpayee Government has set a record even in its losing the confidence vote as, it lost by just one vote, which in turn indicates that the opponents all together even were not enough to give a thumping defeat to the Government, by a large margin of votes.
Is this not enough indication that, the Vajpayee Government was not bad enough for the country to have to indulge in the very expensive hobby of annual elections. If it was not bad enough or unstable enough to be dropped at the ‘drop of a hat, is it not clear that the Opposition parties had some ulterior motives in the enacting of this big drama., which has to cost the Exchequer thousands of crores. This once again confirms to us the very callous attitudes of the modern politicians. They have already drained the Central and State Exchequers by their corrupt practices and their show of status and now their attitude towards the expenditure to be incurred in the elections. This is just another blow on the financial bankruptcy of the Indian Government’s Exchequer. With all this happening in the country and the country being in the hands of such vultures who only look for prey to kill and eat, then what can be the fate of the poor Indian people. It is only the bad luck of the Indian people that they have after 1947 never got a good and stable leadership.
Now this talk of leadership will lead us on to the stable Governments the Congress proudly professes to have given to India in the last fifty years. Yes, we must admit that they have given India a Government throughout but, has it been the party’s rule or a single family rule. I say no other party has such an extreme bankruptcy of leadership like the so called century old Congress. In a century or more of existence, it has not been able to produce a single leader.
All leaders of the party and the Prime Ministers of which the Congress boasts, got the chair of the PM on a platter as a reward for their birth in a family. Now where has the party given stability, yes it may be said that a single family has given a forced stability. Now, this is the last straw on the camel’s back that now a novice and a Roman born has been elected the President of the erstwhile party the Congress, and now in 1999 the so called age old party is presenting to India a gift of a Roman born Prime Minister. How great I’d say is the magnanimity of the Congress that they do not mind a foreigner to rule them. Besides being a foreigner, what has this foreigner done for India except moving about with her Prime Minister husband? I do wonder if this could be classified by the Congress as a sufficient reason for becoming the Prime Minister of the biggest democracy of the world?
At this juncture I would like to point out that, no country in the world yes, no country would ever allow a foreigner to become the head of the state. It is only we poor Indians who could allow such pranks to take the country for a ride. To add to this, the common man, the voter has been retained by the stable Congress Governments for 45 years as uneducated as possible – for just one single reason that, as long as the masses are illiterate they will provide a solid vote bank, as they do not have the capacity to think for themselves and are easily swayed by hollow promises made – so much so that, even after fifty years of promises made and not kept, the illiterate common man is still a good vote bank for the Congress.
In 1999 till now the politician was and is corrupt and the masses ignorant so, the corrupt are able to play up with the ignorant and make them dance to their tunes, I dare say that, it is this combination of corrupt politicians and the ignorant masses that has kept the Congress Governments on their saddle for the last fifty years, and it is this stability that the Congress boasts. If the Congress has been conscious of its duties as a responsible Opposition and as the oldest political party, instead of helping in the toppling of the Vajpayee Government, it should have advised the Government wherever it faltered, instead of joining hands with the rag tag opportunist parties. This action of the Congress has put to question their integrity and consideration for the country. The stability of the Government which Congress talks of, was really the stability of the Governments in the fifty years but the stability of a so called great family, in the shadow of whom, God alone knows how many more Prime Ministers will take birth. This is in my parlance the brazen misuse of a name only for, after Jawaharlal Nehru, no one, yes no one of his kin really deserved the chair, as they occupied it only because they happened to be his kith and kin.
If a country has to be lead like this by just one single family then why do we call it a democracy a better and more appropriate name for such Governments would be Monarchy or even to call it a dictatorship would not be very wrong, for the ruler has to come from there and no one else will ever be accepted. It is really shocking to note that crores of people from India are unable to produce one single individual to head the State that, we have to go back to the family, even if it be outsiders in the family.
This situation of the political scene in India in the year 1999, for one, depicts India’s absolute bankruptcy of leadership, and secondly we can see how an illiterate mass of people can be held to ransom by generations of one family. For this unhealthy situation, the greatest credit has to go to the oldest political party which has failed to produce a single leader in the last fifty years and has to go back to the family for support even if it be with just crutches. It is a shame for us Indians to have reached to this level of political insanity at the turn of one century and beginning of next. When the world is talking of Globalisation of the world, the world becoming one family, we have to continue to hold on to the apronstrings of one single family – without whom it seems India will die out.
In this situation as it stands in the middle of 1999, the elections were held in – October 99 and could not give us Indians relief of wish of single party stable government. This election again gave us a hung or to say a multiparty government but with the grace of almighty God is stayed for more than five years and is likely to complete its full term in November 2003.

Kashmir - An Indo Pak Irritant

The Kashmir problem has been a continuous eyesore for India ever since the days of India’s independence. It is worthwhile for us to understand why and how it became a problem for India and Pakistan. In reality, the problem of Kashmir was created at the very onset of Independence when this State was the only one to be given a special status. All the other princely States merged into the Indian Union but, Kashmir was granted a special status. The special status for Kashmir lay in the fact that, Kashmir could have its own Constituent Assembly and the Head of the State was Sadr – e – Riyasat, and not the Governor, like in the other States that had acceded to the Indian Union.
The problem with this backdrop of a special status, became more serious when, in 1947 only when in that year the areas where Muslims had an absolute majority was being eyed by Pakistan, as, a part of their country. However, at that time the ruler of the State was Hari Singh, a Hindu. This desire of Pakistan to take away Kashmir from India has shown itself in several series through the last fifty years.
In 1947 itself, Pakistan attacked Kashmir with the help of the Kabaili mercenaries, even though it did not declare war directly. Now the ruler, Hari Singh signed the document of the accession of Kashmir to India, and thus, for all practical purposes Kashmir had become anintegial part of India by its own will. However, Pakistan’s view regarding Kashmir is based only on religion – for obvious reasons, that, the majority of the population of Kashmir is of Muslims, and it is only this reason that, even now, after fifty years, Pakistan stakes its claim on Kashmir.
This was thus, the situation regarding Kashmir in the year 1947, that is immediately after independence. Ever since then, Pakistan has been fighting and laying its claim on Kashmir. In 1965 and 1971 Pakistan even attacked India when armed troops were sent to Kashmir and Punjab in the eighties, just to create an awe in those areas.
In 1971, the historic Simla Agreement was signed by the Pakistan Prime Minister Bhutto and Mrs. Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India. As per this agreement, India and Pakistan have to settle all their disputes only through bilateral negotiations and discussions – and no third party can, at any stage be allowed to intervene or mediate.
The position of Kashmir to-day is still rather precarious as, now India and Pakistan have both displayed their nuclear might and this race for military might could be expected to take a heavy toll in Kashmir. Any time Pakistan with its might and the aid from China may muster the courage to attack India with the plan of annexing Kashmir to Pakistan. Thus Kashmir has defied any agreeable solution through these long attracted international attention, India insisting on making it only a bilateral issue and Pakistan seeking International intervention. Kashmir is now the most talked of region in the world to –day as, Pakistan believes that, it can not live without Kashmir and for India Kashmir is its organ and its pride. Thus the situation is now very tense and can deteriorate any time. However, a well planned settlement agreeable to both the parties could surely be thrashed out if Pakistan and India leaders with a nature and a straight forward thinking sit together and discuss. All this could surely be achieved without any further armed conflicts. For such a settlement both sides have to make some substancial compromises and if they fail to do so, this single issue of Kashmir could provide a spark to ignite the Third World War.
Pakistan has been continuously trying to Internationalise the Kashmir issue – against the very breath of the Simla Agreement. Pakistan has been putting great stress on their demand for an expansion of the role and strength of the United Nations. Military observers group in India and Pakistan, just as observers be deployed on the side of the Pakistan occupied Kashmir is the insistence of Pakistan just to prove to the world that, India is wrong when it says that Islamabad is sending support to the extremists operating in India mainly in Kashmir. This tactics of Pakistan has been the latest of its attempts to dislodge any semblance of peace in Kashmir. For the last eighteen years, Pakistan is fighting a proxy war in Kashmir, in the hope that, India will surely after a time give way to its designs. Pakistan is training and providing with arms the young extremists to kill and loot in the valley with the view that, when there is too much of bloodshed and destruction in the valley, India will have to succumb to the nefarious designs of Pakistan, and then it will present to Pakistan the valley of Kashmir on a platter. However, this has not come to be, so now Pakistan is indulging in a new modus operandi of trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue.
However, all these efforts also put up by Pakistan, to internationalise the Kashmir issue has failed upto now and so, Pakistan only continues to back up and support the terrorist activities in Kashmir in order to dislodge all semblance of a civilized life in Kashmir. Pakistan is probably hopeful that, by applying such tactics it may be able to cow down the Indian thinking and, at some later stage, to this tactics. Let us see what finally happens to this burning issue between India and Pakistan, all that we can do is just to wait and watch and pray that good sense prevails and the tangle gets sorted out to the satisfaction of both the parties, without the further destruction of the beautiful Valley, the pride of India.

India's Nuclear Policy

India has an age old tradition of being peace loving country and this, it has depicted in all its activities and attitudes through the ages. But, with the growth of Science and Technology, the world has gone far ahead in using its knowledge of Science as an instrument of destruction. The movement of the world in its knowledge of Science has been thought provoking for the Indians also, and they have had to do some rethinking in the matter.
Immediately after independence, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India started building friendships with other countries but, somehow, since its very inception, our relations with our closet neighbour Pakistan, have been mutually lacking in trust, and as such they remained strained always.
During the span of 25 years, from 1948 to 1971, India has three wars thrust upon it by Pakistan, which India obviously had to fight. In the year 1962, a war was also thrust upon India by another neighbour Chin. It is with this background that, India had to review its defence policy and defence budget. This it had to do only to be able to defend itself from onslaughts of others. Even after the wars India had to fight, in its thinking and attitude of not fighting. India did not undergo any change, but, it also realized that, with others continuing to advance in destructive management, India had to develop its knowledge of destruction, only if it was to save itself. With this background, and the scenario of the world India had to perforce plan out a strategy of defending itself.
The world scenario that has developed through the years is that, the great powers have increased their know how and also their arsenals of nuclear weapons, by leaps and bounds, and India is expected to just wait and watch. When India became independent, illiteracy and poverty were rampant, and Nehru started the process of planning the development of higher scientific and technological education and research in different fields. These were considered necessary for the eradication of poverty, development of agriculture and advancement of the country to compete with other countries of the world. It is with this in view that, the atomic energy establishment for study and research in the field was started in India, in the fifties, with the first atomic research centre, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre being set up in Bombay, for the study and advancement of knowledge of the Science of Nuclear energy.
Nuclear energy has a number of useful applications, specially in the field of power generation. A number of atomic energy power stations were established in the country with the idea of utilizing this energy for peaceful purposes. This was achiebed in India with the help form various countries who had know how in the field. The Indian scientists continued to advance their knowledge by a close interaction with their counterparts in other countries, and through their own researched.
What has been the advancement in the field can be verified only with nuclear explosions, and, like and other branch of Science this experiment is necessary to understand the extent to which we have progressed in the line. The knowledge developed in the laboratories was experimented by India in its first nuclear explosion conducted at Pokharan in Rajasthan, in the year 1974. This was just a simple ground trial of the laboratory research of the scientists. With further development, the second test of nuclear know how was conducted by India in May 1998. this test was also conducted at the same location of Pokharan in Rajasthan and is so called the Pokharan-II.
So much for the knowledge of India in the sphere of nuclear science but, what is our policy in the matter? Our policy has not changed from the early days of our independence, for, even to-day, when we realize that, we have the skill and the know how, we still are against using this knowledge as a weapon of destruction. The situation of the world to-day is that, the five big powers that have the maximum knowledge and reserves of nuclear weapons are, U.S.A., Russia, Britian, France and China. These powers are the five who have huge stock piles of nuclear weapons which they can legally develop and increase but, all the other powers of the world not supposed to grow in this sphere. Now that, some powers have nuclear weapons the natural corollary for all other nations of any magnitude is to have a desire to enter the arena even if it be in a small way. India’s nuclear policy has always been very clear in as much as, India is avowed to use its nuclear knowledge only for purposes of peace and never for confrontation with any one.
India has always been pressing from time to time on all world forums for a restraint on these big nuclear powers. India’s stand is that, they should stop the manufacture of nuclear arms for destructive purposes, and also destroy their existing dumps of arsenals, then, India will also convinue the smaller countries of the safety of their respective states. However this point pressed by India has not been acceptable by the big powers. With this attitude of the big powers, the small powers have a continued feeling of insecurity, and they have also started a movement on the path of nuclear growth. The examples of this, are the latest entrants in this race, India and Pakistan. The two countries did this only to highlight to the world their know how in the Science, and thus showed to the world that they are not very far from the others in their knowledge. However, on the other side, the five big powers want to impose a discriminatory world order called the C.T.B.T., that is Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, on all the nations of the world.
By this the big powers want that, while they themselves can retain their huge nuclear dumps and even keep on adding on to them, the other countries will not be allowed to develop their nuclear powers. In respect to this decision, India has said very clearly that, this treatment of diiferentiation will not be accepted, and it is in no norms of natural justice that, ther should be such a clear demarcation between the Haves and Have Nots. Thus, the truth of the matter is that, though the world claims to have reached the stage of global oneness but, in reality,some countries do continue to dominate the others. While some countries think it is their prerogative to sit on dumps of nuclear arsenals, they would not like the other lesser powers to develop even a simple know how of the technology. Thus India’s plea in the matter is absolutely correct when it says that, either all countries stop developing the nuclear weapons or all should be allowed to do whatever they can in the matter. For, when all countries are supposed to be equal then why this partiality? While some countries can fulfil their priorities, the others are denied the right. India’s policy is for the good of her own security and the stopping of the big powers becoming more powerful and thus more dangerous for world peace. Experience has shown the world how atomic invasions destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima in the World War-II, and taught all, about the potentially of the nuclear weapons for massive destruction. Thus so far, nuclear power has only acted as a deterrent to ensure that a military power does not indulge in any misadventure.
India wants to develop nuclear know how in all its forms specially for only peaceful purposes of nuclear energy. Being essentially a peace loving nation India can be fully trusted in, never being the offender in the matter of disturbing world peace. This is further corroborated by the latest declaration of the Prime minister of India that ours will always be the “No first use” policy as far as nuclear weapons are concerned. Presently just as in the past, India continues to press on al a world forums about-one, total nuclear disarmament of all the powers of the world. Secondly, India insists that, the big five powers that are established nuclear power must destroy all their nuclear arsenals in a phased manner, in a stipulated time frame. This action of the big powers total disarmament in the world. This will put a stop on the attempts of smaller countries trying to develop their know how and researches on the subject. This is the basic and though very logical approach of India, it has not found much acceptance in the comity of nations, and received any positive response from the nuclear powers. That this will lead to a continuing the latent attitude of suspicion of countries against each other, and this continues to point at the fact of the desire of the big countries to dominate the world scene. In this matter it would be advisable and more practical to achieve results that, the big brothers give examples to the younger brothers round the world, by disarming and destroying their nuclear wepons by and by. This will build a confidence in the smaller powers and then there is a chance that they may follow suit, and drop their pursuit of nuclear studies and research. For this, it is all important for the big powers to control themselves and then they may get obedience as, the smaller powers will feel secure and confident. This would be ideally achieved by the elder brother cajoling the younger, instead of punishing by means of imposing sanctions.
To-day this is the policy of India and when it has achieved a breakthrough, instead of appreciating the growth of the once backward country, the big brother is punishing by sanctions. How far does this indicate the equality of nations, or similarity of attitudes towards the rich and poor countries. India’s stand on nuclear arms is quite logical for, once other powers get nuclear and India is not allowed to grow on this front will it not be left behind in its growth of knowledge? Is it not enough for India to declare that it will never use it first to show that, it does not want to develop nuclear know how with any destructive ideas in mind. For India to become a nuclear power, it requires a colossal investment for the manufacture of the bomb and its delivery systm. An economically weak country like India is not likely to embark on such a course unless its security environments compel it to. This also is a serious stopper placed in India and would always prevent it form trying any misadventure of nuclear destruction. Seeing this scenario, India can not take upon itself the onus of any destruction by nuclear arms, as for one, it can not afford the fun, and for second, it is not its policy to destroy, it has always been peace loving and mature country.

If one day the Earth stopped rotating and revolving

If the earth stopped revolving and rotating, it would spell disaster and all prayer would be diverted to Heaven to help man out of the predicament. The Earth as we know is a Planet and a part of the Solar System. The Earth, like all other planets moves round and round the sun. it has two movements very well co – ordinated with itself and with other planets.
The two distinct movements are rotation of the Earth on its own axis and revolution of the Earth round the sun. the moot point to be considered is that, these movements are not to be seen as just movements but, in the context of what these movements give to us on Earth. So, obviously if these movements stopped the gifts of these movements would also cease.
The rotation of the Earth on its axis gives us on earth our Day and Night. In this the 24 hours of the day are so neatly divided into day and night, with the day being for work and night for rest and relaxation. On the other hand, the Earth’s movement round the sun gives us, people on Earth our seasons, the hot, the wet and the cold. These seasons are also great assets to us as we get to enjoy the fruits of these seasons, the pleasures of these seasons and besides all this, they give us a sense of change and freshness. When one season changes into the other, we feel as though a new life has been infused by a mere change of the season.
With so many gifts to us by the apparently simple movements of the Earth, we can hardly underestimate the utility of these movements to us on Earth. Now let us imagine what would happen if one fine day the Earth stopped moving. The Earth would then present a scene of utter confusion, chaos and unhappiness. If we men were not used to day and night and changes of seasons it would have been a different matter, but in the present circumstances we have, for ages, being accustomed to these changes so, if they were to be denied to us we would feel terribly dejected and forlorn.
At the point of time or moment the Earth would stop moving we would be having day or night or dawn or dusk and one of the three seasons. With stopping of its movements, each place of the world would have to be confined to either day, night, dusk or dawn and whatever season we would be having at that point of time. We would not know how to handle the new situation as, we are used to changes. How would we time our daily routines, when would we work and when would we sleep. The strict discipline of nature of passing on from day to night and from night to day would be converted into a static position. Loss of discipline in nature would cause increase of indiscipline in our daily routines. The guiding factor of day and night having gone, we would just rest when we would want to and work when we want to. This would be a scenario of utter confusion and absolute indiscipline.
The loss of seasons would also prevent us from preparing ourselves for them. We would then be in a permanently hot, cold or wet zone. This would never give us relief from the tortures of extremes of any season and we would be unkindly plunged into the effects of one season, never to get solace and relief from a change in the season. How would we enjoy the blessings and fruits of all seasons, we would get stranded in the precincts of one time of the day and one season only.
The day the Earth stops its movements round the sum will be a day of doom for us on earth. All the advantages of these movements presented to us on a platter would seem to be unkindly withdrawn. We would be sufferers at the hands of the Almighty and all hands would raise in prayer to HIM for restoration of the gifts, HE has so graciously awarded to us since the very inception of creation.

What is Addiction ?

Addiction as the word normally implies is, to get used to something to such an extent that life cannot be conducted without it. It is an old and wise understanding that we should do everything, eat and drink everything but never get addicted to anything. This is because addiction leads to dissatisfaction, frustration and ultimate destruction. No matter what we get addicted to, it is bound to lead to a sense of annihilation at some stage or the other.
In the context o today’s scenario in India, we use the word addiction mostly to, addiction of drugs. Standing at rooftops, speaking from public platforms, we all decry addiction but, has anyone of us cared to analyse the cause of this addiction. This addiction of today, commonly to drugs, is not just fun for the young, there is a deep seated cause of this epidemic. This deep seated cause is in the violent change of styles, of family life, of society and of demands and ambitions of parents. All these together make life hell for the younger generation and they take recourse to drugs for solace and peace of mind.
Let us objectively and rationally study the causes of drug addiction. First cause I can attirubte to this, is the home. The father and mother are always busy in earning money, no elders are at home. The child and the home both flourish on the work of servants, ayahs and crèches. Now, when the child small or big comes home from school, what does he see, a pet dog, a servant or a cook. This is the first cause of frustration, whom is he going to tell his experiences, in school, his woes and enjoyments? Parents often compare their children with their peers. Peer pressure adds to the child’s frustration. I feel, it is the parents whose unfulfilled ambitions come to play a prominent role here. However, they don’t ever seem to realize that this criticism of the child will not make the child but mar his desire to study.
Next in line of culprits comes the Society who only keep comparing children – they seem to forget that “comparisons are odious”. These comparisons make the children hate each other.
It appears here that parents and society seem to forget that all children cannot achieve same targets, all have their individual limitations. Friends and elders what would you do if some day your child turns up to you and compares you to other parents whom he feels are better than you? Would not it cause frustration in your mature minds? Then what do you expect to achieve by comparing children and being over ambitious.
Because of circumstances at home and immediate social circle children become prone to substance abuse. When they are lured by their seniors, whom they see as their ideals, they become entrapped. This section of society is the greates contributor towards increase of drug addiction in India. If the drugs would not be easily available at sweets shops, in front of schools and colleges, from where would the children get them? We elders help them to get drugs and addicted to drugs, and then shout about it.
When this addiction crosses a certain level, the addicts cannot do without them and the next step is to steal from home, money to buy the drugs. So, till now they were only drug addicts, at a later stage, they get an added qualification of becoming thieves in their very homes.
When the child has reached this stage of addiction that, there is no going back, the parents cry and brood but, what is the use of crying over spilt milk? I squarely blame the home, society and this world of elders for getting our younger generation addicted to drugs.
Every generation has been young then why this special frustration in the present generation only? This is because, I daresay the elders of this younger generation have become more callous than any elders ever before. With their continuous lust for money, the world of adults doesn’t seem to see and understand where they are leading the younger generation. To improve the lives of the young, I daresay the elders must mend their ways, for, if life continues to move at this pace it will not be long that we will have to sit and bemoan the loss of a younger generation i.e. the future of the country.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Scene in Front of a Cinema Hall

These days movies have become a great source of attraction for young boys and girls. They are rather crazy for films and film – stars. They know more about these film – stars than about their great men of the past and the present. They can do without their meals, but they cannot forego the latest movie. A cinema house attracts more people than a temple does. Young boys and girls in particular are mad after pictures.
There is a lot of hustle and bustle in front of a cinema hall. On one side there is a thick crowd standing in a queue pushing and elbowing one another. On the other side rich persons in the best of clothes stand near the booking window where there is a heavy rush. Various types of people besiege the cinema house and are very anxious to go inside. Gatekeepers stand at every gate to check tickets. The sound of the horns never ceases. Rich people pour in with cars and scooters and middle class people in rickshaws or on cycles. The riff – raff come on foot and shout, clap and hiss. Policemen move to and fro to control the traffic.
It is seen in front of a cinema hall that till the last minute people continue rushing in. some go in and occupy their seats and others stand in the open and indulge in gossips. It appears from their faces that they have more knowledge of human nature than does a full day in a library. A cinema hall is a human museum or a fir of human faces with different dresses and belonging to different walks of life. The scene is so busy, tempting and exciting that none feels bored there.
A few persons manage to get a large number of tickets and sell them at high prices. There is none to check this black. Marketing even in cinema houses. The great rush of people offers a good opportunity for the pick – pockets. Even the eve – teasers have a busy time. Sometimes a few ever – teasers receive a sound beating from the people.

My Favourite Leader

Our country has produced a galaxy of thinkers and theoreticians, but there have been very few who have translated theory into practice and converted promise into performance. The life and work of Sardar Patel, whose forty – seventy death anniversary was observed on December 15 lst year show that “things are revolutionized not by creating revolutions on the streets but by achieving practical solutions to the existing problems”. In these days, when virtually India is writing another disappointed story of disorder and disarray in its beleaguered history; it is of paramount importance that the nation’s attention should be invited to Sardar Patel’s concrete and constructive contribution in various areas of Indian polity and administration. Sardar Patelji, the first Home Minister of free India, was a remarkable personality and he is my favourite leader for his innumerable qualities.
There is no one in modern India who has achieved so much in so many directions and in such a short time as Sardar Patel. At the time of his death, the Manchester Guardian wrote that without Patel, Gandhiji’s ideas would have less practical influence and Nehru’s idealism less scope. He was not only the organizer of the fight for freedom but also the arcthitect of the new state when the fight was over. The same man is seldom successful both as rebel and statesman. Sardar Patel was an exception. We learn from his life that it is the constructive work alone that can inject meaning into the veins of history and civilization. The great questions of the day are not settled by speeches and slogans but by sound and solid actions just like did by Sardar Patel in his life.
One of the greatest triumphs in real sense of realism and responsibility of Sardar Patel was integration of over 500 princely states. In respect of this great task, he has often been compared with Chancellor Bismarck who unified Germany in the late nineteenth century. But Sardar Patel’s achievements are far more remarkable than that of Bismarck. The latter had to deal with only a dozen states in comparison to 561 dealt with by Sardar Patel. Patelji brought about a bloodless revolution as compared to the policy of ‘blood & iron’ of Bismarck. He showed an amazing capacity to size up men and moments and to strike when the iron was hot. His efforts resulted in adding of about eighty thousand square kilometers of land to the Indian Union.
Sardar Patel’s great contribution was warmly recognized by both Gandhiji and Lord Mountbatten. Gandhiji observed about Patelji : “The task of dealing with the princes was truly formidable, but I am convinced that the Sardar was the only person who could have coped with it”. In a letter written by Lord Mountbatten to Patelji, it said “There is no doubt that by far the most important achievement of the present government is unification of the states into the Dominion of India. Had you failed in this, the results would have been disastrous. But since you succeeded, no one can see the disastrous consequences that you avoided. Nothing has added to the prestige of the present Government more than the brilliant policy you have followed with the states”.
Sardar Patelji first formulated the great design for a well-knit India and then proceeded to materialize it on the ground. He aroused the patriotic sentiments of the princes and remind them : “We are at a momentous stage in the history of India. By a common endeavour, we can raise the country to a new greatness, while lack of unity will expose us to fresh calamities”. At the same time, he took care not to allow any grass to grow underneath his feet. Patel was accused for sometime for being anti – Muslim. Unfortunately, in the present day India, this accusation has to be faced by all those who are the real benefactors of the Muslims but who have the courage and commitment of calling a spade a spade, and making a distinction between appeasement and fairness.
The approach followed by Patel was direct and dynamic. He often combined his morning walk with the inspection of the streets of the city. Taking clue from Sardar Patel’s solid and selfless work in the streets of Ahmedabad, Gandhiji advised the municipal councilors all over the country for not seeking honours or indulge in mutual rivalries, but, he advised them to have real spirit of service and convert themselves into unpaid sweepers and roadmakers and above all take pride in doing so. Patel was an embodiment of probity in public life. The only property he left comprised a few dhotis and kurtas and a suitcase. He did not tolerate malfeasance anywhere. Even a minor impropriety by his partymen was sternly dealt with. Patel constructed a model which solved many of the acute problems of sanitation, health, water supply, waste disposal and traffic.
Today our country is facing a serious threat to its integrity in which administration is collapsing and terrorism is extending its tentacles right from the State of Kashmir to the other end of Coimbatore. At such times, it is essential for the nation particularly the ruling elite to remember the teaching and approach of Sardar patel and ward off the coming anarchy. I still love to read books written by Sardar Patel and get inspiration from his achievements and teachings. I wish that the present leaders must take a cue from his books and make ways for the prosperity of the nation.

We The people of India.

We, the people of India are a rich tapestry of cultures, faiths and festivals. The people and communities of India are best seen in the regional context. The regions are ancient and culturally cohesive and go back to the pre-historic period. Even our earliest literature refers to the Andhras, Vangas, Angas and Cheras. The Mahabharata is truly a story of all the communities in India. The Aini-i-Akbari was the first national gazetteer of India which lists the dominant lineages drawn from different communities in various parts of Akbar’s empire. The ‘people of India’ project was the first plan-Indian survey of all the commuities in India from 1984 to 1996.
Mostly Indians are a highly mixed people. Yet their likeness appears to be more prominent than their differences. The number of genes in which they differ are only few in comparison to the vast number of genes they have in common. There is a much greater homogenization among communities in terms of morphological and genetic traits at the regional level. In fact, most communities within a region of state many traits. This has been significantly brought out in the anthropomorphic survey of population in various states.
The people of India as per the constitution of India in a collective sense are identified into five human groups namely the Scheduled Castes. The Scheduled Tribes, the Religions and Linguistic Minorities, the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, and the Anglo Indians.
All these groups are spread all over the country and most of them have been heterogeneous un terms of their perception of themselves, their differing versions of origin, their kinship structures, their life cycle ceremonies, their occupations which have now diversifies and so on. These communities derived their identities from their environment, their resources, their occupation and their original territory or villages.
The roots in the local cultural system, is an outstanding characteristic for the communities, no matter what religion they are attached with.
Indian society is marked by division and hierarchy. There are no communities without divisions. On the face of it, segments including exogamous divisions or groups, synonyms, surnames and titles add up to a mind boggling figure of about eighty thousand. However, at some different platform, they form an interesting tapestry market by different levels of perception, status and identity. A wide range of interaction is also shown by them including sharing of linkages and commonalities among communities in a linguistic regional and inter-regional context.
Further it is seen that all the communities and races living in India are also placed in a hierarchical order. Hierarchy differs from region to region. Based on the different perceptions, communities are ranked in a low, middle and high order. Ther has been an overall pervasive impact of the development process. As the movement towards the political equality grows and it gets translated into economic terms, there has been communities from the lower order move into the middle zone. This explains the burgeoning middle class, an amorphous category which encompasses a whole range of people moving up and going down into a arena of economic activity. We, the people of India, highlight the rise of the middle class over a large social spectrum including most communities and from almost all regions.
Among the people of India, there are still some communities which do not have adequate representation in the classified ranks of the society. Similarly, the remotest communities have been drawn into the vortex of Indian politics, and they are the participants in the recent political processes going on in the country. However, this process has still to move forward so as to encompass each section of people in order that our democracy, the social base of which is widening, becomes truly fully participative one. Further, it is a fact that the people of India are located within the civilization vocabulary cutting across various language barriers. Our late Prime Minister had truly said that India is a cultural unity amidst diversity, a bundle of contradictions held together by strong but invisible threads of lobe and affection.
Another thing which is very interesting about the people of India is that we share traits far more than the traits that we do not share. A reason for this could be the fact that most communities have emerged from the same ecological, ethnic, socio-cultural background, even though later they embraced different religious or other ways of life. Contrary to the general impression and inspite of the higher value attached to vegetarianism, only about twenty percent of the Indian communities are vegetarian. Mild culture has spread in the wake of the white revolution and a large number of communities report the consumption of milk. In the eating habits of the People of India, there has been a general shift from non –vegetarianism to vegetarianism. However, at the same time, there has been a sharp increase in the consumption of alcoholic beverages by men in various Communities with growth in economy in the post green revolution phase, there has been a diversification of occupations among the People of India. Today, there are very few communities whose members follow only one occupation.