(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Farmers on foot, tractors, trucks have marched from Punjab towards Haryana and Delhi. Along the way, they have faced barricades, police resistance which morphed into tear gas, water canons and arguably some baton wielding. It’s not a pretty picture and the typical hubris of Modi government is painted in our newspapers. The stand off has refused to die down two months after the three Farmers’ Acts were passed by the Parliament in September.
Emotions are running high. So I would cut out the flourish and engage the readers in the simplest of language possible.
So, let’s first work out what the farmers want and what the Centre is loathe to give it to them. The essence of these Farm Acts is that (a) it’s now One Nation, One Agriculture market; (b) that farmers could engage with private players; and (c) No need to hoard the grains.
ONE NATION ONE AGRICULTRE MARKET: It implies that a farmer could sell his produce anywhere in the country. So, if I am a Punjab farmer, and couldn’t look beyond the mandis of the state (read Agriculture Produce Market Committee—APMC) thus far, I could now scan the neighbouring states of Himachal, Haryana or Uttar Pradesh and get the best price on my produce;
FARMERS COULD ENGAGE WITH PRIVATE PLAYERS: Farmers in Punjab are hampered on water and technological issues. The water tables of the state are so depleted that there are “Cancer Villages in Punjab” due to all the chemicals and pesticides. The simplest example on technological issue is the stubble-burning which makes Delhi a gas chamber and which the farmers’ can’t attend to because of the cost involved. Now farmers could engage private players for redemption on these fronts, including seeds.
NO STOCKPILING: The Centre says we have enough food. Farmers’ don’t need to stockpile but for exceptional circumstances. The State government wants to have it say. It’s not a major point in the present confrontation.
Once these three Farm bills were moved, Shiromani Akali Dal walked out of the alliance with the BJP. The Punjab state government of Congress, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, moved a resolution which was passed by the state assembly to override these Farm Acts of the Centre. Yet, the agitation has refused to die down because the President of India hasn’t given his assent to the state assembly’s resolution.
The arguments from the other side, backed by the Punjab state government and passed by the assembly, are these:
(a) The State government could notify the fee on any private or electronic transaction. So if you go to Punjab, as a private, player, the state government could actually levy tax on you (So whither Ease of Doing Business?)
(b) Instead of a few hundred mandis, the whole Punjab state would thus become a mandi over which the writ of the state government would run large;
(c) The Punjab state government says that the procurement of wheat and paddy should happen only on the Minimum Support Price (MSP). If it is bought for less, the state would have the right to punish the private player. The State say we are doing so to protect the future of farmers: What happens if the Centre changes its mind and does away the MSP for wheat and paddy?
It’s the MSP which is the stickiest of all points. The contention that private players in future could hold the farmers at their mercy is unfounded. As of last year, the total procurement by private players in the State was a mere 0.58 per cent. Further, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, some 80 crores of the 150-crore population are being given free foodgrains. The Centre would always need to procure foodgrains. The incitement to farmers that their future would be held to ransom is fallacious.
Sure, the MSP is not just important for the farmers. It’s also important for the Punjab state government. It taxes farmers to the tune of 8.5 per cent. Last year, the Punjab state government made 3600 crore revenue out of this exercise. This money, they claim, they spend on the welfare of farmers which includes free electricity and free water.
Naturally, MSP suits both farmers and the Punjab state government. Farmers get free subsidies. The State government affords it through taxation, most of which comes from the revenue that the Centre gives by procuring the foodgrains.
The Centre is loathe to guarantee MSP. One, there is little logic as outlined since the government would always need foodgrains. Two, as said, private players are miniscule in this game. Besides, wheat and paddy are not the only produce from Punjab. There is a flourishing dairy industry too. All could benefit if the market is allowed to take its own course.
Arguing in favour of farmers for “free” subsidies is the same if I go to my bank tomorrow and say I can’t pay my loan back because it pinches my pocket. That’s no argument. You can’t run a nation on this premise. Further private players, as said, could provide solution to a lot of lingering farm issues in this country. If the threat of a punitive State action is around, nobody would come forward. The farm situation would only worsen. E-commerce players like Grofers and Big Basket, a win-win for all, would suffer.
Now look at it from another perspective. This issue seems only to concern Punjab. The farmers in the rest of the country have no issue with these three Farm Acts. Wheat and Paddy and that too of Punjab farmers isn’t the entire India and its produce. Could a state hold to ransom which is good for farmers and sectors all across?
Now let’s delve on the political aspect of it. Captain Amarinder Singh and Congress know that the election is only a year and a half away in 2022. This is the right time to make a capital investment. Shrimoni Akali Dal too want to recover its lost ground. It’s BJP, who would fight all 117 seats alone. Who stands to lose the most? One should give BJP credit for persisting in face of such adverse poll logic.
There is also this question of middlemen. It’s not an inconsiderable number in Punjab: At the last count it was 36,000. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) gave them Rs 1,600 crores at 2.5 percent commission last year. They stand to lose the most if the monopoly of mandis (APMC) is done with. They also flourish under the political patronage. Both won’t like the new measures to kick in.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
All of us are grieved for our dead soldiers in Ladakh. That all of us want a retribution. That the government is literally closing doors on Chinese telecom equipment which enjoys one-fourth of Indian market. That the Confederation of All-India Traders (CAIT), claiming to represent 7 crore traders, has called for a boycott of Chinese products. That the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar have used the language the nation wanted to hear.
Most of us have also resolved to boycott Chinese goods. It’s also dawning on us though that it’s easier said than done. I mean our mobile phones run on parts supplied by China. Our consumer goods, electronics, toys, furnishings, textiles, luggage, watches, kitchen items, footwear and frozen food etc bear Chinese imprints. We are also heavily reliant on China in pharmaceuticals and automobile sectors. There are thousands—yes, THOUSANDS– of products we import from China. Our supply chains rely on China. Where do we start and where do we end?
If this is unnerving, you could forward the argument that the Chinese entrenchment in our system is creating millions of jobs in trade, kirana shops and logistics. That there is much ado about nothing since our exports matter only two per cent to overall China’s buying. That India’s loss would matter little to China which has economy five times ours size. Besides, how do I throw out my “Ganesha” and “agarbattis”?
This implies that we need a serious introspection. We want our government to hit China hard; we want our soldiers to spill their blood in inhospitable terrains; we appeal for funds to be raised for the martyrs’ families; we dominate hashtags on social media with our outrage but we don’t—or can’t—do anything else. We could urge boycott of China’s goods but please excuse us from doing it ourselves. There is one thing we want from the nation; quite literally the other we do in practice. We want our soldiers to make the ultimate sacrifice but won’t allow that little pinch in the pocket. Can a nation survive without the cost paid by its citizens?
The Confederation of All-India Traders say there are at least 3,000 Chinese products we could easily replace with our own. If you can’t put away your mobiles, make sure you aren’t buying out-and-out Chinese brands. In case of an IPhone or a Samsung, the profits go to those companies and not to component-makers in Shenzen. Besides, what does it take to delete at least Chinese apps from your mobile phones even if you swoon over tik-tok?
China is today only doing what superpowers have done all through since the Industrial Revolution. You loan out a huge amount to a poor or developing country on very generous terms and with a long window. When the debt becomes unpayable, you extract your pound of flesh in form of a nation’s resources.
That’s what China did with Sri Lanka who now has surrendered the critical Hambantota port which is such a critical military advantage to China overlooking India. It did the same to Djibouti which was forced to allow China a military base on its land. Angola is paying through its nose with crude oil on the debt it’s unable to service as per terms. Kenya is on the verge of defaulting on China’s loan extended for a railway link between Mombasa and Nairobi. It could soon be parting with its Port of Mombasa. South Africa is fearing a similar debt trap. There are endless such instances in Latin America, Europe, Asia and rest of Africa.
I am sure none of us want India to suffer a similar loss of sovereignty. That we want this trade disadvantage of $50 billion to be reduced to a nought. That we are virtually funding China to hurt us. That if we could boycott the Chinese goods we could, it would reduce the trade imbalance by $13 billion in 2021.
Sure, we want Modi government to stand by us with tariff and non-tariff measures. That it must call out China which subsidizes its products, under-prices it, and makes our traders and manufacturers uncompetitive. Our government does—and could do more—to cushion our exporters. That self-reliance–Atmanirbhar—would create products, supply chains and jobs in due course. After all, in this Corona pandemic, we did manage with our supply chains and various local productions did come up.
Let’s not fool ourselves that Indo-China trade is beneficial only to us. It matters hugely to China. There are any number of investments it makes in India through the back channels of Hong Kong and vessel states. That’s why India has decided to screen direct foreign investments. That’s why India has chosen not to be a part of RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Corporation) which would have only rerouted China’s gains. That’s why India has refused to grant market tag to China as neither its’ banks nor pricing is independent of this Communist state. The Modi government is showing its spine: We need to show ours.
(This is a reprint of NewsBred).
The rule of law has taken two extraordinary steps this week which should send a chill down the spine of forces hell-bent on breaking up India on religious lines.
The first one concerns media which clearly works on partisan political lines, if not to the smell of funds which they could be receiving from Indian and foreign sources. The other involves the alleged anti-CAA violence perpetrators in Uttar Pradesh who have been hung out to dry in public by the state government.
The Information and Broadcasting ministry banned two Malayalam channels for 48 hours, beginning 5.30 p.m today (The ban was subsequently lifted this morning following appeals by the two channels). The two channels are Media One and Asianet News. Media One is owned by a company which is backed by Jamaat-e-Islami. Asianet News is indirectly owned by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar. (So please cut out the notion that the Centre is discriminating on partisan lines).
The I & B Ministry’s charge against Media One read: “The anchor/correspondent saying that it seems the vandals and police are hands in glove (on Delhi violence)…and the government’s cold-shouldered approach towards anti-CAA protesters is the main reason behind ongoing protests in the national capital.”
On Asianet News, the Ministry cited similar instances of anchor/correspondent claiming “Centre gave silent consent for the violence”; and that the “violence turned communal after a group of Hindu people chanted Jai Shri Ram.”
Centre had to return to its trenches against NDTV for a similar ban in 2016 on fake news after the Channel knocked the doors of Supreme Court. The present move seems to convey Centre’s intent to check unbridled “press freedom.” A few newspapers too, with their glaring bias and prejudice, promote ill-will and communal hatred. They too deserve be booked.
The second instance, which concerns the CAA protestors and the UP government, is sensational. The Yogi Adityanath government has put up big banners at four prominent junctions of Lucknow, the Capital, which puts the faces, names and addresses of 28 arsonists booked for anti-CAA violence last December. These people have claimed it puts them and their families at risk. And that the charges against them haven’t been proved. The UP government says it’s not a conviction rather a recovery notice made public.
I have a feeling it’s the start of Big Brother striking back. The gloves could be off. Media had crossed the threshold where it could hide behind the garb of “freedom of press.” The “mob-street” strategy of political, colonial and Islamist forces could now be paid in the same coin. You wanted to take the battle in your hand; avoid the Courts? Go ahead. Governemnt would meet you with the guerilla tactics of its own. Tomorrow, when you don’t want to show your papers—“Kaagaz nahin dekhaenge”—your mobile networks could go out of coverage area. Your bank accounts could be suspended. You would then remember Indian courts–and find your “kaagaz”–for good reasons.
Who knows, judiciary in this country could be carrying grouse of its own. This “mafia” all too often drags them in the mud. One day, the Chief Justice of India is embarrassed on sexual harassment charge. Other day, an innocuous praise of PM Modi makes a judge an object of hatred amongst Liberal media. At other times, social activists say they find judiciary redundant. Impeachment moves are made against the Chief Justice of India. When judiciary offers mediation to Shaheen Bagh protestors, the latter evinces no interest. Its plea not to occupy public places falls on deaf ears. No wonder, the judiciary is now taking its own sweet time on anti-CAA petitions. It has said it would settle Sabrimala protest first and then worry about CAA. Meanwhile, the government would roll its own National Population Register (NPR) process next month.
It apparently escaped the notice of anti-Modi forces that a person who could rearrange the decades-old Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir won’t be cowed down by pressure tactics. A man who could send the armed forces to border in an eye-to-eye showdown for months in Doklam, won’t be cowed down. A man who could do a surgical strike inside the Pakistani territory, can’t be cowed down. A man who could defy the threat of US sanctions against buying S-400 missile system from Russia, can’t be cowed down.
So Left-Liberals, dub him the way you prefer. Take steroids of Islamist forces such as Iran and Turkey. Inject the poison of United Nations Human Rights Council or European Union. The man doesn’t give a fig. A billion behind him don’t give a fig either.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a disgrace and don’t take my words alone for it.
The United States withdrew from the body in 2018 stating it to be a “cesspool of political bias.” US secretary of state Mike Pompeo termed the council as a “protector of human rights abusers.” Nick Haley, the US envoy to the UN, termed it a “hypocritical body” that “makes a mockery of human rights.”
And this is not Donald Trump alone. The Bush Administration did likewise when the Council was created in 2006. The reasons cited were the same: The Council was ignoring same of world’s worst atrocities while showing its bias for a few on the religious lines.
Indeed, some of world’s worst terrorist-sponsoring nations and human rights violators have occupied the high seats of this Council. This Council would do nothing to pull up a Saudi Arabia or a Pakistan who treat women terribly. But talk of Israel and the Jewish nation has been censured no less than 68 times between 2006-2016. Sixty-eight times!!! And this is nearly half of all the resolutions the Council has adapted against countries in its existence till now.
The Counil, meanwhile, doesn’t bat an eyelid when the Palestinian Authority runs a “pay to slay” program which rewards those who indulge in bombing and terrorism; launch rockets and missiles at Israeli citizens from Gaza.
Do we need to remind the world how UNHRC ignores human violations in China or Cuba; Afghanistan or Congo? That there is death sentence for gays in Somalia and Sudan? That Mauritania allows slaves? That Qatar and Libya both enslave migrants? Or the tyranny which Maduro exerts in Venezuela? No prizes for guessing: All are members of the UNHRC.
Do you think this is an angst of a Hindu nationalist peeved at UNHRC’s resolution against India on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)? Consider this:
Former United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, mentioned the Council so in his farewell speech in 2016: “Decades of political maneuverings have created a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel.”
What did the Council do when millions were being displaced and killed in Kyrgyzstan in inter-ethnic violence in 2010? It expressed “support and encouragement to Kyrgyzstan government for its efforts.” The Council spoke about “human rights violations” in Iran for a mere 171 seconds in 2015. The Council succumbed to the pressure of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 2008 and qualified their “freedom of expression” charter with the caveat that it didn’t cover religious discrimination. Can you beat it!
The present Council is a makeover of Human Rights Commission which was scrapped in 2005 by an overwhelming vote of the UN General Assembly. This happened after decades of complaints and well-encapsulated by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan with these words: “The commission had been undermined by declining credibility and professionalism”. Autocrat states came together to block any scrutiny of their records. Libya, despite its poor human rights record, chaired the commission once. No action was initiated against Sudan despite its terrible excesses in 2004.
The new Council though was no different to its previous avatar. Many see it as a stain on United Nations. Its members continue to vote in bloc rather than address each issue separately. African group tends to vote as a bloc and so does OIC, as per a report by the Democracy Coalition Project. Their stands mostly reflect security and economic ties and worrying about human right abuses is farthest from their minds.
So when such a body makes a political stand in the garb of “human rights”, take it with a pinch of salt. It has an overwhelming bias against Jews–and you could now safely add Hindus to this list. This disgrace on world community would be shown its rightful place by the Indian Supreme Court in due course. Meanwhile mark those Jaichands and Mir Jafars who are rejoicing at the censure of UNHRC against the Modi regime. These scums care little for your country or human rights. Reserve only contempt for such garbage.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The corporate tax reforms of Friday are seen as the biggest in India since 1991 when India opened up its gates to the global headwinds of liberalization.
By slashing up to 10 per cent of the existing tax burden on the corporates, the Modi government has now made them internationally competitive, inviting investments both from within and abroad which in turn implies more growth, more jobs and more income—the surest way to spurt in consumption.
Good things under Modi government usually leave its opponent red-faced and into attempts at spitting the moon. Praise is impossible; prejudice is palpable and putsch is the goal.
Indian Express has an army of lowbrows and it’s always fun to see its toxic factory working overtime when good things are brewing.
So, this is how Indian Express reacted to Modi government’s Big Bang reforms of Friday:
“Analysts (no one is named or quoted) raise question over whether corporate would (indeed) reinvest the surplus, or (opt for) reducing debts or high shareholders’ returns.”
Smart alec isn’t it. I mean don’t we have the instance under UPA when provident funds of employees were swindled by powers? That scamsters like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya were given loans to pay off their existing loans? That real estate barons took our money and diverted it into other projects? That subsidies and cash-sops meant for the poor were siphoned off by profiteers? What’s the guarantee that present tax-sops would help the nation and not the corporate-honchos?
Indian Express has of course obscured a crucial piece of the jigsaw. It’s how attractive Indian companies would now be to foreign funds. India is now as attractive as any other Asian country, or almost all, for multinationals to invest or move their production/assemblage operations to India.
Both Indian Express, and its comrade-in-arms, The Hindu, have lamented the fiscal deficit which would grow after Friday’s measures. Tax-cuts would mean lesser revenue for the government and hence the income and spending divergence would grow further. Both have shed copious tears.
But, as economist Surjit Bhalla tweets, the fiscal deficit arises from within. It’s endogenous, an outcome of policies…government budget deficit should be neither the goal nor the instrument of good policy. It’s the byproduct of good policy…Alas the lessons in Econ 000 escapes all the opposition and a large majority of professional economists in India.”
The Hindu goes at length to measure every penny which India would lose by way of these tax-cuts. It says: “Ms Sitharaman said the revenue foregone is Rs 1.45 lakh crore…the bounty of Rs 1.75 lakh crore received from the Resere Bank of India, as dividend is obviously a cushion and it is this money that the government has now given away.”
Who are we to tell these foggies that no foreign investor invests in India because the “fiscal deficit” is not remarkable. They do it for growth since most of the world is starved for growth.
Sitaram Yechury, the known Modi-government baiter, is up to his old tricks: “Enriching Corporates: Heaping further miseries on people. Misappropriation of RBI reserves of Rs 1.76 lakh crore is now being transferred to corporates instead of being used for increasing public investment that will generate employment and boost demand.”
Kids’ stuff really. These were the same forces who were flashing a dipping Sensex as a sign that Indian economy has sunk. Now that Sensex has moved upwards like it never did in the last decade, they are suggesting that Sensex is no indicator of country’s economy!
Don’t think it would stop any soon. Modi would return from Houston and “Howdy, Modi” with a list of investments in India. It would rile these forces further. Sitaram Yechury is already saying that it’s a massive concession to foreign speculators.
I mean what do we do with such inimical forces who don’t see any good in Triple Talaq Act, Article 370 abrogation or Big Ticket reforms. When Parliament works at its optimum, there is a chorus what’s the rush in pushing through bills. When Ayodhya dispute is being unravelled daily, they have a problem with that too. Nothing which the citizens consider good for the country is deemed one by these forces.
Insufferables, I say.
(Post Script: Neither Indian Express nor The Hindu would tell you Prime Minister Narendra Modi used special powers to bring the ordinance to amend the finance bill to cut corporate tax rates before leaving for the US. Section 12 of the Cabinet rules empowers the PM to use the power of the Cabinet under special circumstances. Anything but Modi seen in good light.)
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Andimuthu Raja of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) calls it “a dark day for democracy.” Shashi Tharoor of the Congress sees it a bid to remove “the two greatest armours of institutional independence” and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, views it as an attack on “our democratic right to information.”
Serious isn’t it. Who doesn’t know Raja or Tharoor or Chowdhury. I mean we all have heard of 2G licenses, Sunanda Pushkar and “gandi naali (drainage)” slur. They are our much-in-news parliamentarians who today have hogged our newspapers for faking their concern on the amendments to the Right To Information (RTI) Act 2019.
On Monday, Lok Sabha trembled to their din on the amendment to the RTI Act, 2005. As per the amendment, the Information Commissioners (ICs) will have terms and salaries decided by the Centre, instead of being on par with those of Election Commissioners. Tharoor bristled with rage: “Are you bringing this amendment because an IC asked the PMO to reveal the PM’s educational details?” Chowdhary found it an attempt to “keep tab on the Commission and kill its freedom.” NK Premachandran of Revolutionary Socialist Party (never mind if you haven’t heard of him) is convinced the amendment is an attempt to benefit the Central government.
All this for defining the terms and salaries of Information Commissioners?
So, here are the facts. The RTI Amendment Bill 2019 in no way compromises the autonomy or independence of RTI Act 2005. The amendment leaves Section 12(4) of the Act, which ensures autonomy and independence of the Act, untouched. The appointment of Information Commissioners (Section 12.3) is also not tampered with.
Now to the terms and salaries of Information Commissioners. The present amendment bill seeks to amend section 27 of RTI Act 2005 which DOESN’T define the tenure and terms of conditions for the ICs in its present form!!! Does clearing “ambiguity” on RTI Act sound like a “dark day for Indian democracy” to you?
As per the RTI Act 2005, chief information commissioner is equal to Chief Election Commissioner and there by equal to a Supreme Court judge. Similarly, the state Chief Commissioner is equal to election commissioner and thereby equal to Supreme Court judge.
This itself is an anomaly, considering the fact that Election Commission is a statuary body while Supreme Court and Election Commission are constitutional bodies.
The other contradiction is that CIC and state information commissioners enjoy the status of Supreme Court judge but the verdict passed is liable to be challenged in the High Court. The present bill seeks to correct this anomaly. Besides this amendment hasn’t originated from the government alone but also held by several sections of society and judiciary.
For example, the Rajiv Garg vs UOI Supreme Court judgment of 2013 directed that decision be taken on uniformity of service condition of various tribunals. Similarly, the Second Reform Commission in its 13th report of April 2009 also recommended that there is need for greater uniformity in service conditions. The recent judgment of high court of Kerala states that the Chairman and member of the CAT do no occupy the exalted position of the judge of high court merely because they are given the same benefits.
The present amendment merely is enabling legislation which will authorize the government to frame the rules by amending Section 27 and to deliberate upon the tenures and terms of Central and State Information Commission through Section 13 and Section 16 of the RTI Act 2005. The amendment would further streamline and institutionalize the RTI Act and further facilitate its delivery.
BJP sources say that the commitment of Modi government to strengthen the RTI Act is manifest in the fact that it has introduced the 24-hour portal and a mobile App for convenience of filing RTI anytime, 24 hours, 365 days in a year.
The present government has also implemented Section 4 of RTI Act whereby suo motto (on its own) information is now available on all the government websites even without having to file an RTI to seek information.
The leader of the largest opposition party (read Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of Congress) is also a member of the selection committee when there is no recognized member of opposition in Lok Sabha.
And for all this good, Shashi Tharoor calls it a RTI Elimination Bill.
Said a BJP source: “Those who have vested interest in using RTI as a tool of blackmail are making motivated allegations against the RTI Amendment Bill 2019 which are totally unfounded and unsubstantiated.”
Oh is it? RTI as a tool of blackmail? So next time you read screaming headlines in the Indian Express or The Hindu or Times of India or Hindustan Times or any other Indian daily curse the mugger who might have gained behind this charade of “scrutiny” for public good.
Meanwhile, the RTI Amendment Bill was passed with 218 “yes” and 79 “no” in Lok Sabha on Monday.
It’s for your own and country’s good.
The Ruffians-on-Rafale would be on steroids till 2019 General Elections.
They would make sure you have cataracts in eyes through the newspapers and TV stations of their calling. Don’t be fooled by those grave columnists or spinsters with bob-cuts and garish lipsticks gesticulating on your TV screens. Most of them are on the payrolls.
These ruffians would repackage 5 Essential Lies on Rafale for the next eight months. Stuff them in social media with answers below. This plague then would’ve consumed no innocent. (For recall value, I suggest the format: “Shhhhh….link to this article”).
1.Rs 59,000 crores for 36 Rafale Jets is way overpriced than what UPA/Congress had negotiated with France
This is just not purchase of bare jets but includes Meteor missiles of extraordinary range, other weapons, training systems, performance-based logistical and enhanced maintenance support. The UPA/Congress contract envisaged in 2012 was only for production of bare aircraft that would’ve called for many separate additional contracts, delayed by years and thousands of extra crores. (As an aside, why did UPA/Congress envisaged only bare aircraft? Was the scandal of Mirage-2000—jets first, weapons later—only a prototype?).
- Why is NDA government afraid for a Joint Parliamentary Probe if the purchases are fair, as Ms Priyanka Chaturvedi, Congress spokesperson, wickedly strutted on Sunday.
The Opposition knows the government can’t make a public statement due to inter-governmental secrecy clauses. If the Opposition wants detail, it could ask the Parliament for a secret session as permitted by Clause 245-252 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sobha for all the financial and technical details. Or shut up.
3. The government has ignored “ a70-year public sector undertaking with a long, clean record and gave the contract to a 12-day old company…to favour a millionaire friend,” says Ms Chaturvedi
Ms. Chaturvedi ought to know that this “millionaire friend,” presumably Anil Ambani has already filed a Rs 5,000 crore case against her bosses’ National Herald on the matter. But first thing first. This “70-year-old public sector undertaking,” presumably HAL, has been out on a limb on all previous licence productions. That’s because the concerned Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) never take guarantee on aircraft manufactured by HA. In the Rafale case, Dassault Aviation (the OEM for Rafale) has refused to take responsibility for the work-share of HAL. Further, HAL assessed manhours which were nearly three times than taken by the OEM.
As for Anil Ambani’s Reliance ADAG, the OEM (M/s Dassault and partners) could choose any offset partner in India from a list of 100 which includes Reliance. However, the deal between them is of a different kind. Reliance ADAG has a 49 per cent stake in DRAL, the joint venture formed with Dassault. This JV is for aero structures for Dassault’s Falcon 2000 civil aircrafts, completely unrelated to the Rafale deal.
4. Why buy only 36 aircrafts when 126 fighter jets were required?
UPA/Congress never signed the deal in 2012. The Indian Air Force projected an urgent need for 36 aircrafts in 2014. The Modi government anyway is set to grant approval for acquisition of 114 new fighter jets for over $20 billion later this month.
5. The government has sacrificed the interest of the country (presumably by buying lesser aircrafts at a higher price)
It’s a bit rich coming from Congress. The Jaguar, Mirage-2000, SU-30 MKI acquisitions bordered on scandals in the past. Despite the criticism, they continued to be bought. 21 Westland WG-30 deal of 1985, bought for Pawan Hans and VVIP travel, had to be junked after accidents. The 1987 Jaguar deal was censored by PAC for the money spent (Rs 1500 crores) had gone down the drain as the planes were outdated. (No one is now flying Jaguar in 2018 but for the IAF). So indifferent have been past governments that in the 90s, India was compelled to procure 20-30 ground MiG-21s from East European countries. This second-hand purchase had to be done to keep the Air Force working.
It’s not NDA but the insensitivity of Congress which is compromising the safety of country. As former chief of Air Staff S. Krishnaswamy–to whom this piece owes a lot of its facts, states: “Thanks are due to those who pushed the decisions against the odds..arguments devoid of merits have an adverse impact…the morale of our military takes a beating. We as a nation must debate while staying with decency and facts. Accountability to the nation must be driven home, on which no one should be spared.’
So be ready with your “Shhh… (link to this article)” on social media over the next eight months. And hundreds of them. All of you.
It’s possible looking at wall-to-wall coverage of Assam’s National Register for Citizens (NRC) final draft in our newspapers that you believe a Hindu nationalist party in the Centre is rendering lakhs of unfortunate Muslims homeless.
It’s also possible that you believe in the blood-curdling call of Mamata Banerjee and fear that a civil war would reach our doorsteps.
It’s quite possible tears are welling up in your eyes at the graphic coverage of Indian Express about unfortunate victims rendered illegal in one stroke.
It’s possible you are breaking out in a sweat over the prospects of another “Partition” as snakes-in-the-sleeve come out writhing in the mud.
It’s quite possible your respect for Congress has gone a millimeter up after they gave adjournment notice in the Lok Sabha over the matter.
My advisory to you is to shove this all in the nearest bin or spare your toilet roll. You need to know that this exercise has been mandated by the Supreme Court (and not Modi government); that it’s just a draft; that no NRC exercise has been taken up after 1951 (sic); that Congress had itself promised so in the Assam Accord of 1985; and that Mamata Banerjee back in 2005 had herself wanted the illegal Bangladesh immigrants identified. In case you want to know everything there is to know about illegal migrants in Assam over the centuries and the present, just to make sure this nonsense doesn’t waste an extra second of yours from now, read this piece and no further.
If nothing, please pay heed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh who has stressed “it’s just a draft” and nobody is going to a “detention centre.”
You could also bear this basic question in mind in case your office-colleagues are thumping your desk down: All the regional leaders who are shedding copious tears on “poor” illegal migrants of Assam– “refugee in own country,” as per Mamata — whether their own people in state would welcome these 40 lakh illegals in their fold.
All things point to nothing materially changing for illegal migrants post release of second draft of NRC. One, India doesn’t have an agreement with Bangladesh in place (our eastern neighbours don’t even acknowledge influx of illegal migrants from its stable); Two, a porous border allows an extradited illegal migrant to return without hassle; Three, many lakhs of illegal immigrants are already spread all over the country, especially in metropolis such as Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. Who keeps tab on them?
Sooner than later though, illegal migrants must be taken off the election rolls; ways must be found to give refuge to millions of fleeing Hindus (and other Indic minority sects) from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh with full citizenship status (without worrying about Rohingyas or Human Right Activists—for Hindus have only India to turn to while Muslims and Christians have dozens of own doors to knock around the world); and illegal migrants legally committed not to indulge in political or religious subversive acts.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
United States wants India to cut down its oil imports from Iran which stands as its third biggest supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump has followed his pre-election promise with withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action (JCPOA) which had enabled China, Russia, France, Germany UK, European Union and the US itself to dilute the economic sanctions against Tehran. Now the sanctions are back in place with the deadline of November 6, 2018 and the world is in turmoil, no less India.
The Trump administration has chosen a new way to browbeat the countries which don’t fall in line. Last August, it introduced CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) to scare those away from trade relations with “hostile” countries such as Russia, North Korea and Iran. International banks and companies which defy the sanctions would bear the brunt. Less oil imports from Iran would hike up the prices and import bills, not just of India but of many around the world. It would hit both inflation and Indian rupee. Since US dominates the re-insurance and payment gateways, bypassing them is difficult.
India’s dilemma is apparent. Before 2005, it paid $12-14 billion annually to oil bills by Iran. But signing the 2005 Indo-US Nuclear Civil Deal, gave New Delhi’s leash in US hands. India voted against Iran in the IAEA General Conference in September the very year; dithered on the Iran-Pakistan-India Pipeline and sounded the death knell of Turkmenistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project. By 2014, India had reduced the Iranian oil imports to $4 billion annually.
The US treasury methodically shut down the banking options for India who then began paying Turkey by cash which then converted it to gold bars and sent it across to Tehran. India was in no position to pay oil bills in US dollars. India did try the balancing act: while Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ceased dealing with Tehran-based Asian Clearing Union in 2010, it came to an understanding with Iran to pay half of its bill in Indian rupees in 2012.
But once the JCPOA came into being, India-Iran trade relations grew back to 2012 days. India also decided to pay out $6.5 billion it owed to Iran, held up due to sanctions. Modi government renewed the stalled Chahbahar port project. Its’ ministers made a beeline to Tehran with promises of oil and infrastructural projects. Iran obliged on its part by granting Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) the gas fields of Farzad B for exploration. The air of optimism only grew better when Iranian president Hassan Rouhani visited New Delhi this February with his oil minister Bijan Zanganeh. India pledged it would double its oil imports from Iran in 2018-2019. Iran, on its part, promised to cut down the freight by $1 per barrel. India pledged to increase import by 500,000 barrels a day.
But now comes the fresh US imposition. Even though foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has reiterated India would only abide by the mandates sanctioned by the United Nations (UN), it’s easier said than done. India and US have a booming trade of $140 billion which could take a grave hit, as well as around $31 billion of bilateral trade surplus advantage India has. Chahbahar port project, which could save millions in trade and increase Afghanistan’s tilt towards India, stands to lose steam. Besides, it just would give a bigger fillip to China to snug closer to Iran, shutting the doors on India.
India would be encouraged by the stand of UK, France, Germany who have expressed “regret and concern over Trump’s disruptive action. The Modi government meanwhile has started to flex its own muscles: in reaction to US postponing the 2+2 dialogue, India has declined US’ offer to host Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. India also seems steadfast in increasing its military deals with Russia which faces similar offensive sanctions from United States.
The one fall-out of all this, including trade barriers ratcheted up by both US and India, is Modi government swinging back appreciably into the China-Russia zone. India has this strategic advantage where countries are looking to wow India rather than the other way around. However, India-US relations for the moment are several notches down than they have ever been since Trump came to power.
(Facebook today came out with a full-page advertisement in Indian Express (September 26, 2017) with 10 tools for a reader to check if a news is fake. It asks readers to check headlines, evidence, photos, source to spot a Fake News. It’s a good reference point to monitor our English national dailies—Lutyens’ Media– who abound in Fake News. It’s a start today and we would gradually warm up to daily planting of Fake News by mainstream media.)
Indian Express today had 7 stories on Banaras Hindu University (BHU) violence, running from its Front Page to multiple pages inside its Delhi edition. It fails the Facebook Fake News Challenge on multiple counts.
EVIDENCE: A front page piece attributes several issues which girl hostellers face in BHU. There is not a SINGLE source attributed!!! Further there is no attempt to investigate—in this or in any other BHU story in Indian Express today if there is truth in (a) Outside BHU elements creating ruckus; (b) attempt to destroy the University property; (c) police targeting only these “troublemakers” (d) BHU Vice-Chancellor alleging protests politically motivated.
Interestingly, THE PROTESTORS THEMSELVES SAY THE OUTSIDE ELEMENTS HAVE CAUSED THE TROUBLE!!! Why Express has made no attempt to investigate it? Or other news reports? (see image)?
SOURCE: Seema Chisti writes thus on Edit Page in today’s Express: “BHU has pushed for no Wi-Fi (How can the new VC risk Wi-Fis, as girls would watch porn). Meat-eating must be curbed and early bedtimes enforced. The VC, who defended RSS ideas, was keen to stamp out any trouble in BHU.”
The Facebook Fake News Challenge asks readers to be sceptical of the source you don’t trust. Seema Chisti falls in this bracket. She never mentions she is Seema Chisti Yechury, wife of Communist powerhead, Sitaram Yechury. Readers can’t be faulted if she is perceived as part of Communist propaganda machine.
One, there is Wi-Fi in girls’ hostel (so they can watch porn, Ms Chisti). Two, meat-eating is not curbed (Extra Rs 30 ensure it); Three, early bedtimes are not enforced–Girl students can take permission from BHU authorities and stay out as long as they want.
Let’s not even stoop to reply her charge on the BHU VC having RSS leaning (And why readers must not presume you are a Communist loudspeaker, Ms Chisti?)
HEADLINES: The Front Page headline of “Why women BHU students are separate and unequal” is classically ambiguous. You can interpret it both ways—that WHY SHOULD girls have separate rules or WHY SHOULD NOT there be separate rules.. But for the standard tactics of misleading headlines, I would give a more concrete example.
On Page 11 of Indian Express, one of its exclusive story has this headline: “Rohingya illegal, purse-strings open for Lankan Tamil refugees”. Now this headline clearly aims to influence the readers that the Modi government is discriminatory; it has one policy for Rohingya Muslims and another for Non-Muslims. What it shamelessly hides is that Rohingyas are ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS and not REFUGEES! So the two instances can’t be compared. Unless the newspaper sees no difference between apples and oranges.
As an aside, click on this link to see how from politicians (Ashok Gehlot, Sanjay Sharma), to journalists (Mrinal Pande, Swati Chaturvedi) to lawyers (Prashant Bhushan) have blatantly peddled lies on the BHU affair and make up your own mind on these Fake News Promoters.
(Post Script: Mainstream Media Fake News Monitor isn’t exclusive to this writer. Any discerning reader who spots Fake News in our mainstream media can use the platform and share it with others—but don’t forget to tag the headline MSM Fake News Monitor. Only then we would know the extent to which Lutyens Media lies).