Showing posts with label CAG. Show all posts

Is India, the Land of Contradictions, Falling Apart In Its Own Flip Flops?

No, this isn't about the contradictions Rudyard Kipling found in pre colonial India which made his stories so vivid and won him a Nobel prize. Neither is this about the gargantuan gap between the Ambanis and the poor Dalit family Rahul Gandhi spent a night with.

It isn't even about the dismaying array of differences curious foreigners visiting India find difficult to comprehend and the nasty feeling of unease in their guts they go home with.

I am talking about the double standard a billion Indians practice day in and day out, which makes nothing an Indian says can be taken seriously by the rest of the world. Not even what its defence minister reads out in the parliament about the death of five Indian soldiers and then change to please millions of war mongers.

Were they terrorist in soldier's uniform or soldiers in terrorist garb who killed the Indians? Who cares?

In the rest of the world when people say yes, or yes I do, they mean exactly the same. In India you are never sure what they mean.

When the Government says they need foreign investment they don't really mean it, because for some reason, Mauritius becomes not a foreign country for India.

When the government says we won't tax foreign investment, it doesn't mean they can't go back several years and claim taxes on ambiguous corporate deals like the one Vodafoneengaged in.

When Government says Indian companies are free enterprise and they can trade their shares and capital in world market like other countries allow, they don't mean its CAG can deem such transactions as corruption like in the 2G saga.

No doubt, the Indian administration has acquired this art of contradiction and flip flop from its neighbour who can only lie whether it is about the presence of Osama Bin Laden or Davood Ibrahim or about anything else for that matter, a nation which the word has acknowledged with a motto 'We Will, We Will Only Lie'.

For India, a nation which declares 'Truth Will Prevail' on its currency, such a trait smacking of national dishonesty is indeed matter of shame.

In fact somehow there is always a disturbing disconnect between what any Indian says and what he or she means, which can be anything according to the circumstances.

This is not same as accusing all Indians of blatant lying but not owning up to a genetic makeup of a race which they should ward off with conviction and commitment to honour one's word. The least they can do is to think before they open their mouths before they put their feet in them.

Not a day, not a headline pass without a contradiction, retraction or denial. So much so that news is reported more like the first serve in tennis which is bound to be a 'let' than a 'fault' and the server gets a second chance to take a position depending on the reaction.

Day in and day out so called, leaders, celebrities, spokespersons and anyone the media will insanely pursue and compete to get a word out of for filling the above fold of their publications and news channels will blurt out something or other which is an affront to common man's intelligence.

So you can ignore headline news and wait for the denial like the media who are now a days even providing empty space or time slots to accommodate such lat minute pearls of wisdom from those who control the destiny of the nation.

If for any reason, the statement is not exciting enough, there is always the 'misquotes' which are also so conveniently denied by a later statement.

Another word which should be banished from the Indian English dictionary is the much bandied 'slam' which lets everyone blow up and complicate non issues and stuff one should ignore in to massive waste of time and resources.

The truth is that, lack of intelligence, ability to grasp the subject and do a contextual analysis and necessary historical checks, all fundamental requirement of journalistic profession, on the part of the reporters and editorial staff are conveniently ignored, even condoned for the sake of circulation and eye balls.

The result is creation of dangerous mass hysteria like the recent one which forced a change in well thought out government stance, taken in national interest, making India look ridiculous before the world.
Spoken words can't be taken back. When blurting out irresponsibly and irresponsible relaying and amplification of statements without context, like in the recent speeches of Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi can play with the emotions of a billion innocent Indians, the media is indeed toying with dangerous stuff more powerful than, at least a part of India's arsenal.

The question is who in India will own up to this shameful trend and do something to change it? Is it going to be the so called educated young or the media which tend to lay claim to parity with world media in quality and standards?

Six Hallowed Indians Who Could be Lynched by a Billion of India's Poor if They Knew Simple Economics.

"They that have done this deed are honourable: What private griefs they have, alas, I know not, That made them do it: they are wise and honourable, And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you."

Though William Shakespeare, the greatest of English writers, used those words to define a bunch of Roman conspirators, he might have used them even today to expose an elite bunch of egoistic Indians, blind with self glorification.
Who are they? They are all honourable leaders of modern India who collectively brought down the Indian GDP growth from 9% to 5% in a couple of years, sabotaging any chance a billion of its poor had to come out of poverty and a miserable life. There are even Harvard educated among them, but the plight of the poor and down trodden was not their concern and the need for GDP growth was not their business.
The damage and the back stabbing they have collectively done to India is nothing short of the treachery and guile in the Shakespearian drama, because as highly educated they are, they can't pretend not to know the damage they have caused to the plight of a billion poor Indians who earn barely a dollar a day, in their own quest for glory.
These pretentious leaders, each one of them with a hidden agenda, pretend to uphold morality in life and politics and fight for it, in various forms, as if it is the only thing India needs. Disregarding the damage they will cause to the country's image and growth, they have latched on to every opportunity, every accusation of impropriety to obstruct the functioning of the government inside and outside the parliament, bringing total paralysis.
In a short span of two years they have managed to sabotage every attempt of the minority government of Dr Man Mohan Singh and all reform measures he has tried to bring to maintain the high growth trajectory his reforms and governance has brought for India.
On the top of this list of these self serving Indians who have appropriated morality for themselves is India's CAG, Vinod Rai, himself a Harvard educated government servant, who has dealt the first and heaviest of blows, with accusations of ludicrous amounts of loss to the government. Though the hollowness of his accusations have since been exposed by an auction and revelation by a subordinate, it too late as enormous damage has been done to investor confidence.
Arvind Kejriwal, the "Indian Romney" who claim that the direct disbursement of income benefit to the poorest people of India amounts to bribing, can claim a prominent position. Kejriwal, who shot himself to fame by training his guns on the popular Gandhian Anna Hazare to appropriate some popularity for himself has since been exposed by declaring his own political party, of all things to fight corruption, of course.
Mamta Banerjee, the main coalition partner of Dr Man Mohan Singh who has vetoed every one of his reform measures should be honoured as the Nero of modern India as she spends her time in art and writing poetry as India's GDP had been tumbling down the drain and her own state of West Bengal had been sinking more and more in to the Bay of Bengal with debt burden of over populist governance.
If the Indian parliament had been totally dysfunctional since the last election, the credit almost entirely is that of Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the opposition, in title and action. Sushma Swaraj, who would like to be a future Prime Minister of India, has almost single headedly destroyed the biggest democracy in the world by instigating and leading sheer unruly and disgusting behaviour of elected representatives in parliament.
Dr Subramanian Swamy, an ex professor at Harverd must be credited with finding a life time occupation in filing cases against the Indian Government he can never win. But this doesn't preventSwamy in filing a new case every time he finds an old sheet of news paper with some ludicrous mention of corruption.
Dr Mulrali Manohar Joshi, a leader of the BJP has long since proven his penchant to erase and rewrite history when, as the Human resources Minister, he meddled with school text books, to remove and absolve the cold blooded assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, by Hindu fundamentalists. He has now been exposed as the main instigator of fictitious losses to the government by corrupt practices, which is no surprise at all.
There are of course a bigger list of supporters and collaborators, who the mob may search out on a second wave, for reprimand.
Fortunately, the Indian masses probably have never read Shakespeare, especially Julius Creaser. The chances are they will never ever grasp the importance of GDP or the rating agencies.
Article first published as Six Hallowed Indians Who Could be Lynched by a Billion of India's Poor if They Knew Simple Economics. on Technorati.

Who Can Stop Anna Hazare and His Motley Fools from Taking India to Where Gandhi Left it?

Anna Hazare proclaims to be a surviving disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, the Gandhi who won independence for India from the British Empire. It is no secret that Anna Hazare can't read English and can't understand the charges he raises and his team knows very little other than Law, a subject the worst students in India can count on for a degree. For a growing community of frustrated investors and expatriate Indians, Anna Hazare team is looking more and more like a bunch of Motley Fools out to destroy India.

Not without some reason. The "poor" nation of half a billion people Gandhi bequeathed has made impressive strides and record growth even when the rest of the world was reeling under crisis after crisis. Now, along with several other distracters, the very disciple of Gandhi has succeeded to drag the country back several years to where it started from.

The Indian Rupee has touched the lowest ever exchange rate to the US Dollar, the growth has plummeted from the heady 10% India boasted about in the past decade to a 5% range India was stuck with for ages and most of the foreign investment which brought in the growth and prosperity has all but withdrawn.
It is hardly surprising that the investor confidence has taken a flight from a country whose Prime Minister and 15 of his ministers have been accused of corruption without any basis by the Anna Hazare team, crippling any decision making power left with a government held together with finicky regional parties. More disgustingly, it has brought a world renowned economist to offer his resignation as the prime minister of the country. This is a more serious issue affecting not just India but global economy, given the globalisation which render growth in any part of the world vital for the rest of us as well.
The latest accusations of corruption is based on a report the CAG of India has produced which claims loss of astronomical sums to the government by allocation of coal fields to private companies. What the CAG hasn't taken in to account is that the coal the government offered to reluctant and risk-averse entrepreneurs to excavate was worth the mud it was covered with, without the massive inflow of foreign investment. It is different matter that in a fast developing India coal has become a scare and costly commodity. If the ruling government took a view and acted upon it in the interest of developing the Industry, it becomes corrupt act only in the lopsided logic of Indian accountants. What if the companies didn't find any useful coal when they had excavated?

In effect, there was no governance in India for the last 3-4 years because Anna Hazare and several insane politicians refused to let the government or the parliament function. More than Anna Hazare, the people who have ganged up around him, in the name of fighting corruption, must be made answerable for this plight.

Unfortunately it doesn't look like the Anna team can understand that the deliverance of a billion poor citizens of India from poverty will only happen from sustained economic growth. But this motley crowd who use his popularity to stir up emotions and obstruct all efforts of a hard working and well meaning government, by casting aspersions and raising baseless allegations, eroding investor confidence, must surely share the responsibility for the downfall of India

Article first published as Who Can Stop Anna Hazare and His Motley Fools from Taking India to Where Gandhi Left it? on Technorati.

Now the Indians Want to Send their Prime Minister to The Tihar Jail.

The Indian education system has miserably failed to create a new generation of ‘thinking’ and discerning minds to control the finger tips on the keyboards which deliver a variety of services to the rest of the world.

Instead millions of Indian youth, with ready access to the cyber world, whip up thoughtless and highly damaging frenzy, like the twitter trend ‘#coalgate’ created yesterday on a leaked report alleging Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh of presiding over a scam of $ 211 Billion involving sale of Indian coal mines to private companies.

What is more mind boggling than the penchant of the CAG ( Comptroller and Auditor General ) of India to project assumed losses of astronomical sums to the government on account of corruption, is the willingness of millions of ‘educated’ Indians, on whom the west happily outsource everything, to jump in to ridiculous conclusions and create a frenzy like 'coalgate'.

1.3 billion Indians who live in India are a species apart on the surface of this earth which can’t see where the petrol is coming from because it refuses to see what happens worldwide in the supply of petrol. The average Indian believes government subsidy is the birth right of every Indian. If you are generous, you can attribute this to a lack of education which gives an overview of the world they live in and share with others.

But for millions of educated Indians, who share the information revolution and the cyberspace with the rest of the world, there is no excuse to realise and accept that there is nothing called a free meal.

For example, conceding that corrupt practices were resorted to in execution, the Prime Minister had already explained why and how the 2G spectrum was liberally distributed, as a Government policy, to encourage the telecom Industry.

This has seen India’s subscriber population exploding to a massive 700 million in a few years, who enjoy the lowest of rates anywhere in the world, thanks to the $39 billion it didn’t amass as licence fees, which would have been passed on to the consumers.

In fact what the Indian consumer has benefited from is an indirect and unspoken subsidy of call charges equivalent to the same amount, if they were to be compared with the rest of the world. Whether the western investors would have rushed to India to invest that kind of money in licence fees is a different matter.

The new report of the CAG with accusation of loss of $211 billion to the government, which has been leaked and subsequently refuted by the CAG, arises from a government action indented to stimulate the mining Industry.

The government and several Industry leaders have already pointed out why the CAG’s conclusions are baseless.

"Many of the blocks are uneconomic, you have to share between two or three parties and most of these blocks have hardly been explored at all. So remember, you would have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in exploration, development and infrastructure to exploit them," he said. "I think it will be forgotten quickly."

With the furore created over the issue, with heads of almost every leading Indian corporate from TATA to Arcelor Mittal as well as the Prime Minister himself likely to get a summons from the supreme court and possibly a term inside the infamous Tihar Jail already hosting a few ministers, the Indian’s can forget not only the development of the coal industry but any reform which should secure India’s legitimate position among developed nations.

With the two corporate heads of the $ 17 Billion Essar group already summoned by the Court in the fallout of the 2G scam, similar action cannot be ruled out and the dust is not going to settle despite any government attempt to brush away the aspersion cast by the leaked report.

If that happens, only the senseless politicians and thoughtless youth of India are to be blamed.

Article first published as Now The Indians Want To Send Their Prime Minister To The Tihar Jail. on Technorati.

Who Can Make The Rip Van Winkles of Global Economy Accountable?

Unlike Rip Van Winkle, the legendary character by the American author Washington Irving, who woke up from a twenty year sleep and was shocked to see a changed world, the modern day version, the US credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s, is sending the world economy in to a tail spin. The question is why the whole world has to pay for someone’s inaction?

The S & P’s faulty down grade of the US credit rating to +AA status, among other things, is attributed for the current world financial turmoil illustrated by the leading headlines of this week:

Stung by the first-ever downgrade to its top-notch sovereign credit rating, the US has hit back at S & P, saying that the rating agency's flawed analysis has put its own credibility and integrity at risk. 

S & P is not the lone Rip of the Global Economy who creates turmoil by ill conceived and un substantiated adverse remarks on nation’s economies. The Comptroller and Accountant General of India has recently come out with reports claiming losses of USD 39 billion to the government in lost licence revenue, which has been misinterpreted by the Indian masses as government corruption of the same amount, stalling India’s growth.

The question is why these agencies have gone in to long slumber of inaction while things were definitely going astray and why they have to get the figures and facts so wrong when they eventually chose to proclaim their shocking revelations.

The crucial thing is, with the globalisation, the damaging effects are no more limited to countries but the whole world. With these watch dog agencies being allowed to act independently or just constitutional set ups with out any answerability to anyone, time has come to decide if they can be allowed to continue to function in the same way or at least operate under guide lines to contain or limit the damage arising out of sentiment erosion and confidence deficit caused around the world.

It is very consoling to see that stalwarts of Capitalism like Warren Buffet have come forward to defend the US Economy, despite the echoes of pessimism emanating from
Competing economies like China.

What is giving concern though is the appalling lack of comprehension of the situation and the apathy shown by the current bunch of leaders of the developed world, like may of the EU nations who have chosen to enjoy their summer holidays without resolving burning issues in Italy and Spain, which smacks of Nero’s playing of his fiddle while Rome was burning.

The protracted congressional drama over the credit limit, which appeared to be plain partisan electioneering for all thinking people, which precipitated the current action by S & P has demonstrated a similar apathy of the US leadership.
Can we afford to let our leaders to be Rip Van Winkles in their elected positions? I guess the way the world markets will react on Monday will decide.

Article first published as Who Can Make The Rip Van Winkles of Global Economy Accountable? on Technorati.

Sunday, August 07, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

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