Saturday, December 31, 2011

Midnight murder of Lokpal Bill

Congress-led UPA Govt holds BJP responsible for stalemate over Lokpal Bill in RS while the BJP charges Congress of choreographing the stalemate over it. But the matter of the fact is that no MP wanted at heart that the Lokpal Bill to be passed. That is why it met its nemesis. Congress and BJP are holding drama of opposing each other on the issue. In reality, neither the Congress nor the BJP wants the anti-graft Lokpal Bill to be passed. They do not want a body over them to look into their corruption charges. If BJP wanted the Lokpal, why did it not support the Bill drafted by Team Anna in entirety. Why do they oppose Lokyukta provision on the model of the Lokpal by saying it is against the federal character of our Constitution? It nothing but its excuse. One thing also must be considered that why was it not passed despite having been introduced in Parliament for 8 times in the last 42 years and did not see the light of the day? Because the political class does not want it.Though corruption has increased in all spheres of lives, it has crossed all limits by the political class. That is why political leaders are in the eyes of the people to be most corrupt, though few among them are above it.
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal has denied the opposition’s charges that the stalemate in Rajya Sabha over Lokpal bill was choreographed by the government and has said that mainly the BJP was responsible for the Bill not being passed in RS. It is also alleged that disruptions in the RS proceedings was stage managed by the ruling Congress party through Lalu’s RJD as MP Rajniti Prasad snatched the copy of the Bill from the minister and tore it. The tearing down of the Lokpal Bill by the MP is reminiscent of treatment to Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament by some MPs. So this is not new.
People have seen through the motives of political parties in regard to Lokpal Bill. The Minister is of the opinion that even if the Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with amendments it had to be sent to Lok Sabha again.He said that no decision has been taken over a Joint Parliamentary session for the Lokpal Bill.The Minister has also asserted that the Lokpal Bill will again be presented in Rajya Sabha during budget session.
From the very beginning it appeared that neither the Congress-led UPA nor the opposition parties was interested in passing the Lokpall Bill. RJD boss Lalu Prasad openly admitted that Lokpal would prove to be a noose around the neck of MPs. Though he may have said in lighter vein, it was the essence of the feeling of all MPs irrespective of their party affiliations. This is the reason that this bill has been hanging in balance for more than four decades. MPs would never like to be monitored by anyone outside the Parliament.
It is correct that Parliament must not be dictated by nominated individuals in Parliamentary democracy. Parliament is supreme. Inside the Parliament, MPs’ behaviour must not be monitored by the individual from outside. The ruling Congress Party must show sincerity by recommending the President for calling Joint Session of Parliament and get the Lokpal Bill passed in whichever shape and size it has been presented. Final judgment on the merit and demerit of the Bill will be given by the people in 2014 general elections of Lok Sabha.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long -awaited Lokpal Bill to see the light of the day

Lok Sabha passed the long awaited anti-graft Lokpal Bill. It is good that ailing Anna Hazare has called off his fast and Jail Bharo Abhiyan. The nation has got it after a wait of 43 years. It is the credit of anti-graft nation-wide campaign by social activist and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare who compelled the UPA government to move the Lokpal Bill and get it passed in the Lok Sabha, the he rejects it outright.
Anna Hazare under the banner of India against Corruption started the agitation from April this year by sitting on fast for the demand of anti-graft Lokpal at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for the first time. Again he sat on fast unto death for second time at Ramlila Maidan, Delhi in August, which lasted 12 days. He galvanized the entire nation against corruption and created anti-corruption atmosphere in all corners of the country. He drew overwhelming support of youths against corruption. This is the third time that he started his 3-day fast at MMRDA ground in Mumbai as he considers the government drafted Lokpal Bill as weak and worthless, though it was passed by the Lok Sabha while his fast was going on.
This may be weak and worthless according to Team Anna but this should be accepted as it is passed by the highest institution of democracy. In parliamentary democracy, Parliament is supreme. It is also true that Parliament may be subverted by the ruling party on the strength of its majority and it may get its way but the people of the country is the final authority at the time of elections.
The Lokpal Bill drafted by the government and passed by the Lok Sabha may not be the best but in getting the best we must not leave the good. The government has a term of five years to rule the country but with the competition of its term of 5 years, it has to face the Lok Sabha elections.
If the people disliked the Lokpal passed by Lok Sabha, they would naturally give mandate to throw the government out. In parliamentary democracy nominated persons can not dictate elected ones nor can Parliament be dictated from outside. Anna Hazare, who is sitting on 3-day fast in Mumbai, has done a good job by calling off his fast and Jail Bharo Abhiyan for the sake of his health and the nation. By sacrificing his life, he can not dictate Lok Sabha. It will be only be dictated by its elected representatives. Undoubtedly, he is honest and a man of integrity. If he thinks that the UPA government has cheated the nation by bringing and adopting the weak and worthless Lokpal, he must campaign against the government among the people of the nation during elections of Lok Sabha in 2014. This is the best way left for him. As Anna Hazare and his team label the entire political class as corrupt, it would also be better for them to join electoral politics to fight it out straightway.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pak Govt and military on collision course

The democratically elected government of Pakistan and its military are on collision course with each other. Though it has been the tradition of Pakistan since it was carved out from India that its military establishment has always played a dominant role in the affairs of the nation, this time democratically elected President Asif Zardari and prime minister Yusouf Raza Gilani are asserting and even trying to seek US help in restraining the army. They appear to be not prepared to play subservient role in managing the affairs of the nation.
The relationship between the two closest allies America and Pakistan has come under strain after the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abottabad near Karachi in Pakistan where he was hiding with the help of military. The equation between the government and the military deteriorated sharply over the memogate scandal. It was reported that a missive sent to US through its envoy there by Pak President Asif Zardari to clip the wings of military and thwart any attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government through coup.
Military coup is not new to Pakistan. It has been under military dictatorship for more than half years of its existence and democracy has never been allowed to take root. Pakistani military establishment, its ISI and the jihadi forces in the country are not liking to be close to US. As military and fundamental forces have their strong say there, they put pressure on government to remove its envoy to US Haqqani for handing over missive to US administration. President Zardari had to dismiss his envoy to US.The stability there appears to be fragile.
Prime Minister Yusouf Raza Gilani has asserted in Parliament that there is no threat to the government and judiciary has also spoken against any attempt to usurp the democratically elected government. There is also a rumour that the government is planning to relieve both Pak military chief Pervez Kayani and ISI boss Pasha of their duties. But prime Minister Gilani has refuted that there is no such move. Both are on extended term.
But one thing is certain that the relation with the US may have come under enormous strain, there can be no change of power forcibly in Pakistan without the consent of the US. It is still Pak’s mentor, no matter how close China is coming to it. It is the US which would only bail out Pakistan of financial mess.
India has been always in the favour of democratically elected government in its neighbourhood. Stable and
democratically elected government in Pakistan is in the interest of India.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rise above allegations and counter-allegation

There is match going on between Team Anna and Congress for discrediting each other. As anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare rejects the Govt. drafted Lokpal Bill, which is in the custody of Parliament, to check corruption, Congress misses no opportunity of slamming him for speaking against it. A Photo of Anna Hazare with late RSS leader and social worker Nanaji Deshmush was carried by a Hindi Daily yesterday that prompted the Congress leader to label him as the agent of RSS, though he himself rejected the charge outright.
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and VHP chief Vishnu Hari Dalmia have already stated that they had supported Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption and their cadres managed and participated in his fast unto death protest for Jan Lokpal for 12 days at Ramlia ground in Delhi. Anna Hazare refused to accept this statement. But one thing is apparently clear that his agitation against corruption had political support of the main opposition party Bhartiya Janata Party of which the RSS is doting parent as it is its political wing. It may be either due to take political advantage from Anna’s campaign against corruption in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre or backing him from behind to create disenchantment among the people against the UPA government.
Many of the moves made by Anna Hazare and his team taken since beginning of the campaign against corruption have clearly reflected anti-Congress stance. But whoever may be behind the support of Anna Hazare, the issue of corruption and his demand for strong Lokpal to check it is in no way wrong. If BJP, RSS, VHP and others extend to Anna in fighting corruption, what is wrong in accepting that publicly? If they are alleged to be pursuing only the interest of the majority, does the issue of corruption not hurt the minorities. The issue of corruption is nothing to do with communal and secular issue. The attempt to drag the issue of Lokpal in communal and secular debate is absolutely wrong and casts suspicion on the sincerity of Congress to the passing of strong Lokpal smoothly in the Parliament.
Are the RSS and the VHP not Indian organizations? Anna Hazare must openly admit that he has accepted their support in fighting corruption if he has no other motive. It is correct that corruption grows larger and larger in the government and there is immediate need of strong Lokpal for which Anna Hazare is going to sit on fast for three in Mumbai for the third time this year. He is also going to start Jail Bharo Abhiyan all over the country by his followers and supporters and gherao of MPs’ residence in Delhi.
The UPA government must help pass the strong Lokpal Bill which is under the custody of Parliament and slated to be discussed and passed on Dec 27, 28 and 29. The ruling Congress party and the Team Anna must not indulge in allegations and counter allegations and miss the historic opportunity of making a strong Lokpal.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Politics of reservation

In view of the coming assembly elections, the ruling Congress Party in UPA government at the Centre has played Muslim card by giving the minority 4.5 per cent reservation within 27 for Other Backward Castes( OBCs) in government jobs and educational institutions. The weapon of reservation is used by every ruling political entity for getting votes in its favour. But no effort has ever been made to make appraisal of how much the reservation has benefited to whom it has been given. The apparent reason is that the successive ruling establishments have nothing to with the uplift of the category of people under reservation but to promote their vote bank politics.
Although there is no constitutional provision to give reservation on the basis of religion, the current announcement made by the UPA government is through executive order and it has been given under already notified 27 percent reservations to OBCs.
By playing the Muslim card, the Congress is certainly trying to retrieve the support of the community in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in particular and the whole of the nation in general.
The three political parties- BSP, SP and RJD- whose politics is entirely based on caste and community always demand for reservation only with a view to promoting their brand of casteist politics. All these three are state-based political party. The ruling BSP and the opposition SP of UP are confined to the state while RJD’s influence is confined to Bihar.
The main national Opposition party BJP has vehemently opposed the reservation to minority as it is unconstitutional. The party has always opposed the politics of appeasement. But Congress has always played the politics of appeasement in the name of secularism.
Congress being the oldest political party of the nation must take holistic view on any issue and must not be guided by narrow political interest. It has also ruled the country for the longest period of time. It is correct that Congress has always championed the cause of secularism and it also upholds secularism at all costs barring a few aberrations. The party has also given its stamp of approval to the 50 per cent reservation in the constitution of Lokpal. Lokpal will have 8 members of which 50 per cent will be reserved for SC, ST, OBCs, Women and minority. Lokpal Bill has been introduced to check corruption. It is not government job giving body. What need is there for reservation? It is not to benefit only socially and economically weaker sections of society but all by checking corruption.
The Congress party must make arrangement for the appraisal of benefits so far availed by the beneficiaries after the independence. It is seen and experienced that the benefit of reservation has been availed by the affluent section of people of the reserved category and the poor and disadvantaged section of people in that category remained deprived. So, these lacunae in reservation privilege must be removed. There is no opposition to reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for only economically backward section of the people.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

At last, Lokpal Bill introduced

At last, the long-awaited and much-sought after anti-graft Lokpal Bill was introduced in Parliament amid opposition and criticism from civil society group of Team Anna. The bill is to be discussed in the extended winter session of Parliament on Dec 27, 28 and 29 and subsequently it is to be passed.
Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare has played the pivotal role in pushing the UPA government to table the anti-graft bill. He and his team galvanized the entire nation against corruption, which has taken the form of cancer. Team Anna is also credited with making the government and the entire political class conscious about the rising voices of the people against corruption. It is because of their campaign against corruption that the Government has been forced to introduce the anti-graft bills like Citizens Charter, Judicial Accountability, Money laundering, Whisle blower’s protection and Public Grievance Redressal in winter session of Parliament to show the people that they are sincere to act against corruption.
Though Team Anna has rejected the Government drafted Lokpal Bill, which was introduced, outright and stuck to their decision of sitting on three-day fast from Dec 27 in Mumbai and Jail Bharo Abhiyan and sitting on dharna before the residence of MPs from January 1, 2 and 3 for strong Lokpal Bill, they should have waited to see what correction and amendments are made to the Lokpal bill in the Parliament during debate and discussion on it.
Prime Minister has been brought under Lokpal but with some conditions as safeguard measures. Anna Hazare demands full autonomy to the premier investigative agency CBI by putting it under the purview of Lokpal but the Government only altered its mechanism of appointment of its Director but kept it under its actual control.
There is a five member committee consisting of PM, Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha Speaker, CJI and an eminent person nominated by the government that would appoint Lokpal. It clearly reflects that balance is in favour of the government in the appointment of Lokpal.
Team Anna has described the Government drafted bill as an empty tin box and Lokpal as postman. One prominent drawback in Team Anna is that they believe that whatever view they express is only right and whoever differs with them is wrong. This is quite impossible in democracy. There must be give and take attitude to reach a consensus on any contentious issue. This has not happened with this Lokpal Bill. Its final shape and nature will only come out after it is passed by the Parliament because there is still enough scope for amendments and corrections. We must hope that a strong Lokpal Bill to fight corruption would see the light of the day in more than four decades as it has already introduced 8 times before this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shun confrontationist approach over Lokpal

The UPA Government and the Team Anna should shun confrontationist approach over making of historic Lokpal to fight the cancerous corruption. Team Anna must remain apolitical and Government must act with sincerity and open mind over Lokpal. Otherwise both will have to face the consequences as the nation watches them silently.
The contentious Lokpal Bill drafted by the UPA government is to be introduced in Parliament. It is not the same Lokpal as suggested by anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare and his team. It may not be as effective as they want. But government is to think over every clause and provision and its pros and cons before incorporating in the Lokpal Bill. It is common sense that Parliament is supreme in making any law in Parliamentary democracy and it can not be dictated by any individual or a group of individuals. The government has to be accountable to the people.
Anna Hazare wanted CBI and Prime Minister to be under the ambit of Lokpal in totality. While government drafted Lokpal Bill to be presented before the Parliament has put Prime Minister under Lokpal with some riders as safeguard motive. CBI has remained under the actual control of the government with minor technalities in the appointment process of its Director.
Anna Hazare has rejected the Lokpal outright and announced of holding three-day fast and protest in Mumbai and there after he would start Jail Bharo Abhiyan along with his followers and supporters all over the country against the government proposed Lokpal.
It is a well-accepted fact that corruption is rampant at all levels of the government departments and that need to be checked with appropriate mechanism like Lokpal. It is also true that all credit goes to Anna Hazare and his team to galvanize the nation against corruption that has compelled the government to draft and introduce Lokpal Bill, that may not be the same as Anna wants, in Parliament.
Anna Hazare and his team represent a group of civil society. There are several other groups of civil society who have different approach, view and mechanism of Lokpal Bill. The government has to assimilate all shades of opinions while drafting Lokpal. Anna Hazare has every right in democracy to reject it and mobilize the nation against it. He is also free to undertake fast and protest but at the same time no body can dictate the government nor impose his will on Parliament. It is only the people who can throw out the government by expressing their will against it through proper way. That is by voting against it in the elections.
It would be better for the success of Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption if he had shown patience and watched how the elected MPs react during discussions and debate over Lokpal. Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption has of late also reeks of politics if the support of the main opposition Party Bhartiya Janata Party to his campaign outside the Parliament is any thing to go by. He must not allow any political party to take political advantage from his campaign against corruption as all political parties are of chameleon colour and indulge in competitive corruption. Let the government and the Parliament take their view on Lokpal and react to them after in the appropriate democratic and peaceful manner. No single view prevails in democracy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Food Security Bill- A big achievement

Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s pet Food Security Bill has finally got the approval of the Union Cabinet, and now it is to be introduced in Parliament. This pet project of Mrs. Gandhi is likely to do away with the curse of hunger prevailing in the country among a little more than half of the population.
Despite the drum beating of economic reforms ,its benefit has reached only to the few and created a wide gulf between the poor and the rich. Although UPA government’s failure on economic front is apparently visible in the country, food security bill will prove to be a face saver for it.
Still, the population below the poverty line has to go without meal for days and the new born babies become deficient in nourishment only due to the fact that their mothers had to go without meal for days during their pregnancies. If the Food Security Bill is passed by the Parliament, the 75 per cent of poor rural population and the 50 per cent of poor urban population will get Rs. 1, 2, and 3 rice per kg, wheat and coarse grain respectively.
But as the food is as much necessary for the poor as the rich, the people above poverty line will also get rice, wheat and coarse grain at the price government purchases. So, the historic Food Security Bill is going to be the land mark single achievement of the UPA-II government.
By enacting the food security bill, UPA has fulfilled the promise it had made to the people in the manifesto of Congress Party in the last Lok Sabha elections. This will be much more beneficial for the Congress party politically than NREGA (now MNREGA).
The food security for the poorest of the poor is completely in line with Congress’s slogan of its being with Aam Admi. Food Security is also the brain child of Sonia Gabdhi, and with this the belief of the people that she is favourably bent towards the poor would strengthen. The security of food for the poor is the first stepping stone towards their empowerment. No privilege can match the privilege of taking meal without any anxiety. But one thing is most essential in ensuring that the distribution of food is done with honesty , sincerity and promptness among the poor.

India must intervene seriously

Move to ban the most revered book Bhagwad Gita of Hindu religion on extraneous and senseless ground in Russia is absolutely wrong and an attempt also to undermining the Indian values and faith that it epitomizes. The strong echo of MPs against the Russian attempt of banning also reverberated both Houses of Parliament. Undermining the religious faith, belief, deities and religious books by the western countries has become a fashion. This demeaning tendency of the Hindu religion and others of India abroad must be opposed vehemently and record strong condemnation of the country that does this type unethical action with the international community.
Bhagwat Gita has been described as extremist literature by Russian that encourages war. Bhagwat Gita comprises Slokas and the teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna to keep aside the love for brothers and near and dears and his exhortations to wage war against those who represent evils. The move to ban Bhagwad Gita by a Siberian Court has led to a storm in the Lok Sabha also today during zero hour. MPs have expressed that it is not possible for any Indian to tolerate any attempt to insult Lord Krishna. That is what is going to be done in Russia. The
reason for the reported move is that the Russian translation of a book 'Bhagwad Gita As It is' written by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was apparently spreading "social discord".
The Indian Embassy in Moscow must take the issue up with the Russian authorities.The Gita does not preach hatred. It teaches that human being must keep working without expecting result.
It is the work that is to be done by man only and it is the business of the god to give the fruit of labour. It teaches the human being to fight for the victory of good over evil. There must be religious freedom of the Hindus in Russia and it must not be compromised. We Indians have failed to understand so far that why our faith, belief and religious text are shown in poor light by western powers. What satisfaction they get by putting curb on the religious freedom of other religion than their own. Hindu religion is the most vocal in the spread of non-violence through its practice. In no
way, there is an iota of doubt that any religious book of Indians on Hindu religion spreads violence. Whenever there is a description of violence that has been due to put righteousness in right place. Saying Bhagwat Gita is extremist literature is nothing but an attempt to undermine

Indians. There has been a strong reaction against the Russian move to ban Bhagwat Gita all over India. Russia has very good friennd of India. So, it is not expected from Russia to hurt Indian religious feelings of the majority population of India.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

God of cricket Sachin and Hockey wizard Dhyan Chand deserve Bharat Ratna

Bharat Ratna is the biggest civilian award of our nation. It is right to expand its area to accommodate all those who have done exemplary service for the nation in their respective fields of activities. The demand for awarding Bharat Ratna to the legendary cricket player Sachin Rames Tendulkar of our nation is absolutely right and he deserves it in every respect.

By including sports persons in the list of Bharat Ratna giving area, it is not only cricket player but also all other legendary sportsmen and women must be considered, though there are no two opinion on bestowing Sachin Tendulkar with the highest award of Bharat Ratna.

Sachin Tendulkar is not an ordinary player but also the inspiration for youngsters of the nation in cricket. No cricket has set as much record for the nation as Sachin. He is the pride and living legend of the nation. As far as Hockey or sport as whole is considered, the name of Hockey wizard Dhyan Chand must not be lost sight of while awarding Bharat Ratna for sports person. Dhyan Chandra mesmerized the nation as well the world by his magical Hockey sticks. He hit the ball with stick on the field with electrifying speed and held the spectators spell bound. So while considering Bharat Ratna for cricket legend and master blaster Sachin, Hockey wizard Dhyan Chand must not be left behind.

The Bharat Ratna award has nothing to with politics and it must kept aside from vote bank politics. No favouritism also must not be practiced while awarding Bharat Ratna more so when the name of sports persons are involved. It must be bestowed on merit and achievement recorded against the name of the player.

There is a great demand of cricket fans all over the nation to give Bharat Ratna award to Sachin. But it would be better for promotion of all kinds of game in the country equally if Sachin and Dhyan Chand are awarded at a time. Bharat Ratna is not an ordinary honour but it must be awarded to the persons who infuse inspiration among the coming generation. As Sachin Tendular is called the god of cricket and has become the household name of every Indian due to the media coverage in the age of information technology, Hockey wizard Dhyan Chand was no less famous among the countrymen and fans during his own time of action. Government of India has done right by extending award giving area of Bharat Ratna and now any one who makes extra-ordinary contribution in any field can be awarded with this highest award.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No consensus on Lokpal

The all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has failed to develop consensus among all parties on Lokpal. Divergent views emerged among the political parties over what should and in what form come under the ambit of Lokpal to check corruption.

The all-party meeting also clearly reflected that the views expressed by political parties outside were completely different from what they expressed inside. Almost all opposition parties had shared the dais with anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare’s token fast and protest for a day at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on December 11 and expressed in support of all most main provision that he wants to be incorporated in Lokpal. But when they participated in the all-party meeting of Prime Minister, they sang a little bit different note.

Even the big Opposition party like CPM felt that it would be very difficult to introduce the Bill in this session of Parliament due to paucity of time, though the party wants it to be introduced in this session itself. Likewise, no political party was in agreement of introducing the bill in a hurry. Considering the divergent opinions among political parties, the UPA government did not express its views nor did it commit about introduction of the Lokpal Bill in the ongoing session. It is also not inappropriate to say that to bring historical and strong Lokpal Bill require adequate time to formulate.

The various political parties also cautioned the government to not act in haste under the duress of Anna Hazare. As the government did not express its view on Lokpal nor did it commit to introduce the anti-graft bill in the ongoing session of Parliament, it now appears certain that it would bring and adopt in the next session after paying adequate time and consultations with all parties concerned into the making of strong and historical anti-graft bill.

To finalize the nitty-gritty of the bill is the responsibility and duty of the government and to hold reasoned debate and discussion on it inside the Parliament is the prerogative of parliamentarians. It is also not possible to incorporate comma and full stop of the sense of the House in its considered opinion in finality of the Lokpal Bill. The considered view of both houses of Parliament matters most on Lokpal.

All party meeting has also made it clear that Parliament is supreme authority to make any law to deal with corruption. Law is not made on the road. It will only be made in Parliament in parliamentary democracy, no matter a protester even puts his life at risk by undertaking prolonged fast and protest.

Sensing the mood of the political class that no political party is going to side with him whole-heartedly, Anna Hazare has appealed UPA defiant partner West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Bannerjee to ensure the passage of strong Lokpal Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament. He expects from her as stiff posture to bring and adopt strong Lokpal Bill in the ongoing session as her opposition led to the suspension of 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, though on Lokpal she is in agreement with the UPA government at the Centre. Finally, the message has gone out to the public that cold shouldering of strong Lokpal Bill by all political classes has swept it under the carpet for the time being at least.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Playing down Chinese naval preparation

Playing down the Chinese President Hu Jintao’s direction to its navy to prepare for warfare amid the country’s ongoing dispute, including India is in no way a well-thought out strategy. China has already recorded its displeasure of oil exploration on the invitation of Vietnam in South China Sea by India. Besides that, its military build-up along our borders demands urgent alert of our security personnel along the borders with China to thwart any misadventure by them.

One thing is also crystal clear that China in its endeavour to establish supremacy over others in the region can not be altogether ignored. India has to be wary of any Chinese attempt to boost up their military preparation. It is also an open secret that India in Asia is the only formidable rival of China in their thinking and outlook, though India has always extended hands of friendship to China.

It is also a fact that both the countries are the biggest powers in Asia. So, the any collision between the two is bound to spell catastrophe in the region in particular and danger to world peace in general.

Though Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has assured the nation that he does see any threat from China and it would not attack India, the past experience with China says altogether a different story. It would be short-sightedness on our part to belittle the situation arising from the military preparedness of China. None other than our Army Chief has also cautioned the nation against deployment of more than four thousand PLA personnel in Pakistan who are engaged in infrastructural development along the border adjacent to India.

The lingering border dispute with China also does not bode well and it might turn into flare-up between the two any time if both sides did show sensibility and statesmanship for the cause of peace. So, we can not play down Chinese naval preparation in view of our oil exploration in South China Sea against the wishes and desires of China.

China had already played aggressor’s role in 1962 war against India. So far India is concerned, it has taken pledge not to attack first and its military preparation is meant for peace and deterrent effect.

It is good that peace and tranquility continues between the two neighbours and both should always remain as great neighbours. But at the same time India’s experience with its neighbours like Pakistan and China must not be lost sight of. Because the bitterness they caused between our relations can not be forgotten by their behaviour in the current prevailing situation. India must always be alive to Chinese military build-up adjacent to its borders.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has described India and China as great neighbours and rejected the contention that China was preparing to attack India. He has said the reports to this effect are false. The government does not share the view that China will attack India. The PM has also acknowledged in Parliament that not much progress has been made on the border dispute ever since the two counties agreed on political parameters to resolve the row. He has assured the House that officials at highest level in China had assured him on maintaining peace and tranquility with India.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cong’s shrewd political move

The note of dissent given by three Congress MPs to Lokpal draft, which is under the examination of Standing Committee of Parliament, is aimed giving out the message that it is as much serious to fight corruption as any other else in the country. But the way ruling Congress party is acting on the anti-corruption mechanism amply reflects that it is not serious.

Corruption is the most serious issue that Dr. Manmohan Singh Government is facing. To fight the corruption out, Gandhian and social activist Anna Hazare had held a 12-day fast and protest at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi in the month of August this year. He galvanized the entire country, especially the youths against corruption.

The public mood was so intense against corruption during the 12-day protest and fast of Anna that the Government and the Parliament together had to respect and give assurance of conceding to incorporate three main demands in Lokpal bill. He was also assured by the government that it would be introduced in the ongoing winter session of Parliament. Political class became so nervous that all political parties had to pass a sense of the House to bring the Lokpal Bill in the winter session of Parliament.

The Lokpal Bill is going to be given the final touch by the Standing Committee of Parliament. It is to be introduced in Parliament on December 19 in all likelihood. The main demand of Team Anna is the inclusion group C and D employees under the ambit of Lokpal as the common people face first hurdle of corruption in getting any work done at these two levels. If any one has to make driving license, he is not required to go to Regional Transport Officer but to the level of group C and D level employees.

But according to the sources, they have been kept out of Lokpal. Hazare and his team members rightly say that the general people face these employees from where they start corrupt practices. If the group C and D employees are left out of anti-graft mechanism, there is no sense in bringing and adopting Lokpall.

Prime Minister to be kept or not under Lokpall has been left to be decided by the Parliament. CBI is also going to be out of the Lokpall. The role of ruling Congress party has been perceived as negative by Anna Hazare and his team. They have sent out the message among the public that Congress is not interested in fighting corruption. That is why the ruling party is reluctant to accede to all his demands.

To counter the loss of image in public, the Congress MPs close to party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi have given notes of dissent. They are in Standing Committee from the Congress party. It is a shrewd political move of Congress to show the public how serious their young MPs are in fighting corruption and that is why they want strong Lokpal.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Attempt to muzzle the free expression

Union Telecom and HRD minister Kapil Sibal’s move to direct the social sites like Face Book, Twitter and other main internet service providers to pre-screen the contents before uploading them. According to the minister, several religiously offensive contents and disfigured picture of religious heads and big politicians are uploaded that may spark off clash and communal clash.

First of all, these social sites are guided by the law of their own countries and they are nothing to do what expression is liked or disliked by Indian Government. They have their in-built laws according to which they go by only. Google has very clearly and stated that until and unless the contents go against the law, it does not delete them. It does not delete contents only because they are controversial. The social sites have taken the right stand by not abiding by the Indian govt.’s ill-conceived idea to muzzle the freedom of expression.

In democracy, every one has got right to freedom of expression. People have got a very spacious platform in the form of social sites to expression their opinion and view without any hurdle and share with friends and others across the world. This is the essence of democracy. And any attempt to temper with it would have far reaching reactions.

The move of the UPA government to direct the social sites’ officials to pre-screen the contents manually, which is quite impossible in view of the crore of users who upload their views, opinions and pictures of their choice daily, is nothing but an indirect attempt to control the media.

Govt. appear to be scared of main stream media and social sites like Face Book, Twitter, Google, Yahoo and others if there their objective role is anything to go by during the Anna’s fast protest. UPA Govt was badly shaken and had to commit before Anna to bring and adopt the Lokpall Bill in the winter session of Parliament.

These days, the people express themselves freely about any issue on social sites and share them with their friends worldwide. The issues may be related to governance, personalities and any other activities taking place around the world. Social sites are the fastest in connecting the people with one another’s view at the click of the mouse. As the UPA govt. is facing several charges of corruption these day, people express their views freely against the government. That it does not. It is absolutely not possible for any one to express after taking permission from others. All are independent and have freedom to expression and wherever it is violated, law is already in place to act and punish. We have also cyber laws. If the contents are found to be offensive, cyber laws are already in place which must be implemented. This is the deliberate move to gag the free speech.

Govt. must attempt to muzzle the voice of the people in democracy. It must develop the habit to take its criticism to correct its lapse. Otherwise, government would be compelled to face the same consequences as it faced in the Lok Sabha elections after lifting Emergency in 1977. Press censorship was also imposed during the Emergency. And now it is an indirect attempt of UPA government to impose censorship on freedom of expression.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Govt bends before Mamta

The UPA government of Dr. Manmohan Singh had to put the Cabinet decision of 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent 100 FDI in single brand on hold because of the fierce opposition by all opposition parties unitedly and intense pressure from two of its important allies- TMC of Mamta Bannerjee and DMK of Karunanidhi. But West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Bannerjee was more vocal of the two allies. She bluntly asked the Government to rollback FDI decision in retail. It is because of stern opposition of West Bengal CM that no minister from the TMC quota participated in the Cabinet meeting in which the FDI decision was taken.

Though the message has gone out about the weakness of the government due to coalition compulsion, it must be lesson to it not to take any vital policy decision without taking into all its alliance partners in confidence and the nation as well. It would not have to bite the dust if it had done wider consultation with its alliance partners and opposition parties before taking the FDI decision.

TMC had already made clear to its opposition to FDI in retail in her election manifesto that was known to Congress. The entire opposition was already against it without knowing for certain whether it was beneficial for the economy of the nation.

More than two weeks of Parliament’s precious time was wasted because the entire opposition stood firm not to run it until and unless the FDI decision of Cabinet was withdrawn. In view of the opposition within the government, Congress party and alliance partners, government dared not face the debate under the articles that entailed voting in Parliament and landed itself in embarrassing situation. Pushed back to the wall from all corners, UPA’s chief trouble shooter Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee flew to Kolkata to assuage the most important ally TMC boss and WB CM Mamta Bannerjee by assuring her that FDI decision would be put on hold until unanimity evolved on the issue in Cabinet. Mamta disclosed Mukherjee’s assurance about putting the FDI decision in retail on hold.

The nation has taken a sigh of relief the at the end of boxing between government and opposition. And in between them public exchequer worth of crores of rupees was drained down the drain by stalling the Parliament without any rhyme or reason. Important bill like Lokpal is in line to be introduced in Parliament and several other important bills and business transactions had to be carried out. When the Congress-led UPA government knew it well that it was not a single party rule and it had to take its alliance partners into confidence before taking important policy decision, it was bound to be let down by the opposition and its argument in favour of its decision failed to reach the public due to stalling of Parliament.

Government says FDI in retail is beneficial for employment, farmers, consumers and developing infrastructure in the form of cold storage to protect 40 per cent wastage of vegetables and fruits rotting. In opposition to claims, the opposition describe FDI in retail as anti-people and anti-poor. Now, the Government must call all-party meeting to evolve consensus on the issue of FDI in retail if it is advantageous of the economy of the nation. Opposition parties are also required to play constructive and positive role.

Friday, December 2, 2011

China is posing as big brother

China has always been posing itself as big brother in Asia. It also tries to impose its way in the region on the basis of its large status in every field. It treats India as its rival because of its fast development and economic growth.

India’s progress and emergence on the international stage is an eye-sore to China. But India in all realities does not challenge China unless and until it is deliberately poked and provoked. From the very beginning, China has been instigating India’s neighbour to create problem with it so that its fast development and progress could face trouble. It instigates Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar against India by creating the impression among them that it is trying to establish its hegemony and behave like big brother in the region.

It is China's strategy to antagonize the neighbours of India against it. China is helping India’s traditional hostile neighbour Pakistan with military training and weapons. China has provided n-tech and has recently been reported that over Chinese 4000 military personnel have been deputed in Pakistan in the name of help building its infrastructural development in different fields.

China has itself committed border violation with India, and to make the matter worse it puts its claims on territory in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim time to time. This is really a cause of concern for India. India has a border dispute with China. India always desires to solve border dispute with China amicably. But China has altogether a different design of over lordship on India. That is impossible and China also must not be in any illusion that it can re-enact 1962 war with India in the given scenario.

On the invitation of Viatnam, India has sent its contingent of personnel for oil exploration in South China Sea. This has taken by China as serious matter because it has not good neighbourly relation with it. It has lodged its displeasure with India at Bali Asean summit in Indonesia.

So, China deserves to be treated on equal footing. India too should befriend China’s neighbours considered to be displeased with it because of its high-handed behaviour. India is committed to peace and amity and forging friendship with all its neighbours but if its ego is hurt without any rhyme or reason, it must retaliate in the same measure either diplomatically or through expression in words.

In which capacity Chinese consulate asked India to ensure the Governor and Chief Minister West Bengal not to attend the function in which Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was to deliver his speech. Why India would cancel the Buddhist congregation in New Delhi on the desire of China. India has given asylum to Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. He is free here for his spiritual activities. India has neither instigated him ever to promote anti-china activity nor have ever urged China to free Tibet, which has been kept under Chinese control on the ground of its military strength. It is the use of force against the Tibetans for the liberation of Tibet that forced Dalai Lama to cross over to India and seek asylum in 1959. India has done right by rebuffing China and going ahead with Buddhist congregation.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

No rationale behind stalemate

Why the most important business of Parliament should be wasted because of the opposition to the govt. move to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent in single brand retail. If the opposition parties together oppose FDI in retail, they have every right to move the motion against it and put it to voting. Should the Dr. Manmohan Singh fails to get the support of MPs require to run the govt., it will automatically fall. There will be mid-term poll on the issue and the ultimate master, the people, will be the final arbiter whether FDI is wrong or right. The nation can not develop in isolation. Despite opposition to economic liberalization in Europe and America, they have not spurned it. India is comparatively new entrant on the stage of economic reforms. It can not roll back mid-day. It has to take it to its logical end.

There is no sense in holding the Parliament to ransom since the winter session began last week. Today’s opposition will be tomorrow’s treasury bench and if it becomes the tradition in Parliamentary democracy, it is very difficult to run Parliament because of opposition to certain government’s decision. Finally, the democracy will be in jeopardy.

Dr. Manmohan Singh-led UPA govt. says that the 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail will benefit farmers, consumers, generate one crore jobs and help build infrastructure like cold storage and agricultural research. It will also give birth to competition. FDI in multi-brand has not been allowed without conditions. Super market giants like Wal-Mart, Tesco and Carefour can only open their multi-brand retail outlets in the city of above 10 lakh population. They will also have to take permission from the state governments to open their outlets. They will also have to purchase 30 per cent goods from domestic market. There are several states run by opposition parties who are opposed to FDI in retail. Presently, there are 53 cities of above 10 lakh population. 28 out of 53 cities are in the states ruled by opposition parties. It means even if Wal-Mart, Tesco and Carrefour are allowed to open their outlets, they can open in only 25 cities of the country. Opposition says that with the coming of multi-brand retail giants of the world in our country, they will destroy our 4 crore small retail shops as they will not stand up to them in competition. But one thing is to be considered seriously that when computer was introduced in our country, was there no opposition? At that time also, it was apprehended by the opposition camp that it would render crores of people jobless. That did not happen and on contrary to apprehension of job loss, it increased the job many-fold. There is no doubt that the livelihood of 20 crore people is dependent on our small retail shops. They will continue to run as usual. Here are malls and Reliance retail outlets and just in front of them, there are small tea shops at roadside, green grocer and small fruit vendors who are running their business comfortably.

So, if the Parliament was allowed to run and a thoughtful and reasoned debate would have taken place from opposition as well as treasury benches, the people would have been benefited much. They would have understood better as to which side has given the sound reasoning in support or against the FDI in retail. There is no sense in stalling the Parliament.