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The Budget - Is this fair?

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I[SIZE=-0]s this fair? Why no allocation for poor Hindus? Are they children of a lesser god? Why so much of minority appeasement in India at the expense of Hindu majority. It is a curse to be born as a Hindu. Is the purpose of our existence solely to molly-coddle and fulfill various demands of the muslims? Should't the government be concerned about the poor in all communities, instead of the just minority communities? Why are Hindus always in the losing end, when we are the major tax payers. [/SIZE]

Hindu funds for muslim welfare. Muslims funds? That too for muslim welfare. So the net losers are Hindus!!! Will we ever wake up and stand for our rights, our brethren, our survival....

FM doubles allocation for minority welfare
Mr Saab,

The allocation for minorities has been increased to 1000 Crores. Budget is an exercise for the entire nation. Even when it is so, it is normal to address some specific sections of the society.

Whatever may be our grouse with Minorities, it is a fact that Muslims in particular are in a bad shape. My view is that we shouldnt begrudge such small (relative to the total size of the budget) specific allocations.

If you are particular about a "Hindu allocation", may i remind you Sir, that 60000 Cr of farm loans are being written off. Assuming 80% of the beneficiaries to be Hindu farmers, the Hindu allocation is about 48000 Cr !!!!!

I am not pulling this stat to corner or counter you, but it is my earnest request that Hindus especially Brahmins shouldnt be seen as a myopic sectarian community.

It is my long maintained view that the bigger evil (for the Hindus that is) is the group which claims itself to be dravidian.
Whatever may be our grouse with Minorities, it is a fact that Muslims in particular are in a bad shape. My view is that we shouldnt begrudge such small (relative to the total size of the budget) specific allocations.

Hari Bhaiya, kaise ho ? long time no see !

Well said. India is plural, inclusive society and must carry all citizens together.

As far as loan waiver to farmers is concerned, it was overdue for quite some time.

Only issue is, farmers driven to suicide were not the ones hounded by nationalised banks for loan repayment but were the ones hounded by the moneylenders of informal sector.

Institutional credit from nationalised banks hardly reaches the needy farmer.

In todays world, prices of farm products are governed by market forces and can not be kept propped up at artificially high levels by the governmental fiat.

The more prudent step would therefore be to reduce the input costs to the farmer (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, transportation costs, irrigation facilities, crop insurance etc.)

But whenever the issue of subsidies to farm sector (in terms of lesser input costs) comes up, the drawing-room economists, MBA-type experts see red and world bank gets hysterical !
The budget recently presented is great. It appeals to both - communalism and casteism. I will explain later on with statistics. Some of you may have guessed. My analysis will reveal why the NQs are no longer the citizens of India.
Dear Hariharanji,

Namaskaram. May be you are more conversant with politics than me. Do you think this is an election budget? Also do you think that there is some realignment of political parties taking shape in Tamilnadu as follows:

Front 1.: AIADMK, MDMK, BJP and JP

Front 2: Congress, PMK, DMDK and Saratkumar's party

Front 3: The rest of the political parties led by DMK such as the two communists, and some Dalit outfits.

If you do think that the above triangular formation is taking place, please tell me to which front the Muslim and Christian outfits would move to? If the budget has any political purpose then logically they should join the front 2 listed above (People could call this as the third front).

As far as the 60000 crores to the peasants are concerned I would think it is a bribe just as the DMK's free TV. The reason why I call it a bribe is because it (the 60,000 crores) is going to be ploughed back to the usurers and the peasants are going to be in the same position next year. Please read the fine article on the budget by Gurumurthy: http://www.newindpress.com/newspages.asp?page=m&Title=Main+Article&

In my opinion the Congress and all similar political parties such as DMK always played the appeasement and bandaid politics.

Dear Hariharanji,

Namaskaram. May be you are more conversant with politics than me. Do you think this is an election budget?


As far as the 60000 crores to the peasants are concerned I would think it is a bribe just as the DMK's free TV. The reason why I call it a bribe is because it (the 60,000 crores) is going to be ploughed back to the usurers and the peasants are going to be in the same position next year. Please read the fine article on the budget by Gurumurthy: http://www.newindpress.com/newspages.asp?page=m&Title=Main+Article&

In my opinion the Congress and all similar political parties such as DMK always played the appeasement and bandaid politics.


Dear Mr Saab,

Am i more conversant with politics ? A big NO!. I would like to believe i have a smattering idea about politics.

Every budget is prepared with an eye on the voters. If it is not to win an election, many a time it is to avoid an election. So either ways, i think all Budgets in some way or other are indeed 'Election Budgets'.

Since this is a discussion about the Budget, i am not too sure why we should discuss about the political formation in TN. And in any case, Sir, TN being the Dravidian heartland is beyond all such formations. A State in which all political forces are 'equitably corrupt and power hungry', alliance cross-overs in 'nick of time' is very common.

With an year still left for the Union elections, it may be too premature to start thinking of alliances.

Re Farmer Loan waiver : I agree with you that 'non-institutional credit' is the bigger culprit so far as driving farmers to committing suicide. While it is true that the 'actual beneficiaries' could be 'significantly lower than what is touted about', i still feel that the move hasnt come a day too soon.

I will read Mr Gurumurthy's article. I would like to bring your kind attention to another interesting read in Indian Express. You may read it at www.indianeconomy.org.

This article has analysed the growth trend of every farm input. That is to say, Irrigation, Land under cultivation, Seeds, Fertilizers etc...around 14 farm inputs. It has been observed that all inputs except credit have degrown which in effect means that the farmer hasnt used the credit to buy seeds or water or fertilizer. So where has all the money gone ?

I think it is a matter of great shame that the country has failed to feed the stomach of those who feed the world. Saint valluvar wanted us to be those who will be 'thozhdundu pin selbavar'.

Even if we cant be so, the least i think we can do is to be empathetical to the plight of these souls who ensure that 'our soul' sticks on with our bodies.
Dear Hariji,

Thanks for the link you provided. It was interesting!

A friend of mine who is a an economist as well as a historian was arguing the other day that in a country such as India where close to 80% of the population is tied to agriculture, the British system of making land into a commodity which can be bought and sold has ruined the peasants and drove them out of the villages into the cities that bulged beyond their seams. The vagaries of nature intensifies the crisis. The urban 'lumpen proletariat' do not rush back to become agri-labours in times of monsoon with the result that leaves the land to be left fallow or could not be tended to completion till harvest. The lands are being turned into plantations to overcome recurring labour needs in short span which ties the land to the global market economy of demand and supply that leads to waste and ruin while putting the recurring needs of food grains and cotton in short supply. The commercialization has led to usury and it intensified the change of hands of land ownership that lead to the misery and suicides of the peasants. The so called co-operatives have helped the usurers rather than the peasants because of the agri-lands are individually owned rather than communally owned as in pre-British times. The post colonial rulers of India have merely carried on the British system that has ruined the country. They have no guts or ability to revamp the system. They would rather play the appeasement and bandaid politics and make themselves as the post-colonial exploiters of India.

Both the U.S. and to some extent Canada tried to bring in (and then send back) Agri labourers from the Carribean Islands and Latin America. Some of them escaped being sent back after the harvest and these residual labourers have over the years swelled into a ocean of 'illegal immigrants' of some 15 or more millions. This Latino and the black population together would be overtaking the white population of America in the next 30 years or less! We are already seeing this in the Presidential race. The loss of jobs due to global economy with the new trend of outsourcing coupled with competition from the new emerging giants such as China and India are intensifying the crisis. The depth and sweep of this crisis is going to affect India in the next couple of decades and unless India prepares itself by conscious reorganisation to the time tested mode of social organization the perils this nation would confront would be too frightening to describe. The moving away from our time tested social organization that we witness in Pakistan and Bangladesh and their fall out into this country (with crores of illegal immigrants already crossing the borders into our country causing grave tensions in places such as Assam, Bengal, the North East and of course our perennial problem of Kashmir) are something for everyone to ponder.

Cong may find it tough to get quota for Dalit converts


4 Mar 2008, 0206 hrs IST,Subodh Ghildiyal,TNN

NEW DELHI: Congress may have played a strong hand on minority welfare
in the populist budget, but organising reservations for sections
among minorities, which it is keen on, may be difficult.

Ministry of social justice has asked National Commission for Backward
Castes for information about Dalit converts to Islam and
Christianity, in a step which could spark controversy and create
complications for the moves to organise quota for Dalits other than
Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

It has asked the OBC panel for names of Dalit castes who have
converted to Christianity and Islam, as also "the definition" to
determine the Scheduled Castes who embraced the two religions.

It has sought to know the authority which certifies a Christian or a
Muslim as a Dalit convert. Not just this, the ministry has also asked
the NCBC to provide national population percentage of Dalit converts
besides their statewise numbers.

This could defer a decision on extension of quota to Dalit Christians
and Muslims by a long time as there is little or no official census
data on their population figures. Sources said which caste among the
two denominational groups is a Dalit remains unchartered territory in
the absence of any official exercise to identify them.

Insiders said there were only unofficial and academic claims on the
subject. The reluctance of Christianity and Islam to acknowledge the
existence of caste among their followers in India can be another

The ministry of social justice has sought information from NCBC as
Christians and Muslims are part of OBC list in states and Centre

The issue got a boost after Rangnath Mishra Commission recommended
that SC status be made religion neutral, only to get mired in
complications with the National Commission for SCs entering caveats
while giving its go-ahead to extension of quota to converts.

In its opinion to the Centre, the Dalit panel said they may be given
reservation in proportion to their population but without impacting
15% quota earmarked for SCs while also respecting the Supreme Court's
50% bar on quota.
This may not be possible as the 50% barrier is set to be breached if
quota frontiers are pushed to include minorities, as 49.5% quota is
already in operation. Though the recommendations are not binding,
government will have to tread cautiously in the face of a strong
minority "appeasement" campaign by the BJP.

The issue rocked Rajya Sabha on Monday as proponents of quota for
converts charged the government with ignoring the issue. As social
justice minister Meira Kumar rebutted the allegation saying that the
issue had been referred to NCBC, former CEC and Congress MP M S Gill
demanded that Christians and Muslims be given SC status, just as
Sikhs had got after a struggle. He asked courts not to stand in the

JD(U) MP Sharad Yadav said the 50% ceiling set by the apex court
should be done away with. He also mocked the SC judges, saying that
they selected themselves and did not know the social reality.
A retrograde, visionless Budget
Tuesday March 4 2008 07:58 IST

ACCORDING to a well-placed media lead (See "Cong's Wishlist" on page 17, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Febru ary 7, 2008), a conclave of 38 party leaders had told the Finance Minister that this year they would like to have a Budget "that caters for the aam aadmi." The implication of this directive is : the last four Budgets of Mr Chidambaram did not cater to the 'aam aadmi.' Much is made by the Finance Minister about the higher growth of GDP since 2004. Over 75 per cent of this growth is contributed by the service sector in which the government has made no significant contribution, except to get out of the way. But, despite the high GDP growth rate of nearly 9 percent per year since 2004, what is important to realise is that today because the 'internal organs' of the Indian economy are not healthy the growth has declined to below 9 percent.

In fact, the exports and private consumption increases are also slowing down, an ominous sign of coming recession. Economists realise that because of such internal hemorrhaging, if it is not rectified, any fast growing economy can collapse suddenly, as the 1997 experience of the East Asian economies shows. What then are the present ills of the economy that is causing the hemorrhaging? Principally these are five in number.

First: Jobless Low Productivity Growth. The growth rate of the economy though high, between eight and nine per cent annually, is not generating enough jobs, which is growing only at 2.25 per cent per year since 1999-2000. To progressively reduce the unemployment backlog, absorb excess farm labour into industry, and provide jobs for the new entrants into the labour force, employment must grow at about 3.5 percent per annum rate. At the same time, the economy must raise productivity of labour and capital through induced innovation and new management practices. Hence, in the Budget there must be adequate provision for encouragement for labour using, instead of labour substituting technology and projects, and for promotion of innovations and the use of IT industry through radical tax breaks and R & D. This means that the Education sector has to be nurtured in the Budget for adequate skill empowerment of the younger generation in schools and colleges. But in the entire Budget speech of the FM, there is no reference anywhere to the need to systematically deal with this issue.

This malaise cannot be rectified by setting up a few IITs and IIMs. It requires a comprehensive modernisation of primary and secondary education and dealing with the drop-out of students and non-attendance of teachers in schools.

Second: Lack of agricultural reforms: the growth rate in agriculture should be at least 4 per cent annually to sustain the 8.10 per cent GDP growth. But since 1997, agriculture in the Indian economy has grown at a trend rate of just 2.5 per cent with wide fluctuations year to year, which is due to lack of reforms, declining public investment, and poor pre-modern infrastructure. Hence, suicides of farmers is increasing every year at the rate of 3.5 percent. By a one-time decision bonanza of writing off debts of marginal farmers, the rural people cannot be inspired to come out of their depression.

Rather than resorting to the very silly ad hoc measures for uplifting the rural people such as 'Bharat Nirman', the NREG and other 'yojanas' named after the Nehru family, which have failed to meet the targets, and for which financial allocations are consumed in leakages and corruption, the Budget must instead directly empower farmers so they are able to export their produce abroad, which will fetch higher prices, by imaginative schemes and e-commerce, rather than by providing more subsidies and higher procurement prices that will keep farmers crippled forever.

Third: Huge Fiscal Deficit: Government are impounding public sector bank funds (nearly 48%) to the tune of Rs.1,50,000 crores and more to, finance the Budget deficit, thereby starving the private sector (especially in manufacturing) of resources. The claim made by the FM that fiscal deficit as a ratio of GDP is declining, is false, and is achieved by Enron-type bogus accounting that has been laid bare by the C & AG.

Chidambaram has also a propensity to play to the gallery of left-wing unions of organised labour by working fiscal balances through appointment of pre-mature Pay Commission, and then creating a capital account budget surplus to finance the huge revenue account budget deficit thus caused.

According to Budget documents, this surplus in the capital account budget is Rs.55,184 crores, all of which is transferred to the revenue Budget to meet the deficit. This is most antidevelopmental. No wonder inflation is rampant today.

Fourth: Debt Trap: The debt accu mulated by Centre and States is so large (86% of GDP) that the annual amortisation servicing outlay (i.e.
interest payments) now exceeds the fresh loans taken! According to Budget documents, the fresh loans received of Rs.133,287 crores is less than interest payments for the coming year by Rs.57,632 crores. This situation is unsustainable and can explode into a financial crisis as it did in Indonesia and South Korea in 1997.

Fifth: Budget Allocations are straitjacketed: Due to the folly of all Finance Ministers since 1996, nearly 98 per cent of the receipts of Budget revenue are committed to heads that cannot be politically pruned. That is, items such as defence, subsidies, interest payments, counter-guarantees, pensions, police, and grants to States are those committed allocations that weak governments cannot reduce. Those commitments together leave only two per cent of the rural revenue receipts for other sectors.

Hence, the union and state governments are dependent on loans for funding other heads of capital expenditure which however, due to the coming debt trap, is an evaporating option for such funds.

So the question is: Does the Budget (2008-09) address these five major ills that contribute to the economic malaise today, and prevent further aggravation of the economic situation, which is taking the country closer to the brink of financial disaster?

The short answer is obviously 'No'.

The 2008-09 Budget falls miserably flat in dealing with these above five ills of the economy. Thus it is a hotch-potch retrograde Budget. It lacks vision, strategy of reforms or direction.

The claims of the FM on accelerating growth in GDP, highest output of foodgrains, huge institutional credit for agriculture and impressive performance under the Bharat Nirman in 2007-08, are moreover all misleading and deceiving. One look at the Economic Survey 2007-08 should reveal that official statistics all show this to the contrary. Growth rate of GDP has in fact slowed, foodgrain output growth has decelerated, while institutional credit to agriculture has only marginally increased in 2007-08. As stated earlier, Bharat Nirman achieve ments on irrigation, drinking water, rural roads, rural houses, electrification and rural telephone connections are less than one-third of the target.

The proposal for clearing the indebtedness of small and marginal farmers is ad hoc, and does not aim at removing the root cause of farmers' deprivation, which is lack of remunerative price for their produce. This is a systemic issue. There are in fact no longterm schemes for desperate farmers committing suicides, for salaried persons suffering from inflation, and for small and medium industries suffocated by globalisation, and for stabilising the volatile stock market. So much for the aam aadmi.

Hence, I urge all patriotic parties to vote against this retrograde Budget in Parliament, and the people to kick this government out at the next elections.

The question that remains is what should be done in a Budget, to rescue the Indian economy from the current tall-spin leading to an enormous fiscal crisis?

First of all, the middle classes have to be motivated to save more, go in for financial products such as insurance and equity, and buy consumer durables on credit. For this we must abolish income tax which is largely at the root of India's black money.

The resources lost for the government thereby can more than be recouped through increased quantum of excise revenue due to a higher growth rate arising from the resulting higher investment.

Secondly, Indian industry must be encouraged to out-compete Chinese labour-intensive manufacturing especially in outsourcing and value-added exports, and thereby divert East Asia semi-processed manufacture exports presently going to China and instead re-route via India to the West. For this, India must invite FDI and otherwise invest in food processing, textiles, retail trade, infrastructure and R & D to encourage East Asians to do so.

Thirdly, treat Agriculture as an industry and extend all the fiscal concessions of industry to it. Land should be leased and consolidated where the farmers' co-operatives want to enter grain, vegetable, fruit, milk and flower exports. Local feeder airports should be constructed for speedy freight transport and e-commerce introduced for easy exports of agricultural products.

Fourthly, to discourage government from poaching on bank finances to finance its revenue expenditure, the public sector banks must be privatised. The Government can compete with others for these funds through the market, or by floating equity of public sector enterprises.

Based on these four sign posts, I would re-draft the 2008-09 Budget.

(The author is a former Union Cabinet Minister of Commerce)
Angry PC boots out

Tue, 04 Mar, 2008,04:24 PM​
. Now that all the tumult and tension over the budget is over, it is time to get back and analyse the biggest question that the annual financial exercise has thrown up:
From where is P Chidambaram going to find the funds for his Rs 60,000 crore lazy largesse? This insistent query needs urgent reply.

But the seemingly suave PC is in no mood to give an answer.
On the contrary, he erupts in unseemly anger and a sense of pique whenever he is posed this question. Perhaps not many people know —— as it has been conveniently hushed up by the media —— that PC walked out of a TV interview when his interlocutor kept pressing him for an answer for the Rs.60,000 crore conundrum.
The interview was just a few minutes old, but the Union Minister who has a short fuse under his cleverly cultivated veneer of sang froid, just blew up in the face of repeated reference to the monumental monkey on public’s shoulders — we refer of course to the Rs.60,000 waiver for farmers.
PC not only was infuriated, but also walked out of the interview in a graceless huff. But being a powerful Minister in the Union cabinet, the Minister’s angry shenanigan was pretty much downplayed —— but it was in diverse contrast to the way a similar walkout by Narendra Modi was overplayed in the run up to the Gujarat elections. In fact some sections of the media also have it that PC threatened the TV channel to which he had granted the interview.
The above incident proves two things: The media is biased against Modi and is trying to help out the UPA in ways that are possible but not entirely above board. The other important thing is that the Rs.60,000 crore indeed worries PC, though much as he would want to believe otherwise.
It was one of the crassest and self-serving acts of a government out to grab a few votes on the basis of a puerile populist act. The Rs.60,000 crore is indeed a cheque written to bankroll the UPA’s attempt to comeback (stay) in power through means that are essentially dubious.
Obviously, the UPA will not pay for the misplaced munificence. Instead, common persons like you and us will be saddled with this burden for years to come. But pray why should we do it? Can’t base political bluff be called immediately? In the circumstance, the answer to the question is a sad no. That is the way the beast of democracy is structured.
The other fundamental problem with the waiver is that it does little to address the core issue with farming. Farmers in many areas are caught in a debt trap, having primarily borrowed from usurious moneylender. Now, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has exhorted the farmers to not repay the lenders without licence or those who charge high rate of interest.
He has also urged the State governments to protect farmers from these lenders. So apart from leaving the banking sector bleeding, PC’s waiver mania will hit individuals and has the potential to create violent law and order situation. ‘That is a nice mess that you have got us into, Mr PC,’ as Laurel would have told Hardy. But alas this is no laughing matter. It is a question of life and death. Of farmers and also other poor people.
To question the logic behind the waiver is not to take an anti-farmer position. But our learned Finance Minister seems to think so.

http://newstodaynet.com/newsindex.php?id=5562 & section=13


PC and media

Yes. It was a live interview and started late. The first question itself was about the source of the money for the write off. In normal occasions with his interview , one can hardly get any answers. 'I dont say that'.'Please wait'.If say neither .....If you ask 10 questions if you get atleast one answer its a big task. CNBC being a media channel , I guess its part of Network 18 and linked with CNN IBN. CNN IBN made a great discovery that last year PC made several reforms and he was the politician of the year beating Mayawati and Narendra modi. Its a good reply to them.Media is clearly biased.Leave out Modi.If the same thing has been done by either Yashwant Sinha or anyother BJP minister, I am sure they will come with amazing phrases to target the minister. It was live so we had a chance to see how PC gets irritated.Otherwise they would not have revealed that too....Anyways it seems there was a compromise and he gave the full interview later.
Dear Hariji,

Every budget is prepared with an eye on the voters. If it is not to win an election, many a time it is to avoid an election. So either ways, i think all Budgets in some way or other are indeed 'Election Budgets'.
Yes indeed and Truly said!

"Borrowed money" is the mover behind all industries, consequently the jobs and the prosperity. I get the feeling that after the sub-prime mortgage crisis that sent shock-waves in the financial sectors throughout the world, lending has enormously slowed down as the banks and other financial institutions are treading into the red throwing the stock markets in their tailspin. Indeed there is a global recession lurking in the corner. Governments all over the world are trying to pump in money by lowering the interest rates and even printing them to offset expenses against declining revenues thus fuelling inflation. (By the way the fuel price is skyrocketing!) A double whammy called stagflation - a repeat of the 70s - is a distinct possibility.

There is a patchwork political alignment in India that runs the govt and this patchwork is in constant strain. It could opt to run to complete the term but each passing day with the economic and political crisis looming large it could benefit the NDA opposition. Thus if the budget is used to avoid an early election it could be a wrong decision. On the other hand opting for an early election may be a leap in the dark as the string of election that have gone by show trends in the NDA's favour.

I was trying to show the prospects of political realignments in Tamilnadu as an example. This State is notorious for politicians becoming friends and foes overnight!

Thus the rulers seem to be in an unenviable position - Damned if you do and damned if you don't!

Hate promotion by indian media

In India, the media which loudly proclaims and promotes the myth that "India is the world's largest democracy" out of terror of the caste extremists have taken up the responsibility to promote, preach, incite, instigate and sponsor hatred.

Please see
It is one of the most vicisious articles ever seen.

Below is a transcript of the write-up

UP polls: Brahmin votes critical

Rahul Srivastav
Friday, April 27, 2007 (Lucknow)
Uttar Pradesh moves on to its fifth phase of assembly polls on Saturday.

And in this deeply caste ridden political battlefield where Dalit-based parties rule the roost, Brahmins are trying to mark a political presence.

Helping them do so is Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati. She is trying to bring together the exploiter and the exploited - the Brahmin and the Dalit.

Beginning with Brahmin sammelans this time, the BSP leader's well crafted poll strategy includes giving 86 seats to the 'twice born'.

This scramble for Brahmin votes has turned the dominant caste into a vote bank, almost like the minorities.

Number game

The Brahmin vote is extremely critical in the 403 constituencies. In 276 seats, they make up 1-15 per cent, in 108 seats, they make up 15 - 20 per cent while in 12 seats, they make up 25 - 55 per cent

With the mandir mobilization, the Brahmins shifted support from the Congress to the BJP. And 1989 saw the decline of N D Tiwari - the most influential Brahmin leader in the Congress.

As the party lost ground in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP emerged as a major player with its very own Brahmin face - Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Eighteen years later just before the fifth phase, an ailing Vajpayee addressed his first rally in Lucknow. He denied rumours about his absence while his party hinted that this was perhaps his last rally.

Return to power

Mayawati is banking on Brahmins and the 21 per cent Dalit electorate voting for her candidates. And as Mayawati responds to the Brahmins' search for a party, they view her as their route to returning to power.

So should we see this as a social change? The followers of Manusmriti, that places the Brahmins on top of the social hierarchy, opting for the Dalits as political allies.

Or is it a clever move by the community referred in religious texts as the Dvijottama - the best of the twice born - or the Brahmins to redefine the social order only to remain on top.

The mentally retarded idiot calls the brahmins 'exploiters', 'twice born', 'dominant caste', 'followers of manusmriti', 'on top of social hierarchy', 'Dvijottama', conspiring to 'remain on top'.

Which research has proved the above?

This anti-social element says 'dalits rule the roost', 'brahmins are trying to mark a political presence' and yet calls the brahmins as 'exploiters, dominant etc. Now if a set of people are dominant, why the hell should align with any caste parties to 'return to power'?

If we scan national newspapers and TV channels, one will see that this kind of mindless hate and myth promotion is a full-time occupation for the collaborationist media which parrot-like repeats the lies and falsehood of anti-social elements masquerading as do-gooders. All kinds of unconstitutional actions are glossed over as if sky is the limit for sectarianism. The Hindu 'unreserved' residents of India are now at the receiving end of supremacist myth creators ably assisted by the terrorised media that goes on and on about India being the "world's largest democracy."
I am responding to Sri Saab Ji's first posting here and his posting about Haj subsidy elsewhere.

1. It is an openly shameless act on the part of the present Government to increase the allocation to the minority budget just before elections. But I agree with Sri Hari. One should not decry monies spent on alleviating the backwardness of any community in India. Instead of questioning why more money to a section of disadvantaged people, one should ask why not more monies for equally disadvantaged other communinities.

2. As expected 'Secularism' is painted as the cause for spending on the Haj subsidy. This practice did start after Ayodhya incident (to appease the minority sentiments), but when NDA came to power and had a chance to repeal it during their six year rule they did not do so. Both parties, irrespective of 'secularism' as cited by Sri Saab ji, practiced this vile subsidy. Why vile?:

1. The subsidy is against Islamic laws and there are even voices within Islamic community in India to reject the subsidy.

2. The subsidy of about Rs 20,000 per head applies to only those who fly Air India. The person pays about 1/3 of the cost of flight from locations in India for the total cost of Rs. 30,000 and odd. So, essentially, the Government benefits and as the normal fares in other airlines are about Rs. 20,00 to Mecca during normal times, one can argue that Air Idia benefits by the increased loads during this time, even at the subsidized rates of Rs. 12,000 that a pilgrim has to pay.

3. This practice is against the constitution, by the act of the Government involving itself in a religion's affair.

These are the facts. And any practice by any Government in India, be it the Haj subsidy, or the control of Hindu Temples by HRCE, should be opposed by all. These are not sectarian issues, but rather good secular issues.


(I posted this in a different thread - I am editing it there and reposting it here)
Dear KRSji,

And any practice by any Government in India, be it the Haj subsidy, or the control of Hindu Temples by HRCE, should be opposed by all. These are not sectarian issues, but rather good secular issues.
I totally agree with you.

It looks more like this is a poll budget!

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]PM goes into poll mode in Parliament
6 Mar 2008, 0139 hrs IST

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif] NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday delivered what virtually sounded like an election speech when he struck an unusually hawkish note in Parliament, asserting that UPA's loan waiver for farmers was an "unpaid distress bill" run up by a callous NDA when it was in office.

Speaking in both Houses, the PM baited the opposition repeatedly, in a speech in which he sought to paint NDA as anti-farmer and duplicitous. With Congress chief Sonia Gandhi thumping her table in approval, Singh went on to blame the opposition combine for "depressed" support prices to the detriment of farmers.

The PM might have taken NDA by surprise as he initially began by speaking of shared objectives like reducing the urban-rural divide and pride in India's high growth rate. If at all, this was a red herring. He soon switched gears, attacking NDA for "exporting our food surpluses at a loss" as he sought to counter the charge that UPA had failed the "aam admi". [/FONT]
Will the bonanza propel farmers?

"GENERAL elections 2009 (perhaps even earlier?) is written all over the budget that Mr Chidambaram presented for the last time of the present UPA regime. There are 9 states in the election mode before the close of this year and the central effort in the FM’s budget was to take the wind out of the sails of the opposition, which has been crying hoarse for almost two years now, with good reason, about the raw deal meted out to the Indian farmer on the commodity price front, interest on loan, and, above all, for a loan waiver.

It seemed all these fell on
New Delhi’s deaf ears, notwithstanding the reconstitution of the National Farmers Commission with a new Chairman with much fanfare (it was already in place during the NDA regime with a different Chairman ) until day in and day out farmers’ suicide began to hit the headlines. No other regime previously had to face the ignominable spectacle of thousands of farmers taking their lives, most of them in the Vidharba district of Maharashtra, the “cotton bowl” of India.

To be precise, the last more than five years saw more than 1,50,000 farmers taking the tragic route of suicide, not because of anything, but, principally because of the humiliation of his or her inability to repay a loan taken from either an unscrupulous money lender or a scheduled bank. It is important to remember, the Indian farmer, at heart, is simple, but proud, and for good reason. He is the one who is putting the food on our plate, the fibre we wear, and the milk our children drink. So, if the FM, from his high pedestal has said a “Thank You”, it should have been said long ago, not just some months before the impending elections. Now, let us come to the fine print of what he has proffered. In this article, I would only discuss the implications of the FM’s provisions in the budget inasmuch as Indian agriculture is concerned.

The FM has said that Rs 60000 crores would be set aside as a waiver for the farmers’ loans. It is important to note that this huge sum is not a budgetary outlay. Hence, the banks from which the farmers borrowed, will bear the brunt of payment for default. Among the scheduled commercial banks, the private sector component operating in rural areas is extremely small, while
MNC foreign banks are totally non-existent. Therefore, the entire burden of the huge sum will have to come from the coffers of public sector banks significantly affecting their asset portfolios, and, consequently, their profitability. When a new Finance Minister steps into Mr Chidambaram’s shoes, he need not necessarily oblige and if he does, he can cite this as a good reason for lower profitability of the public sector banks, to emphasise their inefficiency vis-à-vis private sector banks.

Of the Rs 60000 crores, Rs 50000 crores would be utilised to write-off loans due by
December 31, 2007, which remain unpaid by February 29, 2008, taken by small and marginal farmers, owning land less than 2 ha. The scheme is limited to loans disbursed by certain types of banks until March 31, 2007. This has already led to mass disapproval of the cotton farmers of the country’s most suicide-proneVidharba district in Maharashtra as most of these farmers own more than 2 ha and so would be automatically eliminated from the largesse. Rs 10000 crores would be utilised for a “one time settlement” of other farm sector loans. The most important point to be noted here is that in thousands of cases, especially in the suicide-prone Vidharba district, it was the unscrupulous local money lender who lent the loan and these farmers had only two choices, either repay by taking another loan, and when that was not possible, end their lives. In effect, the UPA largesse has come too late in the day, and can only be termed, at best, as a “vote catching gimmick” ahead of the elections. And what about those farmers who had somehow managed to repay the loans? They would certainly feel cheated. In fact, if the UPA were genuine on the question of farmers’ distress because of these loans, it might as well have thought up the loan waiver in the last budget itself. Clearly, one cannot miss a political angle in the whole exercise, however much Mr Chidambaram attempts to duck the issue. As such, there is nothing “revolutionary” in the exercise as the UPA Chairperson tried to tell the media.

As to the reach of the loan waiver, a recent study based on the National Sample Survey in the ryot-rich Andhra showed that about 49 per cent farmers borrowed from informal money lenders, thus the waiver net will not shield all the farmers. However, a rough estimate shows that the waiver bait will reach close to 40 million Indian farmer families, and that is a pretty big number for a vote bank, who in turn will influence others in favour of the ruling coalition when it goes in search of the people’s mandate. In the Congressruled Andhra, there is already the hoopla!"

So says K.P.Prabhakaran Nair an international agricultural scientist.
Loan waiver at heart of the big bang poll budget
Saturday March 8 200808:07IST
[FONT=&quot]WHY did Union Finance Minister P Chidambarm wait for the Union Budget to announce the loan waiver package, especially when it was not linked to it? But for Madhu Dandavate, who announced loan waiver once in a Budget, it has been usually done through the Finance Commission.

A Union Minister disclosed the Government chose to wait for Union Budget only for the Big Bang impact. That would enable Congress to make it the virtual poll plank. Barring Kamal Nath, who took Chidambaram to task for not disclosing from where funds would be generated, other Ministers, including Lalu Yadav, were pleased. Enthused by his own performance, Chidambaram is catching up with a few Hindi words, specially on loan waiver courtesy his friends in Hindi electronic channels, to reach out to the aam aadmi in [/FONT][FONT=&quot]North India[/FONT][FONT=&quot]. Speculation was rife that he was planning to speak few lines in Hindi at Congress kisan rally in [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Delhi[/FONT][FONT=&quot] on Sunday but due to a farmers’ rally on the same day in Chennai, his plans went awry.[/FONT]
Chidambaram introducing sub-prime mortgage crisis in India

[/FONT] If the Rs 60k loan waiver sanctioned to the farmers was not a foolish step, our FM seems to welcome sub-prime crisis in India. It’s like “hey we Indians miss being in trouble too, come along and lets have a cup of tea with crisis!” Since most farmers have borrowed from the evil money lenders, there was a huge hue and cry since these farmers did not benefit the loan waiver. So Mr Eminent Chidambaram has extended the sub-prime crises to India. He has asked the banks to fund the farmers so they can repay the money lenders! I pity the banks - they are autonomous bodies - yet bound by the FM’s word. So now farmers will take a loan from the bank and repay the money lenders. Wow! And still they won’t repay the bank loan and then we’ll see another loan waiver next year. The sub - prime crisis started in the US because these loans were extended to people with poor credit history. The crisis hasn’t yet become a history to repeat itself, but present repeats itself so well in India.

Banks will soon be cash starved - inflation still won’t be under control - poor will remain poor- corruption will ensure that the loan waiver benefits the rich - a few lucky farmers may get some relief ( I don’t believe the system of loan waiver would be foolproof) - innocent tax payers like us will suffer the brunt of more taxation - since the tax revenue just got wasted again! Yet, irrigation facilities won’t improve, lack of electricity and power will always persist, crop cultivation system won’t get any impetus or development. And our country will be crippled with severe economic crises.

The FM - P C Chidambaram, is he playing dirty politics with the country? Or is it simply an election budget - a message to claim that they will fall to any extent to get the seat next year? Amidst global economic crisis, the FM has failed to deliver his best to the country’s economic growth. The loan waiver will make banks charitable institutions with zero margins, more soever since the RBI refuses to reduce the interest rate. There will soon be no money left with the bank for further lending, which will make the agricultural sector dry and will lead the way to recession.

There is no rationale behind the loan waiver - except that the Congress is taking care of the needy just for the sake of winning the upcoming elections. It is indeed a pitiful sight in the villages, however it is more pitiful to see our resources being wasted in the political war. Our PM, a very respectable man was quoted to mock at the BJP for not heeding to the needs of the poor. I ask - what has the Congress done in 5 years for the poor specifically? Why didn’t they come up with a loan waiver in the first year itself? Why have they failed to lay better agricultural programmes in reality? It is easy to sanction money for agricultural development since it is the tax payers hard earned money - however who has ensured proper utilisation of the sanctioned amount? Where are the true reports of the projects? Atleast Laloo Prasad brought about the most impressive change in the Indian Railways. His budget and vision has been simply fabulous - simply the best anyone could ask from him - given his prior reputation. And the Congress? The FM, the commerce minister Kamal Nath, the steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the left party and all the chunk of ministers have done nothing but argued and fought and destroyed the industrial growth of the country. Yet, the sports minister has enough money to pay crores of rupees to the Indian cricket team - a tax free income - for winning a three day match? Is it really worth “tax free”?

If India’s economy has shown any positive growth, the credit goes to each and every Indian who works hard and toils for his growth. The credit goes to the numerable industrialists - for generating employment, demand and supply; to those IT industries who have done a fabulous job of making India the IT hub with the best technologies; to the respected Tata, Birla and other big Indian names who have not only worked for economic profit, but also understood their corporate social responsibility towards India; to the telecommunication industry which has made the world a global village; to many such other entrepreneurs and Indians who make India shine even under the dark cloud of the UPA government which has no unity within itself.

Hail India! Saare jaahan se accha - Hindustan humara!

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When the U.S. government sensed that the country would be sliding into recession it not only brought down the interest rate (to ease the cash crunch) but also decided to rebate the tax payers so they can spend the money thus bringing immediate infusion into the economy. What underlies in these two exercises is the equality of citizens.

But what does Chidambaram do with his budget in India? He robs peter to pay paul! This kind of voodoo economics stems from playing vote bank politics. Is this secularism or pseudo secularism?

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]This waiver is immoral
9 Mar 2008, 0000 hrs IST
Gurcharan Das

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif] Nagoba Khamnakar feels like a fool. Like many farmers in his village of Mahakurla in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, he borrowed money from his bank last year. He repaid it diligently, in instalments and on time. Many of his neighbours, however, did not. When the finance minister announced last week in his Budget an amnesty against repayment of small farm loans, he said sadly, “What is the use of being honest?”

Cancelling debts of small farmers worth a massive Rs 60,000 crore, equal to 3% of all loans in the entire banking system, was a staggering, seductive but hugely destructive act. When Devi Lal announced a similar loan waiver worth Rs 9,000 crore in 1990, he killed most cooperative and rural banks.

Farmers stopped repaying loans, banks stopped lending to them and it took 10 years for the nation to recover from that mistake. When we hurl abuse at Devi Lal, we always add, “What did you expect from an illiterate peasant!” But what do we say to a government headed by eminent economists and reformers?

One’s heart goes out to those in distress in the rural areas. There is great suffering, indeed, in our villages. But there are other, better ways to relieve it without turning the nation dishonest.

For example, a sustainable crop insurance programme or a restructuring of the loans would have done much more good. There will be distress again; farmers will borrow again; and get into trouble again. A crop insurance scheme will then come to their aid, unlike this one-time political bribe. Sharad Pawar, the agriculture minister, admitted as much when he confessed the day after the Budget — “I cannot say if (suicides) will stop after this loan waiver.”

Human society is based on trust. When an ordinary person takes a loan, he feels duty bound to repay it. He will even sell his family’s jewellery to fulfill his promise. This is because we learned as children from our mothers to keep promises. Tulsidas’ ideal, praan jaye par vachan na jaye was held up to us as a moral ideal. We admire Karna in the Mahabharata for not switching sides because he had given his word to Duryodhana. This loan waiver wounds that moral universe. It tells the farmer not to bother to repay his next loan, because, who knows, another party will be in power and it, too, will cancel his debts.

What message does this send to the honest village woman who struggles every week to repay her micro-loan? It is like excusing the crooked businessman who bounces his cheque. Or bailing out victims of sub-prime loans in America who are clamouring for a similar act of false compassion.

The irony is that the UPA government might actually lose more votes than it gains from this loan waiver. According to NSSO figures, almost 60% of farm loans are from moneylenders. They will not benefit.

The R Radhakrishna Committee says that farmers from the suicide prone areas of Vidharbha and Chattisgarh will benefit less than the richer farmers in the irrigated areas who grow sugar cane and grapes. Since those who will not benefit (or benefit less) are greater than those who will, resentment will build, and the UPA might end up losing more than it gains. Sharad Pawar has understood this.

Hence, he told the farmers of India last week, “Don’t pay a single paise to moneylenders.” No one likes the village sahukar, but to break a promise to someone you don’t like is just as wrong as to someone you do.

Imagine the staggering paradox — to turn a nation dishonest in order to win an election, and then go on and lose it! This is one irony that the UPA government might prefer to forget.[/FONT]
Dear Sri Saba!

Your many posts illuminates a lot of thing for ignorant persons like me. My hearty congrats.

Just a curious question....

Imagine you are in the seat of FM and the pressure to win an election from your boss. What would you do?

I imagined , I couldn't have done anything better...

To win an election in India, either you have to be extremely charismatic like MGR.. or you got to capture the imagination of simple public. Is there any other way out?

I read in Thuglak - Gujarat CM - Mr Modi is an exception to this.

Take the case of this ex -Telungu CM - Chandra sekhara Naidu - he was once a darling of media and he did many things for the rural and urban people - still he lose.

Indian Democracy is very confusing. What the heck people wants?

Dear MMji,

My piece of advise to you will be that you stand on your own two legs and not on anyone else's. You speak what you think is right and correct yourself on better advise. In short, use your sense of discrimination. Chanting Gayathri will enable you to see the real from the unreal.

Today the price of crude oil touched $109.00 per barrel. Compare this to the prices until 2 years ago.

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica]"[/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica]Crude oil prices behave much as any other commodity with wide price swings in times of shortage or oversupply. The crude oil price cycle may extend over several years responding to changes in demand as well as OPEC and non-OPEC supply. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica]The U.S. petroleum industry's price has been heavily regulated through production or price controls throughout much of the twentieth century. In the post World War II era U.S. oil prices at the wellhead averaged $24.20 per barrel adjusted for inflation to 2006 dollars. In the absence of price controls the U.S. price would have tracked the world price averaging $[/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica]26.16[/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica]. Over the same post war period the median for the domestic and the adjusted world price of crude oil was $18.53 in 2006 prices. That means that only fifty percent of the time from 1947 to 2006 have oil prices exceeded $18.53 per barrel."

[/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica][SIZE=+1]Oil Price History and Analysis ( [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica]http://www.wtrg.com/prices.htm )

India government subsidizes oil prices as also China. The subsidy enables increased consumption that in turn increase the budget provision for subsidies. On the face of it, it would seem that everybody benefits by the subsidies, however those who consume most get a better deal. In other words, the subsidies of this kind make rich the richer.

This is one phase of the pseudo-secularism that mouths socialism in the streets but practices the opposite in office. They subsidize the rich all the time and seem (yea, only 'seem') to subsidize the poor at election time.

In secular countries a government is weighed at the time of election on its performance during its period of governance but in India a government is voted on the basis of sops and doles during election time. I guess the electorate would be better off if there are more frequent elections!
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