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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Indian Economy is tottering - Dr Manmohan promises aid to Palestine

Economics is a tough subject and not so easy to understand – the man from Gah [now in Punjab, Pak] is a renowned Economist, Oxford educated, bureaucrat – it is Dr Manmohan Singh, the chief architect of the economic reforms in 1991 that now, 20 years later, seems in a quandary.  The Indian Prime Minister has come under increasing scrutiny due to many counts -  corruption in his party and elsewhere, slow economic growth and poor governance.  His subservient but clean image has taken a beating after the ‘coalgate’ scam was unearthed. 

Otherwise, India stands at a crossroads, facing economic, demographic and global challenges.  India does not possess abundance of natural resources and it is the primary duty of the Government to ensure that the natural resources are best utilized.   Public memory is short lived – in the late 1980s,  VP Singh campaigned against Rajiv Gandhi on an  anti-corruption platform, invoking  an earthy metaphor to highlight the fact that the Congress government had covered all the bases of monumental corruption.  Those times it was Bofors kickback, HDW submarines and purchase of 21 helicopters from Westland – thus scams in land, water and air.

If the  recent report by India’s Comptroller and Auditor General is accurate, then all the 3 put together would be no match for the present coal-gate.  The Comptroller & Auditor-General’s report  puts the loss presumptively at  1.86 lakhs crores as notional loss.  The Congress, which has been forced on the defensive, has made bold to assert that the CAG, Vinod Rai, had gone beyond his constitutional mandate and intervened in the domain of policy-making.  The fact that this time around the allegations relate to the time when no less than the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, headed the Coal Ministry, has forced the government into even more of a defensive posture.

Geography is another tough subject ! [was there any one easy subject ?] -  Palestine, for sure is heard often – name used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands. The boundaries of the region have changed throughout history.  Palestine is a Country from 1988, established on parts of West Bank and Gaza Strip. During 2006-2007, Gaza Strip under Hamas leadership had violently split from the Palestinian Authority and continues to perform de facto rule over the strip. The status of Palestinian Authority as the State of Palestine is recognized today by approximately two-thirds of the world's countries, although this status is not recognized by the United Nations, Israel and some Western nations such as the United States.

Getting back to the Nation, there could be times when an individual feels depressed and getting bogged down – if the same occurs to the Nation, it is not good for its economy and its subjects.  It is stated that according to a survey of 21 major nations conducted by the Pew Research Center, Indians today stand out globally in terms of their declining optimism. This is not only a huge decline relative to economies, but drop in confidence itself.  Huge unemployment, spiraling prices, falling rupee value and more are attributed as some of the reasons.  The aspirations of people stand affected by the Rulers’ persistent inability to push up reforms and clean up cesspools of corruption.  As economy slows and the government is hammered by corruption scandals, Indians are increasingly dejected about the country's future.  India's economy grew a disappointing 5.5 percent in the last quarter ending June, a sharp slowdown from the 8 percent growth in the same period a year ago. In the session that wrapped up last week, lawmakers spent more time shouting at each other than conducting legislative business, mainly while focusing on a scandal over the sale of coalfields without competitive bidding.

The optimism would evaporate with the meltdown of economy, growing gap between rich and poor, increase in crime rate, improper governance, spate of scams and more.  One fervently hopes that the Rulers take some drastic measures to set things right. At a time, when you thought that there would be concrete steps towards the path of development, India on Tuesday announced another tranche of aid to Palestine and promised to back the Palestine National Authority’s quest for non-member status at the United Nations, an upgrade from the observer status, a move the U.S. has threatened to veto.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a $10-million contribution to Palestine and vowed to back Palestine's bid for full and equal membership of the U.N

Dr Singh reiterated that support for the Palestinian cause has been the cornerstone of India’s foreign policy.  Singh spoke of the need for constant and direct negotiations to achieve statehood for Palestines.  When our own economy is tattering, where is the need for providing millions dole to Palestine. In what way this is politically significant and in what way would this assist the Indian economy.

Economics is a tough subject and not so easy to understand – Our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is a renowned Economist.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th Sept.2012.

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