Showing posts with label Indian Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indian Government. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hiking The Diesel Price - A Laudable Step

Congrats to the Central Govt for showing the courage to hike the diesel price and curb the subsidy on LPG. These are two crucial decisions that were long overdue. 

It is very stupid to expect that the Govt will indefinitely put on hold a hike in diesel price when the international price of the commodity is on the rise. India has to import a huge quantity of oil from the international market, and the Govt is understandably bound to hike the diesel price if the international scenario forces any such decision. 

And as far as curbing the LPG subsidy is concerned, we should have the common sense to realize that subsidy is not an ideal way to keep price under control. Rather it is Counter Productive. Imposition of subsidy on a commodity might give us a temporary relief, but it is not sustainable and is bound to be withdrawn at one point of time. And significantly, more time is taken to withdraw the subsidy, more painful is the post-withdrawal impact. So it is always better to withdraw the subsidy at the earliest (if at all it needs to be imposed in the first place), right? I suppose we should have the maturity to opt for long term gain rather than momentary relief.

I know some of my friends will not like my view. Well, I have due respect for their opinions, but at the same time I am confident about my view.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Indian Govt. Mulling Institutionalization Of Community Policing

It was heartening to know that the Indian government is planning to institutionalize community policing, by setting up an exclusive wing for the same. The said wing, to be named 'Community Policing' or CoP, will be a part of the existing police department itself.

It is undoubtedly a very significant development. It is now an established fact that appropriate involvement of community always enhances the quality of the governance. This explains why it has now become such a popular practice for governments across the world to partner with local community members for carrying out various tasks and activities (one notable example is that of “Community Forestry”).

And moreover, community policing has been proved to be a very fruitful tool for curbing crime, with the practice being followed in a number of developed countries for quite some time. No matter how much strong network of informers a police force has, there is no parallel for a system where the common, grass roots level citizens act as the “eyes” and “ears” of the force. All of us are aware of at least a couple of incidents where the alertness of a common citizen has helped the police to smell a crime that is about to take place, and prevent it by taking necessary steps at the right time.

I was also happy to know that new courses and programmes were being developed for being taught in police academy, which aim at sensitizing police personnel on the role they have to play in community policing.

Let’s wish the government all the best for this smart move.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A. Raja’s Ridiculous Attempt To Drag The PM’s Name Into The 2G Controversy

It is really shocking to see that how the former Telecom minister Mr. A. Raja is trying to drag the honourable prime minister’s name into the 2G Spectrum controversy.

Mr. A Raja’s desperation to defend himself is understandable. But he must realize that espousal of any baseless reasoning to wash his hands off can hardly dilute the charge against him. Rather such acts will leave his image to be murkier.

He has said that the prime minister (and the then finance minister Mr. P. Chidambaram) knew about the steps he was going to take about the 2G Spectrum allocation. OK, accepted. But does that establish this that they are equally responsible for the scam? No. We must realize that knowing about the administrative or policy decision of a ministry is something, and realizing the possible outcome of that decision is something else. To study a policy decision and identifying its possible outcome is actually the responsibility of the in-charge of the concerned ministry (i.e. the concerned minister), as he has hands-on connection with the day-to-day activities of the ministry. We can at most say that the prime minister should have sensed the outcome of Raja’s decision, but we can never say that he should must have sensed it. At the end of the day it was Raja’s responsibility to sense the outcome, and back out from the controversial decision that resulted in the scam. That he did not back out from his decision naturally naturally reflects this feeling that he had actually identified the irregularities in his decision, but still went ahead as he had his personal gains in mind.

Mr. Raja must realize that the prime minister can not set up a Group of Ministers for each and every issue, then it is meaningless to have dedicated ministers for the government ministries. Besides, if the prime minister is to mind the pros and cons of every decision and step of a ministry, then what is the role of the ministers-in-charge? Are they there only to execute prime minister’s orders? Cannot they take independent decisions? They have to independent decisions, and will have to take full responsibility for the outcome. Therefore, sorry Mr. Raja, you have to face the music alone. Please do not try to drag the name of your honest prime minister, who is an asset for this nation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Let There Be “Shoot-At-Sight” Orders Against IM And LeT Operatives

I know it is very difficult for the Indian government to implement, as there are issues like communal sentiment, etc.

However, if the government has to enhance its anti-terror operation, then I feel it should immediately issue “shoot-at-sight” orders against the members of Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (a.k.a. Jamaat-ud-Dawa). And I hope technically it will not be very difficult, as both the organizations are now banned by the Indian government.

I understand that the proposal seems to be somewhat harsh, and also appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to the recent Mumbai blasts. However, I will very confidently say that there is no other way. Whenever police arrests one member of any of these banned organizations, it has to waste a lot of time and energy to gather evidence and prepare a chargesheet against him. Until and unless a proper chargesheet is not filed, the person cannot be prosecuted. And he keeps enjoying a happy life in the custody.

More importantly, both IM and LeT have a huge membership. If police takes so much time to tackle one member, then how can it tackle the entire organization?

Prosecuting an arrested terrorist through legal process is a lengthy procedure, which delays his punishment to a huge extent (just recall the examples of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab). Terrorism is now like an ever expanding tumour for India, and we have to wipe out as much chunk of the problem as possible by spending as little time as possible. We have to be fast and swift, ruthlessly cutting down each and every branch and fruit of the two venomous trees – IM and LeT. And in that case there seems to be only one way out – instantly gunning down an LeT or IM operative the moment police can have a hand on him.

The idea might not appeal to so-called intellectuals who are obsessed with catchy words like “Human Rights”, “ethics”, “morality”, etc. Well, I have due respect for the philosophy of “Human Rights”. But I am sorry to say that I do not feel it to be more valuable than the lives of my fellow Indian citizens.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Achieving 33 Per Cent Green Cover Is Impossible For India – Jairam Ramesh

Are you an Indian “green enthusiast” eagerly awaiting the day when the Indian government will be successful in realizing its target of bringing 33 per cent of Indian ground under green cover or forest cover?

Well, in that case it is time you heaved a sigh of pain.

The Environment & Forests Minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh has been very candid in saying that the Indian government’s aim to achieve 33 per cent green cover for India is impossible. Reason? Well, mainly two factors are playing the spoil sport – the size of the population and the developmental issues.

Mr. Ramesh has said that instead of running after the elusive goal, it is better India focuses on retaining the 21 per cent forest cover that it enjoys at present.

Interestingly, Mr. Ramesh has also admitted that 40 per cent of that 21 per cent forest cover is open and degraded land, and is not exactly worthy of being called “forest”.

Mr. Ramesh’s acceptance of the harsh fact might have broken many of our hearts. But it is better we appreciate his honesty, and wish and encourage him that he manages to retain and nourish the 21 per cent forest cover enjoyed by our beautiful motherland.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Indian Government Extends Visa-On-Arrival Facility – A Step Likely to Boost Tourism

The Indian government has extended its Visa-On-Arrival (VOA) facility to four more countries, viz. The Philippines, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (all ASEAN countries).

Before this the government offered this facility in January 2010 to five other countries, viz. Singapore, Japan, Luxembourg, Finland and New Zealand.

Some key features of the said facility –

It will initially be available at the airports of New Delhi, Calcutta or Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

It will allow a traveler a single entry facility with a validity of 30 days.

A passenger will have to pay a fee of $60 for availing the facility.

One passenger will be allowed to avail the facility for not more than 2 times in a calendar year. And there must be a minimum gap of 2 months between the two occasions when he will avail the facility.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Possible Extension Of Deadline For Phasing Out Expat Pilots In India

The Indian government is likely to extend the 31st July 2011 deadline for phasing out expatriate pilots. If that happens, then it will be a great relief for the Indian carriers, who have been very vocal about their dependence on pilots from foreign countries.

The Indian carriers and cargo airlines have said that they will collectively require 2,665 expat pilots till 2015. And they have also made it very clear that in case their demand is not met, then they will be forced to ground a huge number of their collective aircrafts. Needless to say that if that happens, then it will have a very adverse impact on the Indian aviation scenario.

However, while the Indian carriers have lobbied for a 5 years extension for the deadline, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has made a recommendation to the Indian government for an extension of 2 years. And it is a 2 years extension that the government is currently considering, though a final decision in this regard is still pending.

Presence of a huge number of expat pilots is certainly not a comfortable scenario for wannabe Indian pilots with licenses from Indian training institutes, as it severely shrinks their employment opportunities. Under that circumstance, they will certainly not be able to welcome a decision to extend the deadline for phasing out expat pilots.

However, the Indian government certainly cannot afford to have a situation where all the Indian carriers will be forced to ground a huge number of their total aircrafts overnight, eventually resulting in a temporary but serious disorder for the Indian civil aviation market.

Then there is also the question of security. Many Indian airlines fly such aircrafts that can be flown only by expat pilots. And the Indian pilots cannot overnight be given the responsibility of flying those aircrafts until and unless they have picked up the necessary expertise. It is a question of passenger security.

So now the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry has to espouse a balanced approach. On one hand it has to offer the necessary extension as sought by the Indian carriers. But at the same time the government must ensure that the Indian carriers start taking steps so that soon they are able to employ Indian pilots. For example, the carriers may start training Indian pilots on how to fly those aircrafts that reportedly can be flown only by expat pilots.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Diluting AFSPA Will Be A Blunder

It is really alarming to see that the government of India is planning to modify (read dilute) the AFSPA or Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Everybody accepts that there have been some instances of misuse of this power by certain bad elements in the Army. And those scoundrels should be awarded the harshest possible punishments.

But under no circumstances it is acceptable that the government will modify the Act, thereby diluting the effectiveness of the same which in turn will have a highly adverse impact on the performance of the security personnel fighting day in and day out to keep our country safe from the fangs of bloody terrorists.

Almost every day a number of government officials of various ranks and posts are misusing various powers that they enjoy by the virtue of their ranks and posts. If the government decides to stop the misuse of governmental powers by diluting the powers themselves, then it will eventually dilute the executive capacity of the government itself.

The best way to ensure that no military officer misuses AFSPA is to award strong punishments to the offenders, which will discourage any officer from going for such an act in the future. Fake encounters is an alarming issue. But that does not mean that the government will dilute the AFSPA, thereby weakening our security personnel and giving the terrorists more power to harm us.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mehmood Qureshi – The Cheap Gallery Player

I always knew that Mehmood Qureshi is an over-smart, over-talkative foreign minister who is more interested in destructive diplomacy rather than constructive one (at least while handling issues related to Indo-Pakistan relationship).

But I never knew that he was so good at cheap gallery playing, a quality that he exhibited other day while addressing a mass gathering in Multan in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Displaying a theatrical histrionics, that completely belied his so-called elite background, Qureshi kept briefing the innocent people about how the Pakistan government scored a diplomatic victory over India by forcing the latter to hold a dialogue with Pakistan despite strong initial reluctance for the same. In a nutshell, what Qureshi meant was that India’s acceptance for a dialogue process was not out of any constructive mindset, but simply out of diplomatic pressure that Pakistan had so successfully exerted on the Indian government.

Qureshi also “highlighted” how India tried to get Pakistan diplomatically isolated from the world, and how his country countered that attempt so effectively.

I do not wish to discuss much about Qureshi’s childish behaviour on that day. Rather, I have a humble suggestion for the Pakistan government. And the suggestion is, if it is serious about having a meaningful dialogue with India, then it must replace its foreign minister at the earliest. With such a blatantly irresponsible foreign minister in place, there is little chance that Pakistan’s scheduled dialogue with India will make any headway.

A couple of years back Pakistan had another such irresponsible foreign minister in Gohar Ayub Khan, a shockingly tactless person who carried his anti-India feelings on his sleeve. Instead of trying to normalize his country’s relationship with India, he kept making provocative remarks. And those remarks not only threatened to further worsen the Indo-Pakistan relationship, but also left Gohar’s own government completely red-faced. And ultimately the then Nawaz Sharif government of Pakistan was forced to replace (read sack) Gohar, when it was convinced that the former army officer had no wish to deviate from making cheap anti-India rhetoric.

Will the Pakistan government act now, or will it like to wait till Qureshi ends up causing a serious damage as far as Indo-Pakistan relationship is concerned?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Former ISI Chief In The Kashmiri Separatists’ Meet

The blatant shamelessness of the Pakistan government is really shocking to the core. The extent of the government’s unscrupulousness again came to light when the other day the Kashmiri separatist groups held an open meeting at Muzaffarabad, the capital town of Pak-Occupied Kashmir or POK (i.e. Azad Kashmir or “Independent Kashmir” in Pakistan’s language). The meet was attended by all the top leaders of “Kashmiri Freedom Movement”, including Sayeed Salahudeen of Hizbul Mujahideen. In the meet these separatist leaders openly discussed their plans to further enhance their activities (i.e. disruptive activities), expressed their faith in “Zihaad” (which is nothing but meaningless bloodshed) as the “only solution for the Kashmir problem”, and also sent this message to “their brothers” on the other part of LoC (Line of Control) that they are always with them (they have taken it for granted that they enjoy unanimous support from the Kashmiri youths).

Everybody knows that POK is virtually a part of Pakistan. And still these blood-thirsty maniacs managed to hold such an open meeting just under the nose of the Pakistan government, with the latter simply turning a blind eye to it. In the meet the separatist leaders not only discussed their future plans, but also issued open threatening to the Indian government. How did they dare to come up with such audacious activities, on a piece of land where Pakistan calls the shots?

However, what is more shocking is the presence of former ISI chief Hamid Gul in that meeting. A known India-baiter, Hamid Gul is known for having played very “constructive” role in “strengthening” the so-called “Kashmiri Freedom Movement”, during his stint as the ISI chief. Therefore it is not surprising to see him participate in any event or programme that champions the “cause of Kashmiri freedom movement”. But this event was different in the sense that it was the meeting of the dreaded separatist leaders who are trying to achieve their objective not through dialogue or mass movement or any other peaceful tools, but through the blood-soaked tool of terrorism. And in fact they used this meeting as a platform to chalk out plans for their future disruptive activities. By participating in this meet Hamid Gul has virtually brought himself down from the level of an ideologue to that of a petty terrorist.

The Indian government should immediately exert pressure on its Pakistani counterpart to come up with a proper explanation on how those bloodthirsty savages were able to organize such a meeting in Muzaffarabad. The Pakistan government should also send for Hamid Gul, and ask him to explain exactly what he was doing in that meeting. If Mr. Gul has provided those terrorists with some strategic guidance or advice, then he must be arrested immediately.

The Indian government should also draw international attention to the event, so that the world can be made more conscious about the naked double-standard that the rogue state of Pakistan has been playing not only with India, but the entire world.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Need Of The Time – Environmental Diplomats

There was a time when a country’s diplomats were mainly focused on political and military relationships with other countries, like pitching for either military co-operation (for example in a case of a possible war with another country) or voice of support on international podia while discussing an international issue (for example the Kashmir issue for India and Pakistan).

Yes, bilateral trade and commerce also played a crucial role in diplomatic negotiations. In fact, that aspect of diplomatic negotiation has been there for several hundreds of years. The Consulates of a country (like the US and British Consulates located in various Indian cities) are actually focused on fostering business prospects of their country in the “host country”.

However, the liberalization and globalization of the world resulted in the emergence of a special breed of diplomats, named “Economic Diplomats”. They are the diplomats exclusively focused on all the economic aspects of diplomacy and foreign relations, such as pitching for funds and aids from international organizations (WTO, IMF, etc.), identifying their respective countries’ business opportunities in other countries and charting out necessary roadmaps to tap the same, etc. Economic diplomacy is now a specialized wing of Statecraft, with almost every nation having a pool of expert Economic Diplomats.

The emergence of Economic Diplomats was the result of the dynamic character of Diplomacy, which is understandably very receptive to the changes in world affairs. And it is this dynamic characteristic of Diplomacy that is today signaling the need of another specialized wing of Diplomacy – Environmental Diplomacy.

The global warming has become a hot issue, highlighting the necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emission. This has subsequently resulted in a “national compulsion” for every country to explain its stand/problem/view on climate change and emission issues. And this has further resulted in the need to develop a pool of efficient and expert Environmental Diplomats, who are able to present their respective countries’ views on international podia.

And I suppose that India is at least somewhat lagging behind on this score. I think this came into light during the recent Copenhagen Summit, where the India delegation was sometimes failing to present its views effectively (though of course there were stiff and shameless opposition from the developed nations). I also feel that India failed to develop a united stand with other like-minded developing nations, thereby creating a strong pressure on the developed nations.

And the reason behind India’s not-so-effective Environmental Diplomacy is probably the Indian government is not precisely considering the domain expertise while selecting its Environmental Diplomats. There have been a number of IFS and IAS officers who are responsible for defending India’s environmental views and policies on the international arena. Unfortunately, many of them are not that expert in the field as they are supposed to be to effectively executive their responsibility.

Just one example is enough to establish that the Indian government has been unnecessarily biased to the bureaucratic community while choosing “members” of its Environmental Diplomacy team. Who is our Chief Climate Negotiator? Mr. Shyam Saran, our former Foreign Secretary.

There is no doubt that Mr Saran is a brilliant and talented person, who unarguably deserves crucial positions in the Government. But does he hold that level of expertise in Climate Change issues, which our Chief Climate Negotiator is expected to have? Well, I do not think I am sure.

I hope the Indian government is aware of the fact that Environmental Diplomacy is a specialized wing that should be handled only by people with strong domain expertise and skills. And I hope that the government is working towards the development of a well-qualified team that will be successful in defending our environmental views and policies on the international arena.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Recent Sugar Price Issue – Some Thoughts

The extreme hike in sugar price (almost Rs. 50 per kg) had become a hot topic of discussion for the Indian mass for the last few days. Everybody was shocked, upset, and (understandably) angry. Thank god that at last the price of this widely consumed food item is showing some downward trend.

I feel instead of focusing on exchange of criticisms and blame game, we should now focus on how we can prevent the emergence of such situations in the future. Taking preventive measures to prevent future crisis is more important than identifying the “culprits” of present crisis and criticizing them for their failure. Right?

So do I have any suggestion? Yes, I do, though I am not sure about its practicability. And I also do not know whether any decision to this effect has already been taken or being considered. All I can say is that I have a suggestion, and I will love to share it with everybody.

Other day in TV I found they were saying that a particular strategy of the Agriculture Ministry has largely contributed to this sugar price crisis. And that strategy is – Export when there is surplus quantity, Import when there is scarcity. (Well, I do not remember the language ad verbatim, but it was something like that).

Now, when there is a surplus quantity of a food item, then exporting a part of it is not a bad idea. After all, it is always a great idea to tap an opportunity to draw foreign exchange.

However, at the same time the Government should remember that there can anytime be an emergency situation in the country, which will result in a sudden and emergency demand for that surplus quantity in India itself. For example, there can be a drought-generated famine in a certain region of India, resulting in an overnight creation of a sea of hungry people in an acute need of food items, including that particular food item. Similarly, there can be flood in one region, with the Government facing the task of sending relief to that place. Needless to say that the relief items must include food items, including that particular food item.

Now my humble suggestion -

Therefore, I feel that whenever there is a surplus production of a particular food item, the Government must store a certain percentage of it as the Buffer Stock. And this must be made a regular practice, irrespective of how strong or faint the possibility of an emergency situation is.

Now, if there is any situation like drought-generated famine, then the Government can use the buffer stock to address the acute need of food items in the affected region.

In case there is a flood in a region, the Government can send adequate food items by using that buffer stock.

And when a food item will suffer from constant price rise due to the scarcity of that item in the market, the Government can check that price rise by reducing that scarcity. Yes, by supplying that food item into the market from its buffer stock.

So, what do you people think of my plan?