Friday, January 6, 2012

UPA: Could it UP it's Ante

2012 has started, 2011 was one of the years that everyone would like to forget and move on. The year was full of problems and pessimism persisted everywhere. Internationally, countries were going through their worst ever phase and India too was not any exception. We were somehow able to dodge the depression of 2008, however the economic actions taken then evolved as the source of problem now. Adding to the problem was virtual stoppage of government decisions widely regarded as 'Policy Paralysis'. Slowing GDP, high fiscal deficit, sky high interest rate and all time high inflation, there wasn't any support from anywhere that could bolster the economic and political environment going forward.
However, these very things that caused doom in 2011 could be the reason for boom in 2012, if government could use it to there advantage. All the wrongs of 2011 provide an opportunity for UPA led government to rectify them and show the industry, investors and people of India that their notion regarding this government is wrong.
To start with, UPA have to turn the tide against opposition. Each bill that UPA brought in parliament in 2011 was blindly opposed by the opposition. UPA's inability to pass any significant bill in parliament has also led to fall in its popularity in educated middle class, one of its main support base. UPA think-tanks have to reverse all this and have to market aggressively their policies especially regarding 'FDI in Retail' and 'Lokpal Bill'. If the opposition is marketing the 'FDI in Retail' as the monster for small shopkeepers, government should sell the policy as 'Saviour for farmers'. With many instances of farmers protesting in favour of FDI in retail that would not be very much tough for UPA. The decision could be a political weapon for UPA for elections and also an economic tool for India's economic development.
In case of 'Lokpal Bill', government will have to take some bold decisions in a way that it scores a political point in addition to satisfying the civil society. Corruption has made the biggest dent on UPA's image and it has to wipe it out as soon as possible and come clean on each and every issue.  

However, these decisions and their implementation has to be closely scrutinized, monitored and implemented by UPA managers because even a small error in these political sensitive topics could make or break the political future of UPA. This becomes much more important given the fact that 'Rahul Gandhi' could be the prime ministerial candidate in next Lok-Sabha elections.       

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Baseless Development

Why Land Acquisition Really Matters? And What Could Be Done About It?

Don't Take My Land
India is growing at over 8% annually. To fuel this growth consistent supply of huge amount of resources are required. Whether it's fuel, minerals or land, everything is required at a scale that has never been experienced before. But there's a common problem that is holding all these from being input to the development cycle and that is land. The huge population has made the world's 7th largest country a 'People Surplus, Land Deficit Country'. Adding to the problem is years of inefficient handling of land.
Since early 2000's, India's frantic pace of growth has ensured that the land and their owners are exploited to a huge extent. Earlier unawareness among farmers & their hope to benefit has largely ensured peaceful industrialization. But after years of experience & feeling of being left out they now consider industrialization a monster, which just gobble up their land. They feel that the sole beneficiaries of the whole process are corporates, who in tandem with local government officials acquire much more land than required. A waste of a precious resource that must be stopped, immediately. The proposed 'Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement(LARR) Act, 2011' is a good step in that direction and I am sure that it will induce some discipline among the buyers.
The bill proposes that for every acquisition of more than 100 acres of land, the consent of atleast 80% locals should be taken. Industry fears that this could make 'Land Acquisition' a tough and slow process. But I think once completed, projects can be executed at much faster pace with less probability of people protesting thereafter. Also the compensation clause will increase the cost of projects for sure but it will reduce the tendency of businesses to acquire land in much larger quantum than required and force them to use it efficiently. However there should be one modification in the bill, instead of high one time payment monthly compensation amount should be increased from Rs2000/acre/month. As experienced till now compensation beneficiaries spend lavishly in initial years and due to lack of any skills other than farming, they face a tough question for survival once that compensation finishes. The increased regular compensation will ensure that those displaced are assured of regular income. In addition guaranteed job to a member of each displaced family will make them live a respectful life.
Share It, Don't Capture It
But profit sharing can be tricky and difficult to implement, since locals lack resources to effectively audit the books of mining companies and thus probability of frauds will be high. Also the profits from mining will come slowly after the projects go on-stream. Also compensation in the form of monthly allowance, profit sharing, taxes and one time allowances may render the projects unviable. To solve this, a 'Rehabilitation Authority' should be set up which would be the sole organization responsible for rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced people and will work on non-profit basis. The organization will be responsible for facilitating all the acquisition in future from its own corpus, which will be funded by profit sharing and one time compensation from corporates who acquire land.
There are more such problems with the proposed bill, which has to be looked into. However it's clear that whatever government do, it has to do it fast and has to do it right, it can't experiment on that count or else India would risk losing it's competitive and demographic edge.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Break This Evening

Open Letter To A Madrasi Girl

Since the last few days, a blogpost by a South Indian girl is making news all over the social networks, blogs and even print media. The post on her blog Broken Morning has raged a war of comments on web. The so called 'Madrasi girl' has infact highlighted the issue of regionalism in India. Since lack of sense nationalism and increasing regionalism is one of the major issue that has and will always challenge our growth, I am taking up the matter on this blog. 
*But before starting, i would recommend you to read the blog on which my whole post will be based. It's Broken Morning.The blog has thrown light on some of the problems that the North Indian(NI) society is plagued with, but has done so in an exaggerated and harsh way. Infact, she has so much isolated herself from NI that she mentioned south as a separate country. So, you could take my points as counter views to her's.

Starting with the language 'Miss Madrasan', may be our English is bad but what about your Hindi, after all that's our unofficial national language. Aren't we suppose to speak that fluently? I have not met any Tamil speaking the language as fluently as we do. Regarding intelligence!!!!Of Course, South Indians are genius. After all, who else could mastermind a scandal worth 100k Crs. According to her, we don't like their food and they don't like us. Atleast not liking their food is not inhumane. So in that sense we are better humans than them. They are not into food like us, but what's the purpose of cracking the IIT, if their electoral choices are still based upon freebies like TV and JMG's. If they are so much educated then why the state has more BPL card holders than the population? Any one there to explain me? And who said they aren't beautiful, with their hair fresh out of dish washer and 'to die for' moustache they always look gorgeous. But here's a problem with us, we were brought up on Gurudas Mann and not Rajanikanth. After all, no one challenge his out of world powers. If she thinks that naming every thing on boy's name is wrong, than isn't it true vice-a-versa. If here in North India women cows down to man's demand we could say men there kneel down to woman’s demand!!!!

The debate could go on indefinitely. But the fact is that every person, every society and every nation have some strengths and weakness. No society is perfect and we have to adapt to their ways and instead of criticizing it, should work in tandem to resolve those issues and aspire to create a perfect society. This specially matters for India, as we have to come out from within the small circles of regionalism and be nationalistic for our country to be a prominent force tomorrow.

And apologies if anyone's hurt!! And yes these are my personal views and is not on behalf of North India. 

That's also a North Indian quality.......

Read:  HT CityBroken Morning