Archive for February, 2013

It is Time to Tax Agricultural Income

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

It is Time to Tax Agriculture Income

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com

Farmers have paid tax to the kings from times immemorial. History shows that all subjects paid about one fourth of their produce to the king. So it is not understandable as to why agriculturists and those who are engaged in agro based industries should not pay income tax. All persons irrespective of whether they live in urban or rural areas need the Government to carry out development of the infrastructure like roads, irrigation systems, electric power, and a host of other facilities. They need the police, judiciary, the countries defense forces and many other Government facilities like education and health services. They want loan facilities, subsidies and procurement of their produce at remunerative support prices. They want to be compensated for destruction of crops due to natural calamities. But they are not willing to pay for these services. Do they give anything for free? Then why should they feel that they should get all services free of cost. Why should the revenue earned by the Government in the form of income tax in urban areas be spent for the development of rural areas? It is illogical to exempt agricultural income from income tax.

Tax holidays for development of backward areas are understandable. But the agriculturists have enjoyed tax holiday for sixty five years. Hence this tax holiday must end. All individuals or companies who are engaged in agro-based industries will be required to pay income tax.

Tax Liability

The slabs and rates of income tax payable by individuals and companies engaged in agriculture, horticulture or agro based industries should be the same as for other individuals and companies. An expert body should be set up to work out a method of assessing income and develop a Form on which the tax return is to be submitted. This expert body should submit its recommendation within three months and the Government orders should be issued within six months.

Interim Rates of Payment

Till the Government works out the system of assessing the income and develops a Form on which the return is to be submitted, an interim system as given below shall operate.

All individuals who have more than 20 acres of irrigated land or more than 5 acres under sugarcane or 3 acres under grape cultivation or who have constructed a cement concrete house of more than 100 square meters or are in possession of private cars or jeeps will pay an ad hoc advance tax of Rs. 1500 for the current financial year. This amount will be paid by 15 th September.

All companies engaged in agro based industries of any kind including dairy, floriculture, plantations etc. will pay an ad hoc income tax equivalent to 1 per cent of turnover. This amount will be paid by 15th September.

Exemptions

All agro based industries will be allowed a tax holiday for a period of 7 years from their incorporation. In case of plantations, they will be allowed a tax holiday of 25 years. During this period they will pay only one percent of their sale as tax. All individuals who are starting new cultivation of grapes or any fruit orchard should be granted exemption for the particular area for a period of seven years.

Conclusion

People and legislators of all parties will protest. They have vested interests to protect. Delegations of farmers will come to discuss the issue of tax on agriculture. They will point out that the life of a farmer was very difficult. The production was unpredictable and depended on rainfall. The farmers were not getting remunerative prices for their produce and were unable to make a proper living. They need to be explained that only those who earned more than Rs. 200,000 per year were required to pay tax. So as far as the small and marginal farmers were concerned, they would still not be required to pay tax. As far as the rich farmers were concerned the story was different. If agriculture was un-remunerative, how could they afford to build palatial houses, buy cars costing over Rs. 10 lakhs, have all modern amenities and have fat bank balances? A Government officer living honestly required a life time to buy a house and a car. Yet he paid income tax. So why should the rich farmers who earned adequately not pay tax?

Taxing agriculture will also stop rich individuals and companies showing agricultural income and thus laundering their black money and cash earnings. This will also boost government revenues. No company or individual ever stopped earning because they would have to pay tax. They will always try to hide their real incomes if they can and try to pay less tax.

Our government cannot run effectively without increasing revenues. One simple and effective way is to tax agriculture. These holy cows have had a great time at our cost for the last sixty five years. It is time we milked them.

Horse Meat in Beef Products in Europe; Be India Buy Indian

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Horse Meat in Beef Products in Europe

By B

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com

Indians have always loved foreign things. Not many quality Indian products were available in India under the British Raj. But Indian women were beautiful and made great wives and mothers. But many Indian men going abroad for studies were fascinated by western women and it was fashionable to bring home a foreign wife. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, had recognized in the craze for imported products the danger of a return to economic and cultural slavery that had taken root during British rule. He recommended “Swadeshi” or self reliance and boycott of foreign goods as a part of our freedom struggle.

Things have changed. We are an independent and an advanced developing nation. Our industries have developed. Indian products can match the western products in quality in almost all fields. However, listening to fathers (of the nation or households) became unfashionable a long time ago. Showing off is the pastime of the rich and the upward mobile young Indians. They want everything, their cars, their clothes, their cosmetics, their jewellery, their whiskey, their wines, their perfumes, their deodorants and even their food to be western and preferably imported. But can we be sure that all that we import from abroad are of good quality? Let us see the latest example of Western Corruption. 30 to 100 percent horse meat has been found in beef products of many top brands in 16 European Countries. In mid-January, Irish food inspectors announced that they had found horsemeat in some burgers stocked by UK supermarket chains. But it was hushed up. Then in mid February 2013, up to 100% horsemeat was found in several ranges of prepared frozen food in Britain, France and Sweden. If Europeans can feed white skinned people with horse meat instead of beef, you can rest assured that they can feed brown skinned Indians and black skinned Africans with meat and cosmetics made from dead animals. Even earlier it was reported that Western fast food chains have used animal fats for cooking vegetarian dishes. We do not have a proper system of testing cosmetics and other products that we import. Our regulators and inspectors are also well renowned to look the other way for monetary considerations. How can you say western products are better than Indian products? I use Indian products and have found them to be very good. I now use homeopathic toothpaste, “Camodent”, homeopathic cold cream with Alovera, Parachute Soft Touch moisturiser, and Jaborandi hair oil with Arnica. My 92 year old mother has been using Boroline antiseptic skin cream for over fifty years.

Finally, “Be Indian, Buy Indian” is not a slogan of an aged, old fashioned nationalist. It is essential for India to remain an economically independent nation. Every time we buy a foreign product, eat foreign food stuff like apples and almonds, food products like tinned fish or ham or sausages or drink Scotch whiskey or foreign wine, whether made in China or the West, India has to pay for it in Dollars which India does not earn. India has an annual trade deficit of US$124 billion and growing. Of this about US$40 billion is our deficit with China. If this continues, our Rupee will be further devalued. Today, the US$ is fluctuating between Rupee 53 and 54. It was Rs 38 to the US $ in 2004. In 8 years it has devalued about 40 percent. At the present rate of devaluation, the Rupee could depreciate to Rs 100 to a UD$ by 2020. That would mean rationing of petroleum products as crude oil will cost that much more in Rupee terms. India may not have enough Dollars to import our requirement of crude oil.

Buying foreign goods creates jobs in foreign countries and job losses at home. The US and Europe have been happily shifting manufacturing industries to Asia and buying goods produced in China and other developing countries. The unemployment rates in the US and Europe has been steadily rising. In some countries like Spain and Greece, it has crossed 25 percent. Poverty and hunger are rising in the developed world. The number of homeless is rising in the developed world. Highly paid jobs in the manufacturing sector are going to China and the Asian Tigers. Only low paid jobs in the service sector like waiters, sales persons, etc are being generated in the US and Europe. Are we going to learn from the plight of the people of US or Europe or are we going to continue our profligate ways.

Be Indian; Buy Indian; not because some old fashioned nationalist tells you to. Be Indian; Buy Indian to secure the future of your country and the future of your children.

Jai Hind

(If you agree with the views of the author, forward the mail to your friends and relatives.)

Investing in Stock Market

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Investing in Stock Market

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar

www.bhaskarsarkar.com

(The author has no objection to the article being translated and or

published/reproduced in print or social media)

I came across a small news item at the bottom left corner of the front page of the Times of India, Sunday 10th February 2013 (Chennai Edition). It said “FM has hinted that the budget will contain measures to boost equity culture among retail investors.” The news has sent alarm bells ringing in my mind. As a retail investor who lost half my retirement benefits in the Harshad Mehta Scam of 1992, I consider it my duty to share my experience in investing in the stock market with innocent and gullible retail investors.

I had retired from the Army in September 1991 and had received a few lakhs of Rupees as retirement benefits. I considered myself to be an intelligent and well read person and thought that there was no reason why I could not make money on the stock market. Harshad Mehta, a stock market broker known as the “Big Bull,” had started what was known as the “Bull Run” by investing money borrowed from banks in shares. Stock prices were rising every day. Everyone around me was investing and thinking he had made money because the value of his stock was going up. Was I going to miss out on the great opportunity? I did not want to. So I invested half the funds at my disposal and watched with great satisfaction as the prices of the shares kept rising. Then on April 28, 1992, the Harshad Mehta securities scam came to light. The BSE index crashed by 570 points or 12.77%. All my investment was almost wiped out. There have been 10 stock market crashes in India between 1992 and 2013. These are:

  • May 18, 2006. Market lost 827 points.
  • April 2, 2007. Market lost 617 points or about 5%
  • August 1, 2007 Market lost 615 points.
  • August 16, 2007. Market lost 643 points.
  • October 18, 2007. Market lost 717 points.
  • November 21, 2007. Market lost 678 points.
  • December 17, 2007. Market lost 769 points.
  • January 18, 2008. Market lost 683 points.
  • January 21, 2008. Market lost 1403 points.

I do not claim that I invested wisely. As a retail investor with limited knowledge and experience, I did what I thought was best. There were millions of small and big investors who lost large amounts of money in these crashes. A young working lady had to sell off the car she had bought when the going was good to pay off the broker. A wealthy friend of mine had to sell off his cloth factory.

Markets do not follow any logic. They crash when some big brokering houses are found to have indulged in financial impropriety. They crash due to international events like wars, rises in oil prices, government policies and a host of other things about which a retail investor has no knowledge and influence. The broker always makes money. They take a percentage whether we buy or sell, whether we make money or lose money.

Wealth is of two types, real wealth and virtual wealth. Real wealth has a fixed value which does not change suddenly. Cash, gold, jewellery, properties constitute real wealth. They cannot disappear on their own. They have to be physically removed like being stolen or destroyed in war or in a natural calamity. But virtual wealth, the value of your shares, debentures, financial instruments, mutual fund investments are all subject to market risk can disappear while you sleep.

Why does the finance minister of our country want ordinary people to invest in shares and indulge in unsafe speculative activities? I am scared of all salesmen who are trying to sell investments. Papers are full of stories of cheating of gullible people with promises of doubling investment in one or two years. But there are always greedy people wanting to make a quick buck. The cheats disappear with the money and the greedy are ruined. I do not think he is an honourable man. I do not know why he wants to put the hard earned money of ordinary people at risk.

Conclusion

I have been bitten and lost heavily on equities. I have stopped investing in equities. I am a poor old man with no money which I can afford to lose. Do not be taken in by sales persons promising unmatched returns and asking you to invest in shares, debentures or mutual funds, whether he is the finance minister or a broker. They do not care whether you make money or lose money. They are only interested in their commission and profits. My advice is that invest your hard earned money in gold, Public Provident Fund, government bonds, fixed deposits in nationalized banks, pension fund of nationalized insurance companies or property.

Finally, You have every right to do whatever you want to do with your money and live with the consequences. All I request is “Look before you leap.” Look up the history of stock markets on the internet before you invest.

An Open Letter to the BJP President

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

An Open Letter to the BJP President

by

Col Bhaskar Sarkar VSM (Retd)

Author, Civil Engineer & Management Consultant

40 Shanti Kunj, Alwar, Rajasthan

Website: www.bhaskarsarkar.com

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

January 29, 2013

To Mr. Rajnath Singh BJP President Dear Sir, First of all please accept my heartiest congratulations on being elected the President of the Party at this critical juncture. You have worn this crown of thorns before. The BJP tally in 2009 was less than 2004. What will it be in 2014/2013 and why? Summary of Lok Sabha Results Since 1999

State Seats

1999

2004

2009

BJP INC Others BJP INC Others BJP INC Others Remarks
Andhra Pradesh 42 7 5 30 2 29 11 0 33 9
Assam 14 2 10 1 2 9 3 4 7 3
Bihar 54/ 40 23 4 27 5 3 32 12 2 26
Jharkhand 14 - - - 1 6 7 8 1 5
Gujrat 26 20 6 0 14 12 0 15 11 0
Haryana 10 5 5 0 1 9 0 0 9 1
Himachal 4 3 0 1 1 3 0 3 1 0
Karnataka 28 7 18 3 18 8 2 19 6 3
Madhya Pradesh 40/29 29 11 0 25 4 0 16 12 1
Chhattisgarh 11 - - - 10 1 0 10 1 0
Maharashtra 48 13 10 25 14 13 21 8 17 23
Tamil Nadu 39 0 2 37 0 10 22 0 8 31
Delhi (NCR) 7 7 0 1 6 0 0 7 0
Orissa 21 9 2 10 7 2 12 0 6 15
Punjab 13 1 10 2 3 2 8 1 8 4
Rajasthan 25 16 9 0 21 4 0 5 19 1
Uttarakhand 0/5 3 1 0 5 0
Uttar Pradesh 85/ 80 29 10 36 10 9 62 10 21 49
West Bengal 42 2 3 37 1 6 37 1 6 35
Total 543 182 114 138 145 114 206 233

Source: www.eci.nic.in

The following facts are clear from the table above:

1.       BJP is in Decline. It has been a downward slide for the BJP since 1999. BJP got 37 less seats in 2004 and 68 less seats in 2009 when compared with 1999. Unless this trend can be reversed, BJP will become irrelevant at the national level and Congress will rule for ever. An article on the subject is attached. The Babri Masjid demolition in Dec 1992 seemed to have improved BJP performance but the communal riots in Gujarat riots of 2002 is perhaps the prime cause of its decline in 2004 and 2009 elections as it became a pariah for its allies like TDP, TMC and BJD. 2.       Decline in Andhra. In Andhra Pradesh it got 7 seats in 1999 but 0 in 2009. BJP never had a strong base in Andhra. Its rise and decline was along with TDP and particularly after 2002. 3.       Decline in Gujarat. In Gujarat it got 20 seats in 1999 but 14 is 2004 and 15 in 2009. This decline is a result of 2002 riots. 4.       Decline in Haryana. In Haryana it had 5 seats in 1999 but 0 in 2009. The breakup of its alliance with the corrupt Chauthalas is the main cause of the rout. How effective the alliance with Haryan Vikas Party will be only time will tell. 5.       Decline in Maharashtra. In Maharashtra it had 13 seats in 1999 but 8 in 2009. This decline was in parallel with the decline of its partner Shiv Sena and possibly poor candidate selection. 6.       Decline in Delhi. In Delhi it had 7 seats in 1999 but 0 in 2009. The decline is due to removal of Madan Lal Khurana, infighting and poor candidate selection. 7.       Decline in Orissa. In Orissa it had 9 seats in 1999 but 0 in 2009. The decline was due to break up with BJD and weak state organization. 8.       Decline in Rajasthan. In Rajasthan it had 16 in 1999 but 5 in 2009. The decline is due to intense infighting and poor candidate selection. Nothing has changed here. 9.       Decline in Uttar Pradesh. In Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand it had 29 in 1999 but only 10 in 2009. The decline is due to ouster of Kalyan Singh, intense infighting, poor candidate selection and effect of Gujarat riots. 10.   Decline in Madhya Pradesh. In Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh it had 35 in 2004 but only 26 in 2009. In fact the Congress tally increased in Madhya Pradesh from 4 in 2004 to 12 in 2009. Decline is due to ouster of Uma Bharti, infighting and poor candidate selection. 11.   Increase in Karnataka. In Karnataka BJP had 7 seats in 1999 which increased to 19 in 2009. But this increase is likely to disappear in 2013 due to ouster of Yedurappa and split in Karnataka BJP. Importance of Leaders

BJP does not seem to appreciate the importance of competent leadership. It feels that anyone who is nominated by the Party President and the High Command can be an effective leader and win elections. That is not true. BJP has a history of ill treating outstanding leaders and paying the price.

Madan Lal Khurana revived the party in Delhi and led BJP to victory in the Delhi Assembly polls in 1993. He resigned in 1996 to face a corruption charge. Party declined to reinstate him when his name was cleared and preferred Sahib Singh Verma as CM. Sahib Singh Verma was ineffective as CM and was replaced by Sushma Swaraj just before 1998 elections. It was too little, too late. Congress returned to power in Delhi has retained power ever since. BJP’s tally in Delhi reduced from 7/7 to 0/7.

Kalyan Singh led BJP to victory in UP elections in 1991. Under him, BJP became the largest political party in 1993 UP elections. He became leader of the opposition and was CM from 1997-1999 when his government was dismissed in the wake of Babri Masjid demolition. He was forced out of BJP in Dec 99 but returned to BJP before 2004 LS elections and won. He left again in2009 before 2009 election citing neglect and humiliation and won as independent. BJP came 4th in UP with 10/80 in 2009. Kalyan Singh has again returned to BJP again but for will he be allowed to lead the Party in the coming Lok Sabha elections? Uma Bharti led the BJP to a three-fourth majority in Madhya Pradesh assembly in 2003 and was made CM. She resigned from the post of Chief Minister in August 2004, when an arrest warrant was issued her regarding some case pertaining to 1994 at Hubli. She was not reinstated when the case was dismissed. Shivraj Patil was inducted as CM. She was thrown out of the Party for opposing L K Advani on some issue. She has been re-inducted in the BJP in 2011. She was tasked with reviving the party in Uttar Pradesh, ahead of the assembly polls in 2012. It was another case of too little too late. BJP suffered a humiliating defeat but she won her seat. B S Yedurappa became the State President of the BJP  in 1988 and was made the CM of Karnataka after leading BJP to a historic victory in 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections He was accused of corruption by Lokayukta and forced to step down. In March 2012,the Karnataka High Court quashed the FIR registered against him regarding the Mining scam. On 25 July 2012, Karnataka High Court granted anticipatory bail to Yeddyurappa in a case relating to alleged irregularities in de-notification of government land in 2009. But he was not reinstated. Humiliated, he has formed a new party like Uma Bharti did in Madhya Pradesh. What damage his leaving will cause is yet to be seen. Vasundhara Raje has been a leader of BJP since 1985. From 1989 onwards she won four consecutive elections to the Lok Sabha. In 2003, she shot to prominence by leading the BJP to its biggest victory in the state elections in Rajasthan as the State BJP President. But there was a rebellion of party leaders against her firm style of leadership. In 2008 Rajasthan assembly elections BJP suffered a narrow defeat and Vasundhara Raje quit as CM. Being from Rajasthan we know that the Sangh and some local leaders actively worked to ensure her defeat. Whether she will lead BJP in 2013 Assembly elections and whether BJP will support her totally is to be seen. B C Khanduri is senior BJP leader of Uttarkhand. He is a four times MP and Minister in Vajpayee government. In February 2007, he led the BJP to victory in assembly elections in Uttarkhand and was chosen to be CM. There was a rebellion of party leaders against his firm style of leadership. High command gave in and made Pokriyal the CM. But the performance of Pokhriyal government was so poor that BJP brought back Khanduri as CM just before state elections. BJP lost narrowly. Khanduri could not win his seat as Pokhriyal and other local leaders used all their efforts to defeat him. BJP must understand that leadership is most important. Greeks never won a war after the death of Alexander the Great. It required Chandra Gupta Maurya to unite the 16 kingdoms of the Vedic Period into one country. The kingdom of Ashoka collapsed within 50 years of his death. The Mughal Empire collapsed within 50 years of the death of Aurangzeb. It required Shivaji to organize the Marathas into a formidable power. It required a Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose to form the INA and fight the British Army. It required a Mahatma Gandhi to lead our non violent struggle for freedom. It required Sardar Patel to unite India. It required a Shyamapada Mukherjee to launch the struggle to integrate Kashmir into India. It required an Indira Gandhi to annex Sikkim and liberate Bangladesh. It required an Atal Behari Vajpayee to establish India as a nuclear power. It is leadership that makes the difference. Importance of Unity Hindu history is replete with instances of lack of unity and betrayal. In 327 BC Hindu King Ambhi of Taxila aligned with the forces of Alexander in his battle with Hindu King Puru. In the Second Battle of Tarrain, the Hindu Raja of Kanauj Jai Chandra met Mohammad of Ghori and informed him about the details of Prithwi Raj Chauhan’s strengths and battle plans and helped ensure Prithwi Raj’s defeat. In the Battle of Khanwa with Babar, Rana Sangha was assisted by Hassan Khan Mewati but betrayed by the Hindu Raja of Malwa, Silhadi (the Rana had married his daughters to Silhadi’s son) who left Rana Sangha’s forces in the middle of the battle with 20,000 men and joined Babar. Maharana Pratap of Mewar was not assisted in his battles with Akbar by other Rajput Rulers like Man Singh of Amber. In fact even his brothers Shakti Singh and Jagammal joined Akbar in the hope of being made the Rana after Rana Pratap was defeated. Political back stabbing is passé in the BJP. Sahib Singh Verma did in Madan Lal Khurana. RSS did in Uma Bharti and Vasundhara Raje. Kalraj Mishra and the Bramhin lobby did in Kalyan Singh. Pokhriyal and his friends did in Khanduri. Anant Kuma did in Yedurappa. Arjun Munda did in Babu Lal Marandi. I am reminded of a poem by Rabindra  Nath Tagore describing the “Rath Yatra” at Puri. Hundreds of thousands of people were bowing before the “Rath”. The street (Path) thought that it was God and people were bowing to it. The “Rath” thought I am God, and people were bowing to it. The idols thought they were the God and people were bowing to it. And God smiled at their foolishness. Every senior leader in the BJP sees himself as a potential PM or CM whether he is capable and acceptable or not. That is not possible. Unity in Congress is ensured by the Gandhi family. Who will temper the ambition of BJP leaders and ensure unity? Importance of Strategy Need for Winning Strategy. Hindu teaching lays great stress on bravery and sacrifice (Veerta and Balidan). It does not pay equal stress on planning, preparing and training to win. Since the time of Mohammad of Gazni Hindu warriors have fought bravely but were defeated and martyred. The invaders made off with their wealth, wives and daughters. BJP needs to evolve a winning strategy for the polls. If it fails to do that the slide of its fortunes will continue and it will be reduced to around 80 seats in the 2013/2014 Lok Sabha Elections. Need for Younger Leadership. Hindu teaching lays great stress on listening to elders. It means BJP leadership has no place for new ideas and young leaders. India has changed. 50 % of the population of India are under the age of 25. Today children are more educated and informed than their parents and do not listen to elders but do things differently. The BJP, like the rest of the world, must project leaders in the forties and fifties rather than seventies and eighties. Need to Give more Seats to Women. Hindu teaching does not accept equality between men and women. But women account for more than 50 percent of the voters. They are outperforming men in many fields. BJP must give 50 % of seats to women to contest. Need to Induct More Muslims to Improve Secular Image. BJP must improve its secular image by giving many more seats to Muslims. This will not only help them get more votes and seats but also make it acceptable to political parties like TMC, TDP, Communists etc and make it difficult for Mulayam Singh to Keep bailing out Congress in the name of keeping out communal forces. It should remember that Hassan Khan Mewati fought alongside Rana Sangha against Babar and the Meos of Rajasthan are Rajasthanis. There are a large number of Muslim women’s organizations who are fighting for reforms and liberal thinking. These organizations like the All India Women’s Personal Law Board, Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, etc could be good source of Muslim Women candidates. Shia Muslims are moderate, liberal and suitable for being members of BJP. There are about three crore Shias in India. There are many big and small towns and villages with majority Shiite Muslim population in India. Many of them migrated to India to escape the persecution by Sunnis. Prominent places in India with majority or considerable Shia Muslim population are Kargil, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Barabanki, Sirsi, Amroha, Zaidpur, Hallur, Naseerabad, Naugaon, Naseerabad, Manikpur, Safipur, Unnao, Akbarpur, Sultanpur and Muzafar Nagar. The Shias include Sayyids, Khoja and Bhoras. Gujrat is the home to most of the Dawoodi Bhora population of the world. Need to Improve Campaigning Elections are not won on the votes of staunch supporters of political parties, RSS or other organizations. They are too few. Elections are won based on the votes of non committed ordinary voters, farmers, labourers, petty businessmen, daily wage earners, housewives, teachers and other professionals. India Shining Campaign did not work for BJP in 2004. The strategy in 2009 failed miserably. Unless a more meaning full campaign strategy is evolved, BJP will again fail to win. Price rise is not an issue with the people. The sales in Rajasthan during Diwali this year broke all records. It is almost impossible to find a daily labourer or a maid without a mobile phone. Different people have different wish lists. Everyone wants drinking water, electricity and protection from harassment by police. Students want protection from exploitation by educational institutions and jobs. Women want physical and financial security and income opportunities. Petty business and hawkers want protection from extortion by police, RTO and anti-socials. Farmers want seeds, fertilizer and water in time. They want loans from banks without having to pay a percentage to the manager. They want meaningful support price and aid during natural calamities. Corruption is not an issue as long as work gets done. It is useful to media to fill in their time. An article titled “Winning Elections Obama Style is attached. Need to Bring New Allies Congress accepts that it cannot form government on its own and is going all out to win allies. Does BJP? It requires at least 277 seats to form the government. Even in the unlikely scenario of it repeating its 1999 performance of winning 182 seats, it requires another 85 seats to form a government. SAD will provide 7 and HVP 2. Sena may support Modi and bring about 12 seats. That is 19. With JDU refusing to join if BJP is the candidate for PM, there is no way BJP can come near the magic figure. Deductions 1.       Secular Image is essential. India has changed a lot in the last ten years since 1999. Education and western influences have increased. Women have become more assertive. The TV media is a strong tool of building public opinion and it does not support Hindu or Muslim fundamentalism or RSS ideology. The people who faced the trauma of Partition are mostly over 70 and an insignificant minority. Neither Congress nor BJP can hope to form the government at the centre on its own. Congress openly acknowledges it and invites new allies. BJP does not admit it and has not sought any new allies. If it fails to improve its secular image by ruling out any role for Modi at the Centre and giving more seats to Muslims, JDU will leave the alliance and TMC, TDP and the Communists will never support BJP. That means Congress will continue to form the government for ever. 2.       BJP must Select its Leaders with Care. The BJP must understand that there is a difference between a regional leader and a national leader. The BJP rules alone in just 4 of 27 Indian States. It cannot project a regional leader like Narendra Modi to lead India unless he is acceptable to all the existing and potential allies. Only Sushma Swaraj fits the bill. BJP must rehabilitate proven leaders like Kalyan Singh, Yadurappa, Vasundhara Raje, Uma Bharti, B C Khanduri and ask them to lead the Party in the States. It must also indentify and nurture leaders in other states where it is not in power or sharing power. 3.       BJP must ensure Unity within its Organisation. Unless there is unity in the organization and all are ready to work for the party rather than for their personal ambition, Congress will rule for ever. BJP must immediately patch up with Yedurappa and make him CM. 4.       BJP must give more seats to Middle Aged Leaders and Women. 40 to 50 % percent of the seats must be contested by women. 5.       BJP must improve its Secular Image. BJP must improve its secular image by inducting more Muslim candidates and nominating Sushma Swaraj as its PM candidate. 6.       BJP must improve its campaigning. It must understand what people want. Article 372, Ram Mandir, Swadeshi, corruption and price rise are irrelevant. Drinking water, electricity, good roads and public transport, job and earning opportunities, timely supply of seeds and fertilizers, bank credit without bribing bank managers, security for women, stopping exploitation and bullying by police, political cadres, educational institutions and anti socials are important. BJP campaigning should focus on these issues. Conclusion Your elevation to the post of Party President in light of BJP’s electoral performance under your guidance in 2009 polls is surprising. I suppose no one else volunteered for the job or no one else was acceptable. Your initial moves about Karnataka and Modi do not inspire confidence. You have two options; continue present policies till BJP is finished or change tack and lead it to victory. RSS has two options; change with times and allow BJP freedom of action or be consigned to the history books.

Spreading Misery the Western Way

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Spreading Misery the Western Way

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar

www.bhaskarsarkar.com

The US is the world’s greatest military and economic power since the end of World War II or 1945. For last 68 years it has dominated the life and economies of the countries of the world. The Western media, BBC and CNN included, make it out to be the fountain head and the greatest champion of justice and fair play, human rights, democracy, charity and economic aid. In its role it has been devoutly followed by UK and most of the western world. Can the same media bear to look at the reality?

Creation and Support of Israel

US and its Allies created independent Israel in 1948 and have supported it in every possible way. In the process it consigned over four million people of Palestine to misery unknown to any other nation. Even before 1948, Israeli Jews terrorized the Palestine Arabs and set into motion one of the largest ethnic cleansing whereby over 250,000 Palestine Arabs were forced to flee their homes and take shelter in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordon and Egypt. As per UN, a total of 726,000 Palestine Arabs were forced to flee their homes between 1947 and 1949. About 2.5 million Palestinians today live in West Bank under Israeli occupation without human rights. 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza are denied adequate food, medicines, access to the world, and economic opportunities. BBC, CNN and even Al Jazira news channels lament the plight of the 500,000 displaced persons in Syria. Does anyone in the in the Western world shed a tear for the Palestinians?

Intervention in Vietnam

The US and its Allies fought in Vietnam from 1955 to 1975 to save its people from Communism. About 1.3 million soldiers and almost the same number of civilians died in the conflict. The numbers wounded and displaced must be twice as many. American air raids destroyed most of the infrastructure in North Vietnam. Does anyone in the West regret the misery caused to millions.

Intervention in Afghanistan

The US and its allies intervened indirectly in Afghanistan during the civil war from 1982 to 1992 pumping in over $40 billion dollars worth of arms and financial aid. This enabled the Mujahedeen to evict the Soviets. But there was a minor price to pay; about one million deaths and about six million refugees fleeing to Iran and Pakistan. The US and its Allies have been physically fighting the Taliban they helped to create from 2001 to date. Afghanistan has not seen peace since 1982. The misery of the Afghan people does not bother the West.

Intervention in Somalia

The Somalian Civil War from 1991 to date is essentially an attempt by the US and its Allies to prevent Muslims coming to power by encouraging Ethiopia and Kenya to intervene with weapons and funds. This has been done to protect Western commercial interests. The 22 year war has devastated the country and brought untold misery to the people but who cares.

Intervention in Iraq

The US and its allies intervened in Iraq in 2003 to liberate the people of Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and bring democracy. The hidden aim was to protect Israel and seize control of Iraqi oil. About 160,000 civilians were killed in the war. About 2.2 million Iraqi refugees fled to neighbouring countries and another 4.2 million were internally displaced. A prosperous, secular nation has been devastated by Western intervention. Does any Western Media blame the US and its Allies for the humanitarian disaster?

Intervention in Libya

The Western countries intervened in the Libyan civil war of 2011 on behalf of the rebels and got rid of Gaddafi. About 30,000 were killed. About a million people either fled the country or were internally displaced including about 300,000 who fled to Tunisia or Egypt. The Western countries may have gained control over Libyan oil. But they have failed to bring peace to the country. The killing of the US ambassador bears testimony to that. But they certainly have succeeded in bringing misery to the people of Libya.

Intervention in Syria

The US and its Western Allies have intervened in Syria because Assad is a friend of Iran and a threat to Israel. They have not physically intervened because of opposition from China and Russia. But they have recognized the rebels as the legitimate government of Syria. They are pumping in billions of dollars and providing arms and ammunition. Over 700,000 refugees have fled the country and another 500,000 are internally displaced. The civilian population in the war zone have very little food, water or medical aid. They have no income and no hope. There is no reason why the civil war will not go on for another 5 to 10 years. By then millions would have fled the country. Hardly any building or institution will intact. Women and children unable to leave will become destitute. But who cares as long as the media blames Assad and his allies.

Conclusion

It will be seen from above that intervention by the US and its allies in any country in the world has never brought peace and prosperity to that nation. It has only brought misery to the people. Will the Western media acknowledge the facts and encourage the US and its Allies not to intervene in domestic conflicts and allow countries to find their own solutions to their domestic problems. Or will they encourage the US and its allies to start a civil war in Egypt by encouraging the opposition with funds, weapons and political support?

Will the media urge the US and its allies to arm twist the Syrian opposition to accept Assad, make peace and alleviate the misery of the people of the country?

Only time will tell.