Monday, June 25, 2018

Emergency: India has moved on, but the BJP is stuck with it.

Lengthy Disclaimer: The purpose of this piece is not to either justify the Emergency or to defend it. The purpose is not to attack its ‘purpose’.  The purpose is placing the facts leading to the Emergency in the right context. The purpose is to tell the young students of Indian politics that we have to see the background in which such a measure was taken. Certain events in history have wide ranging repercussions, but as time goes, we also need to move on instead of earning cheap political brownie points which the BJP-RSS are indulging into.

I do not want any acknowledgement for this piece, even from my Liberal friends, because I know nobody, including me can justify the excesses of the Emergency. I only attempt to bring in some unread facts in public domain. For this, I have taken the liberty to refer many books on the same topic written by people who were actually in the midst of it. All the views expressed by me here are my personal views and does not reflect the views of any political organization.

Fourty-three long years shall complete, since the declaration of Emergency in India. For those like me who are born in the late 80’s- Emergency had very little importance because we were born, after the death of India’s greatest Prime Minister (in my opinion, everyone is entitled to theirs) was assassinated. Being a student of Indian politics, I often have had debates (both online and offline) on the Emergency. Majority of the arguments against it, either come from the people who have a diametrically opposite ideology and political philosophy than mine, the rest come from people who have not dug deeper into the reasons of imposition of Emergency and are only indoctrinated by superficial trappings. Infact many of my Congress contemporaries too; are more often than not uncomfortable in delving or discussing about Emergency.

We are in 2018 now. But every year, the BJP devoid of any core developmental issues tries to reignite a malicious politically driven propaganda by panning Emergency and raking up a discourse, in which it gets significant support from the most liberal section of the media as well. I would not blame the media- because they were one of the casualties of the Emergency.

Yes, for the Congress party too- Excesses of Emergency were definitely a chapter for which it has publically apologized and which it does not want to touch at all. When provoked, every June; by the BJP – the Congress has little to offer except its reiteration that it had already apologized and that Indira Gandhi herself had accepted that it was a mistake, following it up by calling General Elections in 1977, where she faced the wrath of the electorate. They also remind the narrative creators that- Indira Gandhi later came back with a thumping majority, after the Janata party- Janasangh Government collapsed under its own contradictions and people again reposed faith in Indira Gandhi.

There are a lot of deeper factors and some immediate factors which led Indira Gandhi Government to take such a drastic step. Before coming to that, let me also make it clear that Invocation of Emergency is a Constitutional provision which is explicitly covered in Article 352 of the Indian Constitution. So, one may have their reasons to oppose the Emergency and its excesses- but it has Constitution validity.

So how the Emergency did came about? There are layers and layers of factors.

I.                 Disobedience of law in India has always been given a political colour, and rightly so. Since the Independence was won by Gandhian means of Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience and Satyagraha. And we can still see hues and shades of it all across India even now. Dissent in a Democracy is one of the most powerful tools to keep it intact. But various organizations have time and again taken the law in their own hand to serve their narrow vested interests and disobeyed and disregarded the state, thereby trampling upon its powers and enfeebling it.  Before 1947, the protagonists of the National Movement were fighting a Foreign Power. Weakening the state by unlawful means was at the core of their struggle; this was perfectly legitimate because a foreign power is ruling you for 200 years. But post-Independence, these tactics of blackmailing the state by hartals, strikes and even armed rebellion was still regarded as perfectly legitimate, particularly by those who want to usurp power through unconstitutional means. The opposition in the 70’s was determined to usurp power and when it tasted its first success in dislodging a Constitutionally elected Government in Gujarat- they had smelt blood and were hell-bent to replicate that modus operandi throughout the country. Economic distress and Inflation of the people, ravaged by successive wars also played a significant amount of part, as also some big mistakes by the Congress party in the state that further precipitated the situation.

II.             In 1972 India faced an extreme drought. In Gujarat, the situation became worse, followed by a poor kharif crop, thereby resulting in sharp increase in prices of the staple wheat, jowar, bajra and essential commodities. Sensing an opportunity for political gains by exploiting genuine hardship, opposition parties particularly the Congress (o) and Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), CPI(M), SP  cynically organized ‘Nav Nirman Samiti’ of students. In December 1973, students of L D College of Engineering in Ahmedabad went on a strike to protest against a hike in school fees and mess charges.  A month later, students of Gujarat University erupted in protest, demanding the dismissal of the state Government. How can student organizations demand dismissal of an elected state Government having a majority of 140 out of 168, is beyond imagination! They cannot do it without political patronage.

As the disturbances continued unabated, the Government led by Chimanbhai Patel (who had corruption charges against him too) resigned and President’s rule was imposed on 9 February 1974, but Assembly was not dissolved.

Now Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) got into the picture, by visiting Ahmedabad two days after the imposition of President’s rule. He complimented the students and actively encouraged them to continue the stir, leading to atleast 95 deaths in the coming days and 933 innocent people getting injured, besides loss of public property. The motive was to create anarchy and disturb the wheels of law by taking law into their own hands. Opposition parties were determined to get the house dissolved, especially because they were miserably thrashed in the state elections in UP and Odisha in February. They needed to retrieve lost ground in Gujarat, where they felt their electoral chances were better.

Later, Morarji Desai undertook an indefinite fast, starting from 11 March, thereby forcing the Centre to dissolve the Assembly on March 15.

III.         With the success of the ‘Nav Nirman Movement’, the opposition had tasted blood. It became a symbol for similar agitations across India in several states. Nobody shed a tear for the demise of rule of law and the ‘murder of democracy’ by usurping power through unconstitutional means. And JP was particularly enthused by these happenings. Never a realist, always a believer in grand gestures of life, ‘the underground revolutionary’, JP gave a call of ‘Sampurna Kranti’ in Bihar.

Such a call by any other leader would have easily been dismissed in the Indian political realm. But since JP had this moral, almost Gandhian aura of not accepting Pandit Nehru’s offer for a Cabinet post, after Independence, his call for ‘Total Revolution’ provided a degree of moral credibility resulting in coming together of ideologically opposite political entities like the Left, Right and the Socialists because they found this quick method to usurp power, through this short cut, a much better one. Using extra-Constitutional advocacy, they sought to replicate ‘Nav Nirman Movement’ though- student bodies, Sangharsh Samitis of Dalits and Adivasis and particularly the labour unions.

IV.         In Bihar, when the elected Government almost acceded to the students’ demands, the opposition still pressed for newer demands and dissolution of Assembly. Well sequenced calls of bandhs were organized unleashing widespread violence and disruption. Notwithstanding the violence associated with the bandh, JP gave a call for a gherao of the Assembly and residence of MLA’s, leading himself a procession to the secretariat. But Government did not relent. JP called a conference of opposition parties and by December, Jantata Sarkars and Janata Adalats in villages as organs of parallel governance.

In fact, On 26 January 1975, rival Republic Day celebrations were held at different places in Bihar. Would any democratically elected Government allow that, is a question which can be left open to the ‘Constitutionalists’ who oppose the basic principle of Emergency!

Inaugurating an all –India youth conference at Allahabad in June 1974, he said ‘though he himself would not take part in any armed rebellion, he would not restrain revolutionaries from to the gun’ (Times of India | 22 June, 1974). He also said, ‘he had never taken up arms against the state, nor did he want violence, but if the people wanted it from him, he would do that at an appropriate time’ (UNI report | 31 August 1974) It is apparent that, JP had very little faith in gradual reforms which were taking place under the Indira Gandhi Government. We can infer that policies like Green Revolution which made India self-sufficient in food grains, or the Nationalization of Banks- which increased India’s Saving Rate from 12% (1969) to 20% of the GDP (1980) did not cut much ice with the opposition whose one point agenda was ‘Indira Hatao’!

The PMO made attempts to form a consensus with JP. But JP did not respond, nor did he spell out any concrete manner how he would battle against rising prices or eliminate corruption. He took no note of Government’s package which later brought down inflation.

V.             Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was an accomplished Parliamentarian, wrote in a paper which he read at the Bharatiya Jana Sangh’s Conference in Hyderabad in September 1974. –
“The established leadership has been using Parliamentary method only as a cover for protecting their evil designs. (sic). The response cannot be confined to the Parliamentary level. … This was has to be fought in the streets… and in all sensitive power centres of the establishment’

Thus the opposition was fighting the battle to attain power only on ‘rhetoric’ and slogans like ‘communitarian society’ and ‘party less democracy’ with no vision or alternative policy roadmap for the future.

VI.         Another event which defined the precipitation of Emergency was the Railway Strikes of 1973-74. Apart from the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) affiliated to the Socialist Party and the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) dominated by the Congress- around 200 big/small separate unions of different categories of railway personnel had cropped up through the efforts of CPI, CPM and the Jan Sangh. The competition of influence was intense. The Government in one such strike surrendered to All India Loco Running Association in August 1973, which gave an impetus to fresh demands from Sangh-Left backed Unions as they tasted their first success.

Peter Alvares, the moderate leader of the AIRF was replaced by George Fernandes in 1973. Before taking over the leadership, George Fernandes (India’s future Defence Minister) declared openly that ‘he could organize a strike that would bring down the Indira Gandhi Government at any time by paralyzing railway transport to a dead stop’.

In a speech meant to mobilize railway men for strike he said

“Realize the strength which you possess. Seven days strike of the Indian Railways- every thermal station of the country would close down. A ten day strike of the Indian Railways- every steel mill in India would close down and the industries of the country would come to a halt for the next 12 months. If once the steel mill furnace is switched off- it takes nine months to refire. A fifteen day strike in Indian Railways- the country would starve” (The Hindu | 30 March 1974)

The opposition’s main aim was to wreck the economy and paralyse the administration. This is why they pitched their demands so high and displayed little interest in negotiation of their demands.

It was clear to the Government that the strike was politically motivated and was planned to paralyze the country. With its back to the wall, the Government had to defend the state and assert its right to govern. Indira Gandhi’s Government came down heavily on the protesters. Thousands of employees were arrested and their families were driven out of their quarters.

VII.     There were other important factors for the proclamation of the Emergency. There were some external factors too. The US showered praise on JP and his role in fighting the Indira Gandhi Government in 1974. The Nixon administration wanted to punish her defiance to the US in 1971 and for conducting India’s first Nuclear Test later. The hectic activity of Peter Burleigh, a US consular officer who was constantly in touch with the agitators was proof of the meddling of foreign powers. Intelligence reports of how Nixon’s administration wanted to overthrow Bangabandhu Mujib’s Government in Bangladesh added to more suspicion.

In an interview with journalist Jonathan Dimbleby in 1978, when Gandhi was asked the precise nature of the danger to Indian security that drove her to declare a state of emergency, she promptly replied, “it was obvious, isn’t it? The whole subcontinent had been destabilized.”

VIII.  The disqualification of Indira Gandhi in the Rae Bareli election through the High Court Judgement of June 12, 1975 came as last straw and precipitated the Emergency. On June 24, the Supreme Court put a conditional stay on the High Court order: Gandhi could attend Parliament, but would not be allowed to vote unless the court pronounced on her appeal.

IX.       The opposition wasted no time in mounting a full-fledged campaign against Indira Gandhi Government. They planned demonstrations outside PM’s residence, gherao of industrialists and businessmen supporting the Prime Minister, gate meetings outside mills, lunch-hour meetings of Central Government employees etc.

Jan Morcha- a motley group of 10 parties, with Morarjee Desai as Chairman was formed. In a rally in Ramlila Grounds, he asked the army, the police and the Government servants not to obey orders and challenged the Government to try him of treason. He even said encouraged the military to plan a coup and gherao the PM’s residence.

X.             A day after the Supreme Court judgment, an ordinance was drafted declaring a state of internal emergency and the President signed on it immediately. In her letter to the President requesting the declaration of Emergency, Gandhi wrote, “Information has reached us that indicate imminent danger to the security of India.”

Early next morning, Indira Gandhi announced the declaration of National Emergency.

It is no secret that they were fears of a military coup to overturn a democratically elected Government in India had forced the PM to take this extreme step which, technically was Constitutionally valid.

It is no secret that the opposition called upon the military, police and government employees to flout “illegal” orders. They urged students to walk out of classes, taxpayers to refuse to pay taxes and factory workers to strike. They also advocated that the Information Minister should be barricaded for allowing All-India Radio to “lie” for the Prime Minister.

There are many excesses during the Emergency which nobody is condoning. Some were real, some were highly exaggerated. Similar conditions or even worse conditions were created during the Morarjee Desai Government too. But then it did not have a legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary sanction of the Emergency.  

Coming back to 2018,  Forty-three long years have passed since Emergency was declared. UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi in an interview already said that her mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi had regretted it. Congress party has apologized for it, time and again.

But we do not know, why the BJP, is hell bent to invoke it every year. Is it because the present Modi Government has nothing to show?

India has moved on, but the BJP is stuck with the Emergency.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hands that work together- A narrative for the Opposition Coalition

Next summers, India will see a New Government at the Centre. It will either chose a monolithic single party Government and reelect an idea that destroys its civilizational values and Constitution or it will elect a motley group of regional parties led by a National party with conflicting ideologies and aspirations that may not be able to provide a masochisticauthoritarian and theocratic leadership but will definitely provide a way out of the conundrum that India is being pushed into. It is a difficult choice for the voter.

The first time voter which is mesmerized and easily won over by the use of ‘soft power’, aggressive propaganda, emotive ideas and tall promises hasn’t really witnessed  past coalition Governments in India, and will have an inherent tendency to go for a ‘Single Party rule’. On the other hand, mature voters who understand what ‘Freedom’ in its true sense means for a country like India may opt for the ‘coalition’.

Personally, I am all for a strong single National party leadership at the Centre, but in the present circumstances, that option is closed for liberals like me because, I do not want my country to disintegrate through bigotry, hatred and narrow mindedness. A lesser known fact that we tend to forget is that coalition Governments have delivered in the past. We tend to forget that the coalition Government under Dr Manmohan Singh lifted 14 crore people out of poverty and provided the best growth rate ever possible in modern India. We also tend to forget that, it was a minority Government of P V Narasimha Rao that banished the past practices of ‘License Raj’ and undertook the biggest economic reforms that India witnessed in the past century. Yes, some coalition Governments have failed too, but those were the 70’s.

Those political commentators who create this false equivalence between Indira Gandhi and present day Narendra Modi are living in a fool’s paradise. The Indira Gandhi Government was 11 years old, when due to a variety of socio-political movements the most flawed coalition of India – Janata Party led by Morarji Desai was installed and it crumbled with its own contradictions. On the contrary, Narendra Modi is only a 4 year Prime Minister. His series of self-goals like Demonetisation and Flawed GST, along with widespread mal-governance, cronyism, covered with a sugary outer shell of thousands of crores of propaganda cannot be compared to sound economic and historic measures of Indira Gandhi like the Nationalization of Banks, Ending Privy Purses or the 1971 War.

The object of this piece was not to make any comparisons between the two, but this has to be strongly underlined and stated. They are simply incomparable.

During the Plenary Session of the Indian National Congress, its political resolution mentions a very important dimension that might change the face of Indian politics in 2019.

“Congress will adopt a pragmatic approach for co-operation with all like-minded Parties and evolve a common workable program to defeat the BJP-RSS in the 2019 elections”

The Karnataka elections happened just after the Congress’ 84th Plenary Session. And the Congress did show a great ‘pragmatic approach’ and immense flexibility to work with ‘like-minded’ JD(S).

The recent bye-poll results are a copy book illustration of the ‘pragmatic approach’ adopted by the Congress party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. Wherever the Congress needed to step back and provide a larger role to the regional ‘like-minded’ parties- it conveniently did. Wherever the Congress thought, it should pitch in- it surely did! Politics is all about pragmatism and no better than the Congress party knows this.

In the same Plenary Session, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, elaborated about the relationship between the People of India and the Congress party. He said-
“India expects much more from the Congress because it holds us, the Congress party on higher standard than any other organisation…”

Yes, the Congress party is extremely mindful of the fact that people of India will not let our Constitution be sacrificed at the mercy of the RSS-BJP. If the Congress does not use each and every tool left to its disposal to save the ideas, ideals and institutions that our forefathers so painstakingly built and nurtured, it will be failing in its Constitutional duty. Congress will fail the people of India, if it does not give an equal fight to the divisive forces of RSS-BJP. It will fail India, if it does not bring in the ‘like -minded’ regional parties on board to ensure that the coalition provides maximum damage to the theocracy of the BJP. It will fail if it does not provide an alternative agenda of Governance and Development which is Liberal, Progressive and Inclusive. It will fail if lets India plunge into the darkness of economic mismanagement. It will fail India if it does not protect its Farmers from distress, its Weaker Sections from persecution and it’s Working Class from exploitation.

Kairana can be a template- but it is mainly an electoral template. Panning Narendra Modi cannot be idea. Congress cannot be accused of “Modi Vs All” and ‘Anti-Modi- plank’ alone cannot be an idea that should attract the voters. There has to be a positive idea.

Congress is the only force which can also provide an ideological template- A definitive narrative.

Flashback 2004: The UPA and the Left Parties had a ‘Common Minimum Programme’ which was almost entirely implemented from 2004-09. Congress needs to provide a common ideological template to this coalition. The coalition should have something to ‘propagate’. Leaders don’t win elections—the battle of ideas is what matters

So what are the broad ideas which the coalition can find a common ground on and built its campaign around?

Let me attempt some broad ones-

1.  Preserving social harmony and fighting fundamentalism of all hues and shades

2.  Economic growth - creating jobs- realistic, doable, workable ideas for job creation.

3.  Implementation of the Swaminathan Committee for Farmers in letter and in spirit so that they get their fare prices and farm distress is alleviated.

4.  Education and Healthcare policy reforms- it’s a fairly non-controversial, non-debatable subject and can easily be implemented. The BJP in the past 4 years, has failed our Education system.

5.  Women Empowerment- political, economic, social & legal. Tangible solutions to enhance gender equality.

6.  Protecting Institutions

7.  Providing space to regional aspirations within the Indian Union. More say of states in economic policy making.

8.   Judicial Reforms – reducing the pendency of the cases.

9.  Welfare of the Weaker Sections- SC, ST, OBC and Minorities

o  Relaunching the Sub Plans that the BJP abolished.
o  Strengthening the SC-SC Act
o  Enhancing scholarships and welfare measures.

10.  Fast tracking Modernisation of Our Defence Forces- the BJP has totally neglected our External and Internal Security.

11. Transparency- RTI to be strengthened, Lokpal, Whistleblowers Bill.

12. Protecting Our Environment. Saving our rivers, coastal areas, wildlife, air and forests.

These are the 12 suggestive broad ideas that should be the Magna Carta of the coalition. There can be several more additions, but this can be a start. These are all non-controversial ideas and there cannot be any point of contention amongst the regional parties on these 12 ideas.

Now it is the Congress and the coalition to decide.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

How BJP is ensuring that India’s Democracy becomes more Superficial

India’s politics has truly changed under Narendra Modi’s BJP. The deepening roots of Democracy are being uprooted and are being smeared with a pesticide of superficiality.

As the dust settles on the Karnataka Elections and the dramatic turns of events thereafter, I wondered ‘What is it in the BJP’s narrative, which makes them win?  The Congress party might have clinched the Karnataka cliffhanger, but there are deeper questions which need to be answered. Since, I am student of Communication; the ‘Narrative’ part of it made me introspect. ‘Messaging’- is the key and how has the BJP been able to convince people through it?

The answer lies in a short personal story.

I may not come from a political family or lineage, but whenever we had any dining table conversations on current affairs and politics, my elders always made a point that never believe anything unless you apply your own mind, especially when you have certain doubts about it. Like all educated middle class homes, we were also taught to question and debate.

At our joint family bungalow in Kanpur, near the driveway, my great grandfather had built a temple with small marble idols; six of them- A Shivalinga in black stone, placed in a square-shaped recessed space, which could facilitate the ‘Jal Abhishek’ on Lord Shiva; whose drain internally reached to a ‘Kele Ka Ped’ (Banana Tree); Marble idols of – Lord Ganesha, Goddess Parvati, Lord Kartikeya, Lord Hanuman & Nandi.

Nobody can forget that day of 21st September, 1995, when the stone idols of Lord Ganesha started ‘drinking’ milk out of the spoon. 23 years ago, I was in Class fourth, coming back from school, I still remember it very clearly, I saw a long queue at our driveway; of people coming from outside with milk packets and glasses to offer milk to the idols in our temple and I could not believe my eyes. Lord Ganesha was sipping in the milk, I was told.

Since childhood, my grandmother inculcated this habit in us to take care of the idols, I used to clean up the temple, remove the dried flowers and leaves, daily wash it, ‘make them wear their clothes’ and even lay the idols to rest by placing a small blanket on them, in winters. I used to love it this daily ritual. Also, I developed a special bond with the Bhagwan. Praying to the God and carrying out the rituals were not binding on me and nobody ever forced to do it. Also, I made it a point to celebrate all festivals of all religions- Be it decorating the Christmas tree and having a joint family fete with games and goodies to celebrating Eid with delicacies gifted by our neighbours- Khan Sa’ab’s family; or be it national occasions such as Gandhi Jayanti or even paying tribute to Munshi Prem Chand on his Birth Anniversary. Believe it or not, I made it a point to celebrate everything.

Coming back to ‘Ganesha idol drinking milk- mass hysteria’, on that very same day, I saw on news, scientists attributing this phenomenon to capillary action and presenting detail theories of how this happened. I was satisfied by the explanation and many years later, I found out that this predominantly urban hysteria was created by the RSS. It was their first successful attempt on mass rumuor mongering.

The present day socio-political landscape of India is now much more advanced than this lone experiment. The mediums have changed, but the modus operandi remains the same. A ‘Whats App University’ has successfully (sic) been created, photoshop images, using social media, concocted videos, fake news, using even mass media to plant wrong stories- everything trick is being used.

Thousands of factories of lies are being now opened daily to spread rumuors and advance the RSS-BJP agenda. The success of the ‘Ganesha drinking milk’  experiment have made them to scale up their agenda, a zillion more times, using sophisticated means and technology to spread lies. However, one common thread still forms the basis of this propaganda machinery- Emotive Issues.

Each and every propaganda has to be ‘Emotion driven- Nationalistic emotion, Religious Emotion, Political Emotion, Societal Emotion….’ It has to touch one simple emotive chord and your message is through. It does not matter, how non-scientific, irrational, superficial, bigoted, communal, false, fake, denigrated or divisive your ‘emotional theme’ is. It has to just bring out a ‘Call for action’ in favour of the BJP-RSS. That is it! 

Narendra Modi’s politics is precisely based on this- Emotive issues. Issues that the BJP espouses do not have any deeper effect tangible effect in our lives, but our highly emotive in nature and are completely superficial and shallow in nature. 

Sample some of these gems (sic), only used in Karnataka are:-

§   “Congress politicians (Rahul Gandhi) should learn patriotism through the Mudhol dog (hounds) of Karnataka”;

§   “Jawaharlal Nehru and V K Krishna Menon mistreated General Thimayya, after the 1948 war with Pakistan”;

§  “ Congress party insulted Field Marshal Cariappa”;

§  “When Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Batukeshwar Dutt, Veer Savarkar, greats like them were jailed fighting for the country's independence, did any Congress leader go to meet them?”

§  Referring to a popular vector graphic made by a young artist from Kerala, PM Modi said “The Congress’ ecosystem doesn’t even tolerate the magnificent art of Karan Acharya whose Hanuman captured the imagination of the entire country. Unable to digest its success, the Congress tried miring it in a controversy. There is no iota of democracy in the minds of Congress members";

§  “For 15 minutes, without taking a paper in your hand, can you please talk about the achievements of your government in Karnataka. You can speak in any language as you please- English, Hindi or your Mother tongue (Italian)"

All these are full of vitriol, no real substance and are plain distortion of history. But Modi’s admirers’ love it. Many political commentators shower praises on Modi and call these as ‘intimidating’, ‘high voltage’, ‘passionate’ and what not. But the simple fact remains that Narendra Modi’s ‘messaging’ is purely based on the RSS brand of rumour mongering and spreading lies- camouflaged in an ‘emotive theme’.

BJP has made India’s political discourse utterly shallow and superbly superficial. If we carefully check the number of debates that happen on our television channels, most happen on emotive issues – Hindu-Muslim, India-Pakistan, Caste division, Communal Conundrums and so on. A deliberate design to feed India’s young minds into such superficial trappings is being fostered by the RSS-BJP.

Since attention spans are less, knowledge is trigger driven, books are becoming increasingly redundant and there is no sense of history left- this phenomenon is now at its peak. ‘Headlines Management’ is the key and ‘Spins’ attributed to ‘Sources’ fill up the news-cycle! Who cares about issues of women safety, when you have ‘Triple Talaq Bill’ as the greatest BJP achievement to showcase? *

No wonder, in a letter dated 7th December, 1947- India’s First Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote this about the RSS to his Chief Ministers:-

“Some provincial governments have taken against periodicals for promoting hatred between communities.  Probably the newspapers of the R.S.S. are more to blame in this matter than any other newspapers or periodicals outside Pakistan.  It is amazing how they carry on this communal propaganda in its extremist form”

“I have some knowledge of the way the Nazi Movement developed in Germany.  It attracted by its superficial trappings and strict discipline considerable number of lower middle class young men and women who are normally not too intelligent and for whom life appeared to offer little to attract them.  And so they drifted towards the Nazi party because its policy and programme, such as they were, were simple, negative and did not require an active effort of the mind.  The Nazi party brought Germany to ruin and I have little doubt that if these tendencies are allowed to spread and increase in India, they would do enormous injury to India.  No doubt India would survive.  But she would be grievously wounded and would take a long time to recover.”

Unfortunately, Pandit Nehru’s prophecy about ‘Superficial Trappings’ is soon coming true in BJP ruled India!

*Aside: Do you know that No BJP Government has ever brought a single reformative bill when it comes to Women Safety or Rights, ever? All Women Reforms Laws in this country are brought by the Congress! But no one cares about that!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Reflections on the Congress’s performance in the North East

Source: The Hindustan Times

I would start this piece of writing with a disclaimer – that I am an eternal optimist. It does not however mean that when the Congress party snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, my heart doesn’t bleed. It does.

Politics means pragmatism. It requires a ‘matter-of-fact-treatment’. It’s the ability to know the reality- the writing on the wall. In the recent defeats in the Northeast, the Congress party very well knew the writing on the wall and the severe constraints it is facing. It definitely knew that, its political organizations in the North East desperately required a Central spine. It also knew that the BJP- RSS is working overtime and dubious methods to usurp power in these states and it also knew that it is not doing any justice to its local leaders, whatsoever. The Congress left its leaders in the Northeast to fend for themselves- not because it wants to, but because it was forced to. It did whatever best it could do in the current circumstances.

Some unknown faces of the newly created and refurbished departments in the party belatedly did camp in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, but they were not able to clean up the rot. Colleagues who I know personally, travelled extensively, tried to pump in some oxygen in the organization, highlighted some issues to the Centre- even though it was a small and fresh beginning, yet it was an important one. Had they not done it, we would have been much below those 21 seats in Meghalaya or some key state leaders would have deserted us in other states. Yet, the overall picture one sees is that of apathy and disinterest.

So what was the prime reason for this apathy? There are multiple reasons. The first and foremost is the cleanup exercise which is going in the Central unit. The weeding out of non-performers and the status quoists, enabling a generational change and revamping of a new organization is the most important task for the Central leadership as of now. If we do not have an organization, fresh faces and hardworking leaders- we cannot build a new future. Sometimes you have to start on a clean slate and that is what happening, in a gradual, albeit calibrated manner. In an organization which is so entrenched and obsessed with its past (and rightly so) one needs to balance out all age groups and regions and representatives. The recently announced groups and sub groups for the AICC plenary session, give us a peak in this process. More radical decisions need to be followed and we would certainly see a change post March.

Lack of resources and logistics is the biggest problem the Congress party is facing. People may mock me for this assessment, but that is the grim reality. It is unable to furnish even basic campaign materials for local polls like the recent Uttar Pradesh local body elections, where a former Congress Minister of State lost mayoral elections. Not every candidate or every elected representative possesses the means to fight elections, especially in an increasingly competitive political space where propaganda off all shades and hues and on all platforms matter a lot.  Nowhere, here am I attempting to find a convenient alibi for the Congress’ defeat in these recent polls. Yes lack of resources and logistics is only one of the factors. There are many more.

Another reason is that, some of the leaders responsible for these states have already given up the fight even before they entered one. Some who did attempt to give one were the young ones. They were brought in very late in the day in order to somehow rescue the situation, but their hands were tied because of constant interference by the older and more senior leaders.

The key to win elections is to have an agenda and to package in a way that it should appeal to your voters. I have repeatedly underlined this extremely important issue in my earlier pieces. It is high time that the Congress spelt its vision for India in the backdrop of the current political scenario.
At the cost of repeating myself again, I am again quoting from a previous piece which I had written in July 2017.

‘A solid, implementable narrative and a new vision to take along those committed liberal voters who still believe in those ideals on which the edifice our Constitution was laid. Time and again, I have come to this conclusion that only a positive narrative can resurrect the Congress.

For starters, we should look at our own 2014 Manifesto. This 45 page document should be our Magna Carta to attack and question the BJP. It will give us more credibility because we shall not be merely criticizing the policies, but also put forth a positive policy solution. “Had the Congress been in power, there were the 5 steps it would have taken to solve agrarian distress”. “These are the steps that the Congress party would have taken to create more jobs”.

The voter connect is only possible when you gather small constituencies of groups together and target your liberal supporters. Laziness, complacency and arrogance should be done away with. A strong ideological resolve is needed so as solidify your support base. We all know what ails the Congress party, we also have some solutions. No political party that has a closed system and secretive in nature can function in a vibrant democracy. We have to open the doors for the converted and to the swing ones.’

Certainly some heads need to be rolled given the complete disaster which took place in the North East. Certainly, we should stick to our own Centrist ideology and not make ideological compromises by aligning with the Left or Non-Centrist parties and certainly we need a vision for 2019. The clock is ticking and we have very less time.

All the views expressed in the article by the author are strictly personal.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Modi - The Champion of Broken Promises

Every year, the President of India outlines the Central Government's policies, programmes and achievements by addressing both houses of the Parliament in the beginning of the year. This speech which is basically approved by the Cabinet is the agenda of the Government for the year. 

I examine how the Modi Government's so called achievements and announcements are far from the reality. 

President’s Address: It is our collective responsibility to pay a befitting tribute to Pujya Bapu by making the country Swachh by 2019 when we celebrate the 150thbirth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.


We all want our country clean, and the Congress-UPA had started the process by launching the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan in 2012 under the aegis of the Total Sanitation Campaign, but Modi Government renamed it to Swachh Bharat Mission.

·       The Swachh Bharat Mission aimed at building 12Cr toilets by October 2, 2019- But almost 3.5 years after it has launched – Only 50% of toilets ie 6.12 Crore toilets in Rural India[1] and 37 Lakh toilets in Urban India[2] have been built. With just one year left, How will the Govt be able to achieve its target?

·       A study by the UN Special Rapporteur Leo Heller highlights that only 33% of the toilets built are sustainably safe, while the rest are barely useable. Additionally, the lack of proper plumbing to provide clean water and the removal of waste and excrement makes this a pointless piece of infrastructure that is fit for only one thing, Modi Ji’s photo ops[3]

·       An RTI reveals that Swachh Bharat spent a whopping Rs 530 crore on publicity in three years – but little on grassroots awareness[4]
·       In this year’s Budget (2018-19) –there is a 7% cut in allocation for the Swachh Bharat Mission budget from 2017-18’s revised estimates[5]

President’s Address: ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ has empowered these poor women to enjoy equal rights with their privileged counterparts thereby addressing a hitherto ignored aspect of social justice. So far, under this scheme, over 3 crore 30 lakh cooking gas connections have been provided.


19 months after the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched, the scheme is achieving its targets magnificently. It is, however, failing in its objective of persuading households to stop using firewood and traditional biomass fuels that have the potential to cause respiratory diseases.

Under the scheme, the government provides a subsidy of Rs 1,600 to government-owned oil manufacturing companies for every free LPG gas connection that they install in poor rural households without one. This subsidy is intended to cover the security fee for the cylinder and the fitting charges. The beneficiary has to buy her own cooking stove. To reduce the burden, the scheme allows beneficiaries to pay for the stove and the first refill in monthly installments. However, the cost of all subsequent refills has to be borne by the beneficiary household. This is where the scheme is failing. [1]

While the number of LPG connections across India has increased by an impressive 16.26% since the scheme was launched, the use of gas cylinders increased by only 9.83%. This is even lower than the rate recorded in 2014-’15, when the scheme did not exist

This difference between the increase in the number of connections and the sale of cylinders is a consequence of the fact that many people with new connections are not buying refilled cylinders after their first one runs out

A Comptroller and Auditor General’s report notes that in 2015-’16, households with LPG connections were using an average of 6.27 cylinders in a year. But after the scheme was launched, the number of cylinders used on average had come down to 5.6, the data shows

President’s Address: My Government has tabled a Bill on Triple Talaq in Parliament.


The Indian National Congress has always believed that the issue of ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ i.e. Talaq-e-biddat is about ‘gender justice’ and ‘gender equity’. INC has always maintained that anything prejudicial to Muslim Women like instant triple talaq is inherently unsustainable.
We were the first political party to hold a press conference welcoming the Supreme Court’s judgment on ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ as a victory for the rights of Muslim women.

In fact, it was a Congress leader,  Salman Khurshid, who was appointed as the Amicus Curiae to assist the court in arriving at this decision. It was another Congress leader, Manish Tewari, who represented the woman petitioner in the case.

The Congress will support any and every law abolishing ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ i.e. Talaq-e-biddat. However any such law much be tested on the touchstone of the Supreme Court’s decision. Any proposed law must comprehensively protect the rights of Muslim women who are the victims of this unconstitutional practice.

Rights and Welfare of Women & Children must be protected at any Cost. Legislation must ensure Safeguarding of Rights of Women to a life of Dignity with adequate subsistence allowance.

BJP and Narendra Modi failed to provide justice to Muslim Women on ‘Instant Triple Talaq’. It was the Supreme Court which quashed ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ as ‘Illegal’.

Lack of Commitment to the cause of Women on part of BJP  is apparent from the failure to pass the Women Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Some of the shortcomings of the proposed law are

1.      ‘Subsistence Allowance’ neither ‘defined’, nor the amount ‘quantified’ in the proposed legislation.

2.      Why should onus of proving ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ be on ‘Women’? Why can’t this law then envisage a ‘presumption in favour of the woman’ putting the onus of proof on the ‘husband’ to establish that ‘Instant Triple Talaq’ was not pronounced by him?

3. Who would ensure payment of ‘Maintenance’ and/or ‘Subsistence Allowance’ to women and children if husband is in jail for 3 years?

President’s Address:  Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme. Seeing its positive results, the scheme has been extended from 161 districts to 640 districts.


For all the hoopla over "Beti Bachao Beti Padao" (BBBP), the Economic Survey says that there are still 20 lakh girl children that go missing every year. 

The Modi Government’s outlay of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” Scheme for 161 Districts was just Rs 200 Crore for the year 2017-18. Now the allocation has been raised to Rs 280 Crore That means each district under the scheme was provided on an average just Rs 2.3 Crore. How will the ‘Beti’ benefit from this meagre budget? Was it only meant for advertisements?

President’s Address: Under the ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’, so far, about 31 crore bank accounts have been opened for the poor

24.3 Cr accounts were opened by the previous Congress-UPA Government under the Financial Inclusion scheme called 'Swabhiman'. All that the Prime Minister and his Government has done is renamed and carried forward our 'Swabhiman' scheme as 'Jana Dhana Scheme'. The number of Jan Dhan accounts opened under the BJP stands approximately at 12.13 crore.

The government told Parliament on Feb 3, 2018 that around 50 lakh Jan Dhan accounts have been closed till December 20, 2017. At least 50% of the accounts being in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

President’s Address: Under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana’, about 10 crore loans have been sanctioned so far and more than Rs. 4 lakh crore worth of loans have been disbursed.


·       Loans by MFI’s and Banks  is an old scheme which is existing since the 1990’s and has been rebranded by the BJP as ‘MUDRA’

·       The average size of the Mudra loan is Rs 43,000. This is tokenism and will not create even one job. More Mudra loans will mean more tokenism, but no additional jobs. 

·       Around 17 Lakh companies were opened till December 2017, out of those 5.37 Lakh Companies have been closed till now. 

President’s Address: The highest priority of my Government is to remove various difficulties faced by farmers and to raise their standard of living.
My Government is committed to doubling of farmers’ income by 2022.


·       Agriculture Growth under Modi Govt in past 4 years has been the lowest since Economic Reform began. It is just 1.9% (from 2014-15 to 2017-18) whereas under Congress UPA, Agriculture Grow at an average of 4.2%.

·       The promise of doubling Farm Incomes by 2022 is another Jumla. At this speed of Growth, the Income of Farmers will be doubled by the year 2052.

·       The committee that they had recently formed to look into doubling farmers’ incomes – the Ashok Dalwai committee – had basically said that Rs 6.4 lakh crore investment is needed for this. But in this year’s Budget, the allocation has increased by Rs 4,845 crore. So this is a clear-cut indicator that incomes aren’t going to double anytime soon.

·       Suddenly, Shri Modi remembers the Swaminathan Report on Cost +50%MSP. Truth is for crops; their increase still is lesser than that of UPA. (Refer to attached table)

·       Besides, Rs 2000 crore for e-markets and Rs 500 crore for Operation Green (whenever the Cabinet will approve the schemes) amount to a pittance.

·       One needs clarity on whether promise of the MSP at 50% above cost is based on C2, comprehensive cost, or A2, the paid out cost. If they are talking of 50% increase over comprehensive cost, that would require, in paddy, an increase of about 45% in the MSP. Which is far far from truth? If they are talking about A2, then more than 50% of that is already in place. So then what are they talking about?

President’s Address: Under ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’, farmers are being provided affordable and simple crop insurance services. During 2017, under Rabi & Kharif crops, 5 crore 71 lakh farmers were provided protective coverage under this scheme.


Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, projected by the Modi Government as a 'game changer' scheme for farmers have only beneifitted select private entitities.

Till April 2017, insurance companies collected a gross premium of Rs 17,185 crore, against claims of only Rs 6,808 crore, ensuring a profit of almost Rs 10,376 crore. This means, through this, for every season – certain private entities chosen by the Government profit by a whopping Rs 10000 Cr at the expense of the farmers!

President’s Address: My Government is providing electricity connections to 4 crore poor people under the "Saubhagya” Yojana.


Congress-UPA provided Free Electricity to Poor Households from Day 1- Look at the difference here. Modi ji's Saubhagya only repackaged! 

·       UPA-2 gave free electricity connections to 39,59,091 more BPL households than the Modi government did in its first year. That is 521.36% higher. In the second year, the difference is more stark – 44,44,211 more BPL households.

·       The UPA government had connected 1,08,280 villages to the grid between 2005-06 and 2013-14, compared to 14,528 villages by the NDA from 2014 to 2017. That means on an average, the UPA electrified 12,030 villages per year, while the NDA government has electrified 4,842 – less than half the UPA’s average.

President’s Address: To ensure availability of two square meals to every poor person, effective enforcement of National Food Security Act is necessary.


The Supreme Court today in July, 2017 had said the National Food Security Act 2013 has not been implemented properly, and it is a "pity" that a legislation enacted by parliament for citizens' benefit was kept on the "back-burner" by various states. 

President’s Address: Constitution Amendment Bill to provide Constitutional Status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.


The ruling BJP could not muster adequate numbers to thwart Opposition designs to a politically significant Constitutional Amendment bill in the Rajya Sabha in August 2017

The lack of numbers forced the government to drop a crucial clause from the bill granting constitutional status to the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC). The Opposition had moved amendments, which were passed by its 74 votes against the NDA’s 52. It resulted in an unprecedented situation, as a clause, for which an amendment is passed by a simple majority, cannot become part of a Constitution Amendment Bill. It requires a two-third majority of those present in the House.

President’s Address: Minimum Support Price of several forest produce collected by the tribal people has been increased.


According to the recently presented Budget, of the Rs. 100 crore allocated to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), only Rs. 25 crore was spent.

The MSP for MFP scheme was launched in 2013-14. It aimed at improving the financial condition of forest-dwelling communities living in the country. The importance of such a scheme can be gauged by the fact that the Planning Commission accounted MFPs for 20 to 40 per cent of the income of these communities. 

While the scheme was started with a sum of Rs. 967.28 crore as Central Government share and Rs. 249.50 crore as the states' share in 2013, over the years, the funds have continuously dwindled along with its utilisation. 

President’s Address: With a sensitive approach towards providing housing with availability of water-electricity-toilet facility to all, my Government is targeting to provide a house to every poor and homeless household by the year 2022.

Over the last three and a half years, more than 93 lakh houses have been constructed by the Government in rural and urban areas.


From 2004-2013, the Congress-UPA constructed 224.37 Lakh Houses, which is an average of almost 25 Lakh Houses per year for Rural poor.

On the other hand, if we look at the official figures of the Modi Government, despite changing its name to PM Gramin Awaas Yojana  Only 1.7 Lakh houses constructed in the past three years, which is an average of just about 56,600 houses per year.

The Rajiv Awaas Yojana which was conceptualized in 2009, and became a Centrally Sponsored Scheme only in 2013 provided affordable housing for Urban Poor. In the last year of UPA (2013-14) – 1.17 Lakh houses sanctioned and completed. Modi Government changed its name to PM Awaas Yojana (Urban) Modi Government promised 2 Crore houses till 2022, but could only construct 17 Lakh houses (till March 2017)-  with this speed, it will take 600 odd years to reach the 2 Crore mark!

President’s Address: A new ‘National Health Policy’ has been formulated by my Government for providing better and affordable healthcare facilities to the poor and middle class.


•        Modi Government did not spend a Single Rupee on Health Insurance (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana) in 2015-16

•        For 2016-17, it allocated Rs 1500 Crore in the Budget for the Scheme but only spent Rs 724 Crore in  that year. Rest Rs 776 Crore was unspent.  

•        For 2017-18, Modi Government allocated Rs 1000 Cr in the Budget for the Scheme, but only spent Rs 471 Crore in that year. 

•        Which means Modi Government has only spent Rs 1195 Crore in the past 4 years on Health Insurance and this year it has allocated Rs 2000Cr for the grand “50Cr Beneficiary Scheme?”

•        Media Reports indicate that 21 Crore BPL beneficiaries out of the 26.97 Crore Beneficiaries did not receive any Health Insurance, last year.  

President’s Address:  My Government is committed to strengthening and modernising School and Higher Education system in the country.

·       Lowest share of Budget for HRD Ministry since 2014-15- It is 0.23 percentage-point decline over 2017-18

·       The recent All India Higher Education Survey 2016-17 have shown only marginal improvement in enrolment. The country’s Gross Enrolment Ratio or GER in higher education has registered a marginal increase of 0.7% from 24.5% in 2015-16 to 25.2% in 2016-17. Despite BJP boasting its privatisation model higher education enrolment has not seen a major improvement. India aims to achieve a GER of 30% by 2020. This is much behind China, which, currently, boasts an enrolment ratio of 43.39%. USA’s GER is 85.8% and Pakistan’s is 9.93%.

President’s Address: Our country is the youngest among all nations in the world. My Government is implementing programmes like Start Up India, Stand Up India, Skill India Mission, Mudra Yojana to provide self-employment to the youth and to enable them to fulfill their dreams.


The government is wasting our country’s demographic dividend and turning into a potential demographic disaster. The major flagship schemes have not shown any results. The youth in India are standing in queues for jobs.

According to the ASER report 2017, only 5% of the rural youth only are taking some form of vocational training. This is ironical considering the BJP’s key promise was the allocation of Rs. 400 crores for Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion programme (SANKALP) to train over 3.5 crore youth. Besides, Rs. 2000 crore has been promised for Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) to improve the quality of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). None of this expenditure has shown any level of desired results. As of January 2018, data shows 30% of Indians are neither employed nor are part of any skill training

Stand-up India: Same Rhetoric

Only 48,778 loans have been given to the 2.8 lakh intended beneficiaries as of December 2017. Out of these beneficiaries the number of ST women borrowers are just 2,084. Only 6% of banks have given loans to Dalits or Adivasis, and less than 25% to a woman. RTI reply suggests that between April 5, 2016 and September 24, 2017, only 6% of the 1.3 lakh bank branches in the country have provided Stand Up India loans to SC or ST individuals.

President’s Address: My Government has increased the minimum wage of workers by more than 40 per cent


No increase in allocation of MGNREGA which is a vehicle to create employment in this country for the poor. This year, only 39 days was provided by the Government and rural wages which are supposed to be paid within 15 days, are now pending since 1.5 years.

The Economic Survey noted, that Rural wages decelerated just before the kharif season. This was because sowing of seeds has been lower in both kharif and rabi seasons thus reducing the demand for labour.

The most disappointing part of the budget is the cut in the outlays on major schemes for 2018-19. Some important schemes that will get constant or reduced outlays are: MGNREGA, PMAY, National Drinking Water Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, National Health Mission, Midday Meals Scheme, and Interest Subsidy for Short Term Farm Credit, Northeastern Investment Promotion, Price Stabilisation Fund and Gram Jyoti Yojana. The FM will have much to explain when Parliament debates the Budget next week.

President’s Address: Railways remain the main mode of transport even today and that is why investment in Railways for capacity development and modernization is being enhanced continuously


·       Railways remains the most neglected Ministry under Modi Govt- BJP has deliberately diminished the status of Indian Railways
·       Railway Ministry has failed to provide managerial leadership, ‘Safety’, ‘Security’ and ‘Speed’ of Railways is in dire straits!

President’s Address: My Government has formulated a new Metro Rail Policy which lays emphasis on ‘last mile connectivity’. Presently, Metro work is in progress in 11 cities of the country.


·       Congress-UPA built Metro Rail in as many as these 12 cities and Cleared in another 6! How many did BJP Build?

President’s Address: Recently, my Government has approved an ambitious programme for development of highways namely ‘Bharatmala’. A provision of Rs. 5 lakh 35 thousand crore has been made for this.


 ‘Bharatmala’ Project stated to bring Rs 5.35 Lakh Crore is completely debt driven with total burden on people of India. Its breakup is -:

President’s Address: In Mizoram, a Hydro Electric Power Project constructed at a cost of Rs. 913 crore has been dedicated to the nation recently.

Shillong –Tura road project was dedicated to the people last year in December. This road will improve connectivity in the entire North-East region.

Last year, the longest river-bridge of the country- Dhola-Sadiyaa- was also dedicated to the nation. This bridge has reduced distance between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by 165 kilometers.


All these projects were started by Congress-UPA, and only inaugurated by Shri Modi. 

President’s Address: Terrorist violence in the interiors of Jammu & Kashmir is directly related to cross-border infiltration. With better coordination, our Army, Para-Military Forces and Jammu-Kashmir Police are giving a befitting response to the perpetrators.



1.     Since May 26, 2014, during Modi Government- In the last 44 months, nearly 340 personnel of our brave security forces have been martyred and 195 civilians have died in Jammu and Kashmir alone. Ceasefire Violations are at a all time high. 160 Ceasefire Violations since the beginning of the year. 

2.     Ceasefire Violations from across the border in the past 44 months of the Modi Government has increased by an alarming 500%, when we compare it by the last 44 months of the Congress-UPA Government.

3.     There have been 134 reported Ceasefire Violations along the IB and LOC by Pakistan in in January alone. 

4.     IAF’s Fighter Fleet has fallen to a record low of 32 Squadrons against the Air Force demand of 45 Squadrons i.e lowest in last 10 years.

5.     Armed Forces have shortage of officers- Army has a gap of 7,679 officers is 15.38% of the required number. The Navy has a gap of 1,434 or 12.12% officers (compared to the authorized strength). While the Air Force has a significant shortage of airmen. This gap of 15,5357 airmen amounts to 10.77% of the required number. (Defence Minister's Statement in Lok Sabha | 27 December, 2017)

President’s Address: The policy related to Strategic Partnership in Defence Manufacturing sector has also been given a final shape. This will encourage maximum participation of private sector in the manufacture of major defence platforms and equipment and would provide a fillip to employment generation.


In this Budget, Defence Sector gets 1.58% of the GDP, Lowest allocation since 1962. 

President’s Address: Due to the successful diplomatic efforts of my Government, there has been a new found respect for India.


There have been multiple occasions where this BJP Government has failed to secure India’s National Interests, viz-a-viz China:

1.    China vetoes declaration of Masood Azhar as an ‘international terrorist’ under Pak’s pressure

2.    China blocks India’s membership of ‘Nuclear Suppliers Group’ asking for parity with rogue Pakistan.

3.    China opposes India’s membership of UN Security Council.

4.    On Dec 19, 2016; Russia extended support to China-Pak Economic Corridor & expressed intent to connect it with Eurasian Economic Union.

5.    China – Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) worth $54 billion built through PoK/Balochistan connecting Gwadar Port in Arabian Sea to China with base for Chinese submarines- Does it not compromise India’s Sovereign right over POK & affect our strategic interests in the Arabian Sea with Chinese Naval Base?

6. The Ministry of External Affair’s vacuous statement recently, does not say a word about the alleged construction of military infrastructure by Chinese Army as depicted in satellite imagery produced in the recent media reports. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s reported justification of the construction of infrastructure and the reported reaction by the MEA that “India is maintaining constant vigil and using established mechanisms” is only adding to the confusion. The Modi Government cannot have multiple stands on the Chinese misadventure. It will only harm India’s Interests.

Congress Government had approved raising of ‘Mountain Strike Corps’ along the China border with 90,274 additional soldiers at a cost of Rs 64,678. Under Modi Government, it still lies in the lurch.

7. Chinese nuclear and conventional submarines are regularly making forays into Indian Ocean and Strategic Experts have continuously pointed out the ‘String of Pearls’ which China is attempting in the Indian Ocean by leveraging its influence on India’s neighbours like Sri Lanka Maldives, Bangladesh etc. by building strategic bases at Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Chittagong port in Bangladesh besides extensive maritime facilities in Maldives. 

President’s Address: India’s growth rate remained impressive despite global economic slow-down. During the first quarter of 2016-17


·       Modi Govt fails to achieve its Fiscal Deficit target, this year. They had set a Fiscal Deficit Target of 3.2% but they have breached it and this year’s Fiscal Target is said to be 3.5%- which is worrying.

·       GDP Growth is 4 Year low – despite new method of calculation

·       Manufacturing Growth is 3 Month low in January (Today’s Papers)
·       Industrial GVA growth has declined from 9.8 per cent in 2015-16 to 6.8 per cent in 2016-17 to 2.7 per cent in 2017-18.

·       Budget 2017-18 predicted a GDP Growth of 7.5% for 2017-18. FM has turned out to be more than a full percentage point off the mark!

·       Inflation is 15 month low. Food inflation has gone up to 5% overall in December 2017 from just 2% in December 2016.

President’s Address: With a view to resolving the problems of citizens, my Government has accorded priority to simplification of procedures. As a result of these efforts of my Government, India has moved up from 142nd to 100th rank in the Ease of Doing Business ranking of the World Bank.


Giving credence to the theory that the World Bank's popular ease of doing business (EODB) ranking is not credible and accurate, its chief economist Paul Romer has announced to recalculate the national rankings of business competitiveness going back to at least four years.

Romer's statement that the national ranking of ease of doing business would be carried for last four years, could have a notable impact on India as its ranking jumped from 140 in 2014 to 100 in 2018.

President’s Address: Our fight against corruption continues.


Modi ji has kept absolutely mum on the following

1.Vyapam Scam
2. ‘Shah-Zaada Model’ : BJP’s National President, Shri Amit Shah & son, Shri Jay Shah 
3.Modi Gate: BJP’s Rajasthan CM Smt. Vasundhara Raje & son, Shri Dushyant Singh 
4.Offshore Bank Account Racket: BJP’s Chhattisgarh CM, Dr Raman Singh  & son Shri Abhishek Singh 
5.Gir Lion Sanctuary Scam: BJP’s Former CM of Gujarat, Smt. Anandiben Patel & daughter Ms Anar Patel
6. Birla-Sahara Papers – PM in which none other than PM’s name surfaces
7. Rs 20,000 Crore GSPC Scam of Gujarat
8. Rs 450cr Arunachal Dam Scam - Kiren Rijiju
9. Panama Papers- No Action taken
10.Srijan Scam
11. Rs 23000 Cr Spectrum Scam 2.0
12. DDCA Scam
13. Rs 25000 Cr Dal Scam
14.India Foundation Scam: Sangh affliated, Shri Ajit Doval & son Shri Shaurya Doval 
15. Rs 15. Lakh in every Bank Account?
16. An RTI seeking the exact amount of Black Money since Demonetisation is still pending since an year now.