Category Archives: Amrit’s Updates

Is economic liberalization a curse on the poor

The poor have been here since time immemorial and so have been the rich. In the olden times they lived their separate lives unless there was some blatant exploitation.

The contemporary problem is that the lives of the poor and the lives of the rich are intertwined. This Scroll article, through the review of a book titled “Understanding the Black Economy and Black Money in India”, tells how black money, the money that is siphoned off from various government policies, coupled with economic liberalization, has wrecked havoc with the lives of the poor. There are some stark statistics in the article.

Whether you believe in the basic message of the article or not is not the issue, but the reality is, the poor, no matter in which country they are, these days have to bear the brunt of the progress that is mostly enjoyed by the rich. This is an inescapable reality.

Take for example mining. Most of the natural resources extracted through mining are not used for local populations but they definitely pollute the land and the water around the mining areas.

In the same manner, various industries have polluted water bodies. The rich can afford to purchase water from companies that sell clean drinking water, but the poor have to depend on the dirty, polluted water. This dirty, polluted water makes them sick, and since treatment and medicine are expensive, they either end up spending all their earnings and savings on getting treated, or they remain untreated.

The supporters of the pre-liberalization era say that before economic liberalization, at least people could afford food and medicines. How much of this is true depends on who is telling you the story.

Personally I feel the problem is not liberalization, the problem is our political class that has no will to solve basic civilian problems. But then again, blaming the political class is very convenient because after all, who chooses these politicians? We.

It’s a vicious circle. The circle can only be broken by people like us, who have the means, but sadly, since for us the stakes are not very high, we are not motivated enough.


Are big fat Indian weddings coming to a stop?

There is an impending Lok Sabha Bill that may put an end to the big fat Indian weddings. The bill has been introduced by the Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan and it has a very interesting conditionality for people planning to spend more than Rs. 5 lakhs on a wedding.

If the bill gets passed, if you spend more than Rs. 5 lakhs on a wedding, you will have to spend 10% of the amount you are spending on the wedding, on the marriage of a girl from a poor family. The name of the bill is The Marriages (Compulsory Registration and Prevention of Wasteful Expenditure) Bill, 2016 and, according to this ScoopWhoop update, it may be taken up as a private member’s bill in the upcoming Lok Sabha session.

Yes, marriages can be insane but then, it is not up to the government to tell people how much they can spend on marriages. After all, the money being spent on lavish marriages isn’t simply being burnt; it is being pumped into the economy in one form or another. People spending so much money on marriages means so much money is being put into the economy.

But of course the bill doesn’t tell you how much you can spend. It only makes you spend the 10% of the amount you are spending on the marriage, on the marriage of some poor girl. The thought is good, although I don’t believe in forcing people to involve themselves in social causes. But this can be a good beginning. Certainly deserves more thought.

Rather than making people spend money on the marriage of some poor girl, they should be encouraged to spend money on the education of a poor child, whether it’s a boy or a girl.


Delhi may have a Nirbhaya Science Museum, but her parents want her real name to be used

Actually the museum is already there. It was opened in R. K. Puram in New Delhi, in 2013, as a tribute to the 23-year-old girl who was gang raped and murdered in a moving bus the previous year.

The science musing was named “Nirbhaya Science Museum”.

At the time when agitations were going on in the city against the brutal gang rape and murder, since the name of the victim cannot be revealed, people started calling her Nirbhaya and now the girl is known by this name.

But her parents want people to know her real name.     Why should she live in anonymity? If there is a museum on her name, then it should be on her name, not on a nomenclatures temporally defined.

Totally agree.


Mukesh Ambani says that for India, Donald Trump is a blessing in disguise

And I totally agree with him. I have been saying this for a long time that if Indian tech industry stops depending on the US, we can develop our very own thriving tech industry here in India and our techies won’t have to struggle for offshore assignments. Then Americans will be looking for work visas to work in India rather than the other way around.

There are 2 reasons why I believe in this: one, as Mukesh Ambani rightly says, we have a huge market. If the tech companies start solving domestic problems, we can have mega tech companies in our very own backyard by simply providing services to our own population, and who would know this better than Reliance? Their cheap mobile phones literally changed the way people communicate with each other – even the poor – and despite selling cheap mobile phones, the company made a killing just because of India’s population.

Two, we have the talent. The tech industry in the US has been run over by Indian software programmers and engineers. Just imagine what wonders these guys and girls can work when they work in India.


People found to be supporting terrorists are terrorists

This is what General Rawat has said and many, mostly liberals, have started scurrying around like startled ants.

When the Indian armed forces are fighting pitched battles with terrorists they are often disrupted by local mobs. While they are being fired at by the terrorists, they are also subjected to stone pelting by the locals. In most of the cases, our army jawans don’t retaliate to civilian provocations but now, it seems, enough is enough.

The army chief has said that there have been even casualties due to constant interference by the local mobs. Now these mobs will be dealt with strictly if they are found to be supporting terrorists instead of the Indian Army.

Locals carrying Pakistani flags in raising antinational slogans will also be taken to task.

I think such a stand was long overdue. India as a state has been apologetic for a long time.

Does FoE mean doing country’s ma-ki-behen-ki with impunity?

Among intellectuals and liberals it has become a fashion to say everything under the sun against the country, the Army, the cultural nuances of the majority community and disparaging festivals and traditions again, of the majority community.

These proclivities would have seemed a normal behavioural pattern had they been uniform in their condemnation for the so-called “backward” practices and repressive tactics. They don’t find Pakistan repressive but defined India repressive. The don’t find Muslim and Christian festivals of offending but they find Hindu festivals offending. They want Jammu and Kashmir to go to Pakistan. They are constantly berating the Indian state while turning a blind eye to the indiscretions of the Pakistani and the Chinese governments.

This Indian express article laments the fact that “intellectuals” like Nivedita Menon of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Rajshree Ranawat of the Jai Narain Vyas University of Jodhpur are being targeted for giving anti-India speeches in front of students.

Police FIRs have been filed against them and there have been protests against such individuals.

Should the so-called intellectuals and liberals be able to say what they want to say in the name of scholarship? Yes.

But if they are going to adapt a bipartisan attitude then they must face the consequences. When they begin to choose sides instead of remaining scholarly, then they have to bear the brunt. If they start pitching one community against the other, one of the communities is going to retaliate and when communities retaliate, they don’t retaliate in a scholarly fashion. Sad, but a reality.

I wouldn’t say I’m a scholar, but I respect scholarship. I believe scholars are the backbone of every civilization. But are these scholars? This is a question that we need to answer first.

If they are going to raise accusing fingers than they can’t decide how the others are going to react. In the name of FoE they’re constantly instigating anti-India forces and they can’t expect the society to simply rant and do nothing. The repercussions for their “FoE”can be serious and they should be prepared for that. If they think that ours is a repressive state, then they are obviously being proven right, so what are they complaining about?


The Indian Express needlessly tried to create a rift between the Indian blind cricket team and Virender Sehwag

Recently the Indian blind cricket team beat Pakistan by 9 wickets and again won the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup title. To congratulate them, the former cricketer Virendra Sehwag posted a Twitter message and used the hashtag #OtherMenInBlue.

Someone at the Indian Express took it upon himself or herself to feel offended and then attribute the offense to the captain of the blind Indian cricket team Ajay Kumar Reddy.

A report in the Indian Express reported that Reddy was upset over the #OtherMenInBlue remark. The news report quoted Reddy as saying, “We wear the same blue jersey, represent the same tri-colour and play with equal pride and passion then why term us as ‘other’? It is appreciable that he congratulated us but then we are no others. We too are the men in blue.”

The good thing is that social media is here. Ajay Kumar Reddy, as reported in this OpIndia report, uploaded a video. In the video he says that he is quite upset the way media has misquoted him. He never said such a thing. You can view the video on the above link.

Further, Sehwag was simply using the official hashtag of the Indian blind cricket team. The hashtag #OtherMenInBlue also appears in the team’s official banner.

The news in itself might not be significant (or it is) but the important point is, the mainstream news organizations can no longer spread canards and other lies. Every person has access to different platforms these days and this is why our “righteous” mainstream journalists feel jittery and cry foul.

It’s so great that Reddy was able to upload his video and the world was able to know what the truth is. Aside from this, even Virender Sehwag was able to include the image of the poster in his tweet. The Indian Express reporter had to eat crow.

Shameless as they are, they still haven’t removed the article from their website.


Big congratulations to ISRO scientists

More than a year ago when India had sent its Mars orbiter the New York Times had mocked at India by publishing a cartoon showing a poor farmer knocking at the door of an elite club of scientists and bureaucrats while holding his cow. What the cartoon meant to say was that India was being extravagant while being such a poor and backward country and all the progress being made in space technology amounted to nothing.

New York Times has had to eat a humble pie now. The ISRO scientists have made a world record by launching 104 satellites into the space with a single PSLV rocket from the Sriharikota Space Centre. The previous world record was sending 37 satellites in one go and the record was made by Russia.

Why humble pie? Because 96 of the 104 satellites that were launched belonged to various US companies. The rest belonged to companies based in Israel, the Netherlands, Kazakhistan, Switzerland and the UAE.

Sending so many satellites at the same time may not involve advanced technology to carry lots of weight because these are nano satellites, but despite that, it is a great feat in the commercial satellite launching arena and the ISRO scientists deserve great congratulations.


No, I still don’t understand the Sasikala episode

What’s going on in the South? Is this the democracy we have developed so far? It seems although the South Indian states like Tamil Nadu have economically fared better compared to other states in India, in terms of political attitude, they are as feudal as the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and as destructive as West Bengal.

First, Sasikala takes ministers hostage and no hue and cry is raised by the public, the media, and even other political parties. Kidnapping and taking ministers hostage is being seen as a mere political manoeuvring. That’s one thing beyond comprehension.

The other is, after the recent SC verdict on the disproportionate assets case she is facing years of imprisonment. She is not being arrested. The police is waiting for her to surrender. She’s going to surrender at her own convenient time. Again, the TV news channels are stating this fact as something very normal. Why isn’t she being arrested? Why is the police waiting for her to surrender? How come she has grown so powerful that even the law and the judiciary have to tread carefully? This is a scary situation for the country and I don’t know why people don’t realise this. Do we live in Afghanistan where the writ of tribal lords runs large?

What’s scarier is, the peels of the deep-rooted rot are coming off layer after layer only now when we no longer have to depend on conventional news media for news updates. Now we are coming to know what sort of democracy the so-called secular and democratic parties have created in the country.