Friday, December 31, 2010

The Crisis Syndrome

#.Standpoint wishes all its readers a happy and productive new year 2011,hope unlike the last year thoroughly marked with corruption,new year would promise brighter time...being a stakeholder of humanity,let's fight with demonic greed to make world just&equitable..a better place for living!

Following the many horrendous setbacks from political circle, public life at large in India is confronting the serrated edge. Domino effects of corrupt nexus among politicians-corporate and most odiously of media chocking every tint of idealism and forcing fairness on confusing cul-de-sac. In our nation, where sacking of high order corrupt officials is still a distant dream and investigations largely produced as food for thought to leverage gonzo journalism hardly presents a moralistic scene, normally expected from government with superb references of Indian constitution.
Erosion of confidence from systemic functioning and political leadership have culminated over the years with reckoning malpractices and manipulated ravening among the peoples involved in every big scam. In such affordable blind wave, lobbyists found their niche to intervene at policy level in government, in the close Dickensian Company of political leaders and journalists with godly footing in the industry.

Raghuram Rajan in his work “Fault Lines” gone to the locus of fabricated fortunes founded on the base of lobbyism and sinful connections that cultivating an obscene numbers of growing Indian billionaires. With these antagonistic developments, India knocking the Forbes list of billionaires through amazing pace albeit in developmental indices and corruption ratio, it’s doing worst even than the trivial sub-Saharan countries. Its desperating fall of moral convictions in a nation which has glorious history of men with integrity in public life-for them pennilessness was a subdued affair for pepping up with the national causes.
Recent outbreak of scams giving stout sign of a new corrupt culture that incubated on the misuse of authority and ones consine…Indian economists must propose here, a nifty index for measuring the growing gap of income. Now the differences of income, if one is not entitled to an authority or not being corrupt minded have to trail with their corrupt counterparts by millionth times unlike few years back, when the gulf was in hundred or thousand times.

Moreover, forefront would not going to be their/idealists front in any circumstances as with better connection in mainstream authoritative world, theirs presence would be much worthwhile for ribbon slashing and flashing with endemic pace in front of cameras funded by global bosses.
In this fanciful time, people’s aspirations getting crushed by the sections with vested interests in either politics or business-what we have recently saw in the case of selfless social activist, Vinayak Sen who is facing the charge of sedition on the baseless evidence of possessing a copy of Marx’s Das Capital and an invitation for lecture from a non profit organization.
Adding the fuel-after uncharted zone from big wrong like, defense and finance; now judiciary too undergoing with same maladies of blind judgment for specific causes. Though scams have remains intermittent over the years but the scale it has touched in this year have completely thrashed the imagination of mass folk which is overt betrayal to their civic rights.

Even in this dark time, I have faith in system and individual capacities of few in public life including PM Manmohan Singh, who himself would have realization what he has lost as leader in last one and half year. In internal matters, he hardly in touch with the grim realities and its redressal-thanks to our growing size of economy that engaging world leaders at our door steps, so giving atleast one-sided Philip to PM on this front as no Gandhi ever had real interests in foreign affairs.
In next year too, peoples confidence would be hold on toes as investigation agencies in charge of scams would handle this as mundane assignment and finally let pass a big respite to persons/culprits involved in this…probably, these high shot characters would enhance more grip over the sordid mechanism for next big foul plays?

What to observe or not, that would be depend on the intent and stands of individuals but politicians, corporate, media-persons and lobbyists with lucid prefix “corrupt” would keep maligning our collective consciousness and confidence, if peoples will not choose the right way to govern themselves. A proper attitude could be a solace on many counts…let it give a chance!

Atul Kumar Thakur
December 30, 2010, Thursday, New Delhi

Edge of being Bihar!

Defying all the tantrums of reactionary opposition, Nitish Kumar led NDA’s upscaled victory trounced even all the preordained forecast about the Bihar’s poll. Nitish, gifted yet a meticulous leader in mainline politics is among few statesmen today who elude spontaneous outpouring and never let allow any manipulation in the figure of speech. This is marked shift in the leadership inside Bihar, where sardonic demonstration of Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi and theirs Cabinet have been crisped as an indictment for state and in general for the fate of its oppressed peoples.
What Nitish and his government have done most remarkable in last five years was, complete clampdown on political criminals-both inside the party and outside of it. Deglamourization of crime vehementally inculcate on collective scale to move on for future and retrieve some old glory on which the pride of Bihar can blossom.

Outset to end of first term of Nitish as Chief Minister proved not only milestone in Bihar but overall n state politics-nobody can refute his charisma and his justifying commitment for inclusive growth which probably enabled Ramchandra Guha to rate Nitish as most thoughtful leader of India. Nitish, just after a land sliding win with 206 seats {JD{U}-115,BJP-91}in Assembly election recalled an added caution of Guha that like Ram Krishna Hegde in Karnataka, he shouldn’t chase the tedious routes of politics at centre.
In same encouraging but rapt press conference, he attributed the mandate for aspirations of mass Bihari-besides, it was indeed heartening to see the way he raised his task for more empowered and prosperous Bihar and ruling out any ambition for highest executive rank with mentioning the suggestions made by Ramchandra Guha. No inanity for victory was a clear departure from RJD-LJP style wild saas!

The champion of trivia against the real issues, Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan were put on toes, with abysmal legislative presence and end of theirs rational in politics, now have entitled them not more than figurehead in theirs respective parties. Now, Mr. Yadav’s positions is very downsized in Bihar, overt rebellion of close ranks and especially of infamous relatives leaves ominous sign for any further revival of his fortune. His detrimental attitude of rule, had completely demolished the organic aspirations of development from 1990to 2005-quest for new Bihar started with a pursuit of scrubbing the maligned impressions under the honest efforts of Nitish Kumar.
Almost extinction of left parties could be co-related to theirs internal strife and lack of proper working plan in Bihar. Fallen grace of Congress is the outcome of its active stakeholding during the wild eras {1990-2005} and its corrupt legacies nourished under the appointed observers from Delhi. Certainly, the party could do much better without the crony mentoring of party observer, Mukul Wasnik, who spent most of time in distorting the local leadership with flawed favourism in ticket distribution…sycophancy is chant of gone era, atleast now that must embarrass its central leaders and family in command.

On the day of verdict, I received first few lines from Ramchandra Guha “Thanks for this good news, your state under the abled leadership of Nitish Babu deserves it…”- his excitement and constructive support of media/intellectuals have given Nitish Kumar an ample thumbs up for victory. As he is already on track for new maneuverings to give Bihar all supplements that was lost during the dark years-here, a delicate policy on investment would be required to tap the fine infrastructure in state. Coal linkage is certainly a major impediment in Bihar’s way but this time government is better equipped with resilient mandate from all side to negotiate the contentious matters with centre more profoundly.
Bihar could be a hub of services and agro-processed processed industries with abundant raw materials and very competent human resources. Working in this emerged Bihar would be an edge for early participant from industry; impetus which the state promises of good governance and inclusive development-most scarce qualities in present time. With unlimited potential from all side, Bihar is ready to receive the advances of positive engagement with growth agents…in next five years; Nitish Kumar government has golden time to shape the balance future for state and at next for the nation. As always, wind of change in Indian politics shall come from Bihar-after many years, expected is all positive for a new lease of life to political profession. Time is exactly conducive to play big shot by Nitish Kumar…what Bihar needs now…
Atul Kumar Thakur
December29, 2010, Wednesday, New Delhi

Thursday, December 30, 2010

March on Twin Mountains?

Moving enroute Delhi to scenic Uttarakhand, one can easily grasp the socio-ecological differences it holds from neighboring dusty milieu of Western UP, and the proven rational behind the bifurcation of major power block called erstwhile Uttar Pradesh. The river Ganga, with whom, I have been in great acquaintance since my formative and deformative developmental years in its cult cities-Patna and Banaras, always gives me natural impulse to look around the dynamics of life through the prism of miraculous consistency and nuanced inferences.
So, I found same stunning taste in my morning tea in Haridwar and evening tea in Hrishikesh, as used to have on Assi Ghat in Banaras years back-moreover, this twin cities, with its nourishing incentives of Mountain ranges endowed within me a spurt to feel the world of hills with open consine.

Before the outbreak of deadly winter, it was quite normal to assimilate in natural conditions of Haridwar-although it could have utmost tough in the deeper regions of Uttarakhand. Height of Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi were two bewildering destination for me inside the Haridwar…for years, I heard about the centrality of Har Ki Paudi besides the left and right position of these mid size Mountains. Leaving here the discourse of left or right at Hotel room, we {along with parents and brother} had a debating breakfast over my plan of expedition instead to opt for an easy though stodgy Rope to conquer the heights.
My stubbornness made impact while observing the relative havocks of Udan Khatola/Rope by three other genuine stakeholders of proposed expedition…finally journey begun for Mansa Devi amidst the closer interaction with monkeys than men that further boosted intertwining with the nature.

But unlike the sporadic wave of humane aspirations in the way, presence of packed mineral water gave the overt sign of market reach…hence; few were takers for Mountain froutes or free drinking water as purchasing power with its combo habitual obsession hardly leaves room for rational consideration. On the friendly path with few auxiliary halt at beautiful spots along with curriculard exchange of ideas with abandoned jewels/petty traders and sanitary activists, we reached to the peak height.
At the peak of height, Mansa Devi temple resembling like hanging tower of Pisa is indeed a place where you can leave the mind to rest-even without having a sip of easily available Cola drinks; here too, tea could be the best things while having bird view on Ganga and nearby little urban settlements. Downward journey was obviously a normalizing exercise before hoping on in Car for a new journey to another Crest-Chandi Devi. Further, misdemeanor of our driver led us to an unplanned adventure which would seemed like a fairy tale unless the realization hadn’t happen forwardly with us…for scrimping few miles, we were put to an old abandoned route.

During this most unusual journey, we came across only two human species, both were petty traders and highly saturated from the worldly affairs even in present nasty global time. For them, path was okay, so for me despite shading views from my camp-lastly passion overpowered the wisdom and another trip ignited. Heading on along with cusp of life and dangers, my earlier overtures with Sherpas enabled me ready to face an abnormal circumstance…albeit except a bag pack and rock solid attitude, nothing could be comparable with me and those daring Sherpas. Through relentless undermining the oddities, we anyhow reached another hanging peak where too Cola were available much chilled than hot cup of tea and Coffee.
Anyhow, at this beautiful hanging spot, we had a short shopping spree before returning with few normal fellows with worldly affiliations. On a normal path, journey was much easier but I remained remorseless with my expedition, as I saw the world and characters whose memories would remain vivid throughout my life. My reading of Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit” helped me for a while in sorting out the hurdles of self-consciousness but without following the dialectics between “Lordship and Bondsman”-I kept the book inside my bag pack before making a deal with prepaid Car for an evening in Hrishikesh.

Around thirty miles of journey easily lead to a promising ecological zone where the hope is still intact for a broad socio-ethical interface with nature. In this amazing town, we could spent only few hours though it remained very relevant…ferried across the hanging bridge of Ram and Lakshman Jhoola {built in early 1930’s by British administration} was like accompanying the streams of clean Ganga for fine moments. We left the plans for much higher Nilkanth peak for future, instead spent few more hours at calm, clean and cool bank of Ganga.
Long-lived memories remain the true outcome from such fulfilling exploration of ecosystem…a well deserved sleep was waiting for us in Hotel at the bank of Ganga in Haridwar but before that scroll the remote for Nepal national TV, after years-gloom of politics in Nepal and unbreakable code of corruption inside India stuffed remarkably for nightmares . Morning was relaxed with tea-breakfast and day was engaging with six hours road journey to Delhi…
Atul Kumar Thakur
December28, 2010, Tuesday, New Delhi

Letters to Frontline-IV

Bihar {Frontline, November5, 2010}
This is with reference to the article “Battle for Bihar” {October8}. Politics in Bihar underwent unfortunate changes after the defeat of the Jaggannath Mishra led regimes in the 1990 election. There was despair in the state for one and a half decades under the Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi regime. Today, optimism is high because of the pleasant outcome in the past five years. The state of affairs is not yet ideal, but improvement from here on will be easier than it would have been five years back. The next five years are going to be make or break for Bihar.

Kashmir {Frontline, October 8, 2010}
In the article “First Steps” {September 24}, the author suggests a peaceful, autonomous Kashmir within the Indian Union. It is a positive model that should at least be considered. I also agreed with the Views expressed in the article on historical decisions such as the imposition of Article 370 and the appointment of a Governor in place of the Sadr-e-Riyasat.

However, I have reservations about the view in the article on the role of separatist and pro-Pakistani forces: Syed Ali Shah Geelani does not seem to realize the consequences of Kashmir leaving the Indian Union. Creation of an Islamic buffer state would not only pose a serious threat to India’s national security but would also devastate the strategic scenario of South Asia.

Throughout its history, Kashmir remained untouched by religious biases. Any political foul play to change its social fabric would be unfortunate. How can separatists be considered worthy of the peoples trust when they have always purchased their own vested interest?

Atul Kumar Thakur
December 28, 2010, Tuesday
Sahibabad {Ghaziabad}

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nail Down the Exorbitant Financing

The Economic Times dated on October 30th2010 {Saturday} rightly placed its views in editorial that banks shouldn’t be forced for lending to Micro Financial Institutions {MFIs} under the Priority Sector Lending {PSL} albeit it straightly down while narrating MFIs as an improvement over conventional money lending system with further advice to RBI regarding the repercussions of interest control on this 27,000 crore rupees Microfinancial business. In the same page, independent views of V.Raghunathan “Permit MFIs higher interest rates” artificially and even better say hypothetically tried to end the genuine acrimony persisting among the MFIs, regulators and targeted clients…views shown by him candidly deciphering the structured backup for the greedy tendencies of MFIs.
The recent broke out at top management level in George Soros backed SKS Microfinance which hitherto have known for experiencing early innovations in Indian financial market have suddenly escalate the scenarios in swift maligning pace to entire Microfinancial sector. Vikram Akula {CEO, SKS Microfinance}, who have received accolades that is lucidly many times of summing the rest alls glamorous quotient for foraying and miraculously absorbing the less privileges dire needs in overt Spartan camouflage.
Height of MFIs limelight came out with the recent success of SKS Microfinance IPO that fetched $358million but before again leaving contagious bandwagon on its wayfarers, it completely caught under the radar of regulators and political parties for proliferation of bad ethics and finance-both within the organization and beyond…?

These institutions completely rest on the overall compulsions of banks struggling to complying with the Priority Sector Lending…they have to disburse at least slightly above of theirs one-theirs of total finances to weaker sections, unemployed, Rural sectors, MFIs etc. In my earlier article, I have elaborated on this subject in detail-how except Regional Rural Banks {RRBs}, not a single Indian bank is disbursing the requisite amount in proper manner…hence, they are banking upon on easy target like MFIs.
They lend them at 11-12% without any default and found freedom from cumbersome process of envisaged compliances…it’s a sort of ethical violation of Indian Constitution’s many articles and notably one its heart “Directive Principles” that is the originating point of Priority Sector Lending or Responsible banking. Founding easy capitalization, MFIs in India summarly violates all sort of moral imperatives in theirs business conduct…many of its ex Wall Street bankers CEOs are capitulating better the commercial pastures than their competitor moneylenders in the race of exorbitant charges. At present most of MFIs are charging near about hovering34%; 22 more than the Indian banks and around less 20% lesser than moneylenders…doesn’t it practicing like patronized moneylenders even under the eagle eyes of RBI?

The kind of business MFIs is dwelling with essentially undeserving to get any more cheap and easy capitalization from Indian banks under the quota of PSL…until the Y.H.Malegan committee report come into place, RBI must seriously look into this specific angle. If a cunning investor like George Soros is taking keen interest in MFIs, it signals something substantial advantage in favour of MFIs in India…intriguing to note that how unethically social capital being transfused for the accomplishment of maddening commercial goals. That’s the main reason, why so far private equity business have not mingled with the burgeoning MFIs…theirs money have few takers in Indian Microfinance business as our banks are more than generous in lending to these unaccountable institutions!

At this point, RBI should ensure the uniform lending rates to all the financial institutions irrespective of the nature of theirs incorporation besides the softening of collateralized loans in Microfinancial segment of banks. Why Microfinancial business should not converge with our real economy? Our banking system is quite robust and mature to trace and cater the financial needs of disadvantaged section without imitating the idealistic notional model of Md. Yunus from Bangladesh whose model is shambling in India through Private MFIs.
RBI before taking any further stances over this issue must enter into an ideation fray along with NABARD with keeping the goal to align Scheduled Commercial Banks, Private Banks and Co-operative Banks with hassle-free Microfinances. Second one, to create a competitive ground for bottom level financing where MFIs or NBFC have to compete with the banks…competition is always good in capitalism unlike the socialistic system where patronism of state plays major role. So, without swapping their inherent characteristics, Indian financial system should create a level playing field for bottom level financing…now goal should be to nail down the hasslefull and exorbitant financing out of sight instead to confusing idealism with Kurta clad CEOs!
Atul Kumar Thakur
November 1st2010, Monday
New Delhi

Wild Dream called Commonwealth Literature!

Without any pre-occupation R.K.Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao could be easily conferred the rank of early legions in Indian English literary writing albeit before these three committed man, Bankim Chandra Chaterjee’s “The Rajmohan’s Wife” too must be counted for being the first English novel produced by any India during the hay days of British Colonialism. It’s quite intriguing that Raja Rao never remained as much popular as rest of both prolific contemporary and Nirad.C.Chadhury; because in my perspectives, he was less than a product of English enlightment and never said like Mulk Raj Anand that “India could be a laboratory of Commonwealth literature” or giving considerable credit to Graham Green for Mentoring in his literary accession in western world like R.K.Narayan.

Those were the days of imperialism or transition for many countries as a free state but without having own representation of theirs nativity in Standard English writing. Indeed time really moved up over the years and a burgeoning balance from erstwhile colonies like India wouldn’t remain any longer a matter of amazement as the western world used to have earlier with temples, elephant, snake charmers and numerous other symbolism of aboriginal culture. No doubt, English writing in India is passing through high creative assertion with profound regional characteristics and intricacies of modern India is very much different from the imaginative shackle of Commonwealth literature.
Its not that, new generation of modern Indian English writer haven’t inherited the world views of theirs predecessor but theirs cosmic concern are the outcome of idealism that Indian democracy has embodied them in last six decades. Undoubtedly, with great focus on original identity and it’s entwining to a long stretch of history, Indian writing overall have formed a unique blend of wisdom and much needed sensibility.

The first sensation in English writing from India at international juncture, Salman Rushdie had once written a fabulous essay “Commonwealth literature doesn’t exist” with appropriate convictions as British writing is not a part of it, so it creating a sense of paradoxical hierarchies. Much before the landmark work over British colonialism “The Sea of Poppies” {which was beaten by a light and subversively mild novel “The White Tiger” by Arvind Adiga in the race of Booker prize}, Amitav Ghosh had denied to accept the Commonwealth Prize in nineties.
It was a great resistance from a post-colonial writer who gone through the surfaces of India’s historical realities…naturally, persons like him or any free thinker could be much happier if the attention would have come from an association like “Free State Union” or organization with similar spirits though different in nomenclature. Here argument could be prolonged, why these two illustrious expatriate writer rejecting the trap of Commonwealth literature? Did timely revelation made them conscious about the futility of this institution or Britain as shrewd conservator losing its hold from rapidly growing free states that better be leave to enthusiasts of literature and history.

Footprints of British engagement were always bounded with the drain of resources from its colony…no matter, what have changed over the years, but temptations remained same. In recently held Commonwealth Game in Delhi, we spent around $17billion-money that that were scrimped from essential areas; fourteen days long lavish party ended with stellar performance of Indian players but paradoxically disastrous by the organizers of game. They through there sordid handling of resources created new heights of corruption in India whose memories would remain vivid as a legacy of our colonial past and demeaning our own accomplishments in last six decades or time before the British intrusion. During the extravaganza, I entertained an invitation from Sahitya Akademi for a Seminar on Commonwealth literature in Delhi though remained stunned to see the thin appearances of Commonwealth sort of identity flashing there. Foreign speakers delivered their cold observation in good old gesture of passivity albeit some speakers from India drawn timid mood on different themes but alas! I couldn’t hear a single strong voice in favour of post-colonial writing that should have the basis of theirs historical inquisitions regarding colonialism.

Indeed it’s a matter of grave concern that such gathering now turning as an arena of swapation and disbursement of stodgy and saturated ideas…good Indian style of hunting and gathering swiftly being evaporated from our collective action. We Indians have great record in forgetting our own high shot achievements…in the same Mandi House region of Central Delhi at Indian Council of World Affairs premises, we as a young independent nation hosted the first Asian Relations Conference in 1947. Despite having dualism of inheritance, we couldn’t simply deny those early initiatives that used to symbolize our aspirations in a new world…in the time being; our fore-fathers lost the hold on priority that deterred us from remaining the most profound voice among the nations with exploitative colonial track record.

Even joining the Commonwealth in early fifties was neither pragmatic nor essential for India when our alternative world vision started fetching the heeds of newly independent nations. In present context, we shouldn’t be envious with Nelson Mandela’s decision to be part of Commonwealth after spending almost entire life fighting against its inherent evils and inclusion of trivial nations like Peru and Mozambique in this nostalgic colonial association despite never having link with the British colony. Choices may be beautiful or absurd without getting even a chunk of interferences from universalism, so let it be but we must mind our new standing at international arena. So, why not we should reckon our entire history in better way and move out to the world with our complete heritage instead to dwelling with any specific timeframe spasmed through the greedfull British colonialism whose last symbolic reminiscence being carries out with the brand “Commonwealth”.

We have reason to dissociate with such asymmetric institution with having havocking impressions of oppression…as world’s most vibrant democracy; we must stop here and with looking ahead for brighter pastures of forming at least one Association of Freedom. I am really proud upon Amitav Ghosh, when he keeps repeating that inclusion of “desi” word would remain an important form of expression, irrespective of what other think over it through their biased prism. We have registered a tremendous growth in every area including in literature during the last six decades and ofcourse as a citizen of vibrant nation, we could remain an universal entity too even without entangling with artificial and biased structure like “Commonwealth” which exactly resembling the “rejected manuscript”…a sensible humor not the wild one!
Atul Kumar Thakur
October22, 2010, Thursday
New Delhi

Remembering Edmond Privat!

In my early salad days in Banaras Hindu University; Shayaji Gaikwad or Central Library used to be place of my wishful loitering-thanks goes to a side stack of this grand library where I first saw the name of Edmond Privat as an author of “The Clash of Loyalties”. Charmed by its name and themes on colonialism, I found reason to engage myself with the book that could be easily acknowledged as representative work of Edmond Privat and one of the best impartial books written by any Whiteman. This Swiss national was born in 1889, educated at Cambridge University and thoroughly kept his independent views as a journalist, scholar, moralist and the Chairman of European Committee for Indian independence from 1932to1939.

He came early in journalism in 1903 with a monthly journal L’a Juna Esperantisto {Young Esperantist} with his classmate-Hector Holder, who was also a successor of an artist with high reputes. With his forthright stand, he stood with the Indian independence movement for at least three decades; his entwining with India&Indians started with meeting towering icon, Tagore in 1926 at the place of Roman Rolland in Villanueva near the Geneva Lake. Next time, he met to Tagore in 1932, meanwhile in 1931-after the failure of IInd Round Table Conference, he met to his real inspiration Gandhi, first as an interpreter at the same house of French scholar Roman Rolland. Edmond Privat had unbeatable argument about the prevailing contradiction of his time; as a journalist he overtly stood against the individual and collective prejudices and never let himself aligned with the power mongered colonialists.

Today, it’s hard to trace even a tint of information about this very genuine friend of India who played so active role in Indian independence-its matter of grave concern to see such apathy from both the academic and government side. His close acquaintances with Gandhi given him the real concern for India and of course a special nomenclature as well-Anand {Joy}, for him and Bhakti {Devotion} for his wife. His impression for Gandhi rose to momentum in his very first meeting-he accompanied Gandhi during his meeting with Mussolini in Rome and remained with him even till reaching Mumbai. His proximity to Gandhi imparted him the closer senses of India’s plight and its exploitation carries by the graceful British. Verbatim of Edmond Privat has been beautifully placed by P.C.Roy Choudhury in his small though insightful work “Edmond Privat: A Forgotten Friend of India” as “I aspired and still aspire to be a citizen, not of an empire but of community of a free association of equals…what is there that we two nations cannot accomplish together”. Dr.Privat had lucidly written about his proximity with Gandhi and India in “Ank Indes Avet Gandhi” {French}-during his London days, he played very active role for Indian League with Krishna Menon.

Privat dreamt for an active conscious world with rethinking on present state of compartmentalization among the modern states. He vehementally the coercion of collective sin for its subdued ramifications over the individual spirits. Tracing of British character was a remarkable accomplishment from him-in his book “The English from Pirates to Prophets”, he analyses how the Saxon pirates landed in Great Britain and had set up ten kingdoms on the ruins of the Roman cities. Christian churches replaced the temples of Jupiter and the antique cult of the Druids in certain regions; this solid observation is a big question mark over the fabricated intellectual tradition of western world.

He was an active entity of international politics…his zest first started as reporter for famous French daily newspaper La Temps {The Times} in Russia and entire Central Europe. Here, he displayed his moral support for Polish independence; his book “The Odyssey of Poland” was hugely admired by the peoples including the remarkable liberal voices like, H.G.Wells and Roman Rolland. As a tireless journalist, he compiled his reporting experience of Central Europe in “Addventuroj de Pionorio” {Adventures of the Pioneer}…even later, he remained contributing for Socialistic French dailies like “Droit du Peuple {Right of the People}, Le Sentinell under the title of Le Peuple. As an internationalist and a great champion of freedom, he did fairly remarkable albeit his name is almost obscure in the country like India where he contributed with the most of makers of modern India. Two jewels of Indian politics-Gandhi and Nehru were very much impressed with this gentle Englishman for being active for freedom of nation…alas! Post independence, Edmond Privat never received his due which he was deserved gracefully. At least now, we need to revisit our foreign friends of independence movement…historiography have to take an essential turn now!
Atul Kumar Thakur
October27th 2010, Wednesday
New Delhi

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Reckoning Basel-III Norms!

Following the recent financial meltdown, the leaders of the group of G-20economies asked the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision{BCBS} to reach the new rules needed to prevent another financial crisis in future. The aim was to mitigate the greed ridden financial crisis instead to block the real factors behind it; real notion of Basel-III norms could be sensed out with the statement of Hant Wellink, head of Basel Committee on Banking Supervision-“Partly banks will have to retain profit for years which they can not use to pay shareholders or bonuses.
For another part, this will vary from bank to bank; they will have to get it from the capital market. I think it will make a new crisis less likely. Chances are much smaller, we have made calculations on this but we can’t rule it out completely”. Last Para reflect the genuine apprehension ahead in financial market…so; life even after the Basel-III norms wouldn’t remain indifferent from regulatory considerations.

Basel-III norms, with its underlying proposition of insulating banks from adverse shocks by adequately enhancing the amount of its own capital holding compared to overall deposits and other borrowing can be regarded as an improved and standard set of rules over the existing Basel-II norms. Rule of Basel-III norms written by the Bank of International Settlement’s Committee on Banking Supervision {BCBS} with lucid mandates to define the reform agenda for the banking sector across the world. The new rule comprehensively entails how to asses risks and capital management anticipating theirs risk bearing.
On September20,2010 {Sunday}, agreement finally taken place on Basel-III at a meeting of Central bank Governors and top Supervisors from 27 countries chaired by ECB President, Jean Clande Trichet. They reached to the consensus with focusing on prevention of any further International Credit Crisis with provisioning more than triple of top quality capital as reserve for addressing any meltdown sort of occurrences.

Predominant component of capital is common equity and retained earnings-new rules restrict inclusion of items such as deferred tax assets, mortgage-servicing rights and investments in financial institutions to no more than 15%of the common equity component. Here strong bank would avail an edge as now they can put excess cash to better use though with ample transition period for raising funds to compliance shouldn’t be any big issue for even smaller banks. The new norms are centered around the renewed focus of Central bankers on Macro-prudential stability. The global financial meltdown following the crisis in U.S Sub-prime market has shaped the entire propositions. Earlier guidelines, popularly known as Basel-II was focused on Macro prudential regulation, those features being carried out in Basel-III norms as well with added advanced support. That systemizes the changed motives of regulators now-they have eagle eyes on financial stability of the system in totality rather than Micro regulation of any individual bank.
Under the Basel-III norms, Key Capital Ratio has been raised to 7%of risky assets-Tier-I capital that includes common equity and perpetual preferred stock will be raised from 2 to 4.5% starting in phases from January2013 to be accomplished by January2015. Moreover, banks will have to set aside another2.5%as a contingency for future stress, taking the overall capital ratio or Capital Conservation Buffer to 7%. Banks that would fail to comply after the stipulated timeline would be unable to pay dividends, though they will not be forced to raise cash.

A further counter-cyclical buffer in average of 0%-2.5%of common equity is to be imposed depending on specific circumstances of an economy to protect the banking sector from periods of excess aggregate credit growth. In addition, a liquidity buffer, much like our Statutory Liquidity Ratio {SLR} is to be made mandatory by January2018 to check the risk based measures and higher capital norms for systemically important bank. On paper, Basel-III will triple the quantum of capital, banks will need to maintain but whether it will risk-proof the banking sector is doubtful. So, regulation would decide whether Basel-III norms is light touch set of rule or indeed an effective panacea for hassle free and ethical functioning of banking system.

Impact on Indian banks: - RBI Governor, D.Subbarao is stoutly confident that Indian banks not likely to be adversely impacted by the new capital rules. At the end of June30, 2010; the aggregate capital to risk –weighted assets ratio of the Indian banking system stood at 13.4% of which Tier-I capital constituted 9.3%. So, it wouldn’t leave any pressure on Indian banks in near future albeit there may be some negative impact arising from shifting some deductions from Tier-I and Tier-II capital to common equity.
Despite strong fundamentals, RBI should ensure even more capital than essentially stipulated limit under the Basel-III norms; besides stress must be given on long term capital inflow rather on risky short term investments. Besides, innovative credit policies, RBI should also stringently ensure the well capitalized subsidiary structure for foreign banks and financial institutions operating in India, since the stability of Indian banking system have lot to with it.

Young Committee that recommended for the establishment of Bank of International Settlements {BIS} in1930 had enough sense for volatility in International financial market and greed’s of bankers. Actual effects of even best designed rules are of no value if lacked by the competent, proactive and fearless supervision. Strengthening the global banking system should be and must be the aim of every new financial rules but it’s equally imperative to stop the adverse lobbying that makes regulation nothing more than a print order. We can easily assume this from recently enacted Dodd Frank Act {Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act} in U.S.A which loosing its effects under the stern pressure from affluent lobbyist.
Regulation couldn’t have any parallel while enforcing a law; our regulatory strength has recently tested during the world wide financial meltdown-Indian banking relatively emerged unscratched comparing the western counterparts. More attention is needed from developed world for compliance of rules envisaged under the Basel-III norms-make or break of this rule would be decided by the both Individual as well collective performances of economies. Co-operation at international level would be the real bone of contention for an ambitious rule like Basel-III…meanwhile let’s watch the movements around the financial circle!
Atul Kumar Thakur
October20, 2010, Wednesday, New Delhi

Development-Essential theme for Bihar

The Bihar Legislative Election of 2010 is going to be remarkable on many counts; especially it would leave a high shot ground for acid test among the peoples of this state. Aspirations that led to ending of fifteen years parochial rule during the 2005 election and succession of a trusted man called Nitish Kumar is still very much resonant and relentless for completion of turnaround in the Bihar. The three spoiler stakeholder in Bihar politics since 1990-Congress, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ramvilas Paswan accounted for irreparable socio-economic losses that completely broken the soul of this region and forced to camouflage the state into a mockery institution.
Peoples were dragged to clown status under the black sordid political state of affairs…hopelessness were as rampant as loss of opportunities inside the state-institutional proposals like opening of IIM in Patna used to be ridiculed by non the other than Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav; crime had overt patronization from CM office and enterprises under this Dickensian collaboration were fixed ransom and other inhumane trade.

The pseudo assertion of social justice flashed much in start during the early nineties when simultaneously Mr.Yadav has started demeaning the party structure for a lethal nexus of caste and religion. Surprisingly, in spite of partial treatment to Muslim-Yadav combine and staggering statistics in terms of their representation, plight of common folks from these communities as well didn’t remain indifferent from rest of oppressed Bihari. Power and prestige used to be the prerogative of either the close one from kinship or die-hard sycophants without having personal character for judgment between right or wrong.
Caste remained a factor in the politics of Bihar albeit it was never so blind folded before the nineties…worst of all, confusion among the Communist brigade and theirs parasiteness over Congress finally consumed their impressive base in north and middle Bihar that fuelled the situation further. Their’s stake didn’t remain the same again after the mid nineties…meanwhile once a sporadic performer in state, BJP emerged as a substantial force following their strategic alliance {NDA}accession in Delhi-theirs paradox partnership with disillusioned Nitish Kumar started from here. I am reiterating over the word “paradox” since despite representing contrast views on some crucial issue; they could remain together with eyeing the path of development as major plank for politics in Bihar.

Before the British colonialism, terrains of present Bihar known for the all good reasons; later the Bengal presidency proved to be worst on development indices-following the shifting of British base from Calcutta in 1911.However, the state of this region, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Orissa, Tripura, West Bengal improved a lot for at least next two decades after the independence but in present scenario, only Bihar could be figured out on the healthy development criteria.
Once “An Area of Darkness” termed by “The Economist”, Bihar today is a beacon of fair change among the Indian state with consistently relying upon the sole framework of development. Despite facing the massive floods and successive two years of drought with spiraling two-digit inflation, state did fairly well in improving physical infrastructure, law&order, education, primary health facilities etc-besides growth of service sector and checking an outbound migration is Herculean accomplishment.

With the less volatile contribution of tertiary sector {59.5%}, State GDP growth registered an average 11.35%in the last five years against an average of merely 3.5%in the RJD rule-Per Capita Income rose from Rs7, 442 in year2004-05 to Rs13, 559 in 2008-09. Poverty rate too halted at 38%-a satisfactory level even if not an ideal figure; these statistics are not manipulated as the State’s Economic Survey2010 has been closely monitored by the Central agencies and other think tanks working in the sphere of economic research. Apart from political compulsions, Nitish Kumar government has shown enough willingness for change with appropriation of dynamicism and innovation that were a long due.
He emphatically focusing on the balance prospect of growth, especially in the social domain-after five years, he is indeed now more capable to lead Bihar towards a bright economic prospects; if he would come back whose chances are very strong than state of affairs will touch an unprecedented positive pace. For me, it’s a matter of great exuberance that at least Bihar among the Indian States is banking upon the theme of development. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Arunachal Pradesh to Rajasthan –themes of politics are different and governance is being put aside. Development of Bihar is essential for itself and whole nation…hope the political laboratory of India would manufacture some sensible inferences out of the verdict in this election.
Atul Kumar Thakur
October20, 2010, Wednesday, New Delhi

Tracing Aspirations for Nepal

The Constituent Assembly’s failure to deliver a Constitution on stipulated time-line and even after and Parliament’s failure to elect a Prime Minister despite prolonging the exercise for double digit rounds raising serious concern over the accountability of political parties in Nepal. Following perplex state of action in absence of any outcome makes an observers side completely drudgery and concomitant despair for all concerned components.
With unkept promises, political class especially Maoists are now being seen as hellion with their brusque attitude towards the ground realities and needs of nation. No denying the fact, that Maoists are not alone accountable for the quivering domestic political scenario though with putting upon theirs ostensible demand after putsching the Monarchies quintessentially makes them a catalyst in entire persisting deadlock.

Signing twelve point understanding in November2005 in New Delhi with the Indian mediation for anti-Monarchy movement was a hurried step that couldn’t be adequately sensed by the Maoist or other seven pro-democracy parties from Nepal. Instant reason for Indian involvement in anti-Monarchy movement was shaped through the aberration created by King Gyanendra during the 2005 SAARC Summit where he laid the proposal for China as an observer which was unanimously accepted by the member nations-without any mediation, indeed it was a sort of unofficial breach that caused deep insecurity in Indian diplomatic side.
Given the historically trusted and entwining relationship between India and Nepal, it was unbearable for India to see China’s unnatural involvement with its very dear Himalayan state. China has been so far played feeble and inconsistent role in Nepal but the Maoists emergence at Centre-stage suddenly given them a level playing field against India which now fuelling the rivalry of engagement.

As a very close entity in varied terms, Nepal must understand the growing insecurities of India from its strategic point of views and instead of pushing both superpower for negative engagement at the domestic turf; it would be quite better to engage with both of them without forgetting its natural akinness for India. It would leverage Indian role in forming conducive environment both at domestic arena in Nepal as well as at international juncture-positive involvement would give India too a chance to strengthen its diplomatic ties with Nepal by giving its actual due to the Himalayan state. Energized co-operation with spillover of goodwill would forge better environment of concord and prospects of democracy.
Nepal here must have to prefigure the China’s dual playing at its every crucial juncture; from1950 to 1989{during trade blockade by India which lasted for twenty months that badly affected its economy}-at both the crucial occasion, China checked them with realistic visualization and kept reiterating India’s natural closeness to Nepal. Even in 2006, when India along with the Nepalese democratic forces was poised for heading-on with Monarchy, China was feeding the King with arms and ammunition to crackdown on Maoists and other demonstrating political parties-thanks laudable collective efforts, China’s plan of bloodshed didn’t worked out in Nepal. Nepal must be reckon with its strategic standing without too much reshuffling some of its conventional basic lesson of diplomacy-otherwise, contemplation of experiments wouldn’t be ended more than deadpan per se following the ambitious dualism.

The most inevitable thing that Nepal has to do the figuring out of its people’s aspiration as now Maoists too sounds pragmatic about the prospective merger of Armies and noticeably on the role of Monarchy. Without deviating under any forcible ideological compulsions, it would be prudent for Nepalese political parties to delve with the best possible options suitable for theirs quest for democratic establishment and supremacy of Constitution.
This would be true healing touch from democratic political forces who have been disappointing the mass Citizens since 1920-if Maoist Supremo ”Prachanda” sensing the blunder of abrupt abolition of Monarchy without giving them even a minimum Constitutional prerogative, that remorseness must be seen in true light and without contentious convictions. Prolongingness of deadlock in Nepal is neither feasible not ideal for the sake of peoples genuine aspirations…there is need of rebuilding the confidence among the mass Nepalese for a brighter prospect of this beautiful nation.
Atul Kumar Thakur
October20, 2010, Wednesday, New Delhi

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Comrade in Conversation

Comrade Chaturanan Mishra, placid man in demeanor though emphatically spirited in his deeds and convictions quintessentially resemble a revolutionary in mainline. Through idea and spirit, his stout clasp over Communist ideology could be easily reckoned, along with his relentless bond with progressive ideas and practices both at personal as well as on collective level. Indeed his political journey was not came under breezed circumstances as it started during the jumbled phase of 1942, when the nation, Communist party and moreover the entire world was facing the cloud of history’s most severe trauma in terms of World WarII. His own transformation in Indian politics effaced many imperfections and remained consistent and determined to turn nostrum into real happening. Talking to this octogenarian living legend didn’t appeared daunting even for a while…very open and no frills attitude of him made my task easier to dwell with him for next few hours in a rainy afternoon at his official residence in Meena Bagh {Lutyn’s Delhi}.

Atul K Thakur:-It’s indeed a privilege for me to interact with someone who is known for all good reasons, despite remaining in politics for almost last seven decades. Would like to start here with your early life…
Chaturanan Mishra:-I was born in 1925 in village Nahar, then a part of old Darbhanga district {since 1973, in Madhubani} to a modest Maithil family. After the accomplishment of primary education, I had to move for G.M.S.S School {Madhubani} as in nearby my village, there used to be no high school for further education. So, I left the home and kept my further education continues.

Atul K Thakur:-Time was of intense pressure amidst the clamour of Indian independence from oppressive British imperialism, how you aligned yourself on those difficult times?
Chaturanan Mishra:-I came to Madhubani in early forties and in short span of time found in deep touch with Communist ideology due to prevalence of sound progressive environment created by young flamboyant revolutionary like Bhogendra Jha{who later became a very tall name in Communist party}and others like,Srimohan Jha, Tej Narayan Jha etc. This Communist group was formed by Comrade Bhogendra Jha secretly started maneuvering against the war fund in support of British…this radical opposition eventually turned stiff and grew of a plan to hoist the Indian tricolor flag in place of imperialist Union Jack on Madhubani Civil court. We successfully did it and found huge accolades from common masses and even to an extant from nationalist government servants as well. We were restless with the swift developments in 1940; I was convicted for two years-spent ten months and two months in two different terms for that charge of hoisting the national flag. Comrade Bhogendra Jha{who later became the tallest Communist Leader} was arrested in Darbhanga, besides almost of our Comrades were arrested, though our party’s {CPI} stand to remain passive with the critical Quit India Movement restrained to materialize full gain from those early initiatives. In my understanding, that was a blunder which handicapped us to come up with strong mass base on pan-India basis, though later with many good works, Communists earned mass respect but at large that blunder remained haunting us for long course of time.

Atul K Thakur: - What big changes have taken place in your life after that revolutionary quest and how you young Communist brigade were placed among the Commoner’s psyche?
Chaturanan Mishra: - As our efforts were unprecedented in terms of social representation, we received warm response from across the all caste and religion alike. That harmony was our true victory at that time besides at personal level too, it was remarkable on some counts for me. Before that incident, I was living with my lawyer cousin but his reservation against my hoisting the Indian flag on his house and particularly at court forced my self respect to shift in Azad hostel, after that I never visited him until my acquittal from jail when he remorsed vehementally and behaved placatory for his wrong behavior in past; his opinion and belief now was change in nationalistic fervor. Further in 1944, Comrade Chandrasekhar Singh came to Madhubani; Bhogendra Jha suggested him my name for trade union movement in south Bihar {now Jharkhand}. My friend Ramlakhan Panjiar and other Comrade helped me to migrate…I kept my family in dark and cited other reasons to off for two months. Finally through the material and moral support of fellow Comrades, I reached to Comrade. It was a great learning and my longest journey so far-in socio-cultural terms, it was a sort of metamorphosis for me.

Atul K Thakur:-Impact of such change could be sensed out by those who are familiar with the cultural intricacies of Mithila and its sharp differences in socio-cultural sphere with the regions of then South Bihar. How you adapted to the changed circumstances at different levels?
Chaturanan Mishra:- My oratorical ability and critical sensuality have been noticed by the senior Comrade for my new assignment in All India Trade Union Congress {AITUC}. It became my life afterward…I spent next twenty five years in Giridih and Hazaribagh struggling for the cause of mines laborers and other pertinent local issues. Challenges were multiple and being surfaced from many side, beside miners, government and local feudals; we also had to cope with our contradictory relationships with socialist group which grew even further after the attainment of Indian independence. Initially, it was very tough to convince local illiterate tribals about their plights. So, imparting a sense among them for union took time, though it succeeded even lately. It indeed worked out there and brought out positive changes in their working condition and other rights which hitherto have been denying out by their exploitative employers. It also earned great respect for Communist party…with those new consciousnesses, I have elected thrice from Giridih constituency to Bihar Legislative Council {In1969, 72 and 79}; in next course, I also served as deputy leader and leader in the house.

Atul K Thakur: - Post independence, dynamicism of Indian politics underwent through a new direction, which was essentially directed towards making an idea of modern India-how do you rate the pros and cons of your party’s responses towards those changes…
Chaturanan Mishra: - National independence was a landmark for us and it was received positively though with heavily hearts after loosing lakhs of lives, millions displaced and an unfortunate permanent line drawn on our map with the creation of Pakistan. Anyhow many unresolved issues, initially taken out critically by the CPI and often cited the independence as false, such perception started diminishing after the introduction of first two five years plans. Especially progressive second five year plan, architectured by Prashant Chandra Mahalnobis drawn huge impact in Communist party and it paved the way for streamlining with new challenges. Though lately but appropriately, we anticipated the new challenges and good works carried out by the PM Jawaharlal Nehru to cope with them. His stand on strong Public Sector Undertakings and independent foreign policies were a pragmatic approach; in those circumstances, Non-alignment was a great tool for an emerging nation like India. I have written in detail about the various facades of Indian foreign policy in my book “Recast Indian Foreign Policy”. We kept doing good work that retrieved our acceptance among the masses…in 1957; first Communist and non-Congress government was formed under the visionary leadership of E.M.S.Namboodripad; however Nehru’s growing impatience with the Communist ideology led to its expulsion in 1959. Another blunder was waiting for us, in 1962; China attacked on us-CPI opposed the move but a section of it stood in favour of China’s stand and they split as CPI {Marxist}. From that time, unification of Communist remained a pipe dream so far, though in legislative affair, we share all deals but our separate statutory entity is a matter of grave concern.I have been raising my voice time to time for the unification of Communist movement and trade union…despite hard efforts during my stint as President, AITUC {1983-89},I couldn’t succeeded to prolong it’s merge entity with Hind Mazdoor Sangthan {HMS}; due to internal hindrances, overall merger of left led trade union movement remained a pipe dream. I attribute this division as our hindrance to emerge truly as national party; today Civil rights activists like Medha Patekar, Arundhati Roy etc raising the voice in favour of issues that originally should be our concern.

Atul K Thakur: - How things changed during the Indira Gandhi regime as she had pro USSR inclination despite remaining firm with Non Align Movement. Please share some insights about CPI’s policy in respect with those times?
Chaturanan Mishra: - Cheating in PL-480 deal and unruly behaviour of USA President Nixon deplored the Indo-USA relations to unprecedented low. In strategic terms too, USA has been pushing Pakistan against the Indian interests in Kashmir, besides that China’s betrayal forced India to reorient its foreign policy. During the 1960’s, Indian ties with USSR grew to amazing height, this policy almost become a convention in the time being, even now despite a radical orientation towards market economy in both the country. CPI shared great understanding with Congress during her stint and infact did fairly well in a major state like Bihar-in that phase, north Bihar, especially Madhubani used to be known as little Moscow…besides we also strengthened our base in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. This deal with Congress naturally delinked us from confused socialist maneuverings, like JP Movement, though we morally opposed emergency but sensing the urgency of law& order restoration, CPI did support Congress-it cost us badly in following election.

Atul K Thakur: - Collapse of USSR was big blow for all alternative thinkers across the world, then as an active Communist leader and a Parliamentarian, what stuck you most in Indian case?
Chaturanan Mishra: - I think collapse of USSR happened through falling democratic culture within the machinery-of course, new economic policies like “Glasnost” and “Pristorika”fasten that unfortunate process. India being the closest strategic and trade partner, suffered most; it led to reorient strategic and trade policy in abrupt manners. End of socialist block and failure to form such alternative, even after two decades made the world an open amphitheatre of USA’s neo-imperialism…such tendencies are alarming and needed firm opposition from capable countries like India and China. On world Federation of Trade Union {WFTU}, it impacted very adversely-in changed circumstances, I tried to align our trade unions with ICFTU, and though it was USA dominated but thought to get at least chances of dwelling with labour issues at international platform; finally it’s not worked out. Overall it impacted not only the Indian Communist movement but all such movements across the world.

Atul K Thakur: - You have served for fourteen years as Parliamentarian, also rose to Union Agriculture Minister in United Front government in 1996; will you elucidate on some main points of your long stint…
Chaturanan Mishra: - In1984, my party CPI decided to nominate in upper house as I had served in Trade Union for decades. In 1990, I received another chance to remain in upper house-after that, I successfully contested Loksabha election from Madhubani constituency and became Union Minister for Agriculture in United Front government. From my own experience, I could say that, we shouldn’t have been alienated from participation in government-if Jyoti Basu could have served as Prime Minister in 1996, things would have different today. It was neither short of a blunder, we lost a big chance to convey and demonstrate politically at a larger platform. We again replicated similar mistake by not participating in UPAI government; subsequently we frisked our support from UPAI on Civil Nuclear deal; what we are doing today to pitch for better safeguards, we could did same by remaining a part of government. Peoples needed Communists intervention in key policy maneuvering, we can easily differentiate the work of UPAI and UPAII, so in my view, Communist party should give the heed to peoples mandate.

Atul K Thakur: - Our relations with neighboring countries needs a new look as our roles seems loosing touch with actual issues, what you opine over it…
Chaturanan Mishra: - Transferring the Kashmir issue to UN was a historic mistake of Nehru-even in last six decades; Indian policy instead to shaping Kashmir as our domestic issue and parting it from bilateral relations with Pakistan, kept giving heed to separatists and pro-Pakistani elements. Its dangerous stand, we should strive to ensure civil rights and contemplating plans of autonomy within Indian Union- in crux, we should directly deal with the peoples instead to relying upon incredible mediators. With Srilanka and Bangladesh, our relationship is stable now but political instability in Nepal is cause of concern. In Nepal, we need to give serious diplomatic and political push without interfering in their due processes…resolving water problem with Nepal and strengthening trade relations through the border of Bihar and UP can revamp the economy of both side. It will equally curtail the illegal trafficking after legalization of no-frill trade across the border.

Atul K Thakur: - Our mineral and agricultural policies certainly cause grave discontents from affected segments. Naxalism has lot to do with this gap prevailing over the policy enactment and existing practical plights; as a veteran politician, how you see such state of affairs?
Chaturanan Mishra: - Consistent marginalization of rural and tribal population, along with the blind exploitation of natural resources leading alienation to an unprecedented scale. Disruptive forces like Naxals getting easier by it to promote their own interests-here mainstream Communist parties needs to foray in newer territories, including in service sector. Working pattern of Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar is unfortunate as he hardly getting reasons to redress the grave issues of malnourishment, rural unemployment and indebtedness, hunger, suicides etc. Such faux pas on the Supreme Court’s recent order regarding distributing rotting foods through the Public Distribution System {PDS} is alarming; even Prime Minister too sounds in same tune now. As per another recent Supreme Court order, local peoples must be given 20%of profit from mining companies…same access based delivery system must be introduced in other sectors too. During ministerial stint, I introduced Kisan Credit Card, Corps insurance, and institutions like Krishi Vigyan Kendra to lift the status of agriculture-these programmes must be carrying on with the collaboration of Commercial banks, RRBs, and Co-operative banks which have greater footprints in the rural areas. That will sure ease the rural indebtedness and enhance employment potential in hinterlands; modernization of agriculture should be given proper place. Here we can learn a lot from Brazilian transition-how they turned up from an importer to a major exporter of agriculture and dairy products.

Atul K Thakur: - I have gone through almost your all published work-in 1940’s, you have written a Maithili novel “Kala” that covered the contemporary conservatism in Maithili society. My observation is you always come with solution either in writing or politics-should it be seen as diehard optimism?
Chaturanan Mishra: - After matriculation, I hadn’t time or resources to endure my formal education albeit I had stout wishes to learn informally, so I developed pastime for avid learning besides field trips and extensive travel across the world in my long public life enabled me to see things in right frame. I have written for many news sources, also penned all my political and practical experiences on paper…I tried to address my concern both as being a leader and a concerned citizen. Even at this stage, I think in same spirits for my country, party and birth place in Mithila region though health is not supporting now.

Atul K Thakur: - We wishes for your good health and of course better time for mainstream Communist parties…
Chaturanan Mishra: - Thanks, in my life time, I have stout wishes to see consolidation among Communist parties to cope with the massive challenges standing around the corner. Besides will suggest my fellows in party to avoid the short cuts and retrieve the old good habits of Communist ideology…struggle must be our mode for all action.
Atul Kumar Thakur
September2, 2010, Thursday, New Delhi

Optimizing Value in Economic Governance

Dharm Narayan, an agriculture economist of repute whose concern for growing agricultural crisis amidst the rapid growth of Indian economy have already made deep impact in the realm of policy and research. Listening twelfth Dharm Narayan Memorial Lecture in his fond memory at India International Centre {September4, 2010, New Delhi} was insightful as the theme lecture delivered by Kaushik Basu {Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, India} touched and apprised on generally considered forgotten issues.
In the era where value and social norms as an underlying of mainstream economics being frequently forestalled and reality shunned more than anything else-only wiping out of misunderstanding from the world of money can minimize the chances of impending consequences.

Kaushik’s meticulous choice between following the Greek philosopher Piero’s mode of skepticism and J.S.Mill’s very dear quotation “you have to live with waves and winds to live better” is indeed appears a fine forethought until we found ourselves in the company of credible theorists-away from vileful practices of popular politics. Though in standard economic theory too, large scale trade maximizes the conditions of monopoly and oligopoly-like political machinery, economic machinery equally rely on confederates to attain prefixed tempting goals. Interestingly, sometimes politicians and economists together spent decades to unlearn the lessons of historic blunders and shown determination to repeat all the previous mistakes.
For proving that, we don’t have to roam too much, as great depression of 1930’s could be assume as reference point and present ongoing world wide financial crisis as silly repetition of same basic flaws. In a country like ours, where90%of total work force of about 433million is employed in unorganized sector with poor pay no socio-economic security; there is an immediate need to rationalize the existing labour laws with anticipating the modern challenges of economy.

Economic theories can convince the government and also realize expected goals from it albeit to an extent only. Real driving force ultimately come through the social ideas and beliefs and that have no parallel in value term over shaping the economic policies-Indian economy sitting on the cusp of economic surge needs an equal makeover of value system based on own expertise and specific needs without blindly chasing the bandwagons and tailor made principles of western countries. Nehru rightly sensed it in his 1920’s speech-power of idea can move.
John Maynard Keynes too came with similar thoughts in 1926; at least in theoretical domain, two epoch-makers of politics and economics laid stress on better place for rational ideas than extraneous greed’s. Absence of practical support in machinery remains kingpin to handicap such positive stances…many of us may not have pastime for parable but we shall not extrude rationality from our basis thinking-unfortunately such behaviors could be the flash-point of managed chaos.

Among our many fault lines, inadequate professionalism and relentless growing corruption are haunting us like never before; our acceptance in next phase at world arena wouldn’t be succeeded with such rogue practices. We needed radical shift in overall governance that can ensure us a public life without grappling with the culture of hype and sinister loitering in an alien uneven terrain.
Despite not being a die-hard admirer of Chinese policy, for me it was amazing to see their hard efforts over the decades to improvise the governance standard in their country and configuring a balance work culture without nurturing the sycophants and Hippocrates like ours in every sector whose endorsement taken as sacrosanct for any move. Present system is quite conducive for developing arachnids, who through hidden treaties with like-minded outwitting the real spirits of business and ethics…these stereotype figure always shown as legend but finding anything substantial wouldn’t be an easy task for any fair person.

Our aspiration is under heavy strain by such odd prevailing practices; if such tendencies wouldn’t be checked with due means of governance, then rough time would wait for us. I always believe in economics as a discipline and an emphatic stakeholder in governance-desirable change in governance requires an optimization of value from economic point of view. As a surging economy, and a stable economy; we can’t dwell with unethical practices, if really have to touch our potential height in all terms. As an Indian citizen, I will be rather happy with modest yet disciplined approaches than chasing deceased sophistication…if we can address our needs through practical means, than there is no need to fade with unsure Nash equilibrium of complex Game theory.
Atul Kumar Thakur
September8, 2010, Wednesday, New Delhi

Monday, August 30, 2010

Reflections on Agriculture Credit in India

With the opening of Indian economy in early nineties, a sharp fall in growth of agriculture credit has been established over the years, which remained relentless untill2004, when UPAI came out with some concrete measures to change the impression. All India Debt and Investment Survey {AIDIS} reveals many striking realities; from formal financial sources, the share of total debt of cultivator households declined from 64% in 1992 to 57% in 2003, consequently moneylenders stake grown from 10.5% to 19.6% during same time line. Such state of affairs given smooth passages to exploitative indebtedness and hold the persistence of agrarian distress.
Though after year2000, things have started changing albeit its resultant were yet far from being effective; in next half decade, the growth of agriculture credit from Commercial banks and Regional Rural Banks{RRBs},jumped from abysmal 1.8% through the whole nineties to 19.1%. The share of credit supplied by same both in total agriculture credit increased from 30% in year 2000 to 52% in year2007, although such impressive mark of agriculture credit under the Priority Sector Lending{PSL}hardly left any positive impacts for the shake of crisis ridden farming sector.

Since year2004, conception of PSL underwent a radical shift with greater focus over the export oriented and capital intensive agriculture financing. Now under PSL, an individual can be financed up to Rs1 Crore and joint venture up to Rs.25 Crore; broadening of credit limit further emphatically embarrass the agriculture credit, but the centre of attraction now is the urban-metropolitan areas unlike the erstwhile rural hinterlands of the country. This change could be easily noted by the expansion of urban and metropolitan bank branches during 1995-2005; their footprints amazingly gone up from 16.3% to 30.7%. Between the same timeframe, proportion of rural-semi urban branches plummeted from 83.7% to 69.3% and even further deep to 66% in 2008.
Consistent marginalization of agriculture credit in rural areas for the leeway of urban counterparts introducing an unhealthy trend within the Indian banking system that infact leaves innumerable adversities for farming growth. In present circumstances, except RRBs, not even a single Commercial bank is close to follow properly the RBI guidelines on PSL. Its mandate instructs that Commercial banks have to earmark the 40% of their bank credit towards Priority Sector, which include agriculture, Small Scale Industries {SSIs}, education and advances towards weaker sections; within this limit, banks have to allocate 18% for agriculture and set aside 10% for weaker sections. Albeit in actuality, statistical numbers are unfortunately swapped for big favour of SSIs, on the cost of rest two vulnerable peers…nowhere, I am citing anything against the SSIs finance but my contention is to retrieve the due attention for feeble farming sector on which the real growth of nation depends.

Until recently, Commercial banks are targeting indirect finance to met with RBI’s directives of 40% spending on Priority Sector…either they have been buying the debt of RRBs or participate with investment in Rural Infrastructure Development Fund {RIDF}, that itself mark the lack of seriousness among them for rural business. Such practices were alarming for the sake of RRBs relentless progress, so eventually finance ministry has issued some directives to curtail the hide& seek game of Commercial banks in rural segment. Today, 79 RRBs out of total 82 are profitable; the losses of other three dropped to merely 6 Crore from 36 Crore in 2008-09. Defying all adverse predictions, RRBs are emerged as ineluctable component within the Indian banking…among mainspring, with 15,475 branches, the profits of RRBs have increased to1970 Crore in 2009-10 from 1371 Crore in 2008-09.
Accumulated losses down to 1808 Crore at the end of March2010 from 2300 Crore a year back. Moreover, average net NPA’s of RRBs gone down 1.62%in 2009-10 from 1.81% in previous year and 53RRBs had a Capital Adequacy Rotation of more than 9%. Besides RRBs are an alone entity that reached so close to the mark at 34,456 Crore as against of target set at 35,000 Crore…the RRBs are only ray of hope in the rural financing and indeed its business model needs all round attention and replication by the other institution in the fray. The other financial institution’s feeble doing is not inexplicable as they are running short of responsibility in their rural business…robustness of Indian banking at large is hard to see in these hinterlands, where life still proceeding with severe operational frills, though an exception here still exists!
Atul Kumar Thakur
August 29th2010, Sunday, New Delhi

Case of Food Security

International Cricket Council {ICC} Chief and also co-incidentally the Union Agriculture Minister of India, Mr.Sharad Pawar has recentally came out with his shocking though expected denouncement of Supreme Court’s sincere observation that “In a country where admittedly people are starving, it is a crime to waste even a single grain”, such out of consineful convictions are usual features within the top legislative authorities…his economic sense allows him to count the salvage value of lakhs of tones rotting grains every year during the monsoon season {from flood affected North Bihar districts to debt-ridden districts of Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh},instead to disburse them to millions of hungry Indian citizens.
Apart from flawed macro agri policy formulation, shortage of hygienic storage capacity and tall greed of Food Corporation of India {FCI} officials are exactly making things hell. UPA II government is fixed with obstinate ideology and economics that visualizes every welfare scheme including the universalization of food as “Subsidy burden”. Slashing of Rs.450 Crore, from food subsidy in the current fiscal; truly explicit the government’s role as an enabler, contrary to the erstwhile interventionist role.

Every basic means, either the money or grains are being presented as an obstruction by the government, despite witnessing a fabulous growth and adding 49 billionaires and 100,000 millionaires in a decade. Alas! This fortunate wealthy class hardly reflect the actual pulse of India’s real economy…Raghuram G Rajan has rightly noticed such overwhelming increase of Indian wealthy class as by product of theirs connection or Juggad with political affluents{Fault Lines}. Among those wealthy class, the top three sectors of theirs interest have been tax-exempted near the Rs.500, 000 crore during the last budget; dualism has taken its course and no hue& cries were raised from the fiscal management point of view though entire machinery were exactly the same.
For curtailing the universalization of Public Distribution System {PDS} which is not less than a backbone for the both urban and rural poors, a flawed Above Poverty Line{APL}-Below Poverty Line{BPL} created and were propagated as enemy camp. Such folly making lives terrible for countless families who stuck with the APL status and loosing all the government’s aid in spite of having only slightly different socio-economic status.

So, categorization poses similar adversity as of policy directives for majority of Indians; consequently the average daily net per capita availability of food grain between 2005-08 was a dismal 436 grams per Indian against the 440 grams per Indian in 1955-58-further, decline of pulse consumption is havocking, from 70 grams in 1955-58, it came down to 35 grams in 2005-08 {P.Sainath, Oliver Twist seeks food security, The Hindu, August 12, 2010}. Such terrible consumption level among the majority of Indians are the result of growing commercial pressure on forming that forces farmers to opt for cash crops instead of food-corps and inability of government to either distribute the rotting grain or release it at low prices through the PDS.

Except Tamil Nadu, where each family is entitled for 20kg grain/Rs1/kg, no Indian state could claim for universalization of PDS. The success of the scheme in Tamil Nadu relies heavily on groundwork and such universal coverage deserves accolades for both practical and political reasons {S.Vydhianathan, R.K.Radhakrishnan, Behind the success story of Universal PDS in Tamil Nadu, The Hindu, August11, 2010}. In such stark scenario, proposal of Food Security Bill appeared as pleasant surprise but it couldn’t endure as National Advisory Council {NAC} recommendations badly lacked the universalization contents in food security. Initially, 150 most backward districts were suggested for disbursement of 35 kg rice or wheat at Rs3/kg, which seems completely unrealistic and discriminatory from humane point of view.
Here hunger and malnourishment are being measured more from the geographical status than rational socio-economic criteria. Without universalization, food security program have no valid reason to exert much differences in the current state of affairs. At that point government must think on ushering in food security program through pilot project routes, instead they must follow the much imperative Comprehensive Universal Programme that covers all basic requirements of human life without discriminating on the basis of any artificial criteria. Atleast for the staple diet, there should not be any bad politics…
Atul Kumar Thakur
August28th 2010, Saturday, New Delhi

Lessons of Human Resource Management

Though not being an insider in the functional area of Human Resource Management {HRM} restrict me to touch its deeper dimensions albeit my exposures to Indian services industries imparts me some key insights about the current HR practices. My consciousness regarding the HR practices begun with the lethal world wide financial crisis that started in late 2007{with the demise of iconic Lehman Brothers}and still being far from over.
Two pivotal trends, I have noticed in the wake of post financial crisis phases are I. Education is completely a commercial entity now barring very few and II. Permanent and safe jobs would remain thin…such repulsive and unfortunate developments are surprisingly not being seen as a havocking factor by the academicians and persons of industries. Even at the primary level of such propositions, exact fallout could be sensed out through placing oneself at odd with either of two or both? Imagine the curse of exclusion in the hyped age of knowledge economy…there can’t be denying that education is a great enabler as our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh often explicit it through his own journey to the top but for such inclusive replication, education has to be sustainable and affordable which is hardly in sight today.

It’s quite shocking to note that when labour laws across the world are under radical makeover, India stands on exception side? Workers of India are not being able to unite in the absence of strong working class movement in the country. Workers vulnerability emerged as most shocking by-product of India’s economic convergence to the world trade…most of cosmetic surveys embarrassing the Indian growth story are largely prepare with an out of mind assertion on these issues.
Even in business terms, flawed HR policies restrict India to avail its demographic edge over China that poses grave impediments before India to succeed with proper innovation. When world markets are increasingly global over management thinking is still predominantly local that driving an unpragmatic gulf of policies and appears devoid of local needs. HR notions like, creating the talent management or fostering the social and cultural drive for leader and leadership have to be in backseat in the absence of opportunities scaling. Such mismanagement of HR is matter of grave concern…talent pool is not expatiating with the rapid economic growth in the domain of HRM, this reflects a major challenge.

With anticipating the costs as vital point, growing economies like India must have its specific redressal for HR issues…frugal innovation should be the principle along with following the time-line as catalyst. Peoples must be considered more then a statistical entity; work must go to the peoples-technology will remain an enabler…further, touch and feel needed at workplace would be accomplished through symmetric engagement. Globalization of trade have out scaled the erstwhile cultural and regional practices; now there are no denying for cross cultural leadership…streamlining of a single line team across the globe is swiftly taking place.
For geographic consideration, Harvard Business School {HBS} case study “Think globally and act locally” becomes very pertinent. Academic inception of HRM could be traced back in 1940’s when the debate over labour welfare necessitated to mould an expertise within the management stream for taking into account of staff management…role of HR department in any organization is equally imperative today as it in 1940’s, only adaptation to new challenges needed vehementally.

HRM have to be reckoning with the humane dimensions during policy formulations and at all level of practices…the growing misperceptions about the HR departments are not baseless as it’s emerged through the chronic flaws. In Indian context, things should be essentially in favour of labour intensive skill creations as by engaging the maximum workforce, our economy could do much better than today. Economies of scale at production level and huge domestic consumption are our two positive sides-theirs potential are huge in terms of backing the Indian economy towards a new trajectory of growth. By enhancing these prospects, huge employment generation is possible and effective HRM would indeed make lot of footprints over the productivity and morale of workforce…encapsulating from such angle would make life happier for all.
Atul Kumar Thakur
August28th, 2010, Saturday, New Delhi

Utopian Citizens!

Gist of my present piece would besiege the doghouse like scenario from a sedate documentary “The Promised Land”, with whom I stuck, gasped and eventually grimaced at the auditorium of India International Centre, New Delhi. Documentary revolves around the doleful ghetto of Dhaka…this islet like arrangement of garrets and hovels were imagined and still run by the discretion of United Nations.
Needless to say, despite forging a living hell, UN must be attributed some accolades for saving the lakhs of Bihari Muslims lives who through own besmirching thoroughly fall on the wrong side after the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Attainment of downward trajectory to Bihari Muslims could be traced back in the quantum leap of cultural composition shaped after the independence of India in 1947. Unfortunate circumstances following the Indian independence led to innumerable indecisions-odd decisions; among those many horrendous migrations in history, plights of Bihari Muslims migrant in Bangladesh is unique and complete loitering.
Their transition from habitant of scenic beauty to stark odiousness made their lives penurious, and in absence of any momentous decision from Bangladeshi government, there are little chances in near future too, to see any retooling in their humdrum existence.

The clots of rift are primarily cultural between original Bangla inhabitants and Bihari Muslim. Partition and alignment with Pakistan was a rude shock for Bangla speaking population as they were intricately longing with the composite culture of Bengal, and such shocking shifts were not ever dreamt by any sufferer. Foot holding of migrant Muslims was another cause of unease as their Islamic leaning and proximity with Pakistani authority easily placed them in qua opposite camp.
Hostility remained consistent and grew up to an unprecedented level till the nineteen-sixties, when cultural shock clouded over the infuriated Bangladeshi population against the Pakistan’s tyrannical rule upon them. Surprisingly, instead to act rationally, these Bihari Muslims migrants stood with Pakistani authority in that testing time. Moreover, a considerable chunk of them also laid atrocities against the dissident Bangladeshis.

Indeed, the fault was grave and emotionally hard to forget albeit humane spectacle doesn’t deter consideration for the succeeding generation of Bihari Muslims who are blameless and now equally deserve to be a part of modern Bangladesh. Their commitments to the nation are bewitching and they have lurking desire for modern and civilized life outside the shaky ghettos. Their senses of losses are understandable as they still face the statuary challenges on the front of citizenship.
In the last sixty-five years, they have been entwining with the ethos and threads of Bangla culture; their nostalgia of roots in Bihar is still intact but their Bangladeshi nationality, no doubt is foremost concern among young generation now.

Deplored and second grade citizen status of Bihari Muslims in Bangladesh pushing them to meet with numbers of fallouts, such as mass unemployment, illiteracy, wretchedness and above all relentless adversities of state. Only solace is the positive backing from the progressive elements in the country and little bit from the multilateral institutions, but their effects are mostly revolves in virtual spaces contrary to desired level of intervention.
The problem is very much internal now but Indian role can’t be denied entirely as being the stakeholder in that mess and prominent nation of the south Asian region.

Besides that, nationalism is a pertinent issue in entire perils and being factor behind the birth of Bangladesh, Indian government must come across to solve the chronic inhumanization of Bihari Muslim migrants who otherwise would turn as endangered species. What they needed the basic democratic rights within the constitutional framework of Bangladesh.

Redressal of these suffering communities should be the major concern of Indian government as any delay may be not less than catastrophic from the strategic/humane point of view.
The whole issues of Assamese impatience have lot to do with the same unresolve deal of migration. The migrants of both sides deserve humane and democratic treatment from the two major neighboring democracy-India and Bangladesh.
Assam’s long demographic suffering must be given proper attention in the bilateral dialogue between two countries instead playing political cards on the migrants who are bound to live grimmer existence.

Bangladesh government should act in purpose of maintaining human rights of its migrants to Assam and Indian government should essentially think to end the incessant nagging for making its north-east free from sensitive international dispute. Heavy tones of protagonist while singing”Lagta nahi dil yahaan…”reflects the natural agony in search of motherland. These utopian citizens must be given a real chance to dwell with their motherland!

Atul Kumar Thakur
August27th 2010, Friday, New Delhi