Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Rogue Nation

There is fake news, paid news, and false propaganda.
One channel has referred to North Korea as a rogue nation and India should be concerned about it. North Korea can hit India with missiles. The news report sounded American propaganda.
North Korea is not a threat to India. North Korea is not India’s enemy. India has no border dispute with North Korea. India should be concerned about China and Pakistan. They occupy Indian territory. North Korean missiles will have to fly over China to come to India. That will be violation of China’s sovereignty. China is stronger than North Korea.
North Korea has developed missiles and nuclear weapons for its defence. It knows what happened to Iraq and Libya. Syria would have gone the same way. Russia prevented it.
Libyan mess has resulted in immigrant crisis in Italy. Greece has immigrants from Syria and other countries. Immigrants who came as refugees have committed rapes and other crimes in Austria, Germany, Sweden and other countries.
It was foolish on the part of Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to give up their nuclear weapons when they split from USSR. Iran should not have stopped its nuclear programme. India should not have gone along with sanctions against Iran. Nuclear Iran would have been a threat to Pakistan.
USA abets, arms, sponsors and trains terrorists. It calls them freedom fighters. Al Qaeda, Taliban, Al Nusra, Mujahuddeen and other groups were supported by USA.
It is wrong for India to condemn North Korea for nuclear weapons. USA had condemned India and imposed sanctions for nuclear tests in 1998.
USA, UK, France and Norway are rogue nations which helped Israel become a nuclear power. Israel supports terrorists in Syria. Israel is a rogue nation.
USA wants to sell arms to Japan and South Korea. American military industry wants to profit from war.
USA is not concerned about democracy. USA has toppled many democracies. There is no democracy in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia buys arms from USA and USA is happy about it. Saudi Arabia kills civilians in Yemen and USA is silent about it. No talk of Saudi Arabia as a rogue nation.
Regime change in the name of removing a dictator has led to instability in Iraq and Libya.
India should resist American domination. India should continue to do business with North Korea. India should remember how USA treated Devyani Khobragade. India has to act alone against Pakistan and China.

Cabinet Reshuffle 2017

On 3/9/2017 at 10.30 a.m. was probably the last major reshuffle of Modi Government before 2019 elections. Nine new ministers were inducted, all Ministers of State. Four Ministers of State were promoted as Cabinet Ministers. Portfolios of some ministers changed.
Most significant change was the promotion of Nirmala Sitharaman as Cabinet Minister with Defence Ministry. She is a lightweight politician given a heavyweight ministry as a counterweight to Sushma Swaraj who is External Affairs Minister. It is strange that Arun Jaitley continued to hold Defence Ministry and left for Japan to meet Shinzo Abe to prepare for his visit to India and Nirmala will take charge of Defence Ministry after Jaitley’s return. Either Nirmala should have gone to Japan or her promotion and change of portfolio should have been after Jaitley’s return.
Piyush Goyal became Railways Minister. Suresh Prabhu got Commerce and Industry. Suresh Prabhu’s change of portfolio from Railways to Commerce was expected as there were three accidents in recent days and he had offered to quit. It is said Modi wanted Nitin Gadkari to become Railways Minister. Gadkari said less than two years are left for next election. There is not much he can do. If there is a road accident, Surface Transport Minister is not blamed for the accident. If there is a Railway accident, Railways Minister is blamed for the accident.
Suresh Prabhu said every ministry is important and his change of portfolio from Railways to Commerce and Industry is not a demotion.
Shiv Sena and JD(U) did not get any ministry. Shiv Sena expected a ministry. There was talk of JD(U) getting a ministry. Modi has made it clear that he is not Atal Behari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh. He does not need allies. Allies need him. Allies can sulk. He won’t care. BJP has majority on its own in Lok Sabha. Presidential and Vice Presidential elections are over. Shiv Sena has been critical of BJP many times. NCP and TRS had said they are not joining the government.
Two new ministers, Hardeep Singh Puri and Alphons Kannanthanam, are not Members of Parliament. They are likely to be elected to Rajya Sabha. Alphons is from Kerala. His induction is said to be to get Christian votes in Kerala for BJP.
Bandaru Dattatreya, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Kalraj Mishra, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan were out. Kalraj Mishra was 77, above the unofficial age limit of 75 of Modi cabinet.
Uma Bharti’s portfolio changed from Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to Drinking Water and Sanitation. Nitin Gadkari holds additional charge of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The cabinet has right men at the wrong places. Hardeep Singh Puri should have been in External Affairs Ministry. He is given independent charge of Housing and Urban Affairs. Raj Kumar Singh and Satyapal Singh should have been in Home Ministry. Raj Kumar Singh is given independent charge of Power and New and Renewable Energy. Satyapal Singh is MoS in HRD and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Rajyavardhan Singh is now Sports Minister and right man at the right place. Gen. Vijay Kumar Singh continues to be right man at the wrong place.
Congress said reshuffle was maximum government and no governance. This was against Modi’s slogan “minimum government, maximum governance.”
About Nirmala Sitharaman’s elevation Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said “But, what is interesting is the elevation of Nirmala Sitharaman. This is probably the first instance when somebody has been elevated for non-performance… There is nothing on the balance sheet of the Commerce Minister to justify her promotion.” Referring to free fall of exports and imports for 38 months Tewari said “We only hope she does not do the same thing to the Defence Ministry.”
Sitaram Yechury said the reshuffle was an event management exercise to divert attention from demonetisation disaster. Mayawati said the reshuffle was to divert attention from government’s failure to tackle poverty and unemployment.
Many states do not have full-time Governors. It speaks poorly of Modi Government that it has not found suitable persons to be Governors.

Demonetisation Disaster

Demonetisation is a Disaster. No amount of sugar-coating or whitewashing can hide that. It was pain without gain. This decision was similar to that of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq introducing brass and copper coins.
For eight months government and RBI avoided giving figure of money that came back. RBI gave figures till the amount reached 12.44 lakh crores in mid-December 2016. After that it was silent. Unofficially it was known that 14.97 lakh crores had come back as on 30/12/2016. Now it is official that 99% of demonetised notes came back. On 30/8/2017 the figure was out. Out of 15.44 lakh crores, 15.28 lakh crores came back as on 30/6/2017. It means 31,000 crore rupees came back after 30/12/2016 and up to 30/6/2017. The remaining 16,000 crores would have come back if the government had not stopped RBI from accepting demonetised notes except from Non-Resident Indians who were out of the country from 9/11/2016 to 30/12/2016 and accepted money with co-operative banks and Nepali banks and money deposited in courts. It is said 8,000 crore rupees are with co-operative banks. When NABARD completes its exercise of checking the genuineness of customers a decision will be taken about acceptance.
Demonetisation was remonetisation. Rules of exchange and withdrawal changed several times. People who trusted the government or Prime Minister and believed they can exchange with banks till 30/12/2016 or with RBI till 31/3/2017 lost. For people who had marriages the dream turned into nightmare. They did not have enough cash. Later withdrawal of 2,50,000 rupees was allowed for marriages. Banks did not have enough cash. Patients could not pay for medical bills or treatment. At least 120 people died waiting in queues.
On 8/11/2016 the three purposes of demonetisation were ending black money, ending corruption, and ending fake notes and terrorism. Fake notes were said to be fuelling terrorism. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said in the Supreme Court the government expected 4-5 lakh crore rupees will not come back. Some economists wrote 2-3 lakh crore rupees will not come back. All were proved wrong.
The talk of cashless or less cash or digital economy was an afterthought when people suffered due to lack of cash. It was making virtue out of necessity.
Some say demonetisation was a success because BJP won elections after that. They do not mention elections BJP lost. BJP’s victory in UP was due to various factors. Leaders of Congress, BSP and SP joined BJP and contested on BJP tickets. Congress-SP alliance did not have credibility and members of both parties at local level did not support each other. There was infighting within SP between Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav which damaged SP greatly. Shiv Sena attributed BJP victory to money and muni (monk).
Black money continues. Corruption continues. Election Commission countermanded an election in R. K. Nagar because voters were bribed. Some Gujarat Congress MLAs switched to BJP. Those who were shifted to Bangalore claimed they were offered 15 crore rupees each to switch to BJP.
It was said 400 crore rupees were fake currency. RBI says it found 41 crore rupees of fake currency.
On 31/8/2017 GDP figures were out. GDP growth was 7.5% in July-September 2016. In October-December 2016 it was 7%. In January-March 2017 it was 6.1%. In April-June 2017 it was 5.7%.
Spin doctors of BJP and their supporters claim success. They quote various figures. One of them is 25% increase in the number of Income-Tax Returns. They do not mention most Returns are Nil Tax.

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