Tag: India

Petrol price hike

On 22/5/2012 Budget Session of Parliament ended and UPA 2 celebrated its third anniversary. Till 1998 there was no tradition of a government celebrating its anniversary. Governments headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao did not celebrate their anniversaries. Other governments lasted less than a year. The tradition began in 1999 when NDA government headed by BJP’s Atal Behari Vajpayee celebrated its first anniversary. For BJP it was a great achievement. Their government in 1996 had fallen within 15 days.

On 23/5/2012 petrol price went up by 7.50 rupees or more. Some said it was UPA’s gift to people on their anniversary. Many were angry. They said the hike hit common man. Some justified hike. Some said the hike was done by oil marketing companies (OMCs). Satyavrat Chaturvedi admitted it was a government decision. Some said the people who use cars are not common people. They are middle class or rich people. There is fiscal deficit that needs to be bridged. Dollar value has gone up. OMCs are bleeding. Subsidies should go. Prices of diesel, LPG and kerosene should go up. Some said the hike should have been gradual. Some demanded rollback. BJP announced Bharat Bandh.

Foreign companies do not want to invest in India because after 2G case and Vodafone case it is a no-win situation for them. In 2G case, the government gave 122 licences and Supreme Court cancelled them and the government did nothing. In Vodafone case, Vodafone won the case against the government in the Supreme Court and the government changed the law retrospectively. Foreigners who can take out their money are doing it. Even Indian companies do not want to invest in India. They want to invest outside India. Demand for dollar led to rupee depreciation. India had two options. One was to sell dollars till rupee became strong enough and OMCs did not make loss. Second option was to tell Saudi Arabia and other petroleum exporting countries that we will pay for oil in rupees and if they do not agree we will import all the oil we need from Iran. The government did not use these two options.

There are petrol cars and diesel cars. Petrol is used by taxis and autorickshaws. Petrol price hike affects common people. If oil companies are bleeding they should be shut down. Private companies can import and sell oil. During NDA rule there was a decision to privatise OMCs. Ram Naik was petroleum minister. He did not want to lose his power. He got George Fernandes to oppose privatization of OMCs. NDA lost power.

Fiscal deficit is due to spending more than income. Corporates talk of schemes like NREGA that cost corporate amounting to 5,00,000 crore rupees per year are the reason for the deficit. Someone mentioned expenses incurred by president, ministers and MPs. For people like Rajiv Kumar of FICCI, 205 crore rupees spent on tours of Pratibha Patil may be a small amount but not for a majority of Indians. Corporate debt restructuring is a reason for fiscal deficit.

There is talk of austerity but not much action. Foreign tours by ministers were supposed to be off but petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy was in Ashgabat when the hike was announced.

Bandh is wrong. There should be no Bharat Bandh. BJP and other parties should protest without causing inconvenience to people. They can have fast at Jantar Mantar for a day. UPA should explore the two options to reduce oil prices.

Peace with Pakistan

On 18/4/2012 Pakistan’s General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called for resolution of Siachen and other issues. He said the two countries cannot keep spending on defence alone and forget about development. This came after Pakistan’s 127 soldiers and 11 civilians were buried alive by an avalanche on 7/4/2012 and searches are on for them.

Kayani’s statement is welcome but India should not throw caution to the wind. India should not vacate Siachen in a hurry. We know what happened in Kargil. After Kayani’s retirement next General may have different ideas about peace with India. Nawaz Sharif wanted peace with India. Atal Behari Vajpayee took bus to Lahore. A few months later Kargil War happened. Then Pervez Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif and sent him to jail.

Pakistan’s relationship with USA has been hostile for some years. Now China is also not happy with Pakistan due to terrorism in Sinkiang. Pakistan does not have many friends. After American helicopters entered Abbottabad, killed Osama Bin Laden and dumped his body into the sea, Pakistanis have questioned their army’s usefulness. After the death of some Pakistani soldiers in an American air raid Pakistan stopped NATO supply routes in Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have made progress in recent years. Asif Ali Zardari’s private visit on 8/4/2012 helped to move things forward. Sometimes USA has played a spoiler in Indo-Pak relations. USA opposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. Days before Zardari’s visit USA announce 10 million dollars bounty on Hafiz Sayeed. Hafiz Sayeed appeared on TV channels and said he was not hiding and if USA gives him 10 million dollars he will tell them of his whereabouts. USA said they knew about his whereabouts, the bounty was for evidence to prosecute him. Strange that USA declares bounty without evidence.

On 15/4/2012 there were attacks on American, British, German and Russian embassies and many other buildings in Afghanistan. Indians were not attacked. The attackers whether Taliban or Haqqani network, operated from Pakistan. They also freed around 380 prisoners in Pakistan.

Will Pakistan agree to vacate Kashmir? It gave some territory to China in 1967. China is in illegal occupation of Indian territory. Gen. J. J. Singh (Retd), Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, said India should give and take to solve border dispute with China. What does he mean? Does he mean India should give up Aksai Chin because it is in Chinese occupation? What will India take from China? China has nothing to give to India. If China claims two parts of India as its own and occupies illegally one part that does not mean India should accept China’s claim in return for China’s recognition of other part that was and is India’s. China claims whole of Arunachal Pradesh and calls it South Tibet. There are some Chinese sympathizers in India who say cartography was not correct when the maps were drawn. India did not have border with China. India had border with Tibet. China annexed Tibet. India should tell China to get out of Tibet. If India accepts Chinese claim on Aksai Chin because China occupies Aksai Chin, India will have to give up its claim on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Trade between India and Pakistan can increase and that can cement peace between two countries. Solving some issues can take a long time.

President of India

Election for the President of India is due within a few months. There is a possibility that UPA government may fall and Lok Sabha be dissolved. The election will be valid even if Lok Sabha and all Legislative Assemblies are dissolved and only elected members of Rajya Sabha vote in the election. Nominated members of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies do not have the right to vote in presidential election.

Modesty forbids me from mentioning the best person who should become the President. I will mention some good and better persons.

IAC has members like Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Shanti Bhushan who can be candidates. If Shazia Ilmi, Gaurav Bakshi and Abhinandan Sekhri are 35 they can be candidates.

Dinesh Trivedi puts country first, family second and the rest, next. He can be a candidate.

Arnab Goswami will make the contest for presidency interesting.

Among sportspersons there are Ajit Pal Singh, Ashok Kumar, Ashish Ballal, Merwyn Fernandes, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Michael Ferreira, Ramanathan Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj and Vishwanathan Anand.

Married women who, other things being equal, have retained their maiden surnames after marriage make good candidates for president.

The list of who should not become President includes Hamid Ansari, Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambaram and Sheila Dikshit.

The constitution prescribes that to be President the person has to be a citizen of India, completed the age of 35 years, qualified for election as member of Lok Sabha and should not hold any office of profit. I prescribe additional qualifications which also should apply to MPs, MLAs, MLCs, members of district councils, urban, rural and other local bodies.

1) Should not be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

2) Should not have committed adultery.

3) Should not have had sex with man, woman or beast against the order of nature.

4) Should not have committed abduction, character assassination, hijacking, kidnapping, murder, piracy, rape or such high crime.

5) Should not be a person who opposes death penalty for murder, attempted murder abduction, character assassination, hijacking, kidnapping, piracy and such high crimes.

6) Should not be an alcoholic, drunkard, gambler, smoker or drug addict.

7) Should not have had sex with a prostitute, call girl or gigolo.

8) Should not have had pre-marital sex. (Marital sex does not become pre-marital sex if a married person becomes single and marries again.)

9) Should not have had extra-marital sex.

10) Should not have had more than one spouse at a time.

11) Should not have married a married person knowingly.

12) Should not have lied under oath in court.

13) Should not have taken bribe.

14) Should not be corrupt.

15) Should not have bought or sold charas, cocaine, ganja, heroin, marijuana, opium, LSD or such material.

16) Should not be a manufacturer or producer, dealer, dealer, distributor, advertiser, model, stockist or transporter of alcoholic beverages or tobacco products such as beedis, cheeruts, cigars, cigarettes, hookahs etc.

17) Should not be a lawyer who has defended murderers, rapists, molesters and such criminals.

18) Should not have leaked question papers of CAT, CET, JEE and such tests.

19) Should not have committed any crime or crimes whose punishment singly or separately exceeds two years.

20) Should not be a pan eater.

21) Should not be involved in spot-fixing or match-fixing.

22) Should not have undergone artificial sex change.

23) Should not be a defaulter of loan or a partner of a firm or director of a company that has defaulted on loan or asked for corporate debt restructuring.

24) Should not be a hacker of computer.

25) Should not have planted virus, worm or Trojan horse in computer.

26) Should not be a plagiarist.

27) Should not be an astrologer, black magician, numerologist, palmist, sorcerer, tarot card reader or witch.

28) Should not be the owner or a partner of a firm or director of a company or editor or printer or publisher of newspaper or magazine that publishes astrological columns.

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