Tag: Pranab Mukherjee

Spoof of spook

On 4/4/2012 Indian Express had the headline on front page “The January night Raisina Hill was spooked: Two key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt.”

The report talked about central intelligence agencies. Were both RAW and IB involved in reporting the movement? RAW is supposed to gather intelligence abroad.

The report was the talking point on TV channels.

Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar and many former army officers and one former defence secretary said there is no protocol that requires army to notify defence ministry about troop movement.

Rajdeep Sardesai interviewed Shekhar Gupta at 10 p.m. on CNN-IBN. When Rajdeep Sardesai questioned Shekhar Gupta about being pro-establishment and opposing Anna Hazare Group, Shekhar Gupta ludicrously replied that Anna Hazare Group were establishment at the time. That is like saying Mohandas Gandhi and others who fought for India’s independence were imperialists. Rajdeep Sardesai should have said establishment here means government of the day and questioned him further but he let it pass.

Shekhar Gupta said he cannot reveal his sources. He said his sources are credible. That is what Colin Powell said about his source when he made a presentation to UN Security Council about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That source was used as a reason for invasion of Iraq in 2003. That source, known as Curveball, denied everything in that presentation and said he was lying about WMDs and being an eye witness in an interview to Peter Taylor of BBC. Similarly a woman who claimed she was an eye witness when Iraqis took babies out of incubators in 1990 was Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter who was in Washington at the time Iraqis were accused of committing the crime. It seems one source is Lt. Gen. H. S. Panag, a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal. Other sources will be known in due course.

Shekhar Gupta said once he could not do a story about a corrupt judge and he gave to N. Ram of The Hindu. He had lot of whisky with someone at that time. Did Shekhar Gupta, Ritu Sarin and Pranab Dhal Samanta drink lot of whisky when they prepared the report on spook?

There is no investigative journalism, only leaks by interested parties.

PM called the report alarmist. DM called the report absolutely baseless. Gen. V. K. Singh said the report was absolutely stupid. Three weeks before the report, in an interview to The Week he had said people will come out with stories about troop movements being something else.

Two other things happened on 4/4/2012.

Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and three vice chiefs appeared before Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. Shashi Kant Sharma said his early return from Malaysia was because of a case that was coming up before the Supreme Court next day.

A group of people moved the Supreme Court against the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief. Among members one is a former admiral (Ramdas), another a former CEC (N. Gopalaswami). How did these two come together?

DNA is silent after some revelations. Saikat Dutta had said he will come out with more letters. He had talked of a letter written in 2004 by Renuka Chowdhury who was tourism minister to Pranab Mukherjee who was defence minister against buying an artillery gun. After that no artillery gun was bought. As per one report PMO and Defence Ministry want to know from Saikat Dutta who leaked General’s letter to PM. Madhu Trehan said PMO and Defence Ministry know who leaked the letter but they want to hear from Saikat Dutta.

Budget 2011

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented India’s budget for 2011 on 28/2/2011.  He began reading the budget at 11.00 a.m.  Within half an hour many MPs were seen dozing and some yawning.  At 12.25 p.m. Speaker Meira Kumar was seen dozing.  Veerappa Moily and Veerbhadra Singh were sitting behind Pranab Mukherjee.  Veerappa Moily kept himself awake.  Veerbhadra Singh dozed sometimes.

The budget had a proposal of cash subsidies for kerosene and fertilizers.  Subsidies should be abolished.  Changing their form will create other problems.

We don’t need FDI in equity market.

Co-operative societies that have lost money due to non-payment of loans by handloom weavers should be allowed to go bankrupt.  No need to give money to societies.  This will encourage more borrowers to default.

NABARD should manage with what it has.  No need to give more money to it.

Pranab Mukherjee talked about the strategy to fight black money and talked of state funding of elections.  There should not be state funding of elections.  Candidates or parties should spend their money.  State funding of elections will not put an end to black money even in elections.  Corruption by politicians is one part of black money.  There is corruption by non-politicians.  There are corrupt bureaucrats, judges, policemen, tax officials and many others.  Ex-CJI K. G. Balakrishnan’s brother and sons-in-law have assets disproportionate to their income.  Mani Shankar Aiyar said he was offered 35 crore rupees.  He should tell the names of all who offered him money.  Suitable punishment is required to tackle corruption.  Punishment should be proportionate to the amount and for large amounts there should be death penalty.

Preferential treatment of SCs/STs should end.  Reservations meant for 10 years have continued for 60 years with more categories getting them and even more categories demanding them.

Educational Institutions of higher learning should stand on their own feet.  They should collect necessary amount through fees.  Universities, IITs and Delhi School of Economics should not be funded by government.

Money should not be part of any award by government.  Rabindranath Tagore Award for promotion of universal brotherhood should not have cash component of one crore rupees.

Backward Region Development Fund should be scrapped.  There will be competition for being a backward region as there is a competition for being OBC.

The cost of maintaining judiciary should be recovered from litigants in civil and criminal matters.  When a civil case is filed the litigant should pay the approximate cost of the trial including salaries of the judges, cost of maintaining court premises etc.  In criminal matters if someone is found guilty and appeals, the appellant should pay the cost of the trial.  Frivolous litigants should pay a heavy fine.

Revenue deficit and fiscal deficit should be zero.

Government borrowing should be zero.  When the government borrows 3.4 lakh crore rupees it is a serious problem.

It is good to have more warehouses so that food grains do not rot in the open.  Till then excess stock should not be bought.

There should be an evaluation of money spent on scientific research and results.  If the results are not commensurate with the amount spent funding of scientific research should stop.

Government should not finance art.

There should be one category for Income Tax exemption.  Pranab Mukherjee has done well to raise exemption limit to general category i.e., men who are not senior citizens, from Rs.1,60,000 to Rs.1,80,000 while keeping the limit of Rs.1,95,000 for women.  It is a half measure to end sexual discrimination against men.  Reducing age of senior citizens from 65 to 60 and raising their exemption to Rs.2,50,000 from Rs.2,40,000 and creating very senior citizen category of people who are 80 years old and granting them tax exemption upto Rs.5,00,000 should have been avoided.  Senior citizens have been given many privileges over the years.  Senior citizens have been given many privileges over the years.  They don’t even have to stand in queue.  I go to pay electricity bill and in queue for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Behind me are people who have been in queue and will have to wait for a long time to get their turn.  Suddenly three people appear at the counter and say they are senior citizens.  Such exemptions should be done away with.

During the day Sensex went up by more than 500 points and then came down and closed the day 122 points higher than previous closing.

In the evening Pranab Mukherjee was on NDTV 24X7, CNN-IBN and Headlines Today.

 

Pranab Mukherjee should resign

 

English: Pranab Mukherjee, Indian politician, ...

Pranab Mukherjee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pranab Mukherjee has been humiliated by Congress time and again. In 2004 he was not made Prime Minister. He was told that he would be made Home Minister but made Defence Minister. When the time for Presidential Election came he was not made a candidate. The excuse given was that Congress cannot spare him. The reason was that he would not be a puppet of Sonia Gandhi.

After 26/11 Shivraj Patil resigned and P. Chidambaram was made Home Minister. Now Prime Minister Manmohan Singh kept the Finance portfolio with himself. Now Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has undergone surgery and unable to perform his functions. They should have been passed on to Pranab Mukherjee as he was the Seniormost Minister in Cabinet Committee of Political Affairs. Finance portfolio was given to Pranab Mukherjee.

Pranab Mukherjee was Finance Minister when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister. Congress cannot find any MP who can be made Finance Minister. Republic Day functions should have been performed by Pranab Mukherjee. Defence Minister A. K. Antony performed Prime Minister’s Republic Day functions. This is the limit. Pranab Mukherjee should not put up with this humiliation any more. If he has any self-respect left he should resign immediately. He has not much to lose, just a few months of ministership.