The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Continued from:

For most Indians, subsidy is a necessary evil; it’s the politicians who suck really

In a country as poor and unequal as India, subsidies are the lifeline for millions. Indian government reports on poverty line estimation and population size have drawn flak for oversimplifying the poverty issue in the country. If we shift to some international data sets for the universal poverty line, a 2011 World Bank report says 68.7 per cent of the Indians live on less than $2 (Rs. 110) per day on PPP basis. That comes to a monthly income of Rs. 3500 a month.

Managing meals, maintaining healthcare, providing education and sustaining a standard family life in Rs. 3500 a month is next to impossible these days!  

World Health Organization says Indians constitute world’s largest open defecators community, the 58 per cent of the chunk.

Planning Commission of India says the country is facing a 76 per cent shortfall of doctors.

United Nations’ Global Hunger Index puts India at 67th position out of the 80 countries surveyed. Indians make 25 per cent of the world’s hungry lot.

All these tell Indians do need subsidy; Indians do need state’s help in sustaining their day-to-day lives; Indians do need state’s assistance in finding the route to lead an independent and dignified life not dependent on the state’s help.

And for these inevitable reasons, Indian policymakers must never think of doing away with subsidies that directly hit a family’s monthly budget. Diesel subsidy is one such thing.

Manmohan’s poor statement delivered on September 21 said, “We raised the price of diesel by just Rs. 5 per litre instead of the Rs 17 that was needed to cut all losses on diesel. Much of diesel is used by big cars and SUVs owned by the rich and by factories and businesses.  Should government run large fiscal deficits to subsidise them?”

But Mr. Manmohan Singh, tell us how many of Indians sustaining below Rs. 110 a day drive even a Tata Nano, put aside the big cars and the SUVs?

Mr. Manmohan Singh, these Indians depend on public transportation like buses and trains that run on diesel. It is not all CNG and electricity yet.

Mr. Manmohan Singh, these Indians depend on the food, grocery and other household supplies every month the prices of which are governed by these modes of transportation.

Prices of essential commodities have shot up by 20-25 per cent after the ‘reformist’ diesel price hike. And whatever this hike does to reduce the government’s burden, (Manmohan says Rs. 20,000 crore), is nowhere near to the high fiscal deficit of over Rs. 5 Lakh crore.

Instead, government’s governance management could be the key that Manmohan (or say any politician in the driving seat) doesn’t want to accept. The loss to the exchequer in scams like 2G spectrum allocation and coal-block allocation could alone have saved billions of dollars. True, the figure of loss in these cases are expected figures but they are based on market values and arrived at by India’s supreme accounting body. Billions of dollars of Black Money stashed away – why can’t government act sincerely to expose the culprits (if not to bring the money back)? That would deter such practices in the future and would substantially enrich government’s treasury by inflow of taxes.

Vested interests!
How can Manmohan act to crack down when many of his political fraternity are deep-neck in these scams?
But why then trying to sound serious for concerns of the ‘aam aadmi’ while acting to preserve the interests of the corporate and political elite?

It’s not the subsidies but the politicians who suck.

I quote here some random line from one of P. Sainath’s articles (To fix BPL, nix CPL, The Hindu, March 26, 2012), “Since 2005-06, for instance, the union government has written off close to Rs.4 lakh crore in corporate income tax. Throw in concessions on customs and excise duties and the corporate karza maafi in this year's budget sneaks up to nearly Rs.5 lakh crore. In just this budget and the last one, we've written off Rs.1 lakh crore for diamonds, gold and jewellery in customs duties. The total write-off on these three (revenue forgone under corporate income tax, excise and customs) heads in eight years since 2005-06: Rs. 25.7 lakh crore. That's over half a trillion U.S. dollars.”

Huge! Isn’t it?

It is true we cannot take utopian view of any hard reality. Industries do generate jobs and they need promotions but we need to see at what cost. We need to see what types of industries are being promoted. Sainath mentions some sectors like diamond, gold and jewellery and hospital equipments (most beneficiaries have been the corporate hospitals) being benefited from these write offs.

There has been a controversy on the huge fund (Rs. 95,000 crore) that the proposed National Food Security Bill would require. Opponents say it would cost the country dearly as it is already bleeding from the monstrous subsidies under different heads. The two budgets that have written off almost a crore in the custom duties on diamonds, gold and jewellery could alone have done it. Isn’t it Mr. Manmohan Singh?

Writing off practices like the retrospective taxation are understandable as they do hit the prospects of large employment generating entities in the country but why bestow largesse on sectors that serve very few in the country.

What requires immediate attention, is corruption, political and industrial, and not the subsidies.

Petroleum products are heavily taxed in India, at central and state levels. Rationalize them and there would be no need for subsidies then. Why can’t politicians do it?

Petroleum products are the easiest source of large revenue for many defunct and corrupt state governments due of its ‘lifeline sort’ of use. Goa generates handsome revenue from its tourism industry and so it could easily do away with VAT on petrol.

Why can’t state and central governments act to create alternative sectors of competence to generate revenue?

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -