Its time of elections. For those who vote and even for those who prefer to abstain, there is always a clear stand about who should be the nation’s next Prime Minister. I recieved a mail, in this context, Just posting here.
I have been witnessing a spate of ‘feel good’ propaganda films of Congress on TV these days, transporting me back to the golden ‘Shining India’ times. The publicists have very cleverly used rural background in nearly all these advertisements. I have deep roots in my village and firmly believe that unless rural economies improve and people have decent incomes and dignified life, people will keep streaming into cities and all cities will slowly become mass slums – with people leading dog like lives in these slums.
From this point of view NREG scheme is welcome. But, unfortunately it has become like all socialist schemes – a money making racket for the middle men, mostly belonging to ruling parties. You just have to read Jean Drez’s interview in TOI to understand what I mean. Thus, all the hard earned money of citizens like me has been sent down the village nullahs by this government to garner votes. Just as farmer loan waivers have only benefited their big fat farmer friends and not those who are actually starving to death and giving up their lives. The numbers are mind numbing. It is ironic that the government which came up through the funeral pyres of unfortunate farmers couldnt reduce, let alone stop these suicidal deaths.
But, for the present, let me speak as an urban citizen as most of the politicians take urban voters for granted, though they collect all legal and illegal money for official and unofficial purposes from cities.
Mr. P. Chidambaram, who has been the FM for nearly the whole term and talks down to anybody who doubts his superior knowledge and intellect has done his best to nearly halt the liberalization process initiated by Mr. Manmohan Singh in his earlier avataar, as a person possessed, to undo whatever he had done as the yes man of socialist parasites during great 5 year planning eras. NDA had taken the momentum forward and took some bold steps in a very graded and planned manner to unshackle the economy with stable policies. Thus, we saw an unprecedented growth trajectory, which Indian economy had never seen under Nehru rate of growth, taking our economy to a new orbit.
This government of ‘aam aadmi’ has made the taxation system incomprehensible again By increasing the scope of service tax and TDS to include more and more ‘aam aadmi’ in the net and empowering more and more ‘babus’.
Just take an example – one first charges service tax then the payee deducts TDS. Then, one adjusts service charges that one paid against the service charges one charged! We have FBT to penalize the companies who work harder and have people on the street to sell more and work harder. We also have various kinds of surcharges and cess to compound the confusion further. Thus, more and more paper work has helped auditors and babus, but not the ‘aam aadmi’ who sweats it out to earn is daily bread. Privileged classes like Doctors and Lawyers don’t fall into this spreading out of net. As an esteemed lawyer, he knows best why they shouldnt be brought into the net.
Ofcourse, he has a soft corner for his rich friends, so periodically he allows them voluntary disclosures so they can sleep well. No such luck for poor salaried class. The driblets of concessions he gets in basic income tax are more than offset by reduction in savings incentives. Yes, our FM is smart! All the talk of less paper work for common man is a cruel joke on him/her. The attack is from both sides – income as well as expense. Our intelligent FM believed that Indians save too much and don’t gamble on things like stock markets – the Gods of modern economies – so incentives on all kinds of savings has been reduced. Ceilings on housing loan deductions have been reduced. In the process, we have also squeezed the infrastructure based savings through housing finance etc. Idea is to discourage savings and drain them on consumerist life style, the bane of western civilization. We haven’t learnt the lessons of history that real growth comes from real savings. Now, having been hit by recession, the truth may dawn on us, but at what cost?
In return for all this pain, what have I got? Infrastructure? I think, I will die counting pot holes, dug up roads, horrible roads, drainage system, poor conveyance options. My power bills have gone up, thanks to ‘privatization’ without accountability. May be my kids will enjoy the fruits of this painful crawling growth, may be my grand sons/daughters? Highways stopped expanding. I wonder where is my petrol cess going? All trains seem to lead to Bihar where nobody pays for them. I still have to go through a loopy root to Bangalore taking 25 hours though the direct and shorter link is available. May be the bus operators offer good incentives to our rulers for not paying attention to this region. I still take 17 hours to go to Hyderabad while buses running on such poor highways take only 13 hours! I have no fast connections between Mumbai and Chennai. I am told that many of these are still single track routes. I sincerely believe that Railway ministry should be rotational so the whole of India benefits.
Yes, air travel has grown multifold, courtesy a few brave men like Capt. Gopinath. From our government we have received two dozen foundation stones in the last month of its existence, so the sauve Civil Aviation minister and his generations to come will see his name plastered all over India. I think, after Nehru Gandhi family, his name would appear in maximum numbers all over India! But, till things improve, I will suffer with poor infrastructure and always take a flight with prayers on my lips for safe landing.
The lack of fiscal discipline and disincentive on savings, lack of infrastructure has magnified the impact of global recession much more than it should have. Had this government been prudent and carried on the good work already done by earlier govt., our economy may not have been in the shape that it is today. Here we have a government that likes to pat itself on its back for reaping the fruits of past government but eager to shrug off the failures on global trends!
And now my honest and well meaning PM, who couldnt control his FM or put some simple home truths to him wishes me to vote for him. What for? To preside another term of anarchy of a cabinet where each minister is on his own trip and country is left at the mercy of such a cabal?
Ratan Sharda (firstname.lastname@example.org)
29th March, 2009
This mail was sent to me by:
Mr Sandeep Singh (email@example.com)
Author: Business of Freedom- an initative for school of Indian Management
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