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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.

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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.  

General Elections 2009 umennetFrom 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 (rnsharda@gmail.com)
29th March, 2009

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This mail was sent to me by:

Mr Sandeep Singh (sandeepconsultant@gmail.com)
Author: Business of Freedom- an initative for school of Indian Management
www.swastiks.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: umennet does not support/recommend any party that is contesting for the Indian General Elections, 2009. We are providing a platform for general public to interact the public and help them take an informed decision. It is upto an individual to vote for a party/candidate at his own discretion.

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Last few days were haywire. Withe terrorist attacks, then rescue operations, then the media coverages, media reviews, resignations . . . All these raised many questions.

Received a letter from my friend Ankeet Dave, putting the questions and what we can and should do for it?

The letter:

WEDNESDAY 26TH NOVEMBER 2008

(WRITTEN BY AMOGH UMALKAR .A COMMON MAN OF INDIA )

Wednesday, 26th November 2008, the day when Mumbai faced its worst terrorist attack. it has been 4 days now and probably the longest, most agonizing 4 days Mumbai has ever experienced.

I would first of all like to thank all the Police, Army, NSG and all the support staff who were involved in the fight against terror. Hats off to them who fought relentlessly for 60 hours, and won the battle against the terrorist (I said battle because the war has yet to be won) May the souls of all those who lost their lives rest in peace and god give their family the courage and strength to withstand such a grief which we even cannot imagine.

However there are many things which are hovering around the mind at present. All sorts of emotions are flowing that of anger, rage, insecurity, frustration, helplessness. Many questions are flooding the mind.

    • Why is India such a soft target?????????
    • Why is that a few b*****ds come to India and create such a havoc?
    • Who is responsible for this?
    • When are such terrorist attacks going to stop in the country?
    • Who is our real enemy? The terrorists or our system and government itself?
    • Why is there so much negligence on part of everyone?
    • Where is the accountability?
    • Why is there an indifferent attitude???( we are also included in this)

And this is the prime reason i had mentioned earlier that we have won the battle but the war will be won only after we answer the above questions. (And many more questions which I may have missed.)

The American intelligence department had already sent a warning regarding the possibility of terror attacks on Mumbai.(mail received by the center on 19 nov)

The mail had even mentioned that the attack would be carried by the sea route. The center had warned the state and the coast guards as well as all the 5 stars hotels in Mumbai.(Taj had also received a warning prior which Ratan Tata accepted few hours back in the press conference.)

Still shameless Vilasrao is stating that we had not received any specific information. (Was he waiting to get the blueprint of the terror attack????). Even the kolis had informed that there are few unknown suspicious people moving round the sea prior to the attack. Were these inputs not enough for the government to take precautionary actions? The government refused to send the NSG by a special aircraft. They had to come by road. They had to wait for public transport which caused delay. Such is the attitude of our government!!!!!!

The recent terror attacks have embarrassed India. It was a complete failure of our government and the system. It is a combination of complete negligence, lack of political will and indifferent attitude of the politicians towards the country.

The United States also experienced a deadly attack on 9/11. But ever since that us has not experienced a single attack. I would like to mention that there have been 14 unsuccessful terrorist attempts on America. This is because of the strong political will, unity of both the political parties and a strong stand that the US had taken on Afghanistan tit for tat attitude.

There is enough evidence with the government that Pakistan is behind the terror attacks. It is high time now that the government takes strict action against Pakistan.

The entire world is with India and no country will object an attack on the terrorist groups residing in Pakistan. Pakistan is breaching the LOC, the borders drawn on the sea.

So what is the government waiting for? Another attack on India???? ( But the vote bank politics comes in the way)

It was such a pitiful sight that the terrorists at CST had AK-47 in their hands and our havaldars had a wooden stick. Our police men have helmets and bulletproof jackets of the year 1992 which are only useful now to withstand air gun bullets leave the m6 bullets that the terrorists had. How can one expect our police men to fight in such an unfair condition? We have lost our top officials and many policemen due to this which is irreparable loss to the ATS, Mumbai police and the Country.

The consequences of such attacks will directly be on our economy. Foreign clients will think 100 times before giving projects to India and establishing fresh setups in India.

Foreign investments will be largely hit, tourism, the hotel industry will be largely affected. In all image of our country has been attacked.

Coming to the politicians again. Was there any need for Modi, Rane, Sonia to visit Taj during the operation putting more strain on the security. 24 cars and z security for one politician?? Come on, give me a break. Just look at the attitude of our deputy chief minister R R Patil stating such small incidents do occur in big cities. DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

I just received a message today stating where’s Raj Thakkery? Come on guys grow up. Let us not divert our energy and attention from the real fight against terror, against our system… Please behave responsibly and stop such forwards which will bring unrest. For the 1st time I am feeling the people have come together for a cause. Let’s now vote with a lot of thought. Let’s not take the Election Day just as holiday to go for a picnic. Let’s be together guys. A non cooperation movement of sort. Something to show we are not taking this lying down. Something, which can tell the leaders that we want our safety. Let’s show how many we are and how angry, tired and frustrated we are. What say? Let’s join the rally on Tuesday evening at Metro Cinema.

Let’s bring THE difference.
Jai Hind.

Amogh Umalkar

Amogh Umalkar can be contacted at: amoghumalkar@yahoo.co.in

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