Does Sachin Tendulkar deserve a Rajya Sabha seat?

Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricketer. 4 Test ser...

Sachin Tendulkar(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Has a seat of Rajya Sabha member been wasted because of its allocation to Sachin Tendulkar? If the nation would hear when Sachin will talk, does he really need the platform of Rajya Sabha to talk? And, if Sachin Tendulkar will be actively pursuing cricket, wouldn’t it be great injustice to the Rajya Sabha seat that has been given to him?

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Vulgarity of Dispute – Indian Army vs. Govt

Vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.

~ Oscar Wilde

The skirmishes between the Indian army chief over the age dispute, the bribe issue, then the case of leaked letter over preparedness of Indian army, and now rumors of a coup highlight disgrace at the top. I personally couldn’t have imagined such a poor state of Indian Army, let alone it’s chief, and his disgraceful treatment by our top ministers. To put things straight, we are a successful democracy because we are a free nation. This freedom cannot come without a strong defense mechanism, and our top ministers are simply throwing tons of filth on the person at the helm of affairs of the army. One such example is that of Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav.

Talking about corruption alone, it is not a closed room secret when it comes to defense deals. The noteworthy part however is its confirmation by a serving army chief. Although the timing of the news i.e. 18 months after being offered the bribe does raise some questions once can’t ignore the courage displayed by General V.K. Singh. Things have gotten murkier after a new PIL filed by some former bureaucrats challenging the appointment of Lt General Bikram Singh as the next Army chief.

It seems to me that in three instances i.e. 1) Age of General, 2) Disclosure of offered bribe, and 3) PIL by bureaucrats all point towards preventing Lt General Bikram Singh from becoming the next Army chief. Backing this stand are retired Admiral L Ramdass and former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswamy. But if this is true, why is the government opposing these forces?

In any case, the government has dealt with issue in a pitiful manner. I personally never imagined the powerlessness of the army chief and nor did I imagine how little regard our government had for the army.

Vulgarity begins when imagination succumbs to the explicit.

~ Doris Day

India’s deepest humiliation

A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka...

Image via Wikipedia

I am a proud Indian. From the very first day the world realized that I could listen and speak, the word’s of ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Jana Gana Mana…’ were fed into my ears with religious delight. My parents, teachers, gurus, friends and everyone sang those words of praise for the country and its rich heritage as if they were nurturing their own child. Like a good son, good student and a good friend, I followed the social norms of patriotism. I grew older to learn about partition, corruption, Gandhis, communal riots, swiss banks accounts, black money, indifference towards terrorism, communism, naxalites, bofors, nandigram and a lot more. The same joyous chant over years became a chant of apathy at my own state, and despite the economic progress shown in the last two decades, my feelings towards my country don’t become any stronger. Although optimists may say, I can do my bit towards the country (which I am doing), the leadership, the entire bureaucracy seems hopeless. More than 100 crore were wasted in common wealth games, more than 50,000 crore was the loss in the 2G scam, more than 1500 crore was the loss due to Mayawati’s statue building spree. Can’t this money bloody feed the hungry? Can’t this be used for creating more jobs? Can’t this be used to settle the Maoists? Can’t this be used to provide more security to women? Can’t this be used in giving the goddamn bloody Indian some respect?

We as Indians have been humiliated by the impotence of leadership and the lust of politicians. They have brought to this country nothing more than shame and suffering. Like an average person looking to lead a respectable life, all I have got is tokenism. They show me progress by showing me IPL, they show me progress by showing me more TV channels, they show me progress by building roads. What they don’t realize is that the money of IPL does not come to me, it still revolves with the politicians, the money on TV Channels is still with politicians (Kalaignar TV, 2G scam), and building roads in 2 years that should not take more than 6 months is not helping me in any way. All I get is inconvenience when a politician’s car passes by, manholes in the road and a toll tax to pay (So that’s again from my pocket). Does an impotent politician deserve all that security, when his or her life is adding to shame. India’s deepest hour of humiliation was not when terrorists attacked Mumbai, but it is now when our leaders do nothing about it. Its humiliating because I know god is also blinded and will do nothing to the bad karma they have brought upon this great nation. Their bad karma will have to faced by us in the form of humiliation and disgust till the time an uproar takes place. The impotence of our democracy is right in our faces, the voice of our prime minister is still a rare sound bite, and corruption has seeped in to our blood through the lustful swords of the torchbearers of democracy. Ha! Our Democracy.

This independence day has to be a day of thinking and planning. We need to plant the seed of independence from this humiliation that has been brought upon us like the misfortune resulting from the bad karma of our leadership. They have filled the pure land of India with poisons of corruption, hatred, impotence and greed. Its time to take the path of reverting this karma. The nature of path (peaceful or violent) depends on you vision and karma. Each path will lead to a different outcome, but if the intended outcome is purity of this holy land, you need to work with a noble and selfless intent.

Union Budget 2011 : A precursor

Union Budget of 2011-12 faces many challenges. There three main problems that this budget will have to tackle and mold its strategy to are

  1. Checking inflation and enhancing agricultural productivity
  2. Lifting supply-side constraints to economic growth
  3. Executing the long overdue fiscal correction.

Moreover the current political situation will not help the government in taking concrete steps for uplifting the economy. Like Mamata Banerjee, the politics of appeasement is expected to show at the union budget.

In the politics of appeasement, there is going to greater allocation to Rural India. The FMCG sector appears favourably positioned to gain from the coming Union Budget.

Fiscal deficit – poor quality of fiscal consolidation in FY12 will follow owing to the political scenario.

The congress led coalition has seen a dip in its popularity and it will try to boost its reputation by appeasing the masses. It is all set to take the populist card, just like Mamata Banerjee in the Railway Budget 2011.

Read More on Railway Budget.

Rail Budget 2011 : Economic Focus with Human Face

Railway Budget 2011- Causes for Indian Rail financial crisis

Rail Budget 2011 : The financial issues

The future growth of Indian Railways is to be increasingly subjected to the discipline of the capital market, including those overseas, even as

This time, the railway budget promised a dividend of Rs4,104.50 crore in this fiscal. It is 26% lower than Rs6,608.46 crore proposed in Mamata Banerjee’s 2010 budget.

It did this partly by cutting the back money dedicated on maintaining tracks and rolling stock.

Another feature of this budget was that it maintained the passenger fares constant. It has been the eight such year when the budget has not touched upon the passenger rates.

Moreover the freight rates too were kept constant.

Where will the money for new projects come from ?

Railways is looking to the debt market to finance its new projects especially infrastructure related projects.

Rail Budget 2011 : Economic Focus with Human Face

Mint Reports

The budget documents showed the railways had lowered the money transferred to its depreciation reserve fund by Rs1,900 crore for 2011-12 as compared with Banerjee’s projection last year. The fund is used to maintain and replace its assets.

Other than a lower transfer to the depreciation fund, Sahai said revamping the product mix during the fiscal to capitalize on the increasing magnitude of coal imports into India protected its receipts. Typically, two-thirds of receipts come from freight, primarily coal.

The Long Term issues

This year’s capital spending is to be financed partly through some of the railways’ reserve funds. These funds have seen a significant decline in net accretions over the years.

Mint Reports “In 2009-10, the last year for which final numbers are available, the aggregate closing balance of all funds fell by more than two-thirds in a single year to Rs5,032.06 crore.”

This railway budget has been silent on the big projects such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor. It has not indicated where the money for it will come and how long will it take to complete it. We discussed the case of Dedicated Freight Corridor and the concerns about Indian Railways Financial Health

Railway Budget 2011 – Dedicated Freight Corridor Project

The proposed Plan

Mint Reports, “In the budget estimates for 2011-12, the Plan outlay of Rs57,630 crore is to be met from Rs20,454 crore of market borrowings, including Rs10,000 crore of tax-free bonds.

Railways is in a position where it can no longer fund its projects through internal accruals of cash flows. The market borrowings are to funded through Indian Railways Finance Corp Ltd and it will carry an unwritten sovereign guarantee.

Railway Budget 2011- Causes for Indian Rail financial crisis

The total receipts of the railways in 2011-12 are projected at Rs1.09 trillion.

The dividend proposed is Rs6,734.72 crore.

The operating ratio (ratio of working expenses to gross earnings) is projected to improve marginally to 91.1% from around 98%.

The budget documents show that Indian railways expects to increase its contribution to the depreciation reserve fund by 23%.

Mamata going to market for money – Home – livemint.com.

Railway Budget 2011- Causes for Indian Rail financial crisis

Dedicated Freight Corridors

Dedicated Freight Corridors

The Indian Railways in facing a financial crisis. Quite unlike the previous Indian Railways Minister Lalu Prasad yadav, who announced a surplus of Rs 25,000 crore (2008), this year things are going to be quite different.

Total revenues from passenger and freight this year for Indian Railways has been around Rs 92,000 crore. Forbes says that it could fall short by Rs 4000 crore.

The Indian Railways is struggling with the financial burden of the sixth pay commission amounting to Rs 55,000 crore along with  ther financial woes. The reasons for the massive depletion of finances of Indian Railways have been many, but major of them are as follows.

Causes of financial crunch

  • Slow growth of freight business.
  • Decrease in passenger traffic
  • Increase in fuel prices (It has inflated its expenses by approximately Rs 1000 crore.
  • Reduced investment by private freight carriers (They have hold up Rs 2000 crore since Railways is not allowing to carry them more freight. They were given licenses during Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure as the Railway Minister)
  • Forbes says that this explains why the incremental freight loading target for 2010-11 is only 52 million tonnes compared to 60.3 million tonnes in 2009-10.Several other public-private projects including modernisation of railway stations have not taken off due to a paucity of funds.
  • In 2007-08, the Indian Railways had a self generated fund balance of approximately Rs. 19,700 crore. This was wiped out due to the costs on salary and dividends to the government in the year 2009-2010.

The consequences of this financial crunch Read more of this post

Railway Budget 2011- Indian Rail financial crisis

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee atten...

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee

In the months between April and December 2010, the Indian Railways has spent more to earn less. Their operating ratios have been more than 100, a cause of concern for the railway authorities.

On an average, the Indian railways spent approximately Rs 115 to earn Rs 100.

Indian Express reports that the operating ratios of Indian Railways witnessed an alarming increase in the first 9 months of current fiscal.

Decreased passengers and decreased freight are being stated as the problems for such an increase in expenditures vis-a-vis revenue.

Also the targets set by Railways were also to achieve operating ratio of above 100, which bloated even more than anticipated.

With the Railways in red, Mamatha Banerjee would be looking to pull off a decent railway budget on Friday.

The Hindu reports

“If her (Mamata Banerjee’s) critics are to be believed, is to blame, to some extent, for putting the Railways in a difficult situation. The balance sheet had gone astray in 2009-10 itself, but few corrective measures seem to have been initiated.
The committee has failed to rope in the private sector and mobilise resources for projects, while the other public-private participation initiatives — establishing world-class stations and manufacture of locomotive, coaches and wagon at Kanchrapara and Dankuni in West Bengal — have not made any progress worth the name…
Ms. Banerjee has not been able to find the resources needed to finance the proposed projects. Finance Minister and the Planning Commission have not found the kind of favour she would have expected: only a marginal increase in the budgetary support has been promised.”

With all this, will it would be interesting to see whether the Railway Budget would be saving grace or otherwise.

Rail Budget: Didi distracted, Railways in red