Modi Sarkar: Areas of my concern

Part 4 of series on #modiplan

I will try to paint a plausible scenario of 2019 in my next post. I will follow it up with what might be PM Modi’s game plan.

Excerpts from article https://raverantreflect.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/pm-modis-game-planver1.pdf published on Oct 8, 2015 and some updates . The above article was written before the Bihar Elections and the stunning defeat of Modi.

Here are areas of serious concern

Tax policy

I will start with the tax policy and issue of recovery of black money. The tax policy continues to be ridden with discrimination , exemptions, and discretionary powers to tax men. The GST (Goods and Services Tax) design is faulty due to multiple rates and exemptions. The FM hasn’t used the compensation lever well to prevent the its birth defects. When we eventually get GST it will not be a neat solution to the tax tangle. Once embedded these defects will be difficult to get rid of because of new vested interests who will get entrenched. GST design compromise is an example of what I call as Congress Culture.

(update Nov 30: as you read this, there are signs of further compromises in the GST in order to obtain Congress’ support.)

There is no sign of a simple direct tax code (DTC).  The fiasco over the (Complicated) Saral form is one example of continuing wrong direction to tax administration. The retrospective taxation issue involving Vodafone etc. and the MAT issue involving Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) are other examples of the poor show by the finance ministry and the entrenched Congress culture.

Black money

638 declarations were made amounting to Rs. 3,770 crore by midnight of September 30. Recently, the SC monitored SIT said that the black money based on information received from foreign countries under information program adds up to Rs 6,400 crore. Assuming that all cases are pursued with 100% success, we can expect about 11,000 Crore black money and recovery of 7,000 to 8,000 Crore.  These are laughable figures.

And what are main sources of the black money? The SIT tells it is cricket betting! Come on guys, haven’t you heard of real estate cash transactions? Without identity linked property records it is impossible to plug black money flowing in and out of economy. You surely know about the round tripping of money through imports, exports and portfolio investments (‘rigged’ trade invoicing alone affects India’s GDP by around 3 % according to Global Financial Integrity estimates). Haven’t you heard of how participatory notes help money laundering? Absolutely nothing appears to have been done to check the generation and absorption of black money in the white economy.  (Update on Oct 5, 2015: FM is now talking about making PAN mandatory for cash transactions above some level. This is not going to be enough because PAN universe has fictitious duplicate numbers.  Nothing will stop benaami property transfers. This is an example of incremental, inconsequential working. Even this -The PAN compulsion -could have been done a year back)

The Finance Ministry is still in the clutches of Babus of Congress Government.

The Black Money recovery and tax policy areas are really a big black marks on Modi Sarkar’s record. It is ironic that Modi Sarkar, whose first decision on assuming power was to constitute a SC mandated SIT on Black Money, has failed in such a manner.

Police, regulatory bodies, and judiciary

The police, regulatory bodies, and judiciary constitute the second area of concern. There are no signs of overhaul of police and regulatory bodies. They routinely fail in surveillance and botch up investigations. Our courts take forever to deliver judgments. When they deliver judgments, they are so poor that they get overturned by higher courts and so on. While over 200,000  poor undertrials (they can’t get bails) languish or perish in jails, the convicts roam free or enjoy discretionary furloughs. The mighty accused are assured of life time of fruits of their crimes. PM Modi had started well by asking SC to expedite cases against sitting MPS and MLAs but seems to have given up after the SC rejected it. Trials by media substitute trials by courts.  The above bodies are vital for implementation of laws, prevention of crime, investigations, settling disputes, and punishing the guilty. Existence of a modern welfare state and civilization depend on these bodies. Even the economic progress depends on enforcement of commercial contracts. The above state of affairs is a big threat to India.

Modi Sarkar can’t act alone in the above areas, it has to influence the state governments and judiciary. But it has failed even to set a direction.

Media

The third area of concern is the media. Independent media are supposed to be the fourth pillar of democracy. Most of the main stream media are seriously compromised. They are owned by vested interests. Our media are already sold out to businesses, politicians and global forces of Islamisation and Proselytization (Church). When exposed, minor apologies are issued and forgotten. A vibrant social media acts as a counter weight but it is not enough when large sections of populations are still out of it.

It is ironic that the BJP and PM Modi, who have been subjected to slander and libel by our main stream media, haven’t moved to make Press Council or some such body vigilant and active. It is also necessary to probe financial deals, sources of funding and assets of media and journalists to unearth vested interests.A heavily compromised media sector is a serious threat to the free flow of accurate and unbiased information hence it a threat to democratic processes of information dissemination and opinion formation by citizens.  A big failure which may cost India and Modi Sarkar dearly.

Urban Transport sector

The fourth major area lacking a new paradigm is urban transport sector. This affects the quality of life of people in cities through accidents on roads and pollution. There are some starts in city Metro projects. The bus based public transport is crying for attention. We are missing a good policy and a road map here.

Agriculture

The fifth area which has missed Modi Sarkar’s attention is agriculture. The myth that farming can’t be profitable must be challenged. Right from farm inputs to farming technology to marketing of farm produce, value chains are in bad shape. The farmers and the consumers suffer and middlemen make merry. The government has talked about farm price fund, farm information network for farmers and e-marketing platform. Then there were some attempts to free the farm marketing from the monopoly clutches of APMCs.  Irrigation projects, water harvesting, drip irrigation, and better crop patterns are essential. For example, too much land and too much water is being used for sugar cane farming in regions which are drought prone.  We are missing a comprehensive plan for this sector.

Environment

The sixth area of concern is the environment -clean air, water, food, and ecological balance. Instead of isolated thinking in this area, there is a need for integrating the principles of ecological balance and conservation into policy making in all areas of economy. For example, the transport sector must focus on mass transport and the energy sector must give enough weightage to conservation.  Apex policy level targets like reducing carbon intensity by 35% by 2030 might satisfy the pressure groups but they will do nothing to improve the quality of life of citizens . See what happened in Delhi. It made a switch to the so called environment friendly CNG as a clean fuel mandated by SC. It is now one of the worst polluted cities. Mind you Delhi has received  adequate funding, it even has a good metro.  It has good buses, but not enough to encourage people to ditch there risky two wheelers and fuel guzzling (per capita) cars. Delhi’s  failure in curbing pollution should alert us to the dangers of focusing only on the so called clean fuels and pollution norms.

Social sector

Social areas: Swachha Bharat, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao movements, and crimes. This is the seventh area of concern.   We don’t have social reformers of the stature of Raja Rammohan Roy, Phule, Agarkar and Savarkar anymore. The government can provide infrastructure like toilets and law enforcement machinery but the rest is up to the society. PM Modi has done well to increase awareness of these issues but the state governments and local bodies  must get their act together.  It is really for citizens to demand and use these facilities well.

Many so called anti-minority incidents were either stage managed or just cooked up stories (e.g. the so called Church attacks). Some were personal rivalry issues colored as communal issues by the ever strident Congress and main stream media. State governments have failed to overhaul police (see the second area of concern above) for preventing these. Even the BJP ruled states like Maharashtra and Madhyapradesh haven’t done well in this regard.

Missing National identity and pride

Without a predominant and a preeminent Hindu* civilization there can not be strong and tolerant India.  Without it, India’s development will remain a pipe dream. See my post . PM Modi, a former RSS pracharak,  has failed to prevail upon state governments of UP, West Bengal, Assam, and Kerala to prevent murders of Hindus and kidnapping n rapes of Hindu girls. Anti-Hindu propaganda by the media gets a cover as freedom of expression, but defense by Hindus gets labeled as communal or bigoted. There is certainly a restiveness in people due to this. Without pride in what is good in our 7,000 to 8,000 years of known history and without being  aware of what went wrong during it we can’t have a strong national identity. A fractured geography (partition, Pakistan occupied Kashmir), foreign words like ‘secularism’ and a truncated partisan history written by foreigners and leftists can’t give us this identity.

New information coming to light and new development will need revisions in the above.

I will try to paint a plausible scenario of 2019 in my next post. I will follow it up with what might be PM Modi’s game plan. (He has said that his government is working to a plan)

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