|Friday, March 10, 2000,
of RSS order
sector reforms in Haryana-II
March 10, 1925
AFTER dithering for eight long days, the BJP component of the ruling alliance unleashed a clutch of moves on Wednesday only to come up with egg on its face. In a stunning turnaround it agreed to the demand of the united opposition for a discussion on the RSS issue under Rule 184. And the Prime Minister himself made the announcement. The allies suddenly signalled their readiness to stand by the government. The BJP rushed a high-power team to Ahmedabad to armtwist the state government to withdraw the circular permitting its employees to join RSS activities. All in one day! The timing of these moves was hopelessly wrong. On Tuesday RSS chief Rajju Bhaiya had declared that the outfit did not seek or care for any government support, thus giving the nod for cancelling the order. That provided an excellent opening to rewrite the script. The 24-hour delay delinked the two, thus projecting the government decision not as gesture to its Parivar mentor but a surrender to the opposition. No doubt, the Congress is crowing about its victory! At each step the alliance government looked and acted diffidently and there was this uneasy feeling that it was reacting to pressure and hence muddling through. It had no plan to either effectively ward off the opposition onslaught or bring round the allies. The BJP obviously banked on the time factor to overcome its problems, even while talking tough and issuing good conduct certificate to the RSS. Home Minister L.K.Advani defended it in such strong terms that it seemed the government would not compromise on it. Then there was the lofty talk of the RSS being a cultural organisation and the Centre being powerless to interfere in a state subject. Now the government has to retract on all these.
From day one it was
clear that the opposition would not relent. It sensed the
rare feeling of unity. Its obstructionist desire was
sharpened by the discordant note within the NDA.
Historically the RSS has been controversial. More
importantly, there was the search for an issue to get
over the dissatisfactory electoral performance. The
Gujarat order was issued on January 3, thus giving the
ruling alliance six weeks to gauge the mood both of the
opposition and the allies and be prepared to meet the
challenge. Instead the BJP embraced the philosophy of its
spokesman Venkaiah Naidu who alternately flatly denies
everything and blames the other parties for all national
ills. To adopt this attitude as the government policy
carries the risk of it exploding in the face. There has
been allround loss. The allies had lost a bit of their
secular credentials, which the BJP needs to retain its
image as a neo-liberal. The leader of the alliance has
once again exposed its lack of planning and conviction in
its beliefs. It has in the process handed down a victory
to the opposition, particularly to the Congress whose
leader is in some difficulties and whose spirit is down
after the dismal showing in the Assembly elections. One
BJP leader, known for his twisted logic, claims a success
in the eight-day-long disruption of Parliament. There had
been no protest against the subsidy reduction and other
budget initiatives! In the days to come a buoyed up
opposition will persist with its noisy demonstration on
the so-called anti-poor budget and the Bihar
developments. If the government thought it was buying
peace, it is in for an ugly surprise.
THE National Democratic Alliance
(NDA), led in Bihar by former Union Minister Nitish
Kumar, suffered a severe setback on Thursday. It could
not muster sufficient numerical strength to get its
candidate, Mr Gajendra Prasad Himanshu (JD-U), elected as
the Speaker of the state Assembly. There was little
surprise in the game of numbers. Some deliberate
confusion was created by loud-mouthed politickers
belonging to the fraternity of tricksters on both sides
of the fence over the past two days. Mr Laloo Yadav
talked of his effective "rana-niti" (war
strategy) and smiled with much effort before TV cameras.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar indulged in various kinds of
subterfuge and subtle manoeuvres. His horse-traders were
active throughout Wednesday. Failing to see a bright ray
in his efforts and because of his inability to rely on
the combined breaking-and-building capacity of Mr Ram
Vilas Paswan, Mr Sharad Yadav, Mr Kailashpati Mishra and
Mr S.K. Modi, he backed out of an open contest. His
nascent little edifice would have crumbled a day earlier
than the day fixed by the Governor for proving his
alliance's majority on the floor of the House. His
advisers had pinned their hopes on defections from the
Congress, and the swinging mood of the Left, the
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the BSP. Wednesday night was
spent on the lawns of official bungalows. Calculations
fluctuated under Pataliputra's enigmatic sky. The
expected did not happen. Congress observers Mohsina
Kidwai and Ajit Yogi did not let their party's
legislators sup with "deceptors" despite an
influential woman-member's distracting persuasion. The
Jharkandi Christians and Muslims said that they would not
betray Mrs Sonia Gandhi. The Left allowed its anti-Laloo
Yadav murmurs to fade into the eloquent silence of the
fence-sitters. By 7.30 a.m on March 9, Mr Nitish Kumar
saw the Phalguni sun smiling more brightly on Mr Laloo
Yadav's camp. Mr Sadanand Singh, in no way a popular
leader, was given the good tiding: Mr Nitish Kumar, the
confrontationist, had decided to turn a pacifist. Mr
Sadanand Singh was to be the Speaker. Such consensus
between two still warring heterogeneous groups is
possible only in today's Bihar. What next? The NDA is
waiting for a miracle. Politicians' impressionability
being proverbial, those who had offered themselves as
tradable horses might, after all, take a more rewarding
route at the time of voting! Mr Laloo Yadav has a
repellent reputation. Mr Nitish Kumar is a mellowed man
for a day. So, why say die? Friday, March 10, is the
D-Day. Guesswork is avoidable but the reprieve bought by
complete surrender by Mr Nitish Kumar and company became
most pathetic amidst the clamour for his resignation on
Thursday. But no one wants Mrs Rabri Devi or Mr Laloo
Yadav in the saddle in Bihar even in the company of a few
Jharkhandis, Congressmen or BSP leaders with feet of clay
standing on rootless, synthetic grass in a swamp.
DECLINE OF PARLIAMENT
LOOKING at the stalled proceedings of Parliament for days together on one issue or the other and the overall drift in the polity, the people have reasons to feel concerned at the state of the nation. It costs a fortune to keep the wheels of democracy running. Every minute of Parliament session costs the exchequer Rs 7,000, that is, Rs 4.20 lakh per hour. Interruptions in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha not only upset the routine business of the two Houses but also result in a loss of time and money. Do leaders of the ruling coalition and the opposition parties realise this? Does their conscience prick at the criminal waste of public money?
The opposition parties have surely the right to air their views and even walk out of the House. At the same time, they are expected to conduct themselves with dignity and decorum. For, unruly behaviour in the legislature sends wrong signals to the people.
Democracy must not be seen as a roadside tamasha. It is a serious business of working for the good of the people while following the highest principles of ethics and norms. It is a pity that our parliamentarians have not taken this role seriously. They do not do their home work when matters of vital national interest are debated. Budgetary allocations for various ministries are often adopted without a discussion. This happens even with regard to the defence.
No genuine democracy can work on the basis of lung , muscle and money power. The live telecast of parliamentary proceedings at one stage was thought to bring about an improvement in behaviour pattern of our MPs. But over a period it has probably done more harm than good. In fact, the focus of the camera often influences the conduct of a section of parliamentarians. Perhaps some of them think that they can draw attention of the people back in their constituencies by staging walkouts and creating rowdy scenes! It is hardly realised that such a show negates the very spirit of parliamentary democracy.
When we look back objectively at the 50 years of parliamentary working, we find a sharp decline in the quality of debates. Gone are the days when a number of veterans could hold attention of the entire House by their oratory and the knowledge of the subjects they happened to speak on. Jawaharlal Nehru, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Govind Ballabh Pant, Feroze Gandhi, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, S.A. Dange, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, V.K. Krishna Menon, Hiren Mukherjee and Acharya J.B. Kripalani could sway the House by their brilliant and logic-laden speeches. Fortunately, we still have some outstanding orators like Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, Mr Chandra Shekhar and Mr Inderjit Gupta who represent the golden days of parliamentary democracy.
These days we hardly have debates of the standard of the 1950s and the 60s. This is shameful, to say the least. The whole complexion of Parliament has actually undergone a radical transformation during the past 20 years or so. Not that the newcomers to the two Houses lack calibre and talent. But in the absence of proper orientation and grounding, they allow themselves to be carried away by populist postures and wayward directions coming from their leaders. What sort of standards can we expect from those who are not sure of themselves or the challenges ahead.
Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav as a parliamentarian may provide some comic relief by his earthy wit. Ms Mayawati may indulge in rhetoric and play to the gallery. Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, again, has his own priorities and fixations. What is regrettable is the way most leaders conduct themselves. Their responses are selective. Their thinking and action are limited by their narrow and limited goals. Of course, such exercises, too, have a place in parliamentary democracy. However, acts of hooliganism, if stretched too far, become counter-productive.
It needs to be constantly remembered that Parliament is not a marketplace for the politics of hooliganism. It is a sacred forum for debating matters of national importance and delivering goods.
In theory, Parliament is supposed to legislate, but does it play this role effectively? It is also expected to call into account those who govern the country. How does it do this? Again, it is expected to enlighten the people on all matters which come before it and discuss the great issues of the day. In the process, it has to perform a teaching and informing function. Do the two Houses play these roles meaningfully and effectively?
Unless the parliamentary system can serve as an instrument of socio-economic change and help tackle the contradictions in the polity reflecting the hopes and aspirations of the people, it will get more and more exposed as an ineffective institution of democracy.
Of course, political parties and their leaders might have different perspectives on what they construe as a matter of national significance. Opinions may be divided. Views may vary. This is what democracy is all about. Even dissent is an important component of democracy. At the same time, interruptions and hooliganism must not be seen as a substitute for a meaningful debate on public issues.
Perhaps the collapse of the party system has created problems in the working of Parliament. It is an accepted fact that democracy cannot function smoothly without a well-organised party system. What happens outside is bound to get reflected in the two Houses. Just see the Bihar developments. Indecent haste on the part of the Governor to install Mr Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister along with the inept handling of the RSS issue has played havoc with the very functioning of democracy.
The time has come to have a close look at the working of Parliament in totality. The way it functions today hardly leaves any impact on the working of the executive; nor does it inspire the people to hold the countrys supreme political institution in high esteem.
The nation must not allow a further erosion in parliamentary norms and conduct. We no longer follow healthy traditions. It is often seen that leaders remain silent spectators while the members misbehave and hold the House to ransom.
MPs take a lot of liberties. They often seek adjournments of the House and use unparliamentary expressions. What is regrettable is that unparliamentary utterances are ignored by the Speaker by ruling that nothing will go on record. This way we can never raise the standard of our parliamentary democracy. The Rules of Conduct are crystal clear. But these rules have to be enforced irrespective of political considerations.
Take, for instance, Rule 349. It makes it clear that a member shall not interrupt any member while speaking by disorderly expression or noises or anything in a disorderly manner; shall maintain silence when not speaking; shall not obstruct proceedings or interrupt it; shall avoid making running commentaries when another member is speaking; shall not tear off documents in protest; shall not utter derogatory words; shall not use his right of speech for the purpose of obstructing the business of the House.
I have pointed out at length how parliamentarians conduct themselves in practice. As it is, floor management is poor. The Speaker no longer commands the respect and attention he deserves. Leaders of different political parties allow things to drift. The stress is more on creating obstructions and noises without realising that such acts erode the peoples faith in the parliamentary form of democracy.
One main reason for the advocacy of the presidential form of government has been this behaviour pattern by the peoples representatives. Nothing can improve unless parliamentarians conduct themselves with dignity and a sense of responsibility.
The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha should be the shining examples of Indian democracy. The moot point is: who will restore this shine and prestige? The MPs themselves should carry on their business, draw a line between what is desirable and what is undesirable and how they should act within the four walls of the two august Houses.
Equally important is the
fact that only a responsive government can help to build
a responsible Opposition. We still have a long way to go
before we can promote the thinking that the Opposition is
the government in-waiting and hence it needs to be
treated in a responsive manner. It needs to be
appreciated that the democratic process provides us the
only means of modulating and balancing competing
interests and bringing about changes with
reforms in Haryana-II
IF the recent World Bank note on Meeting Indias future power needs is any indication, this patron of reforms continues to harp on agricultural consumers paying the economic cost for power obviously to bring about economic efficiency in the utilities. A necessary condition for economic efficiency is that the price of product equals its long-run marginal social cost (LRMSC) which reflects the social scarcity values and also internalises the environmental costs. As per research undertaken by the Madras School of Economics for the World Research Institute, the LRMSC of electricity supplied to agriculture in India is Rs 7.62 per kWh (capital cost Rs 6.24 and the energy cost Rs 1.38)! This is due to the excessively long and inefficient T&D system with the entire attendant wastage, theft and dacoity, to quote Union Power Minister Rangarajan Kumaramangalam. Will it ever be feasible to make the Haryana farmers pay this economic cost for the electricity supplied to them when the current average price per kWh is only around 50 to 60 paise!
Similarly, the abolition of subsidy to agriculture is easily said than done because despite being skewed, misused and badly mismanaged, agricultural subsidies have social, historical and economic roots. Indian agriculture is a combination of 3S subsistence, subsidy and self-sufficiency. Of these, subsidy is the catalyst which has lifted Indian agriculture from subsistence to self-sufficiency level, and there is need to take it towards a surplus situation. Nevertheless, agriculture is still suffering from adverse terms of trade vis-a-vis other sectors of the economy. The disparity ratio between farm and non-farm incomes has been continuously widening, leading to a skewed economy favouring the minority industrial/trading community at the expense of agriculture-dependent two-thirds of the population. Considering all aspects, the first high-powered committee on Agricultural Policies and Programmes set up by Government of India in 1990 made the following observation: Besides other services, farmers also need social support for their occupation, which is one of the hardest, yet most essential for the survival of mankind. In India the services available to farmers are inadequate, inefficient, and social support lacking and often negative in the sense of being exploitative. This is as relevant today as it was a decade ago.
Under the circumstances a purely market-driven reform policy will continue to flounder at the public and political platforms unless accompanied by tangible and perceivable efficiencies in the end-use delivery of power. Besides, in a low-performing and low-efficiency situation, promoting reforms through a tariff-centred approach to private participation can erect barriers to improve services to low-income groups where the levels of service are already dismal. If the intention is to make utilities viable through a cost-based tariff mechanism, each consumer segment should be made to pay its LRMSC per unit EHT and continuous process industries Rs 2.30; HT industries Rs 2.90; LT industry Rs 6.37; LT agriculture Rs 7.62; LT domestic Rs 5.96 and LT commercial Rs 6.06. With the EHT and HT industries already paying a saturation-level tariff, there is not much scope for cross-subsidisation since large industries would quit the grid and go captive if pressed too hard. Besides, the enforcement of such warped and distorted tariff mechanism is neither feasible nor desirable from the political, economic and social points of view.
So, what is the remedy? How does the power sector become an asset to the states economy instead of being a drag? How does power utilities in Haryana become viable and vibrant? How do GENCO, TRANSCO and DISCOs generate and deliver adequate and good quality power to the various categories of consumers? And how does this core infrastructure attract investment and modern technology from far and near without depending on artificial props like escrow and counter-guarantee? The possible answer is to make mid-course corrections in the reform process and focus on areas that are in the backburner now:
l End-use efficiency should lead the reform process with major investments directed towards the various components of energy efficiency. The heavily subsidised agricultural and residential sectors should be targeted to achieve major energy savings through a judicious blend of agricultural demand side management and residential energy efficiency, which can be converted into utility cash flow.
l The market-centred mindset relying on tariff increase and subsidy elimination to achieve utility viability need to be replaced by a tariff & subsidy management approach wherein the present Indian realities will be taken into account and factored in to realise the twin objectives of utility viability and end-use efficiency.
l Redefining the concept of restructuring to ring-fence in efficiencies and wastages and convert them into opportunities instead of liabilities. For this new organisations need to be structured around revenue streams instead of physical entities like generation, transmission and distribution. Broadly there are three categories of consumers high tariff paying, low tariff paying and no tariff paying. Utilities could augment their cash flow by providing value-added services to the high-paying category, by rationalising the tariff and improving the billing system for the low paying category and by effecting huge energy savings in the no-paying category. By selling the energy thus saved to the high-paying category, utilities could substantantially augment their cash flows and become commercially and financially viable.
To bring this point home succinctly, let us draw on the findings of the Andhra Pradesh Distribution Upgrade and Agricultural DSM Procurement Project and a similar technical demonstration project carried out in Haryana and quantify them in cash terms. These projects have established an energy-saving potential of 60 to 65 per cent by implementing ADSM projects involving four components in a specified area:
(i) Conversion of a low-voltage distribution system to high-voltage, single-phase supply could reduce distribution losses by roughly 65 per cent and virtually eliminate the theft of energy.
(ii) Installation of automated load control equipment to continue to improve the SEBs ability to control the supply of electricity in the rural areas.
(iii) Replacement, rectification and retrofitting of agricultural pumpsets could reduce pumpset electricity consumption by roughly 50 per cent.
(iv) Measurement and verification of energy savings through the metering of feeders and pumpsets could quantify the energy saved for commercial review and decision making.
Based on this empirical finding, it would be possible to quantify the benefits of pursuing an agricultural demand side management (ADSM) route for achieving utility viability and profitability. Let us consider the case of Haryana where power is supplied to agriculture at a highly subsidised rate and, to be on the conservative side, assume energy saving of 30 per cent instead of the 60 to 65 per cent estimated. In 1997-98 the Haryana State Electricity Board supplied 3900 million units of power to agriculture (42 per cent of total sales) involving a subsidy of Rs 6800 million. In the event of implementing ADSM on the above lines in a phased manner, there would be a saving of 1170 million units without in any way reducing the acreage irrigated. With the LRMSC of LT agriculture at Rs 7.62, the HSEB would have saved a whopping Rs 8915 million. Assuming this power being sold to industries at the HT industry LRMSC of Rs 2.90, the board would have earned an additional revenue of Rs 3400 million. Such an initiative would help in detecting and billing rural industries and palatial houses that stealthily draw subsidised power. This would further augment the SEB cash flow. With this kind of cash generated on a sustained basis, the HSEB would be able to modernise, upgrade and host-independent power projects without going through the endless hassles of escrow and revenue stream. The bonus would be a big boost to efficient water use, which are badly needed in Haryana, positive greenhouse gas reduction and environmental spin-offs.
ADSM could be supplemented by a residential energy efficiency (REE) drive targeting the meter and the equipment/gadgets consuming energy. Experts feel that a well-conceived and implemented REE initiative could yield about 10 per cent energy savings and correct the power factor of consumers to 0.9 lag which will have a salutary effect on grid quality and reliability. Agriculture and domestic sectors together consume a high 61 per cent of the electricity sold in the state and they pay the least. Adopting the tariff increase and subsidy elimination route would take decades to make these sectors contribute positively towards utility viability. In the meantime an enormous quantity of electricity generated and transported at a huge cost and damage to the environment would continue to get pilfered, stolen and wasted. If this continues private in vestments will also dry up over a period of time since according to the CEO of a leading power developer, Distribution sink in India is inefficient, loss making, unaccountable, subject to political interference and into which power sector investments are disappearing. And the reform process, whose primary goal is to boost investment, is driven merely by restructuring and unbundling at the top and not integrating end-user efficiency of power delivery.
It is time the reformers and the decision-makers took a hard look at the realities on the ground, what the reforms have achieved in relation to these realities and in what direction it is proceeding. It is time for review and change of course to end-use efficiency. The sooner it is done the better. This is particularly so for a state like Haryana where it will be difficult for market considerations of price and profit to sustain as reform objectives. The need of the day is to lay down a different set of goals and objectives. This could be to enable the states power sector to emerge as a viable, credible, vibrant and professional entity, delivering adequate, cost effective and good quality power to its consumers. And having defined such a proactive vision, it will be prudent for Haryana to design and pursue an end-user-oriented reform policy and process with ADSM and REE as its main components, supported by structural changes where necessary to achieve the set goals.
IN a few days from now, Mr Vajpayee will be meeting with President Clinton. It will be a momentous occasion. Ten rounds of talks have already taken place between India and America to prepare the two countries for this meeting. It has no precedence in Indo-US relations.
Clinton is one of the most educated Presidents to occupy the Oval office. We should, therefore, engage him at the highest level of our awareness of the human predicament.
I do not know what transpired at the meetings earlier. So, I can only offer Mr Vajpayee my thoughts and concerns. Naturally, they cover a wide area.
Samuel Huntington says: ...differences among civilisations are not only real, they are basic. Civilisations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition and most important, religion. These differences are products of centuries. They will not soon disappear.
And yet America has tried to impose its way of life on the rest of the world. This can lead to a conflict of civilisations. But what has happened to Americas belief in choice? Should there be no choice in how we choose our destiny? What if the American way of life turns out to be a disaster? Such things have happened before in history. Two in recent times; the choice of Nazism and Communism.
India believes in peace and cooperation; America in competition and violence. Our differences are fundamental. Clinton must know that we have a right to pursue our genius our inner light.
We are living in a world of sensational developments of new reproductive technologies and designer babies. In short, in a world in which the West is engaged in creating a new man (a zombie?), who can work in the Wests fields and factories. This is playing God. This is technology gone crazy. Is this the future that America is planning for man? India does not subscribe to this kind of progress.
We are told to the end of history and ideology. Yet America launches a new ideology the utopia of the market. This is a more crazy theory than anything that we have known. Man is not the end of this ideology!
With globalisation, geo-economics has replaced geo-politics. Globalisation is presented as mankinds unique and historic opportunity to advance its destiny. Those who are opposed to it see it as a force of disintegration.
A study done by UKs Department of International Development said that economic liberalisation (following globalisation) in India has failed to reduce poverty despite sweeping policy changes initiated since 1991.
As per UNCTAD, the number of poorest countries has gone up from 25 to 48 since 1971. Only one country managed to escape from this trap Botswana.
With this kind of evidence, the world cannot support globalisation. But America is determined to pursue it because it serves its interests.
It is time India told America et al that our acceptance of globalisation was conditional, that India has ceased to have faith in the promises of globalisation.
In trying to privatise every public economic activity, the advocates of the market mantra have only one objective: to remove all democratic controls over our economic life. In short, to take away from us what little control we have over our destiny. We must be careful in giving up our sovereignty.
It has been said that America needs an enemy. The Trilateral Commission, the soul of the West, seems to think so. It predicts that the challenge of the 21st century to the Trilateral countries (North America, Europe, Japan) will come from India, China and Russia. India? What challenge? India a threat to America?
The US House of Representatives Asia-Pacific Sub-Committee has urged President Clinton to broaden our special relationship with India into a strategic relationship. Does this involve making a country or two our enemies? If so we should be less enthusiastic about this American enterprise.
Be that as it may, a strategic relation between the two can be meaningful, even in a limited sense, only if the USA promotes Indias admission to the UN Security Council as a permanent member and recognises India as a member of the nuclear club. And Clinton must cease talking of India being under Chinese sphere of influence.
Our strength is in our brains. India will do better in knowledge industries than in manufacturing and mining. Let us promote knowledge industries. What is more, it saves our raw materials. It will be suicidal, therefore, if we de-emphasise higher education. The Central Government has done well in planning to create dozens of world class centres of learning. Our advantage is in white collar jobs, not in blue collar ones.
This is not to say that we should neglect primary education. This is necessary in the overall interest of the economy. It is true, with automation of manufacturing, workers will need higher education. We should plan for it.
India has advantage in a number of other knowledge-based services like medicine,engineering, space, pharmaceuticals, etc. These can be delivered online. We should promote joint ventures in these fields with the advanced countries.
The outstanding success of the Resurgent India Bonds in raising over $ 4.3 billion within a month or so abroad, mostly from NRIs, showed that India is not helpless. We should know our strength. If China is able to defy America, it is largely because it can rely on the overseas Chinese. All this implies a new policy towards the NRIs, especially NRIs of America.
Let us no more press for free labour movement in the world. Mixed societies are no more manageable. Nowhere there is harmony.
Today, through the Internet, a country like India can export labour without their having to leave India. We must, therefore, use our skills in the English language to promote remote processing. America offers the largest market for this. This is a new vista. We must promote it. McKinsey say that India can earn as much as $ 50 billion per year. But for this to happen we must create infrastructure and facilities, as also knowledge.
It is unfortunate that only Mr Vajpayee and two state leaders Chandrababu Naidu and S.M. Krishna are associated with these frontier developments. It is time, Mr Prime Minister, to send the politicians back to school.
There is a growing glut of computer specialists in this country. But many of those who had gone abroad had to return as their qualifications were found inadequate for enterprise resource planning (ERP) by large companies. This has brought Indian training methods into disrepute. The Government of India and State Governments cannot allow this state of affairs to continue. Bad coins drive out the good ones. After India became a major source of ERP specialists, hundreds of teaching shops have come up. Most of them charge as much as Rs 150,000 for a three months course. This is loot. There must be a check on these matters.
Today there are a number of things going in Indias favour. For example, the growth of the Indo-US caucus at Capitol Hill. Its strength is about 115. There is then the growing business group with interest in India. Naturally, US business and industry are now an important factor in opposing the anti-India lobby.
Yet another development
in Indias favour is the rapid growth of the
million-strong Indian-Americans. We rely on them to
defend India and promote its interests. Neither the
Democrats nor the Republicans can ignore this highly
educated and wealthy community. One day, they are bound
to exercise the kind of influence that the Jews have been
exercising in America. The growth of the Indian caucus is
itself a reflection of the growth of the
THE announcement made in a Reuters telegram that Lord Reading is going Home in April on short leave to confer with Lord Birkenhead, Lord Lytton acting as Viceroy during the period, will set speculation on foot in India as to what is going to be the subject matter of this conference.
Is it the Reforms Committees report, as to which it has been authoritatively announced that the Government has not yet come to any decision and will not take any action until the Legislature has had an opportunity of considering it?
Such opportunity may not improbably be afforded some time this month, and if our surmise is correct, the Government will then refrain from expressing any definite opinion on the ground that the matter is still under consideration between His Majestys Secretary of State and the Government of India and that no definite statement of policy is possible until the Viceroy has met Lord Birkenhead.
Such an attitude on the
part of the Government will not be unwelcome if the whole
question of the reforms policy, which is believed to have
been opened up by the minority report, will be seriously
considered at the ensuing conference.
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