Malnourished India gifts $2bn to the EU – M.D. Nalapat

Prof. M.D. Nalapat“Tragically, India’s leaders are generous only with the money of the common citizen. They themselves continue to live in the same luxury as did the British colonial rulers in the era before “freedom” came to the Sub-continent. The top leaders travel in special aircraft, at huge cost, while 300 million people in the country starve each night. Each of them has a retinue of several hundred security personnel, most of whom are there only to “shock and awe” the ordinary citizen with the might and majesty of the powerful.” – Prof. Nalapat

Winston ChurchillAlthough India’s ruling politicians ignore the fact, especially during their frequent travels abroad, the reality is that more citizens of the world’s most populous democracy go to bed hungry each night than do in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than 300 million Indians are malnourished, a testament to the fact that nearly seven decades in power has not been enough for the country’s leaders to wipe away the poverty that descended on the country during British rule. While several Mughal emperors were cruel, and more than a few of them rapacious, yet in 1820 the Indian sub-continent accounted for 23% of global output. Indeed, the very battleship in which Lord Nelson defeated the French at Trafalgar was made in India. However, colonial policy was designed to choke off local manufactures so as to encourage the import of goods from the UK. Hence by the time the Union Jack was lowered from Delhi for the last time on August 14,1947, the sub-continent was contributing less than 1% to global output. Churchill had further succeeded in ensuring the death of 9 million in famines that rolled across North India during the 1939-45 war with Germany and Japan.

P. ChidambaramWealth was drained from India to Europe – principally the UK – for many generations. And now, once again, a similar process is unfolding. While there has been some comment on the Commonwealth Games scam, the reality is that for years, practically every major procurement has been a scam. In the case of the “modernisation” of large airports, for instance, equipment has been sourced mainly from suppliers in Europe, and there is talk within the bureaucracy that a particular political family with close links to a European country was behind several of the contracts. While Home Minister Chidambaram has forbidden the security agencies from monitoring the activities of this family and its relatives abroad, concerned officials say that the latter are acting as middle persons in facilitating mega-deals between Indian government and private agencies and suppliers based in the EU. Altogether, the volume of such transactions is reported to have crossed $ 6 billion in as many years. Only in the case of the Commonwealth Games procurements has there been any official enquiry into such purchases, and even here, the Central Bureau of Investigation is more concerned about protecting those higher up than the jailed MP, Suresh Kalmadi, from exposure than it is in finding out the truth. Small wonder, as selection to the CBI is made from among those officials most pliable to political and other pressure.

Manmohan SinghWith all the money flowing from India towards the EU economies – cash earned not by a dysfunctional government nor even by corporates but by the sweat of millions of Indian nationals toiling in foreign countries – it would seem that there was no need for Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh ( the duo who run India) to fork out $2 billion in what is in effect a cash dole to the EU. Even schoolchildren are aware that the money so generously being given to European countries by the IMF will never come back, given the fact that not only the PIGS ( Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) are bankrupt, but Italy and in fact, France, as well. Only by bluff is the EU avoiding default, a bluff in which international rating agencies are playing a shameful role. These have consistently sought to artificially raise the cost of borrowing in Asia by giving low scores to local economies, while keeping borrowing costs low in Europe and in North America by giving scores that are absurdly high. The US, for example, has a Triple A rating when the country is bankrupt and is relying on China, Japan and the GCC to avoid a slide into financial chaos. China in particular, based mostly on the advice given to the Chinese Communist Party by economists and others trained in the US and Europe, has invested a dangerously large amount in the US dollar and in the Euro. This $3 trillion hoard would have been better invested in real resources across the world than in money assets that have weak fundamentals.

Sonia GandhiIt is understood that both Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh have been eager that India show itself to be a “responsible stakeholder” by forking out cash to the stricken European economies. Generosity to other countries has been a hallmark of the gentle Prime Minister of India. In 1993, he agreed to allow Russia to convert its worthless roubles at a rate many times in excess of what the market – that he constantly talks about – was decreeing. As a result, India has ended up paying a subsidy of nearly $15 billion to Moscow. Tragically, India’s leaders are generous only with the money of the common citizen. They themselves continue to live in the same luxury as did the British colonial rulers in the era before “freedom” came to the Sub-continent. The top leaders travel in special aircraft, at huge cost, while 300 million people in the country starve each night. Each of them has a retinue of several hundred security personnel, most of whom are there only to “shock and awe” the ordinary citizen with the might and majesty of the powerful. The VVIPs stay in huge colonial bungalows, each of which costs upwards of $50 million, while just a few kilometers away are festering slums denied the amenities needed for a proper existence. It is in this spirit of waste for VVIPs and starvation for the poor that $2 billion has been gifted, and with more to follow. The indications are that the total asked for from India is $5 billion, so that the country can be “fully responsible”.

Begging in Udaipur, RajastanBureaucrats known for their loyalty to political dynasties have been placed in key posts, so that they may continue to protect their patrons. There is therefore little chance of accountability. Meanwhile, the Sonia-Manmohan team go about seeking to shut down Indian business by constantly raising the cost of borrowing. In just the past year, interest rates for Industry have gone up by nearly 4%. Given that the profit of most enterprises is only about 7%,this means that a higher interest bill has wiped out the bulk of profit. As a consequence, investment in fresh plant and machinery has been stopped, and hiring has slowed down. Under the Sonia-Manmohan team, annual increase in productive employment is less than 10% of what it was under Vajpayee, despite the shrill sounds of “concern for the poor” with which political speeches are so liberally peppered. Should the

Pranab MukherjeeReserve Bank of India continue to follow the Sonia-Manmohan line of ever-rising interest rates ( which is the policy favoured by the EU, China and the US for India, as it ensures that Indian companies get handicapped in competing globally), then several sectors of the economy are going to get sick within a year, especially Telecom and Infrastructure. The result will be a loss of confidence in the banking system, because of a huge increase in loans that the companies will no longer be able to repay.

Raisina Road & North Block in New DelhiOn the one hand, companies are ordered to purchase expensive equipment sourced from abroad because of the secret pressure of political families with links to foreign suppliers. On the other, the cost of money has been raised to a level that is making commercial activity un-economic. Not that any of this is of concern to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the man who in the 1980s – again as Finance Minister – argued against colour television technology being developed in India, “as citizens should make do with black & white television”. Of course, it would be wrong to blame Mukherjee, for the inhabitants of Raisina Road ( India’s Beltway) now that the hapless Finance Minister can do little other than obey “orders from the top”. Meanwhile, foreign suppliers based in Europe have worked out an effective way of competing with cheaper products sourced from Asian countries. They ensure that their intelligence and security agencies pass on warnings about Asian suppliers to their Indian counterparts. Seven decades after “freedom”, India’s security agencies still believe implicitly in what they are told by UK, French and other agencies. As a result, while European suppliers are getting Red Carpet treatment, Asian suppliers are being blocked from competing,” on grounds of national security” which of course no one can argue about, and the reasons for which are never made public. And with good reason, for the fact is that several such decisions have been taken for commercial reasons rather than on genuine grounds of national security. It is a sad development when the Hidden IMFHands behind mega-procurement from abroad can manipulate agencies so as to ensure the success of the suppliers that they have links with. These same foreign companies also use Indian agents to blacken the reputation of those few Indian agencies that refuse to cooperate in their selfish designs. Recently, there has been a campaign of calumny against selected security agencies, carried out by known agents of foreign countries and enterprises, a campaign in which an unsuspecting media has participated In the midst of all this confusion, perhaps a further $3 billion gift of cash will be sent from starving India to well-fed Europe via the IMF. Truly, the world is an amazing place! – Pakistan Observer, Islamabad

» Prof. Nalapat is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Kanataka State, India.

5 Responses

  1. BEYOND HEADLINES: It’s Official – US-Based Ford Foundation Funding Anna’s Movement – Afroz Alam Sahil & S.Z. Saleem

    New Delhi: The recent hue and cry raised about the “foreign hand” in the Anna Hazare-led ‘mass’ movement seems to have got answers in reply to a query filed by BeyondHeadlines under the Right to Information (RTI) to Manish Sisodia’s brainchild Kabir. Kabir had revealed that it had received funding from various sources, including the controversial Michigan (United States)-based Ford Foundation.

    It may be recalled that the Congress party has questioned US unusual and unexpected stand on the ongoing anti-graft movement in India. Also the Ford Foundation allegedly has links with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    In reply to an RTI query that questioned the funding and expenditure of Kabir, the organisation has disclosed that they have received funds from the Ford Foundation (Rs 86,61,742), PRIA (Rs 2,37,035), Manjunath Shanmugam Trust (Rs 3,70,000), Dutch Embassy (Rs 19,61,968), Association for India’s Development (Rs 15,00,000), India’s friends Association (Rs 7,86,500), United Nationals Development Programme (Rs12,52,742) while Rs 11,35,857 were collected from individual donations between 2007 to 2010.

    Interestingly, a major part of the funding to an organisation that is prominent in the “War against corruption” has come from abroad and mainly from the United States. Apar from the UNDP, Ford Foundation and the India Friends Association are US-based organisations, while PRIA and Association for India’s Development are headquartered in Asia.

    The funding of the anti-graft movement has gained prominence after the exhorbitant amounts being spent on campaigning for the movement in the form of bulk SMSs, t-shirts, caps, flags and the other means adopted by the civil society activists, demanding their own version of the Lokpal Bill.

  2. Deccan Chronicle: Are crusaders using Anna?

    Anna Hazare, the nation’s latest face against corruption, is being viewed by a section as merely a “tool“ used by Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and the father-son duo of Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan.

    Sources disclosed that sensing the campaign against corruption, which hit the government with a series of 2G exposes, the team of four started to look around for a credible face.

    Speaking to this newspaper on condition of anonymity, a member of India Against Corruption (IAC) disclosed that when the Kejriwal team failed to make any impact on the issue of corruption and get Ms Kiran Bedi posted as CIC chief, it zeroed in on Anna Hazare to plan the next move.

    “Kejriwal went and met Anna at his village in Maharashtra and convinced him to join their movement against corruption,“ the member claimed.

    Earlier, Mr Hazare had been a part of the K-Team only to endorse their move to install Ms Bedi as CIC chief following the retirement of Mr Wajahat Habibullah, sources said. The team failed to put her in the post.

    Mr Kejriwal, along with other civil society activists, including M Aruna Roy, ha been working for a strong Lokpal Bill. Sources dis closed that difference had cropped up after M Roy was appointed a National Advisory Council member. It wa for the first time that M Roy and Mr Kejriwa stood on opposite sides Mr Kejriwal had worked extensively with Ms Roy in the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKKS). “In fact, he wa tutored by Aruna Roy, sources said.

    However, Mr Kejriwa had other plans. The IAC member said M Kejriwal, along with Ms Bedi and th Bhushans, decided to make the Lokpal Bill th s main weapon to fight cors ruption and simultane ously emerge into the limelight. Mr Hazare’s s clean image made Mr s Kejriwal choose him as the movement’s mascot.

    Before Ms Roy and other s civil society members s realised it, Mr Kejriwal l had “stolen the thunder“, . the IAC member said.

    An IIT topper, Mr Kejriwal made extensive use of the Internet to shape his s campaign. Facebook, blog “ posts, YouTube and Twitter were used to l build momentum. “We worked round the clock,“ r the member said. “A media house with an antie establishment slant was selected for publicie ty,“ he disclosed.

  3. Prof. Nalapat has not got it right this time. Anna is being used by a Gang of Four for their own undemocratic purposes.

    We are all against corruption. But this is not the way to solve the problem.

    A Lokpal ombudsman will only be one more person to bribe.

  4. It is an interesting link http://nancho.net/fdlap/ What is Sonia doing there? Why is Indian media silent about this?

  5. http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=109658

    Another good one by MD Nalapat. Again in Pak observer. Is he not allowed to write in Indian media? Some vignettes very good ones from the article.

    First one

    When the BJP rules, they take out their Sanskrit phrase book and speak with authority of the ancient classics, while during Congress rule, they show off their knowledge of French wines, aware that Europe has a special place in Sonia Gandhi’s heart. In the infrequent intervals when smaller parties grab the Prime Ministership, such scribes abandon their Savile Row suits for rough homespun pyjama-kurta,and speak in Hindi rather than in English or (even better) French. Small wonder that fr years, several of these “defenders of the public interest against the establishment” were each given talk shows by the national broadcaster, Prasar Bharati. These usually comprised of interview formats that were of such scintillating brilliance that not even their spouses could bear to watch a full segment. Of course, despite the nil viewership, several lakhs of rupees were paid each month to each “independent editor” by the state broadcaster.

    Second one

    Small wonder that there has been an amazing transformation in the lives of the Sarkari journalists over the past two decades. Most have exchanged tiny flats for impressive mansions, and routinely send their children abroad to expensive educational institutions for study. The price of such munificence is silence about VVIPs, the very section of Indian society that accounts for much of the country’s problems. Despite frequent boasts about India being a democracy, the mainstream media is almost totally silent about the rampant wrongdoing indulged in by VVIPs and their friends and relatives. Thus, the public remain ignorant about the frequency of the foreign travel of the VVIP set, or of their business interests and personal lives. Even something as non-controversial as health is kept a close secret, as witness the total blackout over the health condition of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The result is rumor, with some saying that she has a skin cancer, while others aver that it is a brain tumor. Such reticence would be unthinkable in Europe or in North America, but is taken for granted in the feudal culture of South Asia, where some aspects of politics resemble the situation in North Korea more than they do a genuine democracy.

    Third one

    This was the modus operandi used under both the Vajpayee as well as the Manmohan Singh governments to enable the fugitive influence peddler from Italy, Ottavio Quatrocchi, to be acquitted in both Malaysia as well as in Argentina.

    Fourth one ( This one is interesting to come from PAK MEDIA AND THE CROOKS IN INDIAN MEDIA WRITE ALL JUNK)

    War on Corruption that is led by Anna Hazare,Sri Sri Ravishankar and Baba Ramdev.Of the three,it is Sri Sri Ravishankar who has the greatest following,that too across the globe. All three are secular leaders. While Hazare is a social activist, Sri Sri Ravishankar is the founder of the Art of Living,that teaches an individual to adopt a harmonious lifestyle. Baba Ramdev teaches yoga,the ancient science of exercises designed to improve health. All three have united to lead the effort to ensure that the India of the 21st century gets free of the filth of the India of the 20th,an era in which only the unethical have jumped ahead,while the honest languish

    Fifth one ( again a surprise from ….)

    Anna and Sri Sri say that only the honest can catch the crooked,so they should be given the authority to do so.No wonder India’s well-fed political class is reaching for blood pressure medication.

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