Population Policy: Urgent need of hour

Every year India adds to its population, the population of countries such as Cameroon (14.7 mn), Kazakhstan (15.4 mn), Madagascar (15.1mn) and Netherlands (15.8mn). UN demographers estimate that by the year 2016, India will have more people than in Europe and in the next 3 decades we will overtake China as most populous nation.

You will be surprised to know that India was the first nation to have a population policy but the policy has not achieved the target it was supposed to. It is very important to rework on the policy to control the population. The uncontrollable population is the root cause of various problems engulfing our nation. There is problem of water, power, housing, diminishing forest area, global warming, depleting natural resources, healthcare, unemployment etc. Let me try to explain you how the population is hampering the infrastructure development of our country.

1. Imagine that the government plans to open a new University in region X for Y students. By the time University gets functional after few years, we have (Y+Z) students but the seats available are Y only. Thus Z numbers of students fail to get seat despite scoring high percentage of marks.

2. Government plans a bridge/fly over for A Vehicles to reduce traffic. By the time the bridge is ready, we have (A+B) vehicles on street ready to use the bridge. Result, the problem of congestion continues.

3. The population is constantly increasing but the available natural resources are limited. So this leads to scarcity.

4. The production of wheat in our country has stagnated for last 4-5 years but the population has not. Hence their is more demand but the supply remains same. Result- Impending wheat crisis.

5. The ratio of increase in population and creation of job is not linear. Hence there is rising rate of unemployment.

If I try to imagine a step further. Then with growing population and limited resources, a tension will creep in various states of India. Already, we have seen similar cases in Maharashtra and Karnataka. The states having large number of jobs will be forced to have reservation for locals. There will be laws to prohibit influx of population from other states. This will lead to chaos among people from other states. We will be pushed on the verge of civil war where there will be fight over food and water. We will never be able to beat poverty.

Today also, if you compare American or European poverty line, you will find that 85 per cent Indians are living below poverty line as per American or European standards of Germany and America. With this population growth rate we will never be able to achieve the vision of being a developed nation.

So what is the solution?

The solutions lie in reworking the policies and motivating people to have smaller family. There is need to have more awareness among masses. The literacy rate should be improved. Moreover, if our government seriously tries to solve the problem then it must ensure better standard of living for the current population. The religious leaders should also ask the people to focus on better living than bigger family.

Few more ways can be:

1. A candidate can not contest election if he has more than two children.

2. Tax benefits

3. Poor families who agree to have two kids only should be given some special incentive in form of ration or job.

4. Reservation benefit should be given to only those families who have only two kids.

These are my suggestions. Proper policies on this regard can be framed and we must be able to evolve something.

But will it happen?

It can happen only if the political parties are determined enough to implement the policies stringently. As of now, I cannot look at any party, which will be interested in this. But I want to make one point very clear that a democracy won’t be able to survive the large population. There will be total discord and anarchy if this growth is not controlled.

The Challenges ahead for UPA Government

The people of the country have voted United Progressive Alliance to form the government. Dr Manmohan Singh and his new team will be formulated by the end of next week. But the faith and expectations that people have in the abilities of Dr Singh will be the tough task for the alliance. Though Left parties are off the shoulders of the Congress but still they need to deliver on few of the key issues at great pace. There are few areas which need to be looked after with immediate concern and rectify the problems gripping these areas. 

The first and foremost will be to revive the economy. With India’s best economist in the driver’s seat, a lot is being expected from the new government. PM has said in one the election rally that he will revive the economy in 100 days. Well that might be too optimistic approach but definitely a lot needs to be done to bring economy on 9-10% growth. He also needs to tackle the job losses due to current crisis. The stimulus packages need to cover both of the problems together. 

The second challenge will be the internal security and robust foreign policy. There is growing concern with volatile neighbours around. Taliban is barely 500 km away from India and hence it is imperative to revamp the security and intelligence agencies. There should be special law to prosecute the ones caught for waging war against the nation. The Police needs an overhaulment on priority basis and they should be equipped with latest gadgets and weapons. The home growth threat of naxalites should also be taken care off. Without peace all the efforts to make India stronger and leader in economy will be futile.  

The third biggest challenge for the government will be bringing the agricultural growth back on track. Not only the growth rate of agriculture sector is low but also the share of the sector in country’s GDP has come down drastically in past some years. The problem of low rate of capital investment, smaller capital formation and low share in the national income are some of the main problems facing by this sector that needs to be addressed very urgently. There are many reasons for this crisis, which mainly includes absence of adequate social support, uncertainty of agricultural enterprise in India, lack of credit availability etc. Need of the hour is to increase the productivity of the primary sector by ushering in a new green  revolution to raise the annual average growth rate of this sector to about five per cent per annum. 

One of the other major concerns should be the legitimate demand of the forces. Personally i feel this should be top agenda as well. For long time, they have not been deprived of their due by bureaucrats and policy makers. Indian Armed Forces are finding it tough to attract youth and is facing shortage of officers. If the Army cannot get youth just for the sake of low renumeration, then future is really bleak for our country. A nation is as strong as the military of that nation. Hence it will be good in the interest of this nation that the demand of Armed Forces is paid heed and their grievances are solved at the earliest. We cannot show callousness towards our soldiers who sacrifice so much for the safety of the borders and us.  Hopefully, the new government will do something positive on this front as well.  

There is tough task ahead for the new government. The way in which new cabinet will handle these issues remain interesting. Only time will tell whether Dr MMS can deliver in the tough time. I feel that he will be able to as there are no clutches of Left this time.

70,00,000 Crores Indian Rupees In Swiss Bank….wat a great achievement….!!!!

Our Indians’ Money – 70,00,000 Crores Rupees In Swiss Bank*

1) Yes, 70 lakhs crores rupees of India are lying in Switzerland banks. This is the highest amount lying outside any country, from amongst 180 countries of the world, as if India is the champion of Black Money.

2) German Government has officially written to Indian Government that they (German Government) are willing to inform the details of holders of 70 lakh crore rupees in their Banks, if Indian Government officially asks them.

3) On 22-5-08, this news has already been published in The Times of India and other Newspapers based on German Government’s official letter to Indian Government.

4) But the Indian Government has not sent any official enquiry to Germany for details of money which has been sent outside India
between 1947 to 2008. The opposition party is also equally not interested in doing so because most of the amount is owned by politicians and it is every Indian’s money.

5) This money belongs to our country. From these funds we can repay 13 times of our country’s foreign debt. The interest alone can take care of the Centre’s yearly budget. People need not pay any taxes and we can pay Rs. 1 lakh to each of 45 crore poor families.

6) Let us imagine, if Swiss Bank is holding Rs. 70 lakh crores, then how much money is lying in other 69 Banks? How much they have deprived the Indian people? *Just think, if the Account holder dies, the bank becomes the owner of the funds in his account.*

7) Are these people totally ignorant about the philosophy of *Karma*? What will this ill-gotten wealth do to them and their families when they own/use such money, generated out of corruption and exploitation?

8) Indian people have read and have known about these facts. But the helpless people have neither time nor inclination to do anything in the matter. This is like “a new freedom struggle” and we will have to fight this.

9) This money is the result of our sweat and blood. The wealth generated and earned after putting in lots of mental and physical efforts by Indian people must be brought back to our country.

10) As a service to our motherland and you contribution to this struggle, please circulate at least 10 copies of this note amongst your friends and relatives and convert it into a mass movement.

Note: I got this article as an email forwarded from my friend. I validated few of the points hwihc are correct as well but cannot claim to be fully authentic. But it is well known fact that their is huge amount of black money lying in the foreign banks.

And the farmer suicide continues….

BILL BRYSON once said that there are only three things that can kill a farmer: lightning, rolling over in a tractor, and old age. He would have not mentioned only these three things, had he been to Vidarbha in Maharshtra.

Vidarbha has been in limelight for some time because of the farmer suicides in recent years ostensibly because of the falling minimum support price for cotton. The problem that Vidarbha farmers are facing is really complex and is precisely because of the lopsided policies of WTO and developed nation which has made cotton of Vidarbha uncompetitive in world markets.

India is a land where more than 60 per cent of population is into the farming but unfortunately the globalisation and better economy has failed to boost agriculture in the country. Last year, P Chidambaram in the Union budget announced Rs 72,000 crores relief package for the farmers but the recent figures clearly states the ineffectiveness of the same.

Figures available with the Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swawalamban Mission, the authority implementing the loan-waiver package, show 1,139 farmers killed themselves in Vidarbha’s six most suicide-prone districts in 2008 — a mere 107 less than in 2007, when 1,246 farmers committed suicide.

Every passing day there is news of more farmers committing suicides.

The main reasons for the failure of the loan waiver scheme are that:

Only a handful of farmers have received the money to date

Because local banks are yet to receive the bulk of funds

Even worse, many here didn’t qualify the for waiver

The average land holding is above the 2 hectare cut off

What farmers need for their survival is income, and not so much debt relief; in other words, the country needs agricultural renewal and productivity improvement.

A farmer is being neglected in his own country. There is no body which can understand or is really interested to understand the problems of a farmer. Annadaata is starving and we are looking on callously.

We haven’t bothered to stand up for the cause of our fellow country men. Why? Why is it that the voices of our farmers are being over heard by all the bodies? What are we waiting for?

As a common citizen I know that we only feel the pinch of the situation when we start to get affected by the same. Probably, we are waiting for the time when farmers will pick up guns and explode bombs to make deaf people/government hear their voices. We have discussed about cross border terrorism so much but in process we have forgotten the ‘economic terrorism’, where the victims are farmers and only farmers!

Indian Economy Slightly Better Poised than other Emerging Economies

THE WORST ever financial crisis to have ravaged the United States since the Great Depression of 1930s, has taken a heavy toll on the world’s largest economy. There is rise in the number of job layoffs and cost cutting. In fact, all the economies of the world are facing crisis to tackle this global meltdown. The meltdown has led to shock waves across the world, with economy after economy gasping for breath to survive this financial tsunami.

Citigroup on Monday (November 17), decided to lay off 53000 employees in the coming months and slash its expenditure by 20 per cent next year. The measures are part of the Citigroup’s efforts to overcome the huge losses it has suffered in the last four straight quarters, including $2.8 billion in the third quarter.

Recently, HSBC announced its plan to shed 500 jobs in Asia, following the slump. The bank decided to trim its work force because of ’organizsational changes in a number of areas as well as the deteriorating economic conditions and our cautious outlook for 2009’, Peter Wong, an executive director for Hong Kong and China, said in an internal message released by the bank. Now DLF has also frozen few of its plans and has cut down few jobs as well. “We must have laid off some employees somewhere,” DLF chairman KP Singh told reporters on the sidelines of India Economic Summit, but did not give the number of jobs that were cut.

Our finance minister has maintained that India will not be much affected by the recession but the fact remains that Indian Inc are getting hit by this slump worldwide. The stock market in the country has crashed in last few months.

The Sensex fell 353 points to end at 8,937 levels while in the broader markets Nifty closed lower by 116 points at 2,683 today. The investors have been dampened by the global recession and corporate layoffs. Investors are discomforted by news, the financial sector is still struggling. The entire world seems to be sinking into recession. Indians all over the world are very susceptible to the recession and are living on edge. There are hardly any new jobs available in the market and retaining one’s job can be considered to be a luxury.

There is no doubt that if the global economies suffer then India is also bound to suffer. But the very fact that India is a domestic consumption- and investment-driven market where contribution of exports to the growth is not as big goes in its favour to tackle this crisis in a much better way than few of the other emerging economies. The inflation rate has also reached in some what comfortable zone and thus economists believe that the government has more room now to focus on the growth rate of our economy.

Why Indian students go abroad?

Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge or Yale? A dilemma of Atlantic proportions for the Indian students for these universities not only have the patina of history and heritage attached to them but also offer a wide array of opportunities in todays world.
There has been a growing trend of Indian students going abroad for education. In the past decade whether it is America, the United Kingdom or Australia, the number of Indian students going to study overseas has risen tremendously so much so that in 2007, maximum students going to US for further studies were Indians. This was the first time that India went past China. There has been such an increase in the number of students going abroad that even international carriers are cashing in by offering special fares and packages to students. The favoured destinations of the Indian students include the universities of America, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. More than fifty percent of the students opt for US for higher studies.
But to think of it why do students choose to go abroad. To begin with there are capacity constraints in the Indian universities. More than ninety percent of the students who appear for the entrance examinations to the IITs and the IIMs do not make it through and the colleges that are now being offered to them lack in quality of infrastructure. If the Indian universities were compared with the American ones, a startling fact would be revealed. To begin with there are just 4,400 AICTE approved universities in India whereas in a country there are more than 10,000 universities and this despite the fact that India is home to the highest number of young people in the world. This is another reason why india fals to attract barely any foreign students whereas more than five lakh students from different parts of the world flock to the American universities every year. The number of specialization courses as well as scholarships and fee waivers available abroad are also high.
The students going abroad have been great advertisements for India. India has exported the most sought after commodity in the world-Talent. Winston Churchill had once said, “Empires of the future will be empires of the minds”. Brand India may not have had all its glitter if it weren’t for the list of the thousands of Global Indian achievers. How the foreign universities help the students is by transforming young talented students into world class skilled professionals. The students who choose to go abroad have several benefits. There is an emphasis on practical learning as opposed to theoretical learning thus conceptual clarity is the key in any course abroad. The foreign universities have the best in technology and infrastructure to offer whereas the infrastructure in many of the Indian universities is woeful. The world is a globalised village and hence it is imperative that students develop a global perspective. This is made possible due to interaction between students from various backgrounds. The teachers in India may not be paid enough but in foreign universities they are committed to mentoring and guiding the students. Placements and career opportunities are also better abroad. Moreover students get to study in some of the best universities of the world. Thus going overseas for education is being looked upon at as not just a harbinger of limitless opportunities for the students but also as a potent catalyst in the strengthening of the Indian economy.

Inflation: The Real Cause of Hunger

IN THE last decade or so India has made progress in tackling the hunger and malnutrition, but the latest global hunger index (GHI) report says that the situation is still very critical in the country. India ranks 66th on the 2008 GHI of 88 countries, a report released by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said. India has secured 23.7 points in the index, which is down by 8.8 points from 1990. The index ranked countries on a 100-point scale, with zero being the best score having no hunger and 100 being the worst.

Food riots have broken out in many countries, as people struggle with the rising costs of basic food material. A silent tsunami, which knows no borders, is sweeping the world and India can face maximum trouble. Indian agriculture has been in crisis for many years and the country is now facing high inflation and rising food prices. Yet, our political leadership has not gone beyond pandering to political interests and has not done anything about reforming agriculture, increasing yields or improving storage facilities.

The nation has shown great economic progress, but GHI has asserted that India is lacking in fight against hunger. The index was based on three indicators namely, prevalence of child malnutrition, rates of child mortality and proportion of people, who are calorie deficient.

India has distinction of being home to largest number of hungry people. Not having enough to eat is a reality for half of India’s 1.1 billion people. The latest slump in the economy and ever rising prices of food items is leaving more and more people hungry. The large number of hungry people can be the hole in India’s growth story. The number of people living below poverty line decreased from 36 per cent to 27.5 per cent between 1993-2005, but then number can be deceptive. The people who crossed the BPL (below poverty line) are just above it and the inflation is hitting this chunk the most. This is similar to what World Bank said, “seven years worth of poverty alleviation,” could be reversed by rising prices.

The great development story of India could be reduced to zilch, if some immediate and visionary measures are not taken. India so far has failed to recognise the gravity of the problem and solutions for the same. While the broader economy has averaged close to nine per cent growth annually over the past four years, agriculture has been growing just over two per cent a year. Architect of the green revolution in India, MS Swaminathan has put the situation very clearly. He says, “We are paying the price for complacency and for not paying adequate attention to either technology or public policy.

Agriculture hasn’t received the investment it requires, considering nearly two-thirds of our population depends on crops, animal husbandry, fisheries, forestry and agro-processing for their livelihood. The recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers are crying for attention.”

It is this area that is a blind spot. Domestic policies of agriculture do not address the long-term problem of food security. The result of these policies has been that the country, which was self-sufficient in food, had to import nearly 7.5 million tones of wheat during 2006 and 2007.

The imports were made at substantially higher prices than paid to Indian farmers, giving rise to the criticism. Moreover, the high-price imported wheat also added to the subsidy bill. Paying higher prices for imports, even as domestic farmers are given a minimum price barely enough to recover costs, is certainly not justified. It is clear that the government has to focus on the supply side. For this, a great change in thinking is required. However, whether the current lot of politicians can do it is quite doubtful.

G7 nations vow to stop financial crisis

The world’s seven largest economies finance ministers and central bank governors met in Washington and have agreed to do whatever they can in order to tackle the financial crisis which has spread and threatens to take the entire world into recession.
The G7 countries were in agreement that the current financial meltdown all over the world called for ‘urgent and exceptional action’ and that governments would “take all necessary steps to unfreeze credit and money markets”.
It isn’t just the G7 countries that met, even the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank also met on the weekend to be able to find a solution to this crisis. The financial crisis that first engulfed America has now spread to parts of Europe as well as Asia.
The sub prime market crisis which hit America has now caused losses worth almost $200 billion to the top banks of the world. The effects of this crisis are now being felt all over the European markets. The stock markets of the world are on the downslide including the Indian stock markets. The G20 countries that comprise of the twenty most developed countries in the world also met on Saturday to be able to come up with a solution for the crisis.
What started as the subprime mortgage crisis in America with Lehmann Brothers, one of the largest investment banks of America went bankrupt and Merrill Lynch was sold to Bank of America. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sacchs became retail commercial banks and dropped investments. All the countries in the world are expected to face less growth this year as all the economies of the world are going to be hit hard by the financial crisis, and some countries may slip into recession.
The G7 meeting occurred at a time when there is gloom all across the world and there was a feel in the market that the G7 block would not be able to find a way to stem the crisis which now seems to have spread beyond America and Europe. The government in America passed a $700 billion package to save the economy of the country. Britain also followed suit, it is expected that Germany will also be releasing a similar plan in the coming days on the lines of America and England. All the meeting ministers affirmed that they would supply public funds to banks which would be on the brinks of a collapse. But there was no common solution that emerged after the meeting. Thus the countries were not off the opinion that a single common solution taken by the G7 blocks could help reduce the financial turmoil. Defending their stand, the G7 block opined that people would be naïve to think that seven different countries facing a different set of problems having a different economy structure and political system would be able to come with the same policies in order to curb the financial crisis.
The international monetary fund too expressed its concern saying that the global growth for the current year could not be expected to cross three percent. Amidst the financial turmoil over the world, the Indian growth rate can also be expected to come down from figure of eight plus percent. The G7 countries have all shown a resolve to do whatever they can to stop the financial crisis. It waits to be seen whether their resolve and plan of action will be able to have a calming effect on the markets worldwide.

Bush signs Nuclear deal

“It is a Big Deal”. When the whole of India slept on Thursday morning, George Bush signed the legislation to implement the Indo-US Nuclear deal in the White House.  The legislation marks a historic deal that took more then three years in the making.
George Bush was all smiles as he signed the legislation confirming that there will be no change in fuel supply. The Vice President of America Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and the Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen were present as the American president signed the historic deal.
Bush went on to say, that it was a “Big Day” for strengthening the relationship between the two nations. He also acknowledged the hard work put in the by the entire team on both the sides as the nuclear deal went through a lot of ups and downs in the past three years. He further added that India is a natural partner of the united States of America as the two countries had similar interests and values.
The deal also means that India will now be able to get nuclear energy from the Nuclear Suppliers group which will end India’s Nuclear isolation for the past thirty years. India will now have a reliable fuel supply and thus will be able to meet the energy needs of a billion plus population and also will no longer have to be dependent on fossil fuels.
Contrary to reports doing the rounds in the media, the legislation has not modified the 123 agreement submitted to the congress. Thus Bush clarified the doubts that people would have had over fuel supply issues. Indian Foreign affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee is likely to visit Washington in the next two days to sign the 123 agreement.
Bush was also positive about the strong relationship between the two countries and was sure that the relationship between the two countries would only grow further in the upcoming years. “Even though the United States and India are separated by half the globe, we are natural partners as we head into the 21st century,” Bush said.
Bush also wished people in India and around the world celebrating the festival of Delhi which is due this month. Incidentally it was George bush who had started Diwali celebrations in the White House a couple of years back, a gesture that was highly appreciated by the Indian community staying in the US.
The Indo US Nuclear deal had created a furor in India with the Left parties withdrawing support over the implementation of the deal. Several old political ties were severed and new alliances came forth with the Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh offering support to the Manmohan Singh government when they were falling short of a majority in Parliament. Meanwhile the Left parties and the BJP had criticized the Indo US nuclear deal severely by saying that it was a deal between two people and not between two countries. But the congress government was able maintain a majority in the house of parliament and the Indo US nuclear deal went as forward. Despite some doubts being raised by the Atomic Energy association, the Indo US Nuclear deal was giving a thumbs up and a deal which took more than three years in the making finally attained fruition.

Morgan Goldman drop all investments

In what may be the defining moment of banking in America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs- the last of the two largest surviving banks in America decided to abandon all investments and become bank holding companies in order to remain in business.
If after the fall of Lehmann Brothers and the buy out of Merrill Lynch you thought that the financial crisis being faced by the American banks was over, here comes another bomb shell. The Federal Reserve in America granted permission to two of the largest banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to drop the ‘I’ word from their operations. The two banks will now return to more old fashioned style of banking. This change of status implies that both the banks will now come under the regulation of the Federal Reserve. And hence they will have to face the same regulations that other commercial banks face as opposed to the regulations that they had to face when they were under the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But the step taken by the two banks is being lauded all across the world for it was the safest option in such times of turmoil. The Americans are in the midst of a subprime mortgage crisis which started more than a year back and this is the crisis that swallowed the likes of Lehmann brothers as well as Merrill Lynch, though AIG was bailed out by the American government. The move will ensure that both the banks get to build up cash and deposits and even go forth and buy smaller banks. As an investment bank, the two had continually relied on borrowed money rather than just deposits but in the financial crisis that the country is facing right now, borrowing money was not all that easy. The move also means stricter regulations from the Federal Reserve something that the two banks may not be used to. Hence they will have a certain amount of capital and will also not be free to sell and buy securities as they used to when they had the status of an investment bank.
Meanwhile Morgan Stanley is in talks with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s largest bank to acquire a stake in it. It is expected that there will be an agreement signed that offers a stake of almost twenty percent of Morgan Stanley to Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. The move was taken well by the Market as well as the shares of Morgan Stanley rose 3.5 percent.
Meanwhile, it is expected that Japan’s largest brokerage Nomura Holdings will be buying Lehman’s Asian assets whereas Britain’s largest bank Barclay’s will be purchasing Lehman brothers North American brokerage operations.
Meanwhile the mood on Wall street is still somber as these were two of the biggest names in the financial market not just in America but also in other parts of the world. The investments made by the two banks in the last two years were erroneous and now have had to pay by giving up their pride. Meanwhile the smaller investment banks that can wither the financial storm right now may be able to cope up with the crisis. But from the point of view of the two banks as well as the American economy, it was indeed a pleasant move to abandon all investments. The abanks will now be able to concentrate on orthodox retail commercial banking and should be able to build on it. Moreover in the financial turmoil being currently faced by the country, it will bring in stability and safety. The two major banks may have lost their pride but atleast are still standing to be able to recover it in the future.