Lokpal Bill and Constitutional Status!

Lokpal Bill has been passed by the parliament yesterday but the ruling UPA has failed to get the constitutional status for the same. For last 24 hours we have been hearing views and counter views on how UPA failed to fulfil the dreams of its “Yuvraj” and BJP led NDA has asked resignation of the government. But you must be wondering, what exactly we mean by “Constitutional Status.” I did some research on this topic and have following points as a ready reference. Constitution Amendment Bills have to be passed in each House of Parliament by a special majority ie. by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House “present and voting”.
CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILLS (http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/abstract/constitution_amendment_bills.htm)
Bills seeking to amend the Constitution are of three types:—
(1)   Bills that are passed by Parliament by simple majority;
(2)   Bills that have to be passed by Parliament by the special majority prescribed in article 368(2) of the Constitution; and
(3)   Bills that have to be passed by Parliament by the special majority as aforesaid and also to be ratified by not less than one-half of the State Legislatures.
Bills that are not deemed as Constitution Amendment Bills
2. Bills for amendment of the following provisions of the Constitution are passed by both Houses of Parliament by a simple majority of members present and voting :
(a)   admission or establishment of new States, formation of new States, and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States (articles 2, 3 and 4);
(b)   creation or abolition of Legislative Councils in the States (article 169);
(c)    administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (para 7 of the Fifth Schedule); and
(d)   administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram (para 21 of the Sixth Schedule).
3.  These Bills are not deemed as Constitution Amendment Bills under article 368 of the Constitution and, therefore, these are not called by the title ‘Constitution Amendment Bills’.
4.  Though normal legislative procedure holds good in respect of these Bills, Bills providing for matters in sub paras (a) and (b) above, in addition, require respectively the recommendation of the President for introduction and the prior adoption of necessary resolution by the State Legislative Assembly concerned.
5.  Such Bills are presented to the President for his assent under article 111 of the Constitution.
Constitution Amendment Bills
6.  Bills seeking to amend all other provisions of the Constitution including those enumerated in the proviso to article 368(2) are called by the title ‘Constitution Amendment Bills’. These Bills can be introduced in either House of Parliament. If sponsored by a Private Member, the Bill has to be examined in the first instance and recommended for introduction by the Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions before it is included for introduction in the List of Business. Motions for introduction of the Bills are decided by simple majority.
7.   Constitution Amendment Bills are not treated as Money Bills or Financial Bills. Accordingly, President’s recommendation under articles 117 and 274 of the Constitution in regard to these Bills is not asked for. However, if the recommendation is communicated by the Minister, it is published in the Bill or in the Bulletin, as the case may be, for information of members.
[Constitution Amendment Bills are governed by article 368 of the Constitution and Rules 155—159 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
We all have some knowledge about the bill that has been passed by the Parliament. There is no denying that there are some weak points within the bill and few amendments were required to be carried out to make Lokpal more effective and strong. If that could have been done then giving constitutional status would have made some sense. But with this type of toothless Lokpal, not giving constitutional status allows state government to have their own Lokayukts and Lokpals with greater powers.  There was no point in giving a constitutional status to a “weak” Lokpal. This version of the Lokpal bill did not even get the “ayes” of 50% of the total strength of Lok Sabha. This rhetorical bluff of “opposition not supporting” is getting nauseating to hear.
What is interesting to note is that UPA has blamed opposition for the bill not getting constitutional status. But is that really the case is? The Constitution amendment bill (116th Amendment), 2011 was put up for vote. 251 members voted for it. The official strength of the ruling coalition is 277. After some complicated mathematical operations, we see that 26 members of the ruling coalition were missing (in which there were congress MPs too!). This government could not get the minimum required support for passing this bill, and yet is going on the overdrive to blame the BJP for “not wanting a strong Lokpal”. They are against this version of the Lokpal. If Congress really wanted to get the constitutional rights for the bill then why couldn’t it ensure the attendance of all its MPs on such a crucial day? Congress has tabled and passed the bill in LS despite stiff opposition just to show off that how committed they are towards Lokpal. But then everyone knows that the govt does not enjoy majority in Rajya Sabha. Then how could they expect that the bill will be passed as per their wishes and be given constitutional status? And if it doesn’t happen then blame the opposition for all the mishap!!
The bill could have been discussed and if greater flexibility could have been shown by the government and opposition along with civil society we could have got a better Lokpal. I sincerely hope that all this does not leads to death of Lokpal bill. It will all depend on how government stands when the bill is tabled in RS tomorrow. As of now it seems to be moving towards a deadlock.
However, the Bill is far from becoming an Act yet. For, mustering a simple majority for the Bill in the Rajya Sabha will be very difficult for the UPA, which is in a minority of 94, whereas a simple majority requires 123 votes. Its only hope lies in persuading a sufficiently large number of Rajya Sabha members from non-NDA parties like the Samajwadi Party and the BSP to either vote for the Bill or abstain. Thus, it is possible that the Rajya Sabha may pass a version of the Bill that includes some or all of the amendments moved by the BJP and the others. In that case, the Bill will be go back to the Lok Sabha. If the Lok Sabha does not accept these amendments – as it didn’t the first time around – there will be a deadlock, which will have to be resolved through a joint session of both Houses. And that could postpone the actual enactment of the Bill to February 2012. (DNA)

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.

Taking Dalits for Granted!

DALITS, THE caste which was subjected to the humiliation for years play a huge role in Indian politics. There have been several leaders within the community and outside the community who focused on empowering them. One such leader in today’s time is Mayawati, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The state has large population of dalits and is staunch supporter of her.

There has been lot of furore over the erection of statues of Mayawati along with other icons of Dalit in the various part of the state especially in Lucknow. A survey was conducted by a private news channel and over 70 per cent of people were against such extravaganza on part of the state government. But if you voice your opinion, Maywatiji will come on camera saying that upper caste people are conspiring against her. Even today they consider upper caste people as the one ready to annihilate them.

The biggest problem is that even the leaders try to feed them the same. True, that the atrocities on Dalits is a matter of concern and must be dealt stringently. But these sorts of behavior on part of community leaders will only aggravate the problem. The dalits in the state are happy though with the recognition that their leader is getting. But I term it as narcism. Whatever be the case, it is not going to stop Mayawati from erecting more memorials and parks in the name of development.

But this blind support of the dalits to their leaders is something that they must introspect. I feel that they are utilized as mere vote banks. To a certain level, their leaders show interest in their upliftment but then they get busy with themself. Even Mayawati has accumulated huge wealth. The money which she has spent on statues of herself might give them “sense of dignity” but they would have been far more benefited if Mayawati could have assured them better living standard. There is some problem with this statue thing as well. Dr BR Ambdekar, Godly figure of the Dalits and a national icon said that “India is still par excellence a land of idolatry. There is idolatry in religion and in politics. Heroes and hero worship is a hard if unfortunate fact in India’s political life. Hero worship is demoralizing for the devotee and dangerous for the country.” The hero worship of Ambedkar has perhaps been the greatest failing of the modern Dalit movement.

The under privilege section must be empowered and it would be far better had the state government focused on the main issue. Their would have been no problem in erection of Mayawati’s statues if it would have been done by someone else as a tribute to her work done for marginalized. But this narcist behavior must be questioned. The other example being the way she celebrates her birthday.

The response by the government on the statement of Rita Bahuguna Joshi (July 2009) was also presented as an insult of Dalits. We appreciate Mayawati then it is only her appreciation and if you say anything against her then it is against Dalits. The comment made by Joshi was not casteist. Vir Sanghvi has written in his piece “If Mrs. Joshi has, as a woman, insulted all women by talking so loosely about rape then hasn’t Mayawati, as a dalit, insulted all dalits by taking on the mantle of caste victimhood to settle a few political scores? India’s dalits deserve better than leaders who misuse their suffering for their own gain. UP deserves better — at the very least, it deserves a functioning government.”

It is time that the community starts questioning its leaders on valid points raised. It will be beneficial to the community and state as well. I say so because the leaders are certain of the votes of this section and that needs to be shaken up.

Mayawati: Priorities Gone Wrong!

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.”

Ambedkar_Park_Mayawati1These lines aptly describe the governance of Mayawati in most populous state of the country Uttar Pradesh. She recently inaugurated 685 crore Noida Memorial Park and used the platform to settle the scores with her political rivals. Mayawati has special love for these parks and she has spent thousand of crores on building these parks. She has even said that if she gets fresh mandate she would like to have such parks in each and every district of UP. But the basic question remains that does the parks in any ways solve the problems being faced by the people of the state. A state which has shortage of power, schools, infrastructure, industries, hospitals, road networks, etc would have been happy if these problems would have been addressed. She brazenly says that she has spent just 1 pc of the budget on the park. This would have been ok if the remaining 99 pc would have been spent on the welfare measures and development of the state. But sadly that has also not happened.

Now let me take you 750 km away from the park to Gorakhpur in eastern part of the state. More than 430 people have died of encephalitis virus and mostly children. This is not the first time that epidemic has struck in this part. It has been active for last 33 years and yet the state machinery and health dept has failed to check. The hospitals are overcrowded and there are no beds available for admitting new patients. At least 2 multispecialty hospitals would have come up with the amount spend on the construction of park. And even if they would have been named after Dalit icons or Mayawati herself it would have done a world of good for the people and state. This is where the chief minister has faltered. It is the simple case of wrong pririties. In her term also she is witnessing 4th outbreak of this virus and yet she and her government is as inefficient as it was a year prior. Now if someone tells her she says that she has been targeted for being a Dalit and would point out the mistakes of earlier govt. I wonder how long she can get away by giving these lame excuses and how long the people will fall prey to her reasoning. There is no denying that Dalits have been ill treated and it is very much required to uplift them but i have doubt if that can be done by building parks and installing own statues. They need more than just statues and CM who is self obsessed.

The point is that sincerity is missing and thus she has failed the people of UP. SARVJAN HITAY SARVJAN SUKHAY is as hollow as UTTAM PRADESH slogan of previous government. She was lucky to have got absolute majority in last polls and has golden chance to work for development of state but failed miserably. She had opportunity to work for oppressed section of the society by opening schools, improving connectivity, tackling law and order chaos, higher education, providing health care and employment. It would have helped in building better image of the state and would have established her credibility as a CM.

But….

Apart from parks and her kitty she hasnt added anything significant in her tenure as CM of Uttar Padesh in last four and half years. I just hope that people of the state will look for someone who delivers on the development and solves core issues when they go out to vote next year.

The Great Indian Judicial System!

There has been stay on death sentence of our “dear” Ajmal Amir Kasab.

Iqbal Mirchi has been arrested in London.

Now our immaculate government is pushing for the extradition of Mirchi in connection with 1993 Bombay blast case. We made similar attempt in 1990s but failed to do so. Now we will give it another try.

But for What?

As it is efficiency of our judicial system and investigating agencies is there for everyone to see.

Our NATIONAL INVESTIGATING AGENCY has solved all the cases in their dreams and all the culprits have been booked. Atleast, they release some sketches for people to show that how successful they are. Successful in wasting time!!

Abu Salem was extradited and we were unable to prove him guilty and now his extradition has been cancelled by Portugal court. Let’s see if our agencies can win the case. Somehow agencies were able to solve Parliament attack case of 2001 but the main culprit is still enjoying in jail. The government is acting like a sitting duck and passing time.

Forget these, What can you say about the judicial system of a nation who still has not been able to prove mass killer caught on tv screen, newspapers, eye witnesses, etc gunning down hundreds. We wanted him to bring to justice within constitutional frame work which was very fine. But shouldn’t there be any time limit. It has been 3 years since Kasab was caught and we still are spending crores on his security. The money that could have been utilized for many development scheme. The court wants Kasab to give fair chance. I ask fair chance of what??? You may not feel this way if you have not gone through the trauma and agony of losing your loved ones. Go and ask the family who lost their only earning member in Mumbai 26/11 attacks or the parents who lost their children or families of soldiers who sacrificed their lives while eliminating the bastards. We have forgotten them because we were not the one who suffered. Imagine what they must be feeling when they see how the culprit is enjoying feast in India for 3 years. What a pathetic situation that person caught live on TV hasn’t been hanged till now. We are looking after him as if he has done some great thing. The soldiers who lost their colleagues are being made to plan for his security. What a travesty of justice? After 3 years, we want to hear him again. What were we doing for three years? Just serving him Biryani!!

The spineless representative of 120 crores is largely responsible for this mess. One after another he has only done condemnation and nothing else. I just wonder what we will do even if Mirchi is extradited. He will enjoy hospitality of police and may have to spend few years because of our judicial system and then will walk free. Imagine we are thinking of booking a culprit in 18 year old case. I will be happy if we are able to do so but our track record shows it otherwise. We will be carrying out a futile exercise of wasting money and giving hope to victims. The efficacy of our system is zero. We have bunch of selfish, spineless, power hungry people who will not make daring moves. They will buy time and use the same for their advantage.

One fine day, another plane will be hijacked and we will release Afzal Guru, Ajmal Kasab and Mirchi/Salem.

Why?

Because we couldn’t do justice to the people of India!

Unsung Heroes: Ordinary People with Extraordinary Courage!

These days if you will observe, you will notice that you are hearing news of rampant corruption and malpractices going on which undoubtedly is suffocating the system. Every day you hear new news which makes you feel sad about sorry state of the country and we blame it on our politicians, bureaucrats, etc. But do you ever wonder that despite all this how come our system is surviving?

Real-HeroesNo, you would have not.

The fact is there are few people still existing who are doing their duties in a manner in which it should be done. If not for people like these the system would have eventually collapsed. Unfortunately, these people are not in limelight because they are silently doing their good job and holding the system together. You will find such people in every organization and department both in govt and pvt sector. Be it Satendra Dubey or S Manjunath or SSP Arun Kumar, everyday these real unsung heroes are facing all odds to keep nation moving. You won’t be able to imagine the sacrifices which is being made by them on borders and inside the main land. Lt Archit Verdia, Lt Navdeep, Lt Sushil Khajuria, Tukaram Omble and the list is endless who have laid down their life for the well being of the people. With them their family also suffers but then there has to be someone who feels not like remaining 99.5% of the population.

It is a fact that only 1 out of 100 dares to challenge the system, not bogged down the odds, fearlessly discharging the duties and serve the people. Rest all tend to adjust with the situation and do lip service during tea time by blaming and suggesting but not doing. But this is how a society is and this is main reason that people who do good work without becoming the part of wrong system are tagged as “fools”. But the one who do it don’t care as they know that their conscience is clean and what they are doing is in best interest of society and nation.

During 26/11 we had lakhs of citizen on street demanding change in the system but when the day of VOTING came they were enjoying the holiday. Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime and the day we understand this we will be able to come up with the possible solution to the problems we are facing now. We need to get out of our comfort zone. A nation is as good as its people and thus I consider myself lucky to have people in my country who are facing danger for my survival. But my endeavor does not ends there and I will ensure that I take considerable steps in nation building.

I salute all the unsung heroes and their families for struggle they have gone through in making nation a better place. Their loss is irreparable but we will always remain indebted to them.

India Diffident over growing Chinese Incursions

Over the last year or so, the incursion of Chinese troops on Indian soil has gone up. The Indian Army has said that it has registered the protest with Chinese officials but it still looked lethargic in their approach to me.
The government is just playing down these border violations by saying that it is not a big deal since the Line of Actual Control is not clearly defined. Whatever the case, if these issues are not addressed seriously then India will face tough times ahead.

China is clearly a stronger power than India, both militarily and economically. As former Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, put it, “The power gap between the two is just too wide to bridge and getting wider by the day.” The day China will be confident enough; it will assert its claim on disputed land more aggressively. Diplomatically also India has performed very badly.

The talks over the border dispute have been going on since the year 1981, making them already the longest and the most-barren process between any two countries in modern history. Thus, the longer the process of border-related talks continues without yielding tangible results, the greater the space Beijing will have to mount strategic pressure on India.

The futile discussion and time buying process will put India under even tremendous pressure. It seems the only progress here is that India’s choice of words in public is now the same as China’s. “Both countries have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of this issue,” Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told Parliament on July 31. “The matter, of course, is complex and requires time and lots of patience.”

It was as if the Chinese foreign minister was speaking. Isn’t it odd for India, the country at the receiving end of growing Chinese hostility, to plead for more time and patience after nearly three decades of negotiations?

One thing is clear that New Delhi does not have any well defined plan and strategy to go around settling the disputes. More time means, more time for Beijing to define its strategy. Today, China’s muscle-flexing along the Himalayas cannot be ignored. After all, even when China was poor and backward, it employed brute force to annex Xinjiang (1949) and Tibet (1950), to raid South Korea (1950), to invade India (1962), to initiate a border conflict with the Soviet Union (1969) and to attack Vietnam (1979).

India’s long record of political diffidence only emboldens Beijing. India accepted Chinese annexation of Tibet and surrendered its own British-inherited extraterritorial rights over Tibet on a silver platter without asking for anything in return. Now, China wants India to display the same ‘amicable spirit’ and hand over to it at least the Tawang valley. Indian diplomats failed miserably and even in registering protests they appear to be defensive. It gives a feeling that they are clueless about China.

If the situation goes like this then one day, the duo might again be at war. The history has shown that the cost of weak politics and diplomacy has been paid by the soldiers.

Some part of the article has been referred from Rediff.

Why India is Clueless about China

A prosperous, militarily strong China cannot but be a threat to its neighbours, especially if there are no constraints on the exercise of Chinese power, notes Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

The latest round of the unending and fruitless India-China talks on territorial disputes was a fresh reminder of the eroding utility of this process. It is approaching nearly three decades since China and India began these negotiations.

In this period, the world has changed fundamentally. Indeed, with its rapidly accumulating military and economic power, China itself has emerged as a great power in the making, with Washington’s Asia policy now manifestly Sino-centric. Not only has India allowed its military and nuclear asymmetry with China to grow, but also New Delhi’s room for diplomatic maneuver is shrinking. As the just retired Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, has put it plainly, the power ‘gap between the two is just too wide to bridge and getting wider by the day.’

Of course, power asymmetry in inter-State relations does not mean the weaker side must bend to the dictates of the stronger or seek to propitiate it. Wise strategy, coupled with good diplomacy, is the art of offsetting or neutralising military or economic power imbalance with another state. But as Admiral Mehta warned, ‘China is in the process of consolidating its comprehensive national power and creating formidable military capabilities. Once it is done, China is likely to be more assertive on its claims, especially in the immediate neighbourhood.’

It is thus obvious that the longer the process of border-related talks continues without yielding tangible results, the greater the space Beijing will have to mount strategic pressure on India and the greater its leverage in the negotiations.

After all, China already holds the military advantage on the ground. Its forces control the heights along the long 4,057-kilometre Himalayan frontier, with the Indian troops perched largely on the lower levels.

Furthermore, by building new railroads, airports and highways in Tibet, China is now in a position to rapidly move additional forces to the border to potentially strike at India at a time of its choosing.

Diplomatically, China is a contented party, having occupied what it wanted — the Aksai Chin plateau, which is almost the size of Switzerland and provides the only accessible Tibet-Xinjiang route through the Karakoram passes of the Kunlun Mountains. Yet it chooses to press claims on additional Indian territories as part of a grand strategy to gain leverage in bilateral relations and, more importantly, to keep India under military and diplomatic pressure.

At the core of its strategy is an apparent resolve to indefinitely hold off on a border settlement with India through an overt refusal to accept the territorial status quo.

In not hiding its intent to further redraw the Himalayan frontiers, Beijing only helps highlight the futility of the ongoing process of political negotiations. After all, the territorial status quo can be changed not through political talks but by further military conquest.

Yet, paradoxically, the political process remains important for Beijing to provide the façade of engagement behind which to seek India’s containment.

Keeping India engaged in endless talks is a key Chinese objective so that Beijing can continue its work on changing the Himalayan balance decisively in its favour through a greater build-up of military power and logistical capabilities.

That is why China has sought to shield the negotiating process from the perceptible hardening of its stance towards New Delhi and the vituperative attacks against India in its State-run media. Add to the picture the aggressive patrolling of the Himalayan frontier by the People’s Liberation Army and the growing Chinese incursions across the line of control.

Let’s be clear: Chinese negotiating tactics have shifted markedly over the decades. Beijing originally floated the swap idea — giving up its claims in India’s northeast in return for Indian acceptance of the Chinese control over a part of Ladakh — to legalise its occupation of Aksai Chin. It then sang the mantra of putting the territorial disputes on the backburner so that the two countries could concentrate on building close, mutually beneficial relations.

But in more recent years, in keeping with its rising strength, China has escalated border tensions and military incursions while assertively laying claim to Arunachal Pradesh.

According to a recent report in Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper with close ties to the establishment in Beijing, China is seeking ‘just’ 28 per cent of Arunachal. That means an area nearly the size of Taiwan.

In that light, can the Sino-Indian border talks be kept going indefinitely? Consider two important facts:

First, the present border negotiations have been going on continuously since 1981, making them already the longest and the most-barren process between any two countries in modern history. The record includes eight rounds of senior-level talks between 1981 and 1987, 14 Joint Working Group meetings between 1988 and 2002, and 13 rounds of talks between the designated Special Representatives since 2003.

It seems the only progress in this process is that India’s choice of words in public is now the same as China’s. ‘Both countries have agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of this issue,’ Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told Parliament on July 31. ‘The matter, of course, is complex and requires time and lots of patience.’

It was as if the Chinese foreign minister was speaking. Isn’t it odd for India — the country at the receiving end of growing Chinese bellicosity — to plead for more time and patience after nearly three decades of negotiations?

Second, the authoritative People’s Daily — the Communist Party mouthpiece that reflects official thinking — made it clear in a June 11, 2009 editorial: ‘China won’t make any compromises in its border disputes with India.’ That reflects the Chinese position in the negotiations. But when Beijing is advertising its uncompromising stance, doesn’t New Delhi get the message?

The recent essay posted on a Chinese quasi-official Web site that called for India to be broken into 20 to 30 sovereign States cannot obscure an important fact: Dismember India is a project China launched in the Mao years when it trained and armed Naga and Mizo guerrillas. In initiating its proxy war against India, Pakistan merely took a leaf out of the Chinese book.

Today, China’s muscle-flexing along the Himalayas cannot be ignored. After all, even when China was poor and backward, it employed brute force to annex Xinjiang (1949) and Tibet (1950), to raid South Korea (1950), to invade India (1962), to initiate a border conflict with the Soviet Union through a military ambush (1969) and to attack Vietnam (1979).

A prosperous, militarily strong China cannot but be a threat to its neighbours, especially if there are no constraints on the exercise of Chinese power.

So, the key question is: What does India gain by staying put in an interminably barren negotiating process with China? By persisting with this process, isn’t India aiding the Chinese engagement-with-containment strategy by providing Beijing the cover it needs?

While Beijing’s strategy and tactics are apparent, India has had difficulty to define a game plan and resolutely pursue clearly laid-out objectives. Still, staying put in a barren process cannot be an end in itself for India.

India indeed has retreated to an increasingly defensive position territorially, with the spotlight now on China’s Tibet-linked claim to Arunachal Pradesh than on Tibet’s status itself.

Now you know why Beijing invested so much political capital over the years in getting India to gradually accept Tibet as part of the territory of the People’s Republic. Its success on that score has helped narrow the dispute to what it claims. That neatly meshes with China’s long-standing negotiating stance.

What it occupies is Chinese territory, and what it claims must be on the table to be settled on the basis of give-and-take — or as it puts it in reasonably sounding terms, on the basis of ‘mutual accommodation and mutual understanding.’

As a result, India has been left in the unenviable position of having to fend off Chinese territorial demands. In fact, history is in danger of repeating itself as India gets sucked into a 1950s-style trap. The issue then was Aksai Chin; the issue now is Arunachal.

But rather than put the focus on the source of China’s claim — Tibet — and Beijing’s attempt to territorially enlarge its Tibet annexation to what it calls ‘southern Tibet,’ India is willing to be taken ad infinitum around the mulberry bush.

Just because New Delhi has accepted Tibet to be part of China should not prevent it from gently shining a spotlight on Tibet as the lingering core issue.

Yet India’s long record of political diffidence only emboldens Beijing. India accepted the Chinese annexation of Tibet and surrendered its own British-inherited extraterritorial rights over Tibet on a silver platter without asking for anything in return. Now, China wants India to display the same ‘amicable spirit’ and hand over to it at least the Tawang valley.

Take the period since the border talks were ‘elevated’ to the level of special representatives in 2003. India first got into an extended exercise with Beijing to define general principles to govern a border settlement, despite China’s egregious record of flouting the Panchsheel principles and committing naked aggression in 1962. But no sooner had the border-related principles been unveiled in 2005 with fanfare than Beijing jettisoned the do-not-disturb-the-settled-populations principle to buttress its claim to Arunachal.

Yet, as the most-recent round of recent talks highlighted, India has agreed to let the negotiations go off at a tangent by broadening them into a diffused strategic dialogue — to the delight of Beijing. The process now has become a means for the two sides to discuss ‘the entire gamut of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.’

This not only opens yet another chapter in an increasingly directionless process, but also lets China condition a border settlement to the achievement of greater Sino-Indian strategic congruence. Worse still, New Delhi is to observe 2010 — the 60th anniversary of China becoming India’s neighbour by gobbling up Tibet — as the ‘Year of Friendship with China’ in India.

Brahma Chellaney

Sorce: REDIFF

 

A Strong Bhartiya Janta Party is required for Healthy Democracy!

THE OPPOSITION, Bhartiya Janata Party is making news for a week now. The “Chintan Baithak” held in Shimla last week gave no solutions to the ailments of the party. Instead it was overshadowed by the expulsion of senior leader Jaswant Singh and the leakage of the election analysis report.
 
The expulsion of Jaswant Singh over a book is overzealous. And the manner in which he was expelled made matters even worse. There can be no justification to ban his book in Gujarat. What Jaswant Singh has expressed is only his personal view and not of the party’s. The party could always disassociate from his viewpoint, present its own thoughts on the discussion and make its stance clear. If the BJP was so miffed then they should have answered Jaswant’s book by another book on their viewpoint.
 
The day you start banning a book for political scores, democracy is in danger. A close aide of Atal-Advani, Sudheendra Kulkarni has also resigned from the party. He has resigned citing the “ideological differences” with the party. Arun Shourie has also lambasted the party and its top leadership. The way BJP is tackling the issues, he might be the next to be expelled from the party.
 
One thing clearly visible is that BJP has lost its vision and is in a leadership crisis. Rajnath Singh must be held responsible for this. A leader is the one who owes responsibility and introspects the causes of failure. But the current leadership is just not doing it. They don’t want to hear some very valid points being raised within the party.
 
So, the party is ignoring the lack of accountability and factionalism. They are just looking for scape goats. Instead of rebuilding the party, leaders are busy with the media commitments and speaking nonsense on TV channels. If it continues to function this way then these are not a good signals for the party and country as well. It is imperative for the RSS to ensure smooth transition of generation in the party. There is so much infighting among the next generation leaders that it is denting the image of party with each passing day. The party appears to be in complete disarray and disjointed.

BJP is needed for the smooth functioning of our democracy. As Tarun Vijay said, “Suppose if there was no Jan Sangh or the BJP, there would have been no Kashmir movement, no demands to scrap two flags and two constitutional provisions for an Indian state and abolishing two Constitutional heads system for it. Who would have taken up the cause of an invincible Indian security and carried out the Pokaran II nuclear tests while preparing for Pokaran III?”
 
In a nation where most of the political parties are known by the names of their dynasties turning the political process into a kind of family fiefdom, the existence of a party that still runs on democratic norms and represents a completely different ethos, must be valued. That is the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is useless to indulge in the contemporary dichotomies and scuffles that mar its current framework.
 
It is important that the party conveys its ideology and packages itself in a way that can impress 21st century India. The party needs to take some tough decisions and devote time in getting a makeover. There is no shame if it represents itself as the party catering to Hindu interests as long as it does not becomes communal.
 
BJP needs to remember the words and vision of its founder, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. At the first all India session of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, its founder president Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee had said, “We must be able to carry all sections of the people with us by creating in their minds a healthy and progressive attitude of co-operation based on true equality of opportunity and mutual tolerance and understanding. Our party’s door remains open to all who believe in our programme and ideology irrespective of considerations of caste and religion. ”
 
Without mincing any words he declared, “Our party though, ever prepared to extend its hand of equality to all citizens, does not feel ashamed to urge for the consolidation of Hindu society. We are not so mean as to forget that in this gigantic process our country came into contact and conflict with many foreign races and ideologies and our great ancestors had the courage to fashion and refashion the country’s structure in accordance with new ideas and with the changed conditions of our society. If India’s freedom is to be purposeful, a correct appreciation of the fundamental features of Indian culture – the discovery of that unity in diversity, which is the keynote of her civilization — is highly essential.”

BJP is party of nationalists and it needs to remain one. However, it has to rebrand itself and become the saviour of the middle class which it once represented. It is equally important to refrain from any sort of communalism. It is a national alternative to the Congress, more so after this election which has pushed regional parties and their identity politics to the margins. There are, after all, no full stops in politics.

Lets’ be the Change that we want to see in our Nation!

According to one of the statistics, 70 per cent of India’s population falls under the youth category ie, below 35. The questions arising at this stage is – can the country’s largely youth population, change India? The obvious answer to this is YES if one uses the ideas, has the ambition to do something, has the confidence to win, and has a righteous heart. Everywhere we hear people complaining about lack of amenities, increasing crimes, sky rocketing food prices, corruption, red tapism , terrorism, injustice etc. – but do we ponder on how can we change it all?

The 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai saw people coming to streets demanding some action. Less than a year later, we cannot even compel the government to take stern action against the culprits. Why? It’s high time every individual realises that we should raise our voices demanding action. Youth are the leaders of tomorrow, so it’s our duty to raise ourselves with the goal to serve the nation, however petty it may be. Remember each and every Indian can make a difference. You need not belong to the Gandhi family or be a descendant of the Scindias, Ambanis or the Birlas. You just need to inculcate intellectualism, human values and observe a commitment to service. With everyone following this, India will surely become more tolerant.

Our politicians are using the British policy of “divide and rule” in their selfish interests Let us remind them “United we stand and we will”. We crib of our government not providing world class solutions and facilities, but how many of us follow our fundamental duty to vote? Remember, to vote is a right and a duty. It is the building block of tomorrow. If we do not use our franchisee, we have no right to complain of corrupt people in the political arena.

It’s on account of our apathy that our farmers are dying out of debts when agriculture is said to be India’s prime sector. We keep on complaining about rising food prices but we do not give any thought that it may be due to agriculture land being converted to SEZ (Special Economic Zones). Can’t we raise our voices for thepoor, uneducated farmers rebelling against SEZ and demand irrigation facilities. Can’t there be a hundred Medha Patkars in a population of billion plus. We believe corruption is the root of most problems, but we don’t hesitate individually when we bribe a peon just to avoid long queues? We, the face of India tomorrow, should practise what we preach.

Self realisation is important to an individual and there are millions of alternatives if one wants to really do something. One can be a part of a NGO and can at least give physical support if not monetary help. Join the armed forces to protect our motherland. Create an environment of sound health facilities for those who cannot afford health facilities. Feed the poor, encourage parents to send their children to schools. Practice and preach family planning which will help keep population growth under control. IT companies can create IT solutions for upliftment of villages to reduce the urban-rural divide. Use public transport which will help India maintain environmental standards. Stop deforestation and plant more tress for a greener India. Raise voices against crimes against women, children, or anyone for that matter. Use the Right to Information (RTI) to get answers from the government. Be a law-abiding citizen. Use the media constructively. Join the IAS and be an active part of society. And there are numerous other options available.

Albert Einstein once said,“Problems cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them”. Youth, its time for you to wake up before it’s too late.