Monday, March 31, 2008

Pay panel, an attempt to destabilise India

An excellent article...

Pay panel, an attempt to destabilise India :

Reproduced from as it is I hope that the reference to the original article is credit enough to the author, none of the following is my work in any way, whole credit goes to the original author and

March 31, 2008

'Till 1947, we were ruled by the aliens. Since 1947 we are ruled by the alienated.' -- Arun Shourie

The 6th Pay Commission report was submitted to the government on March 24. It has once again brought the issue of a grand design to keep India poor by subsequent governments back to the fore.

The issue does not merely concern the finances of the government, as it is being argued in many quarters. In fact, it is much more than that.

To explain what is stated above let me at the outset seek the indulgence of the reader to some personal experiences.

My father was posted in the mid-seventies in interior West Bengal. Accompanying my father to the local market, I distinctly recall that rice then would cost approximately two-and-a-half rupees a kilo. The same quality of rice today costs approximately Rs 20. That implies an eight-fold increase in three decades.

Our family got our first colour television in the mid-eighties for Rs 10,000. That was replaced in mid-nineties by another one at virtually the same price. This in turn was replaced this year at approximately the same.

The point I am trying to make is that the prices of manufacturing items have been falling steadily in the last two decades.

I am sure that readers would recall that the prices of cars, refrigerators, computers or for that matter any other consumer durable item have either been stagnant or have registered a fall. This is due to the opening of the Indian economy, arrival of newer manufacturing technologies and, of course, the need to be cost conscious and competitive in a globalised world.

No wonder, when compared with the manufacturing sector, the prices of farm products have risen consistently. And this particular piece of statistics is often held against our farmers to tell them that their farm produce is more than adequately remunerated by our governments.

But what is the truth of the matter?

To understand the bluff of the government, one must compare the price of rice with something more stable, reliable and more comparable -- like, say gold. Elders in my family tell me that that the value of one quintal of rice in mid-sixties was equivalent to one sovereign (8 grams) of gold.

Today the price of gold is highly skewed for various reasons. To that extent it may distort comparison. So let me take the price of gold in 2006 and compare its price with that of rice. Experts point out that one sovereign of gold was six times the value of a quintal of rice in 2006.

Crucially, the salaries of government officials have gone up about 12 to 16 times in the same period. The impact of this increase on the Indian economy has never been the part of any substantive debate.

This fall in the value of rice to a sixth when compared to gold and one-twelfth when compared to the salary of a government officer in this period is central to the issue at hand.

Naturally, all these have their side effects. In most states, farmers complain that today they do not get farm workers as most of them have migrated to cities to seek some employment.

But the worst is yet to come. Farmers complain that today they are unable to get brides for their sons. Young girls do not want to marry farmers and face the prospect of penury.

It is natural for farmers to want their sons to be educated and then migrate to cities. In effect, education is a means in India to get away from the farm sector -- not get into it. And this proposed hike in the pay of the government officials would only act as an incentive to the farmers to become employees in government offices.

In the process it would convert employers into mere employees. But crucially, who would man our farms? What would happen to our food security? Who would produce food for the nation of a billion plus?

All these problems stated above repeatedly point out to the de-legitimisation of the entire farm sector in India in the past four decades. And as explained above this is not an issue that concerns the economics of the farm sector or the finances of the government. Rather this is a socio-economic-employment problem.

What is farcical to note here is that governments have put in place an elaborate charade of subsidies, successive loan waivers and grand promises to the farm sector. And on a superficial examination of the issues at hand the media, analysts and economists have been pointing out to the fact that we are excessively subsidising our farmers, without fully understanding the crux of the issue -- farming is a losing economic proposition in India.

And our meagre subsidies (including free colour TVs [Get Quote] and the Rs 60,000-crore loan waiver) keep farmers in a subsistence mode -- neither can they quit nor can they continue farming. And that is the tragedy of the farm sector in India.

And this pay panel is part of this grand design

Ever since India as an economic entity was designed, our polity has been under a belief that India cannot be a viable, vibrant and prosperous nation for her entire population. It would seem that we had come to the conclusion that India had to be built for a small set of elite, with the rest kept in mere survival mode.

In fact, this is the extension of the idea of the British who thought that the nation had to be kept poor for the British Raj to be economically viable. The Pay Commission falls in this genre -- keep rural India poor to sustain the India of the elite.

Readers may note that the net impact of the Pay Commission recommendations for a full financial year is approximately Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion). This is not a paltry sum as it seems.

In contrast to the 4.5 million beneficiaries, this amount is equivalent to the amount budgeted for the mid day meal scheme for 140 million students all across India for the entire academic year of 2008-09. 140 millions students versus 4.5 million government employees! And that puts things in the correct perspective.

But if experts are to be believed, the net impact on the economy would be anywhere between Rs 60,000 croe and Rs 100,000 crore (Rs 600 billion and Rs 1,000 billion) because the increase in the net pay for our central government officials would translate into a concomitant increase in the wages for state government, PSU sector, teachers, banks and other related sectors.

The net beneficiaries would be a mere 2 percent of the population while the rest have to foot the bill.

What has the relevance of the combined failure of the farm sector got to do with this 6th Pay Commission? That requires explaining the other part of the grand design.

Obviously, all this increase in pay artificially distorts the availability of talent. The low earning potential in the farm sector when compared to that of artificially high earnings of a government officer significantly influences the flow of talent from the villages to the cities, from the farm sector to the others.

In effect, that is a subsidy by the farm sector not to it. And that is the complete grand design for you -- our farm sector has to be made uneconomical and unviable to make India politically unstable.

A case for decrease not increase

Remember the oft quoted cliche -- our IAS officers are the best. And the logic of recommending this pay hike has been by pointing out to the fact that in comparison the pay packet in the private sector is significantly higher.

If that were the case why are there no largescale migrations from the government to the private sector? The answer to that is simple -- power and pelf available to our government officers are a huge incentive to remain in the government. Yet, we seek to provide them higher salaries.

Naturally all these have turned India into a country of shortages, especially on the rural side. A country with a substantial section of her population caged, hungry and in abject poverty cannot be fancied to become an economic superpower. Yet this is what we believe little realising that we are sitting on a time-bomb that is waiting to explode.

In short, a farmer's son can become a chartered accountant or for that matter a government officer, but why is it that a chartered accountant's son or a government officer's never becomes a farmer? The answer to this question is crucial. And we, being a democracy, cannot force our people to work in farms. Needless to emphasise, the only solution is to make our farms economically viable, implicitly and explicitly.

And that means that the government needs to reverse it policy of creating India for the elite. Ideally, the government needs to lower pay packets for her employees while simultaneously looking at appropriate policies to make the farm sector economically viable.

And that would at once explicitly and implicitly make farming economically viable. That would also address the issue of urban-rural disparity, which is fast challenging the very political viability of the country.

But by suggesting a substantial hike for government employees, the 6th Pay Commission, like many before it, has indeed been an honest attempt at destabilising the nation. And for that reason the nation need to consign it to the dustbin.

The author is a Chennai-based chartered accountant. He can be contacted at

Monday, March 24, 2008

Radika gori se.. lyrics

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

उमर तेरी छोटी रे, नज़र तेरी खोटी रे
कैसे करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

जो न ब्याह कराये,
तेरी गैया नाहि चराऊँ,
आज के बाद मेरी मैया,
तेरी दहली पर नाय आऊँ,

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

चंदन की चौकी पै
मैया तोहे बैठाऊं

अपनी राधा से में
चरण तेरे दबवाऊँ

और, भोजन में बनवाऊगो
छप्पन प्रकार के । ।

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

उमर तेरी छोटी रे, नज़र तेरी खोटी रे
कैसे करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

छोटी सी दुल्हनिया
जब अंगना में डोलेगी

तेरे सामने मैया
वो घूंघट ना खोलेगी

दाऊ से जा कहो, जा कहो
बैठेंगे द्वार

राधिका गोरी से....

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

उमर तेरी छोटी रे, नज़र तेरी खोटी रे
कैसे करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

सुन बातें कान्हा की,
मैया बैठी मुसकाये

लेके बलाइयां मैया,
हिवडे से अपने मैया

नज़र कहीं लग जाए ना, लग जाए ना

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

उमर तेरी छोटी रे, नज़र तेरी खोटी रे
कैसे करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

राधिका गोरी से,
बृज की छोरी से
कान्हा करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Holi Photos...from people who actually had fun...

Here are some of Holi photos I found on Flickr... Gives me a feeling of how Holi used to be.... :)

IMG_2573, originally uploaded by Kapil-Garg.

DSCN3663, originally uploaded by spread_smiles.

DSCN3634, originally uploaded by spread_smiles.

kya bola re?, originally uploaded by Vinu.

IMG_2055, originally uploaded by Vinu.

here it is!, originally uploaded by Vinu.

We are being attacked, originally uploaded by mksfoto.


BBC NEWS | In Pictures | In pictures: Holi festival

Well, Being away from home on Holi is the one of the most painful days I have experienced. This is one full day of fun, being with friends, all colourful and removing all social barriers... I love Holi.

Described mostly as "Festival of colors", Holi is pretty significant socially as well. Many foes turn friends today (and hopefully stay on as friends), the social boundaries are broken rather easily today than any other days, spring "officially" start from the Indian calendar's perspective and on and on and on... I cant name them all, not so good with history.  Though, one might always go to wikipedia

I have liked holi as long as I can remember it, and have almot always tried to be home for Holi, because its at home that you can actually enjoy the most. Old friends, elders, youngers.. everyone comes home for holi. 

I remember how we used to gather at one friend's place to start our *rounds*. We'd pick up a "gujhia" or two, stuff them into our pockets. Move on to our next destination, which could be a friends' place, or someone's place only one of us might know. But that doesnt matter, on Holi's day, everyone is welcome everywhere.  So, we greet people, bow to elders, hug others, and pat youngers, exchange gujhia's that we picked up at last stop, and pick more here for next stops.  And this continues till afternoon...

And, now, its the third consecutive year that I have missed Holi at home and I miss it terribly.  I hope the next years bring better luck. :)

Happy Holi... :)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Man auctions his life in Australia

Aint that crazy ??

Man auctions his life in Australia | Oddly Enough | Reuters

I wish getting out of bad situations was just as easy as Mr Ian Usher things around there...

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Alternate Power sources : India

Lately, there has been discussions on global warming, and effects of consuming petrochemicals on our environment.  Among other things, this has generated a new buzz in the area of alternate sources of engery.

There is talk about wind power, solar power etc. more than ever.  There are practical reasons to look for that and potential upsides as well.

When I look at India, I feel these two sources (others are not discounted) can and should play a major role in fulfilling India's energy needs.  India has ample resources to generate power from both wind and solar sources.

There are already examples around the world, where the heat in desert has been tapped to generate solar energy. Check this on wikipedia, Solar power plants in the Mojave Desert,
a perfect example of how the Indian desert (one of the larger ones around the world) can be tapped to generate some huge amounts of solar power.  Well, I am no solar power scientist, and therefore cant comment on the technicalities and details around that, but I would very much like to know  the reason that comes about and suggests that it cant be done.

On wikipedia, there is a very interesting and encouraging page about situation of solar power in india. Also, checking the website of the Ministry of New and Renewable Resources shows that they have plans to expand in both wind and solar areas. Though this clearly show govt is thinking in this direction, I am sure people like me would love to see this happen in real life and not see these plans replaced by just another set of plans a few years later, without realizing much on the ground.

India also has a long coastline, and I believe this could be utilized for generating some wind power. Geographically speaking, both eastern and western coastline of Indian peninsula has hilly regions,  and I think these could prove to be interesting areas for installation of windmills.

The idea is not really new for India, since India already is developing wind power generation faster than any other country around the planet. As this article on wikipedia mentions, Wind power in India, India is already the fourth largest host of wind power generation installations.

When I tried to check how would it look like for an individual to install a solar panel or a windmill to fulfil his own energy needs, without relying upon the govt to provide for, google did come back with a few pieces of interesting information. 

Here's one page about how a family fought with administration to set up their own windmill, but eventually gained from it in long run.

This page talks briefly about how to set up such a system for alternate source of energy and provides a few links here and there.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Indian Automobile Industry... what happened there...

Suddenly, there is a boom in the auto innovation sector, and I have to say very proudly, its coming from Indian companies.

Few weeks back, Tata announced "Tata Nano", then the cheapest car in the world, and today I hear another Indian auto company is launching a car cheaper than the famous "Tata Nano". Apparently its a small outfit called Tara automobiles, from/around Kolkata in West Bengal, and the car is called "Tara Tiny". Here's a link to the article, I found in my lunch break... Tara Tiny @ Rs 99K is the world's cheapest car!

I wonder, where was all this innovation till a few months back.  For long long time, only news in auto innovation was coming from the bigger western players like Mercedes, GM, Ford, BMW etc.. or from Japan, where the likes of Toyota, Honda were leading.

Suddenly, there is news after news from the Indian manufacturers, and I cant hide my happy surprise. Way to go, guys.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

यशोमति मैया से बोले नंदलाला...

मेरे सबसे पसंदीदा गीतों मैं से एक -

मैया से बोले नंदलाला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, मैं क्यों काला
राधा क्यों गोरी, मैं क्यों काला

बोली मुस्काती मैया,
ललन को बताया,
अंधियारी आधी रात में तू आया
लाडला कन्हैया मेरा,
लाडला कन्हैया मेरा,
काली कमली वाला,
इसीलिए काला

यशोमती मैया से बोले नंदलाला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, में क्यों काला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, में क्यों काला।

बोली मुस्काती मैया, सुन मेरे प्यारे,
बोली मुस्काती मैया, सुन मेरे प्यारे,
गोरी गोरी राधिका के, नैन कजरारे
काले नैनों वाली ने हो..
ऐसा जादू डाला,
इसीलिये काला

यशोमति मैया से बोले नंदलाला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, मैं क्यों काला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, मैं क्यों काला

इतने में राधा प्यारी आयी इठलाती,
मैंने ना जादू डाला बोली बलखाती,
मैया कन्हैया तेरा हो
मैया कन्हैया तेरा जग से निराला
इसीलिए काला
यशोमती मैया से बोले नंदलाला
राधा क्यों गोरी मैं क्यों काला

Saturday, March 15, 2008

moved to my own domain

Its one special day for me, when I got my own domain name =>

Now, I can claim to have an official presence on the cyberspace. I feel very very good about this. Before this, I have been using free services from blogger, wordpress or others like them to host my pages/writings.

Now my blogs will primarily be known as :

More on this in technology

Friday, March 7, 2008

Shivaratri in Winterthur

Its been sometime since I have been home on one of these festivals. For example, I love Holi and I haven't been home for Holi in last 3-4 years. :( And, Holi is not the only one. All the biggies in the annual Hindu festival list are the same.

This time though, we had a chance to be at the local temple in Winterthur for शिवरात्रि (Shivartri). The temple is an ashram established by Swami Onkarananda. They have a similar ashram in Haridwar as well.

The place is now entirely run/managed by local swiss devotees. All of them have spent at least some time in the ashram in Haridwar. They seem to have excellent knowledge of Sanskrit, not so much of Hindi.

When they were performing the Shivaratri abhisheka, I was stunned to listen to them chanting original sanskrit shlokas and mantras, quite perfectly. I really really liked it.

There I met one more person, Bhaskar (भास्कर). Born a Swiss, he has been educated in haridwar and here in Switzerland as well. He had an excellent pronunciation of the sanskrit Shlokas.

It turned out that he had studied sanskrit in Haridwar for a long time (few years I guess). He claims knowledge of Vedas (वेद), and I dont think he's lying. With the kind of knowledge he was showcasing there, I could easily imagine him knowing some of it.

Later I learned that he's teaching people Sanskrit from the temple premises. A very nice thing in my opinion. Also, that he's starting (or already started) classes for kids on Veda in general.

In my view, a very very nice thing to do, especially that the knowledge about Vedas etc is not so much present in normal Indian's life.

All in all, the Shivaratri trip to the temple, turned out to be very interesting.

हर हर महादेव :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Short films on India : Images

A friend mentioned that he watched two short films about India in some local theater here in Winterthur. He was telling me about the impression he carried from the two films and was telling me about it.

First film was sort of documentary, showing some things. Out of what was shown, a roadside dentist was fixing a lady's tooth. They were showing his tools which were not hygenic. Well, there were other gory details, which I dont really like to recreate here, but the overall idea was that the example situation portrayed a very very bad, poor image of India.

I would have to agree that, yes, thats also a piece of India. But it would be incorrect to see only one part of situation. India is a developing country, and lets not forget that we are on the path of progress for only 60 odd years. In a developing country, one always finds such inconsistent situations. There would be images where you will find affluent people, with money, high tech, in sync with Western styles, And on the other hand, you would find poor people, no money, no food.