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Archive for April, 2009

Internal migration: Oriyas in Gujarat – The Economic Times

April 30, 2009 2 comments
Copying Western models

Copying Western models

Through correspondents in Orissa they deliver remittances (which constitute as much as half of total earnings) to recipients back home within six to 48 hours, at a much lower effective cost than that the 5% charged by the post office on money orders (which can take two weeks). Bank drafts are much cheaper than money orders, and were indeed the preferred option, until the private operators emerged to obviate the need to open a bank account or lose precious earning time queuing up and doing all the paper work.

With the advent of these private operators the formal sectors’ share of the remittance market has shrunk to 10%. Other informal financial institutions that have proliferated are bishis (chit funds) and “committees” (informal credit unions) to cater to savings and credit needs. (via Internal migration: Oriyas in Gujarat- Comments & Analysis-Opinion-The Economic Times).

Western models and colonial mindset

This is where RBI, the IAS and the rest of the Westernized janata miss out on India. Desperate to ‘modernize’ and ‘progress’ on Western models, we miss out on Indian business models which are more cost effective and require less bureaucracy. RBI has (more than the British could) ground the traditional Indian finance sector into obscurity – by blocking access, creating entry and finally procedural barriers.

What India needs are solutions that Indians need for our requirements – and not what some ‘vested’ interests (read as Western nationals /educated) sahibs (Brown or White), who are more keen to preserve their status and power rather than do their job.

What needs to be done is the end of state support for English language higher education. This precisely what Indian power elites do not want to end, as it prepares them and gives tickets for opportunities in the West.

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Roma Gypsy murder raises ethnic tension higher – BBC NEWS | World | Europe |

April 30, 2009 5 comments

A Gypsy Slave Village

“The net is tightening around the perpetrators,” says Hungarian Police Chief Jozsef Bencze. “But our main enemy now, is time.”

The short time which passes, that is, before the next lethal attack against a Roma (Gypsy) settlement.

The Hungarian police are now investigating 18 such attacks in the past 18 months, some carried out with both firebombs, and firearms. (via BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Murder raises ethnic tension higher).

A few months ago, President Sarkozy was preaching to PM Manmohan Singh of India, about managing minorities. Can you, Shri Sarkozy, look at your own backyard.

A few months ago, the Italian police started a campaign of racial profiling and persecution of the Roma – based on an isolated murder of an Italian.

This disproportionate response against a community, to a crime (I am making an assumption of guilt) by a Roma individual, smacks of persecution, racism and pogroms. After all, this is how Hitler and Mussolini too started their campaigns.

What’s right with Indian bureaucracy

April 29, 2009 1 comment

The bureaucrats shift the blame on the politicians

The bureaucrats shift the blame on the politicians

Bhave resigned from the IAS in 1996, to take up what was then seen as a rather low-profile job — to create India’s first share depository, even though he had the option of going there on deputation. “The job needed full-time commitment from me and from the team I was recruiting. How would I get it, if I did not burn my boats myself?” he says. (via Lunch with BS: C B Bhave).

Colonial institutions

The RBI, the IAS and the IFS are three services which have remained colonial and have a complete choke on Indian policy framework.  There is something about their structures which is not allowing them to shed their colonialism. The Railways have changed – as have many Governement organizations like Public Sector banks, Air India-Indian Airlines, etc.

And this extract confirms the conclusions made by 2ndlook and posted 1 year ago.

RBI, IAS and IFS

On April 1st, 1934, while the ‘Squeeze India’ campaign was under execution – choreographed by Montagu Norman, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill (some sickness … some racism) Lord Willingdon, India’s banking authority was set up.

The objective of setting up RBI – this colonial money authority, was to devise a policy structure for creating a ‘money famine’ needed by colonial British masters. From that April Fool’s day till now, RBI character has not changed. RBI resorts to creating these money famines every few years – even today. The last RBI ‘money famine’ in 1996 saw inter-corporate interest rates shoot to 40% – and a recession that lasted for 4 years.

The IAS (a successor to the colonial ICS) and the Planning Commission are the other two. The IFS has been pre-occupied with diplomatically engaging the West, fixated with Pakistan, while India’s relations in neighbourhood are at a historic low. But the English speaking, Indian bureaucracy is another matter. Having dragged India to the bottom of global corruption pervasiveness ratings, they cover their owns misdeeds, under the ‘umbrella’ of the neta. This is one colonial institution that India has tried digesting, without succes. IAS (ICS during colonial times) a venal, corrupt cadre, has tied up India into knots – which have taken us decades to even start disentangling.

Compare the successful bureaucracies

Compare that with the brilliant track record of modern Indian regulators and organizations like the SEBI, TRAI. Or even the IPS. India has the lowest prison population in the world – and also the lowest police-to-population ratio.

Till 1990-95 Indian stock trading was largely done done through the open outcry system, physical paper settlements, long settlement periods – and rampant manipulation. Indian stock trading systems was a closed club – and did not attract any serious investors.

Between, 1900-1995, SEBI, NSE, BSE and NSDL designed and managed the transition from the physical platform with the open outcry system to a complete electronic trading platform of the NSE and BSE.

BSE Logo

NSE Logo

Today, the BSE/NSE trading system is the most advanced in the world – in terms of trade volumes, transaction volumes and automation.

By 2000, India had less than 4 crore phones. Most of the 100 crore (1billion) Indians were unconnected – and disconnected from the world. Governments monopolies, BSNL and MTNL, ruled the roost. By 2000, India had less than 4 crore phones. Most of the 100 crore (1billion) Indians were unconnected – and disconnected from the world. Governments monopolies, BSNL and MTNL, ruled the roost.

By 2001, the BJP led Government came to power. The telecom regulator in a series of bold moves, changed policies – and equations. Tariffs declined by nearly 5000% – from roughly 50 cents to 1 cent per minute. User base ballooned to 20 crores – from 4 crores. In 7 years more telecom users were added than in the previous 70 years. For the first time, the poor in India are beginning to benefit from technology.

It took a non-Congress Government in 1977 to change the face of Indian Railways. Prof.Madhu Dandavate, the Railway Minister in the 1977 Janata Government started the railway renaissance in India. 3rd class railway travel was abolished. Wooden-slat seats were abolished. Cushioned 2nd class seating system was made minimum and standard. Train time tables were re-configured. Reservation systems improved. Railways started getting profitable.

Smear the neta

Smear the neta

The de-colonization of Indian Railways began effectively in 1977 – 30 years after British departure. Symbolically, that was also the year that the Rail Museum was set up. The progress after that has been remarkable. Today for a US$5, an Indian can travel for a 1000 km.

All this when only 25% of Indians travel by rail at least once a year.

Smear the neta

From colonial times, the Indian neta has been a favorite target of smear campaigns, innuendo and propaganda. Colonial administration in India worked hard to undermine the credibility of the Indian ‘neta’ – for obvious reasons. Colonial bureaucrats (and their successors, the IAS) covered their incompetence and corruption with this lopsided image of the neta. Indians politicians are possibly as corrupt as any others in the world.

Reclaiming America’s Soul – NYTimes.com

April 29, 2009 1 comment

For the fact is that officials in the Bush administration instituted torture as a policy, misled the nation into a war they wanted to fight and, probably, tortured people in the attempt to extract “confessions” that would justify that war. And during the march to war, most of the political and media establishment looked the other way.

It’s hard, then, not to be cynical when some of the people who should have spoken out against what was happening, but didn’t, now declare that we should forget the whole era — for the sake of the country, of course. (via Op-Ed Columnist – Reclaiming America’s Soul – NYTimes.com).

Paul Krugman in his true and real colours

I liked this Op-Ed peice by Paul Krugman. It shows him in his best colours – as a hypocrite, psuedo-moralist, with patently false concerns.

His concern is about the use of torture or 3rd degree methods, in a nation that “used to be, a nation of moral ideals”. He wants to do this “not just for the sake of our position in the world, but for the sake of our own national conscience”.

Much before the elections it was clear that all the three candidates were on the same side. Their wrangling was all a wrangling for the spoils of power.

A simple question?

Who exactly did the US of A use torture against? Reading Krugman, you cannot ever make-out that the victims were NOT American citizens.

Squeamish, or evasive? Or just a plain affliction of false delicacy? Krugman, you are not being escapist, are you? No “I” word at all. God forbid, but Krugman does not mention, not once – Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Islam, Muslim. Not even once. Good fer ya, Paul!

Krugman signing off …

what we really should do for the sake of the country is have investigations both of torture and of the march to war. These investigations should, where appropriate, be followed by prosecutions — not out of vindictiveness, but because this is a nation of laws. We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn’t about looking backward, it’s about looking forward — because it’s about reclaiming America’s soul.

Says Krugman!

I dont know much about ‘investigations,’ ‘America’s Soul,’ or ‘the nations of laws’ – but what I know is that the Rest of the World should do something about a rampant American gone horribly wrong.

And the answers are simple

Just do two things.

Go out  and buy gold. If all the readers of this blog bought one kg of gold, the US dollar (and all other paper currency systems) will crash. Phoooos! Yes that the sound of escaping air from the punctured dollar.

Second!

Just stop drinking Pepsi and Coke – and dont step into a McDonald’s. If Coke and Pepsi sales in China, India, Brazil and Russia collapsed, it will start a domino effect.

Just this!

Food journalist from Times of India & Economic Times

April 29, 2009 1 comment

Matters came to a head in the 1920s over a grant by the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee to a school where two Brahmin students were given separate eating facilities. After much campaigning, when the Committee withdrew the grant, several Brahmins resigned, causing the first caste-based split. Curiously Mahatma Gandhi, who was otherwise firm on overcoming caste discrimination in all forms, was willing to be flexible in not forcing inter-caste dining. This perhaps reflected Gandhi’s dependence in dealing with Tamil issues on Brahmin lawyers like C Rajagopalachari (who, to be fair, was not as personally prejudiced), but it could also stem from his own fastidious eating habits. Gandhi and the Brahmins shared a powerful sense of bodily purity based on food. (via Meat Eating & Inter-Caste Dinners Continue To Be The Hot Topics Of Political Debate In Tamil Nadu BY VIKRAM DOCTOR).

Here is someone who writes about food seriously – and usually with serious insight. He is best when he is writing about Indian food. He is also sponsored by various farmer co-operatives in the West – and then he starts plugging Western food, where he ends up being rather trite and synthetic. He is worth a read on Indian food though.

The Government should something about this!

April 28, 2009 1 comment
The poor Indian didnt ask for this ...

The poor Indian didnt ask for this ...

“The government needs to look at this,” Crowden said. “Budgets are being cut. If they don’t do something, it’s going to be a serious public-health risk.” (via Coming to a bin near you: rat pack takes Britain by storm).

As a child, growing up in Hyderabad, for every problem, there were two common remarks. One, “The Government should do something about this.” The second was, “It is not like this in foreign countries.” Whether it was overflowing drain or a pothole on the road.

Looking back, I can see that things have changed. Over the years, Indians use this phrase less and less. This phrase is now close to becoming either extinct or may even become a parody. It may make its way into Indian films as a joke.

The other thing was that the people who could do something, the educated, the elite, the Westernized used this phrase, hankered for this solution more than the poor or the desi and the dehati types. In all my years, I have never heard a desi say that “the Government should do something about this.”

Curious eh!

Coming to the Brits! Till they get up, and stop asking the Government to do something, the decline will not stop!

Bank Regulators Clash Over U.S. Stress-Tests Endgame (Update1) – Bloomberg.com

April 25, 2009 2 comments

Stress Test

The U.S. Treasury and financial regulators are clashing with each other over how to disclose results from the stress tests of 19 U.S. banks, with some officials concerned at potential damage to weaker institutions. (via Bank Regulators Clash Over U.S. Stress-Tests Endgame (Update1) – Bloomberg.com).

What are banking insiders saying?

Banking insiders think that all these banks are practically insolvent. How does Obama and his cohorts deal with? Mega mergers? More cash infusions. Or will the US banking also finally end up with the Big 3?

Did the stress crack them up?

Did the stress crack them up?

Public sector or oblivion

During the Great Depression, more than 19 auto companies (similar to the number of banks today) were folded into the Big 3. The Big 3 lived to fight for another 70 years. In their death throes, the US Big Auto is likely to go the way European auto sector has gone – public sector or oblivion.

Saddam lives (through his words)

The way it looks, it will mean the Mother Of All Mergers. At which point, there is no team of accountants in the world who can figure out what is where, or what condition what is in? And then the evasions, the lies the obfuscation can continue for some more decades?

Real low … real truth (seen an oxymoron like that?)

The real question – who will pay for it?

Not the Americans! No siree. Definitely not.

Will the Lilliputs manage a soft landing?

Will the Lilliputs manage a soft landing?

Neither the American super-rich or the American welfare-poor? Not the American tax payers or the American tax evaders? Not the American Whites or the American Blacks?

It is the Chinese, the Russians, Indians, Brazilians and above all the Africans will pay for this! They have done, what bankers call non-recourse lending! The Chinese, Russians, Indians, Brazilians and the Africans, have no recourse. Who will the Chinese go to, for redeeming their US$2 trillion?

The bankrupt US of A? Welcome to the real world.

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