Yashwant sinha speaks out

At first glance I dismissed his rants as a burned out veteran trying to come back to the spotlight even if it means jeopardizing the son’s career. However on second read, some of the points he raised makes sense:
1 What is the picture of the Indian economy today? Private investment has shrunk as never before in two decades, industrial production has all but collapsed, agriculture is in distress, construction industry, a big employer of the work force, is in the doldrums, the rest of the service sector is also in the slow lane, exports have dwindled, sector after sector of the economy is in distress
2 Demonetisation has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster.
3. A badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them and countless millions have lost their jobs with hardly any new opportunities coming the way of the new entrants to the labour market.
4 For quarter after quarter, the growth rate of the economy has been declining until it reached the low of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal, the lowest in three years as per the changed methodology in 2015
So, according to the old method of calculation, the growth rate of 5.7 per cent is actually 3.7 per cent or less.
5 Even SBI, the largest public sector bank of the country, has stated with unusual frankness that the slowdown is not transient or “technical”, it is here to stay and the slowdown in demand has only aggravated the situation According to the SBI chairman, the telecom sector is the latest entrant to the long list of stressed sectors.
6. The prime minister is worried. A meeting convened by the prime minister with the finance minister and his officials appears to have been postponed indefinitely. The finance minister has promised a package to revive growth. We are all waiting with bated breath for this package. It has not come so far.
7. The performance of the monsoon this year has not been flattering. This will further intensify rural distress. The farmers have received “massive” loan waivers from some state governments varying from one paise to a few rupees in some cases.
8. Forty leading companies of the country are already facing bankruptcy proceedings. Many more are likely to follow suit.
9. The SME sector is suffering from an unprecedented existential crisis.
10. The input tax credit demand under the GST is a whopping Rs 65,000 crore against a collection of Rs 95,000 crore. The government has asked the income tax department to chase those who have made large claims.
11. Cash flow problems have already arisen for many companies specially in the SME sector. But this is the style of functioning of the finance ministry now.

12 We protested against raid raj when we were in opposition. Today it has become the order of the day. Post demonetisation, the income tax department has been charged with the responsibility of investigating lakhs of cases involving the fate of millions of people. The Enforcement Directorate and the CBI also have their plates full.

13 Instilling fear in the minds of the people is the name of the new game.
14 Economies are destroyed more easily than they are built. It took almost four years of painstaking and hard work in the late nineties and early 2000 to revive a sagging economy we had inherited in 1998. Nobody has a magic wand to revive the economy overnight. Steps taken now will take their own time to produce results.
15, A revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha election appears highly unlikely. A hard landing appears inevitable.
16. Bluff and bluster is fine for the hustings, it evaporates in the face of reality.
now the climax
17. The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters.

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Bane of GST compliance

An Indian mind cannot think of anything simple. It is in his culture to over-complicate trivial issues, graft manuscripts detailing out the rules, scenarios and procedures detailing out a million cases yet keep the crux of the matter unaddressed and subject to interpretation. Furthermore, appoint a bureaucrat/enforcer who will swear by this rulebook as if it is the god’s gift to mankind and an army of middlemen who will guide anybody and everybody how to circumvent this rule…. This parasitic organization was once confined to the public sector & administrative services but has now percolated to the private sector as well. Here this vicious force is thriving without any moral consciousness, though patronage of the promoters without any checks and balances and really crippling the nation.

This is what I had written three months ago and the situation has shown no signs of change. As per clear tax, a business needs to file 37 returns each year to comply with general central requirements. On top of it, based on the nature of your business, there are more filings to be filed some of which are state specific.

Additionally, there are filings for income tax, export/import, foreign exchange dealings, RoC, plethora of state, municipal & central compliance of various licenses (often having contradictory requirements). No wonder an Indian businessman is always depicted as a pot bellied bania spending his entire time at the cash register or making ledgers. Unlike his western counterparts, he does not have time to greet the customers at his shop or even understand what they want.

RSS views on minorities

Hindu’s never accepted any reforms in its religious practices. Setting minimum marriage age, banning Sati or Dowry, widow remarriage was met with stiff resistance from various Hindu organisations and think thanks esp. Hindu Mahasabha. One of the biggest reason for the 1857 freedom struggle was attributed to British trying to Romanize Indian culture through religious reforms and hence British did not try much to enforce or pass on new religious laws from 1857 to Independence. Even today, the government has been lobbying Supreme court to not criminalize forced sex with minors brides.

RSS Guruji & its second leader M. S. Golwalkar wrote a book We-or-Our-Nationhood-Defined and I was intrigued by its 5th chapter (pg 100 to pg 109). Probably this chapter throws light on why suddenly Indian government is interested in religious reforms & women empowerment when it comes to triple talaq, and minority.

If, as is indisputably proved, Hindusthan is the land of the Hindus and is the terra firma for the Hindu nation alone to flourish upon, what is to be the fate of all those, who, today, happen to live upon the land, though not belonging to the Hindu Race, Religion and culture? This question is too very common and has its genesis in the generous impulse of so many Hindus themselves, that it deserves at least a brief answer.

At the outset we must bear in mind that so far as ‘nation’ is concerned, all those, who fall outside the five-fold limits of that idea, can have no place in the national life, unless they abandon their differences, adopt the religion, culture and language of the Nation and completely merge themselves in the National Race. So long, however, as they maintain their racial, religious and cultural differences, they cannot but be only foreigners, who may be either friendly or inimical to the Nation. In all ancient Nations i. e. all those who had a well developed National life even before the Great War, this view is adopted. Though these Nations practice religious toleration, the strangers have to acknowledge the National religion as the state Religion and in every other respect, inseparably merge in the National community.

Culturally, linguistically they must become one with the National race; they must adopt the past and entertain the aspirations for the future, of the National Race; in short, they must be ‘”Naturalized” in the country by being assimilated in the Nation wholly. Naturally, there are no foreigners in these old Nations, and no one to tax the generosity of the Nation by demanding privileges, as ‘Minority communities’ in the State. It is this sentiment which prompted the United States of America, England, France and other old Nations to refuse to apply the solution of the Minorities problem arrived at by the League of Nations, to their States. The avowed reason for their declaration, that the decision of the League was not binding upon them, was that its application might shatter the unity of their empire and create uncalled-for difficulties, by rousing the demon of separateness and variegated interests of the distinct minorities, which had been so long laid at rest. The same sentiment has been expressed in the speech of the American Representative to the League, on the occasion of discussing the advisability of applying the “Minorities” decision to all the countries in the world. He said, there are no distinctive characteristics in respect of Race, Language and Religion between the elements forming each of the peoples of that continent (America). Uniformity of language throughout the territory of each American State, complete religious tolerance combined with a completely natural assimilation of emigrants by the principal mass of population of each of the States, have produced in them natural organisations, of which the  collective unity is complete. This means that the existence of minorities, in the sense of persons with a right to the protection of the League of Nations, is impossible “. It is worth bearing well in mind how these old Nations solve their minorities’ problem.

They do not undertake to recognize any separate elements in their polity. Emigrants have to get themselves naturally assimilated in the principal mass of population, the National Race, by adopting its culture and language and sharing in its aspirations, by losing all consciousness of their separate existence, forgetting their foreign origin. If they do not do so, they live merely as outsiders, bound by all the codes and conventions of the Nation, at the sufferance of the Nation and deserving of no special protection, far less any privilege or rights. There are only two courses open to the foreign elements, either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race.

That is the only sound view on the minorities’ problem. That is the only logical and correct solution. That alone keeps the national life healthy and undisturbed. That alone keeps the Nation safe from the danger of a cancer developing into its body politic of the creation of a state within the state. Prom this standpoint, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment -not even citizen’s rights. There is, at least should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation; let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with the foreign races, who have chosen to live in our country.

In the new states created after the war, however, such an assimilation had not been achieved, nor was there any prospect of its being achieved in the near future. All the same, this tried solution of the problem of the foreign races, should have been as a rule applied everywhere. But the League of Nations struck another note and formulated the now famous minority treaties – and laid down certain general propositions, which have been acclaimed as “the public law of the world.” (Arthur Henderson’s speech-page 24, monthly summary of the League of Nations, Jan. 1931 ) But not without many an apprehension and misgiving. The authors of the solution knew how beset it was with grave dangers, and yet they hoped that these treaties would serve as a first step, their declared object being “to secure for the minorities that measure of protection and justice, which would gradually prepare them to be merged in the national community to which they belonged.” (Sir Austin Chamberlain’s speech at the League Council on 9th Dec. 1925. quoted by Dr. Radhakumud Mukerji).

This risk, which the League ran certain states into, has been vividly expressed by Paul Fauchille in his speech at the League Council on 9-12-25. He said, “this is a solution (the minority rights solution) which perhaps is not without certain dangers; for, if equality of treatment of all the inhabitants of a country, is an element of political and social peace, the recognition of rights belonging to minorities as separate entities, by increasing their coherence and developing in them a sense of their own strength, may provoke them to separate themselves from the state of which they form a part; and in view of the right of peoples to dispose of themselves, the recognition of the rights of these minorities runs a risk of leading to the disruption of states”.
Prophetic words! How true they sound today after the recent developments in Europe, under the very nose of the League of Nations! The disastrous fate of the unfortunate Czechoslovakia (to which as promised, we now refer) proves beyond the faintest shadow of a doubt, how hollow were the League’s hopes and how justified the fears of Paul Fauchille. And yet the decision of the League on the minorities’ rights was the most equitable and just, that could be conceived of. But even this just and equitable arrangement, instead of fostering the assimilation of the minorities into the National community, only served to increase their coherence and create in them such a sense of their own strength, that it led to a total disruption of the state, the Sudeten German minority merging in Germany, the Hungarians in Hungary, in the end leaving the National Czechs to shift for themselves in the little territory left unto them.

Let us be forewarned, lest the same story repeat itself in our Country. Our modern solution of the minorities’ problem is far more dangerous. It confers untold rights not only on those who by their number and years of residence (we doubt it) may be considered according to the League as minorities, but also on all else, howsoever few or recent in their settlement-rights and privileges far in excess of the minimum advocated by the League. The natural consequences are even now felt and Hindu National life runs the risk of being shattered. Let us take heed and be prepared. We will not dilate upon this danger here, as it is outside the ambit of our work; we leave it to the reader to think for himself and read it in the developing events. We only remind him that it was not for nothing that all experienced Nations refused to adopt this decision of the League; that it is not for nothing that they refuse to recognise any elements entitled to separate treatment, that they insist on subordinating all to the general National life-religious, cultural, linguistic, political, that they lay so much stress, on the foreigners, either cutting their old associations and merging in the body of their National race in; every way, or deserving no right what-so-ever, no claim to any obligations from the National race. And having thus reminded him, we leave the reader to ponder over the Czech affair and find out for himself how; our National life is in even a much greater danger.
But enough of this. We refer, on the problem of minorities, our reader to “India and the League of Nations Minority Treaties” by Dr. Radhakumund Mukerji, M. A. Ph. D. and return to our subject. Indeed these questions arise in discussions about a “State” we are out to understand the Nationhood of Hindusthan, which done, all questions regarding the form of “State” shall be worth entrusting to the “Nation” as we find it to exist.

Demonetization and Operation Market Garden

Operation Market garden was a complex, collaborative allied invasion in which more than 45,000 troops (mostly paratroopers & tanks) across Britain, United States, Canada, Poland & Netherlands participated in 1944. The aim was to march 95km from Netherlands to Rhine (Germany) and secure key river crossings in the path. Both Churchill and Montgomery claimed that the operation was 90% success. Yet Prince of Netherlands Bernhard claimed, “My country can never afford the luxury of another Montgomery’s success.” 16-18 thousand troops died over the 9 day offensive and another 20,000 civilians died in the famine it resulted in.

The similarities of the 50 days of mayhem during demonitisation and the planning/operations failure in Market Garden is striking. The elected officials were practically shooting from the hip. The aim, objective, policy was changing everyday with no apparent rationale. Neither the RBI, Banks, financial institutions or government had planned or coordinated. As a result, there was a lot of hardships to businesses, common men and economy in general. The only industry that boomed was the money laundering. Scores of people lined up to exchange old currency with new. Banks and financial institutions happily facilitated anyone with undisclosed income to clean his money without paying a single penny in taxes. Government launched 2 tax amnesty scheme one after another, but there were hardly any takers because the churn caused due to demonetization facilitated in layering and conversion of black into white. Today 99% of the banned currency money has been deposited, yet government seems to be still labelling this policy as a roaring success.