Money does grow on trees, Prime Minister

Member of Parliament

There is no way we can take lightly the Prime Minister’s recent address to the nation. It was, unarguably, an exceptional step for him to take, renowned as he is neither for his loquacity, nor for his oratorial skills. Why then did he mount his Rocinante of ‘91 vintage and futilely lance opponents of his policies by alleging that they were “spreading canards”? Also, which Sancho Panza on his staff persuaded him to use this insulting noun? But for this, his otherwise rather nondescript address would have been best left to its inevitable fate of oblivion. Not, however, now.

Telephone call

First: this rather admonitory “money does not grow on trees”. Just a day after this astonishing, also so unneeded, reprimand, I received a telephone call from a retired soldier colleague, who had served with me as my tank driver, sharing with me for many years my tank lean-to shelter at night. I save his name lest he be nagged by the otherwise inefficient Intelligence Bureau. “Sahib”, he said in his thick Shekhawati dialect and accent, “please educate the PM that money does actually grow on trees and plants; we get all our fruits, vegetables and animal feed and also firewood from a ‘tree’. So tell him to think of the farmers, not of the ‘foreigners’, who over two centuries back came as a company and took away our land. Not one ‘biswa’ [a measure of land] was left to us”. I promised him I would do so, but advised him not to disturb his retired life over such depressing thoughts, for just as our ‘dhabas’ defeated a rather cocky Colonel from Kentucky, US of A, India will defeat this, too. And not one word of this anecdote is made up.

Therefore, next to the fabled merits of multiple retail shops of (in)famous names.

Please reflect first on the merits of India’s unorganised and widely dispersed retail trade, explained with admirable clarity and succinctness by S. Gurumurthy (“‘Reform’ at Nation’s Cost,” New Indian Express , September 20) : “The unorganised retail trade in India represents the traditional, community-centric, low-cost … employment intense retailing that includes, but is not limited to, kirana shops, owner-run-general stores, paan-beedi shops, convenience stores, and hand-cart and pavement vending. In this model a whole family works in one shop and a whole community is engaged in the trade in a defined area. Most advocates of corporate … and retail firms … ignore [this] critical contribution of the [existing system] to the Indian economy and society (emphasis added). This “multi-layer retailing is the most decentralised economic activity in India after agriculture. Second, it constitutes almost 98 percent of the total trade with an estimated 12 million outlets. In contrast, organised trade accounts for just 2 percent. Third, it is the largest employment provider after agriculture, employing an estimated 40 million people”. In contrast, the world’s largest retail chain, Wal-Mart, employs just about five lakhs. Fourth, being “self-employed … with their families”, this activity comprises “120 million people”.

It is “retailing that continuously generates … huge community-based entrepreneurship”. And then “it contributes over 14 percent of India’s GDP, while all [the] companies in the BSE 500 Index, put together is some 4 percent”. Also that the “unorganised retail segment has been growing at an average rate of over 8 percent a year for the last eight years (1999-00 to 2006-07). … second only to construction …” Let us consider seriously that “if [this] social capital link to retail trade is unsettled, the entire distant and remote supply chain will suffer over a period, disturbing the social equilibrium and the organic social links that have evolved over … centuries”.

There is then a further ‘canard’ spread by our dear PM and his ilk, suggesting that concerns like ‘Walmart’, and others of that variety, overflow with the milk of human kindness and act only out of empathy and compassion for India’s farmers and poor. Gurumurthy very effectively comes to our assistance here, too, the evidence, even in the U.S. being to the contrary: “Walmart entered in Austin neighbourhood of Chicago in 2006. And by 2008, some 82 of the 306 small shops had closed down.” Further, “the Economic Development Quarterly study found the closure rate around Walmart location at 35-60 per cent.” Such studies in the U.S. reject the UPA’s assertion that FDI in retail does not hurt small shops. On job creation, a January 2010 report titled ‘Walmart’s Economic Footprint’, prepared for the New York City Public Advocate, says that “Walmart kills three local jobs for every two it creates”. Jayati Ghosh, an eminent Indian economist cited by Karan Thapar, asserts that “one Walmart store in India will displace 1400 small retail stores costing 5000 jobs”. This, too, is dismissed by the government as “meaningless”.

Misplaced view

As for Walmart offering better prices, please recognise it does not buy or pay for goods over the counter. It purchases the nation’s next harvest in futures market and fixes farm prices. It also “imports cheap goods and destroys local production like it has done in the U.S.” And an outstanding example of this is provided by President George W. Bush, who gratuitously observed “that [rice] prices had gone up because newly prosperous Indians had begun eating more”. In truth, as detailed by USA Today (April 23, 2008) and CNN (April 24, 2008) the “California Rice Commission and USA Rice Federation” denied there was a “shortage of rice”, explaining that it was because ‘Sams Club’ (Walmart’s wholesale division) was holding ‘huge stocks’, and ‘pushing up the prices’.

Two UPA government reports — of the Planning Commission Working Group on Agriculture for the XI Plan (2007-2012), and the 19th report of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Food (2006-2007), to Parliament — “themselves nail the lie that Walmart will link farm-gate to its gate and make Indian farmers rich”.

There is then that absurd assumption that this variety of capital inflow is the answer to our present trade and current account deficits. First, this is neither true nor tenable. Secondly, whose misgovernance/absence of governance has brought about this situation? Please do not place all blame on the ‘global situation’ when you do not hesitate to pat your back about crossing the 2008 fiscal obstacle course. “The trade account deficit of about US$150 billion and the current account deficit exceeding 3 per cent of GDP is very alarming and may lead to a balance of payments crisis of much graver nature than the 1990 position”. It is this continuous pressure on the “trade account and the sudden withdrawal of funds by FIIs from the stock market that has weakened the Indian Rupee”, (Rs. 16 in 1991 to as low as Rs.50 per U.S. dollar) during the UPA-2’s Rule, resulting in a “devaluation of more than 300 per cent”. (Thus becoming) one of “the major causes of imported inflation in the country during the past two decades”. Should our domestic savings, contributing almost 90 per cent of investments in the country, go down, which without fiscal and monetary incentives could well happen, and should the Investment to GDP ratio fall below 30 per cent, then surely we will revert to a ‘sub-Hindu rate’ of growth. That is why prime ministerial favours to foreign investors and step-motherly treatment to our dear desi s is so difficult to grasp.

Finally, a brief word about the totally wrong phraseology, to which all have by now succumbed. The measures recently undertaken are not in any sense ‘reforms’, and I am very glad our distinguished Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission has candidly and correctly said so. These, at best, are ‘administrative’ measures which the government has now, with much fanfare, announced. Misplaced again, for the first reform needed, the very first is ‘reform of government’, and reforming governance is vital so that corruption is minimised and efficiency in administration maximised. I am doing what I promised my soldier colleague I would do. Are the knights of “El ingenioso hidalgo …” listening?

The U.S. experience proves that big retailers like Walmart are destructive for the community and will not generate the benefits that India has been promised.

Sudarshan – a man simple, yet profound


S Gurumurthy


Kuppalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan, who headed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for nine years as its fifth Sarsanghachalak and when hale and Imagehearty himself, nominated Mohan Bhagwat as his successor, passed away on September 15. A rare human being — simple, unassuming, honest, innocent, child-like, and, most important, Sudarshan was least given to being strategic or clever. He could be faulted for innocence but not ever for deceit.


His personality and his image stood diametrically opposite. He headed the RSS imaged as communal. However, anyone who knew Sudarshan was stunned by the extent of gap between the perception about the RSS and the reality of who Sudarshan was. The perception about the RSS being an undesirable outfit at the minimum extending to being an extremist at the maximum and the reality of Sudarshan being an affable, friendly and innocent to a fault showed how bias and prejudice could conceal the truth and advance falsehood. It was his innocence that landed him in political controversies at times.


Perez Chandra, an uncompromising and ‘unfriendly’ journalist who gave up writing because he could not find a media in which he could write the raw truth honestly, also a born Christian and a fierce nationalist, fell for Sudarshan’s innocence and simplicity. He met Sudarshan often, asked inconvenient questions and was bowled over by his innocence. Sudarshan used to match his provocation with patience and a smile. Perez used to wonder and bemoan how a simple, innocent and transparent Sudarshan, incapable of hurting a fly, was seen outside as communal, even as an extremist. Contrary to his image again, Sudarshan was friendly with many religious Muslims. He founded the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, interacted with Muslims all over the country, and interpreted the Quran as an inclusive religious text. Unfortunately such good work never leaked outside, thanks to unverified bias in the public domain.


Sudarshan studied engineering, but applied his knowledge wholly for improving humans, rather than re-engineering machines. He had read Descartes and Newton better than the best physicist. Intellectually acutely endowed, Sudarshan used his scientific acumen to argue how the western world view had dehumanised life and reduced humans into robots. He opposed westernisation, of India particularly, on logic, not jingoism. A staunch advocate of Swadeshi, Sudarshan combined the thoughts Mahatma Gandhi and Deendayal Upadhyaya to interpret Swadeshi as an economic idea related not just to sociology but to culture as well. He integrated economics to lifestyle. He believed that market forces, advertisements and corporates should not be allowed to hijack human lifestyle, which was long bound to basic values embedded in one’s culture and civilisation. He saw an emerging clash between market and culture.


The way the West is going today — with 55 per cent of the first marriages, 67 per cent of the second and 74 per cent of the third, breaking up; 41 per cent of babies born to unwed mothers, a half the households led by mostly single women parents and as many households dependent on government bailout — Sudarshan was perhaps right in his apprehensions about what unbridled market forces would do to families, couples, women and children and finally the society in India.


Sudarshan was doubtlessly simple, yet undoubtedly profound.

Why did the economy go back to the 1991 position?

As the heat over foreign direct investment in retail rises, not only the opposition parties but people like Swaminathan Gurumurthy, Convenor of Swadeshi Jaagran Manch, are also fiercely against the government’s proposal.

Shobha Warrier talks to the ‘swadeshi’ man on what his views are on FDI in retail and the politics behind it.

The prime minister has told the nation that the Indian economy is as bad as it was in 1991. How do you react to this statement from the same person who has brought in the change and has been in charge of the nation for so many years?

There are two aspects which have to be examined first. The prime minister has to answer first, why did the economy go back to the 1991 position? After having developed, and grown – India was seen as a rising global economic power from 2005-08 – how, in the last couple of years has the economy nosedived? He has to explain this to the people.

That the prime minister himself has to warn the country that it is as bad as 1991, means it’s a serious situation. So, he is answerable to the country how he took the country back to the 1991 days.

In 1991, you could say the policies that were pursued were restrictive and that was why the country underperformed. Now, in the last 20 years, you have liberalised, you have brought in so many changes. Why is it under performing today?

What, according to you, are the reasons why the economy was under performing?

Problems are of five kinds according to me; that is, the balance sheet of the government, the balance sheet of the corporates, the balance sheet of the banks, the external balance sheet of India and the balance sheet of the households. The household balance sheet is fairly alright. Our corporate balance sheet is not poor. They are not running in huge losses.

The bank balance sheet is okay. It’s the government balance sheet and the external balance sheet of India that are in problem. Why has the government balance sheet got into problem? The government gave encouragement to the industry in 2008 and 2009 by giving a lot of tax concessions to ride out of the so-called recession.
The amount of benefit was almost Rs 100,000 crores (Rs 1 trillion). The amount foregone by the government through concessions is over Rs 7 lakh crores (Rs 7 trillion).

Now, the government has no courage to withdraw the benefits because the corporates put pressure on them. This country is being run by “pink” mindset and the pink newspapers.

Next is the way they have maladjusted the expenditure side. For example, the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is just to fetch votes; indirectly a bribery. It is a cesspool of corruption and is consuming Rs 100,000 crores (Rs 1 trillion). You are not only disfiguring the balance sheet of the country but also spoiling the work force of the rural areas.

For the last six-seven years, the game has been going on but no political party wants to talk about it because it will affect the vote bank. Who disfigured the balance sheet like this? This government. This has resulted in a huge budget deficit and that is one of the reasons why the rupee weakened. You also mismanaged the external front by liberalising your imports based on your stock market money.

You have no reason to run a trade deficit of $120 billion with China and starve the local industries. Because the external front weakened, the cost of the economy went up by at least 25 per cent. You brought in inflation. When inflation went up, savings went down, and when savings went down, there was a capital shortage and pressure on interest rates. It was all brought in by this government by its actions.

Like the prime minister says, is FDI in retail and other sectors the answer to solve all these problems? When the government says FDI in retail can create millions of jobs, a study says even if it were to take 20 per cent of the retail market, eight million jobs will be lost.

If Walmart is killing three jobs to create two jobs in the US, the proportion cannot be more in India. It will kill more jobs in India. The very day India announced that FDI in retail would have no impact on small retailers, Atlantic City, the web cousin of Foreign Affairs magazine, carried a headline news that ‘Radiating death – Walmart spells doom for small business.’

They have said that the closure rate of small shops near Walmart is 35-60 per cent. For every mile from the Walmart super markets, the closure rate is 15-20 per cent. It radiates this closure. At the same time, you are claiming that there will be more employment opportunities and small business will not be affected.
But it is not Walmart alone that is going to enter the Indian market…

You must look at what the biggest player will do. That there are other players also means, more competitors will be doing the same job. Whatever Walmart does, the other players have to do worse. Otherwise, they will not survive.

What is the difference between what the big Indian retailers have been doing and what the MNCs will do?

There is a difference. Their pockets are not as deep as the foreign players. For example, players like Walmart can establish their malls everywhere without looking at profits for the next, say five years or 10 years. They can undersell and finish off all the local retailers. I don’t think the Indian corporates can have this kind of an approach.

Because they are not big enough?

They don’t have the equity or capacity to pose this kind of danger. Another worry of mine, other than losing employment and destruction of small shops is the impact it will have on rural food security. Sixty per cent of the food grains produced in India is distributed within villages and only 40 per cent enters the commercial arena. Most farmers produce food for only themselves.

If this is so, how can you establish a farmgate to retailgate link? If you draw two per cent out of the 60 per cent, it is going to be disastrous.

What is the guarantee that they will outsource from Indian farmers, like the government expects? If they get cheaper food products from elsewhere, won’t they bring them to Indian market, like you see Fiji and Californian apples even today in Indian market?

They can outsource 70 per cent of their products. Let us assume they pay a higher price here and lower price outside, they can make their margin. My worry is taking even five per cent food grains from the Indian rural market. If that is so, what will happen to the food security of those people?

Thirty-five crore small farmers and about 25 crore farm labour are dependant on what is produced in the rural market.

Supporters of FDI in retail talk about FDI in countries like China, Indonesia, etc., and say no economic crisis has happened there because of FDI in retail. What do you say on this?

Can you manage your economy like China? You can manage only if you can manage your politics or media or police or army like China. Only if you can manage foreign countries like China.

China has limited the entire globalisation process only to coastal China. There is no free movement of people, there is no free exchange of information. It is juts impossible to follow China.

Another thing is, the number of retail shops in India is at least three times higher than that of China. Retail penetration is very high in this country. China destroyed traders and substituted them with ration shops for over 40 years.

Similarly, they had wiped out the Chinese trading class and farmers. So, when they opened up, Chinese business class had to come from outside. They needed the business class from outside when they opened which is not the case in India. Traders, farmers and business class are in existence in India. It is not a comparable situation.

Will FDI in retail create a buoyancy in the Indian economy like the government expects?

I don’t think so. It can only manage the sentiments. The idea of managing the economy through managing the sentiments is only a short term measure. The prime minister says 50 per cent of the FDI will go into developing the infrastructure. Do you expect them to do so when they are here to do business?

Why should they develop the infrastructure here? They may probably set up cold storages but why should they develop roads here? But basic infrastructure, you have to develop for them to put up their storage facilities. They may start the axillary infrastructure if you put up the main infrastructure. How foolish it is to expect them to develop infrastructure in the country! I don’t know how it goes uncontested.

The criticism against the Marxist party (CPM) is that they are against capitalism, and the criticism against the BJP is that it is a baniya party…

I am very happy if the BJP supports the baniyas. I am very happy if Marxists support the small traders because they are anti-capitalists. I don’t see anything wrong in this.

Do you call bringing FDI in retail or any other sector, reform?

I don’t think reform has never been defined. Today, anything that the western countries want is “reforms”. If you oppose what they want, you are against reforms. The entire retail development in the US can be attributed to the destruction of society there by promoting crass consumerism. Retail investment is a product of consumerism.

FDI in retail, FDI in insurance, FDI in pension fund… which is going to be the most dangerous, according to you?

According to me, FDI in retail will immediately affect the economy. Making pension fund dependant on the stock market will be very dangerous.

In fact, the US economy has become dependant on the stock market. When the stock market falls, the economy falls. Instead, you should follow the German model where pension funds are banked. The social security system of Germany is based on banking model and not on stock model while American social security model is based on equity model.

Germans seem to be far more successful because Germany is the only country that is running surplus budgets. It has also surplus trade balance. And, we are basically a bank based country. Only two per cent of the savings gets into the stock market. That is why the government is able to meet its deficits.

This year, we will be depositing Rs eight lakh crores (Rs 8 trillion) in the banking system and the government will be borrowing Rs six lakh crores (Rs 6 trillion). If the people put money in the stock market, the government will become insolvent in this country.

And, the prime minister of this country said four years ago, if I recollect, don’t go to banks, go to the stock market. But the country didn’t listen. Our culture is aligned to the banking system.

The government says subsidies must go as it is eating the economy…

There is subsidy in every country. America is giving $20 billion annually as subsidy for agriculture, European Union also. Subsidies is the only way you can equalise.

The subsidies that are eating into the Indian economy is the petroleum subsidy. Seventy-five per cent of it can be attributed to the depreciation of the value of the rupee.

Our prices are sufficient to recover the international prices up to $100 per barrel provided the value of the rupee is 45 or 46. But the rupee value has depreciated by 25 per cent, and that is because of the mismanagement of the economy. So, don’t blame subsidies, blame the fall in the value of the rupee.

23 Italians receive Hindu Diksha

By Express News Service – PUDUCHERRY
06th August 2012 10:22 AM
  • Divine course: The Italian devotees during the Shiva Diksha ceremony in Puducherry on Sunday | G Pattabiraman / Express
    Divine course: The Italian devotees during the Shiva Diksha ceremony in Puducherry on Sunday | G Pattabiraman / Express
As many as 23 Italian citizens from Vatican received Diksha from Brahmasree Veda Samrat A Raja Sastrigal at a Veda Patasala (religious school) at Karuvadikuppam here on Sunday. The three-hour ceremony was held at the Gomaatha Kovil amidst chanting of mantras and hymns by the Italian devotees.
The Italian team (consisting of four children) comprised professionals like teachers, doctors and engineers. All of them had undergone a basic course under Raja Sastrigal in Vatican, before coming here. It all began with one Italian man, Flavio, who got influenced by the Hindu way of life, came into contact with Raja Sastrigal, way back in 2001. Sastrigal went to Vatican and stayed there for three months to teach Flavio, and his wife Stepano, the basics of Sanskrit hymns and Vedas. Over the years, the couple has gathered followers, who were also influenced by Hindu spirituality.
The couple developed their diction and pronunciation over the years. The few local people assembled were astonished to hear the Italians’ near-perfect rendering of Sri Rurdram Chamakam, Rudrajapam, Srisuktham, and portions from Upanishads.
Flavio and Stepano even changed their Italian names, adopting Hindu names Shivananda Saraswati and Savithri. Aurora, an Italian team members, told Express that she believes India is a Karmabhoomi and the Hindu way of life has led to understanding herself better.
The Italian lady, who is now known as Lalitha, said she would follow the footsteps of her Guru Shivananda Saraswati. The training for chanting the mantras and hymns lasted for about three hours and Raja Sastrigal performed kalasa theertha (sprinkling of holy water) on the trainees as per the rituals of the Hindu religion at the end.
The team members would spend a couple more  of  days in Puducherry, before returning for more learning after a few months.

Rs 300 for voter identity card!

GUWAHATI, Sept 24: Rupees 300 can give you a fake Indian voter identity card in the northeast. This was revealed by the three illegal Bangladeshi nationals, who were picked up by the Guwahati Police from a city hotel on Sunday night, following an interrogation. Md Masud, Shohel Rana and Shafikul Islam entered Tripura with Bangladeshi passports and later took the help of Shikhan Mian, who is a resident of Tripura, to visit Assam. Police sources said Shikhan Mian was paid Rs 300 by each of the three Bangladeshi nationals to arrange Indian voter identity cards for them. The four including Shikhan Mian reached Guwahati from Agartala on Sunday and stayed in a city hotel. Acting on a tip off, the border police raided the hotel and nabbed the four persons. The border police also recovered Bangladeshi currency and passports from the arrested persons.

‘Reform’ at nation’s cost

S Gurumurthy

Indeed ironical. On the same Friday (September 14) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rolled out the red carpet for Walmart, New York City, America’s largest, shut Walmart out. Again ironically the very Friday the UPA government handed the FDI bouquet to Walmart and lobbyists assured that small retailers are safe, Atlanticcities, a web-newspaper from the stable of the famous Foreign Affairs magazine, carried a devastating headline news: ‘Radiating Death: How Walmart Displaces Nearby Small Businesses’. Weeks ago, on June 30, over 10,000 people, shouting “Walmart = Poverty”, marched through Los Angeles, America’s richest city, against Walmart stores. On June 1, hundreds protested in Washington DC against Walmart. “Say-No-To-Walmart” is an ongoing movement all over the United States.

Why focus on Walmart? It is world’s most powerful retailer; it has ‘spent’ a lot to get the UPA nod for FDI in retail. Even as lobbyists here celebrate Walmart, it has become untouchable where it was born, in the US. Why is Walmart so hated in the US? “Walmart will devastate local businesses,” say New York trade unions and local communities. The mass protesters at Los Angeles too cited the same reason: “small business will close down”; and screamed “Walmart has no heart and no morals. We don’t want you in Los Angeles.” Politicians in the US, however, seem to be like the UPA’s cousins. In March last, the Los Angeles City Council had put a moratorium on big retailers, but, Walmart got building permits just a day before! Recall the 2G permit cut off date?

Yet, the UPA certifies Walmart and its competitor cousins as compassionate to small retailers and farmers. It promises they will employ millions here. The evidence in the US is to the contrary. According to the Atlanticcities article, Walmart entered in Austin neighbourhood of Chicago in 2006. And by 2008, some 82 of the 306 small shops had closed down. The Economic Development Quarterly study found the closure rate around Walmart location at 35-60 per cent. Walmart radiated closure of 20 per cent of drug stores every mile from its stores; and 15 per cent home furnishing, 18 per cent hardware and 25 per cent toy stores. Studies in the US nail the UPA lie that FDI in retail will not hurt small shops. On job creation, a latest report (January 2010) titled ‘Walmart’s Economic Footprint’ prepared for the New York City Public Advocate says that Walmart kills three local jobs for every two it creates. So the job creation argument too is a lie. The third justification that the ‘farmers will get better prices’ is a clever lie, and so needs a closer look. It suppresses the vital fact that Walmart does not buy, or pay, over the counter. It buys the nation’s next harvest in futures market and fixes farm prices. It also imports cheap goods — from China — and destroy local production like it has done in the US. Take the first case, with the recent experience of the US and the world.

Rice prices in the US and world markets shot up by three times in April 2008 as compared to January 2007. It was then that the US President George W Bush made the funny remark that prices had gone up because the newly prosperous Indians had begun eating more! What was the truth? The USA Today (April 23, 2008) and CNN (April 24, 2008) quoted the California Rice Commission and USA Rice Federation as denying shortage of rice and saying there was enough stock. Why then were prices rising? It was because, said the CNN, Sams Club (Walmart’s wholesale division), holding huge stocks, was pushing up the prices. US farmers accused speculators and futures market for the high prices. It was not farmers who traded in farm futures. Investment funds accounted for 40 per cent of wheat futures trade in the US in January 2008, which rose to 60 per cent by April. Wheat futures that was $4 a bushel in early 2007, rose to $14 per bushel in April 2008. The US farmer, who had sold his harvest in futures market, lost and Walmart, which had bought the futures, gained. Even if some farmers had some stocks Walmart, which had stocked at cheaper prices, refused to buy at higher prices, pointed out the media.

Look at it this way. If the US farmers get remunerative prices from Walmart why does the US, with two per cent farming population, grant annual farming subsidies of $20 billion and the European Union, for its five per cent farming population, gift a subsidy of $74.5 billion annually. The experience of the US and West nail all three justifications for the FDI in retail as lies. Foreign direct investment in retail will incrementally hit the 12 million family retailers in India; it will not help farmers; it will cut jobs. Even more dangerous, it will destroy the rural food security.

Two of UPA government’s reports — of the Planning Commission Working Group on Agriculture for the XI Plan (2007-2012), and the 19th report of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Food (2006-2007) to Parliament — themselves nail the lie that Walmart will link farm-gate to its gate and make Indian farmers rich. The reports describe the farm-gate thus: a total of 59 million of farming families (32 crore rural people) live on subsistence farms of five acres or less (while US farms are 250 times and the Australian, 4000 times, larger); about 60 per cent of food products is barter-exchanged and consumed by farmers and farm labour, and as seed and animal feeds within villages; only 40 per cent move out of villages for commercial marketing. Even if a small part of the large local needs is drawn by an efficient Walmart from the farm gate to its gate, that will mean urban pricing in rural areas that will destroy the food security of two-thirds of Indians in villages.

The Montek Ahluwalia-led Planning Commission report laments that ‘the marginal farmers are certainly going to stay for a long time’ and ‘what happens to them has implications for the entire economy.” However, the small farmer is no waste. He is more efficient. His productivity a third higher, than in large farms. Small farmers use one-third of the total cultivated area and produce 41 per cent of nation’s food and 110 million tonnes of milk. If large ones replace them, the nation’s food production will fall by 7 per cent. The reformers do not know that recent global researches have confirmed that economy of scale that applies to industries does not apply to agriculture, where small ones are more efficient than large ones.

QED: The ‘reformers’ betray illiteracy; clamour for fame as reformers; secure it at nation’s cost. Reformers or deformers?

Pranab Mukherjee, Omita Paul and corruption in Finance Ministry


CT – JULY 17, 2012


Is she a lobby centre for corrupt corporations?


Is the role of Omita Paul, India’s Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee’s confidant over long years and the de facto No 2 in every Ministry that the latter has occupied in the last eight years, that of a fixer?


Does she act on her own behalf or on behalf of Mukherjee? Is she a lobby centre for corrupt corporations? Or is she a buffer to take the heat off any scandal/wrong doing? And what is the reason for Mukherjee’s silence when blatant act of her nepotism and corruption are reported in the press? Is he helpless or being helpless?


Whatever be the reason, the former Finance Minister is constructively responsible for all acts of Omita Paul.


First the obvious question: What is the reason for the appointment of Paul in the number two position in the three key Ministries that Mukherjee has been a Minister.


Paul has been continuously appointed as an advisor with the rank of Secretary in the three key Ministries — Foreign, Defnece and Finance — which has been co-terminus with the tenure of Mukherjee. Her appointment as Advisor in three different ministries is without precedent in independent India and it is not because of her specialized knowledge on the subject matter of any of the three Ministries.


All attempts to get information on the law/guidelines under which she was appointed and the papers relating to her appointment under the RTI have been in vain. Hers was an arbitrary appointment for arbitrary goals. Even the Secretary of the Ministry was subordinate to her.


Though there have been extra-constitutional authorities and power centres in the past, the country has not known an official power centre like that of Paul. It may be mentioned that Paul was also appointed as Information Commissioner at the time of election between UPA-I and UPA-II and that the then Leader of Opposition L K Advani and the Prime Minister on May 9, 2012 found time to select her as Information Commissioner for five years. The post of Information Commissioner was an insurance cover in case the Congress lost the election. She worked for eight days and disposed a total of 58 cases before re-joining as Advisor-cum-Secretary in the Ministry of Finance once UPA came back to power.


That Paul was an independent power centre, and worked for the benefit of herself, her family members and the corporate lobby and in the process compromised national interest is obvious from the incident relating to appointment of SEBI chief.


Did she not manipulate the entire system in order to have her candidate, U K Sinha, appointed to the post of Chairman of SEBI so that he would favour companies like Reliance and Sahara? It would also enable her to have her brother appointed to the post vacated by Sinha at UTI AMC, which has emoluments of four crores per annum. This despite the fact that her brother did not have required qualification to be appointed to the post.


But first her role in removing honest officials from SEBI to install Sinha:


The decision to give extension to the existing Chairman and members of SEBI by the Secretary and the Minister (approved on 19/10/09) was canceled at her behest (21-22/12/09), the existing members were never considered later for extension (10/8/10), she changed the composition of the committee to select the Chairman, had her own experts nominated to the Committee (25/8/10), ensured that the candidature U K Sinha is by the so-called search route.


The search route was taken to conceal the illegal emoluments of Rs 4 crores (Per Annum) drawn by Sinha in a Public Sector Enterprise (PSE). If his emoluments were revealed he would not have been selected on grounds of lacking integrity as the ceiling of pay for PSE is Rs 1.25 lakh per month. Concealment of emoluments was also necessary for Paul to push the candidature of her brother for the vacant post at UTI AMC so that he could enjoy the lavish salary without others knowing the real reason for the appointment.


After having Sinha selected as Chairman, Paul ensured that even the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) does not come to know about the emoluments of Sinha while confirming his appointment. (Refer confidential letter DO no 2/23/2007-RE dated 13/12/2010 of Dr Thomas Mathew, to Est Officer Annexure -1 item 4 (ii) Scale of pay: Not available)


It is obvious that the concealment of Sinha’s emoluments was deliberate and designed to mislead the selection committee and the ACC to presume that he was being paid the maximum pay payable to a PSE chief of Rs 1.25 lakh per month.


Sinha’s emoluments were over Rs 4 crores per annum (Rs 3.62 crores for 10.5 months as per balance sheet of UTI AMC) which is not possible in a public sector organization like UTI AMC. The Establishment Officer vide his order dated 4/1/08 had stated that the deputation was covered under Rule 6 (1) and not 6 (2) (ii) of IAS Cadre Rules. Sinha not only got his emoluments increased after the decision of the Establishment Officer in 2008, but also increased it with retrospective effect from December 2006 and raked in a bonanza of over Rs 10 crores in the process.


Was the purpose of appointing such a person to the sensitive post of SEBI chairman to settle issues of thousands of crores in favour of the concerned companies which had lobbied with Paul?


The allegation of Paul acting on behalf of the corrupt companies is borne by the fact that Dr Abraham as a WTM (Whole Time Member) of SEBI Board had leveled allegation in a letter written on 1/6/2011 to the Prime Minister that Sinha tried to influence him on four cases. One of the cases related to securities fraud of Reliance group and others related to Tayals of Bank of Rajasthan, Sahara, and MCX. While trying to influence him Sinha had stated that these were “engaging the attention of Union Minister for Finance or Mrs Omita Paul, Advisor to the Finance Minister”.


The denial of extension to the then Chairman and members of SEBI by Paul, the fact that extension was stopped when SEBI recommended action against the Reliance group to the Finance Ministry on an eight year complaint by Gurumurthy involving over Rs 25,000 crores of benefit to the promoters, the extraordinary interest taken by Paul in having Sinha appointed as SEBI chairman by suppressing his illegal salary from the selection committee and the Appointment Committee, and the subsequent actions of Sinha all show that Paul was involved in harming national interest by promoting corporate interest of the respective companies.


Sahara was a company taking deposits from small un-bankable people. From 2008 onwards, during the tenure of Mukherjee, it violated the deposit norms under section 58A of Companies Act which allowed it to collect unsecured deposits from debentures for 10% of its own fund. By doing that it could have collected only Rs 230 crores but went on to collect over Rs 20,000 crores. Almost the entire money collected was siphoned out and there were virtually little assets in the company in whose name deposits were taken so that the group could not be compelled to refund the amount. It was the largest ponzi scheme involving two crore poor people.


Dr Abraham had passed orders on the company which were contested by Sahara in the High Court. But by a freak chance the matter came before him for adjudication because the CJI referred the matter to SEBI. He adjudicated the matter at the fag end of the tenure (23/6/11) directing the group to refund the entire money to the investors. His order was upheld by the Tribunal and is likely to be upheld by the Supreme Court also. The order of Dr Abraham is proof of his competency and honesty, while the shenanigans of Sinha at UTI AMC are proof of his cleverness and manipulative skills.


The second case that interested Paul was the securities fraud of Rs 513 crores of Reliance group (Mukesh Ambani group). Reliance Petroleum shares were short sold for Rs 290 by the group and later bought back when there was a hefty fall in price when the group sold the shares in the cash segment. The Reliance group made Rs 513 crores in five days .The securities fraud took place in November 2007. Such a blatant act of securities fraud by the promoter was unprecedented.


The penalty under the law is three times the amount of the fraud and the total amount involved was Rs 2000 crores along with criminal prosecution.


Reliance tried to settle the matter by paying a fine of only Rs 2 crores and then Rs 8 crores through consent order. It was not even willing to pay back the fraud amount of Rs 513 crores. These meager offers of settlement were made by Reliance to buy time so that the honest officers of SEBI could be replaced by more pliant ones.


Sinha changed the circular on the consent order (25/5/2012) in a manner that favored Reliance group and continue the settlement of the criminal offence through a consent order. This is in sharp contrast with the case of Rajat Gupta whose offence was much less but then he did not have an Omita Paul or U K Sinha to bail him out.


The third case is about the Tayals of Bank of Rajasthan in whose favour the outgoing member Prashant Saran passed a favourable order so that he could be re-appointed. The order only confirmed the allegation of Dr Abraham. Similar conclusion was made by the media. Kindly refer links in Financial Express and Mint on Saran’s order.


The fourth case is related to MCX which wanted to open a parallel stock exchange. The Ministry ensured that Dr Bimal Jalan Committee report is taken up by SEBI after Sinha became the Chairman so that the portion relating to not listing of the shares of the stock exchange company is rejected. This would enable MCX to list the shares of the stock exchange and help in giving market value to the MCX license. Further the terms of complying with other norms too have been diluted.


Other related scandals


On the slot vacated by by Sinha at UTI AMC, Paul wanted her brother to be appointed and though the four financial institutions under her were agreeable the foreign shareholder was not. As a result the post of the CMD remained vacant for fifteen months because Paul wanted to have her brother appointed. Great harm to public interest was done because UTI has around Rs 60,000 crores invested in the financial market and large part of the money comes from government sources.


It was only when the candidature of Mukherjee was considered seriously for the post of President that Paul’s brother withdrew from the race for the post of CMD of UTI AMC. The advertisement released subsequently for the post thereafter shows that neither Paul’s brother nor Sinha had the qualification to take up the post because it states that the person should be a seasoned financial service professional with minimum 20 years of experience. He should also have a degree of MBA from a top university or a CA. Both of them are neither financial service professional nor do they have a day’s experience. In fact, the advertisement which was released for the first time honours the commitment given by the government to the JPC II on securities scam that a professional would be appointed through an advertisement.


Sinha, who had increased his emolument through a rubber stamp Board on the grounds of industry parity, conveniently forgot that he was appointed to an executive post and industry parity is given to persons in non-executive posts like pilots etc. He did not disclose that his deputation was covered under Rule 6(1) of the cadre rules and that the organization was a PSE where the maximum pay that could be drawn was Rs 1.25 lakh per month. It was for this reason he appealed to the High Court against the order of the Information Commission that UTI AMC is covered under the RTI Act. Both Sinha and Paul wanted the illegal emoluments to be a secret for their respective reasons.


The other act of nepotism involved Paul’s husband, who was favored by an unprecedented amendment in the IT Act. The following exemption granted in the year 2011 was notified for being applied retrospectively from the year 2007-08 to cover the entire tenure of Paul in the UPSC Section 10 (45) of the Income Tax Act stated:


(45) Any allowance or perquisite, as may be notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette in this behalf, paid to the Chairman or a retired Chairman or any other member or retired member of the Union Public Service Commission.


Retrospective amendment to undo a judgment or wrong has been known but never to pass on a benefit like the one above. The amendment was sought to be justified on the basis of sixth pay commission report but there no such recommendation in the report.


Paul, out of sheer vindictiveness, used her influence to initiate disciplinary proceedings of major penalty against an honest officer like Abraham who exposed her corruption and refused to compromise. His order against Sahara is in sharp contrast to the manipulations of Paul and Sinha. In fact there is sufficient material to charge her for offences committed by her under PCA and IPC. Answers are needed on whether all these actions of Paul narrated above were within the knowledge of Mukherjee? Some of them were also covered in the press. He gave official approval whenever the same was required.


Which brings us to the original question: Is he helpless or being helpless?


Paul is the responsibility of Mukherjee. The latest extension given to her on 15/6/2012 states that her tenure is “co -terminus with the tenure of Shri Pranab Mukherjee as Finance Minister”. Speculation is already rife about her being given a position higher than that of Secretary to the President.


(Arun Agrawal is the author of the book Reliance: The Real Natwar. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)

Valmikis’ stunningly accurate account


The story of Shri Rams’ life was first narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in the Ramayana, which was written after Shri Ram was crowned as the king of Ayodhya. Maharishi Valmiki was a great astronomer as he has made sequential astronomical references on important dates related to the life of Shri Ram indicating the location of planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and the other stars (nakshatras).
Needless to add that similar position of planets and nakshatras is not repeated in thousands of years.
By entering the precise details of the planetary configuration of the important events in the life of Shri Ram as given in the Valmiki Ramayan in the software named “Planetarium” corresponding exact dates of these events according to the English calendar can be known.
Mr Pushkar Bhatnagar, of the Indian Revenue Service, had acquired this software from the US. It is used to predict the solar/lunar eclipses and distance and location of other planets from earth. He entered the relevant details about the planetary positions narrated by Maharishi Valmiki and obtained very interesting and convincing results, which almost determine the important dates starting from the birth of Shri Ram to the date of his coming back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Click here to join World Malayali ClubMaharishi Valmiki has recorded in Bal Kaand, sarga 19 and shloka eight and nine (1/18/8,9), that Shri Ram was born on ninth tithi of Chaitra month when the position of different planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and nakshatras (visible stars) were:
i) Sun in Aries; ii) Saturn in Libra; iii) Jupiter in Cancer; iv) Venus in Pisces; v) Mars in Capricorn; vi) Lunar month of Chaitra; vii) Ninth day after no moon; viii) Lagna as Cancer (cancer was rising in the east); ix) Moon on the Punarvasu (Gemini constellation & Pllux star); x) Day time (around noon).
This data was fed into the software. The results indicated that this was exactly the location of planets/stars in the noon of January 10, 5114 BC. Thus, Shri Ram was born on January 10, 5114 BC (7121 years back). As per the Indian calendar, it was the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month and the time was around 12 to 1 noontime. This is exactly the time and date when Ram Navmi is celebrated all over India.
 Click here to join World Malayali ClubShri Ram was born in Ayodhya. This fact can be ascertained from several books written by Indian and foreign authors before and after the birth of Christ – Valmiki Ramayan, Tulsi Ramayan, Kalidasas’ Raghuvansam, Baudh and Jain literature, etc.
These books have narrated in great detail the location, rich architecture and beauty of Ayodhya which had many palaces and temples built all over the kingdom. Ayodhya was located on the banks of the Saryu river with Ganga and Panchal Pradesh on one side and Mithila on the other side.
Normally 7,000 years is a very long period during which earthquakes, storms, floods and foreign invasions change the course of rivers, destroy the towns/buildings and alter the territories. Therefore, the task of unearthing the facts is monumental.
The present Ayodhya has shrunk in size and the rivers have changed their course about 40 km north/south. Shri Ram went out of Ayodhya in his childhood
(13th year as per Valmiki Ramayan) with Rishi Vishwamitra who lived in Tapovan (Sidhhashram). From there he went to Mithila, King Janaks’ kingdom. Here, he married Sita after breaking Shiv Dhanusha.
Researchers have gone along the route adopted by Shri Ram as narrated in the Valmiki Ramayan and found 23 places which have memorials that commemorate the events related to the life of Shri Ram. These include :
Shringi Ashram,
Tadka Van,
Janakpur (now in Nepal),
Sita Kund, etc.
Memorials are built for great men and not for fictitious characters. Click here to join World
 Malayali ClubDate of exile of Shri Ram: It is mentioned in Valmiki Ramayans’ Ayodhya Kand (2/4/18) that Dashratha wanted to make Shri Ram the king because Sun, Mars and Rahu had surrounded his nakshatra and normally under such planetary configuration the king dies or becomes a victim of conspiracies.
Dashrathas’ zodiac sign was Pisces and his nakshatra was Rewati.
This planetary configuration was prevailing on the January 5, 5089 BC,
and it was on this day that Shri Ram left Ayodhya for 14 years of exile.
Thus, he was 25 years old at that time (5114-5089).
There are several shlokas in Valmiki Ramayan which indicate that Shri Ram
was 25-years-old when he left Ayodhya for exile. Valmiki Ramayan refers to the solar eclipse at the time of war with Khardushan in later half of 13th year of Shri Rams’ exile. It is also mentioned it was amavasya day and Mars was in the middle. When this data was entered, the software indicated that there was a solar eclipse on October 7, 5077 BC, (amavasya day) which could be seen from Panchvati.
The planetary configuration was also the same – Mars was in the middle,
on one side were Venus and Mercury and on the other side were Sun and Saturn.
On the basis of planetary configurations described in various other chapters, the date on which Ravana was killed works out to be December 4, 5076 BC, and Shri Ram completed 14 years of exile on January 2, 5075 BC, and that day was also Navami of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. Thus Shri Ram had come back to Ayodhya at the age of 39 (5114-5075). Click here to join World Malayali Club
A colleague, Dr Ram Avtar, researched on places visited by Shri Ram during his exile, and sequentially moved to the places stated as visited by Shri Ram in the Valmiki Ramayan, starting from Ayodhya he went right upto Rameshwaram.
He found 195 places which still have the memorials connected to the events narrated in the Ramayana relating to the life of Shri Ram and Sita These include Tamsa Tal (Mandah), Shringverpur (Singraur), Bhardwaj Ashram (situated near Allahabad), Atri Ashram, Markandaya Ashram (Markundi), Chitrakoot, Pamakuti (on banks of Godavari), Panchvati, Sita Sarovar, Ram Kund in Triambakeshwar near Nasik, Shabari Ashram, Kishkindha (village Annagorai), Dhanushkoti and Rameshwar temple. Click here to join World Malayali ClubIn Valmiki Ramayan it is mentioned that Shri Rams’ army constructed a bridge over the sea between Rameshwaram and Lanka.
After crossing this bridge, Shri Rams’ army had defeated Ravana. Recently,
NASA put pictures on the Internet of a man-made bridge, the ruins of which are lying submerged in Palk Strait between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka.
Recently the Sri Lankan Government had expressed the desire to develop Sita Vatika as a tourist spot. Sri Lankans believe this was Ashok Vatika where Ravana had kept Sita as a prisoner (in 5076 BC).
Indian history has recorded that Shri Ram belonged to the Suryavansh and he was the 64th ruler of this dynasty. The names and other relevant particulars of previous 63 kings are listed in Ayodhya ka Etihaas written about 80 years ago by Rai Bahadur Sita Ram. Professor Subhash Kak of Lousiana University, in his book, The Astronomical Code of the Rig Veda, has also listed 63 ancestors of Shri Ram
who ruled over Ayodhya.
Sri Rams’ ancestors have been traced out as: Shri Ram, King Dashratha, King Aja, King Raghu, King Dilip and so on. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Bengal to Gujarat, everywhere people believe in the reality of Shri Rams’ existence, particularly in the tribal areas of Himachal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the North-East.
Most of the festivals celebrated in these areas revolve around the events in the life of Shri Ram and Shri Krishna.  The events and places related to the life of Shri Ram and Sita are true cultural and social heritage of every Indian irrespective of caste and creed. Therefore, it is common heritage.
After all, Shri Ram belonged to the period when Prophet Mohammed or Jesus Christ were not born and Muslim or Christian faiths were unknown to the world.
The words Hindu (resident of Hindustan) and Indian (resident of India) were synonymous. India was also known as Bharat (land of knowledge) and Aryavarta (where Aryans live) and Hindustan (land of “Hindus” – derived from word Indus). During Ram Rajya, the evils of caste system based on birth were non-existent. In fact, Maharishi Valmiki is stated to be of Shudra class (scheduled caste), still Sita lived with him as his adopted daughter after she was banished from Ayodhya.
Luv and Kush grew in his ashram as his disciples. We need to be proud of the fact that Valmiki was perhaps the first great astronomer and that his study of planetary configurations has stood the test of times. Even the latest computer softwares have corroborated his astronomical calculations, which proves that he did not commit any error.
Shabri is stated to be belonging to the Bheel tribe. Shri Rams’ army, which succeeded in defeating Ravana, was formed by various tribals from Central and South India.
The facts, events and all other details relating to the life of Shri Ram are the common heritage of all the Indians including scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, Muslims, Christians, etc.
Prophet Mohammad was born 1,400 years ago.
Jesus Christ was born 2,000 years back.
Gautam Buddha was born 2,600 years back,
whereas Ram was born 7,000 years back.
Hence, discovering the details relating to Shri Rams’ life would be lot more difficult as destruction caused by floods, earthquakes and invasions etc., would be far greater. But, should that stop our quest for learning more about our cultural heritage?
As Indians, let us all take pride in the fact that the Indian civilisation is the most ancient civilisation today. It is certainly more than 10,000 years old. Therefore, let us reject the story of Aryan invasion in India in 1,500 BC as motivated implantation.
In fact Max Mueller, who was the creator of this theory had himself rejected it.
Let us admit that during the British Rule, we were educated in the schools based on Macaulay school of thinking which believed that everything Indian was inferior and that entire “Indian literature was not worth even one book rack in England.” If there were similarities in certain features of Indian people and people from Central Europe, then automatic inference drawn was that the Aryans coming from Europe invaded India and settled here.
No one dared of thinking in any other way. Therefore, there is urgency for the historians and all other intellectuals to stop reducing Indian history to myth.
There is need to gather, dig out, search, unearth and analyse all the evidences,
which would throw more light on ancient Indian civilisation and culture. Click here to join World Malayali ClubThere is need for the print and the electronic media to take note of these facts and create atmosphere which would motivate our young and educated youth to carry out research and unearth true facts about the ancient Indian civilisation and wisdom and would also encourage them to put across the results of their research before the people fearlessly and with a sense of pride!

Panini the father of computer programing

महर्षि पाणिनि के बारे में जाने

पाणिनि (५०० ई पू) संस्कृत भाषा के सबसे बड़े वैयाकरण हुए हैं। इनका जन्म तत्कालीन उत्तर पश्चिम भारत के गांधार में हुआ था। इनके व्याकरण का नाम अष्टाध्यायी है जिसमें आठ अध्याय और लगभग चार सहस्र सूत्र हैं। संस्कृत भाषा को व्याकरण सम्मत रूप देने में पाणिनि का योगदान अतुलनीय माना जाता है। अष्टाध्यायी मात्र व्य

 करण ग्रंथ नहीं है। इसमें प्रकारांतर से तत्कालीन भारतीय समाज का पूरा चित्र मिलता है। इनका जीवनकाल 520 – 460 ईसा पूर्व माना जाता है ।
एक शताब्दी से भी पहले प्रिसद्ध जर्मन भारतिवद मैक्स मूलर (१८२३-१९००) ने अपने साइंस आफ थाट में कहा -“मैं निर्भीकतापूर्वक कह सकता हूँ कि अंग्रेज़ी या लैटिन या ग्रीक में ऐसी संकल्पनाएँ नगण्य हैं जिन्हें संस्कृत धातुओं से व्युत्पन्न शब्दों से अभिव्यक्त न किया जा सके । इसके विपरीत मेरा विश्वास है कि 2,50,000 शब्द सम्मिलित माने जाने वाले अंग्रेज़ी शब्दकोश की सम्पूर्ण सम्पदा के स्पष्टीकरण हेतु वांछित धातुओं की संख्या, उचित सीमाओं में न्यूनीकृत पाणिनीय धातुओं से भी कम है । …. अंग्रेज़ी में ऐसा कोई वाक्य नहीं जिसके प्रत्येक शब्द का 800 धातुओं से एवं प्रत्येक विचार का पाणिनि द्वारा प्रदत्त सामग्री के सावधानीपूर्वक वेश्लेषण के बाद अविशष्ट 121 मौलिक संकल्पनाओं से सम्बन्ध निकाला न जा सके ।”Image

The M L B D News letter ( A monthly of indological
bibliography) in April 1993, में महर्षि पाणिनि को first softwear man without hardwear घोषित किया है। जिसका मुख्य शीर्षक था ” Sanskrit software for future hardware ”
जिसमे बताया गया ” प्राकृतिक भाषाओं को कंप्यूटर प्रोग्रामिंग के लिए अनुकूल बनाने के तीन दशक की कोशिश करने के बाद, वैज्ञानिकों को एहसास हुआ कि कंप्यूटर प्रोग्रामिंग में भी हम 2600 साल पहले ही पराजित हो चुके है। हालाँकि उस समय इस तथ्य किस प्रकार और कहाँ उपयोग करते थे यह तो नहीं कह सकते, परआज भी दुनिया भर में कंप्यूटर वैज्ञानिक मानते है कि आधुनिक समय में संस्कृत व्याकरण सभी कंप्यूटर की समस्याओं को हल करने में सक्षम है।

व्याकरण के इस महनीय ग्रन्थ मे पाणिनि ने विभक्ति-प्रधान संस्कृत भाषा के 4000 सूत्र बहुत ही वैज्ञानिक और तर्कसिद्ध ढंग से संगृहीत हैं।

NASA के वैज्ञानिक Mr.Rick Briggs.ने अमेरिका में कृत्रिम बुद्धिमत्ता और पाणिनी व्याकरण के बीच की शृंखला खोज की। प्राकृतिक भाषाओं को कंप्यूटर प्रोग्रामिंग के लिए अनुकूल बनाना बहुत मुस्किल कार्य था जब तक कि Mr.Rick Briggs. द्वारा संस्कृत के उपयोग की खोज न गयी।
उसके बाद एक प्रोजेक्ट पर कई देशों के साथ करोड़ों डॉलर खर्च किये गये।

महर्षि पाणिनि शिव जी बड़े भक्त थे और उनकी कृपा से उन्हें महेश्वर सूत्र से ज्ञात हुआ जब शिव जी संध्या तांडव के समय उनके डमरू से निकली हुई ध्वनि से उन्होंने संस्कृत में वर्तिका नियम की रचना की थी।

पाणिनीय व्याकरण की महत्ता पर विद्वानों के विचार

“पाणिनीय व्याकरण मानवीय मष्तिष्क की सबसे बड़ी रचनाओं में से एक है” (लेनिन ग्राड के प्रोफेसर टी. शेरवात्सकी)।
“पाणिनीय व्याकरण की शैली अतिशय-प्रतिभापूर्ण है और इसके नियम अत्यन्त सतर्कता से बनाये गये हैं” (कोल ब्रुक)।
“संसार के व्याकरणों में पाणिनीय व्याकरण सर्वशिरोमणि है… यह मानवीय मष्तिष्क का अत्यन्त महत्त्वपूर्ण अविष्कार है” (सर डब्ल्यू. डब्ल्यू. हण्डर)।
“पाणिनीय व्याकरण उस मानव-मष्तिष्क की प्रतिभा का आश्चर्यतम नमूना है जिसे किसी दूसरे देश ने आज तक सामने नहीं रखा”। (प्रो. मोनियर विलियम्स)

।। जयतु संस्‍कृतम् । जयतु भारतम् ।।

‘Coal loot took place under PM’s nose, he looked away’

Hansraj Ahir, the man who wrote more than 15 letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to alert him about the glaring irregularities in allotment of coal blocks, is an undergraduate.

The self-confessed (Veer) Savarkarite, Ahir isn’t well-versed in English but he somehow manages to send letters in Hindi, English and even Marathi, his native language, on the issues as complex as the national policy of allotment of coal.

The central theme of his letters on coal allotment was that coal should not be excavated in haste without realising its real value. Coal, the most important energy source in India’s energy sector, meets around 52 percent of primary commercial energy needs as around 66 percent of India’s power generation is coal based.

India is the 3rd largest coal producing country in the world after China and the United States. One of the letters to the Central Vigilance Commissioner had been forwarded to the Central Bureau of Investigation and has become the basis of the investigation of the alleged coal scam. The CBI investigation is in full swing which has led to raids at many places on Tuesday.
Ahir, a three time BJP MP from Chandrapur in Maharashtra, also wrote to the Comptroller and Auditor General about “free of charge” allocation of 221 coal blocks to 150 companies by the United Progressive Alliance government. He questioned Dr Singh many times — Why give away at no cost 21.69 billion tonnes of coal reserves to private parties?

According to him, former prime minister P V Narismha Rao should be blamed for forming and implementing the policy that allowed free allocation of coal. The same policy was continued by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government but the price of coal was low at that time due to the lack of demand.

During the UPA-1 regime under Dr Singh’s watch the government gave away valuable coal for free to the alleged end-users when its market price was rising in domestic and international markets.

Meanwhile, the Singh government did attempt to amend the law and fine-tune the coal allocation policy but only after giving away almost one-seventh of the country’s coal reserves for free. It took more than five years to make competitive bidding of coal into a mandatory policy.

The allegation is that the delay helped Dasari Narayana Rao and Santosh Bagrodia, ministers of state for coal, to dole out favours. They ran the ministry as if there will be no tomorrow, Ahir says and adds: “I would say Bagrodia played a huge role in the coal allocation. He knew the real importance of koela (coal).”

Dasari and Bagrodia knew the importance of political patronage to get anything out of the system. Also, they knew coal blocks would move and shake the power sector. The real trigger of ‘free allotment’ of coal blocks came due to economic reforms in the power sector which created dramatic demand for coal and increased its price manifold, making the Bagrodias of the political world very important in the scheme of things of the business planning of groups like Tatas, Ambani, Adani, Jindal and Mittal.

Ahir, who is fighting a battle to ensure that precious mineral coal doesn’t go away cheap, says, “The government did not verify the credentials of applicants and gave away coal blocks to many benami companies.”

‘My prime contention was that let us not give coal for free’

What inspired you to take up the issue of the coal allotment policy?

My constituency is Chandrapur in Maharashtra. In and around my area, 3 percent of India’s coal deposits are located. I got interested in it because in my area the issue of land acquisition for the mining of coal is bothering people.

Second, the pollution due to mining also concerns our people. Three, coal production gives employment. So I have known all issues related to coal mining.

I have got big success in the land acquisition issue. I opted to join the standing committee on coal in Parliament. In 2006, I came to know that we are giving coal blocks to the private sector. Much later I came to know that it will be given free of cost to the corporations. The issue puzzled me. I kept asking why free of cost?

I am a fan of Coal India Limited. It was founded in 1975 by Indira Gandhi. She nationalised the coal sector in 1972. Everyone welcomed it because it was a good decision. It’s a successful and a Navratna company. It had coal production of 100 million tonnes in 1980-81. Now it has turnover of over 450 million tonnes.

In 2011, Coal India was termed as the most valued company in the country in terms of market capitalisation. The company’s value is Rs 251,296 crore. In view of my understanding of Coal India’s working, I opposed the private sector’s entry at such careless terms.

I kept writing letters, kept opposing it. I opposed the government’s moves in the Standing Committee too. In fact, many MPs supported my stand in the committee.

We were able to see that as coal production in our country was rising, the employment generation was on rise too. Coal India’s agenda was to make coal easily available and make it available at a reasonable price.

That was Indira Gandhi’s dream. I think, in 2005, some officers of Coal India, some officers of the coal ministry and the power ministry provoked the government to go for free allocation. The ministers bought the idea.

From 2006 to 2010 I wrote some 15 times to Dr Singh. I wrote to the CVC and CAG too. I wrote to the Planning Commission and the finance minister too.

My prime contention was that let us not give coal for free. Second, I insisted that Coal India is a good company. Let us not allow it to deteriorate due to corporate India’s interests. Third, I pointed out that those who are getting free coal blocks are dubious. Most of them, not all, don’t have the ‘end-user’ plants.

They are not making cement, power or steel. Why is government not thinking twice before giving away coal blocks to them? I wrote letters pointing out that some allottees have sold the coal blocks. The ownership of rights of mining coal has changed hands in some cases. It’s against the law. They changed the management of the company after obtaining the free coal blocks.

I was trying to stop private players in the sector who came in just to make big bucks.

I told my party leaders about the subject. After 2009, I informed Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. They advised me that I should follow it thoroughly. They said keep working through the Standing Committee. Keep getting information, keep complaining to the government. Whenever the opportunity will arrive the party would turn it into “an issue”.

Sushmaji even arranged two national level press conferences of myself and (BJP spokesperson) Prakash Javdekar. We got little bit of coverage. The complaints against the coal allocation increased. The CAG made the draft report. Even, the CVC send my letter to the CBI and investigations began. The CAG’s report proves that my complaint has an element of truth in it.

Whatever I have been writing since 2006 and whatever government documents on subject are available say that the country lost money. The coal allocation hurt the national interest.

‘ The prime minister didn’t understand coal’

Which individuals should be blamed for the allotment of coal blocks to unfit ‘end-users’?

The bureaucrats in the coal and power ministries, who were serving between 2005 to 2008, were playing games. Two Congress ministers of state, namely Rao and Bagrodia were fully involved in allocation of coal blocks when Dr Singh was heading the ministry.

I would say that Bagrodia has played a huge role in the coal allocation. He can be faulted for certain wrongdoings.

Why did Dr Singh, who is considered as Mr Clean, not get alerted when an MP like you was pointing out the grey areas of the policy?
I would say that the prime minister didn’t understand ‘coal’. He didn’t take the issue of free allocation seriously. Far from the talk of him being Mr Clean, I would say right under his nose the loot took place and he looked the other way.

Who played the fixer and how?

When the UPA-I started allotting the blocks they were looking at the end-use of the coal. It was decided that the coal will be used for a specified purpose and won’t be ‘sold’ for any other use. In the process, the government didn’t give enough attention to the mining experience of the allottee. The companies came to coal ministry. They were showing everything just ‘on paper’.

They told the government while applying for free coal blocks that “we have land here, we have the plant there, we have got the permission from the state government…from the ministry of environment… etc, etc.”

They spoke some truth, some lies and managed to get the coal blocks. The way these applicants were treated by the coal ministry, and the way they got the coal was wrong. The officers of the coal ministry were hand-in-glove with the applicants.

‘Ex-MoS Bagrodia has played a huge role in coal allocation’

After the exit of Shibu Soren, the ministry was handled by the PM Singh, Rao, and later, Bagrodia came in as deputies. Out these two MoS, who was more active in the allotment of coal?

The fundamental fault was in the policy itself. I would say Bagrodia has played a huge role in the coal allocation. He knew the real importance of koela (coal). The coal is a national asset. It doesn’t belong to the Congress party, minister or to anybody.

Why is it for free? They told me that the country needs coal. Whoever can mine it and produce energy or other important things they should get coal easily. The argument of the UPA was that mining of coal too requires investment. So, if coal is cheap or free then coal-based power will be cheaper.

I believe there is no high technology involved in it. Coal India can develop further and make it more efficient. Coal India has been asking for coal blocks from this government. Since 2008, they have applied for 100 plus coal blocks but this government has not given it any.
SAIL, NALCO, NTPC and the mining development outfits and many other government or semi-government companies are applying for it. They have not been getting free coal blocks.

What was the UPA government’s vested interest in allotting coal only to private companies? What is the logic behind not giving coal mines to Coal India which is a Navrtatna company and which is engaged in generating employment?

Once Coal India had 8 lakh people working now it has only 3.65 lakh. This fall is due to the UPA government’s policy and ill-treatment of Coal India.
There are so many discrepancies in implementation of coal policy that this government won’t be able to answer.

There was one important condition before getting absolutely free coal. The applicant had to give the bank guarantee against royalty. The condition was that if the allottee didn’t start coal production in 42 months then the allotment of free coal blocks would be cancelled, the company would be prosecuted and fifty percent of the bank guarantee would be encashed.

However, this government has failed to encash the bank guarantees from the 56 allottees who are not yet mining.

According to our estimate the coal ministry failed to collect bank guarantees amounting to Rs 247 crore from the failed ventures. Many defaulters, who are still holding coal blocks, haven’t renewed the bank guarantee. This is the violation of norms. The norms say that 50 percent of bank guarantees should be against the start of production and the balance 50 percent with guaranteed production.

The government has cancelled 24 coal blocks including nine belonging to the private companies but not one company’s bank guarantee has been enscashed. Why? The government is saving them, defending them! There were bogus companies working in the field and they are let off. This is a crime.

According to the CAG report, out of 149 companies, 114 companies are such whose time limit to open the coal blocks is over. They have not mined coal. Under the law, which is unambiguous, right now, today itself the coal ministry can cancel the blocks and encash bank guarantees. Why it is not done? Why are you defending the companies who are doing wrong?

(Coal minister) Sriprakash Jaiswal is misleading the country. The government says they would not cancel the coal allotment.

They argue if they cancel the coal allotment there will be loss of power production. This is a lie. They have not been mining coal so where is the question of electricity? Today, electricity is being produced from imported coal or the coal supplied by Coal India.