With big retail, farmers lose, traders and retailers lose, and consumers lose

Perils of state-aided FDI

Shekar Swamy

Make no mistake about it. Our counrty is about to be economically invaded in the name of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi brand retail, and the consequences are going to be profound. Only this time the guardians of the gate are the ones throwing it open, much to the glee of the few who will benefit from it and to the dismay of the millions whose future is being taken away from them. All of this goes under the name of liberalisation and reform — the euphemism for giving away our markets, perhaps the nation’s most sustainable long term asset.

The state has made it clear that it will go to any length to extend support to the biggest multinationals and aid the entry of big capital into the country. It does not matter if this is detrimental to the indigenous mass of small capital entrepreneurs, farmers and producers of all hues. In making its case, the state has chosen to overlook all evidence available around the world about the continuing negative impact of Big Box retailers.

As this invasion unfolds, it will result in large scale displacement of the small people in favour of big foreign capital. As invaders are wont to do, they will divert the income flows from the local people to large foreign capital. It is deeply regrettable that the state is aiding this through a stream of misleading information and arguments that don’t stand scrutiny.

There is a new master in the house and it’s called ‘foreign investors’. Whatever we do as a nation, the government’s first filter appears to be ‘How will it affect the sentiment of foreign investors? Will they be displeased? What can we do to keep the foreign investor smiling at us?’ The reality is that we should not be devising policies to please this mistress, but doing what is right by our people. By its very nature, foreign capital will frequently threaten to go elsewhere or not come in. It will always demand that conditions should be perfectly suited for it to exploit the local market, never mind how it affects the people. The remarkable point is that even as we have opened the retail markets, the state has not even bargained for any beneficial reciprocal arrangements (like how about increasing the US H1B visas so that a major constraint is removed for our IT industry). This shows how much the state is willing to bend to please the mistress.

How much foreign direct investment has been coming in? It was only $47 bn or 7.7 per cent of total investments in the country in 2011-‘12 (refer graphic see the graphic below). Compare this to non-resident Indian (NRI) remittance inflows of $66 bn (Source: Reserve Bank of India) in the same period, which comes in on its own with no strings attached. If the government wants to, it can significantly boost the inflow of NRI funds, with a little bit of stimulus and a well thought-out programme. While there are good answers like this to get funds into the country, it is inexplicable why the government has chosen to follow anti-people measures, like FDI in the retail sector.

Having decided to aid multinationals, the government has exaggerated and presented erroneous information to support its position. Out of the many such examples, here are two important ones.

Take the figures of losses of agricultural produce. Government officials have repeatedly said that 40 per cent of fruits and vegetables are wasted post-harvest. Therefore FDI in retail is required to develop the back-end infrastructure. This is grossly incorrect. As per a detailed study commissioned by the government and conducted by the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), Punjab, the wastage of fruits is only between 6 to 18 per cent and vegetables is between 6 to 12.5 per cent. Completed in 2010, CIPHET’s nationwide quantitative assessment of harvest and post-harvest losses covered 46 agricultural produce in 106 randomly selected districts. The summary of the study of post-harvest loss is available on the website of Ministry of Food Processing Industries (http://www.mofpi.nic.in/ContentPage.aspx?CategoryId=1314).

CIPHET’s post-harvest loss estimates in India compare favourably with western countries. The Food and Agriculture Organisation has estimated 36 per cent loss of fruits and vegetables (refer graphic) in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the countries where big retail is most developed. While the methodologies may differ, these figures are nevertheless indicative. If big retail cannot prevent such losses in these countries — or they are responsible for a chunk of it — surely they cannot address this issue in India.

The second example of misrepresentation is the alleged benefits to farmers. The argument goes that since middlemen will be eliminated from the supply chain, farmers will be paid more by the big retailers who will procure directly. While this is elegant in theory, the global experience is the opposite. Procurement of big retailers will hardly touch the small farmers, which is the largest constituent in our country. Big retailers will deal with large contract farms, which become their captive farms. Prices paid to farmers get hammered down consistently. As an example, look at the United Kingdom experience (refer graphic). As the share of the top four retailers increased from 54 per cent in 1996 to 65 per cent in 2006, the farmers’ share of consumer prices has gone down dramatically for milk, fruits and meat & pork.

People argue that this is the way ‘progress’ happens, defined as copying what has happened in the West. However, western retail is a deeply flawed structure. It holds farmers and suppliers captive through its monopsony (a market situation where there are only a few buyers for everything) bargaining power, and has systematically reduced the price paid to them. When compared to India, consumer prices are higher in the West, where big retail rules with its cosy oligopolies, for just about everything.

The global experience is clear. With big retail, farmers lose, traders and retailers lose, and consumers lose. Only the big multinational companies win. How does one explain the state aiding this invasion? The answer is simple. Big capital is the mistress, and mistresses have their ways of winning, and it is seldom the fair path.

Shekar Swamy  is Group CEO, R K SWAMY HANSA and Visiting Faculty, Northwestern University, USA. E-mail: shekar.swamy@rksbbdo.com



Over 2500 women converted to Islam in Kerala since 2006, says Oommen Chandy

M G Radhakrishnan
Trivandrum, Tuesday, September 4, 2012 | 13:45 IST

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy
The shrill debate over love jihad is back again following a spate of recent incidents. On June 25, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy informed the state legislature that 2667 young women were converted to Islam in the state since 2006.

On June 27, the state high court ordered the Kozhikode City Police Commissioner on June 27 to probe an alleged case of “love jihad” in which a 20-year-old Hindu girl eloped from a hospital in Kochi with a Muslim boy after the girl’s parents filed a habeas corpus petition. On July 19, Deepa Cherian (31) a former Christian housewife converted to Islam was arrested for allegedly delivering SIM cards to a key terror suspect languishing in prison.

Chandy gave the figures related to conversions in state legislature as a written answer to an unstarred question raised by K K Latika, a CPI(M) legislator. According to Chief Minister a total number of 7713 persons were converted to Islam during 2006-2012 as against 2803 conversions to Hinduism. Interestingly he said no statistics was available as to the number converted to Christianity during the period. Among those converted to Islam during 2009-12, as many as 2667 were young women of which 2195 were Hindus and 492 were Christians. As against this number of young women converted during 2009-12 to Christianity and Hinduism were 79 and two respectively.

Chief Minister said there was no information regarding the original religions of women who converted to Hinduism and Christianity.

However Chandy said that there was no evidence for forced conversions in the state and the fears about love jihad were baseless. “We will not allow forcible conversions. Nor will we allow to spread hate campaign against Muslims in the name of love jihad” said Chandy in response to Lathika’s demand for inquiry into forcible conversions.

Hindu and Christian groups are up in arms again repeating their long-standing demand for a thorough investigation into the phenomenon of “love jihad” in which Muslim youths allegedly lure young women from other communities to convert to Islam feigning love.

“Love Jihad in Kerala is part of global Islamisation project” said Global Council of Indian Christians. In 2009 Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) had stated that more than 2600 young Christian women were converted to Islam since 2006. KCBC’s Vigilance Commission for Social Harmony had called Christians to be on guard against the phenomenon.

Rahul Eswar of the Kerala’s Hindu Parliament, an umbrella organisation of various Hindu groups called for an immediate inquiry into the phenomenon. “The state police’s attempt in 2009 was to suppress facts about this phenomenon. This will lead to communal flare-ups. Forced conversions undertaken by Islamists will be cited by Hindu fanatics to establish their legitimacy” warned he.

Organisations like BJP, Hindu Aikyavedi etc too have called for inquiry and lambasted the state government’s policy to whitewash the issue under pressure from Muslim League. Hindu groups have pointed out growth in Kerala’s Muslim population rate has been double that of Hindus and Christians. Hindus, Muslims and Christians form 55, 25 and 19 percent respectively in Kerala’s population of 3.33 crore.

Cherian, a former Christian housewife was arrested in Kochi for allegedly providing two SIM cards to V Noushad – her boyfriend according to the police – who is interred in Ernakulam sub jail in connection with a drug peddling case. Naushad allegedly handed over the cards to T. Nazir suspected to be a top Lashkar-e-Tayeba operative in South India who also is languishing in the same prison in connection with a number of terror cases including the bomb blasts in Bangalore.

According to the police Cherian who was in Dubai with her husband and children had become friendly with Noushad who was working as a bus driver there. She allegedly left her family and returned to India with Noushad subsequently and got converted to Islam. According to police Noushad is suspected to have faked involvement in a narcotic case in order to get lodged in the jail and assist Nazeer who is alleged to have made many international calls using the SIM card.

“Love Jihad” had kicked up much dust in 2009 in Kerala and Karnataka after Hindu groups like Hindu Aikyavedi and Sree Rama Sene began campaign against alleged attempts to lure young women by Muslim youths feigning love and using them for immoral or terror activities. The issue acquired serious attention when the state high court ordered asked the police to inquire into the allegations related to love jihad. This followed the complaints filed by the parents of two Hindu college girls saying their two Muslim college mates had cheated them into converting to Islam by promises of love. But the state police after investigation had informed the court that though there were complaints about attempts to convert by feigning love that there was no evidence for the existence of an organisation named love jihad in the state. After this the court withdrew its order to inquire into the issue.

In another case in 2009 Karnataka Police too had informed the Karnataka high court that there was no evidence for the prevalence of love jihad in that state. This led to the fizzling out of the campaign by Hindu and Christian groups about the phenomenon in both states.

Muslim groups condemned the repeated attempts to spread hatred against Muslims in the name of a non-existent love jihad. Muslim League, second largest constituent in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) government has strongly denied occurrence of any forced conversions.

“Love Jihad is a myth being perpetrated by interested groups to vilify Muslims. How can any one use force in a state like Kerala where all religions, media and civil society in general are so vigilant? The conversions could be voluntary or the result of inter-religious marriages” said Abdurehman
Randathani, MLA and League’s secretary.

“It reminded of the racist propaganda in the US some time ago against blacks who were accused of luring white women. It is an attempt to demonise the Muslims” Umer Tasneem, Muslim scholar and English professor at the Calicut University. He smells a rat in Chief Minister Chandy, a Christian, not revealing the statistics of conversions to Christianity. “Why only conversion to Islam evokes emotions? Conversions to other groups are seen spontaneous”.

Eswar too says Christians still lead in organising conversions. “A single major evangelist in Kerala has officially admitted of receiving more than Rs 1000 crores last year as financial contributions from abroad. Pentacoastal Missions in Kerala have converted lakhs of persons in last 5 years giving allurements” says Eswar.

According to top sources in police as many as 15 lakhs have been converted to Christianity in the last 20 years as per official statistics provided by the State Converted Christian Corporation. “Muslims have only two institutions and Hindus only one who have the authority to convert. But every Christian church has this right” said a top police official.

According the Christian Persecution Update, a website run by Bangalore-based Christian group, Cherian was only the latest victim of Love Jihad also called Romeo Jihad, a global project by Islamist groups to lure women from other communities feigning love to make them accomplices in immoral or terror activities.

“It is a serious issue. We should seriously address it so that no tension is created in Kerala between communities” warned Fr Paul Thelakat, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar church, the largest Catholic church.

our swayamsevak are also in congress – Mohan rao Bhagabat

काग्रेस में भी हमारे स्वयं सेवक हैं : मोहन भागवत
Oct 05, 11:56 am

राची। राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के प्रमुख मोहन भागवत एक बार अपने एक बयान के जरिए चर्चा में आ गए है। गुरुवार को उन्होंने कहा कि संघ का भाजपा से कोई खास लगाव नहीं है। हमारे लिए सभी दल बराबर हैं। उन्होंने कहा कि संघ का राजनीति से कोई वास्ता नहीं है। संघ के लिए सभी दल अपने हैं। और सभी दलों में संघ के स्वयं सेवक काम करते हैं। यहां तक कि कांग्रेस व साम्यवादी दलों से भी हमारे स्वयं सेवक जुड़े हुए हैं। जो भी संघ के आदर्श को मानेगा, उनके लिए हमारे दरवाजे खुले हैं।
गुरुवार को राची में संघ की ओर से आयोजित प्रबुद्ध जन संवाद कार्यक्रम में संघ प्रमुख मोहन भागवत ने लोगों को संबोधित करते हुए कहा कि संघ का राजनीति से संबंध नहीं है। राजनीति समाज को तोड़ने का काम करती है, जोड़ने का नहीं और संघ का काम समाज को संगठित करने के साथ-साथ व्यक्ति का निर्माण करना है। संघ के लिए कोई पार्टी अछूत नहीं। हमारी विचारधारा को मानते हुए जो भी मदद मागेगा, करेंगे। सभी पार्टियों में स्वयंसेवक हैं, भाजपा में ज्यादा हैं। इसलिए उनकी संघ से ज्यादा निकटता है। वे किसी मुद्दे पर हमसे मदद मागते हैं, वहीं दूसरे दल वाले इसके लिए हिम्मत नहीं जुटा पाते। उन्हें लाज आती है।
संघ का काम व्यक्ति व समाज का निर्माण है राजनीति करना नहीं। सरसंघचालक मोहन राव भागवत ने राम मंदिर निर्माण के प्रति कटिबद्धता दर्शाते हुए कहा कि यह हो कर रहेगा। इसके लिए जनआदोलन के माध्यम से संसद पर कानून बनाने के लिए दबाव बनाया जाएगा। इस आदोलन में मुस्लिमों से भी शामिल होने की बात कही। भागवत ने मुस्लिमों से संघ की शाखाओं पर भी आने की बात कही।
मोबाइल पर ताजा खबरें, फोटो, वीडियो व लाइव स्कोर देखने के लिए जाएं m.jagran.com पर

My mission was to kill journalists, Hindu leaders’


Mohammad Akram Pasha is an educated youngster from Nanded in Maharshtra, who was in Bangalore as part of an operation to assassinate, reports Vicky Nanjappa


Mohammad Akram Pasha, 25, speaks flawless English and has no qualms admitting that he had come to Bangalore to eliminate journalists and Hindu leaders. Currently on a body warrant in Maharashtra , the Bangalore assassination plot was not the first time Akram has been involved in such a mission. A similar operation was planned in Maharashtra as well where Hindu leaders were targeted.

On Thursday, the Delhi  police arrested three operatives of the Indian Mujahideen ; one of them being from Maharashtra. Police sources say that during questioning Akram revealed the name of one of the youngsters, which helped them carry out the arrest and prevent the attack.

Akram, according to the police, is associated with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and is part of the same module that Abu Jundal (key handler in the 26/11 Mumbai  attack) was part of. Although the two have never been in contact, Akram too subscribes to the same ideology.

Akram, who hails from Nanded in Maharashtra, during interrogation, was calm and composed, answering questions with confidence.

The last time he was produced before a court in Bangalore, Akram was asked whether he was aware of the charges pressed against him and whether he would like to be told about it. Akram replied saying that he was aware of what he was booked for.

When asked why he had come to Bangalore, he answered, “I came here to kill journalists and that was my mission.” To a question as to who was guiding him in this operation, he said it was Zakir Ustaad. “I have no qualms in admitting the mission I was about to undertake.”

Police officials say that Akram is no ordinary operative. He is firm on his decisions, calm during his operations and takes pride in what he does. He is part of a rung comprising several youth who are disgruntled with some pro-Hindu persons, and has taken it upon himself to eliminate them.

The original plan of an assassination was devised in Maharashtra. Akram was part of that plan. Around the same time that plan was being chalked out, it was decided by Zakir Ustaad (still absconding) that a major operation needed to be undertaken in Bangalore and Hubli. While Ustaad oversaw the recruitment of youngsters in Karnataka [ Images ], Akram was sent to guide the operation. However, when the first round of arrests took place, Akram tried to flee Bangalore but was apprehended.

His interrogation led to the arrest of three persons in Maharashtra. He also provided information on operatives planning to carry out attacks in Delhi and Bodhgaya in Bihar as a result of which three more operatives were picked up on Thursday.

The police had earlier claimed that the assassination plot was an independent operation. But today it is clear that there was a Lashkar angle to the operation, as Akram was part of the group.

Officials in the Intelligence Bureau say that the Lashkar has various wings and modules and this was one of it. After youngsters are recruited from across India they are divided into separate groups. One of these groups handles only assassinations. Both Ustaad and Akram were part of this group.

While looking at the entire plot and the manner in which it has unfolded, it appears that Akram was way above in the command chain. The police say he is highly trained, dedicated and committed to the cause, which is why he was assigned the important task of overseeing the operation. Zakir Ustaad, his boss, took up the responsibility of coordinating with the foreign handlers and sending out instructions.

The police say that maximum number of recruitments was taking place from Maharashtra. Ever since the Nanded module of an extremist Hindu group was busted, the recruitments to carry out counter strikes has gone up, the police say. As part of the assassination plan, they were selecting educated youngsters as the operation required research and also a great deal of precision. Akram is still being questioned by the police and over a period of time they expect him to reveal more about a possible link with other groups and also other operations they have planned in other parts of the country.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore




A fantastic sentence written on every Japanese bus stop.
Only buses will stop here – Not your time.
So Keep walking towards your goal.

Japanese way of cost efficiency

The Taj hotel group had invited Mr. Masai Imai from Japan to hold a workshop for its staff.
The staff were very skeptical – the hotel is doing excellent business, this person from Japan has no exposure to hotel industry – what exactly is he going to teach?

But everybody gathered as planned for the workshop in the conference hall sharp at 9 am.
Mr. Masai was introduced to them – a not so impressive personality, nor the English all that good; spoke as if he was first formulating each sentence in Japanese and then translating it into rather clumsy English.

“Good morning! Let’s start work. I am told this is a workshop; but I see neither work nor shop. So let’s proceed where work is happening. Let’s start with the first room on the first floor.”

Mr. Masai, followed by the senior management, the participants, the video camera crew trouped out of the conference room and proceeded to the destination.

That happened to be the laundry room of the hotel.
Mr. Masai entered the room and stood at the window, “beautiful view!” he said.
The staff knew it; they need not invite a Japanese consultant to tell them this!

“A room with such a beautiful view is being wasted as a laundry room. Shift the laundry to the basement and convert this into a guest room.”
Aa Haa! Now nobody had ever thought about that!
The manager said, “Yes, it can be done.”
“Then let’s do it,” Mr. Masai said.
“Yes sir, I will make a note of this and we will include it in the report on the workshop that will be prepared.” Manager
“Excuse me, but there is nothing to note down in this. Let’s just do it, just now.” Mr. Masai.

“Just now?” Manager
“Yes, decide on a room on the ground floor/basement and shift the stuff out of this room right away. It should take a couple of hours, right?” asked Mr. Masai.
“Yes.” Manager.
“Let’s come back here just before lunch. By then all this stuff will have got shifted out and the room must be ready with the carpets, furniture etc. and from today you can start earning the few thousand that you charge your customers for a night.”

“Ok, Sir.” The manager had no option.
The next destination was the pantry. The group entered. At the entrance were two huge sinks full of plates to be washed.
Mr. Masai removed his jacket and started washing the plates.
“Sir, Please, what are you doing?” the manager didn’t know what to say and what to do.
“Why, I am washing the plates”, Mr. Masai.
“But sir, there is staff here to do that.” Manager Mr. Masai continued washing, “I think sink is for washing plates, there are stands here to keep the plates and the plates should go into the stands.”

All the officials wondered – did they require a consultant to tell them this?
After finishing the job, Mr. Masai asked, “How many plates do you have?’
“Plenty, so that there should never be any shortage.” answered the Manager.

Mr. Masai said, “We have a word in Japanese -‘Muda’. Muda means delay, Muda means unnecessary spending. One lesson to be learned in this workshop is to avoid both. If you have plenty of plates, there will be delay in cleaning them up. The first step to correct this situation is to remove all the excess plates.”

“Yes, we will say this in the report.” Manager.

“No, wasting our time in writing the report is again an instance of ‘Muda’. We must pack the extra plates in a box right away and send these to whichever other section of Taj requires these. Throughout the workshop now we will find out where all we find this ‘Muda’ hidden.”
And then at every spot and session, the staff eagerly awaited to find out Muda and learn how to avoid it.

On the last day, Mr. Masai told a story.
“A Japanese and an American, both fond of hunting, met in a jungle. They entered deep jungle and suddenly realized that they had run out of bullets. Just then they heard a lion roaring. Both started running. But the Japanese took a short break to put on his sports shoes.
The American said, “What are you doing? We must first get to the car.”
The Japanese responded, “No. I only have to ensure that I remain ahead of you.”

All the participants engrossed in listening to the story, realized suddenly that the lion would stop after getting his victim!

“The lesson is: competition in today’s world is so fierce, that it is important to stay ahead of other, even by just a couple of steps. And you have such a huge and naturally well endowed country. If you remember to curtail your production expenditure and give the best quality always, you will be miles ahead as compared to so many other countries in the world.”, concluded Mr. Masai.

Not just yet another scandal

Sandhya Jain

10 October 2012

Arvind Kejriwal’s stunning attack on the phenomenal wealth accumulated by Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law has achieved what prolonged investigations into the Bofors payoff saga could not, viz., establish that the dynasty has made money by non-transparent means. The salvo also showed that the Gandhi family needs to keep a good part of its money under personal control because of the controversy regarding the Bofors kickbacks, the falling out with key associates like Ottavio Quattrochi and Walter Vinci, and renewed interest in foreign offshore accounts by many governments, including India.

So while we may never get to know the truth about alleged KGB payoffs and an alleged Rajiv Gandhi Swiss bank account (since managed by Sonia Gandhi), it is undeniable that both Congress and the Gandhi family will find it difficult to recover from Arvind Kejriwal’s second political initiative. As is known, he made his political debut by attacking the electricity bills scam in the capital, taking the wind out of the sails of the opposition BJP that had been tardy on the issue.

Both interventions have dramatically changed the political landscape of India. Surely there must be a method behind the madness of seriously deflating the two major national parties at a time when most people believe fresh elections cannot be postponed indefinitely. Some answers are obvious.

One, Kejriwal, who has cannily kept senior advocate Prashant Bhushan by his side, and/or their unseen backers, believe the time has come to give the Gandhi family a political farewell as Sonia Gandhi has exhausted her ability to woo voters and help the Congress win at least enough seats to lead a coalition at the Centre. Congress is faring badly in state after state and can no longer maintain its national dominance. Neither Rahul Gandhi nor Priyanka Vadra has been able to make a mark – Rahul failing abysmally in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh elections, and Priyanka failing to protect even the family pocket boroughs in the UP polls.

Above all, the obsessive secretiveness and arrogance of The Family, coupled with an inability to bat for themselves in tough times, makes them a liability. Some time ago, Union minister Salman Khurshid indicated as much when he said Rahul Gandhi was playing a ‘cameo’ role in the party.

Clearly, the time has come to look for new leaders. Kejriwal’s political gambit can be seen as an attempt to help the Congress shed the dead wood.

Currently, there is a vacuum in Indian politics; none of the major ideological formations is in good health, and the quest to invent new political entities has begun. It is too soon to say how far Kejriwal’s still unnamed party will go electorally, but he has seized the moment and established his personality on the political firmament.

Coming to actual allegations against Robert Vadra, whose wife Priyanka initially joined his business before withdrawing for unknown reasons (just as Sonia Gandhi once joined the business activities of Sanjay Gandhi when his sole USP was that he was son of sitting Prime Minister Indira Gandhi), it is going to be impossible to explain how companies with a total share capital of Rs. 50 lakhs could purchase at least 31 properties worth over Rs. 300 crores in just three years from 2007 to 2010. More pertinently, none of Vadra’s firms had any income from any

business activity, except as interest derived from interest-free loans from DLF. Today, the properties are allegedly worth over Rs. 500 crores.

There is simply no reasonable explanation why the real estate giant DLF put up Rs. 65 crores as seed money for these acquisitions, and then helped Robert Vadra buy undervalued properties in its own commercial ventures. Congress cannot deny the facts as Kejriwal has used his income tax background to get the details from the Registrar of Companies.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is also on the mat, and will have to explain why he gave the DLF 350 acres of land for its Magnolia project in Gurgaon, where Vadra conveniently picked up 7 apartments. DLF will have to explain all benefits received from Congress governments in Haryana and Delhi.

Since Vadra registered 6 new companies in 2012, his business acumen was in full bloom till Kejriwal put the spokes in his wheels. There is a case for an independent investigation into Vadra’s accounts, firms, etc.

All this has made matters worse for Congress, which was already on the back foot deflecting questions about the frequent foreign trips of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the last 8 years. The Prime Minister’s Office made matters worse by declaring that the government had not paid for Ms. Gandhi’s medical treatment in India or abroad. In fact, a government agency paid for only one foreign trip by Ms. Gandhi – to receive an award from the Belgian Government.

This raises grave questions of public morality. As an MP and as de facto supremo of the ruling UPA, on whose hospitality did Sonia Gandhi travel abroad? And how does the Government explain the cost incurred on her SPG security if the trips are secret from the nation?

UPA’s days are numbered. It is only a matter of time before all skeletons spill out of the cupboard.

10 October 2012, NitiCentral.com