Over 200 temples damaged in Kashmir

  1.  Srinagar in Kashmir valley during the past two decades, more than 200 temples were damaged. Does not occupy any property of the temple. 70 per cent of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir have been damaged houses and other building structures. Which elements are harmed by the temples, it is the state government did not respond. It is believed that in the age of terrorism, these religious sites damaged by extremists. BJP chief Prof insurgent group in the Assembly on Thursday. Chaman Lal Gupta on Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir – was asked about real estate and temples. The highest 72 temples were damaged in Anantnag district. Shopian were 19 temples, of which 17 have been damaged and rebuilt twice. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has not damaged the temple in Ganderbal constituency. However, in the 17th district of Kulgam, Budgam six, 28 in Kupwara, Pulwama 21, 19 in Srinagar, Baramulla and Bandeepora 27 in the last two decades in a temple were damaged. Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley of the houses and other buildings in the state government said the displaced Kashmiri Pandits Kulgam 648 of 734 different timber structures have been destroyed or damaged. Bandeepora destroyed 44 of the 71 are exhausted. Migrants in other districts has been collecting information about the property state. The state government claimed that almost all Kashmiri displaced in Srinagar has sold its real estate.What is remaining, the J – K Migrant Inmuvebl Property Preservation, Protection and Ristren Distress Sales Act 1997 is being preserved under

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India sold in the hands of US & European:

 

(1) Empirical studies have shown that consumer prices in supermarkets in Latin America, Africa and Asia have remained higher than the open market by 20 to 30 per cent….

 

(2) The Indian retail market is estimated to be around $400 billion with more than 12 million retailers employing 40 million people. Ironically, Wal-Mart’s turnover is also around $420 billion, but it employs only 2.1 million people…….

 

(3) New York Times expose showed how Wal-Mart had captured nearly 50 per cent of Mexico’s retail market in 10 years. as per the NYT disclosure “the Mexican subsidiary of Wal-Mart, which opened 431 stores in 2011, had paid bribes & an internal enquiry into the matter has been suppressed at corporate headquarters in Arkansas”……..

 

(4) In India, we are aware that Wal-Mart alone had spent Rs.52 crore in two years to lobby, as per a disclosure statement made in the U.S. It has certainly paid off.

 

Made in the United States

For U.S. President Barack Obama there could be nothing more cheering. The ‘underachiever’ now goes to the presidential polls with a lot of confidence — India’s decision to open up FDI in multi-brand retail comes as a shot in the arm for the beleaguered American economy and will obviously boost his poll prospects.

 

Mr. Obama certainly knows what is good for the U.S. economy; Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also knows what is in America’s interest. Mr. Obama, for instance, wanted to stop outsourcing to protect U.S. jobs. No amount of persuasion from India changed his mind. Similarly, knowing how important FDI in retail is for him, he had pitched for a new wave of economic reforms. It was surprising to see Mr. Obama telling India what is good for us.

 

Aided and abetted by TIME magazine and credit rating agencies like Standard&Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s, India finally buckled under global pressure. What is little known is that India was also under a G-20 obligation to remove all hurdles to the growth of multi-brand retail.

 

But is FDI in retail really good for India? Will it improve rural infrastructure, reduce wastage of agricultural produce, and enable farmers to get a better price for their crops? While a lot has been said and written about the virtues of big retail, let me make an attempt to answer some of the big claims.

 

Agriculture: The Prime Minister has repeatedly projected FDI in retail as a boon for agriculture. Unfortunately, this is not true. Even in the U.S., big retail has not helped farmers — it is federal support that makes agriculture profitable. In its last Farm Bill in 2008, the U.S. made a provision of $307 billion for agriculture for the next five years. .

 

Where is the justification for such massive support if big retail was providing farmers better prices? And let us not forget, despite these subsidies studies have shown that one farmer in Europe quits agriculture every minute.

 

The second argument is that big retail will squeeze out middleman and therefore provide a better price to farmers. This is again not borne by facts. In the U.S., some studies have shown that the net income of farmers has come down from 70 per cent in the early 20th century to less than four per cent in 2005.

 

This is because big retail actually brings in a new battery of middlemen — quality controller, standardiser, certification agency, processor, packaging consultants etc. It is these middlemen who walk away with the profits and the farmer is left to survive on the subsidy dole.

 

Monopolistic power enables these companies to go in for predatory pricing. Empirical studies have shown that consumer prices in supermarkets in Latin America, Africa and Asia have remained higher than the open market by 20 to 30 per cent.

And finally, the argument that multi-brand retail will provide adequate scientific storage and thereby save millions of tonnes of food grains from rotting. I don’t know where in the world big retail has provided backend grain storage facilities?

FDI is already allowed in storage, and no investment has come in. Let it also be known that even the 30-per-cent local sourcing clause for single-brand retail has already been challenged and quietly put in cold storage by the Ministry of Commerce.

 

Employment: The Indian retail market is estimated to be around $400 billion with more than 12 million retailers employing 40 million people. Ironically, Wal-Mart’s turnover is also around $420 billion, but it employs only 2.1 million people. If Wal-Mart can achieve the same turnover with hardly a fraction of the workforce employed by the Indian retail sector, how do we expect big retail to create jobs? It is the Indian retail sector which is a much bigger employer, and big retail will only destroy millions of livelihoods.

 

State government’s prerogative: Very cleverly, the Central government has allowed the State governments the final say in allowing FDI in retail. This may to some extent pacify those State governments opposed to big retail. However, the industry is upbeat and knows well that as per international trade norms, member countries have to provide national treatment. Being a signatory to Bilateral Investment promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPAs), India has to provide national treatment to the investors. Agreements with more than 70 countries have already been signed. State governments will, therefore, have to open up for big retail. Industries will use the legal option to force the States to comply.

 

And more importantly, let us look at how the virus of big retail spreads, even if the promise is to keep it confined to major cities. Recently, a New York Times expose showed how Wal-Mart had captured nearly 50 per cent of Mexico’s retail market in 10 years. What is important here is that as per the NYT disclosure “the Mexican subsidiary of Wal-Mart, which opened 431 stores in 2011, had paid bribes and an internal enquiry into the matter has been suppressed at corporate headquarters in Arkansas”.

 

In India, we are aware that Wal-Mart alone had spent Rs.52 crore in two years to lobby, as per a disclosure statement made in the U.S. It has certainly paid off.

 

(Devinder Sharma is a noted food and agricultural policy analyst.)

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3897906.ece

 

Narasimha Rao, the ‘Father of Indian Economic Reforms’

What’s reform, Mr PM?
S Gurumurthy

When his foreign direct investment (FDI) bouquet to Walmart had put the government at risk, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed the nation on September 21 and defended the ‘reforms’. His commerce minister Anand Sharma had been going to town over the ‘reform’ in FDI in multi-brand retail. The pink media celebrated a Deepavali over ‘reforms’. A week later, on September 28, Union finance minister P Chidambaram spoke of the need for such ‘reforms’. A couple of days later, the PM asserted that ‘reforms’ were not one-off process, hinting at more ‘reforms’. The pink media roared. A day later, the Congress rose in support of ‘reforms’. Forthwith came announcement that the PM, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi would address a rally to support ‘reforms’, and now come the ‘big ticket reform’ proposals of rise in the FDI cap on insurance from 24 per cent to 49 per cent and to put a new companies Bill before Parliament. The game plan is clear: to keep the shrill cry of ‘reforms’, ‘reforms’ and ‘reforms’ rising to drown the 2G, coalgate and other noises. However, is the hike in price of diesel ‘reform’? Or cutting back cooking gas? Or bringing in Walmart?

Take the United Progressive Alliance story of oil price ‘reforms’. After the PM had told that “no government can spend its way to prosperity”, Sonia Gandhi opposed a hike in the price of oil and advised that kerosene and LPG should not be touched (Outlook June 26, 2006). The PM succumbed. Petroleum minister Murli Deora said: “Sonia Gandhi has clearly told that poor man’s kerosene, diesel, cooking gas prices should in no case go up” despite Rs 73,500 crore under recovery (Financial Express October 28, 2006). The government obeyed. Sonia told the government ‘to cut oil prices petrol by Rs 2 and diesel by Rs 1’ (Hindu Business Line November 29, 2006) and the government obliged. “Global crude prices have doubled in a year, but “the government has not raised the domestic fuel prices on a direction from Sonia Gandhi” Murli Deora gloated in the Lok Sabha (Economic Times November 22, 2007). ‘Sonia Gandhi told a rally in Rae Bareilly that fuel prices would be reduced; the next day, the Centre cut petrol prices by Rs 5, diesel by Rs 2, and cooking gas by Rs 25 per cylinder’ (Times of India January 29, 2009). So if Sonia allows fuel price rise, it is ‘reform’. If she stops it, or cuts the price, it is for ‘aam aadmi’, not anti-reform. Could anything be more ridiculous, Mr Prime Minister?

Till now the reformers have not revealed their secret understanding of what ‘reform’ means. For fear of being dubbed by ‘reformers’ as being against reform, no one asks them what ‘reform’ means. Etymologically ‘reform’ originated in reformation movements for less church control in Christianity. In the 15th century, reform meant ‘to bring a person, institution or government away from evil course of life’ – ‘Reformed churches’ (1580s), ‘Reformed Judaism’ (1843). ‘Reform School’ (1859) (see http://www.etymonline.com). Economic reform postulated less state control. In a perceptive article titled ‘What Do We Mean by “Economic Reform?”’ (See: http://www.wallstreetpit.com) Scott Sumner, economist, wrote on September 27, 2010: ‘economic reform implicitly meant more government between 1875 and 1975, and has implicitly meant less government since. That’s how we can tell whether or not we are still in the neoliberal era.’ From after 1975, economic reform meant neo-economic liberalism — which is measured by how much economic space the government vacates for private business. But Sumner adds: ‘When the recent financial crisis first hit I was worried that it would push us toward statism, just as in the 1930s. And indeed that seems to have occurred in the US.’ So, more government in finance and economics means ‘reform’ in US today; but the US wants less government in business and finance everywhere else. So, today ‘reform’ has one meaning in the US, another in India! ‘Reform’ also means righting wrongs by deformers of the economy in the past. In India, the very deformers of the national economy for four decades quickly branded themselves as ‘reformers’ in 1991! The result is that the original deformers of yesterday masquerade as ‘reformers’ today.

To understand what ‘reform’ means, recall the early 1990s, when P V Narasimha Rao, as prime minister, was skilfully U-turning the Nehruvian socialist India that had put most economic space in government hands. See the sea of changes he brought about, without much ado. He repealed the draconian industrial licensing law that destroyed Indian entrepreneurship and the monopoly law which put a cap on the size of Indian corporates; abolished capital issue controls and brought in regulatory SEBI; instituted the National Stock Exchange and digital trading in stocks; brought about rationalisation of import tariff, excise duties and income tax; raised the FDI limits for foreign joint venture partners to 51 per cent. This integrated package reducing the government’s role in command economy illustrated economic ‘reform’.

Therefore the economic space that a government cedes to private business measures the depth of economic reforms. If the government vacates more space, it is ‘reform’; the other way round it is deform. Now test September 14 ‘reforms’ against what ‘reforms’ really are. As Sonia has allowed fuel rate rise, it is ‘reform’. If she had not, she has stood for the aam aadmi. Again, the present rise in the price of oil and cooking only prevents further deficit, that is, further deform. It is no ‘reform’ of the past wrongs. The real ‘reform’ in the oil sector is deregulation, which the Congress is terrified of.

Take FDI in multi-brand retail touted as a huge ‘reform’. It robs the trading space of Indian communities — the kutchis, nadars, chettiars, rowthers, marwaris, banias, and hundreds like them — and hands it over to multi-national corporates, the Walmarts! It is ridiculous to call this robbing Nadars and paying Walmart ‘reform’, unless ‘reform’ means replacing communities by corporates. Or doing the bidding of the US. Hillary to Obama have been openly touting for Walmart. Yet, the PM denied on September 30 that it has been done under pressure from the United States.

On June 28, some loyal Congressmen organised a meet at the Andhra Bhavan in Delhi on the 91st anniversary of Narasimha Rao, the ‘Father of Indian Economic Reforms’, as Voice of America had rightly paid homage to him. The prime minister, invited as the chief guest for the event, bunked the meeting. That measures his loyalty to the Gandhi family and his gratefulness to Rao who made him an Indian and global icon.
E-mail: comment@gurumurthy.net

http://newindianexpress.com/opinion/article1285803.ece