Saturday, 2 August 2014

India right in rattling the WTO

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) were left shell-shocked with India's refusal to sign the trade facilitation agreement (TFA). Prime Minister Modi cited poverty for being the prime reason for refusing to submit autonomy when it come stocking a certain amount of food stock piles. Many members, including Norway, Australia and the USA, demanded that negotiations continue without India. The arguments for the ratification of the TFA were that it would add around $1 trillion to the world economy which would in turn create approximately 21 million jobs globally.

This is where I feel Modi's decision becomes even more impressive. Most average politicians, after hearing the words 'increased jobs', would go on and sign any document - often with short-term electoral gains in their mind. However, Modi should be given credit for not succumbing to this. Poverty and food security for not only India's poors, but the world's poor were taken into consideration when India refused to ratify the TFA. The $1 trillion and 21 million jobs figure that is being clogged down politicians throats, does anyone really now who will be the beneficiaries?

Don't get me wrong, I am not against private enterprise, ownership, trade or business. Although, I am a bit doubtful that the majority of the 21 million jobs that are supposedly going to be created with this deal will get to 'eat' the majority of the $1 trillion cake. The forces, I believe, that are working the diplomats in the WTO to push this deal are the same forces that aim to gain access to a larger supply of food grains which will in turn make it cheaper for them to produce your generic, chemically intoxicated sugar-coated cereals and chocolate bars. I have great regard for politicians who don't succumb to the standard 'jobs' and 'economy' trap. Modi, despite his business and tech savvy image, seems to have good intentions and aims to produce legislations that are sustainable and long-term in nature that will benefit the marginalised, and not merely to create hollow temporary jobs.

Even though India has not fully pulled of the TFA negotiations, we can now with certainty say that the next round of discussion, unless other members move on without India, will have the interests of the poor around the world in mind. Even though the middle-class might face slightly more expensive food prices in the future, India, if negotiations go their way, should be able to have increased autonomy when it comes to food grains supply which will ensure or at least help achieving food security for our poor. Developing countries must recognise the bold step that Prime Minister Modi has taken and rally behind him. In turn, developed nations must emphasise and realise that developing countries which have large poor populations, need certain breathing space when it comes to securing food supply. Lastly, to all member states that plan to move ahead without India, all I can say is that it is futile to view India merely as a single member state. It is after all the home of one sixth of the human race.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Media missed the point with Modi's SAARC invite

Past few days, media have been fixated with whether Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend the swearing in of Prime Minister designate Sh. Narendra Modi or not. There are two important issues that need to be cleared up here:

1) It doesn't matter whether Prime Minister Sharif attends or not - even though it has been hilarious to witness Sh. Modi putting him into a pickle with just an invite.

2) Media has missed a golden opportunity to educate the general public about the significance of SAARC, which stands for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

The media must consider reviewing its coverage regarding the invite. Their focus on Pakistan's attendance, in my opinion, has stained their credibility and made news coverage seem like recordings of the gossip that takes place in a 'kitty party'. Who is coming? Why won't they come? Will they send someone in their place?

The invite from Modi, generally speaking of course, was a prudent move. Given that BJP's election campaign was chiefly run on development and economic growth, it signals out to the world that South Asia is no longer willing accept poverty, corruption, terrorism and filth - or at least that's what the media could have suggested. If only they had the will to research the principles of SAARC, the potential partnerships, common visions and goals and areas where India could establish its influence and project soft power. Instead, it focused on who is attending or not.

This election was perhaps the most covered Indian election around the world. Even here in Gothenburg, Sweden from where I am currently writing this blog post, the elections were mentioned several times in our local newspapers. In other words, the swearing in ceremony is something that will be followed from all over the planet. Our intellectuals and new editors should have projected this as a potential event for South Asia, headed by India, to fulfil its potential and present itself to the world that we are ready to enter into a new age of development, prosperity and peace.

/Arjun



Thursday, 1 March 2012

No Saraswati, No Ram Rajya

Whenever you ask Indians, either at home or abroad, about what is wrong with India the answer is most certainly always similar. Roads, telecommunications, sanitation, railways, ports, airports, power, water distribution etc. are often summarized in this cliché and somewhat boring answer: Infrastructure. Unfortunately, I wish it were that easy that we could just hire a bunch of Japanese and European infrastructure corporations to pave our way out of lethargy but given the standards of our political leaders (from all parties), this will inevitably end up in a major scam. So, the question now is if infrastructure isn’t the main problem, what is? Simple – illiteracy of the masses.

I believe illiteracy or basically lack of education of the masses is the root cause for nearly all that is wrong in India today. Wherever there is illiteracy, the public automatically and ruthlessly become isolated from mainstream. They can’t read simple contracts, newspapers, political manifestos, laws, rules or instructions which can potentially enable them to improve their health, finances, and working conditions. Thus, they become a burden to their loved ones, neighbourhood, state and subsequently the nation.

Now, when you find yourself in this position as described above, it is of the highest probability that you will end up in poverty. Hungry, homeless and hampered with debt you become an easy target for cunning and sly scavengers trying to fool you for another rupee here or there. However, just as you think you can’t handle it anymore, you consider playing karma roulette by committing suicide and hoping for improved conditions in the next life. Fortunately, you change your mind when you hear the news of an election surfacing in the coming weeks.

In this election, there will be an illusion of choice of many candidates promising you to lift you out of poverty. However, wherever there is illiteracy and poverty, there are also scavengers waiting to prey – either on your money or for your vote. Therefore, simply due to the lust for your vote, this specific politician has emerged to utilize the vacuum decided the best way to campaign is by enticement and due to the fact you are illiterate and poor, you obviously don’t want to hear grand visions for the nation such as development, infrastructure, electricity, universal education etc. The fact is that the ‘nation’ is a distant concept for the poor. Thus, what ends up happening is the candidate that offers grander, noble and more universal visions gets engulfed by the candidate that promises free TVs, food, electricity, water and of course the ‘upliftment’ of your caste. Free is the key word for you and immediate material gain sounds alluring and tempting considering your state because you simply can’t comprehend how roads will benefit you and your family.

Sadly, the politician which enticed with free gifts won the election and has become the Chief Minister. However, he manages to fulfil his promises of temporary supplying free food and coloured TVs clearing him to win the election in 5 years again because ‘free electricity takes time’ and he ‘needs your support next election’ to accomplish the goal. As a result of this, you, poor and uneducated yet happy with your TV and (temporary) supply of free food, put this sleazy politician in the highest of pedestal chanting how he is the defender of your caste and saviour of the poor.

When this sleazy politician is in power, this is when we have corruption which manifests itself in a more political correct term: ‘poor governance’. In this inferior governance, we have poor roads, buildings, crime, “gunda raj”, criminal and political nexuses, immoral police, bureaucracy, economic stagnation etc. Thus, this is the stage where you can use the cliché: no infrastructure.

For that reason, I hope this article has shed some light on the importance of an educated India. We need to set higher standards on our leaders, remove gender discrimination, abolish caste in the psyche of our brethren, decrease child mortality, improve family planning etc. Our politicians are fighting for reservations for specific communities but have any one of these politicians supporting reservations ever suggested in simply building more schools so that all children can start on the same level? They claim caste discrimination is illegal in India, yet for your votes they won’t hesitate to remind you that you are a “Dalit”, “ST” or “OBC".

Follow me on twitter.com/asethi87

Read the article on: www.ibtl.in @ http://www.ibtl.in/news/opinion/1742/no-saraswati--no-ram-rajya

Monday, 13 September 2010

Welcome!

Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog which I hope you will find to be informative and enlightning (I know, I'm humble). The purpose of this blog is to analyse current as well as past events from a different perspective whether it be political, religious or simply sporting events. I don't plan to offend nor glorify any specific group(s) but just to write about matters the way I see them.

As freedom of press should be a basic human right and not something a government should tell you, there will obviously be people that have views which oppose my own. If this is the case, please feel free to comment and share your own opinions rather than wanting my head served on a platter! I hope this blog will serve to be an excellent foundation for all people no matter what creed, race or relgious background you belong to communicate, share views and most importantly see the world we all share in a different way.

Finally, I just got started with this blog, bare with me and I shall soon publish some intersting and hopefully informative posts.

Sincerely,

Salkia