The interconnectedness of food security, natural resources, peace and conflict is not new to anyone familiar with fragile and conflict-affected states. The question is how to reverse this negative spiral. It is instrumental to focus on the questions of how interventions are interacting with other factors, what negative side effects may appear and how to reduce or, even better, prevent them.
About 70 per cent of India lives in rural areas and all-weather roads do not connect about 40 per cent of rural habitations. Lack of proper transport facility and inadequate post harvesting methods, food processing and transportation of foodstuffs has meant an annual wastage of Rs. 50,000 crores, out of an out of about Rs.370, 000 crores.
Much is being made about the overland link between China and Europe by rail and road links. Most commentators seem to miss that the Trans-Siberian Railway line from Vladivostok to Moscow is almost a hundred years old. Its capacity can be beefed up. Yet overland freight costs will always be much more expensive than sea freight costs. Business is about cuttings costs and taking the least expensive options. No one with commonsense will prefer to shift by land what can be shipped.
The topmost priority for the government now should be is to remonetize the economy fully. Unless remonetization is complete, growth cannot be restored and employment cannot be generated.
Demonetisation is a one man made disaster which has pushed the already beleaguered and stumbling Indian economy into a tailspin, and cost livelihoods and lives. In the face of tremendous spin, hype and distraction unleashed around the facts surrounding Demonetisation, here are a few questions we expect Modi to answer, as he goes around talking a lot but saying nothing.
If Indian economy has to bounce back in 2017, then banned currency notes need to be replaced as soon as possible. Reforms like GST need to be implemented quickly, and more need to be done to revive the infrastructure and manufacturing sector to generate domestic demand. Simultaneously, there have to be more social welfare expenditures to make the growth more equitable. Only then we can hope for a substantially better 2017 as far as the economy is concerned.
In July 1991 I had a conversation with the then Indian Ambassador in Moscow. He vehemently disagreed with me that the Soviet Union seemed on the verge of imminent collapse. On my return I learnt that our MEA considered such thoughts as heresy. Now with the MEA under new management, equally focused in another direction, we seem to be missing the Russian story once again. Like it or not, the Russians are coming!
अफसोस की बात है कि न तो मौजूदा सरकार के पास इसका कोई लेखा-जोखा है, और न ही पूर्ववर्ती सरकार के पास था. तत्कालीन वित्त मंत्री प्रणब मुखर्जी ने 21 मई, 2012 को लोकसभा के पटल पर केंद्र सरकार की ओर से काले धन पर श्वेत-पत्र प्रस्तुत किया था. इसमें कालाधन की मात्रा के बारे में कोई जानकारी नहीं दी गयी थी. सरकार का कहना था कि यह आकलन कर पाना बहुत मुश्किल है.
The absence of public deliberation and a lack of consistent rationale guiding such massive policy decisions of the government, and their endorsement by the elite, are disconcerting signs for any democratic culture. While the Left tries to debate whether the present conjuncture is authoritarian or fascist; an admixture of both is unfolding in front of our eyes but with the backing of a vocal hegemonic public within a liberal framework. Maybe these terms – fascist or authoritarian – will derive closure only in retrospect; but in the present, the opposition seems woefully ineffective in countering the Leader.
What are the most important reasons of the ‘demonetization’ – coming of big elections, initiative against the black money promised during the 2014 election, curbing the tax evasion or streamlining the market economy by cleaning the house itself?