Monday, May 31, 2004

The IIM issue & text books

Some progress is being made on this concensual issue But Why can't Arjun Singh take a firm step on the issue and say that govt will not interfere? Throwing the ball in IIM's court rather than retaining it in ones own court is equally dangerous. The govt. has to have a say in its affairs, though not as forcefully as Mr. Joshi would have liked it to be.
Mr. Singh says that the NCERT books will be reviewed, which is a good development. The actions of the past government need to be corrected. Let hope that it is not done as a vendetta

Sunday, May 30, 2004

India Shining

Now this is truly India Shining, no thanks to the politicians, please.
Today I also had a very embarassing moment. Went out for a sandwich, and when the time came to pay, I didnt even have two bucks in my pocket!! The restaurant owner was kind enough to take only a buck from me. Must pay him back.

Saturday, May 29, 2004


He has point there(the first story)

Also, it seems that Sonia Gandhi will be visiting what? Its not that the PM is visiting Pakiistan, is it? Oh, I forgot, shes the real power, the one with the remote control. The CPI too seem to be flexing their muscles. First, it was the heavily-influenced-by-the-left Common Munimum Program, and now, Bardhan wants tainted ministers out of the ministry. Good intentions, but it really askes the question, Whos the boss???

Friday, May 28, 2004


Its friday, a holiday. I should be at home, relaxing, but here I am, in the office.....realxing!!! :) Life is good.
I have been browsing the blogs, and am coming to the conclusion that people are posting moer these day, cos they want and invitation for a GMail account. When will I get mine? ;)
Also, no body seems to be visitng my post or commenting on it. boo hoo

A lot of discussion seems to be taking place about he allotment of portfolios. Heres my two bits:
Chidambram for FM is a very wise choice indeed. There is no doubt it. But one must also take into account that while he is progressive, he does nt have much to show by way of achievements. I mean, as FM, he was able to present only two budgets, of which, one was strictly ok-to-disappointing, while the second one was the Dream Budget. So, his tally remains one good budget and one not so good budget. He still has to prove his consistency, and in the current time, it is of prime importance.
Natwar singh as external affairs is silghlty less than average. Mr. Singh is not exactly pro US, which in today's time is not good. Also, he hasnt spelled out his views on other problems facing India. That is essential.
Also, let me add that the appointment of J N Dixit as the national security advisor to the PM is a again a very wise move. I have heard him on one ocassion, and was impressed by his intellect. He is also not too pro-America. Now lets see, two important posts go to less-than-friendly-to-US the govt trying to hint at something?
Shard Pawar as the agriculture minister is also a good choice. Mr. Pawar has always portrayed himself as a pro-farmer politician, and the post of agriculture minister is a very wise move.
Priyaranjan Das Munshi seems to have been given a short shrift by giving him the water resources development ministry. But then, with the major interlinking of rivers project. I suppose someone good and experienced was needed.
As for Laloo Prasad Yadav, gimme a break!!! BTW, are th rumors that he has changed the spelling of his name to Lalu Prasad true?

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Bad Day

Am going to have a bad day today. First, I wake up late and have to skip breakfast. While rushing to office, I overtake a cop on the wrong side, and am pulled up for that. My work is lagging behind a LOT. And thats just the begining folks.
On the Indian scene, The CPI(M) seems to want its share of the pie too. Now thats trouble bells tolling. Imagine, a Center-Left(Congress), a Socialist (RJD) and a Far Left (the Communists) all in one coalition. One would think that the Left leanings of all involved would help but NO!! thats where the trouble begins. A battle of 'whos more leftist' will begin. God bless India.

Update: End of the day, and some fresh developments on the politics front in India. The CPI has been able to influence the Common Minimum Program of the UPA govt. They had their pound of flesh. So out go the privatisations, labor reforms, power reforms. And how excatly does the government propose to give employmwnt to the rural people for a minimum of 100 days? creat jobs out of thin air? The PM is having ot do a lot of balancing from teh very beginging.


Is it bye bye POTA? Congress plans to shelve it. Am undecided about it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I, Me, Myself

I just remembered, I forgot to introduce myself.
Not much by way of introduction. I am just a 27 year old writer, suffering from a writer's block for the past four years. To get by, I ave been working as a jounalist.
Raju is what my friends call me, not my real name. Recently, I read somewhere that left handed people, while musically inclined, have difficulty composing literary works, so imagine my predicament!! I am a left handed writer. who occassionally suffers from writer's blocks. I suppose that aobout compeletes my introduction

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Things not looking good for India

Things not looking good for India, it seems. But I beg to differ. IT and the BPO boom were not the work of the governments, but rather of the entreprenuers. No doubt, the govt lent a helping hand, and I am sure the current one will, as well.
Also, I wonder what issue they have with the Left? I am not a supporter of the Left, but its not they are completely against the IT call centers. Is it just the anti-communist xenophobia coming up again?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Know your ministers

Know your ministers
Congratulations Mr. Sunil Dutt.
Also, Sonia's foreign origins don't seem to die down. Another peeve, no lack of young blood in the cabinet. Its the old guard dome back...the new order has the old ironic

Sunday, May 23, 2004

New Ministries

So the ministries have been announced. Some really good choices in that. First of, the really good thing is that Dr. Manmohan Singh did not act greedy by taking the finance and defence ministries. The finance ministry goes to Chidambram, and Defence goes to Pranab Mukherjee. That's a relief, since burdening the PM with two more ministries would have been counter productive.
On the question of Mr. Chidambram become the FM, I don't have any objections to it, but the usual reason given, that he is the author of the 'Dream Budget' during the days of the United Front government, is bullshit. The United Front government was a disaster from the word go. One thing it is not remembered for, it is economic policies. So that negates the reason for choosing Mr. Chidambram. The fact that he has served as the FM so recently in history is reason enough to choose him as the FM. The other FM, Pranab Mukherjee, was FM very long ago, and not known for any liberal policies. Mr. Chidambram will have a good leader in Dr. Manmohan guiding him.
The selection of Natwar Singh as the external affairs minister is also not a good choice. He tends to look at the larger picture, and not at the human costs involved. I am vary of him. The remainder of the selections is not worth mentioning.
On the selection of Dr. Manmohan Singh, I have one peeve, and that is, he is not an elected member of the Lok Sabha. He came via the circuitous route of Rajya Sabha. I would have liked my leader to be directly elected by me.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Thoughts about thh new cabinet

So India finally has a PM. Its about time. But I am a little disappointed. There are very few fresh faces in the current administration. Nearly all of them are from the old order. No doubt, they bring plenty of experience with them, but what about the crucial fresh blood? So lets see what are the pluses and the minuses of the new administration:

The new cabinet brings with it, years of first hand knowledge of running a government. At least three ministers, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Natwar Singh and one other (I forget which) have served as India's ambassadors to Pakistan under very trying circumstance. These experiences will definitely come in handy during the peace moves.
The current cabinet has not one, but two ex-finance ministers. Both, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Dr. P Chidambram are well respected by the business community. The markets have responded very favorably to them.
Mr. Singh handling finance for the time being is good, and Mr. Chidambram handling commerce is equally better, since he has the added knowledge of WTO.
Also heartening is the rewarding of loyal party workers like Mr. Snail duty, who has now been made a cabinet minister. He may also get a portfolio. It was very heartening to see Mr. Dutt take the pledge, since he is a good guy who has done a lot towards the cause of secularism, and thus deserves the cabinet.
The cabinet has given ample representation to everyone, dalits, women, Northeast, Muslims, Christians etc. In that aspect, it is a good cabinet.

The cabinet, while overflowing with experience, lacks in sheer youth power. Sure, Messrs Natwar Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar may have a lot of experience between them, but they have been out of touch for a long long time. Times have moved on, and newer factor have come into play in the Indo-Pak relations, such as the overwhelming presence of USA, international terrorism. Will they be able to address issues by taking these into account? I most certainly hope so, but the doubt still persists.
Messrs Singh and Chidambram have an enviable track record as foreign ministers, but their ideologies are not in keeping with the prevailing thought. Both of them favor selective disinvestment (my own thought as well) unlike Mr. Arun Shourie, who was a champion of complete disinvestment. Already, the markets have crashed twice in one week. This should serve as a warning to the unbridled optimism at the thought of getting two FMs at the price of one.
Mr. Singh is expected, in all probability, to retain the finance ministry with himself. That could be a drain on his ability to govern as the PM. Commentators have been saying that there have been precedents in Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, but did these two every deliver a memorable budget? Given India's delicate position at this frame of time (possible BPO backlash from US, agriculture needing to be propped up, devaluation of the Rupee), distribution of duties is the order of the day. Mr. Singh should have delegated the the duties to someone equally qualified, and then acted as the guiding spirit to that person during the drafting of the budget.
Yes, loyal party workers are being rewarded, but this raises the uneasy question, 'Is party loyalty the only qualification for a cabinet post?'. The Congress, and the public at large need to be beware of this. P M Sayeed lost the Lok Sabha election from Lakshadweep, but he still gets a cabinet berth. What is the rationale for this? Quite simply, P M Sayeed has stuck by the Gandhis during their darkest hours. But I still support the election of Mr. Sunil Dutt to the cabinet.
Representation yes, but still not enough. Women are only 11% of the cabinet, and when you take in to factor that Shrimati Sonia Gandhi, a woman, is leader of Congress, one would have expected more women representation. And the Muslim representation has more to do with party loyalty than with actual representation.

More rants will follow. Have to get back to work.

Friday, May 21, 2004

So far Dr. Manmohan Singh's policy aims seem good, but what does not go down with me, is his proclamation that there will be selective privatisation. The term selective is a hornet's nest, in my opinion. Dr. Singh will have to face criticism in the future for being biased, playing favourites. Better watch out, Doctor saab.

Three Strikes

The more I think about the current selection of the PM, the more impressed I am with the person who suggested D. Manmohan Singh's name (if it's Sonia's idea, then she has proved herself to be a very shrewd politician indeed). The whole arrangement seems foolproof.
Firstly, the Congress has effectively managed to shut up the BJP. It has derived the party of its most emotive issue. The tiger has been defanged. Strike one.
Secondly, Dr. Manmohan is a man of integrity, respected by everyone across party lines. The businesses also seem to like him as well. His wide experience in politics, coupled with his knowledge of economics will only do good for the country, at least on paper. Strike two.
Thirdly, by choosing Dr. Manmohan as the PM, Sonia has been able to win over the Sikh community's respect and support. The Sikh community had abandoned the Congress after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, but this present move has them celebrating throughout the land. Strike three.
And the BJP is walking back to the pavilion. But a word of caution: with all things seeming to fall in place, one begins to expect the worst. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I have a lot of hope riding on this.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

moral vindication

This is what a supreme sacrifice will get you. A warm mention in the Tabloid of India

And also, Rahul needs to go. He is seems to be too soft to carry the Family name. On the other hand, Priyanka is welcome. Not yet a political player, but she already speaks like a seasoned politician.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Rejoice!!! Finally some semblance of stability on the horizon. I fully support Dr. Manmohan Singh for the post of PM. He has had a long stint in politics, served as the governor of the RBI, been the FM, what more can one want? The TV is beaming the latest pictures, and it cannot get more exciting than that. Vikram Chandra, usually poker-faced while giving news, cannot smile everytime he mentiones thia. Hurray for Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Shameful obeisance to the Family

From being admired worldwide, Indian democracy is now the subject of ridicule, All due thanks to the Congress party workers. They have proved once again, that for all their democratic credentials, they are subservient to the Family. The specter of the Congress party workers vandalizing the party press room was infuriating as much as it was frustrating. C'mon guys, India needs a leader FAST. Just go ahead and choose Manmohan Singh. He is as good as you will get.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Tamasha in Delhi

Morelitical nautanki going on in Delhi. Its almost surreal, this tamasha going on to get Sonia to accept the PM-ship.
But why does the Congress want Sonia to be the PM, given that she does not have enough political experience necessary to lead a country. Manmohan Singh, on the other hand, has had long innings in the political arena. Let him be the PM.
Also, I must tip my hats off to Sonia Gandhi for making this master move. She has once again gained the higher moral ground here, by displaying the virtues of tyaag. The shrewdest move, if I ever saw one.
Indian music is notorious for lifting tunes from western compositions. But in a first of sorts, it seems that Indonesian musicians are quite inspired by Indian music. Check this out: