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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aam Aadmi or Khaas Aadmi

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In the last polls, the BJP came up with a slogan India Shinning. Congress came out with its own slogan, Congress ka haath, aam aadmi ke saath. After five years, how much has the govt. really served the aam aadmi. The Indian Muslims blog has an article on this. Some of the interesting points presented are:
  1. The five years of UPA rule was supposed to benefit Aam Aadmi (Common Man) but it has only served the interests of Khaas Aadmi. UPA’s Common Minimum Programme was replaced by Uncommon Minimum Programme based on four ‘achievements’: Indo-US nuclear deal, Chandrayaan moon mission, 9% growth and Slumdog Millionaire Oscar win! None of this is directly related to the common man.
  2. Indo-US nuclear deal is still no-clear deal to many; it will take at least 8 years to generate nuclear power. Chandrayaan moon mission is part of a satellite programme which any government would have followed it. The “9% growth rate” is indeed related to the fellow Indians but nobody is asking this: what percentage of Indians have benefited from the 9% growth rate? Merely 10%! This figure sums up the economic policy of the UPA government which is ironically headed by an economist and has the “dream economic team.”
  3. The government of “Aam Aadmi” has shown remarkable generosity in subsidizing big business houses and SEZs (Special Economic Zones). UPA has tacitly ignored small and medium enterprises which constitute the majority of Indians.
  4. The rich-poor divide has widened but yet UPA is singing a tune of good times! In the last five years India has not witnessed economic prosperity but economic regression. This fact can be gauged from Human Development Index of United Nations Development Programme where India’s rank has slipped from 124 to 132 in 2008. Even countries like Bhutan, Algeria, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Iran have performed better than India!
  5. What is the role of UPA government in a British movie with Indian actors? The euphoria over Slumdog Millionaire at best can be described as an act of individual creativity. The movie depicts the story of India’s poor and the bottom-line is the survival spirit of Mumbai. The movie must remind our shameless politicians a fact that gathers dust in government files that at least 30% of India’s population still leaves below the poverty line. There are at least 260 million Indians who still go to bed hungry every night.
  6. The UPA, very subtly, is doing an NDA. It is building a momentum similar to NDA’s India Shining campaign. NDA had pumped 4000 million rupees of Indian taxpayer’s money in the form of advertisement just to communicate Indians how good they are feeling! P. Sainath, rural editor of The Hindu had commented then, “The fastest growing sector in India Shinning is not IT or software, textiles or automobiles. It is inequality.” His comment still holds relevance.
  7. If Congress has miserably failed in its economic policy then BJP has floundered in making it a real issue which affects fellow Indians irrespective of their caste and religion. BJP is still trapped in its stone-age politics despite the fact that its allies have made it abundantly clear that they don’t support BJP’s Ram Janambhoomi movement. The BJP’s poll strategists have forgotten a fact that Indian economy was performing better in NDA’s rule.
Although I agree some of these points, I do not agree on all. Firstly, the author failed to mention RTI act and NREGA. Though NREGA can hardly be regarded as a success, it surely is a promising step. RTI surely is great step, something that will benefit us in years to come.

Regarding the other criticism levelled against UPA for support to SEZ's, the author should also recall that India is a signatory to WTO. Whatever growth in IT and manufacturing that we have seen is because of WTO. The price that India has to pay for this is the SME sector. At a time when we are competing against China, which specializes in mass productions, our own SME sector cannot compete. Chinese toys have already taken over our domestic market. We need SEZ's to help achieve the scale. On the HDI front, surely we are lacking. But the author should understand that it is easier to achieve improvement for smaller countries. Moreover, it is the state govt. that should be held more responsible for HDI than Central Govt. The Central Govt. can only come up with schemes like NREGA, its upto the states to implement them.

Though all is not well. The NDA Govt. had passed the FRBM act to check fiscal deficits. In the past five years the UPA hasn't done anything to improve that and the fiscal deficit is expected to be around 5.5%. It should be recalled that our economy has been growing at roughly 7-8% for the past 5 years. This means that the fiscal deficit has actually increased in real terms. This deficit is surely going to affect our sovereign S&P ratings. Moreover Chadrayaan was started under the NDA. Terrorism is another major threat. The UPA first revoked POTA and then came up with its own version of the law.

All may not be well. But what is most important is to understand that democracy is slow because it has to consider each and every aspect and also because it undergoes scrutiny every moment. We have two examples in our own neighborhood, Pakistan and China. Neither can be called developed. If China grows at its current rate for the next 20 years, just 2% of its population will become world class consumers. So, my only advise to the writers at Indian Muslims blog is believe in democracy, to accept that it will be slow and continue scrutinizing the action of the govt.


  1. good article is working fine in IE.
    now in views, about chandryaan this will encourgae young geneartion to study science,.
    about nulcear deal ,is it not good to make provision for future needs or like fool when you feel thirsty one shouldtry to find a river.
    Most imp democracy is not slow, our politicalparties are slow, our education system is slow, one must understand congree and bjp and there all parties friends are just different sides of coin .
    with motttol jAI HO lets make money and make educated fools more fools

  2. @sm, Indian Home Maker
    haha, thx for ur inputs and encouragement. Such comments will surely keep me going.

  3. @sm
    regarding ur point on Chandrayaan, the project is not just important because it will encourage ppl to study. Space program is important for India. China recently sent a man to space and it also acquired capability to shoot down spy satellites. The problem with India's Space program is that it has largely civilian objectives.

    Nuclear deal surely has brought India closer to the US something that was witnessed recently when the US forced Pakistan to accept the blame of Mumbai attacks. But India nuclear program is based on Thorium and is intended to be self-sufficient. India has the largest reserves of Thorium. On the other hand, the nuclear deal offers Uranium based plants.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. India's program is indeed based on Thorium and is Intented to be self-sufficient.

    The Hope of being self sufficient did not come yesterday, It came when nuclear program started, and clearly we have not succeeded, I don't know why would someone want to still hold on to hope?Sometimes its better to realize your defeat and move on.

    Allthough I am actually not saying to chuck the
    Thorium program,we can simultaneously pursue it, But I don't wanna bet all my funds on it anymore.Lets have a Plan B.

    Anyway Nuclear deal has not only given us access to fuel but also access to the technology.

    I am also not cynical about my 9% GDP growth.

    What do the blogger want us to do?Not grow? Does he intends to convey that its better that all of us remain where we were instead of some of us growing?
    Statistics say that a percentage of GDP growth gives an additional 1 million jobs. We have to constantly keep moving in that direction, and if some of us are left out, we can't help it, you were OUT anyway, with or without the growth.It will take quite some time before we see an overall improvement. These people just don't get the importance of GDP growth, the furore over GDP growing is not a HYPE!

    About the space program being civilian.

    India manages to do stuff that China does, but the beauty is , it succeeds in evading attention and controversies, so don't be surprised if India comes out with a surprise Military campaign through space some time later (guess, not anytime soon though).

    About the Rich poor divide becoming wider.

    I think, as GDP grows year by year, as more and more people come in the mainstream, and start getting Jobs, things will improve.But I certainly don't want to look back because of this.

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