01.12.2008

Politics & the Nation

  • And now we witness the blame game and some tamasha
    • Shivraj Patil offers to quit and the offer was promptly accepted and P. Chidambaram gets appointed as the Home Minister. The opposition promptly dubs these moves as 'too little too late.' The PM decides to keep the finance portfolio for himself. Not that there is any doubt about Patil's exit; he ought to go. But will a mere cosmetic change in portfolios work? Government should be decisive and act without delay.
    • Though there are rumours doing rounds that the IB chief, the Home Secretary, the CM of Maharashtra etc., may be asked to quit, people's mood is already restive. There are a few demonstrations against the politicians as a class. It remains to be seen whether such demonstrations can ever gather steam. My feeling is that they will die a natural death and the political class will remain untouched.
    • So, they have nothing to fear. They can go on with their business as usual. Of elections, staying in power, and more importantly finding scapegoats while staying safely ensconsed with NSG protection even as common people pay the price with their lives.
    • Some heated debates have occured in this context in our shoutbox. Look at my take on what we should be doing, in Discover It here.
  • But some solace is the announcement of the establishment of a Federal Investive Agency and strengthening of the NSG. Look at what the PM said in the all party meeting:
    • The anti-terrorist forces of the country will be further strengthened and streamlined. The National Security Guard (NSG), the principal anti-terrorist force of the country, will be given additional facilities and the size of the force is being augmented. Steps have also been initiated to establish another four NSG hubs in different parts of the country. Additionally, the special forces at the disposal of the centre would be appropriately utilised in counter-insurgency operations.
    • Had he announced that NSG protection is withdrawn with immediate effect for all except the Heads of the State, the Government, the Judiciary and the Legislature it would have sent a strong message and pacified the people.
  • Celebrity terrorism
    • Paul Cornish uses this phrase to describe the phenomenon of the Mumbai terrorism. I excerpt his view here:
    • These individuals indulge in terrorism simply because they can, while their audience concocts a rationale on their behalf. No matter how corrupt your moral sense, how contorted your view of the world, how vapid and inarticulate your ideas, how talentless you are and how exaggerated your grievance, an obsessive audience will watch your every move and turn you into what you most want to be, just before your death.
    • I think he is pretty much right. We have given the terrorists the celebrity status that they wanted. On a platter. So, isn't it time we move on and go about doing our business?
  • Shin Bet and FBI step in to invetigate; Government accepts their help
    • Better sense appears to have prevailed in accepting their offer of help in investigating into the terror attack. Shin Bet by the way, is the Israeli agency and FBI as you all know is the American agency. At times like these, when it has been proved beyond doubt that our agencies were simply sleeping over crucial intelligence inputs(acting on which could have easily prevented the attack) given by all and sundry, at least they can learn from others as to how fast to conclude an investigation and take the process of post-mortem forward.
    • If the Government is serious about it, it should even take up the issue with the UN and ensure that some limits to sovereignty of nations be allowed in cases involving terrorism. What I mean by this is this: It is a known fact that illegal outfits, criminals, and extra legal entities within Pakistani borders are the source of trouble for neighbours and the world at large. The political establishment in Pakistan is nothing but a mere puppet in the hands of either the military or is a captive to rabid fundamental elements within its society. That's what makes it totally incapable of offering any meaningful cooperation or help either in preventing or recurrence of such attacks in future. Today it is India, tomorrow it can be any other country. What compounds the porblem is that Pakistan has nuclear capability and if that capability is given access to the rouge elements either within its own establishment (which are not subjecting themselves to the civilian authorities) or from outside, the consequences can only be more horrific.
    • That's why there is an urgent need for the international community to sit and take notice that nations should accept a certain limit to their sovereignty for the safety and security of the mankind. Just as the Government announced the setting up of a Federal Investigative Agency, there should be a Internaitional Investigative Agency with powers of free access to any part of the globe and carry out preventive and investigative processes. This should be done under the aegis of the UN.
    • In this context, I can't resist giving you the following excerpt from today's ET editorial. It argues for bilateral cooperation and cautions on our becoming unncessarily arrogant or getting engulfed in a blame game which serves no purpose at all. Read the eitorial in full here. Some excerpts worthy of our note:
      • Some powerful sections of the Pakistani polity and state, especially its military-intelligence wing, are in sync with the Pan-Islamist jihad project. What is equally indisputable is that the Pakistani polity is, on the whole, engaged in a struggle to militarily contain such elements and politically stamp them out. The incipient attempts of the current political leadership of the country to subordinate its army-intelligence apparatus to civilian will underscores that. This can, however, be fully accomplished only when the highly inequitable Pakistani polity transforms to align more with the modern liberal order. New Delhi must patiently aid such a process through a calibrated mix of pressure and cooperation. Any Indian measure that is perceived by Pakistani society and polity to be overbearing and arrogant would serve to increase the purchase Pan-Islamism has in that country and only compound the crisis.
  • Many of you would have wondered what happened to our blog? Has it become a political one overnight from being one which focused on finance and economics.
    • To those wondering like that my answer is aptly summed up by Rama Bijapurkar in her article today in ET. (Incidentally she had a providential escape from the carnage at Trident)
      • "It is not the economy, stupid". Who cares where the sensex is, when we have senselessness all around us. Who cares what kind of an economy we will be, if we are a battered nation, run by inept politicians or those obsessed with dynastic succession and / or vote bank politics?
    • Got it? That's why it will take me some more time to keep reading debates about whether terror will hit our ability to attract FDI. I don't care even if it does. I always keep telling people who care, about two things:
      • One is that don't ever neglect your health; because you ultimately have to live a healthy life to finish your journey on Earth.
      • Second is that, don't ever have food at odd times by taking excuse behind pressure of work. Just as work is precious and important, having healthy habits is equally important. If you keep neglecting timely meals, you will one day find that you are not able to take food at all because over the years you fouled up your habits. True, we don't live to eat; but you also need to be alive and be able to eat, to live a life.
    • Slowly but surely, we will get back to covering our favourite subjects: finance & economics. In the course of the next few days.
Language lesson
  • vapid
    • Adjective: Lacking taste or flavour or tang
    • Lacking significance or liveliness or spirit or zest
Finance & Economy
  • Cash based versus accrual based accounting
    • Under cash-based accounting, government bodies do not reflect their promises to pay and expectations to receive money in their accounts. Accrual accounting, on the other hand, recognises any expenses incurred or revenues gained despite such transactions not happening in the form of an actual cash out-go or in-flow.
    • Why does this definition attract our attention now? The ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) has been working in coordination with CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) and the controller general of accounts (CGA) –– an arm of finance ministry –– to help government organs adopt an accrual format of accounting.
Environment
  • Whales ground themselves in Tasmania and die
    • Pilot whales, migrate to and from Antarctic waters and while doing so they pass the Australian island of Tasmania every year. It is at such times that they get stranded on the island and die.
    • Scientists are clueless as to why they do so.

1 Comment:

sharat chandra said...

Sir i am pursuing my bachelor's degree and i want to prepare for civil services also side by side how should i start my preparations please suggest me.