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February 13, 2016

Security Council Reforms: Chasing up a mirage of veto power ?

Filed under: India,World — Geekay @ 4:11 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

Over the years , the Veto power has become a status symbol. Not been able to have it has become a problem and given rise to frustration unnecessarily for certain countries. The G4 nations comprising BrazilGermanyIndia, and Japan are four countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. Unlike the G7, where the common denominator is the economy and long-term political motives, the G4’s primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council.

G4Summit2015

Security council ‘s permanent membership provides veto power. The veto power enables all the countries not to bypass the voice of the veto powered country exercising its veto on any vote. When Veto powers were given after second world war,  UK, France and   China also got vetoes. Though Veto should have been  denied to  all these three as France had somehow re-emerged as an independent country post its capture in the war. Let alone be the big power in its own right. The argument to give veto power to UK was also marginal, specially, neither after war, it was left as a significant big power militarily, nor it was economically strong any more. Similarly, like France and UK, China also should not have been given any veto power  as it too was a dirt poor country and not militarily strong at all. The veto power given to China, in fact ended up going to Taiwan soon as the republic of China whom veto power was given got driven out from its own country. So, one wonders what justification was there to hand over Veto power to  a country who was inherently so week that  it could not manage its own fate. Mainland communist China got Veto in ’71 when Taiwan ‘s veto was handed over to it but by then Communist block had got divided . Perhaps, it would have been better if at the time of UN formation there should have been created only two veto wielding powers  – USA and Soviet Union rather than 5. It should have been called the group veto powers  – Capitalist block veto, Communist block veto as for all purposes the veto exercising history went according to the block’s desires .

But, as no body surrenders power once they have it, so even though the nation (UK and France) may no longer be the front runners either in military power or economy, but they  will still want to hold onto their permanent membership and Veto Power forever even if they become more and more integrated or subsumed into NATO or EU. Being part of these groups will make them irrelevant as it will not allow them any freedom to pursue their own independent line to exercise veto. They can  only toe a group line on any significant international issue. So, here again, it makes one wonder why veto power should only be given to states and not to the group when for all purposes the veto is exercised by states as per the group ‘s dictates.

Now, Russia and China are both power houses in military and economy respectively and they are no longer part of  one block. Though, back again now on most critical occasions either they act in unison or ignore the situation so they should continue to hold onto their individual veto power as they have not forged a military alliance. Even though both Germany and Japan are also economically very -2 important at present but as both are not free to pursue their own independent line, so giving them a  veto power will be a waste.

The other significant country is India which has been rising significantly. It stands at 7th position GDP wise in 2015 and 3rd on PPP basis as can be seen here in this chart –

GDP-PPP

It also is not having any military alliance and  for all purposes, it pursues independent foreign policy. So, it is far more deserving than other candidates. There are many negative things about security council permanent position. First of all, it brings extra responsibility to deal with more and more international issues as the issues are becoming day by day more of global nature needing global solutions. Since, India has great number of issues at home to deal with,  perhaps it should give up pursuing to seek Veto Power for now.

The Security Council membership will bring the need of providing for extra funding too to UN Budget. India contributes just 0.5% to say 10% by Japan and little over 5% by China. This is how the funding situation was in 2013 –

Member state Contribution
(% of UN budget)
 United States

22.000

 Japan

10.833

 Germany

7.141

 France

5.593

 United Kingdom

5.179

 China

5.148

But the most important issue will be if India who usually does not take any stand at all on any issue, will have to start taking a stand after getting the veto power. But taking a stand means preparing to ruin your relationships as independent middle line stand will not be possible any more. Perhaps,  India is besotted to covet the Veto power for enhancing its reputation as a significant power otherwise benefits are not there for chasing it.

Being a non-aligned group’s leading voice in cold war era, when its voice was equi-distant on all international issues in the beginning of non-aligned movement and gradually fully become part and parcel of a pseudo member voice of Communist block led by Soviet Union. So, it chose either not to criticise Soviet Union, or criticise much too late otherwise only privately. This happened  when Communists occupation went into Hungary, Czechoslovakia or Afghanistan. But, American, Britain/France interventions were criticised far more vocally as it happened in Cuba, other parts of Latin America or Suez Canal occupation etc. Though, India now has drawn closer to USA but it has not abandoned Russia entirely. It is closer to both Iran and Israel as well as Saudi Arabia. It is also close to Japan but chances of it voting against China in Security Council are remote as  China has become its biggest trading partner. So, what role a veto given to India will bring to UN. One can surmise it will bring nothing at all. When Russia is involved anywhere, India offers only a muted reaction as it did in Syria, Ukraine, Crimea or Georgia. It remained taciturn when Turkey downed Russian plane because India also have somewhat OK relations with Turkey, a NATO country. In Middle east, both Palestine and Israel are close to India, so for all purposes being too close will prevent it to take any stand on Palestine. It did not act closer home too when Sri Lanka was exterminating Tamils in its north. The  fear was of Sri Lanka falling into the hands of China and Pakistan. It did  not ask or support demand for UN probe initially into the killing of Tamils while UK and west asked  UN team to investigate. It did not upset the Myanmar too by criticising or intervening when it was clear the Buddhists with the support of Myanmar military were burning down the houses of Rohingya Muslims, killing them or putting them adrift in boats with some food. Again the fear was same of losing the Myanmar to China. Then Maldives exploded, its elected president is incarcerated and the new one has taken control. India tried to convey its support for the incarcerated president but Maldives simply chose to ignore India’s stand. Even though, China is so far out in pacific but India chose  not  to press Maldives too for the fear of China getting a toehold in Maldives, which any way China still managed to get. So, when India can not decide on foreign policy issues with either clarity or strong authority at closer home or in distant lands, what point is there to covet a veto power. However, Pakistan and China oppose India to have Veto Power as if India will go into Pakistan straight away after getting the Veto power to free Baluchistan’s trapped people. The fact is India should not get the veto power for its own sake as until it becomes economically significant and able to resolve its internal problems, it will not push its stand on any issue anywhere strongly outside India. To push your stand one will need a far significant economy, content citizens  and a big military might behind and not merely the veto power.  Moreover, by having veto power, the focus would quickly move to international diplomacy from internally focussed development of the country. So rather than rising fast, it will lose its focus of growing rapidly. There will surely come a time when India will be a Veto Power inevitably but that time is still years away, perhaps a decade or so.

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January 10, 2016

India needs Jobs (wealth) creation pro-active Initiatives

Just like, for many countries, India could focus on the two areas which create more jobs (including in outsourcing) besides producing revenue. These are tourism and agriculture. India is opening on-arrival visa regime for up to 150 countries soon. Before, it is done any tourism focussed initiative will help it big way to ramp up the revenues. But as before any new initiatives are considered, the funding for them should be arranged. For this, the special bonds in respective industry could be issued which may become redeemable after 10 years.

India has made beginning in both these areas but the inputs needed to make them contribute manifold are missing. Within tourism, the areas to focus should be medical tourism and adventure sports.

  1. Medical tourism

The new medical facilities can be opened by private public partnership (PPP). The govt. can provide the buildings(smart small clinics or mini specialist-hospitals) and equipments and give this facility on license or lease to doctors associations. They can run it on the same lines as private facilities such as Apollo, Fortis etc. The hotels or other residential areas in the vicinity can be developed by builders as patients will require areas to stay while convalescing. Such a facility provides the employment or training opportunity for both experienced (to run) and young doctors (trainee) besides bringing valuable foreign exchange and foreign tourists.

medical-tourism-in-india-swarna-18-638

Medical tourism is gathering momentum, one can see the growing revenue from this area for last 10 years but India is no4 after Mexico, Thailand, CostaRica. There is an outstanding opportunity to cut across the world in this area as most of Africa lacks the expertise or facilities. In America, Europe, the treatments as being so expensive, it gives opportunities to seek an outsourcing treatment contracts with the hospitals or govts or health insurance companies (such as BUPA, NHS etc) abroad. In fact, it will also benefit to improve the healthcare to Indian general public as well as there will be less pressure on the big public hospitals from those who can afford expensive treatments in India itself. India has 0.7 doctor to 1000 people in comparison to west where the best countries have 3 to 4 doctors per 1000 people. One of the lacunas could be perhaps not producing enough young doctors though India produces 3 times as many as USA.  First of all an assessment will be needed to figure out how many engg or medical employment positions are getting created annually in India. Not finding a job after a degree,  not only adds frustration to the students and families but also to the banks who may be adding these costs to Non-performing Assets(NPAs). There are roughly about 370 medical colleges, 49,840 MBBS seats and  charging Rs 50 lakh capitation each per annum in comparison to engineers ( 3,345 colleges, 15 lakhs students). Perhaps, lots of engg colleges should be converted into medical colleges and others closed down or students taught a particular craft to develop small scale or cottage industries – may be entrepreneurship too. The industry should be consulted for their annual requirements as education policy needs to be built to serve the industry. So, for formulating the education policy, education ministry should consult labour ministry, industrial ministry or directly survey industry’s needs and take inputs from planning commission plans in formulating type of colleges required in future and how many should be kept open or running. As clearly can be seen here India ranks in low income countries’ category when it comes to talk about healthcare infrastructure.

reaching-the-bottom-of-the-pyramid-6-728

 

  1. For adventure sports,

There can be any number of countries to emulate from. Most of them do not just engage in one sport but many acquire over the years a must status to visit for these types of tourists. Among these are New Zealand (Bungee Jumping etc), Switzerland(which has many trains going up the slopes or tunnels or has excellent piste infrastructure so it is good for many snow bound sports),  Australia (water sports- scuba diving, snorkeling), US(theme parks) etc.  The inputs such as setting up infrastructure – roads to such sites, the metal structures (Ropeways, support etc), concrete or building structure such as lifts taking to the mountains viewing areas, slopes etc can be built by issuing yet another tourism bonds.

New infrastructure can have ticket for entries to generate revenue and any hotels developed in that area can also have special tourism taxes to recover the infra building costs fast. So if the govt creates infrastructure as a priority, it will not take long to pay off the bonds. This initiative  will bring not only tourists(foreign and desis) to those areas but generate employment too. Infrastructure building will also help steel industry, as well as stop rich Indian people from flying abroad to spend foreign currency on these activities. The employment in areas where  very few other employment opportunities exist is particularly appealing.

Agriculture:

As India’s population will peak, its demand will go up in many of these areas. The areas for growth are olive production (Spain, Italy, Greece are leading countries but Israel could be tapped for exceptional high quality olive oil production who in spite of growing it in arid areas, using drip irrigation as well using salty (brackish) and purified wastewater which helps it to add natural fertilizers to the soil produces superior quality olives), mushroom production (China, Italy are leading and in USA, Pennsylvania, California are the leading ones), other edible oil production facilities particularly coconut oil where India is no 3 and Philippines is no1 with almost close to 4 times that of India’s production level, Orchards developments like in California to grow Almonds(which requires more water than how much olives need), Pistachio(good for arid areas – Iran is no 1 producer in it), Walnuts(US produces 9 times, China 8 times, Iran 5 times of India’s production level), apples, orange (citrus), plums(prunes). It will be particularly good in the  area of India’s Northeast where on the line of California orchards could be developed. As the North-East offers enough water resources (required for almonds etc) and the temp may be just right too but for production of pistachio(arid areas should be OK) and for Olive production could go to Rajasthan  bordering Punjab (as Olives need water too) or in dry areas of UP, AP, Maharastra etc for Pistachios. Orchards will largely depend on developing bee keeping industry too for pollination of fruits.

 

December 16, 2014

Pakistan’s s Future could still be rosy after the latest mayhem

_79757855_pakistan_army_school_attack_624map

(courtesy Digital Globe: google Images)

So, soon after Malala got the Nobel Prize, this carnage today on a Pakistani Military School comes along, perhaps it is the biggest attack fatalities wise in Pakistan. Taliban seems to be the perpetrator. In spite of being poignant, I am looking again with the renewed vigour on Pakistan. There is this article from Shashi Tharoor on Pakistan and India relations, talks etc. Shashi Tharoor was the state foreign minister in last Indian govt. He came second to to Ban Ki Moon  of being head of the UN . He writes that it  is no policy for India not to engage with Pakistan in talks. I wonder what type of meaningless talks he advocates and with whom. All talks are meaningless as Pak Army has persisted with the same ideology of two nation theory and bleeding India to thousand cuts even after the appointment of its latest General, Mr Raheel Sharif. They do not want to give up controlling the Pak budget. It does not matter if it keeps the Pakistan sliding further into destitution. They are becoming good guys in the eyes of public at present though as TTP seems to have been suppressed or eliminated in spite of this one off carnage today. The attitude however on the path regarding capturing Kashmir or controlling Afghanistan has not changed one bit by Army. So, saving the terrorists or so-called Mujahid’s terror camps or their infiltration into Kashmir remains as before. Also, those Talibans were saved which may soon be operating in the  Afghanistan e.g. Haqqanis. The new Afghan govt is on the back foot at present as it can not afford to blame Pakistan straight away on daily unfolding bombs explosions.  It wants Pakistan to help in reconciliation with Talibans who have already started getting better results in the aftermath of withdrawal of NATO forces.

So, where do we stand ? The Afghan govt is definitely better equipped this time as against when USSR left Afghanistan in 1989. This time it has functional army with some tools handed over to them by US/NATO. But it is dependent on the handout from US etc and it has developed no self sustaining capacity financially. So, a sustained campaign by  Taliban reducing the govt capacity to fight back daily will make the Afghan Govt cede a sizeable controlling power  in Afghanistan soon to them. With that looming victory, the role of India and US in Afghanistan will soon be over and both of these powers have to reconcile to this fact. However, Mr Kerry is going to Pak to develop a good relationship of US with Pak. So, Pak army will be resurgent and confident in spite of occasional setbacks as today’s carnage. It has already started dictating to its civilian govt on India-Pak relations. So, in such a scenario, without doubt no brick can move in its  relationship with India either on trade or on other disputes irrespective of what civilian govt Pak may have? It is also not in India’s interests to pursue the repair of any relations with Pakistan when the army  remains in ascendance and largely in charge unless someone like Gen Musharraf comes again to the fore.

_79756185_79756184

(Courtesy AP – BBC)

This does not sound very optimistic but where does the future rests of Pakistani state. Well, it is entirely in the hands of Pak Army. If the army believe in the welfare of Pakistan and not just in the welfare of their own institution, then there is a solution.

In 1959, there was a proposal made by then Pakistani ruler Gen Ayub Khan to India for building joint Defence . It was shot down by India as it was not clear on joint defence against whom. India at the time wanted to follow avidly non-alignment as being its founder and Pakistan was a member of SEATO and CENTO and completely aligned with the west.  So, it would have meant defence against communist block. Mr Nehru, had however made several (at least 10) no-war pact proposals to Pakistan e.g. in 1949, 1958, 1963 but Pakistan rejected them all because it wanted Kashmir to be settled first.

Now, one thing that can happen which did not happen in the past  is for Pak Army to accept the divided Kashmir on the current boundaries (Ceasefire lines, Lines of Control etc)  and make a new  pact with India on joint military for any expeditions or joint missions e.g. terrorism or Maoism in India. It could be based on the same lines like UK and France have done. Such a pact should not be seeking only the joint defence against external enemies or no-war pact as these two sides offered to each other in the past. This should enable  Pakistan to stay together and be governable and be able to educate its public and make them reasonably well off. Pakistan will be able to exploit its resources and the  restive states as Baluchistan etc can become peaceful .In doing so, the Pak Military does not have to drastically reduce its budget but the  army  will also benefit as it does not have to compete any more with India on every modernisation effort Indian army engages in. It will help not only SAARC to become a proper union but also help Afghanistan to become viable. I am sure India will not shoot down such a proposal if it came from Pak Military. Trouble is India has to recognize that Indian civilian govt has to talk and negotiate either directly with Pak Army or with a group made up of civilian govt and Pak Army. This alone can help build the trust between these two eternal enemies (Pak and India) and this alone will establish that Pak definitely have an intent of moving forward  on its relations with India.

July 8, 2014

Making a Viable Afghanistan

Filed under: Democracy,Europe,India,Pak,USA,World — Geekay @ 6:51 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

To make Afghanistan viable, one has to compare it with the situation of Iraq as both have some similarities. In her interview recently, Hilary Clinton alluded to the reasons for Iraq hemorrhaging and falling apart. So, the new govt. of Afghanistan has to ensure from repeating the mistake of Iraq of alienation of its ethnic groups. Next, the task of sustaining Afghanistan will need elimination of dependence in most walks of nation’s life particularly as it is a landlocked country. The sustainability of any state depends on the economic activity and meeting defence needs.  India has already signed on being a security partner. Deal with the US should also happen after new Afghan president comes on board. So India has to ensure both these needs. Relationship of Afghanistan with Pakistan is a frayed one and the dependence on the only land route to sea via Pakistan has left Afghanistan vulnerable. So, just like it needs a formal deal with Pakistan, it needs to cut also a deal with Iran to allow transportation via its Chābahār port. So perhaps some sort of treaty is needed like Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan. It demarcated the division of Rivers after the emergence of both India and Pakistan. A fee for the use of their (Pakistan, Iran) resources like road or railway network need to be set up. Once, it gets formalised, the frictions will get minimised and there will be recourse to get to an international body like Indus Water Treaty, if a dispute were to arise.

(Source: Map Of the World )

For the economic activity, a country will need to have resources for agriculture like tools, fertilizers and electricity. For electricity, it will need generation, transmission equipment. For transport it will again need building roads, bridges besides the need of setting factories for auto parts or refineries for fuel. For building infrastructure setting up of steel mills will be required. For defence needs, the country will need not only ordinance factories but also the big equipment so that it can root out the Taliban etc. from making any part of their land as a base for themselves. So, defence will need re-strengthening or building new cantonment areas around the country, now that NATO is leaving those areas behind. There is a need to reassess the overall need of the locations of all the bases. Perhaps, as NATO may not even be covering certain areas. The armed forces as well as general public will also need lots of hospitals. The country need educational institutions. Perhaps, India can play a role in everything but it comes down to meeting the costs by Afghanistan. Virtually most important institutions India has like technical, management, planning, agriculture, hospital staff training or general educational institutes can start their chapters or branches in Afghanistan. Indian govt. can facilitate talks between its various bodies and the relevant parties in Afghanistan but those parties or institutes need to be formed. Some training is needed even for the bureaucracy in Afghanistan. Since in the short run there is bound to be more unemployment due to losses of jobs as NATO and US leave, India has to ensure these people get back into jobs at the earliest. They will not only be better experienced but if they get into the hands of Taliban, it will make the situation deteriorate pretty quickly. So, perhaps these resources should get the training in India to build various institutes or bodies in Afghanistan. They can then return to Afghanistan to start these bodies.

But how to build all this since there is no cash flowing into Afghanistan. In the short run, Afghanistan has to plead and seek commitment with donors like NATO, US and India, China, Russia and Iran. In the longer run, the mining activity has to start but that can only happen if transport deals with both Iran and Pakistan are in place. Afghanistan need capital not only to build factories etc. but also for building and sustaining the armed forces. One can think the private sector will come on board for 60-70% needs of economic activity like building required factories etc. But for building essential economic activity like infrastructure as roads, canals, electricity, hospitals, ordinance factories etc., the 30 to 40 % capital will be needed by the govt. So, the Afghanistan need to decide what it will need on year by year basis e.g. it needs to set up goals like 1 hospital in year 1 plus a refinery and an ordinance factory etc. This way, it can work out the capital required for these activities with the help of donors. Perhaps, Afghanistan can start getting some money if TAPI pipeline gets going. It can also build a target of 2 to 3 years before it start getting the mining revenue. It still has to move quickly on the transport deal with both Pakistan and Iran. Though a deal with Iran perhaps will need rehabilitation of Iran in international community and that is dependent perhaps on its resolution of Nuclear Issue. What is the new road block in that pursuit is not clear. The world needs a viable Afghanistan as much as Afghanistan itself needs it.

April 10, 2014

Is it possible to resist the allure of Space Research?

Today, I was reading how India’s  mission to Mars has reached half-way stage in its journey. I was happy to see the mission succeeding and reaching a milestone . This mission has a limited objective like searching methane in martian environment. It achieved one other objective that missions can be low cost and still succeed but I was wondering why humans are so obsessed with space while there is so much on earth remains  unexplored, unexploited and rather more necessary. 'Red' letter day: India's Mars mission crosses halfway mark

I guess the answer to this lies in number of observations –

1.  The sky above is always so visible and since it remains an unconquered territory so it ‘ll continue to pose a challenge until there is something left. On earth barring deep sea or deep earth, man has gone everywhere so there is nowhere it can go. So, humans can not easily build on the tales of Robert Scott. Edmund Hilary etc.

2. The science bodies have also lobbies within most govts and they(planetary science) get most funds allocated for their pet projects. Since the prestige and visibility of  space research remains foremost, they get most attention from govt who usually after haggling still allocates the biggest fund to space research see this report .

3. The other research projects are fragmented and too numerous and since not having a  big enough voice on one or two prestige projects, so they can not compete with the space research budget.

4. The interlinking of many countries on space projects also mean that certain degree of space spending is guaranteed  but the plethora of other science projects are usually competing with each other rather than cooperating . Of course there are exception on nuclear research ( Nuclear Fusion reactors) and fundamental science projects like “Hadron Collider” in France, Switzerland etc.

But this spending on only one  area of research does not have to be. There are plentiful  impossible challenging missions on planet earth itself e.g. sending a sub or human in a sub into the deep see to mine the expensive minerals. China control the rare earth elements. The world needs more sources for the same than just relying on one country. Can there be minerals picked up from deep sea which can be converted into  rare earth elements. Chinese were given the license for  deep sea mining last year by  International Seabed Authority. The number of licences issued to prospect for minerals now stands at 17 with another seven due to be granted and more are likely to follow. They cover vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.Similarly there can be plentiful opportunity to invest money in unusual projects like underwater cities or using plantation ( phytoplankton) for health and food, algae that  can be converted into crude oil or  bio-fuel, Ocean thermal power plants or basing  storage power plant at the sea bed  itself. Perhaps, a project can be started  in claiming the land near the coast by shifting sand from desert, boulders from mountains etc. Japan, Dubai etc has already done this but as there are low lying lands across the world are plentiful and  such land has remained unprotected from not only the rising sea water  but also any occasional typhoon, cyclone or Tsunami . It has plentiful sea and not much on land warehousing space built . Perhaps everything from food grain to chemicals can be stored in the sea or even the the marine food (like fishes caught) etc can also be kept in deep sea . Whenever needed they can be lifted etc. Due to less sea temperature, it will be possible to exploit not only temperature but plentiful space in sea. What I wonder however is this – since all countries need employment generation.

No global leader has a clue about employment generation. They do not talk about employment generation through funding of new science projects or new technology or like the projects mentioned above.  Space programs may seem necessary but I guess far more necessary is employment opportunities for billions across the world. India itself need 12 million new jobs every year just to stand still. Somebody discusses it here in his blog. Leaders still do not believe in any exceptional funding on science or new technologies to generate new jobs. Without this, the employment generation can  just grow marginally with each economic cycle from recession to growth . There is tendencies  in countries of stealing the jobs from one other by a new round of protectionism . This parochialism can be most seen at election time. President Obama wanted to stop the jobs outflow from US to other countries in software or manufacturing and was promising to bring  jobs back from the other countries. This is nothing but  protectionism  which is antithesis of globalism and if the world is returning to age gone by when protectionism was rife then it will not be doing itself any favour.

June 23, 2013

Fixing International Job Creation Problem

Where are the jobs? Can panacea be so far away?

A few days back, there was a news from India that says that million engineers are struggling to get job. Recently, in a BBC discussion on science, I heard about the British immigration oversight in denying the entry of young Scientists to UK. Well, it did not surprise me totally. Often, the politicians across the world are glib talkers about the problems. If their advisers also lack vision and solutions, then country or any state within it will only stay at same economic activity if its economy does not get  eroded. Here is a discussion between two advisors – one to Mr Obama and one to Mr M M Singh, the Indian PM. While the advisor to Mr Obama is overselling the initiatives the US govt is taking in bringing various stake holders together to create jobs, the advisor to the Indian PM leave the impression that he has become by now a wily politician himself. The same person 20 years ago used his vision to transform the Indian telecom sector but now his proximity over a long period of time to top politicians has turned him into defending govt policies rather than talking about the new initiatives the govt has taken or will take soon.

How to create jobs is the biggest problem the world face. The job creation depends most of all on developing and employing new technology means it needs science inputs. The biggest example have been development of fracking (extracting oil) in US just like earlier it was the development of internet itself in which now millions are employed world over. There are tech jobs (knowledge economy) and non tech jobs which can be gradually be turned into tech assisted jobs or moved to a country where none exists.

The job creation does not merely need policy tinkering but also state involvement. In the earlier period of India’s development, India’s socialist PM, Mr Nehru inspired from USSR built industries (steel production, turbines, railway engines, defence items), science institutes, dams etc but since USSR no longer exists. So that inspiration is gone from world over. After Mrs Thatcher came on to the scene in UK transforming its economy, it has left the other inspiration that state should not involve in economic activity as it does not do a good job. So, the drive for privatisation has taken root the world over. India also believes in this philosophy now, so much so that it is gradually reducing the state stakes in the well run state owned companies. But in place of creating new industry from that dis-investment money it is just disbursing that money into poverty elimination programmes etc.

Some of the new jobs, in  the global economies could happen in these undeveloped  or under-developed areas –

gene therapy, epigenetic, stem-cell therapy, repairing DNA damage to treat cancer through modified virus, developing medicines using bacteriophage, manufacturing antibiotics, proteins(recombinant pharmaceutical proteins) & hormones via other animals, bacteria etc, developing synthetic biology, rare metal mining including deep sea exploration, dealing with hazardous waste recycling such as with bacteria including nuclear waste, developing land fertility, seeking control of pesticides or replacing these with alternatives so as to control the spread of cancer, water harvesting(rainfall) by creating new reservoirs, bunds etc and generate drinking water from sea using RO (reverse osmosis) and solar energy and thus removing draught conditions ( building mini regional water grids), deploying equipment for capturing energy loss(heat) at thermal plants, manufacturing artificial blood, normal organs using 3d printing technology and human stem cells, organ transplant industry, nanotechnology, medical diagnostics(scanners, dna analysers), new sensors and signalling equipments, robotics for hazard material handling, lasers in industrial (surgical, cutting etc), building safe (encrypted data transmission – optical fibre network including routers), building new defence industries(robotics), developing IT internet security industry and old tech tasks of converting all the existing written texts into online ones, creating targets for computerisation of govt machinery and legal justice system(it may help cutting down on delayed justice), develop local cloud servers companies, building freight corridor infrastructure (railway) etc – 2. Since the IT activity only helps other activities, so it is important to find those other activities where IT could be deployed. One area is where big databases are now employed such as genomics which is a field progressed from genetics.

It is not that no tech innovation is taking place in India. Here is the news about how the low cost high tech innovation is helping India improve its health. To get the jobs for million of engineers and others, you need a vision which is a mix of Mr Nehru, the socialist and Mrs Thatcher, the capitalist. It means state should start those economic activity where private sector is unable to go – it is often the innovative areas or areas where economic dividends are not going to come to fruition in short span of time or even apparent at the outset.

Schematics of a reverse osmosis system (desalination) using a pressure exchanger. [Photo Credit: Wikipedia]
1: Sea water inflow, 2: Fresh water flow (40%), 3: Concentrate flow (60%), 4: Sea water flow (60%), 5: Concentrate (drain),
A: Pump flow (40%), B: Circulation pump, C: Osmosis unit with membrane, D: Pressure exchanger

Margret Thatcher philosophy is also needed later to free the state from economic activity once that state owned activity is flourishing, it can then be sold into the hands of private sectors and the released capital be deployed into another new activity. New innovations are taking place all the time but as those innovation in science and technology is taking place in west and west does not believe in getting involved in economic activity, so most of the time, the technology waits until someone from private sector is willing to risk their capital. While the rest of the world waits for any such innovation to be established in west. It is therefore imperative in east particularly China and India to innovate so that technology can come to the market faster by active state involvement.

March 6, 2013

Was Partition a blessing in disguise – A travel from Akhand Bharat to Akhandit Hindu Samudaay

Amidst the gathering gloom about imploding Pakistan, I came across a positive news from Pakistan. It said Pakistan carried out drone attacks in Feb: US Officials . Well, isn’t it a surprise when many Pakistan political leaders were deriding US drone attacks for killing innocent civilians along with terrorists and wanted it to be stopped, that establishment in Pakistan realised that with US departure, now Pak army has to do what US was doing all along. Well, other news emerging from that country seem all depressing. A third major attack within last 2 month on Shia community and the news that part of the Pakistan state is now controlled by outside fighters not just in FATA etc but within its biggest city Karachi itself is hugely depressing. The Shia community is new target. Earlier targets for attacks have been other religious minorities like Hindu, Christian. The puzzle now seems who will follow Shias. Will it be Barelvis, Muhajir (Muslim migrants from India who came at Pakistan creation), will it be Punjabi v rest Pukhtuns, Sindhis etc. Baluchi like Shia are already on the anvil getting hammered.

Shia Massacre

Figure 1 After the Shia Bombing in Pakistan

Every time, all these bad news gather pace, the question goes back to the genesis of Pakistan. Was it necessary to placate and encourage a few Muslims by British to create a partition of India. The present affairs of Pakistan seems uncontrollable but who knows if more resources come into Pakistan, it may stabilise. There seems more if statements and wishful thinking about it, though.

Recently, I came across a facebook Hindu group page wanting to besmirch the good memory of Mahatma Gandhi decided to post a picture of Gandhi’s killers. The others were supposed to fall in line and pay respect to the killer because it would have meant rejecting Gandhi’s love for Muslims, Hindus etc. I was not happy for them losing sight of Gandhi’s contribution in India’s freedom as well as inspiring others like Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. etc for the world peace in general.The group photo had included unfortunately another individual called “Veer Savarkar” who spent considerable years  in jail from (1911 -1924)  for violent struggle against British.  Savarkar was a complex person. In jail, he turned to revive Hinduism and wrote several books.  In 1920, the Indian National Congress and leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Vithalbhai Patel and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded his unconditional release. Savarkar tactically signed a statement endorsing the trial, verdict and British law, and renouncing violence, a bargain for freedom. But his incarceration continued. After his release, however, in stead of joining India’s non-violent freedom movement with Congress, he went against the Congress and Jinnah’s Muslim League. He, presided over a new organisation till 1943  called Hindu Mahasabha which became a pre-cursor to current BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party). Hindu Mahasabha could not reconcile to partition. Gandhi was considered guilty as he acquiesced to partition. It is hard for anyone to conclude those days in 1948 that Veer Savarkar had nothing to do with Gandhi’s murder,  if he was sitting in that photo along with Gandhi’s eventual killers and met the killer just before the murder mission. So, Savarkar was also arrested for Gandhi’s murder too along with others but he was freed  as the evidence linking him with it lacked independent corroboration. Current BJP brigade keep bringing Veer Savarkar in front because  of their need to highlight his message of Akhand Bharat (undivided India) and also for his so much work on Hinduism.  Savarkar was a patriot to the core and devoted to the cause of India. I believe he should be brought to lime light denied to him so far but BJP should not dismiss Gandhi’s contribution and spoil his memory as  it was not just Savarkar who gave the message of Hindu unity and empowerment but Gandhi too did the same in equal measure, if not more.

Savarkar (above) and Gandhi politely agreed to...

Savarkar (above) and Gandhi politely agreed to disagree on whether Ramayana justified the use of violence in freedom struggle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BR Ambedkar, the man responsible for Indian Constitution, talked about Savarkar like this –

“In his scheme a Muslim is to have no advantage which a Hindu does not have. Minority is to be no justification for privilege and majority is to be no ground for penalty. “

Savarkar also expressed joy at the recognition of the claim of Jewish people to establish an independent Jewish state, and likened the event to the glorious day on which Moses led them out of Egyptian bondage.

However, there is a concern in majority Hindus that the current Congress and many other parties in India like SP, BSP, TMC(Trinamul Congress), AIADMK etc  who all want Muslim votes are doing the same thing that led to partition of India. It was  then the active appeasement of Muslim constituency  by British. The appeasement of any section of society lead to disenchantment in others. Already the reservations for even Hindu lower castes(dalits etc) is causing this. This has been extended  to Muslim reservation in number of states but if Muslim reservation for Jobs etc goes nationwide,  it will exacerbate into a deep seated anger against the beneficiaries and divide the communities along religious lines too besides already castes divided Indians. So, while most Indians thinking nostalgically about Pakistan hurts in one way asking question as to why we had to separate or why this dream of Savarkar ‘s  Akhand Bharat could not be kept, I have begun to feel and thank God for partition that India is saved at least from the mayhem (daily bombs) that Pakistan is facing. The Hindu community swelled after migration from Pakistan, perhaps, they must be feeling blessed too that they have become now an Akhandit Hindu Samudaay (undivided Hindu Community). However, it is not just Hindus, but Muslims feel relieved too. Here there is one Shia Muslim expressing his joy on remaining in India .He commented on the Pakistani news paper Dawn’s website like this –

Javed Hussaini

  February 17, 2013 7:13 pm

So much for the two nation theory, Maulana Azad was 100% right, I am glad my parents stayed put in India and not move to Pakistan, on the eve of partition. Being a Shia , and a minority in India, I feel much safer in Haryana, a 90% Hindu area where I live, then I ever will in a Muslim nation. Pakistan needs to learn to respect people and be tolerant, if the Hindus want they can wipe out Muslims from India and the world would probably do nothing , as it is a big economic power on which no military or economic sanctions will work, but that does not happen in India, periodic riots do happen that is as much a fault of Muslims and Hindus or Sikhs, Our MLA is a Muslim, the next constituency the MLA is a Sikh, and again the population of both communities is less then 10%. I hope that this venom from Pakistan does not spread to Muslims in India, already we have seen anti Shia violence in Lucknow.

Well, I hope India remains undivided between castes, groups and religions for long long time irrespective to whatever is happening in Pakistan.It was a blessing in disguise that partition happened. India should survive to give refuge to any one undergoing persecution anywhere.

February 16, 2013

Af-Pak Region after Nato departure

Filed under: China,India,Pak,USA,World — Geekay @ 7:21 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As US is beginning to leave in 2014 after 13 years, many in Pak started to rejoice as its army felt it could now freely flex its muscles back in Afghanistan and subsequently in Kashmir. But it is beginning to dawn on the main political parties and intellectuals that the Pak itself is beginning to slip through their fingers. This editorial and the article “The shadow over Pakistan” gives away the anxiety felt by intelligentsia. It is clear now that they have to somehow talk peace with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) without asking for any pre conditions for talks like laying down weapons etc. So, Taliban will emerge from any talks stronger. How things shape up after Pak compromises with Taliban will be anybody’s guess as another major actor in this area is Pak Army who has not abandoned anything of the past. It continues to support Afghan Taliban and help other fundamentalist groups within Pakistan. No body is reporting any more of militant training camps, IED factories running within Pakistan to help Taliban dislodge NATO from Afghanistan but there is no reason to stop such an activity now if these were operating before. Even if the violence escalates within Pakistan, the chances of army and political establishment are far more further and further to compromise with these groups than to wage war on them. Without the US funds in Af-Pak, the drones, the holding off Taliban in Afghanistan by NATO there is simply no chance of averting Taliban dominance very much longer after US departure. Should India rue that other countries like Russia, Iran can not do anything to stop this. Both of these as well as China want a stable Afghanistan and not the one infested with Islamist training camps. But other than China, the others do not have big enough economic muscle. China also has an economic interest there just like India. In fact Indian and Chinese interests in Afghanistan are very much in sync to keep Afghanistan away from Islamic turbulence and stable enough for carrying out the economic activity. Iran can also play a big role in stopping Taliban from becoming unstoppable. Since all these three countries (Iran, Russia, China) have same interests in Afghanistan, they should convene a meeting with Afghanistan as to how to help it after NATO departure. Perhaps, India or any of these countries can take initiative for such a meeting. Although, it is in Pakistan’s interest as well not to help Taliban but Pak Army will not undo what it has been doing since 1979’s at the beginning of 9 years Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. US perhaps should do a speedy deal with Iran on the Nuclear concerns bringing that country out from cold. This can help India and Iran relations. These relations could be crucial for the health of Afghanistan as India or anyone else will be able to use Chābahār port of Iran for Afghanistan trade. Perhaps, a railway line can also be laid to connect Chābahār with Zaranj upto where India built a road but which still remains unconnected with the nearby road across the border in Iran due to Taliban control over that area.

India and Pak history of wars have always brought a stalemate because all those victorious PMs from India have shown magnanimity to sign accords with Pak and return the won territories for the sake of peace. But peace has not arrived because all these accords have strengthened Pak Army and not its civilian democracy. Current Pakistan media has twin worries on reporting any incident within Pak that they will have to face the wrath of Army as well as militant gangs supported by Mullahs. So, when the Pakistan troubles will escalate no body will come to know about them. Pak Army’s big role will continue to haunt this whole Af-Pak region and India at least   .

February 6, 2013

The GDP Growth, Inequality in China and India and trusting any Statistical Data

Sometime back, I was looking at the data on equality. Since, I was mainly interested in the subcontinent plus China etc. So, I compiled this data.

Country                Gini Coefficient (%)                             Year

China                            47.0                                                  2007

India                            33.4                                                   2005

Pakistan                      30.0                                                  2008

Sri Lanka                    40.3                                                  2007

This data is based on World Bank sources as reported in Wikipedia. Here, point to remember is that all the countries aspire for the lower Gini coefficient as that means there are less unequal citizens . Therefore, it is also a measure of the stability of the political system of any country as it  indicates less room for strife (crime, protests etc) by  unequal citizens of a country.

Looking at this data, I noticed that India is better in terms of equality than China but perhaps, it is worse than Pakistan. I tried to reason why. I thought perhaps, Muslim organisations are more charitable (Islamic Zakaat concept) and even if the people are poorer there they are redistributing the wealth in such a way that people are not feeling the poverty as much as they are in India or may be even in China. Pakistan data is even more enigmatic given the worst level of corruption and instability it has in comparison to India and China. But then after coming across this report recently from US govt on China, I felt differently. It says this about the data that comes from China and trusted by all.

NBS surveys continue to provide inadequate samples of important sectors of China’s economy. Small-scale businesses in manufacturing and retail are hard to capture, while sectors like transport logistics are almost completely unaccounted for. Although the NBS measures 94 sectors of the economy on an annual basis, it does so for just 17 sectors on a quarterly basis.

Surveys also fail to capture “opaque spots” in the economy. One of the most egregious is household income. In the United States, tax returns provide a proximate indication of household income. Indeed, personal income tax accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. government tax revenue. But in China, the personal income tax in 2011 makes up just six percent of revenue. A big reason for this is that even the wealthiest Chinese households are taxed directly on their wages, but not on their non-wage income, such as real estate, stocks, bonuses, and personal gifts. Households must actively report such income – but many understate their income in tax returns, or refuse to participate in sample household surveys. In this way, they can evade taxes and also avoid the political implications of having excessive wealth in a nominally socialist state. Chinese economist Wang Xiaolu has determined that national spending on real estate, luxury goods, and travel in China implies much higher income among the top 10 percent of earners than is given in official income data.

In January 2012, the NBS in fact admitted that it does not publish the Gini coefficient –a leading measure of income inequality – because data on high earners is inaccurate. It is also notable that, in an economy with a large state sector, government officials have only recently begun to disclose their own salaries and wealth to the public, and none are under any legal obligation to do so. Opacity extends to other sectors as well. Many state-owned enterprises remain secretive about their income statements, especially if they are not publicly listed. New types of large corporate entities, such as fund management companies and real estate arms of conglomerates, often go unaccounted for in both the direct reporting and enterprise survey systems. In local governments, “off-balance sheet” budgets can also skew fiscal revenue and expenditure.

Opaque Areas of the Economy

The Outdated System of Direct Reporting Enterprise revenue determines which firms are eligible for China’s direct reporting system. As China’s economy grows, so does the number of firms with sizable revenue, which combines to overwhelm the data processing capacity of the NBS. The NBS has tried to reduce the number of firms by continually raising the revenue threshold for direct reporting. When this reform began in 1998, the number of direct reporting firms was decreased from 460,000 to 165,000. However, by 2009, 434,000 firms were again reporting. As of 2011, only firms with annual revenue exceeding RMB 20 million report to the NBS, a measure that has again reduced the number of reporting units.


This data unreliability from China has big similarity to under reporting of data in Indian economic system The Indian economy has a parallel black economy which remains unaccounted for.  I had a chance to meet someone on my last trip to India. He is not only an industrialist but also sells his finished goods from his retail outlet besides distributing it across the country. This person does not use banks most of the times for his business transactions. He uses cash and prefers it over any debit or credit cards. He chose not to have any. It helps him to remain anonymous or untraceable for any tax liabilities. It was incredulous to hear that all his capital (turnover) remains fully invested in the market all the time either in raw material or lent to the buyers who will repay it at different dates all in cash . As his business grows, the extra generated capital also gets absorbed into the same business hands.  When a big spending need arrived for him, he merely clears some lent positions and invests it or spends it on the required need e.g. to buy land or spend on something like children’s expensive (no hold bar) marriage. He also gave me another insight how they have never paid full excise duty. Excise can indicate the produced goods or turnover of the firm. He said, “Usually, they fill just one excise form for the whole day and every time the transport  carries the goods from manufacturing unit, it goes with the same excise form. The form did not register any loading time or departure time of the goods vehicle . So, this way they could report whatever turnover they are comfortable to pay tax on. Since, they never bank the business money and only do it when some customer is making a payment via bank draft or cheque.  The whole of the business community in the capital region of India employs this same method. Of course the problem just does not lie with business community alone. The officials(bureaucrats) who are prepared to accept either bribes, donations for their respective parties or some gifts and favours on various occasions are hand-in-glove. The problem of under reporting by business is considered so much high as to 50 to 60 percent of real data. But this remains a guess in the absence of unreliable official data.

This indicates that India as well as China are growing at far larger rates than they report. They hardly know themselves the correct figures. This national data is from the trading economics Website.

The unreliability of income data makes the estimate of inequality even more difficult to judge. The official Gini
coefficient, the measure of inequality around the world can never be worked out in reliable manner as in corrupt countries (most of the world is) the estimate of income of top earners as well as that of poor can never be done reliably. Just like rich, the poor also does not want to give their real income so as to seek bigger handouts from govt or charities. But, I still relied on Indian data far more because first of all India is reporting far more indices than China does and there is also a possibility of cross checking of its data . Also it has so many NGO and some world bodies like UNESCO, ILO operating in India. Its democratic system and open, free press certainly should cause less data manipulation. I saw my this view-point resonated in this Bloomberg report which wanted to bet on India for investment and growth more than it does on China but no matter how much India may be a better bet in terms of growth, I certainly have been very naive to trust any data quality on equality or the GDP. Let that be  from India, China or elsewhere.

December 12, 2012

Which one is the best government in the world? The winner is Canada !!

I wanted to seek reasons why the democracies are wobbling in reaching maturity. Of course the reasons are not far from comprehension – it is due to inability to develop mature institutions. Any successful democracy needs lots of institutions which are independent and beyond corruption. It needs independent media, independent judiciary, a fully working corruption free legislature who can raise the questions of probity without compromises and legislate the right laws and finally the executive who can oversee the implementation of those laws. Of course, one would also need independent election commission, a strong corruption free military and police for a working and mature democracy . I would like to rank democracies based upon these measures as to how much mature the democracy is. Since, China and other single party state also have to be accommodated in this maturity index. Let us call it govt maturity index rather than democracy maturity index. So, for this I have used stats from ‘Transparency International‘. I have used their stats on the measures like human resource development, judicial independence, press freedom, voice and accountability based on country wide data to discuss governance maturity. I have ignored corruption here as people tend to use this as a single parameter to discuss governance. In my view, there is no single consolidated governance parameter justifying why any country is getting better governance than another and how any country is travelling towards a better governance. But the world definitely need one govt maturity index. There is of course the table printed on which is the best country to live in but it has more to do with issues like standard of living, health, infrastructure etc. Here, I have picked up those countries I was interested in to compare them – the Source is Transparency International

Country Judicial Independence

(score out of Max 7)

Rule of Law Press Freedom

(High means bad)

Voice and Accountability
UK 6.2 1.769596058 2.00 1.312851012
France 4.9 1.524405497 9.50 1.225976029
Japan 5.8 1.31377106 -1.00 1.047643331
Germany 6.3 1.627934067 -3.00 1.345103086
USA 4.9 1.584584729 14.00 1.16180876
Canada 6.3 1.789068657 -5.67 1.379444766
Australia 6.1 1.770200087 4.00 1.428903554
China 3.9 -0.346839923 136.00 -1.649501221
India 4.3 0.057769364 58.00 0.42402758
Pakistan 3.9 -0.785570665 75.00 -0.81606361

Clear winner here is Canada. It has the best measure in all commonwealth countries even better than the mother country UK. The only measure Australia is better than the Canada is on “Voice and Accountability”. Comparing USA with Canada makes you wonder why USA is not as good – is it because the number of people it has in comparison to Canada? If that reason was plausible then it could justify why India is so low down as it has even more people. I consider that it has more to do with the will to change. Comparing India, Pakistan and China makes one wonder about the China’s real achievement. Other than the wealth creation, it virtually falters on everything else. How its citizens must feel one can only empathise. In Europe, it is not the UK who holds the flag of having best govt – but it is Germany. The only measure on which UK leave Germany behind is the “Rule of Law”. And of course, the Asia has also a first world govt in one country at least – it is in Japan.

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