Sunday, August 30, 2015

Karnataka – Power politics and Horse trading

Karnataka politics is innovative and a model to whole world. One can’t say, for how long one MLA/MLC will be with one party. In between winning an election and forming a government anything can happen. So most of the political parties would pack their MLA/MLC/Councillors off to some resorts in Goa, Kerala etc to save them from the hawkish eyes of powerful and influential horse traders. This time also – after BBMP election – it’s not so different.

After BBMP election BJP became the single largest party with a simple majority (101 seats) in 198 member strong assembly. Congress got 78 and JD(S) got 14.

The problem is when we add non-council members who can vote in BBMP – like MPs, MLAs and MLCs. If we take them in to consideration, then BJP fall short of simple majority by 3.

So what to do? Traditional solution is very simple; pick some councillors from JD(S).

Congress and BJP are doing exactly the same. So what is the best option for JD(S) in this situation? You may think, it’s better for them to support Congress or BJP. But no, JD(S) leadership become wiser over a period of time, especially after Operation Lotus. They did the best possible thing they can do; pack their councillors to some secret resort in Kerala. This is to cut any link they can have from horse traders of both BJP and Congress.

In coming days you can see a lot of political drama in Bangalore (it may even beat ‘Game of Throne’ series). Buying, selling, cheating… anything.

When our leaders of 40’s made India a representative democracy they might not have imagined that horse traders also have a big role in it.


Disinvestment in name only...

The White Knight
It’s become a practice to set big targets for disinvestment in the budget; only to miss them later. If it was only about just missing the target it was ok; but no, government is doing far more worse things. In all those worse moments when government’s asset selling plans didn’t work well in the market, it’s another arm would jump in to fray and save administration by pumping its own money. There are no points for guessing who is this white knight – it is Life Insurance Corp.

Last year government set a disinvestment target of 58,425 crore, but raised only 26,353 crore. This year target was even more ambitious – 69,500 crore. However, till now (i.e. after one and half quarter) GoI raised only 12,563 (9,300 crore came from the sale of 10% stake in IOC).

But the catch here is, 90% of that 9300 crore came from our white knight – LIC. Through this deal LIC raised its stake in IOC from 2.5% to 11%. What more, LIC also raised its equity investment target fir this year to 60,000 crore. This is somewhat close to government’s disinvestment target :)

Is this really disinvestment? It more like transferring money from one government company to another one. The only difference is, in LIC’s case it belongs to public. If government is going to do disinvestment in this way, isn’t better to ask LIC to buy certain amounts of shares? What is the need to go through this elaborate exercise?


Friday, August 28, 2015

Buying costly memories, this time it’s by Maharashtra

Finally Maharashtra government bought the building, where Ambedkar lived as a student while studying at London School of Economics (LSE) during 1921-22. This deal is going to cost 31 crore (3.1 million pound) to the government.

I wonder why gov bought this property in the first place. Was it so necessary to spend such a big amount in London? By the way, now government have to spend more money on converting it to a museum; paying salaries to people who are going to work there.

Why our governments always do these type of things? Buying historical swords, letters written by national leaders, reading glasses, houses (where independence era leaders once stayed, even if it is for a year), building mammoth statues on sea, in the middle of dams, on the side of every roads, every junctions etc.

Gandhi might have written hundreds of letters to foreigners; Ambedkar, Nehru, JP Narayan etc  might have stayed (abroad) in more than one house. Are we going to buy all those properties at such extravagant prices? Can't we let it go (after all we have so many such things here in India itself)? If government of Maharashtra want to build a museum and preserve something, then preserve Ellora, Ajanta, Aurangabad etc.

A major turning point in Ambedkar's life was, when he got ‘Baroda State Scholarship’ of £11.50 (Sterling)/month for 3 years (for studying abroad) under a scheme established by Gaekwad of Baroda.

Can't Maharashtra gov introduce some scholarships in Ambedkar's name for bright students to study abroad instead of buying some building for such gigantic sums in order to get some political mileage?

Singapore done that, and it was successful. So why can’t Maharashtra


1. Maharashtra government buys BR Ambedkar's house in London - HT

Equality, Liquor Ban and Kerala Government

Equality before law means all should be treated equal before the law, there should not be any discrimination based on religion, caste, race gender etc. We hardly practice this in daily life, but most of the time government resisted their urge to sanction orders which violate this principle.

These things hardly mattered to Kerala government when it ordered ban on the sale of liquor. In a highly politically charged environment, where religious and political leaders were trying to appear as the apostle of morality and righteousness; government silenced everyone with the stroke of pen – by banning the sale of liquor. However, there was a catch, government subsequently allowed the sale in five star hotels.

There was no doubt that, a state which drinks alcohol like water and sale of liquor contributes heavily to fill state's empty coffers, industrialists (glorified term for bar owners, after all this may be one of the last remaining factory jobs in Kerala) will go to court.

I think either the government should allow the sale of alcohol to all licensed bars or to one at all. If they think it will affect tourists coming to Kerala, then only a person having foreign country’s passport should be allowed to buy it. They can also selectively allow/terminate the sale of certain drinks.

But is it correct to ban liquor sale to everyone but only to those who can spend money in 5 star hotel? Anyway, Supreme Court will soon give verdict on this matter.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Stories: Two Traveling Angels

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied,

"Things aren't always what they seem."

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied.

"When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it."

"Then last night as we slept in the farmer’s bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem."

Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every out come is always to your advantage. You just might not know it until some time later...

Some people come into our lives and quickly go...

Some people (become friends) and stay a while... leaving beautiful footprints on our hearts...

Disclaimer: '#Forwarded' label refers to stories and anecdotes send to me by friends or the ones I came across in net. I neither know the source of these stories nor its correctness. Being said that, I like the story and truly believe that readers will get inspiration/ motivation from these articles