The aftermath of Karnataka elections, the battle of ideologies, issues and Indian democracy: An Analysis

The events leading to the Karnataka elections, the results, floor test and the after math has captivated the mindset of the Indian voters and international audience alike. It demonstrates the repetition of India’s history, the political institutions at work vide their un-decorated discourses, platitudinous discussions and orthodox style of play. Such was the democratic hullabaloo surrounding the elections that the Supreme Court of India itself was forced into an eventful role.

The aforesaid concluded Karnataka state assembly elections marked a definite shift in the political paradigm of the country consisting of a direct face-off between the rampaging saffron party viz. Bharatya Janta Party (BJP) and the remnant stronghold of the Indian National Congress (INC). Whereas the Janta Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] played a defining role in the said face off. As the results persisted, BJP won 104 seats (as compared to 40 in the year 2013), the INC merely won 78 seats or nearly 27 percent (as compared to 122 in 2013) and the JD(S) consolidated its position in southern Karnataka by 37 seats (increased tally by 8 seats compared to 2013).

BJP despite being the single largest party was forced into a position to requisite 8 more seats to reach the magic figure of 112 inter alia it needed the support of 8 more elected figures to attain a majority of 112 seats and form a government. Yet, learning from its Manipur and Goa debacle (experience), INC came together with JD(S) to form a post poll alliance and attained the majority.

Howsoever, as it is said two things are uncertain in life “success and Indian politics”. The JD(S) and INC decided to approach the Governor of Karnataka to form the government. Their said plea was declined and BJP was invited to prove its majority, therewith resulting in a hung assembly. The BJP chief minister candidate Mr. BS Yeddyurappa took a sudden oath and INC was forced to approach the Supreme Court of India over the uncanny act.

A story that involved animosity, enmity and post poll alliance’ also resulted into an integrated input from the Supreme Court of India. It was debated that the Supreme Court in the case of S.R. Bommai vs Union of India, AIR 1994 SC 1918 had established a ratio decidendi holding that in the situation of a hung assembly (where no political party has obtained a clear majority of seats) the final decision rests with the concerned legislature through a floor test (vote of confidence). The Governor’s decision and discretion is a mere trigger to enable the legislature to decide the matter, while keeping in mind that none of the provisions of the constitution are violated. The Governor enjoys a pivotal role to expeditiously invite a floor test within 48 hours or a week through a maximum period of 48 days.

Despite the set precedence, the said virtue has always been difficult to implement. Governors are appointed at the whim and fancy of a political party, the courts are forced to intervene at the sight of violation of constitution and ultimately it comes down to the conduct of the legislation.

Thus again came wisdom and vision of the highest court of India. The senior counsel Mr. Mukul Rohtagi representing the BJP contended that their party can prove the majority at appropriate time, whereas the opposition (represented by senior counsels Mr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mr. Kapil Sibbal) preferred a chance to prove their own majority at a floor test, which was in lieu with the constitutional provisions. Taking cue from the established precedent the court ordered that a floor test seemed to be best option. The party or coalition that enjoyed the majority should be invited to form the government. Hence, giving them a time till 4 p.m. the very next day to attain the floor test.

Therewith arose the rumors, debates and news-hour gossips, with parties aiming to woo the electoral candidates via means and ammunition. However, it was a matter of time with political analyst understanding the fact that wooing of 7 candidates towards a concentric party would arise clouds of disturbance. The Indian voters however have never respected the political pundits and have utilised the mindsets of their own. WhatsApp messages and fake news were resorted to and put to good use, with titular leaders and political strategist such as Mr. Amit Shah taking the lead, while INC and JD(S) were safekeeping their MLA. 

Things became crystal clear when the BJP chief minister Mr. BS Yeddyurappa resigned within days of taking an oath. BJP failed in the floor test, INC and JD(S) came together to form the party, a replica of the Goa and Manipur elections, with the three parties sitting at the driving seat. Mr. H. D. Kumaraswamy from JD(S) took the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka.

Despite the aforesaid, the country’s political dialogue opened up numerous possibilities.  The Karnataka elections were seen as a big prelude to the 2019 general election. While elections are due in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and thereon in Rajasthan, they are presently acting as BJP bastions. A victory in Karnataka would have affirmed the markets that the Modi-Shah partnership was still in function. Whereas, from opposition point of view it was to mark a rejuvenated INC, especially in the aftermath of Gujarat, where the competition was stiff.
Although the BJP garnered highest number of seats, the opposition could breathe a sense of strategic win despite losing out on the majority. Therewith keeping the hope of a strong opposition alive during and post 2019 general elections.

The real significant event was not that the BJP lost its chance to govern Karnataka, but that the INC and JD(S) came together owing to the accident of numbers and a cold shoulder by the center. It is opined that the BJP won considerable number of seats to its own dis-belief. Furthermore, BJP’s present inability to work in support of coalition acted to its own disadvantage, consequently giving the opposition parties a cause to re-unite and form their own alliance.

Politics is always built on opportunistic motives, therewith the success of BJP and its ride on power forced the opposition itself to unite. Furthermore, the flexing of muscles by BJP’ in certain months has crystallized the opposition to formulate togetherness and aim to uproot or restrain BJP. As political pundits and opined audiences, we might argue to an extent as to whose victory and/or defeat it was, however it is trite to state that the country’s political course stands distant from the idea of transparency. As quoted by Santosh Desai in his blog “When the elected representatives in a country need to be corralled into resorts and deprived of the means to communicate with the outside world in order to protect them from their own venality, we know that to expect clean governance from any quarter is a fantasy.”

At a time when the Indian media is stumbling in a frenzy of own, and the voters stand cheering the frivolous political attempts in the name of strategy, it is writ large on the face of the fact that change is no-where near to be seen.

  • boringbug

Boringbug can be reached at www.boringbug.com.

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Western world and the myth of the Indian middle class –by Boringbug

Whenever I hear Europeans per se Indian equivalent of foreigners talking about the Indian middle class’ I often wonder what do they mean? What section of the Indian society are they referring to?

Are they referring to the conventional wisdom consisting of the 601 million odd consumer class, or the few 100 million people with the ability to afford their luxuries? Or the ones who earn an equivalent of US 2$ a day according to 1993’s paltry statistics?

Hamara Bajaj
Ailaa! Helmet?

 

The clamour of the economic reforms and the European statistics has been focused on these groups which seem sociological but is not entirely logical. The fact is that the rise of the new middle class in India- drives and makes things happen in an uninhibited, pragmatic and amoral fashion. They also comprise of an exploding consumer market which is best of described as the “bird of gold” or the potential gold mine waiting to be tapped.

However what has never been completely clear is the size of India’s middle class.

In the present times, the Indian middle class is a ripe target for international brands. This is reflected from the overflowing advertisements of the foreign products on television(s) or glossy magazines. Brands ranging from Ray-ban to Armani, Nike to Bata, Hindustan Unilever to Vicco Vajradanti(s), Trump’s Fair & Lovely gamble to Anti- Head & Shoulders. Even the car companies are aiming to target the consumer laden class with their ‘Nano’ sized products to sedan looking Dzires. This is why there is a rush for endorsing sportspersons to attract youngsters. Remember the publicity stunt by Manyavar with Virat and Anushka?

I remember the time when Mohd. Azharuddin (former Indian cricket captain) had endorsed Nike footwear. This had sparked off an unintended controversy- that a name resembling the Prophet cannot adorn a lowly item as a footwear.

Even the alcoholic brands ranging from Kingfisher (*United breweries) to Tuborg started selling their pun intended water bottles, and Bacardi the music CDs (be what you want to be). It is said that more bottles of Johnny Walker Black Label are sold in India than they are distilled in Scotland.

However, the international brands have received a dismayed response from the Indian market. The primary reason being that the Indian middle class is not as cracked up as it seems from the economic point of view. Prima facie the state is indispensable to most people and is unable to provide vital requirements like- physical security, law, infrastructure and basic amenities. Although the country has grown exponentially since 1991, the facilities still seem to lack, are unreliable or dilapidated.

Ironically, amongst the 600 million consumers, barely 100 million or less are able to afford the luxuries of basic material consumption such as the shampoos by Proctor & Gamble. I agree that the said consumer base does purchase basic goods but they are cheaper than the products of the multinational companies. If you are selling tea, coffee, hair oil or fairness creams and plastic buckets, then you definitely stand a chance in India’s ever-expanding consumer base. A fine example of the same would be- “the Red-Mi mobile phones, the mother friendly slippers, the flowery t-shirts, Tupperware lunch boxes (banned in the U.S.A.) and the clinically failed generic medicines”.   

Why didn’t I mention sports shoes? Because the majority of the people in the said class barely earn money half the price of the Nike shoes.

It’s not that Indians are not buying anything. You endorse a white model in an advertisement and make him speak in Hindi “sasta nahi sabse achcha” (Not just cheap but the best), the commonwealth mind-set will suddenly kick in, giving them a high even Bob Marley didn’t get.

From the pre-liberalisation era (pre-1991) there has been indefinite growth. Bicycles have become too common in Indian rural areas, whereas the houses made of mud and hatch are becoming pukka these days.

The television ownership is rising, Republic is not an ideology anymore but a news channel. “Swaraj” is not an aim but a foreign minister, “Chillar” is not a penny but Miss World (with all due respect). India has an ever-growing base, but what they consume and how much can they afford to pay is another matter altogether. One thing which is actually changing at a steady rate is our indifference to the global brand(s). But will it last?

The change is peculiar in nature which probably even Chinese cannot comprehend. We require I-phone X but we need our kidneys too. The economic transformation of India since liberalisation is real but it will be a while until our middle class can afford an apple or an erstwhile Blackberry product altogether.

The composition and character of the new Indian middle class is indeed unique because it now has people who are typically not considered to be belonging to the middle class. Hence, the middle class has become the new “status marker” or the “status quo” where the poor aspire to in a status-conscious society.

– by boringbug


Boringbug is a self-proclaimed blogger who writes for the purpose of sharing. Juggling in between his professional and personal vanities he regulates his blogs with the hope of achieving tranquillity. He can be reached at- www.boringbug.com 

Detailed Analysis of The Defence Budget 2018-19

This year Rs 4,04,365 crore allocated for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) out of which Rs 2,79,305 crore is earmarked for India’s defence budget and the balance was distributed between MoD (Miscellaneous) (Rs 16,206 crore) and Defence Pensions (Rs 1,08,853 crore).

The growth in the defence budget and in the MoD’s overall allocation has been driven by manpower cost, a feature that has been seen in the past several years, particularly after the implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) and the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations. The manpower cost driven growth in defence resources has led to an undesirable situation for both military modernisation and operational preparedness in India.

The overall increase in the defence allocations or the Budget Estimate (BE) for 2018-19 has been 7.7 per cent. However, the growth declines to six per cent in comparison to the Revised Estimate (RE) of the previous financial year. However, it is due to an increase in revenue expenditure, while the capital expenditure remains exactly the same. It is also important to note that of the total increases in the revised revenue expenditure, nearly 79 per cent is due to the increase in the pay and allowances (P&A) of the three armed forces. It is also the same P&A that accounts for 70 per cent in the total revenue expenditure and 44 per cent of the overall defence budget in 2018-19.

 Figure 1: Defence Budget Allocations for 2017-18 and 2018-19

Revenue                       Capital Expenditure
Year
Expenditure (Rs in Crore) Total (Rs in Crore)
2017-18 (BE) 1,72,774 86,488 2,59,262
2017-18 (RE) 1,76,516 86,488 2,63,004
2018-19 (BE) 1,85,323 93,982 2,79,305

The 7.7 per cent hike in the defence budget and the 12.4 per cent growth in MoD’s total allocation in 2018-19 have affected the key defence parameters in many ways. Among all the parameters, defence pension, which caters to roughly 2.5 million pensioners, including some 5,62,000 defence civilian pensioners, has seen the highest growth, also it is the biggest contributor to the growth in MoD’s overall allocation. However the share of the defence budget in both GDP and CGE have declined. So far as the defence budget-GDP ratio is concerned, the latest ratio of 1.49 per cent is, in fact, the second lowest since 1950.

The capital expenditure as a percentage of the total defence budget of 2018-19 has increased, it has not been increased enough to correct the imbalance seen in the revenue-capital mix during the last several years. As can be seen in figure 1, the present share of capital expenditure is still six percentage points lower than it was in 2011-12. The capital expenditure actually needs an extra allocation of Rs 29,560 crore, which, at the moment, seems next to impossible.

And among the defence services, the Army has the largest share in the defence budget 2018-19. The Indian Air Force comes at second, followed by the Navy, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and the Ordnance Factories (OFs).

The Army’s increased share is because of its enormous numbers of personnel. It accounts for over 85 per cent of the total manpower in the armed forces and is responsible for 69 per cent of the total revenue expenditure earmarked. Its pay and allowance alone accounts for 70 per cent of its total revenue expenditure and 58 per cent of its total budget.

Figure 2. Share of Defence Services in Defence Budget 2018-19

It can be conclude that the overall allocation for 2018-19 has not only grown marginally over the previous outlays but also is almost fully utilized at the revised estimate stage. It is, however, not yet clear that if the full utilization of the previous allocation is due to the efficiency of the procurement machinery or because the allocation was barely enough to meet all the committed liabilities. It is true that because of the resource crunch, the total allocation under the modernisation budget has been consistently less than even the projected committed liabilities.

Sources  IDSA  Press Information Bureau PRS India Ministry of Defence Wikipedia (References)

What are the Implications of Union Budget 2018-19 on the livelihood of the Indian Middle Class?

There is a Three-Tier System of Government in India, The Central (or Union) Government, State Government and Local Government (like Municipal Corporation, Municipal Committee, Zila Parishad, etc.). These Governments prepare their own respective Budgets (called Union Budget, State Budget and Municipal Budget) containing estimates of expected revenue and proposed expenditure.

However the Union Budget of India, also referred to as the Annual financial statement in the Article 112 of the Constitution of India, is the annual budget of the Republic of India. The Government presents it on the first day of February so that it could be materialized before the commencement of new financial year in April.

Till 2016 it was presented on the last working day of February by the Finance Minister of India in Parliament. The budget, which is presented by means of the Finance bill and the Appropriation bill has to be passed by both the Houses before it can come into effect from April 1, the start of India’s financial year.

Click Here to Download Union Budget 2018-19 Highlights (Press Information Bureau) Image result for new gif icon

What are the Implications of Union Budget 2018-19 on the livelihood of the Indian Middle Class?

Major chunk of the middle class are the salaried employees. Their contribution in paying taxes is such that if they cease to pay taxes, the income tax collection would negligible and government might have to abolish Income Tax completely.

The businesses, on the other hand, do not pay taxes even remotely close to that of the salaried employees.

So we might expect that the salaried employees be given some relief and businesses made to pay more.

The corporate tax rates saw a cut from 30% to 25% (for turnover less than 250 cr.) There were no changes in slabs for salaried employees, it’s still 30%. Why? Well, let’s just say salaried employees don’t suck up to their masters. The capitalists are pros at it.

The tax cut to the corporates would result in 7000 cr of revenues foregone.

A standard deduction of 40000 to the salaried employees is now available. The 40000 deduction come at a cost of removing the 25000 medical reimbursement deduction and travelers allowance (approx 3000). The cess was increased from 3% to 4%. Now calculate the “benefit”. Although, people did demand the deduction since it’s abolition in 2005 and the FM has finally heard them.

However, the positive was the health concern, they are now calling it the “Modicare”. The government seeks to insure a health cover of Rs.5 lakh for nearly 50 crore Indians.

The senior citizens can now have a deduction of Rs.50000, although I’m not sure whether a health cover is necessary for that or not. In previous times for super senior citizens (80 years +), the cover of 30000 was available without the necessity of insurance. Also the senior citizens were given 10000 exemption in FDs etc. So, there’s something for SCs of middle class.

Long term capital gain has been made taxable at 10%. Although, this might not effect the middle class as the limit is 1 lakh and that’s not how much the middle class gains from stocks.

That’s all in can make out of the Union budget for the middle class.

Experts call it a budget for the rural population of India with not much for the middle class.

 

 

Union Budget 2018-19 Top Developments Highlights

Click Here to Download Union Budget 2018-19 Document (Press Information Bureau) Image result for new gif icon

Experts call it a budget for the rural population of India with not much for the middle class.

Top Developments

  1. Total revenue expenditure of the government is ₹21.57 lakh crore.
  2. 100 per cent deduction to farmer-producer companies having ₹100 crore turnover.
  3. Corporate tax will be reduced to 25 per cent for companies who have a turnover up to ₹250 crore.
  4. No changes in income tax rates for salaried class
  5. Education Cess has been increased to 4 per cent.
  6. Railway capex for the year 2018-19 is ₹1.48 lakh crore.
  7. The government allocates ₹7,148 crore for the textile sector.
  8. Operation Green will be launched for agriculture and the Minister allocates ₹500 crore for this.
  9. The government will contribute 12 per cent of wages of new employees for ALL sectors.
  10. The government will explore use of blockchain technology proactively to boost digital economy.
  11. The government will NOT consider cryptocurrency as legal tender.
  12. Liberalisation of agri exports to benefit the pulses sector
  13. LPG demand growth to rise to over 10% next 2 years given 8 crore new BPL connections targeted
  14. Power, LPG via Ujala and Saubhagya remains area of concern for discoms, OMCs because of lack of recovery
  15. Dedicated fund for affordable housing to improve formal finance penetration
  16. Focus on rural housing, rural roads and rural infra spend will push up employment
  17. Rs 10,000 cr for fisheries to boost seafood exports
  18. Fiscal deficit 2013-14 was 4.4 per cent of the GDP. In 2017-18 3.5 per cent of the GDP. Projected fiscal deficit 3.3 per cent of the GDP.
  19. Rising rural income to improve demand for cement. Rural demand is 33% of total cement demand
  20. The government will recapitalise public sector banks to help them lend an additional ₹5 lakh crore.
  21. Gold monetisation scheme will be revamped to allow people to open hassle-free gold deposit accounts.
  22. Massive health insurance plan a boost for hospitals, health insurers
  23. 18 architecture schools show construction sector importance to economy
  24. Ragi, jowar, moong, maize, paddy to benefit the most. Increase in MSP by 1.5 times cost of production
  25. Micro-pension, insurance via Jan Dhan to boost Financial Inclusion
  26. 23% growth in MUDRA target will help micro-entrepreneurs
  27. Agri-commodity exports limited now. Liberalisation is a big boost to sector
  28. 1 cr houses under PMAY augurs well for lenders. Growth in affordable housing loans to remain strong
  29. Govt’s 12% contribution to EPF for new employees
  30. Fisheries fund a big boost to Rs 140,000 cr seafood industry
  31. ₹2.09 lakh crore under Smart City programme. 10 prominent tourist sites will be developed into iconic ones to boost tourism.
  32. Recapitalisation of PSU Banks will allow banks Rs 5 lakh cr of additional lending in FY19
  33. Proposes inflation-linked revision of salary of Members of Parliament every 5 years
  34. MSME corporate tax for 2018-19 has been cut to 25% up to revenue of Rs 250 cr
  35. Customs duty on mobile phones and parts of televisions will be increased to 20 per cent.
  36. Customs duty on raw cashew will be reduced from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
  37. Announced Ayushman Bharat Programme for TB patients.
  38. National Bamboo Mission for bamboo farming boost, allots Rs 1200 crore.
  39.  The government will set up two industrial defence industrial development corridors in 2018-19.
  40. The FM did not give details of the Budget allocations for the armed force

Full Economic Survey 2018 Volume 1 & Volume 2 : Analysis; Download Full Survey

Key Features of Union Budget 2018-2019Image result for new gif  

This year Ministry of Finance, GOI reverted to the tradition of bringing out Volumes 1 and 2 of Economic Survey at the same time.
Volume 1 of Economic Survey contains the analytical overview and more research-cum-analytical material whereas Volume 2 provides the more descriptive review of the current fiscal year, encompassing all the major sectors of the economy.

Download Economic Survey Summary Sheet Click Here

Download Economic Survey 2017-18 Volume 1 Click Here

Download Economic Survey 2017-18 Volume 2 Click Here

Economic Survey represents the ministry’s view on the annual economic development of the country and it is prepared under the guidance of the Chief Economic Adviser, Finance Ministry.  This document is presented to both houses of Parliament during the Budget Session.

If we talk about the recently released Economic Survey document i.e. 2017-18, Its Volume 1 focuses on contemporary issues related to indian economy such as the GST, the investment-saving slowdown, fiscal federalism and accountability, gender inequality, climate change and agriculture, delays in the appeals and judicial process, and science and technology. Volume 2 deals with an overview of India’s economic performance 2017-18, fiscal developments, monetary developments, inflation, sustainable development, energy and climate change, external sector, service sector, social sector, agriculture and food management, industry and infrastructure, labour reforms, political empowerment of women and Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).

 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has tabled the Economic Survey of India 2018. India’s GDP is estimated at 7-7.5%.

The Key Focus Areas of Economic Survey Report 2017-18
  1. The survey points out that as per the quarterly estimates; there was a reversal of the declining trend of GDP growth in the second quarter of 2017-18, led by the industry sector. The Gross Value Added (GVA) at constant basic prices is expected to grow at the rate of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18 as compared to 6.6 per cent in 2016-17.
  2. The survey underlines that due to the launch of transformational Goods and Services Tax (GST) reform on July 1, 2017, resolution of the long-festering Twin Balance Sheet (TBS) problem by sending the major stressed companies for resolution under the new Indian Bankruptcy Code, implementing a major recapitalization package to strengthen the public sector banks, further liberalization of FDI and the export uplift from the global recovery, the economy began to accelerate in the second half of the year and can clock 6.75 percent growth this year.
  3. The Economic Survey of India points out that the GDP growth has averaged 7.3 per cent for the period from 2014-15 to 2017-18, which is the highest among the major economies of the world. That this growth has been achieved in a milieu of lower inflation, improved current account balance and notable reduction in the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio makes it all the more creditable.
  4. The Economic Survey 2018 also stated that fears of major producing states that the shift to the new system would undermine their tax collections have been allayed as the distribution of the GST base among the states got closely linked to the size of their economies.
  5. Major achievements of past year 1) Implmntng GST, respnding quickly to transitional challnges 2) Tacklng longfestering Twin Balance Sheet challnge by sendng stressd debtors to IBC & bank recap Validation
  6. GST data reveals 50% increase in number of Indirect Taxpayers,, according to the Economic Survey of India 2018
  7. The policy agenda for the coming year: support agriculture; stabilize GST; finish resolution and recapitalization; privatize Air India; head off macro-economic pressures.
  8. The survey points out that India can be rated as among the best performing economies in the world as the average growth during last three years is around 4 percentage points higher than global growth and nearly 3 percentage points higher than that of emerging market and developing economies.
  9. India Economic Survey said that the GDP growth has averaged 7.3 per cent from 2014-15 to 2017-18, which is the highest among the major economies of the world. This growth has been achieved in a milieu of lower inflation, improved current account balance and notable reduction in the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio makes it all the more creditable.
  10. Economic Survey 2018 shows India’s formal sector, especially formal nonfarm payroll, is substantially greater than what it currently is believed to be. It became evident that when “formality” was defined in terms of social security provisions like EPFO/ESIC the formal sector payroll was found to be about 31 percent of the non-agricultural work force. When “formality” was defined in terms of being part of the GST net, such formal sector payroll share was found to be 53 percent.
  11. India‘s exports are unusual in that the largest firms account for a much smaller share of  exports than in other comparable countries. Top one percent of Indian firms account only  for 38% of exports unlike in other countries where they account for  substantially greater  share –(72, 68,  67  and  55  percent  in  Brazil,  Germany,  Mexico  and  USA  respectively).  Such tendencies were also found to be true for the top five or ten per cent of the  Indian  companies.
  12. Economic Survey 2017-18 states that within India, there is significant heterogeneity, with the North-Eastern states (a model for the rest of the country) consistently out-performing others and not because they are richer; hinterland states are lagging behind but the surprise is that some southern states do less well than their development levels .
  13. India Economic Survey encouragingly notes that gender outcomes exhibit a convergence pattern, improving with wealth to a greater extent in India than in similar countries so that even where it is lagging, it can expect to catch up over time. Economic Survey 2017-18, however, cautions that on several other indicators, notably employment, use of reversible contraception, and son preference, India has some distance to traverse because development has not proved to be an antidote.
  14. The Economic survey 2017-18 acknowledges that government‘s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Sukanya Samridhi Yojana schemes, and mandatory maternity leave rules are all steps in the right direction. The Survey states that just as India has committed to moving up the ranks in Ease of Doing Business indicators, a similar commitment should be endeavored on the gender front.
  15. GST launch was one of the major takeaways from financial year 2018. There was a boost in registered direct and indirect taxpayers: A 50 percent increase in unique indirect taxpayers under the GST vis-a-vis the pre-GST system & an addition of about 1.8 million individual income tax filers since November 2016.
  16. There has been a large increase in voluntary compliance under GST. The working of GST Council has shown that cooperative federalism can really work. About 36% of total GST filers, eligible for composition scheme or could have opted out from GST (below GST threshold), filed regular GST returns in first 5 months. GST data provides new estimates of inter-state trade within India: about 60 percent of GDP, more than the 54 percent estimated in last year’s Survey.
  17. As India emerges as one of world’s largest economies, it needs to gradually move from being a net consumer of knowledge to becoming a net producer.
  18.  The Modi government has also been recommended to take “radical follow-up action” to achieve its objective of addressing agricultural stress and doubling farmers’ income.
  19. Economic Survey 2017-18 says that climate change could adversely affect farmers income by up to 20-25 per cent in the medium term, India Economic Survey warned and suggested the need for “dramatic” improvement in irrigation, use of new technologies and better targeting of power and fertiliser subsidies.
  20. The latest India Economic Survey 2018 tabled in Parliament pointed out that India needs to “rekindle” the excitement and purpose that would attract more young people to scientific enterprise as the country is emerging as one of the world’s largest economies.
  21. India needs to gradually move from being a net consumer to a “net producer of knowledge” in order to address some of the country’s most pressing development challenges. A number of reforms to boost industrial growth include Make in India programme, Start-up India and Intellectual Rights Policy.
  22. On the Ease of doing Business, the Economic Survey 2018 highlights that India has leapt 30 ranks over its previous rank of 130 in the World Bank‘s latest Doing Business Report 2018. Credit rating company Moody‘s Investors Service has also raised India‘s rating from the lowest investment grade of Baa3 to Baa2.
  23. Importantly, the survey recognises the importance of education to prepare the workforce, employment for sustainable growth and agriculture as factors that need to be focussed on immediately. Proactive and efficient policy initiatives in these areas can bear fruit and help move the growth trajectory upwards over the next few years.
  24. For the next fiscal FY19, the survey forecasts growth in the range between 7-7.5% and show a meaningful acceleration in the growth momentum. We expect growth to be around the lower end of the band as higher oil prices are likely to take away some part of growth.
  25. The India Economic survey 2017-18 provides a holistic picture of the achievements over the last year and the challenges for the next year. The expectations on GDP growth for the current year at 6.75% clearly signal that the advance estimates were slightly conservative and growth is likely to be slightly higher that forecast.
  26. The demonetisation of high value currency notes in November 2016 resulted in widening of taxpayers’ base and rise in household savings, said the Economic Survey 2017-18.
  27. Besides, the economic survey 2018 said one of the main aims of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was to increase the formalisation of the economy and bring more Indians into the income tax net, which includes only about 5.93 crore individual taxpayers (filers and those whose tax is deducted at source in 2015-16).
  28. As per the Economic Survey 2017-18 analysis, new filers reported an average income, in many cases, close to the income tax threshold of Rs 2.5 lakh, limiting the early revenue impact. “As income growth over time pushes many of the new tax filers over the threshold, the revenue dividends should increase robustly.
  29. Taking seasonality into account it is found that there is a 0.8 per cent monthly trend increase in new tax filers (annual growth of nearly 10 per cent). The level of tax filers by November 2017 was 31 per cent greater than what this trend would suggest, a statistically significant difference. This translates roughly into about 18 lakh (1.8 million) additional taxpayers due to demonetisation-cum-GST, representing 3 per cent of existing taxpayers.
  30. The average price of the basket of crude India imports rose by around 14 per cent in the current fiscal and is projected to further rise by 10-15 per cent in 2018-19, the Survey said. GDP may be impacted by 0.2-0.3 per cent, inflation will be higher by 0.2-0.3 per cent and current account deficit widen if oil prices were to rise by USD 10 per barrel.
  31. The economy “seems to be picking up quite nicely and robustly” as temporary impact of demonetisation and GST has been decimated. The growth would be higher if exports pick up, he said but listed oil prices and a correction in elevated share prices as downside risks.
  32. “Against emerging macroeconomic concerns, policy vigilance will be necessary in the coming year, especially if high international oil prices persist or elevated stock prices correct sharply, provoking a ‘sudden stall’ in capital flows,” the Economic Survey 2018 pdf has warned.
  33. However, it said that with world growth likely to witness moderate improvement in 2018, expectation of greater stability in GST, likely recovery in investment levels, and ongoing structural reforms should support higher growth. “On balance, country’s economic performance should witness an improvement in 2018-19.”
  34.  For the next year, the Economic Survey prescribed: “Stabilising the GST, completing the twin balance sheet actions, privatising Air India, and staving off threats to macro-economic stability. “Over the medium term, three areas of policy focus stand out: Employment – finding good jobs for the young and burgeoning workforce, especially for women; Education -creating an educated and healthy labour force; Agriculture -raising farm productivity while strengthening agricultural resilience.”
  35. Climate change could adversely affect farmers income by up to 20-25 per cent in the medium term, the Economic Survey 2018 warned and suggested the need for “dramatic” improvement in irrigation, use of new technologies and better targeting of power and fertiliser subsidies.
  36. The Economic Survey 2018 noted that some 35 million tonnes of rice paddy in three adjoining states (Punjab, Haryana and Western UP) are burnt in late October, whose plumes drift eastward, and seasonal load from other sources, including fire crackers during Diwali are top reasons for Delhi’s poor air quality.
  37. Citing various reports according to which Delhi accounts for one of the unhealthiest cities in the world in terms of air pollution, the survey said effective actions suggested by National Green Tribunal, the Supreme Court and others call for strict enforcement through heavy penalties on agricultural waste burning and incentive payments to farmers.
  38. The farmers mainly from Northern India set their paddy fields on fire after harvesting. The resultant smoke, however, gets carried by winds all the way to Delhi and beyond, adding to the existing suspended particulate matter (SPM) and noxious substances that clog lungs and leave behind a near eclipsed sun.
  39.  Besides, implementation of congestion pricing, expansion of public buses, phasing out of old vehicles as also coordination across agencies and governments can prevent the city turning into a gas chamber, especially during winters, the india Economic Survey 2018 noted.
  40. Heavy penalties should be imposed for burning agricultural waste, and more incentive for farmers is needed to prevent alarmingly poor air quality in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas, the Economic Survey 2018 pdf said.

 Sources  PIB India, India Budget and Financial Express

 

 

The Koregaon- Bhima Violence in Maharashtra: Maratha Uprising & Dalit Backlash

The sirens screamed and so did the night. Vehicles torched, burned and dusted. Thousands marched on to the street to commemorate the 200 year old tinge of historical affair on the eve of a new year. Yes, that was a sight of the Koregaon- Bhima (Maharashtra) violence between the pride of the Marathas “ek Maratha, lakh Maratha” and the Dalit uprising that has been a stalwart for centuries. But what transpired?

PTI1_2_2018_000146B
Source: News18

On the eve of Dalit commemoration at Koregaon dated January 1, 2018 – violence broke out between the Dalit community and the Marathas. Although the fire was fueled by intrinsic state elements, it led to the death of a teenage boy in the Nanded district, whereas several people and police personnel got injured- leading to a registration of 102 police cases across the entire state. The normal life in the cities of Pune, Mumbai and nearby districts got severely disrupted leading to a complete shutdown during the state-wide bandh called by the Dalit groups. It is estimated that around 11 policemen (some cite 9) suffered injuries while controlling the protestors late in the day. Some constables and a police officer were further injured when an agitated mob of around 3,000 people gathered at the Cidco police station in Aurangabad, forcing the policemen to fire numerous rounds of pellet guns and tear gas to disperse their own countrymen.

A BJP MLA’s office consequently got vandalise leading the lawmakers to spring into action with the arrests of over 30 people, while 1,278 (presently 1500) were detained under the Maharashtra (Bombay) Police Act. In Kolhapur- clashes broke out between the Shiv Sainiks and Dalit protesters. Both the sides torched public vehicles. In Mumbai- local train services were affected repeatedly, shops and establishments were closed throughout the day. All disrupting the innocent lives.

Surprisingly for the first time ever in the politics of Indian subcontinent M.K. Gandhi was nowhere to be seen. For it was the Ambedkar vs Shivaji battle ground all along. The Koregaon- Bhima became a flash-point because of the contingency where at least three political projects and ideologies collide, despite their work to collude with each other. This evidences those uncertain times when friends and foes are hard to recognise within the blur of political sentiments.

PTI1_2_2018_000142B
Source: The Hindu

The said conflict includes the involvement of Brahmins, the Marathas, the Mahars/ Dalits, the Hindutva forces, the Indian heritage and cultural contradictions, and the pleading political parties. Amidst the entirety of turmoil, the issue at hand got lost and what was re-routed was a political agenda. A history that has been the cause at the fore for centuries.

Delving into the history: the battle of Koregaon

The issue began with a British installed war memorial/ a pillar at Koregaon- Bhima commemorating the third Anglo-Maratha war wherein the British East India Company on January 1, 1818 consisting of a few British officers (total 834 troops of which 500 were Mahars/ Dalits) successfully stopped the advancement of the numerically stronger Peshwa army (some 3000-5000 men). It marked not the continuity of the British rule but rather the end of the Peshwa rule. Therefore, for the forever supressed community of the Mahars it is marked as the occasion where they rose above the oppression and stood their ground (the Marxist concept of Bourgeoisie and Proletariats), commemorating their valour in their struggle for equality.

Its political importance was further upheld by the learned Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in January 1927 wherein he visited the site to commemorate the Dalit self-respect and struggle. Over time this parallel memory acquired power as members of the Mahar regiment continuously visited this pillar to pay homage to Mahar militarism and valour.

The Dalit and Maratha point of view- a socio-political point of trajectory

The caste violence that rocked Maharashtra actually spawned two separate narratives (the political ads up to three). In one, there is an attempt to project the unrest as a Dalit oppression versus Maratha pride face-off, and in the other there is confrontation primarily between Harijans and the groups affiliated to BJP-RSS who hail themselves as Hindutva purists. Surprisingly, there is truth in both the side(s) of the story.

Geeta-Desai-Chembur_825
Source: FirstPost

The state has seen immense mobilisation of the Maratha community which feels left behind in the economic downturn, job-quota regimes and education availability. This has led to their legging up after the Dalit(s) and the OBCs. Whereas the Dalit mobilisation in the entire country as it is- is a counter mobilisation against the forces of oppression and misdemeanors. The entire spread of protests is a show of strength by the Dalit community which has lasted throughout the NDA rule of 3 years. Dalits for the second time in the history of Indian sub-continent are coming out vocally against the cultural majoritarianism and attempts to flatten cultural diversity.

Before we come to terms with the contradictions, there are certain aspects which need to be looked into. The Maratha pride and their mobilisation has been taking place from past 3 years. This has been unprecedented in the Independent India’s history and has deeply impacted the minds of the community, further aggravating the deepest fears of the opposite vis-a’-vis the Dalits. Thus we have two contradictory dimensions of the Maratha mobilisation. On one hand it brings forth the stratification within the community and on other it has given the same a sense of pride and collectivism.

Sadly, the entire issue lost its focus from debate to that of street violence. Violence does not allow two things to happen. Firstly there is a failure to recognise the cracks between the inter-group violence because prima facie the focus shifts to the restoration of peace and normalcy. Secondly, in the haste to garner political mileage not much thoughts are poured on the deeper trends, dissatisfaction that the violence signifies.    

The socio- economic perspective-

This socio- economic reality needs to be qualified from two perspectives. Firstly, the Marathas are lagging behind the affluent OBCs (in some scenarios Dalits). Secondly, their demands for quotas reflects anxieties regarding education and jobs. While dominant casts do well in terms of Income, they systematically lag behind other forward castes in terms of education primarily because of their rural background. That is evident from the Indian Human Development Survey.

Dalit-protesters-block-traffic
Source: FirstPost

In Maharashtra (2011-12) 26% of Brahmins were recorded graduates whereas Marathas were only 8.1%. The Dalits stood at 5.1 % and OBCs at 7.6%. However the fascinating aspect is that the Dalits and the OBCs have raked a faster rate in education from 2004-05 onward(s) viz. 1.9% in 2004-05 to 5.1% in 2011-12 respectively. Whereas the Marathas were 4.6% in 2004-05 and 8% in 2011-12 only.

This rise of the OBCs and Dalits has caused resentment amongst the Marathas because of reservations. Since they cannot compete with the upper castes because of their under representation in the English medium colleges, the Marathas have not benefited as much as upper castes from the rise of the services in post- liberalised 1991 India.

The present services led economic growth demands a certain level of education, social demands, skills and attributes. The dominant castes often lack all these attributes whereas the OBCs and the Dalits make it up with the want of reservations. The salaried jobs they are offered generally makes it up for the stability and average income they are offered’ compared to informal sector and agriculture.

The third wing:

The dissatisfaction on part of both the classes and castes is not a punitive result of historical action but rather a failure of the political divinity to adhere to their respective promises. Amidst the readings and cross cutting fault-lines the assertion by the country’s underprivileged is categorically loud and clear. The onus is on the government to uphold the rule of law in fair and impartial ways, by not discriminating between its vote banks. The BJP-RSS led government needs to look beyond the prism of casteism, for the hullaboo at Koregaon- Bhim were the results of dissatisfaction amongst the two of the most resonated castes in the country and a shout out to the Bourgeoisie vs Proletariat debate.

The ideology of “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas” (“We work together, we grow together”) has slowly started losing its meaning. Vikas has reportedly been missing while communal dis-harmony is playing its bogul.

Depending on the point of views, credits are being given to communal outfits, anti-social elements, casteist and outsiders. A common cast of characters such as Marathas, Mahars, Brahmins and newer political inventions like Dalits, OBCs and Hindutvadi forces are presenting a sharply divergent politics and conspiracies. It needs to be kept in mind, taking cue from the Maharashtra violence, that a deliberately vague and vivacious idea of a nation cannot be politically sacralised or en-cashed indefinitely. Can one be patriotic and still be proud of the Koregaon- Bhima achievements? Or can the Hindutva forces still undermine the importance of the minorities and their social-economic appeasements? How will the current governing entity differentiate between majoritarianism and a democracy?       

There is one thing crystal clear. In the light of fascism and history- justice lost its cause.

– boringbug

(www.boringbug.com)

National Register of Citizens: A Way to Segregate Illegal Immigrants From Original Inhabitants

The vagrant illegal immigration into the Indian State of Assam is an issue that has been going on unchecked for decades with a wide socio-cultural, demographic and geopolitical ramifications. The process of preparation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was started in 2005 with a view to identify the illegal migrants and restrict further illegal migration but the protests by minority communities led to the halt of that practice.

However recently the first draft of the updated NRC of Assam was published which is an important milestone in dealing with the influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh into that state. The objective behind updating and publishing NRC is to compile a list of the names of genuine Indian citizens residing in Assam and detect foreigners (read Bangladeshis) who may have illegally entered the state after March 24, 1971.

Out of 3.29 crore residents of Assam (Census 2011), 1.9 crore names have been included as citizens in the initial list while the second list containing the names of more numbers of citizens is slated to be published in February-March 2018 and the final list containing the names of all Indian citizens in Assam is expected to be published by December 2018.

There was a long standing demand of the Assamese people to detect and deport illegal Bangladeshi migrants from their state. Their demands are genuine and the idea of updating the NRC was not a bad initiative prima facie but NRC is not the panacea for illegal migration and other more efficient measures should be thought out to solve the menace of immigration. And what if Bangladesh will not ready to take those migrants, as India has no deportation treaty with Bangladesh. Those people recognised under this exercise may be deemed stateless and as per deportation norms, they will be sent to Border Areas and they may be deprived of their Basic Human Rights.

The publication of the updated NRC is indeed a positive step but there should be a redressal mechanism of all the pitfalls in this process to make it fruitful in the real sense.

The Year 2017 and Indian Pride & Prejudice In A Review

In the inception of the year 2017, numerous people made new year resolutions. Many failed to oblige, while some made waves in their pursuit of the resolutions. However, there were some instances and theatrics in the Indian political subcontinent which stood out of the box. It felt as if Schrodinger had taken the media cat out of the political paradox.

As it started, the television channels vowed their eyes on our very own centurion, the combustion of monosodium glutamate and star of the century- MSG alias Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan. Unfortunately he was caught with his pants down thus forcing the media houses to the beloved saga of Big Boss/Colours wherein a self-styled guru was caught giving his blessings to the fellow inmates with the urinated waters.   

Not very much apart from the dominated saga of the peculiar godmen, women empowerment took a revolution. Certain feminist played it out of the box and captured the television audiences glued with their faces- like- Hamanpreet Kaur (a.k.a. Honeypreet). Mithali Raj & Co. nearly won the women’s cricket world cup and triumphed over the Virat Kohli’s side 11 whom lost to Pakistan. Had Virat Kohli and Co. not been donning the Indian colour on their dresses they might have been brandished as national traitors under the POSCo Act, thankfully they weren’t Manmohan Singh nor were they Hamid Ansari. We were surprisingly blessed by Gurmehar Kaur- the blissful daughter of a martyr who was irrepressibly trolled by the IT wings of the saffron cloud- well Pakistan didn’t kill anyone, and there is no saffron clad chads out there. There was also Varnika Kundu who was hounded and nearly trapped by the son of a saffron clad politician (wait what’s there in a colour). These incidents were terrific, brutal, surprising and yet beautiful, thanks to the erstwhile presence of Ivanka Trump which even clouded the visit of the Orange Bob Head- the Trump Senior. Thank you media, and thank you ache din. Modi was proud enough- after all Ivanka Trump shook his hands more often than he has hugged the Orange Bomb in his lifetime.

The year didn’t bring reprise for the opposition which were nowhere to be seen before the anniversary of demon-e-tisation. It was the likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the troubled son Akhilesh, the Lamborghini wala son alongwith our very didi who single handedly brought out the spark in Kamal Hasan’s political ambitions. Our Thaliva the Rajni is still contemplating if Sasikala will haunt him like Jayalalitha did by breaking in and out of her 5 star cell.

However, Arvind Kejriwal lost his cough and his battle with the media houses. Once the shining star and the diapered baby of media’ he has been missing since forever. Perhaps a special inquiry headed by Arun Jaitely will bring out a rationale to his disappearance (Kyun G, 10 crore defamation case anyone?). Wait, this catchphrase was reportedly stolen by the congress after its party members were acquitted from the 2G scam. As Kanimozhi and A. Raja would state- what’s there in a name, so says the Ambani/s and the Tata/s.

The darling Kejriwal has been obscured and taken over by another cultural yogi who has risen from the ashes in U.P. The man who is the admin, the judge and the witness of his own cases- Yogi Adityanath. I tell you- he never denied of his Prime Ministerial ambitions, nor did he admit it. Mr. Gujarat are you listening?

Missing from the action were the erstwhile darlings of the media ratings- Barkha Dutt, who after a decade with NDTV disappeared with a legal battle, and the Karan nowhere to be seen Thapar who after a major stint with India Today is replaced by Rahul (not much promising). The two legends of a journalist fail to find any footsteps amongst the shit-hole that television has become.

The election season in India began with bean bag politics, ashwathama thare gayo was nothing more of a distant dream for the congress. The bogul was heard with the slogans of “donkey” digitalisation, financial distress, and not so surprising insults. Thankfully Rahul Gandhi didn’t use any escape velocity here and successfully managed to become a common enemy for the Party in control along with the in pocket media channels. If you still consider him pappu- remember 71% people in the rural areas in Gujarat voted for his party (the 500 crores of PR seems to have begun its magic).

The Modi coverage has diminished marginally, but the Rahul coverage has gained substantially, irrespective of the reasons- good or bad. This looks promising as the opposition suddenly seems to be making out of its own mud-hole, although still trapped within a beehive.

In the times of nationalism, Pakistan still retained the number 1 enemy spot, second by none other than the terrorists in Kashmir. The mutilation of soldiers, the attacks on military bases (Panchkula), the turmoil of Amarnath yatris etc. These were only superbolted by the ever flying king of fisher– Mallya and the masquerading voice of Thesaurus Dr. Tharoor. The television screen was stuck by a white lightning bolt when the nations most wanted farrago of a journalist returned with his Republic- Arnab Goswami.

Meanwhile people were skinned, brutally tortured and murdered at the whim and fancy of the right wing extremists with cows and cowards as weaponries. Unfortunately, the same didn’t ping the interest of the major viewership but that of the social media. Net neutrality is still looming in confusion.

Gorakhpur became Uttar Pradesh’s most famous destination for politicians, while its hospital got ingrained in the Limca Book of records for children deaths and tragedies. Hospitals were and are the social media favorites where common man are stripped naked in the pretext of a cure- Max Hospital, Delhi is a living example of the same. Only if the dead could tell their tales.

The Gujarat elections were led by the Babur and Dabar wave (the Babar song anyone), with the ruling party back to its focus on the plight of the farmers in the communal lines. Padmavati dream sequence popped up with the Hardik sex tapes boosting the hopes of the Karni Sena and the plight of the unemployed youth across the country. Such was the year that even Rahul Gandhi’s pet dog- the ever entertaining- “Pidi” made it to the headlines.

Smriti Irani meanwhile still aims to shed her erstwhile image, the Tulsi back with a bang. The globally beloved Orange Bob kept on targeting the missile man and the unwatchable news channels only to be retorted by the legend Andy Murray. The pride and prejudice of the Indian political drama theatrics swayed from the Dokhlam standoff to the Gujarati fafdas, all to attain better TRP and favouritism of the one who should not be named.

This rise of an oppposition was nothing short of the season end ATP finale win for Grigor Dimitrov, who even stunned the everlasting Federer banter.

The world is a truly happening place, and even if it wasn’t the media would feed it in your mouth. From Amul to Parle-G, Hrithik getting Rann-out, Sonu Nigam singing Dhinchakly, while Anu aunties running from the Saunt master; even Jhonny Sins was seen promoting his work to his Indian fanbase on twitter.

It was a never imagined scenario where the artificial intelligence decided to screw up the human taught language- to be to be to to- to Mark the Zuckerberg of a new era.

Well, whom to blame, for the year 2017 was un-intentionally eventful. Never thought a day would come that I would agree with the Orange Bob and the Missile Man. Just hurry and scatter this remainder of the year to winds.

Oh wait, its nearing 2018 already? A happy new year to you too!

-boringbug
www.boringbug.com

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Nitty-Gritty of Wassenaar Arrangement : Indian Perspective

India became member of 2 regimes of  Multilateral Export Control Regime(MECR)  namely Wassenaar Arrangement(WA) (joined recently) and Missile Technology Control Regime(MTCR) (joined in 2016), whereas China is not a member of both WA and MTCR but of Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG) which India wanted to join, its membership was stonewalled by China. Today the WA membership is expected to build up a strong case for India’s entry into the 48 member NSG.

Wassenaar arrangement  has been established in order to contribute to regional and international security and stability and also aims to prevent the acquisition of conventional arms by terrorists. its member countries are required to ensure that transfers of these conventional arms do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities (dual-use technology).

The entry of India as its 42nd member shows its strong relationship with US, Russia and France which plays significant role in getting this membership. Russia is a firm and consistent proponent of India’s membership at control regimes, and is very supportive of India’s impressive and impeccable record in non-proliferation. It is different from some other countries that only speak of support.

But this strategic heft shows the positive approach of all countries towards India and their expectation that India would be a balancing force in Asia.

Indian Modernism: आधुनिकता या फिर नकल करने का घातक प्रयास

खैर, शुरुआत मैंने हिंदी में की है तो आशा करता हूँ , यहाँ सभी पाठक भारत से संबंध रखते होंगे अथवा १ प्रतिशत ऐसे भी होंगे,जिन्हें सर्च इंजन ने यहाँ धकेल दिया होगा|


शीर्षक देखकर आपको पता चल ही गया होगा कि यहाँ आज आधुनिकता की बातें होनी हैं| जैसा कि महान इतिहासकार और राजनीतिज्ञ लोगों ने आधुनिकता को कभी बदलाव , कभी धन के ढेर , तो कभी अभियांत्रिकी सफलता (टेक्नोलॉजी) से अलग अलग मापदंडों में तौला है| आप लोगों ने भी कपड़ों के प्रकार, बोलचाल, रहन-सहन तो कभी संसाधनों की आपूर्ति के हिसाब से आधुनिकता को समझा है| मगर मेरे विचार थोड़े अलग हैं, मेरी दृष्टि में भारत की आधुनिकता की परिभाषा कुछ ऐसी है-

अधुनिकता एक ऐसी चुनौती है, जो साधारण मनुष्य को अपनी पसंद से ना जीने देने के लिए अक्रामित करती है, यह मजबूरी है एक लाचार इंसान की जो उसे समाज के बीच आदर सम्मान प्राप्त करने के लिए दिखावा करने को मजबूर करती है|

थोड़ी अटपटी लगी होगी यह परिभाषा| विश्वास मानिये मैं समाज का तुलनात्मक अध्ययन के अलावा कोई महान लेखक द्वारा रचित ज्ञानवर्धक पुस्तक नहीं पढ़ता| अपनी परिभाषा को अब मैं जोड़ना शुरू करता हूँ,

सबसे पहले बात करते हैं ,

रस्मों और अनुष्ठानों में आयी अधुनिकता की- पहले किसी समय में शादी-ब्याह का मतलब दो परिवारों का मिलन होता था , जिसमें रिश्ते नाते बनाये जाते थे और सभी रिश्तेदारों के लिए भोज का आयोजन किया जाता था| जिसकी जितनी क्षमता होती थी , उस हिसाब से धन व्यय होता था| मगर फिर दौर बदला और दहेज प्रथा पर अंकुश लगाने के स्वर उभरना शुरू हुए और धीरे धीरे यह एक औपचारिकता बनी की लड़का वाला लड़की वाले से यह बोलेगा- ” हमें दहेज नहीं चाहिए बस लड़की गुणी और सुशील होनी चाहिए” और फिर लड़की वाला इस अहसान तले दबकर की उन्होंने कुछ नहीं मांगा, इस बदले में दहेज का सारा पैसा शादी के खाने और साज सजावट में लगाने लगा| जहाँ पहले कुछ सीमित खर्च में खाना हुआ करता था वहाँ आज एक शादी में सिर्फ खाने का खर्चा 10-20 तो कभी 50 लाख तक पहुंच जाता है| यह बदलाव वाकई अधुनिकता को प्रदर्शित करता है, अब कुछ लोग यह जरूर सोच रहे होंगे कि जब हमारे पास पैसा है तो हम खर्च करेंगे, इसमें तुम्हे क्या परेशानी? बात आपकी बिल्कुल सही है, मगर मेरे अमीर भाई , आपके आस पड़ौसी या फिर आपके कुछ रिश्तेदार जिनके पास शायद आपके जितना धन नहीं है , उन्हें अपनी साख बचाने के चक्कर में उधार लेकर उतना ही दिखावा करना पड़ता है तो मुझे दुख होता है| जहाँ एक तरफ आप खुशी का उत्सव मना रहे हैं वहाँ दूसरी तरफ आप कर्ज लेकर दिखावट कर रहे हैं, यह कैसी अधुनिकता है भई?

marraige

वहीं बात करते हैं,

युवा पीढ़ी की जिसे आधुनिक ट्रेंड का अनुसरण करने में बड़ा मजा आता है, कभी किसी अभिनेता को अनुसरित करते हैं तो कभी गायक को तो कभी विराट कोहली जैसे बल्लेबाज को, सबसे पहले मेरा सवाल आपसे यह है कि आप लोगों ने क्या सिर्फ उसके रहन सहन को अनुसरित किया है? उसके इस रहन सहन के पीछे छिपी अथक मेहनत और त्याग को कभी जीवन मे क्यों नहीं उतारते आप? अगर आपको पश्चिमी देशों से सीखना है तो पूरी तरह सीखिए ना, सिर्फ फैशन और रहन सहन से आप आधुनिक नहीं बन रहे| आप बन रहे हो नकलची बन्दर जो दूसरे को देखकर खुद को वैसा बनाने की कोशिश में है, जो वह पहले कभी था नहीं और अभी भी नहीं है| अगर इतना शौक है, इतना आधुनिक बनना है तो आप क्यों नहीं अपना खुद का फैशन स्टाइल बनाते , क्या सारे नए स्टाइल बनाने का ठेका अमेरिका और लंदन को मिला है| आप अपना खुद का कोई ट्रेंड नहीं चलवा सकते, या फिर आप भी उसी मानसिकता से घिरे हैं कि जो भी अधिक अमीर है सिर्फ वही सही हो सकता है| आप उन लोगों के डिज़ाइन किये फटे जीन्स पहनने में हिचकिचाते नहीं हो मगर वहीं किसी शादी में अगर कोई साधारण कपड़े पहन ले तो उसे आप गंवार समझ कर हीन नजरों से देखते हैं, क्योकि उसने ओल्ड फ़ैशन के कपड़े पहनने हैं| अंग्रेजी गाने सुनना या फिर अंग्रेजी बोलना आपके लिए अधुनिकता का परिचायक बना है, अगर कोई अंग्रेजी में फर्राटेदार बातें करता है तो सभी लोग उससे प्रभावित हो जाते हैं, यह अकेले युवा वर्ग की बात नहीं यह समस्या है , इंडस्ट्री , एक जॉब इंटरव्यू या फिर किसी चर्चा की| आप अपने देश की दुर्दशा का अंदाज़ा इसी बात से लगा सकते हैं कि यहां की कोई मातृभाषा नहीं है, जैसे अमेरिका में अंग्रेजी, रूस में रूसी , चीन में चीनी और जापान में जापानी भाषा बोली जाती है और आधिकारिक गतिविधियों में सभी कार्य उसी भाषा में सम्पन्न होते हैं , मगर भारत एक ऐसा अभागा देश है, जहाँ अनेकता में एकता” के संदेश को देने के चक्कर में हिंदी, अंग्रेजी, बंगला , भोजपुरी सभी भाषाओं को बोला सुना जाता है, मगर इसे दुर्भाग्य कहें या फिर मजबूरी की आधिकारिक तौर पर सबसे अधिक अंग्रेजी को महत्व दिया जाता है| किसी भाषा को समझना और बोलना बहुत अच्छी बात है मगर इतना अधिक महत्व देना की अपनी पारंपरिक भाषा के विलुप्त होने का खतरा उत्पन्न हो जाये तो यह दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण बात हो जाती है| एक देश जहाँ अधिक संख्या में लोग हिंदी समझ सकते हैं और बोल भी सकते हैं वहाँ के राष्ट्रपति को कुछ विशेष अवसर पर अंग्रेजी में भाषण देना पड़ता है, ऐसी भी क्या मजबूरी आ गयी थी , जब संविधान लिखा गया था तब मुझे नहीं लगता भारत में साक्षरता 50 प्रतिशत भी रही होगी| ऐसे में प्रधानमंत्री और राष्ट्रपति का अंग्रेजी में भारत के लोगों के साथ संवाद करना बिल्कुल ऐसा रहा होगा जैसे आज आप चीनी भाषा को लेकर उपहास करते हैं| अंग्रेजी भाषा को ऐसे थोपा गया है कि आज भारतीय सिनेमा जहाँ लगभग सभी फिल्में हिंदी में बनती हैं वहाँ आज भी फ़िल्म की समीक्षा और अधिकतर साक्षात्कार अंग्रेजी में किये जाते हैं|

blog modern

खैर मेरी बातों से कुछ बदलने वाला नहीं है मगर मैं आप लोगों से यही निवेदन करूँगा की अधुनिकता अगर अपनानी है तो नकल करना बंद कर दीजिए|

 मेरे दृष्टिकोण में अधुनिकता के सही मायने-

  • जब गरीब अमीर जैसी खाई बीच में ना रहे, आपका कोई रिश्तेदार अथवा भाई जिसके पास धन का अभाव है , उसे आपकी दिखावट की वजह से अपमानित ना होना पड़े|
  • आप दोहरा बर्ताव बन्द करोएक तरफ आप अधुनिक वस्त्र पहनने की वकालत करते हैं, वहीं दूसरी तरफ एक पुराने फैशन के वस्त्र पहने व्यक्ति का मजाक बनाते हैं, आखिर स्वतंत्रता तो सभी की समान है फिर आप किस बात का मजाक बना रहे हैं|
  • अंग्रेजी की नकल बन्द करें- जरूरी नहीं अंग्रेजी में बोली हर बात सही होती है, व्यक्तित्व को पहचानें उसकी भाषा या बोली को नहीं | नकल करने से अच्छा आप अपने देश की शैली को बढ़ावा दें| गायक और कलाकार भारत में भी कम प्रतिभाशाली नहीं है मगर आप एक आधुनिक सोच के चक्कर मे उन्हें अक्सर नकार देते हैं! आप खुद भी तो उनके स्तर को सुधारने का प्रयास कर सकते हैं, आप कुछ नया करके दिखायें|
  • शारीरिक जरूरत को अधुनिकता का नाम देकर फूहड़ता फैलाना बन्द कीजिये- आप अगर कहीं भी कुछ भी बोलकर खुद को आधुनिक समझने की भूल कर रहे हैं तो शायद आप गलत हैं, यह दुनिया सिर्फ और सिर्फ शरीरिक आनंद के लिए नहीं बनी , यहाँ कुछ बच्चे भी हैं जिन्हें कुछ करके दिखाना है, उन्हें जरूरत है, अच्छी शिक्षा और परवरिश की, कुछ बूढ़े भी हैं जो ज्ञान कर्म की बातें भी करना चाहते हैं| कुछ प्रौढ़ भी हैं जिन्हें जीवन का महत्व और कर्म निभाना है| ऐसे में अगर आप सार्वजनिक स्थान या फिर सोशल मीडिया पर सारा दिन शारीरिक आनंद संबंधित अथवा फूहड़ संदेश फैलाकर खुद को कूल समझ रहे हो तो शायद आप अधुनिकता को बहुत गलत दिशा में ले जा रहे हो|
  • शौक और संसाधन जुटाने के अलावा कुछ योगदान भी दीजिये- एक देश जिसको पूरा विश्व जगत गुरु बोलता था, आज इतना लाचार हो चुका है कि ज्ञान और शिक्षा के लिए उसे विदेश का मुंह देखना पड़ता है, इसका कारण परिस्थिति नहीं हैं, बल्कि हम खुद हैं| हमने अपना ध्यान योगदान करने से हटाकर सुख सुविधा और संसाधन जुटाने में लगा दिया| जरूरी नहीं कि, अगर कोई 24-25 साल का हो गया है तो उसे कमाना शुरू कर देना चाहिए या फिर घर बसा लेना चाहिए, जरूरी यह है कि उसे देश के लिए , उन्नति के लिए कुछ योगदान देना चाहिए| वह चाहे शिक्षा बाँटकर, सैन्य सेवा करके, समाज सेवा करके अथवा शोध कार्य करके देश की उन्नति में कुछ योगदान देना चाहिये| जैसा कि पश्चिमी सभ्यता के लोग करते आ रहे हैं, मगर हमने उनसे सिर्फ भोग विलास सीखा है , मेहनत लग्न और खोज शायद हम भूल गए हैं|research

 

अब मैं इन्ही शब्दों के साथ अपनी कलम को विराम देता हूँ| आप सभी अपने विचार कॉमेंट में जरूर दें ताकि मुझे पता चल सके कि आपका मत इस विषय में क्या है? अधुनिकता को आप किस दृष्टि से देख रहे हैं?

संक्षिप्त परिचय

नमस्कार मेरा नाम शुभांकर शर्मा है और मैं खाली समय मे ब्लॉगिंग करता हूँ, मेरा ब्लॉग Shubhankar Thinks  है|

#ShubhankarThinks

Thanks to all.

GST Reform: The Bigger Picture

gst

GST is not merely a product of objective analysis. The national debate on its implementation is a case in point i.e. to be weighed upon a broader taxation policy perspective. The question at stake is the viability of taxation policy in the whole, which is a dire reflection of the economic policy, highly apprehended by the duties of a state.

As per reports, India’s present GDP- tax contribution is merely 18% which is miser in comparison to that of the developed nations i.e. 30%-40% and that of other developing economies i.e. 23%- 26% for Mexico, Brazil and South Africa resp. The total tax collected in India comprises of 2/3rd indirect tax and only 1/3rd direct tax, which is extremely unhealthy and direct opposite of the developed countries. It is with this perspective the coming of GST (Goods Sales Tax) was a good breather. With the bringing of automate trails and digitalisation, it has become a bit difficult for people to evade tax reforms and default in paying of the taxes. Secondly, with the coming of GST there has been a pull and push towards the registration and compliances of business units (inclusive of unregistered sellers), primarily due to the peculiar system of input tax credits.

However, notwithstanding the above, the decisions with respect to the tax rates have been disappointing. The issues of paramount confusion are laid down as follows:

  • The GST rates in India are not just broken to four rates- 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent but in reality (as per reports) at least 7 different rates would be in operation. Thus defying the logic behind “one nation one tax” mechanism.
  • Some absurdities includes the GST rate for Gold (3%) and Diamond (0.25%) which are fully imported items and are known for creating current account deficits. Whereas, daily essential items like sanitary pads/ sanitary napkins and medicines attract a GST rate of 18, 12 and 5 resp.
  • Items such as petroleum, electricity and taxes on liquor have been kept away from the purview of GST. The country has seen a rise of 122 percent in the indirect tax collection from the petroleum sector. This is nothing but travesty of the implementation mechanism.
  • The lack of reliable resources and facilities such as Internet access is another disturbance in the entire process. The data states that internet penetration in India is merely 32.8 percent, of which only 15% is from rural areas. Absence of a prepared infrastructure is a major obstacle to bringing up of rural businesses within the paradigm of GST.
  • The absence of legal profession from the paradigm of GST is another issue to tackle in near future. According to government notification, all advocates and senior advocates have been exempted from the purview of registertion under GST.
  • The absence of a clear instruction on availing the Input Tax Credit by “A” from State “X” over his services from State “Y” in the State “Z” is of concern i.e. SGST to CGST in trans-border transactions (services).

It is clear from the aforesaid that tax enforcement is also a matter of discovery and voluntary disclosure. The tax discovery in India has always been of avoidance rather than that of compliance. In the paradigm of forceful application of GST in the current behavioral model from non-compliance to compliance the issue of cultural shift has been overlooked.

In order to implement the GST successfully the government needs to have a clear understanding of the mass(es) requirements. There is a need to bring a shift in the social behavior wherein tax evasion would become a social stigma rather than be considered as a badge of smartness.

-by Boringbug


Boringbug is a blogger, a sketch artist by hobby, and a lawyer.  His blog Boringbug is a part reflection of his ideas, experiences, dialogues, thoughts, and opinions. It can be reached at boringbug.wordpress.com or at www.boringbug.com.

 

How internet shutdowns impact our civil liberties

We receive this comment few days back “I’m Yaqoob from Jammu and Kashmir. Here everything including internet is blocked/banned, probably because of our social media activities. We kashmire sometimes use social media to upload our victimised stories .but Indian government do not like this, she is afraid of getting exposed in worldwide. Please-please help us …”

And this compel me to write on this sensitive issue..

Imagine this situation. A region of the country is deeply annoyed with the actions of the government. There are plans for widespread and aggressive protests. The government fears that the protests might turn violent. It decides to cut-off the internet access to the entire region for an indefinite period of time, reasoning to preserve the law & order in that region.

Is access to internet is a basic, non-negotiable right, a part of the right to life, and that it cannot simply be left at the mercy of the government? What do you think?

I think if the government really wishes to keep law and order, then it must find other, less drastic ways of doing so, such as increasing security, perhaps a curfew, or even winning the trust of the people and addressing their grievances.

In the 21st century, the Internet has assumed an increasingly important place in our lives. From banking to political speech, and from complex medical procedures to the purchase of basic necessities, important aspects of our economic, social, and cultural life now depend upon the Internet. Many of the fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution — the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of association, the freedom of trade — are exercised in significant part on the Internet. But the growing importance of the Internet in personal life, as well as its growing use to challenge governmental authority, has led to a backlash, where governments attempt to reorient the relationship between the individual and the state in their favour by controlling the Internet.

In India, “Internet shutdown” is one ubiquitous form of control by government. To prevent protests, the government may — and actually does — cut-off Internet access for purposes as comically diverse as preventing violent protests (Kashmir) and cheating in exams (Gujarat).

The government must, by law, subject Internet shutdowns to judicial scrutiny as soon as reasonably possible. And courts must take into account the exceptional character of Internet shutdowns and their impact on core civil liberties before validating them.

The concentration of more power in the hands of the government will only further disempower the individual against the state, and achieve a temporary illusion of security at the cost of a permanent loss of freedom.

 

This article is already published in a renowned newspaper
Courtesy: Gautam Bhatia, Delhi-based lawyer

Western Musical Instruments Have No Place Here

MUSIC IS ABOUT BILATERAL INFLUENCES

India has imposed 28% GST on Western Musical Instruments. This will include the VIOLIN but NOT the HARMONIUM.

While the Harmonium is an 18th Century creation of Alexander Debain in France, and later imported to India. Also the Piano itself is a combination of various influences including that of the antique Dulcimer (the same parent as the Santoor), and the Harp (which is also an instrument that was common in the ancient trading world and found even in Southern India).

This idea of ‘Truly Indian’ and ‘Truly Western’ is brimming with doubtful origins and mixed histories in many cases. The correct approach is to look at the educational and holistic benefits of instrumental learning for children and adults and review the tax slabs rather than get into biases.

Today SOCIAL MEDIA platforms have unearthed a plethora of musical talent. YouTube sensations are now making it into mainstream festivals and events and new Continue reading “Western Musical Instruments Have No Place Here”

THE DARKNESS IN MY OWN SEX (PART 2)- It’s High Time To Criminalize MARITAL RAPE

” Sometimes I think what kind of a woman am I? A wife? A whore?.. My husband used to tie my hands to the bedpost, and hit me with a leather belt, asking me to touch his organ. With my tongue. If I stopped, the times I gagged… he’d kick me hard. Saying he was close. His eyes fearful. I was eight months pregnant, when he insisted on doing it from the rear. Videotaping the same. I tried to protest, but he beat me severely. It’s like hearing me howl gave him a great deal of pleasure. I miscarried. Almost bleeding to death. I have been married for eight years. It was an arranged marriage. I was raped on my wedding night. It has never stopped. How can I explain that in the darkness of a woman’s bedroom, she is the most vulnerable. I am always alone. I wanted to die, after my second miscarriage. We have a daughter. What do I tell her? Who is he? … “

Under the Indian Penal Code, marital rape is not covered by the ordinary rape laws and is a form of non-criminal domestic violence. According to IPC Section 375 which says that sexual intercourse or sexual acts by man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is NOT rape; in fact exempts spouses from prosecution except in cases of legal separation. Some cases, however, are in fact covered by the ordinary laws relating to assault and unnatural sex/ sodomy as in the present case, for use of violence to claim sex is clearly not acceptable.

In 2016, A judgement came where it was officially confirmed that Rape laws don’t pertain to Married Couples — Once you’re legally wed, forced sex is no longer a crime.

It was a case in which a woman had alleged she had been drugged, then forced to marry, and then raped — in other words, she hadn’t consented to the marriage or the sex. The Judge said there was no evidence that the accuser had been drugged, but he also said that if the woman’s husband (identified only as Vikash) had forced himself on her, that wouldn’t qualify as rape under Indian law. The official verdict said – “The prosecutrix (the wife) and the accused (Vikash) being legally wedded husband and wife, and the prosecutrix being major, the sexual intercourse between the two, even if forcible, is not rape and no culpability can be fastened upon the accused.

According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund India, India ranks the highest in the list of countries where adolescent girls are subjected to sexual violence by an intimate partner. The study ironically titled “Hidden in Plain Sight“, says 77 per cent of girls between 15 to 19 years in India have suffered sexual violence at least once in the form of forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts by their husband or partner.

What’s further shocking is that 41 per cent reported physical violence by their mothers/stepmothers while 18 per cent were abused by fathers or stepfathers. Brother and sisters were the perpetrators in 25 per cent cases. Most adolescent girls who are victims of sexual violence also report physical abuse and, in India, that number stands between ten to 20 per cent. The report also says that among married girls who experienced physical violence since age 15, a current or a former partner was cited most often in all of the countries. The proportion is more than 70 per cent in India. Women who were not married were most likely to report physical violence at the hands of family members, friends/acquaintances and teachers.

And now the Union Government submitted a report to the Delhi High Court mentioning that marital rape may ‘destabilise’ the institution of marriage..

Really??

What if rape is not the only kind of sexual violence there is? What if every woman at some point in her life is violated? What if the man attacking her is the one she choses? Or is scared to run away from? What if we tell her to suffer in silence? Saying she must attain Sitahood at all costs? That it is what her womanhood is worth?

The ‘exception in the rape law for marital rape’ has its origin in the historical patriarchal society where a woman was considered as her husband’s property. Various countries around the world have criminalised marital rape including our neighbours like Nepal,
Bhutan, Sri Lanka, etc.

It is important to note that sexual violence within or outside marriage is a gross violation of one’s dignity and it should not ordinarily need a judicial stamp.

The issue is a sensitive one and would need a detailed scrutiny and analysis. The very first step would be to define what constitutes as ‘Marital Rape’, and then further steps may be taken.

Due to a grossly high number of assaults on women of sexual nature, it becomes crucial for the country to take the matter for consideration on an urgent basis.

 

(The story featured in the article is culled from the interview the author @sreemoyeekundu has conducted with the many nameless women of the country during her research.)

 

How “RIGHT TO PRIVACY” Impact AADHAR & LGBT Community (Under Section 377 OF IPC)

In a landmark judgment, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court today unanimously declared that right to privacy is a fundamental right. “The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution,” the court said. The court also overruled two of its earlier judgments to the extent that they said that right to privacy is not protected by the Constitution.

Why The Case

The question whether right to privacy is a fundamental right was referred to the nine-judge bench after two smaller benches were faced with a dilemma. Petitioners had challenged the collection of biometric data under the Aadhaar card scheme of the Union government on the grounds that it violated the right to privacy, which is not explicitly provided for in the text of the Constitution. As the right to privacy in particular instances had earlier been adjudicated by benches of larger strength than that of the two benches that heard the Aadhaar petitions, the nine-judge bench was asked to settle the question of privacy.

What The Government Said

The Centre, through Attorney General K K Venuogopal, argued that there is no fundamental right to privacy because it is not provided for in Part-III of the Constitution, which deals with fundamental rights. He also argued that – for instance, where food is being guaranteed to BPL population using collection of biometric data – privacy could be done away with if doing so guarantees right to life.

What The Judgment Implies

For the Aadhaar Case: Although the case arrived before the nine-judge bench as a result of the petitions pertaining to the Aadhaar scheme, those petitions will continue to be heard by the three-judge bench that was originally hearing the case. However, the petitions will now be heard in the light of the fact that privacy has been deemed a fundamental right that is intrinsic to Article 21 and is part of the freedoms guaranteed under Part III of the constitution. What will be a deciding factor in the case is how right to privacy has been construed by different judges on the bench, which might be used by the petitioners and the government to their respective advantages.

For the challenge to section 377: A larger bench is to hear a petition challenging the 2013 judgment of the Supreme Court which upheld section 377 of the IPC. Five out of the nine judges on the bench have noted the judgment for its incorrect reasoning in today’s judgment. Justice Chandrachud, writing a judgment for himself and three other judges on the bench, stopped just short of overruling the 2013 judgment, since a larger bench is to hear the matter.

“That ‘a miniscule fraction of the country’s population constitutes lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders’ (as observed in the judgment of this Court) is not a sustainable basis to deny the right to privacy. The purpose of elevating certain rights to the stature of guaranteed fundamental rights is to insulate their exercise from the disdain of majorities, whether legislative or popular,” Justice Charachud said in his judgment.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, agreeing with Justice Chandrachud, also ruled that sexual orientation is part of one’s right to privacy.

Other judges too have similarly identified what they considered was definitely part of the right to privacy.

For other litigation related to the right to privacy: All nine judges agreed that right to privacy is a fundamental right under the constitution. However, deciding on the matter meant that each judge had to also state what the court understood to be the right to privacy.

In broad terms, they have defined the right to privacy as part of “right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”. Each of the six judgments have also said that there have to be reasonable restrictions on the right to privacy. While the court had to only decide whether privacy is a fundamental right, observations made by individual judges will be important in future litigations.

Responses

All sides appeared to be elated with the Supreme Court judgment, with the BJP-led Central government, which had vociferously argued against the right to privacy, also celebrating the judgment.

Here are some of the responses:

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy : YouthKiAwaz (Abhishek Jha)

Reviewing The Triple Talaq Verdict

triple-talaq-five-supreme-court-judges_650x400_81503372712
Source: NDTV India

On August 22, 2017, the Supreme Court of India proclaimed a verdict, wherein the misuse of triple talaq practice prevalent in the Indian subcontinent was criticized and ruled against. Primarily, the practice, which is presumed to be discriminatory and unjust to women, stands struck down by the Hon’ble Court on account of its misuse and violation of the fundamental rights doctrine. Howsoever, this welcoming judgment had to take a detour to arrive at its finding, clearly evident from one of its constructive reasoning, wherein it held that the right to religion cannot supersede the right of the government to create regulations over it:

Article 25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion:

(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion;

(2) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law

(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;

(b) providing for social welfare and reform

According to the finding of the learned judges, the freedom enshrined under Part III of the Constitution cannot supersede the golden triangle per se Article 14, Article 19 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India. A mere look at the aforesaid article proclaims that the freedom to profess religion is subjected and conditioned to public order, morality and health. If the said freedom affects the secularity or violates the rights of the citizens then the government cannot be prevented from making or bringing into operation a law in this regard. The same can be done to bring in social welfare and reform.

In pursuance of the above, thereof, the Supreme Court of India empanelled a 5 judge bench comprising of judges from 5 different faiths in India- Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. A rare sight but a master stroke nevertheless. Despite having difference(s) of opinion – the majority view of Hon’ble Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Uday Umesh Lalit held triple talaq to be violative of the fundamental right to equality contained in Article 14 of the Constitution. Whereas Justice Kurian Joseph agreed with them that triple talaq must be struck down, but not because it fails the test on the anvil of Article 14, but rather because it is not an integral part of islamic religious practice and is against the basic tenets of the holy quran.

The minority view of two judges consisting of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice Abdul Nazeer, being as learned as they are, urged the courts to approach matters of personal law with absolute restraint, underlining that these laws have constitutional protection. However, in common parlance their view was that of dissent wherein it was more preferred to let the government from a regulation over the same to keep a check on the misuse of triple talaq.

This judgment is not bereft of a political context. The verdict was realized almost after three decades after a government in 1986 had overturned a court’s intervention on Muslim personal law in the Shah Bano case. Since then, the demand for reform only grew louder within the Muslim community, particularly among its women. Something that compelled the All India Personal Law Board to pay attention. Albeit, the coming to power of present government with a large mandate has sparked similar fears of majoritarianism amongst the minority. Something that was recently pointed out by a former Vice President of India as well.

Notwithstanding the progressiveness of the decision, the court failed to reflect upon immediate issues despite the demands of the case in hand. One look at the 365 pages judgment of the Supreme Court of India will reflect that the learned bench failed to debate on the issue of gender justice and gender tranquillity. The triple talaq was primarily held invalid in the context that it was not a part of holy quran, was not a religious practice and was violative of article 14. Yet, nowhere did they debate as to how this practice was discriminatory in nature, was violative of the rights of women, and how the same was being misused by a particular gender of a community.

The major setback from the perspective of any rational human is their failure to distinguish between instant talaq and triple talaq. The issue at hand was the misuse of triple talaq i.e. INSTANT TALAQ. The practice of triple talaq is not bad per se, but the failure to keep a check on the same and establishing an institutionalized form for it is what resulted in its misuse. Ironically none of the learned Justices pointed it out.

Another misconception spread by the media houses in India is that the Judiciary held the practice to be unconstitutional. Ironically, only 2 judges out of the 5 held it to be unconstitutional, the third declared it as invalid (void ab initio). If something is void ab initio, then it isn’t unconstitutional but rather illegal to practice.

Furthermore, the court has not unanimously or starkly framed the issue as an opposition between the constitution and personal law, which might lead to a missed chance to uphold constitutional values. But the lack of stridency and grand claims, while striking down the abominable practice of triple talaq, serves a valuable by acknowledging a minority community’s aspirations without being disrespectful of its apprehensions, it keeps the crucial spaces for reform open.

– by boringbug



B

Boringbug is a blogger, a sketch artist by hobby, and a lawyer.  His blog Boringbug is a part reflection of his ideas, experiences, dialogues, thoughts, and opinions. It can be reached at boringbug.wordpress.com or at www.boringbug.com.

 

 

WHY BENGALURU

BENGALURU HAS ATTRACTED MORE ENGINEERS THAN DELHI & MUMBAI, WHY?

Umm, IT policy was first introduced by Karnataka govt. in 1992.. So? ..It is the Aviation Capital of India.. They easily accept migrants  … Hell!

Tech cities do not come out of the blue, there is enormous effort and money involved in there making. Bangalore (Bengaluru), The Silicon Valley of India was made to what it is today due to the work from ages..

Here are Some Reasons..

{ Bengaluru was Ruled by Great Rulers who were passionate about Technology –
Mysore was ruled by Kings like Tipu Sultan and Krishna Swamy Iyer who had great passion for technology and invested huge amounts of money in research and development of infrastructure… }

Bengaluru is a diverse outsourcing hotspot- The Silicon Valley of India has moved from delivering volume based work to IT, ITES, KPO and other technology related services; and has become best outsourcing hotspot of India.
Research based platform- It is the ‘science centre’ of India with over 100 R&D centres.

{ And you know Bangalore was the First city in Asia to be electrified in 1906 owing to the Shivasamudram Hydropower Plant, City also boasts good urban infra,public transport… }

Government: Karnataka government has taken various measures like reducing tax rates, easy compliance standards, robust connectivity services, simple exit norms etc. which have improved ease of doing business, especially in Bengaluru, giving boost to business culture.

{ NH44(longest NH), Developments of Konkan Railways and Golden Quadrilateral both pass through the Bengaluru- attracts student from nearest-distant cities/states -more..  }
Climate: due to proximity of sea, Bengaluru has soothing climate throughout the year.

{ Cum’on  where there is employment people will definitely go there… 

But climate affect people life in longer terms… }
Education: Bengaluru was always a great education hub. Government has even expanded its’ colleges reach worldwide through exchange programmes.
Culture: Bengaluru was a highly cosmopolitan area even before it became the IT capital of the country. Even in the 70’s and 80’s, there was huge linguistic diversity, people could not only communicate in South Indian languages but also well versed in Hindi and English too.
Nature of people: by nature, people are welcoming and relatively easy going. They are not aggressive and welcome new comers and new ideas easily.

{ Delhiites …. }

Close Proximity to other Metros like Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai.

Okay, So How it Impact Indian Economy?

  1. It Boosted business and corporate culture.
  2. Increased FDI into the country by three folds.
  3. Helped in reducing unemployment.
  4. Revolutionised service sector in India through outsourcing, call centres, entrepreneurship etc.

Due to these factors – the number of persons either graduating or migrating has disproportionately increased in Bengaluru…

An Insane Indian Society

An article written by me, the frustrated soul, in wake of Bengaluru Mass Molestation

” The city of Bengaluru ( Bangalore) is set to witness mass protests over the recent incidents where women were groped, molested and harassed on New Year’s Eve despite strong police presence.. . A number of protests have been planned, with the first one being in front of the Karnataka High Court. Protesters carrying signs reading, “Touch me not,” “It’s not okay” and “My outfit is not an invitation,” gathered outside the judicial building, which is located next to the Karnataka legislative assembly building. .  “

You have probably heard the phrase, “We are what we repeatedly do “.

So, What Indians repeatedly do?

rape? ,  molestation? , harassment? , honour-killing? , female foeticide? ,and ?

It is our habits that defines us , not our circumstances . If you want to change your character , change your habits. Continue reading “An Insane Indian Society”

GST Explained : Understanding The New Generation Tax Regime

What is GST?

The Goods and Services Tax is meant to be a unified indirect tax across the country on
products and services. In the current system in India, tax is levied at each stage separately, by the Centre and the State, at varying rates, on the full value of the goods. But under the Goods and Services Tax system that is set to be introduced, tax will be levied only on the value ADDED at each stage. It is a single tax (collected at multiple points) with a full set-off for taxes paid earlier in the value chain.
Thus, the final consumer will bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply
chain with set-off benefits at all the previous stages.

Why was GST established?

The GST was established to subsume various indirect taxes levied at different levels,
reducing the red-tape, plugging leakages and paving the way for a transparent indirect tax regime.

What are the benefits of implementing the GST?

For business and industry
Easy compliance: A robust and comprehensive IT system is to be the foundation of the GST regime in India. Therefore, all services such as registrations, returns, and payments would be available to the taxpayers online, making compliance easy and transparent.
Uniformity of tax rates and structures: GST will ensure that indirect tax rates and structures are common across the country, thereby increasing certainty and ease of doing business. In other words, GST would make doing business in the country tax-neutral, irrespective of the choice of place of doing business.
Removal of cascading: A system of seamless tax-credits throughout the value-chain, and
across boundaries of States, would ensure that there is minimal cascading of taxes. This
would reduce hidden costs of doing business.
Improved competitiveness: Reduction in transaction costs of doing business would eventually lead to improved competitiveness for the trade and industry.
Gain to manufacturers and exporters: The subsuming of major Central and State taxes in
GST, complete and comprehensive set-off of input goods and services, and phasing out of
Central Sales Tax (CST) would reduce the cost of locally manufactured goods and services.
This will increase the competitiveness of Indian goods and services in the international
market and give boost to Indian exports. The uniformity in tax rates and procedures across the country will also go a long way in reducing the compliance cost.
For Central and State governments
Simple and easy to administer: Multiple indirect taxes at the Central and State levels are
being replaced by GST. Backed with a robust end-to-end IT system, GST would be simpler
and easier to administer than all other indirect taxes of the Centre and State levied so far.
Better controls on leakage: GST will result in better tax compliance due to a robust IT
infrastructure. Due to the seamless transfer of input tax credit from one stage to another in the chain of value addition, there is an in-built mechanism in the design of GST that would incentivize tax compliance by traders.
Higher revenue efficiency: GST is expected to decrease the cost of collection of tax revenues of the Government, and will therefore, lead to higher revenue efficiency.
For the consumer
Single and transparent tax proportionate to the value of goods and services: Due to multiple indirect taxes being levied by the Centre and State, with incomplete or no input tax credits available at progressive stages of value addition, the cost of most goods and services in the country today are laden with many hidden taxes. Under GST, there would be only one tax from the manufacturer to the consumer, leading to transparency  of taxes paid to the final consumer.
Relief in overall tax burden: Because of efficiency gains and prevention of leakages, the
overall tax burden on most commodities will come down, which will benefit consumers.

What are disadvantages of GST?

The main disadvantage is that tax on services is likely to go up. The second disadvantage
as feared by manufacturing States such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, is that
they will lose a major chunk of revenue earned from taxes on manufacturing. Since the tax structure will be uniform in the entire nation, States that traditionally attract investments may now lose some since manufacturers may turn to other States as well.

How will it impact inflation?

The impact of GST on inflation can be assessed only when the government decides the rate at which various goods and services will be taxed. Going by the definition of GST in the Bill, the tax burden on products will come down because only value addition will be taxed. In  the case of services, taxes are likely to go up since both State and Centre will levy tax, while presently only Centre charges tax for services.

What will be the impact of GST on GDP of the country?

According to Nomura, the short term impact of GST could be mixed. It could temporarily
hurt growth owing to an increase in taxes on services, which account for 60% of
India s GDP. It could also drive up headline CPI inflation by 20-70bps in the year of
implementation due to incomplete pass-through of tax savings by firms, while it could also raise general government (Centre + State) tax collection with the central government s share (within the GST tax base) most likely rising and that of the State falling. However, in the long term, the GST will be clearly positive as gains from a more efficient tax system, greater price competitiveness (reduced costs), and the removal of interstate tax barriers should boost growth via higher exports and investments, structurally lower inflation, and higher government (Centre + State) tax revenues, enabling greater general government fiscal consolidation.

How will GST affect the Common Man?

The impact of GST on the prices of goods and services will largely depend on the item in
question. It will also depend upon the respective State governments and their intervention with respect to controlling prices of essential commodities. Milk, for example, which is likely to see a spike in prices after GST is implemented, can still be sold at cheaper rates, if the state government offers a subsidy on it.
Whether the GST will be beneficial for the poor or not only time can tell. Prices of vegetables and fruits are likely to rise under the GST regime and services such as eating at restaurants will get more expensive. What will likely get cheaper are items such as clothes, as cascading taxes at various stages of manufacturing would no longer apply to them.

Is GST going to benefit people below the poverty line?

With respect to people living below the poverty line, while there might not be a direct
impact of GST as such since basic necessities like food are unlikely to attract GST, increased collections of GST with a larger tax base shall provide an impetus to the Government to allocate more money toward social and poverty alleviation programmes. Thus, GST should benefit all sections of the society.
Additionally, GST, being a nationwide tax, could lead to possibly higher inflation in the first few years of its introduction but would gradually increase the overall GDP.

 

What are the international lessons from GST implementation?

As of now, 160 nations have implemented VAT/GST. We have a company in China, which is yet to implement a uniform GST.
According to a Crisil report, when implemented in many countries, GST caused a spike in
inflation with the impact lasting 10-12 months. The duration of the impact on retail sales
varied, with consumer spending growth normalising within 3 months in Japan, Australia
and China, but taking as long as a year in Singapore. Also, most countries witnessed a
pre-GST spending rush. Malaysia, which implemented it in April 2015, saw a spending
rush — but not on big-ticket items. Sales of electronics & telecommunications equipment,
departmental and general stores, jewellery and watches, furniture, and apparel rose. This was reflected in the rise in credit card transactions and rise in narrow money supply, which captures the transactions demand for money. Consumer spending also surged in Australia, Japan, China and Singapore just before GST kicked in.

What are the issues that other countries have faced while implementing
GST?

Countries have faced initial bottlenecks, such as finding the VAT model to be very
complicated on account of huge diversity in application of exemptions. In the European
Union, there was a problem of reduced rates among member states. There have also been challenges pertaining to interpretation. Canada s challenge was the presence of a variety of tax rates under the GST/harmonised sales tax regime. There were post-implementation issues in Malaysia. Canada s British Columbia, after having harmonised its provincial retail sales tax with the GST in July 2010 rolled back to its earlier tax regime in 2013.
Despite these challenges, GST/VAT has emerged as the preferred form of indirect tax
system, being tax neutral, and offering a larger and more stable source of revenue. It is also potentially self-enforcing in nature. Gross domestic production of major economies such as New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and so on, have reported annual increases in gross domestic production by 2.43%, 0.87%, 7.02% and 2.57%, respectively.

Would the implementation of GST impact the federal structure?

 

The GST structure proposed for India is synchronised with the constitutional framework of the country, enabling concurrent levy and collection of GST by the Centre and the States. Therefore, considering the constitutional amendments carried out by the government, autonomy of the States is not expected to be impacted by the implementation of GST.

Is the GST Bill a Constitutional Amendment or a Finance
Bill or Tax Bill or Money Bill?

The Indian Constitution enumerates the taxation powers of the Centre and State under List I and List II of the Seventh Schedule. The Centre can pass laws on the heads mentioned under List I such as income tax and the States can pass laws on the heads mentioned in List II such as sales tax. To introduce the GST, which will subsume many of these taxes, hence requires amendment of the Constitution. The Bill that will include the exact form and processes of the GST will be drafted and moved in both Houses after consulting with the States.

Now the Government presented & passed the GST bill as a a Money Bill in Lok Sabha.

What are the differences between VAT and GST?

VAT is Value Added Tax, which is considered the first step towards moving to a GST
regime. VAT is charged on the increase in value of an article at each stage of its production or distribution. This is exactly how GST will be levied on products. However, VAT applies to goods sold and not services, which comes under service tax. GST is applicable for both goods and services, and at a uniform rate.
Also, a host of other indirect taxes are levied at various levels along with VAT. When GST is introduced, all of them will go.

What are the benefits and demerits of GST in comparison to the current
VAT regime?

Principally, GST is going to be a destination-based consumption tax and shall operate on
the premise that value addition shall be taxed and input tax credit can be claimed at each stage of the economic supply chain. If a comparison of GST is done with the current State VAT/CST regime, there are multiple benefits, and some of the key benefits have been stated
below:
• Uniform tax law across the States
• Elimination of tax cascading effect; no tax on tax
• Elimination of the concept of concessional forms (like Form C, Form I, Form H )
• Minimisation of rate classification disputes
• No CST cost to buyers in other States
• No input tax credit reversal in cases of stock transfers from one State to another
• More credits to businesses as compared to now (i.e. a service provider can claim input
GST credit on goods, which isnt allowed today)
• Simpler compliances

Why should there be an SGST and CGST, and not one GST governed
by a single body?

The Indian Constitution has a federal structure that gives the Centre and States powers to
legislate and govern on several subjects. Under this structure, the Centre and States have
been empowered to levy taxes on goods and services under different indirect tax laws. The dual GST that is proposed in India would give equal powers to both the Centre the States to levy GST. This will ensure that the fiscal autonomy of the States and the overall spirit of cooperative federalism are maintained.
Given the fact that a dual GST shall be implemented in India on account of the federal
structure of the Constitution, it is not possible to have a single body administering the levy and collection of GST across the country.

What will happen to various cesses such as Swachh Bharat cess and
Krishi Kalyan cess?

Cesses such as the Swachh Bharat cess and Krishi Kalyan cess, which are in relation to
supply of goods and services, are proposed to be subsumed by the GST. This also emerges
from a reading of the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill passed by both Houses of
Parliament.

What are the taxes that will be eliminated after implementation of
GST?

The following taxes will go:

At the Central level:
• Central Excise Duty
• Additional Excise Duty
• Service Tax
• Additional Customs Duty commonly known as Countervailing Duty, and
• Special Additional Duty of Customs
At the State level:
• State Value Added Tax/Sales Tax
• Entertainment Tax (other than the tax levied by the local bodies), Central Sales Tax
(levied by the Centre and collected by the States)
• Octroi and Entry tax,
• Purchase Tax,
• Luxury tax, and
• Taxes on lottery, betting and gambling.
• Fat tax imposed in Kerala

How will the Centre distribute the collected tax to the states?

The tax collected as CGST goes to the Centre, while SGST goes to States. Only in the case of
inter-State transactions, the Centre will intervene. In such cases, the Centre will levy and
collect the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST).
The inter-State seller would pay IGST to the Central Government on the sale of his goods
after adjusting credit of IGST, CGST and SGST on his purchases (in that order). The
exporting State will transfer to the Centre the credit of SGST used in payment of IGST. The importing dealer will claim credit of IGST while discharging his output tax liability (both CGST and SGST) in his own State. The Centre will transfer to the importing State the credit of IGST used in payment of SGST. Since GST is a destination-based tax, all SGST on the final product will ordinarily accrue to the consuming State.

Why are some States worried about compensation, and why is compensation
needed?

Under the proposed GST regime, the foremost amongst the continuing worries of various
State Governments is the potential loss of revenues. Manufacturing States are most worried regarding loss of revenues, since the current taxation regime which is an origin-based tax will shift to being a destination-based tax. In an origin-based tax system, tax is collected where the supplier of goods is located while in a destination based system, tax in collected where the consumer of a product is located. Thus, States with a greater manufacturing setup fear a big revenue loss on account of movement of goods from their States.
Further, the States currently levy taxes like VAT, entry tax, luxury tax, and so on, on the sale of goods which will get subsumed under GST. Under GST, the States may not have complete autonomy to introduce any new tax at will. Further, any change to tax rates would have to be within a narrow band prescribed by the GST Council and will need to be agreed to with three-fourth majority at the GST Council. On account of the above reasons, many States fear a fall in their revenues and, thus, are seeking to be compensated for such loss.

What is going to be the effect of GST on the States?

States are going to experience a major change in the entire tax administration and levy
structure due to the advent of GST. Introduction of GST will have the following major
effects on the States:
• Movement of GST revenues from the origin States to the destination States.
• Loss of revenue due the abolishment of State levies like VAT, entry tax, luxury tax, and
so on, which will get subsumed under GST.
• Dilution of fiscal autonomy, as the States will not be allowed to introduce any new taxes,
change rates of tax, or give exemptions to any class of goods or services as they will.
• A potential increment in the State revenues on account of collection of GST on services
being received in their States, as also with IGST being applicable on import, and interState
trade, the State portion of which will belong to them.
• States will need to learn taxation of services. It would be particularly relevant for state
authorities to educate themselves with the place of supply rules for services and the
principles governing intra-state and inter-state supply of services. Ensuring no evasion
and dual taxation of service transactions across state boundaries could be a colossal task
for the States.

How one can say that government revenue will increase once GST is
implemented?

The proposed GST structure in India is expected to be broad based. GST is expected to
harmonise and consolidate multiple indirect taxes in India by widening the tax-base and
cutting down exemptions, lowering the exemption thresholds particularly for central excise from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs. 10 lakh, mitigating cascading and double taxation, and promoting voluntary compliances through the lowering of the overall tax burden. GST is expected to tax services which are not being taxed at present and also encourage voluntary compliance, which on the other hand would encourage sectors currently under parallel economy to become part of the mainstream. All these factors are expected to boost tax revenues.

Under the present indirect tax regime, the Central Government levies tax on services at the rate of 15% whereas the Centre and the State Governments together charge taxes (excise duty, value added tax, entry tax, and so on) on goods at a variable range of 6 to 40%.
Under the GST regime, it has been proposed that the GST Council will decide GST rates
with the consensus of the Centre and the States. Presently, there is no clarity on the GST
rates that are likely to be proposed by the GST Council. In this regard, reference can be
made to the report issued by the chief economic advisor (Arvind Subramanian). The report suggests a revenue neutral rate of 18% (the rate at which the Government would continue earning what it has been earning under the existing tax regime), a standard GST rate in the range of 15 to 15.5%, and a lower rate of 12% on certain goods. Further, a higher rate of 40%  has been proposed on certain de-merit goods such as aerated beverages, luxury cars, and so on. Therefore, one can infer that the standard GST rate is likely to be in the range of 16-18% with a lower/higher rate on certain goods.

Given that most of the taxes presently being charged are likely to be subsumed under the
GST, it is being expected that the revenues earned by the governments will increase for the following reasons:
• Exemptions under the GST regime will be substantially reduced to allow free flow of
credits in the supply chain. Presently, numerous goods and services enjoy exemptions,
resulting in lower tax revenues to the exchequer.
• GST will broad base the tax-paying population. It is pertinent to note that even at the
time of the introduction of VAT (value-added tax), tax revenues of the states actually
went up instead of falling. Tax evasions are currently prevalent in the form of fallacious
claim of exemptions or lower duty rates or as attempts to escape the levy of noncreditable taxes. Since GST will have the same rate for almost all the products and
services, with no or least exemptions and free flow of credits, it is likely to encourage
compliance.
• The revenues from services sector are likely to increase. The sector presently attracts a
lower rate of 15%, which is expected to go up.
• Further, the State Governments which were only entitled to earn taxes arising on sale of goods in their respective States will now earn GST on the services being received by the assesses in their States.
• States will be entitled for their portion of SGST on the Integrated GST ( IGST) applicable
on all inter-State trade. This will include IGST on import transactions, which presently
belongs to the Central Government only. Further, a part of CGST and Centre s share of
IGST will also be apportioned to the States.