Trust in government


Democracy is the government of the people. Once the people have elected a party to power, the intellectuals, NGOs, social activists etc. should repose faith in the intentions, ability , fairness etc. of the government and allow the government to pursue its policies, programmes etc. vigorously and should not organise agitations etc. which would slow the programmes of the government. However, every one has freedom of speech etc and they can try to explain to the people  as to how the current government’s  policies are against their interests.If the people are convinced of the opposition’s view they would vote out the present government in the next elections and bring in a new party to power.

Further whatever a Minister 9r a bureaucrat does in g00d faith should not be questioned by a successor government. This is necessary to ensure that the Ministers and bureaucrats do not avoid implementing their policies in fear of being questioned later.

Alternate building materials-need to develop


The economy of India suffered in the recent past due to lower growth rate in construction sector. The construction sector suffered because of shortage of sand and the controls imposed by state governments on samd quarrying. There is public opinion against exploitation of sand. The state governments should do more on encouraging and funding research on making sea sand suitable for construction by modifying the same, Similarly a time may come when there will be shortage of raw materials for cement. The same may be the case for iron as well. The governments should fund extensive research on developing alternate materials for sand, cement and iron. Though wood is a renewable source, there could be constraints on its supply. Bricks may not pose a big problem.Shortage of manpower may arise with the expandion of manufacturing and service industries.Mechanisation needs to be introduced on a larger scale.

Telangana and Seemandhra


The agitations in Telangana and Seemandhra could have been avoided to a large extent if Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated a decade ago.

Also, along with announcement of creation of Telangana, several developmental projects like construction of dams, power plants, railway zone or one or two railway divisions, railway workshops, an international airport, establishment of a major seaport, additions to national highways establishment of industrial zones, establishment of central university, super specialty hospital, agricultural, medical and scientific research institutes etc. should have been announced.

Sale of shares to public- strike by employees of NLC


Government of India, the owners of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), holding over 90% of the shares of the company have decided to sell 5% of the shares to the public, to comply with the guidelines of Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI). Thereafter at the request of the Tamilnadu Govt. central govt have agreed to sell the shares to an undertaking of Tamilnadu govt. The employees of NLC have gone on an indefinite strike demanding the owners not to sell the shares.

The question now is whether the employees have or can be given the right to force the owners to do what they want when the matter does not relate to their working conditions or salaries etc. It is not for the employees to talk of the pros and cons of the actions of the management. Their only concern should be their working conditions, salaries etc. Of course political parties and the public have right to organize agitations etc. against government move. Employees as part of the public can join these agitations but should not be allowed to continue the strike

Nuclear Power Plant- issue to be left to referendum


In the context of the agitations for stopping the work of Koodankulam Nuclear power plant in Tamilnadu and phasing out of other
nuclear power plants and the views of experts on the safety of these plants, one has to carefully consider the pros and cons.

1. India’s demand for power is increasing and the present supply is grossly inadequate.

2.Inida does not have sufficient coal reserves to meet requirements of existing and new thermal plants

3. The scope for new hydro-electric plants is limited

4. Nuclear power production does not pollute the atmosphere as thermal plants.

5. There are adequate safedguard to prevent any leakage of radio activity. The Japan power plants are about 40 years old and those did not have safeguards as the new ones.

6. Nuclear technology development cannot take place if we give up building nuclear power plants.

The points against the nuclear energy are:

1.If a developed safety conscious country like Japan coud not ensure safety to the people from nuclear power plant, how will India do it

2.The alternatives to nuclear energy viz wind power, solar power, biogas/biomass power have not been fully utilised and exhausted. Solar and biomass energy alone can meet the exising and emerging need for energy

3. Sea waves have not been exploited for generating elecricity and the potential is said to be immense

4. Solar and biomass energy also do not contribute to pollution

5. Unlike nuclear energy, solar, wind and biomass energy plants can be dispersed across the country which would mean less transmission losses.

Both points of view are convincing.But a decision can be taken not only on the merits of the case, but also based on the aspirations and fears of the people, particularly in a democratic country like India. Though the government has been elected democratically, it may not be correct to say that it has the authority in such cases to take a decision without reference to the people. Thus it seems that the government should hold a referendum among the people within a radious of certain distance who could be the immediate victims if anything happens. It referendum should be confined to such people. This is because, people living near nuclear plants shold not be made to take wha they call “risk” to their life as well as the life of the future generation, for the betterment of themselves and the other people of India

Wanted long term land policy


India needs a long term land policy.Government would need to acquire agricultural and othere land for a large number of public projects and private projects which are in public interest. Therefore, government should:-

i.stop distributing government(paramboke) land to anyone-landless or houseless people. This should be kept for giving to the families from whom agricultural land or housesites/buildings are acquired for public purposes. If this had been done from the beginning, there would not have been so many agitations against land acquisitions. The land should only be leased out with the condition that the lease may be terminated with a one year notice. This is to see that the land does not remain unused.

ii.government should acquire land only for present use and should not acquire larger land in the name of using it in future and thus should not keep the land fallow, thereby depriving the country of production of food grains on these lands.

iii. all government housing schemes for the low or medium or high income groups as well as government buildings for offices, schools, hospitals etc. should be multi-storied so that lesser land is used.

iv. even for private housing projects, plans should be approved only if the buildings are multi-storied.

v.even in the case of buildings by private individuals, they should be encouraged to build more than one floor by offering loans at concessional rates of interest.

vi.multi-storied parking places should be encouraged or the government should itself build to save space on parking.

Black Money- Government powers are limited


A lot of discussions,meetings, agitations etc are taking place in India asking the Government to bring back the black money of Indians to India. In this connections,there appear to be the following constraints

1. the money belongs to individuals In he normal course, only the owners can take the money from the banks, though the government can explore possibilities of freezing the accounts etc but then the government should have details. individual depositors or foreign banks will not disclose the details.

2. The money is not with the foreign governments It is with the banks in foreign countries. Government of India can only negotiate with the foreign governments and not with the foreign banks as the banks would not negotiate with any one except the depositors Foreign governments may not be able to interfere with the banks without enacting new laws.

3 even if foreign governments enact laws to empower themselves to ask their banks to transfer the money to any bank in India, the foreign banks may not agree. the banks may go to the courts. courts will take into account the laws in existence at the time of deposit of the money.

From the above, it appears that it may not be easy for the government to bring the black money to India. But the government can certainly encourage those who have black money abroad to bring the same to India, by waiving punishment, penalty and also offering lower rates of tax. For example government can announce that the black money can be transferred to India and that those who transfer would need to pay tax of only 20% or 25% and that no questions would be asked. Since the deposits in foreign banks carry no or very low interest, most of the depositors would be willing park their money in Indian banks which pay nearly 10% interest.Unlike in the past,foreign exchange is easily avialable for all legitimate purposes. And also as the Indian Rupee is fairly stable, there is no particular advantage for majority of the people to keep their money abroad. Considering all these,some depositors may not mind paying a penalty/higher tax of 35% or 40% or even more)