Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of India , conferred “in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour” It consists of a Certificate and a Medallian. At present there is no monetary grant and there are no cash concessions like free air/train/bus travel for self and attendants, These need to be extended to Bharat Ratna and Padma awardees, though they may not require these, but as a token of the country’s gratitude these could be considered. The awardees should also be extended courtesies of invitation for all major local government functions and the government officers should show due courtesies whenever the Awardeed contact them personally or otherwise. Bharat Ratna holders are appropriatelyincluded in the Table of Precedence. Padma Awardees should also be included in the Table oir Precedence at appropriate places.
The Awardees are not permitted to suffix or prefix the awards to their names as per the constitution. There appears to be no good reason to deny this.
World food situation is not as alarming as is reported by FAO, media etc.
1.If D.R.Congo and Angola which together have as much land as India (over3 million sq.km) and which receive as much rainfall as India could bring under cultivation as large land as India, get yield of 2.5MT/ha as in India ( which is very low compared to world average or countries like China,US,) and produce about230 million MT, Africa will become self sufficient in food grains.The world will become surplus in grains for many years to come.
2.If India increases yield from 2.5MT/ha on its cereal acreage of 92 million ha to about 4 MT/ha (against china’s yield of 5.5MT/ha and US’ yield of 6.9 MT/ha) the additional food production of about 138 million MT will wipe out deficit in Africa. The world would be faced with huge surplus leading to fall in prices.
3.If US and other developed countries bring down the consumption of meat by 50%, consumption still being many times that of India, the grains saved from feeding animals will more than offset the African grain deficit and the world will have surplus for many years.
4.If Russia can increase average yield on its 32 million ha from 1.8 MT/ha to3.8 MT/ha half of the deficit in Africa will be wiped out.
5.If African countries selling/leasing out land to foreigners insist on the investors cultivating food grains crops, Africa will become surplus in food grains.
6.If peace is brought in countries which have internal strife, food grains production in those countries will increase to the extent of removing food shortage in Africa.
From the above it is clear that it is not difficult to remove hunger from the world
In the past -in 50s and 60s,the minimum qualification required for admission to most of the trades in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) is pass in 8th Class,while at present only for a very few-one or two-courses the minimum qalification required is 8th Class,while for the rest, it is 10th class. Similarly one could go for Teachers Training course after passing 8th class, to be able to teach in primary schools, while at present it is pass in 12th class. With a view to bring more people to work force, it would be useful if minimum qualification required for admission to ITIs and Teachers’ Training Institutes is brought down to 8th class.
Similarly,there was a category of doctors who spent just 3 years after school education to become doctors. This course should be revived.
The school education now consists of 5 years of primary education, 3 years higher elementary education,2 years high school and 2 years higher secondary school edcation, making a total of 12 years. This can be reduced initially to 11 years and later to 10 years. One should go for university education- degree course in Arts, science,medicine etc after completing 10 years of school education. Thls will make available to the country about 10% additional work force.
In India, life expectancey at birth has increased to about 67 years now (2011)from around 32 in 1951. Correspondingly the retirement age should also go up. It would probably be just to increase retirement age to 65.This alone will increase the strength of the work force by about 10% – 15%
The larger the work force the higher the GDP of the country. One of the reasons for higher Per capita GDP in developed countries is that over 65% of the population there work.Similarly one of the reasons for lower Per capita GDP in developing countries paticlarly the ones in Africa is that there the work force is less than 50% of the population,mainly due to high birth rates.
In India Rs.25 can get one kilogram of good quality rice. In United States of America US$ 1 can buy one kg of comparable quality of rice. The rice being same in both cases, US$1 should be equal to Rs.25. But one can get in the banks or elsewhere about Rs.50 for 1 US$. This means that Indian Rupee is undervalued by 2 times. In some other cases 1 US$ may be equal to Rs.50 or Rs.20 or so. When we take the value of the total production of goods and services, i.e. GDP.we get an idea of how much the currency of a country is undervalued or overvalued. International Financial organisations like IMF, compute the GDP of a country both in nominal terms ie. on the basis of rates of exchange and on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms. From these figures we find that while currencies of most of the developed countries are overvalued, the currencies of the developing countries are generally undervalued.
The major countries whose currencies are undervalued are:
1.India by 2.8 times
2.Iran by 2.2 times
3.Taiwan by 2.2 times
4.China by 1.9 times
5.Mexico by 1.7 times
6.Russia by 1.6 times
7.South Korea by 1.6 times
8.Poland by 1.6 times
9.Turkey by 1.6 times
10.Indonesia by 1.6times
The overvalued major currencies are those of:
1.Australis 1.4 times
2.Canada 1.2 times
3.Japan 1.2 times
4.Italy 1.2 times
5.France 1.2 times
In the past Indian Rupee was undervalued by 3-4 times. As the economy expands,the currency becomes stronger. May be in the coming years, as the economy expands,Indian Rupee may not be so much undervalued as now. This will mean that the imported goods may not be so much costly as now.
There is a lot of scope in developing countries for creation of employment avenues. In developed countries, the scope for laying new roads is limited as they already have sufficient roads. Similarly, there is very limited scope for laying railway lines, drawing electricity and telecommunication lines, in building houses, in building lakes and digging canals, laying sewerage, expanding supply of piped gas etc., as saturation point has already reached. But in developing countries, the scope is unlimited. In other words, while it is difficult to generate employment in advanced countries, it is very easy to do so in developing countries.
All the works mentioned above, will not only eliminate unemployment, but would lead to labour shortage. However, priority should be established for undertaking the different works. Irrigation and agriculture should get the top priority. After digging lakes and irrigation wells around the lakes, it takes only about 4-5 months to get additional production of food grains. The second priority should be to set up cotton ginning, spinning and weaving mills and ready made garment units.
Funds should not be a problem as currency notes can be printed. This will not lead to long term inflation as with the digging of lakes, wells and canals, the production of food grains and other agricultural produce will increase which will lead to decrease in prices. Inflation would be there only for a short time, between the start of the work for digging lakes etc and the harvesting of the agricultural produce.
By 2025, India will be the largest country in the world ahead of China. Every fifth person in the world will be an Indian. More than 4 out of 5 persons in the world will be from the present developing countries. This should be kept in mind in the negotiations between the developed and developing countries.
While the developed countries should be requested to transfer technologies to reduce carbon and other harmful emissions into the atmosphere by the developing countries, the developing countries should not make their commitments to reduce emissions on the developed countries making financial and technological contributions. There is no doubt that the lifestyle of people in developed countries contribute to large scale emissions. But sadly developing countries, imitate the life style in developed countries. India for example could do with much less than the present number of vehicles, two wheelers as well as four wheelers. India could introduce two wheeler taxis as in Vietnam and Thailand which would save huge quantity of petroleum products. India should find ways for avoiding feeding of the chicken and cows with grains as in developed countries
India however, is contributing to the cleaner atmosphere, by not consuming as much meat as in developed and other developing countries. It is estimated that if people give up non-vegetarian food, the arable land required in the world would be just one third of the present area. Of course, it is not suggested that non-vegetarians should become vegetarians. Instead, people should invent technologies to increase the yield of food grains.
There is a lot of talk on planting trees. There should also be emphasis on deepening existing lakes and digging new lakes- water reservoirs-to conserve water. Trees need water to grow.
Food and Agriculture Organisagion (FAO) says that about one billion people, i.e. about 15% of the world’s population, are suffering from hunger. The people in this group are unable to feed themselves as food prices are high, which restricts access.
Most of the world’s grains are exported by developed countries and imported mainly by developing countries with a few exceptions. India is among the countries which import food grains, occasionally, if not regularly. In the years to come, India’s imports of food grains will increase. In such a situation, India should argue for ways and means of making food grains cheaper in the international market.
However, at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations of Doha Round, India, along with a few developing countries, is opposing the subsidies given by USA and Europe to their farmers. This approach seems to be wrong. Farm subsidies in developed countries make food grains cheaper in the domestic and international markets. Food-importing developing countries, including India, should be happy that the food-exporting developed countries make their produce cheap in the international market by subsidizing their farmers.
In the initial years of India’s independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister, was also the Minister of External Affairs. Before independence, he was in charge of the foreign relations committee of the Congress Party. He had traveled widely and had personal friendship with several world leaders. He was considered to be an intellectual. Compared with his cabinet colleagues or opposition leaders, he was thought to be great. Perhaps in view of this, Parliament or the political leaders took for granted that the foreign policy of the government serves the best interests of the country in particular and the developing countries in general. Hence, the parliament members did not bother to discuss the foreign policy in details. This tradition has continued even after the Nehru era. This is not a healthy development.
There is a need for critical scrutiny of the foreign policy of India by the Parliament and political parties.
During the past few years till 2007, the economy of almost every country has witnessed significant growth. According to data from the International Monetary Fund, global GDP grew from around US$51 trillion in 2004 to around US$65 trillion in 2007 – more than 25% in 3 years. The GDP growth rate in 2007 was 5%, which is considered to be a good rate. The economies of developed countries, such as tthe US, Japan and those of the European Union, grew by 2- 3% in 2007. This is solid given the large base of these countries. In the case of developing countries, such as India and China, growth rates of 7-10% are considered solid given their low base. These countries have registered such growth rates over the past 4-5 years.
GDP growth rates peaked in most countries during 2007 and since then there has been slower growth. It is important to note that most countries are witnessing a decline in growth rate, not negative growth. The decline is expected to last for the next 2-3 years before the trend is reversed. The Indian economy registered a growth rate of over 9% in 2007 and despite news of an economic crisis, the economy is expected to grow at around 7% in 2008. The US economy grew 2.2% in 2007 is expected to decelerate to less than 2% in 2008. In 2009, even if the growth rate is less than that in 2008, it should not be cause for alarm. For a large , developed economy, even a 1% growth rate is positive considering population growth is less than 1%. So in this perspective, the current economic situation is less of a crisis and more a slowdown. The sensational news stories of economic meltdown are exactly that, sensational. The actual concern should be on the future and how growth rates develop over the next few years.
The stock market situation is somewhat similar in its lack of fundamental change. Take for example the Bombay Stock Exchange in India; its Sensex benchmark rose from around 10,000 in early 2006 to over 20,000 in early 2008, doubling in 2 years. Naturally, such an increase motivates initial investors to take profit by selling their shares. The Sensex is again around the 10,000 level. I expect investors, both new and old, to start entering the market at this level. We have to remember that since 1978-79 when the Sensex was at 100, the index has reached to 10,000 in 2008, a 100-fold increase in 30 years. The price of gold has increased only by 20 times in the same period.
I believe that both the global economy and stock markets will face pressure in the short term, with industry being hit. However, with prudent intervention, I believe long term trends are positive.