BRICS

15/04/2012

There is need for a wide and intense public debate on India’s membership of various regional and other forums like BRICS. Some of the points to be debated are:

1.Whether BRICS will push up Russia and China to more prominent roles on par with that of United States in world affairs

2.Mmbership of fora like BRICS diverts attention from bing focussed on other imprtant and urgent issues

3.There is not much comonality of interests between India and some other BRICS members. Increasing gold prices benefit Soth Africa,Russia and China who are major prodcers while it badly affects India, which is a large importer.

4. Increae in oil prices is against India’s interests, but to be on the other side of US,Russia and China often take positions fabourable to oil exporting Arab countries.

5.Rupee trade agreements were in practice decades ago between India and countries like East European contries, Egypt. India does not have to be member of BRICS to practic it again and with any country to increase trade

6. Extending more credit in Indian Rupees to developing contries will lead to increase in India’s exorts.

7.. To increase exports and also imports, India should become a trading nation like Singapore, UAE,Hong Kong etc.to emerge as one of the top 5 importers/exprters. Indian Missions in BRICS countries can play a larger role to forge closer relations even without the existence of BRICS forum

8.India’s inerests and concerns appear to correspond to those of US in matters like fight
against terrorism, nuclear programme of new countries, democracy, individual’s freedom, fundamental rights etc.

9.The common futures which exist between these countries may not continue in future also.

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Gap between the rich and the poor

15/03/2010

It was and continues to be fashion with leftist intellectuals and political parties to speak of the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer in India, thus widening the gap between the rich and the poor. They find fault with the present and past governments for this.

 The rich are becoming richer because of the hard and long hours of work they put in. Similarly, the poor are becoming poorer because of their refusal to work hard and longer.

In the past, agricultural workers used to work for 8 hours a day but now they work only for 4-5 hours in most of the places. During this period, they take breaks for drinking water, smoking, tea and for lunch. The owner of a provision store who is rich, works from about 7 am to 9 pm i.e. for 14hours a day, taking break only for lunch and that too only for short time. The same is the case with other rich people.

 To meet the increased cost of living, the workers in United States and other developed countries look for second and third jobs. In India they look to the governments and the governments readily come up with more grants and subsidies as well as free supplies, while there is acute labour shortage in every sector of the economy- agriculture, construction, small scale industry, plantation, transport, domestic etc. The people who work for 4-5 hours can easily find second and even third jobs in their localities themseves in agriculture, construction etc. which would enable them not only to meet both ends meet but also have savings for them and their children.

It is time the governments reduce the grants and subsidies and advise the people to look for second and third shift jobs. The governments may however, simultaneously assist the people to acquire new skills for working in construction, small scale,  plantation, transport and other sectors


Inadequate Government Staff

24/08/2009

The majority of government employees in India is not fully devoted to duty. There are avoidable and long delays in rendering services. However, even if all the staff put in 8 hours of devoted duty, there would still be delays and work to attend to. Contrary to widespread belief, there is need for more public service staff.

According to government statistics, the staff strength in various governments in India is as below;

Source: Government of India Statistics

Source: Government of India Statistics

Consider the central government, the Indian Railways and Ministry of Communications together employ about 2.4 million employees. This leaves only 1.0 million employeesto deal with the remaining innumerable issues!

Unfortunately the 5th Pay Commission, instead of recommending an increase in staff strength, has recommended reduction in staff. Malaysia with a population of less than 25 million has government staff strength of 0.85 million. At this rate, India for its population of over1,150 million should have an employees strength of about 40 million, i.e. about twice the present strength.

Canada with a population of about 30 million employs 28.5 million staff in government services at federal, provincial and municipal levels. For central government service, Canada employs 500,000 staff. At a comparable rate in India, the central government should have 16 million employees, but it has less than 4 million. Similarly, the total government and quasigovernment employees should be 80 million against the present strength of 20 million.

During 1995 in Japan, the ratio of civil servants (employees of national and local governments and public enterprises) to the total population was 3.8%.  The ratio was 7.5% in the United States and 9.7% in France, but in India, it was only 2%.

In order to avoid delays and render quick and quality service, it is necessary for India to increase the number of government employees.