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Krishna Kumar Singh, also known among friend circles KK and among close relative Krishna; Matriculation from Mithila High School Balour, Darbhanga in 1959, Graduated in Political Science Honours from C M College, Darbhanga, Bihar University in 1963; Joined post-graduate in Political Science the same year but dropped; joined Naxal movement under Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Satya Narayan Singh and Umadhar Singh in between but circumstances compelled to join literary work, clerk, proof readers etc in different publishing houses for livelihood; Finally joined journalism as career in different English newspapers and before my retirement from active journalism, I worked in The Times of India for about 19 years and retired as Chief Reporter  a few years back; continuing in journalism-reading more and more, writing more and more and praying to Almighty more and more-currently writing for different national English and Hindi dailies and magazines..

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

INDIAN BUREAUCRACY, LEGACY OF BRITISH EMPIRE, ARE MOST CORRUPT IN LEAGUE WITH POLITICAL CLASSES !


     Indian bureaucracy -----Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Secrvice ( IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and other central services and states services----have become much-maligned today in the wake of the degeneration of India with creeping corruption, inefficiency and of all lack of vision  because of  the encouragement of corrupt and thug political classes ,ruling the India successively since independence ! Among the many things our bureaucrats are worse legacies of the British Empire ! The Indian civil servants have become massively corrupt. Even Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India had little respect for the bureaucrats in India .As Pundit Nehru put in his autobiography, written in 1935, ' few things are more striking  today in India than the progressive deterioration, moral and intellectual, of the higher services, more specially, the Indian Civil Services (ICS). This is most in evidence  in the superior officials, but it runs like a thread  throughout the services'. Nehru had called officials as 'imperialists  stooges'.The time changed. And after independence, Nehru entrusted the officials of the ICS to conduct the gigantic tasks of 1952 general elections, the first elections in independence India hesitatingly because there were no alternatives. Moreover,'great credit  is  due to those who are in charge of this stupendous first experiment in Indian history. Bureaucracy has certainly proved its worth by honestly discharging the duties imposed on it by a honest prime minister', Lucknow based sociologist D P Mukherji commented.  The author of the book-India After Gandhi--Ramachandra Guha has written," in this respect, the 1952 elections was a script jointly authored by  historical forces for so long opposed to one another: British colonialism and Indian Nationalism. Between them these forces had given this new nation what could be fairly described jump -start to democracy."

   In fact the bureaucracy, as it exists today, is essentially, a creation of British Raj. At that time, it gave slaved India, and administration that was impartial but insensitivity. Eminent bureaucrat of independent India T N  Seshan, in his book---The  Degeneration of India---with his co-author journalist Sanjoy Hazarika has written, " the close association of the administration with the ruling colonial regime bred a natural suspicion of them among political activists. After all, the politicians were involved in the independence movement. The job of the administration was to suppress that campaign -any movement that constituted a challenge to colonial authority---and toss people in jail................The suspicion and hostility of the politicians towards civil servant and vice-versa has continued even after independence.. Each saw the other as a threat to his or her position and a competing centre of power...........The main civil service as it operates across the country's districts, which is where its impact is most pronounced, has two arms: the Collector (also known as the district magistrate or deputy commissioner) and the  Superintendent of police. Several  collector ates are grouped under a senior administrator, known as commissioner to form a division. The senior police officials, who ranks at the same level as the commissioner, is a deputy inspector general of police, some time an inspector general...At the second tier, the state level , the top officials is the chief secretary.......director general of [police is similar.....the top layer in the whole country comprises, the cabinet secretary, who is supposed to do on a national level what the chief secretary of a state does............" In nut sell this is the structures of bureaucracy in India.
        There were a few officials like Lalan Prasad Singh, ICS, former union home secretary. P C Alexander, secretary to Indira Gandhi ands Rajiv Gandhi, K Pradhan, former union home secretary, T N Seshan, former chief of the Election Commissioner of India, former rural development secretary  N C Saxena etc, who proved their metal and did not  buckle under political pressures and remained officials of proven integrity. Although political interferences in administrative work started  just after independence ,Pundit Nehru, Sardar Patel, the chief ministers, B C Roy (West Bengal , B G Kher (Bombay), S K Sinha (Bihar), G V Pant (Uttar Pradesh), R S Shukla (central province ), Kamaraj ((Tamil Nadu)  were the political personalities, who never tolerated any interferences in the domains of bureaucrats  by ruling or opposition political elites and rather, they protected the officials from any wrong-doings of ruling political classes  in the respective states and at the centre.

        But the deterioration in civil service began in 1960s. The successive brand of politicians in league with officials started indulging in corruption to mint money. Not only in corruption, they indulged but both officials and political classes bended rules, acts, and some cases even the Constitution for ' wrong doings.' Both the groups ganged up together in defeating India's first post-independence experiment with devolution of power to the villagers or the panchayati raj system. Both the groups ganged up in such way while implementing the system,, the experiment ended up in joke in early 1950s to 1970s. It was corrected only the prime minister ship of Rajiv Gandhi when an Act for Panchayati Raj was enacted .Another casualty in the confrontation between the civil service and politicians was the police, especially the lower constabulary and the general administration. Officials began siding with the ruling politicians because they were more vulnerable. Police connived with the ruling politicians for creating jungle raj instead of rule of law. In the merciless attack on bureaucracy, the American humorist P J O'Rourke says that since the 'actual work of government is too unglamourous for the people who govern us', they create' bureaucratic departments to perform the humdrum tasks of national supervision. Government proposes, bureaucracy disposes. And the bureaucracy must dispose of government proposals by dumping them on us' (O'Rourke, 1992)

       These days civil service is confused It is in search of an identity, but its role is determined by the perception of its political masters, not by the people. In this manner, the Indian  bureaucracy , like other arms of governance in India is on 'slippery downward slope' Rewards are sought and given not for merit and efforts but for those who can cut deals, broker arrangements. Seshan says in his book, " India's political structure and philosophy now says that  everything is acceptable unless you are caught or being blackmailed. Civil servants have taken a leaf from politicians in this regard:if you find some thing illegal, like accepting or demanding dowry, then there are two options before you. Neither option is honest one. It is a choice, these days, between resorting to influence peddling to get out of a fix or just brazening it out.. In addition, civil servants are battered to death, openly assaulted in their offices, intimidated in other ways including transfers and threat of foisted corruption charges "

        .The Indian civil service is still on the same pattern of frame built by  the British Raj. In India, IAS and other allied services men are considered  'highest elite classes' in the society even today. These IAS officials get training in British pattern since they join as probationers in Mussoorie. IAS probationers have been allotted to stay at the grandest, the Charleville, that stood on a ridge in Happy Valley and boasted a stay by the Prince of Wales (later George fifth) and Princess Mary of Teck, who in 1906 could never have envisaged that 50 years later everything devised for their comforts-the kitchens, the stables, the dinning rooms, the linen cupboards--would be in the hands of the people banned from the mall. Ian Jack  has written in the Guardian , " everything has changed , nothing has changed. The era that produced hill stations also laid down the foundations of the Indian Administrative Service, the IAS, which together with the Indian Foreign Service used to attract (and arguably still does) the brightest from each generation.. The IAS owes its structures to the British India Civil service, the ICS, which administered the country as a colonial possession from 1858 until 1947 through district officer system, in which a young Briton, public school and Ox bridge educated, passed a  highly competitive examination and after some  tuition in Indian languages and customs was given charge of an Indian district as populous as an English country, where under various titles (collector, district magistrate, deputy commissioners) he took charge of law and order and land revenues and any other piece of government policy that needed enforcing........."

        "............Lloyd George called it "the steel frame on which  the whole structure of our government and of our administration in India rests" and the IAS has kept the steel frame pretty much intact. Its officers exercise enormous authority over a district population of between one and two million, some time barely familiar with the  local language, apt to be lonely, forever facing the temptation of bribery. And they start so young, so terribly young. The new  recruits in Mussoorie, the lucky thousands who have been chosen from 500,000 candidates by excelling in exams and interviews  , are young enough to address visitors as Sir or Madam, but in a year or two they will sit as rulers of their small kingdoms,  having been examined in Hindi, the Constitution and the Laws. A young ICS man, setting out from Tilbury to India in 1910, would have felt no less blessed or anxious."

     In a country that over the past 20 years has been transformed -some would say disfigured-by private money, the IAS has survived as a a still-impressive public institution. As the College's deputy director Ranjana Chopra, said, speaking to the IAS's ability to handle natural disasters better than George Bush's Washington. "Everything may not work well in India, but here is something that does."

But the facts are otherwise about IAS, IFS, IPS and central and state services, these cadre men have now become most corrupt, barring a few. One politicians quipped, " it is the officers who teach us the first lesson of wrong doings by bending rules, laws and ultimately the Constitution, for minting money in present day India". Entire edifice of these cadres have crumbled under the pressure of corruption to mint money and also to give favours to persons of influence and in this game poor people of India are worse sufferers !

        Before I sum up the  essay, I think it proper to quote T N Seshan, who has said, " I spend sleepless nights worrying about the degeneration of  the country  and wandering what my contribution to the  regenerative process..........." and also the dream of Mahatma Gandhi for just and equatable society  ! In both the sections, these elite bureaucrats have failed miserably by succumbing to the pressure of successive brands of politicians !

Saturday, 26 October 2013

ACCUMULATION OF BLACK MONEY IN INDIA HOLDING DEVELOPMENT AND WELFARE MEASURES FOR POOR !



       INDIA has notoriety in gaining top positions in many ills in the society , being a largest democracy in the globe ,among the world's nations !  Black money, discrimination against poor and dalits, atrocity on women, malnutrition, illiteracy etc are the few examples, which have put INDIA on 'shanme list' in among the global countries. Today, I will put a few facts on accumulation of black money and deposited by Indian illegally in the foreign countries and cases of corruption , posing a serious threat on the development agenda of India.

       Sadly and curiously, INDIA ranks eighth and among the top ten in developing countries with illicit fund outflow at $ 1.6 billion . India particularly saw black money outflow of $ 123 billion from 2001-2010; according to the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) in December 2012. Apart from these black money of Indian stashed abroad, in the country itself over Rs 10 lakh crore are hidden by Indian capitalists, political classes, professionals, industrialists, corporates and multinationals etc, without being accounted. This is what is happening in India where development projects and welfare measures for over 70 percent of persons , below poverty line , are suffering due to lack of fund !

     The report of the GFI  has said that the total outflow of black money from India since independence until 2010 was $  232 billion. The aggregate value of illicit assets held by Indians from 1947 to 2010 is estimated at $ 487 billion. The report, titled ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS, has found that only 27.8 percent of India's illicit assets are held domestically and 73 percent make their way overseas. But independent surveys have put the figures just vice-versa. Crores of black money inside the country are in the shape of benami illicit money and other assets, owned through black money. These black money are kept in fake bank accounts besides stashed in bags in the respective houses , especially by professionals and industrialists, capitalists etc.

      THE GFI has said, in 2012 alone, India was ranked 94 out of 176 countries in the Transparency Internationals Corruption Perceptions Index. India was tied with Benin, Columbia, Djibouti, Greece, Moldova, Mongolia and Senegal. Apart from that, The Transparency International, which has put India as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, has  said, in its report in 2008 ,that  40 percent of Indians have paid bribes to get a job done in public offices. This figure was 62 percent in a study conducted by the same firm in in 2005.

    The Indian government report itself has admitted that as of December 2012, the government has conducted 2603 surveys and has detected Rs 8255 crore in undisclosed income in the country. This figure was Rs 6572.75 crore in the year 2011-12 when 3706 surveys were conducted. In a White paper on black money, tabled in the Indian Parliament in 2012, the Indian government conceded that real estate sector is one of the largest holders of illicit income and unaccounted funds. A large number of transactions are not reported and a vast number are under-reported. As the realty sector contributes 11 percent to GDP, this huge amount of under reporting is a huge dent to the treasury.

          Independent  surveys have, however, while confirming the government's facts on realty sectors , also  pointed out that professionals like doctors, lawyers, contractors, neo-rich business men etc have huge black money and undisclosed income. BUT successive union and state governments have failed in its endeavour to unearth illicit and black money because of the connivance of political classes in black money holders in last many years. Not only Swiss  banks, there are many countries' banks, especially Nepal banks , where Indians have deposited or accumulated huge amount of black and illicit money. In the name of religion, many religious places like temples , matths, mosques, religious trusts are under the control of huge property and cash, totalling over Rs two.five  lakh crores without any account to the government.

     According to Yahoo news Website report; Swiss National Bank 's report also states as of end 2012, out of the total 2.18 billion Swiss franc, deposits by Indian individuals and entities-1.34 billion Swiss francs were held directly by Indian individuals and entities and the rest 77 million Swiss franks  was via 'fiduciaries' or wealth managers. The Swiss Bank report has said that Indians hold Rs 9,000 crore or 2.18 billion Swiss franks in Swiss banks at the end of 2012, according to data released by Swiss National Bank. The overall amount held in Swiss banks by entities from across the world is estimated at around Rs 90 lakh crore.

     India will now be able to track down the illicit money of Indians deposited in Swiss banks with an international agreement among 58 countries worldwide with Swiss government. The agreement is called, " Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administration Assistance in Tax Matters. Switzerland has finally agreed to share information on funds held in its banks to fight tax evasion and concealment of illicit funds. Switzerland was under tremendous pressure for co-operating with countries across the globe and divulge data on funds parked in Swiss Banks. It may be recalled that Swiss Banks have had strict client confidentiality clause and hence are a popular haven for illicit income. Now with the agreement Swiss Banks will have to bring down the wall of secrecy around its account holders and divulge information regarding overseas money held in the banks.

REFERENCES:- THE WEBSITES OF INDIA AND SWISS GOVERNMENTS, THE SWISS NATIONAL BANK,  THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL INTEGRITY,  THE TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL, THE INDIAN PARLIAMENT, The YAHOO NEWS 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

MANMOHAN GOVT BENT TO WEAKEN RTI ACT!

I Have no knowledge of Arabic Text as written  in The Koran. Just I am mentioning the English translation of HUD, "In the name of God, the compassionate, the Mercuful" translation of Arabic text in English by the writer J N Dawood, born in Bagdad in his book in the chapetr on  on JONAH***"The Koran---with parallel Arabic text" The writer translates the HUD in English---"----they cover up their breasts to conceal their thoughts from Him. But when they put on their garments, does He not know what they hide and what they reveal? He knows their inmost thoughts****"

Exactly this verse of the Koran reveals the surreptious move of the Manmohan Singh Govternment to exempt the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the perview of the Right to nformation Act despite vehement opposition by different sections of the society and government's other departments' views. Strangely bringing such move the union government has also ignored the Parliament and even National Advisiory Committee led by Sonia Gandhi. This is what is happening in democratic secular country--India. A very good thing enacted by UPA-1 as weapon to provide the citiozens to secure aceess to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountablity in the working of every public authority. But the Act is being silently and surreptiously being tramplated by the Manmohan Singh Government! What has gone wrong withis great economist Manmohan singh, prime minister of India? Manmohan will ultimately answerable to all these misdeeds not only for future generation but also the people of the country living presently!
Sadly , the Law Ministry had moooted the partial proposal to exempt CBI from RTI Act-the Department of  Personnel initially opposedthe move. And final curtain was down with the Attorney-General of India G E Vanamati pushing for total exemption of the CBI from the perview of RTI Act.
Suspicion of people arose right from the very beginning over the proposal to keep the CBI from the perview of the Act. Because the CBI handles important corruption cases, involving big politicians, top officials etc. Successive union governments always put the CBI under the thumb to help the big culprits from the net. Now it has been justified hundred percent that union government wants to keep CBI under thumb to suit its  political intesrest.Right to Information Act weapons of people were always putting the CBI and the union government under tenterhook by knowing what is happening and progress in the investigations of much-maligned cases, involving big politicians and officials as well as cronies of the ruling elites.
Originally RTI Act has exempted 18 public authorities under central government from disclosure of information under Section 24 of The Act, which included intelligence and security organisations in the interest of the country. For further exemption, the union govternment could broaden the areas in the name "security of the nation" without seeking any permission from the Parliament for its sanction but it is mandatory to place every such exemption and subsequent notification before each houses of the Parliament. Now the Indian people will must watch how the representatives of different hues in the both houses react over this exemption to the CBI! Moreover the Union cabinet okayed the exemption to the public authorities like CBI, National Investigation Agency, (NIA) And National Intelligence Grid in its meeting in the first week of June 2011 and exemption notices  were issued by the Joint Secretary in the  Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension on June 9, 2011. Instead of bringing more and arenas for under RTI Act for more and more transparency -this is what union government has been doing gradually to weaken the RTI Act. Vanamati has put very funny logic of the CBI that as the agency that cases are referred to it for lodging cases from the courts as well as the economic cases and economic security of the country at risk etc.Vanamati has placed hollow logic to exempt the CBI-- CBI is not an intelligence gathering organisation and Section 24(1) of the Act clearly states that information pertaining the allegation of corruption andf human right violations shall not be execulded under this sub-section and that such information should be provided after the approval of the central Information Commission.Strangely, many government agencies were violating such provisions and not responding to the petitions, referred by CIC, Subhash agrawal, a noted RTI Act activist said, while deploring the exemption to the CBI.
Even the member of the A NAC Aruna Roy and Wajahat Habubullah former CIC have opposed the exemption and hacve pointed out that there were conpiracies from the very beginning to weaken this bright and people firiendly Act to expose the governments both at union level and state levels. CBI is not a intelligence gathering organisation but it is investigating serious corruption cases like loot of public funds manily by politicians and officials, they remarked.Vehement opposition are goning on to protest the exemption but the union government is in its deep slumber and opposition leaders do not have time to take up such important issues. Here we must remember the weakening of left parties in the country, which would have initiated protests strongly to condemn such morve of the union government and restore earlier position!
Sadly what has gone wrong with newsapers, news magazines, electronic channels? Why they are silent over such serious development? Except Hindu and Front line fortnightly , none of of the media have paid attention over such serious issues! Are they realy under "undeclared censorship" imposed by the governments of Union and states and also the proprietors of media houses for their englightened self interest? This is freedom of expression and press , enshrined in the Constitution. And we the people have also become worse than Murda (dead bodies) or this country has become "murdon ka desh( country of dead bodies) and we are tolerating atrocities by the government in our decadent society.
At this moment I exactly remeber a verse of Upanishad, "uttishth jagrat prapy barniin bodhat! (uttho jago aur bare se gyan prapt karo duniyan to jitene ke liye- awoke from deep slumber and finally become consicious

INDIA RANKED FIRST IN PREVALENCE OF SLAVERY AND FORCED LABOUR IN THE WORLD; SURVEY !



       One can never change his or her mind-set in the feudal-minded  society in  India ! Discrimination of dalits and poor in India is order of the day. Untouchablity  Act  is rarely implemented hardly in the country. Untouchablity prevails everywhere in India. Cases of untouchablity  are again order of the day in Tamil Nadu by Orthodox Tamilians, especially Brahimins.(Essays on discrimination in India on my link-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com).Notwithstanding, the India has abolished three decades back the bonded labour system under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, the system "continues  to be prevalent"  in the country.. This year also, amendments were, enacted to the Penal Code, in the wake of Delhi gang rape uproar in the Indian Parliament , which Act  now criminalises most forms of human trafficking and forced labour !
     
      India has the largest number of  people in the  world, who are living in conditions of  slavery caused by poverty, handed-down social customs and weak  enforcement of anti-slavery laws. Of the 30 million people world-wide, living in slavery-like conditions,14 million are Indians. The west African nation of  Mauritania ranked highest in the index in terms of percentage of population living in slavery-like conditions ( with about 150,000 out of a population of 3.8 million)..But in absolute numbers, India ranked the highest; While India leads in forced labour, the Communist China has some 2.9 million and Pakistan just above two million. bonded persons, Nigeria, Ethiopia,Russia, Thailand,the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma and Bangladesh round out the top ten, measured in absolute numbers. With about 4,000 slaves each, the UK, Ireland and Iceland claim the bottom spot. There are many faces of modern slavery ; according to a global survey report, published recently  by the Australia-based rights group-Walk Free Foundation at  Chatham House.

        The global survey index, compiled by the Walk Free Foundation, is the first global survey cataloguing forced labour on a country-to-country basis. "modern slavery is a  hidden crime,"notes Walk Free Foundation CEO Nick Grono. "it is forced labour, bounded labour. And everyone is tainted by it. The clothes we wear might be made from cotton picked by forced labour in Uzbekistan. The electronic games we play with might contain minerals extracted by forced labour in the Congo," Says Grono. Uzbekistan cotton pickers are not like U S's cotton-picking slaves of past generations; no body owns them. But they are in servitude nonetheless, children and adults forced by the government to work in cotton fields.. The co-founder of the organisation' Free The Slaves' and the index's author Prof. Kevin Bales says, " slavery takes place at the bottom of the ladder with small mom-and-pop criminal enterprises.. But some of these concerns grow. For example, fish and shrimp  processing in Bangladesh and India can get very big and these companies are supplying the European and North American frozen seafood market." .

       The report says , " today some people are still being born into hereditary slavery, a staggering but harsh reality, particularly in parts of West Africa  and South Asia. Other victims are captured  or kidnapped before being sold or kept for exploitation, whether through marriage, unpaid labour on fishing boats  or as domestic workers."The index ranked 162 countries based on human trafficking, forced labour, slavery or slavery-like  practices including debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, sale or exploitation of children including in armed conflict/ ( INDIA HAS BOOMING SEX TRADE-my essay on www.kksingh1.blogspot.com) The index says, " India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh together constitute 75 percent of the total estimate of 29.8 million people  in modern slavery. That estimates is higher than the INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION (ILO)'s estimate of 21 million victims of forced labour."

       As the story goes if you visit a Haitian home and see a child making coffee or washing dishes, do not assume it is one of the family's children going about their weekly chores. It is more likely that the child is a restavek, forced domestic labour. A Port-au- Prince-based social entrepreneur and presidential adviser Hans Tippeenhauer has explained, "there is supposed to be a social contract whereby the employees take care of their restaveks and send them to school. But most often that is not the case. these children are abused". Though Mauritania is worse than Haiti, restaveks make up the lion's share of the Caribbean nation's forced labour. Some 250,00 to 3000,000 children cook and clean for families in large cities. they have no choice because their own parents are unable to look after them. A Haitian construction executive Greg Figaro, has explained, " it is not even seen as abuse. It is also a bit of status symbol. If you have a restavek, it means you are better off than the child's parents

       With regards to India, the report (index) points out the failure of the Indian government to make use of its "power and resources" to eradicate slavery. "Until recently, the response to human trafficking focused almost exclusively on the sexual exploitation of women and children and other forms of human trafficking including those affecting men were barely recognised", the report says and adds," national leaders tend not to recognise the violent criminality of bonded labour and instead see it as a vestige of poverty."

      But the hidden crime by definition, is hard to tackle. Andrew Forrest, the Australian mining magnate and founder of the Walk Free Foundation, was not even aware of forced until his daughter unwittingly worked alongside African slaves labourers during gap year. And corporations often turn a blind eye. Nintendo, for example is accused of  remaining cavalier about the possibility of slave labour in its supply chain. The anti- slavery group Walk Free has launched a petition to make the electronics company take further steps to ensure slave-minded minerals are not used in their gaming consoles. As the grassroots campaign against blood diamonds has shown, consumers can be  a formidable power. : Slaves labour is becoming an increasing reputational problem" says Grono. "Even if companies do not want to end forced labour because its unethical, they will be forced to do so because being tainted by slave labour is bad for business."

         The Guardian  Professional essay, written by  Elisabeth Braw has disclosed that bowing to customer pressure, H&M and Machael Kors recently banned supplies that use Uzbek cotton. Now activists are pressing Nike to take similar action. While Nike has pledged not to buy Uzbek cotton, it still sources synthetics from Daewoo International, the largest processor of cotton in Uzbekistan. According to a recent report by the Enough Project, while Nintendo has made little efforts to eliminate conflict materials from its devices, manufacturers like Intel and HP have taken decisive action. But the consumer activism will not help the slaves whose toil never touches the global supply chain. In Haiti, no politician would dare tackle the restavek issue, reports Tippenhauer. " we need a law regulating how domestic work should be remunerated. The restaveks get food, board and nothing else.But parties do not win votes by having restaveks on their agendas,  and the parliamentarians have domestic workers themselves. Those domestic workers, in turn, often employ restaveks in their own homes. In Order to pay restaveks popular wages, you would have to pay your own employees better. So nothing happens."

REFERENCES :- Websites of The INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION;  The WALK FREE  FOUNDATION;  THE TIMES WEEKLY; THE GUARDIAN; THE INDIA GOVERNMENT; THE GLOBAL SURVEY INDEX; THE UZBEKISTAN GOVERNMENT; AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT;THE H&M; THE MICHAEL KORS; THE DAEWOO INTERNATIONAL;etc 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

" INDIA'S SEX TRADE IS BOOMING": NEW YORK TIMES

     
       ".........India's own sex trade is booming. The New York Times recently reported on widespread human trafficking of young girls in the state of Jharkhand and on the trafficking of impoverished girls  into India from neighbouring Nepal. Girls are also exported from India and other South Asian countries to the GULF and south-east Asia...." Says an EDITORIAL BOARD OPINION of the NEW YORK TIMES recently.

            I have mentioned in my number of essays on my link------www.kksingh1.blogspot.com----about shames after shames in India, thanks to the lack-lustre approaches and attitudes of India's successive union and state governments in the last over 65 years, even being called one of the largest democracy in the world! Practically women are being treated in this present social structures of India as "toys". And the women are being discriminated without any rhymes and reasons even with the heralding of 20th century.  No doubt,  in the wake of brutal gang rape in last December ,in Delhi, which grabbed national and international headlines and also caused public outrage, lamentably  huge sex-trafficking in India have not attracted the same  public attention or provocation in the last several years..India has been identified as a major hub in the international sex trade, a global phenomenon that may involve upwards of 27 million people, by the United States State Department, the United Nations and the India's Human Right Commission.

           Corruption among officials, police and political classes is widespread in India . Trafficking in sex has become a thriving business in India ! Particularly the political classes , except a few, in India give long ropes to the criminals and vested interests to thrive in the nefarious business in trafficking in sex of for money. The political classes get huge share and  protection money for encouraging, protecting and shielding the persons, engaged in the business. Now it is generally said in India that these decadent political classes can go to any extent to  stay in power and to earn money for their hegemony on the political scenes in the country.People by and large consider in India that politicians , except a   few are roots of all the evils in the system! All hues of politicians  are strangely united in running the inhuman and dishonest businesses for the sake of money and power secretly but daggers drawn in public . Business in the Parliament is installed invariably on flimsy issues , obviously to show the public that are raising the issues of   public interest! Police and civil officials, for the sake of money and good posting involved themselves in corrupt businesses in league with politicians throughout the country. Entire system in India has been corrupted and degenerated.. Trafficking is profitable and corruption is widespread in India! It is all too easy  to buy off police and other law-enforcing agencies. by traffickers

     Persistent poverty is a major factor. Many vulnerable  women and girls are lured by promises of employment and some parents are desperate enough to sell their daughters to
traffickers, Rapid urbanisation and migration of large numbers of men into India's growing cities creates a market of commercial sex, as does a gender imbalance resulting from sex-selective abortion practices that has created a generation of young men, who have little hope of finding female partners. India's a affluence is also a factor, luring European women into India;s sex trade. The caste system compounds the problem. Victims of   trafficking disproportionately come from disadvantaged segments of Indian society.Trafficking is profitable and corruption is widespread.  It is invariably seen that traffickers, alluring the women and girls, sold them to Gulf. Many of them are forced to marry and girl lured from rural  India are got married to Shiekhs in the Gulf and also sexually exploited. In many cases, women and girls of India are sold to European, American, Australian, African countries and they are either sexually-assaulted or forced to do menial and other domestic work. Women and girls, mainly lured from rural   India are brought in cities and towns and they are sexually exploited in "big   bazaars of prostitutes"   and also sold to big people for sexual pleasures  in the name of domestic work ! Women and girls from Bihar, Jharkhand, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and other eastern states are trafficked by sex-traffickers and after sexual assaults, they are forced to marry with people of old age in Haryana, Delhi, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan for giving birth to their children and later they are formalised as wives and husbands after much hue and cry ! Even in rural areas in India, girls and women of lower caste   are made show-cases for "nautch and gaan". Nothing substantial  is being done to improve the lots of women in India !

         In March, in the wake of Delhi rape, India's Parliament passed a bill amending  laws concerning sexual violence and making sex-trafficking a criminal offence. But the gap between enactment and enforcement remains unacceptable  wide. Parliament acted in response to the recommendations of judicial committee led by the late Justice Jagdish Sharan Verma. In addition to urging tougher laws protecting women and children from abuse, the Verma report recommended stiffer penalties for sex related crimes as well as swifter justice for the perpetrators.Amending law is good step but law is only as good as its enforcement.Police are mainly very easily saleable, thanks to protection by political classes mainly in trafficking cases, Measures must be initiated  so that police must face strong disciplinary consequences for turning a blind eye, and those who commit sex crimes must know that they risk speedy prosecution and stiff sentences.

       Apart from that Indian government should address historic patterns of discrimination and focus increased resources on educating disadvantaged girls. Until attitudes in India towards women change and poor children gain the skills they need to control of their futures, sex-trafficking and the damage  it inflicts will continue ! 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

BOOK REVIEW:- BOOK ON BIHAR REKINDLES NEW HOPE AND ASPIRATION IN BIHAR MINUS NOT ' NITISHNOMICS' BUT 'NITISHOHYPOCRACY' !

       

      Before I start to come to the points about the book-THE NEW BIHAR: REKINLING GOVERNANCE AND DEVELOPMENT-, authored by N K Singh, retired IAS official and Rajya Sabha Member from Bihar, and his co-author Lord  Nicholas Stern, an IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics, I want to put some of my old reminiscences of 1980s about Bihar when everybody in India has ruled out the state because of its growing backwardness and no sign of development. Some of them used to comment, " Bihar has withered away." I was in Delhi in late 1980s. Just out of curiosity, I went to meet an acquainted  senior IAS official of Bihar cadre that  time posted on senior slot in the Union Home Ministry (UHM). In course of talks of over half-an -hour, I usually asked him when he is returning to Bihar to his parent cadre. Just after that senior official  first gazed the ceiling of his well-decorated office chamber in the magnificent North Block, which houses  UHM and thereafter he started looking towards adjacent India Gate from across the room through big window. After after half a minute, he told me ," who bothers for your Bihar......, which have been ruled out because of misgoverning and no-sign of development........." I was not amazed but simply I smiled  ! The senior IAS official was no other but N K Singh. Now after the long gap of over 24 years, the same IAS official, now retired, after holding important position in union government, is Janata Dal (U) MP from Bihar, has penned the book, arising new hopes and aspirations to the people of Bihar with regards to all round development of Bihar, which was in moribund stage over nine years back !
         Apart from the NOTES THE PREFACE AND, THE  INTRODUCTIONS by authors and co-author, the book is by and large compilations of essays on Bihar's economy and its  tempo in all round development in recent years  written by eminent economists, writers, analysts, commentators etc Mr N K Singh and Nicholas Stern have introduced the subject about Bihar's development in very lucid style. Other essayists including Nobel Prize winner in Economics Amartya Sen have also traced the facts very aptly about Bihar, its culture, glory, economy, education, society, health etc since ancient and medieval period . The Authors and essayists have simply argued the hopes of desired development of Bihar------"like as straw man lies dead, what is ignored is the development in the room..." Author and his co-author as well as essayists have failed to mention about  lack of land reforms measures, the bane of poverty  in the state. However here and there there are just passing references. Although the essayists and author and his co-author have heaped praise on the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar for bringing the backward state on the development path, there are many discernible factors about backwardness and recent tempo of developments  in Bihar, which have rarely found place in the book-that is , in my opinion, percolating of the fruits of development at grass-root level for major sections of society in social indicator during the so called sharp rise in GDP. of Bihar in comparision to other developed states of India. Many 'metaphors' like free market paradigm that economic growth in Bihar during Nitish regime has brought wide-ranging development. Whether Bihar developed at desired level or not but essayists have tried to rewrite the history of Bihar, which continues to languish on almost all parameters of development and social indicators. No doubt, both the authors and essayists of the book have been gifted with sense of  history but lack in experimenting the economy of Bihar, which is primarily agriculture based..

        After reading the book, exactly I remember the announcements of Nitish Kumar after assuming chief minister ship of the state about eight years back, that his topmost priority will be improving of education and health sectors besides land reforms. But in all  the cases, probably Nitish Kumar has failed to achieve desired result. Education and health are most important parameters of development-of course a number of measures have been taken by Bihar government but results are hardly 20 to 25 percent on the surface.All these failures of Bihar government and hammering of the subjects by the essayists for their success , remind me Rabindranath Tagore, who had once said, " In my view the imposing tower of misery which today rests on the heart of India has its sole foundation in the absence of education."

          At least in one aspect, the author and his co-author have admitted that Bihar has long history of backwardness. even as historically, Bihar has glorious past. They have also made honest appraisal of facts in the book that Bihar has lowest electrification rates in the country with only 16 percent of the households having access to electricity much lower than the national average of 67 percent. Forty percent of electricity is consumed only in the.one city-Patna, the state capital, which also does not have constant power supply; the authors point out and add, "that it is surely extraordinary that having reached the nadir Bihar rejuvenated itself in less than a decade to become fastest growing state even as India's own growth gathered momentum. Many have attributed this rapid turn-around to Nitishnomics, meaning improved governance and a more inclusive growth strategy. There are many facetes of Nitishonomics. But the picture appears some thing different.There are many  glaring mention of facts in the book , one can imagine how the Bihar is
developing ? There are many instances that it is not Nitishonomics but the so called turn around in Bihar "Nitishohypocracy" !Deprived majority are still languishing because of faulty implementation of welfare measures and large scale corruption, which have become greatest menace during Nitish regime in Bihar. The book does give a clean scenario of what is happenings in Bihar under democratic fabrics of India. Elites and neo-rich class , closure to corridor of power, are cornering all benefits , meant for poor in Bihar.

          When I look such painful pathetic picture of human condition in rural areas in  Bihar, it reminds the well-known Mahamta Gandhi's Talisman of 1948 when Gandhi  had said , " I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when your self becomes too much with you, apply the following test,, Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man and woman, whom you may have seen and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him (her). will he (she) gain anything by it ? will it restore him (her)  to a control over his (her)  own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj (freedom0 for the hungry and spiritually starving millions ? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away." If these things do not reflect the minds of ruling elite in Bihar, then we must call them thieves and looteras of public funds Nitish Kumar does behave like a feudal ruler. of Bihar, which hardly finds place in the book. Nitish Kumar held Janata Darwars at his official residence once in a week After attending the so called darwar for registering their complaints, people returned disappointed and call the janta darwar a feudal darwar like of British Raj and landlords during pre-independence days !  A recent essay  on the website of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (http:\\carnegieendowment,org) has compared  Nitish Kumar no less autocrat than Narendra Modi. Both have autocratic tendencies  Nitish has developed a worrying reputation for leveraging his state government'd hefty advertisement budget to punish media outlets who dare publish negative stories about his administration. Not only that Nitish Kumar has given free hands to officials and other government staff to carry his programmes and policies without caring even the ruling class politicians, resulting into wide-spread corruption in government machinery. Virtually there is no democracy in Bihar but bureaucracy is prevailing-even ministers are not allowed to speak about officials , thanks to the autocratic style of Nitish Kumar!These are some hard facts which should have found  mention in the books either by essayists or authors themselves . Is the book one -side about Nitish's dream Bihar?  At one place in the book, one essayist  Pawan Kumar Verma has virtually, while praising Nitish Kumar like a sycophant number one , has heaped abuses -like words on  Biharis and its culture, prior to what was happenings in Bihar. Were  Bihar and Biharis before Nitish Kumar rule  have had gone uncultured and forgotten the unique culture of Bihar ? Shame to Pawan Kumar Verma for such remarks in N K Singh's book !

        No doubt Bihar is developing during Nitish regime in the wake of allround economic turn around in India, it does not mean that it is because of Nitishnomics but to some extent streamlining of governance in Bihar, which had lacked during Laloo-Rabri regime as well as new economic policy being implemented in India as a whole and massive funds of centrally-sponsored programmes, Backwardness of Bihar is also contribution successive Congress governments in Bihar.  But during Laloo Prasad regime, the poor , the dalits, the adivasis and downtrodden got their voices and Laloo was instrumental for that-but during Nitish regime dalits are being tortured by upper caste people . There are many instances of such atrocities in Bihar during Nitish regime. Both economically and politically, dalits are being deprived of their rights by land-owing classes and neo-rich classes , cropped during Nitish regime One essayist Meghnad Desai, an eminent economist and professor of Economics at the London School of  Economics has rightly commented in his writings, " The collapse of the Congress hegemony at the national level in 1989 and the emergence of the Mandal reforms brought about the first profound change in Bihar.....This was assertion of power by the other backward class (OBC)..........The Janata Dal, which later became Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) during its 15 years tenure (1990-2005) concentrated on what one may call the 'respect' agenda. This was to give dignity and respect to the previously downtrodden social groups and challenge the upper caste hegemony with the help of state power. It was acknowledged by the leaders of the RJD that development was not his priority but the righting of the old oppression was It is correct to say that in the respect agenda the RJD was successful. As Jeffrey Witsoe  says in his article in the Lall and Gupta volume: While Lalu systematically destabilised the institution of governance and state directed development, i suggest that this was catalysed a meaningful although partial empowerment of lower caste' A [popular RJD slogan was "vikas nahi samman chahiye"........." But what happened to empowerment of dalits and backwards during Nitish regime, the agenda was not cared and today atrocity on them is continuing as reflected ion the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB).

     .The importance of the N K Singh's  book would have comparatively lesser impact about the development of Bihar with the recent blasting of Bihar government and its chief minister Nitish Kumar by the well known development economist Jean Dreze, a co-author of the book, written by Amartya Sen-AN UNCERTAIN GLORY: INDIA AND ITS CONTRADICTIONS while delivering a lecture on  the food security at Patna. Dreze has said, " Bihar is capital of corruption and exploitation in the world. The living condition of the people in some of Bihar villages is more grim and horrifying than at most places in the world. In fact in terms of scheme implementation, corruption is at its zenith. Bihar is sitting on the hotbeds of poverty, hunger and malnutrition and could be potentially the biggest beneficiary of the National Food Security Act, 2013. Eighty -five percent of rural population and 62 percent of urban residents in Bihar have calorie deficiency during 2009-10 as per reports of the National Sample Survey office. In Fact Bihar ranked 74th in global hunger index of 88 countries, according to Survey of India State Hunger Index -2008. In the same survey Jharkhand ranked 76th, Odisha 67th and UP 61st all in the alarming zone."

However N K Singh and Lord Nicholas Stern's book has  rekindled the hopes and aspiration among Biharis and if the measures to develop the state are taken in right direction till next  15 years , Bihar will regain its lost glory of development once again. For the first time in many years, a book on Bihar has pictured the ways and means for the  real development of the State, The book is definitely a good reading in lucidity, style and detailed facts !

Sunday, 13 October 2013

EU AND INDIA'S LOK SABHA SPEAKER CONCERNED OVER CASTE BASED DISCRIMINATION: DISCRIMINATION HAS CONSOLIDATED DALITS TO PLAY CASTE-BASED VOTING AND EMPOWERED THEM !



       The prevalence of consolidation of low caste men , on caste lines to protest against the caste based discrimination in different parts of the world, particularly in South Asia has raised hopes and aspirations for low caste Hindus .in  India. known as 'dalits'. And low caste men in India have started asserting and moving for bigger rights in India. Many important personalities including Mahatma Gandhi, Dr B R Ambedkar and a number of Indian right organisations had launched campaign to support dalits for being discriminated and living in India in apartheid conditions since pre-independence days. Dalits are not only beginning discriminated but taken in low stock by feudal mindset landlords, Upper caste men, and rich people!Two important factors of the recent past----the speech of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meera Kumar, also a former Indian Foreign Service( IFS) official and daughter of veteran dalit leader and former Deputy Prime Minister, Babu Jagjivan Ram, in the Cambridge University on "elections and the factors that influence voting" and a powerful resolution of  the Parliament of the European Union (EU) against caste based discrimination in South Asian countries like India, Nepal and Sri Lanka---have amply substantiated that caste-based politics is the need of hour to fight against discrimination and also get lever of power in the governance.

       Notwithstanding many measures, like reservation of seats in Parliament and state legislatures and in services as well as reservation in job to backward classes to them, enunciated in the Indian Constitution, since independence, have been initiated for equal rights to all Indian without any discrimination, discrimination of dalits continued in India. Since their assertions in caste-based politics and vote their caste men, in elections in India have started giving dividends to them in asserting their rights. In her speech in the Cambridge University Lecture recently, Meera Kumar has pointed out that  dalits' "preferences on the ballot, there was positive belief that consolidation on caste-lines was leading to empowerment of dalits as it gave them opportunity to assert themselves." Besides caste,she slammed the importance "that religion plays in elections" Reiterating that caste "decides a voter's preference in India ,she, however, said , in her speech, that now "it is high time the caste system was destroyed completely" Kumar further has said in her speech, "generally the deciding factor is the case, which is discussed in hushed tones behind closed door ......caste system has caused and is continuing to cause unimaginable harm to the society. It needs to be destroyed completely and not encouraged to tighten its grip in our electoral system."

       In a related major development, The EU's Parliament, which has recently discussed caste-based discrimination, has passed a resolution endorsing the views of the campaigners from South Asia about discrimination and decided to push the agenda in the ensuing at the trade talks between the EU and countries like India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where discrimination are very rampant.  ( India's lowest caste, such as dalits, are often forced into dangerous work, despite a number of affirmative action initiatives) Speakers in the debate were critical of current EU commitments for tackling caste discrimination. The EU commissioner Cecilia Malmstorm told Parliament that the issue is "being tackled, MEPs disagreed". Alf Svensson, of the European People's Party group said, " I do not really agree that this is put on the agenda quite often." Michael Cashman, of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, said " if we have all these EU instruments and 260 million people still suffer caste discrimination, we are failing."

       Jean Lambert, an MEP for the Green Party in the U K , who has been involved with campaigning on behalf of dalits for several years, says, "it will not be easy to move from a resolution to practical action. It is going to be tough to get anything into trade agreements....It is always a battle to get human rights in , especially some thing as specific as this, but certainty in some programmes in the affected countries we will already be looking at the impact on the most deprived, and that would include dalits." To move towards action, she says, " parliamentarians have to better understand caste issues so they can keep them in mind when they travel on business, trade and development trips. You would have to make sure that the people, who are going from the European Parliament are really briefed to ask about this. They need to know  what to  ask and who to ask, so awareness-raising is important; seeing it as a human right issue. We are all required to raise issues of human rights."

       ILO SURVEY:-In the meantime, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that overwhelming majority of bonded labour victims in South Asia are from lower castes, with forced and bonded labour particularly widespread in the agriculture, mining and garment production sectors. Surprisingly, some of these companies involved in these sectors supply [products to multinationals. Many countries of South Asia have launched awareness campaign against discrimination and atrocity against lower caste men. Caste system are very much common in south-east Asia, Campaigners estimate 260 million people around the world are affected. Caste divides people into social groupings; those in the lowest caste are regarded as unclean and are forced into unpleasant and dangerous work. They are put to live in slavery with landlords and feudal, Manjula Pradeedp of India Right Organisation-Navsarjan-point out ,"you are born as a sub-caste within dalits, given the caste identity and an occupation linked to that caste. If I belong to this caste, the first work that is forced upon me is cleaning human excrement with my hands and to carry it my heads. People are not able to get out of this slavery. India is seen as a large democracy,  but it would not address these people should do this work; it is mind-set."

       Campaigners from India have welcomed the EU initiatives, particularly discrimination against low-caste Hindus, known as dalits  at such high -level forum. Pradeep  says, " when we started the process of lobbying the European Parliament in 2007 we had to explain what (caste discrimination) was. Now, we do not have to say what it means to be dalit, so it is reward, but we stll have to do a lot of work." Confirming India's affirmative action programmes to support dalits, Pradeep says ,"some inbuilt prejudices are coming in the way of long-term methodology to tackle the situation.When we were listening to the statements of European Parliament, I thought about my own members of Parliament and I wonder if they are ready to speak on this issue. Very few are ready....they do not want to address it at a larger level, most often these issues related to caste have never been addressed at a national level in our country "

        Pradeep Says, "the EU result is in the positive direction and the result is beginning of recognition that caste-based discrimination can be tackled internationally as well as at domestic level. Non-recognition of dalits and their rights is a challenge to all of us. The Indian government has failed to protect the rights of people who have been living in a situation that is like apartheid . That process has happen in our country, ultimately, it has to happen on the ground. But when you do not get support from your own government, you need to address it internationally. It is not a local issue, it is global issue."

REFERENCES:- WEBSITES OF THE EU, THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES OF INDIA, THE ILO, THE  GOVT OF INDIA, THE PARLIAMENT, THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY