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We talked with Palash Biswas, an editor for Indian Express in Kolkata today also. He urged that there must a transnational disaster management mechanism to avert such scale disaster in the Himalayas.




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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bull Shit Marxist Ideology!The Marxists Committed Criminal Betrayal once again Supporting Pranab, the Son of the World and the Field Marshal of the Ruling Global Hindutva Hegemony while Mamata Banerjee Dared to Register Revolt against the Market Forc

Bull Shit Marxist Ideology!The Marxists Committed Criminal Betrayal once again Supporting Pranab, the Son of the World and the Field Marshal of the Ruling Global Hindutva Hegemony while Mamata Banerjee Dared to Register Revolt against the Market Forces!

Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams, Chapter-784

Palash Biswas 

Bull Shit Marxist Ideology!The Marxists Committed Criminal Betrayal once again Supporting Pranab, the Son of the World and the Field Marshal of the Ruling Global Hindutva Hegemony while Mamata Banerjee Dared to Register Revolt against the Market Forces!

I did not want to write these lines at all. I opted to be diplomatic considering the role of the to be President of India determining Destiny of indian People as I had to be strategic in defence of the Excommunicated, Excluded, Untouchable Communities and Aborigine Humanscape all over the Geopolitics across the Political borders bleeding and divided.

But Economy taken over by the set of Extraconstitutional Genocide Masters, the Coolest ever rothschild Rockfeller Children, Ethnic Cleansing Nuclear Buttons pushed on, Missilic Reforms launched with ruthless cruelty, Civic and Human Rights violated at will and Citizenship deprived with Biometric Identity drive branding the People`s resistance Maoist Antinational, we have no chance to defend at all, Suicide is the ultimate Option of the Rural world!

Corporate Dictation expressed with maximum magnitude with deling liability of Union Carbide. The Marxist Hypocrite Ideological Gimmicks deprived the people of India the last chances of whatsoever resistance.

GST implemented and DTC in pipeline, GAAR Finished, Black Money recycle intensified, Production system Killed, Constitution murdered, Parliament Paralysed and the great Indian Brahaminical Mraxists branded with Historical blunders betrayed the People of India supporting the Enemy of the People, most responsible for the miserable conditions of the Ninety Nine Percent population of India who headed all most all Parliamentary Committees and Empowerd Groups of Ministers!

Eighteen innocent tribal Villagers, children and women butchered in Chhattisgargh and the Killers rule in India while people like Seema Azad and Binayak Sen are branded Maoists!

Mamata may not be Politically Pragmatic. May be  that she is playing political game, but it is fact that she led from the front to oppose Pranab Mukherjee while the Sangh Parivar was eager to support it`s Blue eyed boy and in fact NDA partners JDU and Shivsena did support Pranab.

The Marxists did support Pranab and did not stand with BJP and Sangh Pariwar, but they have to vote with Shiv Sena, again the front runners amongst the flag bearers of Hindutva.

The Anti Communalism Combat Principle of Bihar CM is open to question as Nitish Kumar has soft heart for the slain Genocide Master, the Bhumihar Mukhia Braham Deo  and his Ranveer Sena.

Hence, I decide to clarify my stance here. What Mamata says, Pranab does not deserve to be the President of India, not even for the sake of Bengali Nationalism. Friends!The Situation is very grim and we have to respond. We  may not sit idle like ducks. No deser may accommodate us to hide our heads to see the storm over. This is right now or Never again!

We know, PA sangma does not represent the Tribal People as he belongs to the elite hegemony and happens to be blood brother of Pranab.What if Sangma revolted against Sonia for her foreign origin, so did Pranab also while he tried all his might to topple Rajiv Gandhi, failed and surrendered to become the Enslaved Executive of Genocide Culture with Surgical Precision. Sangma also do not represent North East.He Never did voice against Criminal Violation of Fifth and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution countrywide, never did oppose AFSPA, the Draconian Rule continued since 1958 in Kashmir and North East. He never did support IROM sharmila on Hunger Strike for Eleven years. But Mamata`s resistance and revolt made sangma the candidate who ensured that Pranab should not be elected Unopposed and it Exposed Sangh Pariwar as well as the Hypocrite Marxists.

At least RSP and CPI justified their left identity deciding to abstain.

Mind you, I never had been blind supporter of Mamata Banerjee . neither I chose to be on her pay roll. But the fact remains that it is just for her courage that Indiscriminate land Acquisition stumbled on Block. She led Singur, Nandigram and Lalgragh resistance. Market forces rallied behind her to dislodge the Marxists who ran so blind on the highway of Capitalist development and disabled Trade Union Movement to allow walk Over for the LPG Mafia , MNCs and Corporate Imperialism.

Mamata opted for a Marxist resistance, ironically opposing Marxism and the Marxist just Killed their ideology to deprive Indian people of whatsoever Resistance. It is only for the Brahaminical Marxist Betrayal that aborigin Humanscape has to opt for either Naxal or Maoist line to address the racial discrimination in  resistance against the Economic Ethnic Cleansing.

Mamata is seized within by power mongers but she is more honest, more determined than our Marxist Friends and the forces claiming to lead anti Communalism Combat. Sachhar Committeee report exposed the Marxists how they misused the Muslim Vote Bank in Bengal. Marichjhanpi case is enough to prove Marxist apathy against the untouchable refugees.

I did say long before that Mamata only needs good advisers and some better friends and she has the potential to lead the people of India. I am afraid to say that we have no other Option!

A new service tax regime, based on a negative list of exempted services, will come into effect on Sunday. Get ready to pay even more. The new 12 per cent additional Service Tax comes into effect from Sunday. The new tax covers all services except 38 activities that are put on the negative list.The switch-over to a negative list is aimed at unifying the tax and levies of the Centre and the States, but is also expected to increase the Centre's Service Tax collection up from Rs 97,000 crore last fiscal to Rs 1.24 lakh crore in 2012-13.Among other things, you will now pay more for speed posts, express parcels as well as train travel by First Class and Air-Conditioned Class.Tickets for travel and holidays bought from online portals too will get costlier.Tests such as GMAT and GRE too will be costlier as companies conducting these examinations will now be subject to Service Tax.Private tuition providers too will be subject to the tax if their annual turnover exceeds Rs 10 lakh.Ironically, on the other hand,On the other hand,The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on Friday, said that Current Account Deficit (CAD) rose to $78.2 billion (4.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP)) in 2011-12 from $ 46 billion (2.7 per cent of GDP) in 2010-11, "largely reflecting higher trade deficit on account of subdued external demand and relatively inelastic imports of POL and gold and silver".It is clear, despite monetary exercise, the Exclusive Economy Bottomless lacks the Fiscal Policies to address the deficits in the Fundamentals while the Taxation is Overloaded against the Excluded Ninety Nine Percent and the One percent Elite has to enjoy all the tax heavens,bailouts, stimulus!

With Manmohan, Montek and C Rangrajan having the helms of Economic affair once again, the Second Phase of reform relaunched boom boom! Second Green revolution to follow up with all sets of financial legislations, simple GOs, Illegal Corporate projects like Unique Identity Adhaar card Yojana and Presidential decrees!Is it the most Opportune time that the Marxists chose to support Pranab Mukherjee just to get back favourable equation in West Bengal to get back Power! What about the dream of Revolution, comrades?What about the Protest against the Indo US nuclear deal which is in fact Operationalised while Pranab`s Presidential candidature was being announced in New Delhi and MONTEK and SIBAL were camping in Washington! What about Union carbide Victims, Comrades?

RBI hiked FII limit in government bonds to USD 20 billion while allowing up to USD 10 billion via overseas borrowings route by domestic corporates for refinancing their rupee loans. The steps are expected to curb rupee's fall, which has lost over 26 per cent in last one year.

But, SENSEX has gained nearly 550 points in the last four days coinciding with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking over charge of Finance portfolio and signalling speedy revival of the slowing economic growth. Market players cheered Finance Ministry's proposal that the controversial General Anti-Tax Avoidance Rules (GAAR) would not be applicable below a particular limit. India is likely to see acceleration in economic reforms over the next quarter, and it is the right time to invest in the country as valuations have become reasonable, CII President Adi Godrej has said. Bravo!

It is quite interesting that Former President A P J Abdul Kalam has expressed surprise that Congress did not stake claim to form the government for three days after its stunning victory over NDA in the 2004 elections. Kalam`s exposure tells us the story of Power Politics in India where UPA and NDA are in fact aligned to sustain the Corporate rule and both dictated by Corporate Imperialism and bound by Nuclear alliance led by US and Israel which made India prime partner in America`s war against Terror to open up the Emerging Markets. We are Captured. And the Captured People have no Choice. We have to be plundered and the Earth is destined to be gangraped. The prime targets are Nature and Nature associated Communities!

Hours before the CPI-M Politburo 's meeting in New Delhi to take a call on the Presidential elections and the meeting of the central leadership of the four Left parties on the same issue, veteran Leftist and Mr Ashok Mitra,lambasted the candidature of union finance minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee as the country's next President.  It is fortunate that CPIM is in no Position  to expel or Punish Dr Ashok Mitra . But it did punish the rebel view, nevertheless.The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) expelled party leader Prosenjit Bose who had attacked the party for supporting UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential race.

"The country is reeling under economic crisis with uncontrolled price rise and here we have a union finance minister who says, if international crude prices go down as well as domestic oil prices are under control and there is a good monsoon this year, then the country's economy might be survive. This sort of "prudence" possessed by the person, who is now being nominated for the post of the country's President! And the party, which controls the ruling coalition at the Centre, is going all guns to seek support for its Presidential candidate and even trying to titillate the feelings of the people by saying that their candidate is home boy and there should be consensus on his candidature. This is a Central government, which can't guarantee food security to its people, but spends crores of taxpayers' money to secure its corrupt ministers," said Mr Mitra while speaking in a seminar organised by the state Left Front committee to mark the foundation day of the LF government in Bengal.  Bose, the convener of party's research unit, had resigned from the party and issued an open letter attacking the party's stand supporting Mukherjee. However, the CPI-M announced it had rejected Bose's letter of resignation and instead expelled him.

"The Politbureau rejects the letter of resignation submitted by Prosenjit Bose, convener of the Research Unit," said a CPI-M statement.

"It rejects the contents of the letter which seeks to malign the political line of the Party. The Polit Bureau expels Prosenjit Bose from the membership of the CPI-M under Article VIII (2) of the party constitution," it said.

In his letter , Bose,a familiar face on TV debates, said the CPI-M had committed a "grave error" by supporting Mukherjee.

Bose, who holds a PhD degree in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, said the party's decision to support Mukherjee was against the line taken by the party congress held earlier this year.

"I protest against the decision by the Polit Bureau to support the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee...I consider this to be a grave error which will harm the party and disturb Left unity," he said in the letter.

Bose also attacked the party leadership, saying they have made "one mistake after another since 2007".

Among the "mistakes", the letter also mentioned the land acquisition in West Bengal, the Nandigram firing and allowing the UPA-I government to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The left camp was divided over the presidential polls, after the CPI-M and Forward Bloc decided to support Mukherjee in the presidential race, while the Communist Party of India and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) decided to abstain.

CPI-M has 3.30% votes in the electoral college and Forward Bloc has 0.40%.

Though former chief minister and Politburo member Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee left the venue soon after the seminar started, among Mr Mitra's avid listeners were two other Politburo members, Mr Biman Bose and Dr Surjya Kanta Mishra.

Taking a dig at chief minister and Trinamul Congress supremo Miss Mamata Banerjee, Mr Mitra said: "This lady speaks about ethics, but switches here versions and statements overnight. What she says in the morning turns to something else in the afternoon and she is talking about conscience votes!"  

Among others who spoke at the seminar were journalist Mr N Ram and Prof CP Chandrasekhar of the JNU.

On Saturday, over 40 hours after the "biggest encounter" involving security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh, bodies of 19 alleged "hardcore Maoists and Jan Militia members" lay outside their huts in the three villages of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta in Bijapur.

Villagers alleged no government official had spoken to them or visited their homes, and no autopsies had been carried out on the bodies.

Several bodies appeared to have been brutalised. This correspondent saw deep, hacking cuts, apparently made by axes, on some chests and foreheads. A senior CRPF officer rejected the possibility that the wounds might have been inflicted by security forces. "Our forces have never done such things and will never do this," the officer said.

Bijapur superintendent of police Prashant Agarwal said, "Proper post mortem was conducted in Basaguda thana. A team of doctors visited the thana and a report will be prepared."

Policemen at the thana — where the bodies were kept for about 12 hours before being handed to the families — were unable to say when the post mortem happened. No stitches or other tell-tale marks of an autopsy were visible on the bodies that this correspondent saw in the villages.

At Sarkeguda, the spot deep in the Dandakaranya jungles 520 km south of Raipur where the encounter happened, the stench was overpowering. A rotting pig lay nearby, a bullet in its jaw and two in the torso.

Late in the afternoon, one by one, the villagers began to cremate the bodies.

It sounds rather Funny that  CPI(M) justified its support to UPA Presidential poll nominee Pranab Mukherjee, saying abstention would have not only meant "lining up" with Trinamool Congress but also blunted its intervention in the emerging political scenario.

Noting that both ruling UPA and opposition NDA had been "weakened" as manifested in the way they dealt with the presidential poll, party General Secretary Prakash Karat said it was "necessary to utilise the conflicts and fissures within the ruling alliance between the bourgeois parties. Abstention at this juncture will not help in this regard."

Karat's views in an article in the forthcoming issue of party organ 'People's Democracy' came close on the heels of the expulsion of a youth leader, Prasenjit Bose, who had protested CPI(M)'s support to Mukherjee saying it as a "grave error which will harm the party and disturb Left unity."

The article also came in the wake of some Left parties like CPI, RSP and CPI-ML (Liberation), deciding to abstain from voting in the Presidential poll.

"Abstention in this case would mean lining up with Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. This would be politically damaging and unacceptable. ... It would (also) blunt the intervention of the party in the developing political scenario," Karat said.

Observing that CPI(M) and other Left parties had been weakened since 2009, he said no illusions should be harboured that "the ruling classes will cease their hostile approach" against the Left, given their "unremitting position" against neo-liberal policies.

Predicting a "renewed push" for neo-liberal reforms that "the big business and international finance capital are clamouring for", he said CPI(M) would like all opposition parties to take a united stand on these issues.

In an account of his innings in Rashtrapati Bhavan in his latest book 'Turning Points", Kalam said that while the Congress emerged the largest party, it did not come forward to stake claim. "In spite of that (being largest party), three days had passed and no party or coalition came forward to form the government. It was a cause of concern for me and I asked my secretaries and rushed a letter to the leader of the the Congress to come forward and stake claim," he has written.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi met Kalam on May 18 and nominated Manmohan Singh to the PM's post. Kalam said he breathed a sigh of relief after Singh was sworn in on May 22, but he continued to be puzzled that three days went by without any claim. Congress sources said the delay was procedural since the parliamentary party had to meet and elect its leader.

Kalam has recalled the government formation in 2004 as a key event, noting that the task to appoint a PM was very tricky as there was no party with clear majority.

"In this context, the 2004 election was an interesting event. The elections were over, the results had been announced and none of the political parties had the strength to form the government on their own," he recounted.

With the services sector now accounting for 60 per cent of the gross domestic product, the Finance Ministry has set a target of Rs.1.24 lakh crore for service tax collection during 2012-13. This is significantly higher than the Rs.97,000 crore mopped up during the previous fiscal.

As per the negative list-based approach, services such as metered taxis, auto-rickshaws, betting, gambling, lottery, entry to amusement parks, transport of goods or passengers and transmission and distribution of electricity by distribution companies will not come under the service tax net.

Other important services exempted from the levy are solemn activities such as funeral, burial, mutate services and transport of deceased. In the education sector, school and university courses, as also approved vocational studies, have been exempted.

Likewise, auxiliary educational services and renting of immovable property by educational institutions in respect of education will not be taxed. However, coaching classes and training institutions will be taxed.

Among the other services included in the negative list are those provided to government, local authorities or a government authority for repair and maintenance of an aircraft. Likewise, services provided by advocates to other advocates and business entities up to a turnover of Rs. 10 lakh in the preceding financial year will be exempt from the tax.

Services provided by way of public convenience, such as bathroom, washroom, urinals or toilets, are included in the negative list, just as services relating to work contracts for a scheme under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Rural Urban Renewal Mission or the Rajiv Awas Yojana.

On the other hand,The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on Friday, said that Current Account Deficit (CAD) rose to $78.2 billion (4.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP)) in 2011-12 from $ 46 billion (2.7 per cent of GDP) in 2010-11, "largely reflecting higher trade deficit on account of subdued external demand and relatively inelastic imports of POL and gold and silver".

During 2011-12, while growth in exports decelerated sharply to 23.6 per cent (37.5 per cent in 2010-11), imports grew by 31.1 per cent (26.7 per cent).

Imports of oil, up 46.9 per cent, and precious metals, up 49.4 per cent, together contributed nearly 45 per cent of total imports during the year. Notably, international price of the Indian basket of crude oil increased from $85.1 in 2010-11 to $111.9 a barrel in 2011-12. "Consequently, the trade deficit widened to $189.7 billion in 2011-12 from $130.4 billion in 2010-11."

It also said that foreign exchange reserves declined by $12.8 billion for the year ended March 31, 2012, against an increase of $13.1 billion during the previous year.

Foreign exchange reserves (including the valuation effects) declined by $10.4 billion during 2011-12 as against an increase of $25.8 billion, said the RBI.

The valuation gain, reflecting the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against major currencies, accounted for $2.4 billion during 2011-12 compared with $12.7 billion in 2010-11.

"The stress witnessed in India's Balance of Payments (BoP) in the third quarter continued during the fourth quarter of 2011-12 as well due to large increase in imports," the RBI said.

"While capital inflows improved, reflecting significant increase in portfolio investment and non-resident deposits, they fell short of financing requirements, resulting in a drawdown of foreign exchange reserves. The trade deficit during the fourth quarter exceeded $50 billion (10.6 per cent of GDP) and Current Account Deficit rose to $21.7 billion (4.5 per cent of GDP). This was $6.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010-11 (1.3 per cent of GDP).

On the Balance of Payments basis, growth in merchandise exports (year-on-year) decelerated sharply to 3.4 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2011-12 from 46.9 per cent during the corresponding quarter of 2010-11. Imports registered a growth of 22.6 per cent compared with 27.7 per cent in the year-ago period.

With export growth remaining substantially lower than import growth, the trade deficit widened to $51.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011-12 from $30 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010-11.

"Despite significant improvement in capital inflows in the fourth quarter of 2011-12, there was a drawdown of foreign exchange reserves of $5.7 billion (excluding valuation) as against an increase of $2 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2010-11, mainly because of deterioration in the current account," the apex bank said.

Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu, on Friday, maintained that over the past few months, the government has been making efforts to solve the 'trust problems' with industry without any dilution in recent policies and hoped that with a couple of reforms in place the economy would bounce back from October onwards.

Economy will bounce back

Interacting with journalists on the sidelines of a function here, Dr. Basu said: "We want to work hand-in-hand with industry. There is [an] element of trust problem between industry and the government that has happened. Over the last several months, we were trying to correct it and we will try to correct this as much as possible in the coming months."

Over the last couple of days, there has been a discernible change for the better in business and stock market sentiments after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took charge of the Finance portfolio from Pranab Mukherjee, who resigned to contest the presidential poll as the UPA's nominee and there has been hectic activity to kick-start the economy.

Asked if the change of guard at the Finance Ministry also signalled a re-think on tax policy issues, Dr. Basu said: "I don't think that any policy step [of recent months] has been diluted…We were giving actually for last couple of months, including during the time when Pranab Mukherjee was the Finance Minister, is the same message, that we want this industry to do well and we want to be as cooperative as possible." Clearing the misconception over, the Prime Minister was building up a 'dream team' — as in 1991 — to push the pending economic reforms, Dr. Basu said: "I don't think that because of reorganisation you are going to see a boost...they are strengthening the economy which we have been working to capitalise on."

Even as economic growth slumped to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in 2011-12, Dr. Basu was hopeful of a sharp recovery. "We are hopeful that economy is going to bounce back within 4-5 months. I mean it's October. Before that I can't realistically say that there will be an improvement, but October onwards..." And, "if we can put together a couple of reforms", things would speed up further and GDP growth will pick up any way, he said.

"We have been stressing that we will have to get a couple of reforms in place for which the big stumbling block has been getting all the political parties in the coalition together. So, that we have been working," he said, and without divulging what the reforms would be, went on to add "these [reforms] have been part of government agenda for the last 2-3 months."

Earlier, in his address at the 'Statistics Day 2012' function, organised by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, the Chief Economic Advisor said that the country should pay more attention to business ethos. "How easy it is for you to run a business, to trade, to sell goods abroad, to bring in goods from abroad. It is not easy in India," he said while citing a World Bank report on the ease of doing business in various countries. "It's much harder in India...and this also contributes to us not being able to do that well in term of industry," he said.

Stressing on the need for lesser regulations and easier business procedures, Dr. Basu said the purpose of the government was "not to impede and thwart, but to enable and facilitate, to make life easier. Responsibility of government is to enable and facilitate. This really needs to be stressed…Most Commonwealth [countries] have overhauled a lot of their governance system, we need to work much harder on this."

The BSE benchmark Sensex continued its upward march for the fourth week in a row by surging over 457 points to settle the week at about 2-1/2- month high of 17,429.98 due to all-round buying on the back of clarity on tax-avoidance rules and upbeat global sentiment.

The Sensex ended lower over 90 points on Monday after Reserve Bank announced some measures to stem the rupee fall which fell short of market expectations.

RBI hiked FII limit in government bonds to USD 20 billion while allowing up to USD 10 billion via overseas borrowings route by domestic corporates for refinancing their rupee loans. The steps are expected to curb rupee's fall, which has lost over 26 per cent in last one year.

But, it has gained nearly 550 points in the last four days coinciding with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking over charge of Finance portfolio and signalling speedy revival of the slowing economic growth.

Market players cheered Finance Ministry's proposal that the controversial General Anti-Tax Avoidance Rules (GAAR) would not be applicable below a particular limit.

The sentiment was mainly boosted on Friday when reports from Europe suggested that a new plan is being worked out to support the ailing banks of the debt-ridden trading bloc, resulting the Sensex to gain by a whopping over 439 points.

Good capital inflows amid smart recovery in the rupee value and lower global crude oil prices too kept the market in positive terrain. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) infused over Rs 1,549 crore in the week, including provisional data of June 29.

The rupee bounced back with a vengeance during the week by 154 paise, or 2.69 per cent, to 55.61 yesterday, after registering its all-time intra-trade low of 57.31 on June 22 and also logging a life-time closing low of 57.15 on the same day, giving some relief to the market, mainly import based companies.

India is likely to see acceleration in economic reforms over the next quarter, and it is the right time to invest in the country as valuations have become reasonable, CII President Adi Godrej has said.

The industry is very confident that over the next quarter, "we will see some strong moves in terms of reforms to accelerate growth", Godrej said at the Confederation of Indian Industry's Annual Reception in London last night.

He said the industry has been in dialogue with the government to suggest policy changes that would reignite the process of investment and growth.

Among CII's recommendations are easing of monetary policy, faster implementation of infrastructure projects and control on subsidies.

Godrej said this would be a good time to invest in India, given that valuations have become extremely reasonable.

This week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took additional charge of the Finance Ministry after Pranab Mukherjee resigned to contest presidential elections.

Pushed by Singh after he took charge of the Ministry, his top advisors, including Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and bureaucrats have started working overtime to deal with economic slowdown and low investor sentiment.

Meanwhile, signalling the increasing importance the UK attaches to India, British Minister for Energy and Climate Change Gregory Barker has been given additional responsibility for increasing trade and investment with India.

Barker himself made the announcement at the reception. "I have been given additional responsibility for India by the Prime Minister, David Cameron and am delighted to be making this official announcement here today," Barker said.

He will work along with his colleagues Jeremy Brown, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and Lord Green, Minister for Trade.

The move shows the importance that UK gives to India, with three Ministers in the Government having responsibility of increasing bilateral trade and investment relations.

The announcement was received by thunderous applause in the historic Banqueting House, packed to capacity with guests including Ministers, MPs, Lords and Ladies, senior UK Government officials and Chief Executives of a large number of UK, Global and Indian companies.

Earlier in the day, CII in partnership with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) organised its Annual Conference on "India-UK Partnerships in Reviving and Restoring Economic Growth".

The CII delegation also met UK Chancellor George Osborne, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman Keith Vaz.

अभी मंहगाई की मार कहां पड़ी है? गैर राजनीतिक गैर​ ​ संवैधानिक जिस बेरहम टोली ने अर्थव्यवस्था की कमान संभाली है, वह इतनी धुलाई करने वाली है कि आप सर्फ एक्ससेल की कारामात भूल जायेंगे!

अभी मंहगाई की मार कहां पड़ी है? गैर राजनीतिक गैर​ ​ संवैधानिक जिस बेरहम टोली ने अर्थव्यवस्था की कमान संभाली है, वह इतनी धुलाई करने वाली है कि आप सर्फ एक्ससेल की कारामात भूल जायेंगे!

एक्सकैलिबर स्टीवेंस विश्वास

आखिर भारत सरकार किसकी सरकार है लोग समझते हैं, यह उनके वोचों से चुनी हुई सरकार है। पर वे कितनी गलतफहमी में हैं, इसका उन्हें कोई अंदाजा नहीं है। हम सभी जानते हैं कि देश अब खुला बाजार है और कारपोरेट लाबिइंग से राजनीति और अर्थव्यवस्था दोनों चलती है। फिरभी संसदीय राजनीति और जनता के प्रति जवाबदेही का नाटक १९९१ से चल ही रहा है। लेकिन मनमोहन सिंह के फिर वित्त मंत्रालय संभाल लेने, सत्तावर्ग के सर्वाधिनायक विश्वपुत्र प्रणव मुखर्जी के अगला राष्ट्रपति तय हो जाने से कारपोरेट इंडिया इतना बम बम है कि अब उसे लोकतांत्रिक मुलम्मे की भी परवाह नहीं है। आदि गोदरेज न वित्तमंत्री हैं और न प्रधानमंत्री और न वे जनता या भारत सरकार के प्रतिनिधि हैं, पर वे लंदन की धरती​ ​ पर खड़े होकर बयान जारी कर रहे हैं कि अब आर्थिक सुधार तेज होंगे। भारतीय उद्योग परिसंघ (सीआईआई) के अध्यक्ष आदि गोदरेज ने कहा कि देश में अगली तिमाही के दौरान आर्थिक सुधारों में तेजी आ सकती  है। उन्होंने कहा कि भारत में निवेश का यह सही मौका है, क्योंकि मूल्यांकन तर्कसंगत हो गया है।वाह!उनके बयान का लब्बोलुआब यह है कि प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह ने इस सप्ताह वित्त मंत्रालय का अतिरिक्त कार्यभार संभाल लिया। वित्त मंत्री पद से प्रणव मुखर्जी के इस्तीफा देने के बाद प्रधानमंत्री ने मंत्रालय कार्यभार अपने हाथों में ले लिया। योजना आयोग के उपाध्यक्ष मोंटेक सिंह अहलूवालिया सहित प्रधानमंत्री के वरिष्ठ सलाहकार और वित्त मंत्रालय के वरिष्ठ अधिकारी आर्थिक  सुस्ती से निपटने के लिये कड़ी मेहनत में जुट गये हैं।कारपोरेट लाबिइंग का लाजवाब दबाव बनाते हुए उनकी दलील है कि चूंकि हालात 2008 के सुस्ती के दौर से भी ज्यादा खराब हो गए है, इसलिए अब सरकार के लिए यह जरूरी हो गया है कि वह अर्थव्यवस्था की विकास दर को पटरी पर लाए!किसका विकास, यह सवाल लेकिन बेमायने है।उन्होंने कहा कि पहली तिमाही में वृद्धि में तेजी लाने के लिए सुधार के लिहाज से बड़ी पहल दिख सकती है। उद्योग जगत सरकार को नीतिगत बदलाव का सुझाव दे रहा है जिससे निवेश और वृद्धि की प्रक्रिया फिर से तेज होगी।

जीएएआर की नई गाइडलाइंस से विदेशी फंड भी खुश नजर नहीं आ रहे हैं। एक्सक्लूसिव जानकारी मिली है कि हॉन्गकॉन्ग के एफआईआई एसोसिएशन ने सरकारी सिक्योरिटी से पैसा निकालने की धमकी दी है।हॉन्गकॉन्ग के निवेशक संगठनों ने वित्त मंत्रालय को चिट्ठी लिखी है। एफआईआई का कहना है कि अगर जीएएआर को लेकर मांगे मानी नहीं जाती हैं तो सरकारी बॉन्ड्स से निवेश निकाल लिया जाएगा।एफआईआई ने सरकार से शेयर बाजार के सौदों को जीएएआर से बाहर रखने की मांग की थी। एफआईआई की मुनाफे पर तय टैक्स लगाने की मांग थी। सरकार ने एफआईआई की दोनों मांगों को खारिज किया है।एशिया सिक्योरिटीज इंडस्ट्री एंड फाइनेंशियल मार्केट एसोसिएशन और कैपिटल मार्केट टैक्स कमेटी एसोसिएशन ने बजट के बाद वित्त मंत्रालय को सुझाव भेजे थे।

मंहगाई से त्राहि त्राही कर रही जनता पर अभी मंहगाई की मार कहां पड़ी है, अभी ग्लोबल वार्मिंग की तर्ज पर इमर्जिंग मार्केट में आर्थिक सुधारों का असर होना बाकी है। सेवाकरों से शुरुआत भर होगी। आर्थिक सुधार के दूसरे चरण का एजंडा पूरा करने के लिए गैर राजनीतिक गैर​ ​ संवैधानिक जिस बेरहम टोली ने अर्थव्यवस्था की कमान संभाली है, वह इतनी धुलाई करने वाली है कि आप सर्फ एक्ससेल की कारामात भूल जायेंगे।वित्तमंत्रालय से जाते जाते आम आदमी की ऐसी तैसी करने में प्रणवदादा ने अपने जहरीले बजट के मुताबिक कोई कसर नहीं छौड़ा। गार ​​की वजह से कालाधन के वर्चस्व की लड़ाई में वे शहीद तो हो गये, पर कारपोरेट इंडिया के तवर से साफ जाहिर है कि आपकी खाल खींचने में कोई कोताही नहीं करेगी आपकी सरकार। बहरहाल महंगाई की असली चुभन अब महसूस होगी। रविवार से कोचिंग क्लासेस व प्रशिक्षण केंद्र से लेकर होटल में खाने-पीने और हवाई यात्रा तक सभी पर महंगाई टूट पड़ेगी। फिलहाल, रेल माल ढुलाई व यात्री किराए में रविवार से सेवाकर लगने को लेकर भ्रम की स्थिति बनी हुई है। रेलमंत्री मुकुल राय ने कहा है कि रेलवे एक जुलाई से माल भाड़ा और यात्री किराए पर सेवाकर नहीं लगाएगा। इस बाबत उन्होंने प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह को पत्र लिखा है, जिनके हाथों में ही इस समय वित्त मंत्रालय की कमान भी है। नई सेवा कर व्यवस्था के लागू होने के साथ ही कल यानी एक जुलाई से कई सेवाएं महंगी हो जाएंगी और लोगों को इनके लिए 12 प्रतिशत की दर से सेवा कर चुकाना पड़ेगा। हालांकि नकारात्मक सूची में शामिल 38 सेवाओं पर नई व्यवस्था का असर नहीं होगा। यह सूची भी एक जुलाई से ही प्रभावी मानी जाएगी।इस सूची में शामिल सेवाओं के अलावा अंतिम संस्कार से जुडी सेवाएं भी इसके दायरे में नहीं आएंगी। दूसरी ओर जिन सेवाओं को नई व्यवस्था के दायरे में लाया गया है उनमें कोचिंग और प्रशिक्षण संस्थान शामिल हैं। हालांकि स्कूलों, विश्वविद्यालय स्तर की शिक्षा तथा व्यावसायिक शिक्षा को इससे छूट दी गई है।नई कर व्यवस्था की सबसे बडी़ खामी यह है कि इसमें रेल माल ढुलाई तथा रेल यात्री किरायों पर सेवा कर को लेकर असमंजस की स्थिति बनी हुई है। अभी तक ऐसी सेवाओं की कुल संख्या 119 है। इसके साथ ही एक नकारात्मक सूची भी तैयार की गई है जिसमें वर्णित सेवाओं को सेवा कर के दायरे से बाहर रखा गया है। सेवाकर के दायरें को बढा़ने के पीछे सरकारी मंशा वस्तु एंव सेवा कर (जीएसटी) को लागू करने की दिशा में एक कदम और आगे बढ़ना है।सरकार ने इस साल के बजट में सेवाकर का दायरा बढ़ाते हुए सेवाकर की परिभाषा को व्यापक बनाया है। अब तक 119 सेवाएं 'सकारात्मक सूची' में शामिल थी और उन्हीं पर सेवाकर लगाया जाता रहा।सेवाकर के दायरे को व्यापक बनाने का सरकार का नया कदम वस्तु एवं सेवाकर (जीएसटी) की दिशा में एक कदम और आगे बढ़ने के तौर पर देखा जा रहा है।सरकार व स्थानीय प्राधिकरणों को एयरक्राफ्ट की मरम्मत और रखरखाव के लिए दी जाने वाली सेवाओं को भी नकारात्मक सूची में रखा गया है। इसी तरह वकीलों द्वारा दूसरे वकीलों और दस लाख रुपये तक का टर्नओवर रखने वाले व्यावसायिक संस्थानों को भी सेवाकर के दायरे से मुक्त रखा गया है। सार्वजनिक शौचालय भी इसके दायरे में नहीं रहेंगे। जवाहरलाल नेहरू राष्ट्रीय नवीकरण मिशन [जेएनएनयूआरएम] व राजीव आवास योजना जैसी स्कीमों को भी नकारात्मक सूची में रखा गया है। वित्त मंत्रालय ने चालू वित्त वर्ष में सेवाकर से 1.24 लाख करोड़ रुपये जुटाने का लक्ष्य रखा है।

रिजर्व बैंक ने शुक्रवार कहा कि वह रुपये की विनिमय दर में गिरावट थामने के लिए हर संभव कदम उठाना जारी रखेगा।
आइमा-सिटी वित्तीय साक्षरता संगोष्ठी में रिजर्व बैंक के डिप्टी गवर्नर के.सी. चक्रवर्ती ने कहा, रिजर्व बैंक के लिए जो कुछ भी संभव होगा, केंद्रीय बैंक निरंतर करता रहेगा।पिछले एक साल में डॉलर के मुकाबले भारतीय मुद्रा का मूल्य करीब 25 प्रतिशत गिरा है। पिछले वर्ष मई महीने में डॉलर के मुकाबले रुपया 45 के स्तर पर था जो अब 57 के स्तर पर आ गया है। रुपये के मूल्य में गिरावट का प्रमुख कारण वैश्विक स्तर पर कमजोर आर्थिक गतिविधियां हैं।

भारतीय रिजर्व बैंक (आरबीआई) का मानना है कि सुस्त आर्थिक वृद्धि के पीछे ब्याज दरें बहुत बड़ा कारक नहीं है और उसने दरों को अपरिवर्तित रखने के पीछे कई ठोस तर्क भी दिए, लेकिन उद्योग जगत ने उसके तर्कों को सिरे से खारिज कर दिया है। यथास्थिति बरकरार रखे जाने से कारोबारियों की हताशा बरकरार है।भारतीय उद्योग परिसंघ (सीआईआई) के अध्यक्ष और गोदरेज ग्रुप के चेयरमैन आदि गोदरेज ने बेहद आलोचनात्मक रुख अपनाते हुए कहा, 'वित्त मंत्री कह रहे हैं कि वह कटौती की उम्मीद कर रहे थे। मैं यह नहीं समझ पा रहा कि निष्क्रियता की क्या वजह रही। हमारी अर्थव्यवस्था के लिए आर्थिक वृद्धि की दरकार है जो प्रमुख दरों में कमी से ही संभव है। यदि नीतिगत निष्क्रियता के पीछे महंगाई संबंधी चिंताएं मुख्य वजह थीं, तो केंद्रीय बैंक की चिंताएं ठीक नहीं हैं। इस स्थिति में हमारा ध्यान स्थिर वृद्धि की ओर रहना चाहिए।'

प्रधानमंत्री ने मंगलवार को वित्त विभाग का जिम्मा संभाला था, इसके बाद से चार दिनों में सेंसेक्स करीब 550 अंक ऊपर चढ़ चुका है। उद्योग संगठन एसोचैम ने 150 सीईओ के बीच सर्वे किया है, जिसके मुताबिक प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह ने जब से वित्त मंत्रालय का जिम्मा अपने हाथ में लिया है, तब से कारोबारी जगत का भरोसा बढ़ा है। डॉलर के मुकाबले रुपये ने पिछले एक दशक में दूसरी सबसे बड़ी मजबूती शुक्रवार को हासिल की। यह 119 पैसे ऊपर चढ़कर 55..61 तक पहुंच गया, जो दो हफ्ते में सबसे ऊंचा लेवल है। उद्योग मंडल ऐसोचैम ने 150 कंपनियों के मुख्य कार्यकारी अधिकारियों के बीच त्वरित सर्वेक्षण के आधार पर शुक्रवार को एक बयान में यह बात कही। बयान में कहा गया कि उद्योग और निवेशकों के बीच अर्थव्यवस्था में नई उम्मीद जगी है।उद्योग मंडल ने कहा, 80 फीसद से ज्यादा मुख्य कार्यकारियों का मानना है कि वित्त मंत्रालय के अतिरिक्त प्रभार के साथ प्रधानमंत्री अब बिना समय गवांए काम करेंगे क्योंकि वह महसूस करते हैं कि अर्थव्यवस्था और अनिर्णय की स्थिति नहीं झेल सकती। देश के शेयर बाजारों के प्रमुख सूचकांकों में गत सप्ताह ढाई फीसदी से अधिक तेजी दर्ज की गई। बम्बई स्टॉक एक्सचेंज (बीएसई) का 30 शेयरों वाला संवेदी सूचकांक सेंसेक्स आलोच्य अवधि में 457.47 अंकों या 2.70 फीसदी तेजी के साथ 17429.98 पर बंद हुआ। सेंसेक्स पिछले शुक्रवार को 16972.51 पर बंद हुआ था। नेशनल स्टॉक एक्सचेंज (एनएसई) का 50 शेयरों वाला संवेदी सूचकांक निफ्टी आलोच्य अवधि में 132.85 अंकों या 2.58 फीसदी तेजी के साथ 5278.90 पर बंद हुआ।

लेकिन अर्थ व्यवस्था की बदहाली का आलम यह है कि वित्त वर्ष 2012 में करंट अकाउंट डेफेसिट जीडीपी के 4.2 फीसदी के बराबर रहा, जो अब तक का सबसे ज्यादा घाटा है। कंरट अकाउंट डेफेसिट 46 अरब डॉलर से बढ़कर 78.2 अरब डॉलर रहा है।
वित्त वर्ष 2012 में निर्यात 23.6 फीसदी और आयात 31 फीसदी बढ़े। कच्चे तेल के आयात 47 फीसदी और सोने के आयात 49 फीसदी बढ़े।पूरे साल के लिए व्यापार घाटा बढ़कर 190 अरब डॉलर रहा। अप्रवासी भारतीयों द्वारा देश में भेजी गई पूंजी 19 फीसदी बढ़कर 66 अरब डॉलर रही। साथ ही, 22 अरब डॉलर एफडीआई के जरिए देश में आए।वित्त वर्ष 2012 की चौथी तिमाही में हालात सबसे ज्यादा बिगड़ते नजर आए। जनवरी-मार्च में करंट अकाउंट डेफेसिट 21.7 अरब डॉलर रहा, जो जीडीपी का 4.5 फीसदी है। चौथी तिमाही में निर्यात में सिर्फ 3.4 फीसदी की बढ़ोतरी हुई, जबकि आयात 22.6 फीसदी से बढ़े।जनवरी-मार्च में व्यापार घाटा बढ़कर 51.6 अरब डॉलर रहा। वहीं, अप्रवासी भारतीयों द्वारा देश में भेजी गई पूंजी 24 फीसदी बढ़कर 16.9 अरब डॉलर रही।रिकॉर्ड करंट अकाउंट डेफेसिट की वजह से वित्त वर्ष 2012 में बैलेंस ऑफ पेमेंट में 12.8 अरब डॉलर का घाटा हुआ है। जनवरी-मार्च में बैलेंस ऑफ पेमेंट में 5.7 अरब डॉलर का घाटा हुआ है।आरबीआई के मुताबिक करंट अकाउंट डेफेसिट और जीडीपी का रेश्यो बढ़ने की वजह जीडीपी में धीमी बढ़ोतरी है।

दूसरी ओर,देश में मॉनसून की कमी को लेकर चिंताएं गहराने लगी हैं। वो इसलिए क्योंकि जून का महीना खत्म होने जा रहा है और अबतक मॉनसून की चाल सामान्य से 27 फीसदी नीचे चल रही है।देश में मॉनसून की स्थिति अब खराब होती जा रही है। पहली जून से 29 जून तक देश में 27 फीसदी कम बारिश हुई है। 29 जून को देश में 71 फीसदी कम बारिश हुई है। सबसे ज्यादा कम बारिश उत्तर पश्चिम भारत में हुई है। यहां जून में 67 फीसदी बादल कम बरसे हैं।
मध्य भारत की हालत भी खराब है। यहां 38 फीसदी कम बारिश हुई है। दक्षिण भारत में भी 28 फीसदी मॉनसूनी बारिश कम है। हालांकि उत्तर पूर्वीय भारत में हालात कुछ बेहतर हैं। लेकिन यहां भी औसत में 1 फीसदी बारिश कम हुई है।

जाहिर है किसानों की आत्महत्या का सिलसिला फिर तेज होने वाला है। उर्वरकों पर सब्सिडी खत्म करने का मन बना चुकी सरकार किसानों को कोई राहत नहीं देने वाली क्योंकि कारपोरेट इंडिया ने अपना पैकेज हासिल कर लेने का चाक चौबंद इंतजाम किया हुआ है।कमजोर मॉनसून के चलते अब धान की फसल कमजोर होने का डर बढ़ गया है। इस साल अबतक कुल 31 लाख हेक्टेयर जमीन पर ही धान बोया गया है, जबकि पिछले साल इस दौरान 42 लाख हेक्टेयर जमीन पर बुआई हुई थी। वहीं कम बारिश के चलते अनाज तो अबतक आधा ही बोया गया है।पिछले साल 22 लाख हेक्टेयर जमीन पर अनाज की बुआई हुई थी, इस साल अबतक सिर्फ 10 लाख हेक्टेयर है। दालों की बुआई का भी यहीं हाल है, जहां पिछले साल 6 लाख हेक्टेयर जमीन पर दालें बोई गई थी, इस साल सिर्फ 4 लाख हेक्टेयर पर दालों की बुआई हुई है। ऑयलसीड्स यानि तिलहन की बुआई भी इस साल 17 फीसदी घट गई है।

कारोबारी जगत की प्रतिनिधि संस्था भारतीय उद्योग परिसंघ (सीआईआई) ने मंगलवार को देश के आर्थिक विकास के लिए 10 सूत्री एजेंडे का एक प्रस्ताव प्रस्तुत किया और रियायत को घटाकर सकल घरेलू उत्पाद (जीडीपी) के दो फीसदी तक लाने के विचार का समर्थन किया।परिसंघ के राष्ट्रीय अधिवेशन के बाद अध्यक्ष आदि बी. गोदरेज ने संवाददाता सम्मेलन में बताया कि
सीआईआई ने वस्तु एवं सेवा कर (जीएसटी) को जल्द से जल्द लागू करने का प्रस्ताव रखा और कहा कि इससे आर्थिक विकास दर में डेढ़ फीसदी तक का सुधार हो सकता है। अधिवेशन में पेश प्रस्ताव में रेपो दर में 100 आधार अंकों की कटौती, नकद आरक्षित अनुपात में कटौती, उड्डयन क्षेत्र में प्रत्यक्ष विदेशी निवेश (एफडीआई) की ऊपरी सीमा को और ऊपर करने, बहु ब्रांड खुदरा कारोबार में एफडीआई की अनुमति और मशीनों तथा संयंत्रों में निवेश की अवमूल्यन की गति को बढ़ाकर 25 फीसदी तक करने जैसे अन्य उपाय सीआईआई के प्रस्ताव में शामिल हैं।

गोदरेज ने लंदन में सीआईआई के सालाना समारोह में कहा कि उद्योग को भरोसा है कि अगली तिमाही में वृद्धि में तेजी लाने के लिए सुधार के लिहाज से बड़ी पहल दिख सकती है।उन्होंने कहा कि उद्योग जगत सरकार को नीतिगत बदलाव का सुझाव दे रहा है जिससे निवेश और वृद्धि की प्रक्रिया फिर से तेज होगी। सीआईआई के सुझावों में मौद्रिक नीति को उदार बनाना, बुनियादी ढांचा परियोजना को तेजी से लागू करना और सब्सिडी पर नियंत्रण शामिल है।

वर्ष 2011-12 के दौरान सकल घरेलू उत्पाद (जीडीपी) के आंकड़ों के 6.5 फीसदी तक गिर जाने पर भारतीय उद्योग परिसंघ (सीआईआई) ने गंभीर चिंता जताते हुए कहा है कि उद्योग जगत को सरकार से तत्काल इकॉनोमिक रिवाइवल पैकेज की जरूरत है, क्योंकि स्थिति आर्थिक सुस्ती के दौर से भी खराब है।

सीआईआई के अध्यक्ष आदि गोदरेज ने शुक्रवार को संवाददाताओं से बातचीत में कहा कि वर्ष 2008-09 में जब आर्थिक सुस्ती का दौर था, उस समय भी भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था की विकास दर 6.7 फीसदी थी। वर्ष 2011-12 में और गिर कर 6.5 फीसदी पर आ गई है। इसी तरह औद्योगिक उत्पादन की दर (इंडस्ट्रियल आउटपुट) को देखें तो यह 2008-09 में 4.4 फीसदी था जो कि बीते वर्ष गिर कर 2.8 फीसदी पर आ गई है। इससे पता चलता है कि हालात 2008 के सुस्ती के दौर से भी ज्यादा खराब हो गए है। इसलिए अब सरकार के लिए यह जरूरी हो गया है कि वह अर्थव्यवस्था की विकास दर को पटरी पर लाए।

उनका कहना था कि अभी सबसे महत्वपूर्ण बात मौद्रिक रुकावटों को दूर कर आर्थिक चक्र को फिर से घुमाना है। सीआईआई का सुझाव है कि रेपो दर में 100 बेसिस प्वाइंट की कमी की जाए ताकि ब्याज दरें घट सके। इसी के साथ नकद आरक्षित अनुपात (सीआरआर) में भी 100 प्वाइंट की कमी की आवश्यकता है। इससे बाजार में तरलता बढ़ेगी और उद्योग जगत के लिए आसानी से निधि का इंतजाम हो सकेगा। इसी के साथ बिक्री में भी बढ़ोतरी होगी।

गोदरेज का कहना है कि इन मौद्रिक उपायों के अलावा निजी निवेश को बढ़ावा देने के लिए सरकार को कुछ और उपाय भी करना चाहिए। इससे निवेश की धारणा बनेगी। हो सकता है कि सरकार प्लांट एंड मशीनरी में निवेश के लिए 25 फीसदी का एक्सीलरेटेड डेप्रिसिएशन की व्यवस्था करे। साथ ही ग्रीन इनिशिएटिव के लिए खर्च में 25 फीसदी की वेटेड टैक्स डिडक्शन की व्यवस्था कर उद्योग जगत को ग्रीन टेक्नोलॉजी के प्रति प्रेरित किया जा सकता है।

बड़ी परियोजनाओं को क्लियरेंस मिलने में आ रही दिक्कतों का जिक्र करते हुए गोदरेज ने कहा कि सरकार 50 बड़ी परियोजनाओं के लिए प्राथमिकता के आधार पर क्लियरेंस दे सकती है। इसके अलावा सिंगल ब्रांड रिटेल, मल्टी ब्रांड रिटेल जैसे महत्वपूर्णक्षेत्रों में विदेशी निवेश (एफडीआई) को खोलने के लिए कदम बढ़ा सकती है। उन्होंने कहा कि निर्यात को बढ़ावा देने के लिए दो प्रतिशत के इंटरेस्ट सबवेंशन जैसे प्रोत्साहन की तत्काल आवश्यकता महसूस की जा रही है।इसके अलावा एसएमई एक्सपोर्ट को बढ़ावा देने के लिए प्राथमिकता से काम किया जा सकता है। उनका कहना था कि वस्तु एवं सेवा कर प्रणाली (जीएसटी) को लागू कर देने से ही ढेरों समस्याओं का समाधान हो जाएगा। जैसे ही जीएसटी व्यवस्था लागू होगी, बिना कुछ किये जीडीपी में दो फीसदी की बढ़ोतरी हो जाएगी क्योंकि इससे कारोबार जगत को भारी फायदा होगा।

गोदरेज ने कहा, `सौभाग्य से महंगाई का दबाव कम हो रहा है। मौद्रिक प्रोत्साहन के लिए यह सही समय है।` परिसंघ रियायत को घटाकर सकल घरेलू उत्पाद (जीडीपी) के दो फीसदी तक लाने के विचार का समर्थन किया। अधिवेशन में महसूस किया गया कि वित्तीय घाटा कम करने के लिए रियायत कम करना जरूरी है। गोदरेज ने कहा कि सीआईआई आम बजट में सरकार के इस प्रस्ताव का समर्थन करता है कि रियायत को घटाकर जीडीपी के दो फीसदी तक लाना चाहिए।

उन्होंने कहा, `रियायत से संसाधन की बर्बादी बढ़ती है। यदि बिजली मुफ्त मिलेगी, तो इसकी बर्बादी हो सकती है।` 2जी और खनन घोटालों का नकारात्मक असर निवेश पर पड़ने के बारे में पूछे जाने पर उन्होंने कहा कि परिसंघ ने शासन व्यवस्था में सुधार के लिए दो सुझाव दिए हैं। सीआईआई ने भ्रष्टाचारियों को सजा दिए जाने के लिए लोकपाल कानून बनाने और ऐसी व्यवस्था अपनाने की सलाह दी, जिसमें मंजूरी के लिए हर मामले को अलग-अलग देखा जाना कम से कम हो, ताकि भ्रष्टाचार की गुंजाइश कम हो।

उन्होंने कहा, `काफी अच्छा रहेगा, यदि सरकार, कारोबार और जनता के बीच संवाद इंटरनेट के सहारे हो। सरकारी अधिकारियों और आम लोगों के बीच सम्पर्क को कम किया जाए। इससे भ्रष्टाचार कम होगा।` गोदरेज ने यहां कहा कि पाकिस्तान के साथ व्यापार और निवेश को बढ़ाया जा सकता है। उन्होंने कहा कि परिसंघ ने हाल ही में दो व्यापार प्रतिनिधि मंडल के पाकिस्तान और जापान भेजा था।

उन्होंने कहा, `पाकिस्तान के साथ व्यापार और निवेश बढ़ाना सम्भव है। पाकिस्तानी भी काफी अधिक इच्छुक हैं।` गोदरेज ने कहा कि जापानी भी भारत में निवेश करना चाहते हैं। परिसंघ देश में निवेश का माहौल बेहतर करने के लिए काम कर रहा है। उन्होंने कहा कि अमेरिका, ब्रिटेन, लातिन अमेरिका और दुनिया के कई अन्य हिस्सों में भी प्रतिनिधिमंडल जल्द ही भेजे जाएंगे।

BOOKS: EXTRACT The Night Shastri Died And Other Stories Vignettes from the veteran journalist's overarching autobiography, a sort of a fly-on-the-wall account from Mountbatten to Manmohan. KULDIP NAYAR

The Night Shastri Died And Other Stories
Vignettes from the veteran journalist's overarching autobiography, a sort of a fly-on-the-wall account from Mountbatten to Manmohan.
Beyond The Lines

ROLI BOOKS | PAGES: 420 | RS. 595

Kuldip Nayar, 89, has seen Gandhi at prayer in Birla Mandir, quizzed Nehru, watched Jinnah closely, worked with Shastri and Govind Ballabh Pant. Journalist, editor, author, he has seen history unfold, watched in action people most of the present generation know only as institutions or physical landmarks, say Kamraj University or the Netaji Subhash Airport. "My story is really the story of modern India. Of the freedom struggle, of Partition, of Nehru's India, of the Bangladesh war, of Emergency and more recently of liberalisation and India as a world power," he says. Here are vignettes from his overarching autobiography, a sort of a fly-on-the-wall account of how our country came to be, from Mountbatten to Manmohan.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah
'What have I done?'

The catholicity of Hinduism and the compassion of Islam: if such sentiments survived, they made no difference. Villages after villages had been annihilated, the Muslim habitations destroying and burning the Hindu-Sikh ones, and Hindus and Sikhs in turn retaliating or taking the initiative in wiping out the Muslims....

Punjab, 1947 Partition's bloody bifurcation. (Photograph by Getty Images, From Outlook, July 09, 2012)

Riots, in fact, had erupted in Punjab in March 1947 itself. Rawalpindi and Jhelum were the most affected, where many Hindu and Sikh women jumped into wells to save themselves from rape and kidnapping. Lahore became a battleground between Hindus and Sikhs on the one side joining hands, and Muslims on the other. This was the city where Master Tara Singh, the Sikh leader, had unsheathed a sword in front of the state assembly building and raised the slogan of Khalistan....

The men in khaki—the army, the police, and other services—were meant to bring the riots under control but they too were infected by the communal virus. To expect them to be impartial and punish the guilty from their own community was to hope for the impossible. They had lost all sense of right and wrong. These custodians of the people knew they would go scot-free in their "own country" after the transfer. I think it was a blunder to give the choice to civil servants, the police, and the armed forces to opt for India if they were non-Muslims and Pakistan if they were Muslims. A mixed administration would have behaved differently and infused the minorities with confidence. Jinnah would not believe the reports that thousands of people were migrating from both sides of the border. Both the Congress and the Muslim League had rejected the proposal for an exchange of population and had insisted on Muslims and non-Muslims staying back in their homes. Jinnah remained sullen for a few days and then accused India of seeking to undermine Pakistan. Even so, he was deeply concerned not only about the migration of people but also recurrent news that several lakhs of people had been butchered on either side of the border.

One day when Jinnah was in Lahore, Iftikhar-ud-din, Pakistan's rehabilitation minister, and Mazhar Ali Khan, editor of Pakistan Times, flew him in a Dakota over divided Punjab. When he saw streams of people pouring into Pakistan or fleeing it, he struck his hand on the forehead and said despairingly: "What have I done?" Both Iftikhar and Mazhar vowed not to repeat the remark. Mazhar took his wife Tahira into confidence and told her what Jinnah had said, and she communicated Jinnah's comment to me long after her husband's death.

What to do with Kashmir? Patel with Nehru

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
'Kashmir can go to Pakistan'

My impression is that had Pakistan been patient it would have got Kashmir automatically. India could not have conquered it, nor could a Hindu maharaja have ignored the composition of the population, which was predominantly Muslim. Instead, an impatient Pakistan sent tribesmen along with regular troops to Kashmir within days of independence.

While it's true that Nehru was keen on Kashmir's accession to India, Patel was opposed to it. Sheikh Abdullah told me in an interview later (February 21, 1971) that Patel argued with him that as Kashmir was a Muslim-majority area it should go to Pakistan. Even when New Delhi received the maharaja's request to accede to India, Patel said: "We should not get mixed up with Kashmir. We already have too much on our plate."

Nehru's anxiety (on this issue) was clear from his letter to Patel (September 27, 1947), three days before Kashmir's accession to India: "Things must be done in a way so as to bring about the accession of Kashmir to the Indian union as rapidly as possible with the cooperation of Sheikh Abdullah." Nehru wanted Indian forces to fight against the Pakistan tribesmen and others advancing in the Valley. It was Mountbatten who asked Nehru to get the instrument of accession signed first before sending troops.

From the very outset, the maharaja's preference was for independence. Failing that, he wanted a merger with India. His fear in relation to the second alternative was that with Nehru at the helm of affairs, he would be reduced to a mere figurehead, and Sheikh Abdullah would be the one with real power. When Patel, otherwise close to the maharaja, suggested that he should "make a substantial gesture to win Sheikh Abdullah's support", the maharaja knew his fate was sealed.

Mountbatten later told me that Patel had agreed to let Kashmir go to Pakistan if the state so wished. "By sending its irregular troops into the state, Pakistan spoiled the whole thing," added Mountbatten. He was, however, worried that Nehru's Kashmiri ancestry would lead him to unwise decisions. (Nehru is reported to have confessed to a British officer: "In the same way as Calais was written on Mary's heart, Kashmir is written on mine.")

However, Pakistan could not wait. Kashmir had always been a part of the concept of Pakistan and the letter 'K' in its name stood for Kashmir. As the Pakistan minister for Kashmir affairs said in 1951, and this has been repeated by many ministers to this day, "Kashmir is an article of faith with Pakistan and not merely a piece of land or a source of rivers."

Tashkent, 1966 Shastri with Gen Ayub Khan, Alexei Kosygin and others

Lal Bahadur Shastri
Was he poisoned?

That night I had a premonition that Shastri was dying. I dreamt about him dying. I got up abruptly to a knock on my door. A lady in the corridor told me: "Your prime minister is dying." I hurriedly dressed and drove with an Indian official to Shastri's dacha which was some distance away.

I saw (Soviet premier Alexei) Kosygin standing in the verandah. He raised his hands to indicate that Shastri was no more. Behind the verandah was the dining room where a team of doctors was sitting at an oblong table, cross-examining Dr R.N. Chugh who had accompanied Shastri.

Next to it was Shastri's room. It was extraordinarily large. On the huge bed, his body looked like a dot on a drawing board. His slippers were neatly placed on the carpeted floor. He had not used them. In a corner of the room, however, on a dressing table, there was an overturned thermos flask. It appeared that Shastri had struggled to open it. There was no buzzer in his room, the point on which the government lied when attacked in Parliament on its failure to save Shastri's life.

Our official photographer and I spread the national flag, which had been neatly folded up near the dressing table, over the body, and placed some flowers to pay homage to him. I then went to meet Shastri's assistants. It was a few yards away and one had to walk through an open verandah to reach it. Shastri's personal secretary, Jagan Nath Sahai, told me that Shastri had knocked on their door at around midnight and wanted water. Two stenographers and Jagan Nath helped him walk back to his room. This was fatal, Dr Chugh said.

After sending the flash on Shastri's death, I went back to his assistants' room to learn the details about his death. Bits and pieces of information gathered together indicated that Shastri, after attending the farewell reception, reached his dacha around 10 pm. Shastri told (his personal servant) Ram Nath to bring him his food which came from Ambassador (T.N.) Kaul's house, prepared by his cook, Jan Mohammed. He ate very little: a dish of spinach and potatoes and a curry.

Ram Nath gave Shastri milk, which he used to drink before retiring at night. The prime minister once again began pacing up and down and later asked for water, which Ram Nath gave from the thermos flask on the dressing table. (He told me that he had closed the flask.) It was a little before midnight when Shastri told Ram Nath to retire to his room and get some sleep because he had to get up early to leave for Kabul. Ram Nath offered to sleep on the floor in Shastri's room but Shastri told him to go to his own room upstairs. The assistants were packing the luggage at 1.20 am (Tashkent time), Jagan Nath recalled, when they suddenly saw Shastri at the door. With great difficulty Shastri asked: "Where is doctor sahib?" It was in the sitting room that a racking cough convulsed Shastri, and his personal assistants helped him to bed. Jagan Nath gave him water and remarked: "Babuji, now you will be all right." Shastri only touched his chest and then became unconscious. (When Lalita Shastri was told by Jagan Nath in Delhi that he had given him water, she said: "You are a very lucky person because you gave him his last cup of water.")


Gen Ayub was genuinely grieved by Shastri's death. He came to Shastri's dacha at 4 am and said, looking towards me: "Here is a man of peace who gave his life for amity between India and Pakistan." Later, Ayub told the Pakistani journalists that Shastri was one person with whom he had hit it off well; "Pakistan and India might have solved their differences had he lived," he said. Aziz Ahmad, Pakistan's foreign secretary, rang up Bhutto to inform him about Shastri's death. Bhutto was half asleep and heard only the word "died", and apparently asked, "Which of the two bastards?"

When I returned from Tashkent, Lalita Shastri asked me why Shastri's body had turned blue. I replied: "I am told that when bodies are embalmed, they turn blue." She then inquired about "certain cuts" on Shastri's body. I did not know about those because I had not seen the body. Even so, her remark that no post-mortem had been conducted either at Tashkent or Delhi startled me. It was indeed unusual. Apparently, she and others in the family suspected foul play. A few days later, I heard that Lalita Shastri was angry with the two personal assistants who had accompanied Shastri because they had refused to sign a statement which alleged that Shastri did not die a natural death.

As days passed, the Shastri family became increasingly convinced that he had been poisoned. In 1970, on October 2 (Shastri's birthday), Lalita Shastri asked for a probe into her husband's death. The family seemed to be upset that Jan Mohammed, T.N. Kaul's cook at the time, had cooked the food, not Ram Nath, his own personal servant. This was strange as the same Jan Mohammed had prepared food for Shastri when he visited Moscow in 1965.

Following newspaper reports, the old guard Congress party supported the demand for a probe into Shastri's death. I asked Morarji Desai towards the end of October 1970 whether he really believed that Shastri did not die a natural death. Desai said: "That is all politics. I am sure there was no foul play. He died of a heart attack. I have checked with the doctor and his secretary, C.P. Srivastava, who accompanied him to Tashkent."

Heir apparent Nehru and Indira in the early '60s. (Photograph by Virender Prabhakar)

Lal Bahadur Shastri
'Nehru has Indira in mind'

As the days went by, instances (of humiliation) piled up. In fact, Shastri had to wait even to get an appointment with Nehru and at one point thought of resigning from the ministry. Once he told me that he would return to Allahabad. "There is nothing for me here now," he said. He then added woefully: "If I continue to stay in Delhi, I am bound to come into a clash with Panditji. I would rather retire from politics than join issue with him."

Many people told him that Nehru's behaviour was influenced by Indira Gandhi's "hostility" towards him. Initially Shastri would never encourage such doubts, but later he would go out of the way to find out if that was true. In due course, he became convinced that he was not uppermost in Nehru's mind as his successor. Indira Gandhi was more open about ignoring him and would herself take important files to Nehru. I ventured to ask Shastri one day: "Who do you think Nehru has in mind as his successor?" "Unke dil mein to unki suputri hai (He has his daughter in his heart)," said Shastri, "but it won't be easy," he added. "People think you are such a staunch devotee of Nehru that you yourself will propose Indira Gandhi's name after his death," I said. "I am not that much of a sadhu as you imagine me to be. Who would not like to be India's prime minister," was Shastri's reply.

A.Q. Khan
'We have the bomb'

Mushahid Hussain, editor of Muslim, a daily from Islamabad, invited me to his wedding (in 1987). He was a close friend who had once met me in Delhi when he was a lecturer, to seek my advice on whether he should take up journalism. I found his writing promising and predicted that he would one day make a good editor if he took to journalism seriously. Mushahid was at the airport to receive me when I landed in Islamabad. He told me that he would give me a 'wedding gift', and then whispered in my ear that A.Q. Khan, the nuclear scientist, had agreed to meet me. I was flabbergasted. True, I had asked him many times to arrange a meeting with A.Q. Khan but had never imagined he could pull it off.

When we reached A.Q. Khan's house, the security guard spoke to Mushahid but did not even look towards me. That convinced me that the interview was sanctioned by the government. Khan was waiting at the verandah to welcome me. As he was leading me to the drawing room, he said he had been following my writings and was a "great fan" of mine. "They treated me very badly at Bhopal," said Khan. That's where he graduated. He was referring to his migration from India to Pakistan a few years after Partition. I told him that I came from Sialkot and had faced more or less the same privations. "The cake is delicious," I said. "My wife baked it for you," he replied.

I had heard he was very full of himself, and he matched the description to perfection. I annoyed him when I mentioned in passing that he had been hauled up before a Dutch court in a case for having "stolen" information from one of their nuclear laboratories. He raised his voice to deny the charge, adding that the court had cleared him. The question of whether India had tried to penetrate the secrets of Pakistan's nuclear plant pleased him. Laughingly, he said that New Delhi had sent spies for the purpose, among them an Indian army major, but they had all been arrested.

My entire interview was directed towards learning whether or not Pakistan had made a nuclear bomb. He skirted all such questions, brushing me aside whenever I tried to be specific. It appeared to me that he had been permitted to give me this interview but at the same time had been told not to say anything specific. I praised him for being an outstanding scientist and the only one in the subcontinent who had two PhDs, one in metallurgy and the other in physics. I asked him whether he had any foreigner assisting him. He proudly said that his team comprised only Pakistanis.

I thought I would provoke him. Egoist as he was, he might fall for the bait. And he did. I concocted a story and told him that when I was coming to Pakistan, I ran into Dr Homi Sethna, the father of India's nuclear bomb, who asked me why I was wasting my time because Pakistan had neither the men nor the material to make such a weapon. Khan was furious and began pounding his hand on the table: "Tell them we have it, we have it." Mushahid was taken aback and looked distraught. I followed up Khan's disclosure with the remark that it was easy to make such a claim but it needed to be corroborated. No test had so far been conducted to confirm that Pakistan possessed a nuclear bomb. He said that they had already tested the bomb in their laboratory. "Haven't you heard of a prototype plane flying with the help of a simulator? We do not have to explode a nuclear bomb to ascertain its potency. Sensitive and advanced instruments in a laboratory can show the scale of the explosion. We are satisfied with the results."

"Why haven't you announced that you have a nuclear bomb," I asked him point blank. "Is it necessary? America has threatened to cut off all its aid," he replied. Khan said their bomb was larger than the one we had exploded in Rajasthan on May 18, 1974. "The US is aware that Pakistan has a nuclear bomb," said Khan, "and what the CIA has been saying about our possessing a nuclear bomb is correct as are the speculations in the foreign media."

Khan made no pretence that Pakistan's nuclear programme was for peaceful purposes. "The word 'peaceful' associated with the nuclear programme is humbug. There is no 'peaceful bomb'. Once you knew how to make reactors, how to produce the plutonium, all of which Pakistan has mastered, it became easy to produce a nuclear bomb."

New Delhi, 1959 Edwina had been invited as a guest at this function. (Photograph by AFP, From Outlook, July 09, 2012)

Jawaharlal Nehru-Edwina Mountbatten
'Theirs was spiritual love'

My interest in finding out about Lady Mountbatten's influence on Nehru did not slacken with time. I picked up the thread when I was India's high commissioner in London in 1990. I learnt that Air India flights would carry Nehru's daily letter, which the high commission dutifully delivered to Lady Mountbatten and daily collected her reply and forwarded it to Nehru. Nehru took officials to task whenever her letter was delayed.

During my stint in the UK, I met her grandson, Lord Romsey, who headed the Nehru Trust, which Mountbatten had constituted in London to arrange an annual lecture in Nehru's memory. As high commissioner, I was an ex-officio member of the trust. Lord Romsey and I met many times in that connection. After meeting him a few times, I thought I had developed a sufficient equation to talk to him about his grandmother. He did not seem to mind.

I once broached the subject of Nehru's letters with him. I said: "Nehru wrote beautifully." His reply was that his grandmother too wrote beautifully. I told him I would love to see at least one of her letters. I had seen Nehru's writings but not hers. He said that Rajiv Gandhi and he had exchanged copies of his grandmother's and Nehru's letters. There were two sets, one with him and the other with the Gandhi family. I realised then that it would be difficult to obtain access to them.

Nonetheless, I bluntly asked him one day whether his grandmother and Nehru had been in love. First he laughed and then wondered how he could describe their relationship. He paused for a while and said: "Theirs was 'spiritual love'." Then he changed the subject. I let the matter rest there. Lord Romsey subsequently said: "They fell in love; a kind of chivalrous love which was understood in the olden days. Nowadays when you talk of love, you think of sex. Theirs was more a soul-to-soul kind of relation. Nehru was an honourable man and he would never have seduced a friend's wife."

Back in Delhi, I tried to get access to the letters. I went to the Nehru Memorial Library and asked for the correspondence between Jawaharlal Nehru and Lady Mountbatten. The librarian looked surprised. "You have to get permission from Mrs Sonia Gandhi," he said and closed the topic. I wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi stating that I was working on a book on the Mountbattens and would like to see Nehru's papers. She did not reply but Natwar Singh, then the state minister for external affairs, said that I could go to the library and consult the letters. I could hardly believe it. When the librarian placed before me a bundle of papers in a secluded room, I thought my efforts had borne fruit. I spent many hours sifting through the pile, but they proved to be Nehru's letters and notes to Krishna Menon, who got him to change many policies on foreign affairs. My mission, however, was different.

I approached the librarian who said that my permission was for the 'C' grade papers. For this I would have to obtain Sonia Gandhi's specific instructions. I wrote to her again. Once again Natwar Singh was the channel of communication. He told me the papers could not be made available to me.

There was no explanation. All he said was that they were her property and she alone could decide. I think Nehru's letters are the nation's property and should be made available to the public because they throw light on matters meaningful to our history. But this does not seem to be the general policy. The Government of India has not yet made public the papers relating to the transfer of power by the British to India while the UK has.

Lolita, Swan Lake and Meena Kumari 
Too Risque for Comfort

Lal Bahadur Shastri, who, like Nehru, belonged to Allahabad, was conscious that he was way down in the social ladder in comparison to the Nehru family. After all, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru's father, was an iconic figure and a dashing social figure while Shastri was a struggling lower middle-class individual. I recall Indira Gandhi's remark about "middle-class living" when she visited Shastri's residence to consider whether she could move there after his death.

Shastri was impressed with English-speaking intellectuals who he thought came from highly educated families. Once he wrote a note on the Punjab situation and asked me to read it. I thought he wanted me to see whether his analysis tallied with mine as I came from Punjab, but to my surprise he wanted to know whether the note was well written. As I began reading it, Shastri said that even L.P. Singh, his favourite joint secretary, had praised his writing style.

Shastri's note to Nehru on Punjab did not create any stir, but his letter on Vladimir Nabokov's racy novel Lolita did. One Congress leader had written to Shastri that Lolita, which had reached bookshops in India, was so lewd that it should be banned. Shastri accordingly wrote to Nehru (L.P. Singh provided the draft) that the book should be banned. Prompt came Nehru's reply the following morning (he replied to all correspondence within 24 hours) arguing at length why he thought Lolita should not be banned and why D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover should continue to be. Lolita wasn't banned.

Shastri was not a moralist but he was a traditionalist. When he watched Swan Lake performed by the Bolshoi Ballet group in Leningrad, he was uncomfortable. At intermission, I asked if he was enjoying the show. He said he had felt embarrassed throughout because the legs of the dancers were naked, and amma, the word with which he addressed his wife (Lalita Shastri), was sitting by his side. He was equally embarrassed at the reception hosted by Kamal Amrohi in Bombay at the sets of his film, Pakeezah. Meena Kumari, then at the peak of her career, garlanded him and read out a small speech in his praise. Before responding, he took me aside and asked who the lady was. I was flabbergasted and told him that she was Meena Kumari, the leading film star in the country. He began his speech in Hindi—"Meena Kumari ji mujhe maaf karein"—for admitting that he had heard her name for the first time in his life.

Lord Mountbatten
Why August 15, 1947?

The process of division (of the country) was clumsy and hurried, particularly when Mountbatten advanced the date from June 3, 1948 to August 15, 1947. Why did he do this? …(His press secretary) Campbell-Johnson told me that Mountbatten selected August 15 because it was the day when the Japanese surrendered to the Allies, ending the Second World War. Some British Foreign Office hands disagreed with this reasoning. Their argument was that Mountbatten was lobbying for a more senior position in the Royal Navy and did not want his appointment in India to block his aspiration. When I checked with Mountbatten himself, he said he had to change the date because he could not hold the country together. "Things were slipping from my hands," he said repeatedly. "The Sikhs were up in arms in the Punjab, the great Calcutta killing had taken place, and communal tension was prevailing all over. On top of it, there had been the announcement that the British were leaving. Therefore, I myself decided to quit sooner.…" "This was not to the liking of Lord Attlee," Mountbatten added, "but he had given me full powers."

Lalit Narayan Mishra
Death Foretold

She (Indira Gandhi) realised her credibility was low; she said at a meeting to condole the death of L.N. Mishra (the rail minister killed in a bomb attack in Samastipur), "Even if I were to be killed, they would say that I myself had got it done." Mishra was a dear friend. He rang me up at midnight before going to Samastipur that he had handed his resignation to her personally. He sadly remarked that he'd be killed at Samastipur and put down the phone. It proved to be true. He was murdered at Samastipur the following day. The murder mystery has not been resolved to this day.

(Photograph by Magnum, From Outlook, July 09, 2012)

Sanjay Gandhi
Emergency Forever

Sanjay had heard about the book I was writing. Strangely, he asked me not to include any part of our conversation. I have, however, no obligation after his death and am therefore disclosing the gist of our conversation for the first time. The first question I asked Sanjay was how he thought that they would get away with it: the Emergency, the authoritarian rule, and the rest? He said there was no challenge to them and that they could have carried on with the Emergency for at least 20 to 25 years or more until they felt confident that they had changed people's ways of thinking. In their scheme of things, he said, there would have been no elections and they would have ruled from Delhi, with the help of provincial satraps like Bansi Lal from Haryana and like-minded bureaucrats in other states. It would have been a different kind of governance, with power centralised in Delhi. In the scheme of Sanjay's rule, there was no Congress leader of eminence and experience. Anyone who wanted to be part of the form of governance he was contemplating had to believe in a state
completely devoid of fundamental rights, freedom of speech and expression. The judiciary would have to function accordingly. "Then why did you hold elections?" I asked Sanjay. He didn't, he said. He was opposed to it to the very end. It was his mother's doing. "You should ask her," he said. By then Indira Gandhi reappeared at the porch, probably wondering what we were discussing, but then rapidly retraced her steps.

(Photograph by Magnum, From Outlook, July 09, 2012)

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
Making of a Terrorist

It was Sanjay Gandhi, known for his extra-constitutional methods, who suggested that some 'sant' should be put up to challenge the Akali government. Both Sanjay and Zail Singh, particularly the latter, knew how the former Punjab chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon had fought the Akalis. He had built up Sant Fateh Singh against Master Tara Singh, the Akali leader who had become a hard nut to crack…. As Sanjay's friend Kamal Nath, a member of Parliament, recalled: "The first one we
interviewed did not look a 'courageous type'. Bhindranwale, strong in tone and tenor, seemed to fit the bill. We would give him money off and on," Kamal Nath reminisced, "but we never thought he would turn into a terrorist."

Dr Rajendra Prasad
Ms Lazarus from South

The prime minister and the home minister jointly decided on the final list (of Padma awardees). The President, who authorised the gazette notification, rarely amended the list. However, Dr Rajendra Prasad, the then president, made an exception on one occasion. He added 'Miss Lazarus from the south' in his own hand to the list. We in the ministry worked hard to find out who she was. There was an educationist by that name in Chennai and we informed her about the award of the Padmashri. However, when the list went back to Dr Prasad, he wrote that she was a nurse and returned the list. His adc informed us that she had treated him when he fell ill travelling by road from Vijayawada to Hyderabad. We were eventually able to locate her, and that year two ladies with the name Lazarus received the award.

Photograph by Getty Images, From Outlook, July 09, 2012

Maulana Azad
The Man We All Loved

I have often told Pakistanis that Indian Muslims paid the price for constituting the new country. Helpless and abandoned, Muslims in India recalled Maulana Azad's warnings that after Partition their importance would be reduced to nothing. They rallied around him but it was too late. Hindus maintained a streak of respect for him, no matter how angry they were with Muslims in general. This was clear when he died on February 22, 1958. A ceaseless queue of non-Muslims flowed into his house through the night to pay respects. I was one of them. Nehru himself selected the site for Azad's burial near Jama Masjid. Azad had left behind piles and piles of books and papers which I tried to access in vain. I finally located the papers over 40 years ago in a trunk in the custody of the family of Ajmal Khan, Azad's private secretary. I wish someone would retrieve them because the papers belong to a significant period of our national struggle. There was no money in Azad's bank, nor was there any at home. Significantly, another Muslim cabinet minister, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, too died penniless. The fact that these Muslim ministers had no assets spoke a great deal about the integrity of nationalist Muslims.

Pranab Mukherjee
Austerity to Opulence

I recall his phone call to the Statesman when I was resident editor, requesting me to have tea at his house. He held no government office then. We three, including his wife, sat on the floor and sipped tea.... They had very little furniture and no servant.... His wife was a struggling dancer seeking to gain recognition. When he requested me to give her publicity, I realised why he had invited me. I met the same Mukherjee some years later during Emergency. His house exuded opulence...the sitting room was cluttered with stylish furniture, plush carpets and sparkling silver. He was then commerce minister.

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JUN 30, 2012
01:30 PM

 "Though I would love to read 'Beyond The Lines', I hate the delayed ways & style of such seasoned, senior, and responsible litterateurs who start shouting 'Chor Chor' only after the burglar had crossed border."

JUN 30, 2012
02:16 PM

Make it : Austerity to Opulence to Supreme Power. The guy Pronob Mukhopodhyoy is President - Designate of the Republic ....

JUN 30, 2012
03:26 PM

It can happen only in India. Its PM dies in foreign country ( though friendly at that time ) under suspicious circumstances and there is no post martem, no investigation. Silent cremation of the man and the incident. It is even stranger that Nayyar discusses this so late in his life. Everything is fishy in this city called New Delhi.

JUN 30, 2012
03:54 PM

 "From the very outset, the maharaja's preference was for independence." -

I distinctly remember reading somewhere en passant that the Maharajah had insisted at the time of partition negotiations that India must claim Sialkot as belonging to her, otherwise he could not merge with India. His reason for this was that at that time all connections and communications (road, telegraph, ...) between Srinagar and Delhi (i.e. rest of emerging new India) went through Sialkot. But Congress passed up the chance of pressing for Silakot to come to India.

This situation was similar to that of Assam.  Initially, due to the partition of Bengal i.e. birth of East Pakistan, Assam would have been cut-off from India and land locked. However, Congress succeeded to get a corridor - a narrow strip of land along the foot hills - from North Bengal to link up with Assam and the eastern part Manipur. In fact, in those very early days Delhi was sending supplies to Assam  by air flying over that corridor (Siliguri) since all existing road and rail connections to Dibrugar, Gawhati, Shillong .. were cut off by East Pakistan. It took a number of years after 1947 for the Indian state to set up rail and road to Assam through that Siliguri corridor.

Furthermore, Balochistan wanted to join India to my knowledge, but Congress shrugged them off since there would be no land connection between the new India and Balochistan.

I can't recall that reference on Maharajah's intent now ("The Himalayan Blunder" by Dalvi ?).  Incidentally, Sheikh Abdullah is reported to have burnt out many secret State documents and exchanges between Kashmir and Delhi of that period. So lot of files are lost for ever to dig out the full history to make a judgement of Maharajah now.

It will be of my interest if anyone in the forum can throw some light on the point I have made here or correct me if I am wrong. 

JUN 30, 2012
06:55 PM

 Kuldip nayar and OUTLOOK deserves Sincere appreciation
to bring out the facts to make history records correct. A decentjob indeed.

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