Fasgaya – Changes that have happened in the last 5 years that did not happen in the last 60 years.

27 MARCH 2019

LastFiveYearCont2

  


Changes within India, contd.:

We now can see the power of empowered institutions in action:

We as common citizens are increasingly seeing the power of empowered institutions in action: When Mr T N Seshan, the ex-chief election commissioner, put his foot down against the Govt. we felt so happy to see that at least one institution that is supposed to be independent of the Govt., is asserting itself, using the power vested in it by the constitution. But he got punished and did not get what every other election commissioner before him routinely got, a Padma award. We expected an award to be given to him for breaking out of the routine of ‘simply do what the Govt. says’ even though one is the head of an institution created under the constitution as an independent, autonomous body. This bold and professional step of shri T.N. Seshan has now become a reality: Now we see every institution acting freely without being the arm of the party in power, whether it is courts, EC, CAG, RBI, I-Tax, or the Press and thankfully not being punished for doing so. Of course the opposition parties have also enjoyed the freedom of speech though they have grossly misused this freedom enshrined in the constitution and used it against the Nation itself. They have used the freedom of speech to go below decent levels of criticism of the PM of the country. Originally even the Govts. ruled by parties other than the ruling party at the centre used to be dismissed- a hundred times at least to date- only because they talked against the ruling party in the centre or its top members- a clear act against the federal structure of our Constitution. Even emergency was declared when a PM was about to be dislodged the next morning by a court – at the stroke of 12 midnight on the same day.

It is nice to see the BJP(the ruling party) MLA’s and MP’s being put in their places that was unheard of earlier. It is nice to see justice being done to people by putting people who grossly misused their power irrespective of the so-called ‘great’ image they had. It is nice to see enforcement directorate taking action on people irrespective of their party affiliations and how ‘high’ they have been in the social or political hierarchy. It is nice to see the anti-nationals being put in their place instead of giving them VIP status and high level personal security. The message is loud and clear today: freedom of speech not to break the country but definitely for everything else, including speaking against the Govt. and the powers that be.

Our Last Budget:

We, the common citizens, irrespective of what social class we belong to, realized that the Govt. could present such a budget with benefits to practically every citizen of the country. For the fifth time in a row tax rates have not gone up and yet more benefits have gone to the economically lowest strata of society. We also could not be left thinking why such a thing could not be done a year earlier. We have a lingering doubt that this was delayed by the intense negativity of the opposition. Had they been a little more positive and oriented towards people who are the real source of their power , the benefits to us could have come at least a year earlier. Have we heard of such a budget in the last 60 years?

Other changes that affect we common citizens, on a daily basis:

GST: To introduce a small change in our home, we find it becomes an exercise of sorts, if we want to do it democratically. In a massive country of 1.3 billion people, massive and sweeping changes have been introduced like GST. Who can introduce such a massive change in such a massive country without a single blemish and the needed correction in the process of implementing such a massive change? The way of getting people’s pulse on this massive exercise periodically and the readiness with which these were accepted and implemented fast showed us the way how to execute big changes in our massive country. It is easy to have a theoretically great idea on paper like Dr. Manmohan’s GST idea but, if it is not implemented for a decade, the idea is not worth the paper it is written on. How many taxes for the same item vanished with the introduction of GST making it easier for the people and the business community! How many steps were eliminated altogether with the result the people in the middle of the supply chain could not play any longer the games they were playing with gay abandon and its impact on corruption! Now if anybody in the middle of the supply chain or the entrepreneurs have to do anything, they better take care: for once, they have to creatively think out a really smart method to evade taxes and if they fail to be smart enough they have to be counting bars.

ADHAAR: Giving unique identity to every true Indian to identify him/her as such and making it as a tool to make the genuine Indians get the benefit out of any Governmental help is a quantum leap forward in the quality of governance of this vast Nation. Today Aadhaar is the envy of even developed countries in implementing such a measure, because the US concedes Aadhaar and its coverage is superior to their social security number.

FOCUS ON RURAL: There is a rural transformation: be it the connectivity, the cleanliness, toilets, the cooking medium or electricity. One wonders if this enhancement could be done in 5 years, what were we doing in the last 60? 50 lakh rural houses a year for the last 5 years have been built and provided to homeless. Opening of crores of bank accounts followed by direct transfer to them is a boon that raised just 15 paise reaching the beneficiary out of every rupee spent by the Govt., to full rupee reaching the intended beneficiary today.

FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION: Fight against corruption is no doubt slow but sure: The fight has been scripted thoughtfully. It is in correct sequential order, doing innocent looking things first and using them to catch those who are corrupt. A brilliant idea to subtly make corruption difficult! Opening bank accounts to eliminate the intermediate steps, the agencies and the consequent corruption and to ensure that the Govt. aid reaches the poor to whom it is meant, 100 % not just 15% as before. Demonetization to induce people deposit the cash they had, so that the cash is captured in the banking system, with a view to catch the heavy deposits during the demonetization period – a process that has just started. The punishment for the unaccounted money that would come out of this exercise is severe. An intended side effect did come to pass: the apparently uncontrollable stone throwing in J&K came to an almost abrupt grinding halt., proving beyond any doubt that the uprising is not spontaneous by locals against the Govt. of India but aided financially by Pak., local separatists and other leaders with vested interests.

Getting defaulters and cheats who ran away to other countries thinking it is a great idea to do so, are now facing the heat: The process of extraditing them back to India, though tedious, have been gone thru.

Removing discretion based rules that are the root causes of corruption is another quiet, very effective, pro-acitve step in fighting corruption: these rules have given to politicians, bureaucrats and others in Govt. a grapple hold on people. If the rule could not be eliminated as such, shifting the rule in the sequence of a process is being done: example, the police verification for passport being shifted to post from pre issue of passport. These two types of steps are a giant leap forward in keeping corruption under control. The high powered committee set up for the purpose was given a target of eliminating one such rule a day and the committee ended with an achievement of eliminating 5 such rules per day of its existence, which is throughout the rule of the current Govt.

HELP TO SME’s:

Helping small and medium industries against their big customers who used -high-handedness to delay the payments due to them, by empowering them. Also empowering banks to take action on managements that were taking bank loans to run their families in style but making their companies for which the loan was taken, sick in the process is also a very welcome pro-active step against the misuse of public money and against the creation of future NPA’s.

TAKING CARE OF FARMERS: Taking care of farmers not by writing off their loans that is only a fraction of the total loan they have taken from financial institutions like banks but enabling them to stand on their own legs instead of making them depend on corrupt people in the middle and sharks of money lenders. Getting the farmers better prices for their produce, avoiding middlemen in selling, crop insurance and health insurance are some examples.

COMMON MAN’s DAILY LIFE: Instead of standing for hours in queues in the last 60 years for simple things, getting these things done sitting at home or in office, be it passport (how many intermediate steps have been knocked out including elimination of the corruption involved in police verification), or anything to do largely with real estate (still a long way to go but the process has started), , be it ration shops, gas agency and innumerable other activities, conceiving and implementing digital India initiative, thus saving a lot of time and money for the common citizen. Even Raghuram, the ex-governor of RBI, exclaimed: ‘I just took 5 minutes to complete my tax-return in India before returning to the US, where I should confess it takes longer.’ We experience how local travel within the city or town, and outside travel between cities of the country and the world – all have become far more simple than what they were, and also better qualitatively.

To be contd.:


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