सोमवार, 23 जनवरी 2012


The other night I was sitting with a friend and discussing about our weak economic status or our existence in below poverty (BPL) line category. That night combined we had Rs.60, i.e. Rs. 30 each and as we are living in an urban area we could claim to be poor people of the city. But here’s a catch, if we would be in our country side or rural area then we wouldn’t be classified as poor with the same amount in fact richer by Rs. four (because it’s Rs. 26 for rural and Rs. 32 for urban as the wage/day to be poor).

I asked my friend what exactly is poverty, how is it measured and whether we form a part of it or not? He first answered my last question with a slap by saying that poverty doesn’t mean not having enough money to impress a girl but it’s more related to the minimum intake of calories as per the geography of residence, i.e. a person living in rural would require 2,400 minimum calories and a person in urban would require 2,100. I was surprised by two things, first that I never tried to impress a girl because after 40 years and six births I’ve realized I am boon to live alone and second I know a couple of girls from my work place whose minimum intake of calories would be 1,000 but amazingly they don’t look poor at all.

In fact he told me that poor people are further divided into sub categories, first comes always poor these are people who remain poor throughout their life time, pretty much my status when I was in school with no pocket money. Next are chronic poor who sometimes have little money (casual labor), my condition in college when I used to do small jobs here and there. Then comes churning poor who frequently moves in or out of the poverty, my story once I get a salary I remain above poverty line for first 10 days and after that moves back to BPL and last not the least are transient poor/occasionally poor who are rich most of the time but may have a patch of bad luck, a clear cut case of my friend when he would be fired from his boss.

Last year, world touched a population of 7 billion (thanks to some generous contribution from India and China) and out of these about one-fifth of the total poor lives in our nation. In fact in 1973, when Rishi Kapoor marked his debut with his famous film Bobby, more than half of our population was a part of BPL category. Nearly four decades later we might have reduced the percentage to 25% (2005-06) but it still doesn’t tell the real story. Govt. forced attempt to show minimum people under BPL has more than saddened the situation, their claim of minimum wages is more than half what has been set by World Bank (which is $1.25).

The aim is to reduce the poverty if it can’t be completely removed, other than income and assets there are various other factors that cause poverty like lack of education, no basic health facility, social exclusion. If a person could get good education then he could further improve his skills and knowledge and get them in use at his work which would fetch him a good salary. From the presence of health facilities he could reduce his risks of being disease prone and if he is not socially expelled, then he could reap out the benefits from a progressive society.

The current definition of poverty ignores all these factors and stick to the concept that below poverty line would only be considered to those people who are dying out of starvation. This concept might be based on cave men era that doesn’t require any clothing (other than a pair), clean water, sanitation and other basic facilities because govt. thinks if a poor man is just surviving then its more than enough for its benefit.


क्या अश्लीलता को हम पूरी तरह अपना चुके हैं ?

सबसे पहले तो सभी लोगों को नमस्कार !

      अब सीधे बात करतें हैं उपर लिखे शीर्षक की ! मैंने आखिर इस तरह किस लिए लिखा! तो ये ख्याल दिल में तब आया जब मैं टीवी पर १८वे स्क्रीन अवार्ड को एक परिवार के साथ देख रहा था ! शाहिद कपूर के आते  ही सिलसिला शुरू हो गया, जिसका मैंने अंदाजा नहीं लगाया था ! पहली मर्तबा एक स्टार को मैंने इस तरह खुले- आम एक मंच पर सभी फिल्मी दिग्गजों व उनके परिवार के सभी सदस्यों के सामने  बिना रुके उस शब्द का इस्तेमाल करते देखा और सुना जिसको जब भी फिल्मों में इस्तेमाल किया जाता रहा है  तो उस पर सेंसर लगा दिया गया, या उसकी जगह बीप ......बीप .... का इस्तेमाल किया जाता रहा है और जब भी शाहिद इसको बोलते तो इस तरह से लोग ठहाका मार कर हस्ते मानो "बीरबल का कोई चुटकुला महफिल में किसी ने  कह दिया हो" हम लोग अक्सर लिखतें हैं की हमारी फिल्मे समाज का आइना होती हैं ! तो क्या इसी समाज की कल्पना हम लोग चाह रहे थे ! मुझे लगता हे की हम लोग अपनी दिशा को तय नहीं कर पाए  हैं, क्योंकि कोई भी सभ्य व्यक्ति ऐसे  समाज से नहीं जुड़ पायेगा! फिर बात जनरेशन गेप की आ जाती है , जो की स्वभाविक ही है , अब वापस चलते हैं समारोह की बात पर ! बात शाहिद तक ही रहती तो शायद सही ही था ! लेकिन शाहरुख़ खान भी इससे अछूते नहीं रहे, उसने भी जमकर फूहड़ता बिखेरी ! शाहरुख़ खान इस देश में कई लोगो के आदर्श होगें , तो क्या इस तरह का मंच संचालन देश के सुपर स्टार को शोभनीय है !

अब ये सब लिखने के पीछे करण था किउस परिवार का एक बच्चा अपने पापा से पूछ  बैठता है कि "फ........." इस शब्द का अर्थ क्या होता है ! तो बाप कि आवाज नहीं निकली , कियोंकि उसने  इतने  ऊँचे स्वर में पूछा कि उसकी आवाज रसोई में काम कर रही उसकी मम्मी और दुसरे कमरे में बैठी बहन जो कि अभी १६ वर्ष कि ही होगी तक बड़ी आसानी से पहुँच गयी होगी ! तो क्या हम लोग सही में अश्लीलता को अपना चुके हैं तो फिर उस बाप ने अपने  बच्चे  को क्यों उसका अर्थ नहीं बताया ! ये बात मैं  किसी गाँव कि नहीं कर रहा हूँ ,ये बात है देश कि राजधानी दिल्ली की ! अब आप लोग ही सोचिये कि क्या हम लोग सही दिशा कि ओर हैं ! मैं उस बचेकि मन कि दशा को समझ सकता हूँ और शायद  आप सभी  भी इसको अच्छी तरह समझ रहे होंगे ! इस पर मेरा मन किया कि मैं एक  सवाल हम सभी से क्यों न करू !

क्या अश्लीलता को हम पूरी तरह अपना चुके हैं ?
     अगर अपना चुके हैं तो फिर हम लोग इस पर बात करने से  क्यों कतराते हैं ? या कोई और विकल्प नहीं रह गया है ! आज कल की  फिल्मों की  बात तो क्या कहने , "रा वन" में ही देखें तो करीना व् शाहरुख़ दोनों ने ही कोई कसर नहीं छोड़ी ! वेसे ही आमिर खान बेनर तले बनी "डेली वेल्ली" इसमें आमिर खान ने खुद ही एक आईटम नंबर में ऐसे शब्दों का इस्तेमाल किया जो कि हमारा समाज नहीं स्वीकारता है ! अब तो लोगों में इसकी होड़ सी ही लग गयी है ! अब जो भाषा हमारी फिल्मो में बोली जाती है क्या सही में हम लोग इसी समाज की कल्पना किये हुए थे ????
  मेरा सवाल सभी लोगों से कि "क्या अश्लीलता को हम पूरी तरह अपना चुके हैं ??????  

सोमवार, 16 जनवरी 2012

It was highly irresponsible of India to go and play a test match in middle of a go-karting session.
@ Anonymous on twitter.

On response of India's poor performance in third Test Match.

बुधवार, 11 जनवरी 2012

Indian Economy 1950-90

At the time of independence one of the major concerns for our leaders was to choose the economic system which would best suit the nation. Then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru chose socialism over capitalism, as he considered state has to play a bigger role for country’s development. Unlike socialism followed in USSR, in which state had a control over every enterprise and farm, Nehru was in favor of mixed economy with major stake held by the govt. The other reason was India as a democratic country had to oblige the freedom of its citizens as well.

To build an efficient economic system, it needed an effective planning. So in 1950 govt. introduced its first five year plan, this plan (and plans that followed) were meant to create strategies and tactics to handle the resources of the nation at utmost level over the period of five years. There were four main objectives, first was Growth, which was related to increase in the capacity of goods and services produced in the country, the best way to measure it was through GDP (which is the total value of final goods and services produced in a nation). Second was Modernization, India had a terrible industrial sector due to British policies which had turned it into a mere exporter of raw materials, even the tools used by farmers were quite old and out of date, modernization also symbolizes the advancement in social structure other than technology like equal opportunities for women.  Third was Self-Reliance, to reduce the dependence on other developed countries and be a master of its own destiny. India had to borrow from other countries at different occasions, whether it was for food or money, five year plans objective was to reduce this dependency and make India more independent.  Fourth was Equity, based on “what was the use if the country had a high GDP and latest technology but the opportunities and success is not equally distributed among its people”, Planning Commission recommended a growth without equity is useless.


At the time of independence nearly 75% of our population was dependent on agriculture, worst the land was unequally distributed, and poor farmers had to work under zamindars who gave them less wages. To stop this kind of practice govt. introduced land reforms which distributed land ownership among small farmers and tillers. This was seen as a profitable step as ownership of land was directly related to incentives. A farmer would work harder in his land as the profit reaped from it would benefit him directly than working in some other farm as a laborer.

Land sealing was another step to reduce big farmers from holding huge stakes, it helped to create more land for the poor and needy farmers. Though the system had its own loop holes and big farmers and zamindars took full advantage of it, for instance many divided their land and transferred it to close relatives to manipulate the law of land sealing, some forcibly over took the land from poor farmers taking advantage of their helpless situations while others filed cases in court delaying the complete procedure. Though there were some states like West Bengal and Kerala, that did exceptionally well in implementing these laws.
In spite of these drawbacks, there were some initiatives taken by the govt. that proved quite fruitful. One such initiative was Green Revolution, which meant introduction of High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds which would produce more crops in the same land than traditional crops and as a result increase the profit for farmers. But Green Revolution came with its own conditions like excessive irrigation facilities than normal, pesticides availability, etc. Due to such demands it was first implemented in the states where these needs could easily be fulfilled and later was introduced in the whole nation.

Green Revolution came with high investments as it was not a cheap seed to buy and the maintenance it demanded at farms further added up the cost. To protect poor farmers’ interest govt. launched subsidy, a scheme through which farmers could buy and maintain at a low cost as the govt. would bear the remaining price. This was done so that green revolution benefits couldn’t get restricted to big and rich farmers alone.
Though the concept of ‘subsidy’ didn’t come without its criticism, there is a school of experts which believe subsidy (or subsidies) leads to exploitation of resources or under estimation by the people, for instance if the electricity is provided to the farmers free of cost then they would tend to over use it than required. Also, subsidy benefitted more of fertilizers and pesticides making companies who could sell their products at huge profits to govt. But, the other school believes subsidy is important to encourage people to buy the products and to protect the interest of the poor.

Industry and Trade

Indian industrialists at that time neither had enough capital to set-up privately held big enterprises nor was the market so lucrative, on the other hand govt. wanted a control of state in these enterprises as per the basis of social economy. Hence, all big enterprises which could drive the economy were run by the govt.
In 1956, govt. introduced Industrial Policy Resolution which was the basis of the second five year plan. It classified industries into three categories. First, in which industries would be owned by state, second, in which private companies could partly contribute with govt. (though only govt. has the authority to start a new units) and third in which private sector had full ownership.

Third category had full private ownership but it was brought under state control through licenses which meant to start or operate a new industry its owner must have official approval or permit from the govt. Even to diversify or expand the business one required the license. It was easy to obtain a license in remote and less developed states or cities in order to promote industrial sector in them. License system was introduced to restrict quantity of goods produced to the total quantity required by the people. This system had its own flaw as the licenses soon became the monopoly of rich and powerful and a hectic process for others, thanks to red-tapism.

Small scale industries were also promoted by the govt. in various ways. A certain quantity of goods was restricted for them in order to save them from big players. These were much labor intensive and only those were classified as small scale which comes under a certain cap.

Trade Policy: Import Substitution

For first seven months, Indian govt. focused hard on generating products made in the country than importing them from abroad. It was done to protect our industries and to save our foreign reserves from over spending. To curb imports govt. introduced tariff and quota. Tariff meant to give tax on imported products in order to make it more expensive and quota restricted the flow of quantity of goods in the country. Some say due to this measure Indian industries grew in a big way while others say that the govt. took a long time to get rid of this law and to introduce the concept of liberalization.

PS: The above context is based on a chapter from a book on Indian economy.

Lost Soul.

सोमवार, 2 जनवरी 2012