Friday, March 26, 2010

about "senseless violence against innocent citizens"

When I had started this blog in Sept '03 [actually, it used to be a newsletter circulated through the "alternativeperspective" yahoogroup since 2002 - and the posts here still reach about 400+ members of the group], the purpose was:

"to widen our awareness about issues related to business, environment, role and influence of media, geo-politics, culture, etc. It aims to share, on a regular basis, some of those pieces of news and information, which do not find place in the highly monopolised mainstream media."

Therefore, the name of the blog/newsletter - Alternative Perspective"

But, such remeniscences apart...

Currently, the MSM (main-stream-media>, politicians, GOI, metropolitan conversations, etc., in India, are screeching phrases like "senseless/brutal violence against innocent civilians" or something similar, etc. - and we have "Operations Green Hunt" going around the region where I live to comb-out (intersting metaphor - like you comb out the lice from the hair) the maoists/naxals/ultras... whatever...

The beheading of a police officer, derailing of trains, blasts and bombs, burning villages and killing its inhabitants, etc. are the images which occupy our mind - and reinforce the message about the "violence against innocent civilians"...

I downloaded these images from somewhere on the net... and thought them worth sharing... after all, even is we all have a point-of-view about this "Operations Green Hunt" vis-a-vis "Maoist/Naxals" - at least one needs to know what is not covered in the media matrix....

and there has to be an educated awareness when one has to consider, binary questions such as:

  • Do You Support "Development" or do you support "Violence"?
    (of course, as an adage of public deception goes:
    "If you get them to ask wrong questions, you will never have to give the right answers."

  • Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Indian Budget:...of "Economic Incentives" and "Populist Subsidies"

    I had some inkling that the the Annual Budget of the Govt of India must be quite a blancing act. After all it involves the complex task of allocating resources to so many different set of competing socio-economic objectives.

    However, only this year, I realised that the Annual Budget exercise also involves another delicate act of balancing - of obfuscating facts by putting them under intersting nomenclatures.

    I discovered, for instance, the Annual Economic Survey 2009-10 describes Rs 5 lac crores (actually, Rs 499,340 crores - to be exact) as "Tax Revenue Foregone" - an amount consisting of exemptions of:

  • Corporate Income-Tax: Rs. 79,554 crores,
  • Excise Duty": Rs 170,765 crores, and
  • Customs Duty: Rs 249,021 crores

    While these maybe seen as "incentives to stimulate economic growth" - as the media, politicians and captains of the industry love to describe these - the Survey also informs that in the year 08-09, India Inc. had a combined declared taxable income of Rs 449,085crores - on which it paid Rs. 153,280 crores as taxes...

    i.e., the tax incentives are:
  • almost equal to the India Inc's combined taxable income, and
  • more than 3 times the total taxes paid!!!

    On the other hand, if one compares this amount to the budget allocations for some of the GOI's high-decibel "flagship" social services programs, the confusion compounds:

  • National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS): Rs 40,100 crores
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA): Rs 15,000 crores
  • National Rural Health Mission (NHRM): Rs 15,440 crores
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS): Rs 8,700 crores

    (that 1/10th of this amount qualifies as "Food Subsidy" or "Fertliser Subsidy" etc. - and that removal of Rs 12,000 crore "petroleum subsidy" created so much headlines -adds to surrealism)

    And just to put things in perspective the "Tax Revenues Foregone" is slightly more than the entire Planned Expenditure of government for 2009-10, as given in the table below:

    er.. if only someone can explain to me the difference between the "economic incentives to increase market efficiencies" and the "wasteful subsidies which are doled out as populist measures" (^_*?)\