Both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to meet

They would probe the ethics and the conduct of MPs

15TH_CITY_PARLIAME_1144100fThe power of the press and public opinion can help the Parliamentary committees to do a great job. You see ethics is heavy word. Its meaning and significance can’t be explained in simple journalistic style. In philosophy, in the west, ethics is treated as a branch of moral philosophy. Only those who have studied philosophy as an academic course would know that ethics has a long history. In my time at Oxford in the late 1960s we studied G.E.Moore’s Principia Ethica, a heavily loaded treat.

What is good? So you must know that when the recent ‘Ethics’ Committee in the Rajya Sabha met under the chairmanship of Dr. Karan Singh, a learned MP, it raised eyebrows. Why? In a typical politician’s style Singh dodged all queries, he said that the Ethics Panel would meet and discuss whether one member, the distinguished Dr. Vijay Mallya’s exit from India on the eve of his alleged evasion of duty to clear his big loans with the banks and also his delay in the clearance of the dues to his King Fisher’s Airlines staff, all running into multi thousand crores!

One more news from the Lok Sabha came out where too the ethics committee is to probe the very latest sting operation in West Bengal. The cash for favours deal was caught on camera by an unknown website So, now we have two ethics committees in the two houses of Parliament enquiring into the ethics and morality of the distinguished MPs who over the years, at least lately have come under greater scrutiny and even severe criticism for doing things that are widely seen as inappropriate in keeping with their status as law makers for the common people.

Now, there are many issues here and all can’t be touched or debated. One, the MPs, especially those nominated to the Rajya Sabha are supposed to be experienced persons, with achievements in all walks of life and as such would be men and women of high calibre, high in moral scruples and would contribute to the quality of public life in the country. But it is unfortunate that we see a steady decline in morals and standards in public life. To cut the story short, we see now that Chief Ministers in the states face criminal charges, some went to jail also and still face serious cases in the Supreme and High Courts, also elsewhere.

Now, the Committees are specifically asked to find out whether the RS member Mr. Mallya’s conduct as an MP is fine or does his conduct in the present crisis in which he finds himself for action by the Committee. You see there are other cases of other MPs that are also equally questionable. A Rajya Sabha MP, as we know must be usually a resident of a state from which he is elected. Mr. Kuldeep Nayar, a former MP filed a case in the Supreme Court on this question and he famously lost the case. The Apex court ruled that a Rajya Sabha member needn’t be usually a resident from the same state, he might come from anywhere.

So, like this change, there are other changes also. The nomination process for the Rajya Sabha had so degenerated that we find today a party president can nominate anyone he or she desires and thus we see so many deteriorations. Take the tobacco chewing/smoking ads with pictorial covers. On one side or two sides. There are furious discussions. RS members who represent beedi, cigarette lobbies bring pressures. Thus, many RS members, not necessarily corporate interests dictate policies biased on narrow interests, not in the larger public interests.
So, Mr. Mallya also sits on many Parliamentary panels including the civil aviation. Any conflict of interest! The ethics committee would find out.

So too the conduct of the Lok Sabha members! You see the ethics committees are also instruments of political forces. Unless the committee goes into the entire process of caution and greater moral and ethical commitment on the part of party leaders there is very little chance that it can effect positive changes. Now, the Lok Sabha committee, we are told, would enquire into the TMC party leaders who are caught on camera by the website, a sting operation. All names, big, have come into the public domain. What the ethics committee can do? Nobody knows.

Now, the critical point is that there is an urgent need to reform the political parties; party democracy is thrown out, the party president remains in office for years and years on!
So, vested interests, coterie culture are the mark of political party machines! So also the party funding. Auditing of party funds. There is also the reform of the EC. So too the Lokpal, Lokayutha. In Karnataka, the Lokayuktha is replaced by a departmental anti-corruption bureau, a mockery of sorts.

But there is no cause for desperation. Time and tide wait for none! So too politics!
We have to wake up, why, stand up and welcome new ideas and new policies and fight for them! That is politics all about. And in a democracy like ours, public opinion is critical. As Kuldip Nayar writes (17, March, 2016, Deccan Herald) it is the power of the press, the media that undid the Emergency in 1975. So too even now, the power of the media could contribute to the ethics committees to do a great job!

Guest Post


By – Dr. Kaustav Bhattacharyya



The word ‘Bengali Entrepreneur’ was perceived as a contradiction in terms in the past, while growing up during the heady days of Leftist ideology one could sense the disdain and apathy expressed towards commerce and trade.

Today the expression ‘Bengali Entrepreneur’ connotes something of a distorted notion of commerce and enterprise with the recent spate of financial chit funds scams, scandals, dubious businesses like financial ponzi schemes, real estate and arrests of businesspersons. Flamboyant wealthy millionaires and billionaires create headlines from the precincts of prison rather than corporate boardrooms.

Current climate of Bengal business and entrepreneurship is rift with cynicism and disenchantment. The notion of business and commerce is associated often in the popular psyche of Bengal with guile and acquisitive profiteering; sole driver for business being the easy and quick path to the riches. While the rest of India marches ahead in vibrant sectors of IT, dotcom startups, renewable energies and high-tech engineering Bengal seems to be falling behind.   Although there would be isolated glorious instances of high-end, high-tech entrepreneurship, this seems to be more of an exception.

Sometimes we have to turn the pages of history to seek answers for the future; the wonderful French saying, ‘reouler pour mieux sauter’ translated as sometimes one has to take a step back for moving forward.   Here I turned the pages of Bengal’s history to seek glorious instances of entrepreneurship and specifically high-tech entrepreneurship; high-tech entrepreneurship being defined here as businesses engaged in sectors which deploy new technologies and processes for new emergent products.  Similarly in this context high-end product categories would include those that require higher levels of engineering expertise and skills for manufacturing.

Bengali enterprises which arose during the early 20th century as ‘Swadeshi endeavours’ sought to establish a manufacturing and industrial foothold in colonial India, when most of the industrial complex and business infrastructure were subverted by the imperial economic exploitative machinery, objective of the British Colonial administration being to keep Indian economy under-developed,  is the most fascinating chapter of that history.

Jewels in the crown
Some of the distinguished household names which one can rattle off are Martin Burn of Sir Biren Mookerjee, Bengal Chemicals of Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray being the grandees. Apart from the twin jewels there were Calcutta Chemical Company in the domain of chemicals, Bengal Immunity and Dey’s Chemicals in the domain of pharmaceuticals, Bengal Lamps in the domain of electric lightning products, Bengal Waterproof in the domain of rubber and household products like raincoats and schoolbags, Bande Mataram in the domain of matches, Banga Laxmi Cotton Mills in the domain of textiles, Sen Raleigh in the domain of bicycles and Gwalior potteries in the domain of ceramic potteries.

Intriguingly the sectors in which these Bengali entrepreneurial companies were foraying were chemicals, bicycles, potteries, textiles, pharmaceuticals, rubber products, electric lamps, construction engineering, personal care products and not financial services, extractive like mining or agro-resources based like tea or jute.  To comprehend the size and impact of some of these enterprises, consider the fact that the Mookerjees were the third largest business group in India till mid-1960s and Bengal Chemicals was one of the largest chemical and pharmaceutical company in India which was considered to be the birthplace of Indian pharmaceutical drug industry.

Most important is to acknowledge that the sectors in which most Bengali entrepreneurs were active were high-tech by the standards of the day, innovative, high-risk, emergent, in a way were forerunners of today’s start-ups.  Several of these companies were the first in the field to foray into manufacturing the products which till then were being imported, for instance, bicycles, waterproofs, electric lamps and electric fans. The founder of Sen Raleigh was instrumental in popularizing the concept of bicycles as means of personal transport for ordinary Indians and were bringing bicycle to the masses, when bicycle was mostly a luxury item.

Waterproofs were being imported into India and were prohibitively expensive making it beyond the reach of most individuals with modest means till Shri Surendra Mohan Bose started his Bengal Waterproof ‘Duckback’ venture which manufactured them indigenously. The same holds true for electric lamps which were restricted to urban areas introduced by foreign investors and then came Bengal Lamps which started their factory manufacturing electric lamps. In a short while Bengal Lamps earned accolades for its superior quality and affordable price. In 1930s Calcutta Fan Works was set-up with K Chuckerbutty as Managing Director for localized manufacture of electric fans.

Most of these entrepreneurs had to chart undefined, unpredictable territories of marketplace since there was no available marketplace for these pioneering products which were being manufactured for the first time in India by indigenous entrepreneurs.   Hence these Bengali Swadeshi entrepreneurs had to navigate the uncertainties of marketplace, lack of access to financial capital for high-risk ventures and the task of translating their technological ideas into tangible products for marketplace, from drawing-board to the finished part.

However one oft-ignored dimension of the Swadeshi entrepreneurship is the profile of these Bengali Swadeshi entrepreneurs which would hold inspiration for the next-generation of aspiring business persons of Bengal; distinguished professional qualifications and engaged in tireless pursuit of research and development.  Many of these Bengali entrepreneurs were highly educated, technically competent professionals who defied the ancient logic of Bhadralok being averse to trade and commerce and wary of plunging into risky ventures.

Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray of Bengal Chemicals fame held a distinguished qualification in Chemistry with doctorate from University of Edinburgh and a track-record of working in research and development.  Surendra Mohan Bose of Bengal Waterproof was educated at Berkeley and Stanford Universities in the US and Kiran Shankar Roy of Bengal Lamps attended Oxford University.
Besides most significantly they engaged in tireless pursuit of research and development and made strenuous efforts to develop new products and technologies, in other words they were profound innovator, yesterday’s Steve Jobs.

Surendra Mohan Bose formulated a process indigenously sans any foreign collaboration for manufacturing waterproofs known as the ‘Duckback’.   Acharya P C Ray experimented in his laboratory, which was the outhouse at his residence at Upper Circular Road with various products prior to initiating his industrial venture with pharmaceutical preparations.  Bengal Immunity pioneered manufacturing anti-toxin in tropical conditions, which came as a surprise to most Europeans.

Apart from these glowing instances there were innumerable applicants for patents from Bengal during the early 20th century(1912-1943) as lucidly chronicled in the book, which provided inspiration and direction to large extent for this article.  According to Professor Dipen Sanyal, treasurer and trustee of IISWBM(prestigious business school of India located in Kolkata), ‘Many of these Swadeshi entrepreneurs were driven by the zeal and aspiration to demonstrate that Indians can manufacture and build a home-grown industrial base rather than sheer pursuit of profits or seeking riches.  Making profits was not the sole drive for many of these entrepreneurs launching new products and technologies.’

What lessons does it offer for today’s Bengal which is on the march towards progress?? The key lesson is to abandon any feelings of victimhood, resentment and grudge and then to embrace the new opportunities being offered by a globalized, interconnected economic world order. There are a plethora of emergent sectors like pharmaceuticals, renewable energy solutions like solar, wind, bio-mass, bio-technology, information technology, green technologies for ecological solutions like water preservation and public transportation like electric vehicles which can ignite the imagination and zeal of young Bengali entrepreneurs.

Contemporary technological and global economic landscape offer far more lucrative and congenial opportunities to plunge into entrepreneurial ventures with technologies, higher content of services through consulting, access to risk-finance like venture capital and access to global markets than it was the case for the predecessors of Swadeshi enterprises.  Today an aspiring entrepreneur doesn’t require huge capital investments and resources in terms of land and factory to foray into cutting-edge sectors with an ingenious idea, courtesy the vibrant services and consulting sector.

Let not the aspiring Bengali entrepreneur be mired in dubious financial scheme as means to affluence and prosperity but look at the broader horizon of new technologies and solutions yet be inspired by the enriched legacy of their forefathers, moving forward with inspiration from the past!! Let Bengal revive the glorious traditions of high-tech, high-end, cutting-edge entrepreneurship once more and be a glowing instance for the rest of India!!

‘I wish to take this opportunity to mention the moral support and encouragement I received from the Publisher of this blog, Mr. Isvarmurti, Chairman of Vadamalai publications which has attained great fame and reputation in agriculture, industry and educational publications is one of the fines product of Shantiniketan and Oxford. In his earlier days at Shantiniketan and Bengal Mr. Isvarmurti met and interacted with the creme de la creme of Bengali bhadralok society including industrialists like Sir Biren Mookerjee and his wife, Lady Ranu Mookerjee and Mr. Sen of the Sen Raleigh bicycles.  Mr. Isvarmurti completely agrees and feels strongly that its time Bengal revives its legacy of rich meaningful entrepreneurship which transcended the sole motive of money-making by any means.’

Profile: Dr. Kaustav Bhattacharyya is an entrepreneur from Bengal engaged in the field of ecological water treatment and holds a PhD from Cass Business School, University of London in Management Sciences. Entrepreneurship and Business History being one of his favourite research topics.

It is time we draw investments in farming.
It can be done only when we stop populist slogans in agriculture and also curb the corrupt politician’s hypocrisies!
Vote-bank politics had ruined farming sector!

modi-niti-aayog-meetingThe latest issue of The Economist magazine carries a special article on agriculture biodiversity (September, 2015).
It makes an interesting reading and also distressing.

Interesting for the new information we get. How climate change is likely to accelerate the agriculture biodiversity and also destroyed many new crop varieties. The Asian rice varieties were     replaced by testing the new wild varieties; some 6,000 of the wild varieties were screened and identified to accelerate the biodiversity. The loss to agri productivity is estimated at 1 billion dollar worth.

We all know of the richness of the biodiversity and the need to protect and save them for our future generations. Not the climate change is hurting the diversity of crop varieties.

UN talks about the population size, UN FAO talks of how by 2050 we need to produce 70 per cent more food and this can come only from the now existing 30 crops that can 95 per cent of the energy from the food we are likely to consume.

Now, as for the Indian agriculture, there is a deeper crisis now.
Farmers are resorting to suicides almost on a daily basis. There is also a crisis in some significant sectors like the sugarcane cultivation, sugar production and sugar surplus.

This has also added to the distress in agriculture. Now, there is drought and also there is stagnation of sorts on the agri exports front.

We all know that the global economy is also a cause, China’s stock market crisis also added to the sugar surplus.But one thing is clear.

The new government of Modi is seen as unable to tackle the fundamental crisis in the farm sector. The usual policy responses are to wipe out the farm debt, extent farm credit and also go for some large-scale solution.

This, the new government is unable to do. May be the government has its own reasons like financial stringency. Already the budgets are squeezed.

The Prime Minister or the Finance Minister is not talking of the crisis in Indian agriculture. This is unfortunate. This magazine is published not by any corporate house or it is part of any big media group.

This media, Vadamalai Media, is published by   a farming family and of course we have been educated abroad, two generation of Oxford educated and yet our roots are in the villages, we do farming even now and thus we claim to know firsthand the real issues in actual farming.

As it is, farming is fast becoming unviable for a vast number of farming families. The land holdings are also becoming marginal, unviable, at less than one hectare for most small farmers.
The new generation of farm families now have educated youngsters, both boys and girls and in many cases the youngsters are employed in urban centres or gone to the USA, are employed in the IT sectors.

Also, the land ownership is also caught in the many contradictory laws. The land ceiling makes farming unviable for new investments.The many tenancy laws also make farming a tricky business. Most farming families have litigation in tenancy or land property disputes.

The populist governments, both the states and the Centre are another issue that complicates matters in the villages.
Tenants don’t pay and the laws protect them.
So, who would actually do the farming?

This is the dilemma.

So, we welcome the recently announced NITI AAYOG  formula to make the land contracts, say between the  tenants(actual tillers)and actual land owners transparent so that any new investments are protected from uncertain litigations.

Today they are not. Unless you make laws clear, not risky, no one would put the money in farming, please note!

Also, please take steps that all land-farming  related litigations are disposed off within a time limit.

Now, there are many agencies, most very corrupt, the revenue, tehsil offices, also village  assistants are all surviving by taking bribes and also prolonging the litigations.

The plight of the Indian farmer today, is as deplorable as it was when in 1885,Allan Octavian Hume started the Indian National Congress!

How to make Indian farmers debt-free?
It looks Dr.Arivind Panagariya has some new ideas. Let us wish him all success. Let us hope that something new, a new deal, will come out of the new government.

The challenges before Modi are real!

Yes, there is a certain discerning public perception that the Modi magic, the brave words and gesture of assertions apart, there is a subdued skepticism creeping through as to where India stands? Are we moving? And where and in which direction?

Rafale_001Modi has his own style and his own world view, we have to concede. The PM keeps up a scorching schedule. As we write he is in Paris and he is seen perhaps the best part of his deal. At one stroke, the Indian PM had strict an ambitious bargain, he bought as it were 36 high profile Rafale fighter aircraft, off the shelf as it was and another lot, in total 126 aircraft valued at 12 billion dollars and also a deal in which the French manufacturer, Assault, to stand guarantee to make the 108 planes in a joint-venture (?) with the state-run HAL.

This deal if made operational, it would really become a feather in the PM’s cap for his ceaseless mantra of ‘make in India’ really start working on the ground. As patriotic Indians let us all hope for the realisation of the deal.

There is also the side deal, the more ambitious nuclear reactors deal. At Jaitapur in Maharashtra the Fr4ench nuclear power company, Area is to set up six units in a venture under the private construction company, L&T. There are other bigger and ambitious joint deals. France would also invest and once these initiatives come to fruition, Modi said that India is the biggest market today and various rating agencies, like WB and IMF besides others have rated India’s economic prospects high.

May be, who knows that Modi’s moment of luck is here and he might be proved right in his various moves and initiatives. It is just natural that the private sector might be unmoved. What is here for them, in these government to government ventures?

Very little. So, what the local corporate ant are easing of doing business and for this the government has to move the various ministries and the ministries are stuck in many legacy issues. From environment to mines and forest clearance and of course the most critical land acquisition law are stuck in clarity and consensus among the various stake holders.

Running a government and a mature democracy like India throws up a set of challenges. India is a democracy, right?

Yet, what sort of democracy it is. We have also a high degree of corruption, black money retrieval is only one such election promise. On these two fronts there is no movement. As for other irritants, there are the states which have their own problems.

A democracy also needs certain clear understanding and importance of public opinion. The bureaucracy in India is very peculiar. The judiciary is bogged down pending cases which it looks couldn’t get cleared in our life time.

Mr.L.K.Advani, the senior-most BJP leader stands tribal for criminal offence over the Babri Masjit demolition. Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister, is also served with a criminal offence summons for the coal block allocation scandal. Now, we are told his case might come up for hearing only after 4-5 years time!

Also, Mr.Modi is facing the uncertain prospect of reforming the Supreme Court appointment of its judges. Sooner, rather than later he might be embroiled in this Constitution-related fight with the higher judiciary.

There is the Parliament where the upper house is an obstacle. And of course there is the quality of governance, some of his ministers, why the majority are yet to prove their mettle.

So, what sort of democracy is India’s?

The public perception is that India is a highly corrupt society, polity as well. The many institutions we created, the Lokpal, Lokayuta, the RTI etc are almost non-functional, cant we say? Why delay in filling up such sensitive positions?

What is the point of keeping the CIC vacant? It is said some 10,000 and odd appeals are pending before the CIC. This is only one institution. There are very many others. Many national level institutions are headless.

So, what Digital India Mr.Modi is speaking about? Mere rhetoric? Or what else?
Also, let us know and it is time we, Indians, should know that Indian democracy, even a liberal democracy under Mr.Modi, is not as corruption-free or efficient as China is. In China just now I read that the chief of the secret police, a Polit Bureau Standing Committee member (Mr.Zhou is now sent to Jail. He is a close ally of another high profile Bo Xilai, a former rival Mr.XI, the current President. Much more revealing is the fact that Mr.Zgou’s trial would be broadcast “live”, this high profile corruption case!

How do we, Indians here, rate this sort of fighting corruption in China, the fasts growing economy in the world?

Neither Indian economy neither grows fast, nor we fight corruption so determinedly nor our leaders, do we mean party leaders, live an austere life style.

Nigerian leaders
Just now, the Nigerian general elections had elected a new leader, Mr.Muhammadu Buhari who lives ,reports the London Financial Times after an interview with him, the leader with an “an ascetic reputation” he wanted to “curb the excesses of the political class was a centre-piece of the lean 72 year old’s campaign has a more urgent ring”.

Can we say the same type of thing about our own leaders? Our own election campaigns?

We thrive on a bogus VIP culture. Our retired leaders live in posh localities of Lutyen Delhi, on plots measuring as big as 3.5 acres and guarded by 100 odd police men round the clock. And all this we do and tolerate with a bloated and ostentatious display of hypocrisy all the time.

Our democracy must become more truthful to its Constitutional tenants.
Our youth would become more aware and also demand a great deal of honesty and openness in our various approaches to governance.

It is time Indian democracy truly becomes an exercise in self-discovery for all citizens.

Does the PM have a world view?

Indian Prime Ministry Mr.Narendra Modi, in the first few months in office did do many unusual things.

Nehru with VK Krishna Menon

Nehru with VK Krishna Menon

He went on a sort of an international odyssey, India’s neighbours, Bhutan, Nepal and then to USA and Australia and Fiji and also went to some notable summits, in Brazil where he met world leaders. In turn, he received many world leaders, notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin and now of course, famously, US President Barack Obama thought right to pay an extended visit and stay in India for full three days and participated at the Republic Day parade and interacted with a number of engagements.

In the meanwhile we have had many strategic talks and actions, civil nuclear agreement was taken forward and many high pitch development agenda was announced.

One of the many decisions taken by the Modi regime is the reorganisation of the bureaucratic reshuffles, the very senior secretaries, why even the DRDO chief were all sacked, yes sacked is the right word.

The foreign secretary was sacked and replaced by one who was about to retire. This rattles a success of others in the queue.

There is a continuous talk and debate over the foreign secretary replacement. So too other bureaucratic transfers and reshuffles. If you know New Delhi, then, you must be knowing how this rattles the very bureaucratic hierarchies. There is now a palpable uncomfortable feeling and dissatisfaction in their ranks.

Now, after the Obama visit and the many grand style talks of India and the US becoming natural global allies where do we go from here?

PM Modi displayed a new sense of enthusiasm and an unusual sense of confidence verging on bravado as he went about is way in interacting with the US President. We should also make mention of the fact the US President also proved a match to the Indian PM’s overt display of friendship and even some chumminess in his easy ways and display of demonstrable overt-friendliness. The final cut was his calling the US President by his first name, Barack! The demeanor of the PM throughout was one of a new show of confidence about himself.

How this played out finally ,one can speculate. Of course, the final shot was called by the US President himself in his Siri Fort address to the Indian people. There was constant reference to the on-going religious conversion over-tones throughout the US President’s stay in the capital.

Now, some ask whether the Obama ‘parting shot ‘queered the pitch for the BJP in the immediate outcome for the BJP in the Delhi elections? So asked some media reports.

Now, even after the US President went back home he was referring to the religious violence’s in India, he came back to his theme, with Dalai Lama by his side and also soon after came the New York Times editorial which questioned Mr.Modi’s silence over the religious conversions. The NYT editorial went over the number of such persons affected by the acts of the many fringe elements of the ruling party.

Now, the more serious questions are about India’s foreign policy priorities for the Modi government. With so tight a number of Indian diplomats, how Mr.Modi wants to take India in the scheme of things?

Will India exert itself to bring upon world affairs, given India’s size, the numbers and geo-strategic positioning?

And finally, how a country such as India’s position, given its past, present and the future can make itself listened to, respected and advances the causes of world peace and much else?

Crucial questions to be asked

This is the crucial question or questions one must be asking.

Before we proceed further we like to recall our days at Oxford where we read British Parliamentary History, as a special course where we used to read often about the great international diplomats of the 18th, 19th and even the early 20th century world. Names like British Foreign Secretaries, Edward Grey, Palmerstan, even Lyod George were our heroes at the relevant periods. In Europe names like Matternich, Chautebirand spelt much glamour and style.

Indians still have to learn diplomacy from such illustrious names. Why, even in Nehru’s time we used to follow what a V.K.Krishna Menon or Sardar K.M.Panikkar did on their foreign assignments.

The point is, alas, nowadays we don’t hear any such high profile names in our foreign assignments. Instead it is now one of internal feuds or a Khobregade affair that showed the Indian diplomacy not worth taking seriously.

Under Manmohan Singh, we reached a very lower bottom where we had only a penchant for retired hands. Like himself Manmohan Singh also seemed to have preferred a low-profile career guys and that showed in our often very comical moments when Singh told George Bush: ‘People of India simply love you!’
Now, what would Modi be doing to take India into the world’s diplomatic high table?

So far all these last few months we have seen Modi as the PM in what he did in the domestic sphere.

It is now clear he hasn’t much in-depth serious thought process and all he has seems to be a simplistic approach to make in India, Clean India and he simply fails to mention black money, corruption and criminality.

May be we need to give the PM time. In foreign policy issues too he seems to be relying on a few senior, retired officials and it is they who seem to be calling the shots. Be it China issues and other such highly sensitive issues.

As for the nuclear deal it would become more clearer, if at all, only after some prolonged diplomatic and other means. The point here is that India must be seen by the outside world, be they neighbours or friendly countries or countries in troubled spots in the Middle East or even in Russia over the Ukraine war.
How will India exert itself in these highly potential world spots?

Already the US is engaged with its EU partners over Ukraine war. Over the Syria, Jordan and its neighbourhood how would India approach the issues?

Apart from wars and peace, how would India contribute for quality solutions to various international issues like UN reforms, UN human rights commision, various social and health, education and cultural exchanges etc? Not the least nuclear disarmaments?

Mr.Modi must send out talented Indians as diplomats. Not opt for faceless bureaucrats, as his predecessor did!

India must spell out its core national beliefs systems? Its own vision of the world?
Is India committed to transparent governance, rule of law, democracy norms, electoral funding, electoral law reforms, fighting corruption, why, even crony capitalism?

The latest issue of the FT Weekend carried a review page on three new books on Russia. (7, 8 February 2015) We are sure our foreign ministry mandarins must have read it. We are also sure the way Russian democracy works, or made to work, must have given the Indian elite the very same troubled questions about India too!
So, we have to talk and preach and practice our democratic polity without all the blemishes noted in the Russian system.

Our own democracy claims must match with our practices. Rule of law, judiciary, media freedom, why even, let us say, as the review calls, ‘the capitalist democracy ‘must be worked strictly within the four corners of the rule of law. How Mr.Modi will work his capitalist democracy? Or, democratic capitalism? Or, as one puts the Russian model, in India too, we might even expect for a ‘post-modern dictatorship ‘with losts of entertainment and distractions!

I put some troubling questions in Delhi to some of BJP leaders and intellectuals. May be Mr.Modi’s days are yet to come and confront him. As the book tile says: ‘Nothing is true. Everything is possible’!

What will be his intellectual and moral calibre? We have to wait, it seems.
So, India has to learn and practice before we can preach to other nations.
These are some of the thoughts for the readers, Indian elite, the middle classes, also for the India’s ruling crowd.