Second, Indians are an agitated lot!
What is happening to countries as different as the USA and India?

They are all unhappy, disturbed and  so it goes! Americans are worried about their health, economy, trust in government, Hate crimes, Crimes, Wars and Conflicts, Terrorist attacks. High taxes, unemployment and low wages climate change and environment.
Now, what about ourselves, Indians?

Crowd with people on the street in Warsaw rush hoursIn India, agitations, the government statistics say, were as low as 3,106 in 2011. Now in 2016, it has shot up to 6,587! Student agitations? From 6005 in 2011 to 10,205 in 2016.

Govt. employees’ agitations? The ones who got the fat 7th Pay Commission wages? They agitated 14,218 times in 20111.Now,in 2016 their agitations  seemed to have doubled to 23,708. As an aside we can say it pays to be a government servant and agitate periodically!

What about political parties?

How can they lag behind other category of agitators? Political parties resorted to agitations some astounding 22,708 times in 2011.Luckily for the common man, the government servants beat the politicians only agitating, this time ,some 29,400 times in 2016!

Of course the unreported, almost ignored lots, the farmers, the labourers and students, farmers resort to agitations and also commit suicides, perhaps the media is so tired of the farmers, those farmers, and suicides are not reported either in the print or on the TV channels.

But then it is a democracy, every citizen is a free citizen.
So, please feel free to come to the streets and agitate!

Popular agitations are much preferred to no agitations. Otherwise you would see the Chinese style army tanks to come on the streets to crush the students, as it happened in Peking in 1989.

Americans have reasons to be  worried. They are a violent nation or a violent society, where every citizen carries guns, not one but a big number in their shelves.

Our fellow Indian returnees narrate how the gun-buying and gun totting culture has led to such brutal killings, the latest is one of the very many shooting sprees in the American cities!
May be the worries of fellow Americans are bound to rise with each day this violence -prone society also draws more of foreigners, as their citizens.

May be the biggest number of foreigners now on the American soil would be only Indians and Indians have cause to worry along with their fellow American counter-parts!

God forbid that Indians don’t import the American culture in violent culture. Let the worries to remain within the American borders. Let Indians learn more of the good American culture, openness, a sense of freedom and doing things in big ventures.

Yes, they are expelling thousands out of jobs
IT biggies gone underground! Why IT leaders remain tongue-tied?

chairmanThere are reports almost daily that hundreds and thousands of mid-career IT professionals with families and school-going children, loans on housing to repay etc. are asked on a daily basis, as soon as they enter their offices in the morning, they are called in and asked to sign a resignation letter and quit the job at once!

What sort of compassionate capitalism men like Narayana Murthy who had cultivated an iconic public face cultivated for him are talking about? What are the opinion-makers, columnists and others in the policy making business doing?

No one, we don’t want to utter names and create controversy for controversy sake, is coming out and create public confidence in such a basic industry like the IT. What are the sorts of public opinion we help to build and enlighten the people? So, IT is another illusion or what future likes ahead?

They made fat profits, built large structures and let us hope common sense says that many of this dream structures don’t become ghost structures sooner than later! Certainly, responsible people, be they political leaders or IT biggies soon collect themselves at the high table and come out with some public statement reassuring others at least in the jobs right now and let us create a confidence in our own society and turn things around so that  we have a sort of public policy in place. Surely, the public anxiety and why even anger, as we talk too many in the jobs, don’t lead to some untoward explosions.

The IT companies, the big among them have a great moral duty and moral commitment to create a contingency fund, call it by any name you like, like the Corporate Social Responsibility, and work out a policy of rehabilitating those who are very much affected by rude expulsions!
This duty is cast on firms like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and other larger entities. It was moved when Mr.Anand Mahindra, the head of the Mahindra Tech, publicly came along and expressed an open apology on the TV screens where the first news of such great distress was flashed across the country. He is truly a great gentleman who had the moral gusts to appear before the people. We salute him.

Now, the curse of the new techs, yes, we have to call it like that only, the new techs like AI and automation and others are surely upon us and no one cries over them. But we need to re-skill the talents available and why not the government and the industry leaders take the initiative to revamp the curriculum in the IITs and engineering colleges to the level of the new requirements?

Please do this at once and let us not wait for the government in a sort of slumber, see how the HRD is coping with the many current issues in education, both the higher and the lower ends.

Who says education is a soft option. Not anymore now, please understand. As our motto we once again repeat: education is a public cause, not a private profit! Unfortunately, it is right now. It can’t remain so for long!

Finding solutions to the world’s water crisis!

Water resources is a critical factor these days. So too the critical leadership that is sensitive and committed to augmenting water resources for agriculture and drinking water and for the general health of the economy and society.

What do we see on the ground?

riverVery narrow political and sectarian considerations. Take the daily newspapers. One regional party in the South, “the DMK slams Kerala’s plant to build check dams across the Bhavani River” runs a headline! Supreme Court says that the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal decree cannot be flouted. And on and on.

There are any number of smaller rivers and canals need to be attended to take waters further and further. Only when you live in a village you would realise how serious the water crisis is nowadays. Who is the implanting agency for water resources?

The water resources minister and the agri minister or their deputies must be travelling all the time. But they are nowhere to be seen nor we hear them about what they are doing!
That is the dilemma of a democratic government. There is so much to do, so much freedom for people’s representatives to do many useful things. But governance in a democracy always takes a beating!

With the widespread drought hurting the economy and the lives of vast mass of farmers, it is time to read anything that pertains to augmenting water resources and tapping all sources of waters. Just now we read a review of a new book on Meltdown in Tibet: China’s reckless destruction of the ecosystem from the highlands of Tibet to the deltas of Asia. By Michaeal Buckley (Palgrave Macmillan).

The Chinese has committed ecocide in the vast Himalayan land it had invaded in 1950, says the author who has also managed to get a foreward from the Tibetan monk, Dalai Lama.

Anyway, here is this book that details how Tibet is a quarter of China’s land mass. But here is some critical information on China’s water potential. Tibet’s 37,000 glaciers, its ecological status as the third pole, the largest store of ice after Antarctic and Arctic-and the great Asian rivers feeding five mega deltas-the Indus in Pak, the Ganges-Brahmaputra in India and Bangladesh, the Irrawaddy in Myanmar, the Mekong in South East Asia and the Yangtse in China-all have their origin in Tibet!
The Chinese have mastered the giant skills to divert large rivers.

So, let us pause here and think how much the world can benefit by equitably distributing these mighty rivers for the larger benefit of those countries in need of big water resources?

Let us all know how much remains to be done as the great tasks of peace and finding solutions to the world’s water crisis?

You see that NGOs, the non-governmental organisations, are a time honoured legacy. In any country the world over there are various types of NGOs. More so in a democracy the atmosphere for NGOs spring up is so varied and very conducive to bring forth the spirit of the people to do so much good work in all areas of human activity and aspirations.

NGOSo, only those countries, more so the governments might think of curbing the activities of voluntary services by interested citizens and citizen group.

Now, the Modi government has come out with some clumsy arguments, not even any reasoned arguments for curbing the activities by banning, rather selectively and more so vindictively, the NGOs whose names are well-known to the public and also so appreciated by every international peer groups, including the UN organisations. We all know the allergy of the BJP and the RSS against some religious and communal organisations. Let us leave out the religious organisations, even the one US organisation going by the name Compassion and whose cause even the US Secretary of State, John Kerry pleaded with the Central government and we learn that those curbs were lifted simply because the pleading came from such high authority!

Now, the Home Ministry is blamed for its flip-flops, one day permission granted to seven NGOs, the very next day it was reversed!

What sort of government we are running in this country and that too a highly rated Home Ministry with very competent wings like Intelligence and RAW etc and you come out with the excuse of ‘national security’ issue in withdrawing license!

We all know by now who are all the victims. Teesta Setalvad’s NGO? She is a fighter everyone appreciates. She has a great pedigree, the name Setalvad must be enough. So, the record of her trust is very admirable, given the history of the Gujar riots and much that came after that great shame. So, the government must have handled her trust very carefully and much leeway must have given her, given her iron will to fight for her cause.

In fact, the government has made her NGO the most watched case in the days to come!

The Foreign Contribution Registration Act, FCRA, too has to be handled with great care for there are hundred and even thousands of NGOs, with some fat pay cheque and other with no foreign contributions and only the spirit and ideals to inspire those who are willing to do selfless service.

The other day there was debate on NDTV on this very issue. What we find is that thinks to some redoubtable spirits like the advocate turned crusader, Prashant Bhusan, who through his NGO, the Common Cause, had fought many sensitive cases and thanks to him only big corruption scandals like 2-G and Coalgate saw the light of the day and herds rolled and the end result was the debacle of the great Congress party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Why? Because the NGO succeeded in exposing the 2-G and the Coalgate under the leadership of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.

Yes, the Congress paid the price and the ex-PM sought a cool retirement shelter in the very heart of Delhi.

So, please don’t trivialise the services of the NGOs. Recognise their central role in a democracy, more so in a vast country like India where the problems of people, the citizens are varied and also get involved the citizens in educating, enlightening and also transforming the citizens, rather the docile citizens into active participants in the march of the nation towards a modern-day civilisational experience. All the more so why we should understand and appreciate the works and roles of NGOs in a strengthening and an open-society of our great country! Jai Hind!

There are still many problems, obstacles, on a day-to-day basis!
Decorum and decency in politics is decreasing?
Time governments and leaders exercise restraint!

Prime Minister has a great role and must see things are in their right places!
In recent days we see a sudden eruption of political misdoings, call it by what name you prefer there is a new sense of frustration at many levels. Of course, the Congress is desperate, we can understand the plight of the Congress party, its leaders are now embroiled in a tricky court case and no one knows where this battle, both legal and political, will lead the country to.  Then, there are the many CBI raids, right from the Delhi Chief Minister’s office to down south to a former Central Minister’s own offices.

In a time of such acrimony, it is natural to suspect political vendetta. Now, for whatever are the reasons, it is too much for a Chief Minister to call the Prime Minister names.

Some unpardonable expressions like psychopath and many such offending terms  which have all been quoted by the BBC all over the world is going  a bit far too  much. The domestic media is handicapped, there is fear and consternation and no independent voices are forthcoming to warn and caution about this state of affairs.

We need independent spaces, forums to discuss and debate such larger issues beyond the narrow confines of narrow party interests.

Unfortunately, yes, we have to say only  it is very unfortunate, the PM too in his wisdom  doesn’t seem to be doing  things in the way the country, the people, beyond again  any narrow partisan considerations expect the governance  to be fair, objective and with the needed speed and expeditious manner.

The apex court expresses concern over the delay in speeding up the appointment of judges to the higher courts.

Is this not an urgent priority? Why then the apex court expresses such a concern. Is this not the domain of the Law Ministry? Why the ministry seems to be lax and even lazy? Is this not the highest priority for the PMO to act? What explains the seemingly wilful delay?

So too the many other issues like the appointment of the Lokayuktas and many such high profile appointment. The chief information commissioner? It has taken so much time. Why?
The more the judiciary is seen as an obstacle, the more the common man suffers.

These delays only contribute to the many other ills in the polity and, why, even in the society.

Some very clever lawyers, there are many in Delhi, who are perched in Delhi, have created   havoc with the system, how the lawyers who have been minister, judges and they stay back and see to it that the justice system is loaded in favour of the most clever or criminal-minded and also the rich and the vested interests. With all noise and heat no real criminals are really punished, let alone sent to jail.

So, we can expect more trouble and strife in the coming days. To that extent the governance would come to suffer, delays would become our norm and we would be only carrying forward the old legacies.

Economic development is a very complex issue, as we see it. It is not the number of new investments and agreements with investors.
One bright spark is the latest India-Japan agreement which spells for the first time a take-off effect.

Certainly, the future of Indian economy and its political direction would certainly change for the better.

Bullet train for India is not just one more investment. The bullet train symbolises a new era of India reaching out to the moon.

Let Indian people get enthused with the new opportunities opening up for the new generation. Let India start looking to the East, Japan and China and let a new era of prosperity open up for a more better and safer world.