Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The War Prayer-- by Mark Twain


(Today, 30th November 2011 is the 176th  birthday of the famous American writer Mark Twain(1835-1910). He wrote the famous novels “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and its sequel  “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. The later was often called as the “Great American Novel”.  Reading  these two novels will be a great experience. He opposed the brutal American war to seize Philippines and he became anti-imperialist. He despised imperialist propaganda – in which politicians planning to invade another country “invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscious soothing falsities... and refuse to examine any refutation of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self deception. Mark Twain could have been writing about the Bush-Obama onslaught on Iraq and Afghanistan. His anti war story “The War Prayer” is a satire against war.  Reproduced hereunder is the story “The War Prayer”, written by Mark Twain. It was widely circulated during the big protests in America against its war on Vietnam.)


It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation

*God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory –

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

The War Prayer --by Mark Twain


(Today, 30th November 2011 is the 176th  birthday of the famous American writer Mark Twain(1835-1910). He wrote the famous novels “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and its sequel  “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. The later was  often called as the “Great American Novel”.  Reading  these two novels will be a great experience. He opposed the brutal American war to seize Philippines and he became anti-imperialist. He  despised imperialist propaganda – in which politicians planning to invade another country “invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities…and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.” Mark Twain could have been writing about the Bush-Obama onslaught on Iraq and Afghanistan. His  anti war story “The War Prayer” is a satire against war.  Reproduced hereunder is the story “The War Prayer”, written by Mark Twain. It was widely circulated during the big protests in America against its war on Vietnam.)
It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation
*God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*
Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:
"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.
"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FDI in retail trade, WTO and the experience in telecom sector


There is strong opposition to the UPA Government’s decision to allow 51% FDI in retail trade. Not only the opposition parties, but also the allies of UPA like DMK, TMC are opposing it. Even several in the Congress are opposing it. The Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma appealed to all parties to rise above “petty politics” and support the Government’s decision. The Associations of Big Capitalists like FICCI, ASSOCHAM, and CII are also singing the same song. The capitalist land lord parties like BJP, Trinamool, DMK,AIADMK etc are opposing the FDI in retail trade out of political compulsions and not as a principled stand against liberalisation policies. Trinamool Congress is opposing since in Bengal, its opposition the Left Front is opposing FDI in retail trade from the beginning and it is a point convincing  the people. In Kerala, the Congress State Unit is opposing it since it has to compete with the Left Democratic Front which has been opposing it. The BJP is compelled to oppose keeping its vote bank in view and not as a principle.
Hence the Associations of the big capitalists and the Minister for Commerce are appealing to these capitalist land lord parties to rise above such “petty politics” since they are all serving the same domestic and foreign capitalist classes. This appeal is not aimed at the Left Parties since they are opposing it as a principle.
To soften this opposition, the Government clarified that the condition that the retail shops with FDI thus coming should procure 30% of their requirements from SMEs(Small and Medium Enterprises) is misunderstood as if the condition is applicable for procurement from SMEs in other countries also. It clarified that the procurement should be from SMEs in India only.
Immediately a retort came stating that such a condition to have the procurement from Indian SMEs is against the agreement signed by the Government in WTO(World Trade Organisation). According to the WTO agreement , no preferential treatment should be given to Indian made commodities and Government should not impose such condition. Therefore the proposed condition for procurement of 30% requirements from Indian SMEs is irrelevant and not practicable. It is nothing but deceiving the people.
In support of the decision to allow FDI in retail trade, the Commerce Minister Anand Sharma stated that FDI in telecom sector helped its growth and done good for the country. But he is hiding the fact that after allowing the FDI in telecom services sector, Indian telecom equipment manufacture industry became unviable and 90% of the equipment required for expanding the network was procured from foreign telecom equipment manufacturers. As per the statistics given by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), During the years 2004-05 to 2008-09, equipment costing Rs 309369 crores was utilised for telecom expansion in India and only 11% of this i.e 34031 crores was the value created in India and a huge amount of Rs 2,75,338 crores accrued to foreign manufacturers.  In this Rs 1,24,280 crores was for importing completely knocked down(CKD) equipment, and Rs 150518 crores was for importing semi knocked down (SKD) equipment.
Therefore it is clear that the Government wants to push through its decision allowing 51% FDI in retail trade, by telling untruths and half truths to convince people.
The decision of retail traders to observe nationwide bandh on 1st December 2011 is very much justified since FDI in retail trade will harm the millions of retail traders and also small and medium enterprises and farmers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

FDI in retail trade dangerous to our economy


The cabinet decision to allow 51% FDI(Foreign Direct Investment)  in multibrand retail will destroy the livelihoods of crores of small retailers and lead to monopolization of the retail sector by the MNCs. Coming in the backdrop of persistent high inflation, growing joblessness and agrarian distress, this decision shows the utterly callous and anti-people character of the UPA Government. The Government seems to be more eager to meet the demands of the US and other Western governments and serve the interests of the MNCs like Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour, rather than protect those of its own people.

The conditions imposed by the government are insignificant and will not provide any effective safeguard to any section. The investment floor of Rs. 520 crore (100 million USD) is insignificant for giant retailers like the Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour etc. which are multibillion dollar companies. The restriction of foreign retail outlets to cities of over 10 lakh population is also meaningless because those are precisely the places where the MNCs want to go, to tap the lucrative segment of the market. The big cities are also where small retailers are mostly concentrated.  

India has the highest shopping density in the world, with 11 shops per 1000 persons. There are over 1.2 crore shops in India employing over 4 crore persons. 95% of these shops are run by self-employed persons in less than 500 sq.ft. area. These small shopkeepers in the urban areas are going to be hit the hardest with the entry of the MNC retailers. International experience shows that supermarkets everywhere invariably displace small retailers. Small retail has been virtually wiped out in the developed countries like the US and Europe. South East Asian countries had to also impose stringent zoning and licensing regulations in order to restrict the growth of supermarkets, after small retailers were getting displaced.

The condition for making at least 50 per cent of the investment in ‘backend’ infrastructure is being cited to argue that this would lead to more cold chains and other logistics, benefiting the farmers. International experience has, however, shown that procurement by MNC retailers do not benefit the small farmers. Over time, they receive depressed prices and find it difficult to meet the arbitrary quality standards. Allowing procurement by MNCs is basically an attempt by the Government to whittle down its own procurement responsibilities. This will have an adverse impact on food security.

The small manufacturers will also get squeezed. Predatory pricing by the MNCs will eliminate competition and establish their control over the supply of a range of commodities, including essentials like food. The domestic market will get flooded with goods procured from foreign countries. The claim that this will bring down retail prices for consumers is utterly bogus. Greater monopoly power and storage capacity for the big corporates will rather promote hoarding and profiteering.

Over the last several years the MNCs involved in cash and carry trade in India, which had been permitted earlier by the Government, have routinely violated the prohibition of directly selling to consumers, but the Government did nothing to stop them. Similarly, the so-called regulatory measures based on a system of self-regulation will also be inconsequential, especially since there is no mechanism to ensure the enforcement of the conditions.

The MNC retailers and foreign governments have been pressurizing the Centre for opening up this sector since long. It was the opposition from the Left Parties, which had prevented the UPA-I government from taking this move. The UPA-II government has now fully succumbed to those pressures from vested interests.

The above is the statement from CPI(M) against the decision of the Cabinet to allow FDI in multibrand retail trade.
“The Hindu” published an editorial on 28/11/2011 with the title “Misplaced Obsession”, detailing how the FDI in multibrand retail sector will damage Indian economy. All the Left Parties are opposing the Cabinet’s decision. Several other political parties are opposing it. The Trinamul Congress’s Minister in the Cabinet agreed with the decision in the Cabinet and it is opposing the decision outside. The BJP also opposing the decision. But when it is supporting the liberalisation policies as such, its opposition to the FDI in retail trade, which is part of such liberalisation policies, is not convincing.
The retail traders throughout the country have decided to observe trade bandh on 1st December 2011 against the decision of the Cabinet. 

FDI in retail trade dangerous to our economy


The cabinet decision to allow 51% FDI(Foreign Direct Investment)  in multibrand retail will destroy the livelihoods of crores of small retailers and lead to monopolization of the retail sector by the MNCs. Coming in the backdrop of persistent high inflation, growing joblessness and agrarian distress, this decision shows the utterly callous and anti-people character of the UPA Government. The Government seems to be more eager to meet the demands of the US and other Western governments and serve the interests of the MNCs like Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour, rather than protect those of its own people.

The conditions imposed by the government are insignificant and will not provide any effective safeguard to any section. The investment floor of Rs. 520 crore (100 million USD) is insignificant for giant retailers like the Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour etc. which are multibillion dollar companies. The restriction of foreign retail outlets to cities of over 10 lakh population is also meaningless because those are precisely the places where the MNCs want to go, to tap the lucrative segment of the market. The big cities are also where small retailers are mostly concentrated.  

India has the highest shopping density in the world, with 11 shops per 1000 persons. There are over 1.2 crore shops in India employing over 4 crore persons. 95% of these shops are run by self-employed persons in less than 500 sq.ft. area. These small shopkeepers in the urban areas are going to be hit the hardest with the entry of the MNC retailers. International experience shows that supermarkets everywhere invariably displace small retailers. Small retail has been virtually wiped out in the developed countries like the US and Europe. South East Asian countries had to also impose stringent zoning and licensing regulations in order to restrict the growth of supermarkets, after small retailers were getting displaced.

The condition for making at least 50 per cent of the investment in ‘backend’ infrastructure is being cited to argue that this would lead to more cold chains and other logistics, benefiting the farmers. International experience has, however, shown that procurement by MNC retailers do not benefit the small farmers. Over time, they receive depressed prices and find it difficult to meet the arbitrary quality standards. Allowing procurement by MNCs is basically an attempt by the Government to whittle down its own procurement responsibilities. This will have an adverse impact on food security.

The small manufacturers will also get squeezed. Predatory pricing by the MNCs will eliminate competition and establish their control over the supply of a range of commodities, including essentials like food. The domestic market will get flooded with goods procured from foreign countries. The claim that this will bring down retail prices for consumers is utterly bogus. Greater monopoly power and storage capacity for the big corporates will rather promote hoarding and profiteering.

Over the last several years the MNCs involved in cash and carry trade in India, which had been permitted earlier by the Government, have routinely violated the prohibition of directly selling to consumers, but the Government did nothing to stop them. Similarly, the so-called regulatory measures based on a system of self-regulation will also be inconsequential, especially since there is no mechanism to ensure the enforcement of the conditions.

The MNC retailers and foreign governments have been pressurizing the Centre for opening up this sector since long. It was the opposition from the Left Parties, which had prevented the UPA-I government from taking this move. The UPA-II government has now fully succumbed to those pressures from vested interests.

The above is the statement from CPI(M) against the decision of the Cabinet to allow FDI in multibrand retail trade.
“The Hindu” published an editorial on 28/11/2011 with the title “Misplaced Obsession”, detailing how the FDI in multibrand retail sector will damage Indian economy. All the Left Parties are opposing the Cabinet’s decision. Several other political parties are opposing it. The Trinamul Congress’s Minister in the Cabinet agreed with the decision in the Cabinet and it is opposing the decision outside. The BJP also opposing the decision. But when it is supporting the liberalisation policies as such, its opposition to the FDI in retail trade, which is part of such liberalisation policies, is not convincing.
The retail traders throughout the country have decided to observe trade bandh on 1st December 2011 against the decision of the Cabinet. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rs 43523 Crores Loss to Exchequer Due to Telecom Scam under The BJP Led NDA Government


The private telecom operators were to pay a total amount of Rs 58354.62 Crores as a fixed, one time License Fees as per their tender biddings. But Vajpayee lead NDA Government brought New Telecom Policy 1999 allowing the private operators to pay the license fees every year as a share in their revenue instead of this lumpsum payment. The fee thus collected from them as license fees during their licence period was Rs 14830.70 crores only. Thus the private operators (basic as well as mobile) paid Rs 14830.70 crores only to the Government instead of Rs 58354.62. Thereby the exchequer lost 58354.62-14830.70=43529.92 crores. This was the written reply given by the Minister of State For Communications and IT Sri Milind Deora in the Loksabha on 23/11/2011. Thus it was a 43500 crores scam.

After acquiring license in the auction by bidding for  a higher amount as license fee, it has to be paid. Instead of paying the bidded amount, if a Company requests for reducing the licence fee, its licence has to be cancelled since the Company cheated others who participated in the auction for the licence. If they are not capable of paying the amount, they should not have quoted that amount in their tender. Therefore their licences should have been cancelled. Instead of doing so, the BJP lead NDA Government allowed them to pay a far lesser amount as licence fee.
Sri Sukhram, the Communications Minister in P.V.Narasimharao’s Cabinet was sentenced to udergo imprisonment for 5 years. The above said scam of Rs 43500 crores was under NDA Government lead by BJP. Under this same NDA Government, there was another scam where the then Communications Minister Sri Pramod Mahajan allotted 2G spectrum to Vodafone, Airtel for a fee lesser than what should have been collected. Recently CBI raided the offices of Airtel and Vodafone in this regard.

Under UPA Government, we know that the notorious 2G spectrum scam took place causing a loss of Rs 1,76,000 crores.

These mega scams took place after the initiation of the liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policies. The essence of liberalisation is that the Ruling Class Politicians, Corporates and bureaucrats collude to loot the economy and exchequer. The Congress, BJP and other parties representing Capitalist-landlored classes are for these liberalisation policies and hence naturally resorting to mega scale corruption and scams when in power and posing as opposing the corruption when out of power. That is why Congress, when it was in opposition,  opposed the Telecom Scam of BJP in 1999. Similarly since the BJP is now in opposition, it is opposing the 2G scam under UPA Government. The biggest joke is that BJP leader L.K.Advani toured the entire country in the name of “Rath Yatra” against corruption!. It is a known fact that the BJP was compelled to remove two of its Chief Ministers (Karnataka and Uttarakhand) due to involvement in serious corruption. It was compelled to remove some of its ministers in Punjab Cabinet on similar grounds. Even then Advani has no heasitation to go on rath yatra “against corruption”.

The media controlled by the big capitalists is projecting some individuals like Anna Hazare as fighters against corruption since such individuals never spoke against the neo-liberal policies which are the root cause of the mega scams. The media will never say any thing in favour of the left parties which are not involved in such corruption. The ministers  Left Parties who ruled West Bengal for 36 years and for several years in Kerala were not involved in such scams. Even then the media will not focus it. The effort of the media is to convince the people that all political parties are corrupt and focus certain individuals as messaiahs sent by heaven to fight against corruption, and thus divert people from the real issue. The real issue is that fighting against corruption means fighting against the neo-liberal economic policies which are the root cause of corruption.
Therefore to end corruption, the neo liberal policies must be defeated.




Rs 43523 Crores Loss to Exchequer Due to Telecom Scam under The BJP Led NDA Government


The private telecom operators were to pay a total amount of Rs 58354.62 Crores as a fixed, one time License Fees as per their tender biddings. But Vajpayee lead NDA Government brought New Telecom Policy 1999 allowing the private operators to pay the license fees every year as a share in their revenue instead of this lumpsum payment. The fee thus collected from them as license fees during their licence period was Rs 14830.70 crores only. Thus the private operators (basic as well as mobile) paid Rs 14830.70 crores only to the Government instead of Rs 58354.62. Thereby the exchequer lost 58354.62-14830.70=43529.92 crores. This was the written reply given by the Minister of State For Communications and IT Sri Milind Deora in the Loksabha on 23/11/2011. Thus it was a 43500 crores scam.

After acquiring license in the auction by bidding for  a higher amount as license fee, it has to be paid. Instead of paying the bidded amount, if a Company requests for reducing the licence fee, its licence has to be cancelled since the Company cheated others who participated in the auction for the licence. If they are not capable of paying the amount, they should not have quoted that amount in their tender. Therefore their licences should have been cancelled. Instead of doing so, the BJP lead NDA Government allowed them to pay a far lesser amount as licence fee.
Sri Sukhram, the Communications Minister in P.V.Narasimharao’s Cabinet was sentenced to udergo imprisonment for 5 years. The above said scam of Rs 43500 crores was under NDA Government lead by BJP. Under this same NDA Government, there was another scam where the then Communications Minister Sri Pramod Mahajan allotted 2G spectrum to Vodafone, Airtel for a fee lesser than what should have been collected. Recently CBI raided the offices of Airtel and Vodafone in this regard.

Under UPA Government, we know that the notorious 2G spectrum scam took place causing a loss of Rs 1,76,000 crores.

These mega scams took place after the initiation of the liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policies. The essence of liberalisation is that the Ruling Class Politicians, Corporates and bureaucrats collude to loot the economy and exchequer. The Congress, BJP and other parties representing Capitalist-landlored classes are for these liberalisation policies and hence naturally resorting to mega scale corruption and scams when in power and posing as opposing the corruption when out of power. That is why Congress, when it was in opposition,  opposed the Telecom Scam of BJP in 1999. Similarly since the BJP is now in opposition, it is opposing the 2G scam under UPA Government. The biggest joke is that BJP leader L.K.Advani toured the entire country in the name of “Rath Yatra” against corruption!. It is a known fact that the BJP was compelled to remove two of its Chief Ministers (Karnataka and Uttarakhand) due to involvement in serious corruption. It was compelled to remove some of its ministers in Punjab Cabinet on similar grounds. Even then Advani has no heasitation to go on rath yatra “against corruption”.

The media controlled by the big capitalists is projecting some individuals like Anna Hazare as fighters against corruption since such individuals never spoke against the neo-liberal policies which are the root cause of the mega scams. The media will never say any thing in favour of the left parties which are not involved in such corruption. The ministers  Left Parties who ruled West Bengal for 36 years and for several years in Kerala were not involved in such scams. Even then the media will not focus it. The effort of the media is to convince the people that all political parties are corrupt and focus certain individuals as messaiahs sent by heaven to fight against corruption, and thus divert people from the real issue. The real issue is that fighting against corruption means fighting against the neo-liberal economic policies which are the root cause of corruption.
Therefore to end corruption, the neo liberal policies must be defeated.




Friday, November 25, 2011

DoT Committee Accepts TRAI’s Prposal For Collecting The Price For 2G Spectrum


The TRAI recommended that the price of Rs 4571 crores per MHz for the 2G spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz should be collected from the operators was accepted by the DoT’s Committee. The Committee said that the one-time fee has to be calculated on a pro-rata basis from May 2008 till the remaining period of the license. Airtel, Vodafone etc are having 2G spectrum upto 10 MHz in some circles. They have to pay this fee accordingly.
The DoT Committee also accepted the TRAI’s proposal to price the spectrum in 900 MHz band 1.5 times higher.
While the TRAI recommended uniform licence fee of 6% of the annual revenue, the DoT Committee did not accept it and proposed a uniform fee of 8% of the revenue. At present Operators pay between 6% to 10 % of revenue as licence fee. A flat rate of 8% will increase the licence fee in some cases and decrease in some cases.
The recommendation of thee TRAI to limit the auction of 700 MHz band sopectrum only to those operators which do not have spectrum in 800 MHz and 900 MHz band. This means Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Communications having 800/900 MHz band spectrum cannot participate in 700 MHz band spectrum required for 4G broadband services. Only Reliance Infotel and the new GSM operators(Uninor, Loop etc) which got spectrum in the 1800 MHz band will be eligible to participate in &00 MHz band spectrum auction.
While the TRAI recommended that the Companies so formed after Merger/ Acquisitions among existing Companies can have market share upto 35% without permission and upto 60% with permission. But the DoT Committee decided that the market share of any company should not be beyond 35%. However the TRAI’s suggestion that the merged entity can have a share in the spectrum upto 25% is approved by the DoT Committee.
The above is the news reported in “The Hindu Business Line” dated 23/11/2011.
At present Airtel is having a market share of 20% in customers and 29% in revenue whereas BSNL is having a market share of 11% in customers and 8% in revenue. The combined market share in customers for the 4 companies Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Rekiance Communications put together is 75%. If the market share of any company is allowed to go upto 35% as decided by the DoT Committee, it will be a monopoly and only 2 Companies can control 70% of the market share. Allowing such a monopoly is against the interest of the customers since these monopolies will collaborate and will increase tariff. Also since they need not compete much, they can collaborate together and stop improving the standards of the service. Thus this is against the interest of the people.
The DoT Committee’s views were put up for the decision of the Telecom Commission which is expected to meet on 28/11/2011.







Thursday, November 24, 2011

Place Of India in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) development


ITU(International Telecom Union), an organization of United Nations, published an index called ICT Index(Information and Communication Technology Index) for the year 2008. It indicates the status of each country in the ICT development and its availability to the common people.  As per this index, India is at 117th position among 151 countries. China is far ahead to India at 79th position. Also, Vietnam at 86th position, Mongolia at 96th position and Srilanka at 105th position are ahead of India.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Policy to Sanction Old sins


Private Operators Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea have offered 3G services to customers in the circles where they do not have 3G spectrum, by sharing the 3G spectrum of the other operator having it in those circles. They entered into intracircle roaming agreements for this. This means these operators are able to provide 3G services in all circles even though they have 3G spectrum in some circles. This is affecting BSNL since it paid Rs 10500 crores for acquiring 3G spectrum in all the circles except Delhi and Mumbai. On the other hand these 3 private operators have taken 3G spectrum only for some circles by paying a less amount, but they are providing services in all the circles! This is illegal. The TRAI, DoT and Law Ministry concluded that it is illegal and DoT is going to issue notices to these operators for terminating such intra circle roaming agreements. The Private Operators Airtel, Vodafone and Idea are fighting against this. They are supporting their illegal agreement by calling it as perfectly alright. On 22/11/2011 these 3 operators have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister stating that their 3G intra circle roaming agreements should not be terminated and in case if it is decided to do so, the amount paid for them for acquiring 3G spectrum should be returned back along with interest. They also demand to compensate them for the capital investment made by them on the 3G services. It seems Government is coming under their pressure and going to protect their illegal agreements by changing the rules in the National Telecom Policy 2011 to be finalized and released in the early 2012. Reports are coming in the newspapers that the National Telecom Policy 2011 will introduce All India License instead of the present circle based license and the existing operators will be allowed to migrate to it. The newspapers are saying that such all india license will make these intracircle roaming agreements alright since there will be no circle based license. But even then, it is a fact that BSNL acquired 3G spectrum in all circles whereas these 3 operators acquired it in some circles only. Then how these operators can be allowed to provide 3G services in areas where they did not buy it? The 3G intra circle roaming  agreements of these 3 operators should be cancelled immediately without any compensation to them and their licenses also should be cancelled since they violated license conditions.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

“The point is to change the world”


I have received the following SMSs from a friend on how to be happy:

“Things don’t change, but you change your way of looking at them”.
“Every thing is prewritten and nothing can be rewritten. So live the best and leave the rest.”

The sum and substance of these messages is that you cannot change the world and your fate is already prewritten.  You can only change your attitude for adjusting with what is there. You can not be happy if you try to change the world, since nothing can be changed. You can only be happy by  changing your way of looking at the world.

But here there is a contradiction. If every thing is prewritten and nothing can be rewritten, then how can I change my attitude, since it is also prewritten? If nothing changes, then what  is the necessity of  this propaganda for changing the attitude to adjust with what is existing?

This is a philosophy useful for those who want the status quo to be continued. The ruling classes never want a change in the society in which they are the rulers. The slave owners never wanted the slave society to change. They wanted slavery to be continued for ever. They wanted the slaves to accept and adjust with their slavery. The kings and landlords never wanted the feudal society to be changed. They wanted it to be continued for ever. They wanted the serfs to accept and adjust with their serfdom.  When the Britishers ruled India, they wanted their rule to be continued for ever. They did not want any change in that.They wanted Indians to accept and adjust with their rule.  Now the capitalists are saying the capitalism is for ever and history ended with capitalist society. They want the working class to accept it and not to try to change it.

But  the slave wanted that his slavery should end. Due to several struggles it ended. The serf (peasant under feudal lord with out any right) wanted his serfdom to end. Due to several struggles it ended. The Indian people wanted British rule on them to end. Due to independence struggle, it ended.  The worker wants the domination of the capitalist to end. Due to several struggles, the workers achieved several rights which the capitalists did not want to give them. The struggle against the capitalist system is going on. Like the earlier slave society, feudal society, the capitalist society also will be changed.

The philosophy that says nothing can be changed and people have to adjust themselves with the existing system serves the interest of these ruling classes. Hence it is supported and propagated by them in a big way. The aim is to keep people away from the struggles for changing the status quo.

The truth  is that every thing changes. Nothing remains the same for ever, either in nature or in society.  If this is the fact, then what should be our attitude towards the change? Involve in changing the world for the better. Karl Marx said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”

Changes are taking place always in nature without the intervention of man. These are natural changes. But man has become man, different from ape, because he changes nature for his purpose, produces the things required for his life, by struggling with the nature, using the tools. Similarly the changes in society is brought by the  struggle of the progressive classes who want change, against the reactionary classes who want the existing system to continue.

But you cannot change the society or any thing for that matter, as you please. Change will not happen without a rule or rhyme. Certain laws are governing the changes in nature as well as in society. You have to understand these laws and use it for bringing the desirable change. Your freedom and your real happiness consists in knowing these laws and involving in changing the world and yourself in the light of these laws.

Monday, November 21, 2011

BSNL’s financial result for the year 2010-11


Item
2010-11
(Rs in crores)
2009-10
(Rs in crores)
Income
Revenue on services&other operating income
27044.71
27913.44
Other income
2642.91
4131.97
Total income
29687.62
32045.41
Expenditure
Employees’ remuneration
13790.95
13455.04
License fee and spectrum fee
1971.72
875.55
Administrative, operating and other expenditure
10123.68
10199.05
Financial expenses
389.86
351.61
Depreciation
9725.43
9196.79
Total expenditure
36001.64
34078.04
Profit before prior period items
--6314.02
--2032.63
Prior period items
--264.79
--164.85
Profit before taxation
--6578.81
--2197.48
Current tax
0
0
Deferred Tax
20.46
145.01
Fringe Benefit Tax
0
0
Wealth Tax
0.98
1.16
Profit for the year after taxation
--6384.26
--1822.65


Thus BSNL posted a net loss of Rs 6384.26 crores in 2010-11, whereas in 2009-10 it posted a loss of Rs 1822.65 crores. Its   loss increased more than 3 times in one year.