Monday, August 25, 2014

Together

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

With Everyone” is part of the slogan for Modi's speeches and government, before and after the 2014 landslide election in India. Modi is quite good at promoting and also pushing his agenda. He simply emails, tweets, facebook or uses the social media for bringing attention to his election stump calls, and simply makes the statement through the social media that he has passed on the directive to the responsible bureaucrats to take actions necessary to help facilitate these actions. If someone who follows him regularly sees the actions that arise from each of his messages, it is clear that he does drive the massive and bloated administration to act on what he has said he will deliver.

A sample of his communications made public by the PM through social media “I have written to all banks to facilitate opening a bank account for every Indian” (the facebook post is similar to this and may not be exact lines) but makes the point that he is simply emailing the responsible parties to make sure that they take appropriate actions to see that every Indian has a bank account. It is a very appropriate and practical public initiative to make sure everyone has a bank account, and also the banks help people to establish an account. Even if every Indian saves a few bucks every month, it will amount to a great deal of wealth in quick time. The national savings are almost all in gold and silver as only the very rich have money in excess of their needs in a mostly middle and lower income democracy, where savings are rare and even if the families want to they stay away from the banking process. By having everyone open and maintain a bank account, it will start a process of savings for everyone, and a very few pennies every once in a while will make the country start planning for future in one more way, other than in just gold. Adding real cash savings to gold, silver and precious metals and land and real estate will help the country to better manage and plan for a better future. The old saying that even the poorest Indian has a few grams of gold, we can add on a savings account to all Indians and each of them can start saving a few bucks as often as they can and add real money to gold.

While the push to save more and more in the country has always been in the forefront of national building, the exercise to make the people, banks and the process move forward and gently pushing the authorities and using social media to promote the savings account for every Indian is another master stroke from the PM. Put gentle pressure on the banks and also the people, and push them to open accounts and save. What is also an apparent plan is to have the banks and financial institutions have the cash resources for them to continue to invest in the national building and national infrastructure with the nations own wealth, rather than borrowing and foreign investment. I am not even sure of if the economists and financial planning teams of the PM's office have thought through this beyond encouraging everyone to have bank accounts and everyone to save as much as they can, the future of the money managers and available resources for new development with indigenous resources. If they have thought through this and are actively encouraging people and the institutions to get on with the process of account opening and nation building; it is no less a master stroke than cleaning up the river Ganges

A nation which distrusts the institutions and politicians without hesitation due to their experience with the truth of watching them in action for more than three generations of independence from the British in 1947, it will be difficult to trust the new mantra for savings and national building. The first few months of the new government has been trying to work their poll promises into the government agenda, and with the plan to clean the Ganges, the banking for everyone is a positive and progressive step. The country needs self management and cleanliness in the forefront of any development, and these steps are a clear direction towards a India First theme, and for this government and all subsequent governments to come, the nation and its people should be first.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Smart Country

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

We just had another grand celebration of Indian Independence day on 15th of August and the celebrations of Indian's independence of 2014 is once again celebrated with pomp and circumstance around the world. With more and more wealth in the Indian community across the world along with the ever expanding NRI population, it so seems fitting we remember the country's freedom struggle and it being freed of the British in 1947. It has been three generations or a bit more since the British stopped using Hindustan and breaking it into pieces, and left the nation more divided than whatever it was, and the nastiness of divide and rule and caustic and religious intolerance; all of which continue to be fostered by the nations that was once a great nation with great expanse.

While we continue to want to celebrate the leaving of British on 15th of August of every year since 1947, we have forgotten how smart the country was prior to the occupation by foreign invaders, and the division of the great country for centuries. For in fact some of the politicians of today keep referring to themselves as people who have been occupied by the Indians, rather than looking back at the division of the great nation for centuries of occupation and abuse by the invaders. Perhaps every politician who would like to represent Indians should be thoroughly tutored in the history and traditions of the nation, and that might help them from mouthing off on who they are and where they come from.

The mantra in the speeches of the Prime Minister since the victory in the latest general elections and even prior to the elections the development of smart cities in every state of India. Also the word development is used and continued to be used with such regularity, it is more than redundant to hear this repeated constantly. Your elected representatives are given a chance to represent a smart country, and the smart people of India are quite politically savvy and are quite smart in looking forward to their future. It is a country that is very large, very diverse and very smart; and always looking forward to the future. A country of believers in god, faith and destiny; and also a country of people who are smart in picking and choosing a government every five years based on their belief in future. The country remains democratic in principal and optimistic in nature, and it is already a very forward looking and smart nation.

The diversity of India requires smart planning as the issues that face the nation are as diverse as its population is, and requires smart politicians who envision the needs of the great nation and it people. No doubt that building infrastructure to meet the needs of the Indians is important and planning well ahead into the future to meet those ever expanding needs, but the politically intelligent population of the country will always look for the leaders to keep their promises made while looking for votes. The speeches made to bring voters to the polling booths, are typically in line with the aspirations of the nation, and delivering them to the electorate and only by delivering to the poll promises the democracy will allow the political parties to continue in power.


The value of being a smart nation is really making do with the resources we have, and managing to the best with what is available. Building cities that are self sufficient, energy and resources smart, forward looking in education and employment and also provide safety to all citizens is important for the country and its people. We also need smart planning in agriculture, rivers, human resources and natural resources all along with people management, and we should start to do what we plan quickly. Just talking about them is not going to help, implementation of these plans and doing them quickly will help the nation to remain smart and forward looking. There is no question of the magnitude of the issues to be resolved and the implementation of plans to meet those needs of the nation. A smart country will get started on implementation and stop talking about the ideas of the last 60 some years. We are a smart country and we know that the time to talk is over and time to do is here. With each election cycle and each elected government we hear the rhetoric of what can be done with the nation, and we only see the degradation of a smart country, rather than development to meet the needs of its people. It is now time to get smart in doing things that are made in speeches and on paper, and say we are smart people that realize that we don't want to waste any more time talking, but we get smart and start doing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Open Mike Syndrome

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

The constant media attention to grab headlines from every politician has become a laughing circus rather than newsworthy reporting. A lot of TV channels all vying for eye balls are doing whatever they can to attract more people to tune in, and the extent to which they are going to get a few minutes of attention has been driving the politicians to grab any mike they can and blurt out seemingly intelligent verbiage which almost all times becomes statements made without any intelligence or information. The words are dramatic in impact as they often make people respond with gasps, and often wonder what are these people saying and why are these people representing general public.

How did they get there to represent a democracy, and what is that they have in their gray matter that makes them constantly say outrageous and often misstating the facts, all the time pretending to be authority on the matters that are of great importance to the nation. Some of these folks are so far off they will out right make statements that they believe that are factual, without any background information to even verify the matter of fact. The public themselves are also very gullible and tuning into these elected representatives, start to believe the atrocious details being fed to them as facts, as often times the voters themselves are quite removed from the reality of what is fact verses fiction.

India does have a very media and communications savvy prime minister leading the nation. Modi is a master of managing his communications and his public and personal profile, he personally updates and communicates just about every aspect of not just his administrative decisions and undertakings, but also personal meetings and events on a regular basis and almost everyone following can share the moment of decision making or a personal story with the head of the Indian government, and even before assuming the PM office in India, he was an excellent media manager and excellent communicator with the general public. Weather you like it or not, the skill to communicate with a billion people is not simple, and the audience is so large and so complex, it is almost impossible to say something stupid and get away with it. Once you have said it, whatever it is is out there and recorded for posterity. The problem with posterity is that typically we want to be remembered for something good or something that helps future generations or words of wisdom, not some dumb comments that are absolutely nonsensical.

Many of our elected officials are educated, some with degrees that have value. For some reason they seem to be in a cocoon and not aware of the facts of life and also the history of the nation and its people. Although a seemingly intelligent statement might have great sound bites, it can be totally inaccurate and come back to bite you in the back. Since the division of AP and also the new party in Delhi, our politicians have constantly getting the open mike syndrome, and getting caught for blabbering nonsense. The latest is one to make outrageous comments on Hyderabad and Kashmir. While it provides no practical purpose to make outrageous utterances, it might have felt the few minutes of open mike was providing a platform for national audience, but it has become a national disgrace. What can be achieved by making statements that are against the interest of the nation? Nothing really, except people starting to look at the person with disdain. It also deeply divides the people and their sentiments towards each other. No one gains by divisive and ignorant statements, except that they build mistrust and misunderstanding in people, and further divide already conflicting minds of folks who look up to their leaders.


India is a country of great contradictions and also great diversity. The greater Hindustan is a case study that will take many life times to research and study, and it still will continue to yield treasures of history that has no parallel. Though many centuries of occupation and abuse and eventual independence in 1947, along with breaking the country prior to the newly independent India, which was no longer Hindustan, the country has survived with the constant internal conflicts and external pressures. With more than a billion people in 2014, it needs a vision for caring or its people and a future for the young ones. The country doesn't need politicians who have no appreciation for the integrity of the country and the importance of the republic. With open mike's all over it is difficult to stop anyone from making any statement they choose to, but we can better choose who should represent us. The only way the country can weed such people out of the electoral system is by education for everyone and appreciation for its history and integrity.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Indians First

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

The abstaining of ratification of the WTO trade talks by Indian government is not brazen nor against the global trade initiatives. The new government under Narendra Modi simply said India and Indian first, and then only they will ratify any agreements that leads to betterment of trade options. The current government's involvement with the agreement is limited as they just got into power at the center and had little inputs into the agreements prior to its taking office. Although power is handed from one government to the next is seamless in India, the objectives of the government in power can be distinctly different. The current government refraining from the ratification of the WTO agreements with a simple objective of India and Indians first is commendable. While it sounds absurd to hold off on ratification of a WTO initiative that has just about every nation on the band wagon, India holding off with the stated objective of India's grain safety as the primary concern for it's holding off on signing on to the global agreement.

The rest of the developed world (the definition of developed is simply industrialized) is raising alarm about India not signing up to the WTO agreement, there is not a whole lot of opposition from Indians and also several heavily populated nations. Was this an expected argument by the USA and others who want India to sign up to the agreement? The answer is perhaps yes, if the Congress lead government came back into power for the third straight term in India. The Modi lead government has not had a lot of time to make major international advances and although its stated objectives in the election manifesto are clear, the WTO agreement might not have been high on its getting elected manifesto, and if today the Modi government simply asks for more time to think about the implications of signing up to a WTO agreement, and also states Indians first; there is no doubt that the countrymen will have to agree and embrace the objectives of such decision by the government.

For the global audience the news simply will relay that Modi has decided not to sign the WTO agreement, and this essentially kills the entire effort of a trillion dollar agreement for countries that are under the agreement. For whatever it is worth the trillion dollar deal will typically benefit the developed nation, and the yet to develop nations typically bear the brunt of the demand for dollars on their economies.

The abstaining of the agreement at this stage will disappoint the major players, no doubt will leave the WTO itself in self doubt. Can they do it without India, yes then can, but the size of India’s population certainly matters to the rest of the world. They can still go ahead and ratify the WTO agreement, and wait for India to join them as India feels appropriate. There is definitely important for the entire association of countries, including India to agree to the current framework, and without India signing on to the agreement, it falls apart.

Just a couple of weeks ago BRICS countries agreement a bank with equal partnership between the five nations. The formation of such bank covers almost 2/3 of the global population and the interest of those people. The immediate word from the rest of the countries outside of BRICS nations was that the role of world bank essentially gets eliminated with the formation of BRICS bank. Two basic issues to the address on the formation of BRICS bank and possibility of elimination of world bank or its role with developing nations.

  1. Formation of BRICS bank addresses the needs of the member countries and their specific developmental needs. The five countries essential with almost 2/3 of the global population will have direct and unbiased involvement with their own investment and development needs.
  2. World bank in current style of function serves as a conduit for developed nations with certainly specific agenda to push their aspirations and management in controlling the activities of the bank. The big brother syndrome exists in functioning of the world bank and the nations that controlling the funding and management certainly want the beneficiary countries to tow their line; politically and philosophically.

WTO and World Bank were found with noble intentions of helping with trade and banking to the needy and help developing countries compete and trade efficiently and effectively with the rest of the world. Their style of functioning and work across the world is commendable and has yielded positive results to millions of people. While the original intentions of both WTO and WB are noble and humanitarian, the developed nations which contributed to the majority of funding to run these organizations also continue to want to influence their agenda on receiving nations. It is expected that the investments were being made to open markets for their goods and services and also push political agendas. From the 1900 through the two world wars, and the communist rule, the formation of the WB and ATO along with UNO was a well timed and well advised enterprise to handle the global situation at the time and the needs of that time.


It is perhaps the time to rethink about the global needs and how to cater to the demands of a population that is exponentially larger and the Geo political issues exponentially complex in today's world. There will always be a need for maintaining peace, fostering trade and lending a helping hand, it simply is time for rethinking how to handle it. At the same time Modi's government taking the stance of Indians first is also commendable.