Friday, October 4, 2013

Roll back Ordinance

Rahul Gandhi, the vice-president of the Congress party walked into the Press club meeting that was in progress with the congress spokesperson Mr. Ajay Makken, and threw a bomb shell to unexpected press, saying the recent cabinet ordinance to protect convicted leaders was a "nonsense" and it deserves to be torn and thrown out. The press was caught off-guard. The Prime minister was out of the country and had to release a press statement that the matter would be discussed when he is back in the capital.

Recently Supreme court of India ruled, that any person who is convicted of punishment that exceeds two or more years of imprisonment stands to lose his legislative representation as an MP or an MLA immediately. This is welcome step as part of cleaning up Indian politics.  It is hard to disapprove with the Supreme court ruling because, Indian politics has recently seen a rapid rise of leaders with criminal backgrounds and pending legal cases against them including murder and multi-crore corruption scandals. The civil society welcomed this decision overall. Just when you thought something was going to change positively the UPA government stepped in. The plan was to pass an ordinance that will over rule the Supreme Court ruling where by it allows convicted law maker to hold on to their MLA/MP seats, until the legal case is decided by the highest court - Supreme court. Shockingly most parties except very few like Biju Janatha Dal, CPI, Aam Aadmi Party  didn't utter a word against it.

In India legal cases run for decades not years. The probability of a neta being convicted UNTIL the Supreme court are very less. You have to be really (really) unlucky for this eventuality to happen. If the convicted leader can hold of to be a representative of the people even after conviction in lower court - he might rewrite laws to suit his immunity. Isn't it a bad precedent for the younger politicians ? If a verdict of the lower court is not that important why do we even need a lower court. Can all legal cases be dealt by the Supreme court directly which has the final say? Recent scams that have happened in UPA - every time a major fraud is unearthed, say its 2G, coal gate, housing for fallen soldiers, Railway recruitment scam - there is a ritual that happens. You can loot as long as you get caught. As soon as you are exposed - you just have to "resign" as a minister. Just that. Media shames you for a day or two. This is publicity too. At least your name is uttered across the nation across newspapers and TVs. If smart, you can always make a comeback when the dust settles. How may times have we seen that? Then you can continue living your normal life as a MLA or a MP. Of course a FIR will be filed but you don't have to worry about it - the legal petition wouldn't see the day of light. Some ministers went to Jail recently which is true - it gives a illusion the system is working - But where are they now? Out there having fun from the money they stashed out during their hey days. There would be no legal recourse. I don't believe they will even be punished one day. Even if they did - it will be too little too late.

After Rahul's nonsense comment (which was nonsense since day one when it got introduced) - the Cabinet met and rolled back the ordinance. BJP - which is main opposition didn't jump at the opportunity and was inline with the government on the motive of ordinance since day one. what a shame?  Even though the social networking sites / media / public opinion was against the ordinance - BJP was dumb enough not to have picked up this issue. Finally Rahul Gandhi emerged the sole winner with all of UPAs allies finally decided to tore and throw the ordinance out. Rahul Gandhi looks "Prime minister" ready now for some.

Lallu yadav, the RJD supremo became the first victim of the roll back. He was convicted by a lower court and was handed down 5 years imprisonment and will lose his MP seat. Kapil Sibal's effort to save Lallu with the ordinance didn't work out this time. finally at least we see a neta go to jail for a corruption case. That was after 17 years. Wonder what you did for your birth day 17  years before? that should have been the important day of the year..think.. you don't remember?? no one remembers. 17 years is really lot of time. Cannot believe it took 17 years for a court to come to a conclusion. Hard to convince the people of the country to trust in the judiciary.

Only punishment will clean up Indian Politics. All people who break the law must be punished without sympathy. Speedy justice within accepted time line. People would trust the government and judiciary only then. Until now - it wasn't working. Lets see in future - if the Supreme court decision will refine out the bad neta's and make only genuine and honest politicians rise in stature and power.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


George Carlin, the greatest comedian to have ever lived once famously said Americans are addicted to stuffs and they keep on buying them endlessly - stuffs they don't need, stuffs that they don't want, stuffs that are poorly made, stuffs that they cannot afford. I recently was helping an american friend move to his new house. I was amazed at the stuffs he had that he needed to move. Lots of stuffs. To make it worse - he is moving what in my opinion could easily service at least three families in a normal household to a storage facility because he doesn't need them in his new house. Apparently he has enough stuffs in his new home. When at the storage I did see lot of other people who had their own stuffs and are paying to just keep them. Believe me - lot of stuffs.

Lets take a step back, and see what is the economic cost of the whole thing. Why do people in the US  buy more than the rest of the world? Why do you spend hard earned money on something only to put in a storage later? The answer is simple - because it's cheap. When I say stuffs these are hard assets in the home like Majestically looking sofa sets, huge show-cases made of glassy wood, flat screen television sets, fire places, entertainment systems, multiple carts with beds(twice the number of people at home), tables pretty much of all sizes, out of proportion sized mirrors and all kinds of furnitures that you can possibly imagine. It is amazing  quantity of goods within what is called a persons home. It turned out to be an American consumer zombie - in Carlins own words.

Almost all these items are manufactured abroad, most of them in Asia particularly China. They are being put in containers and shipped across the planet and stocked up in every store across the developed economies. Lot of resources such as wood, raw materials, labour are used to manufacture them. Americans over years had accumulated the buying power because prices of goods have come down dramatically.   This has created lot of wastage. People do not value their possession as one that involved labour, capital and environment when they appear in market cheap. The people is Asia definitely cannot afford them. Historically they have been savings economy and not a consumption economy. They are either non-affordable or considered luxury. Either way the Asians under consume to feed the western world with their cheap products.

Following are some flaws in the economic model - because stuffs are cheap.

1. Under-utilization, because they can afford a new one always. Apple products are good examples.
2. Degradation to environment for raw materials to sustain the price.
3. Poor labor conditions in places they are manufactured because cost needs to be set low.
4. Need distortion - non essential items become essential items.
5. Market distortion - resources mis-allocated.
6. Products do not run their life time often ending in trash sooner.

Increasing Supply is always good. Prices going down cannot be bad. But there is a problem where we need to determine which segment of the world population really would UTILIZE it better. Consumption in western world has to come down significantly. They are no longer the more productive regions of the world. They import way more than they can produce/export. Mis allocation of resources cannot go on indefinitely. Market tend to allocate better.  It will lead to better utilization of available resources.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Import tax on Gold

News Article : India raises gold import tax to tackle trade deficit

The import tax on gold has been increased 50% this week. Anyone who buys gold for Rs.100/- has to pay Rs. 6/- as tax to the Indian Government. So the cost of Rs. 100/- value gold is Rs.106/-. It is more expensive to buy gold compared to last week. The expectation is that, this will discourage people from buying/investing in gold.

The trade deficit in India is negative. It means the total value of the exports is less than the total value of our imports. Healthy economies export more and import less. This helps balance of payment. It is like typical household, you don't want to BUY more than you can EARN.
Bulk of our imports as a country is Oil and Gold. This is contributing to trade deficit. If we leave out oil and gold while calculating trade deficits, we are having a deficit of less than one percent of GDP which is supposed to be better.

So the government has come up with this plan on increasing the taxes. The following are the reasons why it will not work.

  • Gold has appreciated eight times when measured in global currency (USD) in the past decade. Much more in Indian Rupees. So 2% is not a big margin.People will still choose it as investment.
  • Demand of gold in India is not price driven - The demand for gold has gone high even though the price went up many folds.
  • Demand of gold in India goes back centuries and it is more cultural. People buy it irrespective of its pricing.
  • Unlike oil which is imported and consumed., Gold is locked up and has value in global market anytime. It can be encashed any time in future. It is really savings of the nation. Government might argue that capital allocation to gold is unused resources. But it can help on a rainy day.
  • Black market to smuggle gold into the country will increase. It cannot be stopped.
  • Poor people will not be able to afford gold investment. They would get cheated by dishonest jewellers/merchants. (Rich people can afford the higher prices and shop at the honest merchant.)

 What should the government do instead?

  • Allow the India rupee to appreciate significantly, so that return on currency is equal (or more) to return on gold. This would encourage savings in cash and hence capital formation.
  • Stop inflation and lets go into a deflation period. Lowering prices is exactly what India needs. Growth with double-digit inflation is useless.
  • Allow the gold to be market based. Minimum tax is good for all. How wise is the government going to spend its money?
  • Set oil prices to market value. Abolish subsidies for it.  This will bring down trade deficit. When resources are scarce, proper utilization of those occur.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Indian Railways and Air India

Recently the Union Railway minister in his annual Rail budget came up with marginal increase in ticket prices across all fares, including hikes in platform ticket. This was to shore up the Railways as a viable entity and increase operation efficiency. As expected reaction from the opposition (Including the party leader of the Union Railway Minister) were against the hike and protested it until a roll back was done. In the meanwhile, the rail minister lost his job. It was not a complete roll back. The high-end tickets like A/C coaches fare were left out from roll back. The low-end tickets were brought back to where it was, including the platform tickets. The mantra behind that was to leave out the aam aadmi (the common man). The leaders patted themselves on the back. They have rescued the common man.

The perception is the aam aadmi is happy and so called saviours of aam aadmin, the political leaders found some peace with great pride. It is an action to just oppose anything without a basic sense of reasoning.

But there are unintended consequences to this just emotional political posturing.

The actual increase of price was long due. As an institution that ferries people, Railways cannot afford with such a low price. Ticket prices are still at rock bottom compared to other means of transport. Railways is going deeper into debt and is not making money. Modernization plans are put on hold and safety of passengers is definitely not assured. In neighboring China, trains run in excess of 300 kilometers per hour., But in India the travel time has not come down in the past few decades. With this poor state of railways, even a marginal rise in price is not acceptable to politicians? Even though a majority of people think it is much needed and willing to pay more for better service.Unfortunately both are not going to happening now. Politicians have once again demonstrated they want the people of India to have a sub standard travel vehicle.

It does not hurt the rich people. They will find a means to get around the country in a better way. The masses have to cope up with sub standard, life threatening, uncomfortable, slow system of rail transport in the country. The people who voted these politicians deserved to be punished with these petty politics., some times it makes you think.

Now comes Air India. No one who is flying on that is Aam Aaadmi. But the government will still own it. because.. because... because... Sorry., I have no idea. Why would a government run an airline business? Government has no incentive to run an airport or an airline in the country. It is better done by private players rather than the government. It is impossible for a few government beurocrats to operate a airline. A lot of smart people have failed on that. The government beurocrat is no smarter. Now the government has allocated Rs. 30,000 crore to bail out Air India. You should be a fool to believe that money is going to bail out the airline. It is throwing good money after bad one. It cannot even be called Gambling. There is a possibility of getting back more in a casino. But here... you don't get anything back. It is a pure loss on investment. And it is being given to the same people who brought Air India to what it is now. Moreover the government of India doesn't have to run this business. Where are the aam aadmi helper politicians here? Just treat Air India as a rich people business and just let the government get out of it. Rs. 30,000 crore is lot of money in any scale. Even after 5 years, I am 100% sure Air India would still be a negative earning business. There can be a argument made, that other national carriers are successful, like the Singapore airlines, Malaysian airlines. The simple reason is this, they are not run by Indian governments. There is a system in place with proper oversight and more importantly a system that is well managed and works. Can we do it in India? We are not able to do it so far... there is no reason to believe we will be successful in future. Bottom line, the Indian Government does NOT NEED to own an airlines or airport for that matter. Airport and Airlines are used ONLY by the elite and there is no aam aadmi role in it. People who fly abroad are perfectly capable of funding their fares from their own savings. Who is the government trying to help ? It is just fooling the tax payer.

If the government of India does not take decisive action with a long term perspective in mind, more of people's money will be lost through Air India. Don't maintain airports. The AAI has been a failure. It is slow in implementing projects, there is lack of discipline and horribly behind its international peers. The best way forward to give the average Indian, a pleasant flying experience is to privatize the sector 100%. Let the market take over. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Recent Market Movements : what it means

There has been and continues to be a shaky share market all over the world for the past three months. There has been high volatility and there is a sense of what can be simply referred to lack of confidence among the global business community. The market basically reflects reality most of the time, if not all of the time. So why is that now?

There are many significant things that are guiding the market uncertainty. Primary among them is what is being referred as sovereign debt crisis. In the financial crisis of 2008, even that was a debt crisis (remember?), but it was in big corporations. The huge corporations mostly in investment banking had took too many leverage and were overwhelmed with debt. The investments made against the US housing market went bust and the institutions were on the brink of failure. The US government stepped in and bailed out the institutions with tax payer money(read newly printed money). On this side of Atlantic the Euro and the UK did similar acts to shore up their own banks. At that time it was believed it was a wise decision. The recent market itchiness is really a consequence of those bail outs. It just turned out the banks were little bigger than the governments. The whole debt has been shifted from private corporations to the government. When the government has the debt its considered sovereign debt. The situation in 2008 and now in 2011 are the same. Both are debt crisis. This time the volume is lot larger. And there are not many way outs... The world economy is basically in uncharted territory.

When the bail outs of these multi billion institutions were done in 2008, it was famously called "too big to fail" companies. What it meant was - if these institutions incur huge loses or go bankrupt it will affect the overall economy and will have ripple effect in the country as a whole, causing a scenario where there is no growth for many years. That was the rhetoric then. Now it turns out these institutions are "too big to be bailed out too". Now that the corporations have been shored up., the governments had gone into deep debt. The Euro zone and US are going through the exact same problem. Euro has immediate problems and US has significant long term issues. The group of Euro countries standing behind the Euro are being challenged. The effect of having same monetary policy and different fiscal policy has become the focal point. very famously when the Euro came into existence, Milton Friedman, the noted free-market economist had predicted, it is not possible to have a economic union where there is a common monetary policy and not fiscal policy. This nightmare has come true for the Euro zone. Germany and France have come up with an idea to see Euro bonds instead of individual nation bonds. This is easily said than done. There are only two options - Euro gets more integrated and work based on common financial policy or they break up. The break-up could mean the weaker nations like Greece walk out of the Euro first. This may cause incentive for others to walk out "after they have debt problems". Both the Euro and US have stepped in to create new money and pump it in to the economy to solve previous debt and attempt to avoid going into recession again in what is famously referred as "stimulus". The recent downgrade of US sovereign debt from AAA rating to AA+ by S&P, is historic. Many years from now, we will turn back to see this moment and realize the country that prints the world's reserve money is not a credit worthy borrower. It is not going to have immediate effects and the ratings are sentimental. But these are definitely symptoms of a much larger problem as we head into the future.

Main stream media portrays there was a recession in 2008 in the US and there there was a recovery and now there is a possibility of another recession . Eminent economist who predicted the current crisis Peter Schiff says, there is no double dip, and the recession that started in 2008 is still intact.. and what has happened is the government really put a pause to recession by pumping in new money. Once the stimulus ended the recession is back. He refuses to acknowledge its a double dip but just a one long recession that started in 2008. You think about it., it sounds very true.

The global recovery and positive growth is what is going to get back the world economy on its foot. unfortunately there are no signs of it so far. All we see are new problems. Some of them long pending due even before the 2008 crisis. They have just come to the fore.Every country in the world has borrowed more than it can make. As a result everybody owes a lot of money to lot of people and no one wants to pay back now. It is particularly true in developed countries.

Usually when the expenditure of a government is more than its income the government makes effort to increase income by additional taxation. Did you ever realize why the government never runs out of money ? is that not impossible ? You cannot increase spending without increasing revenue. Since growth has stalled in most developed economies the incoming money as taxes have come down significantly. It is ironic, at the same time governments around the world particularly the Western nations have managed to increase spending many folds. You go and ask an ordinary citizen, his taxes have not gone up. So what it means is the government has conveniently chose the option of printing more "currency bills" instead of real productive income. This is more electoral friendly and post pones the initial pain for its citizen. Unfortunately the value of currency falls making everyone poorer in the long run. We cannot get out of the problem by printing more money. It just gives a temporary illusion of richness and will fade with more misery.

The whole concept of solving real economic issues by controlling the money supply was advocated by a noted economist Keynes. According to his theory, the government should primarily control "demand and supply" in the society. This is far away from Austrian economics which says limited government and sound monetary policy backed by commodities such as Gold. Unfortunately Keynes economic model is what is taught as economics around the world with emphasis that government will solve all of people's problem. When paper money loses value, people would realize the harmful effects of this ill culture perpetuated by the governments. If we go by history, the currency crisis in the world is long due and we may be on the brink of it.

The value of precious metals such as Gold, Silver are signalling the lack of confidence in paper money. Gold for example has went up from $250/ounce to $1900/ounce in the last ten years simply beating any other investments in those time period. Commodities such as food, oil are going up for the exact same reasons. Not because food production is going down, but there is too much paper money in the world that is going behind produced food products.

Recent astronomical rise in inflation in India are also the effects of the same problem. If the world prints lot of money the Indian Rupees has to appreciate against those currencies. But unfortunately the India government prints more money to maintain the weakness of the Rupee. This they say, will help exports and make Indian-made products competitive. It will not. Might help in short term but not long term. One day the developing countries like ours will come to senses on this and allow their own currency to appreciate. Remember, real economic growth comes from - production and savings. Not by printing more money or by exporting to nations that give a currency of more value and that currency just came out of their printing press.

One thing readers must know is the common definition of inflation given in media is rising prices. It is not. That is what the government wants you to believe. Inflation is "expanding monetary base" and price rise is a "consequence" of that action.

One of the analogy given by Peter Schiff goes like this, Just imagine an auction where everyone has Rs. 100/- only in their pockets. Whatever the product that may be auctioned -> they will not be worth more than Rs 100 whatsoever. Will they be?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The new women CMs

The recent state elections threw in two women CM with decisive mandate - Ms. Mamata Bannerjee and Ms. Jayalalitha. A mandate that is absolute and conclusive and has the people's will and of course expectation. The CMs have hit the road in style. Their performance in the next five years remains to be seen. Looking forward to it. At least the start looks very promising with focus on good governance from both women CMs.

This election has been a historic assembly election in West Bengal. People are going to remember this election for long long time. Mamata Banerjee pulled off a landslide victory for the All India Trinamul Congress in West Bengal by defeating the world's longest-serving democratically-elected communist government, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government, bringing to an end 34 years of Left Front rule in the state. The decades of left rule finally crushed to defeat. The 34+ years of communist rule coming to an end with a ultimate knock out. The Left Government facing the election without its sole mate Jyoti Baasu could not garner support for its policies and governance this time. With communist also losing a close election in Kerala where they lost the majority by a whisker is salt in wounds for the grand old labor party in India. It is time to go back to the table and re-think its policies and more importantly examine why its hand on the people for decades is slowing drifting out. The new India with a booming middle class, needs a refined socialist agenda and not the ones that are currently being pursued which are in some honest opinion little obsolete. The party has to redefine its agenda and bring in revolutionary changes to motivate its followers, particularly the youth.

The state is seeing a non-left CM for the very first time after a long haul. The youth in the state are getting used to this new phenomenon for the first time in their life. There were jubilation after the electoral victory in the streets of kolkata, and a new sense of life. Mamata Banerjee was sworn in as the Chief Minister with a huge gathering of well wishers and supporters. The dynamic leader walk to the writers building, a 0.5 km walk was unprecedented. With People flocking to see the walking CM, a non-left CM in the state of West Bengal in more than three decades was a mesmerizing visual. On the first week at job, the CM made surprise visits to the government hospitals, government offices causing a stir among officials. With the CM still going around in her black Santro, atleast the hard-working didi of WB is determined to change the ways stuffs happen in the state. With more power comes more responsibilities. It is a chance for the regional leader to create a image for herself with good governance. After the Singur episode, Mamata'a image as "development' oriented politician took a beating. Now those things are behind her. Rapid industrialization of the state and hence job creation is a necessity for the state now. Infrastructure and health being other top priorities. The Trianamul congress as a party has to prove, its worthy of a alternative government to the grand old left alliance. Lets see how this women who was running the Indian Railways until now., run this eastern state of West Bengal.

In the south, It was the AMMA storm that was back in the state. With all exit polls indicating a hung assembly, just majority and all those predictions aside, it was AMMA who came ashore with a thumping majority. The DMK facing a wash-out., with not even having enough seats to be the main opposition party. The power cuts in the state, alleged 2G scam involving its ministers, detoriating law and order in state, rising prices - everything bearing in the minds of the voters., did'nt have enough to offer for the sitting government. With most ministers losing, it turned out the DMK hardly put on a fight. The Congress and PMK its alliance partners not doing better either. It was just a losing alliance. Now AMMA is back as CM after 5 years. Now Tamil Nadu has gone between Amma and Ayya (Mr.Karunanidhi) for 3 times. Now Ms.Jayalalitha has become CM for the third time. With a full majority at hand, she deserves a full five year term ahead. The new set of ministers all taking oath the same day, the government was put in place and in action within days of victory. it is also notable the ministry did not include 'tainted' or 'controversially corrupt' former ministers. it had new faces instead. This is a good sign. It has always been true that Jayalalitha had a strong grip on her party ministers and elected representatives. In this government, the CM is everything... if things go good the CM is responsible., and if things go bad... its the same CM who is responsible. This is the way, the party and government is run by the AIADMK leader. In diverse state like Tamil Nadu., this kind of authoritarian leadership helps more that it hurts. The recent interviews the CM gave to the media looks she is determined to perform in her third term. The new proposals from the government are promising which also includes scrapping of schemes introduced by the DMK regime. of course there are controversial decisions of not shifting to the new secretariat building but opting for the old St.George Fort, rolling back Samachir kalvi. But as long as the new government has a vision to improve governance it is perfectly fine to have to its way. Recent reports strongly suggest the CM is determined to solve the power crisis in the state with more emphasis on renewable energy. Energy generation from solar and wind are being considered as effective problem solver which is a welcome decision. The Aim to provide surplus power in the state is a good indication of wise planning. The CM also introduced the free rice scheme for BPL families as part of the manifesto promises. Those are costly subsidies., but the party had to counter manage DMK manifesto which had its own set of freebies. With the state's economic situation in dire need of reform, it is hard to implement all freebies promised without raising taxes on people who can afford. How the CM handles these financial imbalance remains to be seen. It is a challenging job to be fair. The CM has to streamline subsidies. Avoid unnecessary wastage of tax payers money. Provide relief to those people who genuinely need help.

For the DMK, it really cannot do much at this moment. The party just have to manage its role in the state. With not much MLAs around, it cannot make a difference politically. Now all it has is the central ministers in the national government. Having lost its leverage on the Congress government., its up to the Congress to dictate terms with DMK from now on. Personally for the DMK leader, Mr.Karunanithy's daughter having been arrested in 2G scam, the DMK first family has more troubles ahead. With Dayanadhi Maran's name coming up in 2G scam, it is just making it worse.

The democratic India has thrown open two new women CMs apart from Mayawati, the current UP CM. The women politicians are making a mark in India politics. It also explains how regional parties still dominate state politics in this country. The main national parties in the Congress and BJP are not making in-roads into the regional party vote bank. This is good for democracy that regional parties with moderate views are sweeping polls. Both Mamata and Jayalalitha have majority in numbers and have a smooth road ahead. How they drive their car on them for the next 5 years remains to be seen. Ms.Jayalalitha being more experienced and having been a CM twice before has the wisdom, knowledge and is aware of the nature of the job. Ms. Mamata Banerjee does not have this luxury. The dynamic leader might have ups and downs as she kick starts her new job., and may finally settle over a year. Hopefully the aspirations of the voters are taken care of by these new leaders.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Anna Hazare : The catalyst of new India

Joseph Stalin, the great leader of Soviet Union was once asked about his accent to power in the communist nation and he responded saying "Power was lying on the ground for someone to take it, and i took it". It was kind of exactly what Anna Hazare did in Jantar Mantar early this month. Obviously he did not do it for power, but he grabbed the opportunity to highlight the people's primary concern in Indian society nowadays -corruption. Now Indian people have a 'face' to show and deserve action from government. The Lok Pal bill is next land-mark now. The Aug 15 deadline proposed by Anna Hazare for passing the law is truly encouraging sign that finally we might have some response from the government to tackle the menace finally. The whole country was rocked with series of corruption scandals and the people were getting fed-up with that. The government denies or acknowledged late, all the allegations. It has become 'normal' in the society., and has reached a point were it is being considered no longer a sinful act. Corruption in Indian society has reached new frontiers in the last two to three years. From few crores, it has leaped and bound to thousands and thousands of crores. It cannot be denied it is the horrible reality. The problem is not that people are being increasingly subject to pay money for everything, but is being perceived as the law will never catch up with this, and you could go free. It is no longer sinful to be a corrupt and will never be punished for it. Either the law isn't there or the current laws will allow you to get away with it.

This created a increasing uneasiness among ordinary people that are genuinely concerned about the country. The recent revolutions in the middle east and Africa has made the world more vibrant. None of the rulers are safe. The revolutions are just a start and is going to spread across Europe next. With anti-government protests all around the world, India was no exception. Just that it happens to be a democracy the revolution is not to change the government, but to bring in some social change with the intent of just civil society. The government and other political parties were caught napping. It is very unfortunate that no political party had the credibility to take ownership for such a movement, that in my opinion was long over due and was destined to happen. Almost all parties are in way or other corrupt. The left parties have some credibility, but don't have the trust of the people because of their old-style politics. Politician who come to capitalize on the protest in Jantar Mantar were silently sent back. At last the people are coping up to reality were none of the politicians are clean. No one is trust able. This is the sorrow state of the political class in India currently. Congress has been in power for the past seven years and the system has only got worse. Unless it proves its worthiness by punishing the guilty or by passing stringent laws against corruption, its unlikely to gain people's trust.

It reminds me of the Indian cricket team some years back. (by the way congratulations Team India for winning the world cup. Great job. The way we played, we deserve it.) They had a small set of players and kept rotating among them. New talents were not given enough opportunities. The whole team was manipulated by few individuals who neither had the skills nor the attitude to think big and bring drastic results but were falling on their own weakness and just manage to be part of the team with some sporadic achievements. Just take fielding. it is mandatory now to be a good fielder, if you want to retain your place in the side. and Now India is a good fielding team. Most the times in history, the best batsman and bowlers India found were poor fielders and they got away with that for a very long time. Quality of cricket played by the team was sub-standard. Part of the problem was they were not world class batsman too... though some may had the skills, most did not have the attitude to be a die-hard winner. The whole selection process revolved between a few and new talent never really prospered. The selectors did not do anything radical and was experimenting with the same players for multiple years. It is called Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result. Once we crashed out of the world cup in the Caribbean four years before, the selectors really thought out about the whole process. The old stalwarts were left out and a brand new young team was built. New blood was induced into the team, and team approached the problems in a different way unlike its old players., The plan worked and now we are competing against all top level teams in the world. What we see now is the new India. The generation that is in school now is going to boost this country to new heights. The same is true for political parties in India right now. Almost all parties lack credibility. There isn't one honest soul the whole country can stand behind. Manmohan Singh's credibility has weakened with his age. BJP is completely off base and its come back is really questionable. It has no mass leaders any more., and its morale is still down. The Congress just happens to have an advantage because of that. The congress has taken the second term mandate from the people for granted. In the recent elections in Tamil nadu. People already knew AIADMK was a corrupt government in the past years of their rule, and thought DMK was better. Now DMK itself caught in many scams running into multiple crores, the people are really wondering where else to go. Lets see what the 78% voting percentage say on May 13. There is no party that will step up and assure people of good governance. Looks to me people are really really running out of options. None of the leaders have a place in people's heart, and there is no viable substitute. It is high time some one jumps in and takes the power for betterment of the people. The 72 year old Gandhian could just be that catalyst.

Anna Hazare lead a valiant effort, and great chance for the people of India to jump and cash in on the progress.The society in its current state cannot go on like this. The rule of the law must be implemented. Now that we are 1.2 billion people now, there has to be honesty, legality, law and order in the society within its citizens. If people are not punished, the country is being held captive by few thugs, then neither the country nor its people can prosper. The increasing middle class population in India realizes this and has silently jumped in to voice their concerns. We had notable rallies across India to support Anna Hazare in his fast unto death protest. This is really a good sign. If mass rallies will get things done, then we should do it.

The Lok Pal bill by itself is not going to unroot corruption in India. At least it will be a good start and people who accept bribes would realize they would be punished if caught. Aug 15 is going to be a important deadline. The congress government should take the date seriously and take all efforts to implement the panels recommendation without diluting it. Hopefully the energy among the people remains till then to take this country in the new direction. If the Indian politicians are not willing to take decisive actions before that, the people's power will force them too. So it is better for the Congress government to do something about it, and take credit for it long time.