Wednesday, February 17, 2016


आग इसलिए भड़कती है कि नीचे ईंधन रखा जाता है. तुम्हें पता है शोना ईंधन की कई किस्में होती हैं. विदर्भ में मिटटी में आग लग जाती है, किसान जल जाते हैं, फंदे लगा के. वहां ईंधन सूखा होता है और सूदखोर का सूद.

आग मणिपुर में भड़कती है, कई जल जाते हैं. इरोम दसकों जलती है धीरे धीरे. तुम्हें पता है शोना, वहां ईंधन क्या है? वहां बलात्कार हैं, उनके द्वारा जिन्हें सरकारों ने भेजा है चौकसी के लिए, पता नहीं किससे.

आग जेएनयू में लगती है. देशद्रोह के मुक़दमे दर्ज़ होते हैं. लोगों को जेल और कोर्ट में पिटाई. तुम्हें पता है शोना वहां क्या ईंधन है? वहां ईंधन वो लोग हैं जो देश को एकतरफ़ा सोच में बदलना चाहते हैं. पैट्रिऑटिस्म (देशभक्ति) के नाम पे राजनीती करना चाहते हैं. लोगों को समाज के उस हिस्से से परेशानी है जो सोच पता है. फ्रीडम चाहता है- विचारों में, पहनावे में, रहन-सहन में.

अंग्रेजी में एक कहावत है, शायद अठारवीं सदी में सैमुअल जॉनसन ने कहा था--

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel "

हिंदी में खुद समझ लेना. मतलब बस ये कि-
हमारी अक्ल पे वे परदे डालेंगे जिनमें खुद अक्ल नहीं है.

तुम्हें पता है शोना ऐसा लिखने के बाद खाकी वर्दी घर पे भी दस्तक दे सकती है. मैं चाहता हूँ दस्तक दे. मैं चाहता हूँ कि मैं उन लोगों का हिस्सा बनूँ जिनकी अक्ल पे परदे डालने की कोशिश की जा रहीं हैं. जिनसे इन लोगों को डर है.

हाँ, और याद आया शोना हमारे-तुम्हारे अंदर लगी आगों को खाप या हमारे-तुम्हारे बाप ईंधन में संस्कृति देकर, हमें जलाते रहे हैं. सरे बाजार, सरे-आम और हमारी लाशें हमारी माँयें भी नहीं पहचान पाई.

The Indian Maritime Security Strategy 2015

As depicted by recently concluded International Fleet Review, India's has been increasingly focussing on escalating its maritime capabilities. The Indian Maritime Security Strategy 2015, titled ‘Ensuring Secure Seas’ revealed in Oct 2015, is another ploy towards the same. Its highlights are:
1. Imperatives:
-- India’s principal maritime enterprise would be the need to “shape a favourable and positive environment”.
-- Towards this end, India would need to constructively involve in multilateral maritime/ military engagement, local capacity building, technical cooperation/ communications etc
-- Coastal and offshore security, in light of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai 
-- Security of the Indian Ocean sea lines of communication,protection of overseas investment and Indians residing abroad
2. Challenges:
-- Acknowledges the blurring of lines between traditional and non-traditional threats
-- These may range from terrorism, piracy and organized crime to climate change and natural disasters
-- Emphasises the need for greater coordination between different maritime agencies at the same time keeping the actions "holistic and seamless"
3. Strengths:
-- Experience in evacuation of Indian and other nationals from Libya and Yemen
-- Successful disaster relief operations,eg: cyclone Hudhud (2014)
4. Opportunities:
-- Navy will be the primary instrument to secure the seas for economic purposes, especially considering India’s unique maritime geography with a central location in the IOR
-- Greater indigenisation of maritime platforms can boost “Make in India” push.
However, some major flaws exist:
1. Avoids discussing areas that might be deemed controversial
2. China’s growing presence in the IOR and its implications on India has not been in detail
3. Limits its scope to its operational comfort zone in the IO, and does not adequately account emerging framework of the ‘Indo-Pacific’
4. Though it mentions India's recent maritime initiatives like Projects Mausam and SAGAR, it fails to draw a connection among them also lacks details on their operationalisation
5. Absence of an online version for public viewing resulted in speculations and also deprived the document of potential public expert's advice and opinion
As opposed to the previous versions, the document mentions revised and updated operational concepts and threat-scenarios. This, and accounting for the flaws, can allow it to set the guiding tone for India's global maritime aspirations and take them forward in an organised manner.

Lang Leav, Lullabies | Quote

“Here are the things I want for you -

I want you to be happy. I want someone else to know the warmth of your smile, to feel the way I did when I was in your presence.

I want you to know how happy you once made me and though you really did hurt me, in the end, I was better for it. I don't know if what we had was love, but if it wasn't, I hope to never fall in love. Because of you, I know I am too fragile to bear it.

I want you to remember my lips beneath your fingers and how you told me things you never told another soul. I want you to know that I have kept sacred, everything you had entrusted in me and I always will.

Finally, I want you to know how sorry I am for pushing you away when I had only meant to bring you closer. And if I ever felt like home to you, it was because you were safe with me. - I want you to know that most of all.” 
― Lang LeavLullabies

Why 7.6% growth is hard to square

This year, the gross domestic output (GDP) is forecast to grow at 7.6 per cent in real terms, that is, net of inflation. It is higher than China’s growth rate projection of 6.9 per cent, making India the world’s fastest-growing large economy. The growth rate has steadily climbed from 2012-13, when it had plummeted to 4.5 per cent. Why, then, is no one celebrating the turnaround or applauding the policymakers for their success? Apparently, few trust the official figures. Why?
Last year, a new series of National Accounts Statistics (NAS) was released with 2011-12 as the base year (replacing the earlier series with 2004-05 base year) — roughly a 10-yearly routine for the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to keep up with the economy’s structural changes using newer databases and improved estimation methods. This time around, the CSO has also incorporated the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA 2008) — a welcome effort to keep up with international accounting standards.
A game of numbers
Usually, the base year revision changes the absolute level of GDP (and its major constituents), but its growth rates invariably remain the same. But it is different this time. While the absolute GDP size for 2011-12 with the new base year was smaller by 2.3 per cent, its growth rates for the following two years are significantly higher (compared to the older series). The difference is sharper by sectors (or industry): for instance, manufacturing sector growth rate for 2013-14 is 5.3 per cent in the new series, compared to negative 0.7 per cent in the older series. Disconcertingly, such a high growth rate is out of line with many other economic indicators such as credit flows, output expansion in major industries or capacity utilisation in critical industries such as steel or cement. In other words, the rosy official estimates did not pass the “smell test”. Hence the widespread scepticism of the new GDP numbers, shared by some policymakers as well.
India has thus not only surpassed China’s official growth rate but now shares its dubious distinction of inflated output estimates. China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, when he was the governor of Liaoning province, said famously about his country’s GDP that it is man-made and hence unreliable; it was meant for reference only. He further added that the true measures of China’s economy are growth in bank credit, rail freight and electricity output.
Why have the GDP estimates become unreliable after the revision? To be sure, early on, Indian national income estimates were not without blemishes. But the revision seems to have worsened the situation with widely questioned figures. Though the absolute GDP size for 2011-12 in the new series is marginally smaller (than that in the old series), its institutional composition has changed significantly. The private corporate sector’s (PCS) share in the GDP has expanded to 34 per cent now (23 per cent in the older series); and household (unorganised or informal) sector’s share in the GDP has shrunk to 45 per cent in the new series (from 56 per cent earlier). How could this happen? It is the result of changes in methodologies and the databases used.
Arithmetically, the sharp compositional change in favour of the fastest-growing sector would mean higher GDP growth rate, everything else remaining the same.
Private corporate sector
The revised NAS has used the Ministry of Corporate Affairs MCA-21 database of about 5.2 lakh companies to estimate PCS’s contribution to domestic output. It is then “blown up” (scaled up) to over 9 lakh “active companies” that claimed to have filed their financial returns at least once during the previous three years. Detailed investigations suggest shortcomings in these procedures, leading to an overestimation of the size and growth rates of PCS in the new GDP series — a tentative result that can be verified only if the MCA-21 database is made available for independent verification.
The CSO is, however, convinced of the superiority of the revised estimates compared to the earlier one based on Reserve Bank of India’s purposive sample of about 4,500 high paid-up capital companies. Prima facie, it is hard to dispute the CSO’s contention. But the truth lies in knowing the structure of PCS and the MCA-21 database.
There are close to a million registered companies (2014 figure), but their distribution is extremely skewed: about 65,000 (6.4 per cent) are public limited companies; those listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange are about 5,000. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) Prowess database consists of about 26,000 non-financial private corporations accounting for about 18 per cent of the GDP. The top 100 companies accounted for nearly one-half of gross value added of the CMIE estimate. Could the majority of registered companies, producing output sporadically (if at all), account for the rest of output of the PCS? Probably not, we would contend. Hence official GDP of the PCS overestimates the sector’s output.
One suspects that a large proportion of the private limited companies are tax hedges and are used to ensure promoters’ control over productive enterprises via benami (illegal) holdings, and/or to avoid laws and regulations. It is widely known that behind most large public limited companies there exist numerous private limited companies and unincorporated businesses, which promoters often use to optimise private returns for the entire group. Hence, a company (as a legal entity) exists mainly as a cog in the wheel supporting family business. The spate of scams in India in recent years has offered ample insights into such structures of private business, which effectively use a large array of private limited companies to siphon off surpluses into untraceable corporate and even non-corporate entities, via intra-group and inter-corporate transactions.
If the foregoing account is a fair characterisation of the PCS, then blowing up the sample estimates for the universe of active companies may be statistically valid, but its economic implications could be suspect. Therefore, the revised method could have contributed to an overestimation of the corporate sector’s contribution to the GDP.
Household sector
Since, by definition, the household sector’s production is not directly recorded in audited balance sheets, they are captured by large, nationwide sample surveys.
Conventionally, the sector’s output is estimated as a product of output per worker and the number of workers employed — an imperfect but widely accepted method for the unorganised sector. Usually, during the NAS revision, latest survey data are utilised to capture the most recent output trends. The shortcomings of such a method are widely known, but for lack of anything better, the simple yet sound practice was followed.
But the recent revision introduced a new procedure under the assumption that the older method overestimated the contribution of self-employed workers. The changed methodology drastically reduced output per worker in the unorganised sector, leading to the shrinkage of this sector’s output in the GDP.
In other words, methodological changes enlarged the size of the PCS and contracted the size of the household sector (keeping the overall size of GDP almost the same). They together seem to have contributed to render the growth rates in new GDP unreliable.
To conclude, the new NAS has forecasted a GDP growth rate of 7.6 per cent for the current year, making India the world’s fastest-growing economy. Few seem elated at the prospect, as the growth estimate seems out of line with other economic indicators. This is a continuation of the doubts expressed on the revised NAS published last year. After the revision, the size of the fast- growing private corporate sector has got enlarged and that of the household sector contracted. These changes are the result of questionable changes in the methodologies and databases used in the revision. We have contended that they could have seriously affected the GDP growth rates and its constituents. Hence, serious doubts about the GDP estimates persist.
(R. Nagaraj is a Professor at Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai.)