Friday, 23 May 2008

A national consensus is required on fuel price rise

        Fuel price rise is becoming a global crisis. We can no longer
piggy back on Left Ideology and play Ostrich with the impending economic
disaster. Everybody has tomake some sacrifice to tide over the crisis.

The Government on its part could drastically reduce duties on
petrol and diesel.Government every year has its target for collection
of duties from each economic activity and let’s say for this year from
the sale of petroleum products it is targeted at Rs.1000 crores. The rate
at which oil prices are increasing globally,this target will be met
easily and possibly surpassed. The Government could do a
bit of sacrifice (if they are serious about controlling price) and
reduce the duties on petroleum products. Further, the Government should
be bold enough and adopt differential pricing for domestic gas cylinders.
It is ridiculous to note that a family living in a premium apartment
(costing Rs.1 Crore) pays the same price for a domestic gas cylinder
as a family which stays in a slum. It is very easy to implement this
because every subscribers address is known. A similar method
could be adopted for supply of diesel and petrol also. Differential rates
should be adopted for public utility vehicles and private vehicles. Similar
differentiation could be done in case of two wheelers and four wheelers.
If the oil companies want to suffer losses by supplying at the same rate
for all types of vehicles, so be it. That is part of their benevolence
and nobody can help it. It is time that the Government made some serious
investments for research in the field of Solar Cooking. In a country like
India, even if 30-40% of the families switch to this method and use
it for 7-9 months a year (given the weather conditions), the
differences that it could make to our fuel bill will be enormous.

The Opposition on their part especially the confused Left should understand
that global prices of fuel are increasing and we have no means but
to comply. Why don’t these people understand that just because we don’t
charge market rates, OPEC Countries don’t supply fuel to us at subsidized rates?
At the end of the day, we have to pay market rates and this money comes
from nowhere but from within our Budget. Does the Left support a situation
wherein a capitalist is getting subsidized fuel from the money which is meant
to prevent a poor farmer from committing suicide?

We on our part could reduce the use of personal transport as much as possible but
then for today’s urban middle class it is shame to land up at a friends place and
say I have come by public transport. For our own economic good and to prevent global
warming let us walk for distances less than 2 kilometers and also teach our children
to do so. As far as possible let us use public transport to commute, these days they
are quite good and frequent also.

The situation is very grim. We have to change our old habits of using fuel or else
face the fate of inhabitants of Jurassic Park. Politicians on their part should stop
worrying about their votes. Those in the ruling party have to take strong calls and
those in the opposition have to adopt a policy of “Bolthi Bandh” and not call for
bandhs over every fuel price rise. If we don’t learn to make little sacrifices as a
country, we better get ready to kiss goodbye to the growth we have achieved in the
past 5 to 6 years.
This situation is going to hurt all of us but then
we have no option but
take the bull head on. If we bury our heads
in the sand just like an ostrich does, sooner
later, economic disaster
will hunt us down. Remember 1990, we had to pledge our Gold.

Monday, 19 May 2008

An Indian can work anywhere in the country and nobody dare question

Ever since liberalization, India has made huge strides economically.Movement of people from one part of the country to another for job hasbecome a norm of the day. To an extent this has bridged the gap betweenpeople. Sadly regionalism has resurfaced across the country. Peoplecoming from other states are being ridiculed, abused and attacked.
The country was divided on regional basis for administrative reasons andnot meant to create separate entities. It is time that the Government/Election Commission get tough with such regional parties/leaders and ban them for life from contesting in the elections and speaking in the public.
People coming from other states should learn to respect the sentiments ofthe state in which they are living in. They should make all earnestefforts to learn the local language, culture, appreciate its food, etc andget assimilated with the local population. Otherwise they can find jobs in their own states
One of the Fundamental Rights provided bythe Constitution is that “An individual can go to any part of the countryand earn his living”. That is why we don’t require Visas to travel from one state to another. So when a software engineer from up North comes and takes up a job down South, he is exercising his Constitution Right and ifyou want to question his right, better give up living in this country. It is not possible to give a software engineer’s job to a SSLC drop-out or ill-qualified person, just because he is a local.
Nobody has given their lands to the IT Parks/ Airports for charity. Such acquisitions are made at market rates. If anybody feels aggrieved , they can approach the courts and not come to the streets and disrupt development. However, it is ridiculous for a land owner to feel
cheated because his one acre of land which was paid a market value of Rs.1 lakh in 1995 is now worth Rs. 2 crores. IT companies/Airports are professionally run companies and not charity institutions to give one jobper family from whom the land was acquired.
Everybody cannot be and need not be a software engineer. Money flow is created in the economy when there are high paying jobs. It is upto you howto take advantage of that money flow. Were there so many taxis, PG accommodations and shopping malls in our cities a decade back? Have these people who are providing the services not benefited from the increased money flow in the economy? If the locals have not been smart enough to exploit this opportunity, it is their folly not that of a person from another state who has encashed the opportunity.Certain occupations are best left to the law of “survival of the fittest”.Nobody gets into a taxi/auto because the driver belongs to such and such aregion. There is no law prohibiting a local from driving a taxi. If you are diligent and hardworking, you will survive in the market or else youwill suffer. Similar is the case with a grocer, maid servant, etc.
When I take up a job in any State, I do pay all the taxes imposed by thatState on my income and expenditure. Further, I do create money flow inthat state whenever I spend. The concerned State Government does get amajor share of the income tax, I pay to the Central Government. Thus thestatement that “outsiders” fleece the state of its resources and do notcontribute anything to its development is an inflated bag of lies andmeant to divide incite people for political/financial gains.
No state has come up on its own or without contributions by people from other states. Let us understand that some states are less blessed than others either through nature or by man made factors. That does not mean they dont have a right to better their living. Such denials on regional basis would only create a wedge in the society which may have unimaginable woes for us in the future. Let the greed for power not turn India into a battlefield.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

What is charismatic leadership?

What is charismatic leadership? You just cannot stand up in a crowd, say that I am charismatic and become its leader. So, how does anybody become a charismatic leader?Looks, skin color, oratory skills, family lineage, style, etc are some of the words which come to mind Looks and skin color work but only to a limited extent. Family lineage would make you a charismatic leader amongst a worthless set of people. Oratory skills are essential for a charismatic leader. For it to instantaneously connect with thepeople their convictions should be emphasized, fears allayed, hopes fostered and most importantly play to the gallery. For all these to culminate in a powerfultalk, the leader should be well informed of his audience profile. Just imagine waxing eloquently on the growth in capital markets, infrastructure, etc amongst a group ofdrought hit peasants, you are liable to be stoned.
Style is a combination of voice, body language and dress. You cannot address an army going to war in a saint like voice. Your voice should be aggressive and wordsshould be screaming for the enemy blood. Body language reveals what the carefully planned words hide. It is impossible for a teacher to inspire his students, if he himself yawns during the class. There cannot be a better example on importance of dress than Gandhiji who could easily connect with the masses because of his dresssense. Why else do you think uniform is given utmost importance in organizations which want people to achieve a single goal? A contemporary example of the ultimatestyle package is Laloo Prasad Yadav. He has all the style in the world that is required to mesmerize his target audience.
For a leader’s charisma to sustain over a long period of time, he should be well organized, know the pulse of his audience and most importantly deliver on his promises.

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Banglaore, Karnataka, India