Thursday, November 27, 2008
Make no mistake about it; this is an intelligence failure of catastrophic proportion. Cities’ spirit to get back on its feet is being used attack after attack as a euphemism for the insensitivity that has come to pervade the administration, the politics and may be the people as well. Its just not about a particular city anymore, it’s about the country as a whole. The issue of handling terrorism can’t be held ransom to political correctness. It’s no use getting back on the feet with doing something about the rot in the system.
For the last 5 months or so, the terrorists have been striking at will, and since the first of those that took place in Bangalore, there has been a complacent attitude towards terror attacks, as if they would keep occurring periodically, and since the people have accepted the reality that they live in a terrorized world, there is no need to take any serious action (administration almost believes that terror attacks won’t follow in quick succession). It’s like imagining that a batsman won’t hit 6 sixes in an over no matter how bad you bowl. We have seen evidence contrary to both beliefs. Let’s get one thing straight, that this attack was no WTC like, there a plane had been captured and before anybody could have a clue about the motives of the highjackers, it was rammed into the twin towers. Here, the terrorists land on the shores of the city, roam around practically the whole of the southern part, position themselves and then attack, and even as I write this gun battle is raging on 36 hours after it started. There is definitely something lacking and one thing responsible for this more than anything else is our slack attitude. This encompasses everybody; we let up in our intensity to fight when the perpetrators are not. The media just can’t look the other way when some stupid politicians (not to mention people outside politics as well) are talking stupidity. e.g the likes of Mulyam Singh Yadav and Mahesh Bhatt who would go to any extent to ‘apparently’ appease the muslim community. Unfortunately, such statements tend to further the idea that muslims have a reason to terrorize when actually the majority of people (including muslims) would like to believe otherwise.
Unfortunately, public memory is short and the government is least worried about anything else. People forget the attacks in course of their daily lives and the government forgets to govern in course of its daily life as well which doesn’t seem to include governing that much. It’s high time that people realize that they had enough or if they don’t than they should be ready to have more of the same. We just can’t let this country be run the way it is being run. Leadership is about doing things that are right and not only about doing things that are popular or which supports their vote bank. Clearly, there is something grossly lacking.
Monday, July 7, 2008
But the big question is why the international crude prices are spiraling like anything? Why are the OPEC nations not increasing their output? Why is the government not reducing taxes on retail oil?
For answer 1 and 2, the reasons are pretty simple: Why would somebody sell his/her produce for less, when you are ready to purchase that thing even at the increased price? The rise in price of a commodity is a very natural process in case of increasing demand / stable production or stable demand / decreasing production. So remain clear on the fact that you cannot continue to increase your oil consumption and still demand it at the same price. This fact has nothing to do with the government policies or anybodies greediness, it is technically economics and in lay man terms- business. There are no two ways about it. The same argument pretty much answers the second question as well. To make more befitting argument consider this analogy. Why would you kill your geese that laid the golden egg everyday? Especially if the price of the egg is rising everyday and you have buyers for it even at the increased price. Besides you know that one day the geese will die by itself, so why not try to preserve its life as much as possible. Wasn’t this the wisdom taught to us in our value education classes? So why is the world crying hoarse when the Oil producers are practicing the same wisdom? In fact, what has been stated here as wisdom is being touted by many as greed. The reason for this is our dependence on oil. Even the whole argument of greed can be turned upside down, when we consider our own greed for growth. Today we are living in a world which is enamored by the idea of growth even if it augurs for unsustainable practices. This argument would alone entail a long discourse and so let’s keep it besides the purview of this discussion.
Now to answer the third question: Why is the government not reducing taxes on petrol and diesel? This is a pretty debatable issue and ultimately as it turns out in case of debatable issues is that we have to settle for a middle ground (which according to me is pretty fine since everything is not black and white). But first let us take a look at the ‘refinery’ of taxes and subsidies that the oil goes through before coming into your fuel tank. The government gives subsidies on fuel so that the fuel may cost less to the general public. On the other hand, it taxes the same to finance various expenditures which include subsidies themselves. So why does the government Tax and subsidizes the same thing? Well, this is of course a bit paradoxical situation. The subsidy and taxes are different on different petroleum products. The mathematical jugglery ultimately results in making the petroleum products of essential usage like kerosene and LPG relatively (mark this word) cheaper than those of non-essential use like petrol.
The government’s kitty of revenue depends to a large extent on the tax levied on fuel. So if the government lets go off even a part of taxation on fuels, it will create a huge dent in its coffers - a few thousand crores here and there equals budget of many schemes.
Ultimately, its fact we have to live with, that even if oil is an essential commodity, it’s available only in a limited quantity on this planet. The oil reserves are coming down big time