Monday, October 31, 2011

Teekhi Baat_Nitin Gadkari_Prabhu Chawla/IBN7, October 29, 2011

In an exclusive interview BJP National President Nitin Gadkari on Teekhi Baat for IBN 7, says that he does not force any alliance with BJD in Orissa, and only elected representatives and sitting chief ministers would be the Prime Ministerial candidate.

PC: Tell me one thing, from the time you have become president, I have even read in newspapers, that you have been running away from Delhi. You fear Delhi, its politicians, its politics, Is this true.

NG: This is not true. I don’t fear anybody. I don’t fear Delhi, politicians or media because there I don’t have an intention to earn something in future. I want to good work for the party. And there can be a mistake from my side, and if there is one, please understand that it is a bona fide mistake.

PC: Why do you run away from Delhi, you are in Delhi for a very brief time.

NG: When do I run away from Delhi, now I am roaming all over the country, sometimes I come home, hence my headquarters is Nagpur. And I am travelling in Uttar Pradesh and other places. I am in Delhi for three four days in a week.

PC: You said that your headquarters is in Nagpur; otherwise 11 Ashoka road is your political headquarter.

NG: That is the headquarter, but am a resident of Nagpur. Here I work for various projects, I have an interest in works related to rural and agriculture sector. But I am now adjusted to Delhi and I don’t run away from Delhi.

PC: Delhi bhaa gayee aapko

NG: Sab Dilli waalon ko bhagaa doonga main, Dilli se bhaagonga nahi (said in a lighter vein)

PC: You had said that you will not become a member of Rajya Sabha, suddenly you said that you will contest Lok Sabha elections, that too from near Nagpur.

NG: See, the first thing is that, I had decided that I will not take the Rajya Sabha route after becoming the president. Because, generally one takes the Rajya Sabha route after becoming president. Behind this, I had a thinking that I don’t want to ask any ticket and the party has given too much to me for strengthening the organisation, hence I will work for the organisation. And hence, in my tenure as president, I don’t want to take the Rajya Sabha route. I had said it, and will not go. But many times there is discussion in the media that I am not elected by the people, by which I was hurt. Then I felt one day that I have to fight elections. Otherwise, I am already in public life, work in elections of MLA and MP’s and am present every time in main campaigning for elections. This time I decided that I will go among the people and fight elections.

PC: Because I remember you had ran for MLA elections once.

NG: I was 26 years old and fought for the first time. But in the constituency that I am elected, there are 1.70 lakh voters.

PC: You say that public say that president should come from among the people hence you are fighting elections. But there is talk that you are fighting elections as you see yourself among the many prime ministerial contenders among the BJP that is one more horse in the race.

NG: I am not the prime ministerial race at all, I have no such desire in my heart, don’t want to become.

PC: If the party wants to make you then what will you do.

NG: No the party will not make, neither have I wanted to be.

PC: How do you know that the party will not make you?

NG: This issue is not on my agenda and if anybody wants to make me (Prime Minister), then I will tell them don’t get into this issue, I don’t want to become.

PC: But now days you can also become prime minister while you are Rajya Sabha, also dream of becoming a prime minister while you are in the Rajya Sabha. Then what is the issue, even you can.

NG: No, I am not talking about Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha. I represent a party and culture, in which I am a common worker, people who have devoted their lives for their thoughts and principles. They are Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay. I saw Bharaoji, Balasaheb Deorasji closely and Nanaji Deshmukh’s life. Hence I feel I should devote my life for party, organisation and poor people. And there are many people in politics, I will stand behind whoever is working, will stand by whoever is the prime minister.

PC: There was one interview in a newspaper where you said you are mediocre, did you?

NG: I said.

PC: How did a mediocre person become the national president of national party?

NG: I don’t know, ask people who made (me president).

PC: How will you take the party ahead if you are mediocre?

NG: Please see, I always say that I was a small worker who used to stick posters.

PC: He cannot be mediocre, poster sticking party workers have become prime minister?

NG: See, I never came to Delhi, I have no experience of working with big leaders. It is true that I started work by pasting posters, distributed fliers. And hence I have no hesitation in calling myself a common worker. And the second point is that I will call myself a common worker. I say that respect should not be demanded it should be commanded. If I deserve it, I will get it.

PC: Hence, you think that even while you are mediocre, you will be in a condition where people will respect you.

NG: Sir, I will not talk whether people will do or not. But I will surely say one thing, the was with self confidence and positive approach I have worked in past 18 months, today the situation of party is very good. And the party will certainly be in power in 2014, and that is the condition the party is now. Rest, whether it is good or bad, and how am I, that people like you have to say.

PC: Hon. President, you said that the party is in good situation now. A party whose half a dozen ministers are in jail, a party whose former chief minister is in jail and the others are in line in the state.

NG: Which half a dozen ministers are in jail?

PC: four are already in Karnataka, and action may happen against two three.

NG: Which are in jail, please tell the names.

PC: Subramanim, he is in jail, action initiated against Ashokji, two Reddy brothers are in jail.

NG: Not two Reddy, there is only one Reddy (in jail). Let me tell you one thing, in our party there is zero tolerance for corruption. Party will not bear corruption or any leader or individual. Let me tell you one thing, all the talk going on in the country today, is not happening in an independent, impartial and fair way. Tell me one thing, Lokayukta gave a report in Delhi, there is Shunglu committee report against Sheila Dikshit and his party ministers, why does the Congress party not initiate action, please tell me.

PC: Should I ask you a related question

NG: Please ask.

PC: What did you party do against Sheila Dikshit

NG: Protests.

PC: You did it one day and then forgot.

NG: Not one time, we protested many times.

PC: You people give statements everyday against Chidambaram but not once against Sheila Dikshit.

NG: Delhi Pradesh unit protested outside her house.

PC: For one day.

NG: There is no sensitivity left in the Congress party. Even after allegations of corruption, Soniaji and Congress party say proudly, that their party will not tolerate corruption. What don’t you ask Soniaji that why didn’t she take action after Sheilaji’s name cropped up in the Shunglu committee report. The Teekhi baat that you do with us, you don’t get that change to do it with Soniaji.

PC: You leaders and spokespersons in Delhi attack Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram, not Soniaji.

NG: Certainly, we do.

PC: Tell me the last instance when both leaders of opposition attacked Soniaji.

NG: I said, I am the party president. I am saying that ‘yah maa – beton ki party hain’.

PC: Day before yesterday you attacked the first time.

NG: No, I have done it many times.

PC: Who runs the government according to you, Manmohan Singh or Soniaji.

NG: The god runs the government.

PC: It means you don’t agree on both of them.

NG: Manmohan Singhji is a decent man, he has belief on god, the government is running, that is why he is running it, that is what the people are thinking.

PC: BJP leaders don’t worry about their party workers. You said that you will remove the chief minister after the Lokayukta report, you did. Advaniji said that he had given warning, it means you made him chief minister, experimented and then gave a statement against him. He went to Orissa and said that there can be a truce with BJD, the subject is open. What kind of politics is this, who decides policy in the party?

NG: Please see, the first thing is that what Advaniji said, he said while he was sitting beside me in Nagpur. Advaniji is our guide and philosopher. If he says anything, it is not wrong. But let me tell you, the Governor in a similar case, rejects demand for action against Congress minister.

PC: What I am asking you was his indirect action against Yedurappa right, the party was up in arms they said that they will not allow his yatra there or allow him to come.

NG: First of all, nobody said anything like this. Advaniji made no such comments about Yedurappa. The media interprets different meanings.

PC: On TV also we show wrong things, paste a picture and put words in the mouth (sarcastic remark)

NG: (smiles)

PC: What he said (Advaniji) was seen on television.

NG: The first point is, Advaniji said that party should have zero tolerance about corruption. Even I said this to you.

PC: Are you in agreement with the comment made on Yedurappa.

NG: The first thing is that Advaniji did not say anything wrong. Advaniji said that no mistake should happen and he had warned him about that earlier. What is wrong in this?. Let me tell you one thing, that time there was too much discussion about me speaking about bonafide and malafide mistake. Please see, regarding denotification of land, there were thousands of cases before this one.

PC: You said a good thing, malafide and bonafire, was this a malafide or bonafide mistake.

NG: it was a bonafide mistake.

PC: Hence you and the party are standing by him.

NG: Yedurappa is a respectful leader of the party. He has worked hard and toiled for the party. As far as cases against him are concerned, they are sub judice. After this the court will give decision, Yedurappa and party will abide by it. But terming him guilty before the decision, this is legally injustice against him and should not happen is what I said.

PC: If Yedurappa is such a big leader and for the first time any leader has got you such a big majority in south. If he is exonerated by the court, will you make him chief minister again?, or will say that the party will decide.

NG: If Yedurappa is cleared of the charges, he will again come back in the party leadership role, work for the party.

PC: You took away the post from him, because there were charges levelled against him, if charges are cleared then whether he has a right to be chief minister or not.

NG: The first thing is, if he is found not guilty, then certainly he has a right (to be chief minister). Party will think on this issue.

PC: Secondly, you did not say anything about the allies, I the question of alliance with BJD open.

NG: Advaniji has said that in national politics, that he does not rule out an alliance with Biju Janta Dal.

PC: But the local leadership is against it.

NG: But the first issue is that local, and the on ground condition is that there is a fight between us and BJD. And hence, under any condition, either before or after elections, we would not have any alliance with BJD, which is what we have decided and will stick to it. The possibility which Advaniji is talking about is not seen.

PC: It is being said that some people dream about being prime minister hence their connect with the party workers is lost.

NG: That is not the case, it would be unfair to say that about Advaniji.

PC: No, I am talking about some people.

NG: He said that in national politics, an alliance with BJD is not ruled out. He gave his view. But as far as we have decided about state politics in Orissa, according to that we will not have any alliance with BJD in the coming elections, not even in the Lok Sabha elections. This is what we have decided.

PC: But the question is that the middle level worker of your party, leader, they think that the big leaders, whom will not name, to increase their image, acceptability, compromise with Nitin Kumar on principles, even other people. Why does Nitin’s party afraid of Nitish’s party. No chief minister of your goes in Bihar, there is a ban.

NG: Please see, the first thing is that neither Nitish Kumar intimidates us, not do we get intimidated.

PC: You get intimidated, he doesn’t intimidate.

NG: No, no who said, neither he intimidates us, nor we get intimidated. This is a media story. See, Nitish Kumar’s leadership, personality is not intimidating. Nitish Kumarji and BJP, both have together formed a government in Bihar. Our government is running well, there is good development happening in Bihar. Our ministers are working well, the picture of Bihar has changed. Now to tell that they are intimidating us is wrong

PC: But your leaders praise him as if he is BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Whenver there an opportunity Advaniji, Jaitleyji, Sushmaji praise him.

NG: Even I do, Nitish Kumarji has done good work. But tell me, has Advaniji, Arunji, Sushmaji ever say that Nitish Kumar will become Prime Minister.

PC: Are your chief ministers not working as well.

NG: Why are you deriving meanings out of what was not said. It is right to praise what is good.

PC: Is your Modi not a better chief minister than him.

NG: Modi also does good work. I have said many times that he is a role model chief minister. Many governments should replicate his good points.

PC: Your leaders don’t praise Modi as much as they do Nitish.

NG: What you are saying is not fair and discriminatory. Regarding Narendrabhai, in every interview I gave to you and also the national media, I have spoken well of him. See what is good must be praised about Narendrabhai, even good points of Nitish Kumar must be praised. We don’t fear to say what is good.

PC: Advani decided on his yatra, there was no decision in the parliamentary board, he asked you, started his yatra, this is the new way of working in the party.

NG: Advaniji did not announce his yatra.

PC: The party president did.

NG: I did.

PC: He said in a press conference that I have told this to the president. He announced in parliamentary board meeting that I have taken permission from the president.

NG: I have given permission after speaking to him. I cash of vote, our two innocent MP, even Sudheendra Kulkari was framed and arrested. But the corrupt people who bought 19 MP’s are going scot free, this happened on the directions of prime minister, Ahmed Patel and Soniaji. They were not questioned. Advaniji has been disturbed by the way cases have been registered against our innocent people. He said that even I am guilty because these people have done (sting operation) after asking me. He said that he should be arrested on the floor of the parliament.

PC: Advaniji yatra is no talked about in terms of jan chetna, black money.

NG: It is against corruption.

PC: There are elections in UP, already Rajnath Singh’s and one another yatra of Kalraji was announced, then Advaniji’s, the worker must be getting split then.

NG: First point, both yatras have different routes. Advaniji is not going on routes of Rajnathji and Kalraji yatra. No workers are getting split.

PC: The rath was being made from before the yatra was announced.

NG: No.

PC: Was it made for him or Rajnathji

NG: The order of the Rath was given after my permission. I was made in Pune and I had spoken on the specifics of how it will be made. Infact, Rajnathji and Kalraji said that they had some other idea than rath for the yatra.

PC: If there is some much fashion of yatra in the party, why did you not plan a yatra.

NG: Now, so many people are organizing yatras, even you are saying workers will have trouble, why should I organize a fourth yatra.

PC: But the president should have a yatra of his own.

NG: I go in all yatras as a yatri.

PC: But after all yatras also it seems that no allies are attaching themselves with you. No new ally is joining the party.

NG: After we get over 170 seats, all of them are ready to be in an alliance with us. Take it in writing from us.

PC: That is when you will get 170.

NG: 100 per cent, we will get above 200.

PC: You got a dream about this.

NG: I am ready for a bet, am Nitin Gadkari speaking.

PC: There are no muslims, minorities, no regional party is ready to stand with you except for Shiv Sena, who is not dependable.

NG: In the current political scenario. It’s not that we are roaming behind everybody for an alliance. Now we entered into an alliance in Haryana. Where we thought it is politically prudent we entered into an alliance. There is which state where we want to enter an alliance and the other party is not ready.

PC: A president’s success is seen by the electoral victories that he gets for the party. Now as you come from Maharasthra, tell me who do you like more NCP or Shiv Sena.

NG: First of all, we have an alliance with Shiv Sena. And we have won an election in Sharad Pawar’s bastion of Baramati recently. Our party is working well.

PC: In future will you alliance partner change in Maharasthra

NG: Now we have an alliance with the Shiv Sena. But there is not talk of alliance with NCP.

PC: What may happen in future?

NG: That Shiv Sena and BJP will decide together and then if both decide then we will have talks.

PC: How can Shiv Sena decide for you.

That is BJP and Shiv Sena together will decide on the third partner.

PC: Till now you are dependent on regional party Shiv Sena, the other regional parties are not with you. Do you have any talks with Jailalitha.

NG: We are not depending on anybody. Any political alliance is in interest of both the parties. And people who think that they have a benefit in the formation of government will support us.

PC: Are you doing for forging new alliance.

NG: I told you, alliance will be.

PC: On after 170 seats you think everybody may come to you.

NG: Either you like it or don’t like it. This is the ground reality of politics.

PC: Even I am agreeing that alliance partners will come to you if you manage to get 170 seats. But you have no slogan, leader or agenda, from where will the seats come.

NG: Tell me once state where Congress can win elections in the country.

PC: They have won 206 seats.

NG: You are one of the senior most journalists in the country, tell me one state where the Congress party can win well.

PC: People and media say in Punjab you will lose, even Orissa.

NG: Maharashtra is going to go out of the Congress party’s hands, In Andhra, where they have 33 MP’s, even three will not come again. In Tamil Nadu DMK and Congress are routed out.

PC: In Tamil Nadu Congress never had more than 8 to 10 seats.

NG: They were with DMK

PC: Even then they had only 14 seats

NG: The position changed.

PC: Tell me form where you will win.

NG: We will win in Uttar Pradesh, will increase our presence in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi,

PC: Where will you lose, in Karnataka?

NG: We are winning every election in Karnataka in the past two years. We even won the latest elections. Even after so much of allegations of criticism, we are winning every election. We won Zilla and Panchayat elections.

PC: You are saying you will get 170 seats in 2014. Who will be your leader for winning 170 seats.

NG: Tell me who will be Congress party’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014.

PC: I asked Digvijay Singh the same question the other day. But it is clear that their candidate is Rahul Gandhi.

NG: But he did not say it.

PC: But you and I know

NG: Then even for our party you and I know. The day we want, we will decide the leader of the party.

PC: A lot of people joke these days, Nitin Gadkari is losing personal weight to gain political weight.

NG: (Laughs)

PC: Because you have many candidates, but nobody to win elections.

NG: This is the party’s strength that people are discussing about our party’s would be prime ministerial candidate. This is the party’s strength that many of our people are capable of becoming prime minister.

PC: No, they themselves want to be. Because Atalji and Advaniji have been such big leaders hence people say that you have leaders capable to be prime minister. Because there is no ‘parivarvad’ in your party. Hence the question, after Atal Behari Vajpayee, Advaniji, after Advaniji, people say me, nobody took their names

NG: Nobody talks about himself, nobody has talked about himself. People discuss and we have many capable people. I tell you, when the right time comes, the party will decide at that very moment, we have no problems in deciding.

PC: Then you will take permission from RSS.

NG: There is no need for taking permission, we will take decision of our party.

PC: When you became president, there was discussion that you were appointed with the with the permission of RSS.

NG: This is wrong information. Please research, I am a product of vidyarthi parishad. I was not associated that much with Sangh, and when I met sarsanghchalak he said, “ yeh bill hamare naam se mat phadiye” Advaniji and other leaders had four names, my name was decided, the party decided it.

PC: When I interviewed Sarsanghchalak, he said that there are four leaders in Delhi, nobody of them will become president. That was the last interview he gave, then you became president, nobody among the four.

NG: No, after that there were four names, Narendrabhai, Manohar Parikar, Nitin Gadkari and Shivraji Chauhan. Shivraji and Narendrabhai were both chief ministers, then there were Manohar Parikar and Nitin Gadkar, the party chose my name from among this, that’s why I became.

PC: Now you took four names, somebody from these four can also become Prime Minister.

NG: Why not, they have capability and are working are good chief ministers. Narendrabhai is working good, even Shivrajji is working well.

PC: Hence, prime ministers should only be who has won elections, also for the party.

NG: Certainly. See, people in our party work for elections, fight elections, win elections and have the capability to be prime minister.

PC: So people who fight elections, Rajnathji fought, you say you will fight, Advaniji fought, Atal Behari Vajpayeeji fought, they have all contested and won elections. Hence, you are saying in 2014 there will be a prime minister who has fought elections and won elections for the party.

NG: Today all the contenders who will be prime ministerial candidates, will all fight lok sabha elections and also have the capability.

PC: But one who does not fight elections, he will not become prime minister.

NG: 100 he will fight.

PC: No I am asking people who will not fight, will not win.

NG: Why are you asking this.

PC: I am asking you a question, you please answer it. Does that mean a Rajya Sabha member can become prime minister according to you.

NG: You are talking about your friend.

PC: I am talking about nobody, I am asking the president. Today you attack Manmohan Singh

NG: Today who are in Rajya Sabha, even they will fight Lok Sabha elections and win it.

PC: So the president is saying that those who will not fight Lok Sabha elections, he is out of the prime ministerial race.

NG: See, the people will fight lok sabha elections. Its not about being outside the race, from Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha anybody can become prime minister. But all prime leaders will fight lok sabha elections this time.

PC: From them a prime minister will be chosen, you will bag 170 seats.

NG: Yes Yes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Power & Politics_Prabhu Chawla_The Sunday Standard/October 30, 2011

The mission has been decided. The targets identified. And the instruments sharpened. The Congress party, it seems, is not afraid of any political party. Instead, it fears some people more than any organised opposition. The BJP is hardly a threat. It doesn’t care about the vanishing Left and regional parties. However, Narendra Modi, Mayawati and Team Anna are its worst nightmares. The party is equally worried about the Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai’s future moves. Its leadership is convinced that if these few individuals are neutralised, a decisive victory in the 2012 Assembly polls and the 2014 general elections will be easy. For the past few weeks, it has unleashed political and administrative instruments to demoralise and demolish these individuals. The objective is clear: if you can’t defeat them, defame them. Maverick motormouth Digvijaya Singh deserves full credit for diverting public attention from a very powerful agenda to some personalities. His allegations may sound ridiculous or bereft of credibility, but Diggy succeeded in sowing seeds of suspicion among those fighting to cleanse the system.

Last week, the target was Kiran Bedi, one of Team Anna’s most articulate members. Suddenly, her tour bills and income tax details appeared in the public domain. Instead of prosecuting her for misdemeanours, the attempt was to paint her as one of the ugliest police officers ever. Her NGO’s accounts were placed und
er close scrutiny. Earlier, Arvind Kejriwal was served an ultimatum by a former employee to deposit a few lakh rupees and also explain other acts of omission and commission. It is for Bedi and Kejriwal to defend their deeds or misdeeds. But one thing is clear: they have shaken the Congress more than even 2G, especially after the party lost its deposit in the Hissar by-election. The Congress wasn’t expected to win anyway, but the H-Bomb (Hazare Bomb) blast shook the party’s confidence.

The Congress is particularly unnerved by Anna’s political forays into Uttar Pradesh. Despite a massive smear campaign, Kejriwal and Bedi drew huge crowds at their public meetings in the state. The party doesn’t want Team Anna to create an anti-Congress wave in the state; the results will decide Rahul Gandhi’s political leadership. Kejriwal told me on my talk show Teekhi Baat on IBN7 that they have decided to pitch camp in Rae Bareilly and Amethi, if the Government fails to pass a powerful Jan Lokpal bill this Winter Session.

The fear of losing Uttar Pradesh again is causing panic in the Congress. Although Mayawati’s government has lost popularity, the Congress doesn’t seem to have gained any lost ground. Since it isn’t sure about its post-election alliances, Mayawati has been chosen the primary target. The Congress has pressed into action various Union ministries, commissions and even NGOs to unearth irregularities in her government. As part of the plan, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh suddenly discovered massive malfeasance in the implementation of MNREGA schemes. He asked Maya to order a CBI inquiry. Interestingly, he hasn’t found fault with any Congress-or BJP-ruled state. The chairman of the SC and ST Commission and Congress Lok Sabha MP P L Punia ordered an FIR filed against a few officials in the case of alleged rapes in Bhatta-Parsaul. If Diggy Raja is aware of various plans of the RSS and Team Anna, so is Mayawati about the hidden agenda of the Congress. During the next few weeks, the Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, is going to roll out Operation Destroy Mayawati. Behenji is a gigantic roadblock in Rahul’s journey to Raisina Hill, because the Congress has to win more than 50 Assembly seats in UP: almost double its current tally of 22.

The party also wants to establish Rahul’s leadership in Gujarat, where Assembly elections are due in November 2012. After having failed to create an alternative leader to Modi, the Congress has now mobilised all its energy to create dissensions within the bureaucracy and dig deep into land allotments to various companies, including the Tatas. It is not going to raise the 2002 riots issue but wants to demolish Modi’s image of a development icon. The party has put together a crack team comprising a few retired journalists, civil servants, advocates and even ad agencies to draw up the road map for forcing Modi into a corner. A Gujarat victory may also help the party to win the 2014 general elections, even if some allies fare badly or even ditch the Congress.

Strangely, the Congress party isn’t deterred by the silence of its allies who disapprove of the vilification campaign against civil society leaders and other political parties. However, for the Congress, the quality of the means has never been an issue for achieving its end. But the Congress has entered a murky tunnel which doesn’t seem to have an end.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Teekhi Baat_Arvind Kejriwal_Prabhu Chawla/October 22, 2011, IBN7

Team Anna member, Arvind Kejriwal is an Indian social activist and is the IRS officer-turned-anti-corruption crusader who won the Roman Magsaysay award in 2006 for his contribution to the enactment of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

Power & Politics/ The Sunday Standard /October 23, 2011


Even a great leader of high personal integrity who doesn’t practice what he preaches is bound to carry very little conviction and credibility with the people. On Saturday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pleaded with 25-odd chief ministers to “guard against the mood of negativism that seems to have gripped the country”. For most of them, the sermon was salt on wounds inflicted by the Centre. Three of them took the UPA to task for its negative attitude towards their states and imposing “fascist legislation”. Manmohan queered the pitch. While UPA ministers and Congress chief ministers ignored his remarks, the rest were assertive in placing the blame on the UPA’s doorstep for being confrontationist and for targeting non-Congress governments and leaders.

Negativism begets negativism. For the past seven years, the UPA hasn’t built a consensus on any national issue. It has conceived and planned schemes and policies that have shaken the very foundation of Indian democracy’s federal character. Both fiscal and social sector policies involving MGNREGA, national highways, Value Added Tax, environment and forest clearances, higher education expansion, power generation projects, etc have been designed in such a way that state governments are finding it difficult to sustain their growth momentum. If a power project is cleared by a state, the coal ministry finds it extremely difficult to allocate coal. If a new airport is proposed, the Environment Ministry makes life miserable for the promoters with inane objections. Furthermore, most legislations adopted by state governments are held up for years either by governors or at the Centre. Some governors, in states like Gujarat, Orissa and Karnataka, have been needling their state governments on one pretext or the other, while encouraging dissidence. At the Centre, the UPA has been at war with the Opposition. Using technical objections, its members didn’t allow the Public Accounts Committee to finish its reports, a tactic also used by the Congress in Goa.

Approval for over a dozen laws, duly passed by the Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar Assemblies is pending with either the governor or the President. Instead of offering a sympathetic ear, the Centre hasn’t responded to numerous requests from various chief ministers for special packages. For example, even special resolutions passed by Orissa and Bihar, seeking special assistance, haven’t been properly considered. On the other hand, Manmohan and his ministers don’t take a minute to announce significant financial assistance to their regional allies. It is due to the Central leadership’s unresponsive attitude that most chief ministers have stopped visiting Delhi. Instead, they operate through their civil servants. Manmohan, who rarely visits the states, has hardly made any extra gesture to fly to any of the non-Congress ruled states to help resolve their problems.

If most states are peeved with the Centre for its negative vibes, so are the leaders of civil society and constitutional bodies. Recently, Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai was subjected to a vicious smear campaign for his bold reports on the 2G scam and other financial irregularities. This immediately prompted attempts to dig for dirt in his past record. Expecting a strong reaction, it was left to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to defend Rai. Most despicable is the vicious campaign against civil society leaders, from Baba Ramdev to Kiran Bedi. Various agencies were unleashed to snoop out every hole in their closets for hidden wealth and secret documents. It was the worst kind of political butchery of the civil society movement; instead of reading the message, the Government and its megaphones shot the messengers. But it failed miserably. If the corporate sector is unable to perform today, it is not due to negative feelings against the Government. Not one of them is sure of getting clearances on time. For one Union minister who helps the industry, there are at least two who are out to torpedo their colleagues. Legislation on both sports and manufacturing policy fell through because of the static of negativity within the Prime Minister’s office.

If Manmohan is determined to create a positive environment for better governance and healthy democracy, he and his colleagues have to be more tolerant and less abrasive. The might of the state may maim and incapacitate a few individuals, but this generates such a negative force that can lead to much more catastrophic results. Let the Prime Minister begin the charity of positivity from his own home. He may, then, find many others walking the extra mile.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Race Course Road/ The Sunday Standard Magazine/October 09, 2011

Manmohan can depend on well-treated CMs

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may not be able to handle some of his recalcitrant ministers, but his equation with the chief ministers is rather smooth and cordial. With more than half of them belonging to non-Congress parties, the PMO deals with them with extra care. Indeed, the Prime Minister has evolved a special mechanism which ensures a prompt response to any communication from a chief minister. V Narayanswamy, Minister of State in the PMO, has been assigned the task of going through the letters and suggesting appropriate response, both political and administrative. The special attention is not surprising, considering that some of the chief ministers not only control their own party, but are also in a position to destabilise the Government at the Centre. And it’s these very chief ministers who prefer to deal with the Prime Minister directly even on matters which don’t come under his direct charge. Unlike most of the BJP and Congress chief ministers who prefer to deal with the ministers concerned, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, J Jayalalithaa, Naveen Patnaik, Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi talk only to the man at the top. But there are differences even among these ‘special correspondents’. While Patnaik, Nitish and Modi write rarely, the Prime Minister is flooded with letters from Jayalalithaa and Mayawati, almost on a weekly basis. Both of them raise fundamental issues like security and poor availability of funds for Centrally-sponsored schemes. The flow of letters from Mayawati has substantially increased of late, with most of the letters being written keeping the forthcoming elections in mind. Sources at the PMO say while all the chief ministers get a quick response, the women chief ministers’ letters are dealt with at breakneck speed as they are the ones who raise the most demands and even try to influence foreign policy. All the hard work is paying off. The Prime Minister may be under attack from various quarters but the chief ministers have refrained from attacking him.

Rahul Cabinet Before Rahul PM?

While no one is speculating about any Cabinet expansion or reshuffle in the near future, there are a few well-connected political birdies who are twittering about significant changes in the composition and character of the Union Council of Ministers. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh didn’t rule out the possibility while speaking to the media after the last reshuffle. With Sonia back and Rahul taking unusual interest in the functioning of the Government, the Congress leadership is seriously looking for a new-look Cabinet that will lead the party in the 2014 elections. Most of the ministers who are above 70 and have been in the Government for more than seven years are likely to be moved out. Over half a dozen young ministers will be given either independent charge or elevated to Cabinet level. Of the dozen-odd young ones, those with a rural base and who pose no threat to Rahul Gandhi will be given preference. Some of them have already been given the political responsibility of handling the election-bound states and are reporting directly to Rahul. In fact for many young ministers, all roads now lead to 12, Tughlak Lane, the official residence of the young Gandhi.

Back to Babulok For Manmohan

The Congress party appears to be visibly happy with the formal induction of Pulok Chatterjee as principal secretary to the Prime Minister. Chatterjee is not the youngest-ever principal secretary since the 1980s, he is also the first officer to return to the PMO as the most powerful civil servant after serving there at a junior level. He joined the PMO as joint secretary soon after Manmohan Singh took over as Prime Minister in 2004. Earlier, he served as private secretary to Sonia Gandhi when she was Leader of the Opposition and dealt with Manmohan Singh who was then Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. Chatterjee is known as much for his high personal integrity and efficiency as his loyalty to the Gandhis. As the returning officer for Amethi Constituency, he created a flutter in bureaucratic circles for standing up when Rajiv Gandhi came in to file his nomination for the Lok Sabha elections in 1981. Given that he enjoys the confidence of Sonia, the party expects the relationship between the Government and the party to improve with his coming. Along with Chatterjee, the Prime Minister has also brought in some other officials. One is his former private secretary B V R Subramanyam, who returns to the PMO as a joint secretary. He replaces Vini Mahajan, who was in the news for receiving a controversial note from the finance ministry on 2G scam. The Prime Minister has also brought in two young IAS officers from his home state of Punjab and Assam, his political habitat. With the politicians letting him down, the Prime Minister needs to depend on his babus to survive the remaining term.

Pulok Will Start From the Top

One of Pulok Chatterjee’s top priorities will be finding the right people for filling the posts of secretaries. By the end of this year, over half a dozen senior secretaries, including Secretary, Commerce, Steel and Health, will have either retired or be retiring soon. His predecessor TKA Nair stopped processing his files once he knew Chatterjee was to join. Last week, Raghu Menon, Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, retired. Since the PMO was unable to fill in the vacancy in time, an additional secretary was given charge for couple of days. The delay was due to political leadership’s inability to arrive at a consensus. Since the I&B Ministry is likely to play an important role during the next few months, Minister Ambika Soni wants an officer who has no political affiliations and can help her project the correct image of the government. According to procedure, it is the PMO which chooses a person to fill a post of a secretary and merely consults the minister concerned. Manmohan Singh had extended the courtesy to the minister to make the first move. But with Chatterjee’s induction, the PMO is bound to have the last word on all senior-level appointments.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Teekhi Baat_Montek Singh Aluwalia_Prabhu Chawla/October 08, 2011/IBN7

Interview with Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman, planning commission on Teekhi Baat for IBN 7.


PC: Straight question, how do you decide the definition of poverty.

MA: The latest position on the poverty line is that about two years ago, we got to know that there is a lot of discussion, particularly about rural poverty line being low. That is why we set up an expert committee, under the chairmanship of Suresh Tendulkar, he gave report in 2009. He recommended that the earlier poverty line in rural areas should be adjusted a bit upwards. The latest numbers are the numbers of the Tendulkar committee.

PC: Tendulkar sahab decided, after that there was the Arjun Sengupta’s report, even he had defined poverty line, and how many people are below poverty line, he had not said Rs. 28 or Rs. 30, he had talked of numbers. After that Jairam Ramesh came to you, the question is every person has his own definition. Different definition of Montek, different of Tendulkar, one of Prabhu Chawla (smiles).

MA: Official poverty line is what Suresh Tendulkar’s committee has established, which has been accepted by the planning commission. What we say regarding the numbers of below poverty line population, they have all from Tendulkar sahab’s report. Arjun raised a point, he said, this is a poverty line, we agree anybody below this line is poor, but he also said that the people above this line too are vulnerable.

PC: You said poverty line, which means somebody below that line is even poorer.

MA: No, no, I am talking of cut off line.

PC: Then those people are in the condition that they can even perish, people who are below that level.

MA: Certainly, people who are below that line are known to be very poor. Arjun Sengupta said, poverty line is one thing, many people are above this line but that economic condition is not so good. Hence, he said vulnerable. He said that if the poverty line is doubled, then 77 per cent of the population would be below the poverty line. Actually there was some arithmetic errors in that but the it is right to say that if the poverty line is doubled, the old poverty line not the new one, then 65 per cent of the population will be below that line. Now Tendulkar sahab increased it but not that much.

PC: He says it is 32 per cent.

MA: Now the poverty line as said by Tendulkar sahab, if compared with year 2009 data, comes to around 32 per cent.

PC: That means 32 per cent of India’s population of below poverty line, which means their income is less than Rs. 28 per day.

MA: Correct

PC: Do you think a man can stay alive in Rs. 28, Tendulkar sahab thinks.

MA: The Rs. 28 number is a bit misleading, because the number which we gave in court, we had given details of family expenditure, which in rural areas is around Rs. 3900 and Rs. 4,800 in urban areas.

PC: Let’s say it is Rs. 100, Rs. 125 and you think in that amount, an average family in India, which comprises of four-five people, can sustain itself.

MA: No,no,no,no, that 32 per cent figure is per person, now when talking of a family then it should be multiplied by five.

PC: Hence I am saying that Rs. 125

MA: Around Rs. 125, Rs.150.

PC: Do, you think Montek, that Montek Ahluwalia, Tendulkar are qualified to define poor, and none of them experienced poverty.

MA: I clearly agree that I am not an expert in this.

PC: You are not expert in defining poverty.

MA: I myself say that we took recommendations of expert committee.

PC: Was Tendulkar an expert in defining poverty.

MA: In this area is has worked a lot. Whatever has been written, on poverty, the amount of research that he had done in this area, many few people would have done it. He was not himself poor, ordinary simple academic.

PC: I agree with you, you went to St. Stephen college, I didn’t, studied in Delhi School of Economics later, before that I studied in Deshbandhu College. So, do you think that doing research and measuring poverty by going in villages are different things?

MA: Yes, there is a difference.

PC: How many times, Tendulkar would have gone to villages, stayed there and measured poverty, do you think he would have gone in villages.

MA: He would have gone, if you compare him with other economists, actually he knows more.

PC: How many classes of people are there in India from rich to poor, if an eminent economist like you classifies. We keep on talking about castes, if you divide on economic criteria, then how many types will emerge.

MA: If you divide on economic criteria, then you have to distinguish many classes. One is Tendulkar’s poverty line, it is very low line, I don’t say

PC: Whom you will say poor.

MA: Poor and very poor. Ok, now many people who are above Tendulkar poverty line, it has to be estimated, but they can be said as vulnerable. They are living in difficult economic situations, they would have many problems, even if there is somebody takes ill in the family, and they are vulnerable. After which comes aam aadmi, which means that their basic needs are all being met but even they have problems during inflation. Now Tendulkar’s sahab’s line says 32 per cent.

PC: No, about aam aadmi

MA: I will tell you. Now in the food security bill draft, according to the numbers given by the government, 41 per cent population will get subsidised food. If you add 10 per cent over Tendulkar sahab’s line, they can be called vulnerable, hence it becomes 40 – 41 per cent. From 41 per cent , I will say till 80 per cent is aam aadmi. They are workers, have jobs, but are not rich. The 20 per cent above 80 per cent can be called upper income classes. But rich, really rich are only top one per cent.

PC: You spoke about four to types of people.

MA: officially there is only one line; you asked a question so I discussed my assessment with you.

PC: You are the deputy chairman of the planning commission; your work is to implement the manifesto of the government in power. Hence, you are working for the aam aadmi, being the centre of the whole budget. Hence, can I think that you don’t think about 40 per cent of the people who are below the aam aadmi level.

MA: No, certainly not. The 12 five year plan approach paper which we published recently and is on our website. In that poverty line has been given much importance, we have to do something to help these people. Other than them, economic policies should also help aam aadmi, they should get benefitted.

PC: People below them are left, you don’t talk about them.

MA: No, no, if you read our approach paper we have specially mentioned that poverty alleviation is very important.

PC: There is a separate ministry for that.

MA: The second point is that there are many schemes of the government, which is specially targeting this group.

PC: Montek, one Teekhi Baat there is no consensus on definition of poverty line. It is arbitrary, subjective.

MA: You are right, if somebody says Rs. 4800 is not right, make it Rs. 5500, there can be no scientific basis on this.

PC: There is no agreement on anything, on poverty line.

MA: Please see, Tendulkar committee report was published in 2009. In 2010, when midterm appraisal was published, it was written that this is the report, it has been accepted, these are the numbers. That time percentage of poverty was 27.50. We said that number of poor are more than this, Tendulkar sahab’s report says that it is 37 per cent, we agree it at 37 per cent. That time nobody said that Tendulkar line is wrong.

PC: No but when the figure of Rs. 28 was revealed, then the people came to know.

MA: Now there has been a controversy, people are observing, the line is Rs. 4800 plus but it seen as per person per day then it comes to Rs. 32.

PC: There can be one definition of poverty line in Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Dr. Manmohan Singh’s government, other in CPM government, in BJP, then there is no sanctity, it has no parameters, it is for academic discussion, otherwise it has no meaning.

MA: No, I would not say that. One thing you can say, what the level is, is the basic food requirement being met, basic.

PC: Even now you are agreeing that a person can stay alive in Rs. 28.

MA: You please read Tendulkar’s report, he has said.

PC: I am asking you, Tendulkar ..

MA: No, no

PC: I and you have read many books in Delhi.

MA: Whoever is below the poverty line, theoretically they should get benefit of BPL and PDS. Their education should be given free by the government; medical assistance should also be free. Problem is that this all is not happening. People below BPL are not getting cards.

PC: Put your hand on your heart and say, can a person in rural area stay alive in Rs. 28 per day.

MA: If they get medicines and rations free, if their education is free, then basically at that level survival is possible.

PC: That means if government subsidies are delivered, then Rs. 28 is fine. Otherwise it is not right.

MA: Please see, otherwise it is not right.

PC: You are the deputy chairman of the planning commission. I have seen you since college times, you had trust in planning, but now let us agree that you have to now.

MA: No, that is not the case.

PC: Have to now, now whatever policy is being made with regards to poverty line, now a technocrat like you, economist, even Dr. Manmohan Singh is an economist, don’t you think that politicians decide everything now. Like Jairam Ramesh forced you to change the line.

MA: In a democracy, politicians should decide. Technically, people support, but in this issue, as you would have seen on tv, we have said, Jairam also said, and this was the earlier policy too, which household should be identified in what manner. Earlier, the government policy was that BPL population would get subsidised food. But for the past one year we are discussing that it should not be limited to BPL. Hence, the food security draft which has been made, in which 41 per cent people should be getting entitlement , which we are not calling BPL, they are called by a new name, priority sector. That means there is BPL, vulnerable and priority sector.

PC: I talked about politicians because they have to garner votes. You have seen what has happened in the planning commission in the past five seven years. You are not reducing poverty, but distributing money to the poor in the name of schemes. How much money have you spent on the social sector in the name of MNREGA and other schemes.

MA: It is not right to say that people are getting no benefit from this.

PC: Votes are being garnered.

MA: No, not about votes. Now if you go anywhere, farmers are saying that they are facing a problem because wages have increased. Now keep the problems of the farmer separate, if the wages have increased then people who have no land may be getting benefitted.

PC: Have you assessed that since MRNEGA scheme started, how many tangible assets, productive assets have been created in villages. You have distributed money, what assets did you create in the name of MNREGA, have you don’t an audit.

MA: Many evaluations are being done, and we are clearly saying

PC: Are you not happy with them.

MA: No, no, not happy. There is a lot of scope to improve its implementation.

PC: There was an idea of creating employment, you will give minimum wage of 100 days.

MA: Many people used to think, leave the issue if assets, the idea is to give wage to poor people, many people used to think.

PC: In a way you gave bheek to them, the poor fellow takes Rs. 100, Rs. 120 from you.

MA: No, if you see the guidelines of the MNREGA programme, plan documents and even yourself ask Jairam Ramesh, giving money to a person is very important, but the program should be used for creating assets.

PC: That means, Montek, you are yourself and economist. Every year, inflation will rise, which means his DA would also have to be increased, from Rs. 120 to Rs. 150, from Rs. 150 to Rs. 175, you are creating an army of people who are just getting cash, work is not being done.

MA: No, I think in every scheme of the government there are some shortcomings.

PC: Dr. Saab cash is being distributed.

MA: See, just cash is not being distributed, people are working, they are making bunds, roads, check dams. Idea is that they make something like check dams, wells.

PC: Indian government is such that there is no estimate about unemployment. Unemployment is increasing, which is true, you don’t have an estimate.

MA: If you see the employment being generated through MNREGA, it is not so much that the poor is solely depending on that. He is getting a little extra support. If you go to farming area, people are saying two things, one is that wages..

PC: Those have increased because you have started doling out cash, then why will he go to work, he has to work in farms to get money.

MA: No, it means, by giving this little support, wages of others have increased. So, people who were working in farmers fields are getting more wages. If you see it from the point of view to labourer, then it is better, and the second point, if you go to Punjab, then they say that migration has stopped.

PC: Even people from Bihar say that migration has stopped. If you give me money at my house, why will I go anywhere to work

MA: Please see, what average employment is being given under MNREGA, 45 days.

PC: It is a fact that unemployment has increased in this country. Absolute unemployment has increased. Take NSS data.

MA: Everytime, unemployment is calculated in percentages. Please see latest data, percentage unemployment has decreased. If people are getting 45 days employment under MNREGA, then 100 days at 45 multiplied by 100, then he is earning Rs. 4500 through this. Now you will say that nobody can exist in Rs. 4500 a year. But people who are working there have benefitted as wages have increased.

PC: You are an economist, I have also studied a bit of economics, and you studied a bit more than me. I want to ask what kind of government is this which runs on loan, you are running these kinds of schemes, in 2004, you were taken loan of Rs. 200 crore per day from the market, in today’s date you are taking Rs. 1200 crore from market. Where is all this money going?

MA: You are talking of fiscal deficit.

PC: No, am talking of expenditure, there are expenditures that is why you are taking loan.

MA: Expenditure is happening, partly it is being financed through taxes, we are taking some credit.

PC: Do you think Rs. 1200 crore deficit is right, when technocrat is minister, then deficit is less, when a politician becomes..

MA: No, if you are talking of central government, the deficit is increased in the past two three years. But this happened because in the past two three years there globally economy had severely slowed down and not in India but in every country fiscal deficit increased. People said that there is a slowdown, the government should spend a little more, and form this year onwards, there is a plan to reduce fiscal deficit, now there is a target..

PC: You take a loan of Rs. 1200 crore every day, and secondly in your budget give concessions of Rs. 5 lakh crore to corporate sector, revenue forgone. Rs. 5 lakh crore, even when you were there, you have forgone capital gains, then rich got even richer by selling his shares. Is there any country where for so many years, no capital gains tax was imposed. You gave so many concessions to the rich..

MA: No if you are talking about tax concessions, then total effect has to be seen, you cannot pick up one thing and say. The thing is that if you think that tax concessions should be tightened, then it is a technical issue.

PC: You give concession of Rs. 5 lakh crore on one hand and tax the poor on the other. There is less interest on cars and more if a poor man wants to build a house.

MA: This you are picking one thing from here and there and giving a number.

PC: Am talking about policy.

MA: This may be the impression but it is not the reality. Policy is directed at helping ordinary persons, many things are being done. Many schemes are there, which directly help aam aadmi and poor people, rural areas. See the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, I think it is an excellent scheme. Roads are being made in villages which had no connection to the road network, and the quality of those roads, if compared from the last time, are much better.

PC: Hope that you would have gone in vehicles to small cities, the prime minister would have gone, I have gone there and come back. The infrastructure, except of cities, is worst in the villages. In small towns there is problem, no water, no hospitals, no schools, there is nothing.

MA: From many years, there have been shortcomings. But if you see the latest data of the past three four years since the national rural health mission has started, infrastructure for health, infrastructure for schools, all this is improving. The percentage of children in schools is increasing, almost 100 per cent has happened. There is no doubt in this. The point is that earlier there were no schools, then schools were made, then there were no teachers, now children are coming, they are getting mid day meal. But now people are saying that they quality of teaching is not good, it will take time, there are many shortcomings. But we cannot say that nothing is happening.

PC: Do you think that there is a need of a planning commission in this country, of who you are the deputy chairperson. Earlier you used to believe there is no need.

MA: No, no I always used to believe; I used to think all the time that planning should of such which is right for the situation. Now there is no need for old fashioned planning. The economy of today..

PC: There has to be a direction.

MA: No direction per se, I will say the growth strategy we are following, from which people have benefitted a lot, high growth and all that. This dominantly is private sector led growth, this is correct, market led, private sector led. Hence, our assessment is that the private sector capability, and when I am saying private sector, I don’t mean the big ones, small businessman, everybody, they have a lot of capacity, hence we have to allow policies which support their initiatives. That is a framework. But secondly, our view is not that the government should not do anything. Our view is that the government would have to be many things, making infrastructure number one, number two is special schemes for poor, number three health, education and services like that for aam aadmi, till these would not be provided, they would not get the benefit of growth. This all has to be done.

PC: Dr. Manmohan Singh believes that good economics is good politics. But now good politics has become good economics, you people say that Singh darbar is running the government well. Singh darbar has made a view that we will do good politics, and put good economics in the wilderness.

MA: No, take the period of UPA 1 and UPA 2, seven years have passed, if you compare growth rate in this, then compared to the first time, growth rate of economy is better. The amount of high growth happened this time, has never happened before.

PC: Montek, I will stop you on this point. You have said a good thing, growth rate, you would have read list that comes in the Forbes, you must have read it. There are 50 people in the country, whom we call billionaires, they have wealth of 225 billion dollars of wealth, in the past 15 years, you have taken only Rs. 500 crore wealth tax from them, is this your growth of seven per cent. 50 people have wealth of 225 billion dollars according to Forbes, they give merely Rs.500 crore wealth tax in the whole year.

MA: I have not read the article which you have mentioned. I will dig it out and read it. If you talk of taxes, wealth tax, this tax, that tax, we must see how the total tax collections are going. And total tax in the past seven years has been going very good.

PC: You and we are giving taxes, not the big people, who sold their shares.

MA: No, no, yeh toh kehene ki baat hain

PC: One last question, personal, if you ever become finance minister, you might have been offered sometime, there might have been discussion, news appears in papers.

MA: You keep on writing, but it is not true.

PC: You never thought about it, not was there any talk of appointing you to the post.

MA: No, no.

PC: Will you try to go into politics, because since you know economics, there you will be able to implement it.

MA: Please see, I am of 69 years old, now where; there is time of venturing into politics.

PC: Dr. Saab became Prime Minister at 76, it is not late.

MA: I am quite happy, with the work I am doing, if I do it right, then I am very happy.

PC: What do you think politics should be dominant over the government or economics.

MA: In a democratic government it is wrong to think that politics is on the one side and economics on the other. Actually the name of game should be how to make good politics into good economics and good economics into good politics.

PC: First good politics, if there is good politics, then there can be good economics.

MA: You can also say this, this can also happen. If there is good politics, then economic policies will succeed and politics will also improve.

PC: If there would be good politics, then people like Montek Singh Ahluwalia would not have to defend ministers everytime.

MA: No, no, no, no this I am not saying.

PC: Sometimes you defend on telecom, sometimes on poverty line, hence your credibility is more than politician hence you are called every time.

MA: To run a democracy, a poor country, I mean India is not a high income country. What we are achieving, the country is achieving, I am not, is a major achievement. There is no other country at this income level, which is running a democratic system and performing so well. Earlier, we had democracy, but nobody was saying that India’s economic performance is good. Now it is being said second fastest growing market, emerging market, etc etc, hence something good might be happening.

PC: Something good is happening, even if the poor many be more, rich may be more, there is not much discussion on that. Poor is becoming poorer, rich is becoming richer.

MA: No, no I don’t believe that. Poor is not becoming more poor, but I agree that the poor are not getting the benefit that they should get.

PC: At least you agreed on something, thank you for coming to our studio.