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दीपा हमें माफ कर दो — muktakantha

मैं भारत का एक अदना सा नागरिक, रंजन कुमार सिंह, अपनी ओर से और अपनी औकात से बाहर जाकर पूरे देश और उसकी जनता की और से रियो ओलंपिक में शामिल अपने सभी खिलाड़ियों से क्षमा मांगता हूं कि हमने समय रहते उनपर ध्यान नहीं दिया, बल्कि उन्हें नजरअंदाज ही किया। वह चाहे दीपा करमाकर […]

via दीपा हमें माफ कर दो — muktakantha

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 220 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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What makes a nation?

A tagline of the Central Board of Excise and Customs reads, “A nation is made, when taxes are paid”. I beg to differ. I strongly believe that a nation is made when taxes are genuinely spent. The question is, ‘Is the tax payers’ money well utilized?’The answer would be ‘NO’. Then why would someone want his or her hard earned money go down the drain? Result is evasion of taxes.

I asked one of my friends now living in UK, ‘Don’t you mind paying such heavy taxes?’ His candid answer was, ‘No, we don’t.’ He continued after a slight pause, ‘We are very well looked after so we don’t repent’. It is true, when you know and realize that you are getting what you are paying for then you don’t mind paying. Do we really get what we pay for here in India?

We honestly give our road taxes and get bad patches in return. We regularly pay our electricity bills and still have to bank on our own backup arrangement. We genuinely pay our mobile bills and get frequent call drops instead. We sincerely pay our municipal taxes, but are made to live in a filthy environment. We clear our bank debts on time only to find that the government has waived off the loans for those who did not pay. Should we still pay?

When the government fails to fulfil even some of its basic obligations like law and order, health and education, we have all cause to be disgruntled. Yet, the government being a government can obviously make you pay even if you don’t want to. It can make your life miserable in case you do not pay. So can an extortionist. You are compelled to pay an extortionist not for the services that he renders, but to keep him away from messing up your life. Aren’t we obliged to pay the government and its various agencies in a similar fashion?

No, I am not asking anyone to become an outlaw and confront the government. All we want is a perfect delivery system that would impel us to pay our taxes with a smile on our face. If the government is really concerned about ‘making of the nation’ it should dedicate itself to improve upon itself.

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Rashtriya Swabhiman Diwas

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The Aryans : Review in The Hindu

The latest short film “The Aryans” directed and scripted by Ranjan Kumar Singh though short in duration, 20 minutes in all, highlights several unknown facets about this community residing in remote areas. Capturing the life of this dwindling tribe, the film documents its history, customs, culture and other aspects. “They identify themselves not as Drukpas but as Brokpas to distinguish themselves,” explains Ranjan.

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Please don’t fall in the bait Modiji

While we all know what the world leaders are saying about Narendra Modi, we hardly know its context.

It was reported in the Indian media that President Obama described Modi as ‘a man of action’. What this report does not tell us that Obama’s appreciation was in context to his talks with Modi on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Obviously, the United States of America, as all other developed nations, wants us to sign the trade protocol. We should realize that in commending the “personal leadership” role provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘in finding a path forward on TFA reached between the two countries’, President Barack Obama was simply pushing forward his own agenda.

The objective of the TFA is to speed up movement of goods among various countries by cutting down the bureaucratic obligations. So far so good, but the problem with it runs in a clause that limits subsidies to less than ten per cent of the value of agricultural production; and if this is breached by any signatory nation, other members can challenge it and also initiate trade sanctions on that country. Now, Obama wants our ‘man of action’ to sign the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement .

Remarkably, India’s Food Security Act obligates the government to provide very cheap food to the most vulnerable part of the population at very low prices. Apart from providing subsidies to the consumers, through the PDS, the government also provides subsidies to the producers of food grains. While it buys food grains from farmers at a minimum support price, it also subsidises inputs like electricity and fertiliser. Interestingly, even the BJP ruled states follow the same practice.

In case India signs the TFA, it will also have to open up its stockpiling to international monitoring. Thus, it will not be possible to add protein heavy grains like lentils, if it wants to, due to riders in the peace clause. With these in view India had made its stance clear that it will not give in to pressures from the Western world over trade protocols of the WTO, as was discussed during the talks in Bali in December 2013. At that point of time, it was obviously the Man Mohan Singh government at the centre.

Notably, the British Prime Minister David Cameron too has joined Obama in showering praise on Modi as he tweeted – ‘Yours is a very inspiring vision, U.K. wants to partner in any way we can’. These days no one praises anyone without selfish motives. We should not be blinded by the lavish praise and appreciation by Obama or Cameron, for it could be a bait to lure Modi into signing the TFA. We must not forget that agreeing to the trade protocol could compromise our own food security. If this happens, it would spell doom for our farmers and other poor.

More recently,  a dinner was hosted by the Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe for Modi in Brisbane. Though it may not be a cause for concern, but should we ever forget that Thomas Roe had come to the Mughul Durbar in 1615 with hoards of gifts for Jahangir, and successfully paved way for the British Empire in India. It is time for us to think about the motive behind such lavish praise and dinner diplomacy.

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