The Candid Eye

September 6, 2010

How the UPA robbed us of Rs2,80,795 crore

An excellent article by R Jagannathan appeared on DNA.

The number in the headline is the amount of money looted by the UPA government from taxpayers and investors since 2004. And all this is from just one sector: petroleum.
The only difference between a Ramalinga Raju, who raided Satyam’s cash chest to bankroll his infrastructure dreams, and the government, which dipped into public sector assets to finance its re-election, is this: Raju cannot legislate away his crimes. Government can.
Let’s go back to the first number: Rs2,80,795 crore. I owe this piece of info to my colleague Mayank Aggarwal, who had put in an RTI query to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas asking them how much money was transferred from profit-making oil companies to loss-making ones to fund the subsidisation of kerosene, cooking gas and diesel (among other things).
The answer he got was frightening. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the three most profitable oil and gas companies (ONGC, GAIL and Oil India) were summarily asked to hand over Rs1,12,592 crore to three loss-making oil marketing companies.
That’s nearly three times the current year’s central outlay for NREGA, the flagship social security scheme of the UPA. But even Rs1,12,592 crore wasn’t enough to staunch the bleeding of Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL. Over and above the robbery of three profit-making oil companies, the government had to raid the taxpayer’s chest for another Rs1,68,203 crore over 2005-10 (paid through oil bonds) to ensure the marketing companies stayed afloat.
Now, let’s restate the full extent of the skullduggery. To ensure that oil prices did not rock its electoral boat, it transferred Rs1,12,592 crore from publicly-listed profit-makers to the loss-makers, but there’s a procedural complication here.

Politicians & Corruption

Cartoon Sourcehttp://lifesacomicstrip.blogspot.com/2009/09/politicians-and-money.html
The government itself owns majority stakes in these profit-makers, so the real extent of money transferred from private investors is equal only to the level of public shareholding in these companies.
Since the public shareholding is 25.86% in ONGC, 21.57% in Oil India and 42.18% in GAIL, private investors were cheated of Rs29,991 crore in the process. That’s their share of profits in ONGC, Oil India and GAIL that got transferred to the marketing companies. Investors in these three companies can approach Sebi and ask it to take action against the promoter (the government) for corporate misgovernance and misappropriation of shareholders funds.
To be sure, this is not a point that has not been made before. What we are now clear about is the exact extent of the government’s bad politico-economic decisions that investors and taxpayers finally ended up paying for.
Misgovernance and fraud is built into the public sector primarily because politicians use public assets for private ends, including financing their own re-election.
Let’s also remember, the Rs2,80,795 crore scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. If we add up the subsidies handed over to fertiliser companies, farmers and the Food Corporation of India (a substantial part of the grain mountain that is now being fed to rats), the losses will be truly stupendous.
The best thing the UPA did recently was thus to move towards oil price deregulation, but we are going to continue to pay for past follies. A case in point is the Direct Tax Code (DTC) that was recently cleared by the Union cabinet. Originally touted as a big deal for taxpayers, it has been reduced to a minor concession, thanks to past overspending.
The original idea behind the DTC was to move to a tax system that was transparent and easy to administer, but the UPA cannot afford it anymore. A mountain of work has, thus, yielded a mouse. After producing two draft codes for public discussion, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has more or less opted for incrementalism rather than radical change.
The initial proposal was simple enough: give taxpayers a large dose of tax relief, lump all exemptions into one package, and make the tax system less complicated. If Mukherjee had stuck to that goal, taxpayers would have surrendered small reliefs here and there and gained big on tax slabs and choice of tax-free investment avenues. But now Mukherjee’s DTC is a pale shadow of its former self.
Under the original draft proposal, taxpayers in the higher brackets would have saved more, as the idea was that the lowest rate of 10% would cover incomes upto Rs10 lakh. The middle rate of 20% would apply to incomes in the Rs10-25 lakh bracket, and the top rate of 30% to incomes above Rs25 lakh. As things stand now, the tax-free bracket merely moves up from Rs1.6 lakh to Rs2 lakh.
The 10%, 20% and 30% brackets also shrink to Rs 2-5lakh, Rs5-10-lakh and Rs10 lakh plus.
This is incrementalism at its worst, and Pranab-da has missed a golden opportunity to empower taxpayers. Having robbed them in the past, he cannot play Robin Hood now.

The number in the headline is the amount of money looted by the UPA government from taxpayers and investors since 2004. And all this is from just one sector: petroleum.
The only difference between a Ramalinga Raju, who raided Satyam’s cash chest to bankroll his infrastructure dreams, and the government, which dipped into public sector assets to finance its re-election, is this: Raju cannot legislate away his crimes. Government can.
Let’s go back to the first number: Rs2,80,795 crore. I owe this piece of info to my colleague Mayank Aggarwal, who had put in an RTI query to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas asking them how much money was transferred from profit-making oil companies to loss-making ones to fund the subsidisation of kerosene, cooking gas and diesel (among other things).
The answer he got was frightening. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the three most profitable oil and gas companies (ONGC, GAIL and Oil India) were summarily asked to hand over Rs1,12,592 crore to three loss-making oil marketing companies.
That’s nearly three times the current year’s central outlay for NREGA, the flagship social security scheme of the UPA. But even Rs1,12,592 crore wasn’t enough to staunch the bleeding of Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL. Over and above the robbery of three profit-making oil companies, the government had to raid the taxpayer’s chest for another Rs1,68,203 crore over 2005-10 (paid through oil bonds) to ensure the marketing companies stayed afloat.
Now, let’s restate the full extent of the skullduggery. To ensure that oil prices did not rock its electoral boat, it transferred Rs1,12,592 crore from publicly-listed profit-makers to the loss-makers, but there’s a procedural complication here.
The government itself owns majority stakes in these profit-makers, so the real extent of money transferred from private investors is equal only to the level of public shareholding in these companies.
Since the public shareholding is 25.86% in ONGC, 21.57% in Oil India and 42.18% in GAIL, private investors were cheated of Rs29,991 crore in the process. That’s their share of profits in ONGC, Oil India and GAIL that got transferred to the marketing companies. Investors in these three companies can approach Sebi and ask it to take action against the promoter (the government) for corporate misgovernance and misappropriation of shareholders funds.
To be sure, this is not a point that has not been made before. What we are now clear about is the exact extent of the government’s bad politico-economic decisions that investors and taxpayers finally ended up paying for.
Misgovernance and fraud is built into the public sector primarily because politicians use public assets for private ends, including financing their own re-election.
Let’s also remember, the Rs2,80,795 crore scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. If we add up the subsidies handed over to fertiliser companies, farmers and the Food Corporation of India (a substantial part of the grain mountain that is now being fed to rats), the losses will be truly stupendous.
The best thing the UPA did recently was thus to move towards oil price deregulation, but we are going to continue to pay for past follies. A case in point is the Direct Tax Code (DTC) that was recently cleared by the Union cabinet. Originally touted as a big deal for taxpayers, it has been reduced to a minor concession, thanks to past overspending.
The original idea behind the DTC was to move to a tax system that was transparent and easy to administer, but the UPA cannot afford it anymore. A mountain of work has, thus, yielded a mouse. After producing two draft codes for public discussion, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has more or less opted for incrementalism rather than radical change.
The initial proposal was simple enough: give taxpayers a large dose of tax relief, lump all exemptions into one package, and make the tax system less complicated. If Mukherjee had stuck to that goal, taxpayers would have surrendered small reliefs here and there and gained big on tax slabs and choice of tax-free investment avenues. But now Mukherjee’s DTC is a pale shadow of its former self.
Under the original draft proposal, taxpayers in the higher brackets would have saved more, as the idea was that the lowest rate of 10% would cover incomes upto Rs10 lakh. The middle rate of 20% would apply to incomes in the Rs10-25 lakh bracket, and the top rate of 30% to incomes above Rs25 lakh. As things stand now, the tax-free bracket merely moves up from Rs1.6 lakh to Rs2 lakh.
The 10%, 20% and 30% brackets also shrink to Rs 2-5lakh, Rs5-10-lakh and Rs10 lakh plus. This is incrementalism at its worst, and Pranab-da has missed a golden opportunity to empower taxpayers. Having robbed them in the past, he cannot play Robin Hood now.

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January 12, 2010

Every 25 km, PM and Sonia will wish you on highways!!

The government may be shouting “austerity” from the rooftop, but on the ground, literally, it is planning to indulge in lavish self-adulation. The National High Authority of India (NHAI) proposes to put up 1,488 billboards with pictures of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi lining national highways.

The Prime Minister & Manmohan Singh : Image Courtesy - http://www.cartoonistgautam.com/

If the cost of each 20 ft x 10 ft billboard is estimated at Rs 4 lakh, the entire project would amount to around Rs 60 crore. The billboards staring at travellers every 25 kilometres on both sides of the national highways across the country will be alternatively in English, Hindi and the regional language. The boards will display project-related information like the name of the concessionaire, the name of the supervision engineers, project cost, name of project director and telephone number, so that anyone can call in case of a complaint. The information was given by the Centre in a reply to a RTI application filed by SC Agarwal.

However, the NHAI has said that the display boards are to be provided “at the cost of the contractor” and the NHAI would not incur any expenditure on this account. The NHAI head office issued a circular dated October, 2009, to all its project directors regarding provision of display boards at 25-km intervals on both sides.

The idea may be a takeoff from the NDA government. Picture boards carrying photographs of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been put up on National Highways during the NDA regime. But, these had to be covered later on directions of the then Election Commission because of Lok Sabha elections. These boards were later changed or removed causing wasteful expenditure of first putting them up and then dismantling them. At that time, Congress had criticised the effort of highways minister B C Khanduri. Now, BJP is attacking highways and surface transport minister Kamal Nath, saying highways are national assets and cannot be used to fulfil a political agenda.

The NHAI is drawing a distinction between Mr Vajpayee’s boards and the proposed ones of the Congress leaders, saying the earlier boards did not contain project information and were fixed on the overhead gantry giving direction and distance information.

However, the project could land in a controversy given that putting up pictures of political leaders was mere propaganda and may be brought down with the change of government at the Centre.

Source : ET

December 24, 2009

Can Indian leadership handle China??

This is an excerpt from the article by Tarun Vijay.

The famous hotel Dusit Thani Hua Hin overlooking the gulf of Thailand, where the leaders of India and China met, proudly proclaims, “We use gifts of the heavens to create heaven on earth.” It is one of Thailand’s most scintillating hubs, known for its calm and serene surroundings. I don’t know if the leaders noticed it, but they surely were there to create a better atmosphere between the two nuclear-powered nations which fought a bitter war forty-seven years ago and have been under the shadow of a cold war once again.

Manmohan Singh & Wen Jiabao

Manmohan Singh & Wen Jiabao

The meeting between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao must help calm the harshness in both the capitals. Prudence and pragmatism prevailed and the outcome was placidly correct. Just correct. Neither yielded the position he has stuck to and neither raised the decibel levels. You couldn’t have expected a tit-for-tat show there and while being conscious of the present situation, if both sides can reconcile themselves to building bridges while sorting out difference, neither loses.

Of late, the Chinese have been pricking Indian sensitivities at an extraordinarily fast pace. So much so that even the electioneering scenes in India were overpowered by the news regarding Chinese incursions, Indian rebuffs, major cover stories in media and the Arunachal CM meeting the Prime Minister.

Interestingly, in such a charged background our cool and gentle Manmohan Singh met Wen Jiabao and felt “excited” as the news reports say. I am sure this must be a reporter’s overenthusiasm, as he might have wanted to convey the thrill of the meeting. The reports said, “Manmohan Singh told Wen: ‘I am excited to see you.’ He said the Chinese people have had a number of achievements “and we share their sense of accomplishment”. He said this in the context of the 60th anniversary of the founding of modern China.”

The Chinese premier was more candid. He said, “We want to have a healthy and steady relationship with India. I hope we can use this opportunity to exchange our views on all related issues.”

As any student of Chinese affairs can tell, understanding diplomacy in Mandarin is a tricky job. Each word and the length of the sentence and similes used to convey the message have to be studied carefully. The official “leaks” do not tell us whether the Indian side conveyed any displeasure or annoyance to the Chinese premier on their cold-war like interventions and the Chinese side, it appears, was calmly “just diplomatically right”. It means they think what they have been doing so far is right and demands no explanation or relook.This must worry us.

The raking up of the border issue so forcefully, in spite of an agreement that the issue will be resolved amicably and through dialogue, has surprised many. While the pro-China lobby in Delhi blamed the American influence for creating an atmosphere that would make the Indian people ask for a reprisal, the factual position about Chinese arrogance spoke a different story. The situation on the Chinese side has to be understood before any final “assault”. The Chinese have grown rich, assertive and xenophobic in their global dreams. And this must make them more interventionist in near future.

It began with the Chinese incursions – observers say there had been more than 218 incursions by the Chinese security personnel since January this year. And the number of such incursions was higher in the Ladakh sector, where they have been successful to also make India dismantle a bridge on the Indus. The experts from Ladakh have been complaining that the Chinese have been intruding the Indian territory, they are not taking our land by inches but by yards. These experts also tells us the points and the nullahs where the Chinese came and then established their dominance. Yet nobody from the South Block took it seriously. Even the Army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor, and our foreign minister, S M Krishna, gave contradictory statements about incursions. Still the Chinese belligerence didn’t stop. China objected to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Arunachal visit, it began construction work in the Kashmir region which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan, in spite of having conceded by the Indian government that Tibet is a part of China (which the nationalist school of thought will never accept), China keeps showing Kashmir as an independent country and Sikkim has yet to be shown as an Indian state. It also began giving visas to Kashmiris separately and hasn’t quite understood about the terrorist problem India is facing though it would like us to understand its jihadi headache in Xinjiang.

China opposed India’s agreement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), it tried to block Asian Development Bank’s $60 million loan for a power generation project in Arunachal, and more recently it tried its hardest to coerce Southeast Asian nations against inviting India as a member of the East Asia summit. It has not only accepted a “gift” of land from Pakistan, which in fact is claimed by India, but has been strengthening Pakistan militarily by providing nuclear knowhow, among other things. On the maritime front, China is steadfastly modernizing its bases in the Indian Ocean with its port development projects going in full swing in Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

India expressed its concern over China’s new underground nuclear submarine base off the southern tropical island of Hainan. The then Naval chief, Sureesh Mehta, had publicly stated that the base poses a threat to Indian security. On the Arunachal border China has been shifting border pillars and making a dam on the Brahmaputra that would be a potential threat to the Indian people. On the Sikkim border a new highway and permanent army structures have come up. In times of any hostility, the Chinese would be able to cut the Siliguri corridor swiftly. On the other side, a joint command of Lanzhou Military Region opposite Ladakh, Himachal and Uttarakhand has come up. Tibet has become the most powerful Chinese base against India and reports say that China is in a position to send 20,000 troops anywhere on the Indian border from its Tibetan bases within two hours.

By contrast, Indian politicians have no idea what should be their Chinese policy and are busy in petty domestic rumblings or totally uninformed cacophonies. Once Arunachal used to have 12c functional air strips, now it has only two and more accurately just one, to cite an example of our preparedness. It’s only after the media taking up the Chinese threat that India responded by positioning its Sukhoi war planes replacing MIGs on the northeastern front and deciding to revive its four IAF bases on the Arunachal border (Vijaya Nagar, Mechuka, Tuting and Passighat), yet the confidence level hasn’t risen high on our side.

But it would be wrong to conclude that China would engage India in any military assault soon. It would also be imprudent and pathetically unintelligent to put China in the Pakistan category. It has to be a different story – we are not “1962” and China is not Maoist either. Keeping a watch on the factual positions, building our own defence and economy, we must continue to engae China in bilateral relations.

Read the full article here.

December 18, 2009

Corruption retarding India’s growth says Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, has said that corruption is the single greatest threat to the nation’s economic prospects.

In a speech given to an anti-corruption corruption in New Delhi, Mr Singh described the damaging effect that bribes, extortion and fraud have on all levels of life in India.

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh

He said that graft meant infrastructure projects were late, over-budget, and often poor quality, while labeling India’s opaque business practices “a fertile breeding ground for the evil of corruption.

“The pervasive corruption in our country tarnishes our image [and it] discourages investors who expect fair treatment and transparent dealings with public authorities,” he said.

The difficult task facing the country’s anti-corruption forces was emphasised when shortly afterwards judges of only two of India’s 29 states agreed to declare their assets, despite having been ordered to do so by India’s supreme court.

“What message are these judges sending out?” asked Anupama Jha, director of the Indian branch of Transparency International, an international corruption watchdog.

“Judges were once greatly respected and now these questions about judicial corruption have lowered their status. It is a sad situation.”

Nevertheless, India has the second-fastest growing economy in the world, after China.

“They would be even faster growing if they were less corrupt,” said Gareth Price, head of the Asia programme at Chatham House, a foreign policy think tank.

“The fastest growing sector of their economy is IT and that is the only sector that is completely outside the government’s control.”

He said that the history of graft in India was the product mainly of three things. “Firstly, the British bureaucratic legacy to the subcontinent. The British created so many rules that anyone could be shut down if, say, a factory inspector found that a bucket of sand was missing, making the place a ‘fire hazard’. So the inspectors would be bribed simply not to shut the place down.

“Secondly, after Independence India had a Soviet-style system of quotas, in which the licences that you received permitting you to produce a quantity of something basically determined how profitable you would be. So the government would be bribed to hand out licences.

“And the third thing is that the tax system is extraordinarily complex and condusive to corruption. Recent attempt to simplify it met with resistance mainly from business who were afraid they’d end up paying more rather than less.”

Mr Price added that graft may have become more of an issue recently due to an increase in conspicuous consumption. “Twenty years ago people in India who had wealth didn’t necessarily flaunt it.

“But over the past ten years you have seen people driving Porsches around Delhi for the first time. And if you know that someone is a civil servant and is supposed to be on a certain salary but is seen driving a Porsche, corruption becomes more of an issue.”

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

November 24, 2009

Arrogant Congress, absent Opposition

There are three striking features about anniversaries. The first is their sheer arbitrariness — what, for example, is so significant about the 100 days we so love to observe? The second, and this applies mainly to societies (not India) which have a marked sense of history, is their commercial potential. The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall proved very lucrative for publishers, just as ‘royal’ occasions in Britain are a good time for the producers of memorabilia. Finally, the decision which anniversary to observe and which to ignore is dictated by expediency and politics.

Corrupt Indian Politicians

This week India will be commemorating the first anniversary of the jihadi attack on Mumbai on November 26 last year. If initial trends are any indication, it is likely to become another occasion for media-sponsored indignation by celebrities — the spurious enough-is-enough syndrome until the fire next time. It will also be the occasion for some mindless repetition of meaningless homilies such as the mantra that “terrorists have no religion”. That their astonishing conviction stems from theology is something we can’t discuss in polite company. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, quite fortuitously, will not be there to share the popular grief over independent India’s most astounding show of ineptitude. He will be busy telling those Americans who care to listen that India harbours no ill will towards those who are determined to set our house on fire.

Despite the odd outbursts of anger at those responsible for the monumental cock-ups in Mumbai, the anniversary of 26/11 is good news for the Government. Since it is just not done to inject partisan politics into the proceedings, India will use the occasion to demonstrate its amazing resilience, the proverbial stiff upper lip we didn’t even know we had. Politically speaking, Hindu fatalism and the cheapness of human life are the best guarantees of a pernicious culture of non-accountability.

This week, however, marks another anniversary. Exactly six months ago, on May 22, Manmohan Singh was sworn in Prime Minister for a second time. It was an occasion that was greeted by most Indians with a sigh of great relief: Not because the electorate was star struck by the first innings of the UPA but because it spared India a bout of instability and Madhu Koda-type governance at the Centre. The UPA-2 assumed office with everything going for it: Continuity at the top, enhanced self-confidence of the Gandhis, a stronger Congress and weakened coalition partners and, above all, an Opposition in total disarray. The UPA-1 was a post-election construction and was prey to conflicting political pressures and blackmail. There were no mitigating factors holding back UPA-2.

Six months is too short a time to judge a Government’s performance but it is sufficient to assess the broad direction in which it is heading. It allows us to take a call on where India will find itself at the time of the 2014 poll. Sadly, the broad conclusions don’t inspire great confidence in the future of a country that believes it is a world power and doesn’t behave like one.

To begin with, there are unmistakable signs of the Government pulling in different directions and Cabinet Ministers doing their own thing. The sugar kerfuffle which led to Delhi being overrun by angry farmers was a classic example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was up to. The contentious Ordinance was blamed on Sharad Pawar’s proximity to an organised lobby. That was always well known. Why did the Cabinet not apply its mind to the Ordinance in the first place?

Cabinet Ministers, it would seem, love doing their own thing. Mamata Banerjee has chosen to use the Railways as a parallel administration for West Bengal. Her priorities are building sports stadiums, shoring up bankrupt Bengali newspapers, giving lectures to Bengali IAS officers and even indulging Maoists; trains comes low down on her dhobi list.

Black-money-and-Corruption

Mamata, it may be said, is not under the political control of the Congress. Moreover, she has to be indulged for her undeniable success in breaching the hitherto impregnable Red bastion in West Bengal. But that rule doesn’t apply for Jairam Ramesh who appears to have put self-glory ahead of everything else. It would interest the PM to know that officials are mortified over what Ramesh may concede inside the ‘green room’ at the climate change conference in Copenhagen next month. His perception of national interests seems at odds with the national consensus.

Giving Ministers autonomy is a good thing but the Cabinet seems to be operating like a confederacy. There are pro-China Ministers, pro-America Ministers, and pro-highest bidder Ministers doing their own thing. The External Affairs Minister, on his part, is emerging as the Shivraj Patil of the UPA-2 Government. The impending Commonwealth Games fiasco epitomises the crisis triggered by a lack of direction. No wonder the Finance Minister despairs of the alarming state of public finances — the austerity drive having been quietly punctured by angry politicians. As for reforms: What reforms?

What is particularly alarming is that the collapse of the Opposition has injected into the Congress an astonishing degree of arrogance. Thus, convicted killer Manu Sharma is let out by an unfazed Delhi administration to drink in pubs and campaign for his father; Madhu Koda is handled with kid gloves because of a fear that he may talk; the scandals of A Raja are left to the media to unearth because officials can’t displease the DMK; and, as for the soaring price of food, no one is responsible.

It would have been a good time to be in the Opposition. Except that the Opposition is busy either spinning yarns or imagining that the future lies in gau, gram and, presumably, gobar. India has got the Government (and Opposition) it deserves.

Source : The Pioneer

November 3, 2009

Joke of the week!

Filed under: India,Pakistan,Terrorism — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Any more terror attacks from Pak will be retaliated: Chidambaram – Ha! Ha! Ha! is the immediate response after reading this news.The home minister needs to be reminded often that Pakistan is rogue state and it’s never going to learn its lesson. Just a couple of terrorist attacks now and then on Indians would make this guy blurt out some nonsense like this.

P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram

A few hundred or few thousand people are killed in a deadly terrorist attacks – The Permanently Muddleheaded(PM) leader once again reiterated his stand that India will not tolerate anymore(?) attacks.

Wondering whether it is a right of any citizen of this country to expect security and justice from this Congress government.In India, the government is for the Congress ,by the Congress and with the Congress.

Permanently Muddleheaded (PM) would say something similar after such an attack.Time and again our CC(Congress Crooks) have proven that it would pamper terrorists but kill thousands of Indians(1984 crusade) on a whim.

Each time, an attack is carried out, it would be a different face who would utter these statements with added feelings.The Joker Prince of CC had earlier said that he can defeat terrorism in 15 minutes.

Now, it is Home minister’s turn to be a joker.What is guaranteed from these CC are fun and amusement.Joker of the week award goes to P Chidambaram.

October 30, 2009

PM says – China not building dam!

Filed under: Arunachal Pradesh,China,India — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

The present congress government once again ignored and played down the serious threat that China poses to India.Manmohan Singh or anyone for that matter, cannot counter the Chinese directly unless we shed our complacency and red tapism atleast in security and defence related issues.

According to Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that China has not constructed any dam on Brahmaputra river that would have been a matter of concern for India.

Manmohan Singh with Dorjee Khandu

Manmohan Singh with Dorjee Khandu, the CM of Arunachal Pradesh

Khandu, who led a delegation of state leaders to Singh, said on Monday that the Prime Minister had also told them that India would tackle the boundary issue with China diplomatically. The delegation met Singh to seek a review of the defence strategy for the eastern sector in view of Chinese incursions and expressed serious concern over reports of a dam being constructed by China on Brahmaputra river.

“The Prime Minister said no dam is being constructed and only run-of-the-river construction has been made,” Khandu told reporters while citing a letter from the Chinese government. A media report last week had said that China was building a big dam on Brahmaputra river, prompting India to express concern over the development as it would change the course of the river and could result in submergence of low-lying areas downstream. India has no problem with run-off-the-river constructions but building of a dam as it involves storage of water.

When the delegation raised the issue of Chinese incursions into the state, the Prime Minister reportedly assured them that the Centre will “tackle” the boundary question with the neighbouring country bilaterally.

“The Prime Minister told us not to worry. He said the Centre will tackle with the situation bilaterally,” said Congress MP from Arunachal West Takam Sanjoy, who was part of the delegation. Sanjoy said the delegation requested the Prime Minister to give a big push to infrastructure development to ensure better surveillance over Chinese activities and urged him to create a para-military force exclusively comprising youths from the state.

Source: Indian Express

Related Articles:

China begins building of dam on its side of Brahmaputra

India asks China to stay out of PoK

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