Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2.CONCERN: Is the Earth getting on the corporate balance sheet?

It is an imaginative advertisement that unleashes the power of wireless communication. Reliance Communications advertisement on the television uses three distinct frames - majestic snow clad mountain peak, sprawling sea with a swinging boat, vast desert with an insect moving across - to mirror the absence of air, land and water in that order. Nothing is lost, the musical tone forming the background score reassures that there is indeed `network' to proxy for everything else! Like a bikini, this amazing ad conceals more than it reveals. If clean air is not a marketable good with a price then the market places no value on it, the ad seems to suggest! However, if land and sea could fit into the corporate balance sheet the same must be appropriated using the emerging `network' albeit of politicians, bureaucrats and businesses.

From the Tata's controversial mini-car project that has displaced farmers in Singur to the Sethusamundram canal that will run across Ram's mythological bridge at the cost of fishermen's lifesaving catch, the fissure between what is good for `growth' (read `network') at the cost of `people' has been widening by the day. Yet, each of these projects and several upcoming ones being cleared by the `democratically' elected governments across the country (and even in other growing economies in the region) claim big gains for the poor. Despite the fact that doubts about benefits from such projects remain unanswered, bad policy making and insouciant politicians always pull such projects against all odds in India, purportedly to nurture the fledgling `network'.

Skim through the published reports and it would be hard to get a single credible report on the benefits of the Sethusamundram project, the project to dredge sand across the so-called Adam's Bridge in the Gulf of Manner region. Yet, there is unstinted support to the project from powers-that-be in Delhi and in Chennai. One wonders if the Union Shipping Minister and the Tamilnadu Chief Minister have access to information that most others don't or that they haven't read most of what is available in the public domain? It is either a case of hiding strategic information from the public or about making ill-informed decisions on someone's behest, a shameless breach of trust of the public by its elected representatives that may hold the livelihoods and the ecology in the region to ransom!

Politicians may play ignorant to published facts but do the babus (bureaucrats) help doctor such project reports to suit the vested interests? Whether or not they do so, the babus form an important link in the policy-planning process. The critical question is: are they better informed than their political masters? N C Saxena, a widely respected former senior bureaucrat and a member of the National Advisory Council constituted by the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, considers bureaucrats to be as poorly read, if not worse. According to Saxena, `one would find only three books in the house of an officer of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) - a railway time table because s/he is always on the move, a film magazine because that is the only book s/he reads, and of course, the civil list - that describes how many in the system are above him.'....more


संजय तिवारी said...

ब्लागर सुधीरेन्द्र जी स्वागत है.

kuldeep said...

Namskar Sudhirenderji
It was great to read your take on 'network' availability and
stripping...incredible.....u sure need to write more on your blog and in magazines, newspapers and also in books.

I am not sure whether you have read writings of Srilal Shukla,
Sharad Joshi and Hari Shankar Parsai, all acclaimed Hindi writers, but I do remember and realise the impact they had on the soul of their readers by hitting hard on 'systematic abnormalities' in a 'lighter' way.

I sincerely hope your blog would give hope to multitude of concerned and aggrieved citizens that you would fill the huge gap existing in English writing in our country. Its a pity that most of our English writers are either too 'knowledgeable' or plain silly..., too arrogant or 'proud sycophants'...., too boring or needlessly 'complicated'.....!!
In such a dim scenario, your writings surely provide a sparkle of hope......

There is a growing need for putting forth people's concerns in a sensible, on-the-mark, and lighter way and we look forward to your writings to provide us plenty of such valuable material.

Best wishes,