Hari the Hadron

Monday, February 28, 2005


The month of February sees hectic activity in the Indian economic, business and political community with only one word being the guiding force behind all their actions and inactions and that is “BUDGET”. That way the budget is somehow given a larger than life image in India, so much to say that a finance or corporate affairs professional is considered incompetent if he or she does not watch the parliamentary budget session live and does not have in his or her fingertips the budget proposals even as they are spelt out. Hence due to professional compulsions I myself had to go through the grind for about three hours today morning.

But analyst worldwide have expressed their opinion that the Annual Budget in India or for that matter anywhere in the world does not have much relevance when looked practically, among others for the following reasons mainly :

• The highly volatile socio-economic and political conditions in
India and the world over makes it difficult and uneconomic
to plan financial expenditure on an annual basis and more so
in the absence of a machinery to monitor the progress on
the budgetary lines.

• The business and economic community in India have become so
intellectuals that they devise methods to neutralize the financially
detrimental effects of the budget on individual classes of the
community, even before it is put in paper.

Despite all this budget announcements in India sparks unprecedented activity among business and economic cirles in the form of indepth analysis, debates, disintegration of its various points and discussion on its implications on mainly the rich and affluential (officially quoted as common man). But unfortunately all these discussions revolve only around what the people will gain or lose from their pockets. None of these discussions focus on the impact of the proposals on the development of the country, strengthening of its infrastructure, long term benefit for the people, efficiency in utilization of the budgeted revenue etc

This year the honourable Finance Minister, himself excellent in his academics, alongwith his elite group of the cream of finance and economic analysts and advisors have devised a highly futuristic, optimistic and politically balanced budget with each of their development proposals given titles that would sound nothing but sweet music to the listeners. Full marks to them for their efforts in the formulation of this budget (no political strings or overtones attached to this statement).

But the real problem is that that there is no mechanism or infrastructure to monitor and publish the extent to which actual performance conform to budget not only on overall fiscal basis but in terms of the individual budget proposals, the progress made thereon, the benefits derived therein, deviations from the budgets and finally achievement of the budgeted goals. Again the so called budget analysis, debates, brain storming etc..(I hope I have used the flashy terminologies) never look into the previous years economic performance and compare it with the budget at all. In fact the absence of such a debate makes the politicians conveniently overlook the budgetary performance each time every time.

So my personal opinion is that budgets are definitely necessary for a fiscal discipline, healthy macro-economic planning and achievement of desired growth in proper direction for the country just as it is necessary for every individual family, but unless there is a proper and detailed follow-up with comparison of the actual performance with the individual budgeted goals, the whole exercise with its huge commercialization and all the prefixes and suffixes accompanying it, becomes meaningless and nothing more than just a display of intellectual glamour.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


This aberration has been pervading since time immemorial in various references to the epic event in India, supposedly the place where the Ramayana took place. On one side we see people fighting for construction of temple at the birth place of Lord Rama whereas on the other side there are innumerable books and statements where Ramayana is referred to as a mythological epic. Researchers and archeologists at various times have found subtle evidences of true happening of the event, but still nobody took half as much pain to remove Ramayana from the list of Mythological stories and place it in the list of historic events, as they have been doing to construct a temple for Lord Rama.

I am not sure when exactly they published it, but NASA have published the latest and may be by far the strongest evidence that Ramayana as an event did happen in Indian history. The NASA satellites have captured digital pictures of an ancient bridge made up of shoals between India and Sri Lanka, about 30 kms long in the Pak Straits. The composition of the bridge and its shape made them believe that it is man made. As per archeological studies, the first inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to about 17,50,000 years and the experts at NASA state that the bridge may be equally old. This goes a long way in proving the existence of the bridge built by the monkeys lead by Lord Hanuman to help his army reach Ravana in Sri Lanka.

So it is of utmost importance that at least we in India, try to link of all these evidences and put all efforts in establishment of the fact that Ramayana was in fact a historic event, rather than a mythological story. This is because for ages now we have been narrating the story of Ramayana to children to teach them about how a true devotee should be, who is a righteous king, power of women, true love of a wife, what is brotherly love and sacrifice and that the brother’s wife is a mother too, among many other morals contained in the story. But at the same time we also teach them that Ramayana is one of the greatest mythological stories in India. So as the children grow they are given to understand that all idealistic personalities live only in mythology and one can never emulate them in real life. The result is the depleting human values that we see all around the world.

So the establishing of Ramayana as a major event that in fact happened in the Indian history would be real confidence booster for generations to come that God had truly incarnated in the earth in the form of Rama and that people did live a life of righteousness with great ideals and true devotees where there and instill a belief in them that history can definitely be repeated.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


The Supreme Court in Delhi has issued notices to a numbers of mobile phone service providers and certain Private Banks on a Public Interest Litigation initiated for what they describe as “Intrusion of Privacy through nuisance phone calls” by the so-called Telemarketing call centers.

This concept of marketing has become a source of great pain, disgust and above all blatant invasion of privacy for the mobile users. In fact it has come to an extent that the companies indulging in telemarketing know more about you than even your own spouse. The telemarketing concept in India has taken the form of “Coercive Marketing”. But I wonder why it took so long for somebody to realize the violation of fundamental right and take action against this coercive marketing tactics. To my knowledge this sort of dirty marketing is going on in India atleast for the last 5 years. So does it mean that we are so much ignorant about our Fundamental rights or is it that our tolerance levels are so high?

In India we see the Government focusing a lot on the security and integrity of the country but at the same time the security of citizens, their privacy and Right to peaceful existence is given scant regard. The value and rights of humans is only defined in the constituency but never takes the form of a Law or put into practice.

In order to prevent mischief and illegal possession and usage of mobile phone connections the Government insisted that the service providers demand the identity proofs and address proofs of persons subscribing to mobile phone services. In case you opt for Bank Loan you are required to furnish almost a brief history of your life and people dependent on you. But unfortunately the Government does not bother to look beyond that. The Government and the service providers restrict their duty only in gathering this data. None of them take the responsibility of preserving this data and its confidentiality. They never realized the value of such data or the impact of its leakage into the wrong hands or misuse of information therein. The problem in our country is, we still do not know the difference between data and information. Data is a bunch of facts and when it is processed with a particular purpose or vision the resultant useful output is information. In India you can see everybody everywhere interested in collecting volumes of data and creating files deriving very little information out of it. In this case too the Government and the service providers are interested only in collecting data and nobody realizes how dangerously this data could be misused when it is processed into information by the supposedly socially responsible corporate entities.

What has resulted is rampant illegal sale of the data to the call centers involved in telemarketing Insurance, Credit Cards, Consumer Loans etc who in turn processed those data and created a directory of potential consumers for their products and began what has now become a “Coercive Marketing Strategy”.

Should the Government not enact a law for safety and confidentiality of the personal data collected even before they stipulate this condition? Why should the Supreme Court wait for a Public Interest Litigation to be filed and not act suo moto (on its own) when they find the fundamental rights of citizens being blatantly violated? Why do these MNCs who boast of highest levels of Integrity in its corporate policies within their organizations become so dirty when it comes to business especially in India?
If the Government, Judiciary and the Corporate India who are supposed to be the pillars on which the present and the future of this country stands do not imbibe the Concept of Social Responsibility in their charter of duties, then a day will come when this Coercive Marketing will take the form of Coercive Sale and soon we will not even be a civilized India, let alone a developed India.