Smart bombs

We live in a new world order now and China is extending its reach throughout the world, and Europe and the US have a different hegemony. India is trying to be recognized as the new kid on the block and carve out a piece of its own territory in South Asia. With Pakistan and China as neighbors it has not been easy and tensions still prevail beneath the surface, of deep cracks in the psyche of the nation from past wars. To rise above these and to find its rightful place in the nations of earth the Indian society has to change and adopt a more nationalistic stance. Only a strong nation can survive and there is much work to be done after decades of neglect of real world capabilities. The world has advanced and now India must put its best brains and capabilities into becoming a world player.

I recently read, “The Indian ‘smart anti-airfield weapon’ (SAAW), developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI), other labs and the Indian Air Force, was fired from an air force aircraft.” It has the capability of striking targets within a range of a 100 KMs without crossing the Indian border, with great precision. It can deliver enough of a payload to incapacitate, an enemy’s air capabilities. The development of smart bombs is just the start of the program, as India has a lot of catching up to do. Sadly its defense systems, need modernization on a massive scale. Big data capabilities, artificial intelligence, enhanced internet capabilities, smart weapons, and electronic surveillance are all part of the brave new world. India needs to step up its game to excel in these fields.

The planned build out of the capabilities of the Indian Defense forces, will be a major economic driver for South Asia. If done properly, it will provide much needed investment, labor and scientific development, using indigenous resources. The door for foreign partners is shyly opening up, and will become in the next few decades, a major opportunity for global defense industry corporations. The defense of the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean are at stake, and India has to develop the capabilities to project force, over greater distances. With its great rocket capabilities it now has to augments its ability, to deliver force to face any external force. Only the Air Force can ensure superiority on the battlefield, so any enhancement of their capabilities; is a step, in the right direction. For South Asia to emerge from its shell, India has to play a key role in ensuring, a safe and secure nation.

Improving India’s economy

Arun Jaitley, India’s Finance Minister when asked about disinvestment targets not being met for the State owned enterprises said, “Always remember that privatization is the art of the possible. Therefore it is an exercise which has to be transparent, it has to be acceptable to a cross section of political and public opinion, it is an exercise that must result in a better performance.”
This argument seems false as to provide better infrastructure and build a new and better India, it can only be financed by allowing all state owned companies to go public. His wishing to time the market, and wait for an opportune time, may never come, as markets go up and down randomly in cycles. To presume that the current bureaucrats at the Public Sector enterprises are doing better, at managing their affairs, when compared to other International companies, in the same sector; it seems like smoke and mirrors. The Public sector needs modernization and investments in technology, logistics and global supply chains. He should let his older babies go, as the capital raised from their sales, will help fund the nascent projects of tomorrow.

The legacy of Nehru and Indira for nationalizing and reserving huge economic areas, allowing State Enterprises to have a virtual monopoly in Banking, Finance, Oil, Coal, Energy for so many years. As the Private Sector has grown in India it has taken up the challenge, to meet the consumer needs with more efficiency. The money can be put to more productive use and the more Jaitley can put to work the better it will be for him. It is time for the Modi government to show, how it will pull the Indian economy out of its slump. Regarding disinvestment “the art of the possible,” may be just swallowing ones pride, and letting the Market forces take over. Let the Government get back to governance of its governed, rather than be distracted in running large businesses; best left to the private sector, to grow.

A new trust has to be established where disinvestment of some sectors of the economy, yields investment in Highways, Cities, Logistics, Airports, Railways, Mass Transit and the list is endless. With India needing huge improvements in sanitation, drinking water, electricity and broadband there have to be huge public and private partnerships for improvements. The 11 B disinvestments are not going to be able to fund existing ambitious plans of the different ministries. I am advocating to go for broke and raise 100 B and maybe 200 B over three years and really impact the economy. The digitization of Adhar and direct deposits, is an easy way to share some of these funds, with the poorest of the poor. The ones who need it the most, may also provide the largest productivity gains if they become consumers. We need a helicopter economy.

Global rating agencies are following closely the adherence to the 3.2% deficit financing target and so far Mr. Jaitley has obliged, to a great extent. With his options dwindling he may have to bring all tools in his arsenal to bear. “We are all conscious of the fact that there is importance of the kind of fiscal prudence that is required in the economy,” Jaitley said. “At the same time we are also conscious of the need in such situations of spending and finding the balance between the two.” With GST rolled out and its implementation in progress and it is a game changer, from the previous state and local taxes on distribution. Making India into one market for taxation makes sense and its benefits will be shared with the States. The laws have to be enforced and systems automated and simplified with AI to ensure collection and auditing of the taxes owed and encouraging the growth of the formal economy.

With timely disinvestment it appears that Mr. Jaitley can open the spigot, to be able to spend on Defense and other BJP priorities. The Indian economy has more than enough room to grow for this century, with its young and dynamic youth. Somebody has to become the enabler, of all the Micro to the Macroeconomic needs, of India. Such great opportunities come rarely and only action is required, in the Parliamentary sessions, to take them forward. The Markets have their own mechanisms to provide the price for Assets and these exercises need to start, in a far larger manner that we see today.

Investments in Infrastructure and human capital, provide rich rewards, as seen in the case of China. Education, health and human well being need major investments and the sooner the better. Increasing the productivity of India’s billion people will yield a virtuous spiral upwards, for the poor. It needs fire and fury to awaken the forces of nature on a gigantic scale, which only a modern India can achieve. This talk of balance and improvements in performance sounds good, but it is not the action required on the ground. Speedier and better implementation is the need of the hour and good leaders should be working towards these goals for improving Indian humanity.

The race for the future of humanity

Everywhere I look I see new corporations that did not exist a few decades away leading the charge for the future of humanity. While the middle class in America is very troubled at its shrinking future, there are other areas where America is truly great and continues to flourish and make billion dollar enterprises, with some approaching trillion dollar valuations. The rise of Trump and his denial of climate change, and attempts at reviving coal and fossil fuels,, and the new age successful entrepreneurs embracing green energy and reducing emissions, is a dichotomy approaching loggerheads with each other. People have voted for security as he has fanned their base fears of an existential threat, to our way of life, saying only he can help fix it. The five principles mentioned above by PWC show exponential progress is possible, from our current human condition.

Let us examine the new trends and see if in this time of great change in human existence, to understand if there any hope, for a brighter future. Firstly people in the rust belt are right as the mass secure employment offered by huge assembly lines, and the manufacturing era, is fast vanishing. Automation and robotics are fast replacing manual labor. An example is that the latest steel plant in Germany producing high value products, is run by just 11 people, monitoring all the production on video screens and sensors. The era of the rugged steel worker facing scalding smelting pots, in Andrew Carnegie’s and J P Morgan’s US Steel is now officially over. Machines will carry out the labors repeatedly and with lesser errors, than men and women doing physical labor.

Manufacturing and mining jobs are taking a hit as new systems and machines evolve. The new auto factories have armies of robots doing repetitive tasks, like welding and painting with great precision, 24 hours a day. Machine learning is making the machines ever smarter every day, and they are able to see, feel, adapt and repeat with increased precision and productivity. The glory days of manual human labor is receding and machines are making our lives easier, by doing the work that caused endless repetition and back breaking work, by our fellow beings. We will enjoy the fruits of these advanced machines making products ever faster and more economically; and designers, engineers and visionaries will use the machines to produce products just in time, to meet our needs. Rosy the riveter is now a machine.

Logistics is going through a sea change from what it was, and what it will become. If we go to a modern warehouse we find that increasingly there are no men riding forklifts ferrying pallets and goods, across racked spaces and trying to keep track from memory, where the goods are. Now sophisticated robots store and retrieve goods in huge cavernous spaces, where only sophisticated computers remember where each barcoded or RFD item is stored. Where hundreds worked in labor daily, now a handful monitor and program the arrival and departure of goods. The development of autonomous trucking, will further remove the thousands of drivers, who drive through the night to make a living and keep our stores full. Even the railroads will become autonomous, as trains will move through automated signals and routing, day and night with no human error.

In agriculture there are fewer people on the farms, as the new machines are computerized wonders. A modern farmer can single handed do what took hundreds toiling day and night in the fields in the last century. The seeds are genetically improved – a process going on since the Inca and the Maya’s improved corn, by selectively cross breeding large grasses, into what we know today. Cotton production in India improved substantially as an example, from using the new seeds. Pest resistant, drought resistant varieties help farmers to ensure a good harvest, where previously the weather gods and nature dictated the outcomes of an year’s work. New drip irrigation techniques and fertilizer application optimization, is leading to greener farming, with less run offs and environmental damage. We can fight the change, but it is surely coming, as we will need to feed 7 plus billion humans soon with a more nutritious, healthy and assured diet.

The Service sector is the mainstay of any modern society and the changes here are probably the most visible, to the ordinary man or woman on the street. Communication devices have become smaller, smarter and ubiquitous. The ability to mass produce and ensure communication seamlessly globally, is a modern reality and some of the greatest minds are working tirelessly, to make it even better. Modern banking and the cashless society are becoming a reality. The middle men are being squeezed out of the supply chains and the managing of money and assets as machines do not make mistakes and follow instructions instantaneously. Global trade and services will continue to improve despite all national efforts, to control things at our border, as it is becoming a flat world with economies of productivity going, to the lowest cost producers.

Finally our homes and cities are changing at an increasing pace. iRobots, electronic washing machines, fridges, internet connected lighting systems, are all examples of how small machines, can save the drudgery of housework. The Internet of things is developing faster than imagined and the digitization of society will proceed at a faster pace. Our grandchildren will wonder why we owned cars and drove polluting vehicles in our cities killing thousands in preventable accidents. Even our music and entertainment is now delivered 24 hours a day long as we have a connected device and can watch sitting in our own homes. Meals and produce is going to be delivered on order seamlessly and no physical cash or human interaction will be required as drones deliver to our doorstep. We will order from the likes of Alexa and the bounty of our universe, will come to us. Smart cities will emerge making life easier for our citizens.

Even Financial institutions as we know them with their great bastions of secure banking and physical assets and authentication, are changing fast. Blockchain authentication and digital transactions will be at our fingertips and devices. A visit to the bank for doing a transaction will be unknown to our Grandchildren, as the new financial systems and crypto currency evolve. The thousands of bank tellers and service personnel, will be replaced by machines and sophisticated authentication system. Crony capitalism will stand exposed, as markets and transactions become more transparent, and regulators will shrink in number, replaced by ever vigilant machines and systems.

So to conclude the middle class is in a grave danger of shrinking as the jobs of today, will be gone tomorrow, in huge numbers. Yet I have full faith in humanity and the human spirit, as we are more capable than the machines, which will replace us. We will rise to even a better future for our human race as we will find better things to do, than the drudgery of some of today’s jobs. The five principles outlined above will guide us to a better future, as technology will be a great enabler. I remain optimistic that we can and must do better, for ourselves and our grandchildren. We will have to reskill the workforce to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s humans, and that race is now on in earnest. .

Power will flow to enterprises that embrace automation, reduce internal costs, make better use of advanced devices, design modularity into their products and services, and participate in blockchain-style verification systems.’ By John Sviokly who is a principal and U.S. marketing leader at PwC, where he also works with clients on strategy and innovation. He is the head of the Global Thought Leadership Institute.

Trump’s 100 days

President Clinton came to our world stage to champion opportunity for all, responsibility by every individual, and the need for a united community. Barak Obama brought Hope and Racial Equality to the White house. President Bush created regime change in Iraq, from an old ally against Iran, who was in no way connected to 9/11.  President Trump has now crossed a 100 days in office and the world looks on amazed at what these men accomplished in their world views. Clinton brought the festering European sore, of the Balkan religious wars, to a sustainable peace. Barak was steadfastly against outright war and expansion of American troops abroad, but held firm to American beliefs and power by killing Bin Laden.

President Trump has out trumped them all with his first hundred days achievements, if one listens to his administration.  He has signed 24 executive orders in the first 100 days a modern day record. One of his signature achievements (literally executive orders) is bent on reversing a Federal Ocean preserve, back to commercial use; a power only the congress has. Another contested one is the State Tax exception removal where Blue States suffer most. Trump, in contrast to the great economic wars fought by Roosevelt and Obama in the start of their presidencies there is no major signature. Trump took office following 75 straight months of job growth, a 4.7 percent unemployment rate, and the wind down of massive, post-Sept. 11 troop deployments.

 

We can have great prosperity in the future with an energy boom and an IOT boom opening up the economy. Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla are giants of the new digital age that is emerging and powering the US economy along. Oil and gas from Fracking continues its rapid growth ushering in a new energy independent age. Their incredible contribution to rapid economic growth has kept the US economy growing as the Government has had to step back, because of our growing Federal Debt. Now with the promises of lower taxes and help to bring profits back from offshore, Trump may raise the Capital badly needed, to invest in the infrastructure of the US. He hopes to bring in Billions from safe havens back to the US for deployment on the infrastructure and energy systems of tomorrow.

Only problem it is that he seems to be driving while looking at the rear view mirror. The past is apparent in trying to repeal Obama Care and replacing it with less healthcare for all. He has brought together a group of white conservative men to lead his administration; and changed the Supreme Court for years to come, to a more conservative stance. An administration of billionaires will do what is good for them, and the masses will enjoy a trickledown effect. Future generations will fight climate change and women will lose reproductive rights over their own bodies, and racial equality will suffer. The Greatening of America in the first 100 days leaves much to be desired from my point of view, as none of the laws passed can be counted as a “major reform”.President trump

Urban thinking and epidemiology

During the Napoleonic era a great man who pioneered sociology, statistics, epidemiology and gave us perhaps the clearest glimpse into urbanization, was Louis-René Villermé (10 March 1782 – 16 November 1863). I consider him the earliest known man who studied economics, sociology and did research and established statistics that became the base, for many of French reforms for how people lived and worked.  He advocated against child labor when their nimble fingers were busy working the tools, of the first Industrial revolution. We have much to thank him for his studies of industrial workers, prisoners and he established the earliest linkages between hygiene and health, and between poverty and their poor growth, and their early death.

In his great French book “Study of the Physical Condition of Cotton, Wool and Silk workers” a most comprehensive current state of the working people and their moral and physical life, is indeed a gift to our history. With the rapid urbanization that has taken place from the eighteenth to the twenty first century, the evolution of our cities and their populations is truly remarkable. So much we take for granted like safe drinking water, modern sewage systems, hygienic working conditions, reasonable work\life balance, were all unknown in Villerme’s times. He was a modern man and liberal who showed the path for better urbanization, to improve our human condition.

Previous changes took centuries to evolve as we have seen, but in the modern world change is going to arrive faster. Machines are now evolving at a very fast phase to take over the routine drudgery, of modern manufacturing and information flows. More robots and bots are doing increasingly more sophisticated work repeatedly and endlessly, without getting tired, or exhibiting any human error. We have evolved to become masters of a rapidly changing universe. Every day new cures are found or are being actively worked on, for old diseases and human conditions. We have achieved a level of health and happiness in our modern society, with the base needs of food, shelter and security being largely taken care of.

We owe so much to the great thinker who have come before us. The prime example is of Villermé who covered a wide array of subject matter including: children in the workplace, savings accounts, asylum rooms, and drunkenness among the working class. The work was unique in combining health topics with research and social reforms. We have come a long way since that pioneering work but now the need is even greater.

We have to prepare before the next devastating pandemic overtakes us. We have to continually improve our living and working conditions for the billions, who inhabit our earth. We are all of us, in this together, and to ignore development for some, and to allow only the few to enjoy the fruits of what we have achieved, is meaningless in a flat and seamless world. Our path is to Go forward from here. Striving for global happiness through rightful living, should remain our only goal.

Lady Liberty’s enlightenment

The Ferry takes the commuters from New Jersey to New York

They pass the Lady Liberty’s enlightenment as she stands tall,

Her flame held high welcoming newcomers into the Golden Door

The commuters are busy with their phones and nobody looks

The flame appears weak to my failing sight and imagination

Looking around I see the towers of Manhattan welcoming workers

Further up the East river the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge appear

We are a diverse crowd and united only in chasing dollars

Lady Liberty attracts me again as if seeking help today

She seems confused by the rising tone of our leaders

Her flame flickers as the message on her tablet fades

Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free it reads

Instead give me your White, Christian conservatives new leaders say

She beseeches me as she still steps forth bringing enlightenment

I am a stranger in my adopted home now

What can I offer to bring enlightenment to our land?

Turning my gaze away I understand why people look at phones

There is no community here that cares or helps the needy

We are all strangers in a strange land where bigotry reigns

The Ferry docks and a new day begins for workers again

The dollar is stronger but our souls weaker on Wall Street

The New Colossus” is a sonnet that American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) wrote and a part is shown below

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Jungle Book revisited!

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Rudyard Kipling is forever remembered for his great writings on India, and his characters have become familiar to billions around the world. Little is known of his father and his successful career in the Punjab in India.An exhibition, titled Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London, explores the history of the museum’s collection through his life, and includes paintings in the Indian section of the Great Exhibition of 1851, his sketches of Indian craftspeople, his book of illustrations and furniture designed for royal residences.

On returning to England in 1893, he and son Rudyard often collaborated. The exhibition includes a terracotta tobacco jar designed and made by Kipling in the shape of a bear, inspired by their shared time in India.Rudyard wove his father’s vivid collections into his stories, many of which Lockwood Kipling illustrated. The exhibition includes a range of these editions, including The First and The Second Jungle Book and Kim.

Door from late 19th century India was featured in a new exhibition on Lockwood Kipling, the father of author Rudyard Kipling, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London  The exhibition concludes with furniture and designs relating to royal commissions that Kipling worked on with his student, the architect Bhai Ram Singh – the Indian billiard room for the Duke of Connaught at Bagshot Park in Surrey and the Durbar Hall at Osborne, Queen Victoria’s summer home.

The great wealth that flowed from the fields of India into the fancy rooms that were set up in the United Kingdom in that century were phenomenal. Many a fortune were gained and lost in the nineteenth century between India and its rulers. The cultural ties that evolved over the centuries continue today in many common words and language and traditions. There is much that was learned and can be used to build upon as Brexit will allow the UK to seek independent alliances, with its commonwealth of countries. India as the jewel in that crown, can play an important role in helping to develop trade with other countries, with the British.

Our common colonial heritage can help to forge new relationships from the old, as there is much to build on. Britain may have a better alignment with India and its huge market than with Germany or France. Africa the next big continent is just waiting for more trade and development, and common ties and language can help.  We can help architect the next Hall for an African head of State, while building the economy of the continent, through economic collaboration.

Hard decisions and stronger actions needed

 

Indian GDP growth has picked up, as is clear from the chart and will continue to grow. Unfortunately “in 2011, Transparency International ranked India at 95th place amongst 183 countries in perceived levels of public sector corruption and in 2014, India saw a reduction in corruption and improved the ranking to 85th place. India’s absence rates are one of the worst in the world; one study found that 25% of public sector teachers and 40% of government owned public sector medical workers could not be found at the workplace.” The new government has taken numerous steps to remove corruption and increase its ability to deliver money directly to its citizens, thereby avoiding all middle men.

Arun Jaitley the Finance Minister of India tried to explain the recent de-monetization and other governmental actions, “Expenditure required for poverty eradication, national security and economic development have to be compromised with on account of tax non-compliances. For seven decades the Indian “normal” has been to undertake transactions partly in cash and partly in cheque. “Pucca” and “Kachha” accounts are a part of the business language. Tax evasion has been considered as neither unethical nor immoral. It was just a way of life.” At the height of this national tax avoidance mind set, tax avoidance became the most exacting science in India; as in 2015, only 24 lakhs (2.4 million out of a billion) declared income above Rs.10 lakhs ($ 15,000).

He went on to explain with the deposit exceeding 12 trillion rupees, “Not only has the money lost is anonymity, it’s owners, after being taxed, are entitled to put it to more effective uses. The size of the banking transactions and consequently the size of the economy is bound to increase. In the medium and long run, the GDP would be bigger and cleaner. Money entering into the banking system and officially transacted would give an ample scope for higher taxation – both direct and indirect. The Centre and the State Governments would both stand to gain. The economy would also be serviced by both cash and highly digitized transactions.”

He continued, “The Prime Minister was being futuristic, and thinking of a more modern, technology driven cleaner economy. He is now speaking of cleaning the political funding systems. His opponents want a cash dominated, cash generating and cash exchange system to continue”

I agree largely with the intent of the Benami Act to stop corruption and the various other measures like De-Monetization; and use of Pan and Adhar or electronic IDs, to facilitate digital payments. Modernization at the source will increase transparency and increase usage of the modern banking and digital economy. With reform of the indirect taxation later with GST, taxation at the sales points will be easier to enforce, and unite the nation under one law. The foundation of India as an economic powerhouse is being carved out anbd new paths beiung laid out for its economy. The new laws are being enforced, to drive the spending of vast amounts of money, on education, healthcare, infrastructure and poverty eradication, that India truly needs. Too long has the shadow economy kept the nation back, as bribery and tax avoidance, became part of the national character. It is time that the soft state economy, face a hard reality, that its time has come. The Indian economy is growing and will continue to grow for decades, and it is up to its government, to come up with enlightened economic reforms.

My hope is that the Indian populace and its leaders, continue to find the means to improve the joy of their citizens. There is enough work to do for the next century, and level headed down to earth leadership, is required for progress. This government at least has ideas, and is risking its future, in carrying them out.  It is time to change all that old ‘normal’ and break through to the new reality of increased productivity and ease of doing business. Thank god there are some much needed leaders, who are ready to sacrifice their people to hardship and inconvenience. Let us see what the next budget lays out, as it may be one of the more important ones, in a long time. We need some hard decisions and stronger actions, to continue to make the foundation, for the twenty first century where finally India emerges as a great nation. Henry Miller once said “One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one” -Henry Miller, writer (26 Dec 1891-1980)

Diabolical schemes

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To read some of the reactions of the opposition in India one would imagine that the current ruling BJP party has unleashed diabolical schemes, to crush the poor farmer and the common man. Financial tyranny has been unleashed and the suffering is unimaginable, and the GDP growth is soon going into a black hole. The preposterous idea that untaxed wealth somehow benefits the poor by reducing bust\boom cycles is ludicrous. The cashless society based on digital transactions is coming to India, at a whirlwind pace and green shoots, are coming up everywhere. Indian jugaad or the spirit of the people to manage all hardships, and still survive and prosper, is legendary. Some numbers below will show the massive changes going on currently, in the fastest growing economy.

800,000,000 credit and debit card are in circulation in India and 450 million have become active. There are 240 million e-wallets activated in India in just one and a half years. The numbers coming out of demonetization are mind boggling in their enormity. An estimated 84% of the total currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India has to be exchanged for new notes. In the fastest growing economy, it is like the job of changing the wheels, of a moving superfast train. Such a humongous social interaction between the populace for replacing the old notes in Banks, has had a social benefit, as people have suddenly emerged from the shadows. The Banks have increased transactions considerably and the ATMs and branches, will normalize eventually. It was an exercise in good governance, without the preparation and diligence, required for such an enormous event. The people have still come out largely favorable even though minor hardships were suffered by the common people to adjust to the new notes. The RBI and banks have to do a better job of implementation and not, make their incompetence, the reason for political unrest.

The arrangement for mass distribution of your largest replacement notes became a quick bottleneck. ATMs did not work as the new two thousand rupee notes, do not fit into current ATMs and need major efforts to recalibrate. As per RBI, about 8.45 thousand, billion worth of value, or notes, of the scrapped Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, were deposited with banks, by November 27. The huge bonanza of unturned in old demonetized notes, will be a net gain against the outstanding liabilities of the RBI, and a direct gain for the government. The Government can then turn around and deposit those funds, into newly opened Jan Dhan accounts, directly to the consumers. In a bonus of the digitization of currency the redistribution of wealth, can take place overnight. The corrupt will pay taxes and penalties on their holdings, and the money will come in as deposits for the Banks. These deposits and be turned into loans, and will be lent out in fresh loans to new entrepreneurs, emboldened, by the new digital money revolution.

The Finance Minister has made a poor execution of a huge event, dependent on the poor citizen’s patience. For centuries the Indian populace has been put through, much wanted, and unwanted change. New Delhi has had quirky rulers like Mohammad bin Tughlaq and others, who have tried their hands at currency reform. The use of demonetization as a political and social weapon, is clear, and surprised many patrons and foes alike, of the current ruling party. The inconvenience is enormous to the common farmer, worker, businessman and above all politician. The cash and barter economy of votes for cash favors, has taken a direct hit as the new currency is not yet available, and the old is useless, and has to be replaced.

I am sure the people have seen worst changes, and life will go on, and eventually things will fall, back into line. Corruption and the black economy is not going anywhere, in the Republic of India. It is ingrained into their properties and way of life of the urban masses. The FM is concentrating on rolling out the GST which will be another phenomenal change in direct taxation in South Asia. Only 45 million out of a total population of 1.2 billion pay taxes in India. The myriad tax collections integration into GST will help with the ease of doing business in India, if it is implemented well. Based on the current experience with demonetization, it appears to leave the feeling that the common man; is only waiting for the other shoe, to drop. Come hell or high-water their beloved Modi is taking them on a wild ride. 2017 will indeed prove a turning point in the Indian economy, as the government will soon have resources to carry out its bold agenda for growth. . The Helicopter economy is fast approaching and they will be dropping money directly into over two hundred million individual accounts of the Jan Dhan ( People’s wealth) .

Please fasten your seatbelt and get ready for the ride of your life. The stage is set as By 1 June 2016, over 22 crore (220 million) bank accounts were opened and ₹384.11 billion (US$5.7 billion) were deposited under the Jan Dhan scheme. Expect these to increase substantially in the near future, as the helicopter has been primed for takeoff! The poorest of the poor are about to become centre stage, in a new economic revolution. Will this finally lead to the decades of rapid growth, that is needed to feed, house and entertain the billions? The British are long gone, and now their Rupee legacy is being digitized, and technology on a massive scale, is being unleashed. To the super wealthy who may have been effected by the latest reforms, I will only request to listen to one of the greatest industrialists, and consider their sacrifices to be for the good of the community.  “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community. -Andrew Carnegie, industrialist (25 Nov 1835-1919)

Agrarian greatness grows civilizations

 

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India has always been a knowledge based economy from ancient times. It was only after the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, and the subsequent pillaging of its resources by Western Powers, that the surpluses and innovation died. No civilization has been able to sustain itself without the ability to attain a growing wealth and prosperity, through indigenous growth, or through conquest and subjugation. America rose to prominence due to the high productivity of its lands and people. Similarly ancient Egypt, Babylon, China all grew their ancient civilizations on the backs of the people, who slaved in the fields, and produced a surplus of food. The ability to grow more from nature to meet human needs, is the essence of a great civilization.

Just recently India has achieved a milestone of producing the highest number of winners in the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholarship Program (MBBISP). The MBBISP program is the premier scholarship program that encourages research in rice and wheat breeding. The latest three students to receive the scholarship are Gurcharn Singh Brar working in the area of improving genetic resistance to Fusarium Head Blight in durum & brea wheat; Sreya Ghosh, whose Ph.D. project focuses on developing and fine tuning methods for unbiased gene cloning in wheat; and Karminderbir Kaur, who is working in the area of development of an in vivo haploid induction system in rice through distant hybridization & manipulation of CenH3 gene. Congratulations are in order for their efforts to improve the grains that feed and sustain human life on earth.

This should come as no surprise to the students of history as the Indus Valley civilization, pioneered the multi crop cultivation, of summer and winter crops in our world. India led all the other river civilizations in Egypt, Iraq, and China which were predominantly single season cultivators, by 2,500 BC. It was the innovation of the Indus valley people, which allowed them to grow surplus crops, during the summer and winter seasons. It was uniquely positioned to get both winter and summer rains. Its industrious people, went on to cultivate various crops and develop an urban civilization, based on the increased diversity of crops, and the increased wealth they brought. India has the greatest opportunity with its arable land and young population, to once again become the world agrarian leader for the twenty first century.

India is on the rise and its productivity can continue to grow for many decades, as it utilizes the latest technologies to grow agricultural produce. The Rabi or winter crop is being planted now and the trend is to move away from base cereals like rice and maize to higher value crops. The area under pulses, oilseeds and wheat increased from a year earlier, while planting of coarse cereals and rice fell. The government has set a Rabi season crop planting target of 638.09 lack (hundred thousand) hectares and with a normal monsoon, there is hope for a jump in production. India’s 91 major reservoirs hold 105.2 billion cubic meters of water, or 25% more than at the same time last year, suggesting better availability for winter crops. The government has to focus major resources on increasing the income of farmers, and helping them to produce better quality food, and a greater variety from its rich land. Careful water management, aided by the latest scientific agricultural methodology, can well unleash a new green revolution.

There is no harder job than trying to grow a plant, out of a clod of earth and water. Yet given the advances in our knowledge, we can bring new seeds, fertilizers, irrigation and mechanical equipment to boost productivity, of the land and people. For decades the farmers have been ignored and exploited since the nineteenth century, and now we must turn that tide. They should all benefit equally from the new knowledge, as truly India lives in its villages. We have to take the new technology, to the people to avoid a mass migration, to our urban centers which are already overflowing and unmanageable. There is a bright light of hope that things can be improved at the grassroots, using the new schemes for open trade and direct payments to farmers, using digital identities and methodology. The new generations of Independent India is more than willing to grab the opportunity of greater education, knowledge and scholarship to make a new nation.

India’s agrarian society flourished when the record keeping and identity of the farmers and landowners, were well documented and secure. Up to the eighteenth century we had progressive taxation systems, which did not leave the farmers destitute, or in despair. Today’s sad condition of rural families living on less than a dollar a day, has to be overcome. A more equitable society can only develop, when we have a sustained effort towards raising the lot, of the poorest of the poor. India has the brains and the work ethics, to be able to achieve greatness. Government has to become an enabler and then move out of the way, and the people will flourish. The Indus valley civilization is largely forgotten, but the hard lessons learned by our ancestors, are still here for us to gain from. Instead of dividing people on religion or caste lines, we need to bring all of them together. Only a joint effort of all the people working together shoulder to shoulder, can take us to the next level. Divide and Rule is only good for the ruler, and not the people. The diversity of crops and our people, is our greatest asset. It is nature’s and our ancestor’s great gift to us to use, for the evolution of our species.