Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Open letter to the Prime Minister

14th February 2010

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
7, Race Course road,
New Delhi.110011

Sub : Some important issues that needs to be attended on priority

Dear Dr.Singh,

This note needs your esteem , kind and personal attention

I have written to you in the past on healthcare reforms agenda with a detailed note on what needs to be done. Through this note, I wish to draw your attention to broader topics that have a deeper impact on our all inclusive growth agenda and if attended properly, can result in more than 10 % GDP growth.

I have been watching the economy across sectors, government initiatives and speaking to people from all walks of life. I feel that it is the time to do an introspection , look carefully at the realities and take immediate corrective action. This letter might be a bit long for you to read, but it might be worth spending a few minutes .

We all know that India has been passing through a trying time . Last two years, we had a recession and it played havoc on our growth and also rural India. This year we are passing through one of the worst inflation & in not the very best of times. We had not fully recovered from recession when inflation hit us. Today, because of inflation, where the prices of essential food items is beyond the reach of 2/3rd of India’s population for its recommended daily calorific intake , we are slowly pushing people towards ‘Partial Starvation’. Exceptional circumstances require exceptional decisions .We need immediate intervention. I recently read that you formed a committee for price control. I had presumed that we must be already having a department for price monitoring & regulating supplies in the ministry of agriculture . It is high time that the current Minister for Agriculture is replaced and the right person is chosen for a very important job. A job that determines the lives of farmers (2/3rd of the population ) cannot be handling cricket and agriculture and also a political party (NCP is headed by Sharad ). He is dedicating just 1/3rd of his time to his ministry. Also, I see that firstly a wrong person was appointed and now he is wrongly blamed for food price hike ! It is an irony that as a Prime Minister , you are equally responsible for the situation that is created and the congress is just playing a blame game when millions of people are being pushed below the poverty line and death. If you see, Agriculture , forestry and fishing recorded negative growth in 2009 but I still don’t see proactive approach of the government . I know price rise is an urgent issue , but there is a more important issue ; Supply versus demand of agricultural products. You must take note of the statement issued by Dr.Murli Manohar Joshi , M.P. on 17th January about the sugar prices going up due to bulk allocation of the sugar produce to soft drink companies and chocolate manufacturers. I must state that these MNC’s take cheap raw material from Indian system and sell expensive drinks & chocolates to our people !! High time that they import their raw materials or produce them . Government must not let the common man pay a price for their products in such a manner . Also, let each state have a state farmers pricing authority that fixes the prices of common products till the next season based on regional produce , buffer stock and demand . No one should be allowed to trade in agricultural commodities , hoarding and speculative pricing

Fund utilization : I understand that CAG has stated in his latest report that most of the programs that were announced have not used the funds allocated to them . So, in all, the government’s commitment and efficiency is put to a serious question.

Recently , i also learned that the plan is to discontinue the NUHM ( National Urban Health Mission ). This shows clearly that either the projects are not thoroughly planned or not properly executed. Infact, it is a truth that major projects do not cross the announcements stage and do not go beyond the paper work

Some of the action points I feel are important are mentioned herewith & I would like you to act on them or let me know your views :

Employment generation : It is high time that the government thinks about increasing employment and earnings to raise the GDP numbers of the nation. All I see from the statements of your finance minister is that the tax collections have gone up or missed their targets . So , are we confusing the portfolio of finance minister with Union Minister for tax collections ? There is no wealth generation happening in the country . Whatever we have we are depleting our resources . You can privatise our PSU’s , Banks etc and reduce our deficit for the next 2-3 years . What will you sell after that ? We will go back to the World Bank & IMF for loans ? We need to create wealth for rural masses and for India . This is the precursor for an All inclusive growth. NAREGA is a bottomless pit and there are suspicions that this scheme is used to rehabilitate political workers for the ruling party. Please understand the seriousness of the situation and act . We need wealth creation strategies .

Here are suggestions of some of the means to create employment opportunities in India in the existing government set up.

Post offices : India has 155,000 post offices( Check ) . Whereas , it might be worthwhile to implement PAL code instead of PIN code but it more important to create 1 million employment opportunities out of this network. Just think, Post offices remain open from morning to evening on weekdays, they are closed after 5 PM ( Except the 24 hour post offices ), and on weekends and holidays . If we gave an opportunity to college going students and unemployed youth to provide some basic services of post offices which do not have a time bound delivery like selling stamps etc from their residence, and they can work on some commission or may be , take a surcharge for the convenience offered say @ 10 %. We can create a minimum of one million jobs @ home

Passport : Let us look at appointing government authorised agents for each pin code at least in urban and semi urban India , and let people use their services . This gives the citizens the convenience to get things done locally and they will be willing to pay a little more for their comfort , and this will also create additional jobs . People can work from their home .

Bill payment : Bill payment agents can be appointed by the government and these can be the people who can operate from their residence and get a commission on bill payments

RTO : Learning license should not be issued by RTO because people actually don’t know driving when they apply for the new or driving license . Like I mentioned in the above 3 options , people can get their temporary driving license or their learners license from these approved agents and then go to the nearest RTO and give a test to get the permanent license . This will free up a lot of people at RTO from the job of learners license and the proceed of issuing the permanent driving license can be speeded up as well.

Train tickets : Why should only railway stations issue tickets ( Only reservation is available online , normal tickets are still procured from the local station booking counter ). Say even for local trains in Mumbai. There are around 79 sub-urban stations and people should have the comfort to buy a local train ticket at their comfort in their locality , and step in to board the train at the station . This will ease the queue at the stations and people will not hurry up and get tense reaching the station and buying the tickets and then boarding the train

Forms for different office work should be sold by such agents @home .

India is the global capital in Information Technology. We can have MPRSO’s ( Multi-Purpose Resident Service Officers ), who operate from their homes and provide services 24 X 7. It is do-able . We need political will , rest is possible

Indian Restaurants abroad : The world is turning towards vegetarian food and we have an opportunity to open restaurants abroad , create the India brand abroad and win the hearts of people and feed them healthy Indian food. Indian dishes are relished in U.K. / U.S etc . Same is possible for Indian herbs & Ayurveda , Yoga schools , mediation etc . These opportunities create employment , wealth , and do brand building for India

Tourism : India has tremendous potential and the irony is that , it remains to be ‘Potential’. Giving advertisements in newspapers does not help. Major tourism destinations have terrible infrastructure and poor connectivity

Organic food presents a great opportunity for farmers , industry and India . We are missing a multi –billion dollar opportunity . If we work on this , I see that some farmers in every state can earn enough to have their own helicopters to spray insecticides etc and drive BMW’s . Today , even after 62 years of Independence , when we think of farmers , the image that we get is that of an ill clad , dark skinned , white bearded old age person looking at the sky . We must live up to the fact that ‘ Farmers of the nation are the fathers of the nation’ and give top most priority to the sector. Government must allot land to the tillers. When government can acquire land for SEZ for big business houses why not for landless farmers !!

SEZ should not be allowed. No more development should be allowed in already crowded towns . New towns should be built in remotest part of the country .

Courier Service : Government must start courier service as a PPP with existing players or with unemployed youth . This can create lacs of jobs across India .

There is a lesson to learn from Dubai. The vision of one man could convert a desert into a business and tourism hub ( Though they overdid it !! ). People from all over the world go to Dubai . India has a desert ( We too can have a desert safari ) and our products are cheapest . So we can have a shopping festival and our Duty free can be the cheapest in the world . But unfortunately , our politicians are ‘Duty Free’ !

Youth : We have reduced the age for voting and increased the age for retirement but no one thinks about lowering the age for employment . India is yet to ratify the minimum age convention ( No.138 ) of the International Labour Organization (ILO ). Rahul must rethink about the call to youth to join politics at young age and change the politics .Rahul has been running around the country to do that- I find this call quite ridiculous ! While Congress party is in power why are your people asking the poor Indians to join politics ? You run the government, and can change the things the way you want ! I would say let the youth do their jobs and let you do your job rightly. Please do not drag people for doing what you have already been voted for doing . Only message that you, or for that sake any politician must give is to ‘vote’ during elections and keep a watch on the tax payers money.

Remember it is not the defence, technology , Industry, SME , agriculture that will take the nation to the next level of growth, but it is the power of the youth that will push the nation ahead on 10 + % growth per year and we can do it only by empowering the youth with employment and wealth creation opportunities .

Today , every youth is disturbed by competitiveness and lack of options after doing hard work at school and college . Students are committing suicides . Please control the same . Those who are not committing suicides live worse lives .

supports more than 65 % of the population but government still has a casual approach towards agriculture . In 2009, agriculture , forestry and fisheries grew negatively . If this sector can grow 4 % , the overall economy will grow more than 10 % . Which will be an all inclusive growth . Government spending in agriculture is neither planned and neither committed . Occasional waver of loans does partially solve the problems of the past but does not open opportunities for the future .

Foreign policy : We do not have a single friendly neighbour . All our neighbours are hostile.

Our relations with the three big world powers are on a shaky ground . Recent statements made by Barack has created a lot of unrest in the IT & BPO industry. We are failing in our foreign policy

Internal security : Blasts in Pune and continuous increase in infiltration are not a good omen . Some areas of the country are not under the control of the government . Go and see in Darjeeling & Maoists areas which is approximately 1/6th of the nation . They run their rule of law . Police and politicians fear treading into their territory .

Healthcare : I will not mention much about what needs to be done as i have already written to you about the same in November 2009. (Link .I read that the Ministry of Health & Ministry of Railways are working on setting up hospitals on railway land near stations . I believe that this is not the best option, as some of the medical equipments need pin drop silence ( For Electron Microscope , the doctors even have to stop their breath for a second to avoid any noise for the sake of accurate results ). Please drop this plan . Else , there could be more harm than general good . Remember bad decisions taken with good intentions are still bad decisions !!

You are building six AIIMS like institutes ,but you are not even able to control the exits from AIIMS ? AIIMS has become a center of excellence due to its intellectual wealth and not due its buildings or medical equipments . You must realise this point . There is no fun spending thousands of Crores from our money ( taxes that we pay ) for things that you will not be able to manage . Work out alternatives, or go back to the drawing board .

I don’t see that the government has concrete plans for healthcare . Ideally , along with six AIIMS , government should have set up National Research & Resource Center for Diabetes, Similar centres for Epidemiology , CVD , Arthritis , mental health , Telehealth etc. Healthcare is becoming expensive due to the high cost of equipments. MRI costs a few thousand due to our lack of technical R&D . Our health minister must push more funds & incentives for research for technical & clinical R&D. This one factor will drive down the cost of diagnostics . Retail margins must be increased from 20 to 25 % for pharmacies so that the storage conditions can improve and the public can take medicines that are efficacious . Still you can drive down the cost of medications by asking doctors to write just generic medications. Please refer my earlier note on healthcare reforms sent to your office in November 2009.

Legal System or Judiciary ? : I will quote CJI , Justice K.G Balakrishanan , who apprehends public revolt because of delayed justice with an every –increasing back log . He once said ; For many , real life is different from reel life . Our judicial system has become an adjournment based judicial system . Parties take stay order in initial date , and then never care to allow the case to proceed by seeking adjournments on one excuse or the other

My personal view is that , we do not have a judicial system at all. What we have is a legal system that works for the benefit of lawyers ,criminals & politicians in power. We can safely say that the current CJI will be sitting on some assignment after retirement. Similarly , we can say the same about our Chief Election Commissioner or the Chief of Armed forces or the Chief of CBI etc. The possible rehabilitation after retirement in return for their political obedience and return gifts.

Judicial system is one that not only acquits or convicts but delivers justice . Our judicial system delivers only incomplete judgements about either conviction or about acquittal ; mostly about acquittal. I will quote two cases for your better understanding

Jessica lall murder case : The judgement that came can be safely concluded as that ‘No one killed Jessica ‘ . This is what it meant when it acquitted the so called ‘Suspects’. Ideally a judicial system should have stated that Jessica was killed by ----------- and he is found guilty and convicted . Stating that the suspect was not guilty and freed, the judiciary did not state who killed Jessica ? Why at all we call ‘Black coats’ as ‘Judges’ or ‘Justice’ ? . You cannot call it a judicial system !! It is a legal system where all can argue but outcome is one ‘Justice delayed if not denied or both in most of the cases’.

Second case - Babri Masjid : It took few hours to demolish the mosque with all video clippings and it took 17 years to figure out who did it ? It took seventeen years for Justice Liberhan to deliver his ‘TRASH Report’ on the demolition of Babri Masjid. While a lot of finger pointing is being done at Raji Gandhi who did the Shilanyas in 1989 and opened the doors to the problem , then it comes to the turn of P.V.Narasmiha Rao, during whose ‘Rule’ the Masjid was demolished and lastly, comes the names of politicians like Atal Behari Vajpayee , Dr.Murli Manohar Joshi and Shri L.K.Advani et al. From different political perspectives , you can blame all of them or either of them !! History is always written by who wins the war !! This time the history was written by -------------------( Anyone’s Guess ) !!

Over the last few weeks i have followed the Liberhan Commission report , the discussions and the writings in the media about the blame game on this Babri Demolition . If i were Justice M.S.Liberhan , i would have concluded my report in just three lines .

When love fails , people resort to justice ,
When justice fails people resort to power,
When power fails , people resort to violence

My understanding is that ,the Babri Masjid case has been running for decades. What the hell was judiciary doing for all these years ? Had they decided the case , the people would not have taken the law in their hands . History has proven that whenever law fails to deliver justice on time , people lose patience and take the law in their hands . So I would say that , neither Congress nor BJP nor Kar sevaks nor the politics of this nation was responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid . It was the failure of the Indian Judicial system that led to the demolition. I have been reading that our CJI has been asking for reimbursements for his wife’s bill who travelled with him abroad. Shame on him ! India is running a huge budgetary deficit and the government is following an austerity drive . CJI must understand that his legal system is a sham when it comes to efficiency but he has the temerity to demand allowances from a government in deficit . On the contrary , he should not have taken his spouse with him under the current circumstances and given up the cabinet status enjoyed by him as CJI .

RTI : We must move RTI online and provide information by email as well. Why should I have to go to a post office to give my form . Get an online payment gateway so that the people can use online application and get an online form . The process saves hassles of travel ( Fuel cost ), Paper ( Eco friendly ) and time .

Role of ministers : We have approximately 100 people who work as union ministers and it is their responsibility under your leadership to run this nation as per the mandate of the people.

Delay of the 3G auction has cost our tax payers a loss of approximately Rs. 7000.00 crore. Read this : would say that the basic responsibility of each and every minster should be measured on few Key parameters every six months against targets set for each . Incase people fail thrice, remove them. They cannot be wasting our money.

1. Wealth creation – ironically no ministry works for it . Please don’t take divestment as wealth creation !
2. Job creation
3. Managing expenditure
4. Regulation , controls & reputation ( Brand building for India )
5. Protecting the citizens
6. Enhancing the international foot print of their respective ministries as applicable .
7. All the above should be self-sustaining and the ministers must spend half of their work time amidst the public and not in the comforts of their AC cabins and cars.

Charitable public work cannot be a long term plan. It can at best work as a short time gimmick which costs exorbitant to the exchequer and loss to the citizens ; in a sense it is like a bottomless pit . One must remember that , any investment that does not build assets or results in outcomes that positively impact the future become ‘case studies of fraud, faulty implementation and finally, failure '

Dr.Singh, you are known for knowledge ,integrity and obedience to 10 Janpath . But that is no measure of your performance. I tried to rate you on the following parameters as a Prime Minister of India on a 10 marks report card for each of the following key performance Indicators:

1. Performance on national integrity & Secularism: 00/10 ( India is fast becoming regional – A dangerous sign that can split India )
2. Performance on Preparedness for war – defence capability – 2/10
3. Performance on population control : 00/10
4. Performance on forecasting , identifying key priorities : 00/10 .
5. Performance on preparation and pro-activeness of the government for unforeseen contingencies : 00/10
6. Performance on action time from the time of identification of problem : 3/10.
7. Performance on Team work : 5 /10 .
8. Performance on foreign policy : 0.5 /10 ( 0.5 marks for signing the nuclear deal )
9. Performance on law and order at home : 2 /10
10. Performance on planning , fund allocation and utilization : 2/10
11. Performance on enhancing the competitiveness of Indian industry & exports : 2/10
12. Performance on making India’s voice heard in the global affairs : 3/10
13. Performance on rural upliftment – farmers , rural infrastructure : 3/10
14. Performance on healthcare : 2/10
15. Performance on delivery of justice : 00 /10
16. Performance on Raising funds from divestment, issue of Telecom licenses : 1/10
17. Performance on wealth creation in India : 00 /10
18. Performance on brand building for India : 1/10
19. Performance on climate change : 00 /10
20. Performance on empowerment of youth : 1/10
21. Performance on women welfare : 1/10
22. Performance on long term planning : 00 /10 ( Infact, there is no plan )
23. Performance on budget / deficit : 2 /10
24. Performance on approvals / industry : 3/10
25. Performance on SME : 2/10
26. Performance on Education reforms and capacity building including vocational courses : 2/10
27. Performance on infrastructure creation & new towns : 1/ 10
28. Performance on curbing corruption : 00 /10
29. Performance evaluation of the team / reports : 00 /10
30. Performance on transparency & accountability of public servants and representatives : 00/10
31. Performance on public perception : 2 /10 ( This was much higher before elections in 2009 )
32. Overall performance versus commitment & mandate : 1.5 /10

Dr.Singh , i believe that leadership is performance and you are failing badly. Time to shape up !! Good image is not performance !I am not surprised as your team of advisors lack ‘common man’ and internal critiques . You have advisors who are out of touch with reality . Correct this immediately .

As a honest tax payer , it is my duty to seek answers from the people who use our money and run the ministries and as bureaucrats . Every minute you people spend in your office or every inch that you move is funded by money collected as tax from people like us . I need your response

Please respond at your convenience . Should you require any details , feel free to connect . This is an environmental friendly mail and so not sending a hard copy

Best wishes & with warm regards

Rajendra Pratap Gupta
Email :
Cell : +91 9 22 33 44 542


Anonymous said...

This is a well thought out and well researched gist of a potential vision document for India's inclusive growth... unfortunatelty the today's course of the development is freightening when we see the things happening for the nation the same way, for just another decade... Keep it up Rajendra...Your Old freind, Swetank Gupta.

Anonymous said...

i am happy to find it thanks for sharing it here. Nice work.