PBs twisty take on the top five headlines of the day.
1. Kejriwal govt. to release loan to MCD to enable it to pay salaries – Pure dirty politics being played over people of Delhi!
AAP govt will be releasing a loan of 550 crores to help MCD to clear its salary dues. Kejriwal accused BJP of instigating workers and alleged big financial irregularities in the body. He demanded dissolution of MCD and fresh elections claiming AAP would win and then it will be easier for Delhi public. Govt. as well as MCD under AAP. His claims of corruption in MCD are not unfounded. Point also is why the release of loan now and not earlier. This could have saved Delhi of stench for the past few days. Perhaps he wanted to make a point.
This constant duel between BJP and AAP over Delhi not good for Delhi in the long run. And something needs to be done!
2. Nitish makes first steps towards grand alliance ahead of UP polls – A Maha- Gathbandhan in the making?
JDU emboldened by its Bihar victory is seen spreading its wings in UP. Sharad Yadav held talks with Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh and trying to build a coalition of smaller parties including Peace Party, Mahan Dal, Apna Dal (Krishna Patel), and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP). These parties together got 8.5% votes in 2012 assembly polls.
This is also a way of giving it back to Netaji who ditched JDU-RJD alliance in Bihar and instead floated a fourth front which flopped. Nitish also has PM ambitions and through this approach wants to carry forward his dream. At a later stage he will try to rope in Congress and / or BJP.
3. Household inflation expectation >10% – Low inflation not visible on ground!
Households surveyed by RBI expect prices to rise by 10.3% in the next three months and 10.5% in the next year. Benefit of low crude prices have not been fully passed on to consumers and CPI rose in Dec. 2015 for a fifth straight month. High fuel / transportation costs have a spiralling impact on other goods and services.
We need a sane budget and no extravagance (like reported in media on doubling of Food Security Bill ). Deficit needs to be reined in especially in times of falling tax revenue on account of lower profitability of companies across most industries. After China slowdown world is looking upto India as the world’s fastest-growing economy. GDP growth has not witnessed significant improvement 7.2% in H1FY16 & full year FY15 vs 6.9% in FY14 (under UPA). Credit growth has not fuelled despite 125 basis points of cuts in the past 13 months. And inflation is down mostly due to oil.
4. Stock market crash – No end to madness!
Indian stock markets continue their down slide. Billionaire Carl Icahn, for example, recently raised a red flag on a national broadcast when he declared, “The public is walking into a trap again as they did in 2007.” And the prophetic economist Andrew Smithers warns, “U.S. stocks are now about 80% overvalued.”
Tough days ahead. India not immune to global crash despite being a country dependent on domestic demand and not necessarily exports. Upcoming budget may set the tone for some hope.
5. Refuse to pay taxes if govt doesn’t curb corruption – Bombay HC bizarre comment?
Logically this hints at more accountability in form of govt. expenditure. We pay taxes on income and everything we consume from food, clothing to services like telephone and internet. However we have no say in the way govt. wants to spend it whether on buying planes for ministers or food secuirty or NREGA. Further, all expenditure doesn’t reach the needy due to massive corruption (leakages). More involvement of public in govt. expenditure will increase transparency and confidence. Social audits which include senior citizens should be introduced.
Some may agree to HC observation. Why should we pay taxes? What do we get in return? Do we get the service we deserve from govt. after paying so much taxes? Tax payers are not a vote bank hence have been neglected for years by successive govt. They need to form a block to be heard.