Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cancer in Latin America and American Conspiration

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Chavez muses on US Latin America cancer plot




Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has questioned whether the US has developed a secret technology to give cancer to left-wing leaders in Latin America.
Treated for cancer this year, Mr Chavez was speaking a day after news that Argentina's president had the disease.
Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and her predecessor Lula have also had cancer.
Mr Chavez said this was "very strange" but stressed that he was thinking aloud rather than making "rash accusations".
But he said the instances of cancer among Latin American leaders were "difficult to explain using the law of probabilities".
"Would it be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it?" Mr Chavez asked in a televised speech to soldiers at an army base.
Who next?
Mr Chavez noted that US government scientists had infected Guatemalan prisoners with syphilis and other diseases in the 1940s, but that this had only come to light last year.
And he joked that he would now take extra care of the presidents of Bolivia and Ecuador - Evo Morales and Rafael Correa - lest they also be diagnosed with cancer.
Lula (left) with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Sao Paulo on 6 DecemberBrazilian President Dilma Rousseff has beaten cancer, and Lula is fighting the disease
The Venezuelan leader, who is 57, has often accused the US of plotting to overthrow or even kill him.
He says he is now free of cancer after having surgery and chemotherapy in Cuba earlier this year.
The exact details of his illness have not been made public, fuelling speculation that his condition may be worse than he has let on.
Mr Chavez was the first regional leader to offer support to the Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, after it was announced on Tuesday that she had thyroid cancer.
"We will live and we will conquer!" he told her.
Ms Fernandez, 58, is due to have an operation on 4 January, but doctors say her prognosis is very good.
Survivors' summit
Doctors treating former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for throat cancer say the 66-year-old is responding well to chemotherapy and should make a full recovery.
Dilma Rousseff, 64 - who took over from Lula as Brazilian president a year ago - is fully recovered after receiving treatment for lymphoma cancer in 2009.
Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, 60, was diagnosed with lymphoma in August 2010 but is now in remission after chemotherapy.
Lula and Mr Chavez have previously joked that they would hold a summit of Latin American leaders who had beaten cancer.
Ms Fernandez has now said that she will insist on being the "honorary president" of the summit of cancer survivors.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why India's Growth is Faltering

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Why India’s Growth is faltering

India must define its priorities. If  we look at present unexpected bump and lower IIP number, one thing has become very clear this year India's growth is going for rough ride. The growth, development and middle class everything is just gone and vanished to give sleepless night.
If India want to grow and long term sustainable growth can only come from where it is needed most. In my opinion Rural and Agriculture is the core. Governments attitude of neglecting this sector for last one decade is sole reason for today debacle.
  1. Government must give enough weight-age to the rural and agriculture development  where 72% population resides.( This is steadily going in down in last one decade)
  2. Water shade management and conservation must be given priority so that the farmers in the areas of rain-fed farming may have better income and opportunities to go for multiple farming.
  3. India's infrastructure is pathetic, this must improve. Power generation should be priority.( Power generation should not be hold hostage to the governments foreign policy, government should sign gas pipeline agreement with Iran and this will reduce inflation and improve the power availability, the ultimate effect will be in good growth.)
  4. Indian Railway is outdated and should improve and upgrade. It must double its capacity to cater to the needs of growing aspirations of fast growth of India.
  5. Roads and Airports must be priority.
  6. Food industry should take priority.
  7. Mandi act needs to be amendment.

India: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development
Although agriculture contributes only 21% of India’s GDP, its importance in the country’s economic, social, and political fabric goes well beyond this indicator. The rural areas are still home to some 72 percent of the India’s 1.1 billion people, a large number of whom are poor. Most of the rural poor depend on rain-fed agriculture and fragile forests for their livelihoods.
The sharp rise in food grain production during India’s Green Revolution of the 1970s enabled the country to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains and stave off the threat of famine. Agricultural intensification in the 1970s to 1980s saw an increased demand for rural labor that raised rural wages and, together with declining food prices, reduced rural poverty.
Inequitable allocation of water: Many states lack the incentives, policy, regulatory, and institutional framework for the efficient, sustainable, and equitable allocation of water.
Deteriorating irrigation infrastructure: Public spending in irrigation is spread over many uncompleted projects. In addition, existing infrastructure has rapidly deteriorated as operations and maintenance is given lower priority.
Rural poor have little access to credit: While India has a wide network of rural finance institutions, many of the rural poor remain excluded, due to inefficiencies in the formal finance institutions, the weak regulatory framework, high transaction costs, and risks associated with lending to agriculture.
Weak Natural Resources Management: One quarter of India’s population depends on forests for at least part of their livelihoods.
India's "green revolution" allowed the country to produce enough food to feed its population - but 40 years on, is this revolution unraveling?
The Green Revolution was a deliberate, all-out attempt to become self-sufficient in basic food crops.
For 40 years. Under India's "Green Revolution" in the 1960s and 70s -- seen as one of the world's most successful agricultural turnarounds -- planting of high-yield varieties of wheat and rice resulted in a sharp output rise.
Agriculture
There has been a dearth of resource support to the farmers in the Union budgets which calls for urgent attention of the policy makers to boost budgetary investment in agriculture in general, and dry land and rain fed agriculture in particular. In 2006- 07, the share of agriculture in total budget was meager 1.4 percent. This has further declined to 1.27 percent in the current Union Budget 2010-11 (BE). A quantum jump of expenditure by the Ministry (to around 2.5 times, in absolute numbers, between 2004-05 and 2010-11) has been noticed. However, public spending in agriculture as a proportion of GDP is hardly perceptible. It has increased from 0.17 percent of GDP in 2004-05 to 0.20 percent of GDP in 2010-11 B.E. The government needs to direct its efforts towards improved rural infrastructure, agricultural research support, investments in water management and new technology/institutional innovations to increase agricultural productivity, and consequently growth of the economy. Long-term sustainability of India’s farming sector, particularly dry land agriculture, is only possible through coordinated efforts from different quarters along with increase in share of budgetary investment in the agriculture and allied sector and share of Central plan expenditure in agriculture.
Need for public investment
The record of agricultural growth in India in the second-half of the 2000s was hardly inspiring. Growth rates of agriculture in 2006-07 and 2007-08 were better on the average, riding on good monsoons and hardening global prices. However, the growth rates in 2008-09 and 2009-10 were, respectively, -0.1 per cent and 0.4 per cent. Advance estimates for 2010-11 have raised hopes again, but it is clear that elevating agriculture to a path of sustained growth requires a major increase in public expenditure. In particular, public investment, which would create fixed capital formation in agriculture, has to increase significantly to arrest decisively the trend of long-term decline. Budget 2011-12 plainly refuses to recognise this task as urgent.
How numbers are manipulated
The sharp rise in the supply of indirect finance was facilitated by a series of definitional changes made under the UPA regime on what constitutes priority sector credit in agriculture (for details, see R. Ramakumar and Pallavi Chavan, “Revival of Agricultural Credit in the 2000s: An Explanation”, Economic and Political Weekly, December 29, 2007). These definitional changes broadly involved (a) recognising new forms of financing commercial, export-oriented and capital-intensive agriculture as “agricultural” credit; and (b) raising the credit limit of many existing forms of indirect financing. For instance, from 2007 onwards, two-thirds of loans given to corporates, partnership firms and institutions for agricultural and allied activities in excess of Rs.1 crore per borrower were considered as indirect finance to agriculture; the remaining one-third were treated as direct finance to agriculture.
In 1990, about 83 per cent of agricultural credit was of a size less than Rs.2 lakh. In 2009, however, only about 44 per cent of agricultural credit was of a size less than Rs.2 lakh.
An area of darkness 
Over recent weeks, reports of frequent and increasingly longer power cuts from across the country have added another layer of serious concern to India’s faltering growth story. What is unusual about these power outages is that they have been occurring during the months of October and November, when demand is traditionally low. The immediate causes of the power crunch are well known. There is a growing and acute shortage of coal, which is the mainstay of power generation in the country, accounting for over 50 per cent of overall capacity. Over the past four years, demand for coal, mainly for thermal power generation, has grown by 7.3 per cent, while domestic output rose by only 5.4 per cent. What is most worrying is the significant drop in investment in the power sector in view of uncertainties on fuel availability and uneconomic pricing of power. The target for additional power generation capacity in the current plan of 62,000 MW (already reduced from the original 78,000 MW) is likely to have a shortfall of as much as 12,000 MW, according to the Planning Commission.
Indian railways lag 20-25 years behind world on technology front: E Sreedharan
Thanks to E Sreedharan , MD, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, India's capital has a world class metro. A project that was on drawing board for decades and which many thought would be almost impossible to execute is up and running. He took charge in 1997 when he was 65 years old, long after he retired from the Railways in 1990. Today at 79, he is finally hanging his boots on December 31 to retire in his native village in Kerala. He spoke to ET on Delhi Metro, its success and his life. Excerpts:
You retired from the Railways, what's your prescription for Railways future? ( Thanks to E Sreedharan , MD)
Indian Railways has the world's fourth-largest network with 9,000 engineers but it lags 20-25 years behind the world on the technology front, it needs to be upgraded dramatically. 

The present model of development is not sustainable and will increase crime in urban areas and increase disparity among India's population.

There is no need of targeting 9% growth, India should target 7% inclusive growth which will reduce poverty and increase quality of life.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tax exemptions for rich costs govt Rs 4.6 lakh cr - The Economic Times


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Tax exemptions for rich costs govt Rs 4.6 lakh cr - The Economic Times:

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NEW DELHI: The subsidy for the poor is dwindling, but this has not deterred the government from lining up corporate houses' pockets.

Last year, the Centre gave away potential revenue of Rs 4.6 lakh crore on account of various tax exemptions and incentives to industrialists, compared to the Rs 1.54 lakh crore on subsidy to poor and farmers.

If you are thinking government is very generous in giving different subsidies to poor, it is a big farce. Government is giving much more to the rich. This is not only in terms of tax exemptions but there are many more things.

This is biggest dilemma of Indian System, even though it looks and government make it look like pro poor but reality is very different.
The real benefit is going to rich middle class, the middle man or business class or Baniya ( in Indian Language). If we look at bank bank balance sheet, NPA is increasing and SBI which has lost almost 40% from pick price from lost year has highest NPA. These NPA are loans to rich which is killing the banks. Poors are not even entertained in these banks, almost 45% of rural population do not have even bank accounts. They are not part of inclusive development.

The whole story about development is for 30% middle and upper class. What ever remains will percolate down to poor. There are no efforts for grow and develop the villages.

Unfortunately poor are getting poor when India is growing, I will be more happy to see India growing at 6%-7% which is inclusive, I don't want 9% for rich excluding poor. Without inclusive growth, there can not be growth. Villages must be developed and there connectivity must be improved.

The only visible thing in development is Roads, roads are getting better and because of private investment phones  has increased but basic necessities remained stagnated. Developing infrastructure is core to the development.

Government must invest more in improving and increasing capacity of railway. Some of gauge conversion projects are going on for last 10 to 15 years. This must end, there must be time bound execution of projects in infrastructure, when minister changes, priorities become different this should go. There should be independent project to project budget and time line for execution. This is only way in successful project management. The quality of services are deteriorating day by day. This is ridiculous. Can not Railway has better management. Project execution and  management should be an independent part of Railways.

The second priority is Airport, India needs 300 airports, everybody is talking. Is there any real movement in the direction of implementing this project. Who will do it? How much years it will take to execute? These are key questions for this project.

There are many more questions, but no answers. One can not expect any answers.

Let us pray for the poor.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The changing face of Financial Order


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Hong Kong named world's top financial hub - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English:

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It is not surprising for me to see Hong Kong as worlds top financial hub. This indicates two things. The first thing is world order is changing. The old power house are now old horses impaired with many diseases, they can not win a race. Betting on such horses are use less.
USA has its own financial mess to manage. It has lived on others money for long time. China, Japan along with other countries invested in USA debt and finance the luxuries of life. This luxury financing has created two problems. The first is USA asset bubble, USA spent money on which they can not afford, this luxurious spending is hounding USA and others. I do not see any solution to this problem in foreseeable future. The solution is cleaning the toxic from the system, which no one wants. There is no alternative, cleaning the system from crooks, which is impossible. When there is no will to implement solution, the only alternative left is slow and painful death of US economy.

The second problem is the financing of surplus economy to USA has deprived the needy, underdeveloped and least developed and developing economies of this money. Which may have used to grow these economies. This financing has increased poverty in world. When it will be stopped then definitely a new economic order will emerge.

These least developed, under developed and developing economies will get surplus money to grow and reduce poverty. The change in direction of money flow will change everything. More employment is created and will get better healthcare.

The Asia with its population, China and India along with their neighbors and east Asian economies will see a major shift in near future.

Indonesia, Malaysia along with Saudi Arabia will play a major role in global financial markets.Singapore which is already a major financial hub for east asia, Mumbai, Dubai, Qatar are other financial hubs which are in contest to change the landscape of world order.

It may take some time but the process has started and soon it will pick up. With China coming with its own Sovereign Wealth Fund of USD 300 billion, along with SWF of Malaysia, UAE, Qatar, Singapore, Kuwait and other OPEC countries will see a major change.

Let us make this change a positive, to reduce poverty, and improve justice and equality in this world.