Sunday 26 August 2012

Before calling something a Scam...Have you Thought about certain Facts

Written by Anil Singh

You may have noted that, I don't see politics as a bad thing. India may have suffered because of its politicians; but it has gained from their existence as well.

Hence, the common notion that politicians are thieves in pinstripes (OK Kurta Pajama) is a over hyped assertion. The kind of behaviour and principles, a common citizen normally hates in a politician, are normally found in every person who is successful, rich and powerful. Note that, Irrespective of their profession --successful, rich and powerful people -- are normally resourceful, manipulative, hoarding and capitalist in their mindset. The very fact that they are on the top of the human existence, makes them keep showing such traits -- else they will not be able to remain at the top.

But, there's a brighter side to it. These top people, also make the world progress. A man breaking stones at the road side, hardly fills his and his family's stomach; you can't expect him to help hundred other people. But you can expect the same from a rich, powerful and successful person.

Thus, the world needs successful, rich and powerful people. They are the ones who become leaders for the man kind. Politicians are one among them. And they are important for us.

That said.

Increasing number of citizens these days are calling every Government policy decision a Scam. The recent examples are the 2G and the Coal allotment. The principle opposition party the BJP, is encouraging the view, as it sees a possibility of vote gain Here. The current atmosphere of the country, is such that, the middle class is shouting "Foul" everywhere and in everything.

Although, it's for the court to decide the culpability of individuals in these so called Scams; there're few important facts which we as citizens are overlooking Here.

In the 2G Spectrum Allocation, the Government may have sold the Spectrum at cheap rates. And as a consequence, the buyers of Spectrum, the mobile companies, may have profited.

But consider these facts: The call rates in India have fallen to half paisa per second. The mobile density in India increased to 77 percent (77 Indians in every 100 have a mobile phone now). Phone costs have come down (now you can now buy a smartphone at the cost of basic phone). Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)is one of the lowest in the entire world and it keeps coming down. Notably, the Mobile operators are requesting TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) from the past two years to allow them to increase the call rates; but the TRAI is not acceding to their demand.

If you don't want to delve into numbers, then just recall how much you paid for a phone call in an STD, 5 years ago; and what you are paying on your mobile now. The Call rates and the phone prices have come down drastically, which happened as the Government sold Spectrum to the operators at a cheap rate.

Now, when the telecom companies have to buy the Spectrum for Rs 16000 crore; Call rates will go up. And this time around TRAI will not be able to do anything.

Now, lets come to the Coal allocation.

Again, it's how you see it.

But before that, one thing needs to be cleared. Both the Central and the State Government are at fault, if there is corruption at the coal block allocation. Coal may be a Centre subject; but the Union Government allots coal block only after the approval of the state government. That apart, coal has always remained a 'power' commodity for the powerful; and irrespective of the political parties; every political party, be it Congress, BJP or JMM or any of the Mafia families(watch "Gangs of Wasseypur" for reality check), all have soiled their hands in Coal brokerage and its Power Game.  Hence BJP blaming the Congress, is akin to "Kettle Calling the Pot Black".

That said, consider these Facts: The Price we pay for a 'Unit of Electricity' in India is quite low, compared to other countries OR compared to what Power companies want their power to sell at. If you are getting a unit of electricity at Rs 2.40 per unit (and half the price for BPL families); then brace yourself, the power companies want it to be raised to at least Rs 7 per unit. You and I receive cheap power, as the government sells the coal cheap.


Calling Every Government Policy a Scam, will not help us. Today, we will pay more for our mobile calls; tomorrow we will pay more for electricity. And that will put a direct burden on our pockets.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, an ex IPS (the movie Gangajal is said to be inspired by his life) and the present MP from Jamshedpur, says that, what is needed at present is to frame a policy which puts a right price tag on the country's natural resources. And the allocation of the country's valuable resources is not left to the discretion of the politicians and the bureaucrats.

That I think is the right approach.

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