buses, not armored trucks ?

tells you how pakistan can match india bus for bus, apart from bomb for bomb.

guns, drugs and above all sex.

what an american finds out bothers the pakistanis more on a bus to peshawar.

the pictures : pakistani defence forum.

conductor bas ?

and the men retain the driver's seat.

(if the site has been updated, you have to go to the archives for the story on women conductors in pakistan).


parrotspeak 2 : control is good.

macroscan calls itself a network of 'professional economists seeking to provide an alternative to conservative and mainstream positions....' meaning those who disagree with their views are either a.'conservative' or worse still, b.'mainstream'.

isn't the term 'conservative' supposed to indicate a person/idea/institution who/which seeks to cling to tradition and established norms ? i don't think we should apply the term conservative, as it is understood elsewhere in the world, when we seek to categorize persons/ideas/institutions who/which seek to dismantle an excessively regulated 'command economy' - it wouldn't be accurate because those who held the 'mainstream' position that india should follow the 'socialistic' path until yesterday now 'conservatively' cling to their old trenches. i say trenches because the limited, but definite successes in certain partially deregulated sectors in the last fifteen years in india has driven these 'conservatives' into, understandably, a feeling of being under siege.

i don't think one needs to be a 'professional economist' to recognize a conservative position when you see one. you only require common sense to spot that.

what's this all about ? well, this train of thought started off yesterday when i spotted the jayati ghosh article, which i referred to in my last post, in macroscan. jayati ghosh has been a key votary of the nrega - does that make her a 'heterodox economist' (another label i found on the site) who's neither mainstream nor conservative ? the nrega falls into exactly the same category of 'noble' 'pro-poor' schemes that have been the norm in indian policy-making, as far as i can recall, since my schooldays in the indira gandhi era, and long before that. no, that doesn't make her heterodox, because she pursues a very mainstream, very conservative style of thinking. please ms.ghosh, if you ever read this, don't try to wear the mantle of an objective 'professional' offering 'alternative' ideas.

the lack of objectivity in the article i referred to is what troubles me more than the very real differences in growth between the indian and the chinese economies that she points out. though she doesn't draw any prescriptive conclusions, she definitely does point us in that direction. and what are the conclusions we must draw from her non-thesis ?

that control is good. that china's growth was entirely fuelled by internal resources wisely 'allocated' by the state. that india didn't control its banks enough. deregulation of the banks was foolish.

please read the second significant difference between the indian and chinese economies according to her :
'The control over the domestic economic in China has been most significant in terms of the financial sector, which describes the second big difference between the two economies. In India, the financial sector was typical of the ''mixed economy'' and even bank nationalisation did not lead to comprehensive government control over the financial system; in any case, financial liberalisation over the 1990s has involved a progressive deregulation and further loss of control over financial allocations by the state in India. But the financial system in China still remains heavily under the control of the state, despite recent liberalisation. Four major public sector banks handle the bulk of the transactions in the economy, and the Chinese authorities have essentially used control over the consequent financial flows to regulate the volume of credit (and therefore mange the economic cycle) as well as to direct credit to priority sectors. Off-budget official finance (called ''fund-raising'' by firms) has accounted for more than half of capital formation in China even in recent years, and that together with direct budgetary appropriations have determined nearly two thirds of the level of aggregate investment. This means that there has been less need for more conventional fiscal and monetary policies, although the Chinese economy is now in the process of transition to the more standard pattern.'

i have some questions : how much of the financial 'system' in india was controlled by private banks before deregulation ? was there any room left for private players after nationalisation ?

if it's control that helped china grow faster, why is it now ' in the process of transition to the more standard pattern' ?

let's listen to what an investment analyst says:

Rahul Saraogi of Atyant Capital - 'One out of two loans in China is probably bad. India, on the other hand, has net NPLs [non-performing loans] in its banking system of 3.5%. China's bad loan problem is a legacy of its state-directed lending practices. Interest rates are completely controlled by the PboC, and the big four banks that control over 95% of banking assets have no credit scoring or credit risk based pricing mechanisms in place. It's unbelievable.

China's asset markets are very similar to the Japanese. They are very heavily leveraged and are primarily fueled by property speculation. The Chinese property market coupled with its leveraged and insolvent banking system is a very big accident waiting to happen. India has no such issues.'

if you are interested in the full interview, read it here. and read this businessweek article on the chinese banks here. and here. and more.

ms.ghosh feels the chinese wisely regulated the flow of credit. that's the crux of her argument explaining the third 'significant' difference between india and china. or was it, as saraogi says, mal-invested ?

parrotspeak 1: licensing stimulates demand.

jayati ghosh in macroscan delineating the first of ten 'significant differences' between the chinese and indian economies:'The first relates to the nature of the economy itself, the institutional conditions within which policies are formulated and implemented. India could be described until recently as a traditional ''mixed economy'' with a large private sector, so it was and remains a capitalist market economy with the associated tendency to involuntary unemployment. So the need for macroeconomic policies to stimulate demand, as common in capitalist economies, operated in addition to the usual ''developmental'' role of the state'.
a question : is a licence-permit regime a 'macroeconomic policy' to stimulate demand ? are rationing and quotas demand-stimulating mechanisms ? agricultural output constituted half of the indian gdp - was that the 'large private sector' ?

policy thrust area 19.8

'19.8 Closely monitor the tackling of Naxalism / Left Wing Extremism with a view to improving the situation over the next six months.'
that's a 'thrust area' for 'policy implementation', based on 'the commitments made in the ncmp', identified by the pmo, for the ministry of home affairs for the year 2005.
actually, there is no mention of 'naxalism/leftwing extremism' in the ncmp. the pm's office considers it a home affair - something to be settled in every policeman's home in thirteen states perhaps ? if you heard somebody call it a 'socio-economic issue' during the 2004 elections, you heard wrong.


cherabanda raju

he died a few years ago. many, including his associate varavara rao, suspect it wasn't a brain tumour that killed him. perhaps it was too muted an exit for a firebreathing revolutionary? ideally, he should have been killed encountering a surprised police party. surreptitiously leaving a secret conclave deep in the jungle, picking his way through dirt tracks made fresh by every passing tyrant, skirting shrines guarded by the untiring hag yellamma and skipping over heaps of sleepless ants raiding mounds of sugar left at this peer's grave or that. he should have paused and scratched himself, weary from the relentless probing of the thumma shrubs, tugged at his trouser buttons and then stopped. he should have stepped aside a little, thinking the other dalams couldn't possibly have been at this spot just half a century ago : the scorpions have this thing for warm rebellious blood. and then picking up a rapid pace, for he should have neared the village by now, he should have quickly looked around, crossed the little dirt road, and stepped down into the fields. that's when his arrival should have been noticed. he should have started trying to regain his pace on the raised, narrow path between the beds, slipped and fallen. the sharp edges of the cut, dried stalks should have made him feel a little disoriented, and then a little foolish. he should have understood then someone else had been there before him. he should have looked up and gaped right into the big dark-blue eye of the sky, speckled with bold white dots, staring back, unblinking. embarassed, he should have lowered his eyes and then slowly raised them : to the furrowed maktha bavi where the razakars had tossed in the communists, to the pit, marked by the tamarind tree, where the communists had buried the razakars...and onward to the barha darwaza of the garhi, to its top, to the giant hook where the severed head of the butcher malli mian had been hung, as a kind of trophy, and still upward to the terrace above the darwaza where the naqqara drums had stopped keeping time, fifty years ago. and then his eyes should have followed the huge walls of the garhi, the ramparts, the saw-teethed battlements... and thought about what decayed, but refused to die inside. the sheesh mahal, its walls still as smooth as the eggs that were used in its plastering, the glass-paned windows still reflecting the blues and greens of europe. and the scented fountains and the baths and the deodi and the orchards and other transplanted splendors. and the chiselled ugly rock, on a raised platform abutting a bastion, where the intransigent would be decapitated. the cherabanda.
and then he should have thought about the village outside the walls, which had been razed once, twice, thrice by the razakars as they went mad and invaded their absent neighbours... and then one errant neighbour had gone mad and refused to run away...perched atop the roof of his home, his infant son clinging to his side, he had maintained a night-long vigil with his unwieldy gun and his shouts and .....the madness had then spread..and more neighbours had come back, and the dalams..and everything had been fine for a while..the garhi had been looted..the desmukh had been chased away..the razakars lynched..and everyone was having a one fine revolution..and it had to end. the red flags had withered in the fields because the dalams went back to the hills and then the real battle began..
he should have then turned his gaze away from the village and made up his mind. he should have turned towards the hills and the river, and started walking towards them. it should have been the season when everyone is deluded into wealth..white, blue, yellow, red flowers bloom and even the grasses raise their spines tall and sprout pinkish white, mock flowers- ready to be offered to bathukamma. he should have carried the wild, living scents to the hills where the policemen waited. poet that he was, he couldn't have resisted the temptation.
then he should have been 'shot, after having refused to surrender ' . his long-dead, bearded accomplices, strewn around him, should have backed up the report.
and the river, the only witness, should have just chugged along...like it did when pothana refused to yield to the king, like a passer-by at a traffic 'mishap'. or should it have been the other river from the north-west, flowing much further south, where nagarjuna had built a university for the word ?

Song of Justice
-Cherabanda Raju

We battered the mountains
and crushed the rocks
With our muscle stones
built barrages
But who got the riches
and whose was the labour?

We cleared the stones
and tilled the wastelands
With our sweat streams
watered the crops
But who got the food
and whose was the seed?

We built our looms
and spun each thread
With our nerve yarns
wove many a cloth
But who donned it in fashion
and whose was the effort?

We worked the machines
and produced plentiful
With our blood current
ran the factories
But who built the mansion
and who lived in the hut?

Knowing the reason
we’ve taken to arms
We’ll rise up as one
for an unceasing fight
Victory will be ours
and death yours.

Translated from Telugu by Dr. V. Rama Murthy.
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