In Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, no Narmada water for dalits #WTFnews


Fact-finding Report on Implementation of Food Security Programme in Kalahandi district, Odisha

Vijaysinh Parmar, TNN Apr 10, 2013,

CHITALIYA (RAJKOT): In the villages of Jasdan taluka in drought-hit Saurashtra, dalit women prefer to remain silent. That’s for the fear of the upper castes in a state whose chief minister Narendra Modi is busy trying to conjure up an eclectic image to subserve his perceived prime ministerial ambitions for 2014 polls.

“Those people (upper castes) will abuse us again if we speak,” mumbled one of the women, only to be given a warning look by the others.

The water scarcity in Saurashtra is due to deficient rainfall, but the calamity is man-made for the dalits. Members of the community claim they are not allowed access to Narmada water, the only source of drinking water, by upper caste members. Ironically, upper caste farmers have their own borewells and don’t need Narmada water as much.

The dalits in ten villages of the taluka allege they are not even allowed to draw water from the main sump. “We have to listen to casteist remarks and are even threatened if we get close to the sump,” said Jaya Makwana, who fetches water under scorching sun from a source 3km farther. The worst affected are villages of Chitaliya, Khadvavadi, Kanesara, Parevala, Jivapar, Nani Lakhavad, Kothi, Barvala and Devdhari. There are around 100 dalit families in each village dominated by Kolis.

Unable to bear both injustice and thirst, women from these villages recently approached the deputy collector with their tale of woes. But the women were allegedly threatened on their return for taking up the issue with the authorities. “Should we remain thirsty because we are untouchables?” Makwana fumed.

Narmada water in Chitaliya is so erratic that villagers would not even get supply once a week. After the trip to the deputy collector’s office, water is being released once in five days. But the dalits say the main sump is still off-limits for them while the small one doesn’t get a drop.

The sump in the dailt area of Kothi village was never connected with the Narmada pipeline. “Our only source was a hand-pump which went dry last month,” said Maniben Makwana, 65, a dalit.

“We are looking into complaints of discrimination. We have also directed the water resources department to connect hand-pumps to the pipeline,” deputy collector R H Gadhavi said.

 

Narendra Modi in your Gujarat – Booze is cheaper than water !


English: Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Guja...

With Narendra Modi is chasing his PM dream, booze is cheaper than water in Gujarat 

Published: Monday, Mar 25, 2013,

Place: Rajkot | Agency: PTI

Opposition Congress today alleged that liquor has become cheaper than water in parched Gujarat as Chief Minister Narendra Modi is busy chasing his “dream” to become prime minister and ignoring the plight of common people.

“Water is not easily available in drought-hit areas in the state but liquor is not only readily available but at the rate cheaper than water”, state unit Congress president Arjun Modhwadia told reporters in Rajkot.

“People of as many as 160 villages from Saurashtra, North Gujarat and Central Gujarat are facing shortage of drinking water. However, the chief minister is dreaming to become prime minister and not doing anything to bail out the affected people”, he said.

Tearing into Modi’s claims of development, Modhwadia said they are nothing but a ploy to mislead people and the Legislative Assembly.

Modhwadia accused Modi of sitting on the Central fund of Rs 1500 crore meant for drought-hit areas and misusing it for “self propaganda”, Modhwadia said.

“I urge the state government to use the fund only to solve the drinking water and fodder problems and not of self-propaganda,” he said.

Continuing his tirade against Modi, often being projected as BJP‘s prime ministerial candidate in 2014 elections, Modhwadia said the BJP government has failed to provide relief to scarcity-hit areas unlike erstwhile Congress government.

The senior leader also alleged that the law and order situation in Gujarat was deteriorating and the crime graph going up.

Modhwadia downplayed the high-profile crossover of party MLA Vitthal Radadiya to BJP, saying that such “minor” developments seldom affect the Grand Old party.

 

The people who are “seditious” and are “waging war against the state” !!!


Join Protest in Solidarity With People’s Struggle  Against Koodankulam Nuclear Plant @10thoct

The Idinthakarai Experience:

Best Practices in Peaceful and Nonviolent Protests
Indefinite hunger strike of a huge group of people including women and youth
Relay hunger strike – every single day 10 am to 5 pm
Inviting a prominent political, religious or cultural leaders for day-long hunger strikes
Meeting officials and submitting memorandums
Dialogue with government officials, scientists and others
Organizing seminars on nonviolence, democracy, development etc.
Organizing massive conferences
Organizing all party meets
Having political leaders meet with the Chief Minister, Prime Minister etc.
Inviting supporters from all over the country for solidarity public meetings, hunger strikes
Reaching out nearby villagers and youth with outside volunteers and campaigners
District-wide teach-ins
State-wide agitations
Nation-wide campaigns
Sending back voter identity cards
Boycotting elections
Supporting a specific party/candidate in the elections
Asking the local MP, MLA to resign and facilitate by-elections
Observing Independence Day as Black Day
Refusing to accept government schemes
Refusing to let government officials into our villages
Laying siege in front of the nuclear plant entrance
Preventing workers from entering the workplace
Laying siege to harbors
Laying siege to the State Assembly
Blocking trains
Blocking roads
Organizing continuous agitations of various types for a week/month
Burning national flags of visiting international leaders’ countries
Burning effigies of visiting leaders
Bandh all over the district/state (future plan)
Agitations in distant towns and villages
Bike rally through neighboring villages and towns
Rallies to nearby towns and villages and agitations in those places
Congregating in a particular village and rallying to a nearby village or town
Commemorating national and international leaders’ births and deaths
Remembering activists’ deaths and sacrifices
Ringing Church/Temple bells and congregating people
All night religious vigils
Organizing yagnas and special poojas
Prayer meetings
Candle light processions
Celebrations such as “Asserting Freedom, Celebrating Resistance”
Celebrating religious festivals
Celebrating cultural festivals
Composing and singing struggle songs
Poetry recitals
Guarding the village entrances
Guarding the struggle leaders’ residence
Collecting signatures on petitions
Writing letters to embassies
Writing letters to human rights organizations
Writing letters to international organizations
Floating letters on the sea
Sending ‘Thank You’ letters to international supporters
Refusing to let rooms and houses to nuclear plant workers
Refusing to sell food stuff to nuclear plant workers
Congregating on the sea
Singing and dancing on the beach
Marching on the seashore
Human chain on the seashore
Boycotting fishing
Jal-satyagraha (striking in neck-deep waters)
Burying ourselves in the sand
Living in cemeteries
Shaving heads off
Wearing black shirts and/or black ribbons
Deserting the village temporarily (future plan)
Burying “time/history capsules” all over the state (future plan)
Women canvassing support in villages and towns
Women leaders travelling to distant places all over the country
Women speakers speaking in public meetings and campaigns
Women braking alcohol bottles and driving away bootleggers
Women abstaining from sex and pregnancy to convince their menfolk
Women meeting District Collector and submitting memorandums
Women holding press meet
Sending children on marches and rallies
Children writing thousands of postcards to authorities
Children meeting District Collector and submitting memorandums
Children submitting memorandum to the Chief Minister at the Secretariat
Children visiting foreign embassies and submitting memorandums
Children holding press meet
Children boycotting school
Youth organizing cultural programs
Youth organizing colleagues in neighboring villages
Youth guarding the village, roads etc.
Empowering women with newspaper and book reading during hunger strikes
Publishing Newsletters
Publishing handbills, pamphlets, booklets, books
Organizing photo exhibitions
Painting walls with specific protest messages
Pasting posters
Email campaigns
Social Media campaigns and canvassing
Forming social media friends’ circles
Internet-based streamlining, live telecast, documentaries etc.
TV interviews
Radio interviews
Magazine interviews
Regular Press Releases and Updates
Filing cases with the High Court
Filing cases with the Supreme Court
Filing cases with the National Green Tribunal
Using court appearances of prisoners for campaigns
Legal education campaigns
Organizing blood donation camps
Organizing food donations
Serving meals for campaigners
Replacing round bulbs with CFL bulbs
Supporting ‘New Energy’ schemes
Promoting solar panels
Promoting windmills
3P Principle: Purity, Patience, Perseverance
3H Policy: Never Hurt, Harm or Homicide
3T Formula: Things Take Time
3O Strategy: Organize, Organize, Organize
Compiled by
S.P. Udayakumar
koodankulam@yahoo.com
February 26, 2013

 

 

#India- Police enters our village, beat women and children, arrested villagers and cut trees #mustshare


Dear Friends,

In the wee hours today (at around 4 am) the police has entered into our villages and beaten up women and children, arrested some of our villagers (number is yet to be known).

As we have intimated you earlier that the police force has been gradually swelling in our area amidst our continuing human chain and Dharana in the Balitikira-the boarder of Govindpur and Dhinkia villages of Jagatsingpur district, the police has deceptively entered to the villages with full force at 4 a.m. today. Our people sensed their possible move at around 2 o clock night and alerted the villagers by ringing bells. Gradually women, children, male members started getting accumulated at the Dharana place. At 4 a.m. the police entered and attacked the women and children first. The male police have ruthlessly beaten our women who were lying on a human chain. Some women have been severely inured. The Police have thrown our children like flowers, some of whom are injured. Some villagers have been arrested by the police and been taken to custody. At the moment we do not have exact numbers as the situation is too tensed on the spot. The police have started breaking our betel vines and cutting the trees forcefully. More and more numbers of our villagers have come to the spot and a war like situation has arisen. Our committed villagers are facing a mighty 12 platoons of police force.

We fail to understand the decision of the state to acquire land when the National Green Tribunal has already suspended the environment clearance to the proposed POSCO project in our area. Naveen Patnaik is behaving like an agent of the POSCO company.

As the situation is too alarming, we appeal all our friends to protest against the barbarism and call/write/fax to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister of Odisha and Chief Secretary of Odisha, Home Minsitry, Odisha appealing to immediately stop the police brutality and withdrawal of the force from our area. Please call to your respective MPs and MLAs and raise your protest against them urging them to oppose the illegal move. Write to NHRC also.

We request our media friends to rush to our villages and see the situation in their own eyes and report.

We will intimate further developments soon.

Please widely circulate this mail.

In Solidarity,
Prashant Paikary
Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti
Mobile no-09437571547
E-Mail - prashantpaikary@gmail.com

The contact address of the authorities

 

Retd IAS’ memoir questions Narendra Modi’s role in Gujarat riots


Published: Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013, 13:03 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

It has been more than a decade, but the ugly chapter in Gujarat’s modern history, which killed many of its people, continues to haunt memories. The post-Godhra communal violence of 2002 has been mentioned by retired IAS officer of Gujarat-cadre Javid Chowdhury in his autobiography titled The insider’s view – Memoirs of a Public Servant, published in 2012.

In 2002, the 1965-batch IAS officer was posted as secretary in Union ministry of health and family welfare in the then NDA government headed by BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The 18th chapter of the book ‘Discharge of Rajdharma? 2002’ recounts how the Narendra Modi government browbeat prime minister Vajpayee’s offer of medical aid for the victims and summarily maintained that the situation was ‘normal’ in state, despite the PM’s information that it was not.

Modi did not allow the then Union health minister to visit Shah Alam relief camp nor did he go there himself, despite explicit orders by the PM to do so. Chowdhury says, the then state health minister, late Ashok Bhatt, threatened to jump out of the moving car if the central minister insisted on visiting the Shah Alam camp.

He also recounts the events and incidents, which bring out in no uncertain terms, the discomfort of the NDA regime at the incidents in Gujarat, particularly Vajpayee, who is already known to have chastised Modi for not following his ‘Rajdharma’.

Over and above highlighting the sequence of events that betray the Modi government’s partisan attitude towards minority community’s victims of violence, Chowdhury lets out a heartfelt lament at the failure of civil servants in the state to discharge their duties towards the Constitution of the country and its people.

On Sunday, former DGP of Gujarat RB Sreekumar wrote a letter to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission and chairman of Special Investigation Team RK Raghavan, highlighting specifics from Chowdhury’s book, which he claims corroborates the many facts cited by him in his nine affidavits and other documents submitted before the Commission.

“The narration (in Chowdhury’s book) would also authenticate the unethical strategy of the state government to suppress facts about the then precarious situation in the state, in order to make the central government and citizens to believe what the state government wanted them to believe,” Sreekumar has said in the letter.

SIT has not considered his affidavits and submissions as evidence in the reports submitted by them, especially in the case of Gulbarg Society where Modi is one of the accused, for want of corroboration of facts.

Chowdhury also recounts a review meeting in Delhi with Vajpayee after the riots, where the PM is distinctly uncomfortable with Modi’s ‘powerpoint presentation’ giving the impression that the situation in Gujarat is normal. In fact, he writes that Vajpayee, in that meeting, categorically disagreed with Modi for shutting down riot camps so soon after the incident as also the very small amount of compensation given to the victims, and was concerned about how they would rebuild their lives.

A defiant Modi argued that extended camps heightened tension and delayed the return to normalcy. “The PM had pushed his point to the maximum. If he pushed it more, there would be an open rift,” Chowdhury has observed. Union home minister LK Advani present in the meeting “did not utter a word. He was reported to be suffering from laryngitis – no one clarified whether it was viral or diplomatic!” the book says.

#INDIA- Disturbing rise in male intolerance to empowerment of women #delhigangrape #vaw


 

PUCL press statement on Delhi gang rape, 24th December, 2012
PUCL strongly condemns the brutal, bestial and savage sexual assault of a 23 year old girl in a moving Delhi bus on 16th December leaving her battling for life. We also condemn the unprovoked, unacceptable, unlawful and brutal attack launched by the Delhi police on 23rd December, on thousands of citizens, protesting against state inaction in the rape incident in and near India Gate and the continuing attempts by state police to crush the growing agitation by young people.
The response of the Union Home Minister, Chief Minister of Delhi and the Prime Minister, has been both belated as also insensitive, mechanical and sometimes even farcical as when the Union Home Minister used the Maoists as an alibi for not meeting and addressing the agitators. The political executive has failed to understand that the agitation is not in respect of this one incident alone. The agitation is symbolic of the loss of trust and confidence of people of this country in the criminal justice institutions and the people managing them. For decades now, every single institution without exception has been manipulated and subverted with impunity and citizens are no longer willing to trust persons in power – whether ministers, bureaucrats or police officials.
The agitation has also to be seen in the context of increasing incidents of aggravated sexual assaults on young girls, some as young as 5-8 years old across the country. The situation of rape and sexual violence is particularly severe in rural areas where on a daily basis, there are reports of women from Dalit, minority and economically vulnerable sections suffering violence and sexual assault at the hands of men, on the streets, in work places and other social spaces. This apart, the sexual violence on sexual minorities, transvestites and others is also very worrisome. Most such cases never make it to national media and do not become subject of mass action in urban cities. While we welcome the mass outpouring of support to the Delhi sexual assault survivor we also urge concerned citizens nationwide to become continuously engaged with the larger issue of violence against women in each state, city and locality.
However the issue of sexual assault and violence against women cannot be addressed merely by better policing and more security for women. Very often it is the police and the security guards who become threats to women’s safety considering the current experience of sexual assaults on women and men within police stations and by armed forces. The issue is symptomatic of a much larger, complex social phenomenon. Rapes and sexual violence will have to be seen in the backdrop of rising male intolerance to assertion of independence, self reliance and empowerment of women, in the work arena, professional and social spheres. Questioning of patriarchal values of male superiority, domination and gender discriminative practices are amongst many other social and economic factors responsible for increasing sexual assaults.
PUCL strongly opposes the demand to introduce death sentence as a penalty for rape. Demanding death sentence for rapists is not going to solve the problem of increasingly brutal and bestial sexual violence. Worldwide, as also in India itself, there is no scientific evidence that death penalty acts as a deterrent. By the same token, neither are other measures such as castration of rapists useful or relevant as punishment, as put forward by a number of groups.
It is also pertinent here to point out that punishment is only the last link in the criminal justice system. Conviction and sentencing is dependent on the strength of the prosecution which is in turn dependent on proper investigation. So amending law to have harsher punishment is a non- starter when a large percentage of cases end in acquittal when investigation and prosecution are often compromised deliberately.
The subversion of law begins from the stage of registration of FIR, medical examination of survivors of sexual assault as also the perpetrators, forensic science reports, witness statements, identification of accused through `identification parades’, letting in evidence in court, threat and buying up of witnesses and trial proceedings. We should also not forget the collusion, indifference and inefficiency of `Public Prosecutors’ in the conduct of trials. This subversion is apart from inherent patriarchal attitudes and prejudices of investigators, prosecutors and judges alike. It is only cases which surmount these hurdles which results in conviction and punishment. Thus without addressing these systemic issues, merely demanding new, more stringent laws and harsher punishment is a simplistic approach and no solution.
PUCL firmly believes that apart from punishing perpetrators and providing support to the survivors there is a need for a national level debate on the issue of violence against women across a whole range of issues – starting from language and discourse and spanning social, economic, cultural and psychological factors resulting in the commission of crimes against women. There is an urgent need for men and women from all sections including scheduled castes, religious and sexual minorities to understand, analyse and find solutions to the issue of sexual violence on women. In the end, the ultimate aim should be prevention of crime against women and not just punishment.
Prof. Prabhakar Sinha, National President
Dr. V. Suresh National Gen. Secretary

Dalit teenager gang-raped for over a week; seven arrested #Vaw #Justice


CHILDRAPE

By PTI – HASSAN (Karnataka)

28th December 2012 05:30 PM

A 17-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped by 10 persons for nine days in Karnataka’s Hassan district.

Seven of the accused have been arrested.

The girl was allegedly raped at various places in the district by the accused, who brought her to the town from Magge village in Alur taluk promising her employment, Superintendent of Police Amith Singh told PTI over phone.

The ten sexually exploited the girl in turns from December 19 to December 27. The gang then dumped her in Hassan yesterday after which she approached an NGO for women, which immediately alerted police.

Singh said the police constituted three teams to trace the accused and seven have been held.

“We are looking for more suspects. They will also be arrested soon. All the arrested have been subjected to medical examination,” he said.

The seven arrested, including an auto rickshaw driver, would be produced before a local court tomorrow, he said.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who is a Lok Sabha member from Hassan, has demanded exemplary punishment to the accused.

 

Glitches in cash transfer pilot project worry govt


By , TNN | Dec 3, 2012, 03.28 AM IST

Glitches in cash transfer pilot project worry govt
Jairam Ramesh, who is is a key person for the implementation of this programme which is being viewed by the political class as UPA-2’s “game changer”, has conceded that there would be operational issues in implementing the direct cash transfer scheme.

NEW DELHI: The government is alarmed by the fact that the year-long cash transfer pilot project in Alwar district‘s Kotkasim block has virtually been a non-starter as money has rarely, if ever, come into the bank accounts of intended beneficiaries.

Reacting to a report that TOI front-paged on December 2, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said, “The Kotkasim thing is a very serious issue. There will be operational issues. That’s why this is being rolled out in the 51 districts. We will learn all these issues and then we’ll take a call.”

Ramesh is a key person for the implementation of this programme which is being viewed by the political class as UPA-2′s “game changer”. If it gets stymied by lazy implementation, the political dividends for UPA may be minimal. Possibly mindful of that, Ramesh said, “That’s why I have proposed that we must admit a system of concurrent evaluation. It should not be only officials giving you feedback that everything is very rosy and working on the ground.”

Asked whether cash transfers were being made into an electoral issue, the minister said, “What we’re saying is what’s yours should be yours. Today pensions are paid once in five months and you have to pay a bribe to get what is yours. This is also a huge anti-corruption step. I’ve seen with my own eyes how people have to pay bribes to get their measly Rs 200 pension.”

‘Cash scheme can tackle graft better than Lokpal

Ramesh felt direct cash transfers to intended beneficiaries was “far more efficient in dealing with corruption than the Lokpal model”. “The Lokpal model is needed but to think that the Lokpal is a panacea as some fellows seem to think is ridiculous,” he said.

Asked if ‘cash transfers’ is the right term, given that schemes proposed by the government entail some element of cash, but don’t replace subsidies like food, Ramesh said: ” It is not cash transfers. I have never used the word. It’s the media that’s going gung-ho and unfortunately even the Prime Minister‘s committee is called PM‘s Committee on Direct Cash Transfers.”

What would he call it then? “I would say it is direct benefits transfer. Direct entitlements transfer would be another. It is not direct cash transfer. If we were replacing the food or fertilizer subsidy with cash, that would be direct cash transfer. I react very negatively to the words ‘direct cash transfer’.”

#India-12th Plan will triple spending on health #Election #Vote #Joke


IANS  New Delhi, November 3, 2012 | UPDATED 22:54 IST

12th Plan will triple spending on health: PM

Manmohan Singh
Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singhon Saturday said the 12th Five Year Plan will enhance spending on health up to three times and that more medical and nursing colleges were needed to overcome a shortage of trained human resourcesin the sector.Speaking at the foundation stone laying of the Lady Hardinge Medical Collegeproject here, the prime minister also said that health indicators reflected a country’s overall well-being.”Recognising the need to provide for the complex challenges in the health sector, the allocation for health has been enhanced three times in the 12th Plan as compared with the 11th Plan allocation,” he said.He said the government was paying more attention to medical education. In the last three years, the number of MBBS seats in medical colleges rose by over 30 percent and the seats for post-graduate programmes by 51 percent.

“However, the availability of trained human resources remains a challenge. We need to set up more nursing and medical colleges to increase both undergraduate and postgraduate seats in the 12th Plan,” he said.

The prime minister said that nutrition, drinking water, sanitation, housing and education, particularly of the girl child, were increasingly being underlined as the social determinants of health.

He added that generic drugs would be made available free in all public hospitals across the country to help the poor reduce their out of pocket expenditure on health

 

Mr “Money doesn’t grow on trees” spends Rs 7721 per head on dinner #Manmohansingh


 

image, courtesy -pagall patrakar at fakingnews.com

By Shankkar Aiyar

30th September 2012 , new indian express

History, they say, repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce. In India’s political economy, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish the tragedy from farce. Last Friday, the Prime Minister told the nation that money doesn’t grow on trees. This Saturday, the nation woke up to a new chapter in Manmohanomics. The country has been informed—thanks to an RTI query by Hissar-based Ramesh Verma—that the government spent Rs 28.95 lakh on the third anniversary celebrations of UPA II.

In a country where anyone earning Rs 22 per day (in rural India) is ineligible to be poor, the government spent Rs 7,721 per person on a dinner. By its own calculation that amount would have paid for a family’s annual consumption of cooking gas. The Prime Minister also said that the UPA has “been voted to office twice to protect the interests of the aam aadmi” but that didn’t stop the splurging of Rs 14 lakh on just the tent for the event. Isn’t it incumbent on a government that caps the number of cylinders per family—ostensibly to bring down subsidies and deficit —to observe a cap on what is a justifiable level of expenditure! Indeed, in keeping with the government’s inability to budget expenditure, of the 603 invited to the event, only 375 came.

The question that begs to be asked is not what the UPA II was celebrating but whether the UPA can choose to celebrate given the state of the economy. The question being asked is how did the economy reach where it has and who will be held accountable for this mess. This Friday, the Committee on Roadmap for Fiscal Consolidation submitted its report to the Ministry of Finance. The committee, led by the brilliant Vijay Kelkar, has minced no words in its assessment. More importantly, unlike most sarkari committees, it has eschewed the need for political correctness.

In its opening sentence, the report has declared that “the Indian economy is presently poised on the edge of a fiscal precipice”. It observes that fiscal deficit is likely to be 6.1 per cent, that current account deficit currently at 4.2 per cent could worsen and “sovereign credit downgrade and flight of foreign capital” are likely unless corrective steps are taken. The committee has warned against the classic “do-nothing approach” and emphasised that “growth slowdown is inefficient, inequitable, and potentially politically destabilising”.

The genesis of the crisis stems from profligacy and pathetic budget management. It is true that mandarins and ministers in the past have got away with numerical calisthenics. The budget of 2012-13 presented in March though takes the cake. Fudge is probably the most charitable description for what has been presented to the nation. Budget 2012-13 underestimates expenditure, borrowings and subsidies and overestimates revenues and growth.

Pranab Mukherjee’s budget for 2012-13 estimated that the government would borrow Rs 1,500 crore every day for the full year. The trend of the first half of the year shows the government has borrowed over Rs 2,000 crore every day between April and September. Subsidies rose from Rs 1.7 lakh crore in 2010-11 to Rs 2.16 lakh crore in 2011-12—for fertilisers, the government provided Rs 49,997 crore and spent Rs 67,198 crore; for food, it provided Rs 60,572 crore and spent Rs 72,823 crore; and on fuel, it provided Rs 23,640 crore and spent Rs 68,481 crore. Yet in its wisdom, total subsidies were capped at Rs 1.9 lakh crore. Indeed, the Rs 43,000 crore provided for fuel subsidies for this year was exhausted by August and even after the hike in diesel prices, fuel subsidies are expected to touch Rs 1 lakh crore.

The budget also overestimates tax revenues despite the previous year’s performance. In 2011-12, collections of corporation tax, income tax and central excise were less than estimated. Total tax collected in 2011-12 was Rs 31,000 crore less than estimated at Rs 9 lakh crore. That didn’t stop budget-makers from estimating tax collection at Rs 10.7 lakh crore. Every year since 2008, the Reserve Bank has been forced to accommodate the government through a multiplicity of instruments. Reserve money has shot up and so has net credit to government. The inflationary character of successive budgets could not have been a secret. The tradition is that every budget—at least the broad outline—is presented before the Cabinet and every finance minister takes the okay of the prime minister on details. It is inconceivable that the underestimation of reality and overestimation of fantastic hope were not noticed. Why didn’t the economist prime minister react?

Last week, Raghuram Rajan, the new chief economic adviser, declared confidently, “I don’t think we are anywhere near the 1991 crisis.” The confidence is obviously not shared by many. Not in the absence of political will. The Kelkar Committee Report observes that the economy is headed for a “perfect storm”—simply put, is teetering on the brink of a crisis. The do-nothing approach will result in high fiscal and current account deficits. High borrowings will crowd out investment. Given the uncertainty in global marts, foreign capital flows are fragile. Foreign exchange reserves are falling and the currency is especially vulnerable. “The combination,” the committee says, “is reminiscent of the situation last seen in 1990-91.”

Unless the government wakes up to the enormity of the crisis faced by India, the Rs 7,721 per UPA-person dinner could well be the last supper.

Shankkar Aiyar is the author of  Accidental India: A History of the Nation’s Passage through Crisis and Change

shankkar.aiyar@gmail.com