On a single day, November 14, 2019, that happens to be the birthday of his great-grandfather (his father’s maternal grandfather), the Supreme Court of India has snubbed Rahul Gandhi twice.
In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court dismissed all review petitions on Rafael deal. During the election campaign, Rahul Gandhi had tried his level best to mislead the country, stall import of best fighters badly needed for India’s defence and even threatened to send an honest Prime Minister, #NarendraModi, to jail if he came back to power. Now, it is time to prosecute him for all your falsehood and anti-national activities.
By another order, the Supreme Court accepted Rahul Gandhi’s “unconditional apology” and closed the contempt proceedings against him over his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ campaign with only a warning “to be careful in future”. He had deliberately and mischievously attributed the ‘chowkidar chow hai’ remark to the Supreme Court to mislead the country. He should be grateful to the Supreme Court for its mercy
Rahul Gandhi is reported to be on the so-called ‘meditation tour’. It Is actually his ‘escape tour’ because he has no courage to face the consequences of all his anti-national activities and political failures.
The era of Nehru-Gandhi family control over the Congress is coming to an end. When the family control ends, the Congress is bound to disintegrate.
Under the Constitution and law, India is a socialist country but the Supreme Court of India has given a new definition of socialism to which no one can have any objection.
What the Supreme Court has said and why can be appreciated only after a quick survey of the stages through which Indian socialism has passed .
On January 1, 2015 the Indian Cabinet headed by the country’s 14th Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, adopted a resolution to replace the 65 year old Planning Commission (PC), called Yojna Aayog in Hindi, with the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog)). It was formally inaugurated by Modi on February 8, 2015, almost 65 years after India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had inaugrated the Planning Commission (PC). The historic change was widely hailed by all those who considered the PC a relic of the Nehruvian socialist era. Nehru’s critics often argue that he was the father of the PC and set up a body for centralised planning because he was highly influenced by the Soviet model. The critics have been arguing that with the increasing role of the private sector, the Indian has changed significantly and socialism has become an outdated ideology and with that the PC has become an anachronism. Another criticism was that the plan model developed in 1950 was no longer valid; it was working like a “control commission” and had become an impediment to reform, growth and progress.
Before February 8, 2015
Since February 8, 2015
The same building
The PC of India has become history but certain myths must be dispelled. Briefly, Nehru was not father of planning or PC; PC did not impose any ideology on Indian rulers; and India is and will remain a socialist country, PC or no PC. Moreover, India will always need an advisory body like PC.
First, it is true that Nehru set up the PC but he was not the first to suggest setting up of such a body and preparation of five-year plans (FYPs) for economic development. It was M Visvesvaraya, an engineer and a visionary who had studied western industrialised countries, who first suggested a ten-year plan and gave outline of a planning body. In his book “A Planned Economy for India” (1934), he wrote “Left to private enterprise, industries will not make satisfactory progress. Government should take the lead, as every progressive government is doing now.” The idea was lapped by legendry Subash Chandra Bose who as Congress President in 1938 (Nehru was in England at that time) said: “The state on the advice of a PC will adopt a comprehensive scheme for gradually socialising our entire agricultural and industrial system…” He made Nehru chairman of All India National PC though it remained a non-starter due to outbreak of World War. In 1945, eminent capitalists like JRD Tata and GD Birla, prepared “A Brief Memorandum Outlining a Plan of Economic Development for India” for economic development of post-Independence India.
Secondly, whatever faults one attributes to PC, it cannot be accused of ever adopting a dogmatic attitude. PC being a creation of government and working under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, accepted socialism or need for moving away from it as per the government’s directions. Moreover, government’s resolve to provide lead role in economic development came before PC was set up. Following the first Industrial Policy Statement (1948) which accepted the principle of government ownership and control in critical sectors of the economy while accepting cooperation of the private sector in other areas, the first FYP document assigned greater role to the state and secondary role to the private sector because the latter was quite weak at that time. According to the Industrial Policy Resolution, adopted by the Parliament on April 30, 1956, “The adoption of the socialist pattern of society as the national objective, as well as the need for planned and rapid development, requires that all industries of basic and strategic importance, or in the nature of public utility services, should be in the public sector.” The second FYP was prepared to lay the foundation of socialistic pattern of society. Third plan document stated that “disciplined and national unity are the very basis of social and economic progress for the achievement of socialism.” In Preface to Fourth Plan document Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wrote that “with its implementation, we shall have advanced yet another stage towards our goal of a prosperous, democratic, modern, socialist society. The plan document explained that “Socialism involves a reordering of society on a rational and equitable basis and this can only be achieved by assigning an expanding role to the public sector. However, the Fifth Plan document (1974-79) did not mention the word “socialism”. In Her Foreword to the Sixth plan document Nehru’s daughter and the then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, said that “for democracy to have meaning in our circumstances, it must be supported by socialism which promises economic justice and secularism which gives social equality.” That democracy in our circumstances ‘must be supported by socialism which promises economic justice and social equality”. In his Foreword to the Seventh plan document Indira Gandhi’s son and successor Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi stated that the plan reaffirmed ‘our commitment to” socialism. Eighth plan (1992-97) document sang a different song: “The centralised planning of the type practised in socialist economies did not exist in India, ever. In practice, the market has determined allocations in a major segment of the economy.” The term has not found any mention in a plan document thereafter.
The website of erstwhile PC summarised the progress as follows: “For the first eight Plans the emphasis was on a growing public sector with massive investments in basic and heavy industries, but since the launch of the Ninth Plan in 1997, the emphasis on the public sector has become less pronounced and the current thinking on planning in the country, in general, is that it should increasingly be of an indicative nature.” In fact, Eighth Plan was a watershed; the focus started shifting to deregulation of economy and increasing role of the private sector. Before that, the industrial policy announced in July 1991 suggested removal of bureaucratic controls that parted industrial development and opening up of large number of industries to the private sector.
Thirdly, the planning model did not remain static since 1950. First plan had no model. Economist YK Alagh who had long association with PC has mentioned four stages of evolution: (1) second to fourth FYP based on (very simple) Mahalanobis model with emphasis on heavy industry; (2) fifth FYP when income distribution and sectoral planning strategies were included and project appraisal became necessary before major investment decisions; (3) sixth and seventh FYP with greater emphasis on sectoral planning, though emphasis remained on public investment; (4) since eighth Plan, with greater emphasis on increasing private investment.
Fourthly, with Prime Minister as its chairman and all its employees being government servants, PC could not behave the way the Congress Party supremo Sonia Gandhi headed National Advisory Council during the Prime Ministership of Dr. Manmohan Singh did, to impose its views on the government. At best, it gave advice which might or might not be accepted. Whenever the government of the day found any member or deputy chairman the PC inconvenient, he was given marching orders. Indira Gandhi did so in 1971 when deputy chairman and member in-charge of industry opposed her son Sanjay Gandhi’s car project. There are also examples of members and senior officers going out of way to please political masters and of meekly listening when Prime Minister made fun of them. If the quality of work in PC deteriorated or its officers created hurdles, fault lied with the appointing authority. The deterioration in PC was in line with all-round deterioration in the government, especially during the period Sonia Gandhi’s nominee, Dr. Manmohan Singh, was Prime Minister of India.
Fifthly, whether critics like or not, India is and will remain a socialist country, PC or no PC. Socialism has come to stay exactly as democracy has come to stay. We were not “socialist” when we got independence and became a democratic country, not even when we became a Republic. The opening sentence of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution that came into force on January 26, 1950, described India as a “SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC”. The word “SOCIALIST” was not mentioned anywhere in the original Constitution. We came somewhere near it in December 1954 and became full-fledged socialist country during the last days of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi when the 42nd Amendment Act (1976) to the Constitution added words “socialist” and “secular” to the Preamble to declare India a “SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC“. According to the “Statement of object and Reasons” of the Amendment Act, insertion of the two words – SOCIALIST and SECULAR – became necessary because the democratic institutions “had been subjected to considerable stresses and strains … Vested interests have been trying to promote their selfish ends to the great detriment of public good.” Many believe that Indira Gandhi added the terms “socialist” to express her strong relationship with the Soviet Union.
Most of the countries that sometime or other claimed to be socialist – of Marxist variety or of non-Marxist variety – have abandoned socialism but India remains a socialist country, thanks to the above amendment to the India Constitution. In fact, now, there are just eight non-Marxist socialist countries, India included, whose Constitution refers to socialism. In addition, there are only four countries including China which are characterised as communist or Marxist socialist.
Every citizen of India is bound to respect the Constitution and abide by its provisions in letter and spirit. In addition, every person contesting elections or assuming an important office in government, judiciary, Armed Forces, etc., has to take oath of allegiance to the Constitution. The Preamble of the Constitution is not a window-dressing or of mere cosmetic value. In a landmark judgement in 1973 (known as the Kesavananda Bharati case), the Supreme Court of India held that the Preamble of Constitution was its integral part. Twenty-two years later, in another landmark judgement (known as the LIC of India case), the apex Court reiterated the 1973 verdict.
In 2007, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court seeking removal of the word ‘socialist’ from the Preamble on the ground that it amounted to breach of the basic structure of the Constitution. The same PIL also requested the apex Court to strike down a provision of the Representation of People Act according to which political parties must swear by socialism in order to be recognised. The argument was that a political party which did not subscribe to socialism had to pretend to adhere to it for the sake of recognition. Dismissing the PIL on January 8, 2008, Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, who presided over the three-judge bench, observed: “Why do you take socialism in a narrow sense defined by communists? It hasn’t got any definite meaning. It gets different meanings in different times. In broader sense, it means welfare measures for the citizens. It is a facet of democracy.”
So, even diehard critics of socialism, who are living in India, are living in a socialist state, whether they like the term or not. But socialism is longer the same as described by Marxist and non-Marxist ideologues. Now it means equality and justice to be achieved through democratic means, without the state controlling most of the economic activities. Even China, ruled by a communist party, has adopted mixed economy for higher economic growth. Ultimately, the choice of economic policy has to be determined by economic interests, not vice versa.
Lastly, as stated earlier, the government would need an organisation to draw a roadmap for country’s progress. Developed countries like Japan and Germany and developing countries like Mexico, Malaysia and South Africa have got such institutions. In the US, there is a Council of Economic Advisers to advise the President on economic policies. The organisation carries out objective empirical research and prepares annual Economic Report for the President. The NITI Aayog, the PC’s successor in India, is expected to provide road maps in different fields for transformation of India into a socially and economically developed country.
Whatever the declared economic policy of the government, under the Constitution India is a socialist state.
If you like, you may say, Marxism is dead, long live socialism.
(A former head of the Project Appraisal Division of the Planning Commission of India)
(On October 16, 2019, the hearing in the Supreme Court on the legal battle about the ownership of the land on which Babri Masjid was constructed concluded. Verdict has to come by November 17 because the sitting Chief Justice of India who headed the Bench will retire on that date.
There is one more legal battle still going on. A criminal case against L. K. Adwani, BJP stalwart and a former Deputy Prime of India, and several others allegedly responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, is still pending.
It is time to recall what actually happened on that day. I had written this article originally in February 2018.
The relevance of the article is that had the masjid not been demolished, the dispute between Hindus and Muslims over the site would have continued endlessly. It is unthinkable that High Court or Supreme Court would have entertained a petition to demolish Babri Masjid for the construction of a Ram Temple.)
(Photographs downloaded from internet. No one in the crowd is seen carrying weapons or tools to damage the structure.)
I got the eyewitness account of the demolition of the Babri Masjid from none other than my elder brother Shri Nandji Sahay – about 17 years elder to me – who was present at the sight.
My elder brother had joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) sometime in late 1941 or early 1942 when he was a college student at Patna. He was arrested twice during the ‘Quit India’ movement in 1942. He remained an active member of the RSS as well as the BJP till his health permitted him. He died of old age in November 2012.
As an active member of the RSS, he was in charge of a contingent of karsevaks who went from Patna (capital of Bihar) to Ayodhya to participate in the movement for Ram Mandir a couple of days before December 6, 1992.
For months, as part of preparations for building the Ram Mandir, the karsevaks in different parts of the country had been making bricks with “Shri Ram” (in Hindi) engraved on each brick. At Patna, our joint house was the site where such bricks brought from several parts of Bihar were kept to be carried to Ayodhya.
As my elder brother told me, it was supposed to be a peaceful rally at Ayodhya.
On that fateful day, December 6, 1992, a large crowd of karsevaks (about 2 lakh, according to the BBC) assembled near the Babri Masjid. They were to be addressed by BJP and VHP leaders including L. K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and others. To keep the crowd at a distance from the structure, the local administration had put up barricades. The police and members of the UP Provincial Armed Constabulary were regarding the barricades.
My brother told me that all the karsevaks who had assembled at the site were unarmed. The had no tool with which the Babri Masjid could be damaged.
By 11 o’clock, a part of the crowd started getting restless, pushing the barricades to reach near the structure. Those in the crowd who did not want to break the barricades were helpless when large number people started pushing their way. My brother was also pushed by the crowd and soon found his back hitting the lower part of the Babri Masjid. Some rowdy elements in the crowd started pelting stones at the structure. Meanwhile, some persons brought spades, pickaxe, mattocks, etc. from the nearby construction site. They started hitting the lower part of the structure with those tools but could not cause any damage. Quite a few of them decided to climb the structure. In the absence of any ladder, they used the persons standing near the structure as stepping stones. My brother discovered that two persons were standing on his shoulders, without the courtesy of taking his permission. Soon several human pyramids were formed and some people succeeded in reaching the top. There was no other way to go up. The top of the dome was so fragile that that sands when those standing there hit hard with their feet it collapsed like a castle of sands. The collapse of the upper parts encouraged part of the crowd to hit and demolish the middle and lower parts with the help of spades, pickaxe, mattocks, etc.
My brother told me that finding the crowd indulging in destruction, L. K. Advani and others started requesting them to climb down without causing any damage to the structure but those enthusiastic people ignored the appeals, not an unnatural behaviour of an unruly crowd.
Later, along with large number of karsevaks, my brother was also arrested. He was brought to Banares jail (constructed in 1854). Though I was worried about him, I had absolutely no means of communication with him. Realising that I must be worried, he sent me a letter from the jail in which he had written that ‘guardians’ had kept him in safe custody in Banaras. I could guess that he was in Banaras jail. Later, along with others arrested he too was released.
I met my brother a few months after his release from the jail when he narrated his eyewitness account and what he had suffered.
In reply to my specific query whether he had any inkling of any plan to demolish the building, his categorical reply was “NO”. In fact, he told me, he had asked many other members of the RSS who like him had led contingents of karsevaks from different parts of the country but none had any inkling. He told me that had there been any such ‘plan’, at least some of them could have an idea of that.
When I told him that there must be some fellows who had a secret plan, he told me that it was quite possible that some people belonging to non-RSS outfits had planned to do something sensational. He further told me that ‘when a large crowd assembles anywhere, there are always some rowdy elements bent upon doing some mischief.’ He admitted that some rowdy elements in the RSS might have desired to demolish the structure even though they had no permission to do so. Such elements could not be identified in advance. They started pelting stones and then hitting the lower part of the structure with construction tools which were available at some distance. Those tools had not been brought by the karsevaks with the bricks but were collected from nearby construction sites.
According to my brother, the main reason why the Babri Masjid could be demolished so easily was the very fragile construction at the top of the structure. Had the top been as strong as the lower parts of the structure, it could not have been demolished, in any case not with the tools the rowdy elements had.
I being at Delhi working in Government of India and my brother being stationed at Patna, we could meet only occasionally. In one of the subsequent meetings, I requested him to write down what he had seen and suffered. He promised but could not. Despite very good command over English as well as Hindi, he did not have any passion for writing. He kept on postponing the idea. As he grew older, his eyesight deteriorated and was almost blind for a couple of years before his death.
I must point out that I was never a member of the RSS or BJP. I have never been a great admirer of either. During my student days I was a Marxist. For some time I was member of the Communist Party of India. Out of my mistaken admiration for the Soviet Union, I did one year course in the Russian language. However, the unbridgeable gap between my brother’s political views and mine did not affect our was brotherly relationship. He never advised me to change my political views. On the contrary, I got maximum support from him in my studies and in preparations for the civil service.
I am convinced that the claim that the RSS had hatched a conspiracy to demolish the structure called Babri Masjid is as irrational and baseless as blaming the RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1948, the Nehru government considered it politically expedient to put the RSS in dock and win the sympathy of the minority community. Post-demolition of the Babri Masjid, the Congress and other self-styled secular readers have found it politically expedient to cook up conspiracy theory to divide and rule. The Jehadis and politicians of Pakistan are using Kashmir for their political survival. In India, the secularists think that blaming the RSS (the world’s largest non-political organisation), the BJP and now Narendra Modi for everything they do not like, is the easiest way to win over the minority community.
Comments of two senior officers of Uttar Pradesh, the Indian state in which Ayodhya is located, in a Facebook group where I gave a link to the post.
A retired IP officer: Me who was present fully endorse your brother’s views. None told us about any conspiracy to demolish structure Turning point in our history
A retired IAS officer: I went there in 1985 with the then CM, Vir Bahadur Singh after the temple had been opened for Darshan by court orders and my reaction about the strructure was the same – too fragile and could fall easily.
Were Income Tax returns for AY 2019-20 designed by a ghost?
On July 18, 2019 I submitted an application No. DGITS/R/2019/50093 to the
Director General of Income Tax (Systems) ,New Delhi seeking information as follows:
1. Name and designation of officer who designed Schedule CG (capital gains) of ITR2 for assessment year 2019-20.
2. Name and designation of officer who designed B4 (for long-term capital gains on sale of shares of Indian companies) of Schedule CG (capital gains) of ITR2 for assessment year 2019-20.
3. Name and designation of officer who approved the design.
4. Name and designation of officer who developed the utility for ITR 2 for assessment year 2019-20.
5. Name and designation of officer who approved the utility for ITR 2 for assessment 2019-20.
The information should be available at the main office of DGIT (Systems) , New Delhi. However, it was marked to the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), CPC Bengaluru who replied on Aug 8, 2019 that information was not available with him. He did not bother to forward the application to the CPIO who has the requisite information. Nor did
This is height of irresponsibility on the part of DGIT (Systems) as well as CPIO, CPC Bengaluru.
Some one must have designed Income Tax Returns with all the schedules and some one must have developed utilities.