www.abplgroup.com - Asian Voice 7th March 2015
Indian troops engagement in First World War to be immortalised
As I See It
Budget, budgeting and the proof of the pudding... The eagerly awaited first full Modi Government budget was presented by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to the Indian Parliament last Saturday. It is indeed not as per the expectations of certain circles. At the same time, surely, it appears to be a sensible budget and the priorities are more proper and timely. The Finance Minister must be credited for shunning the roots of populism or focusing on vote bank politics. In India, of all places, the main emphasis for the national economy is proper and correct emphasis on wealth creation and, at the same time, to be concerned about those who are in the lowest strata of society. Budget and budgeting is a part of our everyday life. Even the smallest projects or enterprises need to have a detailed strategy with clear destinations and the best route to follow. A budget is a blueprint. Whether it will achieve the bottom line in black or deep red depends on many factors. The BJP-led NDA Government has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha (the Lower House of Parliament). The Upper House has overwhelming strength of the opposition. On Tuesday 3rd March, as could have been seen on TV, the opposition does not only oppose on principles or issues but has no qualms to throw fair or unfair obstacles in the path of the government. This should be taken in stride. India has, after all, opted to develop through democracy.
l differing the implementation of the General Anti-Avoidance Rules by two years l commitment to a national goods and service tax system from April 2016 l enactment of a comprehensive bankruptcy code which would inevitably enable speedy reorganisation of failed businesses l plans to de-risk private investment in infrastructure through auctioning mega projects in ‘plug-and-play’ l allowing salaried persons the choice between making mandatory contributions to the Employees Provident Fund and potentially higher return-generating New Pension System l establishment of a separate holding investing company for public sector banks and corporatisation of state owned pots
There are some issues which are inevitably more like short comings of the budget. They are:
l the focus to boost investor sentiment l a four year road map to lower basic corporate tax to 25% from the present rate of 30%. It appears to be the correct international competitive rate
l extending timeline for meeting the 3% of the GDP Fiscal Deficit target. This could be understood given the private sectors continued reluctance to invest l the continuation of the subsidies on food and fertiliser which are in a way unavoidable l targeting welfare schemes to the truly needy using the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-mobile (JAM) platform. Though there is no attempt at rationalisation Finance Minister Jaitley had to juggle many dreams. He also had to remember the promises made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the election campaign as well as later on in Parliament. It is right and proper that the old slogan of ‘garibi hatao’ has been replaced convincingly by emphasis on wealth and job creation. India needs at least 12 million new jobs a year for the eager youth com-
Britain's immigration system is broken. More than that, it is so biased, confused and politically troubled that the Coalition Ministers seldom want to speak about it. Nobody can deny that Britain is an open society, and our economy thrives on the energy of
immigrants and the taxes they pay. But the undercover investigation by Channel 4 in Yarl's Wood Immigration removal centre has been the prove of this government's failing values. It revealed a culture of racism, sexism and threats of violence in
The provisions of this budget are clear, more welcome and some of them are as under:
ing to the market. Another important part of the budget is the Center/State relationship and the allocation of higher percentage of the national resources into the States. Now the Central Government will retain 38% and the States will receive 62%. Another very admirable approach is more equitable distribution even where the BJP is not in the government as for example, West Bengal, Orissa, and other States. Of course some would argue that it may be a long term strategy of the Modi government to push for BJP in such states of India. Even if it is true there is nothing ignoble about it. There is another area of concern about smart city concept. Last year the budget gave much importance to this topic. In this budget there is no mention of it - perhaps it is better to grow from the bottom up than the other way round. Of course some commentators would have their own views about the proposed big goals such as 100,000 kms of new roads, 60 million new houses as well as medical and educational facilities in rural areas. The concern is right if it raises issues such as who will do it, how it will be done, in what time frame the first steps will be taken etc. Overall, surely this budget is a positive one for sustainable growth over a longer period of time but the most important question is how it will be implemented. Fulfilling the promises on land reforms for industrial development has several challenges. This is not China. An ordinance can not acquire the land for industrial or infrastructure projects but equally it will be good to proceed with the consent of the stakeholders and it will benefit the environment and ecology. - CB
UK immigration system has lost sight of human lives at its heart
Britain's most notorious detention centre, where footage revealed prisoners throwing themselves off the staircase to commit suicide. Responding to this report released from a cross party-group of MPs which called for an end to the indefinite deten-
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as part of the Government’s programme to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War, will be hosting a multi-faith cultural evening at IWM North, part of Imperial War Museums, in Manchester on Tuesday 10 March, marking centenary of the second Battle of Neuve Chapelle – the first major engagement of Indian troops on the Western Front. This aims to ensure that the contributions of people of all faiths and ethnicities during 191418 are properly honoured. The event will be attended by Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, and include reciting of a statement honouring the contribution of Indian troops and committing British Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs to work together for the good of the country. It is expected to be attended by 400 people including military personnel, civic dignitaries, religious leaders from the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths, representatives from the Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association, the Royal British Legion, school children from the North West region and representatives of other projects around the country looking at the Indian contribution to the First World War. On March 5th, in Staffordshire, as many as 17 Indian soldiers, who won the Victoria Cross (VC) during the First World War will be immortalised through a unique walkway of paving stones. It will be unveiled to the world at the National Memorial Arboretum to recognise the courage and sacrifice made by 145 soldiers who were born outtion of migrants and to the suspension of two member of staff from the Yarl's Wood detention centre Steve Symonds Amnesty UK’s Refugee and Migrant Programme Director, said: “It’s clear that the immigration detention system in this country is used, as
side the UK - from 19 different countries who were awarded the VC, Britain's highest military honour, during the First World War. The laying of these paving stones will be a permanent memorial marking their bravery. The first Victoria Cross Paving stones were laid on August 23, 2014 to mark exactly 100 years to the day that the first Victoria Crosses were awarded during WW1. The last stones will be laid in November 2018. As many as 469 stones will be laid in communities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland over 4 years period. In August 2013, Communities secretary Eric Pickles announced a nationwide campaign to honour those who received the VC. Under the campaign, over the next four years on the date corresponding to when they were awarded the VC, commemorative paving stones will be laid in their place of birth or where they lived following the war. Around 1.2 million soldiers from undivided India fought for the British Empire during the war, of whom 74,000 died. One of the remarkable stories that will be unveiled on March 5 will
be of Indian war hero Chatta Singh who was awarded the VC for his actions at the Battle of Wadi on January 13, 1916 in modern-day Iraq. Singh showed extraordinary bravery in leaving cover under heavy fire to assist his commanding officer, who was lying wounded and helpless in the open. On reaching his officer, Captain Sinton (a fellow VC recipient), he tended to his wounds before digging out cover with his entrenching tool - all the while coming under heavy rifle fire. Singh remained with Captain Sinton for a full five hours until nightfall shielding the Captain's exposed side with his own body - before going to get help under the cover of darkness and bringing his wounded comrade to safety. Singh was born in Cawnpore, Uttar Pradesh India in 1886. The paving stones are made of Scoutmoor Yorkstone a hard-wearing British stone that is quarried near Ramsbottom. Each stone will include the name of the individual, the rank and regiment of the individual (at the time the VC was awarded) and the date of the action for which the VC was awarded.
today's all-party parliamentary group report says, disproportionately and inappropriately... “The Channel 4 exposé of Yarl’s Wood gave a grim glimpse of the sort of treatment people locked up in detention are subjected to and it was truly shocking...
“Every year tens of thousands of people are held in these centres for the convenience of the administration of a system that has lost sight of the human lives at its heart. “The reform of this system, promised today, is long overdue.”
Asian Voice weekly news paper (Issue 42)