WHY PUNJAB CM IS UNABLE TO MEET THE PUBLIC AT HIS RESIDENCE?

PEOPLE’S GRIEVANCES NOT HEARD, WHY PROJECT PROTRUSIVE PROXIES UNSTEAD  

The Chief Minister Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh has recently issued a paradoxically vague official order on September 8, 2021, deputing three legislators namely, Mr. Surinder Kumar Dawar, Dr. Raj Kumar Chabbewal, Sh. Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and in addition to them Chairman Punjab Agriculture Marketing Board, Mr. Lal Singh has been named as coordinator for the redressal of the grievances of the general public at CM’s residence. Interestingly the name of Patiala MP Mrs Praneet Kaur does not find any mention in the list, who also happens to be his wife and a public figure not by choice but in her own right. 

The absurd order seems to be indeterminate and ambiguous. The real illusory puzzle for the general public is about the ‘Residence’ of the Chief Minister. Because the order in question does not define   the location of the residence of the incumbent CM. Residence means a house where one actually resides; but where the incumbent CM Capt. Amarinder Singh resides, is inscrutable mystery?

Now the question is as to where and at what terminus point, this ‘Superfluous Grievances Panel’ would actually meet the general public and what is their locus standi; in terms of their right, capacity or even authority to cause an action in the administration over and above the Ministers, in any matter, which is brought to their notice by the Public?  

First of all Chief Minister must honestly tell the  general public, why he himself is unable to meet them ? The People of Punjab who elected him as Chief Minister, reserve the right to know his inability to meet them , whether  he is   physically incapacitated or has developed some serious incurable and irremediable infirmity  ?  In such an unfortunate scenario he should depute some of his Ministers for the task assigned to extracorporeal private panel for the redressal of Public grievances , transgressing the authority of the Ministers of his cabinet and also over and above his dozen officers on special dutties.

And again the million dollar question haunts the public mind, where the Punjab CM is busy with and where is his actual place of residence and why he is befooling the public to go to a place where he does not reside at all?

AFTER COOKING GOOSE OF PUNJAB CM BACK TO FAVOURITE HOBBY

COOKING & ALLIED ACTIVITIES OF IS HIS PASSTIME FUN AND FROLIC

After cooking the goose of Punjab and failing the State in all dimensions, ‘Captain Cook’ has now returned to his favorite hobby, cooking and other allied activities of his routine pastime fun and frolic, completely oblivious of the vast obliteration and loot of Punjab; when the Mafias rule the roost, during his regime. 

The fun According to a well-known expression available in the ancient history that during the Great Fire of 64 A.D. the 70% of the City of Rome was destroyed by the fire, rendering half its population homeless, the Emperor Nero was playing flute while the city of Rome was burning.

It is also narrated in the history that Emperor Nero, later built his ‘Golden Palace’ on the land that was completely ravaged and devastated by fire and he also used its waste land and dissipated surrounding as his pleasure gardens. If the obnoxious activities at The newly built ‘Siswan Palace’ of the Chief Minister, near Chandigarh are consciously taken in to account with clinical precision; it is almost reminiscent   of the same evocative expression that of ‘Rome Burning and Nero fiddle’. 

Similarly here the  Punjab CM, in his photo ops opera, donning the hat of a Chef, wearing  Chef’s apron is busy cooking delicacies for Olympic medal winners and personally serving them at a time while the entire farming community of Punjab is battling for its unembellished  survival, the employees of the State go without salaries, job vacancies are being cancelled after entrance exams, Trees of Mattewara forest and many other green belts are being cut down mercilessly, coal reserves for thermal power, virtually finished, teachers are being lathi-charged unabatedly every day, unleashing brutalities of all sorts, The CM’s ancestral home at Patiala is heavily barricaded from all directions, drug deaths and farmers suicides are peaking in Punjab, farmer debt see no respite, thefts and robberies are being committed with  great ease as an order of the day in the absence of deterrent law & Order  mechanism , the cost of sand and gravel are rocket high  due to illegal mining facilitated by the CM himself.

Does it behoove the Chief Minister, to indulge in such hollow exhibitions when his State is in the state of absolute peril?

WHY DSGMC REPRESENTATIVES ARE DEVIATING FROM SIKH ETHICS ?

GURDWARA BODIES CAME INTO EXISTENCE TO PROTECT EHTICS, INSTITUTIONS

After a long battle, the management of Gurdwaras in Delhi came into the hands of the local Sikh voters. After Shiromani Gurdwara Management Committee Sri Amritsar Sahib (SGPC), Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) is the second largest religious body which was established under the Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1971 enacted by the Parliament of India.

The main objective of this Committee is to manage the affairs of the historical Gurdwaras in Delhi and to look after its properties. As per Delhi Gurdwaras Act, the DSGMC is declared as a purely religious body. Keeping its religious sanctity, only religious parties can take part in these elections and one nominee of SGPC and Jathedar Sahibans of four Sikh Takhats are specifically nominated in 55 member’s DSGMC. It is also expected from the office-bearers and members of the DSGMC that they will look after and manage the Gurdwaras and its institutions strictly in view of the Sikh ethics.

The general elections of four year term of DSGMC were conducted by the government recently on 22 nd August 2021 in which Shiromani Akali Dal Badal secured 27 seats leaving 19 seats for Shiromani Akal Dal Delhi (Sarna groups) and its allies. In accordance with the Gurdwara Rules, 9 members are to be co-opted before election of the Executive Board of DSGMC for which a meeting of 46 elected members from different wards was convened recently by the Delhi Government’s Director Gurdwara Elections.

But after nomination 2 members by voting of these 46 elected members, meeting was postponed by the Director for some reasons due to which two Presidents of the Registered Singh Sabhas of Delhi by draw of lot, one nominee of the SGPC and Jathedar Sahibans of four Sikh Takhats could not be co-opted.

In protest thereof for postponement of meeting, some members of Delhi Committee belonging to the Badal groups and their supporters began using derogatory remarks against the Director and created ruckus by shouted slogans, whereas this matter could have peacefully resolved in a democratic way.

This situation took an ugly turn when an elected member of Badal Dal Atma Singh Lubana threw shoe on the Director with an intention to cause bodily hurt to him while he was about to sit in his official car under police security. As per available information, an F.I.R. has been filed by the Director Gurdwara Election in which apart from others, specific allegations have been made against the DSGMC President Manjinder Singh Sirsa accusing him for threats of life to him, against General Secretary Harmeet Singh Kalka for instigating the crowd and threatening the Director with dire consequences and also against the Committee member Atma Singh Lubana for throwing shoe on him with an intention to hurt him grievously.

The IPC Sections imposed in the F.I.R. can put the culprits in jail for 5 years and also cancellation of membership of the erred DSGMC members. The Acts of the alleged violators for disrespecting the turban of a senior Sikh officer is a serious tragedy which is not expected from the leaders of a religious party because the Sikh ethics do not allow such kind of illegal activities.

Available information also gives indications about filing of counter-complaints by the Badal Dal and also filing Court cases against the Director. The sentiments of the Sikh Sangat are deeply hurt by the unlawful acts of abusing a Sikh Officer by the Sikhs, physical assault on him and then filing complaints and court cases against the Officer on duty, whereas the representatives of this purely religious body should not have taken law in their hands but should have sorted out the matter in a peaceful manner. Due to the present complicated scenario, whereas the Co-option process will take some more time for its completion, the constitution of new Executive Board of DSGMC can also be delayed, which is constitutionally not justified. Apart from this, about a dozen of Election Petitions filed in different Courts by the candidates against some elected candidates can also disturb the functioning of DSGMC for a long period.

BATALA, A CASE FOR SMALL DISTRICTS

CITIZENS ARE A CHALLENGE, SO NEED FOR SMALLER ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS

Captain Amarinder Singh led government has introduced a number of governance innovations, but it has acted like a conservative in the formation of new districts. It has formed only one district (Malerkotla) since it came into power. Keeping status quo in administrative divisions means the government is not waking up to the pressing needs of changing times. And times are changing at much faster speed.

Citizenship has been posing tremendous challenges to governance set up. National security and globalization are real challenges in Batala like elsewhere. In 1966, post reorganization Punjab inherited eleven districts (full or partial). Today, the area of these eleven districts has been reorganized into twenty-four districts as of 2021.Every time a new district was declared, Batala missed the bus. The most significant urban centre between Amritsar and Jammu has been a victim of political miscalculations from time to time. It is strange that this negligence has taken place despite the neighborhood’s dominance in Punjab cabinet from time to time.

History, economics, geography, politics and people, everything makes a strong case for Batala as district set up.

RELIGIOUS PLURALISM

Established in 1465, it is one of the oldest surviving cities of Punjab. A strong connection with religious heritage makes it a unique place. The presence of Achaleshwar dham makes it a land of sanatan Hinduism. Interestingly, Batala is one of the few Hindu majority towns of Punjab.

Hindu population of the city has declined from 70.5 %in 1971 census to 46%in 2011. Achaleshwar Dham’s connection with Sidha-Nath tradition, as described in Guru Nanak’vani and Bhai Gurdas Var is evidence of popularity of Nath jogis in the region. The city was home to Islamic learning institutions and it was revered as Batala Sharif. Before partition, it was a Muslim dominant city.

Batala’s relationship with Sikh heritage and Punjabi khattri class is beyond doubt. It was home to Bhai Mul Chand Chona, Guru Nanak Dev’s father in law. He was revenue official of lands around Pakhoke Randhawa.Gurdwara Kandh Sahib and Dehra Sahib are associated with this major marriage procession celebration known as Babe-da-Viah Purab.Batala’s relation with Sikh rule is too elaborate to be mentioned in passing. It was second home to Maharaja Sher Singh; the man who conquered Ladakh in 1841.His palace is now home to Baring Union Christian College, one of the oldest colleges in North India. With this college, Christian Church made immense contribution to higher education.

The city has produced great men of letters like Sujan Rai Bhandari, Sohan Lal Suri, Ahmed Shah Batalvi, Mumtaaz Mufti, and Shiv Kumar Batalvi. After history, comes economics. During 1970s, the city was predominantly known for trade, industry and service. It emerged as major centre for foundry works. Not much attention was paid to keep pace with forces of globalization. The local industry suffers from government apathy.

UNIQUE LOCATION

Geography makes the city a unique place. It is situated on Amritsar, Pathankot and Jammu national highway. It is home to interesting marshes and wetlands. All surrounding towns like Fatehgarh Churian, Dera Baba Nanak have direct historical link with Batala.With more administrative power to Batala, these towns shall get new push towards growth. Its proximity with Pakistan border means that a keener civilian alertness on national security shall take place.

DISTRICT STATUS AS ENGINE OF GROWTH

The city is suffering from congestion and greater population density. Batala as district shall see the growth of official buildings at the periphery and this will lead to growth of colonization beyond the immediate surroundings of city. It will act as multiplier effect, leading to improvement in land prices and creating better habitats. In 1971, 30% of city residents lived in one room houses. Today, its population is going to cross 1.5lacs and demand for affordable housing is likely to grow like never before. It is possible only if private investment in real estate grows and it creates a free and competitive market for middle income housing units. With Batala as District, Fatehgarh Churian and Sri Hargobindpur shall be upgraded as Sub division and the region shall see fine results in governance and ease of urban living.

A District status means not only the presence of ‘almighty’ Deputy Commissioner, lesser mortals like education bureaucracy, agriculture bureaucracy, medical bureaucracy and other technocracies also get a chance to play a greater role.

SMALL DISTRICTS FOR BETTER GOVERNANCE

Declaration of Batala as twenty-fourth districts shall lead to further demand for more districts in Punjab. Many states in India like Telangana have performed the enormous feat of creating twenty-three new districts (triple the original number)in six years. Smaller districts mean better governance because districts are meant for the people, not for the soil. With increase in the population, small territory districts shall solve one thousand problems of governance.

The fact, sooner realized the better!

A GLIMPSE ON ELECTION OF DELHI SIKH GURDWARA MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

RESULTS ASTONISHING AS NUMBER OF WINNERS OF BADALS LED AKALI DAL SAW A FALL

After repeated postponements due to Covid- 19 epidemic, general elections for four years term Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) were at last held on 22 nd August and results declared on 25 th August accordingly.

These elections were conducted in a smooth and transparent manner and no untoward incident was reported due to vigilant eye of the Delhi Government. Election results were somehow astonishing because number of winners of Shiromani Akali Dal Badal faction has drastically decreased from the existing 37 in 2017 to 27 now, whereas the number of winners of Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi Sarna faction and its allies sharply increased from existing 7 in 2017 to 19 now.

The vote percentage in present elections were 37 percent as compared to 45 percent in the year 2017, out of which Badal group secured 40 percent as compared to 46 percent in the year 2017 and Sarna group and its allies secured 44 percent of votes in the current elections. A large number of invalid votes were reported due to wrong marking by the voters.

Defeat of some main Sikh leaders is talk of the town in which the defeat of the present President of the DSGMC and spokesperson of Shiromani Akali Dal Badal Mr. Manjinder Singh Sirsa is one of them, who lagged behind in Punjabi Bagh ward by 469 votes from the General Secretary of Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi Mr. Harvinder Singh Sarna. Although Mr. Sirsa is reported to have been declared as a nominated/Co-opted candidate of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Sri Amritsar, which will be for the first time in the history that a defeated candidate in DSGMC elections has ever been declared as a nominee of the SGPC.

In accordance with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1971, the Co-option process is required to be completed within 15 days of the declaration of results of general elections i.e. upto 9 th September 2021, which also includes the process for nomination, scrutiny and withdrawal for Co-option of two members from Sikh Community of Delhi.

A meeting of the newly elected 46 DSGMC members will be called by the Director Gurdwara Elections to Co-Opt 9 members out of which firstly one nominee of SGPC and four Jathedars of Takhats i.e. Sri Akal Takhat Sahib Sri Amritsar, Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib Sri Anandpur Sahib, Takhat Sri Harmandir Sahib Patna Bihar and Takhat Sri Hazur Sahib Nanded Maharashtra will be Co-opted, whereas these four Jathedars have no voting right. It is pertinent to mention that Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib Talwandi Sabo Punjab has so far not been included as fifth Takhat in the Delhi Gurdwara Act, whereas this Takhat is already included in the ‘Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925’ applicable for the election of members of SGPC, Sri Amritsar.

Thereafter, two members will be Co-opted by draw of lots out of the Presidents of the Registered Singh Sabha Gurdwaras of Delhi. Lastly two Sikh representatives of Delhi will be Co-opted by voting by the 46 newly elected members present in the meeting in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote on the pattern of election of Rajya Sabha members, which is quite different from the general elections.

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act and rules mandates the Director Gurdwara Elections to call first meeting of all the 55 members, in which after administering Oath to all the members in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, a pro-tempore Chairman will be elected to conduct election of President of DSGMC. Thereafter, the newly elected President will conduct election of other office-bearers consisting of Sr. Vice-President, Jr. Vice-President, General Secretary and Joint Secretary along with 10 members of the Executive Board. If there are more than one candidate for any post, election will be held through secret ballot papers. Although 26 votes will be required for a winning candidate, but this number can decreased in the event of absence of some members. During counting of votes, if more than one candidate secure equal number of maximum votes, then the winner will be decided by draw of lot.

In this way, the new Executive Board will start functioning probably in the end of September 2021 after taking charge from the existing Committee, whereas the term of the new Executive Board will be two years. In case of any dispute during the Co-option process or during the election of the Executive Board, an Election Petition can be filed by the affected party in the District Court within 15 days after depositing a sum of Rs.500 as security amount in the office of the Director Gurdwara Elections.

AGENDA-LESS ONE DAY PUNJAB ASSEMBLY SESSION IS A FRAUD

ITS AN INTENT TO CIRCUMVENT THE ISSUE BASED DEBATE IN THE HOUSE

The one-day Punjab assembly session called on 3rd of September 2021, under Section 173 (1) of the constitution of India is seemingly a deceptive move of the Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh to circumvent logical discussion on all important issues confronting Punjab every day. I agree that technically, one day session of the Punjab Legislative Assembly meets the statutory requirement of the constitution to hold a session of the Assembly within six months of the last sitting of the house. Because the Budget session of the Punjab Assembly was held in March 2021, therefore it was obligatory to call the assembly session before September 9, as per the constitutional requirement, under Article 174 (1) of the Constitution of India.

Article 174 (1) of the Constitution of India 1949, reads as follow;

The Governor shall from time to time summon the House or each House of the legislature of the State to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session”.

As a former presiding officer of the House, I’m of the considered opinion that to dedicate one sitting of the House for the remembrance of the 400th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur , is perfectly fine gesticulation;  but to scuttle the entire legitimate agenda, under this  excuse ,  is a monumental  legislative fraud,  which could be termed as the biggest in the post-independence ,  parliamentary history of Punjab. The Punjab cabinet headed by Capt. Amarinder Singh has scandalously committed a profanity against the temple of democracy i.e. The House of Legislature and also against the people of the State.

HOW COULD DISCUSSIONS ON IMPORTANT ISSUES BE CIRCUMVENTED?

How could the State cabinet circumvent discussion on all important issues confronting the Punjab almost every day, warranting collective view of the legislature, which entail consideration on the floor of the House? Who will discuss the appalling law & order situation of Punjab and where? Why the sufferings of the farmers, who are agitating and struggling for the repeal of the anti-farmer Agri laws for more than a year, is not being considered a legitimate issue   to be debated on topmost priority  as part of the agenda of the proposed session of the Vidhan Sabha? Why the ill-conceived fraudulent PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) are not being discussed and rejected, out rightly on the floor of the house; as unequivocally guaranteed by the Punjab Congress Chief, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu? Could Capt. Amarinder Singh answer;  as to who will discuss and debate the demands of the employees of the State Government, agitating teachers, Patwaries, Anganwari workers, Asha workers and Manrega workers, Panchayat Secretaries and many others on the war path against the State Government ?

If Capt. Amarinder Singh really enjoys the absolute majority of the MLAs as being perpetrated through ‘Dinner Diplomacy’ than why he is shying away to discuss the issues on the floor of the House? As the legitimate forum to prove majority is the floor of the House, not the ‘Dinner party’. If he can attend the dinner, hosted by one of his close courtiers and could flaunt among the hundred odd crowds of his sycophants; then why he is conducting cabinet meeting through video conferencing? If during the panic of ‘Delta Variant’ School children could sit in a class room together, why his ministers could not sit in cabinet meeting?

SILT THREATENS INDIAN DAM, REPORTS AMERICAN JOURNAL

REFORESTATION RECOMMENDED TO COMBAT SITUATION 

Experts recommend reforestation campaigns to combat siltation at Bhakra Dam, one of the first infrastructure projects pursued by India after independence.

Bhakra Dam supplies water and electricity to states throughout northern India.

When it opened in 1963, Bhakra Dam was called a “new temple of resurgent India” by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. Today the dam is threatened as its reservoir rapidly fills with silt.

Much to the worry of hydrologists monitoring the situation, the reservoir—Gobind Sagar Lake—has a rapidly growing sediment delta that, once it reaches the dam, will adversely affect power generation and water deliveries.

Bhakra Dam stands 226 meters tall and stretches 518 meters long, making it one of the largest dams in India. Electricity generated by the dam supports the states of Himachal Pradesh (where the dam is located), Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan, and the union territories of Chandigarh and Delhi. The reservoir supplies these areas with water for drinking, hygiene, industry, and irrigation. Loss of reservoir capacity as a result of sedimentation could thus have severe consequences for the region’s water management system and power grid.

According to investigations led by D. K. Sharma, former chairman of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB, the power company responsible for the dam), nearly a quarter of Gobind Sagar Lake has filled with silt. The sedimentation flows from the lake’s catchment areas, which are spread over 36,000 square kilometers in the Himalayas.

“The storage of the reservoir is 9.27 billion cubic meters, out of which 2.13 billion cubic meters are filled with silt, which is an alarming situation,” explained Sharma. He said the studies related to silt pileup are carried out every 2 years.

To combat siltation, Sharma suggested extensive reforestation in the reservoir’s catchment area. “The partner states of BBMB—Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh—need to plan forestation to bind the loose soil,” he said.

“If we can reduce silt inflows by 10%, the dam’s life can be extended by 15–20 years,” he added.

READ COMPLETE STORY https://eos.org/articles/siltation-threatens-historic-north-indian-dam

EMERGING STRATEGY FOR STRUCTURAL, FUNCTIONAL REFORMS

FROM CRISIS TO LEVERAGING OF OPPORTUNITY

There are not many occasions in the history of a nation when the opportunity to change the development trajectory is leveraged. This landmark has been set in India with the focus on localisation of development with the emphasis on Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India).

This is a radical thinking to change the course of economic development in India. The key element of the strategy of autonomous development is the creation of such an economic structure that is best suited to the quantity and quality of all resources available in the country. In the backdrop of this vision of the Prime Minister, measures like a self-reliant development of the national economy based on its own resources, cooperation and collaboration between public and private enterprises and restitution of MSMEs and rural economy have been made integral part of the strategy.

This effort addresses the sequencing of economic reforms, a debate that has been up for intense academic and policy discussions since 1991. The slow rate of growth of Manufacturing Value Added (MVA) in India and stagnation in its share in GDP, have attracted major discussions all across. Lance Taylor once observed that sequencing of economic reforms is as important as the reforms themselves. Somehow in the last several years, imports have multiplied and the industrial output and net value added, have declined.

In his third address on May 12th, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a ₹20-lakh crore economic relief package titled Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The total stimulus of Rs 20,97,053 crore included the earlier measures announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) worth Rs 8,01,603 lakh crore and Rs 1,92,800 crore announced by the government under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyana Package (PMGKP). The details of the relief package were explained by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over five days from 13th to 17th May. The endeavour was to address some of the major challenges the economy is likely to confront with exit from the lockdown as well as those emerging from the issues like reverse migration and supply disruptions.

THE RESPONSE

The first tranche, aimed at micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and some individuals was announced by her on Wednesday. The major actors and sectors that the five press conferences covered, form an extremely exhaustive list of issues covered in the package. Among the key actors in the economy, the State governments have been arguing and supporting for greater financial maneuvering space. Business, financial institutions, housing and agriculture and farmers may be the key actors in the changed policy paradigm [Is it okay!!]. Big focus on migrant labour has been a major highlight of the present policy. Efforts have also been made to bring-in community participation though cooperative banks and Regional Rural Banks, self-help groups, dairy cooperatives and fishermen organisations. Power sector beneficiaries include DISCOMs across states and in the Union territories as well. Infrastructure includes agricultural and rural sectors.

It is also interesting to note that five different modalities [for ….] are proposed to be included in the programme. First is to support social security to front liners & vulnerable groups; Second, credit facilities and liquidity support; Third, financial support to infrastructure development, Fourth, technology-driven reforms in education sectors; and Fifth, policy reforms in labour market and specific sectors include coal, Defence, Mineral, Civil Aviation, Space and Atomic Energy, fisheries, real estate etc.

At the global level, we find that India’s response matches with other nations in several ways. Though country specific packages vary in size, scope and sequencing, the sectors covered for policy intervention are more or less similar. The fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic policy interventions covered in the country packages are meant for ensuring adequate supply of medicines; equipment and heath infrastructure; vaccine development; relief to unemployed, vulnerable and sick persons; ensuring essential supplies; food safety and security; tax relief; credit flows to small and medium businesses; debt moratorium; lowering of policy rates; and most importantly ensuring adequate flow of liquidity in the economy and preserving capital in the banking system through repo rate changes, asset purchase, and reduced reserve requirements. The size of fiscal stimulus packages are very high for certain countries such as Japan (21.1per cent), Belgium (13.5 per cent), Iran (13.7 per cent, Singapore (91.3 per cent , US (11 per cent , Hong Kong (10 per cent ), among others. For developed countries and emerging markets, the size of fiscal stimulus ranges from 3 per cent to 8 per cent , whereas for some African and South Asian economies it is reasonably low. Combined fiscal stimulus package for India

stands at over 11% of GDP, which is reasonably high considering India as an emerging country.

THE WAY FORWARD

The quick implementation in letter and spirit is most essential at the present situation. The relevant Ministries and agencies would have to be motivated to act proactively, bringing all the actors together for collective forward movement. Bureaucracy would have to be motivated for pragmatism and for a result oriented approach.

There are two other important factors. First, India requires an institutional mechanism of funding long-term projects with high capital. Since the privatisation of IDBI and ICICI, India has lost on industrial development financing to a large extent. The arrangements that have come up have failed in refinancing and extending risk support. The informal sector is very important for manufacturing production in India. However, very often dynamism, particularly in the exploitation of economies of scale and technological upgradation, depends on the performance of large companies, which are facing slow increase of the capital stock. Second, the RBI should be encouraged to work closely with PSBs to do the necessary deep dives for stimulating industrial growth. Government support to PSBs should not be taken for granted.

A HOUSE FOR US, NOT THEM!

PUNJABIS LOVE TO BUILD BIG HOUSES, LANDS IN DEBT TRAP

Punjabis love to build big houses and most of times, it is too late when they realize that their big house has become a debt trap for the family. Due to student visa exodus in rural Punjab, the number of ‘empty nest’ houses is increasing but at the same time the size of such empty nests is also growing abnormally. Interestingly, Punjab govt also reflects this social attitude perfectly in designing and building its public buildings like schools, colleges, hospitals, offices, Sewa Kenders etc. These are big, empty, underutilized and unrepaired. Parthenium grass is the proud occupant of most public buildings in Punjab and some unused corners act like open bins.

Thank god that Punjabis are not paan chewing people, to a large extent. Bigness does not translate in to comfort for the stakeholders. Big budget brings little relief, be it private houses or public buildings.

PAMALJEET WANTS CHANGE IN BIG BUDGET, BAD BUILDING PHILOSOPHY

In this scenario, young architects like Pamaljeet Singh take up the challenge to clear Augean stable, a mess created by big budget-bad building philosophy. Pamaljeet is a Mohali/Ajitgarh based architect and designer who runs a design lab with Srishti. Design lab’s motto is: Less, but better.

This is direct antidote to the building thought that builds for sight, not for life. Pamaljeet possesses the rare combination of a graduate degree in architecture from MNIT Jaipur and masters degree in Furniture design from National Institute of Design, Ahmadabad. This training has given him in depth understanding of impact of furniture and buildings on human life. His learning at Italy and Ideasquare, CERN, Switzerland further broadened his mental horizon to think and work about making such living space that actually makes all people’s lives easy, be it young or old.

He earned his M.Sc. in Innovative Design at University of Ferrara, Italy. Not availing job offer at Switzerland, he chose Punjab as his Karambhumi. Srishti, a designer from NID Ahmadabad, shared his vision and they founded TUBB, a Mohali based design lab for human-centric products, services, systems and spaces. They have contributed in the design of Pregnant Women Transit System in Civil Hospital, Ahmadabad in 2019. How do the blind people handle their tableware while dining? It should be designed to suit their needs. This was the question that compelled them to take up the project for designing

Inclusive tableware for Blind People Association of Ahmadabad. Currently they are working upon Body Conscious Living Systems for National Design Business Incubator.

BELIEVES IN DEMOCRATISATION OF DESIGN

Pamaljeet believes in the democratization of design. It is stakeholder, not Neufert books, who have to decide the height and size of a kitchen shelf. Elbow size of Punjabi ladies does not go well with the prescriptions made by Neufert and working in kitchen causes life time damage to spine and kitchen becomes an unpleasant place. This is the same place where old Punjabi matriarchs used to rule when their space was not built according to the wisdom of so called trained architect.

Pamaljeet sees a lot of problem with the trend of copy pasting a city dwelling design for rural housing requirement. He believes that house should be designed according to the needs of stakeholder. Do not build your house the way your uncles and aunts want, do not build your house for the future wives of your unborn grandchildren, keep them simple, make with less but make it better.

PAINFUL JOURNEY AHEAD FOR NAVJOT SINGH SIDHU

IN LAST MONTHS OF GOVT MLAs WITH SIDHU AS PRESIDENT ARE IN CELEBRATORY MOOD, A UNIQUE OCCURRENCE  

When a government moves towards the last months of its term, the mood is generally sombre and pensive, with a lot of energy devoted towards reflection and deliberation. Celebratory mood of Congress MLAs with Navjot Singh Sidhu as new President of PPCC is a unique occurrence. It appears that the result of 2022 Punjab assembly is already declared for the Congress and the only thing that remains, is the beginning of a new term for Congress rule , this time most certainly with Navjot Singh Sidhu as the chief minister of Punjab. Just thinking loud!

History of Congress rule in Punjab has seen the replacement of sitting chief ministers more than once. Gopi Chand Bhargava was the first victim of such a policy. Bhim Sen Sachar, Partap Singh Kairon, Harcharan Brar also went through the same fate. It started with Punjab MLAs memorandums to Pt. Nehru, against Partap Singh Kairon and now it was his great grandson, who was giving patient hearing to Punjab MLAs. The only thing changed was that Rahul Gandhi gave more patient hearing to dissidents than his great grandfather had ever shown to Punjab MLAs.

Sidhu took oath on July 23, after two months long political slugfest, with none other than the CM Capt. Amarinder Singh hitting hard at his style of functioning and the un-kept promises he made to the electorate ahead of 2017 state polls. Amarinder resisted his elevation and even announced not to meet Sidhu till he apologised for the derogatory remarks he made on the social media. But finally things fell in place, as a party leader rightly revealed, “those who made Sidhu the President (of state unit) also did the follow-ups”.

The pain is no less for Amarinder who saw his well-conserved aura crumbling in days and he accepted to reach for Sidhu’s coronation alongwith the party-men, ministers of his cabinet, MPs and MLAs; inviting them over tea before the event. It seems the message is clear for him, “enough”.

With Amarinder coming in, the entire party has fallen in line. “It’s our party, high command made Sidhu the President, who’s objecting,” all are in chorus; particularly those who objected to the anointment, in muffled voices or were loud.

This is the first time that Congress high command has nominated a potential (undeclared) chief ministerial candidate as PPCC President, cut the sitting stalwart Chief minister to size and bypassing the “tallest leader”.

Take Punjab congress to victory in 2022, and you are the chief minister, this is the unwritten condition behind Navjot Singh Sidhu’s appointment. He is appointed not for a term, but for a task. If Congress wins 2022, he is CM, not President, if it fails, he is not President PPCC. In both cases, Navjot Singh Sidhu’s current post is temporary.

With Navjot Singh Sidhu as President, there will be greater division of labour in running organization matters. He is not a traditional politician negotiating his rise in the organization through grass root work. He’s para-dropped, made to sit over the partymen who claim to have scaled their upward journey dragging through the party hierarchy, toiling for decades.  

He shall serve as the celebrity leader with part time intellectualism. His projection of the  Punjab Model is one such indicator. With Sidhu in power, the traditional political class shall have greater say in the affairs of party and government. It is a paradox that Captain Amarinder Singh was opposing Sidhu’s elevation in the name of the traditional political class, while himself treating them like inferior mortals. In fact, the rise of Sidhu in the Congress is the revolt of the traditional political class against bureaucratic despotism which was stifling the scope for any political initiatives in the state. In fact, MLAs celebration with Navjot Singh Sidhu’s elevation is celebration of new found freedom from the fear of bureaucracy. With the increasing control of bureaucracy over Captain Amarinder Singh led government, the political class was feeling suffocated and it was becoming increasingly irrelevant. It’s biggest fear was how to face voters in the coming elections. They were losing political credibility before the eyes of their own electorate.

MLAs are elected representatives of people. They cannot be treated like cronies, this is the message they are trying to convey, while throwing their weight behind Navjot Singh Sidhu. The challenge is that for how long, Navjot Singh Sidhu shall retain the new found affection of MLAs. Affection is always short-lived, as Machiavelli suggested, it is over once a purpose is served. Can Sidhu, remembered as Sherry in the cricket world, be different? He has to be!

There’s a painful journey awaiting Navjot Sidhu in the Punjab Congress, once the early euphoria dies!