Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Corrupt Capitalism

Sudhir Choudhrie, who has donated more than £500,000 to the Lib Dems via his family company since 2010, was named by India's Central Bureau of Investigation as one of 23 "unscrupulous persons" in 2012. The Indian-born businessman, who lives in a £5m apartment in Chelsea, was placed on the Indian list of "unscrupulous persons" following two formal investigations of alleged bribery in Choudhrie's work brokering arms deals. The "Undesirable Contactmen" list, which was prepared by the CBI and distributed to all Indian government departments, states politicians and officials should be "careful and cautious in dealings with unscrupulous contact men whose names are on these lists, to avoid associating with them socially and accepting hospitality and gifts from them. "Even official dealings with the UCM should be discouraged. Nefarious activities of these individuals should not be allowed and they should not be allowed sponsorship of Govt projects."

Choudhrie was investigated, and later cleared of allegations he accepted a $150,000 (£90,000) commission as part of an arms deal with the Israeli company Soltam in 2000. The Indian CBI also investigated claims that Choudhrie and his companies received "a number of suspected remittances to the tune of millions of dollars" from arms firm Israel Aircraft Industries over a deal to supply seven Barak missile systems and 200 missiles to the Indian navy. The CBI closed its seven-year investigation into the allegations on 24 December 2013 due to a lack of evidence.

Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam hosted an event in 2011 for Choudhrie's charity Path To Success in Lancaster House, London, an official government residence. Justice minister Simon Hughes received a £60,000 donation in November 2013. Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, used an official government trip to India to make a visit to the home of Choudhrie last year.

Choudhrie has developed strong links with the Lib Dems and was named by Nick Clegg as a potential future peer last year. Last autumn it was reported that he has since fallen off the prospective peer list following a damning official report into the state of hospitals and care homes he owns.

He and his son Bhanu were arrested and questioned for several hours by the Serious Fraud Office in connection with an investigation into allegations of multimillion pound bribery and corruption at Rolls-Royce, which supplies engines for military and civilian jets. It is understood that they were "fixers" who set up deals on the company's behalf.

The prime minister has praised Rolls-Royce as an enterprise "of which the whole country can be proud", and the Duke of Cambridge has described it as "one of the United Kingdom's great global companies" Rolls-Royce is alleged to have used middlemen to bribe Tommy Suharto, the son of Indonesia's former president General Suharto, with $20m (£13m) and a blue Rolls-Royce car.

 The allegations, which mostly date back to the 1980s and 1990s, were raised by former Rolls-Royce employee Dick Taylor. Taylor, who worked for Rolls-Royce for more than 30 years, including a stint in Indonesia, turned whistleblower after the company ignored concerns he raised internally. After taking early retirement, Taylor said he decided to "tell the truth". Taylor claims the Derby-based company paid bribes in order to persuade the national airline, Garuda, to order Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.

Last year Mark King, head of Rolls-Royce's aerospace division, resigned just four months after being promoted to president of aerospace, the division beset by the allegations. The company has not explained the departure of King, a 27-year company veteran. It declined to state whether his departure was linked to the investigation, stating only that he was leaving for "personal reasons".

Lawyers for Suharto, who was convicted of ordering the murder of a judge who tried him on separate corruption charges in 2000, said: "He did not, and has never, received monies or a car from Rolls-Royce and nor did he recommend their engines to Garuda, as alleged."

The former Marks & Spencer’s boss appointed by Jeremy Hunt to advise on improving the NHS could “make a fortune” from hospital takeovers by private companies, the country’s biggest union has claimed. Sir Stuart Rose, who will lead a review of management in the NHS, is also paid to sit on the advisory board of Bridgepoint, an international private equity group, which is the major shareholder of private health firm Care UK. Care UK is in the running to take over the George Eliot NHS Hospital Trust – one of 14 hospital trusts in Sir Stuart’s review.

Rachael Maskell, national officer for health at the Unite union, said Stuart’s appointment represented a “gobsmacking conflict of interest” and called on him to confirm he would not profit personally from Care UK’s bid for the Warwickshire hospital.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Who owns the North Pole - Part 59 - India, wants to

Nearly a month after India was admitted as an observer into the mineral-rich Arctic Council, India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is visiting Norway, a member of the eight-nation forum, where he will pay a visit to the Indian research station, Himadri, in Svalbard.

India’s research station in the Arctic, Himadri, operated by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, was set up in 2008.  India has spent $3 million on research activities so far and plans to enhance the amount. During the next five years an amount of about $12 million is expected to be spent on research through the Himadri centre. Around 170 Indian scientists have written on Arctic research matters and 18 Indian institutions are focused on research related to climate through the Arctic.

“We are extremely interested in the Arctic region and intend to play an active role in the Arctic Council too,” said external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin at a briefing, adding that it would be an area of focus for Khurshid while he is in Norway.

The Arctic region is estimated to hold 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Family Affair

Rahul Gandhi is the  general secretary of the Congress Party in India. Sonia Gandhi, his mother, is the party’s president. Rahul Gandhi’s late father was former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, himself the son of Indira Ghandi who was the only child of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India.

In the Congress Party, democracy is a dynastic affair. Nepotism still dominates the Congress Party.

Sachin Pilot, who will run the Corporate Affairs Ministry, is the son of Rajesh Pilot, a minister in the Congress government in the 1990s. Milind Deora, a junior minister of communications and information technology since 2011, is the son of Murli Deora, a minister for petroleum and natural gas until recently. Jyotiradtiya Scindia, who now holds the energy portfolio, is the son of Madhavrao Scindia one of the most powerful members of the Congress Party until his death in 2001. Scindia is heir to the Scindia dynasty, which once ruled a large swath of central India and although royal titles and privileges have been abolished, members of such families enjoy residual prestige and status. Two others supporting Rahul Gandhi are Jitendra Singh, from the royal family of Alwar in Rajasthan, and R.P.N. Singh, from the royal family of a small principality in Uttar Pradesh. Rahul's advisors are headed by Kanishka Singh, the son of S.K. Singh, a foreign secretary under Rajiv Gandhi.

In his book “India: A Portrait,” Patrick French observed that all members of the 15th Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament elected in 2009) under the age of 30, as well as more than two-thirds of the 66 members of Parliament under 40, had in effect inherited their seats. And 33 of the 38 youngest members got there “with the help of mummy or daddy.”

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fact of the day

Data of the Delhi government states that the per capita income in the national capital is 176, 000 Rupees yearly, but the truth seems to something different as one person dies of huger or poverty in every week here. An under-estimate according to those in the field.

"Autopsies of the abandoned and homeless are completed in a routine fashion. The investigating officers hardly ever try to find their relatives and attempt to understand the reason behind the death,''
said an NGO worker. Not all the deaths accounted for. Many are never brought to public notice

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Mumbai property
Some recent figures showing the gap between the working class and the owning class were revealed in chart form. They show that the average Indian worker would need to work for three centuries to pay for a luxury home in Mumbai, making that city the least affordable in the world for locals, according to an analysis of real estate and wages. "The CHART OF THE DAY shows a 100-square-meter luxury residence in Mumbai costs about $1.14 million, or 308 times the average annual income in India, based on calculations from a housing index compiled using 63 markets by Knight Frank LLP and income estimates of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for purchasing-power parity in 2011. Shanghai buyers would need 233 times the per-capita income in China and Moscow inhabitants 144 times Russian earnings. Singapore and New York homebuyers would need 43 years and 48 years, respectively, for equivalent residences using national income averages, the data show." (Bloomberg, 10 April) During the 48 years the New York worker would have to toil to purchase a luxury home he would have to spend nothing on food or clothing. In London he would have to work for 136 years! RD

Friday, April 13, 2012

More slums to come

Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo is home to over 30 percent of the country’s population, one in every two people living in the Greater Colombo Area is a slum dweller.

Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, is home to 34 percent of the country's population and is the fastest growing city in Asia – around 40 percent of those living in Dhaka are slum dwellers.

In India fully half the population of the capital, New Delhi, lives in slums, while the figure could be as high as 60 percent in glittering Mumbai. Nation-wide 93 million people are estimated to be living in slums.

Ming Zhang, the World Bank sector manager for Urban Water and Disaster Management for South Asia, predicted that the urban population in South Asia would double in the next 25 years. Already one in every four persons is categorised under ‘informal population’ or living in shanties or slums in the urban areas of the region

Regional experts and those from the World Bank agree that most of the problems faced by the cities are man-made, primarily due to lack of proper planning.

"If we thought about proper urban planning, institutional coherence and community participation, we would be able to address a big chunk of this problem" Abha Joshi-Ghani, the World Bank's Sector Manager for Finance Economics and Urban Planning explained "We are depleting our resources by inefficient and indiscriminate use of resources." Joshi-Ghani told went on to say that any relocation of slum-dwellers has to take into consideration the incomes and lifestyles of those affected, which, if disrupted, could turn the solution itself turns into a problem. "Many think that cities make people poor, when in fact cities attract the poor who think they can make a better living there" she said.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Less poor? But more hungry!

Indian government officials have argued against many sceptics that they have reduced poverty yet two thirds of the country's population is eating less than what is required.

According to the National Institute of Nutrition, an average Indian male of age 18-29 years and weighing 60kg needs 2,320Kcal per day if he does only sedentary work. The Planning Commission had adopted 2,400 Kcal (rural) and 2,100 Kcal (urban) as the minimum daily requirement norm.

There has been an actual declined from 2,153Kcal per person per day in the period 1993-94 to 2020Kcal in 2009-10 in rural areas and from 2,071 to 1,946 Kcal in urban areas according to the report of the National Sample Survey Organisation.

According to the NSSO report, protein consumption too has fallen from 60.2g to 55g per person per day in rural areas and from 57.2g to 53.5g in the urban areas between 1993-94 and 2009-10.

Average calorie intake among the poorest tenth of the population is just 1,619 Kcal in rural areas and 1,584Kcal in urban areas, reveals the NSSO report. The richest 10% of the population consumes 2,922 Kcal in rural areas and 2,855 Kcal in urban on an average.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

class war in India

India factory workers in revolt and kill company president. Workers at the Regency Ceramics factory in India raided the home of their boss, and beat him senseless with lead pipes after a wage dispute turned ugly. The workers were enraged enough to kill Regency’s president K. C. Chandrashekhar after their union leader, M. Murali Mohan, was killed by baton-wielding riot police. Once news of Murali’s death spread, the factory workers destroyed 50 company cars, buses and trucks and lit them on fire. They ransacked the factory.

The workers had been calling for higher pay and reinstatement of previously laid off workers since October. India’s factory workers are the lowest paid within the big four emerging markets. Per capita income in India is under $4,000 a year, making it the poorest country in the BRICs despite its relatively booming economy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the more you have, the more you can have.

An article worth reading and quoting from by the author Arundhati Roy

"In a nation of 1.2bn, India’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to a quarter of gross domestic product...
In India, the 300m of us who belong to the new, post-“reforms” middle class – the market – live side by side with the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800m who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survive on less than 50 cents a day."

"Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I’d read about this, the most expensive dwelling ever built, the 27 floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the 600 servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn – a soaring wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid...Ambani is personally worth more than $20bn. He has a controlling majority stake in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a company with a market capitalisation of Rs2.41tn ($47bn) and an array of global business interests. RIL has a 95 per cent stake in Infotel, which a few weeks ago bought a major share in a media group that runs television news and entertainment channels. Infotel owns the only national 4G broadband licence. He also has a cricket team. RIL is one of a handful of corporations, some family-owned, some not, that run India..."

"...scandal after scandal has exposed, in painful detail, how corporations buy politicians, judges, bureaucrats and media houses, hollowing out democracy, retaining only its rituals. Huge reserves of bauxite, iron ore, oil and natural gas worth trillions of dollars were sold to corporations for a pittance, defying even the twisted logic of the free market. Cartels of corrupt politicians and corporations have colluded to underestimate the quantity of reserves, and the actual market value of public assets, leading to the siphoning off of billions of dollars of public money. Then there’s the land grab – the forced displacement of communities, of millions of people whose lands are being appropriated by the state and handed to private enterprise...
...Having worked out how to manage the government, the opposition, the courts, the media and liberal opinion, what remains to be dealt with is the growing unrest, the threat of “people power”. How do you domesticate it? How do you turn protesters into pets? How do you vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into blind alleys? The largely middle-class, overtly nationalist anti-corruption movement in India led by Anna Hazare is a good example. A round-the-clock, corporate-sponsored media campaign proclaimed it to be “the voice of the people”. It called for a law that undermined even the remaining dregs of democracy. Unlike the Occupy Wall Street movement, it did not breathe a word against privatisation, corporate monopolies or economic “reforms”. Its principal media backers successfully turned the spotlight away from huge corporate corruption scandals and used the public mauling of politicians to call for the further withdrawal of discretionary powers from government, for more reforms and more privatisation..."

Capitalism’s real gravediggers, it turns out, are not Marx’s revolutionary proletariat but its own delusional cardinals, who have turned ideology into faith. They seem to have difficulty comprehending reality or grasping the science of climate change, which says, quite simply, that capitalism (including the Chinese variety) is destroying the planet..."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The right to life

In the words of Nobel laureate and Dr Amartya Sen:
"Famines are very easy to publicise, people dying of hunger is one thing. But people being underweight, stunted, their lifestyle, their probability of survival being diminished, all that is not so visible..."

A survey conducted by the Naandi Foundation in India found that 42% of children under five are underweight and 59 per cent have stunted growth.

When asked why they did not give their children more non-cereal foods, 93.7 per cent mothers said they did not do so because non-cereal foods were expensive. Fifty per cent of Indian women are anaemic.

836 million people live under less than Rs20 (38 US cents) a day.

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by all United Nations member states in 1948, lists the right to food among a state's obligations. Article 21 of the Indian constitution, which provides a fundamental right to life and personal liberty, has been repeatedly interpreted by the Indian Supreme Court as enshrining within it the right to food. Article 47 of the Indian constitution obliges the Indian state to raise the standard of nutrition of its people.

But capitalism pays no heed to human rights when it comes to making profits!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Indian wealth

According to the BBC , UK developers are heading to India in search of wealthy new customers for their luxury flats. But why would anyone invest in London's wobbly property markets? Because the super-rich still have plenty of cash to spend.

One of the world's most expensive homes is currently being built in Mumbai for Reliance head Mukesh Ambani. His personal skyscraper will boast six storeys just for parking cars, and is expected to cost nearly $2 billion by the time it is complete.

Nick Candy, one half of the design and development firm Candy & Candy, is in Mumbai to drum up interest for his own super-luxury project, One Hyde Park. The central London project is offering apartments - to the right kind of customer - for an average of £20m. Mr Candy is a man used to dealing with the fabulously rich. But he says, "I'm flabbergasted by the amount of wealth in India. It's staggering."
Candy & Candy specialises in strictly top-end property. Its customer base is a roll-call of the super rich: royals, entrepreneurs, private company bosses. It's now looking to open an office in India. India now has more billionaires than any other country in Asia - 36 at the last count. Together they are worth nearly $200bn. India's top three richest people are all successful businessmen, but have made their money in old-economy industries, such as oil and property.
And while they have thrived in India's new economy, they have all built their wealth on fortunes inherited from their parents.

Many of those super-rich are now keen to invest their wealth around the globe. But why would Indian investors want to put money into London's property market now the boom is over?
"It's going to be very tough in America, and I think the UK will probably mirror it six months later," admits Mr Candy. But, he says, this applies only to properties under £2m where buyers need to borrow the money. There, you can expect "serious reductions in prices", according to Mr Candy - "and you're looking at a lot more than 10%." For top-end property - costing more than £5m - he thinks prices will be stable. There are not many people who can afford that level of luxury - and in London, there are still very few properties for them to buy.

Besides, says Mr Candy, "they've still got huge amounts of wealth. Maybe it's come down from $1bn to $500m - or if they've been very unlucky, it's $50m. But it's still huge amounts of wealth."

And of course they are the economic migrants that the government want .

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Money worth more as scrap value

Millions of Indian coins are being smuggled into neighbouring Bangladesh and melted down and turned into razor blades according to a BBC report .

"Our one rupee coin is in fact worth 35 rupees, because we make five to seven [razor-] blades out of them,"

In Calcutta alone, India's central bank - the Reserve Bank of India - has distributed coins worth nearly six million rupees ($150,000) to overcome the shortage in the last two weeks . Long queues form outside the bank's regional office in the city centre every time this happens.
Unscrupulous touts set up makeshift shops and collect as many of the coins as they can, only to sell them later at a premium. The coin shortage is most acute in the north-eastern frontier town of Agartala, right on the border with Bangladesh and believed to be a major centre for contraband trade with Bangladesh. In Guwahati, Assam's capital and the business hub of India's northeast, small coins like 50 paisa have completely dropped out of circulation.

We can only say , ...Oh , for that day when all the world's coinage is turned into something as socially useful as razor-blades .