In the emerging economies around the globe, the Indian economy has earned a unique distinction of having one of the lowest external debt to national income [measured in terms of Gross National Product (GNP)] ratios. India is ranked eighth among the 15 emerging economies?Argentina, Brazil, China, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Thailand and Turkey?under consideration.
The ratio of external debt of GNP is a measure of how much an economy owes to the rest of the world in relation to what it earns during the course of the year. Although, India's20.7 per cent ratio is higher than China's13.4 per cent, it is less than half the ratio of Brazil and the Russian Federation and less than a third of the ratio of south-eastern countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines.
In fact, India is the sixth largest economy in the world on PPP basis and of a lesser size than only China among the emerging economies. In comparison to Brazil'sexternal debt of $227.9 billion and China'sexternal debt of $168 billion, India'sexternal debt was $104.4 billion in 2002.
External debt is defined as debt from multilateral agencies, bilateral aid, export credit, commercial borrowings, NRI deposits, rupee debt and short-term debt. The external debt figure has not increased appreciably from 2002 to 2003. For December 2003, the external debt figure stands at $112 billion, which is a 6.5 per cent increase over the 2004 figure.
It seems that now-a-days nothing is going well with Congress-led coalition government of Karnataka. Owing to Madhya Pradesh'sformer Chief Minister Uma Bharti'sarrest by state police in connection with the Hubli-Idgah case, another major political controversy involving a former Prime Minister did not get much limelight. Last week, the Dharm Singh-led coalition government threatened a senior bureaucrat Jayakar Jerome with disciplinary action against him, as Jerome had sought permission from Karnataka'sChief Secretary to sue former PM, Deve Gowda.
Before the formation of the present sheer opportunistic Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state, JD(S) chief Deve Gowda during the Assembly election'scampaign openly accused S.M. Krishna'sCongress government of large-scale corruption. But now, even when both parties, which have united on the anti-BJP plank, are enjoying power, attacks have continued from the JD(S) side. Recently, Gowda wrote a 29-page letter to Chief Minister, alleging widespread corruption during the last Congress government'stenure and pointed out involvement of Jerome, who was the then Bangalore Development Authority Commissioner. It was in this backdrop that Jerome sought permission under the All India Service Conduct Rules to file a case against a former Prime Minister, arguing that any silence on his part would give rise to ?suspicion on his integrity and character?.
After inducting tainted ministers like Taslimuddin into the Union Cabinet, the main accuser in the multi-crore fodder scam and Union Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav, is reportedly planning to increase the list of tainted personalities. Now the Rashtriya Janata Dal is planning to field Mohammed Afroze for the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls to be held on October 13. Do you remember him? Nothing new, as public memory is short but not of politicians like Lalu. Afroze is allegedly an international terrorist, whose alleged plans to attack Parliament created a stir. He was earlier held under POTA and in 2002, the then Home Minister of the state Chhagan Bhujbal had claimed the arrest of Afroze by Mumbai police as a major success. According to Bhujbal, Afroze was planning to bomb the Parliaments of Britain, Australia and India. The Maharashtra unit of RJD has forwarded his name as a potential winning candidate from an Assembly segment of Mumbai. Not only this, Afroze has been inducted into party'sfive-member committee set up for the preparation of elections in capital city of Maharashtra.
After becoming a minister in the Union Cabinet, Lalu Prasad Yadav has reportedly started making deliberate attempts to influence the trial in the fodder scam cases going on in Bihar'scapital Patna and Jharkhand'scapital Ranchi courts as prosecutors are being changed during the crucial stages of the trial.
Even the Supreme Court is not very happy with the speed of the probe in the scam. On August 13, the apex court had, in a clear reference to the Union Railway Minister, observed, ?Government wants to protect an important person?, after learning that the income-tax department had decided to prosecute a CBI approver, Dipesh Chandak in the fodder scam case. Chandak, an approver in the fodder scam case of August 28, 1998, used to supply material to the Animal Husbandary Department of Bihar. Surprisingly, after a year and a half, he was booked by the income-tax authorities on charges of filing false returns. Making strong observations, the apex court observed that with the change of the government at the Centre ?it seems that the government is changing its colours?. Among the total 60 cases, Lalu is an accused in seven cases, which are in the final stages of trial. Five of them are going on in Ranchi and two in Patna.