SONIA Gandhi’s son-in-law—What’s his name? Vadra? –Yes, Robert Vadra has said it all. According to his perverse sense of humour, Indians are mangoes in a Banana Republic. How right he is! The poor man has discovered himself. But that’s what Vadra’s father-in-law, Rajiv Gandhi, not to mention Rajiv’s mother, Indira Gandhi and in a distant way his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru turned India into: A Banana Republic.
Consider its achievement, in various fields. Indian Universities do not figure anywhere in the top two hundred in the world. This year, Hong Kong—just an ordinary city—has five universities and Singapore two, in the top 200. Even Malayasia ranks at 156. India in all has 567 universities and not one can claim world recognition. India has 292 Think Tanks among the 5,329 such institutions round the world. (China has 425 and the United States 1,815). And yet not a single Indian Think Tank has been named among the top thirty.
According to BS Raghavan, even Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia and Singapore have made it to top 50, with one Think Tank each. Even Lebanon is better qualified than any in the Nehru-Gandhi India.
Foreigners who visit China are frequently quoted as saying that the Chinese hold India in utter contempt. No wonder. Poverty in China decreased from 30.7 per cent in 1978 to 14.3 per cent in 1987 and was further down to 3.2 per cent in 2001. In Indonesia, the proportion of the population in poverty dropped from 41.1 per cent between 1967 and 1987 to 11.3 in 1996. In India the people below the poverty line constitute about 36 per cent.
As to suicides among farmers, India beats every other nation hollow. The total number of farmer suicides in 1995 touched 2,70, 940. Talk of Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). The rate in Indonesia (per thousand live births) is 22.72, in Korea it is 4.2 and in Malayasia a low 2.54. The figure for India is 48.2. What does it say of our Congress and UPA government?
According to Gurcharan Das, it takes 89 days to start a business in India. The same process takes less than two days in Scandinavia, the United states and even in little Singapore. Inefficiency in India is to be seen to be believed. When Dr Manmohan Singh was Finance Minister in 1990, he set up a Committee to make an exhaustive study of Central Laws. It was found that 1,500 out of 3,500 laws of the Central Government had become obsolete. The recommendation was made that if those obsolete laws were scrapped or significantly modified, the citizens’ lives would improve.
Writes Gurcharan Das: “When Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister in 2004, many expected him to follow through with this, but he did not.” And he has been in power since 2004—that is, for eight long years. And what kind of Legislative Assemblies and the Lok Sabhas have we been having all these years? Consider these figures: One in five Members elected to the Indian Parliament in 2004 had a criminal charge against him. To quote Gurcharan Das again: “Of 128 Members of Parliament charged, 84 were for murder, 17 for robbery and 28 for theft and extortion. Those charged included 40 per cent of Maharashtra’s MPs and 35 per cent of Bihar’s. One MP faced seventeen murder charges.”
On July 13, 2012, according to the media, of the 4,896 MLAs and MPs who constituted the electoral college for the presidential votes, 31 per cent had declared in sworn affidavits before the Election Commission that they had criminal charges pending against them. Comments Gurcharan Das: “Of these tainted legislators, 641 had serious cases—rape, murder, kidnapping, attempts to murder, extortion and robbery against them.” At least they are truthful.
The big question is :Who gave them tickets, Vadra’s mother-in-law? Vadra perhaps does not remember that a lady close to the Sonia Gandhi’s inner circle, Margaret Alva, was literally thrown out of the party for making the allegation that tickets were being given to those who paid up. She merely told the truth. Says Gurcharna Das: “The real worry is that many crimes of politicians are never booked.” You saw that, Bob? Suresh Kalmadi involved in a major scandal has now been taken back into a Government Committee. The Commonwealth Scam is forgotten, as once Shinde cheerfully predicted! That indeed must be a reward for corruption. A Raja, once part of the UPA II government allegedly made a vast fortune on behalf of the Karunanidhi family firm in the corrupt way he distributed the 2G Spectrum licences to favoured firms. The loss to the government is placed at a modest Rs 1,79,000 crore by no less than the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG). Yes, Robert, your mother-in-law is really presiding over a Banana Republic, and even for the money you made, you have to be grateful to her. It always pays to marry a powerful politician’s daughter. There is no government in Delhi. Says India Today (October 15). “For three years the Jairam-Jayanthi regime has jinxed development with the obstructionist approach in the Environment Ministry.” According to the weekly, Jayanthi Natarajan “Has successfully stalled every attempt by the Prime Minister to make her fall in line with his reformist vision” and over the past three years “Jayanti Natarajan and her predecessor Jairman Ramesh (between 2009 and 2011) have succeeded in making the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) the single biggest stumbling block to India’s growth story.”
Adds India Today: “The story is the same across roads, steel, defence, making it impossible for India to achieve its target of attracting an investment of $ 1 trillion in infrastructure between 2012 and 2017. Good politics is threatened, Big Business is frustrated and the UPA government looks unlikely to achieve its much-needed, election-required growth rate of 8 per cent. The red tape has become a green noose and it is strangling development.”
Incidentally, The Indian Express (July 18, 2011) reported that “in the past decade, money laundered out of India was at least Rs 1,886.000 crore” and that the quantification of that was worked out “on the most pessimistic manner and by considering the global parameters”. Yes, Robert Vadra. We are a Banana Republic. And we have to praise the Nehru-Gandhi self-centred government for turning it into one. You know that from personal experience, don’t you? Or are you forgetting that you, too, are one of the rotten mangoes?