Sunday, December 19, 2010

Editorial, 'WikiLeaks and Radia Tapes' in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 December 2010 issue

WikiLeaks and Radia Tapes

Two sensational and crucial developments in two different spheres of the globe we are witnessing today in Julian Assange’s Wikileaks which revealed the dastardly secret diplomacy as also the inhuman atrocities of American imperialism in collusion with many so-called democracies of the world, and in the tapes of secretly tapped conversations of Nira Radia, an upstart corporate NRI businesswoman playing a key role in the now Parliament-paralyzing multi-billion dollar 2-G scam in India. The former involves serious questions of principle and policy concerning the freedom of speech and expression, of diplomatic delicacies and confidentialities and charges of treason and betrayal of a nation, etc. Julian Assange is now the centre of whole world attention, hailed by the young and activists in civil rights movements as a hero but denigrated by the hurt and angered governmental and political leaders of America and elsewhere as a villain, so much so that the famous Life magazine displays a slideshow: ‘Julian Assange: Hero or Villain?’, and circles from the Russian Presidential office hint at his nomination for the Nobel Prize even. The latter is certainly not a heroine but may not be a vamp or foreign spy either though there are serious allegations against her on those counts. The point is, in the all pervading corruption in Indian society she was able to manipulate the highest circles of administration and political fields to her quick advantage and build up a multi-crore business barely in nine years. Also she damaged the reputation of many a famous figure including Ratan Tata who is now praying the Supreme Court for protection of his privacy. Here also the question of freedom of speech and information is involved and as the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Frak LaRue, has rightly stated, one should not face legal accountability for any information they disseminated and “if there is a responsibility by leaking information it is exclusively of the person that made the leak and not of the media that publish it. And this is the way that transparency works and corruption … confronted in many cases.” §§§

Editorial, 'INDIA PROSPERING, NOT INDIANS!' in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 30 November 2010 issue


A recent UN working paper states that China and India are generally regarded as the two large countries in the developing world that are the “suc­cess stories” of globalization, the success defined by the high and sustained rates of growth of aggregate and per capita national income and the substantial reduction in income poverty; further China is described as becoming the “work­shop” or “factory” of the world through the expansion of manufacturing production, and India as becoming the “office” of the world, in particular because of its ability to take advantage of IT-enabled services off-shoring; however, in both countries, the growth has been associ­ated with sharp increases in spatial and vertical inequalities, greater fragility of incomes among marginalized groups and adverse shifts in certain human development indicators. It quotes the most recent World Bank estimates which number the absolutely poor people in India in 2005 to be 456 million, significantly more than the Indian government’s own estimate of 301 million in 2004-05, and also the Asian Development Bank (2008) estimate of the number of poor in India in 2005 at 622-740 million. As for our own estimates, the latest Tendulkar Committee Report put the poverty in our country at 37% whereas the earlier Arjun Sengupta report gave the very high figure of 77% living on less than Rs. 20/- a day and the N.C. Saxena Committee put it at 50%. And with the Tendulkar Committee report accepted by the Planning Commission, we can “proudly say 37% of our population still lives struggling with extreme poverty and fighting with pangs of hunger.” As such no wonder India may seem prospering if GDP growth rates alone considered, but our agricultural production has been stagnant and certainly bulk of Indians are marginalized. All this needs a radical shift in priorities of funds allotment and good governance with stress on poverty alleviation, agriculture by medium and poor peasants, education, housing and health needs of the bulk of the people and elimination of corruption; but not gloating about the so-called development at the cost of people and environment §§§