Skip to main content

India needs economic solace, prosperity more than 'transient' excitement over Article 370

Top Kashmir politicians: Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti
By Shantanu Basu*
The sordid saga of select politicians pillaging public funds and bankrolling their re-election and paying mercenaries to hold out terror and violence as an instrument of state policy for common citizens is the hallmark in Kashmir, North-East India, indeed behind nearly all insurgency (remember the mercenaries of Purnea that was made into a successful movie in Bombay?).
These mercenaries are also funded from overseas sources (not always palefaces, though), much of which is illegal (drug, arms, human trafficking, etc. called proceeds of crime). In simple terms, these mercenaries are a convenient conduit for foreign intervention in our domestic affairs.
There is no ideological backing of any of these groupings that alternate in running governments across India. There is ample evidence available to nail the likes of several politicians, only if our investigative agencies had the expertise to deal with financial documents.
The Kashmir Valley is one of these areas. None of the politicians presently under house arrest have any honest commitment to their home state. Each one has amassed giant financial assets, nearly all of its public funds siphoned off. In fact, the amount of siphoned public funds may account for a conservative 50% or more of grey cash and assets these politicians have collected.
When things get hot, these politicians change 'sides'. Such change, of course, comes for a giant price, a share of the booty. Yet these charlatans rise to be leaders of national eminence.
The British realized that Indian politicians were the 'chavanni' (four annas) type, with not much expectations; even a 2% commission would be enough for them to sell out their states. Wherever the British have gone, before leaving they created fault lines, e.g. the creation of Israel on legitimate Palestinian land. The same happened in Kashmir.
The debauch, Hari Singh, was hardly in any position to bargain when his lands were being overrun by Pak irregulars, and he would have probably died at their hands, unless he capitulated to India. So why the one-sided Instrument of Accession, that laid the foundation of a private zamindari in perpetuity, at the expense of all other Indian territories?
The Tibet issue is another outstanding example of a British-made fault line. Tibet was the buffer for India against China. Why was this delicate balance disturbed? The finger points to the British and their loyal Indian subject politicians in 1947-56, the formative years of the Indian Union.
Of course, there were many exceptions like Rafi Ahmed Kidwai who, against Nehru's opinion, ordered the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in the early 1950s.
The current crop of Kashmiri politicians must be brought to book and most severely punished without any demur. Not just that, the account books of this state must be thoroughly scrutinized to find siphoning of public funds and their transfer within/outside India.
What was the role of the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Bank in all this (today this bank faces huge frauds)? Why are no questions asked? For the uninitiated here are some stats, dated 2011-15, but enough to buttress my point:
  • J&K under Indian control (sq km) 1,06,567
  • Population (Census 2011) 12.50 million
  • No of districts 16
  • Total expenditure via State Budget Rs 1,55,785.36 crore
  • Average (avg) expenditure per sq. km @ 75% of total land area of state Rs 190-195 crore
  • Avg expenditure/district/annum for 16 districts Rs 1947 crore
  • Avg expenditure/head/annum of population Rs. 2.50 lakh
  • Total own revenue earned by state Rs. 55,821.66 crore
  • Avg own revenue earned by the state/head of population (incl. state’s share of central taxes) Rs 44,657
  • Total grants received by the state from the Government of India (GoI) Rs 73478 crore
  • Avg grants-in-aid/head of population received by J&K from GoI Rs 587824
  • Avg annual ratio between State’s own revenue and grants-in-aid from Govt. of India 1:1.31
And these are figures from the state's audited Annual Accounts, not ones that I created. The above figures do not include special grants (disaster relief), National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Ministry of Defence (MoD), Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and other Central agency works funded directly by GoI.
With probably triple figure lakh crore rupees having been released by GoI, why is it that Kashmiri children have no access to good quality education, while all Kashmiris suffer from lack of access to health facilities, commercial-scale sports entertainment arenas, communication amenities, and much more?
Account books must be scrutinized to find Kashmir politicians siphoning public funds and transfer within/outside India
Unless exemplary action against a dozen or two prominent politicians is taken, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'naa kahoonga, naa khaane doonga' slogan will be consigned to the footnotes of history while corruption will eat away the remaining innards of our economy, leaving us eternally poor.
I must credit BJP-led governments for three major milestones, viz the convergence of telecom and I-T, the Golden Quadrilateral and, now, the revocation of Article 370, the balance being mostly footnotes in history.
Now that the Article 370 excitement is over, may I also request the PM to look for a better Finance Minister, constitute a bipartisan Economic Advisory Council, select far more competent officers for the economic ministries, stop chasing the ghost of tax evasion by small fry and concentrate on making GST a truly national tax, rationalize his ministries and bring in bipartisan professionals as junior ministers?
The country needs economic solace and prosperity far more than the transient excitement over Article 370.
Last, but not the least, GoI and its defense services in J&K must not only be fair to common people but also seen to be fair. They have rendered stellar service in preserving the integrity of our land but have frequently been accused of use of excessive force. The average Kashmiri aam aadmi is an Indian, and deserves compassion, not retaliatory brutality. If the latter were to happen too frequently after today, GoI would lose much of the goodwill it has garnered today.
Besides, that could mean the defense services remain on war alert (at giant daily cost), a contingency that GoI's tattered finances may not be able to sustain for more than a month or two.
BJP motormouths too need to be severely warned not to utter rubbish on this sensitive issues, that is their wont. It is a time for healing, not for settling past scores or sub-class trolling. Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian union, not a conquered territory, as our media would have us believe. Please tread cautiously, GoI. Thin ice is treacherous.
---
*Indian Audit and Accounts Service (1984), Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Source: Author's Facebook timeline

Comments

TRENDING

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Mayawati's 'success' depends on how BSP taps new crop of young Amdekarite leaders

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Whatever be the election results in Uttar Pradesh on March 10, it is extremely important to understand: that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its leader Mayawati have the potential to rise like a Phoenix any time.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

India's actual Covid death rate about 2500 per million, third highest in world: Study

By Rajiv Shah  There is now well-researched proof, if it can be called that, indicating that the Government of India may have fudged data to show lower Covid death rate. A new paper, published in “Science”, has said that while officially the Government of India’s Covid-related death estimates as of January 1, 2022 – 345 per million population – are one-seventh of the US death rate, the actual analysis of crude death rate in India suggests, this may be a gross underestimation. 

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."