Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ganga - Victim Of Religion

For always time the religious functionaries have cited excuses of services to god to extenuate the damage done to the Ganges, the holiest river in the world. The practice of dirtying the river is almost as old as the origin of Hinduism. Priests and devotees have together contributed to this practice that now is so rampant and deeply engraved in the mind and soul of the people that they very well might indict any sign of contradiction to their credo. The blatant truth, however, remains the fact that in their quest to “Dignify” their holy mother they have actually been “Dingy-fying” it.

The situation is so bleak today that an educated person would now think a hundred times (before drinking) on being offered water from this holy river. Though the process of polluting the river is all-pervasive, the situation exacerbates especially in the month of January when the holy-fairs stroll in. The Magh-Melas, Kumbhs and Maha-Kumbhs provide for a platform for a quick surge in the amount of pollutants ditched off into the river. The High-court rules, Municipal assurances and communal resolutions all are cordoned-off and people indulge in the religious spree that expedites the process and the Magh-Mela and municipal authorities haven’t yet been able to come up with any concrete measures to curb it. The period also sees exponential increase in the number of plastic bags released into the Ganges.

Another facet of this multi-faceted crisis is the releasing of dead-bodies in the Ganga waters to ensure a holy parting to the deceased. The procedure, on one hand provides another means to puff-up the dirtying process and on the other glues a morbid picture in the minds of children/foreigners who accidently happen to come across the floating dead bodies.

In today’s context, where people honour religion even more than they do their own lives, it is next to impossible to coax them out of these religious rites, especially when they have been following the rituals since thousands of years B.C. For them these rites and rituals form a set of dogma which they would do almost anything to follow

The sole solution lies in education. Mere dissemination of the idea - that how malignant this creed is - down around the public might prove to be futile unless they have a clear understanding of how relevant and called-for their abstinence in today’s scenario is. Incorporating environmental studies in all primary classes’ curriculum (and maybe with special reference to the Ganges) could be one step, creating general public awareness through rallies and Abhiyaans might be another.


Consider for example the Narmadaa Bachaao Andolan; though the mission didn't achieve enough to be an epitome that could be cited, there are evidences of tangible awareness the movement helped procure. Some efforts, while already being made by the NGO(s), need to be ramped-up to cater to the need of the hour.

We need to understand these pressing issues while we still can, lest the religious rites turn sacrilegious.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Hanging Wardens Of Britain

For the first time in over three decades, Uk saw a hung parliament. The hopes cherished by the Conservative leader David Cameron came to an abrupt halt after his party fell 20 seats short of winning a majority mandate.

As the numbers stated, Conservative stood at 306( 20 short of 326, the majority figure), Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats saw 57, 258 for Gordon Brown's Labour and 28 for others.

The Result : An Imbroglio.

While Nick Clegg failed to cash-in on the prevoius auspicious platform set-up during TV debates, Brown's performance was somewhat better than the world had envisaged.

The ramifications of a major hung-parliament remain obscure. The parties are still negotiating and re-negotiating over the coalitions.

The Prospects :

1.) Lib-Lab coal. : Nick Clegg might tie-up a coalition with Brown.

pro(s) : Clegg gets to take his major agenda( "Electoral Reform")
forthright out for public referendum. (It's noteworthy that
Lib Dems are not satisfied with FIRST-PAST-THE-POST voting
Con(s) : Doing so might foment-up general public for supporting a party the nation had rejected.
moreover forming a coalition who's leader ain't clear( Gordon Brown's stepping down) ain't no plausible.

2.) Lib-Tory Coal. : The Most foresee-able combo pro tem.

pro(s) : A Stable government, David Cameron as the prime minister and may be Nick Clegg gets to play the Home minister.

con(s) : The conservatives fail to acknowledge the need for an electoral reform. And Libe-Dems ain't got a mandate that can compell Conservatives to adapt to its ways.

Moreover, lib-dems want a proportionate representation in the house of commons, which is really very likely to be snubbed by the Conservatives.( Hating the lib-dems seems to be in their heart.)

What Can Be Anticipated : Despite major portfolio and policy contrasts, lib-dems coalition with the Tory(s) (The conservatives) looks all the more plausible and possible. It gets a stable government, afterall.

Though what turns-up, no-body knows.

Brace yourselves, the results are about to manifest themselves in a matter of hours.....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

PIIGS Beginning To Fly?

European market indices rose quickly earlier this month on accounts of buoying generated by the Euro-Zone members confirming a Greek Bail-Out package worth Euro 110 billion, only to drop heavily the next day.

The indices all around Europe saw 2 to 3 % decline in their grades, elucidating the still-to-be-addressed-dissatisfaction of the investors who are on tenterhooks regarding a still very likely prospect of Greek default.

It’s noteworthy that even German chancellor Angela Merkel changed her stance toward ‘profligate’ Greece, evident by her efforts to try and win support of the Greek parliament on issues regarding Germany’s share of chipping-in of funds going to Greek Bail-Out.

She can be right; Germany can gain in the long run as its succour in the bail-out authorises it to borrow money at ever-lower interest rates and lend at ever-higher. But if the deal flounders, Euro-Zone leaders will have to face hard-times explaining to their citizens the impossibility of their money coming ever back again; they’ll be made to eat a humble pie.

And that’s what worries and scares away the investors: the prospect of a default. If Greece defaults, it sends jitters around the Europe and ultimately around the world as part of the Domino-effect. Immediately next in line will be Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain (Called as PIIGS when Greece is included).

Euro-Zone leaders have also made it clear that a similar Bail-Out package won’t be sanctioned for other countries on the brink of similar crises. The figures have been anticipated at around a Trillion Euros for bailing-out PIIGS and the notion of it fends-off the European leaders from even discerning about it.

Moreover, stiff conditions imposed on Greece by the Euro-Zone and the IMF (which ropes the bail-out with a humble Euro 30 billion out of the 110 agreed), that involves severe austerity measures that have to be adopted by Greece including public spending cuts, raising VAT to around 22-23 % and much more (and that is the cause of resentment among Greeks) ensures that no other country in future gets on a repetition pattern like this one.

Things can work out for Greece but we still can’t tell whether the PIIGS can fly.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Green Economy: The World Ain't Enough?

What went wrong with the Homo-Sapiens in the last couple of centuries that we decided to ruin What we live on?

Our mother Earth agreed to give us all we wanted and there was no complacence, we wanted EVEN-MORE.
In our quest for happiness we've left our desired-road far behind and are now traversing the one that has equal and opposite polarity as its destination.

The time to rethink is not too-late even now. We cannot reverse what we've done but can refrain from repetitions.

The term "GREEN ECONOMY" reflects something somewhat similar. It tends to imbibe and inculcate us with morals that we can't always get wealthier and happier at the same time.

Remember, it's never-ever-ever too late to start( but don't wait until you CAN'T-EVEN-TRY).

Here's What Can Be Done::

1.)Fundamental Changes In Behavior:

A recent debate shows just how inefficient the index 'GDP' is for measuring the HUMAN WELFARE.
For the point to sink in, consider this ::

A rise in GDP means a rise in production, a rise in production means a rise in industrial activities and hence the destruction of the natural resources.

Consider the "Easterlin-Paradox":

* "countries do not become happier as they grow wealthier"

This just might be the change in behavior, re figuring-out an index that measures HUMAN WELFARE.

2.) Government Responsibilities:

* The governments might consider ratcheting-up expenditure on agriculture and Eco-friendly organizations and getting harsh on organizations high on carbon emissions.
* Carbon-emission capture plants might prove to be more than useful. It's already being pondered over in USA and other countries might adopt that too.
* Poaching and deforestation should be done away with as soon as possible.

3.) Can Global Economy prosper while reducing society's overall impact on environment?

That's the hardest part, I'd say.

Economic progress is directly proportional to the environmental damage( at least for now), and fulfilling our desires and earning our livelihood without affecting the environment negatively is next to impossible.

* Can the employees( all of'em) suddenly choose to abandon leather shoes?
* Can the whole world suddenly go Vegan( or at least vegetarian)?
* Can the airways be stopped to stop carbon emissions?
* Can the Ozone layer be refilled?

But, next to impossible ain't really impossible. We need to remain a bit optimistic.

* Investment on R&D in the field of devising mechanisms that might lead to staving-off carbon emissions might be useful.
* Develop airplanes that are Eco-friendly.
* Use so called 'Vegan-Shoes'.
* Practice afforestation/reforestation.
* Ratchet-up investments on developments of carbon-emission capture plants.

4.) industry sectors that can act as catalysts in transitioning to the green economy:

* Solar energy power plants.
* Wind energy power plants.
* R&D industries concerned with development of concepts that might help.
* Agricultural industries( save for those concerned with Tractor-Developments).
* Hoarding sector.
* Cold-Storage sector.

These are some of the various measures that can be adopted. But what really matters is:

"Practice what you preach."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Is The World N-Safe?

USA witnessed the largest ever conglomeration of countries from around the globe ever since the one during the formation of the United Nations. And the element that formed its basis was something ever-more dreadful than what you can imagine.

The world leaders have always voiced their opinion about the loose nuclear materials like the ‘Highly Enriched Uranium’ and the plutonium falling into the hands of sinister terrorist organisations, but a real action has been almost tardy.

After a significant signing of the US-Russian arms reduction treaty, that’ll serve as a great exemplar in discouraging the nations mulling over N-armament, this was another ‘paying-off’ assortment.

A latest Harvard report articulates stern concern over the safety of the nuclear materials around the globe, the most vulnerable being the stocks in Pakistan. Pakistan, globally notorious because of the ‘Abdul Qadeer Khan’ scandal, has exacerbated its reputation on the grounds that it plays host to the Terrorist organisations’ headquarters.

The malevolent LeT and the militant Al-Qaeda have both their headquarters in Pakistan and any remarkable attempt for their disbanding is yet out of sight. Leaders agonize over the uncanny measures and risible missions by Pakistani army regarding staving-off such Islamist-militant groups.

Also notable were the reactions from France. Sarkozy says he can’t abort nuclear weapons until he’s certain of others doing it too. And he can’t be blamed for that. Who’d like to be weaker when the roof is always ready to cave in, huh?

Though a response from Israel was somewhat lax. Israel refused to attend the summit due to possibilities of its own nuclear programmes’ issues being brought forward. It could have stayed and voiced its opinion.

But on the whole, the summit was a success and has already started to pay-off. Obama does have a reason to smile.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It was an epoch of reform

So then, what important did we have in the last 10 days?

Well, pretty much, buddies. A whole new deluge of ground-breaking agreements and policies from around the world waded their ways through the hoops.

And here’s a glimpse of the most important ones:

1.) Obama’s Health-care reform:
Widely touted as the ‘OBAMA-CARE’, this bill has eventually been passed by the US parliament after remaining in the blue for almost a year. And guess what, Obama is all smiles, beaming, laughing his fat arse out.

For those who don’t already know, Obama’s Democratic Party had lost its 3/5th majority some months back and that had marked the beginning of Obama-Woes. Number of democrats had been reduced to 59 (Pity! Just 1 short of Obama’s majority number, and that was all to preclude Obama’s regime from being filibuster-proof.)

Obama then adopted other measures for passing the bill that were hailed as controversial by the Republicans, who seemed to forget though that they had also used them.

Whatever be the scenarios now, it seems that, at least now, most of the US citizens are against this massive overhaul. Concerns also do the rounds now about the bill’s pro or con effects on the US economy.

2.) Greek bail-out package confirmed:
However much might Papandreou have been blamed for his austerity measures by his own countrymen, at least the European Commission now has a soft side for him. I ain’t sayin’ that, the Greek bail-out package is.

After much ado about ‘something’, Euro-Members finally accepted the proposal to raise funds for a ‘desperately-needed’ Greek bail-out, albeit with Mrs. Angela’s lambasting and provisos.

As per ‘her’ norms, Greece would be allowed a bail-out package only after it’s been confirmed that its markets cannot do so on their own. And even more. The majority of the funding would come through the IMF to keep a prying eye on the effective deployment of the financial aid.

Interest rates would also be high to ensure a hasty retrieval of the money out of Greece. Germany was however against this very concept of bailing Greece out and had to bear the criticism of the rest of the members for being so harsh.

It’s noteworthy, here, that some analysts believe German surpluses are one of the responsible factors for Greek deficits.

3.) America-Russia strategic arms reduction treaty in Prague:
The two world-powers will be signing this widely lauded treaty to reduce their arsenal. This would be a landmark achievement and both the nations think that this would set a fine exemplar for other nations bent on armament.

Also remarkable was the USA’s approval to change the site of the installation of the European Missile Shield project. This has ended its face-off with Russia at least pro-tem.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

US-Banks In Agony

US’s stance on its too-big-to-fail firms just got tougher. New measures, cutting heavily on the big banks’ portfolios and profits, have been proposed.

Barack Obama, moving a step closer to his previously manifested policy (of circumscribing the BIG BANKS), reined in Chris Dodd, chairman of the United States Senate’s Banking Committee, to propose a bill that could contain the hefty firms.

The proposed bill comprises two main aspects:
1.) Creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.
Such a council provides for authorities to the FED to take control of any firms it deems as a threat to financial stability. Although such mechanisms did exist for banks but they did not for bank-holding companies.

2.) Creation of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
This one will lay-out rules and regulations for a vast range of financial products, viz. Car loans, ATM fees, etc.

These come, obviously in addition to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which have been doing hopefully well (save for the pre-recession period though).

Though the aspects of the proposal look good, Obama will need to muster a filibuster proof 60 votes, that ain’t no easy. Obama is already facing stale-mate on numerous policies like health care reforms and carbon-emission-capture-plants.

He’ll have to keep his fingers crossed to ensure that this one works out.