By Manuwant Choudhary
Mere pyare Pradhan Mantriji....yes, thats exactly how our hon. Prime Minister addressed us...the peepul...Mere pyaare bhehnon aur bhaiyon...
I am not sure when was the last time we heard him speak to us.
Definitely, not on the nuclear issue.
And I am also not sure if his speech about `time for hard decisions' melted our hearts.
Especially, since this government is black in coal.
I wish the Prime Minister had made this speech 8 years ago.
You may say better late than never.
Yet, I now certainly doubt whether Dr. Manmohan Singh has the country's interests at heart or just that of the Congress Party, of which he is a loyal servant.
When Dr. Singh became India's Finance Minister I had a rare occasion to walk alongside him at a fundraiser in Bombay (I had sneaked in as the Press are not allowed entry at fundraisers in India, this is not America)
As we took a walk near the swimming pool I had put this question to him on whether he would like to be India's finance minister even if the Congress Party is voted out and he replied quite frankly, "No, never. I am a Congressman."
The reason I had put this question to him was because many in corporate India and even the media presented him like a technocrat who was not really a politician.
My one question showed that Dr. Manmohan Singh was no Todar Mal.
In Indian history one of the greatest finance ministers was Todar Mal during the reign of Sher Shah - the Afghan.
But after Sher Shah's death and the return of Humayun....and when Akbar becomes emperor he continued to keep Todar Mal (A Hindu) as his finance minister and as one of his nine ratnas.
Akbar became Akbar the Great for such decisions. He did not remove Todar Mal just because Todar Mal was Sher Shah's finance minsiter.
Todar Mal was simply the best man for the job.
And Akbar achieved many reforms during his long reign.
So compared to history, India's modern democracy is a shame.
We don't even have 9 Ratna's.
Let us now look at Oil, something the Prime Minister spoke about on how the poorest don't use oil but only kerosene.
It is kerosene that the poor don't use and is sold in the black market and even smuggled out of the country.
I am not in favour of any subsidies but surely the government must not treat this as a cow that gives oil!
Look at the figures.
A tank lorry for 12000 litres Diesel costs Rs.5,99, 101/- ex Barauni Oil Refinery but its actual value is only Rs.462888 - the rest are taxes !
Excise/Customs (Taken by the Indian government) - Rs.17520.
AED - Rs.24,000/-
Education - Rs.830.4
Higher Education Cess - Rs. 415.2
Transportation - Rs. 2059.2
And VAT (Taken by the State government) - Rs.91388.3
Service Tax: Rs.180.
If you leave out the transport cost, the total taxes on 12,000 liters HSD are Rs.1,34,333.90/-
So if every two days three petrol pumps in a town sell a tank lorry each, the government takes away Rs.400,000/ by way of taxes from the people.
And what does the government give in return to the town?
A police station that does not even register an FIR ! (And not a word about how to reduce the size of the government)