Sep 30, 2014

Rogue Journalism & Dementia of the Fifth Estate: Rajdeep Sardesai going Rogue not just Wrong

Rogue Journalism & Dementia of the Fifth Estate: Rajdeep Sardesai going Rogue not just Wrong

1. Personal view / opinion / bias surfacing repeatedly in the work of any journalist makes him counter-productive for the audience / consumer of news. Since in the name of Freedom of Speech there will never be any regulator for taming rampant misconduct of media professionals, such conduct will DEFINITELY make the people full of dislike for such so called professionals who are not only indulging in such conduct for DEFINITELY some gain (why else they would risk compromising their professional stature. Come on no one tell me that ANYONE is so committed to his beliefs that he will risk his career or standing). When such professionals become mad and full of themselves with an existing political axis and become too full of themselves, they run into psychological problems of not being able to accept the change.

2. Once the so called Godfathers of such professionals are no longer Gods, crisis erupts in the life of such professionals.

3. Fine, we do have Freedom of Speech, but no one said it can be practiced irresponsibly. Try out hurling abuses in a traffic snarl up and you will know what one means by responsible freedom of speech.

4. So whether a journalist or a non-journalist each has a RIGHT to Freedom of Speech & must be practiced responsibly. Some Journalists taking a poetic license too far and terming new phrases such as Freedom of Press are living in a Fool's Paradise.

5. When a democracy has collectively elected a leadership, for any journalist to remain in a pre-election mindset and continue to "paint" his ranting and diatribes as either news or editorial views is seriously damaging, unsocial and totally unprofessional. Why as a Citizen Rajdeep Sardesai had 1 vote and he may or may not have casted it. What right does he have to deride my democracy?

6. To keep singing a stale song of Godhra is ridiculous again and a clear breach of the law of Contempt. If Supreme Court decided on the matter, everyone must accept it. If anyone is an interested party then ONLY one can go to apply for a revision to a Higher Bench of the Supreme Court. All other ranting and particularly by highly visible media is total disregard of the law of land. Such a behaviour is contemptuous of the court on one hand and displays a level of arrogance no civilized society will tolerate.

7. When mis-use of power (media is a potent form of power & influence) is no longer backed by power, frustration sets in.

8. To indulge in a street-fight under any situation is a clear sign of psychological problems.

9. Tapes clearly show who got physical first.10. Tapes also show RS said, "You are an arsehole too". This clearly suggests he lost his head beyond the limits of logic also apart from civility. Such a statement from him if taken literally means he admitted in the first place that he himself was an arsehole.

11. Atop all this the sheer chicanery and debauchery of having taped something and bragging that it’s good to have captured the idiots on tape and to show the idiots is good is a total collapse of Rajdeep Sardesai's personality. This is hypocrisy beyond limits. Shame.

12. India Today a respected media group MUST FIRE Rajdeep Sardesai Immediately for abuse of his position, unprofessionalism, unethical conduct and for being a ROGUE JOURNALIST.

13. If Media Industry deserves to restore some of its respect it should stand up together and condemn this gross misconduct of Rajdeep Sardesai and ensure that he is not employed by any media house. Just because there are some creatures like Rajdeep Sardesai who have hood-winked the "system" so far and gotten away with it does not make it a birth-right of the media industry and the birth-right of every other media professional to either support such creatures so as an aspiration that the FIFTH ESTATE will continue to beseech power over the minds of the masses. LASTLY & MOST IMPRTANTLY: TO every Media PROFESSIONAL: Public ka khaate ho, public ki bajao mat. Jis thaali mei khaate ho usme gandh mat karo. Be respectful of people. It is the masses who made you to be stars in the first place by having respect for you and if you have become a victim of your own creation to believe that you are going to be able to brain-wash masses ad infinitum then you are at a total loss of realizing a fact that India is no longer going the path of becoming a Banana Republic. Some rogue journalists who did not fulfil their DUTY to be WATCHDOGS of democracy and aided as mere tail-wagging dogs the conceit and treason perpetrated by the Banana Republicists are going to be in for shock after shock.

Sep 24, 2014

Open Letter VIII to Shri Narendra Modi: Cold Storage, not Cola is the answer

Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister

Dear Modi Ji, 

With utmost humility I beg to point out that mixing fruit juices with cola will mar the pleasure of both the juices of the fruits as well as of the colas. I prefer to have each as an original. Those who may enjoy such interesting drinks can surely always mix them at home and savour the concoction. 

The problem of farmers is real. The problem of consumers is also real. The erstwhile Congress Government and its illustrious agriculture minister have wreaked havoc in mismanagement of prices. The farm to retail pavement shop price gaps are monstrous. The fluctuations in prices are equally demonic and are happening so often that one feels a deeper Kaliyuga has set in. This situation is identical even for vegetables. 

With unbearable price shocks being given so regularly, the consumption of fruits and vegetables has declined on a per capita basis, rapidly. Our nation is suffering therefore from all angles on this phenomenon. In any case, a small percentage of the population enjoys colas and a much much smaller fraction of that my enjoy the interesting recipe you have proposed. 

We cannot ignore at all, the impunity with which every retail market in India today is flooded with imported fruits. There is a failure of developing fresh farm sales logistics in our country. This alone explains simultaneously the phenomenon of hungry farmers, hungry consumers and imported fresh farm produce on the pavements. 

A simple common-sense solution from the mind of a "bania" economist as me is: 

1) Investment Corporation for Farm Dis-intermediation: Create a corpus fund of a 1000 Crores, at the least, for a such a new entity. The only roles of this entity will be to:
a) Extend equity and debt funding to budding entreprenuers who will create world class cold storage facilities across the nation. 
b) Sourcing latest technologies for refrigeration and cold storage retail outlets, transportation units etc. & 
c) Incubating manufacturing units that will make cold storage equipments and transportation and storage units. 

All such cold storages should be competing with each other to offer the best storage and Indenting services DIRECTLY to the farmers. No cold storage will act as a principle whether as a trader or as a broker. Strictly every cold storage will only earn a fixed percentage for services rendered directly to the farmers direct sales co-operatives. No harm if big business wants to get into the business of creating cold storage chains. They too will ONLY act as Agents and never as principles. If big business can find value in assured returns by investing in mega projects for power, this too will be a viable and attractive business for them. 

2) Encourage and incentivise DIRECT FARM SALES co-operatives throughout farming communities. Such co-operatives can be regional and around specific crops etc. etc. 

3) Let the culture prevalent in more progressive economies such as Singapore etc. where people take even a slightly longer walk to go to a cold storage for buying fresh, hygienic, nutritious and of course much more beautiful looking fruits and vegetables (God resides in cleanliness. Cleanliness is beauty too). This will also solve a big source of filth, unhygienic markets that will aid you in moving India to become a cleanliness driven nation, too. 

4) Let the farming direct sales co-operatives compete with each other to DIRECTLY RETAIL their produce to final households. The Cold storages will NOT BE ALLOWED to become traders. The only two sources of revenues for the cold storages will be to provide storage, handling services on one hand and to provide indenting services on the other. Indenting services in the context of the Cold Storages will allow them to act as agents of the DIRECT FARM SALES CO-OPERATIVES and will never act as principles, traders or brokers. For a fixed fee, they will receive the farm produce against Bill-T and the banking system will clear the payments. Given the nature of the produce is perishable and if the pricing is determined by the farmers then too there is low risk for all involved. Since in a cold storage the shelf life of the produce is much much more, the risk of wastages is low even if prices are higher than what consumers can absorb. As the next consignment will be ready to get into the cold storages, automatically the farmers will have to cut prices to a level where supply can be absorbed by demand. The risk of hoardings in a smoothly flowing logistical system is low. Only where masked middle-men flourish the hoarding kills the farmers, the consumers and even the produce!  

5) The middle man today acts at endless layers providing Indenting, financing, brokerage services. They are the ones who never become visible to the end consumer and yet they are the one's who must be the most organised set of players in the entire eco-system of farm produce retailing. The most organised player in the food-chain then gets the fattest and clearly at cost and peril of both the producers and the consumers. Time perhaps, for India to move this middle-man out from the middle of the affairs of our fresh farm outputs. 

Vande Mataram,
Jai Hind

With all the Love & Respect to you! 
Sushil Kedia

Jul 5, 2014

Open Letter VII to Shri Narendra Modi: Simplify our taxes to put India on the global economic leadership orbit

Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister

Simplify all the taxes that the Government levies. It will not only raise compliance, but will actually start achieving the goals of taxation.

We have been modelling our governance, as a later age democracy, on the basis of what the West has had been doing.

Income Tax: If the goal of anyone aspiring to achieve growth and progress, whether an individual, a society, a nation or a civilization then having progressive Income Tax defeats the basic premise of undertaking any economic or business initiative. In a progressive Income Tax regime those who produce larger incomes and larger wealth face a rising rate of punitive taxation. Such a tax regime is a deterrent to respecting the process of income and wealth generation. Its a hypocrisy, particularly in the Indian civilization that likely is the only civilization in the present day that worship Mahalaxmi -- the Goddess of all wealth. Income Tax must only be a contribution towards governance and not a punishment for having generated more and more income.

A clear intention, by way of a policy announcement to bring down Income Tax rates to a FLAT 15% for everyone in five years, reducing progressively 3% tax each year is going to put India in a totally different orbit.

The root cause of black-money is intolerably high Income Tax rate. At the core every human being seeks growth and progress. High Income Tax rate do not deter the enterprising from making money, but only deter them from declaring how much they are making because the progressive Income Tax regime is disrespectful to the goal of wealth creation.

Soon as such a policy is announced, it will make the Discounted Cash Flow value of putting up new enterprises in India way more competitive than almost every other nation. If a tiny island as Singapore with frugal and limited resources could become the abode of Laxmi where capital continues to flow from the haven of Switzerland, then India with its endless human resources, every soil type, every mineral resource, a very large captive consumption market will be the haven. Not only we will create a compelling superior alternative to China in making India accepted as the world's next factory, we will also emerge rapidly as one of the most important intrepots and trading venue of this world.

Consumption Taxes: Excise and Sales Tax are effectively taxes on production and sales. Again there is a bad paradox here. Why should any philosophy of taxation penalise those who "produce"? There should be a unified Consumption Tax policy where there is no seggregation between Excise, Sales or Service Taxes. Anyone living in a family who consumes more than a fair share of the larger family's resources is looked down on and anyone who produces more is looked up to. Same way, once having straightened out the Income Tax regime where larger earners are respected, there is a need to have a progressive consumption tax regime.

For example, a Nano Car may have a 5% Consumption Tax, but say an Indigo may have a 10% tax and say a Tata Safari may have a 17% tax and say a mid-market sedan may have a 25% tax and say an entry level Mercedes may have a 35% tax and say a Land Rover may have a 50% tax and say going all the way to a Lamborghini it may have a 300% tax.

This thinking is not at all new. If Tobacco products have a very high rate of indirect taxation, the same logic be applied to each and everything. Necessities are untaxed or barely taxed. Conveniences are taxed more. Luxuries are taxed heavily and ostentatious indulgences are taxed punitively.

Same should apply for services. Visit to a General Physician be untaxed. Visit to a General Hospital be untaxed. But if anyone has to go to an expensive private sector hospital it may be taxed with heavier service taxes.

In the coming regime of GST, a single unified Consumption Tax regime is completely feasible.

Global Trade Taxation:  Anyone from the old Bombay Club squirming at the thought of low taxation regime bringing in more competitive manufacturing from overseas and ruining Indian industry is just plane wrong. Let everyone in the universe open more and more factories in India and create endless jobs and endless new products. However, if there is a progressive consumption tax for any sales done on-shore by any manufacturer, whether such a company is owned indirectly through portfolio holdings by FIIs or a much more clearly fully owned subsidiary of a global manufacturer, our nation will not be consuming incorrectly. The best manufacturers who can provide the best products will be available to our citizens. That would raise the consumer surplus in the hands of every microscopic economic agent. In such a regime it is entirely possible and likely that the hedonistic producers such as the Lamborghinis of the world may sell only a tiny portion of their Indian produce (yes why will they not open their factories in a nation that has one of the lowest income taxes and every other resource) on-shore and make very large exports.

The need to regulate what should be allowed to be produced in India and what should not be will be totally perfunctory thereon. A progressive Consumption Tax regime will automatically, by the forces of the market-place, align the production basket of every manufacturer and thus of the nation.

Import Duties: Progressive Import Duty structure be put in place. Raw materials such as minerals or commodities may have a nil or near nil import duty to facilitate the most competitive manufacturing. Any intermediate goods that have a value content of production over and above the absolute raw material should be taxed progressively. In a progressive Import Duty regime, anyone who indulges in screw driver assembly business by importing semi-knocked down kits will be unviable. White-collar smuggling that is passing through until now as creative business structuring will be unviable.

Say for example, if anyone wants to import any type of sand, if there is a claim that enough good sand is not available in India for making semi-conductors, let them import it at a very low or no import duty. But if someone is importing refined silica, it should happen at a higher import duty. If someone is importing any semi-conductors then it should happen at a rate of duty that rises more than the rate of value enhancement from refined silica to a semi-conductor. If someone imports a fully fabricated chip then it must happen at a progressively even higher import duty. The fear that such an import duty regime that will make DVD players or computer or laptops much more expensive compared what they are priced in the Global market is totally unfounded. I will explain why.

There is a tax arbitrage in such a progressive Import Duty structure, for every global manufacturer. The more value creation such global manufacturers do in India the more profits they will make by converting Silica into RAM chips on the shores of India! The power of incentives drives economics. The process of gubernatorial intervention drives economics crazy, on the other hand. Let a progressive Import Duty regime thus incentivize more and more value creation on-shore.

Yet when you notice the combined effect of such a progressive Import Duty structure with a Progressive Consumption tax structure, then a simple example will illustrate the power of this simplification.

Say, a manufacturer of electronic cameras such as Nikon that would have to put up a factory in India, were to choose between importing its circuitry and memory chips from Samsung's Taiwan facilities at a higher import duty in India or will be able to buy a similar quality chip from a Samsung that would manufacture the same chip in India at a much lower price.

In the same chain, if Nikon were to sell a camera of 8 megapixels on-shore to Indian consumers that likely qualifies at today's standards as a convenience good at say a progressive Consumption Tax of 20% but will be able to sell a 32 megapixels camera on-shore that qualifies at today's standards as a luxury at a progressive consumption tax of 40%, then we have setup the world's perfectly taxed super-factory called India Inc. Why? Isnt it clear that Nikon India will prefer to buy from Samsung India than from Samsung Taiwan and yet Nikon India will prefer to export out its ostentatious produces while being keen to sell the convenience produces in India. In all the scenarios the low flat Income Tax rate will be compelling for Nikon to not only manufacture the cameras it intends to sell within India, but also the cameras it wishes to sell everywhere else in the world, from its Indian factories! If jargon is necessary to convince the erudite and the scholarly and for the economists, then this is a simple and a very lucid illustration of how Producers' Surplus will also go up in India. 

A unified tax policy as this is arguing humbly to be able to raise both -- the Consumer Surplus as well as the Producers' surplus! 

Anti-Dumping Duties & Trade restrictions: With utmost humility Sires, I wish to submit that the persuasive skills of big business at influencing Gubernatorial decisions world-wide are far more effective than the skills of any single Government in convincing any other Government. Lets abandon the mind-set of managing Trade Treaties and Inter-Governmental pressures. The pressures of the market-place and particularly Free Trade are far more fair and persuasive.

To conclude, I wish you closely evaluate that our civilization has been raising the slogan of "Vasudhaivaya Kutumbakam" for too long. For a change, why do we not take the lead in demonstrating to the world that not only our civilization believes that the entire Vasudha (world) is one Kutumb (family) but we do have the courage, conviction and clarity to lead the change and set right the wheels of growth, progress and value creation for this single One World. By the time other nations that may come close to our level of sophistication and diversity catch up with this philosophy and begin to implement it, a few decade would be more than enough for our India to be propelled atop the economic accomplishments rampart.

I will refrain from consuming your precious time in enlisting the endless multiplier benefits such as a far faster GDP growth due to compliance in income disclosure, appropriate consumption, much larger investments etc. etc. in this letter since I have enumerated them at length in my prior open letters to you. This simplification of our entire tax policies will bring in a quantum leap on both the level of value creation as well as its valuation for India.

Let me get an India that leads the world in according the fair respect to those who produce, those who generate value and pushes back those who consume unfairly. At the core of any challenge, the solution that is best is actually the one that is simplest. I urge, India rises to the simplicity of "Satyam Shivam Sundaram". The truth is basic and thus beautiful.

Sincerely Yours,
With Love & Respect,
Sushil Kedia