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Multinational Corporations and Globalization:
Critical Review of Confession of Economic Hit Man by John Perkins

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an autobiographical book written by John Perkins that unearths the tricks and dirty games played by the US government and its business corporations for economic exploitation of developing countries involving World Bank, US Agency for International Development (USAID) and some engineering and  consulting firms like Chas. T. Main Inc. The book starts with the story of socio-economic, cultural and educational background of upbringing of author which shaped his personality suitable for the carrier of an economic hit men (EHM), a highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Author was interviewed with polygraph monitoring for a job with the National Security Agency (NSA), a largest, but least known spy organization of United States. Author also claims that negative traits of his personality like frustration about lack woman, sex and money, attitude towards parents and relationship with foreigner like Farhad was considered positive traits by NSA for the role of EHM.  Though author was encouraged by some very senior official from NSA known to him to join initially Peace Corp for short duration, but he claims that his interview by NSA effectively constituted an independent screening which led to his subsequent hiring as Economist by Einar Greve, for consulting firm Chas. T. Main Inc (MAIN).

 

As per author his main function as EHM was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries based on   false statistics and false but rosy projections of economic growth potential about their country to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank and USAID. Once the economic interest of US or some of its powerful multinational corporations are served even these projects were sabotaged so that it could not bring any economic return to those countries and these countries could fall in  huge debts trapped which they are never able to repay. And in event of non payment of debt, these countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the United States on a variety of issues including voting in United Nation on a certain issue for political gain of United States. This basically crippled the political power of some of the developing countries who fell in this debt trap and in turn were forced to support and strengthen the political power of United States on international issues.

 

Describing the role of EHM in this game, he mentions in the book that EHMs funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of huge American  corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources in developing countries. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and even murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.

 

Author has given recounts of his strategy, interactions and activities in Ecuador, Indonesia, Panama, and Saudi Arabia as EHM. As per his version NSA indirectly encouraged him to join the Peace Corps as a volunteer and he spent three years as in Ecuador with indigenous people there, which served as on the job training to hone his skill as EHM.   Author also gives impression that his proven quality shown to get along with local people in Ecuador was monitored and judged to be a potential economic hit man and that is why when he was still in Ecuador in the Peace Corps, vice president of MAIN, a consulting firm in Boston that worked closely with the National Security Agency and the other intelligence communities, arrived in Ecuador and continued his recruitment and he finally recruited him when he left the Peace Corps.

 

Sharing his experiences in Indonesia about fraudulent economic forecasting and cheating he narrates that he was  part of a team of 11 members, and the other 10 men on that team had no idea that they were acting as economic hit man and many of them were  engineers. They were forecasting energy demand, power generation capacity requirements, designing big power plant, transmission and distribution lines, and fuel transport system to bring the fuel into the power plants based on his false economic projections about island of Java. As per author that it was he who said that  the electrical demand was going to grow at rate of 17% a year for 20 years, which was highly unrealistic, but it was his job as an economic hit man to inflate these numbers as much as he possibly could do and try to convince the political and financial leadership. These huge unrealistic figures were to finally benefit the American multinational corporations in expanding market share and business in the lucrative sector of infrastructures like, electricity and fuel transportation system once the order is placed on them with tied developmental loan. However, he also gives a brief account of impression of Indonesian people about American policies of economic imperialism that was expressed through the puppet show, which author watched with one of the Indonesian local.

 

Author has also given accounts of his activities and interactions in Panama during the time of Omar Torrijos, who was the then President of Panama and who has followed a long line of oligarch dictators that were puppets in the hands of the US government. Omar Torrijos was the first one to break that cycle, and he was a very, very popular president as he was true leader of his people who made genuine and honest efforts to ameliorate the condition of his poor people. At that time US President Jimmy Carter was negotiating a new Canal treaty with Torrijos. He has described, how his meeting with Torrijos was arranged in a private bungalow one day, and what was his views about US, development agencies, multinational corporations, consulting firms; and his conversation is described in detail in the book. Torrijos said in his conversation he had with him:

 

I am aware about the game you guys are playing. I know what you’re trying to do here. You’re trying to saddle us with huge debts. You’re trying to make us totally dependent upon you, and you’re trying to corrupt me. I know what this game is and I’m not playing. I don’t need the money. I’m not looking to get personally wealthy out of this. I want to help my poor people. I want you to build the projects that you’re supposed to build, that you build in other countries, but I want you to build them for our poor people, not for our rich people. And he said, if you do that, I’ll see to it that you and your company get a lot more work in this country. Good work that will help our people.”

 

During the conversation   Torrijos also mentions how and why Leader of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, who was one of his hero, was ousted from power in a coup orchestrated by CIA, when he wanted to save his poor landless people from starvation by implementing land reforms that came against the economic interest of United Fruit’s operation in Guatemala, owned by Zapata Oil, that was George Bush’s company. He was subjected to political and character assassination. In this conversation Torrijos even expressed apprehension about possibility of similar treatment by CIA for himself, but confidently said that the people are with him and CIA will have to kill him to eliminate him. This shows the level of perception about political crime that could be committed by multinational corporations and secret agencies of a democratic government for its economic interest.

 

However, Strategies and action plans were different in Saudi Arabia considering its vast oil resources.  Author claims that Saudi Arabia was, perhaps one of their greatest success as economic hit men.  In the early 1970s, OPEC flexed its muscle. It didn’t like U.S. policies of supporting Israel, and decided to do something about it. So it shut down oil production significantly, and as a result, the U.S. economy went into a tail spin. There were long lines of cars at gas stations, and US was afraid of going to another crash like 1929 as a result of similar action of OPEC in future. And so, the Treasury Department of US intervened and assigned task to EHMs including author  to devise a plan so that this must never happen again. They devised the plan keeping in mind that Saudi Arabia had more oil than anybody else and knowing the fact that the House of Saud and the royal Saudi family were corruptible. So, as per plan a suitable deal was struck between US treasury and the House of Saud in which they agreed, to send most of their petrodollars, the money that US paid for petroleum, back to the United States and invest it in US government securities. The interest earned from these securities was to be dealt out by the US Department of Treasury in a way that enabled Saudi Arabia to emerge from a medieval society into a modern industrialized world. The U.S. multinational corporations and  engineering construction firms built Saudi Arabia in the Western style by building huge cities out of the desert,  power plants, highways, McDonald’s, to make Saudi Arabia a very westernized country. And the House of Saud in turn guaranteed to keep oil prices within acceptable limits acceptable to US, and US guaranteed to keep the House of Saud in power with all political and military support whenever needed. The most interesting part is that in this whole negotiation US Treasury Department played an active role without approval of Congress. This way US devised and executed a plan to create dependency of Saudi Arabia on US, and it brought fortune to US based multinational corporations and engineering firms, and enhanced the energy security of US.

 

Author has also given accounts of incident that how Mossadegh was thrown out of power in Iran by CIA when he tightened his grips on oil resources which went against the interest of some of the developed nations and US.

 

It is not known how far the version given by the author is correct, whether it is a correct reflection or it is far more or less than the realty. Its authenticity can only be commented by those who have worked at top level in World Bank, USAID, other “aid” agencies and consultancy firms involved in such business or to some extent the officials involved in various developing countries who have been involved in sanctioning and execution of such development projects. If we consider the various accounts of versions given by the author to be true, then really we can say that still US and some other countries like this have not graduated from the of imperialistic thinking and action which used to prevail in olden days where weak countries were invaded and plundered their resources by powerful countries, only the style has changed with more sophistication, but the motive has remained the same. It appears that now economic invasion has taken the place of military invasion; arms and ammunition has been replaced by false projections of economic growth, debt, bribe, sex and sabotage; and soldiers of war have been replaced by economic hit men. Though there are reasons to believe that what author has claimed in his book, as even before publication of this book we had been hearing from our seniors and superiors about doubtful credentials of some projects and proposals of World Bank, USAID and some other aid agencies and about their other hidden agenda. Therefore, accounts brought out in this book, strengthen our belief. As far as my experience with World Bank and USAID is concerned, it does not give very positive impression. They bring such proposal under technical assistance (TA) which is irrelevant to the current needs. It appears in the proposal that it has been designed to serve some other’s specific need. They are very reluctant to make changes in project proposal if suggested. Even if they agree to make some changes in the project proposal as insisted by government, they agree just  to get speedy sanction of project proposal, but, they try to implement the same thing in one way or other what they had originally proposed once the proposal is approved. Sometimes it raises many questions as why they are so desperate to spend their money and technical resources when government even does not show much interest in the proposals. But, one thing is sure at least in case of technical assistance that major portion of grant goes back to US consulting firm who are awarded contract to execute these projects whether it brings any fruitful result or not. It appears that American tax payer’s money is also plundered by some of big corporations of America who are involved in execution of these projects.

 

Now the main question arises, whether World Bank has deviated from its original mission for which it existed. Does it really exist for socioeconomic development of least developed countries or developing countries or it exists to serve the economic interest of US and some other influential countries. World Bank is a multilateral funding organization where money of various countries has been put, though equity share of different country is different. It appears that US and some of its other influential allies are using this pool fund for their own economic gain. They are enhancing the spending capacity of least developing countries and developing countries by sanctioning loant without worrying whether it is going to bring economic return to these countries or not. As in the most of cases, major portion of money spent in these projects goes to US firms and US government in the form of tax on these firms. In the event of failure of these projects either the country which has taken the debt or the Bank should suffer and bear the loss. If project fails and country is not able to pay the debt then country is exploited, its terms of its natural resources, trade concessions, and vote in UN. Even if Bank is to waive off the debts, it puts so many other conditionality that it becomes more prone to economic exploitation. Worst come, if loss is to be borne by Bank, then it has to be shared by other countries also and US has already made huge profit through its engineering and consultancy firms, compared to this negligible share of loss. The other major losers are those developed countries whose share in the World Bank is quite high and technically almost as advance as US, but their market share in World Bank project is low. It appears that their own money invested in Bank work against them. Author has also mentioned about the role of Robert McNamara and changing role of Bank:

 

I see now that Robert McNamara’s greatest and most sinister contribution to history was to jockey the World Bank into becoming an agent of global empire on a scale never before witnessed.

 

If this is the perception about the World Bank that is not a commercial bank, but development bank where main motto is socioeconomic development, rather than to earn profit, why there should be different vote value for different country based on value of share held by the countries. Moreover, opportunity should be given to other countries to raise their share by cutting down the shares of major share holders to equalize the holding pattern.

 

Other thing which is questionable about World Bank is that why debt to those countries are repeatedly sanctioned that have miserably failed to use the money effectively  for the purpose for which it was granted without investigating the proper reason for its failure, and changing modus operandi suiting to condition of that country. This fact has also been brought in the article on “The World Bank and the $ 100 Billion Question” by Steve Berkman. Who are responsible for this kind of irregularities, of course, those who takes major decisions at the top in the World Bank? Again question arises whether they are incompetent or deliberately they behave irresponsibly. And if so, who are they?  If the Bank is sort of cooperative development bank, why there is no recruitment method where unbiased, honest and competent persons from all over the world especially the member countries could be recruited fairly based on merit at every level. If none of the above work then countries should withdraw the membership from World Bank and Should establish regional development banks specially in Africa and Asia where only membership should be given to those countries who are in that region.

 

The other aspect which comes from reading of this book is that in this type of shady game of exploitation of developing countries, only some business firms are not involved, but government is also involved, though US government has technically and legally insulated itself by bringing multinational corporations, consulting and engineering firm at front and undercover operations by NSA and CIA in liaison with these firms. However, in the case of Saudi Arabia, US Department of Treasury, took such big decision that the interests earned on petrodollar investment made by  Saudi Arabia in US government securities would be spent by the US Department of the Treasury in way that enables Saudi Arabia to emerge from a medieval society into modern, industrialized world. Here, it appears that string of monetary sovereignty of Saudi Arabia is in hands of US government, and it can not be denied that in the game of economic exploitation US government is also equally partner.

 

Now the other question arises that whether common American people are aware of this fact, that government elected by them is involved in such kind of activities as American people has often risen for good global cause, be it poverty alleviation, environment protection, protection from HIV/AIDs etc. It appears in democracy, market economy is  driven by profit motive by creating artificial needs and supplying goods and services accordingly where financial returns are high contributing huge income gap between developed countries and developing countries and even within the country. If this trend is continued for long and poverty increases beyond a certain level, perhaps democracy will again be questionable and again equal distribution of resources will be demanded by public through change of political regime.

 

Mahatma Gandhi's Contribution to India as an Agent of Change

Contribution of Mahatma Gandhi can never be forgotten as a nation builder of modern India.  If we look back at evolution process of Indiaas a nation from early twentieth century and before to Indiaof mid twentieth century and onward, Indiawas congregation of discrete small kingdoms, principalities and British colony. However, French and Portuguese also had their small presence in Indiaas colonizers. Though India became independent in 1947, but nation building process started with emergence of Mahatma Gandhi on Indian political scenario. When Mahatma Gandhi set his foot on Indian soil on 9th January, 1915 after spending more than two decades in South Africa, the social, economic and political environment in British India was very bleak and subdued. There was excessive economic exploitation of Indians mainly by British colonial power by changing the structure of economy to fulfil the greed of British colonial power. Agriculture was used to produce the raw material such as indigo, opium, tea, cotton for British industries and commerce, and India was made market for finished British goods produced by British industries by destroying the local textile, leather and other cottage industries in India. Lands from farmers were taken and handed over to landlords and heavy taxes were imposed on land owners who retained a small piece of land that became economically unsustainable for the farmers. This led to abject poverty among masses across the length and breadth of India. A series of drought and famines in 19th and early 20th century further deteriorated the conditions of people inIndia. There was disappointment and lack of hope everywhere among masses and most of the people surrendered to their fate. Some people fought in piecemeal in different parts ofIndia against British rule and its exploitative policies inIndia by raising their voices in newspapers, or revolting against the injustice of British colonial rule inIndia. But impact of such struggle against British rule could not be panIndia but remained local and regional that was being suppressed by British colonial power. There was no pan Indian leader till Gandhiji came and emerged on political scenario. Economic condition of people in India was so bad at that time that due to abject poverty and lack of economic opportunities in India, there was mass exodus as indentured labour especially from eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to work in distant colonies in various parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America in sugar, tea, coffee, cocoa and rubber plantations in British, French and Dutch colonies. This led to migration of about fifteen hundred thousand people fromIndia toMauritius,Trinidad,Guyana,Fiji,Suriname,Natal,Malaysia and Sri Lanka etc as indentured labourer who were later duped, terrorised and exploited. Soon after coming to South Africa Gandhi became aware of the plight of Indian indentured labour inSouth Africa. He united all the Indian community be it indentured labourers, traders or other middle class, and fought against injustice. He staged non violent protest against injustice and  motivated the masses to go jail saying that jail is honourable place to be when laws are unjust. However, at that time,India was bereft of leadership who could unite people from all parts ofIndia and people across theIndia could connect with him. In this condition and situation Mahatma Gandhi emerged on Indian political scenario.

 

Before Mahatma Gandhi’s arrival inIndia, the story of his struggle for civil rights movement for people inSouth Africaagainst British Government was known to intellectuals inIndia, who saw in Gandhi, a lot of potential to take up political leadership ofIndiato fight against the British rule inIndia. As Gandhiji was a very pragmatic leader, he first travelled across length and breadth ofIndiaon advice of . Gopal Krishna Gokhale to see and understandIndia. He purposely travelled in third class rail compartment to understand the common people better and to connect himself with them. He met the people in urban as well as in rural areas acrossIndia. His travel acrossIndiaunited the common masses ofIndiafor same cause i.e. independence ofIndiaand that too for oneIndiathat was initial stage of nation building. During his extensive tour inIndia, when he observed that most of the people do not have sufficient clothes to cover their full body, and therefore, he also started wearing a small loin cloth like common masses. His simple living appealed to the common masses and inspired them to emulate the same that also made them to believe in him and become his follower in large numbers. In that process he became an effective and great leader.

 

If a leader sets small, doable and achievable targets for his followers which is beneficial for his followers, society and nation, the followers will always be attached with the leader, many more followers will join and connect with him, and they will follow the path shown by him whole heartedly. Accordingly, Gandhi ji asked his followers and people to do these small things. And one among these issues was cleanliness, and maintenance of personal hygiene and sanitation. Impressed by level of cleanliness and maintenance of personal hygiene by British during his stay inBritain, he accorded a top priority to cleanliness and personal hygiene recognizing its importance on public health and its social and economic implications. Gandhiji himself was a champion in campaigning for cleanliness of personal as well as public places and maintaining personal hygiene during independence movement and that continued even after independence. Gandhiji had realized long back the social and economic implications of hygiene and sanitation for the society in general and especially for the poor strata of society in particular. Gandhi ji has accorded a very high importance to cleanliness and sanitation since his days inSouth Africaand propagated the same after his arrival inIndia. The major victims of poor cleanliness are normally poor people, who have poor access to nutrition, sanitation infrastructure and quality health services. When poor falls sick, his economic activities gets disrupted and source of livelihood comes to grinding halt, and if he is sole bread winner in family, then he and his family has to suffer a lot more. In many cases poor gets trapped into quagmire of debt at exorbitantly high interest rates from a local moneylender from where it becomes difficult to come out.  And thus he gets permanently into debt and poverty trap.  By cleaning his own toilet and public toilets inSouth Africaas well as inIndiaas British educated and successful lawyer which was only done by people of lower social and economic strata of society, he demonstrated that no work is menial. Many more inSouth Africaand back home inIndiafollowed the examples set by him and thus his initiatives and action promoted the dignity of labour.

 

Gandhi ji considered village as self governed social and economic unit, and this unit should be self sufficient in the sense that it will meet the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and other daily needs of people living there. Not only this, but he also aspired village industries should develop and thrive.  The people in villages were by and large self reliant on food and shelter in their traditional ways of food habits and living style, but for clothing they were dependent  largely on textile products imported from Britain, as British colonial power in India systematically destroyed India’s vibrant textile cottage industries in order to make India a big market for its textile products produced by big British textile industries after industrial revolution in Britain; and in that process India became a supplier of raw material for British Industries. Gandhi realised this problem that if villages inIndiahave to be made self sufficient in meeting its basic needs, Indians should boycott the use of British textiles for meeting its need for clothing by spinning and weaving clothes themselves.  Accordingly, he made a call to the Indian masses to boycott the use of British made textiles. As an alternative to British textile he made use of home spun clothes i.e. Khadi a mass movement. It was one of the very potent weapons against economic imperialism and exploitation byBritainand use of home spun clothes could ameliorate the economic hardship of Indian people. Gandhi also urged the people to boycott the use of other imported goods and used the goods produced locally in cottage industries inIndia. This way he showed a path of self sufficient habitation.  

 

Gandhi believed if every one and especially people from lowest social and economic strata of society is not included in social and economic enterprise,Indiacan not achieve its goal of independence from British rule and in turn can not attain social and economic development and self rule. It also had a political implication for fight against British rule at that time. Gandhi rightly visualised that unless and until people from lower strata of society is at least socially integrated in mainstream society and politics, who were very large in number, the fight against British rule will not be mass movement. Social exclusion of people of lower caste in social hierarchy created barriers for them to exploit economic opportunities. And to achieve social inclusion, the first tool which he used was eradication of untouchability, which was very much prevalent in those days inIndia.  He practiced untouchability by living with the people of low castes considered untouchable and vociferously advocated against untouchability. He called them “Harijan” meaning people of God. Through his social engineering he could ameliorate economic hardship to some extent by providing economic opportunities to low caste untouchable people through social inclusion and also garnered their  support  for his fight against British rule. Thus Gandhi championed the cause of social and economic inclusion inIndia.

 

Gandhiji’s extensive travel inIndiamade him to know thoroughly about the country, identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats prevailing in the country.   Gandhiji's efforts made towards cleanliness, inspiring the society towards self-sufficient habitations; promoting dignity of labour; promoting cottage industries and promoting social and economic inclusion made massive impact on Indian society. All these innovative initiatives taken by Gandhiji contributed in nation building process inIndia. Thus Gandhiji made an unfathomable contribution as an agent of change in Indian society towards its betterment.

 

Major Challenges of Modi Government in India and The Way Forward

 

In 2014 Parliamentary election Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi  who was also Prime Ministerial candidate of the party got thumping victory. In last 30 years BJP is the only party in Parliamentary elections to get a clear majority. As Modi has taken over the charge as PM ofIndiaon 26.-05.2014, he has a very big challenge ahead of fulfilling the aspirations of the people in appropriate time frame who are having a very high expectations from his government. There are plethoras of issues that need to be addressed to fulfil the aspirations of people, but some of them like food price inflation, employment, corruption, internal as well external security and specially sense of security among minorities, and development of physical and social infrastructure are of paramount importance. Though Modi has been very successful as Chief Minister of Gujarat in taking the Gujarat to a new height of economic development that contributes to 22 percent of export and 16 percent of GDP at national level with 5 percent of population, but, scenario at national level is different as role of state government is very important in implementing the developmental policies of government. How quickly and effectively Modi government will be able to address these issues across the nation is matter of concern as full cooperation of all state governments is also required and some of the non BJP government may not cooperate with Modi government in addressing these issues in order to make Modi government fail on economic development front for their own political gain. However, Modi has a vision, policy options and plans to address these issues.

 

As far as price rise is concerned, Modi has envisaged putting in place special court to curb hoarding and black marketing that can be implemented in a medium to long term time frame of 2 to 5 years. Creation of special fund to curb food price inflation may work effectively in a short span time of three to six months. As envisaged dissemination of information to farmers about availability, demand, import/export contents and prices may help farmers in choosing the right type of crops to match the supply and demand of various crops for food basket. This can be very well implemented in short span of time. Unbundling of Food Corporation of India (FCI) into three different entities for procurement, storage and distribution in order to improve its efficiency may work in a short to medium span of time. Moreover, government need to go for massive capacity building in efficient storage of food grains through public-private partnership. With these measures Modi government may be able to control the price rise in a short to medium term.

 

Other biggest aspiration of people especially of youth is employment generation. Modi government has rightly envisaged promoting labour intensive industries like textile, footwear, electronic assembly, and tourism etc. This requires a little hand holding in the form of capacity building and providing financial support and may work even in short to medium term if proper policies and plans are put in place. Development of physical infrastructure projects such as road, rail, large irrigation work including interconnection of rivers and housing projects may generate adequate employment for unskilled as well as skilled labour pool. Government may think of developing skills and entrepreneurship of labour force by providing short term training programme ranging from fifteen days to one month through existing institutions such as Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) and Small Industries Service Institutes (SISI) etc at very nominal fee or free of cost to unemployed and uneducated or less educated population. These objectives can be achieved in a medium to long term of two to five years.

 

As far as combating corruption is concerned, there is need to bring clarity in rules, regulations and simplification in procedures. As envisaged technology based e-governance with minimal human intervention may reduce the corruption substantially. Public awareness about right of citizen and procedure may also reduce the corruption in medium to long term. E-filing of FIR, complaints against corrupt officials etc and its time bound disposal monitoring of complaints by separate entity may effectively combat corruption. If these programmes are implemented corruption can be combated in a medium to long term time frame.

 

As far as security is concerned, both internal security and external security are equally important. In internal security, in addition to providing credible safety and security arrangements to crime against women, senior citizens, children of socially and economically weaker section of society, there are two other main areas of security concern i.e. internal and cross border terrorism and Naxal problem that needs to be addressed. This requires modernization of police and other paramilitary forces by equipping them with appropriate quality of arms and equipment, training on information gathering and intelligence and insulating them from undue political pressure by reviewing and amending various Acts, rules, and regulation governing their service conditions.

In case of combating terrorism, effective intelligence gathering, identification and severing of sources of money and other resource used for terrorism, and rebuttal of ideologies of terrorism by intellectuals and moderates in that group may help. As far as Naxalism is concerned, the  same measures also applies to them as in case of terrorism, but a meaningful  dialogues with moderates in the cadre and trust worthy action towards socioeconomic development and justice may root out this problem.

As far as external security is concerned, modernization of armed forces by equipping them with modern weapon systems, equipment, and intelligence gathering system is essential to have a credible deterrence against the potential adversaries. And indigenous development of vibrant defence production system is an essential precondition to achieve above. FDI in defence production and public-private partnership may strengthen the indigenous defence industry. Soft power, strengthening of strategic relations with friendly countries will also be essential in bolstering our external security system.

 

 Infrastructure development is essential for rapid economic and social development.  Development of physical infrastructures such as road, high speed rail, seaport, airport, water, and electricity are very important for rapid development of industry, agriculture, trade and commerce, and service sector. This in turn will ensure rapid development of economy.  A credible land acquisition system with proper rehabilitation and resettlement policy and adequate compensation to project affected people, and speedy environmental clearance of projects need to be put in place for rapid development of physical infrastructure projects. Public–private partnership, private investment needs to be encouraged in this field. If proper policies are put in place and credible institutions are created to implement these policies, in medium to long run adequate physical infrastructures can be put in place, and in short to medium term it can provide large employment to both skilled and unskilled people.

As far social infrastructure like health care facilities, schools, sanitation and drinking water etc is concerned, it essential for social development, and development of human capital and values. Government needs to pay more attention in the rural area by taking up social projects, and where ever possible private participation should be encouraged also. Poors in rural areas are more disadvantaged as far as health care and education is concerned, and non availability these facilities locally further put them in disadvantage and ruins their life creating financial hardship. By suitable policy options more and more doctors, paramedical staffs and teachers can be encouraged to serve in rural areas. This can be also achieved in medium term. To fund infrastructure projects more banking and non banking financial institution need to be put in place.

 

Development of human capital is essential precondition for a country to make transition from developing to developed country. Appropriate Policies needs to be  put in placed to provide 100 percent compulsory and free education up to 8th standard to all. There is more need to increase the quality of existing institutions of higher education rather than just opening more such institutions of higher education. However, specialised national institutions/university on important areas such as Bio-Technology, Defence Technology, Energy Technology, Automobile and surface transport technology, Climate change etc needs to be opened that can impart holistic education on all aspects including technological, economic, and social aspect of these areas. More number of institutions providing professional educations in the field of engineering, health care, education, and tourism etc should be opened to create qualified foot soldiers for respective industries. Small districts and tallukas should be given more priority of opening these institutions such as ITIs, Polytechnics, Teachers Training Institutes, and Nursing Schools etc. With right policies in place, human capital development can be achieved within medium to long term.

 

As far as technological and industrial development is concerned, sunshine industries must be identified that is essential for meeting our national requirements and exploiting export market where long term export potential exist. Where ever possible transfer of technology agreement must be encouraged with the best possible technology available for transfer across the globe. This may fetch a very good result in long term and propelIndia into technologically and industrially advance country.

 

As major population still lives on agriculture, and therefore agricultural development is must. Water conservation, efficient irrigation technologies, high yielding seeds must be promoted in agriculture through suitable policies and programmes. Subsidies on fertilizers must be adequate. Climate change resilient crop varieties must be developed and encouraged to use. E-enabled agricultural produce market may be put in place to provide fair price to the farmers. Farmers should be continuously informed of market trends, new technologies, and best practices across the globe in food and other crop protection. If these policies are put in place, in medium to long run, another green revolution can be achieved.

 

There are many other issues like international relations, climate issues, nation building, national cultural and leisure policies, centre stare relations, gender discrimination and social justice that may be may taken up as long term measures. Therefore, if Modi government put proper policies and plans in place, success story of development will be discernible within medium to long term of 2 to 5 years in major areas of concerned required fulfilling pressing needs and aspiration of majority of people of this country. 

 

Strength and Weakness of India’s New Legislative Initiative to Fight Corruption: Lok Pal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011

Corruption in Indiais one of the most important barrier and issue among many responsible for low rate of economic development, slow eradication of poverty, poor implementation of public policies and poor governance etc. As per transparency international, Indiaranks at 94th position worldwide on corruption perception index. Indian public has been aspiring since long to get rid of corruption especially in Indian bureaucracy through some effective and potent piece of legislations. Though a number of Acts such as Indian Panel Code 1860, The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, The Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988, The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 etc were already there[1].  But, it could not fulfil the aspirations of public in addressing the corruption at the gross root level. A lot of social activism has taken place demanding a strong and effective legislation against corruption in last one decade or so. In that process some initial success was met in the form of enactment of Right to Information Act, 2005 which is very essential and helpful in accessing the information for establishing the corruption charges. However, much more needs to be done in this direction by enacting a series of legislations such as Whistle Blower’s Protection Bill, 2011, Public Procurement Bill, 2012,  The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill etc to eradicate corruption from its root.  In this direction, government under pressure of people led by social activist Anna Hazare introduced a bill in Indian Parliament to fight against corruption in the form of Lok Pal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 which has been passed by the both the houses of Parliament on 17th and 18th December, 2013.  After assent of President the bill will become Act and which is almost certain to be assented by President to become a law and it will come into force after its notification.

 

In the recent time, Lokpal and Lokaykta Bill, 2011 was most talked about and debated bill inside and outside Parliament. Though there were a lot of divergent views among government, social activists and experts on contents of draft bill and its effectiveness in addressing the corruption leading to many criticism, protest and demonstration by social activists, but by incorporating certain amendments in the bill government could get it passed in both houses of Parliament taking main opposition party and members of many other political parties on board.

 

The bill has a lot of teeth in addressing corruption through provision such as 50 percent representation of SC, ST, OBC, minorities and women in selection of  Chairman and Members of Lokpal and their selection is made by a committee consisting of Prime Minister (PM), Speaker in Lok Shabha, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India and eminent jurist. It has jurisdiction over all levels of public servants including Prime Minister and no prior sanction required for launching prosecution in cases probed by Lokpal or investigated at its instance except PM. It will have its own inquiry wing for preliminary inquiry and provision for creation of independent inquiry wing and prosecution wing by creating Directorate of Inquiry and Directorate of Prosecution are there. The bill provides for  enhancing the maximum punishment for corruption from 7 to 10 years and minimum term for two years; and mandatory establishment of Lokayukta at the state within a year.

 

Though LokPal and Lokayuka Bill, 2001 is likely to become an Act soon, however, many people are very sceptical about its usefulness especially for poor people. Though the biggest victim of corruption are poor people, but they have been denied the most, the use of this instrument through the  penal provision of this bill against petitioner. This says that whoever makes any false and frivolous or vexatious complaint under this Act shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to one lakh (one hundred thousand) rupees.

 

As far as false allegations are concerned, an objective judgement can be made and   it can be very well established that allegations are true or false and nothing is in between; and  one should be penalized for the false allegation as it unnecessarily increases the administrative burden of institution investigating and adjudicating the corruption cases.  However, as far as frivolous and vexatious allegations are concerned it requires a subjective judgement to decide the same and to what extent it is frivolous and vexatious. Most of the poor people who are not much educated also and requires to be armed with this legislation will be  deterred to use this legislation as even financial penalty to petitioner is so high  to the tune of Rs 1,00,000/-  against daily income of Rupees 120 per day, in case if it is proved false, frivolous and vexatious.

 

Therefore, this legislation will arm only arm rich people big, corporate houses, strong NGOs against corruption. Poor people will not have the desired benefit of this legislation. What government should have done to make this Act more effective for benefits of poor, it should have  reduced the amount of penalty and should have withhold  the right to make appeal further for a period of time of petitioner,  in case of false, frivolous and vexatious allegations to deter them to do the same.

 

 

 

New Legislative Initiative of India to Fight Corruption : The Lokpal and Lokayukt Act, 2013

Corruption in India is one of the most important barrier and issue among many responsible for low rate of economic development, slow eradication of poverty, poor implementation of public policies and poor governance etc. As per transparency international, India ranks at 94th position worldwide on corruption perception index. Indian public has been aspiring since long to get rid of corruption especially in Indian bureaucracy through some effective and potent piece of legislations. Though a number of Acts such as Indian Panel Code 1860, The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, The Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988, The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 etc were already there[1].  But, it could not fulfil the aspirations of public in addressing the corruption at the gross root level. A lot of social activism has taken place demanding a strong and effective legislation against corruption in last one decade or so. In that process some initial success was met in the form of enactment of Right to Information Act, 2005 which is very essential and helpful in accessing the information for establishing the corruption charges. However, much more needs to be done in this direction by enacting a series of legislations such as Whistle Blower’s Protection Bill, 2011, Public Procurement Bill, 2012,  The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill etc to eradicate corruption from its root.  In this direction, government under pressure of people led by social activist Anna Hazare introduced a bill in Indian Parliament to fight against corruption in the form of Lok Pal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 which has been passed by the both the houses of Parliament on 17th and 18th December, 2013.  After assent of President the bill will become Act and which is almost certain to be assented by President to become a law and it will come into force after its notification.

 

In the recent time, Lokpal and Lokaykta Bill, 2011 was most talked about and debated bill inside and outside Parliament. Though there were a lot of divergent views among government, social activists and experts on contents of draft bill and its effectiveness in addressing the corruption leading to many criticism, protest and demonstration by social activists, but by incorporating certain amendments in the bill government could get it passed in both houses of Parliament taking main opposition party and members of many other political parties on board.

 

The bill has a lot of teeth in addressing corruption through provision such as 50 percent representation of SC, ST, OBC, minorities and women in selection of  Chairman and Members of Lokpal and their selection is made by a committee consisting of Prime Minister (PM), Speaker in Lok Shabha, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India and eminent jurist. It has jurisdiction over all levels of public servants including Prime Minister and no prior sanction required for launching prosecution in cases probed by Lokpal or investigated at its instance except PM. It will have its own inquiry wing for preliminary inquiry and provision for creation of independent inquiry wing and prosecution wing by creating Directorate of Inquiry and Directorate of Prosecution are there. The bill provides for  enhancing the maximum punishment for corruption from 7 to 10 years and minimum term for two years; and mandatory establishment of Lokayukta at the state within a year.

 

Though LokPal and Lokayuka Bill, 2001 is likely to become an Act soon, however, many people are very sceptical about its usefulness especially for poor people. Though the biggest victim of corruption are poor people, but they have been denied the most, the use of this instrument through the  penal provision of this bill against petitioner. This says that whoever makes any false and frivolous or vexatious complaint under this Act shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to one lakh (one hundred thousand) rupees.

 

As far as false allegations are concerned, an objective judgement can be made and   it can be very well established that allegations are true or false and nothing is in between; and  one should be penalized for the false allegation as it unnecessarily increases the administrative burden of institution investigating and adjudicating the corruption cases.  However, as far as frivolous and vexatious allegations are concerned it requires a subjective judgement to decide the same and to what extent it is frivolous and vexatious. Most of the poor people who are not much educated also and requires to be armed with this legislation will be  deterred to use this legislation as even financial penalty to petitioner is so high  to the tune of Rs 1,00,000/-  against daily income of Rupees 120 per day, in case if it is proved false, frivolous and vexatious.

 

Therefore, this legislation will arm only arm rich people big, corporate houses, strong NGOs against corruption. Poor people will not have the desired benefit of this legislation. What government should have done to make this Act more effective for benefits of poor, it should have  reduced the amount of penalty and should have withhold  the right to make appeal further for a period of time of petitioner,  in case of false, frivolous and vexatious allegations to deter them to do the same.

 

 

 

FIGURE1


FIGURE 3

R&D Policy Statement for India to Enhance the Number of Researchers

 

1.0 Introduction

           

1.1  Science and Technology have played an important role in changing the course of human life from mere food gatherer to the present day living conditions with all modern amenities. Rapid development in scientific and technological discoveries, inventions and innovations and its widespread applications have dramatically improved the living conditions, health, and socioeconomic well being of human being. But humanity still faces a lot of other challenges in its various spheres of life that can be addressed through further development in science and technology. Moreover, acquisition of knowledge in today’s modern world of globalization has vital economic value.

1.2   Research and development (R&D) is one of the important basic inputs required for development of science and technology (S& T). Adequate number of qualitative researcher is key element for promotion of R&D, in addition to fund infrastructure and incentives, and therefore, promotion of R&D and number of researchers needs special attention in national development

 

 

2.0 Issues

 

2.1  The number of recognized colleges for professional education like Engineering, Technology, Architecture, Medical and Education; and Universities/Deemed Universities and Institutes of National Importance in India have increased significantly from 208 to 3201 and 27 to 407 respectively from 1950-51 to 2004-05. (DHE, 2007).  The total numbers of doctorate degree awarded in major science / engineering field from 1996-97 to 2000-01 has increased satisfactorily from 5049 to 5751 (S&T, 2002). The total manpower employed in R & D establishments from 1980 to 1998 has increased from 184096 to 308392; however, manpower employed in R&D activities has increased merely from 64875 to 95428 during the same period. Moreover, manpower employed in R&D activities has decreased from 105936 to 95486 during 1990-1992 and 127226 to 95428 in 1996-1998. (S&T, 2002). Presently the country has 110 researchers per million population, whereas China, Japan and US have 633, 5085and 4526 respectively (S&T, 2006) “ In terms of S&T publications, the past 15 years have witnessed a notable decline, particularly between 2000 and 2004” (UNESCO, 2005).

2.2   These figures indicate that even though there has been lot of improvements in number of educational institutes/ universities providing science and engineering education, and total number of doctorate awarded in science and engineering discipline, but manpower employed in R&D activities have been quite dismal. Therefore, the non-availability of sufficient number of qualitative researcher remains one of the major barriers to the progress of R& D that needs to be addressed adequately.

2.3   In today’s world of globalization, economic progress could be achieved by producing high quality goods and services at competitive cost, through development and use of state of art technology. The development of innovative technologies can be achieved if adequate number of researcher is put in place with other infrastructures and resources.

2.4   In one study conducted shows that 30.8% of the students graduated from premier technical institute settle abroad (S&T, 1987). Another similar study conducted in another technical institute has also reported that average percentage of brain drain was 20% (S&T, 1999).

2.5   An estimated 20 000 IIT graduates from India are living in the USA alone, about 20% of all graduates produced by the institutes since their inception 50 years ago and as many as 30% of IIT Madras graduates headed for the USA in 1998. (UNESCO, 2005).

2.6   This high level of brain drain has further eroded the strength of qualitative researcher in India that needs focused attention to arrest it. Moreover, despite increase in total number of doctorate, there has not been commensurate increase in professionals opting for research activity. This indicates the apathy towards R& D carrier among the qualified students of science and engineering that needs to be addressed.

 

 

3.0 Policy Reviews

 

3.1  USA is one of the largest beneficiaries of brain drain in science and engineering from India and China (UNESCO, 2005). However this cannot be considered very healthy situation to be dependent on brain drain as this phenomenon may reverse once the general environment in the respective country of migrant become more conducive due to socio-economic development.

3.2  Japan has opened all the possible options like job flexibility in assignment, increased mobility among sectors, and the cultivation of excellent research environment considering the age profile of Japanese population to maintain the sufficient number of researchers. Policy considerations like job possibility and a better working condition for women, old experienced persons and foreigners is perhaps one of the best policy options under the given scenario in Japan. Moreover it has taken appropriate steps to create interest in science and technology among students at younger age. (S&T, Japan, 2006)

3.3   China has paid attention to attracting return of its national by suitable incentives. The greatest strength of various Chinese policies has been to creation of massive leaning and interest among students towards S&T as 74% of its university graduates are from science and engineering discipline. (UNESCO, 2005).

3.4   Science and Technology Policy, 2003 of Government of India has envisaged the following policy direction like Creation of exciting career opportunities for scientists; mobility of scientists and technologists between industry, academic institutions and research laboratories; making available substantial funding; integration of women; facilitating the return of scientists and technologists of Indian origin to India; making higher education available to the widest possible section of creative students; instill scientific temper in the population at large; promoting learning and dissemination of science through the various national languages towards enlarging the base of researchers,  (S&T, 2003).

3.5   Though, a number of positive policy directions have been stated above, but still it has not yielded the desired results in terms of sufficient number of researchers enrolment in science/engineering has been almost stagnant form 29.7% to 30.6% from 1980-81 to 2001-02. (S&T, 2002). Lower amount of gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) of 1.1% (UNESCO, 2005) also seem to be reason for it. Moreover, the policy statements do not state policy instrument through which the policy objective would be achieved. Accordingly certain additional policy measures have been recommended to increase the number of researchers in India.

 

4.0 Recommendations:

 

4.1  Studies conducted by have indicated that better pay and employment opportunity has been one of the motivating factors for engineers and scientist for going abroad. ( S&T, 1987,1999). Therefore, scientist and engineers engaged in R&D activities should be paid at par with the best possible remuneration elsewhere in public and private sectors so as to attract best talent in the field of R &D activities.

4.2   Improved working condition is another factor, which has emerged from above mentioned studies that motivated scientists and engineers to go abroad. Therefore, working condition in terms of well-equipped laboratories, access to research publications, flexible working conditions, adequate support staff, carrier progression etc needs to be improved.

4.3   Researchers must be provided opportunity to visit abroad for training or undertaking joint research project under bilateral agreement for a limited term once or twice in lifetime carrier.

4.4   To engage the high quality and quantity of researcher, research team involved should be rewarded with certain percentage of monetary benefits from the commercialization of intellectual property of that project as per agreed norm. Their carrier progression should be linked with number of qualitative publications.

4.5   Researcher must be facilitated mobility from research to industry and academic for improving skills.

4.6   R& D professionals working abroad may be provided with attractive incentives like tax rebate in their earning, better remunerations etc.

4.7   Retired R &D professional should be provided opportunity to work full or part time, if they wish as per their convenience.

4.8  Women can be integrated into research activities by providing options of reduced and flexible working hours.

4.9  Amount and number of scholarships for science and technology research/studies should be increased substantially.

4.10          Scholarship for research student in universities should be at par with emoluments offered in other jobs with same qualification.

4.11          Interest among the young students about science and technology should be inculcated by making syllabus interesting for younger students, opening science museum and organizing science exhibition in various parts of country.

4.12          GERD needs to be enhanced from current level of about 1.1% to 3.0% of GNP to implement above stated measures.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

 

DHE, 2007, SELECTED EDUCATIONAL STATISTICS, 2004-2005, Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, Statistics Division, New Delhi, 2007 available at: http://education.nic.in/stats/ses2004-05.pdf [accessed 26 November 2007]

 

S&T, 1987,Government of India, Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Technology Report on Pilot Study on Magnitude and Nature of the Brain Drain of Graduates of the IIT, Bombay, November, 1987 available at http://www.nstmis-dst.org//Prlnk1.html [accessed 26 November 2007]

 

S&T, 1999, Government of India, Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Technology Report on Assessment of Brain Drain among JNTU College of Engineering Graduates: Methodologies & Monitoring, 1999 available at http://www.nstmis-dst.org//Prlink8.htm [accessed 26 November 2007]

 

S&T, 2002, Science and Technology Data Book, 2002, Government of India, Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Technology available at:

http://www.nstmis-dst.org/humanresources/table4.htm;

http://www.nstmis-dst.org/humanresources/table5.htm; and

http://www.nstmis-dst.org/humanresources1/table11.htm [accessed 26 November 2007]

 

S&T, 2003, Science and Technology Policy, 2003, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India available at http://www.nstmis-dst.org/science-technology-policy.htm [accessed 26 November 2007]

 

S&T, 2006, Research and Development Statistics, 2004-05, Government of India, Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, September, 2006 available at http://www.nstmis-dst.org/RnDPDF/Table%2033.pdf [accessed 26 November 2007]

 

S&T, Japan, 2006, Science and Technology, Basic Plan March, 28, 2006, Government of Japan, available at http://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/basic/3rd-BasicPlan_06-10.pdf [accessed 26 November 2007]

 

UNESCO, 2005, UNESCO Science Report, 2005 available at: http://www.unesco.org/science/psd/publications/science_report2005.pdf [accessed 26 November 2007]