“Public finances in India, state and Union, show appalling accounting and lack of transparency. Vast amounts of waste, fraud and malfeasance get hidden as a result. The Congress, BJP, official communists, socialists et al are all culpable for this situation having developed – over decades. So if you ask me, “Is the Indian state and polity in a healthy condition?” I would say no, it is pretty rotten. Well-informed, moneyed, mostly city-based special interest groups (especially including organised capital and organised labour) dominate government agendas at the cost of ill-informed, diffused masses of anonymous individual citizens ~ peasants, forest-dwellers, small businessmen, non-unionized workers, the destitute, etc. Demarcations of private, community and public property rights frequently remain fuzzy. Inflation causes non-paper assets to rise in value, encouraging land-grabs. And the fetish over purported growth-rates continues despite measurements being faulty, not reaching UN SNA standards, probably hiding increasing inequalities. India’s polity and economy are in poor shape for many millions of ordinary people. Armed rebellion, however, does not follow from this. Killing poor policemen and starting class-wars were failed Naxal tactics in the 1970s and remain so today. Naxals should put down their weapons and use Excel sheets and government accounting data instead.
Dr Subroto Roy, economist and adviser to Rajiv Gandhi 1990-1991.”
Subroto Roy thinks the run-off election between Mr Karzai and Mr Abdullah, while important for democratic legitimacy, is impractical and should be postponed until the spring, with a “National Unity” caretaker government created instead. In the meanwhile, everyone from Mullah Umar’s Taliban to international military forces should study the Senlis idea of making the country a major manufacturer of morphine using its poppy. Besides everyone preparing for the harsh Afghan winter… to see there are enough food-stocks for a start.
Subroto Roy thinks the way to Afghan hearts is through their stomachs — it is imp. there be plentiful wheat during the harsh winter months, that no hint of food-shortages arise, that Kabul’s expats & elite & foreign militaries not distract themselves with wining, dining, frolicking while poor men are gath’ring winter fuel. The winter needs to be comfortable & economic plans to make morphine from poppy studied in all villages.
Subroto Roy thinks the Senlis Council’s advice on regulating and licensing Afghanistan’s poppy market may be more important than trying to ham-handedly fight “drug wars” there…. Poppy may be best-suited to grow in that arid country which may not be otherwise able to feed itself.
Postcript: This report on regulating India’s poppy market for phramaceutical uses seems a good model.