Dear Reader,

We, the children of Mother India, celebrate Independence Day on August 15, the day our Bharat Mata, was unchained from the fetters of the British Empire. To liberate Bharat Mata, many of her sons and daughters sacrificed their lives. Their bodies were brutally tortured. But they had not felt the pain as their souls were not subjected to pain; souls are immortal. None can burn a soul. None can torture a soul. All who are nurtured by Bharat Mata must love Her. All must be ready to sacrifice their lives irrespective of castes, religions, political alliances, interests/power, etc. Every son/daughter must save her resources to feed all and for inclusive and sustainable growth of the country.

Freedom of speech is not for fanning the fanaticism of religion and casteism. In Hindu scriptures, Lord Krishna (God) said, “He is seated in the heart of every being. And his energy is in every being.” On his return to India, on January 26, 1897, Swami Vivekananda said at Rameswaram Temple, “He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Shiva in him without thinking of his caste or creed or race, or religion or anything, with him Shiva is more pleased than the man who sees him in temples.”

Despite unbearable taxes, both direct and indirect, being levied by the Government of India, the latter is still struggling to mobilize further resources. Lack of proper fiscal management by state governments, who expect the Centre to bail them out, strains the Centre’s coffers and prevents state-level development and generation of wealth. External and internal debts are rising and the Current Account Deficit is still a problem area.
The Indian constitution crafted by B.R. Ambedkar and other eminent leaders who had fought for the independence of the country, had made a provision for 10 years of reservation for marginalised castes and tribes. This was to facilitate their upliftment, after which the system of reservation was to be scrapped. But more than 55 years have passed since the end of the first 10-year period, instead of a tool of ushering a more just society, reservations have became an instrument to serve vote bank politics and create a system of entitlement that sacrifices merit and is all about short-term benefits and not ground-up development. In-fighting, loss of jobs, loss of properties, loss of lives have not been matter of concern for self-centred people and political parties who for their esteem and greed are willing to compromise the integrity and unity of the nation. Reservation criteria must be on basis of economic earning of a person/ family. Nation must not be divided in the name of religion, caste, creed or any such thing. Be proud to be an Indian. Have “madness of love for India” like Rishi Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, and other such luminaries.

The RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had kept the repo rate, the key rate at which the central bank lends money, at 6.5% to keep the inflation restrained. He remain unbending to his critics and industrialists concerned to ‘Make in India’ a success, to fight global competition especially from China and others where rates of interests vary from 1% to 5%. He had neglected the issue that credit flow to vegetables and food grains is negligible. Greatest hoarders of food grains is Food Corporation of India, which has the greatest defaulting debts to banks. Manufacturing sectors need boost for the creation and generation of wealth and employment.

The current issue of BE focuses on minor ports. From time immemorial, mankind has used seas and rivers as means of transportation for trade and spread of culture, art, and spirituality. Globally and historically, it was the only major mode of conveyance. Buddhism was spread through this route in South East Asia. India has not developed ports compared to other Asian countries. India has few anchor points due to the less depth of the sea. There are 12 major ports, namely, Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar, VO Chidambaranar, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip, and Kolkata including Haldia. Together these ports handle 965.36 million tonnes of cargo in 2015-16. Government has a roadmap to increase the capacity from 1500 million tonnes to more than 3000 million tonnes by 2020-25. A major port at Enayam near Colachel in Tamil Nadu would be set up. A significant initiative is the ‘Sagar Mala’. This aims to improve ports and logistics processes in the country with an anticipated investment of $60 billion over the next five years. An amount of $2.9 million is earmarked for better rail-port connectivity. In the Budget 2016, the provision was made to set up new greenfield ports and inland waterways with an outlay of ` 31.84 billion under the ministry of shipping. The port sector has been opened to private sector. Efficiency, productivity, and quality of services have to be improved to make the country’s ports globally competitive. It is essential for ‘Make in Rural India Global’. The cost of handling the imported merchandise needs to be at a competitive rate.

The power is the main cost factor for manufacturing sector being competitive. It needs proper reforms and standard framework for supply of coal for thermal power.

The government has by introducing the Goods & Services Tax (GST) made the country to be unified in its tax structure. However there is a dual system of taxation, which is relatively uncommon. GST rate remains high and this will cut the edge of competitiveness of manufacturing and service sectors. Dual system and multiple registrations will complicate the compliance and add to the cost. The power sector will be affected.
The stock market is being driven by global liquidity. Foreign portfolio investors invested US 5 billion so far. Certain other domestic factors have also boosted the market. The sustainability of the market is yet to be seen.
Let us work hard and have a strong patriotic feeling to ensure the growth and development of the nation. My God bless the Nation.


Dr H P Kanoria