N.S.Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause and to promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

Indian Supreme Court Weakening Indian Election Commission

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The recent observation of the Supreme Court that the country needs Election Commissioners, who will not shirk from even taking on the Prime Minister if required and not just “weak-kneed” yes men, has sent shock waves.  Obviously, by making such sweeping observations, which appear to be hasty, Supreme Court judges give the impression that they think that the Election Commission is not discharging its responsibilities properly and independently.

It appears that the Supreme Court has assumed an “elder brother attitude” towards the Election Commission, even though both Judiciary and Election Commission are independent constitutional bodies  Constitution makers have not said or implied anywhere that Election Commission is subservient to the judiciary.

Many discerning observers wonder whether the Supreme Court has the power and authority to act like a supervisory body over the Election Commission.

The essence of Article 324 of the Constitution

 Article 324 of the Constitution provides a reservoir of power for the Election Commission to act for the avowed purpose of pursuing the goal of a free and fair election and therefore, the Election Commission is in sole charge of determining the conduct of elections.    The terms provided under Article 324 of the constitution are of wide amplitude and empower the Election Commission to take necessary recourse to address the issues.

Obviously, Article 324 of the constitution clearly indicates that the Election Commission can act independently to conduct elections in a fair and free manner, based on the exigency of the situation and the ground realities, in areas where the law is silent.

This also means that the judiciary has no authority to question the Election Commission, whatever may be decisions.

A retrograde step:

Originally, the constitution vested with the Election Commission the responsibility of appointing the election tribunals to take decisions on doubts and disputes arising, in connection with elections to parliament and legislature of the states.

However, on the recommendation of the Election Commission in 1962, the trial of election petitions was entrusted to the judiciary and the institution of election tribunal was abolished.  Article 324 (1) was amended (19th Amendment) Act 1966, to relieve the election commission of the function of appointing election tribunals.

This has proved to be a retrograde step and against the desire of the constitution makers and made the Election Commission look subservient to the judiciary, which the Constitution makers never intended.

Has the judiciary overreached itself?

While the above amendment involves surrendering of the powers of the Election Commission to the judiciary as far as the election tribunals are concerned, the other powers and authority of the Election Commission remain intact.

In the past, several decisions of the Election Commission have been overruled by the judiciary, without recognising the powers of the Election Commission as per the Constitution.

In the process, the image of the Election Commission has been brought down in the public eye by the judiciary, which is a counterproductive development.

Questioning the appointment of Election Commissioners:

Now, the judiciary has taken one more step in spoiling the image of the Election Commission by questioning the appointment of Mr Arun Goel as Election Commissioner.  This appointment has been done by the government as per the set procedure that is followed ever since India’s independence.

At the same time, the Supreme Court judges have ignored the fact that serious questions have been raised in the country about the way of Supreme Court Collegium appoints judges for the Supreme Court and High Court, without transparency. The recent protest by lawyers in a few states against the transfer of judges from one state to another by the Supreme Court pointed to the fact that there are serious misgivings about the decision of the Supreme Court in such matters.

 Can we say that the Supreme Court questioning the appointment procedure of Election Commissioners is like the pot calling the kettle black?

Tenure of Election Commissioners:

Supreme Court judges have also criticised the brief tenure of the election commissioners and said that in many cases, the tenure was too short. However, the fact is that there are many judges who have short tenures and with the recent case of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court remaining in the job only for a few months.

The tenure of judges or election commissioners need not be a matter of concern, as they can do whatever they want within their powers even in short tenure.

Supreme court judges need to reflect on their observations:

The observations of the Supreme Court judges seem to question the capability and credibility of the Election Commissioners without any basis.

If Supreme court judges were to find fault with the Election Commission, in a scenario where both are constitutional bodies, can we say that the Election Commission can also find fault with decisions of the Supreme Court?

One constitutional body criticising another constitutional body is in bad taste and needs to be avoided.

Are COP27 and G20 Mere Talk Shows?

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COP 27 in Egypt was organized with much fanfare and expectations, similar to  COP 26 at Glasgow that was organised in 2021. While nothing significant was achieved in combating the climate crisis subsequent to the  Glasgow Meet, one thought that COP 27 would be more productive and would find some real solutions to overcome the climate crisis.

Leaders and representatives from most countries participated in COP 27 including the President of USA, Prime Minister of UK and so many others.  Cosmetic speeches were made by the leaders, committing themselves to save the world from global warming and noxious emissions. Finally, resolutions would be adopted after representatives of all countries put their heads together. With no tangible agreement about the fundamental issues, the resolutions would inevitably end up as face-saving documents.

During COP 27, the UAE President clearly said that the UAE would not reduce the production of crude oil and natural gas. In the wake of the Ukraine war, a number of countries in Europe are increasing their usage level of coal as fuel, in spite of the fact that burning of coal as fuel will lead to the production of carbon dioxide and other emissions causing global warming. Countries like India, China and others that are import dependent on crude oil and natural gas, are planning to increase the production and use of coal and they have not concealed this in their speeches. There were further discussions about providing fund support by rich countries to developing countries for reducing emissions. But, there has been no clear agreement or commitment on this.

The net result of COP 27 would be that there would be no appreciable change in the ground realities with regard to climate issues. As usual, activists have been protesting about the cosmetic discussions during COP 27 Meet, and they all seem to be part of all the climate meetings, of course from outside!

If this is the case with regard to COP 27, the G 20 meeting also seems to have taken place in a routine manner which ultimately looks like only a get-together of leaders from twenty countries.

The Ukraine-Russia war has destabilized the world economy but there is no real effort to stop the war by the G 20 leaders, Resolution was passed condemning Russia for the Ukraine war, with Russia opposing the resolution. There are a few other countries which have taken a neutral stand, as they do not want to displease either Russia or USA and NATO countries.

Again, in the present conflict-ridden world with an active war going on between Russia and Ukraine and with Ukraine being supported actively by NATO countries and USA, how can there be an agreement on any issue in the G 20 meeting?

Obviously, COP 27 and G 20 take place at regular intervals and they seem to have become mere periodical calendar events.

While this is the scenario with regard to COP 27 and G-20, even U N Security council meetings have become talk shows in a discussion forum, with countries disagreeing and leaving the meetings after agreeing to disagree.

There are many peace and climate activists in the world who constantly speak and write about restoring peace in the world and solving climate issue problems.  They fill media space but the sane voices of these activists are not treated with any respect by the leadership of various countries, whose priority is self-interest rather than the world interest.

Ultimately, COP 27 and G 20 appear to have become mere diversions and a sort of entertainment for people around the world who look at these events with amusement and misgivings.

Ultimately, COP 27 and G 20 appear to have become mere diversions and a sort of entertainment for people around the world who look at these events with amusement and misgivings.

Why Not Climate Meet in Egypt Discuss Population Control?

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3 mins read

The Glasgow Climate Meet   (COP 26) took place in 2021 with much fanfare with leaders of almost all countries pledging to reduce and eliminate global emissions as early as possible, to prevent global warming and prevent a climate crisis.  The Glasgow Meet ended with high hope that the world climate crisis would be overcome sooner or later and hopefully sooner than later.

Now, Egypt Climate Meet (COP 27) is in progress with the concerns about global climate being not less than what was there at Glasgow Climate Meet.  The ground reality is that practically nothing has been done in a significant way to improve the global climate scenario  in the last year and on the other hand, it has only further deteriorated  due to various man-made reasons and conflicts

The world is already feeling the global climate crisis, as global warming continues to take place with unpredictable climate changes and monsoon conditions. There is huge anxiety in the world today, as no one is able to predict the monsoon conditions and heat levels in the different months with any reasonable level of accuracy. 

 The situation is so desperate now that U N Secretary General at the COP 27 summit in Egypt said that the planet is fast approaching tipping points and the climate crisis is approaching an irreversible level.  He went on to say with a sense of helplessness that the world is facing a stark choice and all countries now have to work together and he 1declared that the world has to choose between   ” survive or perish”  conditions.

So far, globally, the highlight of the discussion on the climate crisis is that the use of fossil fuels like crude oil, and coal should be drastically reduced and completely eliminated in the course of time.  Further, the goal should be to replace fossil fuels like coal, and crude oil for use as energy sources or as feedstock with eco-friendly sources such as renewable energy  ( wind and solar) use of hydrogen and so on.  While scientists are feverishly working to develop eco-friendly technologies to substitute fossil fuels, it appears that the world still has a long way to go.

In such circumstances, the statement of the UAE President that his country will keep producing fossil fuel as long as there is a market for it in the world is very significant. UAE President has been honest enough to confess that he has no plans to reduce the production of fossil fuel and the ball is clearly in the court of consumers of fossil fuel rather than that of the producers. What is particularly curious is that the next year’s edition of the climate summit is scheduled to be hosted by UAE.

Obviously, the demand reduction for fossil fuels is a sure way of reducing the consumption of fossil fuels in the world which will improve the climate conditions. One way of reducing the consumption of fossil fuel is to develop alternative eco-friendly energy sources, on which development work is underway.

However, one should not ignore the fact that the higher demand for fossil fuel and energy sources is happening due to the steady growth in the world population. With more mouths to feed and more people demanding a greater share of the world’s resources, obviously, the demand for fossil fuel as an energy source cannot come down.

It is surprising that in all the climate meetings that have taken place around the world in the past; no one appears to have spoken about reducing population growth, particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries, to solve the climate issue.  While developed countries like the USA, EU, and Japan are keeping the population under check, in countries like India, population growth still remains high with India likely to emerge as the most populated country in the world soon.

While the developed countries have a nearly stable population, the industries and production centres in developed countries which have high technology strength are producing more and more to meet the increasing demand in developing countries, where demand is growing due to population growth and at the same time economic development.

 In several of the climate meet in the past, steps have been taken to provide financial support and incentives to work towards ozone depletion etc. In the same way, perhaps, it would be appropriate to give some incentives to developing and underdeveloped countries to reduce population growth.

It is high time to recognize that countries with high population growth are also significant contributors to the global climate crisis.

Delhi Pollution: Embarrassing and Humiliating

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During the last Glasgow Meet, many countries promised that they would achieve zero emissions and indicated different target dates.  India promised that it would achieve zero-emission by the year 2070, while China’s target was the year 2050.

Now, another annual climate ministerial at Sharm El-Shaik (Egypt) would take place on November 6 to 18.  During this meeting, there would be a review of progress achieved subsequent to the Glasgow Meet. During the review, it would be seen that nothing substantial has been achieved in the interim period. On the other hand, countries including India have been taking steps to expand the coal mining operation and fixing higher targets for coal utilization for use as fuel, which is a polluting fossil fuel.

With the ongoing Ukraine war, several European countries have also started increasing the coal production and utilization.

While this is the overall situation internationally, the present happenings in the capital city Delhi in India, where air quality has deteriorated to the alarming level of severe category, gives an impression that all the talk and discussions have been taking place in a vacuum, with little commitment of the concerned governments to the goal of climate protection. The pollution level has increased by around 36%, making Delhi look like a “gas chamber”.  According to the analysis by the National Clean Air  Programme tracker, the average PM 2.5 levels in October, this year was higher as compared to 2021  in the capital city of Delhi.  

 Air pollution has been caused by burning stubble in Punjab state (it is reported that there have been 3634 fires on a single day on 2nd November 2022).   Punjab has seen a 19% increase in farm fires in comparison to last year.

Stubble is the basal part of herbaceous plants and especially wheat, paddy, and cereal grasses remaining attached to the soil after harvest.

 Obviously, Punjab and Delhi governments have not been doing enough to protect the region from the negative effects of noxious gases like carbon dioxide caused by stubble burning and exposing the citizens in both states to serious health issues.

As Delhi is the capital of India and all foreign embassies are located in Delhi, the pollution level in Delhi now has received international attention and perhaps, during the forthcoming meeting in Egypt, the delegates from India have to answer many questions on Delhi’s pollution from other countries.

This would be a great embarrassment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is a big champion of climate management and has initiated significant efforts in India to promote eco-friendly renewable energy projects, ethanol blending with petrol, promotion of e vehicles and so on.  

The question uppermost in the mind of everyone is what is really the big deal in handling and managing the stubble without causing environmental issues.

 There are plenty of things to be gained by pollution control apart from public health and profit is one of them.

Stubble is a valuable biomass and several value-added products can be produced from stubble.

By fermentation of stubble biomass, ethanol can be produced, which is a strong building block and is also extensively used for human consumption.  The government of India is now placing considerable emphasis on ethanol production, as it is targeting 20% ethanol blending with petrol to reduce emissions and also to reduce import dependence on crude oil / natural gas.

Stubble is also an important energy source, as it can be made into pellets and used as fuel. India is now facing a huge problem on the energy front, as around 80% of Indian requirements of crude oil and 50% of Indian requirements of natural gas are imported, which are largely used as fuel sources. With the skyrocketing price of crude oil and natural gas in the global market, the use of stubble as a fuel source can considerably help India in reducing its import dependence on crude oil and natural gas.

Pellets, provide much more heat and emit less particulate matter and only a fraction of the ash from burning an equivalent amount of coal.

Also, pellets constitute a reliable source of income for farmers who can sell their agriculture byproducts for making pellets, instead of merely burning them and causing pollution.  About 800 kg of pellets can replace a tonne of coal.

It is estimated about 270 million tonnes of agricultural waste is annually available in India that can produce 28,000 MW of power. By comparison, about 818 million tonnes of coal was consumed by thermal power plants for producing electricity in 2021-22, according to figures from Coal India Ltd.

Pellet making is a well-known technology and a number of pellet plants from biomass and wood chips are operating all over India, mostly in the small-scale sectors, which are operating profitably and such pellets are well used by cement and other industries as fuel.

Recently, the government of India announced a scheme to incentivize entrepreneurs to manufacture pellets from stubble.  This should have been done much earlier.  

Why such pellet projects have not been set up adequately in Punjab is a question that is arising in everyone’s mind all over India.  

Further, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi has developed Pusa bio decomposer, which is a microbial liquid spray that decomposes stubble into manure. The bio decomposer, when sprayed onto paddy stubble, breaks it down in a way that can be easily absorbed into the soil, whereby farmers then have no need to burn the stubble.  This bio decomposer has been successfully tested for over two years. However, the Punjab government is reported to have refused to use this bio-decomposer spray for whatever reasons. This is irresponsible.

The burning of stubble and consequent huge pollution in Delhi is clearly due to the inadequate governance of the Punjab government and the Delhi government.

In a democratic country like India, it appears that even inefficient rulers can get away by offering vague excuses and shifting blame to others.

Birthday – Is It A Reason for Celebration or A Cause for Concern?

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People all over the world celebrate their birthday, some people with pomp and show and others in a quieter manner depending upon their position in society and their affordability.  Of course, some people also celebrate religiously.

While this is normal practice, with celebrations being accompanied by cutting a cake, blowing candles and wishes of greetings coming from friends, dear and near ones, in a subconscious mindset, it is inevitable that thought would creep into the mind of the individual celebrating the birthday that he/she is advancing in age, causing a level of anxiety about the longevity of life. Of course, this may happen particularly in the case of senior citizens and perhaps not so much amongst the youngsters who could be thinking that a lot of time is still ahead of them and they need not be unduly concerned about this.

In such circumstances, one wonders whether a birthday should be a matter of celebration or concern about advancing age.  Perhaps, the birthday celebration could satisfy the ego of the individual when others extend wishes and greetings and make him/her feel that he/she has lived well.

Per se, there is really nothing wrong or objectionable about celebrating the birthday of an individual.  However, long-term thinkers would inevitably wonder what is there to be celebrated. When the birthday happens, it is really a calendar event and is nothing beyond that. Days come and nights fall and life goes on in whatever way and whatever day it is, whether a birthday or any other day.

All in all, one may even wonder that Remembrance Day after the individual passes away (even though that would also be a calendar event) is more significant than a birthday celebration. On Remembrance Day, the descendants and others still living would judiciously and carefully evaluate the life content and life process of the person and would pay their respect accordingly in the manner that they deserve.

In the case of birthday wishes, the extent of wishes could largely be dependent on the wealth of the person celebrating or the position held by him/her in business or job.   If and when this would slip away due to superannuation or any other reason, the number of birthday wishes would reduce sharply, which could cause pain for the person celebrating.

However, such a possibility would not be there in the case of Remembrance Day. Finally, can we say that birthday celebration is carried out in a vacuum with no real significance and remembrance day is more meaningful,  being observed with respect and being shown with a greater sense of truthfulness and sincerity?

India’s Moment in West?

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When the announcement was made that Indian origin Rishi Sunak has been elected as the next Prime Minister of Britain, the euphoria was seen in India with Indian media and several Indians hailing the event, as if an Indian citizen has achieved this feat.  Ridiculous comments have been heard such as ” India was ruled by the British earlier and Britain will now be ruled by India”.

Similarly, when Indian origin Kamala Harris was elected as Vice President of the USA, many celebrations happened in India and residents of the village in Tamil Nadu, which was supposed to be native village of the family of Kamala Harris, even organised thanksgiving offerings in the local temple.  One is not sure whether Kamala Harris has visited this village at all at any time in her life.

There are so many other Indian families and individual Indians who have migrated to the USA, Canada and European and other countries in the last several decades and have surrendered their  Indian citizenship and become full-fledged citizens of the countries to which they migrated.  Quite a number of them are occupying top positions in governments, and corporate undertakings and a few of them have even been awarded the  Nobel Prize.

 It is often heard in India that the success of the former citizens of India who have migrated to other countries and who are termed and described in India as persons of Indian origin, proves the capability of Indians. 

When someone becomes a full-fledged citizen of another country by giving up Indian citizenship, obviously their loyalty and duty is to the country to which they have migrated and in effect, they have cut off their bridge with India. It also reflects the mindset of such persons that the value of the citizenship of the countries to which they have migrated are much more than the value of citizenship of India, which they once held.

As a number of such families of migrated persons have been living in the migrated countries for several decades now, the second and third generation of people in the families may not have visited India at all and may not have much information about India and most probably may not care about the culture and traditions of India any longer.

We often hear such first-generation migrated persons claim that they are emotionally attached to India, but this should not be as they are no more Indians and are the citizens of migrated countries to which they should be emotionally attached.

It appears that some people in   India think that Rishi Sunak being the Prime Minister of Britain and Kamala Harris being the Vice President of the USA would provide several benefits to India.  This can never happen, as they are not Indians anymore.

There is nothing wrong in Indians migrating to other countries of their choice and becoming full-fledged citizens there. Some Indian citizens may consider such people as privileged and think that   Indians should be proud of them.   Then, in such cases, it may create suspicion about the mindset of such Indians and their thought process. 

Let those who migrated to other countries as full-fledged citizens be loyal to the migrated country and let them not claim that they are proud of India and its value systems. Obviously, they should not be, since they have given up their Indian citizenship voluntarily, preferring another country for citizenship.

Indian Industrialists Ambani and Adani Are Sinned Against

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The news that Ambani and Adani have emerged as among the top rich persons in the world have provoked derisive laughter amongst some political and leftist groups in India. The rapid rise of Ambani and Adani as wealthy industrialists have been mischievously interpreted as an example of widening the gap between rich and poor in India. To add insult to injury, it is also freely said by the antagonists that Ambani and Adani could become so rich only due to the patronage that they received from the Government of India and from some state governments.

What is conspicuous is that none of the critics of Ambani and Adani have recognised their business initiatives, dynamic management approach, capability to identify appropriate investment opportunities, implement their project plans efficiently in time bound manner,  competently operating the completed projects and finally their capability to take on international competitors in India and globally.

Ambani and Adani group have invested thousands of crores of rupees in various fields including petrochemical, oil and gas exploration, coal mining, renewable energy,  infrastructure projects as well as information technology and communication such as 5G and so on.

Both these dynamic entrepreneurs have created thousands of jobs at various levels directly and indirectly all over India and their contributions to the overall industrial and economic growth of the country is significant and praiseworthy.

What is particularly noteworthy is that the industrial groups led by Ambani and Adani have started their activities from scratch and have reached the present level by sheer perseverance.  They are not known to have exploited labour and the satisfaction level of those working in their group companies seems to be high or moderate. Thousands of shareholders in these companies, with a considerable number of them belonging to the middle-income group, have been benefited.  Further, Ambani and Adani group companies have not defaulted in repayment of debt as per the schedule, in spite of their large level of operations and financial institutions too have benefited.

Of course, there is a difference between Tata group and Birla group on one side and Ambani and Adani group on the other side.  The real difference is in the rate and speed of growth.

Whether it is the case of Tata, Birla, Adani or Ambani, there have been incidents of failure of some of their projects but none of them have been distracted by such failures.  This certainly indicates their confidence in their capability and decision taking acumen, which have benefited the country’s growth immensely.

What is particularly surprising is that while the critics of Ambani and Adani  are so severe  in criticising them and questioning them, they seem to be much more charitable in viewing the activities and progress of Tata group and Birla group

To explain this, can we say that Tata group and Birla group have been much more “humble” and less demonstrative, compared to Ambani and Adani groups?

The accusation that the wealth of  Ambani and Adani reflects the glaring inequality between the rich and the poor in the country is absolutely baseless and motivated.  Everyone in India has the liberty to pursue their dreams and involve themselves in starting and running their ventures.  Many rich industrial groups have been founded by persons from scratch with little income and even with little supportive strength.  Why do critics ignore this fact about Ambani or Adani?

There is considerable evidence that the inequality in income and opportunities between citizens in India are steadily coming down. In such circumstances, the expectations and hopes from people belonging to the lower-income group are rising which is a healthy sign.  Various welfare measures introduced and implemented by central and state governments to support the people in the lower income group are yielding results.  All that is required is that the critics have to keep their eyes open to see such improving ground realities and refrain from denouncing the hard-working project promoters, who contribute to the industrial and economic growth of the country.

To alleviate poverty, wealth generation is absolutely necessary and in a developing country like India, the task of wealth generation has to be accelerated as much as possible. When such wealth generation takes place, many people from different walks of life and living in different economic strata have a role in such a wealth generation process and therefore would be beneficiaries of the wealth generation process. The benefits do not go only to the initiator of the projects and wealth generation process.

Such wealth generation is possible only by setting up more industrial and commercial ventures as well as projects in the services sector.  For such objectives, initiatives from individuals are much needed and Ambani and Adani are certainly showing the way.

XI Jinping and Putin are now the villains of peace

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3 mins read

There seem to be a number of things in common between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Putin. 

Whatever may be the electoral practice in  China and Russia, Xi Jinping and Putin have declared themselves as life President of their respective countries.  Both of them are presidents of countries which have enormous landscapes and huge mineral deposits and agricultural production.  Above all, both of them have huge greed for territorial expansion of their countries by fair or foul means and do not hesitate to use force and aggression to realise their greed. Further, it has now become obvious that both of them are merciless leaders and do not mind slaughtering innocent people in comparatively weak countries if such forceful actions would enable them to achieve their greed and ambitions.

China forcefully entered Tibet and slaughtered innocent and peace-loving Tibetans and is now ruling  Tibet by suppressing freedom China has imposed an iron curtain over Tibet.    China has entered into war with India more than once and is now occupying thousands of kilometres of Indian territory and is claiming that Arunachal Pradesh, a province in India should be part of China. China is threatening to invade Taiwan, while it is suppressing the demand for freedom in Hong Kong with a heavy hand. China’s atrocities in suppressing the Uighurs in China have been widely reported and condemned all over the world.  Not only this, China is having disputes with Japan over Senkaku island and with other southeastern countries with regard to the South China Sea. Cleverly, it has brought several developing countries under it’s control by extending loans which they cannot repay.

Xi Jinping-led China is now seen as villain of peace by several affected countries and discerning observers all over the world and they seem to feel helpless.

Putin launched aggression against Ukraine, saying that it has to do this to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO which, according to Putin, would be a threat to  Russia’s territorial integrity. However, the fact is that NATO has not taken any decision to admit Ukraine as a member in NATO  and Putin’s stand that Ukraine would be a NATO member is a figment of his imagination. Obviously, Putin wants to occupy Ukraine as part of his territorial expansion scheme. In the last several months of the war, several thousands of Ukraine citizens have lost their lives, many of them have left Ukraine as refugees and infrastructure facilities in Ukraine have been extensively destroyed.

Putin-led Russia is now seen as villain of peace by several countries and discerning observers all over the world and they do not know how Russia’s aggression can be stopped.

What is noteworthy here is that both Xi Jinping and Putin do not care about world opinion and have no commitment to world peace. They are totally unconcerned about the sufferings of others due to their greed for territorial expansion and aggressive military actions.

In recent memory, the only person who can be compared to Xi Jinping and Putin is Hitler and there seem to be a lot of things in common between Hitler, Xi Jinping and Putin.

Tibet and Ukraine seem to be in the same boat now, as both these countries have become the victims of greed and merciless offence by Xi Jinping in the case of Tibet and Putin in the case of Ukraine.

 However, the difference between Tibet and Ukraine is that Ukraine is getting strong support from NATO countries and USA  to defend itself and sympathy from several other countries, whereas Tibet was left high and dry by every country and leaving Tibet at the mercy of merciless China.

One is not sure whether Tibetans now living in Tibet know about the developments in Ukraine at all, as no one from other countries in the world  is allowed to enter Tibet and Tibetans living in Tibet may not know about the world happenings at all.  However, Tibetans who are now living in several countries around the world can clearly compare the sufferings of the Tibetans at the hands of Xi Jinping-led China and the sufferings of citizens of Ukraine at the hands of Putin-led Russia.

Certainly, world peace is going for a toss now with Xi Jinping-led China and Putin-led Russia are using force to realise their greed and territorial expansion plans they do not care as to what many members of UNO say and many people in the world think about them.

It appears that the peace in the entire world is now at the mercy of Xi Jinping and Putin, who have emerged as the villains of peace.

Ensuring liberation of Tibet from Xi Jinping led China’s control and ensuring territorial integrity of Ukraine by stopping Russia’s aggression are the two most desirable expectations and hopes of peace-loving citizens all over the world.

Views expressed are personal

OPEC Plus Decision to Oil Production: Wrong in Letter and Spirit

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OPEC Plus, which is a group led by Saudi Arabia and include Russia and other oil exporters in the “Plus”  or expanded version, has now announced its decision to cut crude oil production to the extent of 2 billion barrel per day.OPEC Plus claims that such a cut in oil production is necessary, as the global crude oil price has dropped to about 90 USD per barrel from around 120 USD per barrel three months ago.

It is necessary to remind OPEC Plus countries that the price of 90 USD per barrel is not a low price and several buyers of crude oil in a number of developing countries already find it extremely difficult to pay the purchase price of 90 USD per barrel.   

The attitude of OPEC Plus countries clearly highlights their arrogance that their cartelization of crude oil production, will leave the world with no choice other than succumbing to their price pressure.

 Obviously, such a decision to cut crude oil production by OPEC Plus countries should be condemned as a reflection of the exploitative mindset of these oil-producing countries, with the least concern for the problems of the buyers and importers of crude oil. Such an approach of OPEC Plus is nothing but a crude and exploitative trading outlook, with the least sense of responsibility towards the global cause and plight of the crude oil importers.

The world economy, particularly that of the developing countries, is just slowly recovering from the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis and there is a  real threat of a global recession happening in the next few months due to the slowing down of the global economy.  Certainly, the oil cut move of OPEC Plus countries is not good for the global economy.

It is surprising that OPEC Plus countries do not realise that when the global economy suffers, they too cannot escape from the consequences.

It is astonishing that the OPEC Plus countries have not been able to visualize that there would be consumer resistance for their exploitative method of cutting crude oil production and forcing short supply in the global market.

In August 2022, OPEC Plus countries are said to have missed their production target by 3.58 billion barrels per day, as several countries were already buying well below the existing quotas. This has been largely due to their inability to pay high prices in the global crude oil market.  In such a situation, if the global crude oil market would shrink due to consumer resistance, it would upset the economy of the OPEC-plus countries, whose major share of income has been only due to the sale of crude oil.

Already, there is a huge global campaign against the use of fossil fuels produced from crude oil and natural gas, due to global warming impact. Many countries in the world including high crude oil-consuming countries like India and China have pledged that they would target zero emissions at a specified time in the coming years.

Already, huge global efforts are seen to develop alternate fuel and feedstock such as green hydrogen, apart from a high focus on boosting the production of renewable energy such as solar and wind power. Alternative eco-friendly fuels such as algae biofuel are also receiving considerable attention by the scientific community and technology initiatives to optimize the production of biofuel are now being carried out at a feverish pace. With the growth of biotechnology and fermentation technology, new process routes are being developed to produce biochemicals that would not involve the use of petroleum feedstock. The immediate example is the efforts to produce methanol from municipal solid waste in Canada and other countries.

While curtailing crude oil consumption in a big way is a pre-condition for achieving zero emission in the world, the OPEC Plus countries are unwittingly accelerating the process of curtailing consumption of crude oil in the world by cutting down the production of crude oil that would lead to high price in the global market.  After the announcement of oil production cuts by OPEC Plus countries, the price of crude oil in the global market has already started showing an upward trend.

It is necessary that OPEC Plus countries should read the writing on the wall and reverse their decision to cut their crude oil production. Otherwise, in the long run, it would be seen that OPEC Plus countries could be the real losers.

It appears that OPEC Plus oil countries have bitten off more than what they can chew.

Time Now That Hindu Religion Should be Defended

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Millions of Hindus who lived in the past and who live at present time have been believing that philosophy and way of life enunciated by Hindu religion and enriched by Vedas , Upanishad and Bhagawad Gita and thoughts lucidly explained by great Hindu scholars like Adi Sankara, Ramanuja and others can never become extinct in the world and therefore, there is no need for defending Hinduism at any time. This belief has brought great qualities of tolerance amongst Hindus towards other religions. In such scenario, practitioners of Hindu religion have never attempted to convert those belonging to other religions to Hinduism. Of course, this is as it should be.

With the entry of Moghul rule in India several centuries back, a large number of Hindus were systematically and forcefully converted to Islam and the rest of the Hindus never protested and not even took serious note of it. In the same way, when Europeans entered India and started ruling the country, millions of Hindus were systematically and cunningly converted into Christianity and again, the Hindus, by and large, never protested in any visible manner.

With Islam and Christianity firmly entrenched in India now and with their growing population, India, which has been considered as a Hindu country, has now become a secular country. Again, Hindus in India do not seem to be particularly concerned about this.

However, in recent years, one can clearly see that there has been an aggressive campaign to convert Hindus to other religions by fair or foul methods, which are too visible and cannot be ignored anymore.

While such conversion attempts are continuing with no significant protest from a large section of Hindus , what one cannot miss is the hate campaign against Hindu religion that has been launched in recent years.

Such hate campaign against Hindu religion continues to remain strong and at disturbing level particularly in Tamil Nadu, amongst all other states in the country.

While the hate campaign has been there in Tamil Nadu for more than seven decades now, in the last eighteen months, after the new government assuming power in Tamil Nadu, the hate campaign is now continued with high level of intensity, focus and perhaps, with silent and tacid support from the political party presently ruling in Tamil Nadu.

The ongoing hate campaign is so vigorous that some hate campaigners with little knowledge of Hindu ethos have started questioning the existence of Hindu religion itself. They are saying in a notorious manner that there have been no Hindu religion in the distant past. Several misinterpretations are given to confuse and fool the gullible people.

What is very unfortunate is that the print and visual media in India, which are all the time looking for sensational and so-called breaking news, without examining whether the news and events are absurd and newsworthy, give huge publicity to hate campaigners and organize counterproductive debates. As a result, the Hindu hate campaigners in Tamil Nadu have a field day with the media giving huge publicity to their baseless observations bordering on absurdity and in the process, even providing undeserved publicity to the motivated Hindu hate campaigners.

As the situation in Tamil Nadu has become now so serious that can erode the future base of Hindu religion in Tamil Nadu, there seem to be no alternative other than defending Hindu religion and Hindu way of life with high level of determination by Hindus in the state.

The Hindu hate campaigners in Tamil Nadu have temerity and arrogance to say that Thiruvalluvar, the great philosopher poet, was not Hindu and even removing sacred ash from the forehead of Vallalar, one of the greatest Hindu philosophers known to mankind. There have been huge interference in the affairs of Hindu temples by the present Tamil Nadu government, upsetting the rhythm in the Hindu rituals and with the government going to the extent of misusing the property and other possessions of Hindu temples as per their whims and fancies.

The essence of this article is to stress the fact that the Hindu religion now has to be defended, even as those belonging to Hindu religion should not attempt to convert people belonging to other religions to Hinduism.

The hate campaigners against Hindu religion obviously think that Hindus would not react even to the extreme level of hate campaign. This confidence of Hindu hatemongers need to be punctured effectively.

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