Sabarimala and the Battle for Sanaatana Dharma

Recently my family had the privilege to attend an event where Mr  J. Sai Deepak, a young and very brilliant Supreme Court advocate who is representing the People for Dharma spoke. He spoke for around 45 minutes and then answered a number of questions posed to him by the audience. You can see the entire video recording here.

The gist of what Shri Sai Deepak said is as follows

  • Sabarimala is where a battle for the survival of Dharma is being fought,
  • There are any number of forces inimical to Dharma who are bent on ensuring that Sabarimala and by that Sanatana Dharma is brought down
  • If Sabarimala does not survive this onslaught by the state what chance is there for any other temple being taken over by the state and interfering in the customs and traditions or the Sampradaya of the temple
  • Sabarimala has proved to be a touchstone and the entire episode has exposed many a so called supporter of Hindutva.
  • Nobody is with us devotees of Ayyappa, the Government, the Courts and political parties
  • Nonetheless, the brave women and the devotees in Kerala have braved Government atrocities and gone ahead with their fight to save the tradition of Sabarimala’s Ayyappa
  • These devotees are extremely brave and have even taken blows to their bodies from police lathis
  • The Government has no business to even touch a paisa of any temple.
  • As per law, they can take over administration of a temple only if there is gross mismanagement by the trustees. However, even here the government is supposed to hand over the management back to the trustees once things are cleaned up
  • In reality, the Government has taken over administration of almost all temples and has been appropriating the revenue of these temples
  • A miniscule portion of the temples ‘revenues are doled out for upkeep. It is barely enough to run the temples

Personally, I understand perfectly about how temple revenues are swallowed by the Government and used to fund votebank communities. Not to put too fine a point on it, temple money is used to fund jihadis and missionaries, albeit indirectly. Thus Hindus are victims of communities that are hell-bent on either killing them or converting them. And the worst thing is that the Government is robbing the Hindu community and using their money to fund their destructors.


In a study conducted at the beginning of the current century, it was found that Hindu temples contributed around 22 crores in revenue and barely 6 crores reached them from the Government. At the same time doles to the minorities increased by around Rs 16 crores.

My wife’s family has a close connection with one of the temples in Mandya, Karnataka. Her grandfather was the Parpattedar of the temple. He would spend money from his own meagre resources to keep the temple going. The  Lakshmi Janardhanaswamy temple is not a very large temple but has a large devout following.

The highlight of this temple is the Chariot festival in the summer and the Kottarutsavam in winter. Both these festivals need a generous amount of money as they are celebrated over a period f 10 days and there are a number of devotees who throng the temple. It is a custom to feed them during the festival days and all this requires money. My family makes it a point to visit the temple for both the festivals and pray to Shri Lakshmi and Shri Janardhana Swamy. We contribute a relatively small amount for the festivals based on what my mother in law tells my wife to contribute. However, all our relatives from my wife’s side also pitch in and we have been able to keep the festivals going. The Karnataka Government also puts in some money but the process of getting money from them is as painful as getting ones tooth extracted.

In the days when my grandfather in law was alive, he used to go to the tahsildar office and apply for the grant. He had to bribe the government officials with two buckets of puliyogare, a spicy rice dish made from tamarind and several spices. (This is a speciality of the Srivaishnava community of Karnataka and let me assure you that nobody else makes it so well!)  My wife’s grandfather was in his mid 80s when he passed away. He served the temple almost till his last day on earth.

I would like you to imagine for a moment an old man of 80+ going on a bicycle with two buckets of puliyogare balanced on either side of the handlebar. How inhuman are Government officials making an old man of 80+ come to their office on his bicycle and demanding a bribe of puliyogare made by him at his own expense! I would cheerfully horsewhip every bastard who made him do this. But it also shows how much he was devoted to the temple and Bhagavan that he was willing to take this trouble to go through this effort.

All this is only because the Government of Karnataka, like other state governments in the South control Sanatana temples through ‘Boards’. The temples contribute to the government revenues due to the money contributed by devotees into hundis. However, this money is not ploughed back for the development of the temples. It goes into the big mouth that the government is and is often given as grants to Christian and Muslim institutions. How can any government take from one community the money contributed by common folk belonging to one faith and finance others that are hellbent on ensuring the destruction of that faith! Christianity and Islam believe in converting non believers to their religion.  Islam does it by the sword and Christianity doe it through bribes and exerting industrial scale ‘persuasion’. Sanatana Dharma does not believe in conversions to Hindu faith. However, there are several people, especially in the West, who have chosen to become Hindus of their own volition.

So how does all this lead to Sabarimala? Sabarimala is a temple in the Southern state of Kerala that has a very rigourous process for a devotee to visit the temple. It involves a form of penance for 40 days before visiting the temple. Women of reproductive age are not permitted to enter the temple. This has been fixed between the ages of 10 and 50.

Recently the Supreme court of India has ruled that the restriction on entry of women of the above ages is against the principles of gender equality. While I do not intend to critique this judgement, it would appear that this is unwarranted interference in the customs of a faith or Sampradaya. An appeal has been filed but the SC has postponed the hearing in a nonchalant manner.

The government of Kerala has chosen to use force against those who were trying to protect the traditions of Sabarimala.

I end with this tweet

And this

And you thought India has a Hindu majority! We are besieged on all sides by Muslims, Christians and a hostile media!


India: The Big Picture

Ever since he ascended power in 2014, we have been seeing a never ending litany of rubbish from the chatterati and their minions in the media. Apparently, nothing good has happened in India. Dalits are being lynched, Muslims are being lynched and demonetisation has driven out jobs. GST is one more disaster as per the same liberandus.

Here is what Narendra Modi is fighting against: –

  • Media
  • Mullahs
  • Padres
  • Commies
  • Congress
  • Assorted parties of a mahaghatbandhan
  • Naxals plotting to kill him
  • NGOs
  • Foreign powers operating through Pakistanis with Indian passports
  • Some would even say the judiciary
  • Inefficient ministers headed by Jaitley


Quite a coven of modern day witches! However, slowly but surely, Modi has repelled the attacks back and has gone about quietly doing all he can to push India towards modernity.

If you have been reading the papers or watching news programmes, you would be fed with news of huge discontent about rising petrol prices, unhappiness with the rising Dollar and several other points of displeasure of the common folk that haunt the streets and are found by TV camera crew.

The reality is that most middle class folk work in companies where fuel is reimbursible, and is quite often doled out in litres of fuel, not in Rupees. Such people are unaffected. Yes, there are people like me, ostensibly self employed, but in reality, living off a pension, who are affected. For a person like me who prefers to use an autorickshaw or an Uber cab, to avoid the hassle of finding parking space or parking charges in a mall, the actual petrol consumed is around 25 litres in a month. That means a princely sum of Rs 250 gets shaved off my monthly expenses on other things. Just a fleabite! In my first bank job in SBI, which I left in 2000, the fuel available to me was 45 litres. This is now 150 litres, for those in service. About fuel prices, there is a reason why they are high, quite apart from the actual input costs. This I shall touch upon a little later in this post.

Consider the cost of living. Every commodity such as rice, pulses, vegetables and fruits have stayed steady, price wise. Am a vegetarian, but am sure that even meat prices must be steady. There is very little to crib about for the common man.


Funnily enough, competition has ensured that airfares have been slashed and the gap between cost of rail travel and air travel has reduced. The other phenomenon that media never touches upon is the routes that have been opened up. To have a direct flight from, say Bengaluru to Bhubaneswar means a lot to the middle class person from Bhubaneswar who had earlier to pay exorbitant fares and take a flight via Calcutta, or spend two days on a train and arrive tired and dirty. Now a two hour flight and he or she is there!

This is a phenomenon that people do not perceive and only those who remember the (bad) old days and have experienced the difference understand the positive transformation that has been wrought in their lives by this Government. For instance see this report from Livemint: –


Highway construction has been going much faster. All credit to Nitin Gadkari for that.

Recently, a new airport was inaugurated in Sikkim. This has provided connectivity by air to Sikkim. What this will do to Sikkim tourism is very positive. Hitherto, going to Gangtok from anywhere , the capital of the state was through serpentine roads, though very picturesque. With the airport and flights to Sikkim in place, the number of tourists should multiply manifold.

Sikkim is not the only state to benefit. The states of the Northeast, hitherto neglected, are benefiting hugely. Roads, bridges, railway lines have all come up. For the first time a railway line has been laid in Arunachal Pradesh. The state came into existence in 1991. There has never been a railway line in that part of the country until now.


Okay, let us see what else is new. For the first time USA will drive Mercedes cars made in India


Here is a list of things that the Modi Government has done

  • Jandhan scheme, the biggest financial inclusion programme where over 325 million accounts have been opened and more than half of these have been opened by women
  • Direct benefit transfer that has allowed transfer of subsidies for the poorest of poor directly to their accounts
  • Ujwala scheme that has provided cooking gas connections to poor women, and this has been financed mostly by subsidy voluntarily given up by well to do people
  • Neem coating of urea that has prevented diversion of subsidized urea, meant for the use of farmers, for manufacture of other purposes.
  • Electrification of all villages of the country, a project that could not be completed for 70 years, and was taken up in right earnest by the Modi government
  • Surgical strikes against Pakistan who were using the Indian border for target practice
  • Prevention of terrorist attacks by Pakistan on Indian soil
  • Digital India that is rapidly bringing people online and allowing use of mobiles to access the internet. It is also allowing poor to do transactions through a Universal Payments Interface or UPI application
  • Use of the Aadhar or biometric identification to ensure that genuine people are given subsidies. This has been linked mandatorily to PAN or Income Tax IDs to avoid benami accounts.
  • More than 200000 shell companies have been closed striking a big blow to creation of black money
  • The bankruptcy code has ensured that those who bid for companies that have put up for sale have a clean record making many companies come forward to close their sticky accounts


The above list is only illustrative and not exhaustive. Behind all this is a larger trend that only some may have noticed.

The country is moving away from what was derisively termed as a Mai Baap sarkar or a Government that acted like parents of children. The Government is slowly coming out of public sector enterprises run by it and disinvesting in such companies that have been a drain on the economy.

Certain clear trends emerge. There is an attempt to provide something to everyone.

  • For the poor, the Jan Dhan initiative and the Direct Benefit transfer or DBT has been done to remove any intervention by bureaucrats or the Government personnel in paying subsidies
  • The new medical scheme or what is called Ayushman Bharat provides free medical care to the not so well to do
  • The Goods and Services Tax has ensured a uniform rate of taxation in the entire country. The movement of goods is now much freer as tax is paid by the seller and trucks need not stop at every state border for checking. Surely, this must rank as one of the boldest and biggest initiatives of the Modi government.
  • Income tax slabs have been brought down and the middle class has benefited greatly
  • Interest rates have been brought down and this has benefited everyone, whether it involves payment of EMI on home loans, car loans or business loans

Be that as it may, there are a few teething troubles or growing pangs in moving from a culture of subsidies to a system without subsidies.

The country has not got used to the idea of upward movement of the USD against the Indian rupee. It has also found that petrol prices have been steadily rising and the middle class claims that it is hurting them. I have covered the actual impact of the petrol and diesel price increases in a previous paragraph. This has actually been miniscule.

Let me work out the impact of petrol prices at various levels of consumption

Petrol Consumption in Litres per month Current Cost per litre Monthly Cost Earlier Cost per litre Monthly cost Difference
25 86 2150 76 1900 250
30 86 2580 76 2280 300
40 86 3440 76 3040 400
50 86 4300 76 3800 500
60 86 5160 76 4560 600
70 86 6020 76 5320 700
80 86 6880 76 6080 800
90 86 7740 76 6840 900
100 86 8600 76 7600 1000


If someone is consuming 100 litres of petrol, that person probably owns an expensive car and can afford to pay Rs 1000, without it pinching his or her pocket substantially.

More importantly though, a blow has been struck for removing subsidies for petroleum products, excepting kerosene, which also has seen reduced consumption as the country moves towards cooking gas or methane supplied through pipes.

The effect of higher petrol prices is a reduction in consumption that translates into reduced imports of petroleum and saving of foreign exchange. Moreover, the consumption of indigenously produced methane gas supplied through pipes and metered to the last ml will also reduce dependence on the GCC for oil.

To keep the rupee up against the US dollar, the RBI used to sell dollars in the domestic markets. This ensured a steady supply of USD and effectively was creating another subsidy as the Rupee was kept artificially high. However, with a high rate of inflation, this was a tax on the people. Currently, the thinking appears to be to help the rupee find its own level and to also assist exporters who struggle to stay afloat when the Rupee is high, as the sales they make are in foreign currency. With the Dollar higher against the Rupee, exporters will gain and can bring in more foreign exchange increasing supply of Dollars in the market in a natural way. The Rupee will gradually strengthen The Modi government has been able to remove the subsidy on the Rupee because the prices of commodities have been low, mainly due to prevention of hoarding of these items.

As you may well surmise, the idea of this Government is to gradually wean away people from subsidies and to do it gradually, without inconveniencing those who need them due to low income levels. I am quite confident that in the second term, a lot more people will come out of poverty. Donald Trump has praised India for bringing people out of poverty. I strongly believe that we may well see a substantial reduction in income tax and even in GST slabs, within this year.

As I said in my previous blog post, ignore the rudalis!

The Dollar, the Rupee and the Rudalis

The past few days have seen much brouhaha about the Rupee touching 70 to the USD. Did you ever see such a reaction to the Rupee touching 31 or 35 or 40 or even 60?

All that was perfectly okay to the Lutyens ecosystem, that has been a beneficiary of the largesse showered on them by previous Governments. However, the moment the USD touched 70, this lot, with little knowledge of Economics and lots of knowledge about systematic disinformation, went about their work and tried to create a big furore about this.

No doubt a number of gullible souls will swallow the rubbish that the lutyens rudalis gurgitate and regurgitate on their printed pages and dubious portals such as the quint, wire, print and what have you.

Hopefully, you would understand by the end of this article that there is no need to panic. That the value of the rupee vis a vis the dollar is not necessarily an indication of ‘economic strength’ regardless of what the paid media and press tell you.

To understand how the Dollar Rupee pricing takes place, let us take an admittedly hypothetical example. Let us take the example of a kilogram of refined wheat flour or maida. Let us assume that the price was Re 1 per kilogram in 1947. Assuming it was the same in the USA, or US $ 1 per kg, as the Rupee value was Re 1 per USD.

Now if you see the table below, you will see how the price of flour would behave assuming inflation of 8% in India and 2% in the USA

Year Cost in USD for 1 kg of flour Cost in INR for 1 kg of flour Value of USD to INR
1947 1.00 1.00 1.00
1948 1.02 1.08 1.06
1949 1.04 1.17 1.12
1950 1.06 1.26 1.19
1951 1.08 1.36 1.26
1952 1.10 1.47 1.33
1953 1.13 1.59 1.41
1954 1.15 1.71 1.49
1955 1.17 1.85 1.58
1956 1.20 2.00 1.67
1957 1.22 2.16 1.77
1958 1.24 2.33 1.88
1959 1.27 2.52 1.99
1960 1.29 2.72 2.10
1961 1.32 2.94 2.23
1962 1.35 3.17 2.36
1963 1.37 3.43 2.50
1964 1.40 3.70 2.64
1965 1.43 4.00 2.80
1966 1.46 4.32 2.96
1967 1.49 4.66 3.14
1968 1.52 5.03 3.32
1969 1.55 5.44 3.52
1970 1.58 5.87 3.72
1971 1.61 6.34 3.94
1972 1.64 6.85 4.17
1973 1.67 7.40 4.42
1974 1.71 7.99 4.68
1975 1.74 8.63 4.96
1976 1.78 9.32 5.25
1977 1.81 10.06 5.56


However forex markets do not always behave in such a simplistic manner. There are many factors at play. For instance, the value of the USD to the Rupee in 1948 was 3.36. How many worthies in India made a noise when the lutyens darling JLN or Jawahalal Nehru depreciated the Rupee by 236% in just one year!

I remember when the Rupee was devalued to Rs 7.50 from Rs 6 to the dollar in 1967. Rupee dollar parity was decided on the basis of RBI or the Government’s whim. There may have been reasons for pegging the USD to a certain value against INR, but that was something only the mandarins of the Finance Ministry or RBI knew. This happy state of affairs, for the Government continued till 1993 when we were faced with a big forex crisis and had to open our markets. Shri Narasimha Rao, one of the best PMs we had, decided to bite the bullet and do the right thing. He allowed the INR to float, viz. to seek its own value. This and an open marker policy brought a huge influx of foreign currency into India. Since India was still in the fledgling stages of opening the economy, a free float was a better option than opening the currency to making the Rupee freely traded in the International markets. As the foreign currency kept coming in there was a danger of the Rupee strengthening greatly, making exports unviable. Remember that at the time we needed to shore up our forex reserves to ensure against any medium term or long term shocks.

In a situation where we have huge amounts of foreign money coming in, a free entry into the market can trigger off a catastrophic strengthening of the Rupee. Here is another conundrum. If the foreign currency is absorbed by the RBI, there is a problem of huge Rupee inflows into the market. Let us say that RBI decides to buy and absorb the dollars from the market. There has to be a corresponding outflow of rupees from the RBI. But this would lead to inflationary pressures building up. How does this happen. Increase in domestic currency in the banking system would lead to more money supply and there would be too much money chasing too few goods. The RBI gets over this by selling Government securities in its possession. The excess money supply gets absorbed due to the sale of securities by the RBI. Money supply stays put and all is well.

There are other factors such as inability to stop imports. The ever expanding reach of mobiles to even the poorest sections of society means imports of parts for assembly of mobiles in India or import of the mobile phones which means heavier outgo of foreign exchange. This government has managed to ensure that the inflows keep coming and the outgo is manageable. There always are risks and one of the biggest risks is FII or money being brought in by Foreign Institutional Investors. These are volatile kind of inflows that could disappear in a trice if there is adverse perception on the part of these investors. Much of the FII funds are coming from what are called Participatory Notes, introduced by a gentleman, and I use the term advisedly, called Palaniappan Chidambaram. It is a good avenue for the use of black money that has found its way abroad. What the owners of such illicit cash discovered is that the money kept in tax havens such as Swiss banks is a wasting asset. On the one hand there is no return on the money lodged in tax havens and on the other there is interest to be paid for keeping such funds. Our esteemed Finance Minister f yore decided that there was a way to ensure funneling such funds into the stock markets. Money coming in from Mauritius could be used to get good returns from Indian stocks. This could be done by not questioning the source of such funds. Typically such funds are routed through companies such as Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs who take money from investors and are permitted to invest such money in the stock markets. The investors get a piece of paper called a Participatory Note that tells them the amount invested. The best part is that no investor has to register with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the stock market regulator. So the regulator has no clue of who is investing money in the markets. The front of reputed companies is used for the purpose. No KYC, no money laundering charge as these companies keep the list confidential. Suits the lowlifes and the crooks perfectly! This has not been attended to by the Modi Government. There should have been a ban on P Notes. However, with Jaitley as FM, there is little chance of that happening. After all it was this genius who screwed u the implementation of demonetisation, firstly by not ensuring adequate availability of Rs 100 notes and secondly by introducing new 500 rupee notes and a bigger denomination of Rs 2000. I suppose this man is there for a reason but damned if I can figure out why!

In any case, these are a few risks that exist. However, a cursory glance the position of FII shows that the inflows and outflows are almost matched and mostly purchases exceed sales. The final figure till 2018 August indicates that the net inflow is a mere 5000 crores. The forex reserves as per statistics available indicate that India has a forex reserve of $ 407 billion. That is more than adequate to take care of any run on the Rupee.

Of late the USD has been strengthening against all currencies. Forex markets are speculative in nature and once a trend has been established it gets followed by all speculators. Unless one is able to anticipate a change in the direction of movement the herd mentality prevails. Hence, the Rupee has to weaken to ensure that our exports are not affected adversely.

The Dollar strengthens when inflows to dollar assets increases vis a vis other currencies, e.g. the Euro or the GBP or the Japanese Yen for instance. China plays a large role in the forex markets and does not allow its currency to strengthen. India has to at least ensure too that its exporters are not hit too badly and has to therefore depreciate the Rupee gradually. The impact of this depreciation is not too bad. For instance in the prices of diesel and petrol, the impact could be about a Rupee or two on the basic price.  To provide some relief to consumers of petrol and diesel, the taxes on these items should be reduced by State governments and a little bit by the Centre.

Overall, there is no need to press the panic button when there is a mild depreciation of the Rupee. When I was working in the Gulf in 2013, the Rupee went down to Rs 68 to the USD. This was an engineered feat and some speculators on the inside made a huge pile of money as it strengthened by three rupees almost immediately.

This country has lived through several devaluations of the Rupee in the past. Come to think of it, the rupee was at around Rs 63 against the USD in 2014. In four years it has gone to 72. Not too much considering the depreciation of other currencies vis a vis the USD.

Okay, also consider that for around 67 years we have had a Rupee depreciation of 6300% against the USD or an average of 94% p.a. So a depreciation of around 5% p.a , without pressure on commodity prices, is quite manageable!

Please understand that for almost the entire 67 years, the congress had been managing, or mismanaging, the economy. In fact in the five years of BJP rule between 1999 and 2004, the economy showed a robustness not shown for a long time. Kindly read my blog post on this.

Just ignore the Rudalis!

Being Narendra Modi is the Most Difficult Job in the World

The year 2016 saw two different events across the Atlantic. One was Britain’s exit from the EU, or Brexit as it was called in common parlance, and the other was Donald Trump’s election as President of the USA. The two events had a common thread. In both, the so called Elite, or the ‘Liberals’, had rooted for the losing side.

Far away from Britain and the USA, an event, nay, a phenomenon had occurred in India, two years earlier. The ascendancy of Narendra Modi to being the Prime Minister of the World’s largest democracy was no less than a cataclysmic event for the so called liberals of India who had raved and ranted about him for twelve years using the foulest language possible. However, the Indian people voted for his party, the BJP, and he became the Prime Minister, despite the vilest propaganda unleashed against him by the media, his political opponents and a motley crew of artists, writers and similar riffraff comprising Sarkari freebooters who had been feeding off the exchequer, occupying prime real estate in what is called Lutyens Delhi. Some people use the term Lootyens Delhi as an appropriate description of the looters who inhabit it.

Let us now take our attention away from the hustle and bustle of India and look at the more recent Presidential election of the USA. From the very beginning, the pollsters and Pundits had predicted an easy win for Hillary Clinton as she had all the right antecedents. She was a part of the Washington system, having spent time as the First Lady after a fairly successful legal career. Then she became a Senator followed by a stint as Secretary of state, a very powerful position in the USA.

In the Democrats National Convention (DNC), she overtook Bernie Sanders to become the frontrunner for Presidential Candidate of the party. There are reports that suggest the vote was rigged in her favour as Bernie Sanders was perceived to be a weak candidate. Once Hillary became the candidate, it was expected that all she had to do was breathe and have a pulse rate to win against Donald Trump. But as the poet Robert Burns said

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley,

An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,

For promis’d joy! “


Once the results started coming out, after voting was completed, it became evident that Donald Trump would win. Some unconfirmed reports suggest that she took it very badly. However, nobody can be totally calm in defeat. Nonetheless, she congratulated Trump and addressed her disappointed supporters, contrary to rumours that said she would not do so.


Once the fact of defeat had started to sink in, the liberals could not stomach it and gave vent to their emotions in a violent way. Even now after Trump has taken over the office of President, Hillary’s supporters continue to create trouble. For example, we have these specimens


A sane view has also come out on Youtube like this one


If we think that the phenomenon of illiberal liberals is confined to the USA, we would be hugely mistaken. Fact is that in India too, illiberal ‘liberals’ show their intolerance by getting frustrated and exhibiting what can only be called aggressive and plain rotten behaviour.


The latest manifestation of the hatred of so called liberals and their comrades in arms is the plot to assassinate Narendra Modi.  It is a very real threat hatched by left wing extremists. However, it is a very strange cabal of assorted leftists, media members, opposition politicians, NGOs,  jihadi outfits and strangely, or not so strangely, evangelists and members of the clergy which have ganged up together to not only deny that there is such a threat but also to discredit Modi and to try and win the next Parliamentary election more by crook than hook!


Pat Condell echoes my views as he tears into liberals. Here’s my article on one that suggested that Narendra Modi makes peace with the liberals. In that article I had indicated that the entire first term will be spent in clearing up the mess of UPA.


The Modi  Govt has come after one that is known to have been very corrupt. Not a whiff of scandal has touched the Modi govt, thus far. However, the sins of the previous Government have been haunting it as the banks appear to have been pliant handmaidens of the previous Finance Minister. A number of loans were sanctioned under pressure and they have predictably turned sour.

Now, businessmen who were very happy with the previous corrupt Government are unhappy with the present one. And this is the fate of all clean people. Let me say that I have had a number of cribs against Narendra Modi. I am no blind supporter and have been very critical of the current dispensation not being strict enough against the corrupt previous regime.  My contention is that there have been several failings and this has resulted in a poor perception about the current Government in chasing and nailing culprits. Let me not get started on other failings. Still, the fact is that Modi has ensured that there is no big ticket corruption charge.

It is not as if there are no good things that have happened over the almost four years of Modi Raj. To just cite a few items on the credit side:

  • Jan Dhan accounts that have been opened. Approximately 300 million accounts have been opened with a zero balance stipulation. These accounts are being used to directly transfer subsidies to poor people without any middle men. Jan Dhan is the largest scheme of financial inclusion ever.
  • The Aadhar Card is a card used for identification of citizens of the country. This card has biometric information, though not on the card itself, that is accessible for use in KYC for bank accounts, mobile connections, gas connections and several other items that have been subjected to fraud and misuse. In addition it is compulsory to link the Aadhar card to Income Tax PAN or Permanent Account Number. This has helped in identifying many accounts with false names and at least 200,000 shell companies have been identified and closed
  • Goods and Services Tax has simplified taxation to a large extent
  • Demonetisation that rendered a large number of illicit cash holdings useless.
  • Infrastructure development has been done at a fast pace. New railway connections to distant places, highways being built much faster,
  • Electricity being given to villages that never had any in the past seventy years, solar energy being used to generate electricity
  • Energy saving through use of LED lights
  • Gas connections have been given to poor women who were using wood and coal earlier and smoke filled kitchens have been made smoke free. About 30 million women have benefited from this scheme
  • Urea was being diverted to factories and farmers were denied this vital fertiliser. Neem coating of urea has rendered it useless for chemical production and farmers are being supplied urea without any black marketing. The use of urea has become more efficient as neem enhances productivity of farms
  • Not only has inflation been tamed, the prices of commodities such as rice, pulses, cooking oil and even vegetables have been brought down considerably
  • The biggest problem of NPAs is being tackled by passing a Bankruptcy Law that has brought huge recoveries in the largest sticky loans

The above list is only about the domestic scenario and is not exhaustive. Governance has certainly become more accessible to people. One tweet to ministers sets in trail action on complaints.

Overseas, Mr. Modi has ensured that the image of India has only got better. He has talked to our neighbours, ensured that all but one of them, a basket case called Pakistan, are cordial to India. Earlier, there used to be a modicum of hostility towards India. The investments being made in India from overseas investors has risen sharply. The foreign exchange position has improved beyond imagination. The Indian Rupee has stayed steady against the US Dollar for a long time. It is difficult to enumerate all the good that has happened to India after Modi has taken over the reins of the country.

The failings of the Modi Government relate to the sins of omission rather than commission. Commissions were part of the previous government with its many corrupt ministers and a party president who had no qualms about making money.  Apparently the money was spread around in the media and even to other political parties. That would probably explain why parties from the left and the regional ones too, who have fought elections bitterly against the congress, rush to their defence in TV debates.

More recently, we have had the Cambridge Analytica (CA) fracas. It would seem that the congress had used this company that has been stealing data and using it to enhance the image of an utter duffer who is now the president of their party.

CA has a terrible image worldwide and they have been employed by the congress to create what one can only call ‘template violence’. There has been a good amount of frustration among the supporters of Narendra Modi. Like I said earlier it is only because people see what has not been done, rather than what has been done.


Now, first see why each one of these groups has a problem with Modi


Group How Affected Result Strategy
Media ·         No junkets with PM,

·         Channels required to spend own money to fly these bozos abroad.

·         No exclusive’news breaks,

·         No little brown paper envelopes allegedly provided by the congress

·         No iftaar or cocktail parties

Loss of credibility, outgo of money, no freebooting Bring down Modi
Left wing Search and destroy operations against comrades Fear and frustration Bring down Modi
Jihadi outfits Stern action against terrorists in Kashmir for now and defusing a number of terrorist plots Fear and frustration Bring down Modi
NGO outfits Cutting off the source of funds to NGOs without a proper licence Fear and frustration Bring down Modi
Evangelists and clergy No reason except that their agenda of converting Hindus is being curtailed due to lack of funds from NGOs, that were well funded by foreign sources, being used for conversions.

It also helps that till not long ago, India was being ruled, de  facto, by an Italian catholic lady

Fear and frustration Bring down Modi
Opposition politicians Loss of power with not much chance of displacing Modi Fear and frustration Bring down Modi


The latest outrage relates to an increase in the price of petrol by a mere 1.5%. The Modi Govt. has been slowly cutting subsidies on petrol and diesel and has therefore kept the prices of these fuels high. This was as per international norms where price of fuel is kept high to garner revenue for infrastructure and also to provide a disincentive for its excessive consumption. Increased consumption has a pronounced ill effect on the environment and the health of people. The trend has been towards increased use of public transport. However, it is convenient to overlook every good work done and focus on the one inconvenience.

Let us examine the way the so called liberals have reacted to various events: –

Event Reaction of Left Lobby Perception
Left and Naxal plot to kill Modi Denying that there is  a plot Unpatriotic behaviour
Release of surgical strike video First denying that there were surgical strikes and then saying it is being politicised Unpatriotic behaviour
Girl found dead in Kathua First said it was rape of a 7 year old and after J&K Govt arrested a few Hindu boys rejoiced. Later when a group demanded a CBI inquiry, as the J&K Police seemed to have purposely steered the accusations in a certain direction and allowed the real culprits to get away Unpatriotic behaviour
Hindu girl raped by Muslim in Mandsaur in MP and slashed badly Total silence from left lobby Unpatriotic behaviour


In addition, there seems to be internal sabotage within the BJP to let congi crooks escape. The judiciary also seems to be in the thrall of the congis, though I risk contempt of court to say that they are biased.

Modi has to contend with all this rubbish, a hostile media and Press, a venal opposition and a left lib lobby assisted by the corrupt media either indulging in sabotage or creating riots. In addition, all his good intentions and promises are being sabotaged internally, apart from that of the hostile opposition and the lootyens cabal.

However, I am yet to see anything but a dignified response to the abuses hurled on him. Here is one video where he explains how he keeps himself fit and enthusiastic. He mentions that he eats a kilo or more of abuses everyday! He has said once that a hostile press and media has actually kept him in the limelight. Otherwise he would have been an ordinary Chief Minister.  He has a punishing routine, being early riser and following a routine of Yoga, calisthenics and exercise that he performs on most days. The exceptions may, in my humble opinion, be on the days when he travels. Even there Modi is exceptional. He travels at night so that he does not waste time and money on staying in hotels. You and I end up tired and jetlagged even when travelling in business class on long flights. Even given the luxury of a chartered Air India plane, Modi is always seen to be fresh and enthusiastic after a long flight, sleeping on the flight and ready for whatever the day brings on arrival at his next destination.

There are a few failings of the Modi Government. Like I said earlier, they are the sins of omission. Much of what is happening is also a direct attribute of lack of majority in the upper house, an anachronism foisted on us by the British. The upper house has been sabotaging any good legislation. It is staffed mainly by unelectable congressmen and congresswomen. This is a temporary phenomenon that may well be corrected in a month or two.

Another factor is that the BJP has a shortage of people who are experienced in administration as well as in politics. That is a failing which may well be addressed in Modi’s second term. For now, he is the best bet for India.  I cannot think of any other leader in India who comes anywhere near him in stature and ability.

Modi  has become so tall that he reminds me of a story said about Amitabh Bacchan, the finest actor in the World and a superstar during his time. It appears that one of the producers said that the competition for Amitabh Bacchan was nonexistent, as he straddled the Bollywood universe from 1 to 10. The next star could only be No. 11!

Mahaghatbandhan anyone? Meet the no. 11s, RaGa, Mayawati, Akhilesh, Naidu et al! Soon to be forgotten characters!

Diamond Fraud and Beyond

One fact stands out starkly in the fraud committed on Punjab National Bank by Mr. Nirav Modi and his co-conspirators.

It is that such a fraud cannot be committed on this scale without the active connivance of a number of people, agencies, the banking regulator, RBI, and the Finance Ministry. To finally pin this fraud on two junior level officers is absolute rubbish. The facts tumbling out indicate that there was the tacit involvement of several political leaders, who rented out property to Nirav Modi or his co-conspirators, at exorbitant rents. (As I write this, one of the news channels says that some senior executives have been arrested.)

In my long career, as a banker and a consultant in the banking and financial services industry, I have been privileged to work with several seasoned bankers with fine minds. My Forex Guru is Shri Rajwade, who trained me in the nuances of forex and interest rate risks, and other risks in general, much before you could Google your way through life and obtain answers in a jiffy.

Later, about four and a half years back, in a bank in the Middle East, I worked on Operations Risk. I recall my boss asking me before I joined his team, about what I knew of Operations Risk and my reply was “Very little! But am sure I can learn!” My boss had worked with me earlier on another project in his bank and knew me and my abilities well enough to take me on board. (The previous project was considered ‘impossible’ by the powers that be in that bank. It was not only completed well on time but was closed out efficiently by my team.)  He was willing to take a chance on me, a 60 year old with vast experience in all other aspects of banking but hardly any on Operations Risk.

As I got deeper into the finer aspects of Operations Risk, there was a realization that this risk could well consume a bank. When I wanted to learn more on the subject, one of the best references I got was on RBI’s site. Their circular on Ops risk is very lucid and fairly comprehensive. It appears that the circular was neither read by any of the RBI officials, nor by other bankers in India!

What exactly is Operations Risk? Here’s the officially accepted definition from the Basel Committee on Bank supervision: –

“Operations Risk is the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems or from external events. This definition includes legal risk, but excludes strategic and reputational risk.”

Note that the risk is in inadequate or failed internal processes, people or systems and external risks. Let us now link this with PNB’s fraud. The reason for the fraud, as per the bank, is that two employees sent out SWIFT messages authorizing Letters of Undertaking or LOUs. The bank also admits that the SWIFT system is not linked to the Core Banking System or CBS. Hence, these LOUs could not be verified by the higher ups within the branch. There are two failures here, one of failed internal systems and the other of people. Even if we, rather naively I must say, assume that these employees were the rogues, much like Nick Leeson who brought down Barings Bank with failed trades, there are the following questions: –

  • Did huge credits to the NOSTRO account of the bank go unnoticed, or were they deliberately ignored? (Against the LOU, a bank extends a buyers credit to the Indian party to purchase goods, in this case gold and diamonds. The proceeds are credited to the NOSTRO account of the bank for disbursement to the party, in this case Nirav Modi and his co-conspirators.) The flowchart will illustrate the mechanism of how Buyers’ Credits are structured.PNB LOU
  • The issuance of LOUs has purportedly been done without approval.
  • The LOUs are usually issued for 90 days and buyers’ credit is given against them. If they were not repaid on the due date, why did the banks that had extended Buyers Credit not invoke the LOUs?
  • The moment they did, it should have come to the notice of higher ups at the very top level, viz. ED, Chairman and MD and should have been reported to the PNB Board of Directors that includes representatives from the RBI and the Ministry of Finance.
  • How did the fraud continue even after this happened? (which also begs the question of where was the fraud?)
  • Am sure that there would have been some checks in the bank and in case these were not there, why were the regulators, the auditors and the statutory auditors silent
  • Why did the same officials handling foreign exchange in the branch continue working in the same desk for over six years? (In a career spanning 25 years in SBI, I was posted in 12 different positions in 23 years. Am not counting the two years of probation which was essentially a training period.)
  • My experience indicates that there are numerous audits conducted in any branch. We have internal audits, concurrent audit, bank’s own inspection department audits, Statutory audit at the end of the Financial Year, Risk audit, RBI audit and some I may have missed. Why did no one point out the unbridled misuse of SWIFT in the branch?
  • Every day, in any medium sized branch, the copies of SWIFT messages are scrutinized and anything unusual get flagged and investigated by the BM. Was this never done or was it done only to ensure that the BM did not miss his cut?

If someone had done just the above simple checks, no fraud could have taken place. It would appear to me that the credits extended to Nirav Modi may well have been paid on time or would have been replaced by another LOU for a larger amount. In such a case why did not the financing banks raise a red flag with PNB for not honouring the LOU? Such disputes invariably end up with the RBI. What was the RBI doing? From my not so limited experience, the RBI officials have only a general idea of banking and the nuances are not something they know very well. However, as a Central bank, they do not really have to get into the nitty gritty. This is not to say that the RBI officials are a set of ignoramuses. Far from it, they have done a great job of monitoring inflation, keeping a tight control on the value of the Rupee and on so many other matters at a macro-economic level.


The operations risks in a bank are mapped out and monitored through a process that starts with preparing what is called a Risk Control Self Assessment or RCSA by culling out the risks in the process and noting down these risks and the mitigants available for these risks. These risks are then given a rating on a five point scale. Later the KRI or Key Risk Indicators, and later, a heat map is prepared. The heat map will tell you how the risks stack up by the numbers. From the heat map, which uses a system of classifying the number of high risks, medium risks and low risks, the highest risks are monitored by high level executives and a KRI report has to be submitted very frequently, say once a fortnight.  Medium risks are monitored by personnel at a lower level. Low risks are monitored by people lower still on the totem pole. I do not think this ever happened in PNB.

From all the above points it should be fairly clear that the inflection points were ignored and PNB went about its merry ways. There is absolutely no way that the management of the bank would not have known that this kind of activity was going on in a key branch of the bank. That they chose to ignore it till they could not do so any longer indicates a cesspool of corruption that has caused major damage to the bank.

Risk assessment and control does not need sophisticated systems, just a few honest and well trained employees in key places. But if the bank has a bad reputation for a corrupt management and employees go with the flow, disaster follows as it has done. Let us pray that this is just one instance and not the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

I have not covered the risks of financing diamonds It is a business about which no one outside the diamond industry has the faintest idea. In addition, the assessment of credit is part of credit risk and not operations risk. Diamonds are not like gold where it is possible to use specific gravity and touchstone tests to measure purity. It requires tremendous expertise to detect fakes. Let us admit that bankers are not the best judges of real and fake diamonds. In addition, even if the diamonds are real, the assessment of value based on carats is beyond ordinary people.

I still remember the late 1980s when banks jumped into the business financing huge amounts to this industry, with eyes closed, as per my assessment. SBI had even opened a Diamond Branch near the hub of the diamond trade in Mumbai. The branch was headed by a DGM ranked official, very big those days. My discussions with a few people in the bank dealing with the business indicated a general cluelessness. To me, a person who had spent a fair bit of time in the finance of small businesses and one who would sign on the recommendation or sanction only after proper due diligence, this whole business should never have been taken up by the bank. The bank was probably motivated by the possibility of financing exports, fee based income and the existence of branches in the diamond centres of the World that depended on this business for their sustenance. Since I never was in the field of diamond financing and was so far down the totem pole, I did not break my head beyond a point.

However, the bank officials who permitted this kind of financing, the RBI and anyone and everyone in the Credit Committees needs to be hauled up for being foolhardy. Be that as it may, the entire episode has highlighted the fact that banks are clueless and have jumped with both feet first into deep waters without a lifebelt! Banking is a risky business but all risks need to be evaluated and mitigants should also be in place.

In the case of businesses that are considered high risk, banks should insist on adequate collateral security in the form of title to immovable property, term deposits, shares and insurance policies and whatever else they can lay their hands on to secure their loans or non funded exposures. That this did not happen is a sad story of greed and stupidity. One of the risk evaluations I did was on fraud risk. Every indication was that the diamond trade was fertile ground for fraud.

However, no fence can save crops if it starts feeding on them. No amount of risk assessment and study can do anything when officials of the bank are bent and are corrupt. Thank God that RBI has put a ban on financing Bitcoin!

An Open Letter to Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts CC: All Concerned ‘Liberals’, Environmentalists, Brainwashed Hindus, Hindus in Name Only (HINOs), Arnab Goswami, Clueless Hindus

Dear All,


I am very grateful that the learned judges of the Honorable Supreme Court and some High Courts, notably the Bombay High Court, have applied their minds to better the air quality in two parts of the country, viz. the NCR and Mumbai. Unexceptionable as their actions may seem, and I am all for it, there are many other parts of the country that have a degree of pollution that would rival, if not exceed, the levels of these two metropolises. It is good though that they have begun to look at pollution in their cities of residence.

In the NCR for instance, it would be evident that the levels of pollution are high there, crackers or no crackers.

What are the sources of pollution, Milords?

The main ones are road dust, smoke belching chimneys, mainly from power plants located in the city limits and motor vehicles. In addition, garbage being burnt as well as crops being burnt outside the NCR also are major causes of pollution.

A study by two Professors from IIT Kanpur finds that the “..soil and road dust and airborne fly ash are the major sources of PM10 pollution in summer.” The position is no better in winter either. Quoting from the report again

“The second important component is the secondary particles (NO₃⁻+ SO₄⁻ +NH₄⁺), which account for about 13 percent of total PM 10 and combustion related total carbon (EC+OC) accounts for about seven percent.

The secondary particles are formed in the atmosphere because of reaction of precursor gases (SO2 , NOx and NH3 ) to form NO₃⁻,SO₄⁻², and NH₄⁺. The combustion related contribution is relatively less in summer. The Cl content in PM10 in summer is also consistent at 4-6 percent, which is an indicator of burning of municipal solid waste (MSW)”

I would like to clarify that PM refers not to Mr Narendra Modi but to Particulate Matter!

Fact is that while crackers do cause a spike in the pollution levels, they are not the main culprit. Deepavali is a festival that comes once a year and crackers are not burnt, excepting very sporadically, for the rest of the year.

Hence Milords, since crackers are associated with Deepavali for centuries and Hindus have an emotional attachment to crackers during Deepavali, banning the sale of crackers will be retrograde and could cause some social unrest.

From all accounts, all it has resulted in is an active black market in the trade. Besides, sale of crackers from sources outside the city delivered to people within the city would not be defiant of your order.

You may even decide to ban crackers outright next year but please understand that an order is only worth its enforceability quotient. If thousands and lacs of people decide to defy your ban, the Police can only make a few token arrests and allow the rest to go their merry ways. Worse still, the local thanedar will use this as a means to enhance his income by actively soliciting bribes for turning a blind eye.

I am not here to suggest solutions for the conundrum. But my two bits are given here.

The following have costs and am not sure Delhi residents would agree to these: –

  1. Stop power generation for three days of Deepavali
  2. Stop running heavy vehicles for three days of Deepavali
  3. Stop construction activity for those three days
  4. Ban air conditioning in homes, offices and vehicles

All this will reduce particulate matter and clean the air almost completely.

I very respectfully beseech you to stop allowing frivolous matters in your august Courts. While contempt of court is a crime, there is a lot of verbally expressed contempt for courts. It pains me to see the Honourable courts being abused by the public. Perhaps, one needs to hear the common people of the country a little more.

Incidentally, air pollution is only one part of the pollution tale. The other part is the ecological footprint of which everyone pretends to be blissfully unaware.

I found interesting statistics on the internet on water consumption for growing various foods. Here it is: –

13 litres of water for a tomato

25 litres of water for a potato

35 litres of water for a cup of tea

70 litres of water for an apple

75 litres of water for a glass of beer

120 litres of water for a glass of wine

140 litres of water for a cup of coffee

170 litres of water for a glass of orange juice

184 litres of water for a bag of potato crisps

200 litres of water for a glass of milk

2400 litres of water for a hamburger

15000 litres of water is needed to produce one kilo of beef

10500 litres for a kilo of mutton

4000 litres for chicken

6000 for a kilo of pork

Over and above the water needed for growing the animals for meat, there is a lot of water consumed in washing off the blood, dealing with offal and the waste generated by the slaughter of these animals.

It is evident, my Lordships, there is a lot more ecological damage caused by animal slaughter than a few crackers spread across the metropolises. Would you, as very respected and responsible members of the judiciary now kindly turn your attention to water pollution and eco friendly foods?

What Demonetisation Made me Grateful for in 2017

  1. We are still alive in 2017! So many died in 2016. As my libby friend says “Say a silent prayer for those souls liberated from Modi’s rule and ATM deaths!”
  2. Despite dire predictions of riots (by no less a luminary than the Chief Justice of India), starvation, destitution and what have you, demonetisation went off very well. On the last day of 2016 was able to draw money without difficulty, 100 Rupee notes too. All ATMs, at least near where I live, were well stocked and had no souls floating around except the security guard. Some Liberals inform me that the ghosts of those dead due to demonetisation are floating around ATMs. I would take that with a sackful of salt because Liberals lie all the time (it’s a global phenomenon). They claim they are atheists and should not therefore believe in ghosts and because all  ‘demonetisation deaths’ are the creation of the fertile imagination of Fiberals. Any death within 10 km of a Bank branch or ATM qualifies for Death by Demonetisation.
  3. All maids, drivers, cooks etc. who serve the toiling celebrities, were finally able to buy the provisions and vegetables so badly needed for keeping their family alive. These families had been starved by Modi for 50 days due to his thoughtless act of demonetisation. Incidentally, my maid only got delayed by an hour on one day for drawing money during the 50 day period. It is only maids, cooks and dhobis of celebrities who were not able to draw money. (Am rather surprised that labourers and farmers were the only ones that had to stand in queues every day for drawing money. Wonder if they earn that much.)
  4. Modi did not serve any surprises in his year end speech which benefited people buying homes, pregnant women and senior citizens. So those inclined to tipple did so without inhibitions. In fact so relieved were many men that some went on a grope binge on Brigade Road in Bengaluru. Only the cameras of Times Now caught them in the act. All the CC TV cameras installed by the Police could not capture the group grope better than Times Now. This allowed Navika to do an Arnab impression by saying “You saw it first on Times Now!” (Before someone shouts Misogynist, let me assure everyone that I am as anxious as anyone else to find the gropers.)
  5. My milk supplier and cable operator finally accepted cheques in payment. Thanks to Modi! Digital India or not, we had Cheque Payment India.
  6. The ATM in my apartment complex progressed from not having any money to having only Rs 2000 notes.
  7. I finally got the hang of PayTM and used it for the first time to pay my Uber cab today. I can now buy vegetables without having to say “Cash illa, aameli koduthini!” (No cash, will pay later!). Yes my friendly neighbourhood vegetable vendor accepts payment through PayTM
  8. The bakery on the Main Road near my place has applied for a POS machine and will soon accept cards.
  9. Ma Banerjee and Kejri went mad with grief when all their ‘donations’ evaporated in a trice. Their protests against demonetisation flopped as they could not ‘rally round’ their followers because their cash had turned to instant fertilizer.
  10. I can still touch my toes and see my chappals when I look down, as my middle age spread has not spread too far (for all those who think this is nothing, wait till you turn 64!). This is because of all the running around I did walking to my bank 3 km away! The collateral benefit of turning 64 is that I could stop singing the iconic Beatles song When I’m 64, as one looks pretty silly singing it when one has turned 64! For those who have not heard it, here it is!