Wednesday April 24, 2019

Indigenous schooling panacea for India’s developmental woes

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By Dr. Kallol Guha

The overall development of any nation, community or group depends not on their physical infrastructure or on the volume of foreign investment pouring into their midst, but on how their indigenous schooling has culturally conditioned their human resources to take part in a sustainable and inclusive growth of their nation and themselves.

Political parties and leaders frequently speak of vikas or ‘development’ even as they chase public offices for themselves and even their children as a lucrative career option. They vow to bring in vikas if they are elected to the chair, but smartly bypass any discussion on why this vikas eluded the nation over the past 68 years.

These politicians or their affiliated parties don’t talk about the core strategy of national development- conditioning the quality of human resource through a thoroughly indigenous schooling system, rather than imitating the foreign schooling process which would marginalize one’s own culture and make people lose all sense of self-respect.

This is exactly what went wrong in India. It is by no means impossible that such an approach towards development does in fact stretch the imagination of certain politicians who are simply not matured enough, intellectually or culturally, to grasp the human significance in the developmental process.

A more likely factor is could be that many politicians deliberately ignore the factor of human-development in national development because their loyalty is towards the Anglo-American Axis power ever since 1947.

Many politicians are simply the caretakers of the foreign interest in India.

One must realize, it was the transfer of power from the colonial masters to their brokers which is termed as ‘independence’. This ‘independence’ is different from gaining freedom through mass struggle which is what Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad tried to do.

It is amusing to conjecture what happens to the inner fabric of a nation where the history of independence is systematically falsified.

Heroes of freedom struggle are branded as terrorists or are phased out with silence. Martyrs are ignored and marginalized. The brokers of power-transfer from foreign occupation to their agents (the Mir Zafars of today) control national administration.

Corruption, underdevelopment, degradation of human resources and cultural erosion, have for all practical purposes made India an appendage of the West or a client state of the Anglo-American axis. The situation in India now is the most natural outcome of a system based on lies and deception.

As long as India is wrapped up in the Anglo-American Axis tentacles and resources worth trillions are transferred to them (as was revealed during India Against Corruption Movement), local and international marketing forces of the Axis Power will continue to propagate India as the “largest Democracy” and brand it with “Freedom of Press”.

There is no sign of a truly effective government designed after the ideas of Azad Hind Fauz, emerging in the political scenario of India. If it does, the Axis power and their Indian clients– the Anglophonic press and a large section of the Anglophonic Indians– would be one of the first to oppose them.

India has had a long tradition of being ruled by minority foreign powers. After the Afghans, Persians, Turks and British, it is now the turn of the Anglophonic Indians to rule modern India. In this context, the 90 percent of Indians who are not Anglophonic have no chance of leading a dignified life through the development of their own language, culture, and heritage.

They can, at best, expect to survive on the left-overs of the Anglophonic ruling class, who in turn thrive on the legacy of their Anglo-American masters and call it ‘development’.

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The Challenges Ahead: To Do List For Ukraine’s President-Elect

Here are some of the president-elect's most pressing challenges once he is inaugurated, presumably on June 3.

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Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy. RFERL

Ukraine’s presidential election — and all the drama, mudslinging, and accusations between Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelenskiy that went with it — is over.

Now it’s time to get back to governing, and there are a number of issues demanding attention from President-elect Zelenskiy, a political newbie with a billowing popular mandate but virtually no established institutional base.

By all accounts, the Ukrainian people sent a strong message in this election: They are dissatisfied with both the pace of reforms and their politicians’ efforts so far to root out corruption. The economy is still struggling, including with the consequences of the loss of control over Crimea to Russia. And a conflict in the country’s east that has already left more than 13,000 people dead since 2014 still simmers, with Moscow’s support for the armed separatists factoring into everything Kyiv does both at home and abroad.

Ukraine’s president does not head the government, but the office does wield significant influence, including veto power over parliament and the authority to appoint some senior officials. The Ukrainian president is also the commander in chief of the country’s armed forces, a crucial role given the ongoing conflict in the Donbas.

Here are some of the president-elect’s most pressing challenges once he is inaugurated, presumably on June 3.

Corruption

Nothing looms larger than corruption. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, Ukraine ranks 120th out of 180 surveyed nations. The problem has deep roots.

From the courts to the cop on the street, bribery is “widespread among Ukrainian public officials.” According to the London-based Chatham House, tackling corruption in Ukraine will ultimately require “consensus among the elites to change the rules of the game.”

Some anticorruption efforts have not lived up to the hype. The newly created National Anti-Corruption Bureau has yet to “achieve a high-level prosecution because of the influence of vested interests over the judiciary,” according to Chatham House. However, there are signs of hope. On April 11, Poroshenko announced the launch of a special corruption court, the High Anti-Corruption Court, that was a condition for a $3.9 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “Today, we see the result: 38 new judges proceed to perform their duties in the new court,” Poroshenko wrote on Twitter at the time. It will be up to the president’s office to ensure that this court’s work is not impeded.

Zelenskiy has already signaled his eagerness to take on sitting officials with his election-night pledge to ensure the exit of Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko, the country’s controversial top prosecutor.

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko (file photo)
Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko. RFERL

But as economist Timothy Ash pointed out around the same time, many observers will also be scouring for indications that Zelenskiy is not beholden to Ihor Kolomoyskiy, the exiled oligarch whose TV station, advisers, and possibly frequent counsel have played such a major role in the 41-year-old comic’s political rise.

Economy 

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine have left more than 13,000 dead, tens of thousands injured, and more than a million people displaced, according to United Nations estimates. They also dealt a near death blow to Ukraine’s economy. The Donbas, epicenter of the continued fighting, is also the historical heart of much of Ukraine’s heavy industry. And warfare and economic growth don’t mix, although there is some room for optimism.

In 2015, Ukraine’s economy was shrinking, according to the World Bank,contracting by just under 10 percent. Since then, as international lending accelerated and the conflict has cooled a bit, Ukraine’s economy has recovered. The IMF is predicting growth of 2.7 percent for Ukraine in 2019.

There are other encouraging signs as well. Ukraine’s State Statistics Service recently reported that real wages were up 11 percent year-on-year in February. The average monthly nominal wage is 9,429 hryvnyas, or around $350. The average wage in Kyiv is up 50 percent. Foreign direct investment (FDI) remains meager at 2 percent, but “Ukraine has started reappearing on investors’ radar screens,” according to Andy Hunder, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine.


Energy Independence 

Russian’s seizure of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 “was very much driven by undermining Ukraine’s energy and gas-diversification strategy,” according to Frank Umbach, an associate director at the European Center for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS).

The Russian takeover cost Kyiv its access to some of the vast offshore oil and gas resources in the Black Sea, estimated at 4 trillion-13 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, according to Umbach. Despite that and other major setbacks, Ukraine has made progress in decoupling itself from Gazprom, Russia’s state gas giant. In February, Ukraine’s state-owned energy firm Naftogaz won a landmark victory over Gazprom in a Stockholm courtroom. The judges of the Stockholm arbitration court ruled that Ukraine no longer has to buy a fixed amount from Gazprom.

Arbitrators also nullified the inflated gas prices agreed under a controversial deal struck by Yulia Tymoshenko in 2009, when she was prime minister.

Naftogaz, meanwhile, boasted in January that it had gone from importing 74 percent of its gas from Russia to getting all of its gas from elsewhere in Europe. In January, Ukraine exported its own natural gas to Europe for the first time in 15 years. In the future, experts say, Ukraine must tap into its own gas reserves. According to BP, Ukraine has 600 billion cubic meters (bci) of proven reserves, enough to meet its energy needs for 20 years. At the same time, more Ukrainians are opting for solar power. In 2018, more than 7,500 households installed solar panels on their homes, and those numbers are expected to grow.

Ukraine has greatly reduced its dependence on Gazprom for energy.
Ukraine has greatly reduced its dependence on Gazprom for energy. RFERL


Conflict In The East 

In early 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and began backing separatists in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine’s armed forces numbered 157,000 troops. But only one brigade — around 6,000 service members — was considered battle-ready, according to Mykola Bielieskov, deputy director of the Institute of World Policy in Kyiv, in The National Interest. Prosecutor-General Lutsenko has since suggested that the country’s armed forces “nearly collapsed” in 2014.

Around 30 volunteer militias and private armies — some with far-right leanings, the Azov Battalion among the most notorious — helped fill that defense vacuum.

Today, Ukraine’s combined military ranks number about 250,000 active-duty troops and roughly 80,000 reservists. Ukraine has reportedly made huge strides building its own force of drones, integral to reconnaissance along the front lines.

“In the last two years since this organization has been set up, they’ve rapidly advanced from using dirigibles or balloons to do reconnaissance to building their own UAV systems,” Lieutenant Colonel Ty Shepard, a U.S. Army National Guardsman advising a Ukrainian military command and control program, told Air And Space magazine. “And that’s from zero.”

Machine-gunner Yana Chervona, the mother of two young children, was killed in a mortar attack by Russia-backed separatists on April 2.
Machine-gunner Yana Chervona, the mother of two young children, was killed in a mortar attack by Russia-backed separatists on April 2. RFERL

They also built up their arsenal, including with a shipment of Javelin antitank missiles from the United States in 2018, and Washington might be open to supplying more. On September 1, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and current U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker suggested in an interview with The Guardian that Washington’s future military aid to Kyiv could include weapon sales to Ukraine’s air force and navy as well as the army. (RFERL)