China-Pakistan Conjure A Brazen Media Game

Are India’s comprador mainstream media vendors selling Bharat’s vital interests down the rivers bordering Pakistan and China?

Links between China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and China’s unquenchable thirst for Middle-East oil point to the biggest red herrings meant to fool a huge part of the world – yet again at the cost of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi landed what can be termed ‘oral Baluchistan sucker-punch’ on the glass jaws of Islamabad’s military mastodons on India’s Independence Day. Reeling under its ache, Pakistan and China are operating through elements in India’s media to spread disinformation on Bharat’s foreign policy, whose outcome could only suit the evil designs of Beijing mandarins serviced by its Rawalpindi-based army top-brass mess-menials.

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Outputs of India’s top, giant information disseminators – viz. the Press Trust of India [PTI] and its competitor – Asian News International [ANI] indicate such a perfidy. The following paragraphs point to possibilities of total myopia or complete treachery on the part of these news agencies.

There are other sinister angles. Some of them snake into the innards of India’s financial capital Mumbai and a few smelly entails of a mysteriously dead 4th Estate fixer.

The Pakistani yelp is clearly audible from the tone of Abdul Basit, the enemy nation’s agent provocateur operating under diplomatic garb, as reported by the Financial Express, citing an ANI dispatch. Operative excerpts:

India’s denial to hold talks with Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir recorded reactions from both sides. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit Islamabad feels the need to hold talks over Kashmir, an ANI report says.

“You all know that we took a step towards having dialogue but that didn’t work out. We did send an invite to India but that did not move forward. We do feel talks on Kashmir is needed [sic],” Basit was quoted as saying.

Reacting to allegations concerning Dawood Ibrahim’s hideout in Pakistan, Basit was dismissive.

“Ye baat puraani ho gayi hai (this is an old issue),” he said.

Pakistan had written to India on August 15, calling for a dialogue on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and humanitarian issues related to the violence there. India rejected the offer.

Not far behind was India’s biggest news agency – PTI. It regurgitated the Chinese line on Modi to twist the narrative. The dispatch was cited by the Times of India. Operative excerpts:

Chinese scholars are “deeply disturbed” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent reference to Baluchistan. A senior expert, talking to PTI, warned of joint steps by China and Pakistan if an “Indian factor” disrupts the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC], with the region as its hub.

“If India is found by China or Pakistan in disrupting the process of CPEC, it will really become a disturbance to China-India relations, India-Pakistan relations,” South Asia expert Hu Shisheng said.

“If that happens China and Pakistan could have no other way but take united steps. I want to say that the Pakistan factor could surge again to become the most disturbing factor in China-India relations, even more than the Tibet, border and trade imbalance issues,” he told PTI here.

Hu is the director of China’s state-run think-tank Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies. The institute is affiliated to the Chinese foreign ministry.

“All the three countries could be badly derailed from their current facts of economic and social development. It could be very bad,” Hu said.

Expressing concern over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reference to the human rights situation in Baluchistan in his Independence Day address, he said Chinese scholars were “deeply disturbed by the reference”.

Welcoming the formation of the special mechanism for talks during Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to India to resolve differences, Hu said the two sides can hold wide-ranging talks on CPEC, NSG and India’s bid to ban Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar in the UN.

“If CPEC is completed not only China and Pakistan but also Afghanistan, India and Iran can benefit a lot. India’s projects in Chabahar port in Iran too can benefit,” Hu averred.

Hu claimed the CPEC will not disturb the sovereignty claim of Pakistan and India in the Kashmir issue.

“It is quite clearly written in the 1963 border treaty of Pakistan and China that if Pakistan and India finally reach agreement on Kashmir issue then the treaty would be accordingly amended. The CPEC construction is conducive to regional stability including China’s Xinjiang. China dare not give up the management and frontier regional development just for being sensitive to the Indian concerns over Kashmir issue. China has its own national concerns, especially stability of Xinjiang,” Hu pointed out.

“If Indian concern is too much, China is also one part of the Kashmir issue. If the accession (area by Pakistan to China) is regarded by India as one part of the problem then let the three of us sit down to talk. Whatever happened in the past, it has not become so serious then let us talk about it [sic],” Hu added.

China has dangled a huge red herring in this regard to divert the globe’s attention from. Beijing’s sweat to get the world media to concentrate on the ‘crippling costs’ of its oil imports from the Middle East is a clever attempt to camouflage the possibility of losing one of its biggest provinces – Xinjiang. Here is an indication as to how western media has been completely fooled.

Also read: Contemporary Tamil fiction at its best 

China’s daily crude imports this year are touching 7.4 million barrels according to an analyst with S&P Global Platts, Song Yen Ling. It is up 10% from last year’s 6.7 million. China’s growing oil thirst, the Wall Street Journal reports, is a serious cause for Beijing’s concern.

China’s largest African suppliers of oil are: Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, and Sudan. Smaller exporters include Algeria, Chad, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, and Libya.

China has also recently cut major energy deals with Russia, as Moscow and Beijing unfreeze decades of mutual suspicion and mistrust in a growing geopolitical alliance also aimed at reducing U.S. regional and global hegemony. Middle Eastern oil still represents over 50% of China’s oil needs.

Most of this oil passes through – the Straits of Hormuz. Roughly, 20% of the world’s petroleum (about 35% of the petroleum traded by sea) passes through the strait, making it a highly important strategic location for international trade, says the relevant Wikipedia dossier.

China spends roughly US$1.6 billion per month to transport its oil from various parts of the globe to its ports. Its oil import growth rate is pegged at 16% per annum and hence – its costs could escalate beyond manageable proportions. Its oil buys are another story – accruing to US$11.5 billion a month including transportation costs.

But, Chinese slit eyes are rooted to another spot in the area that has stuff worth roughly US$ 30 trillion – in its immediate neighbourhood – Afghanistan!

Or is that China is getting even for a sinister event that escaped the world’s main mainstream media drones’ eagle eyes?

According to Wikipedia, there are over 1400 mineral fields in Afghanistan. They contain barite, chromite, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, natural gas, petroleum, sulphur, talc and zinc. The precious stones in the nation’s underbelly include emeralds, lapis lazuli, red garnets, and rubies.

China has a land border with Afghanistan that snakes through a chicken-neck pass called Vakhjir Pass. It passes through the Hindu Kush or Pamirs at the eastern end of the Wakhan Corridor, the only pass between Afghanistan and China. It links Wakhan in Afghanistan with the Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County in Xinjiang, China, at an altitude of 4,923 metres (16,152 ft) above mean-sea-level [MSL]. The pass, not an official border crossing point, has the sharpest official change of clocks of any international frontier (UTC+4:30 in Afghanistan to UTC+8China Standard Time, in China).

Despite the common border cited above, China needs a circuitous route to enter Afghanistan – which can only be through PoK and Baluchistan. In a word, that sums up the theme behind the CPEC.

On the Chinese side, the region is home to the Uighur people and part of   the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region [XUAR]. It is the largest Chinese administrative division, the 8th largest country subdivision in the world, spanning over 1.6 million km2 (0.64 million square miles) It contains the disputed territory of Aksai Chin administered by China. Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Xinjiang also borders Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai. Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range. Only about 4.3% of Xinjiang’s land area is fit for human habitation. The Xinjiang autonomous region in China’s far west has had a long history of discord between the authorities and the indigenous ethnic Uighur population, said a BBC report.

The Xinjiang conflict is an ongoing separatist conflict in China‘s far-west province of Xinjiang, whose northern region is known as Dzungaria and whose southern region (the Tarim Basin) is known as East Turkestan. Uyghur separatists and independence movements claim that the region is not a part of China. The Second East Turkestan Republic was, it is alleged, illegally incorporated by the PRC in 1949 and has since been under Chinese occupation. The East Turkestan Independence Movement [ETIM] is led by Turkic Islamist militant organisations, most notably the Turkistan Islamic Party (formerly the East Turkestan Islamic Movement), against the government in Beijing.

In 2012, Chinese authorities asked Pakistan to hand over members of the extremist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) believed to be operating out of the latter nation. Beijing named six terror suspects and described the group as the “most direct and real safety threat that China faces”.

In 2015, a Reuters report said that almost all members of the Uighur militant group the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) have been eliminated from Pakistan. The source was Pak President Mamnoon Hussain, who had visited Beijing. China blames violent unrest in its far western region of Xinjiang on separatist groups like ETIM, who it says want to set up an independent state called East Turkestan and have bases in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many foreign experts, however, have questioned whether ETIM exists as the coherent group China claims it is.

Xinjiang has another controversial border – with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or Xizang Autonomous Region. It is also called Tibet or Xizang. It was created in 1965 on the basis of Tibet’s incorporation by the PRC in 1951.

Within China, Tibet is identified as an Autonomous Region. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century and include about half of ethno-cultural Tibet. The Tibet Autonomous Region is the second-largest province-level division of China by area, spanning over 1,200,000 square kilometres (460,000 sq mi), after Xinjiang, and mostly due to its harsh and rugged terrain, is the least densely populated provincial-level division of the PRC.

If the CPEC is disrupted, China would lose its US$46 billion investment to link its Kashghar region to the Arabian Sea. The CPEC is aimed at cutting costs of importing oil, paving the way to export PRC goods through the Arabian Sea and simultaneously pose a threat to the first world’s already garbled Middle-East policy.

Thirsty for the Middle-East’s oil, China aims to cut down costs of ferrying the crude by some 1600 km as tankers have to traverse the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Straits of Malacca before reaching the Chinese ports. Peoples’ Republic of China is the largest importer of crude in the world at the present.

Modi’s Independence Day speech pointed to Pakistan’s losing its biggest province Baluchistan on the one side and ending the illegal occupation of Kashmir on the other. For China this is alarming. Not only could its carefully laid plans to spring a series of traps against the West in the southwest underbelly of Pakistan go kaput, but also, its strategic advantages in India’s northwest flank may go up in smoke. Worse, the clarion calls for the independence of Uighurs and Tibet would receive a fillip – leaving China minus its largest province bordering Russia.

The policy of the West with regard to Afghanistan isn’t pure as driven snow either.

NATO needs to cart away the booty from Afghanistan and India’s western coast port of Kandla is the safest exit point.  NATO had vainly tried various tricks since 2010 with regard to the riches of Afghanistan!

Boxed into a corner of its own making, Pakistan is fomenting trouble in Kashmir valley to delay the inevitable.

Corrupt sections of the media are overplaying the problems in India’s northernmost state – where terrorists with active support from Pakistan have become a headache.

China hopes to hem India in from its northwest flank through its investment in Gwadar and also through the CPEC. The Beijing dragon is already present in Sri Lanka in the southeast port of Hambantota – sending submarines and warships to dock at what is slowly turning out to be a naval base meant also to challenge NATO presence in the Indian Ocean’s Diego Garcia atoll. Pakistani and Chinese presence in Maldives – another archipelago in India’s southwest flank is cause for worry. The less said about Chinese mischief in India’s northeast flank the better because New Delhi’s snob political classes’ attitude towards the unfortunate citizens of the north eastern 7 sisters is pathetically piss poor.

In the face of such extenuating circumstances, the suspected treason of India’s mainstream media could be cause for serious concern.

The original question again:

Are India’s comprador mainstream media vendors selling Bharat’s vital interests down the rivers bordering Pakistan and China?

Sonia shoulders a secret dehydrated dislocation?

A lot of my readers are confused as to what is wrong with the health of Sonia Gandhi.

Reports said she suffered from dehydration.

Another said – it is due to a dislocated shoulder.

It could be both, it could be neither.

So, I let my imagination run riot.

Laugh your heads off – friends, foes, countrymen, country-women and those of the third gender. Everyone deserves a lot of laughter.

Readers may kindly note that the incident described below has not taken place. This is pure imagination on my part.

As far as the dehydration and dislocated shoulder of Sonia Gandhi – two health issues – are concerned, I will prefer to take the clarification offered by Dr Desai of Khan surgery fame with much more than a pinch of salt.

Sonia Gandhi had been abroad multiple times to get mystery illnesses treated.  Anyone in doubt, ask Dr Swamy.

Guesses about Sonia’s health would be hazardous for several persons’ lives – especially for someone like me. I ought to know. I am still suffering the aftermath of what her DMK flunkey regime did to me in 2010. And those crowing about press freedom from rooftops of India’s national capital are yet to lift a little finger about the issue. Well, I am past caring. I shall profusely thank anyone who puts a bullet through me as I have now realised that death is more welcome than life in this wretched world. 

Nevertheless,  I would be happy if my imagination [detailed below] does come true!

Congress representative: Madam Sonia Gandhi has sent this box of sweets … which mercifully only contain sweets … to greet the Prime Minister. You can make me eat any bit from this – to test that it isn’t poisonous.

Personal Private Secretary [PPS] to PM: We are indeed touched by this gesture as the lady is in hospital. On our part, we had sent the Defence Minister Parikkar to enquire about her health. How can I be of service to you?

Congress representative: May I first make a few points to justify my request?

PPS: Go ahead.

Congress representative: We cooperated with you in the GST bill’s passage in the Rajya Sabha. Soniaji has ordered Rahul to pipe down on the anti-PM comments. We allowed the BJP to walk over us in Assam this year. We couldn’t do much for you indirectly in West Bengal, but it was our splitting the anti-Mamata vote that helped you win 3 seats – 2 more than last time. In Kerala too we did the same, helping BJP gain 16% votes by sacrificing our own. In a humble way, we helped Modiji save his face after the Delhi and Bihar debacles.

PPS: Of course, one can also see the huge humility factor in Rahul raking up the non-issue of the movie in Punjab against us, the anti-Dalit slur against the BJP by whipping up passions against the Gujarat government over the attack on Dalits. Then there were those wonderful incidents in JNU when Rahul supported separatist enemy agents. I can go on and on. All those are incidents – to be considered as apposites of humility with a capital H.

Congress representative: Your sarcastic humour quotient is touching! That was purely an act of balancing the books. The BJP raked up matters pertaining to Congress selling India down the Indus to Pakistan. Yet, after Raj Nath’s recent visit to Pakistan for the SAARC do, one of our better known leaders and the most free servant of the people and the Prophet – Ghulam Nabi Azad praised the stand of the NDA regime in the Rajya Sabha the other day. Further let us not forget that your government viciously attacked Soniaji’s son-in-law who is non-political, private citizen. We merely balanced the books.

PPS: Did you say, balanced the books? That is rich! You ought to be booked for having lost your mental balance. You had tried to rope in Mr Modi’s wife who lives a pious life after teaching school children for a lifetime. She isn’t involved in any politics. Her personal wealth is next to nothing. On the other hand, if some reports are to be believed, Vadra has merely left 60% of Delhi ‘unpurchased’. Further some 30% and 40% of best properties abutting highways have been bought out in Rajasthan and Haryana respectively by Vadra and his gang. India is facing an uphill task with Pakistan because of all the mollycoddling of the Islamabad goons done during the UPA regime! The entire Congress party defended the poor, non-political private citizen Vadra. Those aren’t books, my friend. To coin a new term – to describe these situations – I would call them blooks.

Congress representative: Ha-ha-ha! This is the greatest joke I have heard in my entire lifetime. I agree with you completely, about this and admit these were mistakes.

PPS: Are you referring to your mentioning the balancing of books and/or the act of attempting to besmirch Mr Modi’s name under false pretexts and/or the other matters that formed part of the conversation thus far?

Congress representative: To be honest … I would alter my earlier sentences and truthfully say that all these unfortunate incidents were terrible mistakes.

PPS: Can you now come to the point please? You have soaped me so much that the metaphorical lather has started emerging from this building’s doors and windows. How can I be of service to you?

Congress representative: Following her debilitating sickness after her strenuous tour in UP, Soniaji plans to undergo treatment abroad with her children, grandchildren and the son-in-law in tow to attend to her needs. Because of the delicate nature of Soniaji’s health, we request you to go easy on the probes against Vadraji on the one hand and not prevent the Congress President or her relatives from their foreign trips.

PPS: You are tripping on factual information, my friend. She is free to go abroad anyway, any day. None has issued any watchout for her passport or for that matter – anyone in the Nehru-Gandhi clan. Some amongst us have been accused of allowing scofflaws like Mallya to slip out – by jokers in your party – just like you had reportedly done in Lalit Modi’s case at the end of the last decade. Is there a corresponding part to what I would call a clear quid pro quo or are you doing all this for the good of the nation – like the Westland Deal?

Congress representative: I am authorised to state that we will give you the entire evidence to blow the careers of all those in the Congress who killed a huge number of Sikhs in 1984 sky high.

PPS: Most of them lost them have volunteered to go to prison anyway. Anyway regimes in Italy and other nations in Europe have passed on much more sensitive information to us that your silly offer.

Congress representative: We will give you all the secret Swiss Bank account numbers of all those within the Nationalist Congress Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, All India Anna DMK, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal United, Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and finally some of the little known members of the communist parties in India. The bonus will be the other personal files and details of two unsporting sport administrators – Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya and Zakir Naik. You can use them and bring both of them back to India to face the music.

PPS: Firstly, I do not believe whether these parties’ personalities have such accounts in foreign countries at all. But, even if they do, the whole thing is immaterial. All of them have become burnt out match sticks in political terms. As for Lalit, Vijay and Zakir we weren’t born yesterday. All of us know what the trio can do jointly, severally and/or invidivually. Those in the BJP would get hurt as much as those in the Congress do. We are merely copying your tactics to buy time to fix them when the time is ripe. This offer is even sillier than the earlier one.

Congress representative: This is as far as I can go, sir. But, Soniaji has enquired to find out what you would like … to you know …

PPS: The only meaningful thing would be the complete list of all the secret account holders from India – regardless of party affiliations – with their current passwords. And on top of that list would be Soniaji. Mr Modi is not naïve to think that by merely getting the list, the money would come back to India. The money and/or their owners may never come back to India even after we expose the list you are dangling before us … that is … if you are in possession of such a list at all.

Congress representative: I will have to check on this with Soniaji and will come back.

The person leaves.

Modi’s voice from the intercom:

Do you have a perfect audio-visual recording of this conversation?

PPS

Yes.

Modi

Release it in two or three days. What did the fool think he was doing?

PPS

But we may never get the list then, sir!

Modi

The list is already with that fellow Dr Swamy. If something could have been done, would that former agent of Rajiv Gandhi have not done it? Throw the so-called Congress schmuck to the wolves. And before doing that, send a copy of this recording to not only Dr Swamy, but also all the political and other parties mentioned by the chap.

PPS

What good will that do sir?

Modi

All the parties are making a beeline towards us anyway – except the commies. Many of them will give us ‘unstinted’ and ‘unconditional’ support as part of National Democratic Alliance or from outside. We found that out during the GST vote. When this audio visual presentation reaches them, there will be less disturbance in parliament and we can take care of governance matters even in the Rajya Sabha. Further, let us admit it, the black money return slogan in 2014 has proved to be a dud. Besides, if Sonia leaves and decides not to comeback, it would be good riddance.

PPS

But … taking support from some of those parties … will be politically incorrect, sir.

Modi

Don’t be naïve, young man. We got Yeddy into our fold and as a result – won a few more seats in Karnataka. Now, none will talk about his corruption. Victory in elections is the Ganges that washes off all sins of corruption.

After Modi hangs up, the PPS mutters sotto voce: No wonder the Ganges has now morphed into a dirty gutter. Its clean up is a dirtier scandal!

The Congress representative stops his black SUV alongside the banks of Jamuna – a little later, extracts a mobile phone and dials 14 digits starting with 00.

 Seeing himself connected, he starts speaking:

 As-Salaam-Aleikkum, Khan Saab! I have left the sweet box in the room sir. The poisonous aroma will begin spreading in some 10 minutes. The poison will begin acting immediately. Depending on persons’ body metabolism, in a few months, the residue will kill all those in that safe house.

A police officer on secondment to RAW hears this in his headset, rushes into the PPS’s room removes the box hurriedly even as another  colleague explains the situation.

PPS

Wherever that skunk is, arrest him!

Modi [from the intercom]

You do not have to.

The PPS and the RAW officer look at each other without comprehending the situation.

Meanwhile, the so-called Congress representative flings the mobile phone into the Jamuna, gets into his SUV and drives away.

Twenty seven minutes later, the PPS sees breaking news on television.

Announcer: A few minutes ago, a black SUV suddenly burst into flames as it was being driven through the trans-Jamuna area of Trilokpuri, hit a divider and came to a grinding halt. Within a minute, the car and its solitary occupant were reduced to cinders.

Modi [to RAW officer within 7 RCR]

Send a message to the man from ISI to pull a better trick next time. And mark a copy to the flunkey in Soniaji’s entourage who – we think – is passing on ISI messages to her. 

The PPS calls Modi.

Sir, we may never know the id of who came sir.

Modi

It isn’t important now. And then we do not know who we are … or for that matter who Soniaji is! Did that busybody journalist fellow from the south not point to the unanswered questions about Rajiv’s murder and Chidambaram’s secrets? I am sending you the links for the sake of general knowledge. Read them and twiddle your thumbs just as I do.  

https://haritsv.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/ban-zakir-naik-war-cry-a-lie/

https://haritsv.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/goswami-subtly-hitting-modi-to-emerge-as-next-kejriwal/

http://tsvhari.com/tsvhari/template_article.asp?id=230

GST Bill A Hollow Promise Akin to Retrieving Black Money Stashed Overseas?

Will the euphoria over the passage of the Goods & Services Tax bill in India’s upper house be as farcical a promise as was the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s vow to deposit Rs.15 lakhs [1.5 million] in the bank account of every Indian during the run up to the 2014 general elections?

But for one regional party – the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam that staged a walkout in protest, on paper – the denouement in the upper house at 2144 hours on August 3 2016 after a lengthy debate on the GST bill was passed unanimously, reports said. The final tally: Ayes – 203, Noes – Nil.

Is the political spectrum of India that is Bharat – play acting by claiming that the passage of GST Bill – so unanimous that it shall irrevocably render the nation as a single market bound by a uniform tax regime?

Will the so-called holistic endeavour prove to be as full of holes as there are in Swiss cheese that will actually make the life of the common citizen of India more miserable?

Could the facile passage of the neo amendments – suggested in the upper house – be adopted in the Lok Sabha – a day after its passing in the Rajya Sabha have any worthwhile meaning?

Will the likes of criminal banker TM Bhasin lording it over in the Central Vigilance Commission and Prime Minister Modi’s enemy within – his cabinet – Arun Jaitley succeed in killing the public sector banks by their repeated assaults and thus cause the premature death of the still-born GST regime?

A lot of song and dance is being made out about FM Arun Jaitley succeeding in getting the Gone-Gress to cooperate. India’s electoral compulsions had isolated Sonia’s flock and the BJP top brass claiming credit over the GST bill only stamped on a dead snake.

Readers may deduce the answers to the above queries by carefully reading the following paragraphs.

Facts

The buzzword is that the India’s US$2 trillion economy’s current annual growth rate of 7% will go up by 2 percentage points. Some 75 lakh [7.5 million] businesses will be covered by the tax.

The unanimity in the assent to the bill is being termed the “victory of India’s democratic federalism.”

The National Democratic Alliance [NDA] regime claims the passage of the bill would improve India’s GDP and vastly ease the conduct of commercial activity.

The government apparently favours an 18% GST rate – leaving the door open for inflationary developments.

Comments on the development, to say mildly, are ‘mixed’.

While India Inc. stakeholders went gaga over the development, international opinion is very, very cautious while reacting to this development.

“GST is one of the most awaited reform measures by the industry. The consensus in the passage of crucial GST bill is heartening. It would help form base of a robust GST framework for India,” said Harshvardhan Neotia, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry [FICCI].

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and economic adviser Arvind Subramanian have said that no nation has claimed a flawless GST since inception.

The British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC] was circumspect.

“A successful GST in India will be a minor miracle,” its Delhi correspondent Soutik Biswas said.

The passage of the bill, The Economist opined, “Is not quite an act of fiscal unification”. However, it is simpler than the thicket of taxes it seeks to replace, the magazine added.

“No country of comparable size and complexity has attempted a tax reform of this scale,” Harishankar Subramanian of Ernst and Young pointed out.

“The GST regime will facilitate smooth movement of goods and eliminate numerous border hurdles for surface logistics service providers. Currently, Indian inventory spend (losses, obsolescence, wastage) can be up to 50-60 per cent of the overall logistics spend,” Deepak Garg, Founder, Rivigo pointed out.

“A less-than-perfect GST can be improved down the road. It will be better than our current patchwork quilt of taxes that prevent India from being stitched into a single market,” averred economist Vivek Dehejia.

Indian software giant Infosys is building a gigantic electronic infrastructure – a GST portal – where taxpayers can register, make payments and file returns.

Implementing the complex new tax system could well-nigh be next to impossible due to inbuilt glitches.

India’s high corrupt and criminalised debt-saddled state-owned banks need will need to ease lending. Currently, it is loaded in favour of fugitive scofflaws like Vijay Mallya and those of his ilk.

Only 20% of companies are actually getting ready for the tax, reveal government’s estimates. Hence, GST, by itself, is no magic pill.

India also needs to mop up a lot more income tax – only 1% of Indians pay the tax and evasion is pervasive.

Successive governments appear to be helpless in reforming a corrupt tax-collection machinery.

In India, tax evasion is a national sport says a Bloomberg report:

India loses 14 trillion rupees ($314 billion) from tax evasion annually, depriving it of funds for investment in roads, ports, and power, says Arun Kumar, author of The Black Economy in India. General government tax revenue is an estimated 18 percent of India’s $1.5 trillion in gross domestic product, the lowest among the four BRIC nations, International Monetary Fund data show. With so little revenue coming in, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is now attempting India’s biggest overhaul of the tax code in half a century.

Quartz reveals a softer sinister underbelly.

Only about 12.5 million Indians — or 1% of the total population—paid tax on their earnings in fiscal 2013. Although 28.7 million filed tax returns that year, 16.2 million got away without paying any tax, data shows.

India copies most of its laws from the United Kingdom – where Value-Added-Tax or VAT is in vogue for nearly 2 decades. It is the precursor of the GST bill in India. Its salient features excerpted from the relevant Wikipedia dossier:

Value-added tax (VAT) is a consumption tax levied in the United Kingdom by the national government. Introduced in 1973, it is the third largest source of government revenue after income tax and National Insurance. It is administered and collected by HM Revenue and Customs. The relevant law is – the Value Added Tax Act 1994.

VAT is levied on most goods and services provided by registered businesses in the UK and some goods and services imported from outside the European Union.

The current default VAT rate is the standard 20% ad valorem since 4 January 2011.

Under EU law, the standard rate of VAT in any EU state cannot be lower than 15%.

VAT is tax levied on sale of goods and services by those who raise invoices upon getting paid.

Examples: A lawyer’s or an accountant’s or a political advisor’s or a PR agency’s fee for services rendered could be £100 plus VAT. The grocer’s bill for monthly supplies for home could be £200 plus VAT. A restaurant bill could be £24 plus VAT. Selling and buying sans an invoice is an offence in the UK. And VAT has to be clearly mentioned in every memo – cash/credit-card-swipe-record and/or credit invoice. At least 95% of transactions are made through credit and/or debit cards or cheques or internet banking.

Its critics say the system is loaded against the consumer.

The producer who has paid VAT on raw materials to create the finished product gets a refund on the tax. So do the stockists/wholesalers and retailers. The final burden falls on the consumer whose pay-out covers the taxes on each mark up from factory to point of sale.

Illustration: A 1 litre bottle of potable drinking water may cost £0.25 at the factory and end up at £2.40 at the final point when sold through a retailer after passing through a maze of transporters, warehouses, stockists and wholesalers. Of this, the consumer would have ended up paying £1.40 as VAT on a product that costs a mere £0.25 originally. Along the way, every outlet would have collected its profit margin and have the option of only paying corporate tax at the end of the year after a lot of tax-planning through experienced chartered accountants.

No such luxury is available to the end-user.

[Figures are merely illustrative and have been kept artificially and arithmetically simple.]

In the United Kingdom, there is no guarantee as to whether the money paid by the consumer finally as VAT – thereby underwriting the burdens of all the industrialists and their distribution networks’ movers and shakers – is put to proper use at all. Worse, the collection methods themselves leave a lot unsaid.

Criminal evasion is tacitly admitted to by the British Government itself!

A simple catechism to explore the viability of GST in India – fashioned on VAT in vogue elsewhere in the globe:

The largest chunk of transactions of lawyers, finance-professionals, PR agencies et al are done in cash. Reasons for the same is a criminally bent, corrupt section of the judiciary, tax authorities and parliamentarians.

Would anyone in his/her right mind, honestly reflect the fees and collect GST through printed invoices as mandated by the GST bill if and when it comes into effect?

Answer: NO!

Most of the groceries and other knick-knacks are sold through small, family run outlets who never issue cash memos. The outlets themselves buy their supplies from stockists, paying in cash.

In that scenario, what would be the chances of the stringent GST clauses producing tangible results in letter and spirit?

Answer: Close to zero!

So, why is everyone singing paeans about the GST Bill?

Answers are hidden in 3 parts.

The first facet of the GST bill is to help big business houses aiming at creating supermarkets with inputs from foreign direct investments in the retail sector nationwide. It could kill the influx of cheap Chinese goods into the Indian market – to be replaced by those made in India with technological inputs from advanced NATO nations and/or their adjuncts in Asia Pacific region. Raw material and farm product producers in India would be at the rough end of the stick – as bulk of the profits would only go to the big firms.

The second design is aimed at the corrupt bureaucracy that benefits the most owing to the confusing maze of multiple taxes in the 29 states of India. The states’ government servants could delay the ratification of the GST Bill in their respective backyards as the focus of taxes’ governance would be at the hands of the central government staff. The only way to tackle the imbroglio could be the absorption of local tax ministries’ mandarins into a new concurrent list of government officials – like the IAS and IPS varieties. The centre’s influence would grow and the regional political satraps and/or administrative heads would be side-lined.

The third angle is the run-up to the ensuing 2017 elections in the assemblies of the following Indian states – Goa, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, UP, Gujarat and Punjab states.

Each of the states’ assemblies have to ratify the GST Bill before it becomes an applicable law in India. As the ensuing elections are looming large, it could take months before something tangible happens. The earliest possible date is All Fools’ Day or April 1 2017.

In Goa, the fight will be between the ruling BJP and the opposition united behind Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party [AAP] or a regional outfit backed by the Congress. It is expected to be bitter and tough.

In the northeast state of Manipur, the Congress is in the driver’s seat. The BJP’s fight is expected to only be of token value.

In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has a serious score to settle with the allegedly corruption tainted incumbent Congress CM Virbhadra Singh.

In Uttarakhand, current Congress CM Harish Rawat had managed to get a Supreme Court verdict in his favour after his government was dismissed using Article 356 of the Constitution. The fight could be tough as many from the treasury side are in secret parleys with the BJP-led opposition.

In Uttar Pradesh, the ruling Samajwadi Party regime led by Akhilesh Yadav is thoroughly discredited. His challengers are Mayawati – the virtual Jayalalithaa of the north – controlling her outfit with an iron hand, the BJP and the Congress party led by Sheila Dikshit – who only has a velvet glove sans a hand. The hands she has for aid are those of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra – scions of the Nehru-Gandhi clan. Rahul has the capacity to singlehandedly lose any state’s election and his elder female sibling is on the defensive over huge corruption charges against her husband Robert Vadra.

This is the most important of all the states – as the bitter opponents – BSP and SP voted in favour of the GST. Of the 2 BSP has better chances of forging the largest alliance – to oppose SP and the BJP.

UP would be one of the biggest gainers through the GST bill. The BJP’s major successes in the 2014 parliamentary polls could play a major role in giving the SP juggernaut a run for its money.

The Gujarat state election results will be up for grabs as the sudden exit of Modi camp follower CM Anandiben has left the party in some sort of disarray. The GST bill could adversely hit the revenues of Gujarat – as it is a manufacturing state exporting its produce all over India. Nevertheless, being the PM’s home state, the BJP is expected to pull all the stops to stymie the opposition.

In the Punjab, the chances of the Akali Dal-BJP alliance retaining power are in doubt as a big challenge is being mounted by Kejriwal – whose nominee could be backed by the rest of the opposition including the Congress. The sudden exit of ex-cricketer NS Sidhu and his campaign against the dominance of the Amritsar loser and current Union Finance Minister Jaitley could render the state’s electoral battle a bitter, pitched, dirty affair.

Of the 7 states, BJP is part of the ruling clique in 3. Through the chimera of the GST Bill, it obviously hopes to increase its tally to at least 5 – which could include UP.

That would mean that the preparations for Modi’s return to the 7RCR tenancy in 2019 could become brighter.

The original questions again:

Will the euphoria over the passage of the Goods & Services Tax bill in India’s upper house be as farcical a promise as was the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s vow to deposit Rs.15 lakhs [1.5 million] in the bank account of every Indian during the run up to the 2014 general elections?

But for one regional party – the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam that staged a walkout in protest, on paper – the denouement in the upper house at 2144 hours on August 3 2016 after a lengthy debate on the GST bill said: Ayes – 203, Noes – Nil.

Is the political spectrum of India that is Bharat – play acting by claiming that the passage of GST Bill was so unanimous and shall irrevocably render the nation as a single market bound by a uniform tax regime?

Will the so-called holistic endeavour prove to be as full of holes as there are in Swiss cheese that will actually make the life of the common citizen of India more miserable?

Could the facile passage of the neo amendments suggested in the upper house in Lok Sabha – a day after its passing in the Rajya Sabha have any worthwhile meaning?

Will the likes of criminal banker TM Bhasin lording it over in the Central Vigilance Commission and Prime Minister Modi’s enemy within – his cabinet – Arun Jaitley succeed in killing the public sector banks by their repeated assaults and thus cause the premature death of the GST regime?

Readers are welcome to guess the answers to these and thus increase their existing ulcers.