Parliament is in session for the last lap of the budget session, and the finance bill is likely to be passed after which parliament will be adjourned. The effort of the Finance Minister is to get two more bills passed: Bankruptcy Bill and the GST bill for which cooperation of the congress will be required. Yesterday there was a debate on the Agusta Westland helicopter purchase irregularities. The then Finance Minister A.K. Antony has given a very thorough reply putting all the facts on the table and said the present government should speedily enquire the matter and come to the conclusion. Of course in Parliament the interest is not to find out the truth but to score political points, which both sides was trying to do yesterday. However, the point is that much of this matter has already been discuss, some Italian court has written something, CBI has already seen the matter; the main embarrassment with the Congress is some mention of Signora Gandhi and A.P. but this is not evidence; it is good to use for political purposes. I do not think public space wasted on such matter. Let the enquiry be go on and conclusion be reached.
Meanwhile the Chief Justice of India broke down in a conference, saying that judiciary is highly under staffed or undermanned. Nobody can interfere with the judges. Although the principle of appointing judges is patently wrong, it is going on since 1993 and parliament does not take a unanimously position otherwise some correction can come. Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand Chief Justice has been recommended to be transferred to another court. He has recently given a very bold judgment on President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, breaking new grounds. Obviously there are political questions, but I do not think the government has any say in this transfer, and the judgment which he has to give he has already given. The remaining part of that episode is being handled by other judges. However, the timing does raise suspicion. It would have been better if he would have been transferred after a few weeks. But the Supreme Court is Supreme Court one cannot comment on that.
The prediction of the MET Department is that the monsoons are going to be normal this year after two years of erratic monsoon. This is a good news for the government and for the people of India. We hope the monsoon will come in time and there will be more rains this year. Whenever a particular region needs rain, rain should come. We have had opportunities as I have seen in Rajasthan for my personal experience that a two days timely rain has save the whole situation. There are sensitive areas in the country and of course government cannot do much rains are rains that are in hands of rain gods. But definitely there should be alternative arrangement on a war footing so that water can be supplied in an emergency situation to save crops. The draught in Marathwada is of tremendous proportion and nothing really can be done except to give relief. As we have said earlier, flood control and draught proofing are both important and both need to be work upon on an urgent basis. There are three years still for this government to face elections, and I am sure the concern that the Prime Minister expresses for the farmers and for Make in India, he must form some good groups, who can on the mission mode, take up the issues in right earnest.
US elections this year are very interesting, because the Republican nominee who is ahead of other contenders is prone to saying shocking things. Shock value is one of the strategies of the elections, and what I hear from people in the know that he wants to win election by shock value. The 8 years of uneventful rule of Barak Obama, he wants to cash it on much in the same way as the BJP cash on the 10 years of Manmohan Singh’s rule. The voters are not going to analyze, they go on the feeling. In America also, though Obama has done very well by all accounts, but general feeling is: not much is happening. There is despondency. In comes a man who is giving shock value and talking new things that is making him popular. However, the final race is not so easy and the Democrats will still be ahead, whoever their candidate is – Hilary or Sanders (as we are yet to know). Of course, it will be very interesting if it will be Trump vs Sanders, where Trump is far right more right than anybody and Sanders is so left that America is not known for the last 20 years. If Hilary will be there, of course she will bring experience with her – 8 years as first lady and 4 years as the Secretary of State. American elections are always interesting for everybody in the world because America control the levers of power in many countries through different means. For India frankly it does not affect us whichever administration is there in America, India can have good relations. We Indian have followed the Thomas Jefferson’s “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and we stick to that. Of course America can have great relations with Pakistan one way or the other, which we have to watch verily. Let us hope overall election bring some stability and improvement in Indo-US relationship.