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The Farce & Ugly Reality Of ‘Make In India’

April 27, 2017

updated April 30, 2017

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/walmart-to-open-50-new-stores-in-india/articleshow/58433865.cms

This man Modi has proved what it means to be a Gujarathi Bania. He is not thinking twice when it comes to selling India piece by piece. What a backstabbing and betrayal of trust! Is this what we voted for him.

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Like everyone I was a huge fan of Modi until very recently and I was happy to see Congress routed out of the country effectively with the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections.

‘Make In India’ sounded like a harbinger of good things to come, for after all I was waiting for ‘ache din’ like my fellow citizens.

Demonetization followed, the Aadhar & PAN links are now in progress, yet there is a swelling sense of unease in me for over an year now that I cannot describe in words.

I am not alone in this: some of my friends are as disillusioned with Modi as I am although some remain staunch loyalists of his.

The Patel statue made in China, the PayTM chinese connection (that gave India a mushroom=in=monsoon millionaire) and not to mention the Adanis and Ambanis (without whom of course our PM wouldn’t be where he is today), the audacity to go on with the Hydro-carbon project (benefiting about a 300 of his elite business class cronies while leaving the sacrificing locals in lurch), the sheer negligence of Indian agriculture and the farmers and the farming activities, the insensitivity or perhaps carelessness of bartering the interest of the nation’s poor cancer patients for potentially dangerous and harmful nuclear deals… – these are a few of the grievances I have against Modi.

With a heavy heart, I gave up my BSNL landline and broadband connection today with a signed letter.

When I went to submit it to the telephone exchange of the Central govt., there was not a single inquiry as to why I was giving up the line that has been with us for over a decade. A series of disrepair in my broadband has been frustrating me for months. With my son I needed the unlimited broadband connectivity. Now I can do with limited connection. Even so, footing a 2000+ bucks bill was nothing for us. For 2 years we have been paying for landline and broadband that we hardly used (4G unlimited download plan I think with no free phone calls in landline). But 2 days back my broadband again failed (even if the connection is fibre-optic under the ground for 10 years now and it is on surface only when reaching my flat). It is obvious there is a crack in the cable on the surface (as the buried part always remains fine). My serviceman in unreachable. My exchange officer is ‘switched off.’ This is the nth time such a nuisance is happening to us in spite of us paying our bills online in time – huge bills at that for services we hardly  utilized.

It was more painful to note that the staff were not disturbed let alone concerned that I was surrendering my landline & broadband connection. They took my bank account number and assured me my deposit balance after adjustment will be NEFT transferred to my account.

I came back feeling hollow. This is not how I wanted it to end. I wanted to be asked a few questions. Even if a single staff had asked me and discouraged me urging me not to give up the service, I would have withdrawn my request for disconnection. Even if a single employee of BSNL had assured me of good services in future and had felt sorry for the inconvenience, I would have taken back my letter. I am not naming or blaming individuals. They are not individuals by the way. They are collectively central government/BSNL staff. They are a single bored and lazy and disinterested entity who do not want to improve and who do not want to serve. They are happy so long as their work load is lighter and wouldn’t bother should BSNL down the shutters once for all (post their retirement and pension disbursal note).

Back home, it did not take me long to discover how subsidized really BSNL is. I have an add-on internet package in my phone with 1 GB free each day and unlimited calls which is fast finishing up. What a white lie the mobile telecom operators propagate! In spite of its infamous inefficiency, BSNL works out cheapest and the speed is great. If the small disturbances are removed, there can be no service like BSNL. Very cost effective. 80% of the time it is functional and best. The rest 20% is the frustrating part.

That reminded me of the conversation I had with an autowala just yesterday. From T Nagar to Chetpet/Shenoy Nagar, he asked me 120 bucks. I said, I am not booking Uber or Ola only to patronize those cab drivers who would not yield to the multinationals. That got him all riled up. But he turned back and thanked me for my (kind?) thoughts. Of course I did once book Uber very recently on my way to airport & back home from my Kochi trip. I had to because my regular cabbie was busy. Otherwise I hardly book Uber.

The autowala cursed PM Modi like anything for selling India and making the poorest of the country get even poorer and said ‘Madam when you book Uber, a multinational company mints money. Why is this man selling our interests? Is this ‘Make in India?’

I said my Uber fare for airport trip cost me only 230 bucks whereas my regular cabbie charged me minimum 800 bucks (if it is after 11 pm or in peak hours). Could be upto even 1000 bucks at times even if I live close to airport – within 15-20 km. Uber was indeed most affordable. (I did not tell the autowala that the denizens of Chennai were sick of fleecing autowalahs who have been probably tamed by now by the likes of Uber).

I heard through my regular autowala sometime back that Ola and Uber even rewarded customers with discounts. If the cabbies would do some 7-8 trips in peak hours, they got incentives credited into their bank accounts like some 200-300 bucks per day. ‘Those who do the Ola and Uber are making big money’ said my autowala but continued, ‘I will never sell my independence to multinational looters. I will never become their slave. I don’t have that greed. This is my auto. This is my cab. I own it. I drive it. I am free to drive it at my will in my  country. I know how much petrol we need for every kilometer and how much we have to charge for every kilometer. I have a fixed meter for billing. Why should I drive for Ola or Uber? ‘

The autowala I hired in T Nagar told me, ‘Madam, this man (Modi) is a thief but a clever thief. See how he is neglecting BSNL. He subsidized Reliance (Geo) because he is using the Ambanis for  political canvassing & funds. So now BSNL may be even shut one day. Then the Reliance bastards will hike their rates manifold. And you won’t have the BSNL fall back option. The government telecom company will salute a ‘Jai Hind’ and hang a big lock in the gates. So from then on, the public will be held hostage to multinationals like Vodafone and also the local goons and thieves like the Ambanis. If we want even basic telephony and essential broadband, we will have to shell out maximum. Then our foolish public will come to realize their mistakes but it will be too late. This Modi is robbing the public and government enterprises so that his industrialist friends can live a luxury life. He is draining India, betraying the masses!’

‘He says ‘Make in India’ but does everything to make sure Indian govt owned companies occur losses and are closed or sick. He is ensuring that the Ambanis prosper at our costs!’

Continued the autowalah, ‘Madam, to hire Ola or Uber, you have to have an internet pack in your mobile. You will opt for 3G/4G package costing minimum 500 rupees per month. Who is benefiting? Reliance Geo and other telecom companies like Tata, Vodafone etc. When you spend 500 on internet pack in your mobile, you may not afford a simultaneous BSNL telephone plus wifi broadband connection at home as well. Double the expense. That is why lines are surrendered like anything now.’

‘So it is not that Uber or Ola are subsidizing the customers or the cab drivers at their expense. It is obvious these crooked fellows are having underhand dealings with telecom companies like Reliance. From what these Ambanis make, they are giving the Uber a cut in all probability. Otherwise it is not possible to run Uber this way. A fraction of their earnings (from telecom company deals) Uber is sharing with the public/customers/drivers which is bringing them more crowds by the day.’ (Indeed i received an SMS alert from Uber offering me 50 bucks off on my next ride).

‘At the end of the day, the honest cabbies are going jobless unable to compete with Uber. The foreign telecom companies and those like Uber are minting at our expense. Ambani is fattened by Modi. The sincere poor hardworking cab drivers are selling their cabs. A day might come when all of us have to surrender our cabs to  multinationals like Uber and work for a wage for them instead of being proud cab owners. This *** Modi is the reason! He is not ‘making in India madam, he is making mincemeat of India!’

‘But what is Uber madam, really? Do they own a cab? Do they hire drivers? Whose cabs? Who are Uber? Middle-men? Agents? How can they offer customers such a fat discount? How can they offer so much incentives to drivers? What is the logic? Who is auditing them. Are they then running at loss? Why? How can app developers run such a big show? Doesn’t make sense!’

‘Who are the Uber or Amazon to market our cabs, our products in our country Madam? Is this ‘Make in India?’

‘That ‘the*****’ (sorry for using this word meaning prostitute for Indira Gandhi) at least kicked out Coke, Pepsi. Nehru was a British agent. Corruption started right with Nehru. This **** Manmohan Singh asked farmers to leave agriculture. Leave farming for what? Will he give us cabinet postings or even a bench clerk job in Delhi?’

‘But this man Modi is most horrible nightmare of all. He is half-boiled, that’s the problem. He thinks he is an expert that’s the root cause of all problems. Look at the cruel and crude way demonetization was imposed. A good example for what sinister and unreliable stuff this man is made of!’

‘After announcing demonetization this man is laughing did you see?  He immediately left for Japan not bothered about the backlash the common man was facing! He could have stayed back madam. He could have assured and comforted the public but he kept cracking cruel jokes!’

Farmers are dying, but what is he doing? Will any sane man dig for hydrocarbon project in prime and fertile agricultural land? Did this man have time to visit the fasting Tamil farmers in the heat of Delhi? But he will respond to cinema actors and shallow politicians and fake swamijis because this man is ruthless. Ruthless but cheap!’

‘This man will kill India Madam, he will kill the poor people. He is already doing it. ‘

All this within the 10-15 minutes it took us to reach our destination in traffic.

I have taken more than 10 cabs both auto and sedans since I landed in Chennai this April 15th, the anger of the poor against Modi is shocking. I can’t print in words how they are abusing our Prime Minister. The middle-aged autowala was ranting nonstop.

‘Who wants Uber in India madam? Who wants Amazon? How were we before Uber or Amazon came to India?’

‘Let them close the Coke & Pepsi factories in India. Let them kick out the multinationals. That is what ‘make in India’  means.

As per this man Modi, ‘make in India’ is assembling chinese products, american products, european products SHAMELESSLY in India! Is this what ‘make in India’ is all about? Who is he fooling?’

‘Don’t book Uber, don’t order online through Amazon, let us poor live! Browse online but go to shop and buy your stuff’ the wise autowala told me.

99% I don’t book Uber even if hiring a cab otherwise is 3 times more expensive than Uber. I do because I can afford – and basically I am principled about that. But how can the others be convinced?

I buy online from Jabong or Myantra that are desi. Amazon once I have tried but made up mind never to order through them again. We have our own desi Flipkart from long before Amazon entered India. The sellers in Indian online portals are also small retailers.

I wanted to tell the autowalah that certain things are beyond our control but I did not get a single minute to speak with him! It was a monologue all the way to which I was the sole audience! We can have a controlled globalization.

The anger and frustration of cabbies who are not in Uber or Ola is palpable. The petty shop=owners and small retailers are miserable.

And our Modi wants to add food & groceries next to Amazon. He has okayed IKEA! Oh what a great notion this ‘Make In India’ is?

The plight of Indian farmers is heart-rending. The massacre of the CRPF jawans at the hands of maoists is squeezing my heart.

Our Modiji – why should he bother?

He wouldn’t care if poor cancer patients cannot afford life saving drugs now priced exorbitant and die leaving their families behind. He is happy the American multinationals are here in India. Our Modi wouldn’t bother if our agricultural farming lands could turn out to be salt pans in coming years. He is more interested in the Patel statue he is importing from China. Our Modi has no time if our farmers are dying of hunger – he is ready to meet Rajni Kanth and Isha Yogi instead.

PM Modiji – why don’t you subsidize a bottle of rat poison for the poorest of India. My heart bleeds at the way my people suffer. Instead of killing them bit by bit like this everyday, kill them once for all. All of India’s problems will be solved overnight. The poor are the nation’s eye sore. You can take over their lands and belongings and gift them to your friends Adanis and Ambanis so that they can build skyscrapers over the graves of our farmers and small traders and artisans and lower middle-classes. You can be proud of ‘swachch Bharat’ finally cleansing India of all that is poor and miserable and dirty.

You may think the poor – especially the autowalas are illiterate. How the autowalas are dissecting the ugly truth behind the multinationals is amazing. Modi may be on winning spree – the autowalah gives the reason: ‘When you can book Uber for 30 rupees instead of your regular cab rate of 100 rupees, who will you fancy? Madam, our foolish compatriots are looking at short term gains. They have no perspective of long term effects. For selfish petty benefits, they are ready to hurt the working class like us cabbies and small merchants not realizing that after 10=20 years reality will be different and grotesque. India is sold to multinationals by Modi. He is a farce, a fake! Show me his degree Madam! That man Arvind Kejriwal is right. He is good, but look at his condition!’

Every time I visit India, I have to leave with a heavy heart only. Nobody is happy. No smile on any face. The poor are languishing. The middle-class suffering. But of course look at the rich of India… aren’t they happiest? Our man Modi will make sure the richest of India will get even richer – and he will get the poorest of India to pay for them.

I am thankful to the poor of this nation from the subziwalas to small grocers to petty shopkeepers, the kirana stores fellas, the cabbies, the workmen for opening my eyes to harsh reality. My heart goes out to all of them. Every single word the cabbie spoke was truth … and the pain behind his hoarse words hurts me even now….

The poor have been bundled-out already. Finished in most cases. With the demonetization drive. But look at the tamasha of Vijay Mallya. This is India for you. Not a single person i meet in life forgets to tell me how demonetization is the biggest scam of all. ‘The blacks are all white now’ they say. With digitalization, who rakes in the moolah first is the telecom companies (but not the govt owned BSNL by the way).

We have e-gate now in Doha, no more immigration stamping. But even attempting it in 1.2+ billion India is insane.

India has her priorities. India’s first priority must be our poor: our farmers, our jawans, our artisans and semi-skilled workers and craftsmen and labour force.’ But ever since Modi became our PM, India’s priorities are Adani, Ambani, Mallya and so on…

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PS: Switched over to mobile telephony & internet services totally. Vodafone if you want to know. My PM Modi must be happiest today because I joined the long queue this morning for surrendering my govt BSNL to favour a multinational at our national expense.

Never mind how Nokia exited without paying taxes in India after the 5-year tax holiday period. Never mind the multinationals who go tax-free in India for 5 years and mint millions and then give a slip without paying taxes robbing the nation. Our PM is ready to court them all for ‘making in India.’ Make anything foreign in India. Just stamp it ‘Made in India’ – and that’s all our PM wants.

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From → Dilli Durbar

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