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Grey Matter

Dream Merchants in India


Marmalade by papri sri
raman-fnbworld

Sterlite Industries-fnbworld


I had mentioned in the editorial's opening remarks 'Vote for Grey', and I'v already been asked several times if I am joking. No, I am not. I am dead serious. India has in 2014, 150 million young voters and 70 per cent of its people are below 50 years old. That is orange for you, the beautiful colour of marmalade, a WWII invention, necessity driven. My favourite among condiments, when I cannot have oranges, at least I can have marmalade. The reason marmalade is more dear than oranges is, because, prices in India are skewed.


The reason the general economy is distorted and general living standard bad is because of misuse of resources. Its not I who says this. Aamir Khan, no less, said this a few weeks ago in 'Satyameva Jayate'. The show said, each Indian is individually worth Rs 40 lakh, if all the resources of India are adequately value mapped. Now value-mapping is an elaborate task, and even if this figure is a rough estimate, it gives us a base figure to go by. 

But why is value of the rupee 17 paisa for the common man, or whatever the recent number the government and the activist are quibbling about. The reason for all the bad highs and lows are because resources are diverted, stolen and the system corrupted.

I first became aware of it and how a few years ago when a campaign was mounted in Chennai to boycott an IIT student event, where Dow Chemicals, present owners of Union Carbide, the infamous Bhopal Gas tragedy perpetrators, had come forward to sponsor an event. The corruption begins young, it is a very well-thought-out process. The following information, tracked by the Association for Democratic Reforms tells you how exactly.

smelting-fnbworld
 In a landmark judgment, Delhi High Court on 28 March 2014 held major National political parties like the BJP and Congress guilty of taking foreign funding and violating the provisions of FCRA.The Bench, comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Jayant Nath, observed that these political parties have taken donations from Vedanta Resources, registered in England and Wales, and its subsidiaries. The Bench also rejected the stand taken by Ministry of Home Affairs which said that FCRA has not been violated. 


Sterlite, Sesa Goa, Public and Political Awareness Trust and Vedanta The Madras Aluminium Co Ltd are all held by the same corporate entity and were found guilty. Vedanta was involved in the Niyamgiri violations too and Sterlite violations in Kanyakumari. They have all received mining rights and large tracts of land from the government. It needs to be investigated whether these illegal donations are linked to these business deals, the court said.

 
Dow Chemical Company, which now owns Union Carbide Corporation was also found guilty. The judgement was announced on a petition filed in public interest by. EAS Sarma, Former Secy, Govt of India, and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in Delhi High Court in January 2013.The allegations were based on the annual reports of Vedanta and its subsidiaries M/s Sterlite Industries India Ltd. and M/s Sesa Goa Ltd wherein they declared donations of several crores of rupees to INC and BJP.


The court has issued two directions in para 74 of the judgement: The first direction would concern the donations made by State Trading Corporation of India and Metals and Minerals Corporation of India to INC in respect of the donations made to National Students Union of India (NSUI). Both MHA and ECI have been directed to investigate the matter to find out whether the same is a “stray incident and possibly a mistake or otherwise.”


The second direction would concern the donations made to political parties by not only Sterlite and Sesa but other similarly situated companies/corporations. This is how it is happening across the country, bit by bit. One does not speak out of turn when one says India is voting Grey. The outlook is grey for the nation, if it goes on like this.





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