Tag: P. Chidambaram

Australia India Institute needs to give prominence to a dignitary like Mr. P. Chidambaram

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Gurpal Singh and his wife Ishika Das Singh with Mr. P. Chidambaram at the AII. Photo: SAT

By Mr. Gurpal Singh*

Melbourne, 5 October: It was exciting to see that India’s former Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram, one of the most prolific personalities in Indian politics was in Melbourne recently at the invitation of the Australia India Institute (AII) and the University of Melbourne to give a public lecture.

One expected an interactive session with open deliberations on issues relating to the Indian economy and politics. However, to my total disarray, the presentation by Mr. Chidambaram was a mere narration of basic information on the Indian economy as if it was an introductory lecture to class 12 students. Was it intentional not to raise the burning issues of the Indian economy?

AII should have given much-needed importance to a prominent dignitary like Mr.Chidambaram who should have been introduced to Australian think tank and decision makers to reflect on the importance of India in the areas beyond cricket and Bollywood. I
believe AII has lost the great opportunity to host Mr. Chidambaram in consonance with his stature and treated as if he was a college lecturer.

Nobody from the Indian or the Australian government was present during the lecture. This demonstrates clearly the type of importance being given to Mr. Chidambaram who has the potential to be the Indian Prime Minister.

On the contrary, the audience was small and consisted mainly of academics and Indian diaspora regulars. Interestingly, no one from the Indian Consulate was present. Though the Indian Consul General in Melbourne Manika Jain was present at a function a few months back where the BJP spokesman Mr. Sambit Patra, not holding any official position spoke in Melbourne on the three years of Mr. Modi’s coming to power.

India is an important country and has a prominent role to play in international affairs. AII needs to gear up giving the necessary hype and publicity with a bigger audience to dignitaries of importance.

* Mr. Gurpal Singh is a prominent solicitor in Melbourne.

Social & economic distractions behind India’s GDP decline: P. Chidambaram

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By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, 3 Oct: The former Indian Finance Minister under the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, P. Chidambaram today accused the Modi led BJP government of distractions leading to India’s decline on the economic and social trajectory.
Mr. P. Chidambaram was addressing a big gathering at the Melbourne University at a public lecture organized by the Australia India Institute.

Mr. Chidambaram said, “There were social distractions in interfaith relations, beef consumption issue, dress code, Hindi language, issue of J-K special status etc.”

“On the economic front demonetization and the insufficient implementation of the newly introduced Goods & Services Tax (GST) have led the GDP decline to 5.7 percent (April 2017)’.

1.5 million jobs have been lost as a consequence of the GDP decline,” he said.

Answering to a question on demonetization, the former Finance Minister said, “Everything about it was bad and none of the objectives were achieved.”

“The Economic Advisory Council was not consulted, RBI not told and no substantial debate took place in the Cabinet. Because all this did not happen the wrong decision of demonetization was taken,” he said.

The other distractions, he said, were the slowdown in infrastructure development, student trouble in universities, dalit issues and a big rise in unemployment.

Answering to a pointed question by SAT on the killing of journalists and others, Mr. Chidambaram said, we have to see who is being killed and what is leading to the killings.

He said, “journalists and others who are outspoken, progressive, fearless and opposed to the current government are the targets. We have to see who is creating the conditions for these killings”.

Without naming the ruling BJP, Mr. Chidambaram said, “It is those people who want to divide the Indian people are behind these killings.”