Arundhati Roy: "Now, we have a democratically elected totalitarian government"
Kuldip Nayar: "I see induction of religion in politics."
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph): "India's economic model has essentially failed Talk of matching East Asia's growth rates has been exposed as wishful thinking. Superpower dreams are giving way to the same old reality of poverty, depleted ground water and graft."
Praveen Swami [The Hindu): "India's new language of killing,"
Subir Sinha (University of London): "Why India's new PM may bring disaster to India."
Fact 1: There are 1.2 billion humans in the world who live in extreme poverty. Of the 1.2 billion, 33 percent of the world's poor live in India. More than 850 million Indians earn $2 a day or less- that is 2 out of every 3 Indians.
Fact 2: In 1988, India's defence budget stood at Rs 168 billion. Last year's allocation stands at a colossal Rs 2.03 trillion - an increase of nearly 14 times. In dollar terms, the budget has gone up from $16.7 billion to $47.7 billion (in constant 2010).
Fact 3: India is already the biggest buyer of arms in the world Narendra Modi now wants to spend an additional $200 billion on stealth fighters, main battle tanks, backfire bombers, aircraft carriers, frigates and Scorpion submarines.
Fact 4: India has six neighbours: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, Nepal and Pakistan. The Indian Army's Arjun main battle tanks are not for Bangladesh. The T-72, 2nd generation, 41.5 tons, main battle tanks are neither for China nor for Nepal The T-90, 3rd generation, 47.5 ton, main battle tanks are neither for Bhutan nor for Burma. The on-the- ground reality is that most Indian arms are positioned to target Pakistan.
Fact 5: In 2005, Narendra Modi, just when he was preparing to travel to New York, was refused the U.S. visa. The State Department invoked a law that makes foreign "officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom ineligible for visas." For the record, Narendra Modi is the only person on the face of the planet ever denied a visa to the U.S. under this provision.
Fact 6: Bharatiya Sthalsena has a total of 13 corps of which at least 7 have their guns pointed at Pakistan (Sundarji Doctrine).
Now some myths:
Myth 1: Pakistan's military eats up the largest chunk of the budget.
Not true. The single largest allocation in Budget 2014-15 is the provincial share in federal revenue receipts. The second largest allocation in Budget 2014-15 went to servicing the national debt. The third largest allocation in Budget 2014-15 went to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). Yes, the fourth largest government expenditure goes into defence.
Myth 2: Pakistan ends up spending a very high percentage of her GDP on defence. Not true. There are at least four-dozen countries that spend a higher percentage of their GDP on defence. They include: India, Egypt, Sri Lanka, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Eritrea, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Liberia, Brunei, Syria, Kuwait, Yemen, Angola, Singapore, Greece, Iran, Bahrain, Djibouti, Morocco, Chile, Lebanon, Russia, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Namibia, Guinea, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Serbia and
Montenegro, Armenia, Botswana, Ukraine, Uganda, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Lesotho and Sudan.
Myth 3: Pakistan's defence budget has been increasing at an increasing rate. Not true. In 2001- 02, Pakistan spent 4.6 percent of the GDP on defence. In 2012-13, twelve years later, Pakistan's defence spending had gone down to 2.3 percent of GDP. In Budget 2014-15, Pakistan's defence spending still hovers around 2.3 percent of GDP.
Myth 4: Pakistan's defence budget eats up a large percentage of the total outlay. Not true. In Budget 2014-15, a total of 16.27 percent of the total outlay was allocated for defence. What that means is that around 84 percent of all government expenditures are non-defence related.
Myth 5: Pakistan Army consumes the bulk of the defence budget. Not true. In the 70s, Pakistan Army's share in the defence budget had shot up to 80 percent. In 2012- 13, Pakistan Army's share in the defence budget stood at 48 percent.
Myth 6: Commercial undertakings by Pakistan Armed Forces are a burden on Pakistan's economy. Not true. To begin with, commercial undertakings have literally nothing to do with active duty personnel - and everything to do with the welfare of retired soldiers. Defence Housing Societies are all self financing and popular both among investors and residents (because of superior management and security of title). Fauji Fertilizer, a public limited company, for instance, contributed a wholesome Rs. 91 billion to the tax kitty.
Myth 7: Pakistan Army consumes a large chunk of Pakistan's budget. Not true. Pakistan Army's budget as a percentage of Pakistan's national budget now hovers around 8 percent.
The writer is an analyst who regularly contributes for national and international print and electronic media.
(Courtesy Hilal Magazine)