Sree Iyer: Namaskar, today is the 16th of August Monday, and welcome to Daily Global Insight with Sri and Sree. This is episode number 225. Let us jump straight into Global News, Afghanistan is in complete and total control of the Taliban. The Taliban leadership to return from Qatar when safe and install Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that’s the name, they want to call themselves. As M. Ashraf Ghani’s government flees and India offers Asylum to some 200 members of parliament. The United Kingdom calls for a total boycott of the regime in a United Manner and calls for a United Nations meeting. The US troops land and confusion prevails on whether they are there for non-combat or a combat role. And fire Bellows, from the US Embassy with documents being burned. There is a universal criticism of the Biden Administration in the way the crisis has been dealt with and draining or letting 2.2 trillion dollars go down the drain. Netherlands, France, and Germany suspend the deportation of Afghans. Sridharji, a lot happening in Afghanistan and its very, very regrettable the way the world is just stood by and watched the Taliban run over the Afghan forces. It is a really surprising self. I yield the floor to you, take it away and give us an update of where you see this thing going. What is happening at this point? Where is President Ghani going to be residing and so on?
Sridhar Chityala: Good morning to everybody and welcome to DGI episode 225 and a bright week kicks off on Monday, but there’s plenty of action going around over the weekend. With regard to the question, where is Afghanistan? Afghanistan is very clear, Afghanistan is now back in the hands of the Taliban and Mr Mullah Baradar have addressed this, the video was tweeted by Nikkei. In which he has basically stated, Hey, you know, the story of the situation is that we have won, the battle has been very fast and very quick and we thank Allah and we will return very soon, once the situation comes back to normalcy and we will Serve the People and the needs of the people adequately. So where is it headed? It’s headed towards the Taliban way. They effectively now control all provinces. They moved into the capital, you know, fairly easily. There were no battles. They wanted to avoid according to their own, sources and their own sources, they wanted to avoid Bloodshed. They wanted to avoid battles. They wanted this to be seamless. And to that extent, these 200,000 pluses or 250,000 plus so-called Afghan forces have surrendered without a fight. And the United States there is a tremendous surprise, no doubt about it in the present Administration. But, having said that it is very clear that the way this has gone down, you know, is very, very tragic and put the United States in an extremely bad light and every nation in the world has to critique the United States, the way they have conducted this.
It’s an intelligence failure. It is the failure to act, it is the failure to provide support and it is a lack of any kind of insight as to what is going on. And just on the eve of this, you have the president of the United States making no statement, not even a week, about three-four days ago. We can play that video in one of the days, he has issued a statement, he is got intelligence, he is got this, he is got that there are no problems. Everything is orchestrated. Then what he knows, he disappears. He’s now one Camp David is a holiday, so that’s President Biden’s with regard to the Taliban situation.
The press secretary today, this morning is out of office, unavailable. So there’s no briefing. The Voice President is camera shy, so, therefore, she is not coming in front of the camera. So there is a complete and total vacuum. And you have John Kirby from the Department of Defence, you know, making statements on the situation from the US side. So this is the second.
So, then there is a collateral consequence, what are we going to do to all this Embassy staff and various people, you know, who have to be flown out of the country. So, fortunately, the airbase is still in the control of the US forces, apparently, they are in full control of the airbase and they are progressively trying to evacuate the people, both the civilians who supported and who have bought your translation team on-ground team, Etc. who were promised and will not be left behind. They are being prioritized and sent and then you have the evacuation of the embassy staff, that will happen. But the sad figure that the televisions were broadcasting, is this smoke coming out of the US Embassy, where is obviously, people burning are various documents, whatever they were doing. They were asked to kind of put out to the fire. So this is on the US side before we get to Mr Ashraf Ghani. We don’t where he is, but there are a lot of rumours. Since morning, there’s a rumour saying that he was in Oman with his National Security adviser. And he was expected to be flying into the United States. Why would you fly in the United States? And who he would meet etc remains a big question mark. Clearly, he is not the man chosen by the Taliban and they didn’t want to have him at all. They preferred Mr Karzai rather than Mr Ashraf Ghani. So what exactly it is, we’ll know more tomorrow to report or more later today the United States time. While this goes on the only leader who has stood up and shouted from the top of his voice is Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the UK. He has been not mincing words. He has taken the United States to task, he has taken the world, and he has basically indicated, the world must come together and unite to basically oppose this regime that is stamping itself when the agreement was to have any interim shared government. This is also been the same idea that has been pushed by India as well as part of this various members, you know, who constituted this including Russia, I think China was part of it, I think the United States which was facilitated by Qatar. There are no statements coming from Qatar, except all these guys are holding up in Qatar. So you have the transitional government may not happen because Taliban is saying there’s no transitional government. We are in charge and as Sreeji pointed out, you know, it will be an Islamic Emirate. So people have absolutely petrified what the consequences are.
Coming back to the United States, just to wrap up and then I will hand it back to you, this is breaking news this morning, many of the guys are going to be military installations in Wisconsin or Texas. But, there is no provision to accommodate and for these military installations, the House has to approve as per the laws. So, now what they will do to they may have to go to the House and whether the house will approve it, given that there is bipartisan criticism of Biden Administration, and there’s nobody to talk to, there is only one person, which is Mr Blinken or the defence secretary Mr Austin. So, therefore, you know barring this, there is nobody to speak. So it’s a very, very, very unforeseen circumstance that we have not seen in the United States.
Sree Iyer: Viewers, for those of you who are wondering. How is it that the Taliban has been able to overrun everything so quickly and so effectively? There are some things just playing back, what happened in the last few weeks. See the last contingent of 2,500 American troops that left Bagram Air Force, which triggered an avalanche of people leaving Afghanistan. For example close to 8,000 EU troops and 18,000 private contractors. These private contractors were the ones who are maintaining all the Air Force, all the installation, most of the largest It is all being done by these contractors, when the main 2,500 contingents of the United States armed forces, left, everybody left. So when the time came, for the Afghan forces to respond back to the Taliban. We have to keep in mind that the Taliban does not have an Air Force. Therefore, the Afghan air forces could have used their air power to drive back the Taliban from when they came, they came from the woodworks of Pakistan. So they could have done that except they could not because the training that was imparted to them, was to train how to fly the plane, but they did not have ground staff who helped prepare the planes. So, this is just one of the many, many things that went wrong. An incredible decision by President Joe Biden, which again, begs the question, this man has gone senile. You can see how he has been talking nonsense on Afghanistan. He overrode the advice of the Pentagon and many defence army generals who said that now is not a good time to go, but this one, domino effect has now caused all this. Now it is worse. I am told 5,000 US troops, we don’t know, they’re in combat or non-combat duty, have been sent down again to Kabul Airport. They are only in the Kabul Airport. The US Embassy is now operating out of Kabul Airport and all they are doing is securing the premises of the airport nothing else. So where is this going to end? No one knows, but you can tell that this has been spectacular combustion of what happens, when the man at the top, does not have full control of his faculties. This is just my call, Sridharji, your thoughts.
Sridhar Chityala: I think this is a monumental failure coming on top of his range of issues, but this sends a very, very clear message, very clear message, which is namely that this Administration is totally and utterly incompetent when it comes to even foreign policy. Okay. We have a major threat looming around various parts of the world starting from South China, Sea to Pacific, but the message that it is the Biden administration has sent is it is totally incompetent. We may begin to see that various strategic countries coming together already, we have seen France, till the UK is up in the league, they have been very forthright and for coming in. In fact, today’s session United Nations session, which will happen at 10:00. A.m. New York time will be presided over by Dr Jaishankar of India, being the chair and a whole range of issues, Mr Gutierrez will also give an update from the United Nations perspective. So there’s going to be some sparks flying as the United Nations, Security Council, conducted sessions at 10 a.m. What exactly are the outcomes. What exactly the pronouncements they’re going to make, we will get to know during the course of the day, but let’s also add to one more point, the meticulous way by which the Taliban choked up all the points to Kabul and controlling all the customs and other kinds of entry points and also cutting off the revenue and the borders that they have with Iran and Tajikistan and Uzbekistan reflects that they had a much more calculated and meticulous planning in executing their strategy relative to what the United States contemplated. From where all these came etc, it begs a larger kind of a question, but even setting that aside, it seems like they have organized themselves, much, much more capably, and they did it without firing big arms and creating chaos in Afghanistan. The chaos is only stemming from the fear and the fear of Taliban takeover and the consequences that stem from their policies and principles that they follow. And again, there’s no transition government.
Sree Iyer: And I’ve been hearing from various YouTube broadcasts and other social media platforms that in everyone, that was out there, trying to conquer back portions of Afghanistan in every group there were Pakistani Armed Forces as well as perhaps ISI embedded in them. Now, if you look at the Pakistani YouTube TV channels, they are crowing as if it is their Victory. They don’t understand that they are feeding the snake and thinking that the snake is only going to bite their neighbours. Well, we’ll wait and see how this plays out. I don’t think it’s going to be that happy ending. So let’s wait and see.
In the meantime, President Biden is sending an Envoy to Ethiopia as the war escalates between government forces. War also Loops between Hezbollah and Israel. Israel and the United States are formulating, a joint response to polish anti-restitution legislation. Sir, these are all very interesting developments. Why don’t you walk us through one by one?
Sridhar Chityala: We have already covered the Ethiopian and Tigray situation here. This is the fight between the government and the non-government forces, many of them are associated with some form of ISIS Jihadists, so, the United States has sent an envoy to assess the situation because it could be another. This is a very strategic point on the east coast of Africa, so they have sent an Envoy to assess a situation. Also, I think that there is now, news coming from the Hezbollah in Lebanon side. And then, in Gaza you have the Palestinians reported that there is a potential problem between Hamas and Israel. And they could be, you know, on the threshold of actions there. So we have problems in those regions as well.
And then the situation with restitution is that you know, Poland has effectively stated that all the properties etc, which was confiscated as a result of what happened during the holocaust. There will be retained. They will not be paid back to the appropriate family, so which is causing a bit of a hiccup because that is not the norm that’s not what was agreed, but anyway, so I think they’re passing a law and they’re defending it. So, Israel and the United States because you know, there’s many of the families either are here or there, you know, coming up with the United approach to see how this can be resolved whether they resolved it. I mean Poland is very sympathetic. So I would assume that, they would come to some form of the solution is not going to be all taken, take, but it’s just going to be some kind of give and take.
Sree Iyer: So, this is an authorised land grab, the way I see it.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, you know, I think, you know, we don’t want to comment any further. Other than we wait and see what happens.
Sree Iyer: Yes, indeed. Let’s do that. And Covid related news, Taiwan covid rules bar, foreign workers of entering, or leaving. Covid and torrential rains bash, Japan and several areas have been impacted. So now that Olympics is over. Japan is lurching into another crisis Covid.
Sridhar Chityala: Covid is ratcheting up, in big-time, that was happening then, they contained it by basically encircling that zone and enforcing quarantine procedures. So, you know, rains are lashing both in Japan and China, have the impact of the rains, it is the rainy season. The rains are very, very, very torrential. So you have that problem, Asia itself is facing problems at that slowly trying to come out.
Taiwan very similar to Vietnam has imposed very stringent rules that people cannot come and people cannot leave including foreign workers because they believe that that would be one of the reasons why from almost is 0% Covid to this alarming and rising cases of Covid in Taiwan.
Sree Iyer: French vaccination Centers have been vandalized. Germany list, Israel, Turkey and the United States as high-risk Covid spots. Russia reports a record number of covid-19 deaths. So now this is Delta virus is extremely contagious and it is really spreading fast in many countries, including the United States.
Sridhar Chityala: It is, it is I mean the United States we have stated which is the reason why it has been now classified as a high-risk country. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but we are getting close to 6 million active cases. We were around. If you recall, we started around reporting quite regularly at 4.9 million. Now, we have come too close to 6 million. Again, the usual states make up the list. So it’s a worrying sign. There is a consistent push to vaccinate. Now, what is creating confusion, is the efficacy percentages. In one set of media reports, efficacy is 55%. Another set of media reports is 51%, then the efficacy of Pfizer-Biontech and this is the efficacy of most notably Pfizer-Biontech, they have not seen any reports yet on the Moderna and then say, that if you are all going to require an inevitable case of booster doses, so people are beginning to ask, first you said, if you take two vaccination you are safe. Now, you’re saying, even if we are vaccinated, the efficacy rate comes down. Now, you are saying that we all have to take another vaccine called the booster dose. Okay, why do you believe that we have to subject our body to these kinds of vaccines when you have not moved this from emergency approval to a formal mandate of approved vaccines, they are trying to expedite that. And then you are saying that we have to take one more vaccine and there is no end to this because, get your research, get your data ready and make sure that whenever we take this vaccine and we can say, okay, at least for the year, we have taken. Something along those lines is what the anticipation is. So many of us have taken the vaccines recognize having a vaccine is far better than none. But many of the younger generation people are resisting by basically saying that you’re not sure, but you are asking us to do these things and hence you find that. We’re stuck somewhere between, you know, 55 to 60 per cent in terms of the vaccination adoption rates.
Sree Iyer: Next, let us take a look at United States news, Commander in Absentia and resumes vacation while crises rage at home and abroad. Trump mocks Biden and Democrats. Do you miss me already, he asked? Sir, Trump is not missing a single opportunity to poke at the Biden Administration.
Sridhar Chityala: It’s incompetence at its best, combine it with complete and total absence combine it with a statement which is completely and totally contradictory which was made to the Press before he took on vacation. So then I don’t know, there is this is we have to be there is unsubstantiated assertions that he went against the Pentagon advice, namely not to pull out but, to have more troops on the ground in preparation. So he went on the opposite is also been this inconsistent where it’s combat or non-combat. I think what they’re mistaking his combat meaning self-defence combat, you know, if anybody is going to be coming in the way of evacuation and includes in that then there is no question about it that these people are authorized to act. I think that’s what they’re trying to say. It is not full combat, but, it could be defensive in the process of getting the job done.
But, as you said, Trump has made his point very clear and to that extent, the entire administration is right at the top President, Vice-President, this morning’s reporting of the press secretary out of office. All doesn’t augur very well for this Administration, but you need to recognize that take platforms are with the Biden Administration. The mainstream media is with Biden administration you flip the coin, if assume that this was President Trump, there would be a chorus to say, get rid of this guy, impeach him, Institute 20,000 different Commissions and enquiries to find out what happened. But this is Biden administration is the darling of the mainstream media, is the darling of the left left-wing media. So, therefore, you don’t see the same amount of noise in the system. Notwithstanding this calamity, that the world is confronted with.
Sree Iyer: Viewers, don’t have to take our word for it. Just think for yourself, what is happening between the communications being put out by the President of the United States and the vice president. Normally these two are in complete sync. They will speak with one voice. You see that happening. Do you see Kamala Harris, who was supposed to be responsible for Border surge, prevention, control, whatever, has she come out with any statement? No, the DHS is doing that, then why is she the responsible person for it. Is she being put up there as scape goat? Has she realized that, and that’s why she’s playing a low key Road? We have no so many questions, but no one is there to give the answer. And I think it is pathetic that even the media spokesperson Jen Psaki is not available to answer questions when the world is going through such a critical phase. Now, we have to wait and see who’s going to say what. And then somebody will come back and walk it back because you know, the invisible hand is going to come and say something different. This is pathetic. In my lifetime, I haven’t seen Administration, so rudderless so clueless as what I’m seeing, play out now. This is just my opinion. You don’t have to take my word or Sridharji’s word for it. But, please do read both sides of the story before you make up your own conclusions, and I’m saying this specifically, all those Indian Americans, who watch this webcast and who have all gone, and voted on mass to Democrats and please remember that, whatever was happening in India, where a frog was being slow-cooked. It is going to start in the United States also, this is just my opinion, my opinion, my reading but the Playbook is the same. Whether it is, India or United Kingdom or the United States, you be the judge, what you want to do. You can chart your own destiny.
Two soldiers, plead guilty to smuggling illegal immigrants while varying their army uniform to fool the border patrol agents. So now you have all these kinds of corruption, too. The Department of Homeland Security sets, a new record for catch and release at the border. While DHS boss is admitting that the surges are unprecedented and threatening. They are capturing and releasing, where, back in Mexico or not. We don’t know Sridharji will explain us.
Texas judge rules Biden Administration. Rescinding Trump admin policies is illegal and orders DHS to restart remaining in Mexico policy. The judge is basically saying they need to be in Mexico and not cross over. The DHS also warns of newly active Al-Qaeda ahead of the 9/11 anniversary. Sir, again, we have problems at the border. This is one of those things where the US government has shot itself in the foot. I think they have a laundry list of obligations to fulfil when they came to power and one of them has spectacularly blown upon their faces. Again, this is my read. Your thoughts, sir.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, you have summarized lots of the themes but I have one thing that is going through my mind as you speak or as we contemplate and look at this. Is this some kind of an intentional effort? Because you have not seen any member speak. You have not seen Nancy Pelosi speak. You have not seen Chuck Schumer speak. You have not seen Manchin speak. You have not seen these so-called famous actors. Pramila Jayapal is speaking about emails sent on infrastructure bills. She’s not speaking about the major issue that the United States confronts. Mind you, she is sitting in the United States Human Rights Certification Forum or something. I don’t remember the name but she’s sitting in that committee. Then, you have Ilhan Omar sitting on that committee. Then, you have Rashida Tlaib sitting on the committee. None of them. No statement from Bernie Sanders. None of them. They hold their focus on something different.
Coming to the Department of Homeland Security. There are three major issues. One, we are seeing rising cases. In fact, in July, we had close to 199,000+ plus people apprehended and we commented last week in the voice recorded Daily Global Insight session that we’re likely to touch 2.2 million illegal immigrants by next year. So, we have this surge coming through. We also reported that many of them were not covid tested. They also lifted what you called Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. In other words, those who are seeking asylum until such time their name and application comes up, have to remain in Mexico and they will then be allowed to cross the border. So these fellows rescinded that and said that no, no you come here, we will take you, we will put you in army installations, we will ask the army to feed you and take care of you. That’s where they were sending. Then, they ran out and they were all set into different locations without any date commitments as to when they would come for the hearings. So you have this particular issue. Now, the Texas court has ruled that this is illegal. You cannot raise in what has already been passed. We are seeing this in a number of things. We see this in the moratorium, in the rental moratorium. They keep on trying, they allow the cut-off date to pass. Then, they issue a new order. Then, Psaki and Biden say that it’s not illegal. We have passed this act after the expiry of the date. The judges said, no, no, sorry, this has got nothing to do with it. This is your principal application of the overruling of the law is what we are saying. So what we are witnessing is a whole swag of actions that is resulting in problems and on top of all this Mr Mayorkas is now saying that there is a very active noise in the Al-Qaeda system. It’s possible that we could have some issues on the anniversary of 9/11.
Now, look at Afghanistan where it is today. Look at all the mass sets of actions that are taking place. So it will not be a surprise if they have evidence growing and we just offer prayers that nothing untoward happens in a month’s time.
Sree Iyer: 8 Democratic senators have written to Nancy Pelosi not to hold the Infrastructure Bill to ransom and pass it without waiting for the mega 3.5 trillion Infrastructure Bill. The IRS sends out 15 billion in child tax credit payments to families. The Labour Department alerts 240 million to fight terrifying levels of unemployment insurance fraud. Sir, this is mind-blowing, and I can still tell you the right people are not finding any succour from the government. They are not getting the funding that is required to keep their small businesses afloat while they are still waiting for normalcy to return. I don’t know where this money is headed.
Sridhar Chityala: I think that we are now 30 minutes into the show. So I’m keeping it close. Each of these topics is a topic for detailed discussion. Basically, $15 billion has left. So everybody has got the child tax credits. Then the Democratic senators are saying that they don’t hold the infrastructure bill to ransom. Pass it, so that we can send the benefits to get jobs and I mean, to be canned that 560 billion that bipartisan has substantive merit to it. Notwithstanding the fact that there are leakages, there is a substantive benefit to that program in terms of getting some of the things going like railway systems, roads, broadband, etc. So I think that there is a substantive benefit. They say they want this $3.5 trillion mega bill reconciliation package to be passed before they… That’s not going to happen because a substantive debate needs to happen. So, therefore, that is the reason why the Democrats themselves are saying if you don’t do it, you can kiss goodbye to the elections. I think that the House and Senate elections are going to swing unless there is another instance of some kind of issue. I think it’s going to swing based on everything that is going on.
Now, the fraud as you pointed out, which is to say that, they have allocated $240 billion because it is fraud because it’s billions and billions and billions of dollars. The government doesn’t matter whether it’s the United States or whether it is anywhere else, I am talking about democratic governments running a business is not very good and it has never worked unless you happen to be China, or you happen to be Russia. It doesn’t mean that there is no corruption in those two countries, but they accept it, and they have their own mechanism to dispense. But in democratic countries like India or the United States or the UK or any of the European nations when the governments take charge and run billions and billions and billions of dollars, there’s going to be a huge amount of fraud.
Sree Iyer: Viewers, please stay on for some breaking news from Tamil Nadu. We have JVC Sreeram standing by, he will be giving us a stunning update on what has been happening in temples. This DMK government is acting like it has lost its head. Sreeramji, I will bring you online in just a minute while we finish up the US news. Then, we will start with you when we start India news. Thanks for joining, sir.
Sridharji, as covid variant cases rise, the Biden Administration is spending billions of dollars in hospitals in rural areas to fight covid-19. Dr Fauci, why is still there, tells vaccinated Americans. They inevitably require booster doses. Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are likely to make billions in booster doses. Sir, this is a booster concept, do the Pharma companies completely understand the efficacy of their vaccine? Just a fundamental question.
Sridhar Chityala: Do they understand the efficacy of the vaccine? They need to be able to be candid. Their defensive posture is going to be, you have not shared all the research data. We have been asking you for the data from the Wuhan lab. Well, apparently, you have also conducted this research. What is the data that you have? Can you share the data with us? So it’s like it’s going to bite back. You asked us to produce a vaccine based on a certain set of data that we glean based on the initial information from February and March. We have basically built a vaccine program and then we recognize that the vaccine program needs to be warm. So, therefore, as we get more data we are in a better position. That’s what is going to be the response because they’ve invested money and typically that’s the process here. Typically, when you invest a lot of money, then there is a very strong contract that binds the government with these Pharma companies to give them the first right. That is why if you are an investor then you’re making zillions of money if you invest in these start-ups because this is going to be a multi-billion dollars business because we are probably at the midpoint as this takes off.
So, to answer your question, they will have a defensive response. If we say, Hey, do you know what you guys are doing? They said, yeah, we do. What we are doing is based on what we have been given. But have we been given everything? Well, that’s Dr Fauci. Back to your point, why is Dr Fauci still there? They have hope that someday he will speak out and say I have all the data.
Sree Iyer: Thank you very much, sir. And let us jump into India news. I’d like to bring Sri JVC Sreeram online. Sreeramji, Namaskar. Welcome to PGurus’ Daily Global Insights. You are coming here for the first time, sir. Please update us on what is happening in Tamil Nadu? I am hearing some very, very disturbing news. Has this DMK government lost its mind? Can you please set us straight on what exactly is going on? As far as the temples are concerned, it looks like the priests are being asked to leave immediately. What is going on, sir?
JVC Sreeram: This is something in continuation of what they started off in 1967 in which they failed. In 2006, they started again, they failed. Now, in 2021, they are attempting the same thing. So the idea is they want to appoint a non-Brahman or other caste priest in the temples and they trained these people in 2006 also, but then there are several temples in Tamil Nadu where you have other caste priests who performed the various poojas of the rituals, which is a practice. But, the Supreme Court. After going through exhaustively, it was given its verdict that in the temples which are going under the Agama Sastra, only by the shastras they will have to go by. Now, what happened was, a couple of weeks back the DMK government said the Archanas will be conducted, the prayers will be conducted in Tamil, which is being conducted for a long time or the devotee has the right to request when he wants to do the prayers in Sanskrit or in Tamil, which facility is available. Now, they said, we will also appoint other caste priests in other temples which is also okay because most of the village temples and the temples which do not follow our Agama Sastra do appoint these other caste priests.
But in a stunning development in the last two days, even after the high court gave a verdict that you will have to go by the Agama Sastras and you cannot deviate from it, the news which we are hearing from various temples down south in places, like Sattur, Tiruchirappalli in famous temples, called Naganatha Swamy Temple, the priests have been asked to leave. They’ve been asked to leave immediately, not given any kind of notice. When a priest’s daughter in Sattur pleads with the executive officer and she goes with the camera and she’s trying to videography because there’s already a guy Sun News TV crew taking a video, she was threatened. She was asking, ‘please tell us, what happens to my father who’s been serving in this Temple for decades together and he has not got any benefits.’ They say this is the CM’s order. Are you leaving this place right now, or are we arresting you? Now, the matter has taken a big turn. It has become sensational all over the Tamil Nadu State and it is also going into other states. Now, the news is that the court has also intervened because some urgent petitions have been filed in the court and on August 18, the court is going to hear these cases. But this is a major major thing conducted by the DMK government, which is going against the Supreme Court ruling which clearly said you will have to follow the Agama Sastra in appointing the priests in the temples.
Sree Iyer: Thank you very much Sreeramji and we will again bring you back on our Web Daily Global Insights. I guess it’s the day after tomorrow that the court is going to give a ruling. So hopefully we can bring you back here. Thank you so much for joining us at such short notice to give us an appraisal of what is happening in Tamil Nadu. Clearly, we have many heads of state who seem to have lost their mind. That’s all I can say.
Let’s continue on India news. Prime Minister Modi lays out a 10-point framework for building a strong and economically self-reliant India in his August 15th address. Sridharji, one of the criticisms of the Modi Administration is he makes a lot of announcements, the follow-up is missing and people point to the smart city initiative and so many other things that are announced with much fanfare but nothing really happened on the ground. Now this new thing, the number is mind-boggling, 115 lakh crore or something like that. A very, very big number to improve India’s infrastructure in 20 years. Your thoughts on what he said and his address and how much of that is realistically possible.
Sridhar Chityala: I think that first and foremost vision and plans are vision and plans. As a leader of a Nation, you lay out a vision for the country. So, therefore, for example, I’m going to take only 30 seconds. 30 seconds is, there was no vision for the Biden Administration. You can falter in execution, but there was no vision. What was the vision in the exit of the Afghanistan policy? There was no vision. So come back to Modiji. So Modiji is saying, here’s my vision. My vision is to put USD 1.3 trillion into the infrastructure so that this country moves to the next phase. Now, who is the person who is running the infrastructure? Mr Nitin Gadkari. Now, if you take a look at Mr Nitin Gadkari’s record on infrastructure, then one has to say whether the infrastructure has been built for defence, commercial, as well as consumer, which is people. There’s a lot of progress in India. So I don’t think you can find any fault in that. Now, let me pick the point on Smart Cities. Yes. I’ve been a little bit aware of the Smart City programs. One of the challenges they felt was that the smart cities can integrate and build neighbourhoods and bring various facets including clean water, clean energy, clean environment into the cities. That was the aspiration. A plan was made. Pilot cities were chosen. Many of them could not take off for a range of reasons. So have you failed? Yes, you have failed but that doesn’t mean that the leader of a nation keeps quiet. You even need to look at what India has achieved, for example, on the vaccination site. We need to look at what India has achieved in the export sector. You need to look at what they want to do in the Agro-industry, notwithstanding the fact that there is a tremendous amount of uninstigated chaos created not to bring the reforms. But the agro sector has been neglected. Be it on making them much more efficient and much less reliant on the ecosystem of feast and famine in terms of yield. So he is saying we need to improve and improve our irrigation systems and ecosystems and use a richer tapestry of data. So one of the areas mentioned is agriculture.
The second is rice distribution. We need to fortify the rice distribution. A lot of it is… Food Corporation of India godowns, how many of them have been replenished, updated etc. There’s a vast amount of loss that happens. So he is saying, at least in the next 4-5 years we want to fortify so that we are able to supply rice again. India demonstrated, during covid 800 million households were given food. So there’s one of the other items that is listed in one of those 10 points. Better utilization of the reserves, India is at 620 billion. Better utilization of the capital or better receipt of capital, we are now around 90 billion. So, there are things that are happening. I can only give at the macro level as to what the outcomes have been. At the micro-level, there would always be issues that countries such as India will face as a transition from a chaotic democracy to some kind of coherent democracy. Just now, you talked about the temples by bringing an expert on that matter. When we look at this, this has been going on for 50 years, 60 years. Will they solve the problem? Still, there’s a contest. So if I look at the overarching vision, the overarching vision that he painted was Indian to be strong as well as self-reliant both economically and socially because there’s a lot of social capital must go in to lift the per capita, because more than 55% of the people are way below the national average on the per capita side. So basically lift the per capita and introduce programs which secure the nation but also brings those people up in the ladder of upliftment from a general economic welfare point of view. So, that’s how I read the thing. Even in corporations, we probably paint 6 – 8 different policies. But we find that if we execute 3 and achieve the specific milestones, we have got our numbers. So in this case out of the 10 points, if he does 4, to me he has met the scorecard as far as the economic parameters indicate progress.
Sree Iyer: Well, I can sum up what you just observed, Sridharji. Every time there is a state government that is not having BJP at the helm, there the government believes that, by just blindly opposing every proposal of the centre they can continue to garner votes and somehow, this communication of what the Modi government has achieved is perhaps still not going down to the common man. Maybe the food part has helped. But there is still something that is missing because if the people say we want Modi’s plans for us then no state government can stop that from happening. But now what you are seeing is every non-BJP state government is trying to find new ways to somehow block this. Very unfortunate. The nation needs to move in one direction, speak one voice and they need to think that first, they are the citizens of the country. I keep saying this but somehow the ground information does not make you feel very good which is why I keep saying this.
Exports grew 50% to USD 35.43 billion and imports by 63% to 46.4 billion and the trade deficit widened by 10.97 billion in July. Free Trade Agreement or I don’t know FTA means that negotiations expedited and there is a give-and-take inevitable, says the Commerce Minister. What is FTA, sir?
Sridhar Chityala: Free Trade Agreement.
Sree Iyer: FX reserves increase to 621.46 billion. PM Modi launches the much-awaited vehicle scrappage policy and expects over 10,000 crores of new investment in the scrapping industry. This is a good one. I’m going to let you answer this one and then we will wrap up because we are really really over time. Please go ahead, sir.
Sridhar Chityala: Basically, there are two key takeaways. One takeaway is the economy continues to evolve. That’s reflected in the results. The export-import is an indication of the mainstream economy coming back from the covid situation that’s driven by a combination of two factors. One is the tremendous vaccination drive. There were 7.5 – 8 million people vaccinated. Apparently, in July, 75 million people have been vaccinated. That’s a big, big, big remarkable number for India.
As far as the vehicle scrappage industry is concerned, this is long, long overdue. One of the ways by which India has to deal with these environmental issues is to get rid of a lot of the vehicles and come up with a gradual replacement program. So, therefore, the scrappage business is an important business and it has got significant economic outcomes that flow with it. There are also investments that are contemplated to come out. Again, in alternate energy they are doing very well, especially when you look at renewable energy, they are very much on target. They are 25% on target to achieve the 450-gigawatt cover by 2030. So they’ve already crossed the hundred. So I think you’re beginning to see what I call tea leaves or green shoots as we call them in economics. But as I said we are looking at, I’m at least myself, my opinion is based on macro-level parameters. As you rightly pointed out, there are still micro-level issues. This is the governmental behaviour between one government versus the other government. This is one of the reasons why India is not a 5 or a 10 trillion dollar economy already because of this. They have no economic goal. It is only a political goal. The political goal is always to stay in power and harness and fool around. So I hope that the people of India rise up and actively take part and make sure that things work, very similar to the way they have demonstrated through the pandemic and very similar to the way the entire vaccine program has been driven. I should not exclude the security. India has beefed up its security around the eastern, northern and western borders like nobody’s business. It is very well fortified. I think it can deal with issues on multiple fronts, whether it is air, satellite, defence, everything. I think it seems to be well organized. With that, we conclude.
Sree Iyer: Sir, one line on Market, just one ticker thing because we want to look at the US consumer confidence. It has plunged to a 10-year low on inflation, unemployment, and financial woes. Your thoughts on that before we sign off.
Sridhar Chityala: It is an amazing number. Our consumer confidence level is at the lowest level since pre-pandemic driven by three specific factors. One, lack of control and fears growing from the Delta variant. Number two, again mainstream media doesn’t want to cover this and we have repeatedly covered this in Daily Global Insights. With this stupid energy policy of cutting off your toe even before you can think of any geopolitical crisis by cutting off the supply lines, you have gas prices spiralling. Third, a policy telling OPEC, ‘Hey, you bring that you increase the supply while you cut the supply is not doing well. So this is because everybody drives in the United States and the prices are shooting up. I had people from California send me some pictures, which is to say that their prices are averaging between $4.8 to $5.3 a gallon, so you can attribute. Inflation is here. Inflation is very high. It’s now going past 5.4%, We’re going to publish a paper in PGurus. We have inflation. We have low consumer confidence, yet, the markets are rolling.
The markets were up on Friday, they are down 100 points today, primarily because of the situation arising from increasing cases of Delta variant. So, these are my closing observations. We will do a paper. We have run out of time. We are already 52 minutes into the session. We will show why the markets are still continuing to climb and why the markets will climb for the near term future.
Sree Iyer: Thank you very much, Sridharji. As always, viewers, please, please, please Like and Share our video as soon as we start. You know the quality, you can be assured that the quality is going to be good because one watchful viewer had commented, ‘How can we like before we know what we are going to see.’ Well, it’s a very good point. The point here is that our viewability, we have various reasons that I can’t tell you online for which we are being penalized. I don’t think we are being fairly treated by many SM platforms but that is okay. Data is data, data does not lie. That is our belief. Sridharji, your continued enthusiasm and taking care of everything last week is very much appreciated, sir. Viewers, I had to take one week off to do something else and I’m back again at full speed, full throttle. We will be back again tomorrow bright and early, see you all soon. Namaskar and do subscribe to our Channel.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day and have a wonderful week. We have just kicked off the week with a 52 minutes session, so we will try to keep it to 25-30 minutes from tomorrow.
Sree Iyer: Thank you, sir.
Sridhar Chityala: Thank you.
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