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Shorthand Dictation 80 Words per minute with outline, 5 Minute Test 55

new-doc-47_13It was difficult not to sympathies with the United Front Government’s plight when it faced the demands of the Central 20 Government employees’ unions to increase their emoluments far beyond the awards of the Pay Commission. The United Front Government is 40 divided, and every one knows it. Almost any organised interest group, let alone one as powerful as the Central Government 60 Employees, could therefore be sure of winning some support within it, and dividing the Government.

            That, however was only half 80 of its woes. Two-thirds of the Central Government employees work for the railways and the post and telegraph departments. 100 A strike by them would have completely paralyses the country for it would have been nothing less than a general 120 strike. The history of Governments that have broken general strides has not been a good one. In 1926 140 when Churchill broke the general strike in Britain, Baldwin’s Conservative Government paid the price with defeat three years later. In 160 1974, when Indira Gandhi broke the railways strike in India, the nervousness that she felt at having broken 180 the Congress’ long-established links with organized labour shaped her decision to impose the emergency a year later. In France, 200 The Government of Chirac buckled every time when organized labour went on strike to defeat his attempt to cut 220 welfare and other benefits in order to bring the fiscal deficit below three per cent and qualify for the European 240 Monetary Union. Even those  abortive attempts cost him his Government.

            Despite of this, future economic historians are likely to remember September 260 13, 1997 as the Black Day, when the economy finally lurched over the brim of a precarious stability into 280 irreversible decline. On that day five members of a Cabinet committee of six ministers of the Central Government gave in 300 to each and every demand of the Central Government employees abd burdened the exchequer with Rs. 7, 000 crore more 320 of pay increases than it has budgeted for.

            The sixth member who is the Finance Minister, went to Chennai 340 in the middle of the meetings and inexplicably failed to return to Delhi till they were over and the 360 had been done. Enquiries revealed that he had been commanded by the leader of his party the Tamil Maanila Congress to 380 stay away from the meetings on pain of 13-2expulsion as that worthy gentleman did not see any reason why his 400 party should bear the onus of thwarting the powerful 3.6 million votes, when none of its partners in the United Front was willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with it. 440 With this disastrous decision, the United Front set off a chain reaction that can destroy the Indian economy, and quite 460 possibly, the Indian nation itself.

            Some of the pigeons released on September 13 are already coming home to roost. Hardly 480 had the Government announced its decision then the Finance Minister obtained the Prime Minister’s sanction for an emergency mini-budget to 500 gather an extra Rs. 6,800 crore during the remainder of this financial year. The measures are strictly for 520 this year only and are intended to prevent the fiscal deficit from rising from the budgeted 4.8 per cent 540 of GDP to 5.3 per cent. The Finance Minister has succeeded in convincing the Prime Minister that 560 these resources can be raised but even an economic ingénue can see that the moneys he wishes to conjure up 580 do not exist.

            Rs. 3,200 crore out of the Rs.6, 800 crore is to come from 600 a ten per cent cut in Plan and non-Plan expenditures. Cuts in the former mean the postponement of projects that 620 have already been sanctioned or the denial of money to those where construction has already started. If these are across 640 the board cuts, the brunt will be borne by infrastructure projects and will make the infrastructure crisis worse. To the 660 extent that these cuts are concentrated in the “soft sectors” of the economy, they will further worsen the availability of 680 education, health and above all rural employment programmes and sharply slow down the growth of jobs.

            The cuts in non-Plan 700 expenditures will have a more insidious effect, but one that is more damaging in the long run. As the increase 720 in salaries rules out cuts in non-developmental spending they will come out of non-Plan developmental spending. This is 740 only a euphemism for the maintenance of capital assets built up at great cost in the past. What we will 760 see is less money to maintain even the miserable national highways we have today, less money for medicines in Central 780 hospitals, less money for books for Central universities, less money to maintain power transmission grids, and so on. In practice 800 Government will have to relent on some of these fronts so the “savings” it will make will fall considerably 820 short of the projections it has so bravely made.


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