Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Of hang-outs

I happened to watch this hang-out video where the Finance minister of India interacted 'publicly'. Some comments on the same.

Let's round up the participants: Head of an automobile company, head of a private bank, a woman employee in formal clothing, son of the head of an IT company, a Google employee (of course), chief economist at a multi-national private bank and a housewife (surprise surprise). Not to mention a couple of impromptu chats with a Punjabi farmer (who spoke good English) and another from a concerned Indian I suppose. That should give one a fair idea of where discussions would be headed and what issues would be discussed. The minister felt that the chosen panel represented all segments of the Indian society. Fair enough, everyone has feelings about things.

There was a lot of quibbling about numbers and industry lobbying; not a surprise. There was  an appeal to the people by the minister to help reduce gold imports; that explains the housewife being chosen---I didn't pay attention to the jewelry she was wearing, a gold lined Saree perhaps. The lady had a question as well: about maintaining a standard of living with increasing costs of essential commodities. Of course, the urban (upper) middle class needs to be strict about standards. After all, aren't the poor treated equally in that they stick to a standard of 26 Rupees a day. Why should the middle-class be singled out for not having a standard of their own? At one point during their question-answer session, the minister reluctantly asserted that he could not tax the poor; if he could he would have is what he meant.

At times, the minister would address the panelists by their first name giving a casual observer the impression that they were his acquaintances at the very least. The hang-out may have been cooked up to fulfill prior commitments of the minister with the industry big shots: immaculate planning one must say.

nuff said.