Two Indian News items are hitting the audiences again. One is the Jail,Bail, and re-Indictment of Indian Consulate worker Devyani Khobragade in the US (which hides several unanswered questions). Second is the FIR on Mukesh Ambani for the KG Basin gas payments (and hidden profits for which there is a media blackout).
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) March 15, 2014
`Khas`-VIP payments in `illegal` dollar currency is the common thread of both the news bytes. Back- door settings & negotiations also appear to be a common thread in both cases. Let us re-examine the Aam Aurat- Khas Aurat divide first. Consulate employee Devyani is now in India and there is a weak public demand for a probe as put in a section of media on her code of conduct. It started with a false contract and a fraud visa work permit. Tit for Tat India Response : India recently has taken the following retaliatory measures: (i) Removal of security barricades around the U.S. Embassy-Delhi, (ii) withdrawal of airport passes and import privileges (iii) Withdrawal of Identity cards issued to U.S. diplomats (iv) Refusal by Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the National Security Adviser to meet a visiting U.S. Congressional delegation. Some BJP-BSP politicians have also suggested prosecution of same-sex partners of U.S. diplomats.
Images of equality and human rights in fast mode can help. Overseas and `desi` Indian exploitation stories are common : Workers certificates, passports are retained by the company on false excuses that this shall disallow the employee to move towards better opportunity. In Indian work culture there is settlement by word of mouth. Wages in India depend on number of rooms, persons in family, kids and visiting guests. Salary includes day off, `bakshish` in shape of `tyohaari`- Holi, Diwali and so on. The engagement for overseas work is as bad as a a slave with a live in relationship and yet with no formidable agreement.
It was NDA-BJP Sarkar that entered into a seventeen year written contract in 2000 to allow Reliance to extract Gas from Indian Oil Wells and sell it a cost of 2.3 dollars. Balance sheet of Reliance shows a `pucca` written agreement that the cost of producing gas in India is less than a dollar per unit.
Back to Foreign Service : Can someone in India be sent to jail for not paying a baby sitter enough? It’s unbelievable? Thanks to the feudal traditions. Maids cannot sit on the same chairs and use same toilets. Imagine the hullabaloo and hard negotiations if a servant asks for a hike in his salary. Can we in India pay Rs.2,80,000/- per month to a baby sitter in line with the US work laws based on today’s dollar rate ? The minimum wage in US for a domestic help is 4500 USD wherein the cost of `living` and say even of buying a tooth paste overseas is 10 times more in America. Why does the Indian foreign services system fail to protect the Aam Aurat in America ? Ministry of External Affairs-India must announce why the overseas companies have not been punished till date as millions of workers are being sent out with no contract or with false verbal contracts ?
Charges against Mukesh Ambani are not new. Communists in the past had been keeping the fraudulent issue alive. Arvind Kejriwal Ex- CM Delhi dared to file a FIR against Mukesh Ambani’s unfair loot where the neat profit on a single gas product as per AAP calculation will be Rs.54,000 crores which is Rs.14000/-crore more than the modest Rs. 40,000 crore annual budget of Delhi. Hidden nexus of Ambani-BJP-Congress is responsible for the hike in price of all essential items.
Any Indian Foreign Service Officer and a VIP Investor like Mukesh Ambani are expected to be honest role models. What adds to national shame is that the lady consulate who got arrested on charges of visa fraud and human trafficking was herself an Indian Women Rights Lobbyist in America as per the New York Post.
Our External Affairs Ministry ,instead of seeing the wake up call and correcting the faults of corrupt immigration procedures is busy protecting the guilty by moving Ms. Khobragade over to the United Nations, and from an A-1 to a G-1 visa, which would grant her full diplomatic immunity. Devyani faced up to 15 years in prison. On pleading not guilty before a magistrate judge in Manhattan federal court she was released on $250,000 bail.
If this VIP `parampara` is not understood and does not get corrected fast more such ugly hidden cases shall come out in the open. The harsh treatment given to Devyani at the hands of U.S. authorities is a result of India’s inability to tackle serious fraud and human rights issue through diplomatic channels. If there was a chance to negotiate a mutually accepted understanding of how U.S. visa rules and minimum wage laws which would apply to domestic help employed by Indian diplomats in the country, India did not exercise it because of arrogance and trust on the old faulty unsafe corrupt system?
It is not correct to brush all Business Houses and Indian Diplomats as corrupt but the 1% corrupt are so powerful that entire foreign Services and Government of India including BJP appear to be serving only the mighty and powerful. Unity of 99% people can save India’s global work culture and result in fair wealth distribution.
By Rakesh Manchanda