Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Growth

What characterises life? How do we distinguish a coral – a living but immobile creature – from the rock that it dwells on? The untrained eye could see the former as a intricate rock formation, akin to stalagmites found in caves. But the crucial differences are the coral’s urge to survive, grow and reproduce. This is common from the smallest bacterium to the biggest tree, distinguishing features of that most complex of all processes – life.


What is the biggest living thing on Earth? Most would answer that it is the blue whale, an answer drilled into us in junior school. By the book, the answer is the redwood or sequoia tree found in the western United States. But are there bigger organisms, so big that we fail to recognise them? Ecosystems, such as the rainforest could be thought of as loosely linked organisms, with thousands of inter-linked species. Amazingly, the extinction of a variety of tiny fly may cause the end of an entire species of tree that it pollinates and of countless creatures dependent on trees. Just like the failure of small bunch of cells which pace our heart can bring us crashing down. The idea of organisms living in such harmony need not be so alien, because all multi-cellular organisms including us, could have been created by the co-existance of different types of single-celled creatures. Indeed, this communal existance is still visible in the oddity of nature called the Portugese man-of-war.


Even stranger is the thought that we may all be part of an immense organism, whose body stretches over nearly 200 million square meters, whose arteries and veins are metres thick and who is constantly growing. If I lost you along the way, as I may have, I am talking about the city that we live in.


Think about it. The city has millions of nearly identical building blocks – buildings and people. It has a circulatory system which distributes power and water and takes away sewage and garbage. It has an immune system, clad in khaki. It has a nervous system, albeit a slow responding one, in its many institutions of governance. It learns through institutions of education and research and remembers in its libraries and hard drives. And it is growing, steadily across the years. The city competes with others to survive, to become the fittest. And it has begun spawning offspring – satellite cities like Technocity – and has started adopting children – outlying towns like Attingal, Nedumangad and Neyyatinkara. So if it strives to survive, grow and reproduce, isn’t Trivandrum a living thing?


While you mull this over, let’s take a look at how our city is growing and will grow. To gauge its growth, we will look just at a few key parameters – population, area and urban structure. While the first two are self-explanatory, the last refers to how the city is made up – its central and secondary business districts, density, transportation network, presence of satellite townships etc.


While Trivandrum has a history of over 2000 years, we will restrict ourselves to the last 60 years.


1950-1990

Population: 300,000 – 600,000

Area: 75 Sq. Km.

Urban structure: Major town


Always the largest city in Kerala and by far its most developed one before the formation of the State, Trivandrum continued its stately progress in the decades after 1950. The Maharajas had bequeathed it power, water, sewerage and public transportation networks and these continued to service the population, albeit under increasing strain from the growth of the city. The Central Business District (CBD) stretched from the Secretariat to the East Fort, where the major market was located. Residential expansion happened to the north, north-east and east of the CBD. The coastal belt showed little activity except for the airport and VSSC. The city had a well-developed network of educational and research institutions. Trivandrum was loosely linked to its surrounding towns.


1990-2005

Population: 800,000 – 1000,000 (Based on 2005 election data)

Area: 150 Sq. Km.

Urban structure: Nascent Tier II City


While the focus continued to be on the Government, small-scale and services industries, the arrival of IT and the privatisation wave started making changes in Trivandrum. The CBD expanded to include areas like Vazhuthacaud and Vellayambalam. Residential activity moved outwards, to areas like Medical College, Nalanchira, Poojapura and so on, as the City Corporation itself was expanded. The city’s status as a knowledge hub continued to expand. The opening of the NH-47 Bypass opened a new avenue for development and it became a focus for development. A small Secondary Business District started to form around Technopark and the city’s links with surrounding towns started to grow stronger.


Present Day

Population: 1,100,000 – 1,300,000

Area: 200 Sq. Km.

Urban structure: Emergent Tier II City


Today, IT/ITES has become the single largest employer in the city, followed by the tourism and financial services sectors. The core urban area stretches from Kazhakkoottam to Vizhinjam and from Nedumangad to the sea. The CBD is now expanding till areas like Pattom and Kesavadasapuram while the SBD around Technopark now has about 4 million sq.ft of commercial space and about 20 million sq.ft. under development, including Technocity.


The NH-47 Bypass has become the centre of both commercial and residential development, spurred on not just by the IT/ITES industry but by tourism and medical services. The city has engulfed Neyyatinkara and Nedumangad and is steadily creeping towards Attingal.


It is undergoing its most hectic period of infrastructure growth through the expansion of Trivandrum International Airport, development of Trivandrum Central and Kochuveli railway terminals, road expansion, upgradation of power, water and sewage networks etc, making up nearly Rs 3000 Crores of investment. A massive Rs 20,000 Crores of private investment has been tied up through mega-projects like the Vizhinjam transhipment hub, Technocity, Technopark expansion and so on, between 2006 and 2008. This has fuelled ever-accelerating growth in the city, its population and its economy.


2009 - 2014

Population: 1,400,000 – 1,600,000

Area: 250 Sq. Km.

Urban structure: Developed Tier II City


By 2014, Trivandrum will have about 60,000 IT professionals working in Technopark and Technocity. The first phase of the Vizhinjam project will be operational and handling 2 million containers every year, and the city would have changed for ever. The new Business District in the Mangalapuram – Aakulam area would have definitively overtaken the old one and become the new centre of the city, which would now stretch continuously from Attingal to Neyyatinkara and from Nedumangad and Venjaramoodu to the Sea.


The city's road network will be complemented by sub-urban train services and the first phase of the Trivandrum Integrated Mass Transport System (TIMTS), which is being developed with World Bank assistance and which will use BRTS or monorail technology. The NHAI-developed Outer Ring Road


(ORR) gets completed, enabling the swift expansion of the metropolitan area. The development of satellite townships commence along the ORR as the city adds another 100 Sq. Km. of suburban land to its limits.


To manage the expansion of the city, a Trivandrum Metropolitan Development Authority (TMDA) is created with nearly 400 Sq. Km. of the district under its purview. The rapid growth of the city now affects cities and towns as far away as Kollam and Punalur.


2015 - 2025

Population: 1,600,000 – 2,500,000

Area: 400 - 500 Sq. Km.

Urban structure: Mini-Metro


This will be the real decade of growth for Trivandrum as Technopark, Technocity and private IT parks employ over 150,000 professionals and Vizhinjam grows to be the premier container port in India handling over 6.5 million containers each year. Trivandrum grows to be one of the biggest cities in India, shedding its "Tier II" status to become one of the many cities vying for the status of the 10th metro, Pune, Ahmedabad and Vizag having attained the status already.

As a true high-technology, commercial and logistics hub, the importance of the Government sector has shrunk to a side-show. The city now stretches from the Kerala-TN border in the South to the borders of Kollam in the North and from Sea to the Western Ghats, occupying the entire coastal plain at its broadest. The merger of Kollam into the metropolitan area is well advanced as the margins of the smaller city merge into that of its larger neighbour. Varkala, Punalur, Attingal and other outlying towns are completely within the boundaries of the metropolitan area as the city moves outside the district borders.

The Central Business District has built-up around Technocity with over 30 million sq.ft. of space spread across various industry sectors including IT/ITES, research, electronics, biotechnology and medical sciences. Peripheral Business Districts (PBDs) have sprung up in different areas like Vizhinjam, Kundara, Vithura and so on as development branches out from the hub.

A high-capacity MRTS runs from Attingal till Vizhinjam, through the current and old CBDs. Based on either heavy-rail or high-capacity monorail technology, it moves 200,000 people a day in either direction. Branching out from the MRTS and on other radial routes run BRTS or monorail corridors. The Kollam-Neyyatinkara suburban rail is now complemented by a ring railway which runs from Attingal to Neyyatinkara. Water taxis are plying the channel between Kovalam and Kollam. A satellite port for Vizhinjam have come up at Thankasseri, which now handles bunkering traffic and some feeder activity. Trivandrum's two railway terminals, Central and Kochuveli, together handle over 100 trains a day and 100,000 passengers while Trivandrum International Airport handles close to 8 million passegers annually and is connected to over 30 international destinations by direct flights.

An IIM has been added to the IISER, IIIT, IIITM and IIST that Trivandrum had by 2010, and the city now has over 40 engineering colleges and 8 medical colleges within its limits while over 50,000 students study in its colleges. R&D institutes on genetic sciences, molecular biology, nanotechnology and quantum computing number the two dozen world-class centers in the city as it continues to be one of India's knowledge hubs.

500,000 foreign tourists and over 2 million domestic tourists visit Trivandrum to savour its unique ability to deliver a myriad of experiences from pristine beaches to breathtaking hill stations. The Attukal temple had developed into a world-famous pilgrimage center with its own sprawling township. Trivandrum is one of the 10 Special Tourism Zones across India and is continually adding destinations like the Film City and the Kadinamkulam Lake City to its portfolio of delights.

The direction of our city's growth is already clear and while many of the developments that I have envisioned in the later sections may sound fantastic, most of them are already in motion from Vizhinjam to Technocity to Film City, while others are on the drawing boards like the TIMTS or the IIIT. And surely, twenty years ago, Technopark, Vizhinjam, Technocity or even our futuristic International Terminal may have seemed even more fantastic. Yet, they are here today.

The mega-organism that we call Trivandrum will continue to grow for eternity that awaits, in ways that we cannot comprehend or even imagine today. Perhaps Trivandrum will evolve into one of the tower cities on Coruscant.


But I am sure it will be a damn sight prettier...the most beautiful city in the ecumenopolis.

The journey will be fantastic, but the first steps need to be taken today, by you and me. So, let's get to it, partners!

Friday, September 19, 2008

For whom the Ganeshas drown......?

The annual Onam Celebrations concluded in Trivandrum on September 16th with a carnival of floats and cultural performances which flowed down M.G. Road from Kowdiar to East Fort, a spectacular sight not seen for many a year.

While the people were out in force to witness the cultural extravaganza, the attendance at a procession the very previous day was dismal in comparison. This was when a tradition of Maharastra was grotesquely replicated in Kerala for what can be at best called mysterious reasons. I am referring to the most recent fad in the religious calendar of Trivandrum and Kerala - the Ganeshotsav, the puja of and later immersion of idols of the Hindu God Ganesh.

One can question the basis of this new "tradition" on the very fact it is an alien tradition which has no precedent in the culture of Kerala or the sheer nuisance it creates to life in a major city. I am sure if someone proposed that we start celebrating Pongal with the vigour of our neighbours or the Festival of the Great Kahuna with the reverence shown by the inhabitants on some remote Polynesian island, it would be rejected with a laugh. Why then, a replication of a thoroughly Maharastrian custom all of a sudden? And it does create a nuisance to everyone, with idols ranging from medium to jumbo size, pardon the pun, taking up scarce space on the sidewalks and roads of the bustling city. The fact that there was hardly ever a soul at any of these idols is a sure sign of the fabricated nature of this so-called festival, as opposed to the throngs one usually finds around Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata or even Ganeshas of the same ilk in Mumbai. Add to this the mess created at the beach when the idols emulate the mythical lemmings.

However the main reason that this mass hara-kiri of the Ganeshas is a disturbing trend for the city lies in its organiser. If the Nazi Party started functioning in today's Jerusalem, I am sure there would be more than a minor stir among the local populace. However, an organisation born on an anti-Madrasi plank, which cut its teeth through violence against South Indians, including Keralites, and their establishments in Mumbai has been functioning in our midst for years and not many eyelids have been batted over it. The Shiv-Sena has been in Trivandrum and Kerala for many years now, best known for their fleet of ambulances plying in the city. The Sena began as a regionalist organisation which promised to throw out migrants including our brethren from the hard-earned jobs and to give them to Marathis. How ironic that they are proliferating in Kerala, and not many seem to be bothered by it. Even more ironic is that they have chosen to use Lord Ganesh as their brand ambassador and propogation medium, "Ganesha is also a secular god as other faiths have no misgivings about him!", is what one worthy of the party has to say. Somehow, the words "Trojan Horse" keep ringing in the background on hearing that.

Some of you might be wondering why I have embarked on a sudden vendetta against Lord Ganesh? Lol, I have nothing against everyone's favorite transgenic God. In fact, he and I share the same star or something but as I usually write about steps we take forward in the long road of progress, I think I should also mention once in while those steps which are taken in the reverse direction. And there is no better example for the latter than the invasion we recently witnessed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vizhinjam gets Union Cabinet Clearance

Kerala's largest and most important infrastructure project has cleared its final hurdle with the Union Cabinet giving the go-ahead at its special session today. With this, the project is all set to roll, and the Govt. will be shortly signing the agreement to develop the Rs 8000 Crore port with the Lanco-led international consortium. (Read the news here and here.)

India's deepest port is due to start construction in a year's time and the first phase is to be completed in 2012-13. Meanwhile, the CM is convening a high-level meeting to resolve issues with the acquisition of the 1088 hectares which will form the Port Zone, supporting the 6.5 million TEU container transshipment terminal.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A New Beginning for Trivandrum - TRIBIZ.In

Today's the first day of Onam, so let me start off by wishing all of you a Very Happy and Prosperous Onam!

I am deeply thankful to all of you for following my blog through its ride through the development of Trivandrum city. Today, we are starting an initiative to promote our beautiful capital city and its development, which is many ways is a continuation of the work done through this website.

The Trivandrum Development Front (TDF), a voluntary body of young professionals, has been working behind the scenes for several years in promoting developmental projects in and around Trivandrum. While changing things overnight may be a pipe-dream, TDF is striving to engage with a variety of key stakeholders such as the Government and its agencies, other NGOs, industry associations and the public to support developmental projects. TDF has led and supported public campaigns and discussions, conducted market and feasibility studies and other related work for a variety of projects including the Vizhinjam port, Technopark & Technocity, JNNURM, city transport projects and so on.


Although TDF has been active for over five years, it is now embarking on a vigorous drive to increase awareness among the general public and key stakeholders about developmental issues. The key focus of this drive will be the launch of TDF’s own website and newsletter. By creating a mass interface, TDF plans to increase its influence on shaping public opinion to encourage policy makers to focus on the growth of the Trivandrum Capital Region.

The TDF website "TRIBIZ.In" will be up from 11 AM today at http://www.tribiz.in

The TDF newsletter will be available on the website. We will shortly start a
discussion forum where we can discuss and debate on Trivandrum, its life, culture and development.

I request all of you to visit the site and review both it and the newsletter and let us know, through the feedback form, how you feel about them. And to keep visiting the site regularly and subscribe to the newsletter so that you are always updated about key developmental issues and can extend a helping hand whenever possible. Thanks in advance!

Monday, September 01, 2008

SEZ.....oh, I thought you meant "Cess"!

Special Economic Zones have evoked as much turmoil, hatred and anxiety in India as the country's long standing evils of communal tension and caste division, in recent days. Heralded as a fix to India's infrastructure woes by providing world-class, tax free enclaves for exporters of all kinds, the image that they evoke today are more of blood, misery and violence in such places as Nandigram, Singur or Goa rather than of prosperity and progress. As the hub-bub over a few lines in a 7th standard textbook, truant private professional colleges and so on settle down for a while, SEZs have become the latest whipping post in the world of Kerala politics which seems to steadily demand controversy and conflict.

In the past, SEZs have been accused of siphoning taxes off, wrecking labour security, land-grabbing and more. This Yahoo article summarises the argument up succinctly and more can be read here or here. (Rediff has a comprehensive collection of SEZ articles, good for a recap!) The opposition has been diverse, from the CPM to the Trinamool Congress, from environmentalists to shop-keepers, and spread all across the country. While vested interests may explain the interests of some of the more political entities, there is a genuine concern how these new-fangled areas would impact the socio-economic fabric of our nation. SEZs have their vocal supporters too, big business (led by Mukesh, Anil, Ratan & co) being the most obvious one. The Commerce Ministry has been a consistent supporter as have been many citizen groups. And if numbers tell the story, SEZs have performed well according to the latest reports.

So where does Kerala stand in all of this? As per the official website , Kerala has about 25 SEZs in various stages of approval, most of which are in the IT/ITES sector. These are spread across both the public and private sectors, and mostly in Trivandrum or Cochin. The operational ones are mostly part of Technopark or KINFRA in Trivandrum, together with the Infopark in Cochin. Even as the debate around SEZs raged in the rest of India, Kerala was slow to wake up to it. Maybe because the massive development promised by them was still inconceiveable to the average Keralite.

In a politically sensitive, land-starved State, there were always bound to be debates around land acquisition, labour laws and overall returns. A few months ago, the Govt. (rather the office of the CM, who also holds the IT portfolio) decided to ensure that some sort of control was brought over SEZs by asking developers to give a minority equity stake to the Govt. and to use 70% of the area in the SEZ for production facilities. Possibly prompted by the utter failure of the developers of the so-called "Smart" City in Cochin to move a muscle even two years after the signing of the agreement with the Govt, the latter is now hoping that a not-insignificant stake (upto 26%) will prevent the developers of future SEZs sleeping on the job.

The latest bout of animated debate was prompted by a debate within the State Cabinet about granting approval to a few SEZs awaiting a No-Objections-Certificate from the State. Possibly the debate was over the nature of safeguards to be adopted for SEZs. The CPM State Committee then cleared the issue and that seemed the end of that. Unfortunately thereafter, the CPI, RSP, BJP and pretty much every other bunch of worthies with a symbol jumped on the bandwagon and nearly broke its axles by demanding a public debate on SEZs. The fact that most of them had no clue what they were talking about didn't seem to worry anyone. The result, worryingly familiar in Kerala, is that the issue is in deadlock and as usual development has become the first victim.

So, what's the reality behind the rhetoric? Since SEZs in Kerala are almost exclusively focused on
the IT/ITES sector, it would be prudent to focus on them. Other kinds of SEZs like multiproduct or multiservice SEZs need more land and are usually more complex, especially in terms of the basic infrastructure needed. Except for special cases like the ports at Vizhinjam or Cochin, it is unlikely that large industrial SEZs will come up in Kerala in the short-term. Cutting to the case what are the evils SEZs are accused of and what are the facts in each case?


In the case of SEZs - v - Various, heard by the Honorable Reader Judge,

Accusation # 1: Land Grabbing - SEZs are viewed as a view to grab scarce land under the pretense of job creation. Simple formula, come with a fantafabulous scheme to the Government - X million sq.ft of space and X * 10,000 jobs, ask for land, get it and then build a bunch of flats on it with a small business park as an afterthought! Sounds similar to a project or two which created much ado in years past. Also, developers get land at values much below the market rate.

Rebuttal: Most private SEZ developers in Kerala have acquired land on their own. Now whether that is the shadowy but often referred to "land mafia" at work is beyond the scope of what we are talking about. SEZ projects account for only a fraction of the land acquired by major firms. And since it is acquired in private, one must assume it is done at market rates. In the case of projects like Technocity, the Govt. is procuring the land. I use the word "procure" here, not "acquire" since the land is not being acquired through the muscle of the Land Acquisition Act but through negotiated purchase. This ensures that the land is taken at or near the market rate and not at the pittance provided for by a forced acquisition. Considering that the Govt. is acquiring only 450-odd acres for Technocity, compared to the 3000-odd acres KINFRA had acquired for various still-born industrial parks in the past, the former is not startling. And even when some land has to be taken over, the benefits may outweigh the costs in typical democratic fashion. 450 acres of land at Technocity may yield over 100,000 jobs and 10,000 Crores of IT exports. Sounds like a good deal? With the provisions of the policy proposed by the CM - equity stake based control and a 70% processing area - it can be ensure that the acquired land is put to good use.

As for the cost of the land, public sector projects take over the land at prices relative to the prevailing prices at the time of the acquisition. In the case of Technocity, KSITIL is paying upto Rs 70,000 per cent which is very fair when the land price in the area at the time of the project announcement was less than Rs 50,000. Today, the land is much more valuable but only so because of the project for which the land is being taken. My friend, BVN, had an interesting question - why should the project affected individuals - earlier called simply the displaced people - have to be satisfied with a relatively small compensation while their neighbours outside the project area later get much higher prices for their land once the project is operational? That perplexed me for a while, but my reply was that the folk getting displaced are getting more than what they would ever have got without the project and also that this disparity can be compensated for, in part at least, by giving them a stake in the project. This is the successful model followed by the Magarpatta City SEZ in Pune.

Accusation # 2: Population Displacement - Many people will lose their homes and possibly livelihoods due to the SEZs. They will be left with nothing when others make millions at their expense.

Rebuttal: Yes, people will have to move when an SEZ is set up. Yes, a strong rehabilitation policy is needed. In the case of private SEZs, the voluntary sale of land to a developer implies that the seller is relocating on its own. In the case of public or joint-sector SEZs like Technocity or the Vizhinjam Port Zone, the Govt. already has a good policy in place which includes compensation in the form of cash and land, as well as support to build new houses. The displaced folk usually stay in the vicinity and reap the rewards of the project as it pumps money into the local economy. IT/ITES industries can creat 2 or 3 times as many indirect jobs as direct ones, and a majority of the former will be created in the surrounding areas.

Accusation # 3: SEZs are lawless places where people are enslaved - The regular labour laws are suspended within SEZs which means that it is far easier for employers to hire and fire labour. Paperwork is minimal and this is felt to expose employees to the tyrannies of the companies or at least of their HR managers.

Rebuttal: Firstly, there is nothing to suggest that labour laws will be diluted within SEZs, either in the Act itself (see the details here and here) or in practice. In fact, some States are lobbying to get the labour laws liberalised to make them more flexible and efficient, although all such moves have been rebuffed till date, as is evident from this article. In the case of IT/ITES SEZs, it is hard to imagine that reputed companies will change their policies within SEZs to wring their employees dry. I believe that they will continue the same practices as in their existing non-SEZ facilities. After all, SEZs are not opaque establishments like the concentration camps or gulags where anything could be got away with. However, in the interest of labour rights, the Government of Kerala can ask employers to sign an MoU on labour guidelines using the leverage it holds over the SEZ developers. This MoU can be a version of the general labour laws, with allowances for the way the IT/ITES industry normally has to function. And it should leave things like Union membership as options, not as mandatory policies to avoid alarming the investor community already jittery about Kerala's red visage.

Accusation # 4 - SEZs are net losses to the Government on account of loss in tax revenues. - One of the top attractions of an SEZ is that firms operating in it don't have to pay almost any tax for 10 years in the first block of 15 years of operation. So if the Govt. doesn't earn taxes, what is the benefit in all this anyways?

Rebuttal: Even if we don't consider the tax income after the 10-year tax break (1o years = 2 elections, far too long for the political mind to consider), SEZs do result in considerable new income. For example, the employees at an IT/ITES SEZ pay considerable income tax even if the companies don't. Technocity could potentially have 100,000 employees and generating Rs 10,000 Crores of exports. Of this, upto 35% could be salary costs, amounting to Rs 3500 Crores, of which an average 20% tax rate will yield Rs 700 Crores of tax income annually. Add to this the fact that a lot of the non-taxed income will spent locally, which will result not just in economic growth but significant income for the Govt. through VAT and what not. Some critics argue that companies will only shift existing units to SEZs and thus provide no incremental growth. That seems hard to believe in an economy growing at 8% a year and an IT/ITES sector growing at about 25% annually.

Accusation # 5 - SEZs will destroy local industry and trade - ?? (Raised by the Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi)

Rebuttal - Well, frankly what they mean is a mystery to me. Maybe they misspelt SEZ and thought it was some new "cess" on their trades? Other than that it is difficult to see how IT/ITES industries within a SEZ can wreck the local trade. In fact, the money flowing out of the SEZ as paychecks should boost the local economy as we said earlier. Maybe there would be some competition for semi-skilled and unskilled talent, which would force the Vyparis and Vyvasayis to pay their employees more. Or maybe, they heard everyone making a ruckus about SEZs and thought they would drop in their own well practiced two cents?

Accusation # 6: SEZs strain existing infrastructure - Technocity alone will have 12-15 million sq.ft. of space and employ between 100-150,000 people. Won't it wreck the urban infrastructure of Trivandrum, already under pressure from its rapid growth?

Rebuttal: SEZs promote growth and growth can be disruptive as we have seen in the case of Bangalore. However, SEZs like Technocity will be part of Integrated Developments which have their own social infrastructure - malls, hotels, hospitals, schools and residences and basic infrastructure - power, water and sewerage treatment. The vast numbers of people coming to work at such mammoth projects may need tens of thousands of residences which can be developed around them but the infrastructure will be mostly developed within the SEZ itself.
And what additional infrastructure is needed, should be developed speedily like it is being done in States like Gujarat. Opposing SEZs on the count of not being able to do that is like refusing the gift of a Ferrari because you are too lazy to build a garage for it!

In the end, Kerala cannot affort not to have SEZs. Neither can India. So, let's make the best of the situation by creating a careful and comprehensive policy framework to best utilise the amazing opportunities unleased by them!

As for the vocal opponents, let them dispute any of the points made here for all of them are based on fact and sense, which theirs are not. It seems obvious that not many of the said opposition has ever bothered to study the issue in any detail. I guess they all decided to jump aboard the next issue which happened to be passing by......