PC needs reboot – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

PC needs reboot – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is known as a liberalizer in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Though he hasn’t done as much as one would have expected him given the grim economic scenario and the grimmer fiscal deficit, he did manage to curtail some expenditure in the last fiscal; the revised estimate of total government expenditure was 96 per cent of the Budgetary estimate. But he has done too little and too late; his other Cabinet colleagues have either not done anything positive or have actually hurt the cause of the economy (remember Jairam Ramesh?). Yet, Chidambaram seems to believe that he would be able to convince global investors to come to India. He wants foreign direct investment (FDI) to flow into the country. Addressing the international media in New York, he recently said, “We as a country can easily absorb $50 billion investments [in] a year or more. In the hierarchy of foreign inflows FDI ranks first, followed by FII and external commercial borrowings. FDI is important to India too as in any other country.” Did you say $50 billion, Mr. Minister? Well, some reality check is called for. Consider the Posco project in Orissa as a paradigm case—the paradigm of the UPA regime’s perversity. The Korean steel major began its odyssey, or ordeal, around the same time the UPA came to power for the first time. It pledged to invest $12 billion. Typically, a rainbow coalition of professional revolutionaries, garrulous jholawallahs, incorrigible naysayers, and downright Luddites attacked the proposed steel plant. Worse, their opposition to the project does not emanate from a genuine concern for the locals, something that could have been sorted out; their resistance was is doctrinaire: the project is bad because it would ruin the environment, exploit the tribal people, etc. Period. No discussion, no dialogue. Posco has to go. What was even worse was the UPA government’s mollycoddling of the elements determined to drive Posco out of India. Ministers like Ramesh brazenly encouraged the radicals who are hell-bent on de-industrializing India. Then there are anti-business bigots in the Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC). In July 2010, a 10-member committee under NAC member N.C. Saxena visited Orissa and...

Current global response and future challenges with respect to provisions of mergers and amalgamations in Companies Bill, 2011 – Siddharth Acharya

Current global response and future challenges with respect to provisions of mergers and amalgamations in Companies Bill, 2011 – Siddharth Acharya

The free economy demands a lot of ease and flexibility in implementation of regulations and legislations. The market regulators like SEBI and RBI too are expected to normalize the norms and when it comes about investment boosting and encouraging foreign investments.  The legal framework has to be a bit resilient and respect the sentiments of investors. The regulations need to be pedantic in approach and considering the requirements of flow of large foreign investments it has to be meticulously liberal and respectful in its outlook.  The Companies Act, 1956 is revamped in form of bill and a lot of provisions have been comprehensively discussed and drafted by the ministry of Corporate Affairs.  The bill has created scintillating effect and has been reviewed as an endeavor to please global investors who look India as a potential market. So far the Companies Act has been rigid in its outlook and as per the act, cross-border mergers are permitted only if the transferee is an Indian company, and not vice-versa as it was decided in landmark judgment of Andhra High Court in Moschip Semiconductor case. But the bill has opened the channels for cases in which India is a transferor. It has allowed cross border mergers with any foreign company unlike proposed in Bill of 2009 where only foreign companies having business in India had the option to have the Indian Company merged into it. This has given a strong signal outside and has really whetted the appetite of investors who are willing to put their stake and money in Indian market. This will lower down the redemption and boost the investment in the Country. It will give lots of opportunities to the Indian Industry to enter into various deals of arrangements with the Foreign Companies and Body Corporate. This can be exploited in form of an opportunity to increase market share, reduce tax liabilities, and acquire new competencies. But there are some inhibiting factors to it as well like the Bill indicates that the provisions will apply to any  and all cross-border transactions and not just to outbound  cross-border mergers and, as a result, these qualifications can  be viewed unfavorably as they hold the  potential of...

‘coalition kickbacks’ – Priti Jain

‘coalition kickbacks’ – Priti Jain

It’s quite vexing to witness how the ruling alliance has managed to make a complete fool out of the whole electorate; the nation has been reduced to a mere spectator bemused by the evolving nature of Indian politics. The newspaper headlines have seen a reduction in their shelf lives and it takes no time for them to be replaced and shoved to the interiors by something more ‘important’. There is so much movement around the globe that a lot rests on the gravity of the matter to sustain itself visually. I’m not sure if these scams and scandals have made us stronger or more politically intrigued but they have definitely left us immune to identical incidences with lesser intensity. The recent cacophony in the house owing to the withdrawal of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has left the Congress at the mercy of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP). For whatever reasons, be it the Tamil issue for DMK’s leave or the FDI policy for the Trinamool Congress’s exit, the stability at the center no more prevails. But the one party getting the best of both worlds is Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. Knowing for a fact that the Congress is really fragile at the moment, it has joined the bandwagon criticizing the working of the government. He does not stop here. He goes beyond this by insinuating the formation of a Third Front Party as a better alternative to the current ruling power by putting forward the possibility of an early 2013 elections. This entire hullabaloo by an ally is certainly some nightmare for the Congress. If we look at the reasons above for why an ally separated its ways with the central government, you tend to find a single bone of contention instigating the split. Here, there’s absolutely nothing, the allegations by SP are generalized criticisms that every Indian is well aware of. The hollowness in their accusations coupled with the denial of any intentions of separation from the national alliance is a clear sign of their underlying financial and political motives. The follow-up by the Congress in opening up its coffers for the state of Uttar Pradesh along with the...

An idea and Democracy – Ravi Shankar Jha

An idea and Democracy – Ravi Shankar Jha

Article 19 of the constitution was envisaged as the bulwark of democratic India with the intention to promote free speech and expression which shall strengthen the democratic process in the country for only such free speech may bring fresh ideas in the public domain. And ideas to a democracy are as important as air for human body. The richness of democracy is proportionate to the variety of ideas subsisting in its system and the way such ideas are debated, contested or engaged with. It is in this sense that the understanding of democracy has come a long way from government for the people, of the people and by the people to government of ideas. At the most basic level the choices that people make in a democracy is a choice between competing ideas. Starting from political parties organized on ideological lines to administrative policies framed on some conception of society based on a particular idea, everything is a choice between ideas. So, for a democracy to function in prime health, such choices should be highly informed and well reasoned and for a choice to be informed and well reasoned there has to be unbridled flow of information which presents before the citizen all possible perspective to examine an issue. John Rawls captures this essence of democracy in appropriate words when he says:  “The definitive idea for deliberative democracy is the idea of deliberation itself. When citizens deliberate, they exchange views and debate their supporting reasons concerning public political questions.” Article 19 as provided under the constitution, thus provides ample protection from any infringement on the right of free speech and expression by the state. But, as Christopher Hitchens has very correctly said, in recent times the real threat to free speech is not from the state but from the people inhabiting the state. The weight of popular opinion has almost held the free speech to ransom and suppressed it in various garbs. Unfortunately, the protection of Article 19 does not extend to infringement by popular sovereignty. Intolerance for opposing ideas is fast becoming a norm which threatens to undermine entire democratic process. In the words of Christopher Hitchens, the right of others to free...

Heritage – Kashmir, yesterday, today and tomorrow – Pl.D.Parimoo

Heritage – Kashmir, yesterday, today and tomorrow – Pl.D.Parimoo

Nearly 6000 years back a civilization flourished in a geographical territory comprising of several of today’s nations like Syria, Jordan, Lebanon ( the Levant lands) besides Iraq and north western parts of Iran. The civilization that flourished in this vast stretch of land the Mesopotamian civilization generally presumed dead surprisingly persists and its heritage preserved even today by the Levant and the Kurds. Aram Abdul Rahim is a young metallurgist trapped in the bloody battle grounds of Syria. I could control my surprise with difficulty when he as a proud new father told me he had named his daughter Inana! Sensing my discomfiture he was quick to add that Inana might be the name of a primitive Sumerian Goddess but she was a part of their heritage and  meant nothing odd in the Muslim society of Levant; of course it may not be tolerated in Saud or Qatar, who did not have a civilization worth the name before the great Prophet (PBUh) gave them a semblance of civilization which was fabulously enriched by contribution of Egyptians, the Iraqis the Iranians and many other societies including those from India. A great civilization came into prominence during the last about 1500 years which is the jealously guarded heritage of Muslim world today. Some ill informed people may wish to just define it as a world of Muslim society careful to omit the heritage status it has gathered over the centuries. The word Heritage is extensively used by tourism brochures to promote new avenues and explore new markets of tourism.  Many including some NGOs feel that heritage signifies just a ploy to attract tourists and is a term coined to collect higher revenues. Dictionary defines heritage as things or circumstances inherited. Heritage may be of a family, a community or a large mass of humanity with more similarities in common than dissimilarities amongst them. The older the vintage of inheritance and the better preserved it is by successive generations the richer and more distinguished the Heritage is considered which  not only makes the inheritors proud of themselves, enhances  their sense of self esteem but also  commands  respect of  even those who don’t fall in its ambit. Our...

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