Skip to main content

Anti-market sentiment behind Govt of India action against Vodafone, Monsanto: Economic Survey

By Our Representative
The Government of India appears to hold the view that it wrongly acted against powerful multinational companies like Vodafone and Monsanto, suggesting that actions against these and other foreign and Indian private sector companies were taken because of “the fear of being seen as favouring the private sector”.
The top policy document, “Economic Survey”, released in Parliament on January 31, suggests that this one of the major reasons why “there remains a niggling sense that India … is not yet following the standard development model.”
Suggesting that too much was being read into the 2G scam, too, the document says, “In telecommunications, the judicially-imposed requirement for transparency and auctioning, while responding importantly and appropriately to the previous experience of corruption, has created a public policy dilemma.”
It insists, “In some cases, it may be socially optimal to sell spectrum at lower-than-auction prices because of the sizable externalities stemming from increased spread of telecommunications services. But the understandable distrust of discretion means that methods other than auctions could be perceived as favouring particular parties.”
Lamenting “abundant caution in bureaucratic decision-making, which favours the status quo”, the document regrets how it fears “of being seen as favouring corporate interests, and hence becoming the target of the referee institutions, the so-called ‘4 Cs’: courts, CVC (Central Vigilance Commission), CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General).”
Blaming the “hesitancy to embrace the private sector and to unambiguously protect property rights”, the document, prepared by the Union finance ministry’s chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian, says, this has happened because “continued reliance on the state to undertake activities that are more appropriately left to the private sector.”
Insisting that “India has distinctly anti-market beliefs” compared to most countries which have experienced economic development, the document says, “The symptoms of this ambivalence toward the private sector” are manifest strongly in “the difficulty of privatizing public enterprises.”

Giving the example of the civil aviation sector, the document says, “Defying history, there is still the commitment to make the perennially unprofitable public sector airline world class”, adding, “Recently, airport privatization has taken the form of awarding management contracts rather than change in ownership.”
Regretting that there is ambivalence towards “private property rights”, too, the document says, “Initially the right to property was inscribed as a ‘fundamental right’ in the Constitution. But during the socialist era the 44th Amendment removed Articles 19 (1) (f) and Article 31 and replaced them with Article 300-A, thereby downgrading property to that of a ‘legal right’.”
Strongly suggesting that adoption of a democratic regime in a poor country could be the main reason for the alleged lack of faith in the private sector and failure to achieve the required growth trajectory, the document says, “Today’s advanced economies achieved their current status … did not begin with universal franchise.”
It says, “Voting rights, narrow and restricted to begin with, expanded slowly over time, a process that helped fiscal and economic development by limiting the initial demands on the state during the period when its capacity was weak.”
Coming to another group of countries, which has seen development more recently, the document says, “The second set of accelerated economic successes mostly in East Asia began authoritarian, explicitly (Korea, China) or de facto (Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan), and gave way to political transformation only after a degree of economic success was achieved.”
“India, on the other hand, has attempted economic development while also granting universal franchise from the very beginning”, the document says, adding, only a “handful of countries”, Botswana, Mauritius, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Costa Rica have been “perennial democracies” like India.

Comments

TRENDING

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."