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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Tablighis or Namaste Trump? Rupani must 'clarify' on origin of Covid-19 in Gujarat

By Mujahid Nafees* In his video communication on April 24, 2020, chief minister Vijay Rupani informed us that in the month of March the Gujarat government had quarantined 6,000 people returning from abroad in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. He further asserted that the spread of Covid-19 was caused by the tablighis returning from Nizamuddin in Delhi. His statements were widely publicized and given front page coverage by some local dailies.

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”