My beloved Members,
TRUTH OF SATYAM – LAW IS AN ASS
Badly drafted laws can have unintended consequences, which make them counterproductive despite noble intention. In this context, PM Narendra Modi should pay greater attention to the cry of senior civil servants that has repeatedly asked for changes in a law governing corruption of public servants. This law drafted at a time when India was more of a command and control economy, has been in need of change.
The most draconian provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act is, a Clause that if a bureaucrat’s decision benefits someone or adversely impacts others, the onus is on the bureaucrat to prove that he acted in the public interest even if there is no evidence that he derived any pecuniary advantage from the decision. This hinders decision making, as most decisions will benefit someone and hurt some others to. To avoid this situation, most bureaucrats will put off decision making, even if this means governance comes to a complete halt. The unintended consequence of sloppy legislative work has been a long history of missed economic opportunities and mounting litigation. Among the questionable laws are labour laws which are aimed at providing a fair working environment for labour but ended up transferring business decisions to the bureaucracy. As a consequence companies switch to machines or abroad in a country with abundant labour, and, young people entering the job market lose out.
To compound matters, judicial verdicts take a long-long time in our country. It has taken more than six years for a special court to find B. Ramalinga Raju, founder of erstwhile Satyam Computers, guilty of accounting fraud after he confessed to the crime. So the truth of Satyam was off the lid. Notwithstanding Raju’s conviction, the levels of vigilance are still not adequate to prevent more such frauds – as the 2013 NSEL scam proves. Thus, the NDA Government must find a way to cut this ice. It can start by amending the Prevention of Corruption Act, so that public servants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Anyway, “Satyameva Jayate” has exposed the nexus between the promoters of the company, statutory auditors involving a big five global accountancy firm and the toothless company law. The good part is that the new Company Law has taken a cognisance of the Satyam’s scam and taken measures to prevent such scams in future.
COLLEGIUM SYSTEM FOR APPOINTING JUDGES HISTORY NOW
The Modi Government on 13th April, 2015 notified the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act with immediate effect, replacing the collegium system for appointing judges to the superior courts with a more broad based process in which the executive will have a say. This move comes ahead of a crucial SC hearing scheduled on 15th April, 2015 on the legality of new system and whether it would erode judicial independence. The notification came after a three-judge SC Bench referred the matter of legality of the new system to a Larger Bench on 7th April, 2015, without restraining the Government from going ahead and formalising the rule. The twin laws, NJAC Act and a Constitution Amendment facilitating it, had both been assented to by the President on December 31. The latest news in this behalf is, Justice A.R. Dave, who was heading the five judge Constitution Bench, withdrew from the case after the SC Advocates on Record Association and other petitioners said that since he had become a member of the NJAC.
‘MAKE IN INDIA’ INITIATIVE
Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi is working day and night towards his dream project ‘Make in India’, despite variety of problems including natural calamities affecting our farmers, which will usher prosperity to the people of India. To alleviate the sufferings of the farmers following policy objectives have been set:
• Norms for input subsidies to farmers liberalised.
• Now even at 30% crop loss, farmers to be provided assistance (earlier the criterion was 50% loss or more).
• As per new norms, Govt. to help those farmers whose crops were affected in February and March this year.
• Assistance for agricultural crops, horticulture crops, annual plantation crops, perennial crops and sericulture increased by 50%.
• Monetary assistance to change every year on the basis of inflation rates.
• Banks to re-structure crop loans.
• Speedy settlement of farmers’ claim by insurance companies.
2. At the time of writing this message, Hon’ble PM was in France and Germany, attending Indo-German Summit in Hannover and marketing them ably ‘Make In India’
story. In his address to the “Hannover Messe”, he invited their attention to the fact that investor sentiments has increased and foreign investment inflows have gone up 36% during April 2014 and January 2015, compared with a year earlier. Our growth rate is 7% – plus. Most of the International Financial Institutions including the World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD, OECD and others are predicting even faster growth in the coming years. He also highlighted ratings firm Moodys’ decision to upgrade the rating outlook of India as
‘Positive’. IMF also confirmed that gradually GDP rate will increase to 8% till 2017. Also, 12% increase in investment will take place domestically and, therefore, GDP rate will go up to 8% surely.
3. Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Union Railway Minister, hand-in-hand with Hon’ble PM too is working hard to take forward the mission ‘Make in India’ by reviving railways. According to him, every budget announcement has been made into actionable points and the Ministry has already reviewed the points 3 times. He further said,
“each and every idea in the Budget Speech is under implementation and through the system of Railway Board only. In the last ten days, I have had meetings with five zones which account for 70% of the freight traffic. In the last ten days, I visited 10 States and met Genaral Managers, Divisional Managers, etc. They are extremely excited to work on these ideas. I do not see any issue for the implementation of my vision and, in fact, Railway Board Chairman is monitoring the working of the change that I desired.”
4. Hon’ble Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (independent charge) is also striving hard to deliver exceedingly good results and
taking forward ‘Make in India’ initiative. According to her an average share of 29.8% in GDP in 1950s increased to 57% in 2013, it has led India on the progression path from an agrarian economy to a service based one by passing the industrial phase. India is a huge reservoir of intellectual resources with a demographic dividend quotient. Given these factors, the services sector has the potential to cater to demand emanating from developed economies besides satisfying the domestic demand. Further, the employment and manufacturing linkages of services sector make it an important driver of inclusive growth. We have an opportunity to acquire soft skills to meet global standards. Subsequently, our skilled workforce should pick-up foreign languages to supply services abroad. To spur India’s services export, the Govt. will be unveiling the new foreign trade policy for 2015-2020. India, being the
‘Office to the World’, is competent enough to serve as the ‘Factory to the World’.
5. So, the things are moving very fast towards ‘Make in India’ story and we should have sufficient patience towards achieving our objective as set out by our Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi.
With best wishes and regards,