Google Translate

Friday, March 11, 2011

India: A Country of Deficits?

“The steep fall in FDI is a concern. It has dropped sharply from 2009 and we are analyzing the reasons…it is not fully understood yet,” said Subir Gokarn, Deputy Governor, RBI, in one of his recent interviews.

Reacting to the gyrations in the Sensex, a market analyst said, “Corruption and scandals are negatively affecting valuations and increasing the risk premium attached to investing in India.”

To some economists, it is the “governance, infrastructure and fiscal deficit, reform stagnation, rising borrowing costs, supply-side constraints-driven rise in food prices, low agricultural production,” that are causing a lot of worries.

To the elite of the nation, it is the news about the series of scams, right from the commonwealth games to the Adarsh scandal, 2-G spectrum allocation, and Devas scam—all put together running to a mind-boggling hundreds of thousands of crores of rupees loss to the government, some, of course, said to be presumptive loss—that the newspapers are bringing to their doorsteps every morning that is causing distress.
That is what India’s current status is. And reading all this together makes the common man on the road shudder, wondering if the country is all set to face an annus horribilis—a threatening fiscal 2011-12.

Amidst these all-round deficits, we have the Supreme Court—acting on a petition filed by former law minister Ram Jethmalani, former secretary general of the Parliament, and several other prominent citizens questioning the government’s inaction over the black money, estimated to be anywhere between $462 bn to $1.4 tn, of course, based on unverifiable assumptions and approximations, but acknowledged by the finance minister as well, stashed by wealthy Indians and companies abroad—asking the government the other day: “We want to know what steps you have taken against the people who have accumulated so much money in foreign banks. What are the sources of the money? Where has the money come from? It might be because of arms-deals, smuggling, narcotics, drug-trafficking or something else.”

The Court went on to say: “Looking at the issue from a taxation point of view is only one aspect. Some names have been given to you in respect of a bank. What steps have you taken? Have you set law in motion? They are Indian people and are amenable to Indian law.”

On the submission of the advocate for the petitioner that the Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali, facing probe for his foreign accounts in which he is reported to have stashed money to the tune of Rs 36,000 cr, has fled the country, the Supreme Court, hardening its stand, asked the government to find out whether Ali is present in the country or has fled.

The common man has to, however, be content with the Union Finance Minister’s reported statement that the government has initiated a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the issue, but the names of the people maintaining accounts in foreign countries cannot be disclosed due to bilateral treaties with various governments.

Looking at the current plight of the state, a few usually discreet eminent persons fear that the country can ill-afford to entertain such widespread deficiency in governance if it wants to accomplish greater development. What the country, therefore, cries out for is the kind of combative leadership of high order that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh exercised while negotiating the nuclear deal during his last term, but not tolerance for coalition compulsions, to make India deficit-free in all spheres. The Prime Minister cannot rest on his impeccable integrity alone. He must work towards making his governance felt by the people at large.

GRK Murty


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget