India among 40 most improved economies easing biz regulations

Washington: India is among the 40 most-improved economies since 2005 which made significant changes in improving business regulations at a steady pace, reports PTI quoting the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a wing of the World Bank.

"Since 2005, India has implemented 18 business regulation reforms in seven areas covered by doing business, creating more opportunities for local firms," the IFC said.

In its report 'Technology makes compliance easier, less costly, and more transparent', the IFC said many of these reforms focused on technology - implementing electronic business registration, electronic filing for taxes, an electronic collateral registry, and online submission of customs forms and payments.

Other economies in South Asia are also improving regulation with fast, transparent, electronic systems.

Pakistan, the region's highest-ranking economy on the regulatory ease of doing business (with a global ranking of 83 among 183 economies), reduced the time for exporting by improving electronic communication between the Karachi Port authorities and private terminals in the past year.

Bangladesh made business start-up easier by enhancing the country's online registration system.

'Doing Business 2011' finds that from June 2009 through May 2010, four of the eight economies in South Asia reformed business regulation to expand opportunity for local firms.

In the past year, governments in 117 economies worldwide carried out 216 business regulation reforms aimed at making it easier to start and operate a business, strengthening transparency and property rights, and improving the efficiency of commercial dispute resolution and bankruptcy procedures.

More than half the policy changes eased business start-up, trade, and the payment of taxes, it said.

Another IFC report released yesterday said that in the past five years, about 85% of the world's economies have made it easier for local entrepreneurs to operate, through 1,511 improvements to business regulation.

Worldwide, more than half the regulatory changes recorded in the past year eased business start-up, trade, and the payment of taxes. Many of the improvements involve new technologies.

"New technology underpins regulatory best practice around the world," said Janamitra Devan, vice president for Financial and Private Sector Development for the World Bank Group.


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Proving Medical Negligence: A Doctor's Advice

I must compliment you on your write up “Proving Medical Negligence” in MoneyLife of 12th April 07. I would like to add a few points here:

- Taking a doctor/hospital to court should always be an objective decision and not riddled with emotions or misguided by some with vested interests.

- I sincerely hope this judgement will force doctors to shift from “main hoon na” to “We are a team” approach. Today, when a large percentage of medical/healthcare is technology dependent, more so in the realms of surgery and post-operative care, team approach is what is most beneficial to the consumer. Not only all specialties of doctors but nurses, technicians, bio-medical engineers and physicists all play a major role and together lead the patient to recovery. Here are some questions for those planning to take a doctor /hospital to court:

1. Was the negligence an act of omission or an act of commission?

2. Was there any similar act of omission or commission on the part of the complainant, i.e., not following instructions or resorting to some other therapy without consulting the attending doctor or withholding of valuable information, etc?

3. Has some quantifiable damage occurred? The issue here is negligence and NOT mere carelessness; it is carelessness where there is a duty of taking care and where failure in that duty causes damage. Negligence that does not lead to damage will not give rise to an action but negligence causing damage will give rise to an action - civil or criminal. In order to succeed in an action for negligence, a plaintiff must be able to establish to the satisfaction of the court that s/he has sustained an actual loss or injury, which springs from the negligence of the defendant (doctor). If s/he can prove this, s/he is entitled to damages in terms of money. (I am quoting this from a text book of medical jurisprudence.)

4. Even today, close to 80% of suits filed are dismissed as the courts find NO basis for litigation but each such case promotes excess investigations and referrals as each doctor wants to keep himself safe. We are today ordering more scans just for “dekh lete hain; kuch miss na ho jaye”.

On our portal, we provide tips on how to avoid litigation under the heads ‘dos and don’ts’ and ‘non-clinical/legal’. Not saying NO to genuine litigation for negligence, let us pray we don’t get ambulance-chasers in India!
Dr CH Asrani, Mumbai, by email

Kafkaesque IDBI Bank

I have seen Ms Dalal presenting the truth about the share market with unrelenting passion. I have also been a regular reader of her columns in the Indian Express. I admire her as a rare journalist in a country which abounds in shoddy journalists. By chance, I picked up MoneyLIFE from a pavement vendor. When I saw that she is the consulting editor, I immediately sent my subscription although I do not take great interest in the market even though, as a Gujarati, all my money is in the share market. I lost heavily in DSQ Software because of the criminal Dinesh Dalmia. Now I have a portfolio manager and I am alright.

Please read the following. It is Kafkaesque. I have 6000 shares of Electrolux. I have them in the IDBI Bank Dmat account. The company is defunct. IDBI Bank charges me Rs100+ per month to have the shares in my account. I was told by IDBI Bank to keep the shares frozen as they cannot be re-materialised as the company is defunct. But they still charge me Rs100 or so per month. This is the only scrip in my Dmat account with IDBI. The Bank puts a price of Rs25 per share when the shares are not traded at all. I must have paid IDBI Bank over Rs3000 in the past nearly three years. I do not know how to get out of this trap. I am thinking of getting them put in an active account in my IDBI Bank account and transfer them to my Dmat account in HDFC Bank. Is there a way out? Good luck with your magazine!
NR Desai, Mumbai, by email

Thousands of investors are suffering the same fate. Rematerialising the shares is the only way to avoid paying for dud companies, but that too comes at a price. Investor groups have been agitating the issue with SEBI for several years without success. Yet, investor protection is part of the preamble to the SEBI Act! Write to us. - Editor   

Guide for Retail Investors

This refers to the cover story, “13 funds for any market”. Thanks to some relief provided by Governor Reddy and the FM in the recent credit policy, some sanity has returned to the market. In a scenario when the market does not seem to know which direction it should go, the mutual fund route, and that too through SIP, makes a more sensible option for us, retail investors. With your cover story focusing on funds for any situation, readers should be thankful to you. Though you have covered almost every well-performing mutual fund, I feel there was scope for funds like SBI Magnum Global and Contra which have given decent returns over the years. And Purvi Seth has thrown light on a very sensitive issue of love at workplace which is becoming more prevalent now-a-days. There is no doubt that it affects your work and her suggestions should be more than handy.
Bal Govind Bareilly, by email

Any Online Subscription Option?

I was a subscriber of MoneyLIFE, until recently. My subscription has come to an end. I would like to know if there is any online edition of your magazine, which we could subscribe to.  I am not in India currently and although I am a big fan of your magazine, I can’t read it. If there is any such option, please do mail me and I would be happy to subscribe to your online edition. Keep up the good work of researching the markets for us.
Shardul Gadgil, by email

Unfortunately, we don’t have an online version as yet. We hope to do it sometime. Thanks for your interest and support. - Editor

The Jyoti of Shivajirao Patil

Please refer to the interview with Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil. Inexplicably, I feel touched by Mr Patil’s reference to Jyoti Ltd being a company that really supported him in the early years of Elmatronics, as his firm was called then. I myself was with Jyoti those days, although my department, electronics purchase cell under the PEC & relays division, had relatively few dealings than our R&D purchase cell, which procured microprocessors and other specialised components for the various technology and product development groups plus the instrumentation and laser divisions.

Elmatronics was always very helpful in procurement of esoteric material in small numbers, quite in contrast to other traders in Lamington Road.

While Mr Patil openly shared his knowledge of the ‘equivalents’ and his confidence by referring to the data books as well as his own inquiries with various market sources - simply finding a technical equivalent was not enough. He had to commit deliveries or advise non-availability. Others who knew the equivalents would leave that onus with the buyer to avoid blame for a ‘second-source’ component’s inferiority, or, surreptitiously pack the alternative devices and argue if caught.

Subsequently, Mr Patil’s firm Dynalog has, indeed, been responsible for generations of engineers, hobbyists and enthusiasts learning microprocessors and their applications, be it developing products or learning assembly language programming. Incidentally, one always addressed him as “Mr Adhalrao” because he referred to himself or signed as “S Adhalrao” or in full form.

Many other businessmen and professionals have got a lot more largesse from Jyoti Ltd by way of monetary and non-monetary support, to develop their own businesses and careers, thanks to a very open and progressive management team under a magnanimous leader and visionary chairman, Dr Nanubhai Amin.
However, most of these beneficiaries, some who continue to gain in one way or other, have joined the few embittered cynics to slander the company and its promoters.
Udit Chaudhuri, Mumbai, by email

Useless comparison

Please refer to the article that appeared in the 12th April issue in the “Loose Change” section. The article illustrates a comparison of the highly taxed countries with the maximum individual tax. The comparison is not of much use because, along with the tax rates, in some of the countries there is also a return to the taxpayer in the form of robust social security. Like in Netherlands, citizens are covered for health, employment benefits and so on. In India, there are no such schemes for tax-paying citizens.
Rajan R Vaswani, Gurgaon, by email

By putting out the comparison, we did not intend to underline that Indians are taxed less. Indeed, MoneyLIFE takes the stance that any tax is bad - because the Indian government uses taxpayers' money far less efficiently than the way a business entity or an individual would use it. Your point illustrates this fact very well. While welfare states use the tax money to build support systems, the Indian government wastes it on programmes and people with little accountability, which is why we find it baffling that so many people consider the current rates of taxes "reasonable" - Editor

Company Secretaries Unite

I just read Anil Deshpande’s travails in the matter of inheriting shares that appeared many months ago, on your site. To me, the attitude of the company secretary of the unnamed foreign company is totally discrediting to the profession of company secretaries of which I am also a member. I offer my full support to any action to discipline such companies and to make them behave in a shareholder-friendly manner.
PM Augustine, Company Secretary (No:1549), by email


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