Public listing would give a safer option for venture capital funds and private equity companies to invest in SMEs
Public listing of small and medium enterprises on the stock exchanges will help them in attracting investments from large investors like venture capital funds and private equity players, FISME (Federation of Indian Small and Medium Enterprises) said.
The SME body said that public listing would give a safer option for venture capital funds and private equity companies to invest in SMEs.
"These large investors are hesitant to invest in SMEs as there is no well-defined time to get back their investments. Once SMEs get listed, venture capital funds and private equity firms will invest," FISME President VK Agarwal said.
Both the leading equity bourses of the country, the BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) and NSE (National Stock Exchange) were given a nod by capital markets regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) to launch exchanges exclusively for small-and-medium enterprises.
The idea of having dedicated stock exchanges for smaller businesses, which largely contribute to the country's economy, has been in the working for long and SEBI had laid out the guidelines for such exchanges last year.
Considering the lean nature of the companies which will be listed, SEBI has relaxed some rules for listing on such exchanges.
SMEs employ 60 million people and contribute 8% to the country's gross domestic product.
The Right to Information Act has empowered citizens to ask questions from their government, but it has done little to force officials to comply with those requests—or enforce good governance
What exactly is our Right to Information (RTI) Act supposed to achieve? The Act is only a means to an end. Often, we confuse the means with the end. But actually, being open, transparent or collaborative—especially with reference to what one can do with the Act—is not necessarily an end, but only a means to a desired end.
Therefore, what is the end in this context? I guess it is to have a government that fulfils its mission more effectively and efficiently, providing value to its constituents and making the best possible use of available resources. The end is to be better—not necessarily to be different.
The RTI Act is actually just a platform. What this platform focuses on is the journey rather than the destination—what openness, participation, transparency, engagement and so forth do is to allow more individuals to be engaged in processes and services as well as leverage the use of the Act to transform or improve government services.
RTI is defining the means and not the end. Unfortunately, not many are clear on this point today. True, RTI gave us the ability to hold the country’s vast bureaucracy to account. It was hoped that the Act would arrest the endemic corruption in its ranks. Earlier government documents and records were covered by the Official Secrets Act 1923, inherited from the Raj.
The protections were often misused to hide evidence of bribes, kickbacks and nepotism. The RTI legislation had been a central plank of the Congress campaign in the 2004 General elections, and its passage, after a decade-long agitation by activists for good governance, appeared at first to herald a new era of transparency and accountability. The law’s impact was felt almost immediately, by low-ranking bureaucrats and top national officials alike—prime minister Manmohan Singh disclosed his assets and those of his cabinet ministers in response to an RTI application filed by a Navi Mumbai resident, Ajay Bokade.
Let’s take a peep into the past.
Shashidhar Mishra (32), a small-time vendor in Bihar, the ‘first known’ RTI activist, gave his life for the cause.
On 26 January 1996, a raid on a government office in southern Bihar uncovered evidence of what was one of India’s most shocking corruption scandals, the Bihar Fodder Scam. An estimated Rs10 billion were siphoned off, from the treasury by fabricating vast numbers of imaginary livestock and misappropriating funds allotted for their care and feed. The scam landed the then Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in jail—albeit briefly—and revealed a crooked nexus of politicians, senior bureaucrats and businessmen, and triggered a widespread national debate on corruption.
The Fodder Scam, splashed across the headlines month after month, lent new momentum to an existing movement of activists and advocacy groups for transparency in local governance.
The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) was formed by a group of activists and produced a draft Right to Information law that was sent to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government. It declined to act for four years, and eventually signed a very weak Freedom of Information Act in 2002. NCPRI successfully pushed for state-level RTI Acts in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and several other states.
The Congress retooled its campaign platform for the 2004 General elections—it promised the introduction of a more “progressive, anticipatory and meaningful” Right to Information Act. But the path to the passage of a robust RTI Act was far from over: even under the auspices of a supposedly ‘RTI-friendly’ government, the Bill met opposition from the law ministry, which stripped the proposed legislation of numerous key elements before returning it to Parliament—limiting its scope.
True, the impact of the RTI Act was felt almost immediately. In 2009, in the national RTI convention, held in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, the audience was repeatedly moved to tears by the stories of poor farmers, low-wage workers and other previously powerless individuals who had used the law to demand accountability from local authorities.
For many of us, the RTI Act was life-changing. As RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal puts it, “It is not only about the right to know. It means a right to live now.”
Post offices have even reported shortages of Rs10 stamps—which are used to file applications by Speed Post—because of the volume of RTI activity.
But the law remains under pressure from all sides—the government has discussed a number of amendments that would weaken the Act, though the growing community of activists has successfully raised a public uproar and prevented their passage.
The real threat to RTI, however, comes not from further legislative action but from the failure to uphold the law’s requirements: the RTI Act has empowered citizens to ask questions of their government, but it has done little to force officials to comply with those requests, and the State Information Commissioners—often themselves former bureaucrats—have made little use of the provisions to levy fines against lower-level officials.
All this might have been expected at the time of the law’s introduction—a culture of corruption cannot be reformed in five years.
What was not anticipated, however, was the rising volume of threats against RTI applicants and activists. The murder of Shashidhar Mishra was the second killing of an RTI activist in 2010, following the high-profile death of Satish Shetty in Pune in January after he exposed a series of land scams in Maharashtra.
By September 2010, seven more RTI activists had been murdered. At a conference organised by the Central Information Commission, Union law & justice minister Veerappa Moily broke the government’s silence on the matter by calling the murdered activists “martyrs,” and promised a Bill to protect the identity of whistleblowers to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament.
That Bill, however, has not yet materialised—thanks in part to an unprecedented deadlock in Parliament—the session that began in November has been wiped out by an Opposition protest demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe to investigate into the biggest scam in a year already replete with corruption.
On the 2G scam, the Income-Tax Department carried out a wiretap on Niira Radia’s phone during 2008 and 2009, and the tapes—representing thousands of calls—leaked slowly into the public domain, providing an endless diet of evidence against Ms Radia, her numerous friends and associates. Business titan Ratan Tata, who features in one of the tapes already leaked to the public, filed a case in the Supreme Court seeking to block further publication of their contents on privacy grounds.
But Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer and activist who has filed numerous Public Interest Litigations aimed at uncovering the extent of the 2G scam, is adamant that the RTI Act should ensure that the tapes are indeed made public.
Manish Sisodia, an activist, helped draft the RTI Act. “Section (8) of the RTI Act says that any information related to the public interest must be made public,” argued Bhushan. “In this case, the recordings reveal all kinds of illegal and immoral dealings of corporate lobbyists who influence the decisions of Parliament for their personal gains.” Mr Bhushan, a soft-faced man in his 50s, is recognised globally for speaking out against judicial corruption. “This is a time when people can know how this country is run by the corporates and their fixers because such high profile scams surface rarely,” he has said.
The season of scandals that has shaken New Delhi’s top echelons provides yet another reminder of the need for a more robust RTI law, even as it underscores the extent to which the law in its current form has made little impact on the nexus of corrupt politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats.
In the latest report from global corruption watchdog Transparency International, India ranks a dismal 87th on an index measuring perceptions of corruption—not far from a handful of failed states like Iraq, Afghanistan and the Congo.
Activists have pinned their hopes on the RTI Act, but it’s clear that the mere existence of the law is an insufficient deterrent to government corruption. It has been crippled all too easily by ineffective information commissioners, evasive bureaucrats, and an overall lack of support and political will from the Centre.
The flaws in the RTI that have been revealed must be dealt accordingly. Campaigns must be conducted in schools, colleges, and at the panchayat level to make people aware.
But after having said all this, one has to admit that the scourge of corruption remains, perhaps more powerful than ever! The Act has faced tough resistance right from the beginning. Almost every political party and every bureaucrat has tried to weaken this law. They don’t want to give up their power to hide information from the public.
The RTI Act has not been able to achieve most of the goals the social activists had originally envisaged. A few of the objectives have been achieved, but many others remain unfinished.
And reports have surfaced today which indicate that the Lok Pal Bill also might face some rough weather. It is high time the country unites to eradicate corruption for ever—the RTI Act and the Lok Pal Bill are just two steps in that direction.
For the year ended 31 March 2011, Kavveri Telecom saw an increase in consolidated net sales by 29% from Rs243.43 crore to Rs314.63 crore
Kavveri Telecom, a leading telecom equipment manufacturer, today reported its quarterly profit & revenue numbers with a 42% rise in revenue and a 16% jump in the net profit for the quarter ended 31 March 2011 when compared to corresponding quarter of previous year.
While the company saw its net profit touching Rs7.75 crore for the last quarter, which is a Rs1.09 crore rise over the corresponding period last year, its net sales increased by nearly 42% to Rs75.83 crore in the reporting quarter.
For the year ended 31 March 2011, the company saw an increase in consolidated net sales by 29% from Rs243.43 crore to Rs314.63 crore. The profit after tax for the year ended 31 March 2011 stood at Rs38.20 crore, resulting into an increase of 48.5%, against Rs25.72 crore in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.
Shivakumar Reddy, managing director, Kavveri Telecom Products said that, "We are extremely happy with the numbers. With the recent approval of the European acquisition which will take Kavveri to the next level, the future looks optimistic.
We thank our share-holders for their continuous support & hope to receive the same in future."
On Tuesday, Kavveri Telecom ended 2.20% up at Rs128 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex gained 1.49% to 18,503.28.