Distribution of resources is no longer a relevant issue and there are plenty of specialized institutions all over India who can do the thinking and planning for the government. Let us allow the Planning Commission to achieve moksha
The Economic Times proclaimed on the morning of 15th August that the vice chairman of planning commission is to be named soon; it even mentioned Suresh Prabhu former power minster of Shiva Sena as a front runner.
On the same day from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi conducted the single largest 'massacre' of 'Development Economists' in modern history by abolishing the Soviet-era relic called Planning Commission. It is rumored that more than hundreds of this species were occupying seats in Yojana Bhavan. It was also mentioned in passing by the PM that the said institution is to be replaced by one that is more effective.
This was a major big blow to Nehruvian Marxists who thrived on Mahalonobis’s idea borrowed from the Soviets that planning by the Government is critical for development and Government is best suited to organize our lives.
Then started the hunt for new residence for the same old Government thinkers. The Economic times [ET], a paper which thrives on 'sources' and 'deep throats' in Government rather than any serious economic reporting and analysis- decided to take matters in its own hands and declared there would be a 'New Planning Commission'. On 18th August it reported about the new planning commission’s tasks and members as well.
ET also decided to christen the body the “National development and Reforms Commission” like in China.
Incidentally, Cuts International public Policy Centre had, as early as July, come up with some recommendations one of which is this very name; so our leading economic paper has not even come up with an original suggestion.
Now the real issue is about replacing the old Planning Commission with a new one that is “vibrant and independent” –these are standard words used by usual suspects.
Then came the announcement from Prime Minister's Office (PMO) asking all Indians to send their suggestions about this new body and a suitable name for it to be sent to MyGov site.
First of all we should start by asking a basic question -- does the said body need to be replaced at all?
As far as Center-State allocations are concerned –as already pointed out by economist Surjit Bhalla—there is a major reveral in trend of funds flowing to the States. Writing about expenditure figures presented by the 2014-15 Budget he says, “for the large plan expenditure component (approximately 5% of GDP), there has been a complete reversal of trend. In 2013-14, state plans constituted 25% of this total; in 2014-15, states will handle nearly 60% of the total!”
It is anachronistic for an un-elected bureaucrat called vice chairman of the Planning Commission- as in the Soviet Model-- to advise/ berate State Chief Ministers once in five years about the amount they can spend from Central kitty. The entire model of a Central Sultanate allocating finances to states is not an appropriate one in these changed times.
The Finance Commission takes care of the statutory division of resources and the Interstate Council can be, and should be, activated to iron out any differences between the Centre and States and between States. The Prime Minster can meet Chief Minister/s every month or every quarter under the aegis of Inter State Council to foster better communication. Further, a substantial portion of centrally managed schemes can and should be shifted to States.
Now lets come to the 'think' portion of what the Planning Commission does. It is presumed that thinking can be done only by an organization located at Delhi with large number of experts employed 'to think'. This is a specious argument used by Delhi Durbar wherein it is assumed that all expertise is available only in Delhi and all those who are in Delhi are experts!!
In the days of Internet, mobile phones and social media it is waste of money to create an organization at Delhi to 'think'. There are plenty of existing organizations all over India working in different disciplines such as science, technology, public policy and defence.
The government can also fund large institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), Indian Council for Social Sciences Research (ICSSR), Bhabha Automic Research Centre (BARC), National Institute of Advance Studies (NIAS), National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and others or commission specific outputs from them in both strategic and operational. Hence, we feel that there is no need to create a new institution. If the PM wants advice on specific issues he can always rely on a multiplicity of institutions that already exist all over the country. He can always have a small advisory group to identify where to get each repors from. We feel for instance that the voluminous reports of the CSO and NSSO on various aspects of the Indian economy and society has not been adequately leveraged by the Government.
Our primordial instinct of not allowing any institution to die needs to end. Institutions like individuals have life span and must have Karmic endings. The Planning Commission died on the 15thAugust and on 27th August, in the ancient tradition, it will have Vaikunta Samaradhane. But many experts, thinkers and intellectuals want it to be revived before that based on our belief in re-birth. Let us for a minute assume that the Planning Commission has achieved Moksha –no re-birth since the organization has done so much punya in its life span serving the masses of this vast land (like it did when it juggled with the poverty line and made people better off overnight). And let us leave it there and close the chapter.
(Views expressed in this article are personal)
(Prof R Vaidyanathan , Professor of Finance and Control, has taught at IIM Bangalore for over three decades and is consistently rated as one of its most popular teachers. Prof Vaidyanathan has coined the term 'India UnInc' for the largest component of the Indian economy comprising small entrepreneurs, households. Prof Vaidyanathan sits on the advisory boards of SEBI and the RBI.)
Clearing all controversy, the Supreme Court ruled that the jurisdiction of such cases have to be the location where the cheque bounced, meaning the bank of the person, who issued the cheque and not the bank location of the complainant
Prosecuting jurisdiction in a cheque bouncing case has been a highly contested issue since very long. The issue has revolved around the point of determination.
Where would someone file a case for cheque bouncing out of the following venues?
• Location of the bank of Complainant
• Location of bank of issuer
• Location of origin of legal notice
• Where the legal notice was received
In the Dasrath Rupsingh case, a three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court has finally laid the controversy to rest.
By and large, complaints pertaining to cheque bouncing are instituted where the bank of the complainant is. Before the Supreme Court decided the case of Harman Electronics, complainants used to file a large number of cases on the basis of the location of their attorney, not of any bank, who would send the legal notice for a cheque having bounced. The Court noted that the law of cheque bouncing was being misused rampantly. Complaints were filed in Delhi just because lawyers were issuing notices from there, even though the bank of the payer or the payee were outside Delhi.
The Supreme Court has effectively put an end to this harassment at the hands of the Drawee.
Last year, in the Nishant Aggarwal case, the Supreme Court again addressed the prosecuting jurisdiction aspect. A two Judges Bench of the Supreme Court held that the complaint under Section 138 can be filed at the jurisdiction where the bank of the Complainant is situated.
In the Dasrath Rupsingh case, the apex court has cleared the controversy once and for all. The Bench stated that the factor for determining jurisdiction has to be the location where the cheque bounced, meaning thereby, the bank of the person who issued the cheque and not at the place the intimation of dishonour reaches, i.e, bank of the complainant. The Bench further held that the offence under the section shall occur when the cheque is returned unpaid.
The Bench notes that the cheque bouncing law should not be allowed to become a tool for harassment. There had been cases where the complainant would deposit the cheque and/or issue a legal notice from a place that was totally unrelated to the transaction in question-- in a possibe attempt to harass the other party.
The Bench also safeguarded the interests of genuine creditors in such a scenario. A person/ company can insist that the payment shall be made through cheque in question, payable at a particular location convenient to the creditor.
It is also important to note that the remedy under the Negotiable Instruments Act is in addition to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and not as an alternative. Meaning that the case for cheque bouncing will be maintainable only where the bank of the drawee is, but if the creditor can demonstrate that various acts of the transaction took place in another jurisdiction, like his office/ residence, then he can maintain a separate action for fraud, cheating and forgery. Then there is also an option before the Complainant to institute a civil suit for recovery against the person who issued the dishonoured cheque.
Status of the pending cases:
After ruling that the proper jurisdiction to hold trial in a cheque bouncing case is where the bank of the alleged accused is situated, the Bench passed an order dealing with the currently pending cases.
In all those matters where the alleged accused has appeared after summoning and his evidence under Section 145 has commenced, those cases will remain where they are already pending. In all other matters where the evidence by examination under Section 145 has not begun, the case will be returned to the complainant to institute at the jurisdiction where the bank of the accused is situated.
Reading any judgement by Justice Vikramajit Sen is an excellent experience and this one is no different. However, in a separate judgement, Justice TS Thakur has also given elaborate findings regarding the confusionaround cheque bouncing matters.
(Dushyant K Mahant , is Founding Partner of Mahant & Mahant and Intellectual Property Lawyer. He did his Masters in IP Law from Brisbane. Does pro bono work as well. Mr Mahant is active on social media to exchange views and news about politics, law and common sense)
A wrongly convicted Brooklyn man will receive millions in compensation from New York City, but that doesn’t address the broader lack of consequences when prosecutors abuse their power.
The dollar figure was so large and the public statements of vindication and concession so harmonious, one might have been tempted to think the system had actually worked.
A wrongly convicted Brooklyn man had won his freedom when a federal judge called out a local prosecutor for misconduct. And then, this week, with the help of an able lawyer, the freed man won a $10 million settlement from New York City, gaining possible financial security for life.
But ProPublica's reporting over the last two years suggests that any such temptation to think the system worked in the case of Jabbar Collins should be resisted.
The system for identifying and punishing misconduct by prosecutors is badly broken, our reporting shows, and with the Collins case settling, a crucial channel for exposing systemic problems and ensuring they don't recur may close as well.
So many shortcomings spotlighted by the Collins case remain unresolved.
Michael Vecchione, the prosecutor who gained a murder conviction against Collins in the 1990s and who was later accused of having committed an array of misconduct in the case, has to date faced no sanction.
And history suggests he won't. He even managed to cash out a couple hundred days of vacation as he quietly left the Brooklyn district attorney's office last year.
The taxpayers who paid for those vacation days are now on the hook for $10 million more, footing the bill for Collins' wrongful conviction.
The lack of consequences for Vecchione -- who was accused by Collins and his lawyer of intimidating witnesses, suborning perjury and lying about it all for years while Collins sat in prison -- get at larger problems with the system of prosecutorial oversight.
Two federal judges ultimately came to damning conclusions about Vecchione's conduct.
They upbraided him in open court. But there's no evidence they reported him to the state disciplinary committees appointed to investigate complaints of attorney misconduct.
The fact that it is not clear whether any state panel charged with policing attorneys has or will take up Vecchione's history underscores what many have complained about for years: The state's disciplinary system operates almost entirely in secret. Its rare disciplining of prosecutors, then, often remains unknown to the public, including the men and women later facing those prosecutors in court.
The system offers the innocent and the damaged only one meaningful recourse for exposing prosecutorial misconduct: a civil lawsuit. But such suits require years of expensive effort, and, of course, are only even theoretically available to those who have managed to win their freedom.
The Collins case, in this respect, highlights yet one more disturbing component of the way cases of misconduct are handled.
In a statement announcing the $10 million settlement, lawyers for New York City called it only fair. The Brooklyn district attorney's office, the city's lawyers pointed out, had admitted as far back as 2010 that Collins' constitutional rights to a fair trial had been violated.
One might ask, then, why the city fought so vigorously over the subsequent years, deriding Collins' lawyer for trying the case in the press, suggesting Collins could still be guilty and denying Vecchione had done anything improper.
The city, of course, has many interests in defending itself in such lawsuits. Still, it effectively acknowledged this week that it had spent years of effort and untold taxpayer dollars on a case in which it conceded Collins had an undisputed legal claim.
All of this, ProPublica's reporting has shown, is hardly isolated. Our reporting found examples like Collins in other boroughs in the city. And a growing body of reporting by other news organizations has demonstrated that it goes on in all corners of the country.
This is, one might say, how the system works. Or doesn't. The Collins settlement ratifies nothing but how broken it remains.