The Presidential denial is wearing thin. We learn that Rs8 crore of public money is allegedly being used to construct President Pratibha Patil’s bungalow on a land, which cannot be used for civilian purposes. And military resources are being deployed for her
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Dr RH Patil, calm, self-effacing, determined and a true visionary who set up the National Stock Exchange battling immense skepticism and hostility passes away
Dr R H Patil, founder-managing director of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and chairman, Clearing Corporation of India (CCIL) passed away in Mumbai, today. He was 74 and has been suffering from lung cancer.
Dr Patil ought to be remembered as having revolutionised the way stocks are traded. Today we take the smooth automated trading, glitch-free settlement, compulsory dematerialisation of shares for granted. But as Dr RH Patil had said once, “Indian capital market around the early 1990s was akin to the Stone Age.” They were inefficient, one of the riskiest in the world, an exclusive club of brokers who ran the exchange largely for themselves. Indeed, listed companies and investors were largely pawns in their game.
It is Dr Patil who changed this. From an era when manipulation was the way of life and exchanges were open for only two hours a day for only 150-200 days in a year, Dr RH Patil, took the Indian stock to market to a modern era in less than two years by combining the best features of the global markets: aspects of New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) which dealt mainly in large stocks; nationwide network of trading terminals like NASDAQ; computerised order-driven trading system of the Paris bourse or Vancouver (largely free from manipulation of the market makers or specialists); and settlement guarantee system of the Chicago’s futures exchanges. He still needed a communication technology that would help connect trading terminals across the country. Dr Patil chose VSAT, the system that linked Wal+Mart. With this configuration, NSE’s trading volumes grew exponentially a few years after its launch in November 1994 and it soon broke the back of century-old BSE. With NSE also came the concept of a settlement guarantee and a separate clearing corporation for the settlement of trades and real time limits of each trading members’ exposure. Dr Patil then founded a share depository (National Stock Depositry Ltd), which went live in November 1996, just two years after NSE. In all this, Dr Patil was helped by GV Ramakrishna, the toughest Sebi chief ever, who was cracked the whip and made brokers fall in line. A few years ago Dr Patil narrated the fascinating story of his life, especially the challenges in setting up NSE, for the first time, to Moneylife. He was one of our Pathbreakers. You can read a part of that captivating story here:
While the Moneylife report on the construction of a post-retirement bungalow for Pratibha Patil in Pune became viral in social media, the President's office came up with a denial which did not address the core issues, but was carried faithfully by the mainstream media
When the Moneylife report on the construction of a post-retirement bungalow for president Pratibha Patil in Pune President Pratibha Patil grabs 2,61,000 sq ft of land meant for soldiers and officers hit the internet running, it became viral in the social media, attracting even more damaging information on the activities of the president and her immediate family in Maharashtra. The mainstream media was slow to react, despite constantly being needled in the social media for ignoring what was public knowledge in Maharashtra. Eventually the president's office came up with a denial which did not address the core issues, but was carried faithfully by the mainstream media. Meanwhile, out there in Pune, the truth is out there to be seen. Can anybody stop the truth from coming out in this day and age of internet? With this report we have pictures of the president’s bungalow under construction.
It doesn’t get higher than the president, in India, and in what appears to be an unwritten law with the mainstream media in Delhi, you don't persist in saying or writing anything about the office and the persons therein which can even remotely be considered to be demoralising or dishonouring. This could be in exchange for the typical quid-pro-quo arrangements that exist in Delhi with such things or born out of traditions going back to a day when feudal and colonial practices were justified. But times have changed.
And nobody brought this out better than Vinita Deshmukh of Pune, a regular columnist for Moneylife, winner of the Chameli Devi Award for journalism and fearless to her own truths to a point where the typical pressures that emanate in and from Delhi, didn’t really impact what is rapidly becoming a report with no previous parallel.
In a situation where corruption in high places is becoming the major issue in India, it is expected that the president and her office take extra special care to stay clear of even the least taint or suspicion. On that count there is still no cogent explanation or response.
Based on more inputs, it remains to be seen whether these questions will be answered or not, either through the RTI route or directly, and much of how the people of this country hold the high office of the president will be decided by that. That is the point that Ms Deshmukh’s report brings out in a straightforward article based on facts which only Moneylife had the guts to carry.
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