Companies & Sectors
Shekhar Gupta quits Indian Express

Indian Express' editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta has resigned from the newspaper

Shekhar Gupta, the editor-in-chief of the India Express, on Monday resigned from his post after spending almost 25 years with the newspaper.

 

In a letter to his colleagues, Gupta said, "It is time for me to say goodbyes at the Express -- for the second time. The first was exactly at the same time of the year in 1983 when most of you were not born yet. In any case, I am an incorrigible reporter and thereby a terminal adventure junkie. By the way, even at the risk of being charged with crass tribalism, I shall write something more specifically for my fellow reporters at the Express. But a bit later."

 

Gupta said he would be there in the office till 15th June.

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Indian govt cuts import tariff value on gold, silver

Following petroleum, gold is the second most imported item into India. Last year, the country’s total gold and silver imports dropped 40% to $33.46 billion, due to curbs imposed by the Indian government.

The Indian government, on Monday reduced the import tariff value on gold and silver to $408 per 10 grams and $617 per kg respectively, in view of weakness in bullion prices globally.

 

In the second fortnight of May, the tariff value on imported gold stood at $424 per 10 grams and silver at $650 per kg.

 

The import tariff value — the base price at which Customs duty is determined to prevent under-invoicing — is revised on a fortnightly basis taking into account the volatility in global prices.

 

The reduction in tariff value on imported gold and silver has been notified by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBDT), an official statement said.

 

In the last few sessions, global gold prices have been ruling on a lower side as positive US economic data backed the case for the Federal Reserve to continue reducing the monetary stimulus, which has dimmed the metal’s appeal.

 

In Singapore, both gold and silver were trading down at $1,246.9 per ounce and $18.70 per ounce respectively, today. Taking global cues, domestic gold rates in the national capital touched an 11-month low of Rs27,400 per 10 grams.

 

Due to curbs imposed by the Indian government, the country’s total gold and silver imports dropped 40% to $33.46 billion in 2013-14 against $55.79 billion in the previous year.

 

Gold is the second most imported item into India after petroleum. The government had taken several measures to curb gold shipments to address the high current account deficit.

 

These measures included raising the import duty to 10% on the yellow metal and also made it mandatory for traders to export 20% of the imported gold.

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Legislation is not the only tool to tackle all issues: Dr Debroy

Normal reaction of any MP or MLA to a problem, even if economic, is generally that it would be resolved through a legislation. However, whether the legislation can be enforced or not is never analysed, says Dr Bibek Debroy

Our laws range from retrograde to obsolete and almost always complex. But, what really are the reasons behind this stagnation? What does it take to get rid of ancient and often expendable laws? For any problem, even if it is economic, most of the members of Parliament (MPs) and members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) will tell you that it would be resolved through a legislation. Whether the legislation can be enforced or not is never analysed by them. As a result, we have a bunch of legislations that have never even been used.  

Dr Bibek Debroy, an eminent economist, scholar and columnist answered these and other important questions in an informative session organised by Moneylife in Mumbai. Let's take a look at what he had to say.

In the year 2000-2001, the movement for law reform intensified. What were the challenges and achievements?

Dr Debroy said that the process entails several steps. When it comes to old laws, the simplest task is when you identify the entire piece of legislation as redundant. Such a piece can be repealed in its entirety, however this happens very rarely. In the year 2000-2001, when the movement towards legal reform gained momentum, about 200 such laws were identified and amendments to the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) were also passed.

He added that most legislations have dysfunctional sections and are not entirely inapplicable. In such cases, modification becomes difficult as one needs to then examine and identify the particular sections that need to be repealed. In addition, if repealed, one needs to find out whether an alternative legislation needs to be prepared and the job becomes more tedious.

The first step to identification of laws that need to be looked at would be to have an exhaustive list of the total number of statutes. While the central statutes can be numbered down to around 2,000-2,500, the state statutes have still not been counted down in records. This exercise needs much more focus and diligence.

What is the process to repeal a law? How does it vary for different kinds of laws?

Dr Debroy elucidated the process by discussing the different possibilities involved in the birth of the laws. The process for repealment depends on where the statute was enacted. A statute enacted by the union government has a bearing as pe the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India. If the statute is enacted from the Union List, it has to be repealed by the Parliament. A statute enacted from the state list will be repealed by the state legislature. For a statute enacted from the concurrent list to be repealed, a rectification from two-third of the total number of states is a pre-requisite.

In matters of Constitutional Law, he said that an amendment to the Constitution is more difficult than other laws.  

Laws in India are too complicated for a common man's understanding. Isn't there a need to simplify the law?

Dr Debroy agreed that laws should be more lucid. Going a step further, he explained the reasons behind this state of affairs. He also highlighted how apart from just old laws, the Indian Parliament is also known for using legislation as the primary tool to tackle all kinds of issues.

He went on to explain an important doctrine related to the enactment of laws - the discipline of cost and benefit. Under this principle, the legislator studies the gains and losses of enacting a particular law. This principle of discipline of cost and benefit, although globally present, has not been applied in India. As a result, many pieces of legislations enacted post 1991 have been enacted in isolation. The normal reaction of any member of Parliament (MP) or member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) to a problem, even if economic, is generally that they must solve it through legislation. Whether the legislation can be enforced or not is never analysed. Consequently, we have a bunch of legislations that have never even been used! The legislator not only needs to do a cost and benefit analysis, he must also take stock of all the existing laws that impinge on it.  

Reformations should initiate at our legislature. Do you think the way the Parliament functions needs a change? Does the time-span for which the Parliament functions need to be extended?

With the new trend of constant disruptions and adjournments, the dissatisfaction with the functioning of the Parliament is genuine and intense. Dr Debroy threw light on how an average MP is generally not interested in legislation. The position of the MPs are undermined by the standing committees.

Usually, in case of a straight forward draft, the Parliament does not object. This draft, however, has to originate from a certain Ministry or Department. Highlighting the role of the Law Ministry as a catalyst for change, he said that this was the job of the Law Ministry. It has been observed that since 1991, the Law Ministry has not acted as a catalyst for change. In order for this to happen, a prompt follow up by the Law Commission is inevitable. The nature of the bureaucracy of the Law Department also needs to be designed to be more active and pro-reform.  

You may also want to read...
Is our archaic legal system plaguing the country?

Time to get rid of absurdities in Indian laws?
 

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COMMENTS

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

3 years ago

Debroy should have highlighted flaws in Constitution of India. For example, Article 269 was applicable (as stated in it) for the first five years of commencement of the Constitution. This article should have repealed on 26.1.1955. Still it continues, in its repealed form.

Vaibhav Dhoka

3 years ago

Law should be relevant to present day.Now take case of rent act which should reappealed immediately.The rent should be adusted as per index every three years.Tenanats earning increases,so as taxes payments but in Bombay rent act you cannot increase rent and claim possession.If such archaical laws are reappealed it will reduce burden from judiciary and houses will be freely available.

SuchindranathAiyerS

3 years ago

I am all for minimalism. India needs less law and more law enforcement. India needs all the "Social Engineering Totalitarianism" to be excised from the Constitution and Laws, to restore a semblance of equality under law and enable the rule of law. India needs to make judges accountable to standards (do we dare utter after Sixty Seven Years of the Republic, competence, integrity and commitment to equity and the rule of law?)other than their representative capacity of some community, caste, gender or other privilege of birth. But, who will bell the cat? India has abolished the Rule of Law and has given up its right to be called a civilization. This is the natural outcome of sixty seven years of Neta-Babu Quota-Corruption Raj where the unaccountable Judges, Cops, Netas and Babus have applied the resources of the state exclusively to their own pleasure, pomp, pelf, and perpetuation. What happened to Suryanelli Kurien? That is but one blip in a continuing saga of corrupt, incompetent judges pampering wealthy and influential criminals and setting an example for the criminality of India, complimenting the criminals who rule the Nation. Civilization and Culture is a distant dream in an India that saw the resurgence under British rule of law for a brief period and is now relapsing to the patch work quilt of looting, raping Sultans, Rajas, Dacoits, and Thugs that prevailed before. Gandhigiri succeeded against the British by turning their strengths (rule of law, equality under law, fair play etc.) against themselves and so weakening them . It cannot succeed against the entrenched, ruthless criminals who have ruled India since 1947 from behind the ramparts of Government or without resort to that excuse.

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