Economy
Unreasonable to expect big bang reforms in India, says Arvind Subramanian

According to the Chief Economic Advisor although it was unreasonable to expect big bang reforms announcement in annual Budget, the Narendra Modi government is moving ahead slowly but steadily

 

In vibrant democracies like India, with multiple veto centres, it is “unreasonable” to expect “big bang reforms”, feels Arvind Subramanian, the country’s top economist.
 
In his maiden public appearance in Washington after being appointed as India’s Chief Economic Advisor last year, Subramanian, also told a top American think-tank this week that India is “still very much a recovering economy, not a surging economy“.
 
He said though it was unreasonable to expect big bang reforms announcement in annual budget, the new “government is moving ahead” slowly but steadily with a series of key policy and fiscal reforms that “would change” the face of India in the years to come.
 
“This budget maintains and accelerates the reform momentum,” he said.
 
“Big bang reforms in robust - what I say frustratingly vibrant democracies such as India - are the exception, rather than the rule. In countries like India power is so dispersed, there’s so many veto centres - the Centre, the states, different institutions.
 
“You know, the power to do, undo, block, is so extensive, that, you know, it’s a bit unreasonable,” Subramanian said in his address to the prestigious Peterson Institute for International Economics.
 
“India is neither in crisis or was neither in crisis. I mean, nor is it one of those places where you can just pull these levers and expect a big bang reform. So the argument we were making is this is just a completely unreasonable standard to apply to India,” Subramanian told the global financial think-tank, where he worked before being appointed as India’s Chief Economic Advisor.
 
In his power-point presentation on the annual Indian budget presented by the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, he said it focusses on key areas including push for public investment.
 
“We are pushing growth via public and private investment. It is not coming at the cost of fiscal consolidation. It’s accompanied by an improvement in the quality of fiscal consolidation. So this is a big part of the budget,” he said.
 
“The impulse to growth has to come in the short run from public investment. And that’s going to depend to a great extent upon implementation capacity in the public sector,” he said. 
 

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COMMENTS

vishal

2 years ago

the reforms are taking place in a snail pace not solving any major problem we are facing. Plenty of scope is still allowed due to rampant corruption in Government circles. Poor mans money is wasted for inefficiency in PSUs for supporting organised workers. Every one knows, big bang reforms will be stopped by the process of elections and votes in our system. When will the Indian people will see the light of hope.

Railways secures Rs1.50 lakh crore funding from LIC. What next?
Railway Minister Prabhu can lend, lease excess properties for building up huge food, grain storage yards, near stations to help faster movement and delivery. This would reduce the dependence on FCI godowns and still bring in the much needed finance, as rent for Railways!  
 
Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu, should be congratulated for swiftly being able to obtain the required assistance of Rs1.50 lakh crore, spread over the next five years, to finance various projects for the development of Railways in the country. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Rajalakshmi Ravi Kumar, Finance Commissioner of Railways with SK Roy, Chairman of LIC, in the presence of the both the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
 
It is expected, according to the press, that this assistance will be made available from 2015-16 fiscal year and will help Railways to fund part of the total plan budget of Rs10,011 crore for this year.
 
In a separate development, while speaking at the international conference organised by industry body Assocham, which was also attended by Ambassadors of China, France and the Czech Republic, Suresh Prabhu sought the assistance for technical cooperation and upgrading of Railways from foreign participants.  He assured those present that the Ministry proposes to set up a special body to enhance partnership with private investors and raise the efficiency in implementing various rail projects.  At the same time, he mentioned about the urgent need to develop the capacity to haul additional coal that would be mined now, as a sequel to the coal block auctions that are taking place right now.  He mentioned that these auctions have generated substantial amounts of funds that would help to develop various projects in the country.
 
Additionally, he mentioned that to further upgrade infrastructure, the Railways would seek help from other organisations, such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Finance Corp (IFC).  It would follow that the Railways themselves may go in for issuance of tax-free bonds.
 
It may be recalled, not long ago, the Coal Ministry itself had identified 50 Rail projects to ensure evacuation of coal from the mines.  There is no doubt that some of these will be taken up, possibly, during this fiscal itself.
 
In the meantime, it would be necessary for Railway Minister Prabhu to review the working of so many organisations that form part of the Railway system.  For example, Rites was established in 1974 (40 years) for consultancy services in transport, infrastructure related technologies; the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (2006), Pipavav Railways Corporation (2001) for rail infrastructure services, besides the Railway Finance Corporation, the financing arm of the Railways.  A study would indicate the changes that have to be made in the functioning of these organisations and duplications that may have occurred in some of them.  
 
Organisations, like the Dedicated Corridors, now need to have fixed time frames for the jobs on hand as most of the projects have been delayed for one reason or another. It would be in the fitness of things that a study group be set up to look into the various organisations associated with Railway development in the country and then decide what steps should be taken to bring about improvement in the effective functioning of each set up.
 
Likewise, there are large tracts of "land banks" that Railways own.  In order to utilize these most effectively and still be able to serve the country, Suresh Prabhu can lend, lease these for building up huge food, grain storage yards, in the vicinity of Railway stations that would help faster movement and delivery. At the same time, it would reduce the dependence on Food Corp of India (FCI), and still bring in the needed finance, as rent for Railways!  This would be some food for thought, for Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who needs the funds to finance the railway projects!
 
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

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COMMENTS

vishal

2 years ago

lot of positive things are happening. Yes. But the public are yet to see the result. Only action will prove if these measures will see the light of the day. As for coal, much will depend on the working of the CIL and of course Railways. Otherwise everything will go waste.

The Doctor: Did He, Or Didn’t He?
The cases of a Delhi doctor facing rape charges and a shrink who faced up to  five years in jail as per German law
 
These are two cases involving two doctors, one in India and the other in Germany. One a sad episode in everyday life, the other would be funny—if it were not equally distasteful. 
 
A doctor in a Delhi hospital is charged with rape. The accuser is a nurse in the same hospital. Seems like an everyday story. The doctor gets intimate with a girl under his control by taking advantage of the situation. The girl is pressured into submitting. One day, she decides to complain. The doctor is arrested. He is brought to trial. Open and shut case with the strict Indian laws in place.
 
As in all such cases, the accusing female is cross-examined. Often, it is carried out in camera; that means in a court without the public and without reporters. The intention is to save the victim from further humiliation. All depends on the cross-examination and witnesses, if any.
 
This Delhi doctor got lucky. The girl in the box not only admitted to consensual sex but also admitted to complaining out of pique, goaded on by friends.
 
You be the judge on this one. What about the poor doctor?
 
Surely the doctor was not guilty and the court acquitted him. But, this time, the court rightly went a step further. 
 
Moneylife readers of this page will recall the oft-repeated plea for action against malicious prosecution and frivolous litigation. A piece of legislation that is simply overlooked by the harassed. The court did not wait for the doctor to make up his mind. It gave him the permission to proceed against the girl; the reason being that the doctor had not only suffered trauma but his practice could be ruined by damage to his reputation. A bold step by the judge; thereby preventing the doctor’s time and energy being wasted in seeking necessary permission from the Advocate General. 
 
As the American judge, Benjamin Cardozo had said, “A judge needs only two qualities, honesty and courage.” This Delhi judge had both.
 
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder. A person with that problem thinks he is someone other than who he really is. Sometimes, he might think that he is more than two persons, maybe three or more. In common parlance, it is called split personality or multiple personalities. 
 
A woman in Germany thought she was four different persons at different times. Monika, her real name, thought she was also Kathrin, Finja and Leonie. Each one was, in her mind, a different person and each had a distinct personality. She went to see a doctor, a year younger than she. The doctor studied each personality and acted accordingly. Finja was made to shop for him. Leonie paid for his Mediterranean vacation. Kathrin was for more intimate stuff.
 
One day, Monika came to her senses and accosted the doctor. The psychotherapist was charged. But he had an excuse. He refused to discuss the patient’s case for reasons of confidentiality. In fact, he cited four reasons; four patients and four confidentialities. After all, a doctor is bound by his oath.
 
You be the judge. How would you decide?
 
The court would have none of this. Our shrink faced up to five years in jail as per German law. This doctor, a person who has the life of a patient in his hands, misuses the trust placed in him, should be tried for rape, because that is what it was. Lecherous doctor and incapable victim. A sad commentary on a supposedly noble profession.
 
What was not reported was whether the culprit had taken his fees from Monika or Kathrin or Finja or Leonie.
 
Most likely, he must have taken from all four! And told each one not to mention anything to the other? Confidentiality, you know!
 

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