Thursday, August 30, 2012





COALGATE is becoming curiouser and curiouser. What should be primarily discussed in Parliament has been dragged into the forum of Media by media -  which is their right – but, what is really curious is that the Media Discussion has been actively joined in by both the Opposition and  Ruling Coalitions.

If they can discuss it threadbare in media – the question arises – why can’t they discuss the same in Parliament – which is the proper and prescribed Forum for discussing the CAG Reports!

Let all Parliamentarians first discuss the CAG Report in Parliament and the Public Accounts Committee, threadbare, obtain all facts from all sources including CAG, and then see what went wrong and where. If nothing went wrong, wonderful; if something did, that can be got corrected. If somebody needs to resign on any grounds, they can then be made to resign. Is there a case for any RESIGNATIONS even before the CAG REPORT is discussed in Parliament?

I think, there is no case for it right now. We can’t certainly say with THIS EXACTLY IS THE WRONG – AND THIS ONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

There are a number of layers in the process - like the state Governments, their Ministers and bureaucracy, the screening committee members, the persons who appeared before the committee, the various Central Ministries and Ministers who were part of the decision making – and then, at the final stage, comes the PM.

In between – somewhere - are the Companies who got the allotments in haste, but did not mine even half a tone of coal all these years. What did they do with their Higher Market Valuations in the Mean time is a curious Factor needing attention.

Leaving all this – demanding the PM’s resignation on mere moral grounds – in times which do not belong to the Nehrus and Sastris – is just not appropriate. Much water has flown down the Ganges – and no one has resigned after Sastriji on mere moral Grounds – unless you make a case against him personally.

It looks as if BJP IS INTENT on scoring a SELF GOAL on this issue - and surrender the ADVANTAGE to Congress, which may win on BJP's self goal.
In any Organization, things do go wrong. As Murphy’s Law proclaims – if something can go wrong, it will. Murphy’s Law may not be RIGHT all the time; Murphy’s  Law  too can go wrong  and it does. In other words – things do go wrong – not all the time, but, some times. An extension of the law says – things go wrong when least expected.

Probably, this extension has struck COLAGATE –when people least expected it.

The Ruling UPA need not have joined the Media Debate and could have insisted on Parliamentary Debate First – media Debate only later. They could have taken the stand - we are not going to go before media before Parliament discusses the CAG Report. This, they could have done. But, like in all other issues, they went ahead trying to score points, opening up New Fronts in the Media itself – chiefly against the State Governments, and then, QUITE UNNECESSARILY, against the CAG, who cannot join the Debate. 

Even the Prime Minister, who, normally does not get into such controversies joined issue against the CAG. But, nobody was willing to give the CAG the same facility – of rebutting the charges on the Media itself – or, even going further, discussing the whole Report in the Media itself – since the Debate forum has effectively shifted to Media.

This has necessarily rattled the CAG. It has rattled CAG and - also given him enough indications on what he should do when called upon to justify his report in PAC and before  Parliament.

While Government says, CAG’s figures are exaggerated and incorrect, CAG is finding all arguments to  prove, that their calculations were actually HIGHLY CONSERVATIVE – and the presumptive loss figures are actually much higher. This is what we see from latest News Reports.

Media is digging out many more angles in COALGATE. We will need to wait and see.

When Team Anna or Ram Devji agitates on Corruption – everyone talks of Supremacy of Parliament. But, now none talks of it.  Media Discussion seems to be of Paramount importance. The doubt now is - Will CAG’s Report on COALGATE at all be discussed in Parliament? If so, when?

Will Parliamentarians restore to Parliament its due rights to discuss and take action on CAG’s Reports?

P.S: We now find that Mr.Deepak Parekh has raised his voice against CANCELLATION OF COAL BLOCK ALLOCATION - saying it will ruin the country. He very pertinently says - "Reversing every economic Policy is the beginning of the end of this country". I totally agree with him. But, whoever has not made any attempt to mine the COAL from the BLOCKS  allocated - Their ALLOCATION MUST BE CANCELLED, and their allocated blocks must be re-allocated to some one who will do the mining IMMEDIATELY. 

INDIA is in IMMEDIATE NEED OF POWER - and therefore, of COAL - So, some one who is in such dire need of coal must be allocated the Coal Blocks with strict stipulation that he must start mining, say, within 6 months of allocation and use it for specified purposes. 

There is another news that MANY Non-UPA, Non-NDA PARTIES have come together to voice their OPPOSITION to the DISRUPTION OF PARLIAMENT. As this Blog has said earlier - whatever one have to say - say it in PARLIAMENT. Let the country know all facts - from the most authorized source, namely, the Parliament - not from Media. PARLIAMENTARIANS of both UPA and NDA must both first discuss the CAG REPORT in Parliament - and thereafter only, in Media. It is definitely not healthy for MPs to discuss CAG Reports in Media first and in Parliament later. Also, demanding RESIGNATIONS even before start of discussions is meaningless. One Party's view need not be MAJORITY VIEW - and Majority view must prevail. The call of many parties for review of the coal block allocation by a SITTING SUPREME COURT JUDGE is perhaps the BEST SOLUTION. Both UPA and NDA must support this method of resolving the issue. But, even for that - Parliament must discuss the issue - at least for a day - without disruptive atmosphere. This precedent can become a permanent feature of Parliamentary functioning if not stopped now -  and will boomerang on BJP also - in states where it is in Power - and at centre, if and when it becomes the Ruling Coalition at Centre.

Leaving the COALGATE its present stage – let us see how GROWTH vs INFLATION debate continues.


RBI refuses to bring down the INTEREST RATES until and unless INFLATION  comes down. But, Inflation seems more stubborn than RBI. It refuses to come down – probably – until and unless RBI reduces the INTEREST RATES, it has raised in monthly installments over a year or more.

This Blog has been pointing out this phenomenon for over an year. Now, many CEOs have started asking the same.

RBI says – INFLATION must come down to 5% or less. Yes. This is needed.

But, how and who will do it now - is the question. Is there a scope for raising Interest rates further? Even if RBI raises Interest Rates further – will it really reduce INFLATION? It has not happened at all in the last  one and a half years. Who can be sure of that to happen now?

RBI was always right in asking Government to use its fiscal and administrative powers to reduce Inflation. For some reason, Government is looking at the RAIN GOD, to help it bring down inflation. If RAIN GOD is the solution, where is the rationale for RBI to keep its INTEREST RATES so high?

While many Industry captains have been voicing concerns over the decelerating Growth, the latest to join the Bandwagon is Sri K.V.Kamath. He has said – for Growth’s sake cut Rates by 1%. He is right, but, I would say, partially. The Rates must come down to a level lower than that of the Chinese – so that our Industries become competitive.

In the last year and a half – Growth (GDP) has been nose-diving very consistently – and the performance of many Industries is suffering. Demand for Industrial Products has not been going up at all, and in some sectors, it is coming down drastically. The latest to be added to this list is – 2 wheelers. The Big companies are all reducing their Production, as per the latest report. Why the Demand recession? It is not in 2 wheelers alone. It is in many sectors. On one side, their manufacturing and all other costs have gone up by a significant amount because of the Hike in Rates. On the other hand, the buyers are not enthused by the High Rates to go for purchase at these levels of Interest.

We also know that huge Inventories are lying Idle in realty sector. There are no Buyers for them. One of the reasons for that also is the High Interest Rates – apart from the huge hike in realty prices by the builders.

No one says, Interest Rates is the only underlying factor for the decelerating Growth. There are others – to be tackled by the Government. But, Interest rate is also a significant factor. That is the point, the RBI cannot ignore. High Interest Rate in India makes Indian products uncompetitive compared to the products of other countries.

All said – I think, It is time that RBI reduced the INTEREST RATES significantly – even while putting pressure on Government to do what Government needs to do for containing Inflation.

So far, Indian Companies have been giving quantitative performance Information also – along with financial Information in their Annual Reports. But, now there is a move to do away with this requirement.

This move is quite retrograde and unnecessary. Companies are giving this Info – and investors and Analysts want this Info – to judge whether the Profits (or losses) have come on higher or lower production or on mere price manipulation. Likewise, whether higher or lower raw material consumption was there – is also material for Investors and Analysts. India need not abandon its HELATHY PRACTICES – especially when there is a good need for them.

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