Tag Archives: corporate sector

An Endless Budget Session, Even Before it Begins: Shambhu Ghatak

Guest post by SHAMBHU GHATAK

“You can fool some people some times but you can’t fool all the people all the time”

So goes one of the famous lines of Bob Marley’s song that draws upon statement by Lincoln. Perhaps the same can be said about the new BJP government because it seems that this time there will be nothing new left to be presented during the upcoming Union Budget. Most of the things to be presented by the Finance Minister have gradually been placed even before the actual budget could see the light of the day (on 10 July). In fact, the entire stretch since the Government took power can be termed as a long, extended budget session – a session in slow motion.

Just think about the policy decisions announced or showcased by the new Government so far—allowing 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence sector (to boost technology transfer and employment growth, so to speak); reforming environmental clearance (to avoid discrepancies, end red-tapism and ensure transparency) by making the process online; raising import duties on sugar by more than double and extension of existing sugar export subsidy of Rs 3,300 per tonne (to help the sugar mills) till September besides raising the mandatory level for blending cane-based ethanol in petrol from 5% to 10%; allowing hike in price of non-subsidized cooking gas (LPG) by Rs 16.50 per cylinder (which is partly attributed to the crisis situation in Iraq); and raising train fares by 14.2% & freight rates by 6.5% in the month of June prior to the just-presented Rail Budget, among other things. Continue reading An Endless Budget Session, Even Before it Begins: Shambhu Ghatak

So Who Has Won the Election?

The sweep is certainly breathtaking. Way beyond what most surveys and exit polls predicted. To be sure, our commitment to the democratic spirit demands that we recognize the mandate for what it is – at least on the face of it. And on the face of it, it is a triumph of the Modi-led BJP. Behind it, of course, lies the organizational machinery of the RSS and its familial organizations.

However, it will be a mistake to think that the election was fought and won by any of these outfits. From 1998 onward, the BJP, backed by the same RSS parivar, has continuously registered a decline in vote share, irrespective of whether it was in power or out of it. From 25.6 percent in 1998, it declined to 22.2 percent in 2004 and further to 18.8 percent in 2009. The presence of younger people in RSS shakhas too has been significantly on the decline in this period and in particular, after 2004. In period of the run-up to the elections, the BJP was a ramshackle and directionless party – its top leaders like LK Advani and Jaswant Singh disgraced and then brought back; Atal Behari Vajpayee knocked out of action for quite some time by then and practically all state units riven with internal dissension. As a consequence, it was also a party therefore, with completely demoralized ranks.

How then did the change come about? As long as our eyes remain fixed on the supposedly ‘political’ domain, we are unlikely to be able to see what exactly has been going on. The fact of the matter is that Narendra Modi was neither BJP’s candidate of choice nor that of the RSS. This election was fought by the corporate sector directly, along with the Big Media – the surrogates of the corporate sector. The plan to set up Modi was put in place by these players. And in this process, the emergence of the Big Media as a full-fledged propaganda machine of Modi’s constitutes a significant moment. It is a moment that actually awaits a more detailed study of how exactly the game plan was put into operation but one thing can be said right away. What brought about this result was not just the machinery of the Sangh parivar but the mobilization of a whole range of opinion makers to serve what was to be a clearly Hindutva framed political formation. Most of these intellectuals and opinion-makers are economically right-wing (neoliberal fundamentalists) although not Hindu-communal, but while they do not seriously believe that Modi has shed his Hindutva skin, they are prepared to join the propagation of lies, lies and lies in the service of corporate capital, disguised as the ‘greater good of humanity’. Continue reading So Who Has Won the Election?

Company Secretary to Replace Inspector

New Delhi: While the Manmohan Singh government’s Left-free second innings is expected to usher in changes to India’s archaic labour laws, the labour ministry is working on a quick-fix solution to help drop the country’s notorious ‘inspector raj’ tag.
If all goes to plan, India Inc would no longer have to deal with labour inspectors turning up at their premises to check compliance with 43 central and myriad state labour legislations. Instead, firms can submit a certificate from a company secretary that validates their compliance with the numerous employment laws.
( The Indian Express, Vikas Dhoot, Posted: Wednesday, Aug 05, 2009 at 0137 hrs IST)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led government’s ‘left free second innings’ seems to be taking the battle against ‘archaic labour laws’ full steam ahead. The outgoing Union Labour Secretary, Ms Sudha Pillai, some time back shared with the media about the draft which is being prepared in the labour ministry to this effect.
The proposal, which would be shortly submitted in the form of a cabinet note, seeks to ‘permit company secretaries to file compliance reports for labour laws, just like they give compliance reports for other laws.’ As of now the role of the company secretary is limited to certifying the said firm’s compliance with various statues, which includes the companies act, 1956 and also the listing agreement with stock exchanges and the issue of compliance with labour laws is handled by the labour inspectors.
Continue reading Company Secretary to Replace Inspector