Friday, November 15, 2013

Election in 4 States: Expectations from the Government


The Indian democracy is in an active mode in the backdrop of November-December Election in 4 important States. The performance of the State Government as well as of the Central Government is under active analysis. The national economic and political scenario will have a major bearing on the voting pattern.

The entire nation is concerned about the current business and economic scenario and indecisiveness at the political and policy level. The economic sentiments have swiftly moved from "Feel Good" to "Feel Bad Factor" during last two years. The poor economic performance is further evident from substantial growth in non-performing assets with banking sector and substantial losses (reduction in
profit) to almost all public sector banks. Most of the infrastructure projects, specially projects of national highways, large and medium size power projects, ports, railways, water body developments have also stagnating. The mining sectors, led by iron ore and coal mining issues have further aggravated the economic scenario. Free fall of rupee vis-à-vis all foreign currencies during
July-September 2013 also indicate a very severe lack of economic intelligence, precautionary steps, advance planning, lack of political will and failure to take timely decisions. The aggressive activism of the taxation wing of the government by widespread litigating ,high pitched assessments, retrospective amendments, proposal to disregard DTAA, introduction of GAAR impacting significant number of international investors and local corporate have resulted into complete lack of faith and
trust of the business community in the Indian Government. Large scale prosecutions, FIR and arrests of senior politicians, bureaucrats and most worriedly of many leading highly reputed businessmen have completely spoiled the working atmosphere. Topmost business houses like Birlas, Ambanis, Tatas, Jindals and many others are under investigation or inquiry on one pretext or the other. This
has resulted into very bad business sentiment. A large number of Indian businesses are now thinking in terms of investing outside India, rather than investing in India.

The latest statement of the Prime Minister that political leaders and bureaucracy cannot be investigated and prosecuted for taking policy or administrative decisions. It is not appropriate to allege motives on all decisions. This stand of the government need to be fine tuned and implemented in letter and spirit. The political Government need to strongly put forward in letter and spirit that all
decisions at various levels will be taken in a completely professional manner and financial impropriety of any kind will not be tolerated.

At the political level there is a big mistrust and lack of mutual respect between the ruling party and the opposition. To bridge this gap, several major initiatives will have to be taken by all the political parties. The party in power, need to clearly demonstrate not only by words but by sincere and serious action that the government proposes to work with political consensus and all necessary action will be
taken to restore honesty, ethics and integrity in the working of polity as well as bureaucracy. The government has announced several new decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee and various levels of the government but their implementation is still not seen. A serious action plan need to be implemented to bring back active growth and development in all major industrial and service sectors
and it is most important to restore confidence in the system at all levels. We need active debate on all the issues and also need to ensure active participation in the election process to enable exercise of voting rights in a very careful manner. Any error could be fatal for the entire polity and economy of the country. We need a strong, non-corrupt visionary government at all levels.

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