From the Editor : Anil Tyagi

anil-tyagi-editor-gfiles (1)NIRMALA Sitharaman’s first Budget, the first under Narendra Modi 2.0, was both praised and criticised by economists and experts. Some gave it thumbs up, others thumbs down. But what most failed to grasp was this was a typical ‘Dhanda’ Budget, a policy document to clear away the cobwebs that hinder the businesses of traders, small and medium firms, and foreign investors. It was a nuts-and-bolts budget, a nitty-gritty one, to make life a bit easier for these stakeholders. In effect, Narendra Modi hopes to transform India into a land of billion entrepreneurs. Remember his interview to Zee News, where he said that the pakoda-wala outside the TV channel’s office was profitably employed. Budget 2019 hopes to encourage entrepreneurship and self-employment to create hundreds of millions of jobs.

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COVER STORY : National company flaw tribunal

Debt-BurdenExperts praised it. Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gloated over its achievements. Several entrepreneurs hailed its efforts. But when one examines the intricacies of its decisions to resolve the recoveries of huge debts owned by India Inc to financial, corporate, and other creditors, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) seems to have largely failed. This is especially true in the cases, where the debt was huge, and the names involved were big, and publicly known. The law became flawed.

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CORRUPTION : From Raj to Rafale11:Bofors and After

Bofors-WLUS66_(134)In this part of the series on corruption in modern India, we look at bribes in defence deals. We look at the secretive mechanisms used by the giant global military-industrial complexes to win lucrative deals. We look at how they use middlemen, senior government officials, and politicians, even prime ministers, to achieve their objectives. In the case of Bofors, the needle of suspicion pointed at Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It exposed the importance of tax havens, how bribes are routed through foreign bank accounts, and how deals are struck in private conversations among the politicians.

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GOVERNANCE : The Bogey of One Nation, One Election

indian-vote-symbol-clipart-There is more to it than meets the eye in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s loud pronouncement of One Nation, One Election once again. For all the challenges and pitfalls that this idea poses, it could lead to a dangerous situation of One-Election-One-Party-One-Nation, subverting the basic structure of the Indian Constitution, dealing a death blow to federalism.

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GOVERNANCE : A WEB OF DECEIT: The man who pretended to know too little…

Jignesh-ShahIt would be wrong to suggest that Jignesh Shah, who was one of the “key managerial personnel” on the Board of Directors of NSEL, did not know what was going on there. All outward emails of NSEL were routed through an outbox, “FT outbox”. The minutes of the NSEL’s Board were regularly tabled at the FTIL board meetings, which meant that it had knowledge of the goings-on in NSEL. Otherwise, on what basis did Shah assure that the stock held in NSEL’s 120 warehouses was valued at around Rs. 6,000 crore?

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GOVERNANCE : Do we need a new education policy?

acdmcA group, headed by Dr Kasturirangan, was constituted by Government of India a couple of years ago to prepare a draft of New Education Policy. This Group has submitted a draft that has been placed for comments in public domain. When the NDA had come to power in 2014, a Committee, headed by Late Mr TSR Subramanian, had been constituted earlier to work on a policy. This Committee too had submitted its report but has not seen the light of the day. So we now have two reports with the government. Only time will tell whether and when we will have a new education policy.

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STATE SCAN : Perils of wielding willow on the streets

KailashMost BJP watchers started knowing Kailash Vijayvargiya a little better only after the BJP’s eye-popping performance in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal this year. But a far bigger number of Indians now know the high-profile BJP general secretary pretty well following his MLA son Akash’s grand batting performance in the streets of Indore and also for the arrogant way the senior BJP leader defended his son on TV channels and in media.

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GLOBE SCAN : How the Civil Service prepared for EU Exit

bunkerist.com-brexitTHE Civil Service has worked for well over two years to prepare for the UK to withdraw successfully from the European Union. In the run-up to 29 March, around 17,000 civil servants were working in EU-Exit-critical roles. They were working to progress over 300 work streams designed to ensure that the UK is ready to leave the European Union in any scenario. Of course, the date of the UK’s exit has now been extended, potentially until the end of October 2019. If a deal between the EU and UK is agreed and ratified in Parliament before that date, the UK could leave earlier. While our planning for withdrawal continues, this extension gives us a natural point to consider how we have progressed this work to date.

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TALKTIME : ‘You should always have respect for people’s votes and opinions’

web-Erna-Solberg-getErna Solberg (Høyre) has been Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway since 2013. During the parliamentary elections in autumn 2017 the 58-year-old became the first conservative politician for 30 years to hold the office of prime minister. Solberg is married to SindreFinnes and the couple have two adult children—a son and a daughter. Sven Lilienström, founder of Faces of Democracy, spoke with Erna Solberg about the role of civil society in Norway, the benefits of the European Economic Area for Norway’s businesses and her vision for the country’s future role in the world.

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Bric-a-brac : India Foundation gets prime space

Bric-a-bracIndia Habitat Centre is a go-to place in Delhi. It’s the meeting point for the country and capital’s who’s who, after the India International Centre and Delhi Gymkhana Club. It’s controlled and managed by the Ministry of Urban Development. The clout of an organisation is evident if it has an office within its compound. The debt-ridden Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) had one in Habitat Core 4, before it vacated the premises due to its inability to pay the rent. Opposite to IL&FS is the headquarters of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), an outfit under the aegis of the Ministry of External Affairs.

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