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Re: Balco privatization?



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What the Congress Party is doing is pitiable.
While other states are actively courting investment, Ajit Jogi is
inciting
the workers to continue their strike - resulting in huge losses to
Balco,
49% of which is owned by the GoI.

There should be some accountability for such politicians.  The
Government
should recoup the losses from the disbursements to the Chattisgarh.  In
fact
the Congress Party even held up Parliament because the GoI moved to
Supreme
Court on the Balco issue. Sonia Gandhi gave Jogi carte blanche, she said
"In
such a situation, the Chief Minister is free to do whatever he likes".

What really makes the Congress's action's deplorable is the fact that it
was
the Congress Party that inititated the reforms and publicly stated its
support for privatization. Here's an excerpt from an interview that Dr.
Manmohan Singh gave to Business Week in March 1999:

Q: If you -- the Congress Party -- were to get back into power, would
the
economic agenda be that much different?
A: First of all, India's fiscal system is overburdened with
unsustainable
deficits. We have unsustainable revenue deficits, therefore we have to
reform the public finances of the country, reduce the fiscal deficit to
no
more than, say, 4%-5% of GDP, the center and the states taken together.
At
present, it's 10% of our GDP, which requires reform of public
expenditure,
cutting expenditure where we didn't cut it, focusing it more sharply on
social services, infrastructure. Part of it would come out of many
hidden
subsidies which are built into our system; part of it will come from the

improved efficiency of the system; part will come out of privatization,
disinvestment, i.e., selling of public-sector enterprises. Interim, we
will
have to experiment, toss all the balls. Tax reform, public-sector
reform,
financial-sector reform, expenditure reforms.

Q: But you don't get the sense that all those reforms are taking place
now.
Because of the political...
A: Not political, but because the legislative system in a democracy such
as
India tends to be very time-consuming. And if you have governments that
are
short-lived, they cannot concentrate their minds on something that is
long-term. When we were in government, we talked of insurance-sector
reform;
the next government also talked of that but wasn't able to implement it.
It
takes eight to nine months to pass a bill through various stages of the
parliamentary process. So where governments are not strong or secure,
legislation becomes the casualty even though everybody agrees that these
are
areas of priority.


Here's the link to the article:
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/mar1999/nf90305e.htm



>From: sandeeph@iname.com
>Reply-To: debate@indiapolicy.org
>To: debate@indiapolicy.org
>Subject: Balco privatization?
>Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 12:37:55 -0800 (PST)
>
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>Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
>---------------------------------------------------------------------
>Has anybody noticed the strange spectacle of
>the allegedly pro-reform Congress Party being
>in the same camp as Marxist fundamentalists
>in the matter of Balco privatization?
>
>The plant in Korba is incurring heavy losses
>even as petty politics is being played out by
>the Congress Party, whose poster-boy, till very
>recently, was Dr Manmohan Singh. Ajit Joge
>("Ajit Joke" as India-Today refers to him) is
>threatening to evolve into some kind of mutated
>Laloo Yadav.
>
>There is an urgent need to delink economic
>policy from politics. The Balco issue will
>threaten not just the company in question, but
>the disinvestment process in general, and also
>prospects of private investment in fledgling
>Chattisgharh, in whose interest Ajit Joke and
>his party are ostensibly playing politics. It
>will also adversely affect the sentiment of
>foreign investment in Indian industry. If Congress
>is behaving in a clownish manner today, in wanton
>disregard of country's interests, what's the
>guarantee that tomorrow BJP will not, should it
>get into opposition?
>
>The Balco controversy -- a wholly manufactured
>controversy, for this has been the most transparent
>deal ever -- should be a matter of concern to
>members of this list.
>
>Sandeep



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