gfiles magazine

September 8, 2016

From the Editor

When former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao opened up the economy, he could not have dreamed that his successors, Congress Party leaders, coalition partners, and gluttonous foreign collaborators will not only plunder the wealth of the nation but make a travesty of the governance system. gfiles’ cover story reveals alleged dubious business transactions between Aircel, Maxis, Airtel and R-Com on spectrum sale and purchase. These deals amount to daylight robbery of taxpayers’ money. The Society for Consumers’ and Investors’ Protection (SCIP) raised this issue by filing a writ petition in the Delhi High Court, highlighting the role of Malaysia-based absconders Ananda Krishnan and Ralph Marshall, who are defying the summons/warrants issued by the courts of India.

Delhi HC heard PIL arguments; judgement reserved

Ananda Krishnan selling scam- taintedspectrum?

Two years ago, the people of India voted out the scam-tainted Manmohan Singh-led government, confident that a new government would ensure due investigation and punishment for the big guns caught in corruption scandals. The biggest UPA scam, the 2G Spectrum case, was already in the hands of the CBI and the judiciary. Many anti-corruption activists relaxed their vigil in the belief that the law would now take its course without political meddling.

A cruel pattern comes to the fore

There seems to be a difference in the level of statutory protection between civil servants in service and retired civil servants in presumption of criminality by investigating agencies

It is a tale of two cases in quick succession, where two senior civil servants were put on trial for alleged acts of corruption on the ground of causing benefit to somebody by their actions which, according to the CBI, were not in public interest. That they did not benefit themselves or their family and friends was irrelevant. Curiously, both the officers enjoyed impeccable reputation for personal integrity in the eyes of everyone who knew them.

One order, many yardsticks

Subordinate courts across the country must follow the law scrupulously, whether it is laid by one High Court or the other

It is common with CBI investigations that the agency arrests only the main accused during the investigation stage and the chargesheets are filed without arresting the other accused. In some cases, none of the accused is arrested during the investigation. When such chargesheets are filed in court, the courts have discretion under Section 87 r/w 204 of CrPC whether to issue summons or warrants of arrest. It is also thus common that the courts normally only issue summons, and not warrants, to seek presence of such accused while taking cognizance of the chargesheets. It is, thus, safe to conclude in such cases that whenever CBI feels that the accused is cooperating with the investigation—is not interfering with the investigation; is not in any way destroying or scuttling evidence; is not trying to influence witnesses and is not likely to run away— it does not arrest such an accused and files a chargesheet.

Dreaming of Olympic laurels!

As for strategy, a PPP model can be combined with ‘cluster approach’, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure and facilities

When the BJP-led government came to power in May 2014 with the clarion of ‘demographic dividend’, boasting of India’s youth power, one expected paradigm changes in an area that brings pride and glory to the nation in general and youth in particular. The best area for this was winning an Olympic gold. As the government completes almost half its tenure, what we have is a lucky bronze and silver out of a total of 974 medals, with gold nowhere in sight. Even these were won by two committed and hard-working girls who have been sweating it out for long. Men lost out even before the races really started.

MP’s Dalia scam

Feasting on malnourished diets

major income-tax department operation in July set off stunning revelations as to why Madhya Pradesh continues to be among top two States in India in child malnutrition despite spending billions of rupees on public nutrition distribution system. Madhya Pradesh is second only to Bihar in malnutrition with 42.8 per cent children being severely undernourished. Worse, Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) at 51/1000 is highest in the State in India, according to the 2015-2016 National Sample Survey (NSS) report.

A step taken, journey ahead

Jubilation on the constitution amendment concerning GST is okay, but much more is needed to make the law implementable

August 8, 2016, the day when GST Constitution Amendment (122nd Amendment) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha (with amendments made during the discussion in Rajya Sabha) with a majority of 423:00, is heralded as the most important day in the history of tax reforms in the country after 1991 when the economy was liberalised. The Prime Minister, who intervened in the Lok Sabha debate, described the event as a major step towards ‘freeing India from tax terrorism”. He further said: “Ek Bharat, Shreshta  Bharat is the dream of all us. When we look at railways, post offices, All India Services, we get the feel of one India, now digital India, sagarmala…all these make us aware of one India, they strengthen that spirit. GST is the new pearl that we are adding to this necklace; this strengthens the spirit of India.” He further observed: “Rashtra niti has triumphed over rajniti”—well said as far as the strength and significance of the proposed law is concerned.

Five years on the razor’s edge

For a politician in his seventies who had become the Prime Minister by sheer accident to have lasted a crises-ridden five-year term was a remarkable achievement. Consider the circumstances in which Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao came to the post. Congress President Rajiv Gandhi had not even given him a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections of 1991, and when the Sriperumbudur tragedy occurred in the midst of the elections, Rao was at Nagpur, on way to his village in Andhra Pradesh. Most of his belongings had already gone to Warangal, crates full of books.

Compelling study

 by Dileep Gandhi

The Indian Parliament - Beyond the Seal and Signature of Democracy is a very fascinating book on the working and the progress of Indian democracy. I  believe that parliamentary democracy is a   dynamic, ever evolving concept. There are books written from time to time, but a book on democracy and more so on parliament must elucidate constitutional jurisprudence, political philosophy and capture  contemporary as well as historical developments. The chief merit of this book is that it’s not only a fine blend of constitutional precepts, parliamentary practices as obtaining  but also documents the flaws and failings of our parliamentary democratic system and throws open questions for wider and deeper reflections so as to further strengthen our democratic edifice.

Watch the earnings

Post GST, the appointment of new RBI Governor and a good monsoon, there is no trigger that is likely to impact the market significantly. The market may, therefore, witness some profit booking in the short to medium term though the long-term bull market scenario remains intact. The market has not reacted sharply to the announcement of new RBI governor who is by and large expected to follow in the footprints of Raghuram Rajan, keeping inflation in check as the main objective for future  policy pronouncements.

Turf wars in UP

akhilesh holds the reins firmly

There was a time when Amar Singh as a newly elected MP used to give out appointments when he was reportedly ‘milking’ the Uttar Pradesh government with the tacit support of Mulayam Singh. Times have changed. Amar Singh today is furious at the shabby way the Akhilesh Yadav government is treating him. His name has been included in the list of the visitors who desire to meet Akhilesh. Amar Singh’s biggest asset and liability is Jaya Prada. She has stood by him during his rough period. It is reported that Amar Singh desires to get Jaya Prada appointed as the Chairman of the UP Film Board, but Akhilesh Yadav has his own plans. A Lucknow source informs that even Mulayam Singh’s brother, Shivpal Yadav, is not amused with Akhilesh. There is an intense group war going on. Though Shivpal is holding the coveted PWD ministry, Akhilesh controls the State treasury and most of the contractors are clamouring for payments by the department. Tipu is the nickname by which Akhilesh is known in the family, but clearly Tipu has become a Sultan now and is working in his own style. g

Sharing the legacy?

priyanka vs. rahul camps

Is there a tussle going on amongst Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi? The Congress leadership does’nt accept this and will not do so in future also. The leaders, who cultivated Rahul Gandhi, assured themselves that after winning proximity to the new boss, half their battle is won. But politics is a dynamic game; it changes very fast. Priyanka Gandhi is going to be the new icon in the party; an idea being spread by Congress leaders who are not looked after by Rahul. The brother and sister do not wish to give an impression in the public that they have differences on important matters. As a consequence, Shiela Dikshit got a new lease of life in the political arena despite her humiliating defeat in the Delhi Assembly polls of 2013. There was reluctance in Rahul Gandhi camp as, in all probability, Jitin Prasad was likely to be the new face of the party. While it is a given that Rahul and Priyanka, or for that matter their mother, would never allow their differences to surface in the public domain, the Sandeep Dikshit-Ajay Maken confrontation is a test case to determine where the family stands. Party sources say that Priyanka has a soft corner for the Dikshits, which has been nurtured over a span of time. Of late, Priyanka has provided indications of her growing interest in politics and insiders believe that she would be contesting the next Parliamentary polls—not from Rae Bareli, as was the original plan, but from Amethi. Rahul would move to Rae Bareli, which has been the constituency of his mother and grandparents—Feroze and Indira Gandhi. g

Raje turns her face...

...but badnor scores as governor

How would Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan have known that the same VP Singh Badnor-of Bhilwara’s Badnor constituency-whom she was openly opposing for a second Rajya Sabha term, will get so lucky? Badnor has been an MLA four times, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha member once each; when he lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2009, he was sent to the Rajya Sabha. His tenure there ended only last month, and party heavyweights such as Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Rajeev Pratap Rudy wanted him to get a second tenure of the Rajya Sabha, but Raje was not in favour. As a parliamentarian, Badnor was also the chairman of a housing committee, and had made several friends in the Opposition too, thanks to his friendly and gentle nature. It is said he has good personal relations with Narendra Modi as well. This Monday, when he is sworn in as the Governor of Punjab, he will also become in-charge of the Union Territory of Chandigarh. For Badnor, the Central government has done away with a 32-year-old rule so that he can become both the Governor of Punjab and the boss of Chandigarh. Though Badnor got the governorship of Punjab, but Raje has been successful in sidelining him from active politics of the State. g

Jaitley ignores his MoS

are they not suited for finance?

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seems to be upset with his junior ministers. He has no idea why Santosh Gangwar and Arjun Meghwal have been sent to the Finance Ministry, since they are more appropriate for the Law Ministry. Gangwar is a law graduate from Rohilkhand University while Meghwal is a promoted IAS officer who has a law degree, a masters in political science as also has an MBA from Philippines University. Maybe that is the reason why for international meetings on economic matters that Jaitley can’t attend himself, he prefers to send his officers rather than his ministers for state. A few days ago, there was an Economic Forum meeting in China, where Jaitley preferred to send Finance Secretary Shaktikanta Das instead of his junior ministers. It is worth noting that this is the same Shaktikanta Das who is being targeted by Swamy for some time now. g

DANICS maange more...

In the last one month, two sets of officers—one from DANICS (Delhi Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) and another from the Central Secretariat Services—met MoS in PMO and personnel ministry Jitendra Singh to narrate their woes, demanding quick and sound solutions. For example, the 2008 batch DANICS officers who have competed eight years of service are now eligible to be inducted into the IAS, but the irony is that even 1989 batch DANICS are yet to be IAS officers. The officers expressed concern about the acute stagnation in DANICS services which, they alleged, not only leads to financial loss but also denies career growth. Many of the officers even retire without getting a chance to be IAS at all. SC and ST officers are the worst affected because many of them join the service late due to the age relaxation available to them. DANICS officers are posted on crucial administrative assignments in the Union Territory areas of Delhi, Daman, Diu, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The members of the delegation further explained to the minister that they were performing their duties in “arduous and difficult situations, but feeling disillusioned because of delay in their career progression”. g

Meet Gaurav Dwivedi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had his first Obama-style Townhall when he answered questions ranging from tourism, smart cities and foreign policy to self-styled cow protectionism. The event, organised by MyGov—a platform created to build partnership between citizens and the government—was televised live, and was highly appreciated across the board. But who was the man behind the? The MyGov Townhall event was brilliantly executed by none other than IAS officer, Gaurav Dwivedi who is CEO of My Gov. The Townhall meeting as a concept is quite common in western countries where heads of states or CEOs take questions directly from an audience and interact with common people with no interface in-between. But it was the first Townhall ever addressed by an Indian Prime Minister. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, 43-year-old Dwivedi did his schooling from Apeejay School Noida and college from Hindu College, Delhi. He is an M.Sc in anthropology from Delhi University. Later, he did a course on project appraisal and risk management from Duke Center for International Development (DCID), Duke University, USA. Dwivedi started his career in IAS as an assistant collector in Kerala before moving to Chhattisgarh. Among other postings, he worked as Managing Director of Chhattisgarh State Marketing Mandi Board and later as Joint Chief Electoral Officer in the state. Between 2009 and 2012, Dwivedi worked as Deputy Director in the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) located in Mussoorie. After that, he moved to New Delhi and joined as a Deputy Director in the Department of Information and Technology under the Ministry of Communications. Since September 2014, Dwivedi has been serving as the CEO of MyGov. g

September 6, 2016

Watching eyes

What should a PS to Chief Minister accomplish, when he is being hounded by the CM’s acolytes and party appointed government officials. It’s a tricky situation for an officer who is working on the most coveted post of the state.  There is, indeed, a PS to CM who is smart, intelligent, vibrant but  most of the time upset and worried, though he has the confidence of the CM but the party cadre and parent organisation of the party workers keep hounding him. The PS to CM needs privacy as his work is very delicate and he has to clear hundreds of files in a day. The PS is the Man Friday of any state chief minister and is mostly an IAS officer barring some exceptions. His words and orders are considered to be the orders of the chief minister. In fact, after the Chief Ministers’ room or home, the maximum number of visitors can be seen outside the office of the PS to CM. The said PS to CM of a north Indian state is grappling with many problems as the Chief Minister is new to the administrative setup. The political appointees in the Chief Ministers’ Secretariat are novices but they are politically shrewd. The CM desires to control the state with the help of the political appointees.  To facilitate this, the CM has got allocated a house adjacent to his official residence and made arrangements for all politically appointed officials to operate from the said house. So the poor PS to CM has to tolerate political appointees in his office room most of the time. The Chief Minister seems to be forgetting that the system works on the trust and if the PS does not have the trust of the CM, the message goes down the line diluting the authority of the government. g

Smriti’s Rs 8 lakh Ganesha

When the Textile Minister has issues with a secretary in her ministry, the latter thinks it wise to leave the place for better opportunities. Sources close to the ministry say that one day the minister went to Cottage Industries, which comes under the aegis of the ministry, and bought saris worth several thousand. She also liked an idol of Ganesha, which according to sources cost Rs 8 lakh. It is said that the minister’s personal staff sent the bills for payment to her secretary. They also say that Ms Secretary didn’t like this and retorted that there was no way the bill could be passed. To this, Ms Minister replied saying the textile minister has full right to wear good clothes. Things got so heated between the two that it is said that the Secretary complained about this to the Cabinet Secretary. We are waiting for action. g