By Kamal Morarka
There is not much political activities as much as the high decibel of noises on various matters, some relevant and some irrelevant. The Finance Minister has been saying that the GST bill may go through this monsoon session, so far so good. There are two problems in it. One, the Indian GST as envisaged keeps petrol and alcohol, which means it’s only 60 percent or what it should it be. In my opinion as bad GST is worse than no GST. But the GST is a sort of tax reform. Whatever they are able to do will take us forward. But the impression created as if not passing of the GST is holding up the whole economy, and once GST is passed Congress will look down and economy will surge forward is totally misplaced. It is one of the tax reforms. The businesses and industries always want the tax to be simpler. The way they are trying to do it that really does not create the confidence.
Instead of that what they should have done or they can still do is to create a central GST on the lines of central VAT. For that you don’t need state’s approval, you don’t need constitutional amendment, you don’t need Congress party. The Centre can implement a VAT and leave the states to copy that could be the starting point and consensus could be built over the year. But never mind now the government is confident, let’s hope it goes through.
The second thing is the high decibel sound by Smriti Irani, the HRD minister. She does it only for pushing her career forward. She is not very well-versed with either HRD or education, but a minister is a minister. She has to go through what the PMO laid down or her bureaucracy tells her. She will do well, in the early years of her career, to talk more objectively and more responsibly that would good in the later part of her career. I think just now she is in hurry to be named Chief Minister candidate in UP, which looks difficult. Certainly she will not be the winning candidate for the BJP.
Subramanian Swamy has been talking about RBI governor being replaced. This is again an issue which really not belongs to the public domain. The RBI governor is not an elected post. It is the administrative job of the government to choose a governor. They can visualize what he has done; they monitor and evaluate what he has done and then decide, but both the views are wrong. Neither reappointment of Raghuram Rajan will take the country leaps forward nor appointing anybody in his place will remove the confidence from the Indian Economy. Both these are misplaced. The economy of a country like India does not depend on one individual, certainly not the RBI governor. RBI governor looks only into monetary policies and interest rates to control inflation. He got limited mandate. So really it is not an issue which deserves so much attention.
The other issue is that some people have been asking for a ministry for cow. We can heave the religious, or RSS or VHP view on all these. But question remains that the Indian breed of cows were very good at one time. The Gir, the Therparkar, the Sahiwal, and other cows were very-very good and they used to give milk which has protein A2 which is not found in cows elsewhere in the world – not Jersey cows not in other imported cows. In fact Brazil took away a lot of Gir cows – and I think Brazil is having a good number of Gir cows and they are further breeding to give them good milk of A2 variety. We should learn from countries like that how to improve our breed and a proper production of milk. The problem is that we like to copy foreigners, from where the Australian Jersey cows have come and our own breeds have been neglected. So some attention is whether by separate ministry or department or a mission that is a matter of detail. But definitely there is subject on which there is lot of expertise in the country. In Karnal we have a dairy development institute in other part of the country near Rishikesh there is an institute. Lot of work is done. Now what the government should do is to integrate them with one director general or whatever mission, whatever structure they want to use, but that certainly is the matter which deserve investment attention and focused search and research. Let us hope something will be done.
Unfortunately inflation is not coming under control and people who elected this government with the hope that inflation will be reined in and lot of employment will be created are really today the most disappointed and therefore they speak against this government. Both these things are not easy. People having more money in their pocket have started buying food which earlier they were not buying. So it is not easy. But on employment the only way that the government can create industrial employment is by heavy investment in the public sector. If the government is thinking all this, which include Raghuram Rajan, Arvind Subramanian and all these American doctrine say that just open everything and the private sector will come in. which Private sector? In India whenever you try to sell public sector units there are five houses that have got the money to buy it, that is the Indian private sector. Do you really think that make in India defence equipment can be made. If you really want as we are one of the large buyers of defence equipment you really want to produce them in India public sector should do it. Like the steel plants were created in the 1960s. Create two three big defence companies, whosever help you may need, America, china anybody but create your own indigenous thing that will save money but government has to do it. We are waiting for Larsen Toubro or Ambani or Adani to do it well it will be long wait.
By Kamal Morarka