Tuesday, April 8, 2014

‘All depends on persons Modi will choose. He must not take any tainted person, not worry about Oppn here, and make CMs partners in governing India’

In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24x7 with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, former Union minister Arun Shourie talks about the tasks for the new government, the Gujarat CM’s style of working, the “understanding” that Modi could reach with the RSS and the fall in stature of the PMOIn this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24x7 with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, former Union minister Arun Shourie talks about the tasks for the new government, the Gujarat CM’s style of working, the “understanding” that Modi could reach with the RSS and the fall in stature of the PMO
In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24×7 with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, former Union minister Arun Shourie talks about the tasks for the new government, the Gujarat CM’s style of working, the “understanding” that Modi could reach with the RSS and the fall in stature of the PMO.
These polls are being described as the most significant elections in India’s history although, you will agree, every election in India is called that.
That and, in 1977, when the Emergency was being voted upon. Yes, so everything is significant
Everything is significant, except people like us can say, ‘Hamare time mein zyaada important tha (Things were more important during our days)’. But this election is different in the sense that you might see a change of not just parties or a coalition, but a change of character, temperament, style, ideology.
There will be a change in the sense that it is a presidential election… The people, local candidates mattered a lot, the parties mattered a lot. But this time, only one figure… His critics have made him (that), and the nature of Modi’s own campaign…
Either vote for or against Narendra Modi.
That’s the issue. And naturally, Modi is a very different person from Dr Manmohan Singh and others whom we have seen. Therefore, the style of governance will completely change. I think it’ll be much more centred around the prime minister’s office, the Cabinet Secretariat — 30 secretaries appointed directly by the prime minister — and the government run through them.
I had written in 2007, the day before the results in Gujarat, that if Modi wins, and I had sort of stuck my neck out, that he will not defer to the RSS as, say, Atal Bihari Vajpayee or L K Advani did.
I think Vajpayee did not defer, but he was able to manage. In Modi’s case, I think, there will be a clear understanding and, if the understanding works, the RSS can monitor the conduct of individual members of the BJP who become MPs or ministers and leave policy formation to the government. I think that is a good division of labour. Probably Modi will ensure that.
You also might see over-correction. But the fact is that the prime minister’s office needs to have its — for want of a better word in English — iqbal restored.
Yes, absolutely
To what do you ascribe this fall in stature of the PMO?
Actually to the prime minister himself. The authority of the prime minister of India is so enormous, and I have always felt that this business of blaming Sonia Gandhi for everything — ‘Woh kara rahi hain, usko main rok raha hoon (She is asking me to do this, I’m stopping it)’ — is just not the case. I cannot imagine her being so interested in the details, and therefore, it is the prime minister. And, in any case, there was the RSS and Vajpayee. You could see the RSS was more powerful than Sonia Gandhi. But Vajpayee insulated the government.
When the RSS wanted Brajesh Mishra and N K Singh removed, Vajpayee said, ‘Take my head, they stay on with me’.
And remember, everybody would shout against Yashwant Sinha, his policies. But it was Vajpayee who always stood by him. So prime minister’s office is central, it has to be strengthened, but many more things have to be done.
Because our governance is in shambles.
Absolutely, from top to down. Arvind Datar, the famous lawyer and an authority on income tax in India, was saying that several multinational companies have been served notices. A company has a factory in Chennai, they have exported, and suddenly the income tax fellow says, ‘No no, where is the export form?’. Actually, he has seen the export forms, he has done the audit for one month of that company, and says, ‘No, these are not exports. Foreign exchange has come in, Rs 20,000 crore has come in, so it’s exports’. He says, ‘No, I say these are inter-state sales, so you pay such-and-such amount’. And he (Datar) was telling me about a case he’s handling in which the company has said, ‘We are not investing in India, we are moving to Vietnam’. So if you are giving targets to income tax officers, they will just slap notices and this is the consequence.
On the other side, you have the Ministry of Commerce saying, ‘100 per cent FDI! 80 per cent FDI!’. Who’s going to come? Things have to be done from top to bottom, because one of the consequences of Dr Manmohan Singh abdicating his authority was that every single person became a government on his own.
And every man for himself. In the sense that, ‘Pata nahi kal kya hoga (who knows what may happen tomorrow)’.
Yes, absolutely. In my own case, Hindustan Zinc, your paper published that an inquiry was started.
The Supreme Court has set it aside, the high court has set it aside.
The CBI’s seniormost people said there is no inquiry, but one SP and DSP based in Jodhpur started an inquiry. And when they came here, they talked to the officer, they talked to me, they talked to two officers, we asked them what is the complaint. They said, ‘There was no written complaint, we got the information orally’.
I remember when economic reforms first started in ‘91, I was coming from overseas and started chatting with Customs people. I said, ‘Kya kar rahe ho aap? Now things are very relaxed’. He said, ‘No, we are not following any of the new orders, we are checking everybody because these two fellows, Manmohan Singh and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, want to sell India’s interests, destroy our industry, and give it all to multinationals. We will never let this happen’. So this is a country of self-appointed freedom fighters.
That is one point. The second is… Avinash Prasad, a big consultant based in the UK, said the task of the new government is going to be to break India’s anti-growth lobby. The enemies of change.
Would you define that lobby?
They are people who imagine the difficulties that change would bring about.
One is the povertarian, who says growth is bad.
‘Growth is bad’, secondly, ‘inequality will increase’. You make a big dam, there’ll be families that have to be relocated. It’s one point to have good rehabilitation relief policies, but what happens in India is you start focusing only on the three families which have not got housing as yet. And you say the whole thing is bad. The activists do it, they are issue-hunting. Media falls for those activists. So any negative stance in India gets a lot of play. Therefore, it’s the income tax officer, the lower courts, a whole network that is impeding growth.
I heard a former general say the other day that there’s a nuclear plant coming up in Haryana. ‘A canal’s water will be used to cool it and then the water will irrigate the fields, it will carry radiation’. This is almost like Mani Ram Bagri in the ‘60s saying, ‘Bhakra Nangal mein paani mein se bijli nikali, ab gehoon kya paida hoga (Electricity has been taken out of Bhakra Nangal waters, what wheat can it irrigate now)?’. These things go unquestioned now.
Indira Gandhi said in 1983 in Parliament that one of the great breakthroughs for India’s atomic programme was the uranium finds in Andhra Pradesh. We have not been able to take one teaspoon out of it.
I will admit that the media is a lot to blame in this. We too don’t want to be confused with facts… ‘Meri theory hai, mujhe khabar mil gayi hai, confuse na karo (This is my theory, I have the information, please don’t confuse me)’. If the telecom scam was 4.4 per cent of India’s GDP, the price of that spectrum in 2007, so be it.
I think there are very difficult decisions to be taken, which Modi would have to use all his reputation to do. I was looking at these debt figures in Pranab Mukherjee’s time… In the next five years, you know how much we have to repay? Almost three times what we have been repaying. So what will you do on expenditure, on subsidies, because you can’t go on cutting capital expenditure as has happened. You can’t just go on postponing expenditure to April from March and show that my deficit is okay.
One good thing has happened, in the middle of all this. At least we have an RBI governor now who has a calming presence.
There is faith that there is professionalism in policy formulation. Therefore I was distressed that pebbles are being thrown at him by maybe prospective ministers. Meghnad Desai was right in saying, ‘You remove Raghuram Rajan, not one penny of foreign direct investment will come in’. People will not have faith that this is going to be a professionally run country, even in monetary policy, which has always been insulated from political winds. So Modi will have a lot of disciplining to do, other ministers, finance, defence… You know better than anybody else what the condition of civil-military relations is, what A K Antony’s modesty has cost the country.
I call Antony the Bapu Nadkarni of politics. Bapu Nadkarni was a cricketer who holds a world record that will never be broken — 22 consecutive maiden overs. His figures were, I think, 24 overs, 23 maidens, one run and no wicket. He would not let anyone make runs, nor get them out. When batting, he wouldn’t get out, nor score runs.
But there is another feature which our common friend Ajai Shukla told me about… I hope I remember the figure correctly, 88 per cent is revenue expenditure of the Army’s budget. Only 12 per cent is for new acquisitions and weapons and capital improvement. So is this the way to defend the country?
The answer to everything has been to pass the buck on to a committee. Either it’s the GoM, or an e-GoM, or there is one more regulator…
The head of SEBI, he gave me a figure. Do you know how many regulators there are for the economy? Thirty-six. In the financial sector alone, there are nine. In one single sector, education, there are 13 regulators.
That’s why we have such wonderful higher education.
With these 13 regulators, the good colleges are not being allowed to function, and you have a situation in which Rayalaseema University alone in two years gave 2,600 PhDs. Secondly, 23 universities in Andhra Pradesh admitted in five years 38,000 PhD candidates and gave PhDs to half of them.
I think it was Agra University or one of these old universities in UP which gave a PhD on ‘Hindi Sahitya mein lote ka mahatva’. You just have to have the imagination.
In many cases, you don’t even have to have that… And, you know, we are talking of governance at this (top) level. At the bottom, we just don’t understand what governance has become. That’s why the appeal of AAP (Aam Aadmi Party). I’ll give you an instance. We were sitting in the evening, and the person downstairs, he told me a policeman has come. I ran down, and he asked if Anita Shourie lived there. I said, ‘Yes, she is my wife, she is unwell, so she is upstairs’. He said that she is a proclaimed absconder.
I asked why. (He said) that summons were served but there was no acceptance, so now a non-bailable warrant had been issued against her. He said if she didn’t appear in a Faridabad court by 11 am the next day, she would be imprisoned for five years. I ran to Faridabad. There was a young magistrate sitting there, so I asked her, ‘Madam, you issued this, but why?’. She said, ‘Our register shows that five times the summons were served’. I said, that didn’t happen, nobody came. And then somebody said, sometimes people do not go and just write in the register that summons were not accepted. But why was it served? She said, ‘You built an illegal farmhouse’. I said, ‘We’ve not built any farmhouse’. She said, ‘You don’t own such-and-such plot?’. I said we owned it but sold it five years ago because we needed the money to build a house near Pune. The person standing there happened to be the person appearing as the prosecutor. He said, ‘Yes, they have not built the house, they don’t even own the plot’. But she said, ‘Now the process has started, your wife has to appear at the next hearing’. She was suffering, so two of us had to hold her and take her there. The magistrate saw her condition, said, ‘Okay, I’ll give bail but only till the next hearing because I may be transferred’.
Now Anita is on bail for a summons which was not served, which was issued for a house that we have not built, on a plot which we don’t own. But I keep going to Faridabad.
That’s why people are so angry.
Angry, and therefore a great opportunity for Modi, but one which will require implementation from top to bottom.
He’ll need a lot more talent, my apologies, than what the BJP has right now.
Well, that’s true. If you look at the candidates from political classes as a whole — not (just) from a party — they are the same as they were last time.
Or their children.
And you have to make a government out of this. There was this wonderful couplet, by Anand Narain Mulla. He has written a book on Muslim personal law and he writes shayari also. He said, Dil qaidi ka behlane ko…
To comfort the prisoner.
To give solace to the prisoner… Darbaan badalte jaate hain.
The guards keep changing.
So that should not happen. The fact that all hope has come to rest on Modi is a great responsibility for him… Naturally, he would require, as you said, a lot of talent. As he has mobilised for the elections, he will have to mobilise for the government.
And you get the sense that the process has started?
I suppose, in a preliminary way, some lists would have been done, some notes made. But probably everything has got swept aside because of the campaign.
He has surprised everybody with his energy.
With energy, focus. A good way to look at it is to see, in retrospect, that all manufactured apprehensions — ‘other BJP leaders will not let him come’, ‘he does not have appeal outside Gujarat’, ‘the Congress will do some trick’ — have fallen aside.
‘He’s not a Brahmin’.
Yes, anything, saying he is a chaiwallah. Mani Shankar Aiyar only made him famous.
You and Mani Shankar went to the same college, at the same time.
We were in the same class. His great achievement in life is that he got, I think, 4 per cent (marks) more than me in his exam.
So Modi needs talent.
Talent, and also he needs the perseverance he has shown. Not GoMs and so on. What his style is, he makes everyone who is concerned sit together. Let’s say coal has to be solved, everybody concerned must sit on the table, discuss it thoroughly for eight hours. Decisions are taken there and then. Coal secretaries are asked what they need, finance what they need, commerce… it is done there and then. Now report back (in) the next meeting, one month from now.
If you were to give Modi a to-do list and a not-to-do list, what are the three things you will put on each one?
Find persons. Everything depends on the persons you will choose. No appointment is unimportant, because suddenly irrigation may become important, power may become important, mines and coals may become important. Second, please watch the conduct of everybody because everybody will be watching. Third, please realise how difficult the situation today is, with the economy and with national security. China, which is doing well, is a threat to India. Similarly, with the Americans going out of Afghanistan, in a sense in defeat, Pakistan acquiring influence there has only one way to deal with its militants — deflect them back into India. Also, don’t worry too much about the leaders of opposition here, make the chief ministers of India your partners in governing India. Panditji (Jawaharlal Nehru), in the most difficult circumstances, at the height of the Chinese war, would write a fortnightly letter to each chief minister, explaining to them the general context of policy.
And the three ‘not-to-do’s’.
Do not take a single tainted or incompetent person in your government. Because, as they say, a single chain is as strong as its weakest link. Follow up every order that you have given. This is not Ahmedabad, this is Delhi. This is a Mayanagri. One more thing to avoid. I have seen in Rajiv Gandhi’s case, and other cases, they thought that because they are managing Parliament, they are managing the situation. Not the case.
Transcribed by Hansika Chopra
Correction: In an earlier version the reference to Anand Narain Mulla incorrectly appeared as “a mullah in Allahabad”. The error is regretted

Monday, March 24, 2014

Exclusive Interview: Arun Shourie On Narendra Modi's Economic Agenda

In an exclusive interview with ET Now, Arun Shourie, NDA's divestment minister has ruled out big ticket privatisation that the markets are betting on if Narendra Modi comes to power. Shourie, who many believe may be the next Finance Minister, also spells out broad economic agenda of Narendra Modi and how NaMo's focus will be to implement and not ideate too much on economic policy. Hear Arun Shourie talk politics, economics and 'Modinomics'

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Government's foray into business gives rise to corruption: Arun Shourie at India Today Conclave 2014

Author and former Union minister Arun Shourie speaks at India Today Conclave on 'Why The Govt Has No Business To Be In Business'.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New PM will have to fight enemies of change: Arun Shourie

"India is becoming a recipe for disaster today with mediocrity becoming a norm, caste becoming a class, and assault becoming a proof," Bharatiya Janata party leader Arun Shourie said today at the India Today Conclave.
Government allocations and subsidies should be done not on the basis of regulatory inputs but on the basis of outputs because that will bring in performance based on merit, curb corruption and lead to optimum use of government resources, he said.
Coming down heavily on regulatory governance in sectors like education, Shourie said this has done immense damage to the system because regulators use the power they have to indulge in massive corruption, as indicated by the cases of corruption against heads of Medical Council of India, Council of Architecture,All India Nursing Council and Dental Council.
A compounder of the Nursing Council of India was caught while taking bribe of Rs 5 lakh, and later the CBI found he had assets worth Rs.200 crore.
Shourie revealed that in all, there were 13 regulators in the education sector and 36 in the finance sector, which has only led to more corruption and downslide in standards.
There were unreturned loans worth Rs 35,000 crore in the regulated banking sector, he said, highlighting the ill effects of the regulatory nature of governance.
Giving an example of the pitfalls of subsidy as it is given today, Shourie said in Alwar district, Indian Oil Corporation found that the intake of subsidised kerosene came down by 40% when it gave vouchers instead of actual kerosene to the beneficiaries because when actual kerosene was given it was being used by scamsters to adulterate diesel.
Shourie said labour laws were primarily responsible for the reduction of apprentices in India, which had a direct impact on growth. He added there are 20 million apprentices in China and 14 million in Germany.
"India needs change if it is to capitalise on its inherent strengths and the new prime minister will have to fight the enemies of change if he is to usher in a new era."
Source: http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/new-pm-will-have-to-fight-enemies-of-change-arun-shourie-114030700924_1.html

UPA good at appropriating credit, shifting blame, says Arun Shourie at India Today Conclave

Hitting out at the UPA government, former Union Minister Arun Shourie said that their core competence lies at appropriating credit for good work and blaming others for their own poor performance.
Speaking at the session 'The Dead Hand of the State: Why the Government Has No Business to Be in Business' at 13th India Today Conclave on Friday, Shourie said, "Since 1991, we have seen the sector which have missed the eye of the state have progressed like IT. On the contrary, education which was directly under the government's eye continues to lag behind."
Beginning on a lighter note, Shourie said, "Any government that comes in the Centre has two illusions. One that it can change the public sector enterprises and the other being that it will improve relations with Pakistan."
"Record speaks for itself that the government has no hand to be in business," he said.
The former Disinvestment Minister said the focus of government in the past few years has come down to expenditure and not on the outcomes.
The disease has infected even the courts which frequently say that profiteering should not be the government's focus, he said.

Maintaining that multiplicity of regulators resulting from the government's foray into business gives rise to corruption, Shourie cited examples of corruption cases in various government regulatory bodies.

Counting the remedies to the problem, Shourie said that the number of regulations need to be brought down. He added while we have to change the course of discussion, procedures need to be improved and codified. All allocations must be related to outcomes and not inputs, he added.
Appealing to the people, Shourie said, "We have to come forward. The state cannot be improved if we do not change. For that, two things are necessary. First, to reverse the perverse norms of society. And secondly, we have to change our own conduct. Unless we do that, there is no change anywhere."

Scandals brought rational procedures on resource allocation: Arun Shourie

NEW DELHI: Former Union minister Arun Shourie said the recent expose of scandals helped put in place rational procedures for allocation of the country's scarce resources.

"There is one good thing that is happening because of the scandals. At long last because of court interventions and other things, rational procedures are coming about for the allocation of scarce resources. In mining it would happen...in 3G auctions this time for spectrum it certainly has.... We should codify these and ensure it can proceed further," he said.

Shourie was speaking on 'The Dead Hand of the State: Why the Government Has No Business to Be in Business' at the 13th India Today Conclave.

He said that on the record, it was clear that the state should not be in these activities.

The former telecom minister said that the sectors which escaped the eye of the state did well like IT while those where there was intervention did not do so.

"If you compare periods before 1991 and after it, there is a secular difference between the rates of growth because the state is less important now than what it was then," he said.

"If one sees the sectors, those which escaped the eye of the state did well like IT and those which remained in the eye of the state just could not get ahead like education," he added.

Shourie also hit out on the UPA government, saying its "core competence lied in blaming others" if its performance went poor and taking credit if some work went well.

On a lighter note, he said that which ever government comes, it has two illusions. "One is that they can turn around public sector enterprises and the other is that they can improve relations with Pakistan," he said.

Advocating that all allocations must be related to outcomes and not inputs, the former Union minister also called for reversing the "perverse norms" which have come up in the society.

"We must put excellence at the top. There is no place in this world for a second rate country and there should be no place for a person who puts in second rate effort. We must change our own conduct," Shourie said.
Source: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-03-07/news/48005502_1_arun-shourie-former-union-allocation

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Arun Shourie's Lecture of Indra's Net

Indra's Net Release by Arun Shourie January 29th, 2014: Arun Shourie's Lecture of Indra's Net

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Arun Shourie on Centre Right India: Punctuations

 Punctuations, Episode 5: Dr. Arun Shourie

Centre Right India is pleased to present Episode 5 of its podcast series, Punctuations, in which Jaideep Prabhu and Sandeep Balakrishna are joined by Prashanth Perumal in a conversation with Dr. Arun Shourie. The conversation ranges from nuclear energy, Indian foreign policy, the "idea of India," the 1980s British TV show, Yes, Prime Minister, Shourie's time in the Indian Express, and much more.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Manthan, Hyderabad: When Arun Shourie Mimics Arnab Goswami

Arun Shourie Speaks about a lamentable practice started by Bennet Colman Group.. of private treaties with corporations. - Full credits to Manthan & arun shourie for a wonderfull insight about current discourse.

Arun Shourie Speaks on Private Treaties At Manthan Hydrabad

Manthan, Hyderabad: When Arun Shourie Mimics Arnab Goswami

Search This Blog