Sunday, August 31, 2014

Arun Shourie defends Laxmi Vilas Palace hotel selloff in 2002

NEW DELHI: Former Union ministerArun Shourie on Sunday defended the sell-off of ITDC-owned Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel in 2002 for which the then disinvestment secretary Pradip Baijal has been booked by the CBI for cheating and under-valuation of the property. Expressing surprise at the CBI case that's based on an "oral complaint", Shourie wondered if decisions and allocations done years ago were struck down like this, what effect it will have on Prime Minister's efforts to energise bureaucracy.

"If after 12 years you are going to charge the secretary, joint secretary and other officers without even questioning them once, PM's expectations of an energised bureaucracy are not going to be met," he told ET.

Shourie, who was the then minister for disinvestment in the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government, explained in detail how correct procedures were followed for the evaluation and sale of the hotel.

"Arun Jaitley is the common factor between the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (of 2002) and the present NDA government, where he handles the department of disinvestment. The Committee had cleared the disinvestment after scrutinising all the documents and procedures," said Shourie, who was widely tipped to be an important member of the Narendra Modi's cabinet.

He said that the file of the Share Holding Agreement of the property was cleared by Jaitley as law minister at three different levels.

"I am absolutely certain that every procedure was followed. There was a vigilant law minister, and his ministry cleared the file three times," explained Shourie. The first time, the file went to law ministry for whetting of the document.

It went again after the agreement was finalised and bids were invited, and then finally again when the bids were received, he said. Jaitley, in an interview to this newspaper published in today's edition, too, said there was no sign of wrongdoing in the Laxmi Vilas Palace deal.

"I have been, as a minister at that time, a witness to those transactions and I have no doubt in my mind that all the disinvesment transactions were completely above board," Jaitley told ET.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

13th Hormis memorial lecture : video

Arun Shourie spells out 15 tenets to boost economic growth in India

PTI, Kochi Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 10:22 hrs

Former Union minister for disinvestment Arun Shourie today spelt out 15 cardinal principles to resolve India's growth hiccups. (Reuters)

Former Union minister for disinvestment Arun Shourie today spelt out 15 cardinal principles to resolve India's growth hiccups. (Reuters)

Former Union minister for disinvestment Arun Shourie today spelt out 15 cardinal principles to resolve India's economic growth hiccups and put the country on a higher growth trajectory.

"The first lesson that India should learn is to face the facts. Do not go by declarations but go by the facts. The second cardinal principle that the country should learn is to change. You must change in tune with time. Incessant and incredible steps to change are required," he said.

The third norm to spur growth is to focus on all sectors and it is no longer enough for India to be excellent in one or a few sectors. India being a large country should excel in sectors across the board, he said, delivering the 13th commemorative lecture organised by FedBank Hormis Foundation.

The next was that incremental steps to change were no longer enough. "What is needed is a tectonic shift in approaches," he said.

He said the country should be able to own up facts rather than shy away from them. Also the fact was that today's is a 'heartless world' which leaves no room for second rates but a country like India's size should be first rate in all spheres.

"The country must muster enough courage to shed shibboleths and old habits. Also building partnerships across the spectrum of society is an important step towards success. Giving more powers to states by devolving it from the centre is also important."

Federal Bank Chairman Abraham Koshi, Bank's MD and CEO Shyam Srinivasan, ED Abraham Chacko, FBOA General Secretary Paul Mundadan and Raju Hormis, CSR Head, Federal Bank also spoke on the occasion.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MSMEs should be self-reliant: Shourie

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have become dependent on government doles and funds rather than being self-reliant, Arun Shourie, former Union Minister for Disinvestment, said here on Saturday.
According to him, innovation should take place within MSME units, just as it is the case in other South-East Asian countries. The government should act as facilitators.
“Our MSMEs are dependent on government doles; while globally MSMEs are hubs of innovation. We must wake up to reality,” he said during the 86th Annual General Meeting of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
Shourie also stressed on the implementation of technology and R&D in the manufacturing sector and suggested that Government should welcome more private investments to implement modern technologies.
According to the veteran journalist, there was a need to strive for excellence and reduce corruption. This, he said, was the only way to leverage the advantages of the demographic dividend of the country.

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