Monday, March 13, 2017

P.Chidambaram's objectivity

Mr.P.Chidambaram delivered the first annual lecture of The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy on March 13th. Introducing him, Mr.N.Ravi of The Hindu said that Chidambaram was as objective as a parliamentarian in opposition could be.

Chidambaram proved Ravi wrong. Even limited objectivity of an opposition politician does not require one to twist facts and manufacture innuendo which the former minister did.

Trying to prove that the present government is not scam-free, he referred to easy availability of newly printed Rs.2,000 notes with relatives of ex-chief secretary of Tamil Nadu and some engineers in Karnataka as a scam. This is the result of venality of some bank officials and is not a scam of the government. (He also referred to Vyapam scam.) If he feels compelled to call the uneven availability of Rs.2,000 as a scam, it is an admission  that there is hardly any large scale bribery a la 2G or coal allocation.

He accused the government of not knowing how to deal with NPAs. Harsh measures, according to him, will only terrorise bank officials to avoid lending.  He did not feel it necessary to admit that the previous government was complicit in generation of huge NPAs. Was he hinting that bank officials were not the cause for bad loans which were encouraged by politicians and therefore the government ought to be soft on them?

He twisted facts when he said that Raghuram Rajan did not advocate harsh steps for recovery of bad loans. In fact, Rajan was acting tough (and rightly so) which angered the powerful borrowers who were happy to see his exit.

Chidambaram revealed that Rajan was against demonetisation and therefore he was sacked. An objective person will not elevate an assumption to the level of fact. He could have qualified it as a guess.

He referred to BJP not proposing any Muslim as its candidate in U.P. and compared it with exclusion of women, SCs etc. He could have avoided the comparison because BJP nominated the maximum number of women candidates and was not behind other parties in nomination of SCs, OBCs and MBCs. Whereas other parties betrayed their communalism by choosing too many Muslim candidates, BJP betrayed its communalism the opposite way. It ill-behoves a Congress leader to accuse another party of communalism since the Congress has always treated Muslims as a vote bank. Certainly it did not suit Chidambaram's agenda to accept that BJP was the least casteist party in the U P elections.

He asserted that none of the stated objectives of demonetisation was either achieved or likely to be achieved. He conveniently ignored the fact many have deposited high denomination notes which attract nearly 50% tax plus 25% interest-free deposit. These are the money which were earlier hidden and tax-evaded and which are now brought into mainstream. A former Finance Minister is expected to be more objective.


Jeeves said...

Too much to expect from Mr. chidambaram. I still remember Me. Kapil telling what 2/3G scam. There is no scam. Political dialogue and discourse will always have agenda of belittling other party.

K.R.Srivarahan said...

Kapil Sibal is a spiritualist. Everything is 'maya' for him. Where is the scam? Where is the corruption? Soon, he may have to say, "Where is the Congress?"