Tag: Government of India

Dow Row

Dow is a sponsor of London Olympics. Some people want India to boycott London Olympics if Dow continues to be the sponsor because Dow bought Union Carbide which was responsible for Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984. IOC has said Dow is not responsible for Bhopal gas tragedy and Dow sponsorship for Olympics will continue till 2020.

India has not boycotted Olympics any time. In 1980 USA and many countries boycotted Moscow Olympics. In 1984 USSR and some countries boycotted Los Angeles Olympics. In 1976, 22 African countries boycotted Montreal Olympics.

In 1974 India refused to play South Africa in Davis Cup final due to South Africa’s apartheid policy. In 1986 India boycotted Commonwealth Games in UK because UK had refused to put sanctions against South Africa. In 1974 Italy had refused to play South Africa in Davis Cup semi-final. In 1986 Nigeria, Kenya and many other countries had boycotted Commonwealth Games.

If India boycotts London Olympics due to Dow sponsorship it is likely to be alone. In 2008 India won one gold medal and two bronze medals in Beijing Olympics. India’s participation or absence will not make much difference to London Olympics. Besides, India will have to boycott Olympics in 2016 and 2020.

The victims of Bhopal gas tragedy should have been left to pursue cases of compensation in American courts where the compensation amounts could have been higher. The victims did not have to pay the lawyers if they did not win the cases and if they won they had to pay a percentage of compensation amounts as fees. The Government of India bungled by taking up all cases and clubbed them together and they were fought in India. Then the Supreme Court should have left the cases to proceed. Instead in February 1989 it got into arbitration and fixed the compensation amount at 470 million dollars and all civil and criminal liabilities were waived off. Those who did not want arbitration kept quiet after the emotional outburst of the CJI. The compensation should have been to victims alone but all residents of Bhopal got compensation thus diluting the claim of victims.

It is a different matter that after some years criminal liabilities were brought back and some Union Carbide officials were prosecuted and found guilty. That raises the question of finality of Supreme Court judgment. If liabilities waived off by Supreme Court are restored after some years where is the certainty of the closure?

There is a question of genuineness of protests on 3/12/2011. Some leaders had used a manual and a video to train protesters. The training was for over a month.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken has written to IOA to take up the matter of Dow sponsorship with IOC. There is no love lost between Ajay Maken and IOA. IOA derives its powers from IOC and has used it to fight against the government.

Milkha Singh and some other people want Indian athletes to participate in London Olympics. Boycott means many athletes will miss the chance of a lifetime to participate in Olympics and win a medal. If Bhopal victims did not get justice it is not entirely due to Union Carbide.

Banks and loans

In 1953 or thereabout the government of India nationalized Imperial Bank and changed its name to State Bank of India.

In 1969 the government of India nationalized 14 banks. In later years more banks were nationalized.

Some years back there was a proposal to nationalize those banks as they were making losses. The employees protested saying there were not responsible for losses.

The banks had lent to many industrialists who had not repaid the loan and that was the reason for losses. Many industrialists in India would have gone bankrupt years ago if banks had insisted on payments.

The report that a group of banks led by State Bank of India allowed Kingfisher Airlines which has a debt of over 7,000 crore rupees to convert a part of loan into share at Rs.64.48 each when the market price was around Rs.48 is disturbing. The owner of Kingfisher Airlines owns an IPL team. Nothing has changed over the years. Some years back Essar Group was bailed out. Many companies are regularly bailed out by banks. Many times companies don’t pay and banks convert loans into shares often at a cost higher than market price. Once a company’s loan was converted into shares of Rs.10 each when the market price was around Rs.6.

Many real estate companies borrowed from banks and bought land at high prices. They were unable to sell flats. Banks did not act against defaulters. Defaulters going to court and long legal proceedings should not be a deterrent.

Nationalized banks belong to the country. If a company is unable to pay the loan winding up petition must be filed against the company. The government of India must come out with a white paper on defaulters.

Reservation in private sector

The Government of India wants 5% reservation for SCs/STs in private sector. Reservation in government jobs itself is a bad idea. Once the reservation begins there will be demand for increase in percentage and extension to other communities like OBCs. It will divide people. There will be further demands to be declared as OBCs or STs. We know the damage done by Gujjar agitation.

Reservations began for a period of 10 years. They got periodic extensions and more people came under reserved category. SCs/STs changed a lot over the years but reservations continue. Then came OBC reservations.

If government thinks that companies benefitting from government incentives have to reserve seats it should stop incentives.

No political party is like to oppose 5% reservation for SCs/STs and because all practise votebank politics and nobody wants to lose SC/ST votes. Some parties will demand reservation for OBCs and EBCs. There will also be demand for employing local people in central government offices like demand for employing Marathi people in central government offices in Maharashtra.

Merit succeeds and capable SCs/STs have achieved what they want. SCs/STs are not disadvantaged. If a Dalit woman can become the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh there is no disadvantage in being SC/ST.

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