Just read Tarun Das’ confused and self-contradictory piece in the Express today (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/competitive-confident-capitalism/1102947/). Every single argument in his piece is easily rubbished but two in particular:
There is a rich and high-quality dialogue between industry and government in private
First of all governments cannot claim that anything is “private”. Governments represent people and all action is in the name of the citizen – and thus no information or communication can be claimed as private. Governments may claim that some information is secret, but democratic governments must go to great lengths to justify that this secrecy is in the public interest (often on issues of national security, thus contributing to the great expansion of this sphere of governance). Communication between the government and business certainly has no business being private. This privileged communication and its lack of transparency is exactly what breeds corruption and crony capitalism (it’s like the entire RTI movement and discourse just passed by Mr Das). Do the poor have access to private parleys with the Finance Minister and like? Obviously not. Democracy mandates political equality however Mr Das clearly has no use for such niceties. One would have thought that Mr Das would have learnt to, at least publicly, not make such statements after his conversation with Ms. Radia was leaked in which he boasted that he batted for Mr Kamal Nath “big time” even though the latter as per him skimmed “15%” of all projects.
He writes too,
Business is not in the job of taking on governments and political leaders publicly. This is not the agenda of business in India or elsewhere. There have been a few exceptions over the past couple of years in India. Interestingly, they, too, are now conveying their views privately. Shareholders are uncomfortable with managements who go to war, however limited, with the powers-that-be. This needs to be understood. It is part of corporate culture. It is in their DNA.
What an absurdity! To question the government on matters of principles is hardly “going to war” with “powers that be”. Governments do often respond to peaceful dissent and demands for accountability with methods that should be limited to actual war – but this is a tendency that must be resisted not buttressed! Mr Das further betrays his lack of understanding of the democratic form of governance – where public functionaries are accountable to the citizen (and by extension, all forms of organization) and are not dictatorial “powers that be”. If government policies are hurting corporates, it is the job of corporations to make their case publicly (and politically) by demonstrating how the interests of corporations and people are aligned in that instance. And if the interests of the public and corporations are not aligned, then why should corporations be privileged over people?
Also read: War of Ideology or Principle