Mgmt study material created/ compiled by Commander rk singh

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Mgmt study material created/ compiled by - Commander RK Singh

Lecture Date: 06 Aug 05

Subject: Business Environment

Professor: Dr VP Raja
Recommended Books

  1. Business Environment By Suresh Bedi

Excel Books

  1. Business Environment By Raj Agrawal (Second Edition)

Excel Books

  1. Business Environment By Francis Cherunilam (15th Edition 2004)

Himalaya Publishing House
Availability – Banarasidas & Sons, Near Mahalaxmi Temple, Warden Road, Sterling Book Depot, Near VT, Strand Book Depot, Fort
It was suggested by the professor that it is important to read all the three books as the subject matter covered in each book is entirely different despite the title being same.
In addition to above books, a list of 15 books was given. Each student is required to choose one book out of 15 and submit an essay or a book review, (approximately 12-15 typed pages long in A-4 size paper), based on an in-depth study of the book, on or before 22 Oct 05.

Study of this subject is basically sensitisation to the external environment affecting the business. In SWOT analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Strength and Weaknesses are internal to the business, while Opportunities and Threats belong to the external environment of the business (Business Environment).

The business in the yester years was much simpler. As the world is shrinking in distances, the complexities are growing in exponential fashion. Events in a distant region of the world affect the business in our domain. Gulf war affected the Indian Economy despite no direct link with it. Bird Flue virus attack in China and other countries affected the poultry business in India both ways. First chicken demand/prices plummeted due to local population’s fear about chicken and then it sent the overseas demand for Indian chicken soaring when it was considered a safe source.
Thus, knowledge of global events and assessment of their impact on our business can alert us to be able to take advantage of the opportunities or take corrective action about impending threats.

The above diagram indicates as to how an organization is nestled in a sector, which in turn is affected by the domestic economy which is influenced by the global economy. Global Economy is itself dictated to a large extent by the Global Geopolitical Environment. Take for instance following scenario.

America’s meddling in the Iraq has caused the crude oil prices to reach $ 62 per barrel from the three year old level of $ 22 a barrel. The oil prices are threatening to touch $ 100 a barrel. India imports almost two thirds of its oil requirement. Oil import bill in 2003-04 at @ $29 a barrel was Rs 93,000 crores, which means that now the bill would touch Rs 2 lakh crores. Govt can not pass the entire burden to the consumers and would have to subsidise part of the increased costs which would increase its fiscal deficit. Increase in fiscal deficit would lead to higher inflation and interest rates. Higher the interest rates lesser the investment into new projects due to less number of projects passing the IRR test. Less investment means less job opportunities and increase in joblessness among the youth. This would result in increase in crime as people would adopt any means to earn a living. Thus, in medium term, Mr Bush’s dislike of Saddam’s face can lead to increase in crimes in our country.
Thus, for success in business, it is important for today’s managers and entrepreneurs to keep abreast with day to day developments in business environment not only in the immediate neighbourhood but in the whole globe.
Various elements of the business environment are as follows: -

  1. Internal Environment

  2. Domestic macroeconomic environment

    1. Economic System

      1. Market Economy

      2. Command Economy

      3. Mixed Economy

      4. Socialist Market Economy

    2. Growth and Distribution Environment

    3. Macroeconomic stability

    4. Economic policy

      1. Monetary Policy

      2. Fiscal Policy

      3. Industrial Policy

      4. Trade Policy

    5. Competitive Environment

    6. Non Economic Environment

  3. Sectoral Environment

  4. External Public Relations Environment

    1. Suppliers

    2. Customers

    3. Distribution Channel Members

    4. Rivals

    5. Other Entities

  5. International Environment

  6. International Geo Political Environment

Lecture Date: 13 Aug 05
Economic Environment
Let us examine the economic environment prevailing in the country since independence, i.e. since 1947.
In 1947, Indian society was a predominantly agrarian society. 90% of population lived in villages. Bombay, Calcutta and Ahmedabad were the only industrialized cities with Calcutta being the most industrialized city. Calcutta had ship building and jute industry while Bombay and Admedabad had cotton textile mills.
Indians were a heavily exploited lot in those days. There were various sources of exploitation. The main were:

  1. Zamindari System

  2. Money Lenders

  1. Zamindari System was order of the day in those days. “Zamindari” was a system whereby the king used to hand over the lordship of an area (a few villages) to an influential person on a fixed yearly rent. There after, how that person collected the money (Lagaan) from the villagers under his command was no concern of the king. This became a big source of exploitation of the poor indian villagers. The British too had adopted this system from the erstwhile kings and it continued for some time even after independence.

  1. Money lenders were other exploiters. There were professional money lenders like Pathans and village traders who use to lend money against gold, silver, property etc at exorbitant rate of interest and usurp those assets in due course. Then there were land lords who also use to lend money to the peasants and convert them into bonded labours. The interest rates were often as high as 345% per annum.

India, in those times, had very few industries. Indian Business Class was in deed a trading class. Most of the industrialists were first a trader and then an industrialist. The cotton textile mill owners use to earn more money by trading in cotton than converting cotton into fabric. They use to finance the farmers for cotton crop and buy back entire crop in lieu at dirt cheap rates. There after, they use to hoard the cotton and sell it at a premium later in the year to the handloom owners.

Bengal Presidency was the area of today’s West Bengal, Bangladesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orrisa. In the post independence era, land reforms were instituted. CPM Government in West Bengal carried out the reforms admirably well and as a result Bengal is the most egalitarian society today. This land reform has also been the source of support for the party till date. In addition, brutal force used by Mr Siddartha Shankar Ray’s congress govt in order to suppress the Naxalite Movement in Bengal’s colleges, caused severe alienation of people from the party.
In contrast to successful land reforms of Bengal, land reforms in Bihar and Orrisa were not executed with same zeal and sincerity and therefore did not succeed. As a result, populace in both the states are even today of highly feudal mindset. The feudal powers in Bihar kept changing hands from one caste group to other. It was Bramhins during independence, Thakurs some time later, and now it is Yadavs. However, common man’s exploitation never stopped irrespective of who the feudal lord was.
In Maharashtra, land reforms were well executed in the Konkan (Western Maharashtra) region due to efficient performance of Peasants and Workers Party. However, it was poorly done in Central and Eastern Maharashtra. It is now reflected in economic disparity in the two regions.
Central Govt abolished the bonded labour system after the Independence. However, it was also not well implemented and it continues in some pockets of the country even today.
Indian Economy was poor since there was lot of Disguised Unemployment. Disguised Unemployment means employing 25 people to do a job which can be as efficiently done by 10 people. The marginal productivity of these 15 extra people is NIL. However, on face of it, they are employed doing some job. This is precisely what was happening in Indian Farm Sector. A land which could be cultivated as efficiently by one brother, had 2 or 3 brothers and more employed. Prime cause of this disguised unemployment was non availability of avenues for employment. Family sizes were multiplying, mechanised farm equipment were reducing manpower requirements but land holdings of families were static or shrinking. There were not many avenues of employment available in villages.
An economy grows when the productivity of its people grows.
Prime Minister Nehru was quick to realize this Disguised Unemployment and felt that “Industrialization” was the key to eradicate it and improve productivity. While most of his contemporary leaders agreed with him, Mahatma Gandhi was of a slightly contrarian view. He believed in self sufficiency of Indian Villages not through mechanised methods but through “Charkha”.
Pt. Nehru’s economic outlook was influenced by two historical events during his lifetime:

    1. Bolshevik or Russian Revolution of 1917 which was headed by Mr Lenin. In the years preceding 1917, working conditions in the industry in Russia were far worse than on the agriculture field. From 1917 to 1923, it was total anarchy and chaos there. However, order was restored by Mr Stalin (St Petersburg, capital of Russia, was renamed as Stalingrad in his honour, but was reverted back to original name recently). He introduced the “5 Year Plan” concept in Russia for its development. He built up a huge Military Industrial Complex. However, he also took up production of consumer goods for manufacture by the Public Sector Plants.

    1. Pt Nehru had studied first in Harrods and then in Oxford university. This is where he came under the influence of “Fabian Thinkers” Like George Bernard Shaw. These people were later called the socialists. Robert Owen had started writing about Sweat Shop (Industries) causing a upheaval in the British society.

Pt Nehru married the politics of England with the economics of Russia and created the Mixed Economy. While the state took up huge on Basic & Heavy industries and infrastructure, consumer goods industries were left to the private sector. He sought help of prominent industrialists like JRD Tata to help establish light and consumer goods industries.

Also, in line with Russian model, he set up a Planning Commission in 1952 for drawing Five Year Plans. First Five year Plan period is considered to be from 1947 to 1952 which basically consisted of completing the ongoing projects started in the pre-independence era. 2nd Five Year Plan – 1952 – 57, was truly a well conceived Five Year Plan. Even though the people who planned as well as those who executed it did not have much formal training either in planning or management, it is the best planned as well as executed Plan of the 10 Five Year Plans till date. Their lack of knowledge and skills were compensated more than adequately by the hard work, commitment and sincerity. 10th Five Year Plan is currently in progress from 2002 -07.
While deciding on the economic model to be adopted for the country, Pt Nehru sought help of Professor PC Mahalonobis, who was Director, Industrial Statistical Institute, Calcutta. He is credited with converting Nehru’s idea into a proper economic model (by converting Harrods- Dammar model).
His economic model, later called as Nehru – Mahalonobis model, was based on following premises:

  1. Investment in Capital Goods Industry is primary requirement as those goods would then be used by small entrepreneurs for starting business. Private enterprises would be averse to invest in such industries.

  2. But such industries would require some basic raw material, like iron, copper, aluminium, etc which are even more capital intensive to expect private sector to invest.

  3. Allow private entrepreneurs to produce consumer goods.

Above model became the basis for the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956.

During the implementation of the model, various hurdles were faced by the Govt.

  1. Required technology for Heavy and Basic industries was not available. – Thus, Govt sought foreign help for transfer of technology.

  1. Technical manpower not available. - While technology was not there, there was equal dearth of technical man power also - Managers, supervisors, skilled labour, which were hard to import. So, a three tier technical training set up was planned.

    1. Tier I – Engineering Colleges (for Techno Managers) including 05 IITs starting with IIT Kharagpur in 1957.

    2. Tier II – Polytechnics (for Supervisors)

    3. Tier III – Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) for training skilled machinery operators.

Now we will see how country went through the learning experience and had to constantly alter its investment and development priorities.

Years 1962 to 1972 were calamitous for our country. We fought 3 wars, in 1962 against China, and in 1965 and 1972 against Pakistan. Chinese War was a total surprise to India as the country enjoyed very warm relations with China and Chinese Premier Mr Chou En Lie had visited India just a few years back. Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai slogans used to fill the air. China had by then annexed Tibet and was laying claim for Arunachal Pradesh. There were also problem of delineation of McMohan Line. But despite above simmering problems with China, country had not given adequate priority to defence of the country in its quest for quick economic development. The soldiers did not have even proper footwear for mountain and high altitude (snow clad region) warfare and were sent to those heights in Nov/Dec months in summer uniforms. Secondly, all the Indian forces were concentrated on Western Front along Pakistan border. India did not have enough air crafts to be able to quickly transport soldiers and armament to Eastern Sector. America then helped India with C-140 transport aircrafts and pilots for transportation of troops. But this help came as a result of their paranoid fears of expansionist communism expanding its cover than any love for India.
But we lost the war badly. Chinese had come up to Tejpur but declared unilateral ceasefire on 20 Dec 1962 and withdrew.
War in 1962 taught us that Economic Development without National Security is meaningless since decades of economic development can be lost in a single war. India had perforce to divert those scarce economic resources from Industrial Development to National Security. There were tremendous psychological and emotional cost too. Nehru did not survive his monumental diplomatic blunder and passed away on 27 May 1964.
India won both the wars in 1965 and 1972 convincingly.
But wars, whether won or lost, always carry gargantuan economic and human costs and therefore plunge the economy in throws of recession in the post war period. There is, if at all, only a marginal difference in cost incurred between the winner and the loser.
Nation’s tryst with calamities did not end here.
Loss of 1962 war was followed by 3 successive years of draught and there was fear of famine looming large on the horizon. Once again Americans came to the rescue of India with supply of American wheat called PL 480. India learnt once again that International Aid does not come without the riders. While no riders were imposed in the beginning, American Consulate General began to seek regular appointments with Prime Minister to convey his governments missives for American expectations of India’s voting in various International Forums like United Nations, or else food aid would be frozen. India then was leader and founder member of the Non Aligned Movement along with Mr Nasser of Egypt and Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia. For the leaders, who were bred on staple diet of opposing Imperialism, it was hard to accept American dictates but had to swallow their pride and accept them since allowing millions of countrymen to starve to death for ideological leanings of its leaders would have been a horrendous crime against humanity.
This episode taught the leaders another lesson that food security is paramount for a nation. So, while more money was allocated to Defence from 3rd Five Year Plan, Agriculture began to get enhanced share from 4th Five Year Plan.
India’s agriculture in those days was primarily rain fed. There used to be a single crop per field in most the country in absence of irrigation facilities in post monsoon period. India wanted to transcend to 2 and 3 crop a year agriculture model. But it meant construction of dams and canals for storage and taking water to the fields. Further, ground water was to be used for which electrical power was required in the rural India. Per capita cost of electrical distribution network in rural area is prohibitively high as density of consumers is very thin. India’s power generation capacity was barely 3,400 MW in 1947. (Today it is approximately 1,20,000 MW) So, massive investments were required in the sectors of power generation and distribution. Poor farmers did not have wherewithal to buy the pump sets and pay the electricity charges. So, to help the farmers, Govt initially provided highly subsidized pump sets and free power.
When God closes one door, he leaves at least a window open. India had the fortune of having the troika of Mr C Subramanyam, Union Agriculture Minister, Mr MR Sivaraman, Secretary Agriculture, and Mr Swaminathan, Director Agriculture Research. In their quest to increase the production of food grains, they hit upon a Mexican variety of wheat which had yield as high as 3-4 times the Indian variety yield. This variety was recommended by Mr Norman Borlough who later won Nobel Prize.
However, this new high yield variety was highly prone to pest attack and needed water and fertilizers. This led to upping the investment in pesticides and fertilizers industry.
Alongside above, two agriculture universities, one each at Ludhiana and Pant Nagar were set up on Land Grant Basis for further research and development in the field of agriculture. (Land Grant Basis is a method where in a trust is allotted large tract of land to regenerate revenue from it and finance it operations).
Green Revolution was a great success. But, together with successes a thitherto unthought-of effect came to be noticed. The Green Revolution had made the rich richer while poor remained where they were.
Technology is scale neutral (It can be applied on 1 acre land or 1 million acres of land with same effect) but it is not resource neutral (Proportional resources are required for size of land). Money was required to buy new seeds, fertilizers and other requirements which was not available with poor and marginal farmers. Thus, while rich farmers benefited by using new technology and reinvested extra profits to earn even more profits, poor could not afford the cost of new technology and continued to remain where they were. Thus, it caused huge income differentials in the villages. The inequity caused also led to social tensions. (Those were the days when approx 40% population lived below poverty line.)
Such inequitable distribution of gains of new technology prompted the Govt to concentrate on poverty alleviation program.
Mr VS Page, a contemporary of Mr VB Chawan, CM of Maharashtra, launched Page Yojna to help the poor and marginal farmers in Western Maharashtra and it was a great success. These small initiatives became Central Theme of 5th Five Year Plan.
Mrs Gandhi led a peaceful coup within Indian National Congress in 1969 to overthrow the old guard of Mr Morarji Desai, BD Jatti, etc and became the Prime Minister. In order to consolidate her position, she took some populist measures like: -

  1. Banks nationalisation

  2. Abolition of Privi Purses

  3. Launching Poverty Alleviation Programmes.

Dr Man Mohan Singh was the architect of “Direct Attack on Poverty” programme. It led to micro credits by Nationalised banks to the marginal section of the society to facilitate small businesses to improve their income. In order to broad base the programme, reach of the banks had to be increased and therefore new branches were opened in small towns and rural areas. Many of these branches subsequently became unviable as they provided Directed Lending at sub optimal rates.

India was following a modified Russian model of industrial development. In the Russian Model, complete industrial sector was in public sector whereas in Indian Model, consumer goods production was handed over to the private entrepreneurs. But realising the handicaps of shortage of capital and trained man power, Govt had followed the Nascent Industry Argument (providing protection to the new industry through competition restrictive policies of regulating production licences and creating tariff walls to protect against cheap imports). Due to historical reasons, Indian leadership was suffering from deep suspicion of the West. Self Reliance was the mantra every politician worth his salt, right from Mahatma Gandhi downwards, was chanting. India, therefore, followed the policy of Export pessimism and Import substitution. While import of equipment/goods and CKD kits (Completely Knocked Down Kits) had to be allowed in many sectors initially, strict norms of gradually increasing indigenous content in those products were laid down in order to stimulate local vendor development.
But with such kind of strict control on every aspect of economy, its negative aspects started surfacing. Centralised control of day to day financial matters of the nation led to growth of bureaucracy and corruption. Industrialists were often busy liaisoning powers that be to ensure that no competition is allowed in their monopoly. Further, factories were deliberately under-producing to ensure scarcity of products so that prices can be artificially jacked up. Education system was growing quantitatively but at the cost of quality. The result was that the skill level of people was not matching their responsibilities. Performance index of people was plummeting.
Rise of Mrs Gandhi as Prime Minister had another adverse impact on the polity of India. While Pt Nehru encouraged dissent and debate, Mr Gandhi, probably because of her insecurity, promoted sycophancy. She placed ill qualified sycophants as the head of various institutions. Place in central ministry was again reserved for the sycophants. Such crass devaluation of merit and rewarding of sycophancy destroyed institutions and perpetrated sycophancy down the line. Indian psyche, which is culturally feudal, only helped the matter further.
Surfeit of rules and govt controls on basic necessities of life, promoted what was popularly called License Permit Raj. Licence Permit Raj, prevalence of sycophancy and incapable people reaching undeserving heights, made a heady brew for corruption. In fact, License Permit Raj became the prime engine for growth of corruption in the Indian society. While on one hand corruption caused fiscal indiscipline, on the other hand it caused revenue leakages.
From 1947 to 1982, India always had revenue surplus. Revenue surplus means Govt revenue collection through taxes (direct and indirect) and non tax earnings like entry fees to monuments, dividends from PSUs, etc, exceeded the expenditure on running of govt, ie, salary to staff, office expenditures, maintenance of foreign consulates, etc. Due to fiscal indiscipline and revenue leakages, started from 1969, India had its first revenue deficit budget in 1982 and has not recovered till date. Govt has though passed a Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act which promises to gradually bring down the budget deficit to ‘0’ level by 01 Apr 2008.
Revenue deficit has a spiralling effect. During the last year, Govt borrowed Rs 1,40,000 crores. Out of this money, only Rs 42,000 crores was for capital investment purpose, while Rs 98,000 crores were for meeting budget deficit. Servicing of this loan and interest in successive years will cause further deficiency of revenue and lead to further borrowing to fund those shortages unless a way is found out of this morass.
Such borrowings are called Intergenerational Equity which means we are borrowing against the liability of our future generations. We, instead of leaving a legacy of healthy economy for our children, will be leaving a debt liability to be serviced by them.
While corruption, nepotism and fiscal indiscipline were some of the causes of revenue deficit, time and cost over of projects and over staffing of Govt Deptts and PSUs were equally responsible.
Severe time and cost overrun of projects in the range of 300 to 400 % had become the rule rather than exception by then. It happened due to variety of reasons, like

  1. Projects were approved more on political expediency than its financial viability. In order to get the approval, project costs were often understated. Subsequent processes in securing additional finances were long drawn and caused delays in project completion.

  1. Corruption was another reason for cost overrun. In the economic parlance, corruption is called “Rent Seeking”.

  1. New projects approved beyond the financial capability of the govt purely on political expediency by diverting the funds earmarked for the ongoing projects. New govt, new ministers and another round of shelving and revival cycle. This had spiralling effect as the projects got stalled mid way through due to paucity of funds. Delays in completion of projects also led to delay in generation of the revenue stream expected out of the project.

Foreign Exchange Situation
British had left a very healthy sterling balance for India when they left in 1947. Because of export pessimism and requirement to import capital goods for setting up industries, the foreign exchange reserves kept gradually depleting. A time came when India had to resort to commercial and bilateral borrowings to fund its import requirements.
In the Balance of Payments Account, first head on receipt side is export earnings. Second head is Invisibles which are incomes like remittances and deposits made by NRIs, expenditure by visiting tourists etc. Similarly, one the Expenditure side, there is a head Invisibles, which includes FE outgo by way of educational expenses of students in foreign universities, medical expenses of people in foreign hospitals, etc.
India’s foreign exchange situation became critical in 1990. India’s FE holdings were reduced to just $ 1 bn which was enough to fund only 14 days worth of imports. This situation was result of a host of domestic and international events: -

  1. Collapse of Soviet Union. India had special import arrangements with erstwhile Soviet Union whereby India could import Russian goods, mainly military hardware at highly concessional rates. Even those highly subsidised payments were to be made in Indian Rupees. Those Indian Rupee payments were held by the Russian Consulate and Indian consumer products were purchased with that money in consultation with Ministry of Trade and commerce so that domestic market does not get unduly disturbed due to such purchase. It was in essence a barter arrangement and therefore highly beneficial to India in every respect. Post collapse of Soviet Union, not only the subsidy disappeared jacking up the cost of those materials many times over, there was also demand to make payments in dollars thus increasing FE requirement.

  1. Collapse of Trading arrangement with 2nd World Countries. Along with collapse of Soviet Union, India’s trading arrangement with other countries of Communist Block also collapsed.

  1. Gulf War. First Gulf War started because of which large number of Indians Expatriates working in those countries were repatriated. The remittances made by them as invisibles in BOP dried up substantially. In addition, there was hike in price of crude oil causing hike in Oil import bill.

  1. Flight of Capital. Those were the days when Indian polity was in great turmoil first due to VP Singh’s politics of Mandal Commission and then BJP’s politics of Mandir Masjid. There have been many who did not believed that India can sustain itself as a nation. Such events lent credence to their theory. Scared by the near civil war situation unfolding in the country, many super rich NRIs who were maintaining substantial accounts in India, quickly transferred their accounts to safety of Swiss and other banks. So, there was a flight of foreign capital from the country.

  1. Crash of Credit Ratings. Mr Devilal, Deputy Prime Minister, in an effort to consolidate his constituency of farmers, addressed a massive Farmers Rally in Boat Club in Delhi where in he announced a complete loan waiver for farmers. Within 24 hours of this calamitous fiscal indiscretion by Mr Devilal, two leading Credit Assessment Agencies of the world, viz M/s Standard and Poor and M/s Moody lowered the country’s investment ratings to “Below Investment Limit”.

All foreign funding agencies immediately shut the lending tap. Visits by some of the articulate ministers to various world capitals did not yield any fruits. India was in the throws of declaring a Financial Emergency. Dr Manmohan Singh’s advice was sought who also expressed helplessness in the prevailing situation. Some time was needed to restore the order and 14 days was far too short. India then bought some time by pawning away 60 tonnes of gold to England which was physically airlifted and deposited in the vaults of Bank of England. Elections were announced in the meanwhile and Mr ManMohan Singh became the new Finance Minister in the new government headed by Mr PV Narsimha Rao.

Dr Man Mohan Singh adopted a two step approach. First being to stabilise the economy and then attempt the structural adjustment. Stabilising the economy involved stabilising the micro economic indicators like inflation. All investments were stopped.
His prescription for Structural Adjustment was: -

  1. Eradicate the monopolies whether in private sector like in Car Manufacturing or in public sector like telecom.

  1. Nascent Industry Argument had long outlived its utility and it was stunting the growth of economy by promoting inefficiency and curtailment of production. Many of the industries were deliberately under producing to keep the prices artificially high and earn profits. Economy needed to be opened up not only to internal competition but to external competition as well to bring in new technologies, new work culture and FE.

  1. Multiplicity of players in the same segment needed Regulators to ensure that practices like predatory pricing are kept under check.

  1. Trade Policy

    1. Exim Policy

    2. Small negative list of import items

    3. Custom duty cut down from 350% to 30%.

    4. Export Promotion

Lecture Date: 14 Aug 05
Economic Environment contd……
Western Dominance of India actually began with arrival of Vasco De Gama in 1498.
Those were the days of Princely States with no concept of Nation. Control of territories kept changing hand frequently and people and army changed their loyalty to whoever became the new king. Napoleon was the one who developed the concept of Nation State and National Army in Europe. India had seen some amount of such thoughts first by Ashoka and then by Akbar. But no sooner did the strong central power withered, it was again a bunch of small princely states, each one to his own.
Imperialism actually originated from trade. Traders from European Nations were adventurous and travelled far and wide in search of cheap goods and new markets for their own goods. They were often supported in their quest by their governments. Subsequent to setting up their trade in new territories, they began to take political control of the territories to maximise their trade profits. By the policy of divide and rule, supporting one king today and another one tomorrow, they weakened the kings and eventually took control of the territories.
England, France, Spain and Portugal were the major imperial powers from 18th to 20th century. During those days, Most of South America was Spanish colony. America had declared independence from British Rule in 1776. Northern Africa was mostly French colony. Infrastructure development in colonies, whether roads or rails or anything else, was aimed at supporting trade. The train track in Mumbai was laid to bring the raw material from various parts of the country for export to England by ships.
The Freedom Movement in India started with demand for limited self governance. However, some incidences, most notable among them being Jallianwala Bag in 1919, led to hardening of the attitude of people. Poorna Swaraj or complete independence was first sought in 1930 during Annual Congregation of Indian National Congress.
Luxury of having a clean board to write on is impossible for a leader. Decision making is never in a vacuum. Historical events cast their shadow on decisions of the day. India and the world was exploited and abused by the European countries for centuries. Those leaders had experienced them first hand and this experience was going to affect their judgement for rest of their life. All the leaders of that era harboured deep distrust of imperialist European countries and white man. The white man invariably went as a trader in every country to become the king eventually. The story repeated in every country that was colony of the white men. Therefore, anti colonial mindset and deep distrust of the white trading community was only natural. Self Reliance was an automatic choice against this invasion though trading route. Even subsequent arm twisting by Americans for support in International Forums in lieu of food aid only hardened those self reliance convictions. And therefore, Indian leadership of that era put an overbearing emphasis on self reliance.
During the World War II, Japan, Italy and Germany, the extreme right wing countries, were on one side and the rest of the world including Russia, America and England were on other side (called Allies). Despite being allies in WW –II, there was great ideological divide between the communist block counties and the Western countries. West was almost paranoid about communism. They feared the communism so much that market economy states turned partially welfare states.
The reasons for this fear of communism were complex. Communism is expansionist in its outlook. It seeks to take into its fold as many people as possible. Theories of Karl Marx had tremendous persuasive power. Karl Marx was no alien to Europe. He was German by birth who had spent most of his life in England. Therefore, his influence reaching the shores of England and America was not difficult.
He was a very articulate and convincing writer. He writings could secure ideological conversions with ease. Russian revolution of 1917 had shaken the powers in Western countries. The conditions in America and the Europe were no better than those leading to the revolution in Russia. America had a huge population of slaves who were forcibly brought from African countries and were treated like and at par with domestic animals. They were chained and lived in stable. They suffered whipping, caning and other physical abuse. Rubber, Indigo and tea plantations in British colonies was done by the indentured labour. Even the poor among the citizens in Europe were being exploited by the rich in the sweat factories.
So, under the prevailing socioeconomic conditions, there was a real fear of communists starting a revolution in America and Europe leading to upsetting of the political, social and economic order.
French philosopher Jean J Rousseau had written the book – The Social Contract. The books contributed immensely to French Revolution. Marx was also influenced by “Hegal” of Germany who is credited with the word – Dialectics. Dialectics are procesess which cause conflicts that cannot be resolved.
Max had written a theory through which history could be predicted. As per this theory, he had predicted doom of capitalism. He also gave a road map as to how this eventual doom can be expedited. This road map was what we called Communism.
In order to overcome the spell cast by the Marxian thought, two books by Karl Popper:

  1. Open society and its enemies

  2. Poverty of Historicism - (This book attacks on Marxist thinking)

(Historicism is a theory that all sociological phenomena are historically determined: a strong or excessive concern with and respect for the institutions of the past)

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Democracy recognises this fact but communism does not. However, history has proved it right. Whosoever has assumed absolute power, what ever was the method of attaining power or kind of power, political, financial, social or religious, with some noted exceptions, has always abused it. But because of refusal of communist to accept this fact, absolute power rests with just chosen few in a communist setup. In Russia, while the ordinary man suffered, each of the senior member of the communist party had Dachas (Russian equivalent of Indian Farm Houses). And therefore, Trotsky propagated Perpetual Revolution.
However, Democracy recognises the corrupting influence of Power and therefore it first divides the power and then it provides for a system of checks and balances.
The power is first divided horizontally between Executive (means Prime Minister and Council of Ministers), Parliament (The elected representatives including opposition) and the Judiciary. Then the power is divided vertically between Centre, States and the local bodies. Despite occasional aberrations, this division of power has been working reasonably well in keeping the people in high places under check.
Indian model of economic development (Nascent Industry Argument) was emulated by most of the countries of the world who got independence in 1950s after Indian Independence. However, they started changing track from late 60s when socialism was deepening its roots in India under the regime of Mrs Gandhi. They changed from export pessimism to export led growth. South East Asian countries had momentous shift in their economic growth in just 10-12 years.
In the post 1969 era of socialistic leanings, Banks’ SLR rate was 38% and CRR rate was 12%. Which means 50% of the inventible funds of banks were Directed Credit at sub optimal rates with poor rate of recovery. Financial Institutions were doomed.
As discussed earlier, debt trap began in external sector in 1990. It triggered the need for economic reforms in the country.
The collapse of the economic order of the country was not sudden. It gripped the country gradually over almost 2 decades. But the common public was mostly not aware and a few those were aware did not care. We, as countrymen, do not participate in the government. We generally accept government actions without questions. This also has a historical reason. We may have democracy in the country for over half a century, but we are still feudal in our mindset. We accept authority. Royals of the yesteryears, royal families of Jaipur, Gwalior, Mysore and many others still enjoy unqualified respect of the masses in their old kingdom. So, we have a democratic system superimposed on our feudal outlook.
In England, family values are same as social values. But in India, the two are radically different. We are highly feudal in our family matters, Father or grand father’s word is final in all family matters. Mother-in-law will rule the house. Political parties’s premiership is more of hereditary than merit based. Party leader’s word is rarely questioned. Rebels rarely get much support. There have been very few instances of splinter groups from political parties surviving. So, we had a Pilot, Mr Rajeev Gandhi, as Prime Minister after assassination of Mrs Gandhi and a house wife, Mr Rabri Devi, as Chief Minister of Bihar when Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav had to vacate his seat due to legal troubles. In both the cases the party members were more than eager to accept them as their leaders. The story repeats in every state of the country. Mr OP Chautala in Haryana, Mr Navin Patnaik in Orrisa, Abdullas in Kashmir and so on.
So, questionable fiscal decisions of the govt went unchallenged.
Original economic road map, formulated by Nehru, went through changes and modifications in every successive Five Year Plan based on learning experience of the leaders. But they had been in the form of incremental adjustments. Priority to Defence spending post 1962 or investments in Green Revolution post arm twisting by Americans during drought years in 1963 – 65, or poverty alleviation programmes, were all add-ons to original policy roadmap. But the Economic Reforms of 1991 were paradigm shift. It was a total break from the past model and some policies were rather antithesis of original policies. The corner stone of original policy i.e. protection against competition to the local industry had become anathema in the new economic policy. The entire prescription for remedy of economy rested on introducing the competition rather than protecting them from it.
Structural adjustments introduced by Mr Man Mohan Singh included multiplicity of players in every field so that only the most efficient few survive. But to ensure against any malpractices, regulators were planned for each of the sectors being opened up for competition.
Telecom sector was the first one to be opened up. Results are there for every one to see. It has been an unbridled story of success. Easy availability, rock bottom tariffs, improved quality, value added services, etc are result of opening up the sector for competition.
Airlines are next success story. Despite extremely slow opening up of this sector, it has shown great success. Those regular strikes by pilots, cabin crew, engineers, baggage handlers and so on are rare occurrences now. There are more routes covered, fares are falling, punctuality improved and services have also improved.
The first baby steps towards liberalisation were taken by Mr Rajeev Gandhi government when he introduced Broadbanding of Licenses which allowed a firm to manufacture any item in a particular sector rather than extremely narrow definitions of product manufacturing licences. A jeep licence which did not allow manufacturing of a car in the earlier definition became a licence for manufacture of any vehicle on 4 wheels under broadbanding of licences.
3rd success story has been electronic media. Proliferation of TV channels and FM radio has been at unprecedented pace.
However, Power sector has been a big failure so far. Power sector can be broadly divided into three segments:




Power sector reforms were started with opening of production to private sector. Enron was one of the first private equity into power sector. However, Enron story got into a muddle from which nation and Maharashtra are still grappling to get out from.
India was quick to realise that actual problem lies in distribution sector which need reforms on urgent basis. And the first step in that direction is to trifurcate the three segments clearly in every state electricity board. Due to vested interests, there has been lot of opposition at all levels for this proposal. However, some states have succeeded in separating out the segments. Delhi has handed over the distribution part to Reliance.
BSE reforms were heading in no direction despite all the pleas by FM. So, NSE was created. Post creation of NSE, BSE reformed itself within 2 years. But by then it had already lost its Prima Donna status to NSE.
Similarly, there were severe opposition to Banking sector reforms from within and outside due to vested interests. However, carrot and stick approach worked. Once Private and Foreign banks started functioning, old banks started to reform. VRS was introduced to get rid of excess staff as also to create new vacancies for infusion of new blood conversant with computerised functioning rather than old ledgers.
Capital Market reforms got stalled. Controller of Capital Issues office was closed and SEBI was introduced instead. However, even before SEBI could settle down in its job, infamous Harshad Mehta securities scam took place shaking the very roots of small investors’ confidence in the stock market. Small investors are necessary for the health of the stock market. Current stock market boom is on support of FIIs which can wreck havoc in the market at any time.
While there is a broad consensus on economic reforms among cross section of the political parties (any opposition is only for opposition sake – like Left opposing the central govt policies while following the same policies in Bengal and Kerala), there are real and serious differences regarding speed and sequencing of reforms. Many leaders are of the opinion that the market should first be opened to domestic competition and then gradually to foreign investors. There are also differences regarding which sectors to be opened up for reforms first and which ones later.
India has opened to international competition in most of the sectors. Custom duty has been reduced from 350% peak rate to about 30% now. There is further commitment by the govt to reduce it further to 7% level, same as South East Asian countries. Leaving aside a small negative list, almost any item can be imported by any one any time.
Off late, there is a debate, like the one after green revolution, as to who have been the real beneficiaries of these economic reforms of 15 years. Have the masses in Rural India reaped any benefits? Apparently, very little has reached the villages and most of the gains of reforms, Telecom, Roads, Media/Communications, etc, are concentrated in Urban India. In some cases there has been adverse impact on poor, like the locksmiths of Aligarh have been rendered jobless due to import of locks from China at much lower rates. Therefore, there is a need to carryout reforms with a human face so that there is equity of growth and prosperity among all sections of the society.

Lecture Date: 17 Aug 05
Besides power sector, another sector where reforms have not taken place is Labour Sector. Labour sector reforms are a big drag on the economy. Economic growth is dependent on the investors. Two factors governing the investors’ confidence for investing his money in business are Entry and Exit conditions. While reforms since 1990 have made the entry into business very easy, exit routes have still not been opened.
Govt permission is required to close down any industry which employs 100 labours and more. Govt permission is riddled with vote bank politics which does not favour the investor as there are 100 votes of workers pitted against the few votes of the investors’ family. Thus, an investment becomes like a Hindu marriage where divorce is very difficult. Once married, you have no choice but to live with your spouse. Even if divorced, you have to provide for her maintenance for life time. Investment conditions are very similar. Once a factory is setup, there is no exit route even if the business fails and the entrepreneur suffers heavy losses. He has to continue to pay the salary of the workers. Therefore, there has been serious reluctance among the entrepreneurs to invest. Those who invest, keep the manpower at the lowest and prefer machines instead of men. Even if men are necessary, they outsource or merchandise their product to the unorganised sector. Like a garment export house prefers to outsource the stitching of clothes to various small group of tailors distributed across city rather than hiring them himself and locating them in a single workshop. Similarly, many reputed firms are getting their products manufactured by small and medium enterprises in unorganised sector and only market those products under their brand name. Draconian labour laws have forced investor to find such escape routes which have harmed the workers’ interest. But for presence of such laws, investment climate in the country would have been more favourable leading to creation of more jobs. Hire and fire policy if effect is pro-labour in the long run. There is impetus for the workers to produce more to keep their job leading to improved productivity and lower costs. Lower costs induce higher affordability and consumption leading to further demand and investment. Lower costs also give competitive edge for exports creating more jobs in the country.
Tough labour laws are strongly in favour of the workers who have already got jobs in the organised sector. However, organised sectors accounts for less than 5% of the labour in the country. Remaining 95% labour suffer because of these laws.
The fear of rampant exploitation of workers if Hire and Fire is allowed have been proved to be unfounded in the sectors where hire and fire is permitted. Take for instance BPO industry. The industry is suffering from the problem of retaining the labour rather than labour getting exploited in the hands of the employer.
Reforms are still taking place but through deception and camouflage. But pace of reforms is slow.

Indian Constitution was adopted by the Parliament in 1949 and was brought into force on 26 Jan 1950.
Indian constitution was formulated on the premise that
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
This hypothesis has been proved umpteen numbers of times in the history. Right from Magna Carta Revolution in 1300 AD to Chinese revolution against Chiang Kai Shek in 1949, and in between revolutions like American war of independence in 1776, French revolution in 1789, German revolution in 1848, Bolshevik revolution in 1917, have all proved only this theory.
Therefore, Indian constitution was drafted on following principles

  1. Power should not become permanent in any hand,

  2. Divide the power so that its concentration in one or few hands is avoided,

  3. Institute a system of internal checks and balances within and by the power sharers.

The constitution provides for re-election of every elected body every 5 years to ensure that power does not become permanent in hands of any person or group. We have seen peaceful change of power at Centre and States so very often. The constitution divided the power horizontally and vertically. In the horizontal division, three power centres were created namely, Parliament, Executive and Judiciary. Executive, i.e. the Prime Minister and his ministers who run the affairs of the govt on day to day basis are answerable to the Parliament for every act and decision of theirs. Also every decision is subject to judicial review. Any act of the govt that does not find favour with the Parliament or is not in accordance with the constitutional provisions, would have to be withdrawn. Similarly, any act of Parliament that is not in consonance with the constitution of country can be declared null and void by the Judiciary. Judges, if found not worthy of the high chair they occupy, can be impeached by the parliament with 2/3 majority voting for it. Impeachment proceedings had once been initiated against Justice Ramaswamy of Supreme Court. However, same were dropped a day before voting when the judge resigned on his own. Each the three pillars of the democracy act as the watchdog for the other two pillars. And then we have the fourth pillar, the media, which acts as watch dog for all the three pillars.

Even the judicial verdicts, if not considered to be in public interest can be remedied by passing new laws by the parliament. Supreme Court had once declared the Bombay Rent Control Act as Ultra Virus. However, Legislature passed new law making is lawful once again. Judiciary, in the normal course of things, is not expected to go into virtues of the case but give judgement based on the law passed by the parliament. Take the case of Gutka which was banned by Govt of Maharashtra. The ban was declared null and void because despite desirability of the ban on gutka, considering its adverse impact on health of the people, govt of Maharashtra has no jurisdiction to ban the item since it comes under the centre’s list of jurisdiction.
In the vertical division, power is divided among central govt, state govt and the local bodies. Again among these bodies , power is divided horizontally between state legislature, Executive (Chief Minister and his council of ministers) and the judiciary (except of the local bodies).
In a democracy, ultimate power resides with the people. Therefore, it is called SOVEREIGNITY.
During the French Revolution, the Monarch was beheaded and the power was transferred to the third estate. Monarchy was completely abolished.
First House – Monarch

Second House – House of Lords in England (Rajya Sabha in our country).

Third House – House of Commons (Lok Sabha). It is house of people’s representative.
Lok Sabha or House of commons is more powerful. Purpose of Rajya Sabha is to act as a brake on Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha can not reject a bill passed by the Lok Sabha. It can only send it back for reconsideration. However, in case it is passed a second time by the Lok Sabha, it would have to pass it mandatorily.
In order to facilitate easy and smooth functioning of the govt, some powers and rights of the people are handed over to the govt. Govt can take over certain rights and privileges enjoyed by the citizens as and when required depending upon the socio-political and economic conditions. However, there are certain rights and powers which can not be taken over by the govt. These rights are called Bill of Rights. These rights are listed in Part III of the constitution under Fundamental Rights. Art 12-34 of Constitution of India. Almost same list of rights are also included in UN charter as Human Rights.
Legislative relationship between Parliament and Legislative councils: -
Seventh schedule of the constitution has 3 lists of subjects: -
Union List – Subjects which are entirely under the jurisdiction of Central Govt and therefore only Parliament can make laws on the subjects.
State List – Subjects which are exclusively purview of the state govts and only state legislature can make laws on them.
Concurrent List – Areas which are being governed by both, centre as well as state. So both can make laws. However, central laws overwrite the state laws in case of any contradiction between the two, to the extent of contradiction.
Criminal Procedure Code is on the concurrent list. Similarly, Education is also on the concurrent list. It was earlier on the state list but was brought on concurrent list by a constitutional amendment during the Emergency in 1977
Financial Relationship
There are different kinds of taxes that the citizens pay and collected and utilised by different authorities.
Taxes which are wholly kept by the centre. Like custom duty

Taxes which are compulsorily shared between centre and state. Like Income Tax.

Taxes which may be shared by cenre with states. Like excise duty

Taxes which are collected and retained by the states. Like Sales Tax (now rechristened as VAT), Motor Vehicle Tax, Toll Tax, etc

Administrative Relationship
Centre has powers to instruct states on various matters which it deems to be not being conducted properly/
Watch Dogs

Comptroller and Auditor General of India


Election Commission

Salient Features of the Constitution
Art 13(2) states that no law can be made which interferes with or abridges fundamental rights (Part III of constitution). If any such law is enacted, courts can declare it ultra virus.
There are two types of laws

  1. Procedural Laws (Only three)

  1. Indian Evidence Act

  2. Civil Procedure Code

  3. Criminal Procedure Code

  1. Substantive Laws – Laws on a particular subject. Like Indian Penal Code is a collection of laws on crime and therefore substantive law. Similarly, Army Act and Navy Act are also substantive laws.

Indian Evidence Act lays down what is admissible as evidence and what is not. Like in civil cases, previous conduct is relevant. But it does not carry any relevance in criminal cases.

(Indian Evidence Act is recommended for reading for developing analytical ability.)

Supreme court normally looks into matter of law and not into matters of fact. And therefore, it normally deals with appeal cases. However, in cases where fundamental right is violated, any citizen can directly approach the Supreme Court under Art 32.

Similarly, under Art 226, High Court can be approached on certain matters.
Courts can issue writs issued against any one.
There are 5 kinds of writs

    1. Habeas Corpus means produce the body

    1. Mandamus means directions to any functionary of Govt to do a job that he is expected to do

    1. Prohibition means stopping some one from proceeding any further on the matter. Like declaration of result of counting of votes in case of complaints of malpractices during voting.

    1. Certio-rari. Decision given by any lower body is set aside.

    1. Quo Warranto. This writ petition is issued against a usurper of the public office. Like a person not meeting eligibility criteria appointed to a post. He can be asked to produce the evidence of meeting the eligibility criteria.

Habeas Corpus is normally issued against law enforcement agencies like police and Army. In a case in Kerala, a person Mr Rajan was arrested by police and then disappeared. His father then wrote a post card to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court who took the post card as an appeal and issued a Habeas corpus to Kerala Govt. An inquiry set to investigate the case when govt failed to produce the person led to conviction of DIG and other officers and punishment dismissal from service and 10 years of rigorous jail term.
Mandamus a writ petition filed against Ratlam Municipal Corporation for directions for clearing the garbage. Court issued a mandamus to Municipal Corporation to clear the garbage. But corporation pleaded that due to non availability of funds post payment of salaries to its staff, the job could not be done. Court directed that either the salaries be cut or the staff be reduced else charge additional taxes but job should be done since it is basic duty of the Municipal Corporation.
These acts have relevance in business as they relate to equality of opportunity and fair play. Just treatment of all contenders in the award of public contract is one of the opportunities.

Laws (passed by the parliament or legislature)
Rules (enabling provisions) Subordinate legislation made by the executive. Copies of these rules are kept in the parliament and its library for members to read and raise objections if any.
Lecture Date: 21 Aug 05

Knowledge of external environment and its cause/effect relationship with one’s own business enables scenario building which may not be accurate but still reduces the uncertainties to a great extent and therefore future shocks. It improves ability to cope with future changes.

External environment is always in a state of dynamic flux. Therefore, this course only equips with instruments to gauge the effect of various events in external environment and estimate their impact on the business in a foreseeable future. It requires continuous study of a variety of subjects right from history to literature to international political commentary in order to broaden the knowledge base. There is no alternative to a broad based knowledge.
In order to understand Policy Development Environment, a good sense of history, national as well as international, is very important. Historical events invariably cast their shadow on people’s psyche and decisions. Policy makers being well read and informed lot are even more prone to these events.
United States suffered the great economic depression in 1929. President Roosevelt revived the economy with the help of Keynesian concept. Keynesian concept propounds increased govt spending in the times of recession to put money in people’s hand to create demand backed by purchasing power and thereby creating conditions for utilisation of unutilised/under utilised resources. Increased demand calls for increased utilisation of machinery which generates jobs. More jobs means even more money in hands of people and further more demand. It becomes self feeding cycle till recession is overcome.
While the Keynesian concept did wonders for recovery of US post the great economic depression of 1929 and for Europe in rebuilding their countries and economies post devastation of World War II, it did not work for developing and under developed countries. The prime reason for its failure in boosting economies in these countries lay in availability of capital resources with US & Europe vis a vis Developing and Under Developed Countries. Govt’s enhanced expenditure in the times of recession helps in putting back idle capital resources (like machines lying idle due to lack of demand) into productive use. In developing or underdeveloped countries, there were few capital resources (machines). Therefore, even if demand is created, economic growth does not take place in absence of capital resources. It only helps in increasing the import and inflation. This event also teaches us that all social sciences are dependent on time and space. So, all the theories are valid only in certain time and space combination. Any further application needs close scrutiny as to how applicable and useful it would be in the prevailing situation.
Nehru & Mahalonobis were quick to realise this. Therefore, Nehru Mahalonobis model first concentrated on creation of heavy industries so that capital accumulation can take place in the country.
Labour was in abundance even in 1947 even though India’s population was only 347 million at that time. Most of this labour was either unemployed or disguisedly unemployed.
Economic activity happens in three different sectors : -
Primary Sector – In covers all agricultural produce including fisheries, dairies, orchards, etc.

Secondary Sector – It covers manufacturing sector, like various industries Light, Medium, Heavy and Basic including food processing.

Tertiary Sector – It covers all service industries.

ICOR – Incremental Capital Output ratio, which is a measure of output earned out of every Rs 100 invested as capital. So, if there are two projects with equal funds requirements, the one having higher ICOR is preferable.

Dr Manmohan Singh, as Finance Minister, realised the need to convert Outlays to Outcomes. Outlays are the funds that are invested for a specific purpose. Results achieved are the outcomes. This is in real sense Efficiency of Investment. Experience has taught us that Efficiency of Investment improves substantially under pressure of competition.
In India, we have adopted Westminster System of Parliamentary Democracy. This is the system where President is only Figure Head of the state. Actual power lies in the hands of Prime Minister. Prime Minister is elected by the elected representatives. In case of parliamentary majority of the ruling party falling short, the Govt (meaning Prime Minister and his council of Ministers) have to resign (Like Mr Atal Bihari Bajpai did when Mrs Jayalalitha had withdrawn her support). In case of Presidential form of Govt, as followed in United States of America, President is de-facto head of the govt and is directly elected by the people. In Presidential form of Govt it is possible that the parliamentary majority is with some party other than the President’s. There the president’s continues for full term whether or not he enjoys the support of the Parliament.
American constitution is Federal in nature. America is a Federation of States. Individual states have formed a Union and given up some areas of governance for administration by the Central Govt (called Federal Govt) while retaining others within their folds. Each individual state has joined the Federation by choice and therefore they retain much higher autonomy than states in India. Even today, there are there are huge differences in laws between state to state. European Union is trying to form another Federation of States with its parliament in Brussels.
Indian constitution is outwardly Federal in nature with provision for converting it into Unitary form any time should the circumstances so demand. Provisions like Imposition of President’s Rule, Declaration of National Emergency, Direction to the states.
Indian Constitution was debated provision by provision by the Constituent Assembly with active participation by some luminaries before it was passed in 1949. But why did our Law Makers adopted this Flip-Flop model of constitutional structure?
Indian unity lies in its diversity. India is a country of gigantic diversities. No country in the world has kind of diversities that are faced by Indian. The diversities range from geographical, cultural, societal and so on. Indian society is a pluralistic society. Due to this pluralistic nature there are various fault lines which most of the time lie dormant in sub surface but become active with little warning causing severe disruptions in society. These fault line are

  1. Ethnic – Naga demand for separate home land

  2. Linguistic – Anti Hindi demonstrations in Tamilnadu

  3. Caste – Upper caste and lower caste battles (Ranvir Sena Vs Maoist Communist Party) in Bihar

  4. Religion – Demand for Khalistan by Sikhs

  5. Region – Pan Tamil demand rearing its head in Tamilnadu, Kashmir

  6. Income, etc – Naxal movement in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, MP and Chhattisgarh.

Some of these fault lines give rise to fissiparous (division, separatist) tendencies in people which threatens the very fabric of nationhood. Some other fault lines threaten the existing social and political order of the society. Often vote bank considerations or outright sympathy of ruling class with the ultra sentiments can act as impediment for local govt to effectively deal with the situation. These are the times when unitary nature of the constitution allows the central govt to take control of the otherwise state matters and bring situation under control.

However, these labels (fault lines) are important because they also act as fracture binds/unifying forces in normal times. That is how we say that India’s unity lies in its diversity. This humongous diversity of various multitudes that we experience on day to day basis has made us the most tolerant society in the world.
This Federal/unitary structure of our constitution has served the nation well except for some aberrations like Emergency in 1977 and imposition of Presidential Rule in States overthrowing duly elected govts for political considerations. Emergency was imposed after Mrs Indira Gandhi was pronounced guilty of committing an electoral offence by Allahabad High Court. During Emergency, though fundamental rights continued to exist, their enforcement, ie Art 32 of the constitution vide which allows an aggrieved person to approach Supreme Court for redressal, was suspended. While most of the judges of Supreme Court, including then Chief Justice of SC capitulated, Justice HR Khanna, did not. Similarly, Mr Nani Palkhiwala who had agreed to represent Mrs Gandhi’s appeal against Allahabad High Court order, withdrew when Emergency was declared.
To make the Emergency Provisions even more effective, MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) was imposed. Under MISA, any one could be arrested on mere suspicion. However, the arrests were to be confirmed by an advisory group headed by a High Court Judge within 12 days of the arrest. In many cases, advisory groups showed courage and refused to blindly ratify the arrests made by the police. Preventive arrests are actually a violation of fundamental rights and therefore any arrests made under section 151 are to be produced before a Judicial Magistrate within 24 hours for permission to continue the detention any further.
Post Emergency, safeguards have been incorporated through constitutional amendments in provisions which were exploited for and during Emergency.
Govt headed by Mr Manmohan Singh can go ahead with the reforms at much faster pace if they join hands with BJP. But that is not possible since Secularism is of much higher value than the economic development of the country.
Economic Relationship
There is a serious mismatch between revenue raising capabilities of states and their expenditure responsibilities. Whereas centre generates much more revenue than it has been burdened to expend.
In order to correct this anomaly, constitution provides for devolution of resource. There are two kinds of devolution

  1. Mandatory Devolution, Like Income tax which is presently shared in the ration of 77.5: 22.5 between states and centre

  2. Enabling Devolution, (discretionary) like excise duty which the central govt may or may not share with states.

In order to ensure that resources are shares equitably, constitution provides for Finance Commission which is constituted every 5 years. Though its recommendations are not binding on the Govt, traditionally govt has been accepting the recommendations in toto. Last Finance Commission was the 12 Finance Commission headed by Mr Rangarajan, Ex RBI Governor. 13th Finance Commission is likely to be constituted by end 2005 so that its report is ready before commencement of 11th Five Year Plan in 2007.

Finance Commission while deciding the devotion of resources tackles the issue in two steps. It first decided as to the ratio of taxes which are to be shared with states by the Centre. In the second step, it lists down as what will be individual states’ share out of funds being devolved to the states. The share of individual states is based on following factors: -

  1. Population

  2. Area

  3. Revenue raising capability

  4. Population below poverty line

In addition to mandatory devolution of taxes, Art 280/282 of constitution gives central govt omnibus powers to devolve money to any state or institution. This discretionary power though was given to meet any unforeseen requirements of states, it has been more abused to garner political gains than used.

Apart from mandatory devolution, central govt also devolves funds to the states under Plan Assistance. The difference between the two is that while former is primarily meant for bridging the revenue gap between expenditure and income, Plan Assistance is to provide for capital expenditures required for development.
Planning Commission is not a constitutional body. There is no mention of Planning Commission in the Constitution. There were certain plan holidays due to extraordinary circumstances prevailing in the country.
The money that is given to states as Plan Assistance was initially given under Gadgil Formula as the formula was given by the Chairman of Planning Commission Mr Gadgil. Then there was modified Gadgil formula. Now it is called Mukherjee Formula.
Planning commission has bifurcated the states in two categories

  1. Special Category States – 7 sisters of NE (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura) Sikkim and J&Kashmir. These special category states get 90% of the plan assistance as grant and remaining 10% as loan.

  1. Other states – All the remaining states fall in this category. They get the plan assistance in ratio of 30:70 as grant and loan.

Resources devolved as plan assistance are considerably large. However, this also became a tool for centre to push its own agenda. Programs like Family Planning were given as 100 grant. In some other cases, centre gave a contribution in certain ratio of state’s share, like 50:50; for every Rs 100 invested by state, central govt pooled in with another Rs 100. This was used as incentive for state govt to invest their resources in development.

Operation Black Board is a central scheme wherein central govt is financing the project 100%. It is providing for one class room, one teacher schools in every village.
Family Planning, Education etc are all state subjects and should be completely controlled by states. However, these are being controlled by central govt through purse strings of Planning Commission. Again the devolution was not always equitable and often marred by political considerations. State Govt leadership which owed its existence to the leadership at central govt could not contest for its rightful share.
There is huge differential in financial resources of various states. Just to cite a few examples; Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation budget is larger than 12 states’ annual budget. Similarly, Atomic Energy Commission has budget allocation which dwarfs annual budgets of 15 states.
During its dealing with state govt, central govt often went by letter of the constitution but not the spirit. So, while it could not be faulted on the legally, truth was apparent. Thus, resentment among states could not be avoided and it led to new fault lines. This led to rise of regional parties in the last two decades.
There was effort to bridge this arbitrariness of central govt through appointment of Sarkaria Commission to give its recommendation on central and state govt relationship. However, unless rules are followed in spirit, no amount of law making can help.
Thus we see that a constitution which was essentially federal in character, with provision to turn it into a Unitary constitution in the times of emergency, was converted into a Unitary constitution by controlling the Purse Strings of the Planning Commission. State Chief Ministers who were supposed to draw their support from the elected representatives and be autonomous in function, be it selection of their cabinet or decision making in policy matters, became puppet in the hands of “High Command”. This is a culture which has spread and afflicted even BJP which is the only other pan Indian party in the country. At present, Kesu Bhai Patel is trying to dislodge Modi Govt in Gujrat not by political machinations in Gujrat but in Delhi. Such subversion of constitution had its delirious effect on performance of those govts. Centre State relations have been on a boil continuously.
In 1956, reorganisation of states was done on the basis on language. Constitution had provided for a window period of 15 yrs for English to be used as link language while development of Hindi as link language took place. At the end of the window, when Hindi was to replace as link language, there were violent demonstrations in Tamilnadu in opposition to Hindi being imposed on them. Old and rich language that it is, Tamils have always considered Tamil language to be superior to any other language including Sanskrit. Thus another fault line was created. Dravidian parties utilised this fault line by stoking the linguistic pride of Tamils. Under the linguistic cover was their political agenda to create political space for themselves which was till then ruled by Congress. Their success in the venture ensured that no national party has come to power in Tamilnadu ever since.
Opposition to Hindi in Tamilnadu has its own history. Political and social empowerment of Dalits and other backward castes that is being witnessed in Hindi heartland of Bihar and UP now had happened much earlier in Tamilnadu.
Dravidians consider themselves to be the aboriginals of Indian subcontinent. They consider Aryans, and probably rightly so, to be the invaders from west who defeated and pushed them to south of Vindhyas. This undercurrent of resentment among the Tamil academicians always existed. Similarly, Brahmins and Sanskrit were considered to be legacies of Aryan dominance over them.
Sanskrit revival took place in 9th Century AD. Sanskrit had edged out commoners’ language Pali to be the language of the elite much as English is making inroads into Hindi and other regional languages’ bastions in the country. Due to hegemony of Sanskrit at that time, Dravidian languages also got influenced by Sanskrit with induction of lot of Sanskrit words into those languages. Some Tamil nationalist raised this issue in late 1920s which culminated in strong anti Brahmin movement in 1930s in South India. Periyar was leader of this movement. The movement was so strong that there were crazy attempts at creating a distinct history and culture for Tamils. In the process, Ravana, much reviled demon king of Hindu epic Ramayan, was begun to be worshipped. Worship of Hindu deities, for that matter any deities, was opposed. Children begun to be named sans any Sanskrit or any deities names.
With this fault line pre-existing, imposing of Hindi was only the proverbial last straw on camel’s back for same forces to raise their head once again. Political parties seized the initiative for their own political agenda and only stoked the fires further.
Growth of coalition politics is a comparatively recent phenomenon in Indian politics. With increasing clout of regional parties in state politics, single party rule at centre seems to be a distant phenomenon now.
Reasons for growth of coalition politics are as follows: -

  1. Congress was the only party with pan Indian presence till late 1980’s. There was no viable political alternative. Even today, no other party besides BJP exists which has a presence large enough to form the govt on its own in near future. Even BJP’s pan Indian presence in only marginal as there are many states in south as well as east where they still draw a blank.

  1. Growth of Bhartiya Janata Party in north, western and central India at the cost of Congress Party, thus weakening it.

  1. Shift of traditional vote bank of Congress party, i.e. Dalits and Muslims to regional parties and upper castes and middle income group to BJP.

  1. Growth of regional parties in erstwhile congress bastions like UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orrisa and North Eastern states.

Lecture Date: 24 Aug 05

Like it has been pointed out in the lecture of 17 Aug 05, one key area where reforms have not begun in right earnest is the labour reforms. Exit policy in labour sector is absolute must to entice more entrepreneurs to invest money in industry. Not that reforms have not taken place at all. Despite govt could not proceed with labour reforms due to spirited opposition of trade unions, left parties and organised labour force, there has been substantial improvement in labour related environment in the last 15-20 years. Trade unions have lost much of their sheen. Labour force is much less militant. Strikes, which had become bane for the industrialist in 1970s are rare occurrence now a days.

In general, reforms have been lacking in subjects under state list, subject like Agriculture, irrigation, health and education. While agriculture and irrigation have seen virtually no reforms till date, health and education have seen small progress.
Education system
Universalization of basic education is govt aim. Education is divided into 3 parts: -

  1. Basic Education – Till the age of 14 years which is till class VIII.

  2. High School Level

  3. University Education

Education fetches two kinds of return

  1. Individual Return – Direct benefits accrued to the student

  2. Societal Return – Benefits accrued to the society due to education of the a member of the society.

In case of basic education, both returns, Individual as well as Societal, are very high. The student learns reading, writing, arithmetic, basic hygiene, etc which improve his own and the society’s productivity in various ways. Thus both are equal gainer in the process.

Higher education gives more of individual return than the societal returns in most of the cases. Leave the odd case of outstanding scientists and other luminaries like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, great economist Mr Mahalonobis or Dr Manmohan Singh who touch lives of millions by their path breaking work.
In a poor country like ours, basic education should be provided free/cheap to ensure that it reaches every one. It can be done only by the govt. But higher education needs reforms to ensure that the colleges compete to attract students rather than students competing to get the college. When colleges begin to compete to attract the students, they perforce have to hire best teachers, provide good infrastructure and ensure quality education.

Health System
Reforms in health sector are still to take off. Except in some big cities, private medical care is still not available. In small towns, health care is still largely provided by Govt Civil Hospital. In villages occasional dispensary is the only health care available.
Health care is an expensive proposition. In countries like USA, health care is completely privatised. Health care is supported by Medical insurance else hospitalisation expenses are beyond the reach of most people even in a rich country like USA.
Britain had become a welfare state after WW-II. Health care in Britain is mostly govt facility and reforms have not been there either. As a result, there is a long waiting queue (up to 12 months) for operations like hip joint replacement, bypass surgery, etc. Situation has become so severe that the cases are being outsourced to hospitals in Hyderabad and Bangalore. Other than that patients are travelling to India and other country on their country for medical help which has now been officially named in our country as Medical Tourism. Health provisioning is a big drain on British exchequer as increase in longevity of its subject has also compounded health problem the England.
Economics is not value based. There is no right or wrong in economics. These is only cause and effect on economic well being of people. Take the case of ban on bar dancers in Mumbai. Desirability or otherwise of ban is a question that is not in the domain of the economics. It only considers economic effect on lives of bar girls and other peripheral people whose source of livelihood has got affected. Value judgement/Moral issues involved in the matter are to be looked into by politics based on public opinion. Parliament and legislature are bodies of elected people’s representatives. They represent people’s aspirations and voice. So, their opinion can be considered to be the collective opinion of the main stream population.
Policy Environment is affected by of economic as well as political environment.
Honda Factory episode in Gurgaon has given the Trade Unions and Left Parties are a fresh lease of life. They are trying to reorganise themselves once again after getting marginalised in the last 10 years.
However, events there have affected the investment climate in the city and state. Earlier, Maharashtra suffered flight of capital from the state in late 1970s when trade unions in Mumbai turned militant under the leadership of Datta Samant. It killed the blooming textile industry in the state which eventually shifted base to Gujarat, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, militancy in Punjab led to flight of industrial investment to Noida and Gurgaon. West Bengal which was the most industrialised state post independence lost industries in quick succession due to extremely volatile and militant labour unions supported by successive State Govts. Today either most of the industries have shifted base out of the state else are sick.
Orrisa is another state which has lagged behind in industrialisation. While labour in Orrisa in quite docile, the problem their emanates from the lackadaisical and lazy attitude of people. The average productivity of people there is very low. So, it is the problems of work culture.
Atomic Power Plants can not compromise on safety aspects due to immediate as well as long term catastrophic effects on people in case of any major accident. Chernobyl accident is a constant reminder to the world. Safety records of our Atomic Power Plants in South India is pretty good. However, it is dismally poor in plant at Narora in UP. This is despite AEC conducting a 6 weekly safety training for the employee against 12 weekly schedule in other plants in the country. The problem lies in the attitude and culture of the people. Chalta hai attitude and willingness to take risk among people in UP. As against people in UP, Tamil culture is highly Rule Book oriented. Rational of rules is rarely questioned which suits the safety requirements of Atomic Power Plants. Given UPs attitude towards risk, there is little likelihood any more nuclear power plants planned there in future.
With different real life cases of flight of de-industrialisation of various states cited above, it becomes amply clear that environment assessment is required not only from economic view points like availability of raw material, labour, proximity to markets, infrastructure, taxes, etc but also the general climate which covers attitude and culture of people in the area. These factors are more subjective in nature and therefore hard to quantify.
There is no country in the world, including communist countries, where society has achieved complete homogeneity and equality of all men. 100% egalitarian society has never existed in any era any where in the world. Division and classification in existed in every country at all times. But this division has mostly been on class basis – Aristocrates, artisans, business class, farmers and so on.
India is unique in this regard as to have another dimension of inequality among men – Caste System. No other society apart from Hindus is known to have this caste system. Caste system is a social institution with long history. There is no unanimity regarding its origin or commencement. Caste system or “VARNA” finds mention in even in the oldest text known to mankind i.e. Rig Veda. It is surmised that Caste system was more of a profession identification tool in its original avatar much like we have names like Mr Carpenter or Smith in England and Lokhandwalla, Batliwalla, etc in Parsis. Professions were often passed down the generations and became rigid with time as a social aberration.
Let us examine the social development since 1947.
Like stated earlier, caste system and Hindu religion are interrelated. Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu social order book, prescribes different punishments for same offence on the basis of caste of the offender.
Professor MN Srinivas, probably the biggest authority of our times on caste system in India, describes social movement among the caste in two distinct pattern: -

  1. Westernisation

  2. Sanskritisation

Sociology has a concept called Reference group. It states that no body is happy with what he is and wants to be like some one else individually or as a group. That group is called reference group for this person or group. Highest among Hindu castes are Brahmins who are almost worshipped as Brahman Devta. Lower caste people in villages and small towns actually touch the feet of Brahmins. They are fed and showered with gifts on special occasions in the family. But even Brahmins are not happy with being the Brahmins. They want to be like Westerners. So, their reference group is Westerners.

Similarly, lower castes aspire to be like Brahmins. Brahmins were priests and teachers and therefore well educated and well versed in Sanskrit. So, this group aspires to be educated and knowledgeable in Sanskrit like Brahmins. This is called Sanskritisation.
Relevance of Sociology to Business Manager
Each social group, in which ever way it may be classified, caste basis, class basis, religion basis or region basis, has its own peculiar characteristics and sensitivities. If beaf is a delicacy for Muslims, it is highest form of sin for a devout hindu. We have already seen the risk taking/rule book adherence profile of Tamilnadu V/s UP or work ethics of Orrisa vis a vis other states.
If Bengali’s wont compromise on Durga Puja festival and Vishwakarma Puja, Maharashtrians are equally fanatic about Ganesh Chaturthi and Gokul Ashtami and a Gujrati about Garba and Dandia Raas during Deshahra. A business manager who is not sensitised to these passions of these social groups, may damage labour relations by his unintentional obstinate behaviour in granting certain concessions to particular groups during these days.
Traits of people, groups, region, religion, nation are important while making certain decisions. Like it has been pointed out earlier about safety consciousness of Narora Atomic Power Plant vis a vis plants in Tamil Nadu or lackadaisical attitude of Orria people towards work have all impact on business decision making.
As a nation we, the Indians are anti govt while US citizens are highly pro govt in international matters. We invent a hole in govt story, where proably none exist. US media rarely flogs its govt in international policy matters. Our praise or condemnation depends which side of the political divide we stand irrespective of its impact on country’s reputation or finances. Political parties oppose the international policies of the govt for the sake of earning political points. Once they assume the power, they follow the same policies with often re-enforced vigour which they had so vociferously opposed while in opposition. The media and public also change their opinion overnight. We have seen it happen during successive changes in Govts since 1991. Even diehard anti Globlisation proponent, CPM, is following the footsteps of Man Mohan Singh in West Bengal and Kerala while putting every possible spanners in efforts of Man Mohan Singh, P Chidambaram and Montek Singh Ahluwalia troika of reformers.

Japanese have been found to carry a large team for every negotiation howsoever small though only one person speaks and others are merely spectators. No one speaks out of turn. Some of the members in the delegation may be just a couple of months old in the organisation. They follow this apparently costly practice for two reasons: -

  1. Train the next generation of business leaders in business negotiation skills.

  2. Sharing the information with every one. After having seen the netotiations, all the present members have moral obligation to work towards making the contract a success. So, 100% involvement of every team member.

Japanese are able to adhere to this expensive investment on its young executives because of another trait of theirs – Loyalty to the company and company’s commitment to its workers’ welfare. Often an employee never sees another company in his life time. Cases of lay off and retrenchment of workers by the employers in Japan are most rare occurrence. But in India, neither the workers are so committed to their company nor are the companies committed to welfare of their workers. An employee trained at company’s expense, is willing to leave the company and join a rival company for just a few dollars more. Therefore, there is a cautious approach while investing too much of resources on training and development of workers in India.

Caste policy of the govt is a affirmative action. Caste system is too deeply entrenched in psyche of Indian people. A manager needs to be alive to this aspect of Indian psyche. Quite often caste bias manifests itself in Annual Assessment of subordinates. Unless such afflictions of people are identified and corrective actions taken to neutralise their harmful effects, we would have wrong people at the wrong places.
Changes in technology have made us part of the global village. Events in distant part of the globe, half of which would never even be known to but a few amongst us, affect us in myriad ways. (As explained in pages 2,3. (Scenario building as to how Bush’s dislike of Saddam’s face could lead to increase in crimes in our country). Therefore, understanding of global forces is also necessary for being an effective business manager.
World Stage Since 1945, End of World War –II
Last 60 years, since end of world war II, have seen tumultuous changes in International Stage. The first development in post WW-II era was spitting of the world into two Ideological Block, Western Block, headed by United States and Communist Block, headed by USSR. Interestingly, both the countries were allies during the WW-II. Two blocks, almost paranoid about each other’s ideology, began a Cold War. This cold war led to massive arms race to gain superiority over each other. Technology and weapon power became important means to keep the upper hand. Two new weapons of war, Air Power and Nuclear Power, began to be piled up to the levels where they could destroy entire world many times over individually.
India’s independence in 1947 was the clarion call for end of imperial dominance of west over poor countries. Next 10-15 years most of the colonies of west gaining independence. This large scale decolonisation of the world was indeed voluntary on part of Colonial powers. But this voluntary act should not be mistaken for any philanthropic/humanistic awakening. In the changed international political, social, and technological environment, as well as rise of communist Russia rising as a super power, colonial occupancy had become more of a liability than asset that it was thus far.
Along with splitting of world along capitalist and communist block, there was the rise of Non Aligned Movement under the leadership of Nehru, Sukarno of Indonesia, Nasser of Egypt and Marshall Tito.
There was also this North - South divide. North was generally rich and South was poor with some notable exceptions like Australia which was counted along with North. Therefore, “North South Council was established. Mr Willy Brant, German Counsellor and a Humanist who was trying to build bridges between Germany and poor East Germany had also devoted himself to the cause of poor south. He propounded “New Economic Order” to bridge economic divide. It was called OST politics (Ost in German means “Looking east”)
After the Bolshevik Revolution of Russia in 1917 and rise of Russia thereafter, coupled with other forces like devastation caused by WW-II, and Keynesian concept, Britain was forced to turned to become a welfare state. It became highly unionised. In fact Labour Party was a federation of Labour Unions. From then to the time during Margaret Thatcher, most of the industrial towns resembled complete disorder.
Most of the developments till then were taking place within a paradigm. Come 1090 and Mr Gorbachev.
Mr Gorbachev introduced Perestroika and Glasnost. Russia junked communism and embraced Capitalism. The side effect was collapse of Soviet Union. This was a tectonic shift in the international order. Instead of one gigantic USSR, there were 15 new states. Russia’s capacity to act as deterrent to USA was hugely diluted. Crash of its economy made is dependent on western economic assistance, which further weakened its position to intervene against USA in international disputes. Geopolitical situation completely changed. Bipolar world had suddenly changed into a Uni-polar world. American hegemony of the world was complete.
Before disintegration of Soviet Union, Soviets had invaded Afghanistan. But they pulled out of Afghanistan due to high human and financial costs. The vacuum created by Russian pull out was filled by Taliban which was raised, funded and by armed by USA to fight occupation army of Russia.

Lecture Date: 03 Sep 05

Trade Environment has its root much older than any other environment. Trade has affected the world history more than most other things. International Trade has been practiced in India and the world over for over a millennium. There are records of trade taking place through the land route between various countries in middle East, China and India even in first millennium.

In the later part of the last millennium, trade was used as a tool for imperialistic expansion of countries in the West. India came in contact with Europe during the regime of Akbar as traders. A few centuries later, those traders in the form of East India Company, begun to political role and eventually became the rulers. A little while later, India was taken over from those traders by Britain and formally annexed as its colony.
Even before India, it was America which was annexed by Britain. America got its independence in 1776 through American war of Independence.
Australia, Andaman & Nicobar and some other countries were used as prisoner settlements.
India’s struggle for independence though is recorded to have begun by Mangal Pandey in 1857 which led Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, it was demand for limited autonomy. It was as late as 1930, when congress demanded Poorna Swaraj or full freedom. The irony of this independence struggle for British was that almost the entire leadership of this struggle was British educated.
Trade was free in those days. European countries did not intervene in the trade but gave all possible support. Biggest barriers to free trade during those days were robbers, thugs and pirates. Imperialistic powers sent their ships to far off locations to ensure that sea routes are kept clear of pirates.
There was free flow of raw material from India to England and finished products back to India. Some finished products were also exported from India. But on the whole, raw materials and finished products from India were purchased at very cheap rates but imports were at very high rates. Thus, the imperialists who came in the garb of traders, not only became rulers but also exploited and milked the country to enrich their own country. The most unusual part of British rule in the country is that British could never naturalise in India unlike so many foreign invading races to name a few, Sak, Hun, Pashan, Mughals, etc. South Africa, even after independence, has mixed population of whites and Blacks. But when British left India, they left lock stock and barrel. Today we see no British in India left behind from Raj era. And they left by choice. The people in power, disciples of Gandhi, professing Ahimsa, would have definitely thrown out any British by force even they had decided to stay put.

Thus, India came under British rule not by direct military defeat, but by manipulation of traders. It is again a curious fact of History that Robert Clive, who laid the foundation of British dominance over India, had less than 400 British people with him. Rest were hired from India only. With this background, it was only natural for the leadership at the time of independence to eye the foreign trade with suspicion. India wanted itself to be insulated from eddy currents of imperialism. Self reliance emanated from this philosophy. Export pessimism and Import substitution were natural extensions of self reliance policy.

Foreign trade can be controlled by either of the two methods: -

  1. Tariffs based controls – Levy of custom duties to increase the landed cost of goods to make in uncompetitive compared to local goods.

  1. Non Tariff Measures – These are restrictions imposed on imports on different pretexts, like

    1. Quotas (Quantitative Restrictions)

    2. Restrictions in the name of Child labour

    3. Restrictions in the name of good produced in Prison

    4. Restrictions in the name of Environmental Laws

    5. Restrictions in the name of Human Rights violations

    6. Restrictions in the name of NPT

    7. Visa restrictions (Labour movement)

The list is not exhaustive. There are many more excuses that are used to restrict import of goods from any country.
India, in its attempt to cocoon itself from foreign trade, chose the simplest route of imposing high customs duties on all imports. In some cases custom duties were as high as over 500%. In addition, there were long procedures to get approval for import. Quota system was also used in some cases.
However much India wanted to cocoon itself, it was not possible to completely dissociate itself from world market. There were a great deal of essential items which had to be imported because India had not developed the infrastructure to produce them. In some cases like Oil, India did not have natural resources to produce them.

GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)

The Genesis of GATT. In 1946, the newly-created Economic and Social Council of the United Nations called a conference at the Brettonwoods to consider the creation of the International Trade Organization (ITO) which was envisaged as the final leg of a triad of post-War economic agencies (the other two were the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development -    later the World Bank). A preparatory committee was established to draft the ITO charter.

During 1946-1947, the committee worked on the draft charter. However, independent of this official task under the UN mandate, the committee members conducted tariff-cutting negotiations among themselves in advance of the ITO (ITO never came into existence). These negotiations resulted in about 45,000 tariff concessions affecting some US$ 10 billion of world trade.

The committee members also agreed to protect the value of the tariff concessions by early acceptance of some of the trade rules of the draft ITO charter. Thus, tariff concessions and trade rules together became known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which was signed on 30 October 1947 by 23 countries and came into force from 01 Jan 1948.

GATT was an agreement which was based on the principle of non-discrimination in trade relations on a multilateral basis. Through this principle the same rights of market access were extended to all 23 of the original signing nations, developed and developing alike. Today, the World Trade Organization, the offspring of the GATT, has 132 members, all of which have adopted the principle of non-discrimination.

Preamble: - Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour should be conducted with a view to raising standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, developing the full use of the resources of the world and expanding the production and exchange of goods,

Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and to the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international commerce,

Have through their Representatives agreed as follows……………..

Paradoxically, despite its desire to cocoon itself, India was the founder member of GATT. Founder members were a mix from developed and developing nations. The list of founding members was as follows: -

    1. Commonwealth of Australia,

    2. The Kingdom of Belgium,

    3. The United States of Brazil,

    4. Burma,

    5. Canada,

    6. Ceylon,

    7. The Republic of Chile,

    8. The Republic of China,

    9. The Republic of Cuba,

    10. The Czechoslovak Republic,

    11. The French Republic,

    12. India,

    13. Lebanon,

    14. The Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg,

    15. The Kingdom of the Netherlands,

    16. New Zealand,

    17. The kingdom of Norway,

    18. Pakistan,

    19. Southern Rhodesia,

    20. Syria,

    21. The Union of South Africa,

    22. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and

    23. The United States of America:

GATT was based on 4 building blocks: -

  1. MFN. Most Favoured Nation concept, which meant that the tariffs charged to imports from the most favourable nation among the GATT members should be charged to all the members. In simple terms it meant NO DISCRIMINATION in tariffs.

  2. Principle of Providing Equal Market Access Opportunity to all Signatories.

  3. Principle of Trade Liberalisation through reciprocal concessions being granted.

  4. Dispute settlement mechanism in operation.

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