CA Lalit Munoyat
Ravaged by many scandals and widely criticised the Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh (MMS) eventually decided to break silence to reveal all. He has taken a heavy beating on his image as being the founders of India’s economic boom to someone who did nothing to stop corruption or policy paralysis. An aggressive media, an assertive Supreme Court and an effective opposition have forced him to call a press conference of television editors was convened on 16th February 2011 to clarify his position on the various scams unearthing one after the other. The questions raised and few answers and more supplementary questions. The questions- answers session was as under:
1) 2 G Spectrum Scam
The PM MMS said there were complaints “from all sides” about the way former Telecom Minister A Raja had distributed 2G spectrum but he was “not in a position” to make up his mind if anything was seriously wrong. He added that he made his concerns clear to A Raja on 2G spectrum allocation but was assured by Raja — “on the same day” — that he was doing nothing wrong and that his methods were “absolutely transparent”. Further, he said he had conveyed his unease to Raja about 2G, he did not press further for auction after the Ministries of Telecom and Finance agreed to go by the prevailing system of first-come first-served. This decision was also supported by expert bodies like the TRAI and the Telecom Commission, he said.
If it is so then the probe of 2G must be widen to cover the finance ministry, TRAI and Telecom Commission also.
2) The Prime Minister assured the country that his government was “dead serious” on bringing to book all wrongdoers “regardless of their positions” in the 2G spectrum, CWG, ISRO and Adarsh scams.
Well, the PM is really “as serious as dead” on the issue of corruption. It is a matter altogether different that despite his all seriousness he could not contain A. Raja from committing a scam of such a magnitude and tried to pass the buck on finance ministry, TRAI, TELECOM Commission. He was candid enough to agree that he had no say in the appointment of Mr. A. Raja as he was the choice of DMK, a partner in the governing coalition and showed ignorance of the knowledge of the distribution of 2G licenses because, he said, the issue of licenses was never brought before him or the Cabinet. It is a pity that the head of the government was helpless watching his minister looting a fortune of the citizens and the PM did not have the courage of at least asking him to stop. Reason: Coalition Dharma
3) A serious Lame Duck Government
Of course, Mr. MMS is not a lame duck PM when it comes to dealing with less privileged persons. But when it comes to governance he bows his head to the feet of his masters (Yes he has a master) to say that “in a coalition, it was not in his hands about whom to be inducted from a coalition partner. “You cannot suggest your preferences and you have to go by the choice of the leader of the party. “Raja and Dayanidhi Maran were the choice of DMK and I had no reason to feel that anything seriously wrong has been done.
4) MMS: I did not feel that I had the authority to object to Raja’s entry although complaints were coming from some companies who were not benefited and some who had not benefited adequately. I was not in a position to make up my mind about Raja,” he said.
The head of a government is so obsessed and confused that he could not make up his mind whether to include A. Raja as a member of his cabinet or not. Confusion is just a plank to show his helplessness while the actual reason, as he himself stated, was “in a coalition, it was not in his hands about whom to be inducted from a coalition partner “You cannot suggest your preferences and you have to go by the choice of the leader of the party.” Kudos: MMS you definitely are not a Lame Duck PM.
5) The Prime Minister asserted that he was “not afraid of appearing before any committee, including a JPC”. “I will be quite happy to appear before any committee,”
Why now? Why not then when the issue came above the earth and you were hell bent upon defending A. Raja. You had to literally request the DMK to call back A. Raja. If you are not afraid then why did you allow the opposition to waste the entire winter session of the parliament by refusing to constitute a JPC? Are you so cornered now that your masters have instructed to sing a reconciliatory tune and suggest the media of a probable JPC in the offing. Alongwith the opposition you are equally responsible to the wastage of precious parliamentary session which could have been used to mitigate the problems of the poor- neck-bracing inflation. Mr. PM surely you know that each member of parliament cost an average of Rs. 45 Lakhs per annum and therefore you owe a duty to the nation to explain it.
6) “I have never felt like resigning. I will stay the course. I have a job to do. I never thought of giving up half-way,”
Yes Mr. PM. You have a job to do before resigning. A job to do, not for yourself, but for your masters. To use all of your government machinery to lay a layman beneath the earth such that he is a slave of his ownself. A job to do, to prepare your younger master to reap the fruits of all that you have faced to plant that tree. An obligation to repay. No immorality involved.
7) Compromises to be made
Mr. PM admitted there are certain compulsions in coalition politics, “compromises have to be made”, but also assured that the coalition was strong and there was “no danger of inner tension leading to a break-up”. “Our allies are with us whole-heartedly,” he said.
Sir, compromises are not made to promote crime, money laundering, looting of national wealth. They are made to prevent wastage of precious national wealth by going for by-election every now and then so that some efforts can be made by the coalition to improve the quality of life of the citizens. Who has given you the mandate to make compromises for unethical objects and depriving the poor of the basic needs of the day? A few from the government are enjoying an ultra luxury life in villas floating in the pacific while the common man is living a dying life day after day. Have we given the mandate for this? And don’t forget we voted for a mandate to a political party and not to an unholy alliance which is formed after the election when no party gets a mandate. No political party can be said to have a mandate of the people until it is able to stand up and show the courage that it can run without the crutches of Left, Right, Third. Mandate for good governance and not for unholy alliances with a compulsory unethical compromise. Say the PM “A coalition government has to be viewed in a context that no single party has emerged to rule by itself,” Yes. We have watched and we vow not to watch it any further if such abject compromises are made under the guise of a coalition government.
8) ISRO & DEVAS
Mr. PM said that the deal of allocation of S-band spectrum has not been operationalised and the Cabinet Committee on Security would soon take a decision on terminating it, a decision on which was taken on July two last year.
Was the PMO aware of allocation of S-band spectrum which is a very precious national wealth? If so then why was it hidden so far? Did ISRO has the authority to undertake the allocation of S-Band with a foreign country?. It is a very serious lapse on the security of the nation. Estimates are gaining ground that the worth of this scam may well over be Rs. 2 Lakh Crores. Yet a decision on terminating it has not been taken as inferred from the voice of the PM that “Cabinet Committee on Security would soon take a decision on terminating it, a decision on which was taken on July two last year. “
He said different departments including the Law Ministry have recommended termination of the contract but the question is whether they were consulted while entering into the contract?
9) Learning Process:
“I have looked upon life as learning and re-learning process. It has been a great educational experience from civil service to academic world to political world. This process of learning, I relish that”,
What a blunder. I driver with learning licence has been given a speed car only to run amok and crush the financial & economical health of the nation with coalition partners as his co-riders. Mr. MMS is a very good academician and a person whose honesty and integrity is beyond even an iota of suspicion. But his shoulder is being used to fire a gun by his colleagues.
10) We will take all steps to bring all black money
“We will take all steps to bring all black money that is legally ours.”
Are you that serious? If then why are you not disclosing the names of the crooks which you already have? Why did you not accept the open offer of the Germany to share information on black money? Why have you not ratified the UN convention on corruption which many of the other countries have already ratified?.
“Efforts are on to sign treaties with other countries to get information about black money abroad.”
What Efforts you are taking? Is it through Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) or Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA)? You can’t use TIEA because you know it well that no country ( Tax Haven Countries, Offshore Banking etc.) will ever agree to this treaty because it provides that one country can request all financial investment information regarding their citizens and corporations and that there is no probable cause requirement to get this information. There is no criminality or dual criminality required. There is not even a tax violation required. Whereas DTAA as such is not at all effective in bringing back the black money because of a very specific clause-Article-26 which enjoins that information can be shared only in so far as is necessary for in relation to the recovery of taxes. No information as aforesaid can be exchanged which would disclose any trade, business, industrial or professional secret or trade process. They will share information only in cases of Dual Criminality i.e. the offence has to be a crime – in both the countries. In Swiss Tax evasion or non filing of tax returns are not criminal offences in Switzerland.
(For a full article on this subject the readers can visit the following link
Catch-26: Dishonesty at a Premium
11) What is the way out? An Amnesty Scheme? No Way at Any Cost
A simple calculation will prove the fact. If a tax payer has paid, on an average, 75,000/- as income tax for last 15 years then the total tax paid by him will be. Rs. 11,25,000/- At an interest rate of 12% p.a. the present value of the paid would be 16,32,000/- i.e. a tax rate of 45%.Besides this the tax payer must have incurred many expenses on maintenance of accounts, professional fees, payment of speed money for getting an advantage which is legally available to me. If the amnesty scheme permits the payment of the tax evaded i.e. Rs. 11,25,000/- today , will it not give a signal to the honest taxpayers to be dishonest and carry a premium of 15% if the proposed tax rate is 30%. All honest tax payers must unite to block any such attempt of bringing such an amnesty scheme which would discount their honesty by 15%.
12) Proprietary of the Press Conference
Just a few days before the opening of the Budget Session of the parliament what was the need for the PM to call this press conference. These questions must have been raised at the parliament by the members. Was the PM afraid of defending a Volvo of questions which would have been very painful to him? Has he taken it as a practice match to know his strengths and weakness in facing more probing questions in the session? However what was meant to be an exercise to gain firsthand experience in facing the opposition, the Conference has not been that successful for him because during the conference the PM looked lost for words to answer the pointed questions raised and his body language and the flow of his speech were a clear pointer to his uneasiness at the conference.
CA LALIT MUNOYAT
B.Com.(Hons.), CS, FCA, DISA