Fo­cus on Pol­icy Im­ple­men­ta­tion

Voice&Data - - PER­SPEC­TIVE - Pravin Prashant

The Supreme Court judge­ment on pres­i­den­tial ref­er­ence talks about the auc­tion route as not the only method for al­lo­cat­ing nat­u­ral re­sources. The five-judge apex court bench headed by chief jus­tice SH Oa­pa­dia has said that the auc­tion could be a bet­ter op­tion where the aim is max­i­miza­tion of rev­enue, but then ev­ery method other than auc­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources can­not be shut down.

This is a bal­anced judge­ment and fol­lowed ex­pected lines as the court can­not go into the wis­dom of the ex­ec­u­tive in pol­icy mat­ters. The gov­ern­ment pol­icy will keep on chang­ing with re­spect to the ob­jec­tive of the gov­ern­ment and with re­spect to the type of nat­u­ral re­source.

The judge­ment clearly de­fines the role of ex­ec­u­tive and ju­di­ciary with re­spect to al­lo­cat­ing nat­u­ral re­sources. For eg, in the case of the 2G scam, pol­icy mak­ing was a clear pre­rog­a­tive of the ex­ec­u­tive whereas ju­di­ciary stepped in only when the 2G pol­icy was not im­ple­mented prop­erly or there were anom­alies in the 2G pol­icy. In case of 2G spec­trum, the gov­ern­ment had opted for a first-come-first-serve ba­sis but even that was not fol­lowed trans­par­ently as the fo­cus was to give ben­e­fit to few com­pa­nies, out of turn. So,the Supreme Court had no op­tion but to can­cel 122 li­censes al­lot­ted to 9 op­er­a­tors.

In the case of the 2G or coal-gate scam, the anom­aly was wrt im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pol­icy or chang­ing the pol­icy mid­way to please cer­tain or­ga­ni­za­tions, thereby di­rectly or indi­rectly gain­ing fa­vors. Even the ver­i­fi­ca­tion of doc­u­ments of com­pa­nies wrt. cer­tain pol­icy guide­lines, as de­cided by the gov­ern­ment, was not be­ing fol­lowed sin­cerely—and it is true for both 2G scam and coal-gate.

So the big ques­tion is: will the gov­ern­ment fol­low the pol­icy in let­ter and spirit or do we see a con­stant tus­sle be­tween ju­di­ciary and ex­ec­u­tive where the ex­ec­u­tive fo­cuses on pol­icy mak­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion and the ju­di­ciary steps in when the gov­ern­ment does not im­ple­ment the pol­icy as per the guide­lines de­vised by the gov­ern­ment?

A big ques­tion also is why the in­ter­ven­tion of the ju­di­ciary is re­quired when the gov­ern­ment can proac­tively mon­i­tor projects like 2G spec­trum or coal min­ing? If th­ese projects have not been im­ple­mented within the time frame why are cor­rec­tive mea­sures not be­ing taken by the ex­ec­u­tive? Cor­rec­tive mea­sures are taken only when the Supreme Court or the High Court step in, or when the op­po­si­tion makes a lot of hue and cry, or when the me­dia goes over­board with a par­tic­u­lar is­sue.

If proper im­ple­men­ta­tion is taken care of it will not af­fect In­dia’s rating wrt in­vest­ment; even for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment (FMI) will not be af­fected. It will also shorten the time for In­dia to move from a de­vel­op­ing econ­omy to a de­vel­oped econ­omy as the whole ob­jec­tive is to get more from what is avail­able in terms of nat­u­ral re­sources.

If all gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, be it cen­tral or state, can fo­cus on proper pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion we can ex­pect min­i­mum cor­rup­tion and money flow­ing into re­spec­tive projects rather than chang­ing hands from one per­son to the other. With more money flow­ing into the project, it helps the gov­ern­ment or com­mon man who gets ben­e­fited from th­ese projects as there is no cost es­ca­la­tion or time over­run and the en­tire money is uti­lized for the project.

The gov­ern­ment should fo­cus on proper pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion and if some­body de­vi­ates from the pol­icy, pun­ish­ment should be given, ir­re­spec­tive of the stature of the per­son or the size of the com­pany. Not an easy thing to im­ple­ment in In­dia but if im­ple­mented prop­erly, it will help us in re­gain­ing in­vestor con­fi­dence and also help us in get­ting more FMI into the coun­try thereby check­ing the fis­cal deficit in the long run.

prav­inp@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

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