Kill bureaucracy to convert Red tape toRed Carpet
On May 28th, I wrote the article in the ET; ‘Bureaucrat Mukt Bharat (http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-commentary/steel-frame-of-bureaucracy-is-an-obstacle-to-development-its-time-to-rehaul-it/).
On Independence day, we heard the Hon’ble PM saying that his Government’s motto is to reform, perform and transform. Also, on 01st September, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote, “India’s economy has grown rapidly in recent years, but the country’s bureaucratic quality is widely perceived to be either stagnant or in decline”. A former PM had once said about the Indian Civil Service (ICS) , the earlier avatar of IAS; “as neither Indian, nor civil, nor a service.”
I think it is time to re-look at overhauling the bureaucracy, if we wish to realize the vision of Modi’s idea of India
We need speed, we need efficiency and we need effectiveness in our entire chain of command. This is the pre-requisite in realizing the vision of the greatest statesman – Modi.
We have had a mixed bag of experience with the bureaucracy in implementing some of the key announcements from the Hon’ble Prime Minister, and the commitment on budget announcements and schemes. I have the following suggestions;
The reason our bureaucracy fails is because of the following;
- Unlike the politician, who have to go to the electorate every five years seeking ‘votes’ as his ‘appraisal’ for the performance, bureaucrats come with a ‘seniority based promotion’ and a defined retirement age and hence, they are least bothered for their performance reviews and also that these ACRs (Annual Confidential Reports) for performance reviews can be ‘managed’.
- Also, since bureaucrats make the ACRs of these bureaucrats, the norm is ‘do no harm’, and they are generally rated between 8-10 in the ACRs and the chain continues year after year, badge after badge. Actually, now there is no merit in looking at these ACRs. Even the most corrupt and inefficient officers had the best of ACRs
- Most of the bureaucrats are there for ‘authority’ and ‘administration’, and not development. Their approach is to ‘control’ and ‘Govern’ and not – ‘work as a team’ for ‘development’.
- Also, if one gauges the real working of majority of these bureaucrats, they don’t work for anyone, but they work for themselves, and then, there are ego’s, differences, grudges and dislikes for other bureaucrats. So there is never a ‘team approach’ in whatever they do and this drags the performance of the Government.
- Bureaucrats are more ‘procedure driven’ than ‘Outcome driven’. They focus more on following procedures and not necessarily on the outcome or performance, and that is why files take months to travel from one desk to another. Famously, one of the best performing Minister, Sh. Nitin Gadkari said on 09th May 2016, that it took him a 9-month wait for an approval for an automated parking. This is when Sh. Nitin Gadkari ji is known for being really fast in getting things done within the bureaucracy, and hence we can imagine what other ministers must be facing!
So, the time has come when we think out of the box and overhaul this system. Else, in 2019, our biggest failure will be because of the inefficient and unaccountable bureaucracy who will fail to implement Government’s key schemes.
We need to focus on the team approach; ‘One India, One team, one Goal’, that touches and transforms life till the last man standing in the line.
Re-defining the Appraisal System: As of now, we have an appraisal system that looks at ACRs, which only counts for an individual’s performance. If the performance and payment of the bureaucrat was based besides his individual performance (50% weightage) , the performance of his department / ministry (25%weightage) and the overall performance of the Government (25% weightage) , then the bureaucrats would work as a team and give up the siloed approach . So the first change is;
Move from ACR to CPR (Comprehensive Performance Review), which includes
- Individual Performance Review (IPR). Based on the yearly goals/ deliverables assigned
- A) Secretary’s goal should be decided by the Minister of the department
- B) Deliverables of the Joint Secretary and above decided by the Secretary of the department and the chain follows down
- Department’s Performance Review (DPR). Overall departmental review be based on the goals set for the year for the department / Ministry
- Government Performance Review (GPR). This is the overall performance rating of the Government based on the
- a) facts / data based self assessment by the Ministry / department (10 % weightage)
- b) Annual online survey taken by the citizens, for all the departments / ministries at the central level (15 % weightage)
Weightage for each level of review for the Comprehensive Performance Review (CPR) :
- Individual Performance Review (IPR) should have 50 percent weightage
- Department’s Performance Review (DPR) should have 25 percent weightage
- Government Performance Review (GPR) should have 25 percent weightage
Increments, variable pay/ incentives and promotions of officials should be based on CPR
Implementation: Can be in a phased manner ;
- Option 1: We could start the IPR (Individual Performance Review) & DPR (Department’s Performance Review) from 2017 at the Joint Secretary level, and the CPR (which includes the overall Government review) can start from 2018
- Option 2: CPR (Comprehensive Performance Review) can start at the Secretary level from 2017
- Move to the Joint Secretary level from 2018
- From 2019, the same can applied to employees holding the post of director rank in the government – Central
- Option 3: Have CPR only for Secretaries in 2017, and rest can be in a phased manner
Parameters for IPR could be picked up from what is already defined under ACR, but it must be more specific like;
- For Defining / planning time bound quantifiable and measurable deliverables for the year (20 % weightage)
- Completion of targets within the time frame (20 % weightage)
- Completion of targets without increase in budgets (15 % weightage)
- Utilization of funds (15 % weightage)
- Disposal of files & Grievances (15 % weightage)
- Innovations (15 % weightage)
For any of the misses, the weightage be objectively apportioned.
Department’s Performance Review (DPR)
- Every department must define / plan its key yearly deliverables / priorities. This must be done by the TEAM – Minister in-charge and officers up to the rank of Joint Secretary (20 % weightage)
- Completion of targets within the time frame (25 % weightage)
- Completion of targets without increase in budgets (20 % weightage)
- Utilization of funds (20 % weightage)
- Disposal of grievances (15 % weightage)
For any of the misses, the weightage be objectively apportioned.
Government Performance Review (GPR)
A part for the GPR be based on actual data / facts, and must be done by an independent government agency (40 percent weightage) and the rest must be based on public perception (60%) ; or it can be made (50 %) of actual assessment by an independent agency and (50 %) by public voting ;
- Implementation of key schemes goals Vs. achievements (10 % weightage)
- Meeting the Inflation target (5 % weightage)
- Fiscal deficit (5 % weightage)
- GDP Growth (5 % weightage)
- Utilization of funds (5 % weightage)
- Disposal of grievances (10 % weightage)
The government works for the citizens, and finally it is the citizens who are the best judge of its performance. Parameters 1-6 above can be objectively judged with data / facts, and others can be subjectively judged by the citizens under Jan Bhagidhari Assessment (JBA) through online voting.
At the end, it is the Government ‘for the people’, so the people must rate the Government on overall performance through public voting, after Government presents its self- appraisals on the points mentioned from 1-6 above.
The voting should be open for 30 days for the public to vote by a missed call from their registered mobile number on a toll free number; (60 % weightage should be assigned to public perception / judgment on performance) and 40 % on self appraisal / independent assessment by the Government.
Major change in bureaucracy is about making it a ‘performance based contractual service’: Also, one reaches the rank of Joint Secretary after a minimum service of 17 years. Joint Secretary is the actual ‘official’ who runs the show for the Government on a day-to-day basis, but if one sees the performance of the Joint Secretary, in a real sense, s/he does not feel accountable to anyone. The reality is, that now they are more driven by authority and administration and less by duty and development.
The biggest bane of bureaucracy is their job security and on one can demote them or remove them. When politicians have to go every five years for their performance review and renewing their term before the electorate, why should the top officials not undergo a review and renew based on their performance? Let us give them job security, but for performers. The Government is serious about a ‘Big Change’, and has to go and seek appraisal from the voters in 2019, but most of the bureaucrats are not as serious. They have been used to seeing government after government for decades. For them, this is all routine office work but for the Government, it is an implementation emergency. This is the only way to bridge the divide and bring about a cultural change for performance, accountability and rewards. Today, only the politicians are accountable but not bureaucrats! And it is time to change and fix the accountability based transparent review process / system.
All officers of the rank of Joint Secretary and above must be put on a 5-year contract, based on their performance review, with a performance based financial incentive for their outstanding work. So, the salary structure should have a fixed pay and a variable component . If they fail to live up to the performance standards (IPR) below 80 % for three years (out of five year term), they must be relieved. Let us not forget that the ‘Best are first to be hired and last to be fired’. So no worry for the best performers, rest should worry about themselves.
Even, Nirmal Kumar Mukarji, the last serving Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer in India who retired as Cabinet Secretary in 1980, as chief guest at the Indian Administrative Service’s 50th Anniversary celebrations 1997, had called for an end to the all-India tenured services.
Also, PS to the Minister is considered an important bureaucrat but he is a junior IAS. (below the rank of Joint Secretary), and hence s/he plays safe dealing with his seniors, as one day he might have to work under them, and the loser in this case always is the Minister. So, we need to consider that the PS to the Minister be a Special Secretary rank .
eOffice & eFile – Files are taking months to move from one table to another . e-Office / eFile concept must be implemented. No file should take more than three weeks and pass more than three levels. If there is a delay of more than a week, the note should be made on the file justifying the reasons for delay
Modi has the intent, the will and the vision and he is working really hard. Will his administrative system be able to catch up? There is a big difference in how the minister and the common man are handled by the bureaucrats. So the first impression here, should not be the last impression! Bureaucracy is slowly putting red tape to the red carpet !
Modi rightly said recently, “We cannot march through the twenty first century with the administrative systems of the nineteenth century”. If we see, we still have ‘Collectors’ in post British India, and this itself shows that the bureaucracy is still in 19th Century! A senior IAS wrote to me, ‘Modi is ahead of time’ and I said ‘ Yes, Modi is definitely ahead of time but unfortunately, the bureaucracy is still in the 19th century’. When Modi was thinking of Planning Commission, he made a profound statement, “Sometime it is better to build a new house than to repair the old one”. May be the same approach is needed for the ‘institution’ called bureaucracy. Do we repair the old house or / and build another one. The transition is critical and we have no time to lose. It needs to start soon and there should be a time bound plan to implement it
Rajendra Pratap Gupta
Please see the total debt , interest and principal payments by the Government of India . Still do you think that we can pull this country out of the mess under the UPA ? We need radical changes
As per data made available by the Ministry of Finance on debt vide RTI dated 13th May 2013 letter dated AAAD/COORD/ L(1)2012; AS ON 31/12/2012
Government Loans :
Total multilateral debt is INR 2,401,829,740,367
Total bilateral debt is INR 1,046,418,091,740
Total Government loans ( multi-lateral and bilateral ) is INR 3,448,247,832,107
Non – Government loans
Multi-lateral INR 302,495,682,321
Bilateral INR 190,240,677,456
Total Non-governmental Multilateral & Bilateral loans – INR 492,736,359, 778
Grand total ( Government & Non-Government ) 3,940,984,191,885
Total yearly payments of interests & principal
2011-12 2012-13 ( 01.04.12 – 31.12.2012) Figures in 1000 INR
Interest 2425686378 2028398390
Principal 34823428250 24641868095
Recently , very few people noticed a four line news that , Moody’s Investor Service downgraded the so-called financial strengths ratings and the baseline credit assessments of;
1. Bank of Baroda
2. Canara Bank
3. Punjab National Bank
The outlook on Union Bank of India has also been changed to negative .
This is the first indicator of ‘Gloom & Doom’ that is set to hit the economy soon. Somehow , India has missed the recession in 2008 , but India will now enter into recessionary phase that is likely to last between 3 -6 years .
Somehow , the investments that came due to ‘overselling’ the India story like the SEZs, power plants , airports are fading off and most of the infrastructure companies are under a huge pile of debt. More NPAs and job losses will follow .
I see that not a single politician or an economist can put his head out and speak the truth that India is hitting a phase of recession ( probably , they do not know it , like the American crisis ). From a high of 9 per cent growth , we are already down by 45 % in our GDP growth . How else do we define recession ? Are we already not into a recession with companies laying off people every month and our growth slowing down by 45 % ?
Let us accept the situation and plan now. Else , India will be headed for an unprecedented crisis. I am not more worried with 2014 election as much as the rapidly falling economy . On many occasions ,i have pointed my friends across political parties that they would be better off losing 2014 elections than winning them , as there is enormous crisis to be faced, and a lot of dirty and hard work to be done to reverse the falling fortunes of this country and it is not going to be an easy 2014 for politics and politicians .
Let us consider this situation ;
India needs foreign exchange – USD . This can come due to ;
- Reduced imports
Now , exports might start shrinking or remain the same , so not much can be done on that front .
FDI comes in India for
1. Either setting up manufacturing
2. Investment in corporates / stock markets
All the money that comes in FDI needs to produce profits due to either exports or domestic consumption . Both are not going to happen the way investors look at ROI or IRR on their investments as the local consumption story is missing . India has already passed off 100s of millions of poor as ‘middle income aspirational class wanting to spend’ , and this was the biggest fraud of Sonia & MMS led congress government and 100s of corporates have lost millions of dollars every month and are now exiting India or slowing down
Only way the foreigners can make money is dabbling billions of USD in stock markets . So, now FDI’s constitute 11.2 % of GDP in India (2011-12) , and FIIs can play a spoil sport for Indian Economy and generate a balance of payment crisis in any trading hour !
Also, how i could i miss writing about another direct cash transfer scheme of Congress ! Party has got a new way to make money ‘ CSR spending’ under the new companies act .Now politicians can ask corporates for CSR spending and bang ! You know why this bill got passed so easily. And if i am a corporate and i wish to get a license or avoid something OR seeking favours like Robber Vadra, i will give money under CSR to a politician’s NGO….. Wow , another MNAREGA, NRHM and a wonderful legal cash transfer scheme , So who says that XYZ paid bribes , now you cannot prove it , it was just a CSR spending . So, corporates , what are you waiting for , come buy your Rajya Sabha seat , it just cost 100 crores in CSR spending ! Come and block your seats now , it is election year , and sweet -legal deals available through all state leaders and through various national schemes , we have legalised bribes and you have an option to chose your preferred medium . Hurry, this is the last congress government. Hurry up, come , before we run out of time as Elections are likely in November
BTW, time for any sensible politician to come out with a job creation and wealth generation model for India before thinking of FDI or going back to 9 per cent growth
Earlier we realise , the better it is . India is into a recession now !
Rajendra Pratap Gupta
On 8th February , 2013, i wrote about the ‘Oxytocin’ injections that the Government is giving to our economy to draw out milk…….here is the proof.
Life Insurance Corporation was the most dependable automated teller machine for the government in the past year, buying record amounts of bonds and stocks of public-sector firms. Which was shown as ‘successful divestment by the Government’.
The state-run insurer’s purchase of government bonds rose 20%, and it bought nearly 40% of the shares sold via offer for sale (OFS) in four out of total seven PSUissues, said people familiar with the investments.
Of the Rs 4.67 lakh crore raised by the government through securities, LIC provided over Rs 1.10 lakh crore, or 21.4% of the total figure.
LIC invested Rs 236 crore in Nalco (35% of the OFS size), Rs 142 crore in RCF (45%), Rs 608 crore in Hindustan CopperBSE 0.87 % (44%), Rs 923 crore in NTPCBSE -0.35 % (5%), Rs 1,069 crore in SAIL (71%) and Rs 282 crore in NMDCBSE 2.50 % (4.7%).
LIC had contributed 81% to the government’s Rs 14,000-crore mop-up from share sales in 2011-12 by investing Rs 11,400 crore in ONGC
LIC invests in government securities with a view to holding them till maturity, and mark-to-market losses in the interim are not good. It would be a good practice to evaluate returns on redemption each time it happens and compare it with benchmark government bond rates. “Any shortfall in the return should be compensated by the government,”
Also, LICs mandate to invest 50 % in Government securities should be re-looked .
So the big question is , was this really divestment or a ‘back door buyout’ & a ‘face saver’ from a state controlled financier with public money, which could have yielded better returns had the LIC invested into blue chip companies . We all know that the state run PSUs will perform poorly when compared to other blue chip firms . Does it not warrant a CAG inquiry into the management ( mismanagement ) of LICs investments under duress ( from Chidambaram ) ?
LIC is failing in its fiduciary responsibilities to its investors ( people of this country who buy insurance policies from LIC ) , who invest Rs. 450 crore a day in LIC . Time to raise this issue and realise , that the actual divestment figure shown by the Government was a back door forced buyback by a family firm ( Government’s family firm- LIC )
Rajendra Pratap Gupta
Please see the data below . If you carefully examine the data , a few things are apparent ;
1. Sales drop in tractors indicate poor state of affairs in agri- rural India ( decline in agricultural sector )
2. Sales drop in Medium and heavy ( M&H) segment indicate actual decline in industrial output
3. Sales drop in light commercial vehicles (LCV ) indicate that the ‘Public sentiment’ is negative .
In the tractor segment 3,44,911 units were produced as against 3,72,282 units in the same period of last FY, registering 7% decline according to the data of Tractor Manufacturers Association [TMA].
As per the data of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers [SIAM], total production in M& H segment was 2,11,530 vehicles against 2,72,400 in the same period of last financial year.
Source : http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/steep-fall-in-commercial-vehicle-production-in-apr-dec-113012500139_1.html
VE Commercial Vehicle sales down 20% in December
By PTI Jan 01 2013 , New Delhi
I am not an economist , so in case, my predictions go wrong ( so far, i have not been wrong on a single occasion ), i do have an option to take refuge in my lack of educational qualifications in the Economic theory unlike the proficient doctors of economics do at PM’s office , Planning Commission & the Finance ministry …..
My belief is that in 2013-14;
1. This Government will struggle to revive growth
2. Inflation ‘might’ ( 50 % chances ) come down a bit , as consumption story of India will go down
3. Manufacturing sector will slow down
4. Fiscal deficit will increase, and might create a balance of payments problem , or the Government will open more avenues for FDI ( or bend to the demands of the industrialists )
5. Tax collections will go down
6. Divestment target will not be met under the current situation unless some more ‘targets’ are divested
7. India might face a ‘security threat’ before the next elections
8. Investor confidence cannot be revived due to ‘Governance deficit’ and ‘Scamful’ Government at the centre .
Also, you can expect this Government to come out with injecting ‘Oxytocin’ in the economy as mentioned in my earlier blog ….. but this will be a short-term story, and will further dent the strength of the economy
Overall, not a good omen for job seekers and this nation . Hopefully, this will be the last budget for Congress
Rajendra Pratap Gupta
India – from Emerging to a Submerging economy
On 22nd March 2012 , I wrote this on my blog and also sent the same to leading public figures .I had stated dwelling in detail about how, ‘ Have we oversold the India story’, and this was much before the bad news starting sinking in !
Link to the blog is https://commonmansblog.com/2012/03/ .
This blog clearly mentioned that we must be prepared for bad news in April – May – June Quarter , and we know that, India was downgraded as an economy by the international rating agencies ( S&P & Fitch ) and many Indian banks also faced the brunt , many retailers are gasping for breath ….
This time , I have decided to write about the story of how Indian economy would enter a dark phase if immediate steps are not taken ,and this note is not against anyone but for everyone who wants to see India doing well ! I have tried my best to put data for every statement ( Besides Almighty , everyone should believe in data !).
So now , it is time to peep in the story of how an emerging economy can become a submerging economy .
Let us look at the following data :
|Sector – Industry / company||Financials ( Loans / NPAs)||Source / Remarks|
|Telecom Sector||Rs. 2.00 Lac Crore debt||TOI, 26th September , 2012.|
|Banking Sector||NPAs Rs.1.37 Lac crore as of June’12||Mint , 7th September, 2012|
|Banking Sector||According to RBI’s assessment , a fifth of all re-structured loans go bad . According to RBI, as on March 31, banks had Rs.2.18 Lac worth of restructured loans on its books||Mint, 7th September, 2012|
|Banking Sector||State-run banks NPA crosses Rs.1.23 Lac crore||Mint , 23/ August/ 2012|
|Credit card outstanding||Rs. 22150.00 Crore||As on July/ 21 Ref. ET 14/9/12|
|Indian Government||Total planned borrowing is Rs.5.71 Lac crore for FY 13, of which Rs.2.0 Lac crore would be in the second half of the fiscal by Dec’12||As per Mint dated September 28, 2012|
|Banking Sector||Report by Credit Suisse group AG points that exposure to 10 large Industrial groups constitute 13 % of the entire banking system||Mint, August 21, 2012.|
|Banking Sector||As of 27th July, Indian banks had loans outstanding of Rs.36,600.00 Crore to the mining and quarrying sector, and Rs.93,170.00 Crore to the Telecom sector||Mint, 12th September, 2012.|
|Power Sector||As of March, 2011, the accumulated losses of the State power distribution companies are estimated to be alone Rs.1.90 lac crore which, by now, would have crossed Rs.2.0 lac crore||IBN Live dated 23rd, September, 2012|
|Air India ( NACIL)||Rs.67520.00 crores in loans & dues||NDTV Profit, 8th Feb, 2012|
|Pantaloons ( Kishore Biyani’s )||Rs.3300.00 crore||ET, 14th June 2012 . After selling a portion of its apparel business to Aditya Birla Group. Before the sell-off , the debt of Pantaloon was about a billion dollars|
|Reliance ADA Group||Rs.86700.00 crore FY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|GMR||Rs.33600.00 croreFY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|JSW||Rs.40,200.00 crore FY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|Jaypee||Rs.45,400.00 crore FY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|Lanco||Rs.29,300.00 crore FY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|Essar Group||Rs.93,800.00 crore FY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|Vedanta||Rs.93,500.00 crore FY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|Adani Group||Rs.69500.00 crore FY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|Videocon||Rs.27,300.00 crore FY’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|GVK||Rs.21,000.00 crore F’12||Business Line August 26th, 2012.|
|Fortis Healthcare||Rs.6237.00 crore||Business Line August 15th, 2012|
|King Fisher Airlines||Rs.7500.00 crore||The Hindu, July 2nd , 2012|
|Losses of top three oil marketing companies||Rs.40,500.00 crore in April-May-June’2012||Forbes India , Sept 03, 2012|
|Airtel||Rs.60,018 Till Q1, 2012||Business Line , Aug 3, 2012|
The total debt level of ten companies alone (Adani, Essar, GMR, GVK, JSW, Jaypee Group, Lanco, Reliance ADA, Vedanta and Videocon) has jumped 5 times in the past five years to Rs 5,39,500 crore ( Indian Express , September 06, 2012 )
Business Line dated August 26, 2012: Credit Suisse said that the aggregate debt of the ten groups accounts for about 13 per cent of total bank loans and a whopping 98 per cent of the entire banking system net worth.
“Therefore, surprisingly now in terms of concentration risk, Indian banks rank higher than most of their Asian and BRIC counterparts,” it added.
The report said a strong loan growth of Indian banking system in past five years is increasingly being driven by a select few corporate groups.
“Given the high leverage, poor profitability and pressure from lenders, most of these debt heavy groups have initiated plans to divest some of their assets. However, given that most domestic infrastructure developers are already over-geared, demand for these assets may be limited,” Credit Suisse said.
Each of these groups alone account for 1-2 per cent of total banking system loans, the report said, while noting that all banks appear to have high exposure to the same few groups.
“With the economic slowdown and a downturn in these sectors, multiple assets of each group appear stressed and financials of these groups are stretched,” the report said.
Bank’s exposure to real estate sector ( ET dated 22nd August , 2012)
|Bank||Exposure to real estate FY 2011-12 ( Rs. Crore )|
|State Bank of India||144668.38|
|Punjab National Bank||48474.59|
|Bank of Baroda||22157.40|
|Total exposure||Rs. 437285.00 Crore|
Despite an exposure / investment of about Rs.4.37 lac crore from banks ,still five lac houses remain unsold ( ET, 22/ 08/2012 & TOI dated 18/ 09/ 2012. ) . So land became costly as the builders brought them with loans , houses became expensive due to builder cartels and now that houses are not getting sold , all are a part of the downturn ……..no solution is in sight except for NPA’s and its cascading affect later .
Clearly, Indian economic story lacks ‘depth’ but has been built on ‘debt’ and this is a painful bubble waiting to burst …. So a common man must have enough savings to last a few years if without a job !
July 26, 2012 in TOI, it was reported that at least eight cases of FDI in some obscure real estate companies – each worth more than USD 100 Million – from Singapore have come under scanner , with Income tax Overseas unit (ITOU) having investigated them for alleged round tripping . Suspicion was raised when authorities detected huge FDI inflows into some little known real estate firms in India in the form of equity participation . A senior finance ministry official said they suspect these real estate firms to be front entities of some corporate houses and their black money has been routed through Singapore to acquire real estate in the country . All these FDIs coming from Singapore pertain to 2011. India received Rs.1.74 Lac crore worth of FDIs in 2011-12, of which Singapore contributed third highest at Rs.24,700.00 , after Mauritius ( Rs. 46,700.00 crore ) and the U.K ( Rs. 45,000.00 Crore). So , now we can understand why an Indian’s politician’s family have a flat in Singapore and why Indian Government along with a few ‘parties with vested interests’ are pushing for FDI ! Does it also not answer the question why Government opened the real estate sector to FDI in 2005 ? So that money stashed abroad can be brought back in real estate sector, and further money could be made by investing in and increasing the prices by buying land ! Does Lavasa ring a bell in your ear !
In absolute terms, bank’s bad assets have doubled in three years between 2009 and 2012 – from Rs. 68216 crore to Rs.1.37 Lac crore ( Mint 21st August , 2012). Bad assets in coal, iron and steel , mining , construction , textiles and aviation sector have been on the rise . Bankers see stress in telecom and power sector, too. The biggest beneficiaries of loan restructurings are large industrial houses in the manufacturing sector – 8.24 % of loans given to industries have been recast. In the services sector , the comparable figure is 3.99 % , and in agriculture loans , 1.45 %. It is clear that the small borrowers don’t get relief from loan servicing but the large industrial houses have gotton one ( Mint , 21, August ,2012. ). According to the same article , public sector banks have 90 % of the restructured assets , and this in my view clearly states one fact – a strong political – bureaucratic and business houses nexus to make loans and buy private jets and show companies in losses to the investors ! What right do the business houses have to question the Government on profligacy and spending when these business houses have huge debts but have their CEO’s / promoters taking home 10’s of crore in salaries plus stakes in companies and still flying private jets on borrowed money ! We know of the large business house where the debts are more than revenue but the flamboyant chairman / promoter flies on private jets ! Such company’s ( any company that has over Rs. 50 crore external debt ), boards must be restructured by the MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) and independent directors with fixed term and remuneration should be appointed by the Government , so that the loans and shareholders money is not misappropriated by such promoters in the name of expenses and privileges !
Three more developments to be noted to give you a sense of state of affairs in the Indian economy :
|India||S&P rating is BBB (Minus) . Outlook – NegativeFitch rating is BBB (Minus ). Outlook – Negative ( TOI, 26th June, 2012 ).|
|Bharti Airtel||Downgraded by Goldman Sachs and other banks. ET . 10th , August , 2012|
|Retail Sector||Fitch has downgraded the ratings to negative|
Agriculture / Food crises : The US is facing a severe drought , and India has witnessed a bad spell of monsoon this year with erratic and unpredictably low rainfall . When India imports pulses and oilseeds , & the prices of these commodities is set to rise. Stock piles of the biggest crops will decline for a third year as drought parches fields across three continents , raising the food-import costs already forecast by the United Nations to reach a near record $ 1.24 trillion . Combined inventories of corn, wheat, soya beans and rice will drop 1.8% to a four year low before harvests in 2013, the US department of Agriculture ( USDA) estimates . Crops in the US, the biggest exporter, are in the worst condition since 1988, heat waves are battering European crops . Wheat production in Russia , the fourth largest exporter , will fall 20 % this year , and in Australia , output will decline 19 % and, God forbid, another year of bad spell of rain in India will spell disaster for this country . This situation warrants an emergency action ! On 9th August , 2012 on page 7 of ET, I read an appeal to the GOI by All India Starch Manufacturer’s Association regarding the crises due to non-availability of maize in the domestic market. Even if starch manufacturers were ready to buy maize at higher prices, it was not available and adding to it was the monsoon failure ! We are all awaiting a miracle to happen with Wal-Mart et al. But the reality is that these players have not much to contribute. We must not forget that , the supply chain structures in these companies are leaner and they work on shortest inventory, so clearly , these people will not do much for supply chain management . Also, the biggest contribution is stated to be creation of 10 million jobs in India . I wish to ask that these companies have a ROI ( Return on investment ) for each employee and so , clearly , we must see what is the cost that we are going to pay to these MNC chains for them creating 10 million jobs & the Government must come out with a white paper on this ? After all , Wal-Mart is not here in India for charity ! For sure , it would mean we paid will pay them dearly for doing what we could have done 100 times cheaper ! All FDI investments to me appear to be taking the ‘economy in debt’ to ‘sell off’ ( divestment )… We are back to what East India Company did to India but this time , it is not one company, but multiple East India Companies !
Also , a time to look at the sectorial composition of GDP 1950-51 – 2011-12 from CSO data
|1950-51||53.1 %||16.6 %||30.3 %|
|2011-12||13.9 %||27 %||59 %|
In 1950, India had a population of 350 million and now it is 1210 million. During independence, the population dependent on agriculture was 72% and now it is 54 %. But except Madhya Pradesh, where agricultural growth has increased to dramatically , not much is visible in other states .
Infrastructure – Construction firms sector ( Mint , September 11, 2012): for a set of 87 firms with a significant presence in infrastructure , sourced from Capitaline database , these numbers show an increasing difficulty to service debts
For these firms , the interest coverage ratio (ICR), for fiscal 2012, plunged 1.9 times , the lowest in at least five years. In other words , for every Rs. 100 of interest payments, the firms earnings before interest and tax ( EBIT ) stood at Rs.1.90 . The comparable number for 2007 was almost five.
In the fiscal 2012, at least 17 firms did not earn enough to pay the interest ! The list includes some of the bigger and better known firms such as Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd, Gammon Infrastructure Projects Ltd and GMR Infrastructure Ltd. This might give us a sense of where India is headed . First we oversold the India story, and now we are gonna pay heavily for it ….. !
Emerging Economy – really ? Let’s have a look at the following figures ;
- According to the NSSO survey( July 2011 – June 2012 ), 10 % of India lives on less than Rs.17 a day . As per the survey , half of the population in rural India was living on a per day expenditure of Rs. 34.33 , and this is after two decades of reforms in India !
- About 8.3 % of the population is unemployed
- 54 % of Indian families live in houses that don’t have concrete or brick roof ( Census, 2011 )
- 47 % of the total households live in houses with mud floors ( Census , 2011 )
- More than 800 Mn don’t have toilets at home
- Millions of tonnes of grains are stored in the open as we have no place to store !
- Tata shut production of passenger vehicles for two days to avoid inventory pile up due to bad economic situation
- 1/3rd of rural Indians and 1/5th of urban Indians forego treatment due to lack of money
- 47 % of rural Indians and 31% of urban Indians finance treatment by loans or sale of assets
- One child dies every 16 seconds due to malnutrition , diarrhoea or pneumonia
- All major currencies have appreciated against dollar but rupee has weakened . Even Singapore dollar is up by about 50 % compared to rupee last year
GDP & Growth without fundamentals & eventual Collapse : This is the India’s growth story’s fate . Let me give you two glaring examples and rest you can relate for your conclude;
I have travelled to the draught prone areas, and heartland of farmer’s suicides i.e. Vidharbha region of Maharashtra . Lanco is setting up a power plant in Wardha and has purchased land for as high as Rs. 25 lac per hectare ( as per the farmers statement ). So , let’s look at this example where Lanco purchased 7 acre land from a farmer for Rs.1.75 crore . A farmer who was drought and debt ridden for years becomes a millionaire overnight, and buys a SUV for himself along with a rifle , gold jewelry for his wife , builds a pucca house with the money he gets , and the money is spent soon as he did not know how to plan and how much to spend and the land is also gone to Lanco ! Also, money brought in a lot of vices ( please check the number of AIDS patients in the region ! ). This company Lanco, runs a debt of Rs. 29300.00 crore and has gone for CDR ( Corporate debt restructuring ). The banks that gave the loan should be ready for a NPA ( Non-performing asset )! So , the farmer , the company Lanco and the bank have become a non-performing asset ….. whereas , the farmer buying a SUV, Gold etc, would have boosted the sale of vehicles , gold, wines, apparel companies temporarily , and soared the rates & increased the GDP ! So this is growth in GDP but not a sustainable one or growth without prosperity !
Let me quote another example : Country auctioned the airwaves (spectrum), a few years ago for which the companies paid tens of thousands of crore for airwaves. The companies took loans , passed on the cost to consumers ( Co’s were not wrong as they had to get an ROI for their investors ) and finally , like Airtel with over 200 million customers, run into a debt of about Rs. 60,018.00 crore ……….So , let me consider an alternative scenario . If companies were given spectrum for a nominal administrative fee of say Rs. 500.00 crore + 50 % revenue sharing . In that case, the companies would have invested more into infrastructure and services would have been better and much cheaper , also , the Government could have made a cool Rs.80,000.00 crore every year taking the current revenue of all telecom operators to be Rs.160,000,00 crore, with probably very little debt on telecom companies and no such scams ! Today, the telecom sector has a debt of Rs. 200,000.00 crore and government barely gets anything of the total revenue of Rs.160,000.00 crore as its revenue sharing is in lower single digits . All have lost due to myopic policies of the Government . This is what I call GDP without prosperity , and this is what our entire Indian economy is passing through . It has no depth but debt ! What I call as lack of strong fundamentals, for which none of the parties have shown a concrete action plan . Companies have stock valuations and we are measuring our strength on the stock market indices which are not at all in relation to our ground realities , and only 2 % people in our country dabble in stock markets whereas 98 % suffer the hallucinations of this economic growth and GDP which is backed by loans , subsidies and political doll outs and have become a drain on our economy & our economy is becoming a bottomless pit ! Here I will not fail to quote the maiden address of our former finance minister and current President of India on 15th August , 2012 ‘It is indeed a wake-up call to Indian polity that even 65 years after independence and 74 years after Bose’s observation ( Subhash Chandra Bose in 1938 had flagged at the 51st session of Indian National Congress at Haripura that country’s primary challenges were poverty , illiteracy and hunger ) , the number of poor in the country today outstrip the population of the country in 1947’
All the sovereign wealth should be leased on 50-50 % revenue sharing between the Government & the private sector companies , and never be auctioned ! There is no other sustainable model for our meeting the financing needs and auctions only give a one-time income ! This must be made a policy so that every year , Government can make decent money and invest in the infrastructure, growth and give good governance to all Indians
Indian population a mere statistics ? Let us take the example of the recently concluded London Olympics . China with a larger population came 2nd with 38 gold , 27 silver and 23 bronze medals and India came on 55th position amongst 79 nations with zero gold , 2 silver and 4 bronze medals ….. this is what our leaders have led us to ! With committed leadership we must have made it the top by now …..
Let us do a rough sum of Indian economy which has a GDP of approximately Rs. 100 lac crore and we still borrow about Rs. 5.2 lac crore every year, and we already have debts of about Rs. 45 lac crore . India’s 42 % of the net annual tax revenues of Rs.7.71 lac crore goes in servicing its debt ( Rs.3.20 lac crore ). Another 25 % goes in subsidies ( Rs.1.90 lac crore ) – an annual amount that would actually be Rs.78000.00 crore higher if off-balance sheet fuel subsidies to oil marketing companies were included. The fiscal deficit of Rs.5.19 lac crore – 5.9 % of nominal GDP – is 67 % of the net central tax revenue . This was detailed in TOI dated 19th August 2012. I had read somewhere that , 54 % of Indian’s income goes in interest payments on debts taken for decades , 30 % is the cost of running the inefficient Government & bureaucracy and 16 % for subsidies ……so I keep wondering , does India have any money at all to invest in infrastructure or for future !!!! ( Hope I am wrong in remembering these numbers and India does better ). If not , time to take action !
According to Apparel Promotion Export Council ( APEC) , an estimated 4.5 million jobs have been lost over the past 3.5 years . Do our policy makers know how an ordinary Indian would survive without a salary for even a week and what pains his family and relatives pass through him being a jobless !
If all of you witnessed the discount sales season, it was advanced and even extended to make up for the shortfall , and this must show the desperation from the companies to meet the numbers . Unfortunately , If corrective steps are not taken immediately , we will have more companies getting into CDR or closure and millions of jobs might be lost till 2015……worst is yet to come !
Let me quote a facts about why India gained political independence and what was the average age of leadership . Maulana Azad became the President of INC at the age of 35 , Bose became the President of INC at the age of 41 and Nehru became the President of INC at the age of 40… So now we know why we got political freedom and why we have not been able to get economic freedom ??? For a nation with more than 65 % of the population below 35 years , it is important to take care of the representation of youth to lead this country with fresh innovative ideas for a double digit growth and that too grounds up. Though our policy makers tell us that we cannot grow at about 8 % , but the fact is that, in 2011 calendar year , 12 countries clocked more than 8 % growth and some of them like Ghana , Iraq , China , Argentina and Turkey are not exactly small . We have been capped by the ‘old school of policy makers’ and their thinking , who believe that they know all and what they do is right ! This has to go now ! We need leaders with a nose on the ground , good governance and a strong political will and rest will fall in place . Government must earn from the rich and middle class, and help upgrade the lower income class to middle class on a ‘mission mode’ basis by empowering them by providing them training , education, healthcare and technology .
Our country’s finance ministers have taken to ‘Populonomics’ ( Economics of populism ) , and not ‘economics’, and this has clearly shown the results to the common man . India is heading towards an economic disaster and short cuts like FDI are short lived solutions !
I can bet you that if a party rises above caste , religion ,reservation, dynasty , and parochial regional politics, it is sure to win the youth and come to power without taking to populism !
It is the time for the finance minister to move from being an ‘efficient tax collector’ to ‘passionate creator of wealth through innovation & entrepreneurship ’. India is the only country in the world at this time that has ample opportunities for each problem to be solved and is a fertile basin for innovation ! If you were born as a human- being , you must be lucky, but if you are born as a human -being and that too, in India , you must be the luckiest on earth, and this describes our India today and what it can offer to the world !
All ministries must have wealth creation strategies ! Just imagine that for the year 2012-13, India will have gross tax receipts of 1,077612 crores and expenditure of Rs.1490925 crore…. Even if we do the sell-offs , we still cannot pay off the Rs.45 lac crores of debts that India has ! Which assets will be left to sell for our next generation ( oh boy that’s too far , I must say in the next 10 years ) ,to sustain our economy ? I think then , our Government will call upon the US President and ask his farmers & companies to come and invest in Indian land and make it more productive , and that will be the final sell off of this once a great nation i.e India
I am not an economist, though , I have studied economics during my graduation ( but I must confess that I do not remember anything I studied during graduation J , and I am glad that I don’t remember anything J) All that I have written here is a common man’s perspective from the data and facts available in the public domain. I have researched the state of economy well over five months to help our dear policy makers to do a better job and making the life of a common man better and not bitter !
I am leaving to US for two weeks on 14th October evening , and on my return, I will launch www.indiawewant.org ,and would welcome your suggestions and participation
With best wishes
Rajendra Pratap Gupta
Economy I Healthcare I Retail I Innovation