Friday, May 27, 2005


India is on reform path, they say. As part of its second phase, the Monmohon Singh Government recently disinvested ten per cent of BHEL, a profitable and money-making public concern.

It's difficult not to be amazed by such a venture in the name of reform, but they point out that the proceeds from this investment will be used in fields of health, education, and revival of sick public organisations.

The motive seems fine, but is suspect at the same time. First, it's impossible to track down the proceeds. Since the government is disinvesting it in the form of public shares, you never know the exact amount it gets out of the investment. Secondly, it will never tell you how it is spending the money in different fields. Besides, health and education have already been privatised in a big way, and no government these days is really keen on spending on these areas which do not bring revenues for it.

About the revival of sick public units, any kind of investment will end up benifiting some dubious industrialists for a favor of course.

So, who will be the ultimate beneficiaries? Not the masses, but the power-that-be that handles it.

Reform, under the circumstances, becomes a mockery. It will be a dirty word in a not-so-long time.

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