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BW Businessworld

Jottings: PM Bats For Clean Polls

The PM has been calling for electoral reforms for some time now. Among other things, Modi feels that simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies would do the country a lot of good

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s critics claim that demonetisation had not yielded the desired results in the drive against black money. The PM though, seems unfazed in his drive to clean up the polity. In his address at the recent meeting of the BJP National Executive, he said that the people “had a right to know who contributed to the party’s coffers”. This is a step short of accepting that RTI should be applicable to political parties too, a step which all parties, including the BJP, oppose.

The PM has been calling for electoral reforms for some time now. Among other things, Modi feels that simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies would do the country a lot of good. The proposal may not be immediately acceptable to the political class, though.

Modi’s pitch to make the list of donors to his party public has, however, put the political class on the defensive. The Aam Aadmi Party had once put up details of its donors on its website, but has removed these details now. Sources close to the powers that be, say Modi would introduce a Bill to clean up the process of poll funding during the upcoming Budget session. Now, that would really lend heft to the PM’s drive to cleanse the polity.
— Suman K. Jha

AIR India Miffed
National flag carrier, Air India, is upset. It strongly disagrees with a report published by data services company, FlightStats, which has ranked Air India third among the worst global performers on the parameters of on-time performance (OTP) in 2016. El Al, an Israeli Airlines, tops the list, followed by Icelandair. Apart from Air India, the next five worst on-time performers too are all based in Asia. They include Philippine Airlines, Asiana Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Air China.

India’s home-grown IndiGo, figures in the list of on-time performers among 28 global low-cost carriers. IndiGo happens to be the market leader in India too. An Air India spokesperson has said, “We totally disagree with the report published by FlightStats...it seems that the report is fabricated, so AI management will investigate the report.” IndiGo president and whole time director, Aditya Ghosh, has simply said that his company was “very happy” with the honour. Shouldn’t Air India focus on improving its OTP and gaining marketshare instead of cribbing about reports?
— Ashish Sinha

Caste-free Votes?
Elections are contentious, noisy and rancorous affairs at the best of times. But a recent Supreme Court verdict promises to make the assembly elections due in five States, including the really big ones like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, even more bitter and legally fractious. The Supreme Court verdict says that using caste, creed, language or religion to seek votes would be an offence. The Election Commission has already sent a notice to BJP MP Sakhsi Maharaj over his allegedly anti-Muslim rants. Parties are rampantly filing complaints and cases against one another, accusing rivals of misusing religion, caste and other identities to sway voters. While the intentions of the apex court may have been noble, it is difficult to see how Indian elections could be devoid of the influence of caste and religion. For example, the Akali Dal is founded on Sikh identity, while the AIMIM of Asaduddin Owaisi, is based on Muslim identity. All political parties play the caste or religion card. Now clearly, the number of cases filed in the already clogged Indian courts will simply spike.
— Sutanu Guru

TCS Quits Lucknow?
Ironically, just when Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, was trying hard to establish Lucknow as the State’s IT city, software services company, the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is apparently being forced out of the city. The company has decided to shift its operations from Lucknow to Indore and Nagpur because of the “unreasonable rentals” it was asked to pay in Lucknow.

Tej Paul Bhatla, business unit head at TCS, paid a surprise visit to Lucknow and told senior members of the staff that all projects would be moved to its newly established Indore and Nagpur centre. He asked nearly all of TCS’s 1,400 workforce in Lucknow to pack their bags and shift to Indore and Nagpur. Only about a hundred staff members will stay on to run the company’s ION vertical, which conducts examinations. The irony is that the “unreasonably high rentals” that triggered this decision, was being demanded by a senior member of the ruling Samajwadi Party.
— Anuradha Shukla

RBI Governor On A Sprint
RBI GOVERNOR Urjit Patel is obviously among those much sought after by the Indian media, especially post demonetisation. So, when he was spotted at the Vibrant Gujarat 2017 venue, journalists naturally made a beeline for him for a sound byte. Patel was in Gandhinagar to attend a session at the summit.

As the summit got over, reporters gathered outside the Mahatma Mandir, which was the venue, hoping for a juicy nugget or two of information on the currency crisis or the economy at large. The organisers, however, outsmarted the media, by arranging a backdoor exit for Patel. When journalists on his scent, gave the RBI Governor a chase, Patel chose to sprint to the car waiting for him!
— Anuradha Shukla