It appears like the Congress led UPA Government is jinxed and cannot govern without controversies and political firestorms driven because of scams involving humongous financial irregularities and astronomical amounts. The Government is once again in the dock because of its hazy policies. The Times of India rocked the entire nation this morning when it published a story on its first page which claimed to have possessed a copy of the draft report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on coal blocks allocations which said that the Government had lost about Rs 10.7 lakh Crores by not auctioning coal blocks and by extending undue benefits to public as well as private sector enterprises. The CAG last year had pegged the amount of loss caused because of the non-auctioning of the 2G airwaves at Rs 1.76 lakh crores.
Although this figure remains disputed till date but the fact is that this scam could be six times the worth of the 2G scam. What ensued next was a very predictable pandemonium inside Parliament. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee issued a clarification in the Lok Sabha and said that the CAG’s report was just a draft report till now and was yet to be finalized. The PMO also issued a statement in which it said that it had received a letter from the CAG this afternoon in which the CAG had written that the report wasn’t final yet and the figures quoted were based on certain observations which are yet to be thoroughly examined and discussed. Whatever be the outcome of this report, I think it’s time for the Government as well as the industry captains to revisit certain policies which include concessions, waivers and incentives being granted to corporations. It’s not unethical to give industries concessions because industries require boosts and they are also run by citizens of India but what we need to ensure is that national resources are not illegitimately privatized. Natural resources happen to be the property of the public and the Government is its custodian. It’s the job of the Government to ensure that if any concession or incentive is handed out to the corporations then the benefit of that concession reaches the citizens. If it hasn’t then it’s nothing but a fraud involving immense national treason.
People who can afford to pay heavily are not at times charged highly because the Government intends to hand out corporate subsidies to them so that their input expenses go down and they sell the product attained by means of a subsidized resource or contract at cheaper rates to the consumers but many a times the corporations acquire resources at cheap rates and then they sell it to other corporations at very high rates in the name of dilution of equity. Some corporations don’t do that but then they go on to charge a lot more from the consumers for the sake of greater profits and completely ignore the Government’s intrinsic intention with which they were handed out these benefits. At times the corporations lobby for such kind of policies and the Government functions under their behest to facilitate this loot. This is unjustified and a dubious practice.