There is a legal solution to breaking the monopoly of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). This, if applied, would not only break the BCCI’s monopoly legally, but also serve as an example for similar institutions that adopt practices that dissuade competition. The competition law of India is that solution. What the BCCI is doing is referred to as abuse of dominant position and can be punished under The Competition Act, 2002. The director general of the competition commission has sweeping powers, including one to check entities that indulge in unfair practices. It’s time that someone does something about the BCCI which is merely interested in securing its monopoly, instead of promoting cricket.
Pardon me for pointing to some muddles in the ‘muddled assumptions’ you mention in “Two freedoms”, Mint, 15 August. You say after independence, our leaders, while assuming that average Indians were intelligent enough to choose their political representatives, presumed they did not have the intelligence to choose what to buy and what to produce—hence, central planning, licensing, etc.
Let us not forget that the notion that scarce resources must be purposefully allocated to obtain desired developmental goals had international currency in the 1950s. It continues in the private sector, where portfolio management, capital budgeting, etc., are applied to get the desired outcomes. No business corporation, no matter how large—and some are said to be larger than countries—runs an internal free market.
Considering the way India got its freedom, through a mass non-violent movement, free India had to be born a democracy. Moreover, the struggle Mahatma Gandhi led was not only for freedom from the yoke of foreign rule, but freedom from the shackles of caste, ignorance and poverty.
A free market may be a better idea than central planning, but, without interventions, it cannot be an effective instrument to help people overcome deep-rooted handicaps. Because the principle of cumulative causation on which a free market runs will ensure that those who have the initial means required—capital, education, access to power—will get even more. The invisible hand is not often just.
You ask the question, ‘What needs to be done in the next 60 years?’ You are right to point out that Indians must improve the way their democracy functions. But it is equally necessary that we discover a better way for markets to function and not accept prevalent nostrums easily.
Indeed it must be India’s tryst with destiny to develop a better way for economic progress that gives everyone a fair chance. We must develop new ideas and new institutions (in government and the private sector) to combine democracy and markets more sensitively. Because we must provide all-round economic, social and political freedoms on a scale and at a pace that no other society has so far achieved.
This refers to the report titled “Demand for tighter microfinance Bill, neutral regulator”, Mint, 2 August.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) is engaged in refinance in the fields of agriculture and rural development including promotion of microcredit. Microcredit has huge potential and there is enough room for various institutions and approaches.
With Nabard being already present as a regulator and a developmental institution with success and outreach, the question of another regulator should not arise.