Re Niranjan Rajadhyaksha’s “No liberal political party?”, Mint, 11 July, the key is raising awareness of the need for liberal and systematic reform of governance even under a liberalized economic scenario. Articles such as this are worthwhile for kickstarting thinking in this area. Political parties not only need ideas but also leaders, and most important, huge resources. The combine is hard to find. Hence, the nearest to a liberal party today is the Swatantra Bharat Party, which is limited by its levels of transparency and internal democracy, and the Lok Satta Party, which may turn out to be a liberal alternative sometime in the future. A liberal party, if eventually formed, is likely to take years to gain a foothold in politics.
“What ought to be Reddy’s game plan” by Tamal Bandyopadhyay, Mint, 30 July, was very well written and explained the dilemma faced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Y.V. Reddy, when he announced the quarterly review of monetary policy on 31 July. Increased spending by the Union government and RBI’s intervention in the foreign exchange market were well explained. The article was so absorbing that even a layman could understand the nitty-gritty of the various financial options available to RBI.
Mint has done well to inform its readers of the government decision to grant a two-year extension to the private partner for the project completion: “Mumbai airport won’t be ready for the ‘super jumbo’ till 2010”, by Tarun Shukla, 27 July.
Terms and conditions of joint venture agreements are not that light to be waived at official discretion. Recall the Planning Commission’s measures for improving agreement terms and fulfilment, thereof. In this case, the pact provides for stiff penalties—0.5% per week on the individual project’s capital cost. The statement by a senior official that they “can’t go point-by-point by the agreement” and that “it’s unreasonable” is surprising when they are expected to ensure strict adherence to the terms.
Timely completion of the project is crucial. People should know the revenue losses this generous extension will entail, especially when they are the ones who will ultimately bear the burden of this decision.
In the normal course, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on every financial transaction of the government. This process takes time. It is not clear whether joint ventures such as this one would be within the purview of the CAG. If not, that merits a separate public debate. The issue should have been raised in Parliament. The least we expect is that the standing committee for the ministry concerned examines the matter fully.
Re Snigdha Sengupta’s article “It is tough to get the right VC”, Mint, 17 July.
I am an entrepreneur based in Mumbai. Business is good and I am looking for venture capital (VC) funding for expansion.
The article quotes a few VCs: “My mobile number is up on our website. How much more accessible can I get?”, “I respond to every new email that drops into my inbox”.
Getting hold of contact details is not tough. What is tough is getting the right VC to listen to you at the right time and place .
I contacted about 10 VC funds two weeks ago through email, but got only two replies—Reliance Technology Ventures Ltd (it referred me to SeedFund) and Barrings Equity Partners. Attempts on the phone have delivered little response, too. This is the state of affairs if someone wants to get just basic information about funding.