What is wrong? What should be done?

Zero loss, an illogical obsession with Congress

What is it with Congress ministers? First, Kapil Sibal floats the absurd theory of Zero Loss in the case of 2G scam and now PC Chidambaram finds logic in it to justify coalgate scam. The surprising part is that both are reputed lawyers and lawyers are supposed to be logical. The discipline of law is nothing but logic. We all know that politics corrupts but I did not know that it also makes people trained to be logical illogical.

I have, in the past, rubbished Kapil Sibal’s theory of zero loss in 2G scam and Arun Jaitley did not give me a chance to do the same to PC Chidambaram as he did it quite well. Since Arun Jaitley is also a reputed lawyer, I am glad he has used logic to trash PC Chidambaram’s argument that there has been no loss since no coal has been mined. Later he said, “We did not say zero loss. We said there will be loss or gain only when coal is mined, not when there has been no mining in 56 blocks.” Could you please explain it simple words what you are saying Mr. Chidambaram as I am not as intelligent as you and I cannot understand the mumbo jumbo. I think Chidambaram should be held in contempt of the people of this country for insulting their intelligence. Does he think we are all stupid?

Arun Jaitley very rightly stated when he said, “The coal, which is a mineral under mother earth, now doesn’t belong to Mr Chdambaram’s government but to 142 private entreprenuers.” He further added, “If someone takes money out of Chidambaram’s bank account, puts it in his account but doesn’t encash it, will he (Chidambaram ) assume he has not suffered any loss.”

I found the whole case very interesting. On one hand, a politician makes one of the most absurd statement and on the other hand another politicians counters it with logic rarely exhibited by politicians.

Now another lawyer Salman Khurshid, a UPA minister, wrote an interesting article arguing that the government has the right to make policy. As such, the government can decide whether to allocate or auction the coal blocks or any other resource or asset of the country. He gave the example of giving land at low cost to the hospitals with the condition that they treat the poor free or at subsidized rates. I agree. But the policy has to be implemented in a transparent and fair manner so that the benefits of the policy results in the benefit to the nation and the citizen of the country. The coal blocks cannot be allocated on the whims and fancies of the government or in exchange of money or by favouring one party over the other. Also, there should be performance clause in the agreements when you are allocating the resources of this country. If the parties do not adhere to the terms of the agreement or achieve the performance goals, strict action should be taken.

Let me give a simple example. If permission to build a multistorey building on the Adarsh land is being given, it should be for the good of the nation and for the benefit of the citizens of this country. Let us say, the benefit to the people of Mumbai if the permission is given would be that by doing so the number of dwelling units will increase which is good for the citizens of Mumbai. I can understand that if Salman says this is a policy matter. But the flats cannot be allotted to relatives, drivers and servants of politicians and bureaucrats as a policy. This is not a policy matter and the government has no discretion in this matter. All the citizens of Mumbai and the country have an equal right to buy these flats.

The problem is that the politicians and bureaucrats are not aware of what the decision making criteria of the government should be and as such they keep making decisions which are incorrect. I think that each one of them should be made to sign a document which states what their decision making criteria would be which is as follows:

“To make all decisions in the best interest of the nation and the citizens of this country even if it hurts them personally.”

The above should also be included in the oath taken by the ministers, prime ministers and others.

Avinash Narula

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