Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Editorial, 'On Foreign Direct Investment', in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, Vol. 7, Part 2, No. 23, 15 December 2011 issue

ON FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

Manmohan Singh’s Government tripped but in the last minute saved itself from a fall by coming to a temporary truce with its opponents in and out of government on its recently announced measure to allow 51% equity in retail sector to Foreign Direct Investment. The need and relevance of FDI in the economy itself is not seriously questioned nowadays. Only miniscule numbers of some extreme left and right political circles stubbornly oppose any sort of FDI as a covert route to neo-colonialism but otherwise public consensus favors it in the present days of capitalist globalization as also human socialization through social networking, etc. It is generally accepted that FDI can give the much-needed boost to the economy of a country provided its sovereignty and democratic control are jealously cherished. USA itself stands out as the country with the maximum FDI in the world ($228 billion) giving big spurt to its economy, and China, our large neighbor, has speedily taken the second place ($185 billion in 2010). The FDI in our country has grown from less than $1 billion in 1990 to some $36 billion [FDI stock 2009-10] and so far it has not made any serious dent in our sovereignty/political independence, nor did it cause any grave socio-economic adversities. I very much remember a similar outburst of opposition a decade or two back to the entry of the corporate sector in India into retail trade with all sorts of apprehensions about great loss to, virtual wipe out of, small retailers but nothing of the sort happened. Also in China, which allows 100% FDI in both single/multi brand retailing, even the indigenous retailers are reported to have grown by 30%. Notably, several farmers’ organizations too, in addition to IndiaInc, have come in support of the FDI in retail sector. So it is a question more of allaying the fears and apprehensions in the minds of the people and to begin in the right way – I mean, to start with initiative to the states first, instead of announcing it as a centralized national policy. Then I think Modi’s Gujarat, despite BJP’s current opposition for temporary political gains, will be a frontrunner in inviting FDI into its retail sector and gradually, by phases, the entire country will opt for and benefit from it. §§§

Saturday, December 17, 2011

LAW ANIMATED WORLD, November 15, 2010 October Revolution Special Issue, Title photos















LAW ANIMATED WORLD, November 15-30 October Revolution Special Issue, Editorial, FIRST IN MANY RESPECTS

FIRST IN MANY RESPECTS

The Great October Socialist Revolution certainly was – especially in guiding the oppressed people of the world in the glorious struggles to end the ‘exploitation of man by man’. Whatever be the changed circumstances since the collapse of the state socialisms created in its wake, and however much may its detractors gloat about the ‘end of history’, ‘victory of the free market’ and ‘march of capitalist globalization’ in the world today, the fact remains that socialism, a scare-word in the beginning of the 20th century, has now become an acceptable honorific for a desirable alternative societal system – may be an utopia, but one to dream of and strive for. The daring and dashing Bolsheviks under Lenin’s leadership as if stormed the ‘heavens’ to bring the heat and light of socio-economic and political justice to people pining in the darkness of poverty and deprivation. À la Pablo Neruda – “They said ‘comrade’ to the world – They made the carpenter king – No camel shall pass through this needle’s eye – They cleansed the villages – Divided the land – Elevated the serf – Eliminated the beggar – Annihilated the cruel – Brought light into the deep night.True, the negative aspects of the course and consequences of this revolution cannot also be overlooked but can anyone disparage its transformation of a backward imperialist country groaning under Czarist autocracy, feudal servitude and capitalist oppression into a highly developed military industrial complex - into one of the two superpowers in the world. Especially its achievements in education, public health, space sciences and military-industrial technology, etc. can never be forgotten. And “the first satellite, the first probe into the Moon, the first man in space, the first woman, …(Jed Mercurio: ‘Ascent’) etc. – so many firsts stand to its credit; above all, how can we forget the immortal Battle of Stalingrad and the death-defying fight against fascim leading to the victory of democratic forces and eventual forging of the United Nations. The Revolution and its creatures served as an immense bulwark for the freedom and dignity of the oppressed third world peoples in their fight for liberation. True, now in Russia itself things are turned upside down, with capitalism restored, the notorious Czar Nicholas rehabilitated, etc., but that in no way deters us progressive democrats nostalgically acknowledging in the immortal words of Nerurda, “Soviet Union, if we could gather up all the blood spilled in your struggles, all you gave as a mother to the world so that freedom, dying, might live, we would have a new ocean larger than any other / deeper than any other / vibrant as all rivers / active as the fire of Araucanian volcanoes… §§§

LAW ANIMATED WORLD, November 15-30 October Revolution Special Issue, Title photos