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Updated: June 22, 2012 13:40 IST

Why fears of a foreign hand are real

Arun Kumar
Comment (62)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

There are enough reasons to suspect that companies overseas influence Indian politics

Pranab Mukherjee is likely to be India’s next President. It seemed to be touch and go until the tide turned in his favour. It has been suggested that the corporates swung it for him not because he is one of the most seasoned Indian politicians but because they wanted him out of the Ministry of Finance. He has acted tough on retrospective taxation and GAAR – the measures in his recent budget to tackle black income generation. But it would not be surprising if the real pressure was from foreign shores. Indian corporates are sensitive to what their foreign counterparts think. So is our political leadership. Britain and Netherlands exerted strong influence on the Vodafone case. How much of our politics is being determined by such pressures?

Pressure on polity

Several recent events testify that pressure is certainly being exerted on the polity: Hillary Clinton’s visit to India to influence the government’s policies on trade with Iran and on FDI in retail, the S&P downgrade of India, the Aircel Maxis deal. There are also less visible cases of foreign pressure as in defence purchases (the British were upset at our rejection of the Eurofighter), energy sector investments (oil, gas and nuclear), opening of markets and so on.

The Bofors scam has had a continuing impact on politics since 1987. Sten Lindstrom, the former head of the Swedish police who led the investigations into the Bofors-India howitzer deal, recently underlined that there was conclusive evidence that Ottavio Quattarocchi, a close friend of the Nehru-Gandhi family, was one of the recipients of kickbacks. His role in swinging the Bofors deal at the last minute was known. It is not in doubt that payoffs were made or that the Bofors guns are good. The only unsettled issue is who got the money.

That Mr. Quattrochi had powerful friends was confirmed when he was allowed to escape the country during the Congress rule. The case was apparently deliberately spoilt by the investigative agencies, including the CBI and, therefore, lost in the courts — in Malaysia, Britain and Argentina. The red corner notice against him “could not be executed” since our police agencies could not “find” him even though journalists could interview him.

Evidence points to a high level cover up. M.S. Solanki, then the External Affairs Minister, sacrificed his Cabinet berth rather than reveal what he wrote in the paper he passed on to the Swiss counterpart at a meeting. At that point of time, the Swiss bank accounts were being investigated by the Indian agencies to trace the Bofors payoff trail. Could such a sacrifice of a political career be for an ordinary leader?

Who took the money even if not Rajiv Gandhi and why did the investigative agencies spoil the case? Investigations are essential to clear the air about these questions. A former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office mentioned to this author in an interview on the black economy that when he went with the Bofors file to the then Prime Minister, he was told to close the file as it could cause a threat to his life. No wonder, none of the non-Congress Prime Ministers changed the course of investigations to bring them on track and none of the Congress Prime Ministers has wanted the truth to come out.

Kickbacks are common globally. Sweden is one of the least corrupt countries in the world but its corporations have bribed to get contracts as the Bofors case shows. U.S.-based multinational corporations have resorted to bribes in spite of their being illegal under that country’s law. Recently, Walmart admitted to having bribed its way through in Mexico. When the top management learnt of it, rather than exposing corruption, the internal probe was closed. The same Walmart has been trying to enter India. Ms Clinton’s agenda included “persuading” India to open its doors to foreign retail. The only Chief Minister she visited was Mamata Banerjee, the important UPA partner opposing FDI in retail. It is reminiscent of Henry Kissinger and the Secretaries of Energy and Defence flying to India to lobby for Enron in the mid-1990s. Enron admitted to spending $60 million in India, to “educate” policymakers.

It is not just a few MNCs that indulge in corruption or use their governments to apply pressure on policies. MNC banks are known to help Indians take their capital out of India. UBS bank, the largest Swiss bank, was fined $750 million by the U.S. for helping its citizens to keep secret bank accounts. The same UBS bank was allowed entry into India in spite of its known role; was it a reward for helping some powerful people?

Executives of Siemens, a supposedly honest MNC and an important player in India, were indicted in the U.S. in December 2011 for bribery in Argentina. Investigations revealed that the company also made illegal payments to the tune of $1.4 billion from 2001 to 2007 in Bangladesh, China, Russia, Venezuela and other countries. These were often routed via consultants. The company paid fines and fees of $1.6 billion to the U.S. and German governments for the bribes it paid across the globe.

Siemens started bribing soon after the end of World War II to get contracts under the Marshall Plan which were mostly going to the Americans. Since its prosecution, Siemens claims to have appointed Compliance Officers to check bribery. But, with the prevalence of a high degree of illegality internationally, can one company be honest while others are not? How would it win contracts when those in charge expect to be bribed? Since non-transparent processes are set up, at every step, decisions need to be influenced, as seen in the Bofors case or the 2G spectrum allocation.

The Vodafone case is significant. MNCs (Indian and foreign) have used tax havens and tax planning to avoid paying taxes in India. They create a web of holdings to hide the identity of the real owners of a company or who it is being transferred to. In 1985, in the Mcdowell case, the Supreme Court bench observed, “Colourable devices cannot be part of tax planning and it is wrong to encourage or entertain the belief that it is honourable to avoid the payment of tax by resorting to dubious methods”. This judgment was overturned in 2003 in Union of India vs Azadi Bachao Andolan on the use of the Mauritius route to avoid paying tax in India. Vodafone took advantage of this judgment to successfully argue against having to pay capital gains tax in India on transfer of a company in a tax haven which owned the Indian assets. Mr. Mukherjee was trying to recover lost ground.

Dominant interests

Indian policies have been subject to foreign pressures since the days of the Cold War in the 1950s. But until the mid-1980s, the decisions were accepted as being in the “long-term national interest.” There were accusations in the procurement of the Jaguar aircraft also but these did not create the furore that the Bofors scam did. Since the late 1980s, as in the case of Bofors or the new economic policies in 1991 or the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, sectional or individual interests have become dominant. These have played havoc with national politics. Pressures and counter pressures are mounted through political parties and their leaders and big business.

The lesson is that foreign pressures tend to damage processes that national politics cannot undo. The public is left bewildered by the goings on, as in the present case of selection of the presidential candidate.

(The writer is Chairperson, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Email: arunkumar1000@hotmail.com)

This article has been corrected for a typographical error

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Though the Bofors scandal only pinpionts to Rajiv Gandhi who is no more,will influence the ascension of Rahul or Priyanka to the coveted PM post.Hence the cover up.All parties do this.BJP wanted to bury the crime it committed in open day light which is Babri Masjid demolition.As long as the people elect the same corrupt leaders nobody can bring these people to book.

from:  Nasar
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 23:57 IST

A beautiful article touching many important and much debated parameters.
The author included some key points as the role of MNC's and other foreign institutes In Indian politics, But, I would like to know if the MNC's are taking out more from India and giving it far less then expected and what are the solutions to this, how can we control the flow of wealth from India to other countries in this way, please enlighten me either on my mail ID -haritaupadhyay@gmail.com or on my Facebook account with the same ID, please.
Wish to get some creative and noble thoughts.

from:  Rohit Upadhyay
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 23:00 IST

Crying wolf on the devils of foreign hand!!
It is popular to blame foreign hand for every thing we feel bad.
In this case who had excercised pressure on whom_the author has not
made it clear in the article except fanning feelings citing old
gossips/surmises/scandals.
The author concedes that kick backs are common globally.
Pranab mukerji's role in these corruption/kickback cases, warranting
the 'foreign pressures' to ease him now out of finance ministry is
vague and bizarre.
The PM is personally committed to reforms. Hence, by taking out
Mukerji from finance ministry , the so called "pressures" from
foreign shores are not naive to assume that their assumed stumbling
block in Indian politics would be removed.The foreign lobby for FDI
in our retail trade knows well that Mukerji is not against FDI.
Manmohan singh prefers Montek Singh Aluwaliah or P Chidambaram as
finance minister Mukerji had a lack luster performance in finance
ministry.PM would be happy to ease Mukerji out.

from:  V Krishnan
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 22:20 IST

Wonderful article, though once in a! HINDU, can we have more of this and on the 1st page.

from:  kumar
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 18:29 IST

The article is more biased than objective, there is more finger pointing than a deep insight into the malaise of how we as a country are subject to machinations of large corporations and governments in the west. Indira Gandhi was famous for using the 'foreign hand' conspiracy theory to stifle freedom, and to preserve her own place in politics, power and history. Leaving this aside, as they say in the west, it needs two to tango. To influence governments or politicians, the inducement is money - pure and simple. Our ministers, bureaucrats and policy makers are willing backwards , should they be bribed. There is not a single case involving a major politician doing jail time for corruption. The only ones going to jail are public servants like clerks and junior engineers. All this being said, we can do a lot of finger pointing, but we are willing to sell our principles, policy and public good for the sake of money, we have only ourselves to blame. That, sadly is the bitter truth.

from:  Bharat Kumar
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 15:25 IST

The elections are due in a few years and our Pranabda would only be 76- 77 then; a young age for Indian politicians... So if he sticks around still politically active and if the UPA somehow could cobber the required numbers; he would be a strong contender for the PM post and he probably can't be pushed around like our good old Manmohan saheb... And what if the UPA gets a majority; then he may be the biggest threat to the our little prince... So even without all the foreign hand there is good enough reason to push out one of the most senior member of the cabinet...

from:  Vinod
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 10:07 IST

The concluding sentence "The public are bewildered by the goings on, as in the present case of selection of the Presidential Candidate" is a statement worth its weight in gold, the most precious and costly metal. We, the citizens, thought it is just politics,ok. But this is a new angle which will have far reaching effect on the lives of the AAM ADMI, whose well being should be paramount. The parties seeking power always proclaim this as their motto. Should they play this shameful role? It is a sad commentary on our polity.

from:  S.R.Nagarajann
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 05:37 IST

It is sad that our politicians have less interest in country's growth and making rules to favor individuals.And, we the people of India are also responsible for that;because, we don't have any interest on any reform and always think some body will do for us.

from:  Pradeep Kumar Patnaik
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 01:46 IST

A balanced, precise and unbiased article. But Sir you miss to pint out the internal pressure created by home MNCs and corporates on the decisions by government. Example includes the big brothers like Reliance and even many smaller ones in which in which any person with political background works. Example is Ashok Gehlot's own son in law.

from:  abhinaw
Posted on: Jun 24, 2012 at 01:29 IST

World Politics might have no influence on India but Indian politics have
a eye-catchers around the world.
If economist magazine come out with Indian politician story as lead
,TIME can volley modi.This shows the world interest in Indian Politics.
Ms. Clinton visit could be a walmart sponsored,euro fighter rejection
can be a cause why India is donating billion to euro zone.
Pranab mukherjee's oust from FM may be a vodafone's agony.

from:  abhinandan prasad
Posted on: Jun 23, 2012 at 19:31 IST

With so many true and loud voices against corruption,the life goes on in India with 60 years of independence.This provokes thoughts.What is democracy for.Is democracy,a herd of cattles to be driven by few?How long?There is nothing dynamic done to irradicate corruption!Rather corruption keeps becoming wider not only among citizens but political partie,their heads and now corporations as has been made out in such a brave article.Writing,speaking,viewing has no meaning unless there is change.Change in the mentality of people ruled by outside forces.Who were Moguls,who were Britishers?India still has to get freedom.We need another Gandhiji.

from:  ashok
Posted on: Jun 23, 2012 at 16:22 IST

@RGKrishnan: You are confusing Sweden and Switzerland.

from:  Bhanu Kiran
Posted on: Jun 23, 2012 at 09:51 IST

Some foreign governments work for big business -- about time we
understand it.

from:  Maya Ghose
Posted on: Jun 23, 2012 at 09:28 IST

With reference to respected Reader @Rahuljis comments
-----
i)Indian MNCs are mid size except Tatas (Corus and Jaguar Landrover),others have acquired smaller sized Firms synergy focussed as well

ii)Indian companies have only started to grow outwards India in IT service sector primarly in Last decade (likes of Tcs,Infy,Wipro etc )

I honestly do not think reciprocation of MNCs vs indian comapnies is even comparable

Iam not cosnidering factors inside India like License Raj ,Economic reforms etc and indias won political structures

Iam comsidering MNCs when they operate in India vs how OECD countries have stringent rules in their own backyard
some people have tagged article as JNU left without giving to merit to a discussion with intent to further expand the points made by the author .Please debate on NDTV ,let BJP,LEFT and Congress represent their participants and let be there a moderator like Pranav Roy ,let him ask good and honest questions citing the article

from:  Rana Mohana Rao Anne
Posted on: Jun 23, 2012 at 08:51 IST

Please support Anna Hazare as next Indian president....Please raise your
support for Anna. He deserves it

from:  Hari
Posted on: Jun 23, 2012 at 08:28 IST

"Sweden is one of the least corrupt countries in the world ..".
Utter nonsense. Lets not forget the stolen artifacts , gold and
wealth the Nazis had deposited in Swiss banks and they had allowed
it. Lets not forget that the drug money and mafia money deposited in
their banks. There crooked laws allowed this. The Nazis even pulled
out gold teeth form gassed jews and saved it and the Swiss didnt
know about it? In earlier times Swiss were mercenaries in the
service of the Pope. Swiss are Neutral not because they are morally right but it suits them commercially. Knowing something is wrong and
making no effort to stop it is also corruption.

from:  RGKrishnan
Posted on: Jun 23, 2012 at 07:14 IST

Well written article. All our ministers and PMO advisers are thinking
abt FDI in retail but it will be a solution for shorter period but in
the long run it will be a curse for the citizens of our country. Our
capital will be drained to US and we will face the real crisis at tat
time.

from:  venkatesh cs
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 22:41 IST

A very well articulated and a thought-provoking article. It brought into light a whole
variety of issues ranging from the Bofors till the recent stance of the Apex court over
the Vodafone case in April this year. Its is in the vested interest of the politicians to
work out harmony in spending every penny that the Government accrues as taxes for
the benifit of the people. It is being alarmingly difficult for Wholesale and smaller
retailers of India to survive under the wrath of their corporate counterparts. In the
name of early Liberalization, India in dreams of inviting and acquiring a strong base
for infrastructure and development has been in reality a playground for Multi Brand
retailers who have "Westernized" our very culture let alone food. Take for Example
Coca-Cola, Dominos Pizza, etc., Government infact played the right game in
"opening the doors" -But the question that remains unanswered is How moral
Goverments are in accounting for this voluminous amounts of Foreign Inflow?

from:  Rajesh Tripurneni
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 22:33 IST

Power corrupts,doesn't it? But the really honest do not get corrupted even though they wield
power.jWhat is important is not to give power to dishonest politicians.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 22:32 IST

A very well worded article.The Hindu must be credited for publishing such an outspoken piece. There is slight ambiguity that the name mentioned in the beginning of the article as crusader, but that may not be true since he also has been part of the team.
What is the solution for the nation and the citizens? The author must come forward on the feasible cleaning process too.

from:  Shiva Prakash
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 22:29 IST

Imperialism has changed it form from last century.
Earlier there were kings with their mighty army
capturing and ruling countries/kingdoms taxing(looting)
the wealth from the common people. Now its MNCs with
their rich and powerful CEO manipulating the politicians
and bureaucrats thru a diplomatic channel,to gain access to a market and the resources of a country.

Where the above fails war are still fought in the name of
WMD and over throwing dictators just to access countries.

Greed has evolved in a much stubble but equally sinister form!!!

from:  krish
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 22:24 IST

Corporates are powerful. All the biggest companies worldwide are
making tons of money and already have billions in cash. Regardless of
recession or govt changes they know how to prosper. Modern politics is
heavily influenced by corporates worldwide as all of us have embraced
capitalism. The antidote to an extent is to be become less
materialistic but we still need to keep up with the technology and the
world needs prosperity. Can you limit how much a company can grow or
earn?
More debate should happen on this issue as there are two sides of a
coin.

from:  SrinivasRS
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 22:20 IST

That corruption is rampant in India is well known. It has the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption cannot be stopped unless the people at the very top are honest and bold. There are many honest people but they are afraid to do anything as they know that thee corrupt will not stop at anything. Take for instance the Tatra scam. It is impossible that the scam would have remained undetected for such a long time unless some very powerful political figures were not also involved. Even the Defence Minister did not take action when the then Army Chief informed him about the matter.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 21:28 IST

India's wealth lies in our own hands to create (manufacture), thank God
we have so many hands that we don't need foreign ones, too.

from:  Rajan Mahadevan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 20:18 IST

Foreign companies and intelligence agencies often influence our policies and programmesand for this they resort to false and fabricated stories as well.When Indian scientists were working on development of indigenous cryogenic engines CIA manufactured and planted false allegations against thescintists and the GOI removed these key scintists from the lab thus jeopardising the development of the cryogenic engines.But nothing proved against the scintists.Another example is of Dr R.C.Tyagi who was a scintist working on infra-red technology in US.He was specially called by the then PM Mrs.Indira Gandhi.He set up his lab for development of anti aircraft system based on infra-red technology.But Mysteriously his lab was thrown out from the compound of Solid State Physics Lab, New Delhi. Despite debate in the parliament he was not rehabilitated and had to indulge in prolonged litigation.Carrier of great scintist was ruined at the behest of some mysterious foreign hand.

from:  Anil Gupta
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 19:45 IST

The question is not whether the 'hands' are foreign but whether corporate intervention in the removal of a minister is legitimate in a democracy.

from:  S. P. Chakravarty
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 19:31 IST

I appreciate most of the article however it is hard to believe that non-congress prime ministers failed to pin point or bring the bribe taker to justice for fear of their life. As a matter of fact India has a dismal record of rule of law.

from:  jagmohan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 18:41 IST

The media in a democracy should be the watch dog of the people. But in Indian democracy, when a certain party is in power,but only then,the media in general is the watch dog of the government. Why is it so? No answers are expected.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 18:32 IST

Very nicely researched document.

from:  rajeev Parmar
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 17:12 IST

The biggest threat to Indian politics are internal pressures(coalition politics) which is leading to policy paralysis.Foreign intervention can be reduced if we have a stable govt which can take decisions on itself rather depening on coalition partners.Today's Indian politics are completely driven by money for which politicians depend on corporate houses for funds,in return they influence govt on various policies in their favour.This sort of corruption needs to be ended for the well being of the country.

from:  Sravan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 16:58 IST

Foreigners ruled India using their force in a direct manner until the magic of democracy was
granted to her. All were rejoicing gleefully for their new found freedom and self dependency.
Alas! Nothing much changed! The imperial foreign forces continue to exploit the country by
making sure the right people come to executive power so that they can send for the
shopping from the distance at basement bargain prices. India is not alone in this form of
victimization. One only needs to look around the world and will be able see a clear pattern of
this pandemic.

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 16:52 IST

The article is well written and well complied without genuflecting at any powers that be.

Slavery is not only physical ,it is also mental,psychological.
When you start imitating someone else behaviour/ etiquette/ agenda/ policies without properly analysing the reason for it, be sure you a wonderful slave.

Imbibing from other culture/personnel/history is ok only as long as it done for valid reasons critically defining the advantages/disadvantages accrueing out of it.Copycating wont take us anywhere.

So dear my planet mate, give few thoughts to anything coming to you from anyside, decode it, take in the good and throw out the waste. Mind you, you will be surprised by the sheer non-sense floating around you, thoughtlessly accept by you, till now.

from:  VIVEK
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 15:26 IST

Prof Kumar paints an interesting picture of how foreign companies and
govts have corrupted (the innocent, gullible?) Indian politicians and
business-folks, to the detriment of India. But, is it not the role of
any govt to promote/protect its economic interests, extend its power
and influence?

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 15:07 IST

By blindly allowing the global brands in the name of liberalization , we have literally killed the innovative local product making . Nowadays we have to pay a huge price for buying branded products whether it is a shoe, garments , belt. The attitude of our people needs to be blamed in a big way . I do not find any difference between a Rs 5000 branded shoe and the local ones which used to be sold in Bangalore majestic for Rs 500 . Those days we used to get good quality leather shoes , with customized designs in majestic. But no one buys such things now . Any company for building brand needs to spend around 70% of the product cost .So they can not give a good quality material to the product. The ratio of advertising cost to the material cost is steadily increasing . The brand product has to be advertised hugely in TV, hoardings etc, needs to be placed in a glossy mall which charge heavy rents. Ultimately peanuts only can be left to the end consumer who wants a good product .

from:  maha
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 14:25 IST

So long as we have a Government of UPA which is working as a long arm of USA this
country is going the way of banana republics of Africa and kingdoms ofWest Asia.
Common man is losing all hopes.

from:  M V J Rao
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 14:16 IST

Good article. When government officials speak of foreign hands with respect to
people fighting for their democratic rights, they have one finger pointing at the
activists and four pointing right back at them. Foreign companies selling junk foods
such as coca cola and pepsi are given red carpet treatment but good healthy coconut
water is not sponsored or promoted. Foreign alcohols are let in easily but good old
toddy which we loved making our rice cakes (idlis) is banned. If men want to drink
they will find a source and toddy is safer than spurious liquor. So now we lose a
oooking additive and also a fresh drink before a meal which has health benefits if
taken in the right quantity and we are brainwashed by ads to drink diabetes causing
coca cola and junk drinks that flood the market. Whatever the government makes on
taxes on junk sugar drinks it loses double on health costs to free government
hospitals. Plus unhealthy people don't make good tax payers. Why not promote our
own foods?

from:  angela alvares
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 14:11 IST

nice article..this is exactly what is happening

from:  vijay
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 14:00 IST

One of the best articles I have read so far.
Change should begin from people ourselves.
Unless people are clean(non corrupt) how can one expect organisations,
Governments to be clean.
It all comes down to an Individual.
Every Citizen should Commit and pledge to dishonor corruption.

from:  Brijesh Raj
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 13:56 IST

@Vivek V.

Hillary came here more as a rep of Walmart then a rep of USA. Please
check Hillary's history.

On the article, it is indeed enlightening and ponderable.

from:  Ramachandra
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 13:49 IST

It is impossible to prevent foreign elements from exerting pressure in
various ways, some of them highly injurious to our national well-being.
But it is not only possible but imperative that we set our own house in
order and take preventive and punitive measures against anyone
succumbing to foreign pressure.

from:  Marudhamuthu Radhakrishnan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 13:24 IST

I don't think it is wrong on the part of foreign corporations or politicians to attempt to exert pressure on India. They are doing what they are supposed to do. The question is why should we always have cave in under such pressure? The problem does not lie with them, it has to do with our government, that is, with few exceptions, represented by a bunch of spineless individuals who are amenable to the power of money.

from:  Mukul Kanti Dutta
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 13:12 IST

The problem is not the foreign hand but ourselves. When we stop being
corrupt, stop voting corrupt politicians, foreign hand will
automatically follow legal course and play fair.

from:  Arun
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 13:10 IST

@ Jeeves.. it's sad that some people see things only as 'leftist' and 'anti-leftist' and can't see the point mentioned in the writing. Author's citing multiple examples (other than MNC's). I am not saying author's right but atleast he has made a point to ponder upon.
Anyways, appreciate the research n presentation of the facts. thought-provoking piece of writing.

from:  kunal Angrish
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 13:07 IST

Thanks to the writer for highlighting the issue. Corruption and lobbying has been heavilly affecting Indian policy making which is not good for the country in the long run.

from:  Subhendu
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 11:26 IST

The Chief of CBI stated that 500 billion USD of Indian money is stashed in Swiss Banks. None of Indian politicians, bureaucrats are even ready to accept this publicly. Despite this India keeps begging foreign countries for trillion dollars for infrastructure growth.

from:  Mohan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 11:20 IST

Today History seems to repeat like East India Company captured all the power by Indian kings in exchange of good money as a reult India became slave.
Now The MNC of foreign contries trying to influence Indian market and economy. As a result Indian GDP growth, Productivity ,Economic strength is derogating .
Hence Indian peolpe have to pay cost for such nonsense democray.

from:  Abhishek Mishra
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 11:02 IST

It is amazing that such a senior person in academia can be so naive.It's well known that be it family affairs, or community politics, or politics at the national level, pulls and pressures will always exist. One can call it influencing, lobbying or by whatever name ,but these cannot be wished away in the real world. As far as national interests go, it is for the leadership to steer our country such that these interests are protected from opposing forces whether domestic or foreign. Our failure has been that it is our own leaders who have caved in to inducements and sold away our interest. For such acts of betrayal, who should we blame?

from:  Bhaskar Bhattacharya
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 10:59 IST

a highly biased article.
THe companies you mention, Seimens, UBS, Wal-Mart etc are all multi
national enterprises with multiple exposures in multiple fields. To
say that just because one of them is bribing does not make the
companies corrupt. If this were the definition used, we would solely
have a sole properietership as even our Giants like Infosys have been
accused of subverting rules. But that does not change the DNA of the
company. Yes, the DNA of the company must be able to rectify and
control compliance, but when u have millions of employees it is the
limit and creating the right culture. Hope the author provides a more fair view next time. expect better
quality of Opinions from the Hindu!

from:  Prakash Iyangar
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 10:59 IST

Why does JNU have only leftist thinkers? It cannot be part of any
institution's constitution to subscribe to any specific ideology surely!

from:  jeeves
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 10:09 IST

Why blame the "foreign hand" alone? This should be true for all companies everywhere, especially Indian companies. Notwithstanding the examples you cite, MNC's tend to be in public scrutiny more than Indian companies, and hence are less likely to bribe their way through. And is it really surprising that they exert pressure to further their interests? Once India opened its economy to foreign investment, you can't have it both ways-take their money for development, and also abuse them for faults which are clearly ours. Shouldn't our governments, officials and the media be more transparent than expecting a profit-driven company to safeguard our morals? This article would seem to suggest the evil hand of the foreigners. Have we still not matured enough as a nation to continue holding on to these fears? Or maybe the author is implying a return to state-owned economics?

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 09:41 IST

Birds of same feather flock together. One thing is very clear that the efforts that go in sealing the deal are made translucent and immune to public eyes by wrapping them in so called international protocol.Those who deal in these businesses with transnational parties or parties within their nation are well aware that they are more or less immune to the regulatory laws because one spade rarely will call another spade's name. And even if it does-as happens in some cases thanks to media interventions- they will be having their ways by hooks or crooks. Mr. Q's and Mr. Anderson's free run are befitting examples. But,to outright propose that Indian decisions have to be disconnected and in counter tune viz-a-viz international affairs is somewhat asking for impossible in today's intertwined economy. What is rather desirable is our government functions for us and not for others. The government must now realise that sixty year since independence we deserve a free walk and fair policies.

from:  Ajeet Tiwari
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 09:32 IST

Good honest article. Despite the freedom, India is not free yet. Nd this time, the perpetrators are our politicians, corporate organisations and
the bureaucrats and suffers are only and only the simple-common-man. We
will not prosper with this state of affairs. Do not blame an Indian who
fly out of the nation, in search of a better life.

from:  darshan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 09:06 IST

It is said that they have prepared a progress report of every govt.
showing their promsies and actions. It is certainly not good for
democratic governments that business both domestic and foregin should
exert such an octupus like hold on govts

from:  s.subramanyan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 08:59 IST

It is a well known fact that corproates dominate the government.
Several writers have detailed this retrograde pehnomenon. George
Monbiot's Cative State: Corproate Takeover is a well documented one on
how companies dominate govt. While we see this in an increasing
fervour in India with apex business chambers and prominent business
houses dictating the govt. we also countenance how foreign companeis
are also presurising our govt. Not a meeting of the Indo-US Business
Council passes off without American business chiefs and its officials
lecturing our govt. on what they should for kickstarting ‘their’
economies and not so much ‘ours’. For instance they asked for opening
retail trade, liberalising insurance and what is more worrying asked
our govt. to do this before their President visited India. Now RIO
meeting is going on. It is noted that 20 big companeis are having their
presence not only in Rio but at the G20 meet itself. It is said that
they have prepared a progress report of every

from:  s.subramanyan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 08:58 IST

Hidden truths remain hidden until articles like this are published that serve to atleast point in the direction of truth.
Its an open secret that a foreign hand is behind many shady deals. Whats more, the foreign hand does not operate from foreign shores but sits right in the heart of our own country.

from:  swarna
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 08:27 IST

The corporate lobby is getting stronger and stronger in India, earlier
it was bending rules to get its way! whenever a tough minister tries to
set the order right; they have eliminated the politicians and officials
by using various channels.

from:  harsha
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 08:12 IST

There could be truth in what the author is saying.

Indians have never thought about themselves. We are always influenced by
the "foreign" factor, for good and for bad. From foreign products, to
IMFL, to media applauding NRIs for doing great things in "foreign" lands,
and now to "foreign" hand in Indian politics, Indians have a desire to
impress the outsiders by bowing down.

Having a history of kings ruling the masses has resulted in lack of self-
respect in the general public. We seriously lack the capability to decide
and act on what is truly good for our present and future.

from:  Gautam
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 07:31 IST

Politicians and political parties in India are highly amenable, are even eager to be corrupted. They do not care where the money comes from– they just target the biggest sources to line their pockets with illegal wealth. A thief does not care if he is robbing foreigner or a local citizen - all he cares is who has the most money and is the most vulnerable. Local businesses and crime lords influence politics of the country as much or even more than foreign agents. Right here what is happening is corrupt politicians are redirecting public anger towards “foreign interests” and “alien hands” while they merrily go on robbing the Nation. The solution is exactly what Anna Hazare and his volunteers have been shouting themselves hoarse for years now. Let focus laser-like on making the government pass Lokayukta and Lok Pal legislations and state and central levels, and not make foreign companies the whipping boys for general malaise.

from:  MUKUNDAGIRI SADAGOPAN
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 06:16 IST

A well articulated and illustrated article. I congratualte the author for this wonderful research and analysis. Thanks to The Hindu for being independent and objective in its publication. No wonder The Hindu has been in the forefront for over a century. I started eading The Hindu since my childhood (1965) and still enjoy reading.India needs such a fisth estate to save our demoncracy.

from:  Dr C Kannapiran
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 06:01 IST

Nice points. Hillary came here representing the interest of USA and made some smart moves in favour of her country. Seasoned foreign politicians bargain your life for her country! In India, we have no one to go for the interest of the country. Individual leaders and regional parties call the shots here, for their own benefits. For foreign hands this is a great business climate. Who would have imagined a President in Finance Minister few months back, before his tough stands on cases involving MNCs?

from:  Vivek V
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 03:37 IST

An alerting article. Very well worded. It would be more complete if
there is another article by the author, how FDI has affected Indian
people, especially the people in the lowest economic strata to better
understand why FDI is such a serious issue.

from:  Vidyaramanan Ganesan
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 02:48 IST

In India, everything has a price. Life or death, power or failure
anything can be accommodated for a good price. Even the seat and votes
have a price and so is the case of democracy.
Only thing that is relatively free in India (at least as of now) is
freedom.

from:  Vignesh
Posted on: Jun 22, 2012 at 01:31 IST
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