Below the line

| Updated on January 12, 2020 Published on January 12, 2020

Collateral damage

Restrictions on the import of refined palm oil imposed recently by India was targeted at Malaysia. With the Mahathir Mohamad regime openly critical of India on its policies on Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act, the former is apparently not keen on ‘business as usual’ relationship with the latter. The curb on refined palm oil, a chief import from Malaysia, was therefore interpreted by many as a move to hurt the country.

However, it has led to some inadvertent collateral damage, with Nepal protesting that its exporters will be hurt too. Although Indian officials said that it would be ensured that Nepal’s businesses don’t get hurt, how it gets done will be interesting to note.

Is the Budget still in the making?

With less than a month remaining for the Union Budget 2020 to be presented by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, a buzz doing the rounds is “why are the Budget consultations still going on?”

“Is it because the government is worried?” quipped an economist. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited ideas and suggestions for the Union Budget 2020 on MyGov.

He said, “The Union Budget represents the aspirations of 130 crore Indians and lays out the path towards India’s development. I invite you all to share your ideas and suggestions for this year’s Budget on MyGov.”

Does this mean Budget is still being finalised?

Finally, a seat at the big table

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi has been quiet about his Coal Ministry for most of his tenure till now. Only recently has he started appearing with his fellow energy ministers at events. At one such rare occurrence, when the International Energy Agency was presenting an overall report on India’s energy policies at the NITI Aayog, Joshi was spotted with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and Renewable Energy, RK Singh. While opening his address, Joshi quipped that the NITI Aayog would not even consult him earlier on the energy issues. Joshi said that he was glad that he is being invited to participate in these discussions now.

A less-noticed but also embarrassing faux pas was made by NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant who addressed Pradhan as the Coal Minister of the country. Or was it intentional?

Who is right?

An ‘Ashwattama’ moment in judiciary occurred in the ongoing Tata-Mistry case, feel corporate observers. Many legal pundits are still wondering as to who is right — the NCLAT or the Mumbai Registrar of Companies (RoC) — and what exactly is the truth? The bottomline is that NCLAT’s order in the dispute has raised many an eyebrow in corporate circles.

While the NCLAT on January 6 upheld its December 18 order of conversion of Tata Sons from deemed “public” to “private” company as “illegal”, it also maintained that it was not casting any “aspersion” on the RoC.

The latter, however, thinks otherwise, as the NCLAT judgment stated that the conversion was done with the “help of the RoC just before the filing of the appeal”. The RoC says that there is nothing in the rules to prevent it from giving its approval for conversion to a private company. Thus we have an Ashwattama moment, as the court tries to determine who is right.

Education contest

Taking a dig at the education model of the opposition parties, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia said that AAP government took steps to improve the quality of education by introducing ‘happiness curriculum’ and ‘entrepreneurship curriculum’.

On the other hand, other parties are fighting over whether to include or remove Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi from the curriculum. Students are also being taught ‘bhoot vidya’. This time, the election in Delhi is between these education models.

Our Delhi Bureau

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Published on January 12, 2020
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