Negotiating on a high

| Updated on September 20, 2020 Published on September 20, 2020


Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal recently suggested that concessions for Scotch Whisky could be offered to the UK once negotiations start between the two countries on a proposed free trade pact. This could lead to increased markets for a number of products from India such as farm and dairy items, seafood, handicrafts, textiles, and gems & jewellery, the Minister said.

While it is true that it would be a big decision for India to give easier access to wines and spirits, an area which it has been fiercely protecting, the point to ponder is whether it will be enough for the UK to agree to open its markets for India in a sufficient number of items as was being hoped.

As part of the European Union, the UK had been demanding liberalisation of a number of sectors such as banking, insurance, accountancy, retail and legal. Even if it is out of the EU now, its interests in these sectors would surely persist. So, India needs to keep being watchful if it wants to protect its financial services and retail. It is unlikely that Scotch would put the UK negotiators in such high spirits that they would forget the rest!

CAIT’s China bouncer

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) seems to have upped the ante when it comes to protesting issues and individuals. The traders’ body, which has been running a nationwide campaign to boycott Chinese goods, sent down a bouncer at Sachin Tendulkar, criticising him for becoming the brand ambassador of Paytm First Games as it has Chinese investors. The traders’ body had earlier asked leading Bollywood actors and cricketers to join its ‘boycott Chinese products’ movement.

In an open letter, it had urged Aamir Khan, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Virat Kohli and others to stop endorsing Chinese products. It had also written to leading industrialists to stop using imported Chinese components or products in their businesses. Earlier this year, CAIT had written to Infosys Chairman Narayana Murthy expressing concerns and shock that he was a speaker at an Amazon event.

IT’s a tech world

You must give it to CA Institute President Atul Kumar Gupta for being at his innovative best at a recent virtual interaction with media persons while announcing the findings of a joint report with the UK’s ICAEW on how technology and automation are transforming the finance functions in businesses. To drive home the message that technological advancements are now widely recognised and have become all-pervasive, Gupta went on to say how when he was in primary school, he was taught ‘A’ for Apple, ‘B’ for Boy...

However, given the widespread tech advancements and awareness, what one gets to learn at primary school stage these days is ‘A’ for Artificial Intelligence and ‘B’ for Blockchain, he quipped. Really, a smart way of conveying the message that we are truly and squarely living in a tech-dominated world.

Claims on Narasimha Rao

It is a well-known fact that former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, who opened up doors of globalisation in the country during 1991-92, has been abandoned by the Congress party, because of his alleged rift with the Gandhi family.

But nearly 16 years after his demise, a curious fight for claiming his legacy is now on. But it is not the Congress that is fighting to claim his legacy. While Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has already kicked off the centenary celebrations in honour of the former Prime Minister, Congress leaders are now baffled by this appropriation of Rao’s legacy by a rival party. The BJP, it seems, is also not lagging behind in trying it put Congress in a fix.

Buzz is the BJP is toying with the idea of conferring the highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, on Rao, which has been demanded by the Telangana State Legislature Assembly too. The BJP, say sources, wants to make a point that it is the dynasty that matters for the Congress, and that leaders even of a stature of Rao, will be relegated to the periphery. It will be interesting to see how the Congress leadership will react, if at all.

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Published on September 20, 2020
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