As you pay

Our Bureau | Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on March 05, 2017

Ajay Tyagi: Shoes to fill   -  PTI

The Delhi government’s decision to raise the minimum wage for labour by more than a third has drawn protests from some groups of exporters. In a petition to the Lieutenant Governor, an exporters’ body submitted that he should hold back his approval as the announcement has been made keeping the MCD election in mind and would hit exporters who were battling rising costs and falling shipments. With the L-G ignoring the request, the exporters have no choice but to pay their labour more. Perhaps they could draw comfort from the belief that a happier workforce is a more productive one!

The faces of Budget 2018-19

The finance ministry is set to undergo a big reshuffle in the course of the year as top officials are transferred or retired. The Government is looking for a replacement for Ajay Tyagi, the newly appointed chief of SEBI. Till last month, Tyagi was an additional secretary in the department of economic affairs. His boss, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, is on an extension till May 31, following which he will retire. The terms of his peers, including Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal will also come to an end later this year. Not surprisingly, a guessing game has begun in North Block.

UDAY: More hype than hope

Every fortnight or so there’s an official statement about the success of Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY): “State power distribution companies (DISCOMs) are reporting handsome savings and improvements in operational efficiency and found ways of cutting down power theft under the UDAY”. This is even as States like Jharkhand have already defaulted. And if the buzz in the power ministry is anything to go by, more will follow suit. The scheme was rolled out with much fanfare 15 months back. There were three statements announcing that Sikkim had come on board. The overall net benefit to the State was overstated in the first release, the second release had a lower figure, and the third brought it down even further.

Breaking down the wall

There may cracks in the glass ceiling, but Labour Secretary and former DGCA, M Sathyavathi, feels societal attitudes and clamour for TRPs hinders assigning proper value to a woman’s professional capabilities. Citing her own example at an event in Delhi last week, Sathyavathi said it took 100 years for the Government to appoint a woman to the post of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 2014. “When the order was issued, nobody talked about my capability or work, but about breaking the glass ceiling. The headlines ran as ‘India get first woman DGCA’,” she said.

Arvind’s pat for Martin

At a recent conference in the capital, the Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian recommended to the audience that they read Martin Wolf's recent piece in the Financial Times on the Indian economy. This was not because Martin highlighted that the Indian economy was more open than the Chinese but because Martin arrived at this conclusion entirely from the Economic Survey, which was anchored and authored by the CEA himself. Clearly, he’s not one to miss an opportunity.

Cutbacks galore

A certain IT major, not witnessing the best of times, has started cutting costs. The first cut was the transport facility for employees. No more cabs and buses. The next to go was the coffee machine. Now two floors share one coffee machine while usage of stationary and copier machines has been severely restricted. Employees have also been moved out of two buildings to cut down on lease costs and shifted to the company’s own premises. It remains to be seen whether some of the employees themselves will be allowed to go if automation were to be implemented at every level. .

Published on March 05, 2017
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