PC sandwiched

Our Bureau | Updated on September 26, 2019 Published on September 09, 2019

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram (file photo)   -  PTI


Three political heavyweights in India are going to celebrate their birthdays this week on three consecutive days — senior BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy (September 15); former Finance Minister P Chidambaram (September 16) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (September 17).

This has prompted some political chatter among the public as to how Chidambaram has got sandwiched by Swamy and Modi — birthday-wise and in terms of his political career too.

It now looks almost certain that PC may have to celebrate his 74th birthday in Tihar jail.

Professional hazard

While laying the foundation stone for the expansion of the Safdarjung Sports Injury Centre in South Delhi, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan became nostalgic. An ENT doctor himself, he started recalling his student days of the 1980s. A student of Kanpur-based Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial College, he and his fellow-mates had marched to Safdarjung’s medical college to participate in the doctors’ strike and stop-work movement, to put across a range of demands to improve the medical profession.

A student protester himself once, these days Harsh Vardhan has been busy trying to address a host of grievances of medical students, ranging from increased violence against medicos to issues concerning entrance exams.

Sanctity of contract

Your job is not all that secure even if you serve an organisation that was created by an Act of Parliament. That is what several of those who were shown the door by the CA Institute found to their rude shock this past week. It now transpires that all of them (70-odd) were under a contract and not permanent employees and the management claimed it was well within its rights to ease the employees out. A clear case of the audit profession body throwing the rule book at its own folks. Had the ICAI members done this to their clients, many of the audit failures in the recent past could have been avoided, quipped an economy watcher. Now the ousted people of the CA Institute are fighting it out at the labour court.

Changing times

Change is clearly in the air, at least in the Indian banking industry. There was a time when the government (UPA I and II) wanted public sector banks (PSB) boards to decide for themselves who their potential merger candidates will be and then seek government approval. The then Finance Minister said he would “encourage” all such endeavours by the bank boards. It’s another matter that the banks chose not to for any consolidation. However, it’s been a complete U-turn under the current dispensation, with the government itself “deciding” the merger candidates and then directing the respective bank boards to “approve” the decision, said a banking industry observer.

Clearly, the narrative on bank board autonomy and empowerment has changed.

Liberal democracy defined

When Manmohan Singh talks everyone hears, is the common perception. At a recent event in Jaipur — the Sixth JKLU Laureate Award (JK Lakshmipat University) and Hari Shankar Singhania Memorial Oration Function on ‘Strengthening the Roots of Democracy in India’ — Singh talked about, among other things, the importance of a free and independent media.

“Freedom of speech and expression is best embodied by the presence of an independent and fair media operating without consideration of fear or favour. That can best be achieved with mutual understanding, respect, and a clear understanding and acknowledgement of roles and boundaries by all parties involved,” he said.

A liberal democracy, he said, is one model of good governance that includes freedom, pursuit of equality, power sharing, deliberation, periodic elections, independent institutions, and the rule of law. Hope he is being heard!

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Published on September 09, 2019
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