ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Romesh ThaparSubscribe to Romesh Thapar

Guessing in Delhi

November 9, 1968 THE targeted increase of 7 per cent in exports to $ 1,725 million during 1968-69 is no longer considered beyond achievement. Export performance has been exceptionally good at $ 883 million between April and August this year, against $ 758 million for the corresponding five months of 1967, and $739 million and $813 million in 1966 and 1965, respectively.

Standing at Ease

it was not regarded as assistance to small-scale industries and was not fully reflected in the figures, in view of the inadequacies of the former definition. All that the revised definition has done is to bring the figures of bank assistance to small-scale industries more in line with realities.

Awaiting the PM

strike. Sport and Pastime was a first rate journal with a large circulation. Its closure was a great blow to sports news coverage. From Bombay now conies a new journal called Sportsweek whose first issue was out on October 13. It is a tabloid edited by Aziz: Currimbhoy and is obviously modelled in get-up, style and content on the more popular London tabloids. Fully illustrated, at 35 paise it is quite a bargain. But unless the editor curbs his weakness for sensationalism, it will fail as a successor to the dignified Sport and Pastime, Back to Statesman. It reported that Laborde, a French Catholic priest working in the slums of Howrah has been served with a quit notice by the Government of India. This action is likely to create the same sort of rumpus as followed the deportment order served on Spanish Jesuit Ferrer. The charge against Laborde is that "instead of preparing thesis for a French University, he is now working in the slums" and is therefore violating the terms on which he was permitted to visit India. The facts have to be ferreted out and Manash Ghosh set the ball rolling. According to Ghosh "when Father Laborde goes, he will leave behind him thousands of slum dwellers who look upon him as a 'dependable friend' and 'a symbol of hops''.

Myth of Self-Reliance

October 12, 1968 Government policy which requires larger deliveries of original equipment and narrows down the price differen- tial between original equipment and replacements (officially from 25 to 10 per cent) has, understandably made the new manufacturers more cost-conscious. The present shortage of tyres mainly of popular brands, nevertheless beckons larger production. Even if profit margins are lower, the opportunity of snatching a larger slice of the market from the larger and older manufacturers is also there. Since the new manufacturers have sharpened their teeth, they would be ill-advised not to chew the faro just because it does not appear too appetising.

Mobilising against the Ugly Twins

Mobilising against the Ugly Twins ? Romesh Thapar OUR major newspapers, picking up the strings after a rather prolonged strike which coincided with an internal management attack aimed at blunting editorial independence, have failed to note the beginnings of a significant change in our external posture. From the scrappy reports coming in of Indira Gandhi's pronouncements in Latin America, it appears that we have at last recognised the inherent dangers in our dependence on the supposed goodwill of the two super powers. A follow-through can only mean that we will soon be embarked on a policy of closer co-ordination with a number of developed and developing nations whose interests are basically opposed to the diktats of Washington and Moscow.

Non-Government

September 28, 1968 well as in exports. At Rs 82 crores (S 108 million) exports were the lowest in the last 10 years, and compared unfavourably with $ 133 million in 1965 and $ 114 million in 1966, That the decline in foreign exchange earnings was not wholly attributable to devaluation in June 1966 is evident from the fact that the quantity of piecegoods exports in 1967 was lower at 410 million sq metres compared with 424 million sq metres in 1966 and 507 million sq metres in 1965.

Worn-Out Music Box

Romesh Thapar EVEN though chatter continues about who is to be thrown out of the Council of Ministers and who is to be inducted, the power hierarchy is at the moment more concerned with the developing unrest among the working people, including government employees. There is every reason for concern; if the present drought persists over large areas of the country, the availability of food will be affected and prices will begin to climb again. This is yet another reminder that so-called miracles are short-lived unless accompanied by hard, co-ordinated effort at various levels.

Issues to the Fore?

OUR functioning anarchy is best highlighted by the programme put together for the Prime Minister's tour of South America and, later, of Japan. Some thirty-two days will be absorbed by this activity. Apart from the fact that it is difficult to find a parallel elsewhere of such long absences by a head of government, the criticism is sharpened by the existence of a number of new economic and political problems which can be tackled only in between sessions of Parliament. In this way, the impression is created that there is no intention to do anything substantial.

Uncertain Mood

September 7, 1968 lopment Corporation. It may be worthwhile studying the optimum size for state undertakings, regardless of the industry they serve, for the controlling parameter may be managerial rather than physical.

Isolation of Super Powers

August 31, 1968 producers. The re-rolling mills found it extremely difficult to purchase billets and this caused a surplus of billets and, at the same time, closure of steel re- rolling mills. Second, the prices of off-grade billets were increased specifically to discourage re-rollers from buying off-grade billets. There was a price difference of Rs 20 between the off-grade billets and the standard billets and the idea was to narrow down this difference. This reason did not exist when the second price increase in July 1968 was announced, and so there could be no justification for increasing the prices of off-grade billets by more than for other billets. In fact, from the point of view of maintaining qua- lity of the main plants, the prices of oil-grade billets should be much lower so as to discourage them from producing off-grade material.

Under-Cover Operation

August 24, 1968 paid to such questions as the giving of a diplomatic passport to Congress President Nijalingappa to visit Japan. Nija- lingappa's visit was evidently a success, judging from K V Narain's despatch to Hindu. The consensus in Tokyo was that Nijalingappa "had unquestionably done a good job", wrote Narain. The Indian Embassy, it would seem, was overzealous not only in briefing the Congress President but also in chaperoning him, to "such an extent that it generated some resentment among members of his party". Narain's own comment was that "while its (the Embassy's) anxiety to maintain a good image of India is understandable enough, it appeared somewhat presumptuous on the part of the Embassy to assume that the man who had been elected to one of the most honoured political offices in the land would not be able to fend for himself and might let down his country . , .".

Question-Mark over Morarji

August 17, 1968 anything else determine the growth of the economy as a whole, and so it has to be the maximum possible. What the tiresome: arithmetical calculations attempted above do lead one to reasonably question is whether the Plan ning Commission has given adequate thought to all the relevant factors and policy issues before concluding that a 5 per cent per annum growth of agriculture may be "reasonably expected" in the Fourth Plan.

Pages

Back to Top