M.R Venkatesh

Showcasing India as an investment destination at the World Economic Forum in the third week of January at Davos, FinanceMinister Mr. Arun Jaitley promised India has a “lot in the pipeline” for global investors. And that implicitly meant furtherliberalising the Foreign Direct Investment [FDI] rules.

Will Budget 2015 provide incentives, plans and programs for individual states to become self-sufficient in food production?

To understand the enormity of the challenge India faces on issue of food shortage, security and depravation, let me at the outset quote some statistics. The net per capita food availability in India in 1971 was 394 gm per day. This was just after the onset of Green Revolution in India.

The problem of our economy is that consumers are not consuming, borrowers are not borrowing, lenders are not lending and investors are not investing, explains MR Venkatesh

Imagine for a moment a train from your town to Kochi and ending up in distant Ahmedabad. Successive Union Budgets have been doing precisely that; probably far worse. Government misses Revenue targets by a mile and exceeds its expenditure by another.

Isn’t it funny that we are importing in excess of $50 billion of gold every year while simultaneously pleading with foreigners to invest a few billions?

Bollywood movie buffs will bear me out on this. String instruments like sitar and veena are played in the background to symbolise happy times. On the contrary, to highlight melancholy, bow instruments like the violin is extensively used. In the run up to the Budget 2013, the nation seems to be filled with violinists.

As multilateral negotiations have paused, multi-national corporates have increasingly become aggressive; and our bureaucrats restless.

There is strong evidence that rural communities in the United States have been more adversely impacted by the discount mass merchandisers (sometimes referred to as the Wal-Mart phenomenon) than by any other factors in recent times." No. That is not Mamata Banerjee commenting on the debilitating impact of FDI in retail.

As my clients opened the registered post their worst nightmare came true. It was a show-cause notice issued by a government department. It threatened to take coercive action, including closure of business and arrest of directors and senior officials of the company, if reply was not provided to the ‘satisfaction’ of the government within the date mentioned in the notice.

The matter was indeed serious. For the next fortnight or so my client’s office was in a tizzy. Naturally, nothing else mattered. After all, it was a matter of life and death for them.

The rupee is depreciating by the minute. In just the past few days it has slipped by over 4 per cent. One significant factor that is increasing the demand for the dollar (which in turn has increased the value of the dollar and simultaneously depressed the value of the rupee) is the capital outflow caused by the exit of foreign institutional investor (FII) funds.
In this connection, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee observed that any intervention by the Reserve Bank of India would not effectively check the fall in the value of the rupee.

It is the most outlandish corruption story one has ever heard in India – bribes for the 2G Spectrum deal were routed through cheques to a media company owned by the first family in Tamil Nadu.

Even by our remarkably abysmal standards that must be a new low; and in terms of sheer brazenness, a new high. A chartered accountant friend, tongue firmly in cheek, remarked: "What about Service Tax?” Service Tax is not applicable to bribes; I pointed out dryly.