AAP against crony capitalism, says Arvind Kejriwal, spells out 'capitalist' economic agenda at CII meet

Written by FE Online | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 18 2014, 03:22am hrs
Arvind KejriwalAddessing a CII event, Arvind Kejriwal said government has no business to be in business.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) founder and former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said his party is against crony capitalism not capitalism.

He also said it is not the job of the government to do business, rather it should focus on governance.

"We are not against capitalism, but we are against crony capitalism. We are depressed when spectrum worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore is purchased and sold for Rs 6,000 crore within one week. This is not called business, it is called dacoity," he said while sharing AAP's economic plan at a CII event.

Arvind Kejriwal during his 49-day tenure as the Delhi Chief Minister ordered CAG audit of power discoms and initiated action against Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries and Oil Minister Veerappa Moily alleging complicity in fixing gas prices.

"There is a very small section of industrialists in our country who are not industrialists or businessmen, but they are looting the country. We are against them but not against you all. If businesses are closed then who will generate employment," he said.

The AAP chief said a corruption-free government can help businesses grow and his party is committed to making India free of corruption.

Arvind Kejriwal alleged that government has knowingly kept the judicial system inefficient and said that there is a need to reduce litigation, especially from government side.

"Our judicial system is complicated. It has been knowingly made inefficient. It does not take rocket science to understand that if you appoint more judges and open more courts, then cases which have been pending for the last 20 months are resolved in 6 months. I think that would improve efficiency to a great extent," he said.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal had recently said that the government was working on doubling the ratio of judges to people from 14 per million to 30 per million in the next five years.

Arvind Kejriwal said that his policies may be wrong but his intentions are to give a corruption-free rule.

"I am fine that you criticise me, but it is of no use if you keep abusing us from outside the circle. Come inside the circle and tell us what to do. I would invite you to become a part of this revolution," he said.

Arvind Kejriwal took oath as Delhi Chief Minister on December 28. He resigned on February 14 after his government was defeated on the Jan Lokpal Bill in the state Assembly.

He claimed that his government has done the maximum work during short period of about one-and a-half month.

"We have done lot of work in last one-and-a-half month. The amount of work we have done, I am challenging, let me know if any other elected government has done as much as we have done since independence," Arvind Kejriwal said.

AAP founder said his party ordered audit of power companies within 5 days of its rule. In one and half month if we have reduced corruption.

"Go to any industrial area whether it be Bawana, Narayana or Wazirpur, there you don't have electricity, road or water. I don't how people are running industry there. We need a elaborate plan for them but government fell before that. I hope government will come again," he said.

"I have asked industrialists to tell me which are procedures that need to redefined so that government should have very little interference," he said.

Attacking the Manmohan Singh government, Arvind Kejriwal said that despite the best economist being the Prime Minister of the country, industrialists and businessmen still remain unhappy in the absence of "honest" politics.

"The world's best economic expert is our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. During the last 10 years of UPA tenure, you saw best economic policies but the biggest drawback was lack of honest politics. As there was no honest politics, those economic policies could not be implemented," said Arvind Kejriwal.

"There are many ministers in the cabinet who have studied economics from Harvard University. So, there was no dearth of good economic policies. But still industrialists and businessmen in our country are sad. Why are they sad Honest politics was missing...Neither BJP nor Congress has it," Kejriwal added.

The AAP leader said "first class citizens are being ruled by a third class governance".

The former Delhi chief minister said the key issue today is "governance". The need of the hour, he said, is "honest and efficient governance" which has been lacking all these years.

"The government has no business to be in business. It must govern", the AAP leader said adding all business activities of the country should be in private hands.

He also added many parties and governments say they were doing development work. "Governments do not do development, people do development through business and trade," he said.

Arvind Kejriwal said time has come to define the role of the government. For any government, there are three important works to do. First, it is the duty of the government to provide security to its citizens; secondly, to provide justice and lastly to provide corruption-free governance. But unfortunately, no party is talking about them, he added.

"Party is claiming that they will give development. I want to know how they will do that when citizens are feeling unsafe. Can there be any development Can business be done in such an environment" Arvind Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal stressed on ending inspector and license raj as a measure to end corruption.

"Even an inspector of income tax department can make a big industrialist miserable. AAP is completely against inspector and license raj. We want to revisit the entire system," the former income tax inspector added.

"We have to do two-three things. We have to bring a stable tax regime. We have to reduce litigations. More judges need to be appointed. Improvement in efficiency needs to be there. There are many cases in which we (government) have withdrawn,' Arvind Kejriwal said.

Asked to respond to interim budget presented in parliament today, Kejriwal said "there was not much today. It was a vote-on-account budget. Basically, the budget is a political document. It's not just an economic document. Until politics is not cleansed of corruption, these big economic policies do not mean anything."

To a question about declaration of a 10-point agenda by UPA, he said "it seems good to listen to but why did not they (UPA) do it in ten years All these things cannot happen unless one is honest.

"You make 10, 20, 100 point agendas, make policies but they cannot happen. Common people know it that they are being fooled as elections are coming," Kejriwal added.

To a criticism that he did not know governance, Arvind Kejriwal said "in the last five years, audit of power discoms could not be done. There have been independent surveys and there has been a decrease in cutting-edge corruption in Delhi. If we have been able to bring down corruption by 20-30 per cent, it is a big achievement."

"Another media report stated that in the transport department, all touts have vanished. Medicines have now started becoming available in government hospitals and people say we do not know governance, Arvind Kejriwal added.

Responding to queries from industry leaders on issues such as funding of political parties - largely perceived as prone to corruption - Kejriwal said his party had been exploring viable means of addressing this "serious and complicated" issue and had discussed options such as state funding and a transparent cheque-based system.

Claiming that his government had achieved more in 49 days of power than other governments had over several years, Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the industry "to join the revolution" in creating a new corruption-free India through greater participation of people and transparency at all levels.

"We had made elaborate plans for the industry but before we could implement it, our government fell. We hope to come back in the government and together we will implement them," Kejriwal claimed.

Here are highlights of his speech:

* Govt has no business to be in business

* Business should be left to private players

* Govt should focus on governance

* Against crony capitalism, not capitalism

* Govt policies giving away businesses

* Govt need to encourage businessman

* Govt can't give jobs to all; jobs must come from private industry

* A small number of industrialists looting the country

* We are first class citizens, victim of third class governance