Apex Chamber Grins & Bears It

Updated: Oct 29 2002, 05:30am hrs
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is obviously a glutton for criticism. At last weeks manufacturing summit, it roped in Dr Rakesh Mohan as a last minute speaker on the second day. The central bank deputy governor, having stated that he was speaking in his individual capacity, had a blast taking potshots at the CII. For starters, he said, I am glad the CII is finding its role again in manufacturing. I was beginning to wonder if CII is getting its 10-year itch again for changing its name and planning to become the Confederation of Indian Services.

Dr Mohan went on to criticise industrys fables about Chinese imports without looking at numbers. Speaking about the quality of engineering talent in Indian companies, he charged them with paying a pittance to engineers (thats what his brother told him). Maybe you should look at what you pay your engineers and you will not be surprised at what you get, said the new deputy governor. He then accused them of not paying attention to technology despite his urging for 10 years. All through his fusillade, leading industrialists on the dais kept grinning like schoolboys being pulled up by the headmaster!

On the Move, Backwards!
Mr Jaswant Singhs first outing as union finance minister to Indias commercial capital paints an excellent picture of the state of the economy and its direction. Singhs first stop was the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) a bourse that is steadily on the decline and constantly losing ground to the National Stock Exchange. He spent his time listening to brokers lobbying for a re-start of the primitive badla in a modified form (they call it margin trading now) and pleas for a waiver of the Securities and Exchange Board of Indias turnover fees.

He then attended a meeting on the fate of scam-riddled cooperative banks with Maharashtra government officials and finally, after a lunch stop with Ficci, went back to the BSE for a meeting of the insular and protectionist Swadeshi Jagran Manch. Is it any wonder that India always gives the impression of constantly moving backward rather than forward