By a curious coincidence, the two ‘time-tested’ friends – Russia and India – are grappling with the same cancer — Corruption. A recent public poll listed corruption as the number one concern for the Russian people.
The Russian economy is (over)dependent on the energy sector and there are fresh expectations that President Vladimir Putin would open up the sector for ‘privatization’. A situation like India’s 2G scam may not arise in Russia (or anywhere on the planet), but Putin has nonetheless come came up with a thoughtful political decision similar to what India’s Supreme Court ruled a few months ago — namely, that natural resources have to be auctioned off instead of sold in any other manner. This is what Putin said, inter alia, at a meeting in the Kremlin on Friday:
“Strategic deposits of federal importance — with reserves of over 70 million tons of oil and over 50 billion cubic meters of gas — should be allocated through auctions, without tenders. Tenders are inefficient and, most importantly, they are not transparent. There is another aspect, one that is purely fiscal. As as all know, the budget gets higher revenues from tenders, but still the transparency of the proceedures is more important.”
Where India differs from Russia is that tenders in India are not necessarily the means to get higher revenue. Where India shares Russia’s predicament is that the tender system lacks transparency.
But the affidavit that the government filed in the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Monday says the auctioning of natural resources will affect India’s economic growth. It also questions the judiciary’s prerogative to rule on policy decisions. The hearing began on July 10.
Actually, this is a topic no less in importance than the upcoming presidential election. But our political class has its own priorities. Bravo, Mr. Putin!
Posted in Politics.
– July 12, 2012