Economy has to be built on principles: Book

New Delhi, Jan 15 () Playing ducks and drakes with canons of finance is a short-term game which will rebound with adverse consequences like bank failures, industry stagnations and resultant individual privations, warns a new book.

It also says that economy has to be built on principles and its ethics have to be adhered to honestly and sincerely.

"Below value collaterals, doctored appraisals of project costs, loan dispersals against diving goodwills, etc., mercurial fiscal regimes, notional disinvestment policies, all will come home to roost someday," writes Raj Liberhan, who was the director of India Habitat Centre (IHC) here and served in the government of India's financial services for 30 years.

His book "Urban Ethos and Pathos", brought out by Har-Anand Publications, looks at the country's social, political and governance challenges and their possible resolutions. Advertisement

He says that inflated taxation demands locked in contention for long years, corporate dispute resolutions taking endless time are all converging to make our economic slowdown worse than ever before.

"The ecosystem of governance is sending out signals of alarm. In fact, it is the bells tolling in continuous peals that the economy needs immediate rescue acts. There is a whole chorus of voices out there advocating reforms of one kind or another," he writes.

Liberhan says that there may be a whole gamut of suggestions pouring in on a daily basis like tax concessions for one sector, lowering of GST for another, subsidies for yet another sector or easing liquidity for everyone but coherence of policy initiatives is the need of the hour.

"This coherence has to be underwritten by the integrity of the process, irrespective of the results that show up. Our collective efforts to manage results of the economy to merely show great spectacles will not endure beyond the temporary. Sustainability, however, needs ethical purpose and ethical means. That is real progress," he says.

The author seems to be frustrated by the use and often abuse of public spaces by fellow citizens, and why people are not more civil and conscious of the fact that one's right to swing arms ends where the other fellows' nose begins. The book, launched recently, is a product of Liberhan's interface with people, conversations and happenings in and around his world; many of them being his opinions, some perspectives and some even his yearnings for his surroundings to be better. Advertisement

He is of the view that mounting non-performing assets, cost overruns and delays in completing projects, misuse of legal recourse to defeat contractual obligations between Indian and foreign corporate and policy misadventures have all hurt growth.

He also stresses that governments must learn to tell the truth and not hype the lies.

"Most times, we are handed out lofty slogans by our leaders and for governance, we get deaf ears or inept management pleading scarce resources for non-delivery of public services," he says. Advertisement

According to Liberhan, the history of our times is witness to a growing disenchantment, somewhat with the past, and more pointedly, the present.

"The counterpoints seem to have taken over all discourse, whether in politics, economics, or sociology. To conform to a code, be it of decency or ethics or one that is imposed by the institutional allegiance of the time, is to be a wimp or without belief," he says.

"To demonstrate a servile willingness to cheer those in power has always been the courtier's way. And don't we all covet the courtier's role, although we revile and disown it in public pronouncements," he adds. ZMN RB RB

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