Friday, January 17, 2014

The Jayanthi Tax

The BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi, in his Vijay Sankalp rally in Goa, became one of the few politicians in India to have brought up the role of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, and particularly the former Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, in the economic mismanagement of India. Now, The Indian Expresses reports that the new Minister Veerappa Moily has ordered an audit of all files held up by his predecessor.

And the results clearly point to a Jayanthi Tax. 350 files have been found to have been held up, a large number of them already signed and cleared but still staying stuck for no reason whatsoever - at least not on the face of it. Amazingly, many of the files are in the former Minister's home! It is not uncommon for a busy Minister to take files home to review after a break, but it is a moral necessity for them to bring them back to the Ministry the next day. A Minister's home is no place to run a Ministry.

Why would the Minister have kept files on hold despite having signed and cleared them? Obviously, it cannot be any concerns about the Environment, because a clearance implies that those have already been looked into. Therefore, what concerns did the Minister have that were not related to her Ministry? Given the Congress-led UPA's ten-year track record, rampant corruption can be seen as the only reason. And it's not just speculation: businesses have been complaining ad nauseum about how the MoEF has become the nodal Ministry for holding up every file. Nearly one lakh crores of investment have been held up, half of that Posco's investment in Odisha. The Cabinet even took the extraordinary step of creating the CCI to try to overrule the Ministry, but as that would have been plain unconstitutional, the only way out was to toss Jayanthi Natarajan out.

Clearly, the last Minister had deep vested interests that compromised India's economy. It is a crime against the nation. The Jayanthi Tax was clearly a reality that bled India and will take years to recover from. 

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