Radhakishan Damani is the 17th wealthiest entrepreneur of India. As per media reports, the market capitalisation of his company, Indian Avenue Supermarts Ltd is almost Rs. 40,000 crore (over $6 billion). Nobody would question Radhakishan Damani if his companies were being run professionally and he was earning through legalised operations. gfiles’ cover story by Alam Srinivas tries to understand the operations of Damani and let our readers know how Damani has earned his millions by creating a small business entity. It can be coined as ‘Playing the System’. Srinivas writes, “There is a grave danger if there’s over-regulation—it results in a strangulating bureaucracy. But there are pitfalls of under-regulation—it makes those who should be more on their toes to relax and become complacent. In the first, it’s the businesses that suffer; in the latter, it’s the retail investors and poor customers who bear the burden. This is why, as India tries to ease the way to do business, she should ensure that the watchdogs are on guard, and don’t abdicate their responsibilities.” Our cover story on Radhakishan Damani is just a wake-up call to the regulators that if they fail in performing their duties, the possibilities of more scams, like the ones that involved stock brokers Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh, are not far away. If it happens, the governance system of India will again become a laughing stock in the world.
Our writer Rakesh Dixit has extensively covered the farmers’ stir in Madhya Pradesh. In his story, ‘Self delusional edifice crumbles’ he writes, “Ten stormy days of agitation blew off an edifice of a farmer-friendly regime that chief minister Shivraj Singh had assiduously reinforced over the last 10 years through emotional rhetoric, statistical jugglery and an overdose of misplaced sops to the state’s farmers. Now the ruling BJP is trying hard to reassemble the shattered edifice by reaching out to the distressed farmers, who comprise three-fourths of the State’s over 10 crore population.” gfiles has covered another core governance story on the proposed merger of oil public sector undertakings. The government in power can take any decision but it has to ask itself a crucial question: Is the creation of the integrated oil companies merely an excuse to earn huge sums for the exchequer?
To have a home is a life-long dream of all, but when it’s marred by delay in possession, quality of construction, huge difference between promised infrastructure and deliverance, diversion of funds to other projects and many more, it becomes a nightmare. An ace chartered accountant and entrepreneur, Sunil Gupta, has written about the new legislation, the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act (RERA). He says: “To bring back the sheen into this sector, RERA will act as an elixir. It is a landmark Act which will bring about a paradigm shift in the real estate sector.
However, the real success of this Act will be determined on how well it is adapted and implemented by the States.” The story on the insurgency in the North-East and the rise of Paresh Baruah by Diptendra Raychaudhuri is disturbing. He reports, “With the demise of SS Khaplang, the legendary Naga rebel who abrogated truce with India in 2015, Indian security agencies have reasons to be worried. Now it will be Paresh Baruah, the reckless ULFA (Independent) boss who will call shots in the entire North-East where militants of different ethnicity have come together to wage guerrilla warfare.”