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Should FM take lessons on time value of money? 
(Wed, 21 Nov Pre-Open) 
 
Corruption and politics have run hand in hand in our country since ages. But the magnitude and frequency of scams unraveled in the recent years have broken all records and have taken all by surprise. However, those at the helm of affairs seem hardly shaken. In a country where unaccounted black money is estimated to be more than half of the country's GDP, the Government is defending itself by pointing finger at the people working hard to unearth such scams and questioning their estimates of losses.

Ideally, the magnitude of 2G scam and Coalgate scam and the public reaction should have prompted some corrective action from the Government. Unfortunately, it is still in denial mode. As per the finance minister Mr. P Chidambaram, the CAG estimates of potential losses on 2G spectrum and coal gate scam are both mythical. He conveniently ignores the fact that the resources in question here such as coal and the spectrum had revenue generation potential that was wasted due to non transparent policies and lack of accountability. The finite resources were given away for near zero prices. As far as CAG estimates are concerned, they obviously can't be confirmed since what they depict are notional losses. However, the same if realized could have made a huge positive difference to the India's economic growth. The bigger issue here is that things have gone wrong. And it is not just a minor slip up, but a willful misallocation of resources subjecting the country to huge losses.

The statement is both ridiculous and ironical, coming from a person who introduced the concept of notional losses due to tax reliefs (almost at par with CAG's estimates of losses due to scams). The crucial numbers that reflect the country's economic health have been consistently falling short of the targets set by him in the budget. The alarming fiscal deficit numbers during his tenure excluded the behemoth subsidies on fuel, food and fertlisers, a clear attempt to window dress the accounts. If accuracy of the numbers is that important, it is the financial planning where FM needs to act. As far as CAG's revelations are concerned, what he should bother about is the time value of money that the country has lost. To conclude, it's time to stop taking entire country for a ride and address the issues that have led to a serious dent in the country's image as an investment destination.

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