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Indra Dhoj Kshetri

HIKE

Fair Business! Fair Politics!

Twenty years ago, India was worst corrupt country. Politicians and businesspeople worked with each other for the mutual benefit, national interest sidelined. The license rule prevailed. Politicians dominated the businesspeople showing the fear of seizing their operating license. Politicians could also protect the illegal and unfair conducts. As they made unfair conduct, businesspeople paid a large amount of money as donation to the political parties and leaders to secure their license. On return, businesspeople threatened the politicians of withdrawing the support or not paying the donation, if the politicians didn’t conduct at their interest. Donation drive was the principal feature of Indian economy. This scenario is still portrayed by many Indian films. This was once a very common reality.

However, the situation has much changed now. India is growing as one of the world’s fastest growing economy. There are estimates that within few years, India will dominate considerable share of world’s market in terms of consumption and production. The rapid entry of multinational business companies in the 1990s played significant role for this change. As some of the world’s largest producers and Billion dollar companies entered Indian business arena, the situation reversed. Despite many unfair conducts yet, the corruption situation has changed in India.

Multinational companies were grown in the western countries where the political and business systems didn’t complement each other, instead worked as the watch dog of one another’s unfair conduct. They fought with one another to protect their interest, instead fairly. As businesses were operated fairly and legally, they had no point bowing down before the politicians. The same situation reflected in India as well. The multinational companies made their conduct fully legal and fair. To ensure fair conduct, international auditing firms began to audit the accounts of Indian business companies. Any leakage, legal or financial, was caught immediately and action taken. Other existing Indian companies also learned the conduct from those multinational companies. They learned that it is better serve the public than a handful of politicians. Central bureau of Investigation was given authority to take action against any such conducts and strong anti corruption laws were enforced. And the situation is changed now.

But Nepal is at the situation where India exactly was twenty years ago. A handful of business firms are operating unfairly. Weak implementation or lack of proper legislation and absence of the agencies to implement financial discipline has crippled Nepal’s economy. A handful of businesspeople and politicians are accumulating more and more wealth whereas poor people are getting poorer. They are dominating politics for unfair conduct. There are nor as many multinational companies as to affect the Nepal’s system. None of the companies here makes audit of its accounts by international firms. Our politicians don’t have enough moral to go against those businesspeople, with fear that their donators will be lost. The best example is government’s incapability to take action against the defaulters. No matter how they blame the situation for not being able not to repay the bank loans, they can’t be exempt from the punishment. They are threatening the politicians not to take action against them. Those who have the highest bank loans are in so called respectable positions e.g. at FNCCI or other confederations and chambers. And they are misusing the privilege of their post for their petty interest. Every defaulter is trying to prove himself non willful. But it is his WILL not to pay the loan.

The international financial discipline can be a cure all to those problems. Segmenting politics from business is a prerequisite for such discipline. When there is fair business, it helps the politics to be fair and vice versa. Thus, business and politics should act as watchdog of one another’s activities. They can complement only to ensure fairness at one another’s conduct.