Lokpal & judiciary
This refers to the recent news report in The Financial Express: “Lokpal Bill gets green light from Rajya Sabha”. The Parliamentarians need to be congratulated for passing the Lokpal Bill, which had been hanging fire for decades. Since Anna Hazare’s 2011 Jan Lokpal agitation, most of the media and intellectuals have been critical of the concept of Lokpal, raising questions such as with so many agencies where is the need of adding one more to the list, whether Lokpal will be able to eradicate corruption or what is the guarantee that an all-powerful Lokpal answerable to none will not turn into a Frankenstein? There is no agency free of government control to deal with cases of corruption. With the political and bureaucratic corruption attaining alarming magnitude, there is a pressing need for an ombudsman independent of government control to tackle corruption. No institution or law has ever been able to eradicate an evil but has certainly been able to minimise and check it. Judiciary is not under government control but has not turned into a Frankenstein. Lokpal should be answerable to the system the way judiciary is.
MC Joshi, Lucknow
Global trade & inclusive growth
In this month’s WTO meet in Bali, we “won” a reprieve of four years during which countries like India will not be sued under the WTO rules for breaching the food subsidy limit. From the GATT era of battling tariff barriers in international trade, the universal perception across trading nations has remained straitjacketed. Post-2008 global downturn, disagreements still continue in the WTO over several key areas including agriculture subsidies. The developed countries give $400 billion of subsidies every year to farmers but are still considered compliant with WTO rules because they opt for income support to their farmers instead of providing subsidies like India. In these skirmishes the larger battle for expanded world trade is lost. Trade has sadly not received the seriousness it increasingly deserves, though global economic adversity is rewriting our economic expertise in the realm of monetary and fiscal policies. While individual nations would gladly tap into the advantages provided by globalisation, they show reluctance to share common problems of a unified economy. Global trade has steadily weakened. In good times, the trade generated by a country’s growth bolsters global growth. But, in times of crisis, the trade spillovers have the opposite effect. Considered not as worrisome as financial disruptions, trade imbalances do