The 2G verdict
I was on Twitter when the news of the 2G judgment cancelling all the licences from Raja hit. It was HUGE 122 licences scrapped! 3 of Tata, 21 Videocon, 22 Uninor, 9 of Idea, 6 of S-tel, 13 of Swan, 21 of Loop, 21 Sistema Shyam – poof! gone.
Devastation hit the ranks. The instant, knee jerk reactions were all about “foreign investors” and “overseas markets”. India would lose credibility as a market. This sent a bad message to investors, etc etc.
Then the political tweets hit, and the “good side” of the verdict became more visible. Landmark judgment, now does the Congress admit… etc. But more than a political decision, I saw this as a setting of a high standard on the whole subject of corporate favor. Most were furious with Raja, but still used Idea connections. This pulls the curtain on all that. Being part of a corrupt deal is corrupt. Period. This is greater than the myopic – “oh, now the Congress can’t squirm its way out of this”.
In my eyes, this is a date to be recorded in our country’s economic history.
I saw something tremendous happening with India and its economic journey. In a country where perpetrators of the Bhopal Gas tragedy were sheltered by the government to maintain an investment climate, and the government is all but selling people itself to raise money, this was a massive about turn. MASSIVE.
This changes everything. A thousand times more than the Lokpal. This strips the facade that it was only the government that was corrupt. The government-corporate nexus gets called out for what it is, and then slammed unequivocally.
In my eyes, what happens with the 2G licences is still minor in the face of the precedent that was set today. Corporations that collude with the government to bend rules can be devastated any time in the future. In essence, it set the date on taking a sigh of relief at having pulled a “good deal” to an uncompromising “never”. You get caught, you are back to square one, plus your loss.
Today’s Supreme Court judgment is going to haunt every corporate-government deal from now on. No telling what will happen if caught in future. Big incentive to play straight.
I believe that more than justice, this moment is historical in its deterrent. The Supreme Court has put its foot down. Bend the country’s laws to get undue favor, and no matter who you are, no matter how fait accompli your deal is, you will get what is due, when it comes before the court. This brings up hope that the many times the country has been sold short can all be hauled into court and set right, instead of simply voting for a better future and keeping fingers crossed.
This makes any corporation thinking of getting licences/rates/clearances it doesn’t qualify for to think again. It clearly sets a business code for dealing with the country, which is less said, but its impact will have to be considered in every future deal in the country.
Expect to see more hope on mining scams and what nots. This will recharge the fight for people’s rights like nothing else can.
I am happy for the opposition leaders, but this sets a worrying precedent for them too. NO ONE is above the law. Whoever’s turn comes, comes.
The country matters.
And it says one more thing. We are so blinded by stocks and markets and investments, that many of us saw this decision as a bad thing at first sight. Some barely stopped short of accusing the Supreme Court of damaging “national interest” [read “investment climate” – that seems to be what national interest has been reduced to].
It is high time we found a sense of ethics to match the vocal righteousness. The country is growing and you want to be on the right side of history, no?