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I’m Surprised That The Govt. Is Making This Huge Change But No One Seems To Give A Shit

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By Pillai Vishnu:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) listens to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the Global Business Summit in New Delhi January 16, 2015. Modi said on Friday that he was committed to meeting this year's budget deficit target, and he welcomed a cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India on the back of falling inflation. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee (INDIA - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR4LQA3
Image credit: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee.

I do not know what I am surprised at more. The fact that the Modi government just proposed an amendment which will redefine foreign companies as Indian to donate to political parties or the fact that no one gives a shit?

First of all, the amendment is as follows,

“In the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010, in section 2, in sub section(1), in clause (j), in sub-clause(vi), the following provision shall be inserted with effect from 26 September 2010, namely:–

‘Provided that where the nominal value of share capital is within the limits specified for foreign investments under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, or the rules and regulations made thereunder, then, notwithstanding the nominal value of the share capital of a company being more than one half of such value at the time of making the contribution, such company shall not be deemed a foreign source’.”

To explain the implication and motive of this amendment let me take you back to a Delhi High Court judgement in 2014, before the national election, that indicted the BJP and Congress for accepting donations from the foreign company Vedanta. This was against the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). At least, it was in violation back then.

While the High Court indicted the BJP and Congress, like always, the national parties appealed in the Supreme Court against the verdict. As of now, the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.

But, guess what Mr. Arun Jaitley did ever so silently without anyone noticing. He just proposed an amendment to that law to make this (Vedanta) company not foreign anymore. In other words, he just saved BJP’s and, wait for it, Congress‘ ass as well.

Since the amendment takes effect retrospectively, he has actually not left any loopholes. I am amazed at the efficiency of the lawmakers this time around (of course, it’s for their own survival). The case will surely sail through in the Supreme Court. The BJP and Congress will walk scot-free again and we would be left wishing, if only these lawmakers could make such air tight laws for matters like rape.

Why is it surprising the Modi government is doing it? Well, that is because it was this same government that came down hard on ‘some’ NGOs (some of which were pursuing cases against the accused in the 2002 riots) under the same FRCA for receiving foreign donations. They were accused of using the donations for ‘political activities’.

Why is it surprising that no major news channel picked up on the news? It is even more surprising because it is the bloody election season now! Four states and one union territory are going for elections. This should have been prime time news. We should have heard the likes of Barkha and Arnab asking these difficult questions. Because guess what Mr. Goswami, the nation really wants to know!

What are the implications of this amendment? First of all, the BJP and Congress would be saved as this amendment is effective retrospectively. Secondly, it would open the doors to other such ‘foreign’ corporations to dictate the political scenario in our country, be it foreign policy or economics. Of course, all they have to do is to give hefty donations to political parties.

What this amendment is telling me is that when times are tough for political parties, there is no difference between them, not in ideology, governance or anything. There are no adjournments, nothing! This will be proven to be correct if this amendment proposed by Mr. Jaitley and the Modi government is passed because it helps both the BJP and Congress!

The amendment is serious. The media is not exposing it. The politicians are all in it as they stand to benefit. We have everything going against us. It’s upon us to spread the news, create a public consensus opposing the amendment, and make it so strong that the media can’t ignore it.

What the new law will do is to increase the already high corporate donations to political parties. Now, they wouldn’t even have to be Indian! We have to stand up together and make the government realise that if the corporates have money, we have the votes.

We have to make them realise that our votes are more valuable than corporate money. We have to make them realise that they can’t fool us. We have to make them realise that we also matter!

You must be to comment.
  1. abhinav prakash

    Nice one buddy, thanks a lot 🙂

  2. Nitin

    Thanks for posting this, wouldn’t have known otherwise. Are there any agencies/organizations trying to work on it right now?

  3. Indian frustrated

    This stupidity needs to stop. The article doesn’t even tell us what the amendment and its implications are — in simple language.

  4. Mayank Bhatewara

    Dear Admin,

    Don’t be biased by excluding other political parties like CPIM/SP/BSP/DMK and many more, it’s a fact that this political parties are taking funds from all the available resources.

    For usage of foreign funds by NGO’s for political purpose instead of social cause to get restricted, I to think that’s a correct point.

    For usage of foreign funds by political parties for political purpose, it should be tightly monitored. Fund from all industries whether Indian or foreign must be controlled and monitored.

    You highlighted a very important issue, but got totally biased.

  5. Sandeep

    Just to bring in some varied opinion on the rules and regulations, according to Sanjay Agarwal of Sanjay, Aditya & Associates, this amendment cannot be applied to the case against political parties because while Vedanta is exempt under one clause as a foreign source it will continue to be a foreign source under other clauses—Section 2(1)(j)(iii) read with Section 2(1)(g)(ii), Section 2(1)(f) of FCRA 2010 and Section 2(17) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

  6. Samarth Bansal

    This was well reported by various newspapers last weekend – The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint, Business Standard etc. Request the Editor of YouthKiAwaaz to keep a check on what is being published.

  7. Harsh

    Good work

  8. sowgata

    Haha. Good article. 🙂

    Dude, If votes mattered a tiny bit, they would have made it illegal.
    Government don’t control the society, it is the corporate world that
    really fucks the society. Government is just a puppet, put there to tell you
    that you have “Freedom of speech”. Guess what? You don’t.

    The table has always been tilted folks. The game is rigged! Wake Up!
    #Rebels #AntiCapitalism #AntiMoney #AntiMonetarySystem #Sustainability
    #ResourceBasedEconomy #Earthlings

  9. Amar Mishra

    This change of rule will only ease the FDI inflow and is in association with the liberalization of FDI policy. Nothing skeptical.

  10. Pillai Vishnu

    @abhinav, nitin, harsh thank you, this is very important news, if we all stand together only anything will happen. Hence spread the news, government should realise there is scrutiny and they will be held accountable.

    @indian frustrated, sorry for frustrating you more. This is as simple as i could make it. Please do ask someone if they can explain it. This is something you should know about irrespective of technicalities.

    @mayank since the high court verdict was against the BJP and congress i have highlighted their names, and also since the BJP has brought the ammendment. I would have used another party’s name if any of the other parties brought this amendment. Plus if sources are to be believed BJP and Congress’s international funding is unmatched by any other party, hence if we can expose them that is a huge part of the problem solved. I have written this article as a concerned indian, not as a political tool. Till now its only the AAP that said they will oppose the amendment but they have 3 or 4 mps only.

    @sandeep, what you have said is right. We can yet prosecute them. But if reports are to be believed prashant bhushan has said, with this ammendment in place it will be hard to prosecute the BJP and Congress in the apex court. But more importantly i am worried at the example it sets. Changing the laws to help yourself legally. Today it will be the Vedanta case, tomorow it will some other case. That is a scary situation. So we have to come on it hard in the beggining only.

    @samarth, while i wrote the article it was pretty early days, it had to go through editing, and i had to give references to what i have said As YKA do not publish anything and everything (atleast in my case). So your accusation i feel is invalid, in my case they did their job (even better than you imagine) They are very professional. If you read the piece carefully, what i have meant is prime time news. Television ignored it (some print media also didnt cover it). But anyways this issue should have got all the coverage. The more was merrier, so i do not understand why do have a problem is the issue has more exposure? Isnt that needed?

    @sowgata, i know why you would feel cynical, do not be. We have a lot of examples in our history when people have stood up, and made the government realise the govt cant take people for granted. Your vote is valuable. We just have to stop voting for religion, caste, or party. We have to vote for the best possible canditate. That vote is important. Change will happen, but like Gandhi said, be the change you wish to see in the world.

    @Amar, are you saying you are fine with some sought of foreign investment in politics. Do you want foreign companies to dictate the terms of indian policies? This is very dangerous. Even more it is an attempt by BJP to save bjp and congress, on a case they were already indicted in delhi high court. Dont you realise how grave the sign is when a government is changing laws to help them in cases of law? That is a very alarming trend to me. Hence i decided to speak out, atleast for people to take account of the problem.

    Thank you for all your comments and i am sorry for the late reply. This is not a battle won, but just started, spread the word, write about it, talk about it create a public conscience, that we can do.

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