Yashwant Sinha on reforms, the tobacco war and, making cloud industry-friendly

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GN Bureau | August 12, 2017


#cloud computing   #divorce   #india post payments bank   #yashwant sinha   #tobacco   #weekend stories  


Last year the nation marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of economic liberalisation. Back in those tumultuous days, Yashwant Sinha was an important part of the dramatis personae involved in the reforms process. As finance minister in the short-lived Chandra Shekhar government, he steered the economy during a critical phase, and later, as finance minister in the NDA government, he gave the reform narrative a bipartisan support. In July, Sinha, along with co-editor Vinay K Srivastava, published a collection of essays on the reform saga, titled The Future of Indian Economy: Past Reforms and Challenges Ahead (Rupa Publications). Sinha spoke with Governance Now about the eclectic anthology as well as about the economy. 
 
 
Tobacco companies are not known to be the fairest of fighters in market battles. But Philip Morris International (PMI) seems to have gone to extremes in its grand strategy to sweep the Indian market, where an estimated 2 million people take up smoking every year. A presentation on the Indian market by Philip Morris (the makers of Marlboro cigarettes) that has been accessed and released by Reuters news agency recently singles out some anti-tobacco groups for special attention. And from among anti-tobacco lobbyists, it marks out the photograph of Dr K Srinath Reddy – a prominent cardiologist from AIIMS, an expert on public health, and chairman of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) – with a red circle. The singling out of Dr Reddy and some groups may be part of a global offensive by tobacco giants.
 
 
In India, the kind of trials and tribulations a person goes through while opting for a divorce is dismal. The hefty fees of lawyers, the long and tardy legal procedure and inadequate number of family courts further add to the woes. A major reason for inordinate delays in divorce cases is when either the judge is on leave for months, or is transferred and the new judge does not take charge for a long time. Also, delay in delivery of notice to the other party, due to incorrect postal address or other reasons, hinders the proceedings.
 
 
India may not take a heavy-handed approach in regulating cloud computing. The telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) is expected to submit its recommendations on cloud computing to the department of telecommunications (DoT) in the next couple of months, says an official aware of the matter. In its submission, the regulator is considering industry-friendly rules governing cloud technology – in line with the goals of the national telecom policy (NTP), 2012, which envisions India as “a global leader in the development and provision of cloud services”.
 
 
A project worth Rs 1,000 crore by the department of post will serve as a shot in the arm for financial inclusion in the country. The department, say officials aware of the matter, has zeroed in on the US-based Hewlett Packard (HP) to set up the technology infrastructure for its countrywide rollout of a payment bank – a stripped-down version of a bank that would allow a limited savings deposit of up to Rs 1 lakh, but not loans and credit. Currently negotiations are on between the two and a formal announcement is awaited. HP will do an end-to-end job of setting up countrywide points-of-presence of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) at 1,55,015 post offices, 650-plus branches (the definite number is not yet known), a network and a data centre.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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