“Get more active, get more engaged,” say Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Jay Panda in Moneylife Foundation’s 7th Anniversary programme
Moneylife Digital Team 04 February 2017

On 4 February 2017, Moneylife Foundation's 7th Anniversary celebration in Mumbai brought together two distinguished Members of Parliament (MPs), Baijayant 'Jay' Panda and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who are trying to make a difference to India and the way we are governed. “Inspired”, “charged-up” and “rejuvenated” were some of the comments from a 600 plus audience who heard them at the historic convention hall of the newly-listed Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Saturday afternoon. Mr T S Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner and Moneylife Foundation trustee presided over the event.

 

Mr Baijant ‘Jay’ Panda, a rare MP, who has been returning a part of his salary proportional to the time wasted in the Parliament sessions, said India needs three kinds of reforms: electoral, parliamentary and judicial.

 

For electoral reforms, the Election Commission needs to be given power to assess and penalise political parties for fudging. At the same time, politician needs to be incentivised for using legitimate funds," he said. "Idealism is good but it must be tempered with pragmatism”, in our system, “the money has got pushed under the cupboard”, he said."I don't have a problem with the amount of money we spend, I have a problem with the legitimacy and transparency of the expenditure."

 

He went on to argue for state funding of elections and described the US model, where the extent of state funding depends on the amount that a candidate can raise from small denomination contributors. He said, the state contribution ought to be in proportion to funds raised transparently by a candidate. But while those who get large institutional or corporate supporters would get only an equal sum of money, those who raise small denomination contributions from a larger number of people, ought to receive a multiple of the money raised. This would act as a balancing factor and give an equal opportunity for citizen candidates. He attributed former US president Barak Obama’s victory to such $10 and $20 contributions.

A strong believer in the concept of universal basic income (UBI), Mr Panda said it should replace its current social welfare programs including MNREGA, which  are "grossly inefficient, corruption-ridden, misdirected towards the better-off, and thus unable to achieve stated objectives". He also said that leakages continued to be high, while the UBI, which is gaining acceptance globally, will put a small amount of money in people’s pocket.

 

Mr Panda, shocked the well-informed Moneylife audience when he said, “India may be a democracy but unlike other democracies, the government of the day can refuse to implement even an Act that has been passed by the parliament”.

 

 

We do not make it obligatory for a government to implement a law, even after it has the President’s assent. He has introduced a private member bill to make it mandatory for the government to implement laws passed by parliament within 90 days. He argued about the need for urgent reform in banking, agriculture, labour laws as well as judicial and administrative reforms in order to become a full-fledged middle-income country.

 

A strong votary of good governance, Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka, has been vocal and articulate about the issues of reforms, governance and economy inside Parliament and in various public forums. Mr Chandrashekar talked of the need to educate people about governance – he called it Governance Literacy like financial literacy.

 

Mr Chandrasekhar said, “India has claimed to spend a lot of money on e-governance but that does nothing for the citizens. Government ministries act independently, with their own set of data without taking a common view. All ministries operate on different basis. There is a need to engage with government sensibly.”

 

Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an Independent MP in Rajya Sabha, entrepreneur and passionate advocate of civil society issues and the defence forces, says, "We cannot transform unless there is a significant investment in rebuilding our institutions. Regulatory institutions were created for being independent from the government. But over the past two decades, it has essentially become a parking spot for retired bureaucrats.”

 

Mr Chandrashekar was extremely critical about the damage wrought by discretionary powers employeed by governemnt agencies and bureaucrates.   “Government discretion is used to make some people rich and some poor. A country like ours needs to have high quality institutions. A capture of these institutions is used to make some people rich and some poor," he said.  He was disturbed at the functioning of self-regulatory bodies, which had become sinecures for retired bureaucrats.

 

Both the MPs agreed on seeking more engagement from people with their representatives. Voting is the most important, while people should also increase engagement with their local representatives, they said.

 

Earlier, Ashish Chauhan, Managing Director and Chief Executive of BSE, while welcoming both the MPs, said, "India needs more investment for the long-term and not for speculation". Incidentally, Moneylife Foundation's Seventh Anniversary function was the first public event for the publically listed BSE to be held in the famous Rotunda Hall (now re-named as International Convention Centre), where stock trading by the open outcry method, used to take place during old days.

 

During the programme, Moneylife Foundation handed over copies of three memorandums, it prepared on corporate fixed deposits, amendments to the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act and to the Reserve Bank of India, demanding fairer rules on how our credit information is collated and used.

 

Comments
Shriram Singh
5 years ago
We need more such leaders leading the change in India to make it "Sone Ki Chidiya" again..more leaders coMing from Rural areas and who have seen the problems faced by our society but have made big in Business or professions should enter into politics
Ajit Duge
5 years ago
Suchetaji unfortunately I missed the meet.. Any way you can help ?? Thanks
Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag
Replied to Ajit Duge comment 5 years ago
All programmes of Moneylife Foundation are available on U Tube, within 5 to 6 days of the programme.
There you can view the entire programme comfortably at your convenience.
Aditya G
5 years ago
I enjoyed the event -- from Mr Panda's delivery to Mr Chandrashekar's sartorial wear. It was a well-organised event from start to finish. Kudos to the ML staff!

It's tough to change a system that has been entrenched (and abused) since independence. However, I'm optimistic that the Government is doing something to make this country function better. People like Mr Pandya and Mr Chandrashekar gives me hope.

I don't get it, though, why those in parliament who fail to obey its rules of conduct aren't booted out? I imagine a booklet containing the Code of Conduct and an exhaustive list of rules to be adhered is given to and signed by every elected person in the lower and upper houses. Did I miss something?

I look forward to many more such events!
vswami
5 years ago
"India needs more investment for the long-term and not for speculation"
Such a suggestion , idealistic to the core, has come, to one's great surprise, from no less a person than the present chief of 'BSE' - an institution exclusively for trading in 'stocks', wherein the momentum /frequency of activity is being reckoned as fast as /no slower than the clock goes ticking during the business hours. May be, that was an out-of-box suggestion offered in his personal , not official , capacity. Even so, what, as honestly perceived, ought not to be forgotten is that, the need of 'India' may be so, but the personal need or aspiration of the investing -activists transacting through BSE could not honestly be expected to be any different - other than 'speculation' in its true sense !
Not to worry if the purport is not clear / understood !!

Bapoo Malcolm
5 years ago
At the end of the day, we ask ourselves, this: Two maverick stalwarts want us to think out of the box. But there are 500 out there who want to put us into it. In each one's own little way, we need to fight them. If we think, we will find a way. As we often have. The power of one is the highest power of all.
Deepak Mahulkar
5 years ago
I have been a member of Moneylife since 2010 and also attending anniversary programmes regularly since last three years. Kudos to Moneylife for selecting out of box speakers on all the occasions. Sh. J Panda was par excellence. In fact, he had lot to tell and time was short. Can we have name of site which he mentioned where he regularly posts his views? Mumbaikars are fortunate to hear such rejuvenated speeches which other parliamentarians and TV listeners miss due to continuous ruckus created in both the houses. Hope to listen to them more often on the platform of Moneylife.
DINESH KOTECHA
5 years ago
knowledge and insight of the problems facing India's economic growth were superbly highlighted/explained by/in the talk by the two veteran speakers. We need more and more such scholars for injecting thoughts of development of India. Thanks Moneylife for such programme. keep it going and going repeatedly and strongly..
Rushikesh dhebar
5 years ago
I personally appear in 7 the anniversary programme from RAJKOT to witness and I enjoyed lot with both MP . THANKS AND REGARDS
Sucheta Dalal
Replied to Rushikesh dhebar comment 5 years ago
thank you so much! we value the support!
Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag
Replied to Rushikesh dhebar comment 5 years ago
Thank you, sir, for your keen interest in the work of Moneylife Foundation.
Kindly avail Moneylife Foundation's legal literacy programme by Email. send your query to its Legal Resource Centre (lrc) by Email on its Email ID : lrc.moneylife.in
You will get an expert's advise by Email.
G R Chari
5 years ago
I appreciate the yeoman service Moneylife is doing to spread financial litracy in India. It would be most heart warming if the video recording of the entire session is relayed for the benefit of outstation readers like me who could not attend the session .
Sucheta Dalal
Replied to G R Chari comment 5 years ago
Thank you Mr Chari. We will indeed put up all the videos in a couple of days. They will be available under Events at http://foundation.moneylife.in
Anil Chiplunkar
5 years ago
It was a wonderful program and the eminent speakers have really provided the 'food for thought'. Al-though overall the program went very well, I personally believe the speakers have addressed 'the first half of the theme and the second half was not really touched upon' - what I mean by this is that the speakers were able to put across ideas / thoughts around 'Transform India' but the 'Thinking out-of-box' was not really visible. Also I felt that if the ideas shared could provide 'some ideas about how a common man can contribute to the transform India' then it would have been more appealing.
I must say MoneyLife is doing a great job on various front and I love to be associated with the foundations. Sometime in near future I would also be looking forward towards more opportunities of interactions and possibly if I get a chance to share / utilize my knowledge, skills I gained in the field of 'Information Security', 'Cyber Fraud Management', 'Business Continuity'.
Sucheta Dalal
Replied to Anil Chiplunkar comment 5 years ago
Mr Chiplunkar We would be delighted to meet and interact with you! Thank you for your kind words!
Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag
5 years ago
Moneylife Foundation's 7th-anniversary programme's both the speakers have enlightened the audience with their in-depth knowledge on the subject.
Sucheta Dalal
Replied to Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag comment 5 years ago
Thank you Mr Shanbagh. You missed our introduction of your work at Moneylife Foundation since you were late. Thank you for your support and guidance
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