Is it any surprise that Broadband is not really taking off in this country? Fact of the matter is deep rooted corruption. Here is a break up analysis of how things are rotten in Karnataka (as an example) and assuming that similar “rates” apply at central government. There is no doubt that being in politics is pure money making enterprise. Here are the low down statistics.
While the Tata-Corus deal was over Rs 36,000 crore, they could have acquired the Government of Karnataka for just Rs 2,825 crore by buying 113 MLAs. Another Rs 1,000 crore might have had to be doled out to mid-term dissidents and other contingency expenses. For such investment, the returns from bribes are fabulous. Even Warren Buffet cannot match it.
This is mere change for a major group like Tata’s. Imagine the clout that these companies have at the national level, their ability to influence major policy decisions and ride roughshod over the customer’s interests.
For example, here is a news from the past when Tatas took over VSNL in 2002 during the time when BJP was in power and it was on a disinvestment spree.
The Tatas today took charge of the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) after signing shareholders’ agreement with the Union Government for acquisition of 25 per cent stake in the telecom major for Rs. 1,439 crores.
Adjusting for inflation, it would be much more than the figures suggest but I wonder how much “speed money” was given and whether it was the right thing to do. It had acquired it’s long distance telephony which at that time was very lucrative.
The total valuation of Tata Indicom as a brand is expected to be in “billions”. This is not counting it’s lucrative tower business.
The company’s GSM services were launched after NTT DoCoMo picked up 26% in the company. The Japanese telecom major, which prides itself in its third generation (3G) offerings, spent $2.7 billion on its first investment in Tata Teleservices, valuing it at just under $11 billion.
It’s not that the powers that be are not aware of the prevailing situation on ground. It’s easier to keep it this way because a populace kept “busy with basic issues of life like a proper dwelling, electricity, food and infrastructure” would hardly have any time to think about issues like ‘broadband’. Ask the person on street and the familiar reaction would perhaps be,”WTF”.
Hence many times I think that our pretensions about “knowledge based economy” may all be crap and flotsam. The basic issues lie much deeper and as Atanu Dey rightly points out that the basic impediment to our progress may well be the Indian Government itself. It doesn’t matter to anyone though because as we fucking multiply to billion plus, there is always someone laughing behind our backs making a killing of millions.
To round it up, it is pure money power that allows these companies to roughshod it over us. They know that regulations cannot be enforced, the justice system inordinately slow and right to information act does not apply to private organizations (though I can argue against it). At the same time, not being transparent is the biggest asset available to them.