Few days back the World Bank ranking for ease of doing business came and India’s ranking suddenly jumped from 130th to relatively much better 100.Prime Minister Modi and his cabinet colleagues went gaga over this and media was bombarded with paeans in support of this unique achievement.
The ground reality, however, seems to be just opposite as GDP growth is down to paltry 3.7%, 20 lakh or more people have lost their jobs after demonetisation, private investments have reached its nadir and banks NPAs are making banks go kaput.
The improved ranking in the ease of doing business may not have affected the general business climate positively but at least in two cases this seems to be true. The first beneficiary of improved ease of doing business ranking is Jay Shah, son of BJP President Amit Shah whose temple enterprises turnover increase by whopping 16000% which was unearthed by “The Wire”.
The same news portal “The Wire” has come out with another explosive revelation which claims that an organisation called India foundation owned by the son of Ajit Doval, NSA of Prime Minister has four central ministers as its directors and it is getting pecuniary help from Indian and foreign companies.
According to the report published in “The Wire”, India Foundation was a small time company in the business of graphics preparation against the orthodox Islam and forced conversions of tribals in Kerala. Although this company was established way back in 2009 but the phenomenal growth was observed only since 2014 which raises lot of questions.
India Foundation has now morphed into one of the most powerful think tanks which facilitates a platform for Indian and international business houses where industrialists rub shoulders and discuss govt’s policies with senior ministers and secretary rank officers.
Now the transactions of India Foundation which is not at all transparent and the central minister being directors of this company raises multiple questions since the owner of this company Shaurya Doval runs another company called Gemini Financial Services which executes transactions between other countries.
This is a clear case of conflict of interest and lobbying, two things which Prime Minister promised to end in 2014.He categorically made it apparent that there will not be any middle man in the corridors of power.After this revelation, people of this country are feeling cheated and deceived.
It is interesting to know that Shaurya Doval is son of powerful National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who is considered close to PM Modi. It’s a strange coincidence that Modi won in 2014 on premise of ending the dynastic rule.
Shaurya Doval and Ram Madhav, an ex RSS man and the current General Secretary of BJP run this company but it also has Defence Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman,Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha and Minister of state for Foreign Affairs MJ Akbar as its directors.
You can’t think of more potent and effective think tank than this where four important ministers are directors and the owners include an ex RSS leader and son of NSA who has important say in the Govt functioning. Till this date all the programmes which this organisation conducted were run away success because of the presence of all important policy makers and the top Indian and overseas company sponsored these programmes.
The reason behind the success of this outfit is these six important faces which is also its biggest problem since it clearly raises the issue of conflict of interest as these companies can easily manipulate the Governmental policies as per their need and they can also get the inconvenient policies changed as per their requirements.
Since this institution is run by a trust, as per existing laws, it is not mandatory for them to make its balance sheet public and despite the presence of central ministers on the board it refused to answer the queries related to its source of funding and transactions.
“The Wire” further claimed that during the preparation of report they contacted all six people associated with this institution through letter and asked their opinion but it failed to get any reply from the concerned ministers and only Ram Madhav, the General Secretary of BJP responded by saying that he will come out with appropriate answer in due course but that is yet to happen.
However, Shaurya Doval replied that the bulk of income is generated through Conferences, Adverisements and Journals but he failed to name the companies who contribute and he had no answer as how his company, which is registered as a trust, meets its day to day expenses and how is he managing an office in a posh locality like Hailey Road which is part of famous Lutyens zone of New Delhi. He also had no answer as how he manages the salary and other expenses of his staff members.
“The Wire” further claims that one of the programmes which India Foundation conducted was “Smart Border Management” where the name of sponsors of the event was openly displayed and they could also be seen at the stage and other venues. The sponsors included top aviation company like Boeing and Magal, an Israeli company dealing in armaments.
Apart from these companies there were DBS Bank and other leading Private overseas companies but it is not clear as what were the terms and condition for the participation of these companies and how much they contributed towards these mega events. According to “The Wire” India Foundation is an independent Research Center whose job is to study the issues, challenges and the opportunities of Indian politics. But in another interview Shaurya Doval conceded that he works in tandem with the BJP and the Union Govt on important issues.
Interestingly, this particular interview is available on the website of Gemini Financial Services which proves that transparency is bunkum. Shaurya was previously running a company called G Yes Capital which was later merged into the Gemini Financial Services. The Chairman of Gemini Financial Services is Prince Mishal Bin Abdullah Bin Turki Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud who is son of late king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,
“The Wire” reports that when they asked about the conflict of interest angle, Shaurya replied that the question doesn’t arise since India Foundation is not in the business of transaction on their own or on behalf of others and moreover lobbying or any related activities are strictly prohibited in the charter of company.”The Wire” also raised query from the PMO but no reply came from there.