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Kanoon, Kovind and Kumble

Six months into 2017 and we are witness to the most defining moment of 21st century India.

In the Central Hall of the Indian Parliament, Prime Minister Modi does a Nehru. Freedom at midnight talk, 70 years after Nehru’s famous tryst with destiny speech. While that time India awoke to life and freedom, this time around the countrymen woke up to a brand new law that would be the one-stop shop for all indirect tax legislation, the Goods and Services Tax Act. 

With the kicking in of GST, India has walked the global highway of Value Added Tax,  a doctrine to which 160 plus countries are already wedded. India may be late, but it’s better late than never.

Never before in history has a new legislation been awaited with bated breath and spoken of so very widely. An idea whose origin in India as is with everything else is shrouded in intrigue, arguably germinated in 1999, gained both traction and momentum between 2005-2010, before losing its steam.  It eventually picked steam under the NDA and is now law.

Elsewhere in this issue, we talk in depth about the historic Goods and Services Tax Act. 


Ram Nath Kovind and Abdul Kalam

Earlier, the prime minister pulled a rabbit out of his hat in announcing the name of Ram Nath 

Kovind as the BJP’s presidential candidate. No one can from what appears in Wiki, have an argument against his name. The only trouble is that I genuinely asked myself “Ram Nath Who” as Tendulkar had once asked of Noel David, the cricketer. 

Kovind’s elevation, whatever you might say, was political. Seventy years on, it’s rather sad that India considers affirmative action as a virtue. Sad that a name is chosen to ensure that some parties cannot but plumb for him. Politically, it may be a masterstroke, but from the standpoint of statesmanship, it falls rather flat.  This like I earlier said does not in any way take away the merit of Kovind being president. 

The only time that a head of government walked the extra mile to pick a head of state, we got a man called Abdul Kalam and a grateful citizenry, from age 7 to 70, swooned over him. 

One thing is but clear.  Decision making in this government is both centralised and micro-managed. 

In the next issue, we talk in great about the new president and his understudy, the new vice-president. 


Coach Kumble tumbles

Indian cricket is awash with a star syndrome. So much so that even a legend like Kumble (who can forget the tall genius bowling with a bandaged head), with the work ethic of corporate CXO, has had to take a bow following the tantrum of a superstar Kohli. 

While it is true that the captain delivers on the field, you also need to have someone who offers a mirror to the team. And that’s the job of a coach. Internationally, coaches are highly respected. When the boundaries of the roles of the captain and coach are defined there should be no encroachment on each other’s space. True, it might create two power centres, but if the Board had spelled out in clear term, who will come tops in a struggle, it would have been fine.

Dravid got on with Guru Greg despite the fact that Greg Chappell was at his acrimonious best with Indian cricketers. Gary got along famously with MS.  The trouble, I suppose, comes when work cultures are dramatically different. Kumble originates from the disciplined, hard working stream while Kohli plays up to the gallery given his dalliance with Bollywood as well. That he is a magnificent player is another matter. But if you cannot respect the coach, then we have disaster awaiting us. 

In a battle between the chairman and the CEO, it is not necessary that the chairman should always lose. 

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