The Supreme Court judgment once again reiterates its opposition to the distribution of natural resources as largesse through an opaque and arbitrary exercise of discretion by the government. It in no way exonerates the government for its policy of allocation of resources like spectrum and coal when there have been largescale malpractices and windfall profits illegally made by some private companies.
SC Verdict: No Exoneration for Government
Friday, September 28, 2012
September 28, 2012
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Supreme Court judgment on the Presidential reference on how to allocate natural resources has clarified certain issues connected with the policy and the method to be adopted with regard to the disposal of natural resources.
The Supreme Court judgment has clarified that auction is not the only permissible method of allocating natural resources across all sectors. It will depend from sector to sector. Further, the five member bench has clarified that it is for the executive to make the policy regarding disposal of natural resources but this should always be done keeping in mind the public good.
The UPA government and the Congress leadership cannot claim vindication for its policy as the Court has refused to review the judgement of the 2G spectrum case where it invalidated the `first come – first serve’ policy and ordered the cancellation of the 122 licences.
As far as coal mining is concerned, it is a nationalized industry. The policy adopted of giving captive coal mining blocks was designed to promote privatisation through the backdoor. Going for competitive bidding for such coal blocks will only further heighten the privatisation of coal mining undermining the national law. The CPI(M) advocates an alternative mechanism whereby allocations and mining for steel, power and cement producers should be routed through the Coal India Ltd.
The real issue is whether the mineral resources of the country should be handed over to private companies and MNCs at all. The present policy of privatizing mineral resources should be reversed. They should remain in the nationalized sector. The same should apply to water resources. Public good requires that these resources should be with the State and the policy has to keep in mind equity, sustainability and environmental considerations.