ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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TAMIL NADU-Lesson in Trade Union Democracy

would supplement domestic resources as well as bring new technology and open up opportunities of profitable participation of Indian and foreign capital. It was even suggested that borrowing from abroad should be on commercial terms from the international markets and not through official agencies. The case for this was pleaded on the ground that the Indian economy had become soft because of a sheltered market and that, in order to regain efficiency and competitiveness, it should be opened out to function within the broader framework of a world market How far the policy prescriptions and the high expectations of the private sector are in tune with the new alignment of political forces in the country is a moot point and will probably remain so for some time. The government does not seem to be in a hurry to clarify its positionBut it will be probably all to the good if the FICCI session helps to stimulate a vigorous debate on basic economic issues. Debates of this kind became somewhat muted after the adoption of the Second Plan while they were wholly stiffled in the recent past, even as planning was all but given up and ad hocism gained ascendancy in economic policy and management A sidelight of the session was a forthright speech by George Fernandes who thought it advisable to make it from a prepared text though, as he said, he was not in the habit of making his speeches from prepared texts. It was an attack on the men, including the captains of industry and trade , who had lost their character and had become cowards during the Emergency. He was, however, polite enough to accept the Prime Minister's request to make a ceremonial presentation of a FICCI jubilee postal stamp, which the department under him had issued, to G D Birla. Incidentally, the Birla house was very active and back in the limelight in this session of FICCI. G D Birla who has been leading a somewhat retired life for some time also found it necessary in the present circumstances to be present on the dais of the session, probably to help smoothen the transition from the active association of the scions of his house and other business leaders with the previous regime to a cordial relationship with the new political set-up. In his public speech on the previous day, he suggested that he had been silent because of the MISA and had just spoken up. But this was not quite correct. While the younger captains of industry and business belonging to his house were always very active at the centre of the stage during the previous regime, G D Birla too was finally pursuaded to come into the open to acknowledge the gains of the Emergency which he duly did at a public speech in Bangalore a few weeks before the unexpected election debacle of Indira Gandhi's government.

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