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

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From 50 Years Ago: A New Zamindari- Established Importers Licences.

Weekly Note from Volume XI, No 9, February 28, 1959.

It needed some courage on the part of the Governor of the Reserve Bank to strike a critical note on what looks like being an established policy of the Government in the matter of export incentives. Bad though the situation is in export incentives, the hawking of import licences and profiteering in them is a great deal worse, in magnitude and range as also in spreading corruption. True, every control breeds corruption. The black market, by defi-nition, is a creation of economic restrictions of any kind. But we have been operating import control for more than a decade and, in view of the present foreign exchange situation and future prospects, import control is going to be with us for years to come. Why not, then, face the situation and tackle the problem, instead of dismissing it as one of the minor irritations that should be patiently borne? The villain of the piece is, of course, the licence issued to the established importer on the basis of past performance which may bear no relation to his present business transactions or turnover. Sale and profiteering in import licences issued to actual users come second. But quantum and extent of selling of licences has never been estimated. Even after years of operation of import control and the crisis brought about, at least partially, by inadequa-cy of statistical information on the subject, we are yet far from retracing our steps and get-ting into grip with the problem. While the Gov-ernment has been liquidating Zamindari in land, the new Zamindari created by the issue of import licences to established importers has already become a flourishing institution, respectable, perfectly above-board and recognised as valid. The auctioning of import licences has often been suggested, but it has never been seriously pursued because of administrative difficulties.

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