Thinkpad: I Will Survive!
♪♪ At first, I was afraid, I was petrified... Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side... But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong... And I grew strong... And I learned how to get along... ♪♪
Moving on to newer (maybe better) times was a big theme this week – from the Mistrys deciding to move on from the Tatas, to the country trying to move on from age-old agricultural systems.
(May want to cue up that good ‘ol Gloria Gaynor song as you read on)
The Mistry family’s decision to move on from the Tata Group was the big story of the week. “Today, it is with a heavy heart that the Mistry family believes that a separation of interests would best serve all stakeholder groups,” the group said in one of more emotional separation statements we have probably seen across the corporate universe.
The statement marked the end of a 70-year partnership. But it is only the beginning of the end, as Menaka Doshi wrote in this piece. There are many questions on how this plays out. For one, the valuation of the group will be undoubtedly hotly debated. Sajeet Manghat gives an overview of that valuation exercise in this piece. At upwards of Rs 1.38 lakh crore, it’s no chump change that the Tata Group will have to shell out to buy the Mistry family 18.38% stake.
So while the intent to break-up has been expressed, the severing of ties may take months, maybe years.
♪♪ Go on now, go. Walk out the door... Just turn around now ’cause you’re not welcome anymore... Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye? Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die? ♪♪
The other messy, complex attempt at moving on comes from the Indian agriculture sector. The government has passed three important pieces of legislation intended to reform agricultural trade. These changes have been discussed and debated for years, yet when change comes it is rarely smooth.
There is so much opinion on whether this is a good or a bad thing, whether farmers lose or benefit, that it’s been difficult to make sense of it all. When faced with a large seemingly insurmountable question, it helps to break-down issues into smaller questions. We’ll make three points here, supported by views of veterans in the space:
1) Was change needed? The answer to that is an emphatic ‘Yes!’. Ashok Gulati back in May had explained in the Indian Express why he sees this as a 1991 moment for agriculture. He detailed his view in this conversation with Govindraj Ethiraj of Boom Live. The idea, he said, is to give a wider array of choices to farmers. And when you have more choices, better price discovery is a natural result of that, he said.
2) But are there enough checks and balances that come along with the change? There is some genuine concern that there is lack of regulatory oversight to ensure that one bad system is not replaced by another. That point has been raised by Sudha Narayanan and Arindam Banerjee in the Hindu and by Andy Mukherjee of Bloomberg Opinion.
3) Also, does the process followed by the centre pass muster. Abhijit Sen, who has seen this debate for change play out over decades, writes in The Tribune that it does not adhere to the standards of “good federalism”.
Frankly, all change is messy and this one is no different. But it seems like change that was overdue.
Think we’ve given you enough to think about this Sunday. Next week promises to be busy. On the agenda — appointments to the MPC, an MPC review, a court hearing on the ‘interest on interest’ matter, among others. And the end of the first half of the financial year. Which we have spent locked-in and locked-down.
♪♪ I’ve got all my life to live... I’ve got all my love to give.. And I’ll survive. ♪♪
Put some music on and enjoy what's left of your Sunday.