What else can I say??

January, 2019

1st issue of the 10th year edition of Samhita in the 1st fortnight of 2019 ! Publishing issue after issue over the decade has surely sharpened my thinking and writing skills as also broadened the expanse and realm of my thoughts. It is a sort of mental-gym work out. Swami Vivekananda (whose 156th birth anniversary was celebrated on 12th January) rightly said “The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.”

While he may have said it in a different context, I definitely feel as governance professionals we are in a gymnasium of a different sort ‘working out’ day in and day out with demanding laws and unreasonable regulators. What else can I say when the Tribunal asks for a report of the ROC in a certain matter and he questions under which section am I required to give this ? why should I give ? Am I here only to keep giving reports ? who are we to advise who is right and who is wrong ? Are we supposed to carry these messages between 2 arms of legal machinery or throw up our hands before the clients who quote ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and demand an end-date that is forever elusive !

What else can I say when the Government at the top is promoting entrepreneurship in all sectors including not-for-profit but the Government representative who has the power to ‘licence’ such an activity (read Section 8, not-for-profit company) restricts the entity from pursuing more than one objective ? Despite explaining the promoters’ background and establishing their genuine intent to carry on charitable activities, he simply refuses to allow activities in different sectors, quoting ‘misuse’. The same office, a couple of years ago allows something and today they do a volte face. How do we as professionals face the entrepreneurs who again quote ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and demand an explanation, where there is none thanks to the whims and fancies of the regulators ! Should we advise them to opt for the less-regulated Trust or Society route which are more vulnerable to misuse ? Typical case of “Devaru vara kottaru, poojari vara kodalla” (a Kannada proverb which means “Even if God gives his blessings, the priest doesn’t allow it”). With increased interest from a large section of professionals pledging their time and efforts to social sector objectives like education, health, farming, science & technology, women empowerment, disabilities etc., coupled with corporates and Government itself pledging funding support, it is high time, the regulators de-shackle themselves from the ‘licence-raj’ mindset and enable businesses. They are not meant to RESTRICT or STOP. They are meant to FACILITATE & ENABLE ENTRY.

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