Spreading the light of humanity & freedom
In India , a small shop owner to big industrialist have mastered the art of TAX EVASION . their teachers - some corrupt tax officials & auditors. The black money thus created
is causing inflation, feeding the mafia , underworld. Some industrialists lobby ( bribe ) with the government & gets favourable laws enacted. This black money is the main source of funds for political parties , religious bodies & terrorist outfits.
The recent raids by C.B.I & KARNATAKA LOKAYUKTHA have proved how the tax officials have become multi-millionaires. The sad part is that some of the police officials who are on deputation to C.B.I & LOKAYUKTHA themselves are utterly corrupt.
This scourge can only be cured by corporate accountability intoto. However , all the industrialists , traders who are demanding for more flexible labour reforms , economic reforms , infrastructure , etc are not at all concerned about their own accountability with respect to tax , environment , other laws. The MNCs coming to India are not coming here for best Indian talents or infrastructure alone. In their own countries they are feeling the
heat of strict environment laws , consumer laws , share holder disclosures , corporate accountability. Some of these MNCs are being kicked out of their countries , by it's own people .These MNCs are aware that in India , by greasing the palms environment laws , labour laws , tax laws , etc everything can be flouted , cases in courts can be dragged on for years . share holder disclosures , corporate transparency is minimum.
CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY Scandals related to the appalling practices of multinational corporations like Union Carbide (now DOW), Enron, Coke, Cadbury, and
others may have shocked the nation and the world in the recent past, but the media rarely highlights corporate crimes that extend to murders, destroying habitats, threatening indigenous cultures, causing disease, contaminating the planet's food supply, poisoning
our groundwater and even destroying the very air we breathe.
You think this is an exaggeration? Well consider this. In Bhopal, India more than 8,000 people died in the first three days after 40 tonnes of lethal gas spilled out from Union Carbide's pesticide factory in December 1984. People woke in their homes to fits of coughing, their lungs filling with fluid. 520,000 people were exposed to poisonous gases. 150,000 victims are chronically ill, and even now one person dies every two days. Union Carbide merged with Dow Chemical Corporation two years ago and has ceased to exist as an entity while the present owners Dow refuse to accept any pending liabilities in Bhopal including clean-up of the abandoned site.
In Kodaikanal, India, Hindustan Lever, a subsidiary of Unilever Plc, an Anglo-Dutch multinational dumped mercury waste from its thermometer factory in the surrounding forests and on an innocent local community. When the scandal was exposed, first the company denied that there was a problem and later fudged facts and figures until the Indian authorities forced them to come clean. Since then Unilever has retrieved and sent back to USA some of the waste for disposal but are shying away from compensating affected workers and further environmental remediation measures.
Monsanto, one of the world's largest pesticide companies, continues to sell its genetically engineered seeds to farmers around the world despite growing evidence of failure of crops like Bt cotton, that has reduced once well-to-do farmers in the developing world to penury and poverty while the threat of contamination of indigenous species by GE
seeds increases everyday.
Bayer AG, a German transnational continues to manufacture and sell phased out pesticides like Methyl Parathion (brand name Folidol/Metacid) in Asia despite an assurance to their European investors and stake holders that they would stop manufacturing these organo-phosphate poisons.
Ship-owning companies (and indeed, their countries) like Bergesen (Norway), and Chandris (Greece) meanwhile, regularly violate international and national laws and dump their hazardous wastes at ship-breaking yards in India, Pakistan, China, Turkey and Bangladesh. The voluntary guidelines issued by International Marine Organisation
are not enough and it is imperative that these guidelines are made mandatory to make the ship-owners liable and responsible.
In the era of globalization, multinational companies increasingly move around assets, products and wastes on a global chessboard to maximize their profits and minimize their costs. These companies are using differences and loopholes in national environmental and health laws for example to export pesticides and destructive technologies to
poorer countries to the detriment of local communities. What international body oversees them, or sets rules for their behaviour, or holds them accountable when they transgress?
It is no longer just the conspiracy theorists who believe our world is increasingly ruled and ruined by large multinational corporations. The World Trade Organisation has supplanted environmental treaties and regulations. Corporations have become accountable only under the rules of a free market, free trade and a free for all on human rights and the environment.
The state of our environment has not improved, in fact it has deteriorated. The gap between the world's rich and poor has widened. Instead of providing developing countries with the tools for sustainable development, corporations have pushed their dirty
technologies and polluting industries on to some of the world's poorest countries.
A recent UN report revealed that Exxon, with $63 billion, is worth more than Peru or New Zealand. General Electric more than Kuwait. Shell is worth more than Morocco or Cuba.
In the past ten years, corporations have not only resisted
environmental challenges, they have lobbied to water down
international treaties and even succeeded in getting countries to
pull out of environmental agreements altogether. They have maintained
their unsustainable practices in all sectors. It is apparent that
more than just voluntary measures are needed to control these
A recent report by WWF states that if we continue at current levels
of consumption we will use up all of the Earth's resources within 50
years, and we will need two more planets to meet our resource needs.
We either take urgent action to save the planet, or we get off.
The UN Environmental Programme agrees that "the state of the planet
is getting worse." They say "there is a growing gap between the
efforts of business and industry to reduce their impact on the
environment and the worsening state of the planet."
At the root of our environmental problems are the unsustainable
practices of the corporations that shape our economies. But what is
the good of a short-term healthy economy if we can't drink the water,
eat the foods in the fields or breathe the air?
Current systems of governance in Asia (as elsewhere) are proving to
be deficient against the activities of abusive multinational
corporations. To roll back the excessive powers of corporations and
to pressure governments to check corporate abuse and prosecute
corporate crimes, greater public participation is a must. The Rainbow
Warrior's Corporate Accountability Tour of India is part of a global
movement to change the climate of opinion against abusive
corporations and to turn the tide in favour of fundamental human
Corporations need to be held accountable for their actions that are
destroying the planet, destroying people's lives around the globe.
There is only one answer. We must stand up to the corporations. Our
governments must agree on international, legally binding rules for
corporate responsibility, accountability and liability: a set of
rules that business must follow, and governments must enforce.
The list of rules is long, but so are the crimes.
The world needs corporations to be held accountable to the following
laws – no matter where they operate in the world. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
is calling upon the Indian Government to endorse the Bhopal
Principles on Corporate Responsibility, which call on Multinational
• Accept liability for environmental damage and compensate victims of
• Accept liability for the damage, no matter when it happens, what
the cause or who in the corporation is responsible;
• Accept responsibility for damage and injury beyond national borders
including accidents in the oceans and atmosphere;
• Ensure that they do not infringe upon basic human rights;
• Disclose all information regarding releases into the environment to
• Protect human and social rights including the highest standards for
rights to health care and a clean environment;
• Avoid influence over governments, combat bribery and practice
• Allow states to maintain their sovereignty over their own food
• Implement a precautionary principle and take preventative action
before environmental damages or health effects are incurred; and
• Promote and practice clean and sustainable development
During Previous License Regime foreign, investment was not directly welcome in India. As people at that time perceived it as "Neo colonisation" & detested it. There were various restrictions on foreign investments. The local industrialists under monopolistic
environment thrived, who were no way better than day light robberers, of course with a few exception. Under the political patronage, the cunning industrialists looted public money, cheated the government of tax, cheated lending banks & cheated the investors
too. They easily flouted labour laws & made labourers to work in inhuman conditions.
During 1990's under the international pressure India signed GATT & slowly started opening it's economy. Now, from 01/01/05 even product patent has come into force in India. Are MNCs bringing high technology intensive industries to India? No, not at all. They are actually denying sophisticated technologies to India. They are only
bringing the FMCG industries - salt, chips, ketch-up, colas, for which India is a huge home market. They are into services like Hotels, medical care, marketing. In other cases, they are just marketing the products manufactured at their bases in U.S.A. or Europe.
1. There is lack of comprehensive environmental norms.
2. The enforcement of environmental norms is lax.
3. The cost of health coverage, social security net to be provided to the workers exposed to the occupational hazards is less.
4. The cost of compensation to be paid to the persons-who died or suffered damages due to occupational hazards/environmental pollution is meager.
5. The enforcement of labour laws are lax.
6. Public money can be easily raised through lending Banks, primary market within India & the public can be easily cheated.
7. The tax can be evaded through various loopholes like transferring money to holding companies situated at Mauritius or countries which have double taxation avoidance agreement with India.
8. The tax can be evaded, company money can be cheated by lending money to sister / holding concerns at low interest rates or by selling shares, materials to their private companies at low rates or by buying shares, materials from their holding/sister concerns at exhorbitant rates, etc.
9. The corporate governance laws are almost absent in India & it's enforcement nil.
10. Above all, the time can be bought by very slow Indian legal system, if any dispute arise.
11. On top of it, well trained, technically qualified people are available at low rates through contractors.
Just consider the following cases which highlight the apathy, irresponsibility of government of India and emboldened the cunning, MNCs:-
1. The India which boasts of so much scientific/technological advancements, is till date has been unable to provide potable water to it's people. People of west Bengal , Karnataka , Andrapradesh states are forced to drink Arsenic, Fluoride poisoned water.
2. The people living near the mines of R.E.M.P. in Kerala are suffering due to exposure to the radio active materials, Same is the case with the people of Jadaguda, Jharkhand, living near the U.C.I.L. plant. Both M/S R.E.M.P & M/s U.C.I.L are department of atomic energy enterprises.
3. Few years back, In Mysore railway station containers of radio- active materials were left unattended. The dome of reactor building at construction stage collapsed in nuclear power plant at Kaiga. A fire tragedy occurred in Kakrapar nuclear power plant. In the recent Tsunami waves onslaught, certain important facilities of Koodakulam atomic plant were damaged near Chennai.
4. In 1984, U.S. based MNC union carbide mass murdered nearly 20,000 people, injured lakhs who are still suffering health problems. The polluted poisonous accident site i.e. Union carbide plant in Bhopal is not yet cleared off toxic materials even after 20 years.
This is still further damaging the residents of Bhopal.
5. In the above union carbide disaster, the Government of India didn't present the case properly before supreme courts of India & U.S.A.. As a result the MNC just paid a pittance as compensation. As per that the cost of Indian lives are just a fraction of cost of
American lives. Just imagine if a same disaster occurred in U.S.A. at the plant of a MNC headquartered in India, what would have been the consequence?
6. In India, hazardous chemicals laced with food additives are passed through the drinks, beverages like pepsi, cola, coco cola very easily.
7. The medicines like nimesulide, paracetamol, etc. with hazardous side effects which are banned in U.S.A.& Europe, are easily marketed by the same U.S.& Europe based MNCs in India.
8. In India spurious drugs, medicines, food stuffs are easily marketed.
9. In India, the clinical trials of new medicines under research are done without proper compensation structure to those being tried upon ie. Virtual guinea pigs.
10. In India, the genetically engineered BT crops are being introduced without paying attention to formers, ecology or eco-system.
11. In India, during setting up of large projects, scant attention is paid to environment, eco-system & the displaced persons.
Most of the times, in government projects itself the displaced persons are cheated by the government in numerous ways.
12. In India, various Government as well as private hospitals dumps hospital wastes with deadly viruses in the open, with scant regard to public health.
13. In India, aged ships belonging to foreign countries are breaked down to scrap in ship breaking yards of Gujarath , Maharashtra & AP. Various toxins like the Asbestos, lead, etc & the hazardous, dirty water, Oil inside the ship are drained into Indian seashore. The labourers here are forced to work without any safety gears.
14. When specific cases of human rights violations were brought before the government & Judiciary by us , both of them didn't respond at all.
All the above cases highlight the fact that, government of India & Indian judiciary treats it's citizens lives as cheap, dispensable at will. This is the major attracting force for MNCs to India.
- The Securities Scam
The capital market witnessed its foremost investment scandal in the form of securities scandal in the year 1992. It revealed the utter anarchy and lack of administration in the prevailing fiscal market. The money market at that time permitted funds to be relocated with impunity from financial institution and corporates into equity and consequently witnessed crores of bank's capital to transfer into brokers' account. This illegal market practice was later asserted as "legal and acknowledged".
In an attempt to punish the tricksters, a special court was initiated and scrutinized around 70 cases registered by CBI. Surprisingly, not even a single trickster was found guilty by the dreadfully sluggish judicial system. As a matter of fact, the scamsters made frequent attempts to re-enter the market with same set of traps and resulted in losses to investors.
- The IPO scam Soon after the entry of international organizational investors, the Control over Capital Issues was banned as the market saw heavy bull trend resulting in the revitalization of the secondary market from the previous scandals. The ban of Control over Capital Issues unlocked the prospects of massive scandal in Initial Public Offerings (IPO). The scam was executed in two parts; the first part was carried out by the firms that increased their market costs to incur profits in order to sponsor lucrative projects. The second part saw the unison of small time merchants, CAs, investment bankers and traders to hoist new firms and heave public capitals.
The IPO scam prevailed for three long years from 1993-1996 and finally saw its downfall when the costs of the registered firm started deteriorating.
- Favored share scam
The scandal was an outcome of the extensive cost fixing on the derivative market. Besides increasing fresh capital, advocates of Indian firms promptly coordinated general body authorizations to transfer shares to themselves on a privileged basis and at a considerable reduction to the market, thinking that the share prices would never see the ground. Conglomerates started this trend and accrued profits of nearly 55o crores until Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) formulated strict guidelines to abandon the market practice.
- CRB's cardboard scam
The Rs 1000 crore finacial multinational named as Chain Roop Bhansali (CRB) was the only biggest firm and most impudent of all to benefit and disappear in the loosened market ambiance of mid-1990s. The services offered by his firm entailed FC collection, mutual fund, banking, etc. The clearances obtained by the firm for the trading of these services required sufficient inspection by SEBI and the RBI and the fact that they managed to qualify shows the supervisory weariness of the regulators. Facilitated by the clearances and profitable credit ranking, CRB accrued greater profits based on high value financing. The CRB collapse not only affected the investors but also the other finance firms.
- Plantation firms' scam
Since few firms in mid-90s were subject to no guidelines, the plantation companies during that time also got away with profit protrusions. The plantation firms projected themselves as a part of IPO and assured massive returns. The investors were lured and the companies accrued profits from fake campaigns of around Rs 8000 crores plus.
- Mutual Funds scam
After several mutual fund scams, the UTI bailout reflected the lack of proper guidelines in the Indian capital market. Since UTI was initiated under its own regulations, it was the tax payers who suffered the loss of Rs 4800 crore in the process. After three years, the company was back purchasing Ketan Parekh's controlled scrips and incurring massive losses in the process. The evidence of the private mutual funds performance has also been inconsistent after hitting the downfall in 1999 and 2000. It took a considerable amount of time for capital market to win back the trust of mutual fund investors.
- The 1998 scam
The scamster of 1992 scam, Harshad Mehta came back with a bag of tricks again in 1998. This time he lured investors through a website by trading stock tips. His unremitting manipulation of several shares resulted in the much expected collapse of Bombay Stock Exchange.
- Home Trade scam
Initiated in 2000, Home trade invested rs 24 crore in promotional campaigns to attract investors. The scam affected 8 co-operative banks that lost Rs.82 Crore in EPF scheme. The Chief Executive of Hometrade, Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal was convicted by Nagpur Police later.
- DSQ Software Scam
In the year 2000 and 2001, the Managing Director of DSQ Software, Mr. Dinesh Dalmia, was held responsible for ambiguous mergers and prejudiced allocation of the amount of upto Rs.595 Crores. He was later convicted in the year 2006.
- Satyam Scam
After manipulating the firm's documents for several financial years, the former Chairman and Chief Executive of Satyam Computers, Mr.Ramalinga Raju, was arrested for committing scam, following unethical practice and forgery. He showed greater profits and committed fraud of Rs 700 crores.
body. Rs 25,000 for every poisoned lung and damaged heart and blinded
eyes. 26 years of long wait. And just 2 years in jail for the men who
committed the worst crime against the people of this country. And this
mockery of justice after such a long wait. Twenty six years after 40
tonnes of lethal gas seeped into the lungs of Bhopal, families of some
17,000 men, women and children are still waiting for the so-called
compensation. Thousands more are still waiting to be accepted as
victims. People of Bhopal are still drinking toxic water poisoned by
Union Carbide in December 1984. And the main culprit is living life
kingsize in a mansion in New York.
No country sells its poor so cheap.
No country sells its dead so cheap.
state in the world, it’s India. It’s not Iraq. It’s not Somalia. It’s
not Sudan. It’s India.
ridiculous amount of $450 million dollars for the people killed and
maimed by methyl isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide factory in
the heart of Bhopal three decades ago. In all these years, the poor
victims have done everything they could to get justice and
compensation. They have cried and died on streets, sat hungry and
faced police lathis on roads and filed court cases in the hope that
one day they will get justice.
should be happy with the peanuts thrown at them by Union Carbide.
Today, India proved once again that it doesn’t care for its poor.
Today, it was proved all over again that those who do politics in the
name of poor in this country, always rule for the rich.
Anderson in court. The chairman of UC at the time of the gas attack
(it was not an accident, the gas leak was caused because of cost-
cutting steps taken by him) on the people of Bhopal, Anderson was
arrested and later released on bail. He ran off to US in 1986 and we
have not been able to find him or ask the US to extradite Anderson to
India. Why? The government says it doesn’t know where Anderson is.
What a lie. What a shame.
streets after hearing news that the Chief Judicial Magistrate of
Bhopal had ordered the CBI to arrest Anderson and produce him before
the court without delay. The court also asked the CBI to explain what
steps it had taken since 2002 to enforce the warrant and extradition
of Anderson, who was declared an absconder in 1992. Though the CBI and
US government failed to track Anderson, supporters of Bhopal victims
traced him to the elite New York neighbourhood of the Hamptons. In
2003, Greenpeace activists paid Anderson a visit at his home and
handed him an arrest warrant.
as he is a “proclaimed offender”. This status suits him fine because
he doesn’t have to bother about coming to India and answer some very
plant in India as it operated at a sister plant in West Virginia, US?
designed to prevent a gas leak fail to function?
to the factory, turned off?
negligence by the Union Carbide and that was caused by cost-cutting
measures taken by Anderson. Is it because of this reason that Anderson
has been 'hiding' in the US?
have to let a mass murderer like Anderson go scot-free. Is it because
he is an American? Can an American come to India kill people in this
country and run away with no consequences? That seems to be the case.
We are still struggling to get a chance to question David Headley
Coleman, an American citizen responsible for the worst terror attack
on an Indian city in 2008. Will we succeed in getting Headley
extradited to India? No way. Never.
particularly if they have been slaughtered by powerful people from the
most powerful nation in the world. Instead of taking on America and
fighting for justice for its poor, India is more than happy to sell
its dead cheap.
cost of poor life in a failed state.
Corporate Responsibility or Corporate Liability
by Mukesh Williams
Union Carbide Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984
Early this month the Indian Supreme Court passed a verdict indicting the American CEO of Union Carbide Warren Anderson who was allowed to escape to the United States twenty five years ago possibly with the connivance of either the state or central agencies in India. Now both the Congress government and state ministries are trying to escape their involvement in the murky plot. Who wanted the truth then? And who wants the truth now? The declassified CIA report of December 8, 1984 and recent revelations by the principal secretary of Rajiv Gandhi, P. C. Alexander, point to political intrigue involving both state and center in releasing Anderson. Now some leaders claim that the worsening law and order situation in Bhopal in the wake of the accident forced Chief Minister Arjun Singh to provide a safe corridor to Anderson out of the country. Some like Rajinder Puri even see the direct hand of Rajeev Gandhi himself. It seems that US President Ronald Reagan phoned Rajeev Gandhi to release Anderson. The media would like us to believe that even P. Chidambaram and Kamal Nath were campaigning for Dow Chemical to get special concessions so it could invest in India. The chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi criticized Sonia Gandhi for the complicity of the Congress Party in the murky affair but it has come to light that he had signed an MOU between state public sector company Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd and Dow Chemicals in April 2008. This is the case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Seemingly neither the American nor the Indian establishments saw the industrial disaster as the responsibility of the MNC Union Carbide. The company was bought by Dow Chemical Company in 1999 further camouflaging accountability. Dow Chemical was the second biggest Texas polluting company in 2009 and paid 1.14 million USD on eight counts of pollution. Now it is investing again in India with the syrupy connivance of people in power.
Even after 25 years the public would like to know if it was Arjun Singh the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh or influential persons in Rajiv Gandhi’s government at the center or the prime minister himself responsible for giving a free passage to Anderson to fly back to the U.S. India has an extradition treaty with the United States and under changed circumstances today when America itself is suffering from another MNC BP, there might be possibility of bringing the fugitive CEO back to justice if India can put together enough evidence. Greenpeace believes that in the 1982 safety audit of the Bhopal factory in the US addressed thirty safety hazards. Anderson knew about them and compromised safety standards causing the death of 20,000 people and affecting 578,000 to date. To make the tragedy reprehensible the out of court settlement made Union Carbide pay a sum of 470 million USD instead of 3.5 billion initially demanded, with each victim getting a measly sum of 550 USD in 1989. In the same year Exxon oil spill in Prince William Sound Alaska forced the company to pay 5 billion USD of which it paid half. Even today there is 425 tons of hazardous waste in Bhopal left by Union Carbide that needs to be cleaned. Who will do it—Dow Chemical or the Indian state government?
Anderson now 90 years lives in a luxury home worth 900,000 USD at 929 Ocean Road, Bridgehampton, Long Island, New York. He is now less of a fugitive and more of a monarch (Sonnenfeld, 1991). It is obvious that in many cases justice delayed is justice denied. Should we stop big companies from doing business? Should we impose heavy penalty on erring foreign companies? Or should we reform the slow and cumbrous judicial system? Jeremy Kahn writing in The Faster Times calls for judicial reform rather than protectionism (Kahn, 2010). The Indian Parliament is debating a law capping liability for foreign nuclear power companies involved in disasters to pay 100 million USD a pittance when compared to the US demand of 100 billion USD from BP. Then Indian law capping liability lacks teeth and may not cover non-nuclear companies. So they can pollute as of before.
British or Beyond Petroleum
The British are desperate to save BP from going down by bringing silly arguments like BP has been a part of America since it merged with American energy Amoco in 1998 and acquired the Gulf of Mexico drilling rights (The Independent, “Cameron Warns Obama over Criticizing BP” 13 June 2010). The new British Prime Minister David Cameron has also chipped in underscoring the sustained “economic importance” of BP to both Britain and America. American President Barrack Obama however is needled by US senators, whose states have been ravaged by oil spills, to push for 100 billion USD compensation, which if realized would force BP to go bankrupt. The British media believes that Obama’s anti-British rhetoric is testing Anglo-American relations. Obama claims that American relation with Britain has not been affected. The environmental disaster caused by a British multinational company should have nothing to do with national identity but corporate liability. Obama has called BP the Swedish Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, who earns a fat cat salary of 3.8 million USD, to the White House for consultations.
The British are cut up with Obama’s off the cuff remark that he would have fired BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward if the latter had worked for him. With US pressure rising BP may not pay its quarterly dividends which are essential to maintain equilibrium for UK pension funds. The 6.7% shares lunge in the FTSE has adversely affected pension funds in the UK. If the status quo is not altered by American pressure groups BP might only have to pay 20 to 37 billion USD provided it can be proved that BP failed to meet safety regulations in the deep sea oil drilling.
Now BP is using two kinds of dispersants manufactured by Nalco—Corexit 9500 and Corexit EC 9527A. Corexit (deodorized kerosene) is banned in the United Kingdom as even 2.61 ppm can kill 50% of fish in 96 hours. The dispersants turn the oil slick into small particulates which settle on the sea bed and make things look clean on the surface, but they destroy marine life below. Corexit however is on the approved list of dispersants by the US Environmental Protection Agency though the EPA has advised BP to use less toxic dispersants. BP however refused citing lack of availability. The toxicity of the present dispersants increase when they get mixed with oil. BP has links with Nalco. BPs has poured 1,621,000 gallons of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico to contain the oil spill and has ordered for an additional 805,000 gallons. The ill effects of the dispersant on humans can result in various diseases, reduced growth, kidney failure and death.
The British rely on BP as the national icon and savior of British deficit. Last year BP paid 1.4 billion dollars in taxes on its profits. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is too far away for the ordinary Britons but the pension funds and BP dividends are closer home.
It stands to logic that a “large, wealthy company” which is eager to pay 1.8 billion quarterly dividends to its shareholders and whose last year’s sales and operating revenues were 239 billion USD, should pay 100 billion USD in damages. Since the oil spill began on April 22, 2010 till June 15, 2010, 55 days have gone by. And if we estimate the oil spill at 50,000 barrels a day it comes to 27500000 gallons. If each gallon spill is fined 4300 USD as the US is suggesting the actual fine would come to 118,250,000,000 that is about 118 billion USD. These figures may not be exact and are vigorously contested by BP which would like to work with half the numbers. However the end is not in sight. According to BP officials it would not be before August that the spill can be contained. If this is true then the figure could be doubled and BP would have to pay damages amounting to all the revenue it earned through sales last year.
Both the American government and public are hopeful that since earlier erring companies like Texaco was forced into bankruptcy in 1987 after paying 10.53 billion USD claim, BP too would have to cough up huge sums. And BP’s reputation does not help a wee bit whatever they claim to the contrary in those daily briefings on the Internet. BP is known as one of the “ten worst corporations” in the world when evaluated on their environmental pollution and infringement of their human rights record. It also has the dubious distinction of being the most polluting company in the United States vis-à-vis EPA toxic release data of 1991. It has been fined 1.7 million USD for burning polluted gases at its Ohio refinery. It also paid 10 million USD fine to the EPA in July 2000 for mismanaging the US oil refineries. The US Public Interest Research Group or PIRG claims that between Jan 1997 and March 1998, BP was involved in 104 oil spills. Obviously a lot of wealthy shareholders, 37% on the British and 31 % on the American side do not want this to happen.
BP’s propaganda regarding its CSR is highly effective as it tries to highlight only the positive aspects of what it has done. In the past BP has invested some money in alternate fuel and green technologies but it has been criticized for proving private funds to public universities of the California Bay Area and closing down its green technology office in London. Its critics call its green technology projects as green washing projects. BP is also a leading producer of solar panels and holds 20% of the global market in this area and it uses this fact to great advantage for image building. It operates the ampm convenience store chain in the US and other countries and is the leading producer of wind power. It is also involved in funding local and international politics. It gave 5 million USD to democrats and republicans in 1990 and spent 16 million USD in lobbing at the US Congress. The moral of the story is that it is not as clean as it claims, nor concerned with the lives of common people unless it serves its purpose or national interest.
BP in its regional spill plan for the Gulf of Mexico and site plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig understated the dangers and overstated its preparedness in the eventuality of a leak. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal criticized BP for being ‘reactive’ and not ‘proactive’ from the very beginning. Now BP’s report is examined quite critically and it has been discovered that an expert professor listed in its 2009 response plan died in 2005. It lists walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals as “sensitive biological resources” when none inhabit the Gulf of Mexico. Also names and phone numbers of marine specialists and marine network officers in Louisiana and Florida are not correct. The Justice Department has to find evidence that BP destroyed key documents or lied to the government (The Daily Yomiuri, June 11, 2010).
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is one of the modern movements like environmental or tribal movements that have become the buzz word in both business and academic circles. Both businessmen and academics are cashing upon the divine benefits of CSR making more money for their companies and jobs for their departments. Middle level managers and professors have extolled about the virtues of CSR with other buzz words such as people friendly, eco friendly and sustainable. We have come to hear about the unselfishly egalitarian aspects of CSR. It is really a wondrous transformation of the greed-driven capitalist economy of which the corporate system is a byproduct.
Most critics of CSR are not against it per se but against the recent hype associated with it as a panacea of all corporate evils. It is hard to believe that companies are out there not to make profit. We are not talking of basket cases but any company worth its salt aggressively markets itself to make real profit. And what’s wrong in it. Companies are floated for this very purpose both by the shareholders and managers. But in a changed climate of political advocacy of human rights against corporate greed, CSR seems to a new combative tool for companies to be both politically correct and make money as usual. The problem however is that if business corporations give an inch they take a mile.
Definitions and Objections to CSR
In the United States CSR is seen as philanthropy while others see it as improving society, workforce and government. There are arguments in favor of CSR where it is believed that it can support the social fabric of society and promote responsible business practices. But CSR is usually presented as a marketing strategy that articulates business performance rather than encompass social and ethical standards. The recent collapse of American business and manufacturing sectors has revealed the gap between CSR and actual self-regulation. Some CSR models take the company beyond the law into providing public benefits, increase sales, market shares, brand position, retain employees, reduce operating costs and increase investments (Baron, 2001 7-45). There are models of CSR that take into account competitive advantage, positioning, commitment, organizational integration, shareholder’s cooperation and self-correction. CSR helps to create a positive image of a company and brings it rich dividends. Though there are many definitions of CSR we must see CSR as the way business companies conduct their core business not the sops they give to society.
A common objection leveled against CSR comes from the advocates of the laissez faire system who complain that CSR infringes upon the human rights of company shareholders as company managers unilaterally divert company resources to society in the name of better management (Sternberg, 1999). Detractors of CSR complain that there should be a stakeholder claim in CSR as to how it is done. A business corporation should be fair and honest to both the shareholders and customers. CSR therefore depends on the model a company chooses and the reasons for its choice. If a company uses CSR for image building through philanthropy it leads to both ethical and human rights problems. You cannot give away money which ultimately belongs to someone else. On the flipside it also follows that if stakeholders possess sole rights they also should bear full responsibility when there are environmental or social disasters. However if a CSR model seeks a consensus of both stakeholders and company managers then it must become more open to the public. CSR must concentrate upon building customer relationships, attracting talented people, conducting risk management and building the company’s reputation.
Corporate Reputation and CSR
Corporate business companies such as BP or Coca Cola cannot ignore their reputation as about 90 to 95 percent of their assets are intangibles and the remainder immovable property. Big companies such as General Electric, IBM or Motorola use the rhetoric of CSR to show public responsibility and environmental concerns but while conducting hard-nosed bullying business practices are not so transparent in their dealings. A few years ago Sir John Browne of BP was praised for his aggressive promotion of BP while providing environmental leadership but now we come to know that all along BP compromised on safety costs in oil drilling. This is happening in a powerful country like the United States where both politics and laws are strong. Had it happened in a developing or a poor country, things would have been quite different. BP would have gotten away cheaply and Union Carbide once did.
CSR invariably works for companies and countries with resources and political clout. It is not for companies which are small and weak. Small companies fight for survival, cut costs to make ends meet and do not possess precious resources to waste on CSR. Nor can they follow up on legal battles if they come under the scanner. They function in a world of poverty, deprivation and loss.
It is no longer tenable to follow neo-classical economics of Smith, Mill and Bacon that the world is made for us and for us alone. We must eschew the economic theories of Pareto and Hayek as we can no longer treat nature as a mere variable and commodity. Depreciation of ecological assets has taken place at an increasing fast rate. Economics should no longer be about inflation, economic value of goods or maximization of income. It should take into account our natural world as property that belongs to every one of us (McNeill, Padua, Rangarajan, 2010 1-3). We must learn new lessons from ecological economics and environmental history and change the way we do business. We must rein in corporate greed by modifying corporate social responsibility (CSR) to corporate legal liability (CLL) and connect it to governmental deterrence, legal action and international treaties to scare the hell out of the merchants of greed and death who have many supporters in different parts of the world.
- AN APPEL TO UNION FINANCE MINISTER & KARNATAKA STATE FINANCE MINISTER
In india , tax compliance is worse. In our criminal justice system, there is rigorous imprisonment for a pick-pocketer stealing Rs.10. even the authorities spend thousands of rupees in legally prosecuting him & the thief spends a year or more as punishment behind bars. Where as there is no commensurate investigation nor legal prosecution nor punishment for corporate thieves , evading tax to the tune of crores of rupees. In contrast, those tax thieves pay a part of that booty to the ministers & political parties and get crores of rupees tax exemptions , incentives from the government. Government is rewarding corporate criminals.
The tax officials of central & state governments are hand in glove with these corporate criminals & traders. For a price, they are helping corporates & traders in evading tax. Most of the tax officials are wealthy & leading luxurious lifestyles , much beyond the scope of their legal income. The black money thus generated every year by tax evasion , is many times more than our total annual budget allocation. As a result, all our fiscal reforms fail & inflation is soaring. This black money is the source of illegal funding of political parties , terrorist outfits & underworld. It is a greater threat to national unity & integrity.
Both the central government & karnataka state government have failed to collect the full , actual tax dues from corporates & traders. As a result , the governments don't have enough money in their coffers even to provide basic needs like health care , education , safe drinking water , etc to the poor & needy. For every Rs.100 tax evaded , one poor patient is dying without medical care , 10 poor persons lack education , 100 persons don't get safe drinking water , 100 persons barely survive on a single piece meal per day , 20 persons starve. Most of The government officials , ministers & people's representatives who have deliberately failed in their duties of tax collection & welfare of poor citizens , SHAMELESSLY indulge in luxurious lifestyle at the expense of poor tax payer . they live in paltial bungalows , chauffer driven AC cars , all living food expenses paid by exchequer , dine at 5-star hotels , only drink bottled mineral water , eat non-vegetarian dishes , drink alcohol sitting before mahatma gandhi's photograph & preaching mahatma's ideals. Mahatma preached & practiced simple living , vegetarianism & he was teto teller , he paid for his expenses from his earnings . these public servants are parasites , who are making merry at the expense of tax payer.
Some non government organisations ( NGO) have formed trusts and under the aegis of those trusts are running educational institutions , hospitals , community halls , etc , in the name of providing free / subsidised services like education , health care , etc to the poor. It is only in record books , they conduct fake medical camps , self employment training camps . in practice they are running these educational institutions , hospitals & community halls as commercial enterprises & collecting huge fees. they are not even remitting full fees collected to the trust account & swindling the money. no outsider is allowed to become a member of these NGOs , only their cronies & their family members are in these trusts.
Numerous NGOs promoted by religious bodies , mutts are swindling public & government money to the tune of crores of rupees. Nobody dares to question the heads , pontiffs of these mutts , as at his feet VVIPs , ministers fall down. These religious bodies are hot beds of fundamentalism , terrorism & mafia. Where is the accountability of religious bodies & political parties in india ?
Inspite of bringing specific cases to the notice of authorities , they are mum ? hereby , HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH offers it's services ( subject to conditions ) to the governments of india & karnataka , in apprehending the criminals – tax evaders. Are you ready Mr. Mukherjee & Mr.Gowda ?
Just see how the GOI gave export incentive of Rs.1800 crore to reliance petroleum although it didn't even export a barrel. Reliance infocom & tata teleservices were CDMA mobile service providers & have paid license fee of few crores only equal to landline fees without any competitive bidding . They were supposed to provide mobile service to operate like fixed phones within a radius of 40k.m. however they were providing service like mobile service from one state to another like GSM mobile service providers. By this act of RIC & TTSL , the GSM providers who have paid thousands of license fee in competitive bidding were economically hurt , the dispute went to court. The court was on the verge of pronouncing it's verdict awarding damages worth Rs.18000 crore to GSM players & Rs. 3000 crore of license fees with penalty to GOI. The government announced a unified telecom license regime with retrospective effect. Thereby, the GOI lost thousands of crores of rupees & the share holders of GSM players lost thousands of crores. Onceagain the RIC was charged by PSU bsnl THAT RELIANCE IS RE-ROUTING INTERNATIONAL CALLS AS LOCAL CALLS & SWINDLING THE GOI. This time too, GOI bailed it out. during the dispute between ambani brothers the younger ambani mr. Anil ambani director of reliance himself has stated that for the favours received from the GOI , the company gifted some shares to then IT & COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER mr. Pramod mahajan.
Various indian & multinational companies are looting indian exchequer to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees , through lobbying / bribing.
In india, indirect democracy is the form of governance. In this form, people's representatives are bound to raise the questions , issues concerning their constituents on their behalf , on the floor of the house. However the sad part in india even after 58 years of democracy , is the lobbying is at it's peak. The lobbying is a gentleman's white collared crook's way of forming favour seeker's group , creating a corpus to pay lumpsum bribe & influencing decision making. The people's representatives are bound to represent their people first , then their party & party think tanks. India has come to this sorry state of affairs , widespread corruption , huge black economy & rampant poverty, all due to inefficient legislations & enforcements. These think tanks & IAS lobby, consider themselves as most super brains on earth & gives out suggestions . the present state of affairs is a barometer of their brilliance. These think tanks & IAS lobby are the hand maidens of lobbyists / bribers.
Special to India Resource Center
September 30, 2002
Headlines Today is in exclusive possession of taped conversations between Raja and powerful corporate lobbyist Nira Radia just days before the swearing-in of the cabinet.
The conversations, which were recorded by investigators for the income tax department, raise serious issues about ministerial propriety.
The income tax sleuths had sought permission to tap the telephone of Radia, who was being investigated by the CBI and the income tax department in the telecom spectrum scam.
Radia is one of India's most influential power-brokers and has the biggest corporates of India as clients.
These conversations were recorded over 300 days, starting from August 20, 2008. Raja was lobbying hard to become the next telecom minister and was being helped in this endeavour by Radia.
Here are excerpts from a conversation recorded on May 24, 2009 at 11.05 am.
Raja: My name is cleared?
Radia: Yeah, your case was cleared last night itself. No, what is happening with Daya?
Raja: Textiles or fertilisers?
Radia: Not for Daya though, Azhagiri or Daya only one can come in?
Raja: No, two can come...
Radia: Baalu, will be the problem, I hope.
Radia: It will be difficult for the leader to justify three family members.
Raja: (laughs) Yeah, but everybody knows...
Radia: No she said that, Kani told me last night, that is what her father told her yesterday, that for him to justify three family members would be very difficult; he recognises that problem...
Raja: Let us see what we can do...let us fight.
This was how Radia informed Raja that his name had been cleared for the telecom minister's post. The conversation had been recorded just four days before Raja's name was officially announced as the UPA's telecom minister.
So how does a corporate lobbyist get to know who is getting which portfolio? And why was Raja discussing portfolios with a corporate lobbyist?
Not just Raja, the tapes have Radia talking to DMK chief M. Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi as well.
In these conversations, Kanimozhi - referred to as Kani - is heard telling Radia that the DMK must get the telecom portfolio. Here are excerpts from the conversation recorded on May 21, 2009 at 8:41 pm.
Radia: PM has already clarified that the deal has not been done. They are still in the middle of discussing it.
Kani: They've already promised to give us telecom...but it cannot become that they shift...
Kani: They have already told us that they will give us telecom. Now it shouldn't be given to him because he's going around planting stories.
Radia: He's planting it on all the channels while you were on the plane.
Kani: Ya I know that.
Radia: But Kanni, the PM has just made a statement that I have no problems with Raja and Baalu and they are my esteemed colleagues.
Kani: He can make a statement. But whoever's going to come and talk to dad shouldn't talk otherwise.. See what people say outside and what actually they mean is different... And all of us know that in politics.
Not just telecom, Radia and Kanimozhi had a long conversation about who is getting what portfolio. What was surprising is that Radia seemed to know exactly what is happening and who was getting which portfolio.
Here are more excerpts from the conversations:
Radia: Kani there's feedback from the Congress. They say we recognise that the problem with the DMK is an internal problem. It's a problem between the family. It's a problem between their own people. They have given us a list of five people. This is not acceptable to us.
Radia: It is for them to resolve. We have told them what is the best that we can do.
Kani: Three and four...
Radia: We appreciate that the dialogue has broken down but it is not for us to get back to them. As far as we are concerned, Maran has been calling Ghulam Nabi Azad on the half hour demanding all sorts of things and they have told him that there is no point in you calling us.
Kani: But what is the demand he's got.
Radia: He has been making the same demands that you give us five portfolios or we will not join or give us railways, otherwise he has also demanded coal and mines. So they are saying as far as we are concerned this is an internal DMK problem. It has nothing to do with the Congress at all. They have taken a decision that it is for Karuna to decide who he wants and who he doesn't want in the formula. That has been provided to him. It's up to Karuna to decide but they feel that there are far too many people calling him including Maran.
The question is, is it proper for a senior leader of the DMK and a minister in the past UPA government to be talking to a known corporate lobbyist? Why is it that the lobbyist seems to know everything about the allocation of portfolios, and long before the information is made public?
- The Great Billion Dollar Drug Scam
- Supreme Snub : Court SIT A Major Embarrassment For Govt
- Now A Petroleum Scam?
- The -Reliance KG Gas Scam Prabir Purkayastha, Newsclick
- Way to Rural Self Reliance: National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)
- Demand For JPC On Spectrum Scam :Go Beyond Rhetoric
- THE ADARSH SOCIETY SCAM A Shocking Exposure of Congress govt Venality – Ashok Dhawale
- SUPREME COURT VERDICT ON KG BASIN GAS -Dipankar Mukherjee
- AMBANIS ROW : GOVT HAS LAST WORD ON KG BASIN GAS PRICE : SC
- POOL PRICING FOR KG BASIN GAS TO HARM ANDHRA PRADESH INTERESTS
- PRODUCTION OF GAS IN KG BASIN
- FINDINGS OF ICAI IN SATYAM SCAM CASE
Dear mukesh & anil ambani,
The reliance industries has always got a favourable treatment from the state & central governments.there are allegations that ,
1.years ago, the central government gave import concessions for import of certain raw materials of textile sector ,which hugely benefitted the P.F.Y & TEXTILE projects of your's ie reliance industries.
2.the O.N.G.C which has painstakingly surveyed the oil & gas reserves & prepared a list of lists,gave that list & you got godavari basin oil & gas project from the government .O.N.G.C could have developed it & earned millions.
3.few months back you were charged both by the government & cellular operators (GSM) that you are giving S.T.D & ROAMING FACILITIES to your reliance phone subscribers.your's was only a W.L.L. they even claimed that you are misusing a legal loophole & causing crores of losses to the government & other GSM operators. however while the issue was before the T.R.A.I, the trai legalized your actions by announcing unified licence for telecom operators.
4.now you are charged by the government of re-routing ISD CALLS as local calls,thereby causing crores of losses to the government & BSNL.this time also you may get the reprieve from the government. the government ,if a commonman does not pay his electric bills in time slaps interest & cuts down the electric supply immediately.
however the same government ,even if your company has been alleged of causing crores of rupees losses to the government & other players, always enacts favourable laws for you like a SANTA CLAUS.
WILL YOU PLEASE CLARIFY mr.mukesh ambani & mr.anil ambani?
the TRAI announced unified licence regime in haste that too with retrospective effects.so all the charges against reliance were dropped. in the same vein as unified licence got retrospective effect , why not the government re-imburse the differece amount out of hefty fees collected from other cellular operators ? take the reliance fees as bench mark.anyway , finally commonman is the looser.
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