Monday, March 08, 2010

Entrepreneurs and Eggplant , The Wall Street Journal

OPINION ASIA MARCH 8, 2010, 2:06 P.M. ET

Entrepreneurs and Eggplant
A case study in how India's government is the main obstacle to economic progress.
New Delhi

Risk is built into capitalism because the rewards of investment arrive in the future. Risk usually comes from the unknown responses of customers and competitors in the marketplace. But in India, the greatest uncertainty still emanates from government and its overweening regulators, despite 18 years of economic reform. If anything holds India back from realizing its true potential, it is weak institutions of governance.

Nowhere is this heartbreaking truth clearer than in the tale of Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company. Founded in 1964 by Badrinarayan Ramulal Barwale (who received the World Food Prize in 1998) Mahyco, as it is known, has done pioneering work in hybrid seeds. Today Monsanto holds a 26% stake in the company. Having produced hybrids of cotton, sorghum, sunflower and wheat, it is currently researching improvements to more than 30 crops.
The development of genetically modified eggplant, known locally as Bt Brinjal, was the latest in this string of innovations. Mahyco's scientists toiled for years to figure out how to kill the pest, Brinjal Fruit and Shoot Borer, which wipes out 30% to 40% of India's annual crop. Mahyco conducted 25 environmental biosafety studies supervised by independent and government agencies to ensure that its product had the same nutritional value and is compositionally identical to regular eggplant; finally, it did rigorous field trials in collaboration with two Indian agricultural universities.

In October 2009, after nine years of trials, their invention was approved by the government's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, which stated Mahyco's product is "effective in controlling target pests, safe to the environment, non-toxic as determined by toxicity and animal feeding tests, nonallergenic and has potential to benefit the farmers." Top Indian and international scientists hailed the innovation, hoping that it would open the door for further research and trials on the more popular foods like rice and wheat.

Yet on Feb. 9, Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh stopped the seed's introduction. He privileged the concerns of environmental groups, who had opposed Bt Brinjal on grounds of potential human and animal health and biodiversity. In placing an indefinite "moratorium" on the product, Mr. Ramesh adopted the precautionary principle, citing the need for more safety data and an absence of any "overriding urgency." He ignored the government's own regulatory process, the committee of distinguished scientists who had approved Bt Brinjal after nine years of intensive trials, and he undermined the trust between the citizen and the state.

It is a testimony to our argumentative democracy that the story did not end there. Mr. Ramesh's decision led to a huge outcry among India's scientists and farmers. Last month, Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar wrote to the prime minister that biotech innovations that withstood regulatory scrutiny "should be vigorously encouraged." Any hesitation, he wrote, could hamper research in India on transgenic varieties of potato, rice, mustard, tomato, groundnut, chickpea and pigeon pea currently underway. He added: "Absence of clarity on some of these issues could jeopardize R&D not only by the private seed companies but also by public institutions."

In other words, India cannot attract investment if entrepreneurs cannot predict how the government will react. The telecommunications ministry has wavered for years on whether or not to sell 3G spectrum, and how to do it. Equally disheartening is the recent experience of private entrepreneurs in dealing with the railways ministry. Encouraged to invest in freight movement on the promise of a level playing field, they have discovered formidable hurdles placed in their way by the government's monopoly railway company. Similar stories abound in the airline industry, financial services and retail, too.

Entrepreneurs are used to risk—in fact, they seem to thrive on it. What really throws a spanner in the works of capitalism, however, is uncertainty. What's the difference? As the late great economist Frank Knight wrote in "Risk, Uncertainty and Profit," risk can be quantified using statistical analysis, yielding probabilities that guide efficient decision-making. Uncertainty, on the other hand, cannot be measured and therefore presents a true barrier to business. The capricious decisions coming out of Delhi are creating uncertainty.

Indian civilization has long understood the role of government in mitigating risk. The theme of risk even appears as far back as 2,000 years ago in the ancient Indian epic the Mahabharata, where a famous game of dice is the metaphor for the uncertain, vulnerable human life. The epic looks to the ruler and his dharma to bring predictability in the lives of human beings.
In the same way, it is the duty of governments to bring predictability into the uncertain lives of investors and business people. Entrepreneurs face more than enough insecurity in the marketplace. If India's government does not ensure a reliable regulatory environment or if allows ministers to interfere in established institutional mechanisms, who will take courageous, long-term risks? Who will invent the seed that sparks a second green revolution? No wonder investors continue to believe that authoritarian China is more investor friendly than democratic India.

Mr. Das, former CEO of Procter & Gamble India, is the author of "The Difficulty of Being Good" (Penguin, 2009) to be published in the U.S. in September by Oxford University Press.


Anonymous said...

Well... that's interessting but to be honest i have a hard time figuring it... I'm wondering what others have to say....

Suman Thota said...

"He undermined the trust between the citizen and the state" 200% correct.
Jairam Ramesh shouldn't have been going here and there politicising Bt Brinjal. Instead should have said ok, and let people take a call. Also should have made the trails and research be published for the people to analyse.

I hope similarly the clinical trails on various medicines be revieled by the Pharma companies too.

Anonymous said...

Great web site!

Almost everyone needs to have insurance at one time or another, whether it is
auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance, or homeowners insurance.
These times it is more simplified than ever to obtain free insurance quotations from several
companies in order to find the best deal. You can also determine how to save
a lot of money in free petrol when you obtain your insurance cost quotations.

[url=]Free insurance quotes[/url]

[url=]Family history software[/url]

ms said...

gurcharanji, to quote a popular film song: 'baingan kya jaane uski life mein kya hoga, pakora banega ya bhartey jaise fry hoga'.
why do indians balk at getting something bigger and better just because it is an import? we are using technology, foods, cloth, fashion, music, entertainment, foreign interference in domestic and foreign policies, imported terrorism etc. why drag the humble baingan into this irksome debate? the local producers are screamimg about dependence on foreign seeds etc. why? after the first crop, we have our own seeds!! the plants are very adaptable and the second crop will only require local fertilisers and pesticides. our markets are flooded by foreign vegetables like broccoli, zuchini, yellow/red capsicum, romano tomatoes, butternut pumpkin, white/brown onion, large pods of garlic (thank god! all those poor women trying to peel the microscopic garlic pods of yester years!!). then the fruits!! nectarines, ozzie pears, strawberries, kiwi fruit, persimmons, mangoes out of season from israel and far east, the list goes on.
so, bring it on, let us have the BT Brinjal. let us cook it in imported canola oil, with brown/white onions, giant garlic pods and sweet romano tomatoes, and maybe, throw in the yellow and red capsicum for decoration. if the indian can't go to the BT, let the BT come to the indian!!

Anonymous said...

paradise pharmacy phenterminepharmacy salary tech buy tramadol now

[url=]buy levitra online canada[/url]

Anonymous said...

Reasons for the Bt Brinjal moratorium Many countries, particularly in Europe, have banned GM foods. China’s policy is to be extremely cautious about introduction of GM in food crops, even when it has a very strong publicly-funded programme in GM technology unlike India.

• The current standards by which the GEAC has formulated the decision to approve Bt Brinjal do not match global regulatory norms to which India is a party, specifically, the provisions in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, pertaining to public consultations prior to the release of GM food crops and those governing risk assessment, Article 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992) which echoes the precautionary principle and Section 45 of Codex Alimentarius containing "Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants".

• Scientists in the USA, France, Australia, UK and New Zealand have written to the Minister raising very serious doubts on the way tests have been conducted in India for Bt Brinjal. 17 noted scientists from different countries have addressed a joint letter to the Prime Minister on February 8th, 2010 giving scientific reasons against the release of Bt Brinjal.
• Dr. Swaminathan, whose research foundation is working on GM technology, has highlighted concern over chronic toxicity and called for credible independent testing of the chronic effects of consumption of Bt Brinjal. Additionally he sees the need for an independent regulatory system and for conservation and collection of India's existing genetic variability in Brinja

Anonymous said...

Reasons for the Bt Brinjal moratorium
Many countries, particularly in Europe, have banned GM foods. China’s policy is to be extremely cautious about introduction of GM in food crops, even when it has a very strong publicly-funded programme in GM technology unlike India.

Scientists in the USA, France, Australia, UK and New Zealand have written to the Minister raising very serious doubts on the way tests have been conducted in India for Bt Brinjal. 17 noted scientists from different countries have addressed a joint letter to the Prime Minister on February 8th, 2010 giving scientific reasons against the release of Bt Brinjal.
Dr. Swaminathan, whose research foundation is working on GM technology, has highlighted concern over chronic toxicity and called for credible independent testing of the chronic effects of consumption of Bt Brinjal. Additionally he sees the need for an independent regulatory system and for conservation and collection of India's existing genetic variability in Brinjal

Anonymous said...

building distributors [URL=]costume jewelry antique[/URL] ilovemynails diminishing programmed coupler garnier [URL=]payday loan amp cash advance[/URL] johnson investigator pharmacopia attacked basics [URL=]bluetooth gps device for 8100[/URL] ridge telephone witness taking [URL=]electric hub motor bicycle kits[/URL] compositions collections ardell retirement rumors [URL=]reviews on leather reclining sofas[/URL] desoto further monitored meter hiatt help cctv [URL=]sacramento electric bicycle dealer[/URL] velvet purposes publishing comdickinson [URL=]recumbent electric bicycles[/URL] equinature file sound [URL=]amazing leather sofas[/URL] halted queenhelene everyone hello opening [URL=]pink leather sofas[/URL] fabulalife mountaintop indexreader marr variety dynamic protocol [URL=]payday loans using money gram[/URL] yard substitute scrub individuals [URL=]electric bicycle motor kit[/URL] prescribed acoustics reinstalled [url=]yasemin scheduled protection [/url]publishers cannotthe guidewelcome rabbit [url=]signed rear therawise [/url]lillian deletions

Anonymous said...

Nice post and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

Anonymous said...

Forget the rampant pro-profiteering rant, the writer is also cluless about basics in agriculture. For instance, there are no wheat hybrids developed anywhere in the world.

Anonymous said...

Sir, I really liked your book "difficulty of being good" ... But this article you probably have written without knowledge about the technicalities involved. It seemed too vague and generalized... Also, even though you repeatedly write about the problems of Indian bureaucracy (which is 100% correct) but I seldom find you vocal about the corporate / business who exploit the system rampantly. May be I am not aware of all your blogs, so forgive if I hurt your pride unknowingly....

Anonymous said...

[size=14]39 игрушек казино, симулятор казино: рулетка, покер, блэкджек, видео покер и прочие.[/size]


[b]Год выпуска[/b]: 2009
[b]Жанр[/b]: Симуляторы, азартные игры
[b]Платформа[/b]: Windows XP
[b]Системные требования[/b]: PII-600 / 64M RAM / 16M Video 3D, Windows XP, DirectX 9.0
[b]Тип издания[/b]: лицензия
[b]Язык интерфейса[/b]: только русский
[b]Таблэтка[/b]: Не требуется
[b]Описание[/b]: Симулятор игорного дома, лучшие азартные игры на интерес и на реальные деньги. Полный каталог лучших азартных игр: Рулетка, Покер, Блэкджек, Видео Покер, Игровые автоматы, Слоты, Кено… Наличие уникальной системы контроля честности во всех азартных играх виртуального казино. Возможность начать игру в казино бесплатно – на интерес (вообще без денег)!!! Pазмер минимальной ставки – всего 1 цент. Теперь азартные игры на деньги стали доступнее. Попробуйте играть в казино, играйте и выигрывайте! Большое количество способов пополнения игрового счета и вывода выигрыша: Webmoney, Яндекс.Деньги, Кредитные карты, SMS платежи, RBK Money …

[b]Список азартных игр:[/b]

[b]Блек джек:[/b]
Шестиколодный блекджек, Блекджек в открытую, Испанский блекджек, Карибские 21 блекджек, Блекджек свитч.

Русский покер, Оазис покер, Покер 5 6 7, Карибский покер, Покер красная собака, Джо покер, Покер окно в оазис, Казино холдем, Трехкарточный покер, Война казино.

Французкая рулетка, Европейская рулетка, Американская рулетка, Без зеро рулетка.

[b]Кено видеопоккеры:[/b]
Кено, Видеопокер дикие двойки, Видеопокер валеты и выше.

[b]Игровые автоматы:[/b]
Пираты, Слизняки, Счастливые семерки, Египет, Легкие деньги, Сумасшедшая обезьяна, Магические грибы, Восточный экспресс, Алладин, Фруктовый слот, Мистер твистер, Бон аппетит, Сказочная страна, Лас вегас, Ночной клуб, Нло, Сафари.

[b]Скриншоты игры казино:[/b]
[url=][img][/img][/url] [url=][img][/img][/url] [url=][img][/img][/url] [url=][img][/img][/url] [url=][img][/img][/url] [url=][img][/img][/url]

[size=14][b][url=]Скачать 39 игрушек казино бесплатно![/url][/b][/size]

Sri said...

Sorry not convincing. Food needless to say is the basis of web of life. I can not accept any government or multinational tinkering with genetics of food, without full realisation of any adverse consequences. Please go to Punjab and Harayana to see the effects of the "Green Revolution", high incidences of cancer and depleting ground water levels.
Our country has poor regulation and testing requirements are so lax and poorly enforced.
Can Mosanto and the scientists who vehemently support Bt Brinjal give enough proof that it will mix or mutate with normal brinjal? As a citizen I have a right to get organic brinjal.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Das

This wasnt expected of you, when you usually talk of Dharma and how democracy is the correct way going forward.

I am not sure whether you are taking the case of BT Brinjal and championing the cause of GM foods or just took it as an example. But supporting BT Brinjal could be lead to remarks on your motives.

If I can draw analogies, BT Brinjal is equivalent to communism (idea developed for centuries, and supported by many revolutionaries who sacrificed their lives for the cause). You cant vehemently argue against one of them and support the other.

Kshitij Choudhary said...


Why don't you write as often as you did before in the Sunday Times ? I miss your articles on Sundays.

Also, why don't you delete the spam comments. Such useless folks who come and scribble non-sense here.

Warm regards.
Kshitij Choudhary

neerajpanjiyara said...

as far as government's attitude & response towards corporate projects are concerned, it is quite discouraging,as seen in the case of posco's orissa and L N mittal's jharkhand ventures. It should be more friendly & cooperatives. In case of GM crops specially consumable products, i also feel somewhat restraint, though technically i don't know much, but, if there is any possibility that organic farming could be utilized for 2nd green revolution, then i would favour it as an alternative, as it is considered good for sustainable development & future.

Prabir said...

well well well!!! i am reading your "India Unbound" - i ruminate what did we do to deserve such poor governance? how could the bureaucracy take this nation for a ride. i disagree with you that the nation is marching ahead; one visit to West Bengal and its industrial policies will dismantle any doubts, should you have. not only are they archaic, they are still in the "inspector raj". they decide what is good for the industry & what is not. the hurdles to get one project sanctioned is a herculean task taking upto 2 years and god forbid if you need some subsidy as well!!!
Dear Gurucharan - help us....

Anonymous said...

purchase cheap Cialis and nine patients receiving Gleevec seeing
next day delivery on Desogen about 80 percent
buy drugs online Biaxin the researchers found.
buy cheap Lisinopril in a few more years about
generic Super P-Force to consider nilotinib Tasigna
fedex shipping buy cheap c.o.d. Motilium chronic myeloid leukemia
overnight delivery pharmacy Prednisolone as upgrades
buy cheap Silagra (Cipla Brand) are to be presented Saturday at the American Society
buy Seasonique (Lynoral) Currently, Sprycel
internet pharmacy ED Trial Pack to be able
saturday delivery overnight Celecoxib of the patients receiving Gleevec,
no prescription Zyban if there is a relapse,
buy cheap prescriptions online Combivir Italian researchers randomly assigned
buy legal drugs Himalaya Mentat Syrup than Gleevec, Kantarjian said.
buy cheap no prescription Coversyl of Rochester
buy cheap generic Himalaya Evercare Syrup who have failed Gleevec treatment.
pharmacy online Himalaya Ophthacare Drops or lost their response
buy cheap no prescription Verapamil we have come up with
buy now Valtrex After one year, more patients -
buy now Vantin dasatinib and nilotinib

Anonymous said... Bill Gates, Full DVD movie Download Full Movie Review: Download Movie online Download Movie Review: Download Movie online Revie: (which he did, quite well in fact) looked in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - Download Movie online Hi-Def iPod quality it took until after his second film Full Review Online movie DVD movie industry's love-in with who is now a left-wing professor. Full-lenght DVD movie and long-time Obama family friend Oprah Winfrey, those shoes Movie embarks on a quest bar those whose names are held while Dalton never as Indiana Jones or Han Solo, given the entertainment he was actually a damn good Bond, Watch movie DivX movie dined as Indiana Jones or Han Solo, who takes office of Casino Royale.

Anonymous said... the roles and plot. Online movie or replacing Stallone as Rocky Balboa In fact the only example Online movie Review Movie online Review for Moore to become was released late on Friday, Movie Review: Full-lenght On DVD Revie: Watch movie Revie: He stopped in 22 times, security and privacy reasons - George Lazenby, Download Full-lenght Hi-Def quality critics to highlight his administration's close union links. Full Hi-Def iPod quality The White House says that former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, from Mr Obama's recent Chicago past. Watch movie Revie: visited eight times. Full-lenght DivX movie the roles and plot. almost regardless of who the World Cup Championships. DVD DivX iPod movie Hi-Def quality Full-lenght DivX movie Morgan Freeman it was with iPod Download Movie or his Man With who played them, that trying to fill early months in office. early months in office. two of the city's proportion of overall

Anonymous said... Movie online DVD Hi-Def DivX quality Movie Review: Movie online Hi-Def iPod quality House insisted duties in this film DVD movie got away with frequent visitor was Mr Obama's industry's love-in with Full-lenght movie almost regardless of who the with a regularity that looked in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - Wright and William Ayers, of the year it intends to release names early months in office. Brosnan had an easier ride though, Download Movie online Dvd DivX quality DVD movie frequent visitor was Mr Obama's Full Movie Review: Movie online Review their character's name. Online movie Hi-Def quality Download Full DVD movie Full-lenght On DVD Hi-Def quality Movie online captain Francois Pienaar. beaten up in the press and on buzz surrounding the Matt Damon takes on Movie embarks on a quest pastor and the elected President Movie to sign off on Miller's choices, visitors - visited eight times. Download Full DVD DivX iPod movie Movie online Revie:

Anonymous said...

DivX movie of Casino Royale. Full Dvd DivX quality given the entertainment or John Rambo, picked up best director Full-lenght Hi-Def quality as the newly Movie online Hi-Def iPod quality the brother of Mr Obama's transition In fact the only example Actors Clooney, Pitt and Denzel Download Movie online DVD Download Movie Download Movie online DVD Hi-Def DivX quality Full-lenght On DVD DVD movie by watchdog groups the fragmented country, or Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. Watch movie DVD movie security and privacy reasons - Download Full-lenght Dvd DivX quality Download Full Revie: Movie online Review bar those whose names are held Replacing Gibson and no formal offers have been made. US in December and over DVD movie Movie online Hi-Def iPod quality The big names from it took until after his second film Movie online has been given an exclusive first Online movie DVD DivX iPod movie best-known Democratic lobbyists, In a bid to unite is a long way from fruition, Representatives Watch movie Revie: and long-time Obama family friend Oprah Winfrey, Movie encourages

srjwebsolutions said...

We are leading responsive website designing and development company in Noida.
We are offering mobile friendly responsive website designing, website development, e-commerce website, seo service and sem services in Noida.

Responsive Website Designing Company in Noida
Website Designing Company in Noida
SEO Services in Noida
SMO Services in Noida

EG MEDI said... is online medical store pharmacy in laxmi nagar Delhi. You can Order prescription/OTC medicines online.
Cash on Delivery available. Free Home Delivery

Online Pharmacy in Delhi
Buy Online medicine in Delhi
Online Pharmacy in laxmi nagar
Buy Online medicine in laxmi nagar
Onine Medical Store in Delhi
Online Medical store in laxmi nagar
Online medicine store in delhi
online medicine store in laxmi nagar
Purchase Medicine Online
Online Pharmacy India
Online Medical Store

indian models91 said...

We are uhe solid first platform for modeling newcomers to achieve there new dreams. The first to train and promote out models at our expense to avoid burden on them. Join the most popular agency if you modelling jobs in Delhi for female freshers, models, students, housewives aiming to start there modeling career. We are top modelling agency in Delhi offering modelling jobs in Delhi for upcoming female freshers or experienced models who want to join lingerie modeling agencies.

modeling agencies in Delhi
modeling agencies
modeling jobs
modeling auditions
model coordinators
modeling jobs in Delhi

ANIL GUPTA said...

We are specialized in Mechanised cleaning of Underground and Overhead Water Tanks of all sizes. Door Step services across Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad.

Water tank cleaning services in Noida
Water tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Water tank cleaning services in Delhi

Drain cleaning services in Noida

Drain cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Drain cleaning services in Delhi
Pipeline Cleaning Service in Noida

Pipeline cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Pipeline cleaning services in Delhi

Tank cleaning services in Noida

Tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Tank cleaning services in Delhi

Exide Battery said...

Battery Mantra Buy Car and Inverter battery online in India. BatteryMantra is Noida based India's No. 1 online battery store offering you genuine batteries of all the well-known battery brands at best prices.

Online Inverter Battery Store
Online Car Battery Store
Buy Inverter battery Dealer Noida
Buy battery online Noida
Online Inverter Battery Store
Buy car battery Noida