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Moving in tandem

Moving in tandem

In what might seem like opposite ideologies, capitalism and socialism stand at the extreme ends of a common locus. One way of looking at this is the polarity that makes the two mutually exclusive; another perspective is focusing on their common locus: they both operate out of the same society. To put that in a more specific Indian context, our method of governance of mixed socialism is one to allow for a blend of these two contrasting notions. Public-private partnership and corporate social responsibility are examples of this. The Indian government defines the commercial legal relationship of public-private partnership as "an arrangement between a government/statutory entity/government-owned entity on one side and a private sector entity on the other, for the provision of public assets and/or public services, through investments being made and/or management being undertaken by the private sector entity, for a specified period of time where there is well-defined allocation of risk between the private sector and the public entity and the private entity receives performance-linked payments that conform (or are benchmarked) to specified and pre-determined performance standards, measurable by the public entity or its representative". In consonance with this method of partnered administration, the private sector is now welcome to earn the Defence Ministry's award. This move also serves as a significant boost to the flagship Make in India initiative. Upon the approval of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, private firms can now compete with ordinance factories and defence PSUs for the Raksha Mantri's Awards for Excellence. It is worth mentioning that this is a significant departure from the past when only defence PSUs competed amongst one another for the coveted annual Awards, and the private sector industry was not eligible for any national-level award competition until now. The revised format comprises awards in institutional as well as individual and team category for excellence in technological breakthroughs, indigenisation or import substitution, and excellence in exports. It also includes a specific secondary category for small, medium, and large start-up segments with the view of providing a level playing field in the competition. Reports inform that the amount of cash award, too, has been significantly increased in case of individual and team awards, and the nominations for the awards will be invited online for which a web portal will be developed for the upload and management of applications. This novelty will facilitate the expansion of the industrial base in the defence and aerospace sector by identifying "hidden gems and wider recognition of outstanding Indian firms among national and international customers". This is also likely to scale up the export potential of the Indian defence industry by publicising their outstanding achievements at the global level. Although it is a debate for another time, boosting the economy through defence production, for now, the take away is that it is possible for both government and private entities to have some specific common goals. Profit maximisation or/and revenue generation in combination with general welfare are desirable goals. When the ultimate authority to decide matters rests with the government, making room for possibilities and innovation that could contribute to the common good is definitely a welcome step.

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