Issues Regarding the Public Sector that Need Public Debate
PUBLIC SECTOR baiting has become a fashion these days. Everybody likes to indulge in it from Shii Vasant Sathe, the Honourable Minister in the Govt. of India, to a doyen of one of the biggest houses in the private sector, Shri Rusi Mody. They ably demonstrated their skills in the two-part programme telecast on the Doordarshan titled Public Sector Vs. Private Sector. The basic premise, in all the opinions, are three untruths :
one that the public sector is inherently inefficient, and, by implication the private sector is efficient; the second that the workers in the public sector have multiplied like weeds and their insatiable wage demands have choked the flow of oxygen into the public sector; and lastly that the hapless and poor top executives of the public sector are not able to play their legitimate role as genies of Alladin's lamp because of the constant interference of the bureaucrat and politician. The debate revolves around these basic prejudices which its authors hope, like Goebbels did, will stick by repetition.
Indian Corporate Private Sector
We can get a thumbnail sketch of the Indian corporate private sector from the Prof. Brij Narain Memorial lecture, by Prof. S.K. Goyal of the Indian Institute of Public Administration. Within the private sector, the private limited companies account for only 14 per cent of the total and nearly three-fourths of the total paid up capital of the private corporate sector is accounted for by the public limited companies. The top two houses had the lion's share and claimed nearly 40 per cent of the overall addition to the assets of the top 20 during 1972-84. If the growth in size of the enterprise or a group had been a consequence of the adoption of new, sophisticated and more efficient technologies or availing of the economies of scale, one could well understand the inevitability of some such trend, but the growth in concentration of the productive resources in the Indian corf orate sector has not been accompanied by
*President, National Confederation of Officers' Associations of Central Public Sector Undertakings, New Delhi.