September 4, 1981, Forty Years Ago: Debate On Sick Firms

Finance Minister R Venkataraman has indicated that the government might reverse the policy of taking over sick units. He could not understand the philosophy of letting the private sector pocket all profits while the going was good and the government stepping in to take their units when they became sick, the minister told the Lok Sabha. The 250-minute debate, though thinly attended, was one of the calmest in recent days. Speakers were heard in rapt attention and, barring a few, everybody spoke economics rather than politics. The crux of the Opposition’s charge was that the minister was finding refuge behind the maze of statistics, and unless the ruling party changed its basic policy it would not be able to control the spiraling prices.

Reprieve For CMs

The Antulay scandal has come to the aid of at least three Congress (I) chief ministers in distress, though only for the time being. According to informed sources, the high command is so occupied in finding ways to contain the storm raised by the Maharashtra Chief Minister Abdul Rahman Antulay’s fund-raising operations that it has temporarily shelved its plans to set its house in order in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

Iran Violence

Iran’s parliament installed a new government with a view to halt the violence that has led to the assassination of national figures. But anti-government assassins struck again and gun battles flared in the streets of Tehran between Ayatollah Khomeni’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards and the secular leftist guerrillas. Tehran Radio said seven Mujahideen Khalq Guerillas were killed in an eight-hour shootout with revolutionary guardsmen who stormed a secret hideout of the most powerful Opposition group. It said a big arms cache and partially-burnt of government offices were seized.

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