My Page July 2012

M G Warrier’s

My Page

A monthly bulletin from M G Warrier incorporating select published letters/articles (and some stray thoughts based on what he read/saw and wrote during the month). Mailed during the last week of every month. Please send your responses and views to

Vol II, No 7, July 2012

M G Warrier, 2005/1-D, DREAMS, Bhandup(West), Mumbai-400078 (9349319479)

Dear Reader

The responses I am getting encourages me to continue with this effort. This month My Page comes with a ‘Bonus Read’ article ‘My Dear Shankar’ which is also my response to the recent NCERT cartoons episode. Now on, My Page will come with less than 10 pages. Sunday Mails and some letters and comments may not find a place in My Page.


M G Warrier

June 30, 2012


Message from Madan Gauria, Chandigarh

I regret to advise the sudden demise of 3 of our officers, Sh. Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Sh. Balbir Singh and Mrs. Kiran Sethi all from RBI Chandigarh in an unfortunate accident of their taxi with a truck at Ambala City on G T Road on Saturday (16-06-12) Night. They were returning after doing the inspection of currency chests in Haryana.The impact of the accident was so heavy that all the 3 officers plus driver of the taxi died on the spot. We pray to Almighty that their soul may rest in piece.

The only surviving officer Sh. S S Sohota is undergoing treatment at Fortis Hospital, Mohali and is stated to critical but out of danger. We pray for his early recovery.




{ Letters-Self-reliance is not bad-Some global ‘towns’ please-Online comments: Public debt management-Pranab’s elevation-Monetary Policy-RBI Governor Dr Subbarao- Dr Chakrabarty and ATMs- and more…….Bonus read: My Dear Shankar-)

Thought you won’t mind my intrusion into your otherwise peaceful mind.

Will keep in touch.

Yours sincerely

M G Warrier


June 9, 2012

***** ***** *****

Business Standard, June 5, 2012

Letters: Self-reliance is not bad

Business Standard / New Delhi Jun 05, 2012, 00:19 IST

This refers to the report “Army chief slams BEML on Tatra, awards it Rs 1500-cr deal” (May 31). Since the liberalisation of the Indian economy, there has been a tendency to import ready-to-use articles and borrow technology, even for their subsequent maintenance. In this respect there is no divide between the public sector and the private sector. This is a major reason for the drain on forex and the resultant impact on the value of the rupee.

A higher level of indigenisation of such high-value items of import as defence equipments, aircraft, vehicles and material for industrial infrastructure will go a long way in stabilising the rupee and improving the balance of payments situation. The Centre should think of discouraging imports of items like coins, toys, electronic items and so on by providing appropriate incentives and imposing disincentives when necessary. Self-reliance, even in the current situation, is not a bad idea provided it is applied with prudence and in select areas in which the country has strong capabilities.

M G Warrier Thiruvananthapuram

Business Standard, June 29, 2012

Letters: Some global 'towns' please

Business Standard / New Delhi Jun 29, 2012, 00:09 IST

This refers to the report “Among 440 rising global cities in 2025, India to have 36: Report” (June 28). The June 2012 edition of McKinsey Global’s report on the “Emerging 440” global cities should draw the attention of planners in India at all levels. We should plan for developing hundreds of global “towns” across geographical areas with population-based representation. These towns should have all basic facilities like transport, potable water supply, health care, comfortable accommodation for locals and tourists, self-regulated markets, good educational institutions and so on. Such towns will act as filters to ensure that the emerging global “cities” are not suffocated to extinction by migration from rural and semi-urban areas, where the majority of the country’s population now lives. Sporadic approaches to achieve this objective are being made in states like Kerala and around cities like Mumbai and Bangalore. We need more careful planning.

M G Warrier Mumbai

Online comments under Mythili Bhusnurmath’s blog in ET, June 5, 2012:


June 04,2012 at 11:10 PM IST

We may have to go deeper into the real issues, if one is serious about getting a feel of the slowdown. Unlike the farmer who is kept in the dark by the weathermen till the clouds get darker, the political bosses in Delhi smell the down-trend much ahead of the media and the analysts. That is how several committees shoot up and forecasts about what RBI should be doing in June starts pouring in. Why not for once, think in terms of increase in production at the ground level, better storage, transport and marketing of produce and optimum use of stocks whether it be foodgrains or minerals or solid gold and reducing the need to borrow from other countries by whatever name such borrowing is called unless it becomes absolutely essential? The present slowdown is also attributable to forex and balance of payment issues besides the sagging morale of the workforce owing to wages-prices-income and social security related issues.We can no longer manipulate growth by cosmetic changes in interest rates or credit growth. People who are sweating out to make development a reality will have to be assured a reasonable lifestyle and minimum facilities for taking care of their family's interest in social security, literacy and healthcare.

A well known quotation…Jawaharlal Nehru, 1950

…steel mills and dams are the temples of modern India

A less known but very important quotation…Jawaharlal Nehru, November 17, 1958.

29th annual meeting of the Central Bureau of Irrigation and Power

"For some time past, however, I have been beginning to think that we

are suffering from what we may call a `disease of gigantism'...

We have to realise that we

can also meet our problems much more rapidly and efficiently by taking

up a large number of small schemes, especially when the time involved in a small

scheme is much less and the results obtained are rapid.

Further, in those small schemes you can get a good deal of what is

called public co-operation...

When nations go for development, there are many voices simply unheard.

from: G.Gautama

Online comments under an article on RBI in Mint seeking reforms in RBI, 220612:


M G Warrier said...

While there is no irrationality in Government taking over and managing public debt on its own when the fiscal policy management has matured, the haste with which the finance ministry is trying to go through the act is unwarranted. Such a move at this juncture will destabilise one more arm of the government as the ministry is already burdened with several other preoccupations and compulsions arising from loss of credibility, compulsions of coalition politics and a host of other relationship issues with regulators and financial institutions including banks. Unlike the recent experiences in disinvestment management by government, RBI has been managing smoothly the public debt of central government under Section 21(2) and that of state governments by agreement as provided for under Section 21A of the RBI Act, 1934 for several decades. It is in the interest of country’s financial stability which is the basis for economic development, not to disturb the present arrangement at least until the government is in a position to take up the comprehensive review of the monetary system envisaged in the preamble of the RBI Act.

At one stage it was alleged that the human resources and manpower issues were the ground on which Reserve Bank of India opposed the shifting of debt management to the finance ministry. It was common knowledge that even if the work is transferred to them, the finance ministry will have to initially depend on the in-house expertise developed in RBI over decades of effort. Having said that, there is no denying the fact that trade unions and finance ministry had focused on HR-related issues. As government under the existing disposition has enough authority to ‘direct’ RBI in an eventuality, there is no need to hurry through this piece of legislation at a time when more attention should be paid to clear the mess which is already there on the drawing board of parliament.

M G Warrier, Mumbai

Jun 22, 2012

Online comments in ET on elevation of Pranab Mukherjee



June 21,2012 at 04:52 PM EEST

One wishes things were as simple and straight forward as this. The elevation of Pranabda also means confining sane criticism and dissent within the four walls of Rashtrapati Bhavan and the decorum the President is expected to, and Pranabda will, maintain. Now we will have to scan through President's speeches at august forums to decipher Pranabda's mind. Already we have a very disciplined PM. The one shock-absorber the coalition UPA had in place also is being disabled. That way, I take the elevation as a loss to the nation's political and economic management.

M G Warrier, Mumbai

Online comments under HBL report(June 29, 2012) on Dr Chakrabarty’s observations regarding ATM complaints:

1 comment:

M G Warrier said...

Let us assume that Dr Chakrabarty has said this just to focus on the need for ATM reforms. Still, RBI should revisit its policy stance on ATMs. Allowing White Label ATMs to be operated by non-banking entities was done in haste, which should be put on hold till the architecture stabilizes across banks. It is a fact that now ATMs have reached only cities and major towns and even where ATMs have been opened in smaller towns, service provided is not upto the mark. But the way in which ATMs are being opened in cities, there is a case for pooling of resources and infrastructure to ensure that existing ATMs have enough business and competition doesn’t result in multiple ATMs at the same point leading to waste of scarce resources. As technology has provided an opportunity to save on costs, it should be examined if separate ATMs are necessary for each bank operating in close-by buildings in cities. Once there is consensus on consolidation from this angle, several ATMs will become free which can be re-positioned in other locations. Banks should be encouraged to open ATMs in smaller places where bigger branches (in terms of number of customers) exist. This would be more cost-effective and ensure more reliable service. Another option worth considering is fast-tracking the proposal of Department of Posts to open ATMs and networking them with banks. In any scenario, efforts should be made to see that there is some method in the madness by guiding machine-manufacturers and service providers who give the software to ensure some uniformity in slots, trays and icons on ATMs so that customers do not suffer on account of problems like those listed by Dr Chakrabarty which made him an ATM-hater.

M G Warrier,Mumbai

Jun 29, 2012 9:46:00 AM

Online comments under Sandip Sen’s Blog “New FM Needs to Rationalize Diesel prices, Not Rig Car Taxes” ET, 270612


June 28,2012 at 02:20 AM CST

The word subsidy, because of the way in which it is being used by economists, analysts and planners, has got a bad reputation in India. When flowers are destroyed in Holland market to manage prices, or costs of cultivation are supported in US to ensure production of certain commodities, or food coupons are given at reduced rates or free of cost to certain classes of people in developed countries, it is subsidy in different forms. So long as a rational costs-prices-wages-income policy is not in place, so long as starvation wages, unemployment and under-employment remain at ugly levels, any government, even a government with former FM as President and PM as FM will not be able to go ahead with reforms just to support the upper middle class and rich people who account for less than 20 per cent of India’s population. ‘Subsidy’ will resurface in one form or the other.

Online comments under Blog Myth n Reality “RBI Governor keeps faith with his job and country: Mythili Bhusnurmath”, ET 190612:


June 19,2012 at 09:47 AM IST

RBI Governor has done the right thing. Not that doing nothing solves any issue. But occasionally, signals like this are necessary to comfort common man who is getting doubts as to whether all institutions are being managed by an assortment of coalition-partners with no elbow-room left for those who are supposed to be in charge of the institutions. The transparency in policy communication which he infused into the monetary policy announcement, it appears, has been taken too literally by stakeholders and has been misinterpreted as a signal to manipulate policy formulation by exerting ‘media pressure’. The increased frequency of monetary policy reviews also is contributing to uncertainties about RBI’s policy stance. Even after factoring in the speed brought about thanks to innovation in procedures and availability of state of the art technology, it takes some time for changes in interest rates or pumping in of additional liquidity(or sucking out excess liquidity from the market) to show results at the ground level. In such a situation, bi-monthly changes in policy stance and lobbying for reversal or further refinements in between, keeps the economy in a perennial mood of anticipation. As is well known, in case RBI is convinced about the need, it doesn’t prevent Governor from using any of the policy tools any time.

It is comforting to find that despite divergence of views at the top and conflicting opinions expressed by top GOI officials and analysts, Dr Subbarao could withstand the pressure and take a balanced view and act accordingly, without deviating from the mandated responsibility of RBI.

M G Warrier, Mumbai

Online comments under the story “RBI governor Subbarao still has 15 months to go”, ET, June 18, 2012



18 Jun, 2012 11:45 AM

While the relief Dr Subbarao will get in 15 months is in no way light, the Indian financial sector will be benefited if tenures of top posts are made longer and decided even at the time of appointment. The practice of short extensions in tenure is creating uncertainties for the incumbents concerned and more than that to the organisations they serve. The recent extension of term of RBI Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty by three months is one example. Centre should think in terms of putting a system in place which will take care of filling up of top positions and smooth transition of job from one incumbent to the other. Considering a sprinkling of younger people at the top, making the tenures longer and allowing inter-mobility from the position of executive directors and upwards following transparent norms are some areas which could be considered to improve the functioning of government and public sector organisations.


Posted on: Jun 10,2012

My Dear Shankar

M G Warrier

My Dear Shankar

Two episodes on this side of the curtain dividing your abode and mine recently made me pen this personal letter to you. The first one is the resignation of two eminent scholars, Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar, both renowned political scientists, from their position as advisers to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) after a furore in Parliament led Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal to withdraw a book on the Constitution because it contained your cartoon of 1949 which depicted “the ‘snail’s pace’ with which the Constitution was made.” The second one was the special sitting of Parliament on May 13, 2012 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament.

Speaking at the special sitting of the august body on May 13, President Pratibha Patil said: “…..democracy cannot be allowed to falter, it is the very essence of our nationhood….Sceptics, in those early post-Independence days, doubted whether democracy in such a large and diverse country could possibly survive. We proved them wrong.” I thought, if the President had shared her thoughts two days earlier, and if the MPs had understood the spirit of democracy which was the theme of the President’s speech, the first episode could have been avoided! It is impossible to reverse history, I understand. As the NCERT text book controversy is lingering on, I feel comfortable sharing some of my thoughts with you.

Efforts to erase history by bans and withdrawals of text books and pictures are too primitive. Those who were fortunate to live during the Shankar’s Weekly era(I am one) know the respect you commanded from the political leadership and other statesmen.

The cartoon row makes the following observation of yours, in the souvenir brought out in September 1975(I distinctly remember, the farewell issue of Shankar’ Weekly was dated July 27, 1975) prophetic: ‘It was not without a pang that I decided to stop publication. We could have taken the emergency in our stride, but the burden of running a weekly magazine on a shoe-string was too much. Institutionalisation of a magazine of this type is extremely difficult, for the flavour will indubitably change in that situation.’

It would have been tough even for you to prove your irreverent honesty of purpose.

One comfort I can give you, Sir, is that your tribe is surviving the insults and insinuations and resurrecting with more vigour again and again. This is evident from the cartoons that have been published after the withdrawal of the textbook containing your cartoon.

These thoughts made me sit back and read the Souvenir you gifted in September 1975, post-closure of Shankar’s Weekly. Yes, I have used the word ‘gifted’ consciously. The 304 page volume was sent to me by Registered Post against a Money Order of Rs12.50 (Rupees twelve and 50 paise) of which Rs2/50 was for packing and forwarding, if my memory serves me right. With your permission, I quote below the signed ‘Foreword to Shankar’s Cartoons’ dated February 24, 1937 by Jawaharlal Nehru and the message from Indira Gandhi after knowing about the closure of the Weekly:

Foreword to Shankar’s Cartoons

How many of us have waited from day to day for Shankar’s cartoon? How many have turned to the page containing his cartoon before we have seen the news of the day? That cartoon has not only given us pleasure but a new insight into current events. For a true cartoonist is not just a maker of fun, but one who sees the inner significance of an event and by a few master strokes impresses it on others. Shankar has that rare gift, rarer in India than elsewhere, and without the least bit of malice or ill-will he points out, with an artist’s skill, the weaknesses and foibles of those who display themselves on the public stage. That is a service to all of us for which we should be grateful. For we are apt to grow pompous and self-centred, and it is good to have the veil of our conceit torn occasionally. And, so, I gladly pay my tribute to Shankar, and I hope that he will long continue to enlighten us and amuse us and pull us down a peg or two.

Sd/- Jawaharlal Nehru


February 24, 1937

Message from Indira Gandhi


New Delhi,

July 26, 1975.

Dear Shankar,

I learnt a few days ago about your decision to stop Shankar’s Weekly and I have just seen the farewell note in your issue of July 27. It takes a great deal of strength of mind to close down what one has built through years of care and labour. You are the best judge. As you say, it is too much for one man even when that man is an institution. We shall miss the journal.

My good wishes for your health and the well-being of your other causes.

Yours sincerely,


(Indira Gandhi)

&&&& &&&& &&&&


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