M G Warrier's My Page April 2013

M G Warrier’s
My Page

 wishes its readers
A Happy Gudi Padwa
A Happy Ugadi
A Happy Vishu

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

Vol III, No 4, April 2013

M G Warrier, MLR-116-B, Mangalam Lane, SASTAMANGALAM-695010 (9349319479)

Dear reader
 My Page is also being posted on Warrier’s Blog at mgwarrier.blogspot.com Links to articles and important comments are posted at the blog as and when they are published. Those esteemed readers who have difficulty in accessing blog can contact mgwarrier@rediffmail.com

M G Warrier
April 12, 2013


The following articles were published during February-April, 2013 (Till April 12, 2013)

  1. FSLRC Recommendations on RBI: Stop, Look and Proceed! April 10, 2013 Moneylife.in
  2. A wake up call from Cyprus…March 28, 2013 Moneylife.in
  3. Wage Revision in Banking Sector, March 2013, Business Manager, HR Magazine
  4. Succession plans in India need a makeover, March 14, 2013, Moneylife.in
  5. Budget 2013-14, February 2013, Warrier’s Blog
  6. Need to institutionalize behaviour or service audit, February 2013, Moneylife.in
  7. Fiscal deficit: Restore credibility of institutions, February 2013, Global Analyst(A monthly magazine published by Media Five Publications, Hyderabad)
  8. Fast-track justice? The judiciary needs to do more. February 5, 2013, Moneylife.in



Hindu Business Line, March 25, 2013

Managing waste

This refers to “Our railway network is a huge dustbin” (Business Line, March 22). Even if made tongue in cheek, the suggestion to have a Cabinet Ministry of Litter and Garbage (L&G) with inter-Ministerial scope, funded by a tax, does indeed need to be taken seriously.
While it may not result in the immediate induction of Rahul Gandhi into the Central Cabinet, it could address the everyday frustrations of the common man arising from L&G accumulation of all kinds.
This is not just around the Railways’ property, but across the nation, on roadsides, in rivers, around places of worships, and so on, in addition to the shiploads of ‘waste’ generated in greater volumes each day by the use of substandard materials in industry, construction and services.
Awareness of the kind the article suggests, if created in people’s minds by appropriate campaigns, as well as incentives and disincentives for handling waste will go a long way in preventing further damage to health and environment from litter and garbage.
M.G. Warrier
Pension scheme
This refers to the report “Retirement age raised to 60 for new recruits” (Business Line, March 16).
It is intriguing that the Kerala Finance Minister has proposed raising the retirement age of a category of employees who are yet to join the service at a time when his government is struggling for existence. This is likely to be interpreted as a gimmick to divide opinion and divert attention from crucial issues. The ‘innocent’ omission of the relevant proposal while delivering the Budget Speech makes the motives murkier.
M. G. Warrier


Apathy to frauds, Moneylife, April 6, 2013, Online comments

When those responsible to administer land’s laws, regulate and supervise organisations and institutions handling public funds (corporates, banks and financial institutions included) involve in corrupt practices or close their eyes when people engage in unethical practices under their nose, no point in blaming a section of the media for overdoing their brief or sensationalizing issues.  People, including those responsible to respond and ‘act’ have become apathetic to gross violations of prudent procedures, law of the land and ethical practices in everyday life. Even their bosses get tired correcting certain individuals who have a peculiar addiction to make controversial statements. But, that should not stop media from exposing wrong practices in public life. Let us remember the following words of Robert Kennedy*:
Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills- against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence…Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation…”
* Quoted by Jeffrey D Sachs in his book ‘The end of poverty’ (Penguin, 2005)

 ET Blog on Judicial Reforms (Mythili Bhushnurmath), Online comments posted on April 11, 2013

Excellent suggestions. Here are some more, keeping in mind the inadequate infrastructure and manpower to handle the 3 crore odd pending cases across the country:
  • Pending cases which need to be decided within a year should be segregated and taken up on a priority basis by designated courts selected from those now in position.
  •   The remaining cases should be given to the remaining courts and new Special Courts should be put in place at all levels depending on the number of pending cases. Timeframe for final hearing of cases should be decided based on transparent norms.
  • The present practice of listing cases should be replaced by IT-enabled system, out of turn hearings becoming exception rather than the rule.
  • It should be ensured that the vacancies of judges are filled in time. Do away with ‘retirement age’ for all categories of judges till an acceptable judges to population ratio is achieved. This will reduce the expectations about ‘post-retirement’ assignments which preoccupy the minds of those in service.
  • Make it compulsory for government and public sector organizations to expedite procedures where they are on either side of matters before courts. This is necessary as there is laxity on their side as cost and delay seldom affects the individuals who handle cases in government and public sector. This position is slowly creeping into big corporates also.
  • Make necessary legislative changes to reduce procedural delays.
  • Simultaneous efforts should be initiated to encourage concerned parties to settle issues out of court. This method would bear fruit where governments or quasi-government organizations are on one side of the dispute.

On New Pension Scheme

Pension, by definition and tradition, is a regular payment made by government/employer to people when their active service is over or they are retired from service when they reach a pre-determined superannuation age. In government service in India, pension is understood as part of the remuneration package and considered as deferred wage for taking care of post-retirement financial needs. It is intriguing that NPS has been introduced stealthily in Central Government service from January 1, 2004 much before a serious study of the subject was made or the supporting legislation was in place. Later a study was commissioned in association with IIM, Bangalore and ING experts(outcome of the study was published in 2007-Facing the Future-Indian Pension Systems). When institutions like Employees Provident Organisation, Life Insurance Corporation of India and UTI with ground-level experience in the relevant field were in existence, NPS was introduced independent of all of them and pushed into the market in a hush-hush manner. The results are there for all to see.

Times of India, March 21, 2013 Size of coins, Blind-friendly coins-Online comments

GOI and RBI should act on this report without waiting for formal petitions from organisations. Minting of coins world over did factor in the need to make coins ‘blind-friendly’ till vulgar commercialization and aggressive ‘outsourcing’ of works like minting of coins profit-motive overtaking humanitarian considerations.
Going a step further, RBI should take a lesson from this and continue the size-difference in currency notes which will help easy differentiation of denominations. Let us not follow $ Lords in everything as this geographical area is yet to catch up with developed countries in several development indicators including literacy.

Mint, April 8, 2013, FSLRC, Online comments
The idea of creating a Unified Financial Agency for all financial regulators except RBI, truncating RBI by separating Public debt Management and keeping the agency doing that work (presumably with the same work force) in RBI premises, later UFA subsuming even RBI all give a feeling that the FSLRC was not allowed to ‘apply its intelligent mind’ and in the eagerness to satisfy all, and so fast, it has forgotten its own brief. Perhaps the purpose would be served better, if RBI is allowed to function with its present mandates, a coordination committee sorts out issues among the remaining regulators and if GOI aim is to reduce the number of regulators, merge with RBI, the agencies outside RBI one by one, as work stabilizes. The twin goals of one Unified Financial Agency and managing the man-power-related issued mentioned here would be better achieved this way.

 Healthcare (Without comment)

ET, April 4, 2013

Aspirin to fuel $100 bln pension costs

increase lifespan, it could create huge pension liabilities.

Aspirin's use in fighting cancer has the potential to increase pension liabilities by as much as $100 billion by extending lifespans, a risk modeller's report said. The pension costs for men in the UK could rise by 0.7% within 20 years if more people begin taking aspirin daily, according to a statement byRisk Management Solutions. 

An increase of that magnitude across more than $13 trillion in pension liabilities in North America and Europe would be about the same as everyone giving up smoking within a generation, the firm said. Employers and governments are grappling with obligations to retirees as low bond yields make it harder to generate returns on funds set aside for the benefits. Actuaries' assumptions about costs have been challenged as medical advances and changes in behaviour help people live longer. "Aspirin was not known to be a protection against cancer," said Andrew Coburn, a senior vice president of RMS's LifeRisks platform and one of the report's authors. 

"It's another one that people just didn't expect" when they forecast liabilities. Daily doses of aspirin reduce the chances of developing or dying from cancer earlier than previously thought and also prevent tumours from spreading, studies published in the Lancet medical journal last year showed. The findings could increase the use of a drug that's cheaper and more readily available than other cancer-fighting treatments, RMS said in its report. The modelling firm ran different scenarios about how widely aspirin would be used to predict additional pension costs. 

A Pill a Day 

Some studies show up to 25% of people aged 50 and older in the US are already taking aspirin each day, mainly to prevent heart disease, said Dr Charlie Fuchs of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "Whatever is driving people to do it, it potentially has an impact on mortality through cancer risk reduction," he said in a telephone interview. Potential side effects, including dangerous bleeding, may discourage doctors from advising patients to take aspirin daily, he said. 

"There aren't recommendations for an average-risk person to take aspirin to prevent cancer," he said. "In terms of the state of the science, there is even yet more literature to support the benefits of aspirin, but the risks, albeit small, haven't gone away." 

Longevity Risks 

Bayer AG, based in Leverkusen, Germany, invented aspirin and has sold it since 1899. A bottle of 500 generic 325-milligram aspirin tablets marketed by Walgreen costs $8 on drugstore.com, or 1.6 cents a pill. The drug is based on salicin, a chemical found in the bark of the willow tree that was first mentioned about 2,400 years ago by Hippocrates, the ancient Greek considered to be the father of Western medicine. 

General Motors and Verizon Communications struck deals last year with Prudential Financial, the second largest US life insurer, to hand over pension obligations after bond yields fell. Prudential Chief Executive Officer John Strangfeld said in a letter last month that the transfers are the "beginning of a trend." Prudential has said longevity risks on pensions can be balanced by the life-insurance policies the New Jersey-based company also sells. The longer that life insurance clients survive, the more time the company has to invest premiums.






Popular posts from this blog


The King of Ragas: Sankarabharanam