WARRIER'S BLOG: ANNIVERSARY 2015
Warrier’s Blog @mgwarrier.blogspot.in
Entering eighth year on
September 29, 2015
The purpose of this anniversary edition is not to talk about what has happened @mgwarrier.blogspot.in (Warrier’s Blog) during the past seven years. Here is an attempt to take myself back memory lane and share some thoughts with my present readers. At this Blog, there are only 12 members and the number of page views at this space also, cannot be considered impressive! Still, I find comfort in finding that one of my articles(the one published in The Hindu Open Page) attracted more than 80 online comments and my articles posted @moneylife.in are viewed by 1000 to 4000 readers. Not convinced? Google search for m g warrier and use the links provided!
This day in 2008, my daughter Reshmy helped me to open this Blog post. I loved finding my name in print since my school days. My first published ‘work’ was a translation of a Hindi story into Malayalam which appeared in print in Mathrubhumi Weekly. Later in life I met Kuttettan (Kunjunni Mash for malayalees) who was editing Balapankthi(those days when children’s magazines were not there, 3 or 4 pages dedicated to children helped children to express themselves) in the Weekly since 1950’s.
I remember to have written a small Hindi poem for a manuscript magazine, while in Class VII. The subject of the poem was ‘Death’.
While in College, I appeared for an interview for the post of ‘correspondent’(a part-time job) for an English daily which was to be published from Palghat in Kerala. I was not selected. Though the paper ‘Orient Times’ was launched, it did not live long.
Major portion of my life, spent in offices, was devoted to pen-pushing and I got enough opportunities to put across my own ideas on issues relating to my work areas which related to accounts, rural credit and later on some policy issues in the financial sector. What shaped me was my relation and association with trade unions and associations and guidance from some teachers and colleagues who gave me parental affection.
Here I remember with respect and regard the following individuals:
i) Prof: V Subramanian, Government College, Madappalli
ii) C N Menoky, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Trivandrum
iii) E X Joseph who was leading the All India Audit and Accounts Employees’ Association during 1950’s and 1960’s.
iv) C S Viswanatha Warrier whom I met in AG’s Office, Trivandrum during 1964.
v) M O Jacob, Secretary, Reserve Bank Employees’ Association, Trivandrum whom I met in 1967-68
vi) T A Viswanathan, P K Parthasarathy and U S Rao with whom I worked in RBI/ARDC/NABARD, Trivandrum
vii) Several colleagues in RBI, Mumbai/CAS, RBI, Nagpur during the period 1986-2003.
Though born to rich families, my parents were destined to live in abject poverty for major parts of their lives. My father, a namboodiri (Malayali Brahmin) was from Kannamkulath Illam in the present Kannur district of Kerala and my mother belonged to a Warrier family in Kozhikode District.
I studied in:
i) K R High School, Purameri, Kozhikode District(1952-59)
ii) Government College, Madappalli, Kozhikode District(1959-63)
iii) Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram (1979-82)
After passing B Sc I worked as a teacher for a short period. After that, I worked in the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner’s Office, Trivandrum(1963-64), AG’s Office, Trivandrum(1964-68), Reserve Bank of India, Trivandrum (1968-86), RBI, Mumbai (1986-99 and 2001-03) and RBI, Nagpur(1999-2001). I took retirement while working as General Manager, RBI, Mumbai under an Optional Voluntary Retirement Scheme offered by RBI in 2003.
I have appeared for 10 selection/promotion interviews asunder, out of which I was successful in 6. Details:
i) 1963-For the post of Lower Division Clerk (on a pay scale of Rs 110-3/7-4/11-5-180) in RPFC’s Office- I was selected.
ii) 1964-Clerk Grade II in RBI, Trivandrum-Not selected
iii) 1967-Clerk Grade II in RBI, Trivandrum- Selected with first rank. Joined on January 15, 1968.
iv) 1973- Economic Assistant- Selected. Same year I appeared for written test for Staff Officer Grade A which I passed and was promoted as Officer in July 1973.
v) 1980- Interview for Officer Grade B- Not selected.
vi) 1981- Do - Selected and promoted.
vii) 1986- Selected as Officer in Grade C and promoted.
viii) 1995- Interview for Grade D- Not selected.
ix) 1996- Do -Selected and promoted.
x) 1999- Do Grade E-Selected and promoted.
xi) 2000-Interview for selection as Chief Vigilance Officer of a Public Sector Bank. As I had applied for the position before taking over charge of CAS, Nagpur, opted out with the consent of Selection Committee.
xii) 2003-Interview for Grade F- Not selected.
Into journalism and publishing
Post-retirement, I started responding on current issues in newspapers and magazines. So far I have to my credit more than 1000 LTTE(Letters To The Editor) and scores of articles published in newspapers like The Hindu, The Hindu Business Line, The New Indian Express, Free Press Journal, Business Standard, Economic Times and some Malayalam dailies, magazines like Dignity Dialogue(Mumbai), B Positive, The Global ANALYST(both from Hyderabad), Business manager-The HR Magazine(Alwar, Rajastan) and Alive(New Delhi). I am on the Advisory Board of The Global ANALYST to which I regularly contribute articles. My articles are also posted @moneylife.in
I would like to place on record my thanks to the editors and editorial staff in all the publications which have given me space for expressing my views. S S Tarapore and Usha Thorat, former Deputy Governors(RBI) have been supporting and encouraging me in all my ventures.
Areas of interest
My concerns and interests are encapsulated in my book “Banking, Reforms & Corruption: Development Issues in 21st Century India” published by Sampark, Kolkatta in July 2014. The book covered*:
I Financial Sector Reforms and Regulatory Environment
- Reforming Regulatory Environment
- Banking Sector Reforms
- Financial Inclusion: Taking Banks to Rural India
- HRMD in Indian Public Sector
- Talent Deficit in Banks
II Reserve Bank of India
- Strengthening The Central Bank
- Monetary Policy
- Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission
- Public Debt Management
- RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan
III Development Issues
- Middle Class at Crossroads
- Gold Management
- Kerala Model: Lessons from God’s Own Country
- Literacy: A Tool for Development
- Universal Healthcare
IV Corruption: Diagnosis and Cure
- Eradicating corruption
- Corruption and its Exposure
- Comptroller and Auditor General’s Role
V Pension, Old Age Care
- National Pension System
- Retirement Homes
Chapter III-1 of the book copied below:
Middleclass at Crossroads*
It was H G Wells who talked about middle class being pushed down or pulled up to create a world which will have only two classes of people, one living above the ground in luxury and the other living underground. More recently, the Railways had demonstrated the intention of getting rid of middle class by offering only first and third class accommodation. Still, long after Wells, and abolition of ‘second class’ by Indian Railways, the middle class do survive in the dreams of the poor (glorified as BPL category), as they hope one day to cross over the poverty line and become part of the middle class and the wishes of the rich who need a healthy middle class to carry out their orders. What will be the future of middle class in India?
Who all belong to the middle class? Who knows! Sometime back, ADB offered a vague definition for middle class, suggesting daily per capita consumption at $2 to $20. Such an approach suits bodies engaged in marketing goods and services and supporting governments in policy formulation. It helps to interpret poverty levels in one way when they want to sell an idea or a product and quite differently when the purpose is comparison among countries for extending benefits or concessions. Needless to say, concept of poverty or more appropriately put, hunger, also vary depending on the constituency interests of the person explaining it.
Some say, the middle class is growing in India. Mere growth of the middle class is not a comfort unless there is an upward movement in the percentage of population which is able to access the minimum comforts of life like a house to live, facilities to educate children, food security, healthcare and arrangements for looking after the aged and physically/mentally challenged members of the family. Here, even the statistics reach us after the ‘date of expiry’.
The Government, which is generally owned and operated by the upper class (in the economic sense, meaning those who have moved much above middle class) does not encourage a growing middle class. In the preferred situation, governments the world over dream of the prediction made by H G Wells coming true. Not only dream, they are doing everything possible to realize that dream. Governments and people who decide the fates of governments who generally belong to the BPL (Businessmen-Politicians-Lawyers) Combine have a vested interest in keeping the majority of people poor and craving even for starvation wages. Only in such a situation the rich and the powerful can sit pretty on the heap of ugly wealth they accumulate.
All of us have different reasons for making noises and we patiently wait for our turn. Because, we are middle class. We don’t have our own voice. We echo the hopes and aspirations of those who are ‘below’ us or more often, carry out the wishes of our masters from the elite intelligentsia and the rich ruling class. We enjoy joining the self-appointed leaders in their fight to raise the poverty line by two rupees from the present Rs32 per dium or shout with Anna Hazare when he has a problem with corrupt ministers and public servants.
We trust people when they tell us that corruption is all about government servants and police constables who take bribes and all is well on the other side of the fence where private sector is carrying on honest business. Some recalcitrant boys among us have started questioning anything and everything with an eye of suspicion. They say asset accumulation by union ministers and some politicians is at a much greater pace than the growth of GDP and some industrialists who can ‘manage’ things are cornering nation’s resources free or at throw away prices. We keep listening. In between a story is planted that the person making so much noise against corruption herself has claimed a few rupees extra in a traveling allowance bill while in service and what right she has to shout against plundering of lakhs of crores of public funds. We start chasing her.
Workers in the government, public sector and organized sector outside generally belong to middle class. This category of workers has trade unions or organisations to take up their work-related issues with the employer. Over time, leadership of these organisations have gone to less busy politicians and the governments and managements have successfully broken the organisations into convenient small pieces terribly affecting the bargaining strength of unions. Average worker in the unorganized sector is below or around poverty line and hopes some day to make his or her son or daughter a white-collar employee. Much like some characters in Katherine Boo’s now famous book “Behind the Beautiful Forevers”.
The low level of literacy in India is congenial for perpetuating the present situation where 50 per cent of the population will remain poor and hungry, 30 per cent will belong to middle class aspiring to become rich some day (but will be pulled down to the lower category fast!) and the remaining 20 per cent will enjoy life at the cost of the remaining 80 per cent. That will be the subject for further research!
*Chapter III-1(pages 66 to 68) of the 2014 book “Banking, Reforms & Corruption: Development Issues in 21st Century India” by M G Warrier. Book published by Sampark, Kolkatta. Available at online stores.