Showing posts from February, 2017

Make IT(Income-tax) less taxing Make IT(Income-tax) less taxing This refers to S Kumar’s response (Business Standard, Letters, March 1) to the piece “Data crunching: Are we a nation of tax evaders?” The ideas brought out in the letter and in Ishan Bakshi’s article referred to therein need to be examined and considered for follow up by policy makers. The rich and the powerful get exemptions factored in, in Budget proposals. There's no logic or rationale in continuing the exclusion of agricultural income for tax purposes, the way in which it is done today. The beneficiaries of huge tax waivers/exemptions in budgets are not made to share their benefits with the society when they prosper. With the launch of GST, there will be an across the board rationalization in the taxation procedures outside the Income-tax(IT) net. Time is opportune to think of modalities to make IT less taxing for the taxpayers. The present

Economic Survey 2016-17 : Analysis by Dr Charan Singh arvind-subramanian-economic- survey-2016-17/ Online comments Excellent analysis. Forthright presentation. Dr Charan Singh's inside RBI experience and close association with debt management have helped this assessment. CEA had smuggled the idea of drawing from RBI reserves in ES 2016. The fallacies and inaccuracies in the arguments were pointed out by many, prompting Dr Raghuram Rajan to offer 'to teach the basics of RBI balance sheet to authors of ES 2016'. This year, taking advantage of Dr Rajan's absence at Mint Road and using demonetization as a cover ES 2017 has revived the proposal. Dr Urjit Patel and Dr Viral Acharya are intelligent enough to defend RBI's interest which is not different from national interest. It may be recalled that RBI had decades ago accepted atarget of "12 per cent of balance sheet total" for capital and reserves. It touched the target in 2009, but due to various reasons, reserves eroded to 8.4 p

Defence production in India Linking defence production to "Make in India" It is comforting to see that private sector in India has started viewing business opportunity in defence production "in India" If import reduction and export increase are accepted as a serious proposition, in defence, aircraft production and similar sectors, Trump will visit India with a bagful of Visas of India's choice. M G Warrier

A bad idea in the Economic Survey

A bad idea in the Economic Survey : Its proposal to use RBI funds to finance ailing banks and the proposed bad bank could affect the RBI’s credibility as a regulator... Economic Survey 2017 This refers to the article “A bad idea in the Economic Survey”(HBL, February 27). Of late,  the Economic Survey is being used as a conduitto float fancy research ideas. .Last year, when ES made certain observationson RBI’s accounts, RBI Governor had offered to ‘teach’ those who are notfamiliar with the central bank’s accounting practices. Taking advantage of DrRajan’s departure from RBI, the authors of ES have bottled the ‘old wine’ inthe ‘demonetization bonanza’ bottle in 2017. The flip side is, the arguments infavour of dipping into RBI’s reserves for government funding are built up inisolation and by drawing comparisons with small and big nations elsewhere whosestage of development, pattern of governance, role expectations from centralbanks and relationship between central bank and the

A Mission to the Sun, from NASA NASA scientists want to know why Sun is behaving in a different way to their spacecrafts... M G Warrier

Trump: None will dare challenge US military might Looks, it was a closely guarded secret. Unemployment situation is really bad in US. It'll be an uphill task spreading decades to make the unemployment dole earners employable. For some more time status quo will have to continue. M G Warrier Trump’s daydreams This refers to the excerpts from US President Trump’s February 17 speech at South Carolina(Business Standard, February 26). Going by the number of applause and their spacing, one is not sure whether the audience had got time to apply their own mind on the implications of Trump’s assertions. The whole emphasis was on manufacturing airplanes and armaments and there was little emphasis on ‘making in US’ many other things essential for sustaining human life in the country for which America is dependent on outside world. It is comforting to see that the new President has a


The Gita on Yoga Siddhi* As Krishna explains the stages of yoga that a jivatma has to cross to attain yoga siddhi , Arjuna is diffident about the jivatma ’s effort in this path. First of all, it involves patient practice and rigorous training of the mind, the biggest challenge ever for anyone from a novice to the trained yogi. There are plenty of opportunities to err and fall from the yoga that one has striven to practise. Amid all this constant effort, there looms the possibility of easy disruption to the yoga, just as a cloud gets dragged away from a group and is lost when a strong gust of wind blows. Will this be the plight of a jivatma who falls from his yogic practice halfway through? Will he not lose what he has gained? While admitting that the mind is difficult to control and that repeated practice, abhyasa , and renunciation, vairagya, are essential to keep it under check, Krishna reassures one that the jivatma would obtain suitable reward for whatever yoga he ha

Courting justice for the right to education

Courting justice for the right to education : Implementation of RTE Act has suffered due to official apathy. The judiciary has stepped into a governance vacuum... Excerpts: " A proposal for reform Going forward, it is hoped that the judiciary continues to play a significant role in enforcing the RTE Act. Courts have frequently had to act as the first port of call, in the absence of proper statutory bodies and grievance redressal mechanisms. However, it is imperative that judicial efforts be supplemented by building awareness and strengthening grievance redressal mechanisms under the RTE Act. This can save litigation costs and diminish barriers to securing rights for parents and their children. Strategic litigation across High Courts should also be explored, for pushing implementation of the RTE Act by state governments. In 2014, a PIL was filed before the Supreme Court by the National Coalition for Education which pointed out that at least 3.77 crore children between the age of 6

Krishna for Today: #MahaShivaratri #papyrus #Watercolour #krishnafort...

Krishna for Today: #MahaShivaratri #papyrus #Watercolour #krishnafort... : #MahaShivaratri #papyrus #Watercolour #krishnafortoday Siva preparing for the descent of the Ganga. Enjoy Keshav's painting on the occasion of MAHAASHIVARATRI M G Warrier

WEEKEND LIGHTER: Viral on RBI's reserves

WEEKEND LIGHTER*: Viral on RBI’s reserves (February 25/26, 2017, No.8/2017) Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to *Weekend Lighter is posted every Saturday Section III:The woman who cut off her breasts I Cover Story Viral on RBI’s reserves RBI’s new Deputy Governor Dr Acharya has clarity of views on issues like dipping into Reserve Bank of India’s capital and reserves for funding GOI expenditure. Speaking on the sidelines of the IBA’s Technology Awards event last week, he suggested that using a part of the Reserve Bank reserves for recapitalising state-run banks may not be a good idea. Dr Acharya was responding to queries in the context of a suggestion mooted in the Economic Survey 2017 that the “Demonetization bonanza” that will result in an assumed surplus income in RBI balance sheet should be used for funding recapitalization of PSBs. He supported his observations against the proposal asunder: “Af

Life elsewhere: The Hindu editorial

Image opinion/editorial/life- elsewhere/article17355686.ece Excerpts: "The closest planet in the TRAPPIST-1 system takes just 1.5 days to complete an orbit and the farthest one takes 20 days; the orbital period of the planets is also similar to the Galilean moons. With a fair possibility of liquid water being present on at least three planets, the focus is now on deciphering the climate and chemical composition of their atmosphere. As a first measure, scientists are keen to know if the planets are Earth-like, by ruling out the presence of hydrogen gas enveloping them. Mass estimates already suggest that the inner six planets might have a rocky composition, while the one with a low density may have a volatile composition due to the presence of an ice layer or atmosphere. The composition of the atmosphere can be identified by measuring the wavelength characteristics of light. Since the TRAPPIST-1 system is close by and the star is cool enough, it woul

Ageing with dignity: The Hindu

Letters: Viral's message

Letters: Viral's message : RBI is not comfortable with the hit-and-run or first-aid approach of handling problems... Viral's message With reference to Anup Roy’s report, “Viral suggests 2 AMCs to tackle bad debt” (February 22), it is comforting that the transparent approach of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in policy formulation, which evolved during this decade, is being strengthened by the central bank’s deputy governor. The following observations made by Acharya carry a significant message for all stakeholders: “Only a bank that fears losing its deposit base or incurring the wrath of its shareholders is likely to recognise losses in a timely manner. In many of our banks, such market discipline is simply not present at the moment. In others, even if some such discipline is at work, banker horizon is excessively short until the end of the CEO’s term.” “Banks lobby for regulatory forbearance; perhaps, some loan prospects have turned sour due to bad luck, but beyond a point, co

RBI Deputy Governor Dr Viral Acharya on management of banks' stressed assets BS_SpeechesView.aspx?Id=1035 RBI is lucky to get Dr Viral Acharya, who is comfortable with the identity "Poor man's Raghuram Rajan" as Deputy Governor at this point of time! Access his February 21, 2017 speech in Mumbai on management of stressed assets of Indian banks using the above link ( Congratulations and best wishes to Viral Acharya M G Warrier My response: Fresh approach to banks’ stressed assets* This refers to RBI Deputy Governor’s speech on management of stressed assets of Indian banks (Business Line, February 22) at the IBA's Technology Award event at Mumbai on February 21, 2017. It is comforting to find that the transparent approach of RBI in policy formulation evolved during the current decade is being further strengthened by Dr Acharya. The following observations carry a significant message for all stakeholders: “Only a bank that  fears losing its deposit base or  incurring the wrath of i

Better management

Better management : There is no evidence to show that periodic presentations on themes concerning crucial areas of management at various levels and the role of planning in skill development are factored in the process of policy formulation... Better management There is no evidence to show that periodic presentations on themes concerning crucial areas of management at various levels and the role of planning in skill development are factored in the process of policy formulation and financial planning, including for the Budget. Perhaps the NITI Aayog can play a leadership role here. It must take the following things into consideration: skill requirements in various sectors, say in 2022, 2027 and 2032; entry level qualification needs and recruitment processes; career progression and remuneration packages; timely filling up of vacancies at all levels; succession plans and a reasonably long tenure at top management levels. MG Warrier Mumbai

Nangeli: The woman who cut off her breasts An interesting article* by Manu S Pillai, author of the award winning  "The Ivory Throne" Excerpts:  Nangeli too was recast. When Nangeli offered her breasts on a plantain leaf to the Rajah’s men, she demanded not the right to cover her breasts, for she would not have cared about this ‘right’ that meant nothing in her day. Indeed, the   mulakkaram   had little to do with breasts other than the tenuous connection of nomenclature. It was a poll tax charged from low-caste communities, as well as other minorities. Capitation due from men was the   talakkaram   — head tax — and to distinguish female payees in a household, their tax was the   mulakkaram   — breast tax. The tax was not based on the size of the breast or its attractiveness, as Nangeli’s storytellers will claim, but was one standard rate charged from women as a certainly oppressive but very general tax. W

SCOPE HR Summit: Role of HR in governance

Role of HR in governance Apropos the report “Central PSUs urged to follow transparent promotion policy” (Hindu Business Line, February 21), one observes with comfort that the relevance of human resources management gets focused attention from experts in the field of governance across public and private sector establishments, thanks to efforts from organizations like SCOPE. But there is no evidence to show that the periodic presentations on various themes concerning crucial areas of management at various levels and the role of planning in skill-development at graduation level to board level appointments are getting factored in, in policy formulation and financial planning including central budget. Time is ripe for a comprehensive study at the highest level, may be NITI Aayog can play a leadership role, to have a look at the availability and optimum deployment of manpower in India considering: (a)   Different skill requirements in various sectors, say in 2022, 2027 and 2032. Th


Yama and Nachiketas* The story of Nachiketas is one of the well known Upanishadic stories. The young boy Nachiketas goes to the world of Yama and waits patiently for the arrival of Yama. Yama is astounded by the young boy’s commitment to acquiring knowledge and praises Nachiketas. Yama says what is good in this world is not what we may consider pleasing. When confronted with a choice between what is good and what is pleasing, a wise man chooses what is good. The man who lacks intelligence chooses what he finds pleasant. Kathopanishad uses the word ‘yogakshema,’ here. What it means is that the unintelligent one chooses what is pleasing in a worldly sense. But these things that give worldly prosperity are impermanent. They will be lost soon. Moksha is what we should seek, and the wise man knows this, because moksha is lasting and is never lost, said M.K. Srinivasan in a discourse. Yama offers to Nachiketas many worldly things, but the boy wisely declines all of them. He is st

Whose truth should we believe?

Whose truth should we believe? : The versions of the RBI and Finance Ministry on demonetisation preparations don’t match... Word play on truth This refers to TCA Sharad Raghavan’s piece “Whose truth should we believe?” (FinMin, February 20). This is what happens when one applies his mind on the subject for writing an article after deciding the caption! Which are the truths the reader is asked to choose from? The issues raised include: (a)   Did the consultations between GOI and RBI on demonetization start from January 2016 or February 2016? Does January 31 or February 1 alter the decision announced on November 8, 2016? (b) Finance Minister said on the floor of Parliament that the Reserve Bank of  India approved the designs of new high value notes in May 2016. By doing this, did RBI act outside its mandate? (c)   While changes in instructions may be for meeting the felt needs in different situations, one hopes that the ‘alleged clearly illegal transportation of new note

Public Debt Management in India: Role of the central bank

PUBLIC DEBT MANAGEMENT IN INDIA: ROLE OF RBI What follows is the review of the book “ Public  Debt Management ---Separation of Debt from Monetary Management in India” (edited by Dr Charan Singh) by PP Ramachandran. Hope the book will reopen a healthy debate on the controversies still current, got initiated through a "dictated" report submitted by Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission. Dr Raghuram Rajan who had his own mind, did do whatever was possible to borrow time to rectify the damage intended to be caused to India by Srikrishna. I cannot comment on the book as I've not seen it. Probably, there will be very few individuals in India who may buy  the book, priced in five digits. I think the arguments put forth for continuing Public Debt Management with RBI in Chapter III.4 “Public Debt Management” in my book "Banking, Reforms and Corruption: Development Issues in Twenty-first Century India" which was reviewed by PP Ramachandran in 2014(Free P

RBI Governor Urjit Patel on work Those who complained about Urjit Patel being "soft spoken and silent when people criticize", please note... M G Warrier


relaunched : bodyp iThe Hindu/i , India’s national newspaper since 1878, has been relaunched with a contemporary design, sharper packaging and reinvigorated content. This transformation underlines the... Hindu nostalgia These days I pick up my copy of ‘The Hindu’ from a roadside vendor in Bhandup (Mumbai). Today (February 19), I was late and the vendor told me, he didn’t expect me to reach so late and the two copies of the paper he received had already been sold. He said it was a ‘special issue’ and was priced Rs15/-. Curious, I walked some distance to another vendor who had a copy of the paper left, which I grabbed and paid the value. The first time I touched and felt ‘The Hindu’ was during late 1950’s when my uncle in Madras gifted a month’s postal subscription for the paper and I started collecting everyday three or four days old paper from the village Post office in the evenings. That induced me to pick up ‘The Hindu Weekly Review” which carried a selection of lead

Working on the ISRO principle  Excerpts: "More autonomy For a start, ISRO is fortunate that it reports to the Prime Minister and his office rather than a line ministry. This has been critical to its success. In line ministries, ministers and bureaucrats have a tendency to micromanage their turf, and this includes autonomous bodies, agencies and enterprises. More often than not, there will be a senior official along with a set of junior officials who have direct charge of supervising the affairs of an agency. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) works differently given that its remit cuts across all government departments. Its officials would certainly not have the time or the mindspace to supervise the affairs of a single institution. ISRO, therefore, has a real autonomy that most other government agencies do not." My VIEW: From the very beginning India had reposed faith in public sector organisations and the

T N Ninan: The AAP phenomenon

T N Ninan: The AAP phenomenon : The party's drive to become a regional force contrasts with Congress' comfort in being a junior ally... Excerpts: " The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has completed two years in office in Delhi. Next month, it hopes to do well in the Punjab elections. If some of the polls are to be believed, it may even form the government there. Thinking ahead, the party has already set its sights on Gujarat, where elections are due 10 months hence; with Rajasthan to follow a year later. As in Punjab, AAP will split the non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vote in these western states—"

Krishna for Today: 'Upanishads are the cow. Arjuna is the calf — Kris...

Krishna for Today: 'Upanishads are the cow. Arjuna is the calf — Kris... GitaaMahatmyam

WEEKEND LIGHTER: Banking Sector Reforms

WEEKEND LIGHTER: Banking Sector Reforms (February 18/19, 2017, No.7/2017) Weekend Lighter is posted every Saturday Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to Section III:RBI Calendar 2017 I Opening remarks Banking Sector Reforms* This refers to the report “Big Bank Theory: Merger of SBI, associates cleared” (Business Line, February 16). While the move is most welcome, the sporadic approach to financial sector reforms resurfaces, as GOI and RBI once again refused to even initiate the long overdue measures to consolidate and revamp the banking infrastructure in India. Inefficiency is built-in in the Indian Banking System, mainly because of structural and HRMD reasons. The Financial Sector Reforms Committee (Narasimham Committee I, 1991) had visualized a structure for Indian banking System with “three or four large banks that could become international in character; eight to ten banks with a network of bran