WEEKEND LIGHTER: Strength of Prayer
 (May 27/28, 2017, No.22/2017)
Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to mgwarrier@gmail.com
Section III:Strength of Prayer


Cover Story
Blow hot, blow cold?

This refers to your editorial “Mergers do not help” (Business Standard, May 23). Financial sector reforms have suffered from the impact of a “Blow hot, blow cold” approach not only from the policy makers and political leadership, but from mainstream media and analysts also.  Diverse vested interests always tried to use any one of them or a combination from these agencies to dodge changes which they considered, may affect their profit motives.
Back to the subject of mergers, we do not need​ this many banks. The consolidation process and restructuring efforts should have started simultaneously with Bank  Nationalization. Next time when you see a bank branch or ATM in a city or big town, look around for another bank branch or another ATM in close neighborhood, providing the same service. Just think, whether a slightly bigger branch providing better service and a pool of ATMs within, say a 200 metre distance will be better, or do we want status quo to satisfy vested interests.
Proposal for restructuring banks is not a novel idea, either. The Committee on the Financial System (Narasimham Committee I) which submitted its report on November 8, 1991 had this to say on the structure of the banking system:
“…The Committee is of the view that the system should evolve towards a broad pattern consisting of :
(a)  3 or 4 large banks (including the SBI) which could become international in character;
(b) 8 to 10 national banks with a network of branches throughout the country engaged in ‘universal’ banking;
(c)  Local banks whose operations would be generally confined to a specific region; and
(d) Rural banks (including RRBs) whose operations would be confined to the rural areas and whose business would be predominantly engaged in financing of agriculture and allied activities.
The spirit of the recommendation above remains relevant even today. What is needed is integrating the changes in the mix of institutions and the changes in approach that are necessary to take cognizance of the advances in technology.
As regards management of banks’ stressed assets, the detailed presentation made by RBI Deputy Governor at the ICC Banking Summit on May 19, 2017 gives a broad idea as o where the shoe pinches. Looks, the chase of stressed assets has come full circle and having identified the source of malignancy, which is the borrower who is not able to generate adequate income from the investments made out of credit availed, or diversion of income generated. Once diagnosis is fair and accurate, prescribing ‘treatment’ will be easy and no harm in trusting RBI to do this.
M G Warrier, Thiruvananthapuram

Book Review
“As the RBI seeks to rebuild its reputation, it is fortuitous that we have with us a book* which the preface tells us aims to take the layperson through the history of the RBI. The layperson needs such a piece of writing for, again as this book itself points out, the many volumes of the official history of the RBI are far too tedious for the general reader to want to plough through. Some credit though must be given to the RBI for commissioning volume after volume of its history over the decades, perhaps the only public institution in India that has given history its importance.
TCA Srinivasa Raghavan has been writing and commenting on the economy in many of India’s leading newspapers for more than three decades. He was also involved in the writing of Volume 3 (1967-81) of the official history of RBI and for a while Volume 4 (1981-97). He says for close to a decade he also had access to the archives of the central bank. You could therefore not find a more knowledgeable person to write a book that explains, demystifies and critiques the working of the RBI since its establishment in 1935.”
*”Dialogue of the Deaf” By TCA Srinivasa Raghavan
The Hindu Debate: Tax on Agricultural Income

"I have always maintained that we must tax the rich farmer, and aim at bringing the small and mid-level farmers to levels where their produce becomes competitive. Offer incentives to them. But watch out for the corporate farmers."
-M S Swaminathan, Head, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation that works in the area of sustainable agriculture.
Service to Humanity

Dr V P Gangadharan, Oncologist: Strength of Prayer

Copied below is a message included in my daily email to Exrbites Group on Thursday, May 25, 2017:
Good Morning All
Dr V P Gangadharan, renowned Oncologist from Kerala writes a short column, every Thursday in Mathrubhumi "Nagaram" a supplement issued with Mathrubhumi Daily. 
He is recouping his health after hospitalisation with a heart ailment early this month and expects to resume his active medical practice and social work in a couple of weeks from now. All these weeks, he expressed his views and experiences as a patient through his column "Snehaganga".
Prayers and "Get well" messages flowed non-stop into his mail-box. About that Dr Gangadharan says this week:
"Our life realises its goal, once another person feels, it is in my interest that this person should survive"
And quotes a former patient (who continues follow up treatment) telling him over the phone:
"Doctor, I prayed to the almighty, I don't mind leaving, but do no harm to Doctor"
Kindly include Dr Gangadharan's name in your prayers.
Warm regards
M G Warrier
1000 Love Letters
We were witness to 1000th staging of Malayalam drama "Love Letter" on May 21, 2017 in the open air theatre in the Tagore Theatre premises in Vazhuthacaud, Thiruvananthapuram. 
The drama based on a short novel by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer (Premalekhanam meaning 'Love letter') has only two characters Keshavan Nayar and Saramma given life to by seasoned, trained theatre artists Amal Raj and Divyalakshmi, husband and wife in real life. 
The fairly big square open stage had about 1000 drama enthusiasts sitting/standing around. V S Achuthanandan, Chairman, Administrative Reforms Commission, Kerala inaugurated the function in the presence of dignitaries including veteran Malayalam movie producer and actor Madhu.
It was cloudy and some of us were really worried, what would happen, if it rained. In God's Own Country, when a crowd of the kind we were part of silently pray, rains too will wait.
The story was a simple love story of 20th Century with usual ingredients: Boy from an orthodox Nayar family, rich and educated. Girl, from a Christian family with no resources to pay dowry and so on.
The story progresses on usual lines, periodical meetings between girl and boy, attempts to exchange love letters and a happy ending when the boy gets a job away from the village and both boy and girl decided to marry and live a life not following the prescriptions of Religion or tradition.
The skill of the artists and strength of the script keep the audience spell-bound all through.
Surya Krishnamurti's direction made the presentation perfect.
Thought the experience was worth sharing.
M G Warrier


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