WEEKEND LIGHTER: RBI, the wrong tree to bark at!

WEEKEND LIGHTER: RBI, the wrong tree to bark at!
(August 26/27, 2017)
Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to mgwarrier@gmail.com
Section IV Abdul Kalam’s material possessions
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M G Warrier

Cover Story
RBI, the wrong tree to bark at!
This refers to the interesting indictment “Monumental failures of RBI” (Business Standard, August 23) by Gajendra Haldea who says, ‘India’s central bank has failed in regulating the banking system’. Having spent 10 years in the Finance Ministry and almost equal period with the Planning Commission (which had to be dismantled recently at Modi’s hands!), Haldea must have done his homework well before making this sweeping statement. I trust him, because Kanika Datta had found out long back that Gajendra Haldea is an ‘Inconvenient truth-teller’.
The author has got his statement that ‘RBI has done a commendable job in managing the monetary policy, but as a regulator of the banking system, it has failed the Indian economy.’ acknowledged by the then RBI governor Raghuram Rajan in May 2016. This introductory assertion is not substantiated much in the article, as perhaps, because the divisions in finance ministry with which the author was associated didn’t expose him much to the role of RBI in Banking Regulation and Supervision or the relationship issues between GOI and RBI. The concluding observation that RBI is trying to catch fish without wetting its hands is a merciless one attributable to ignorance of RBI’s history.
Having said that, the issues raised by the ‘Inconvenient truth-teller’ need to be addressed. There is always ‘scope for improvement’. RBI’s institutional structure need to be strengthened, expertise and professionalism have to be infused, legal constraints, if any, in performing the central bank’s mandated role need to be removed fast and last but not the least, the pre-FSLRC(Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission) prestige of Reserve Bank of India need to be restored. FSLRC which was to work on ‘financial sector legislative reforms’, wasted all its energy on weakening RBI with a vengeance and is responsible for the present chaotic situation of Indian Financial System.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
Links and comments
PSU Banks consolidation
Anand R Raghavan
“After a few years, the bald patch at the back of my head made itself visible in the mirror.
An unexpected traitor who arrived with the swiftness of shock. I gave up and went back to my mother. She was always a persuasive and positive person, but those powers seem to reach their zenith as mine collapse. So she took me to another homeopath, a low-profile but highly endorsed gentleman.
His clinic was reassuringly spartan. It reminded me that glitzy marketing very often decouples capability from wealth. I walked in, sat down and asked him if he could treat my balding condition. He said he could, but before that, I must first accept that I was balding. It was a piercing precondition.
In that dingy room across the table from this sage-like doctor, instead of disappointment I felt sheer relief. Years of accumulated ruminations leaked out of my skin and flowed back into the earth. Shortly thereafter I began shaving my head, and set myself free.
My mirror is now relieved of the burden of my memories. The world looks different now, even though most potatoes still look the same.”
 *The Hindu Open Page, August 20, 2017

Keshav’s paintings @kamadenu
RBI Governor’s speech, August 19, 2017
I'm comfortable with the concluding paragraph.
M G Warrier  
Recent responses
Art of listening
This refers to Sanjeeb Mukherjee’s report “CEOs raise questions over multiplicity of regulators” (Business Standard, August 22). Among the living world leaders, Prime Minister Modi is one who has understood the value of listening and ‘making others listen’ in governance. Modi gives his audience enough opportunity to interact, respond and deliberate on policies and issues concerning everyday life of citizens as much as nation’s concerns about economic growth and defense preparedness.
The conscious effort to ensure people’s participation is evident right from his first Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort in which he mentioned about inadequacy of toilet facilities in schools as a reason for higher school drop-outs among girls to the present interaction with young entrepreneurs and young CEOs. Mann Ki Baat and quick response from PMO to any reference from citizens reassures citizens that airing of grievances is not a one-way traffic.
Seminars and interactions like those being held under the auspices of NITI Aayog serve more purposes than their declared objectives. When professionals meet in such environments, they get opportunity to exchange notes on individual concerns and initiatives with like-minded people in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
Political leadership, media and analysts need to cover the multi-dimensional impact of such initiatives and give a little more time and space for taking the debates forward in national interest. This is necessary to make the Modi-Vision of “Cooperative Federalism” a reality.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
PSU Banks and taxpayers’ money
In his column “Snakes & Ladders” (Business Standard, August 21), Ajay Shah has raised a very relevant question, “Should we recapitalize the banks?”. The facts and figures that follows the question, with a feast of links for further reading and the columnist’s association with national level commissions/committees like Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) adds credibility to whatever arguments he may support! So, for once, let us join the chorus from the audience, “No…No…Not at all, if it’s with ‘taxpayers’ money!!’. Still, we have to search out a solution, as we need banks to survive.
Recent revelations show that banks were only conduits in a larger scenario of sweeping out nation’s savings to different pockets within the country and abroad. Bluntly put, like Airlines, Railways and other Transport Systems helping smugglers or thieves shift their ‘loot’ to safer havens. The example is in the context that sizeable bank credit has been deployed in dead investments or were diverted willfully.
At this stage, GOI need to make a realistic assessment of wealth with the nation, by separately accounting assets with each industrial group, each family with wealth above a cut off level, say 50 crores, each  individual whose networth is above Rs10 crore and each institution which has declared assets over Rs100 crore. Those who have illicit wealth could get punished, while others who possess genuine savings can contribute to nation-building. This approach is likely to release enough resources to meet the present short-fall in meeting fiscal responsibilities. Details of rewards and punishments could be worked out with the help of eminent economists and concerned ministries.
M G Warrier, Mumbai

Leisure. spirituality

Doing duty without hatred towards others
Looks, Prthu's advice to his Praja is right. 
Each one of us can check and try to follow to the extent possible.
M G Warrier
Abdul Kalam’s material possessions

It is well known that Abdul Kalam, who came to be known as 'People's President' among India’s countrymen, lived a modest life till his last breath. A lesser known fact is that the scientist who revolutionized India's nuclear prowess did not possess any valuable assets of his own even after his five decade long public service.
According to a media report, recently, Kalam's prized possessions were listed out by his close acquaintances. The findings did shock everyone who could not believe that Kalam lived such an unbelievably simpleton life. The inventory included:
2,500 books, a wristwatch, six shirts, four trousers, three suits, and a pair of shoes.
The 'Missile Man of India' did not even own a TV set as he was always averse to watching TV, citing that the Idiot Box is nothing but a waste of time. Kalam also did not own a fridge, car or even an AC machine.
Kalam, throughout his life, never accepted any materialistic gifts from anyone. If only the gift was a book, Kalam would accept it and the rest were returned back politely. And during his tenure as the President of India, all the gifts from the foreign governments were duly transferred to the Indian government's toshakhana. Even the government's two-storey bungalow that was allotted to Kalam now lies abandoned.

One wishes the humble life Kalam lived and the achievements for which he will be remembered act as an inspiration to his peers, politicians and even the one billion plus countrymen.


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