Opinion

An FM who keeps mum

Our Bureaus | Updated on December 17, 2011

BL05AMIT-MITRA

BL05MUTHOOT



Amid the hue and cry over FDI in retail, caused in particular by UPA's key ally, the Trinamool Congress, there is deafening silence in one quarter. Former FICCI Secretary-General and now West Bengal Finance Minister, Amit Mitra, a vociferous votary of FDI in retail, seems to have finally realised that when it comes to ‘economics versus politics', silence is golden.

So, when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that “We will not allow FDI in retail”, all that Mitra could feebly say was: “There are deep concerns regarding SMEs”. People, they say, change only for a reason.

Ministers' windfall

It's been a windfall for most cabinet ministers in West Bengal this season. The ministers have got a jump of nearly Rs 30,000 in monthly salaries, from the mere Rs 7,500 earlier.

The hike is a daily incentive of Rs 1,000 to Trinamool Congress ministers for attending office.

Now, this largesse comes at a time when the West Bengal Finance Department officials are planning ways to raise resources for the cash-strapped State and most corporates are contemplating a salary freeze following the global downturn.

Youth or experience?

Corporate India turns to the young. Surely, the Tatas have shown the way. The over-century-old conglomerate has chosen Cyrus Mistry, the 43-year-old honcho, to succeed Ratan Tata and steer it ahead.

In contrast, SKS Microfinance, which turned microfinance into big time and got global attention thanks to its dynamic and young chief, Vikram Akula, has done the reverse. Pushed into difficult times, with Akula, the poster boy for MFIs and coincidentally also 43 stepping down, the Board of SKS opted for age and experience by choosing Ravi Kumar, who has around 39 years banking experience as Interim Chairman.

Now, the contrast is telling.

Buying peace at home

George Alexander Muthoot, Managing Director of Muthoot Finance, is known to make breezy conversation. But speaking at a conference on family business in Chennai recently, he surpassed himself.

Offering tips to ensure family cohesion, he encouraged the daughters-in-law of the family to go out on foreign tours together, unaccompanied by the men. He had the audience in splits when he added, “for a week they will be out of my hair.”

Speed dating

An official of the touring State delegation of Maryland State of US described their visit to India and Andhra Pradesh as “speed dating”, that is arranging alliances between businesses in India and back home.

(Contributed by Aditi Nigam, Abhishek Law, M. Somasekhar, M. Ramesh and Rishi Kumar)

Published on December 04, 2011

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