Below The Line

Our Bureau | Updated on September 26, 2019 Published on February 24, 2019

Everyone’s Kerala

At a time when other States are roping in celebrities as brand ambassadors to promote tourism, Kerala has decided to turn to its own people.

Kerala Tourism’s new ad campaign — in the earlier campaign, the State had called itself ‘God’s Own Country’— released after a gap of eight years, is aptly titled Human by Nature.

Introducing the three-minute ad film to a select audience, Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the film goes beyond landscapes to showcase human-scapes. “It celebrates local people such as fishermen, schoolchildren and villagers as heroes,” he said.

The video depicts Kerala, which attracted a record 1.67 crore foreign and domestic tourists in 2018 despite the devastating floods that crippled life in the State for months, as ‘the courtyard of the world’ where no one is an outsider, not even the traveller.

Alongside, it offers a spectacular snapshot of the State — tranquil backwaters, beaches, houseboats, catamarans, hill stations and magical festivals where local artistes perform folk dances such as Theyyam to the beats of the traditional drum, chenda.

Twist in the tale?

There is a buzz in the corridors of power that the government is not interested in any of the candidates who threw their hats in the ring for being appointed for the post of the MD and CEO of Canara Bank.

None of the applications who made it to the the second round is moving forward to the interview stage, it is learnt. If market talk is to be believed, RA Sankara Narayanan, MD and CEO of Vijaya Bank, may be appointed as Canara Bank chief.

After all, Vijaya Bank (post the three-way consolidation with Dena Bank and Bank of Baroda) will soon cease to exist and the government has to find a suitable posting for Sankara Narayanan.

As for Dena Bank CEO Karnam Sekar, the buzz is that he may get to head Indian Overseas Bank after the incumbent R Subramaniakumar superannuates.

Knotty capital problem

IDBI Bank is clearly in a problematic situation, as it finds little leeway for raising more capital to get itself out of the RBI’s prompt corrective action (PCA) framework. With the government not the owner any more, IDBI Bank did not find itself as a beneficiary in the latest round of recap largesse (12 other banks got ₹48,239 crore). Now, it seems IDBI Bank cannot turn to its new owner — LIC — for more capital infusion. Reason: When IRDAI and the RBI okayed the deal involving LIC taking control of IDBI Bank, the regulators had it seems put a condition that LIC’s holding should not exceed 51 per cent.

With its stake already at 51 per cent there is no way the insurance behemoth can further raise its stake in IDBI Bank. The problem can be resolved only when other shareholders come in with matching contributions. The moot question is whether the government (with 46 per cent stake) will budge, now that IDBI Bank no longer has the public sector bank tag. Getting out of PCA is really going to be a knotty problem for this lender now.

Gyan ki capsule

At a nutrition conference organised by the Centre, a former bureaucrat, during his address to the delegates, took a jibe at the sorry state of affairs in ministries. During his time in one of the ministries, he said, he once got a call from the minister’s office saying, “Can you rustle up something quickly for the minister’s delegation?” just as the minister’s flight was about to land at Nairobi and the minister was a few minutes away from making an address.

The minister’s office was asking for, what he called, a 'gyaan ki’ capsule, loosely translated as a dose of knowledge. The bureaucrat said that in government business there are often such instances where political speeches are churned out for the heck of it.


Published on February 24, 2019
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