Below the line

Our Bureau | Updated on September 26, 2019 Published on September 23, 2019

Remember Janardhan Poojary?

No sooner did the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announce her revolutionary idea of directing banks (along with NBFCs) to hold public forums (shamiana meetings) for ensuring liquidity flow in 400 districts in two phases, many hacks wanted to know if this was the return of the “loan melas” popularised by Janardhan Poojary in the 1980s.

Poojary had as Minister of State for Finance, first under Indira Gandhi and then Rajiv Gandhi, popularised cheap credit through the concept of ‘loan melas’. Also, when hacks asked her if the Finance Ministry had factored the profit implications on banks on account of her liquidity-push measures, including linking loan rates to external benchmarks, pat came the reply: ‘the current priority is to push liquidity to the credit needy.’ Bankers are not going to smile for some quarters to come.

Poor network!

When the government is promoting digital technology, what happens when network issues crop up? At a recent round-table of global CEOs of IT and electronics companies, one of the CEOs stood up to tell the Minister of Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, and junior Minister Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre, about the mobile network issue everyone was facing at the venue — Vigyan Bhawan, the premier convention centre of Government of India, in New Delhi.

The CEO told Prasad and his junior Minister how his company can fix call drops, slow data network and other such issues if given a chance, not only in Vigyan Bhawan but across India.

No matter what operator you port to, the menace of call drop and slow network still exists across the country. Well, hope the Minister heard him!

Will the Supreme Court blink?

The ongoing legal tussle to take control of Essar Steel under the IBC process has taken a new twist. The Corporate Affairs Ministry, it is learnt, has suggested a new mechanism to the Supreme Court to help resolve the knotty legal issues and at least ensure that winning bidder continues to keep the faith in the Indian legal process.

With more than 700 days having passed and no light at the end of the resolution implementation tunnel, there is a big question mark over the efficacy of the IBC process. Challenging times not only for the Indian economy, but also for the legal system.

Traffic penalties hit liquor sales

Higher traffic penalties to rein in unruly drivers on Indian roads have hit liquor sales in some States that implemented the rules strictly.

The penalty for drunken driving is ₹10,000. Odiya newspapers reported how alcohol sales in clubs and bars were down, hitting the government coffers.

Indiabulls case

All eyes are now on the Delhi High Court, which is slated to hear on September 27 the Indiabulls Group matter. The recent public-interest litigation filed against the Indiabulls Group has rattled the government, with the prayer having been made that the MCA, the RBI and the NHB should be made party in the case.

The MCA has been compelled to convene high-level meetings to figure out the way forward on the matter.

Behind schedule

India does not only need to clock faster turnarounds at its ports and airports, but also achieve this (faster turnaround) within the government. Sample this. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had an occasion to realise this during the past week when he had to give away export performance awards at a CAPEXIL event in the capital. The awards were handed out for best export performances during 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Clearly, with the current emphasis on leveraging of digital technologies, Goyal was right in saying he wanted the Commerce Ministry to be in tune with the current times on the export awards front too.

Published on September 23, 2019
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