Opinion

Below the line

| Updated on May 24, 2020 Published on May 24, 2020

Complicated stuff

Small and medium NBFCs are a harried lot, as they face Covid-19 induced liquidity woes. The Finance Minister may have used the ‘Atmanirbhar package’ to promise liquidity support to the extent of ₹75,000 crore to NBFCs/housing finance companies/microfinance institutions through two separate windows. But, there’s a catch.

When the details of the schemes, including one on partial credit guarantee, were finally released from the government department concerned, many NBFCs wondered if they would make the cut given the conditionalities. What was more disappointing were the technicalities and dense language used in the schemes. So much so that an NBFC industry veteran quipped that one would need a lawyer and an English dictionary to make sense of what the government is seeking to convey. Here is the worrying part — public sector bankers have to understand this sarkari language before they can act on these schemes to provide relief to the aggrieved NBFCs in these troubled times. The time has come for our babus to write finance-related government schemes and notifications in a simple language, this professional murmured.

Non-starter?

The buzz in NBFC circles is that the ₹30,000-crore special liquidity window for NBFCs/ HFCs/MFIs under the first tranche of the Atmanirbhar package will be a “non-starter”. Reason: The liquidity support is coming for too short a term — just three months! “Tell me which NBFC will take three months’ money when its own borrowers are taking longer term monies from the same entities,” said an NBFC industry player. Even smaller NBFCs see asset-liability mismatch. This support is certainly not well-thought through by policymakers, even if it comes with government guarantee, feel some finance industry players. As one expert put it succinctly in a social media post, the government wants the SBI to take TLTRO money and give it to NBFCs for three years at the SBI’s own risk, even while the government won’t underwrite the same risk for more than three months in the case of the special liquidity window. This is a scheme that is going to be a dud on arrival.

Twitterdom animosity

RPG Enterprises Chairman Harsh Goenka recently blocked Ixigo co-founder and CEO Aloke Bajpai on Twitter. Miffed, Bajpai tweeted: “A popular industrialist is also a serial plagiariser - @hvgoenka - First he plagiarised @ixigo content and then he blocks me for pointing it out.”

Bajpai said that Goenka had tweeted the travel platform’s ad campaign video titled “sounds we miss” after removing the “brand and logo in a crude fashion and no credits”. Hope the tiff is settled soon.

Khadi masks set to go global

The widely popular Khadi face mask is set to go “global”. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is exploring the possibility of exporting the Khadi cotton and silk face masks to foreign countries after the Ministry of Commerce and Industries lifted the ban on export of non-medical/non-surgical masks of all types.

A notification in this regard was issued on May 16 by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). This follows the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “local to global” call in wake of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

Keeping in view the huge demand of face masks during the global Covid-19 pandemic, the KVIC has developed double- and triple-layered cotton as well as silk face masks respectively, available in two colours for men and in multiple colours for women. The KVIC has so far received orders to supply eight lakh masks, and has already supplied more than six lakh masks during the lockdown period.

The KVIC received orders from Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister’s Office, Central government ministries, the Jammu and Kashmir government and orders through email from the general public. Apart from these sales, over 7.5 lakh Khadi masks have been distributed free to the district authorities by Khadi institutions across the country.

The KVIC plans to supply Khadi face masks in countries like Dubai, the US, Mauritius and several European and Middle East nations where the Khadi’s popularity has significantly grown over the last few years.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on May 24, 2020
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