Troublesome neighbours

| Updated on June 21, 2020


The Chinese action against India at the disputed border in Galwan Valley has led to jingoistic reactions from some quarters. A traders group has asked celebrities to stop endorsing Chinese products while a Union Minister has advised Indians against purchasing them.

The Ministry of External Affairs, thankfully, is not in a hurry to teach its errant neighbour a lesson. It is engaged in discussions with the Chinese to look for a way out of the lockjam. The neighbouring country is not only one of India’s largest trading partners, but has also invested enormously in projects and ventures in India, creating infrastructure and jobs. The MEA and the Commerce Ministry both realise that breaking economic ties has to be a well thought-out strategic decision and not a knee-jerk reaction.

After all, if you set the neighbour’s house on fire, you too may get burned.

Kudos to the NBFCs

You must give it to Ajit Pai, OSD to the NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman, for showering praise on all those NBFCs who have survived the last two years since mid-2018, when the sector was struck by the IL&FS storm followed by other failures like DHFL.

At a recent webinar on NBFCs, he started with a comment that there was no doubt in his mind that those NBFCs who have survived the last two years deserve more medals than any military that he had seen in the world recently!

“Congrats to all NBFCs who have come this far in the shape you have managed. You are much more resilient than I imagined and gave you credit for; you are smarter and more capable,” he said.

“To reach this two-year anniversary with such low casualties (in the NBFC space) has definitely surprised me on the upside,” he quipped.

However, he did not leave it there with only praises. Pai also came up with several soul-searching questions for the surviving NBFCs to ponder — like why the DFS and the RBI were not treating NBFCs well in the past two years. “Why do they (the RBI and the DFS) not want to cover you? Why are they giving the same kind of regulations and supervision to NBFCs as those applicable for banks? Why can’t the NBFC industry come together to make public the fortnightly data on their lending activities? Is it that big boys in the industry shun transparency?” he asked.

Claps to cure virus?

Assigning a scientific stamp of approval to every potential treatment for Covid-19 is the fad of the day. Recently, a group of self-proclaimed researchers released a study which assessed how sound vibrations from clanging dishes have an effect on tackling Covid-19.

The sound vibrations of the thali bajao activity, which was propagated during earlier months of lockdown to laud the bravery of our frontline healthcare workers, was found by a group of researchers to have an effect on treating Covid-19 in a bizarre, far-fetched hypothesis.

Watch your spending

Asking public sector banks to follow “economy measures” in the current Covid-19 times is a pragmatic move from the Department of Financial Services. But, banks are on a slippery slope on this front, as they have to do a balancing act when it comes to spending on staff car purchases.

The DFS knows this all too well, which is why it has craftily worded an advisory which suggests, among other things, banks should defer avoidable expenditure beyond the current fiscal, such as expenditure on purchase of staff cars, except where unavoidable!

So there is an escape route already provided, quipped a bank union leader. Finally, the tone has to be set at the top, he noted, adding that this may be difficult when bank chiefs want to lead lives like a king.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on June 21, 2020

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