Opinion

Clearing the air

| Updated on July 05, 2020 Published on July 05, 2020

 

The NITI Aayog clarified in an RTI reply on June 30 that it has not submitted any recommendation regarding privatisation of any public sector bank. This may come as music to the ears of bank unions that are opposed to privatisation.

However, this does not mean that privatisation is off the table for the Modi government, said a banking industry insider. The NITI Aayog has gone on to say in the same RTI reply that any decision on privatisation of public sector banks is likely to be taken by the Department of Financial Services under Finance Ministry.

Now, bank unions are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that Finance Ministry will refrain from such thoughts!

GEM of a question

Covid-19 may have robbed the excitement of physical annual general meetings (AGMs) and opportunities for shareholders looking to put managements on the mat. But the exemplary manner in which the virtual AGMs of Nestle and HUL were conducted in recent weeks have more than made up for this.

Indeed, managements have to manage some delicate questions thrown at them. A HUL shareholder asked Chairman Sanjiv Mehta why HUL, a debt-free company, was expending ‘finance costs’ of about ₹106 crore in its profit and loss account? Also, there was no such similar tangible expense on this front in the previous year. Of course, Mehta was sharp and quick to answer, noting that the ‘finance cost’ was largely coming from implementation of new accounting standard IND-AS 116 on ‘leases’.

Another highlight of the virtual AGM of HUL is Mehta going through the process for nearly four hours at a stretch! Clearly, this is going to be a tough act for other captains of India Inc to follow.

Curse of the CamScanner

The government’s move to ban 59 Chinese apps caught many by surprise. While the move was anticipated by some, no one was sure about the timing of this ‘digital strike’. These apps were not just popular among unsuspecting masses, but were also used extensively within government offices out of sheer convenience. CamScanner, one of the banned apps, was quite popular because of its ability to convert mobile phones into document scanning devices. Moreover, the government denounced these apps before CamScanner could be completely let go. This means that documents scanned by this app are still being circulated. One such example is the presence of the CamScanner watermark on some pages of the Petronet LNG quarterly results that have been uploaded on the BSE.

An offer you cannot refuse

The South Delhi District Administration had made an unusual request seeking support from Reliance Jio. The Twitter handle of the District Magistrate of South Delhi sought help from Jio under its corporate social responsibility initiative to augment the data connectivity of the 10,000-bed Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre. Such a direct request from a government body to a private company is unheard of in recent times. Not surprisingly, Reliance Jio is said to have agreed to this request, according to officials in the know. Now that’s one offer it could not refuse.

Chinagiri

With the latest move from the government on banning 59 Chinese apps, there has been excitement running through Indian app developers, so much that they forgot to spell check their own brand name. For instance, in a statement by local app Chingari, which claims to be a big rival of TikTok, the app is spelt ‘Chinagri’ in a quote of its co-founder and chief product officer.

It’s ironic, because here we were talking against Chinese companies, but this Indian app couldn’t help including China(gri) in its own statement.

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Published on July 05, 2020
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