Opinion

Bankable bond

| Updated on October 04, 2020

 

At a recent event to announce a partnership between Hindustan Unilever and State Bank of India, HUL Chairman Sanjiv Mehta recalled how India’s largest FMCG company had a historical relationship with India’s largest bank.

Not only at an organisation level but also at a personal level, Mehta said that he continues to be a proud customer of SBI and that his relationship with the bank goes back to the first pay cheque he received as a professional many decades back.

A true partnership for prosperity between the two giants, one can say.

‘What will Prof Dhawan do?’

Participating in a recent event organised to mark the birth centenary of Satish Dhawan, undoubtedly one of the finest science administrators the country has ever produced, former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Kasturirangan narrated an anecdote that was by and large unknown to the outside world.

When Kasturirangan was appointed ISRO chief in 1994, he walked into Dhawan’s room at Antariksh Bhawan (ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru) to seek the latter’s blessings.

Dhawan, who played the biggest role in making ISRO what it is today, had two pieces of advice for Kasturirangan, which are invaluable for anyone at the helm of affairs. at a scientific institution or otherwise. Dhawan told him that the buck stops on his table, meaning that he should own up responsibility for whatever happens in ISRO.

The second was more important. He told Kasturirangan that whenever he has to take a decision that is ‘unpalatable’ to the powers that be but about which he is convinced, he should take it rather than cling on to the chair.

Kasturirangan said that all through his 10 years as ISRO chief, whenever such a situation arose, what he always thought of was: ‘What will Prof. Dhawan do in such a situation?’ Probably, something that most of our current science managers can reflect on.

Bang(la) on

Textiles Minister Smriti Irani’s proficiency in Hindi and English is well known, but it was her fluency in Bangla that charmed a textiles delegation from Bangladesh that recently participated in a bilateral meet, virtually of course. While Bangladeshi industry and government officials pointed to various painpoints in their dealings with India, when it was Irani’s time to speak, she appeared to build a bridge over the differences by welcoming the neighbours warmly in their mother tongue.

In a mix of English and Bangla, Irani attempted to also drive home the concerns Indian industry faced in Bangladesh and suggested ways of getting over them. “Aamra shobai mile notun itihaash rochibo...eyi shonkolpor shathe aami aapnader dhonnobad jaanayi...” (We will together write a new history. With this pledge, I thank you), the Minister concluded.

Whether her words will impress the Bangladeshis enough to give in to India’s demands of lower market barriers is something to be seen, but the gesture of camaraderie extended by the Minister was no doubt welcome.

Insights of interest

Banking maybe a boring job, but bankers aren’t. And this was displayed by CVR Rajendran, MD and CEO, CSB Bank, , at a recent analyst call,.

He told his analyst friends: “If at all the bank has done well, half of the credit goes to the analyst population. We learned banking only from analysts. That’s why I always insisted, in every bank wherever I was, that I meet the analysts every quarter to understand the expectations and nuances of banking, and what other banks are doing. Based on the information we get from you, we always try to change our behaviour according to the market expectations and it has benefited us in many ways.”

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Published on October 04, 2020

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