Collateral damage

In a showdown between the Government and the Supreme Court over disclosure of electoral bond details , the banking behemoth State Bank of India finds itself in legal cross-hairs, accused of playing hide-and-seek with vital electoral bond details. The heart of the matter: SBI’s alleged foot-dragging in complying with a Supreme Court mandate to lift the veil on electoral bond transactions.

As the curtain rises on this legal drama, all eyes are on the Supreme Court, where the principles of democracy and the rights of voters hang in the balance. Will the pursuit of transparency triumph, or will bureaucratic red tape hold sway? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: this courtroom clash is more than just legal wrangling; it’s a battle for the soul of political funding in India. Big chatter in the corridors of power this past week is which way will the apex court move on March 11?

Turbocharged CCI

In an electrifying turnaround that has set the business corridors abuzz, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has shaken off its sluggish shell, morphing overnight into a regulatory dynamo. After weathering a storm of criticism for its perceived inertia, particularly from the vibrant start-up sector beleaguered by the looming shadows of big tech goliaths, the CCI has hit the ground running, leaving stakeholders and the public wide-eyed with its newfound zeal.

In a dramatic pivot, the CCI has unleashed a flurry of regulations (three at the same time besides penalty guidelines this past week), breathing life into the much-anticipated Competition Amendment Act. This sudden surge in activity has tongues wagging and keyboards clacking, as the once under-fire regulator now basks in the spotlight of approval.

This regulatory renaissance couldn’t have come at a more crucial time, with India’s burgeoning start-up ecosystem increasingly voicing concerns over the David-versus-Goliath battles playing out in the tech arena. One thing is clear: the watchdog means business, and it’s not pulling any punches.

Call me if you can

Strange are the ways private sector banks treat their customers. After getting a phone number of a dedicated “relationship manager” from ICICI Bank through SMS, this correspondent tried to reach him over an issue. The call was received by the relationship manager’s assistant who after listening to the complaint patiently directed to dial the call centre as she could not fetch the details. Reaching out to the bank’s call centre is like hoping to win a lottery ticket. Whoever said relationships are made in heaven may be aware that only God can save us.

Hacker and a bride

A potential groom, who was into ethical hacking, had a problem — nobody was willing to give him a girl in marriage. V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said he had personally intervened to ensure that a boy, a hacker, got married. The student was an ethical hacker but family members thought he was doing something shady. “When a girl was identified, I had to personally convince family members on either side and told them that he was doing a brilliant job and that hacking is a very lucrative and respectable profession. The boy then got married,” he told students at a event on cyber security. Ethical hacking is going to be the next big employment opportunity, do not to get carried away by the negative perception about the profession.

Demolition politics

Targeting the properties of the opponents to punish them or to force them to join the ruling party is not something new in Indian politics. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath deployed bulldozers to demolish the properties of ‘trouble-mongers’ — a model which was recently followed in Maharashtra too. The Congress Government in Telangana is taking a cue. Officials have recently demolished some structures at a college owned by a former BRS minister for alleged encroachments. Close on the heels of this development, he met Chief Minister Revanth Reddy’s close aide. This triggered speculation that he may be quitting the party and joining the ruling party. He, however, met BRS Working President KT Rama Rao and explained to him that he would stay back in the party.

Rumours say the demolitions were aimed at dissuading the former minister or his kin from contesting in a key Lok Sabha constituency in the State capital.