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Fusion on wheels

Our Bureaus | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 22, 2017

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Guests at the inaugural function of India Rubber Expo 2017, held last week, were treated to a rather different kind of fusion music — the instruments were all tyres and basketballs! Murali and his rubber band of boys played Vengaboys’ To Brazil and Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Care About Us to much applause. Unusual, alright!

Resigned? Who? Me?

Urjit Patel didn’t know he had resigned from his position as RBI governor. Yes. Since the demonetisation announcement, there’s been a new story every day about it, and one that has been most consistent is that Patel was unhappy with the decision, and he opposed it. Only he knows if he did or not, but there are many who claim this. Finally, on Friday, unable to contain himself, a close associate asked the governor while he was appearing before various parliamentary panels this week if this was true. The Governor reportedly responded he himself was unaware of the resignation!

To Budget or not

Will the Election Commission allow Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to present the Budget on February 1 or will it be a vote-on-account? Maybe we will know on Monday. The EC which had sought further clarifications from the cabinet secretary on the Government’s intent, is likely to firm up its view, as there is unlikely to be a third option. “It is tricky… We don’t know what the EC will do... If it follows the precedent, then it will be a vote-on-account,” is what one is hearing. Others say there’s been no formal communication from the Government to the EC on the February 1 date.

Priyanka’s cloak of invisibility

So, it seems Priyanka Gandhi is ‘inactively’ active in Uttar Pradesh politics. While Rahul Gandhi has been the face of the Congress, his sister, it appears, has been the one striking the alliance. According to a political commenator, “She did it successfully.” Isn’t it now time she led from the front? Something many at the local level in the Congress want.

Silent treatment

Many Union ministers skipped West Bengal’s investor summit. As one person said, “Well, wasn’t it expected? The sequence of events post demonetisation and the way personal attacks are being made...” Whatever happened to all that talk about ‘Gateway to the East is West Bengal’? “Yes, it is. And we are committed,” comes the answer.

Big bang

Along with the big bang announcement that a solution to the dual control issue has been found and GST would be implemented from July 1, the GST Council meeting on January 16 also ended with a big bang — literally. The security vehicle of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met with an accident outside Vigyan Bhawan, the venue of the meeting. Jaitley, however, had left in another car.

Big u-turn

First, the NPCI — the main architect of the Unified Payments Interface — wanted ICICI Bank to unblock UPI transactions made through PhonePe app. Some 24 hours later, it proclaimed that the PhonePe and Flipkart apps had contravened the UPI guidelines on interoperability. Wow, what happened? The buzz is that ICICI Bank has flexed its muscles as a dominant player in the banking industry and as a significant shareholder in NPCI. It’s competitive out there.

In black and white

In a recent discussion on the Union Budget, Sanjay Mehta, a serial angel investor, introduced a new twist to the demonetisation episode by showing concern over ‘white money’ in the corporate sector bleeding the economy. He terms white money as huge losses incurred wilfully in the corporate sector to set them off against tax on profits. The losses are sometimes inflated for more tax gains, he said. Whoever said the colour of money is intoxicating.





Published on January 22, 2017

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