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Time to arm-twist?

Our Bureaus | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 13, 2016

Shaktikanta Das: To the rescue

The ongoing investigation in AirAsia India against current and former executives clearly shows that someone high up in the hierarchy found it fit to tell the world about the investigation days after former Tata Sons chairman, Cyrus Mistry, in his email to the board mentioned the ₹22-crore financial bungling in the airline. Eyebrows are being raised about the timing of the revelation and some claim that it was a case of arm-twisting for details while ensuring the Ratan Tata camp was kept in the dark. With the case now landing at the doorstep of the Bengaluru police, more dirty linen will get washed in public.

Sanguine citizens

Amid all the accounts of hard times faced by patient and impatient citizens in the wake of the demonetisation drama, comes this story from a small SBI branch in Chennai. From the time it opened in the morning, customers popped in for transactions. When they were told the cash hadn’t arrived, they popped back out. There was no cash available even at 3 pm, but still the customers, some who kept popping in and out, just nodded with a smile and left. Some decided to wait, but the mood was light and cheerful. Finally, when the cash did land, at 4.30 pm, they formed neat lines, allowing those who had been waiting longer to have first dibs. The smiles turned to laughter when they were issued mostly ₹2,000-denomination notes!

Smart cookies

Call this customer delight or sharp business acumen. Several chemists in Chennai had sage advice for their regular and elderly customers who came with ₹500 notes: Please take the medicines you want now and come back after a few days with the actual change! Don't make us go to banks and struggle to get the illegal notes exchanged!

Truly a civil servant

The Economic Editors’ conference in Delhi is seen as a way for the Centre to connect with the regional press, so it’s not surprising that questions get asked in Hindi. This time around, however, a journalist asked a question in Tamil and had Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal and senior officers in a fix. Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, rose to the occasion, and responded in fluent Tamil, to everyone’s great relief and much applause!

Let there be e-light!

The Economic Editors’ conference adopted a green approach this year with the finance minister lighting an ‘e-light’ instead of a traditional oil lamp. When Jaitley clicked a button, a giant lamp suddenly appeared on the screen to everyone’s amusement and amazement.

Power corrupts

Former Finance Minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha is known for his plain-speaking. He was in his element at the launch of Rajeev Jayaswal’s book, The Lobbyists: Untold Story of Oil Gas and Energy Sector: “Let’s not forget, these lobbyists are not merely people walking around with demonetised notes in the street of Delhi and corridors of power... lobbyists are nations also, lobbyists are foreign firms which are sitting there and it’s a very motley crowd... I can tell you on the basis of my experience in Delhi, both in civil service and in politics, that it is a 24x7 job for anyone in responsible power in Lutyens’ Delhi to stay honest. You have to continuously fight... to stay honest because there are so many people roaming around to corrupt you to serve their own interests...”

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Published on November 13, 2016
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