Below the line: Food for thought

Tech talk Pai at the NSE meet   -  PTI

The change in quality certification norms to facilitate poultry imports from the US might have the domestic industry on tenterhooks, but bureaucrats prefer to see the silver lining. Talking informally to journalists, a government official pointed out that easier certification might not result in higher imports since import duties would act as a barrier.

When reporters cited industry estimates showing that tariffs would not offer adequate protection against cheap chicken legs, the official changed track. Laughing, he said it was good that Indians would have access to a cheap source of protein which would improve nutrition levels. That’s not a trade-off the domestic poultry industry will be happy with!

Pai pitches for NSE

You must hand it to Mohandas Pai for doing an excellent pitch for NSE in front of an august audience of start-up entrepreneurs at an NSE Tech event in the capital. Pai, a director at NSE, told the audience, “All of you guys are going to make India a $10 trillion economy in the coming days. Many of you should go to NSE and list to raise money and make this become a reality! Of course, some of you can go to Alibaba and Masa and tell them to give you billion dollars. Hopefully when they are in a good mood they give few people billion dollars if you are very lucky!” It appears Indian startups will have to take a tough capital raising route call.

Accounting for accountants

CAs are up in arms against the Government move to hold them almost solely responsible for Nirav Modi-PNB bank scam. The setting up of the National Financial Reporting Authority is being viewed as a witchhunt with the Government shrugging off its responsibilities. CAs in Lucknow plan to go on candle-light marches once NAFRA is announced. The Cabinet hasn’t made any announcement so for now, the candles are at bay. Seems Narendra Modi has armed another front against himself.

Realty bites

Here’s another one from Mohandas Pai who recently expressed a different take on private investment stagnation. Contrary to popular perception, it’s not corporate investments in the Indian economy that have come down, he asserted at the NSE Tech. “Saying corporate investment has come down in the economy is rubbish. Corporate investments has been 3-4 per cent of GDP in the economy for last five years. Government investment has been 3-4 per cent. What has come down is household/private investment in real estate and housing, from 12.6 per cent to 6.8 per cent. This is because the housing boom has come down, and (there’s) too much corruption and black money, which has been driven out by demonetisation. We’ve got to get that sector (housing and real estate) up!”

Who will be chief statistician?

The Government has finally advertised for a new chief statistician to replace TCA Anant who retired on January 31, after a tenure of seven-and-a-half years. Indian nationals below 55 with proven statistical and managerial experience in a large statistical organisation can apply. The three-year tenure is extendable by two years.

Khel khalifa ka

The social media was abuzz with images of the Burj Khalifa lit up in India colours for Republic Day, 2017. The colours were up again during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second visit to the UAE in February this year. The excitement among Indians was palpable; some even said this was a diplomatic win for India, while others suggested that this symbolised the strengthening of ties with the Gulf nation.

The fact is, the Burj is regularly lit up in the colours of the flags of various countries. Emaar, the holding company of the iconic Burj Khalifa, issues press releases regarding this. And that’s not all. This week the Burj was lit up with an advertisement for Samsung Galaxy S9. Does this mean the flag light-works are commercial projects? In that case, who funded them, the Arabs or the Indians?

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on March 04, 2018

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