With reference to media reports indicating that RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has hinted at another interest rate hike at the next MPC meeting, all this was all but expected.
While the central bank’s focus would be on curbing inflation, which has been consistently breaching its tolerance level for the past four months, it is also a fact that the current steps taken are unlikely to control runaway food inflation.
The RBI has little leverage in reining in credit extended by private banks.
Moreover, despite the RBI and the government having entered into another phase of coordinated action to cool down inflation, their actions may only have limited impact.
Politicking must be shunned
This refers to the news report ‘Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala taking undue credit for fuel price cut’, (May 24). In a bid to tame inflation, the Union Government slashed excise duty on petrol and diesel by ₹8 and ₹6 per litre, respectively.
The Centre has now put the onus on States to reduce VAT on fuel to provide relief to consumers. In an unsavoury war of words, the Union government and the Opposition-ruled States are accusing each other of fleecing hapless end-users. But, no political party can afford to take an ambiguous stand on fuel prices and taxes as their fluctuations impact the voting public on a daily basis.
However, with the political battle-lines so sharply drawn, it is naïve to expect Central and state governments to agree on a fuel tax structure that minimises the damage on the revenue front. But they can certainly do a better job of balancing economic considerations and political compulsions to keep the wheels of growth moving rapidly.
N Sadhasiva Reddy
Customer services in banks
Apropos ‘RBI sets up 6-member committee to review customer service standards’ May 24), while the “terms of reference” of this all powerful committee appear to have been “designed and devised” for completely overhauling as also ‘revolutionising’ the extant poor shaped ‘Customer Services’ in the Indian banking industry (mainly PSBs) but it also goes without saying that the effective implementation of its imminent suggestions, remains the usual suspect.
It is not for the first time that the RBI is setting up a 'pro-customer' committee. Had the well meaning reports of its previous committees been implemented in their 'letter and spirit', things would not have come to such a pass.
But, sadly, a majority of them have remained confined on paper only, necessitating the setting up of yet another ‘committee’ led by its former Deputy Governor.
Woes of gig workers
Most gig, aka platform, workers work in a impersonal environment. The employing firms not only try to shrink the value chain, but never care about the woes of these workers. A case in point is Zomato’s promise of 10-minute food delivery to its customers.
However, in all these cases, the vulnerable constituents of the value chain i.e. the platform workers always get the wrong end of the stick. The commission paid to them has also not seen much hike and in their alacrity to improve the bottomline, these operators further stifle these workers by paying them low.
The gig workers having acquired the domain knowledge and customer-centric skills, are now fast shifting to other jobs. Post the Covid scenario, when the economy has eased, business establishments are scaling up their businesses to the pre-Covid levels. However, in the post pandemic period, the consumers now have become ‘virtual-centric’ — be it virtual dining, shopping, or movie watching. Under such a scenario, it makes business sense to pay more to these experienced gig workers by loosening their purse. Otherwise they will lose experienced workers.
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