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| Updated on January 09, 2020 Published on January 09, 2020

Bankers’ dilemma

Apropos ‘Bankers unlikely to lose fear of the three Cs’ (January 9), non-performing assets in the banking business are created either by the inefficiency of the bank staff in assessing risk and follow-up or by the lack of integrity. Unless there is a clear understanding about the distinction between the two, and two different approaches to handle them are institutionalised, the apprehensions of the banking workforce about the use of investigating agencies like CBI will remain. Any case of suspected mishandling should be checked by the internal auditors first. Cases involving procedural irregularities or inefficiency in granting the loan should be handled departmentally for course correction.

Only in cases where there is prima facie reason to believe that the decision-maker was seeking personal gains and the decision was not influenced by political interference, should they be referred to internal vigilance. And such cases should be investigated and completed within a reasonable time. Integrity is a personal attribute. So due care should be taken in recruitment of people entrusted with lending responsibility.

YG Chouksey

Pune

Lending decisions

The confidence-building initiatives under taken by the finance minister to accelerate bank loan growth by eliminating the fear psychosis of bankers from probable victimisation from the three investigating agencies are welcome. However, as aptly pointed out, bankers’ dilemma continue to persist, which prevents them to act freely. The indomitable fact is that banking has switched over from class to mass banking over a period of time and with inadequate skilled manpower it would be a Herculean task for the bankers to undertake critical due diligence of loan proposals within the meagre time available at their disposal.

As a result, compliances are compromised, ending up in harassment by investigating agencies. Internally, the lack of support from the top management in case of employee shortcomings is also the prime cause of dithering interest among bankers to take additional responsibility. Though the IBC mechanism has came to the rescue of bankers in big-ticket loan defaults, the number of legal cases on account of small loan defaults through civil courts and DRTs are piling up and in the absence of fast track resolutions, the sword hangs on the banker with respect to impending accountability and monetary loss to the banks.

Sitaram Popuri

Bengaluru

Workers’ strike

This is with reference to ‘Behind today’s strike’ (January 8). The article has rightly pointed out that the economy is moving from a ‘job less’ to a ‘job loss’ position due to the backfiring of reforms, especially the demonetisation of high-value notes and introduction of a messy GST. These have not only killed jobs but also forced the owners of small business to shut shop and seek employment to make ends meet. The economic slowdown and the dismal demand situation have resulted in industries laying off lakhs of workers.

Even big industrial houses are now resorting to engaging contract workers, and job creation and job security have become a mirage. Also, the Delhi factory fire accident is evidence of the growing indifference of the polity towards woker safety.

NR Nagarajan

Sivakasi

Food inflation

This refers to ‘Inflation likely to breach RBI target in December’ (January 9). While reasons can be attributed for the persistent rise in retail inflation, insofar as the unprecedented hike in the price of onions is concerned, various government agencies should admit to not doing enough to stem the rise. Even the import of the commodity could not bring much respite on the price front leading to heartburn among end-users.

Also, the prices of other food items, especially pulses and spices, have begun to show an upward trend.

As regards the expected retail inflation, due for release on January 13, let us not get involved in any ‘pre-assessment’ of its ‘would be’ level as also about the likely stance of the RBI’s six-member MPC when it meets in early February.

SK Gupta

New Delhi

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Published on January 09, 2020
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