Outsourcing of banking service
This refers to ‘Banks’ customer interface raises questions’ (July 14). The widespread use of technology to support business growth is having a positive impact, however customers do face difficulties in undertaking banking transactions. Retail customers from varied walks of life are not uniformly familiar with the use of technology and fail to optimise the benefits of the tech-savvy products being sold by the banks. Banks are discouraging branch banking to curtail operational expenses and, accordingly, centralised processes are being put in place.
The responses to queries/grievances provided by centralised customer-service centres, in many instances, are inadequate. While embarking on technology to reduce expenses and augment transaction speed, it is imperative to ensure that the system created is customer-friendly and customised to suit the requirements of the clients. The outsourcing of functions relating to the operational activities of banks is fraught with danger, with greater possibility of fraud and embezzlement.
Bring natural gas under GST
This refers to ‘Air quality panel moots uniform natural gas pricing for NCR; rationalisation of tax structure’ (July 14). It is noteworthy that the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas has recommended a uniform pricing policy for natural gas in NCR, pointing out that with the key commodity being outside the purview of the GST, State taxes are making it costlier. Significantly, this panel is also pushing for rapid transition to natural gas and reliable supply of electricity to curb pollution in NCR and adjoining areas.
But what truly prevents the GST Council to bring fuels such as CNG, PNG and even ATF under the ambit of the GST regime remains a mystery. Who knows, there could be some tacit understanding between the Centre and the States to conveniently fill their coffers by keeping the same out of the GST net.
No doubt India had achieved considerable progress in containing the population growth rate. But a lot more needs to be done in this direction and the sooner it is done the better. It is also worth noting that the Indian experiment in family welfare proves that education and economic progress are the most effective ways to control population growth.
True, India has a large number of young people but what is the percentage of those who are employable? When knowledge is considered power and technology matters much more than physical labour, it is not a great advantage to have a large army of unemployable people. There would be growing pressure on the limited resources. It is also true that the poor and the uneducated have more children as they are not aware about the impact it will have on the country.
Yash Pal Ralhan
This has reference to the editorial ‘Diversifying from dollar’ (July 14). Indeed, the RBI’s additional arrangement for settlement of exports and imports in rupees is a boon to foreign trade, and it can avoid the problems associated with dollar settlement. The new arrangement through rupee vostro accounts reduces the need for dealing in the dollar market for trade settlement.
There’s need for agreements with more trading partners for rupee-based settlement. India, for instance, has experience buying Iranian oil in rupees.
Skilling the youth
World Youth Skills Day is celebrated on July 15 every year, to highlight the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. The day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. Since then, the day has provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people and the TVET (technical and vocational education and training) ecosystem. Most nations are still striving to recover from the impact of the pandemic. Therefore, the skills day can serve as a platform to showcase the economic benefits that nations can accomplish by training the young.