Develop the bond market
This refers to ‘Bond width’ (September 6). A combination of investors is vital to the development of the primary and secondary bond markets. There are instances where despite fair ratings given by credit rating agencies, timely redemption of bonds issued by many issuers has failed. Default risk and interest rate volatility impact bond yields. These discourage retail investors from investing in bonds, besides participating in the secondary market. Risk-mitigation measures must be strengthened to attract retail investors.
Banks seem more keen onproviding funds to the retail segment due to lesser rate of defaults and higher returns. Therefore, for corporates and public sector enterprises, raising funds by issuing bonds is a better alternative. It is cost-effective and redemption is generally over the long term. But the prevailing bond market isn’t vibrant and reform measures are needed to attract investors. The rating of new bond issues must be reliable, especially in respect of redemption and returns.
Exclusive trading platforms
Presently, the banking industry is saddled with bad loans emanating mainly from the corporate sector. So, even better rated firms are struggling to raise long-term resources.
Though some companies have been able to raise funds through private placement of bonds and deposits, this source has not gained traction due to investors often not getting timely returns on their investments. In a majority of the cases, even the collateral provided in the form of debenture trust and redemption reserves has proven to be futile, with the problems surfacing at the liquidation stage.
There is a need for improving liquidity in the corporate bond market through exclusive trading platforms for corporate bonds and facilitating active and greater participation of retail investors to boost the sentiment and encourage quality entities to tap the market.
The time is not yet ripe to levy charges on digital transactions. Digital and mobile pay options are becoming popular in urban India and the trickle down into rural India is still work-in-progress. In fact, the transition to digital transactions is a behavioural change which cannot happen overnight.
Hence, policy interventions should be to incentivise digital transactions rather than impose a levy. The RBI should play a regulatory role. The cost incurred in digital infrastructure should be prorated to the benefits of transition into a digital economy.
This refers to ‘Adhering to safety norms more important than car security features: Experts’ (September 6). Cyrus Mistry’s tragic death was perhaps avoidable — and hundreds of other similar tragedies as well — had rear passengers wearing seat belts become the norm. Almost every Indian is guilty of disregarding this safety norm. While many front seat passengers now fasten seat belts, thanks in part to legal requirements and lately due to built-in warning beeps in cars, those in rear seats assume they are less vulnerable to accident injuries.
Given the lax state of traffic enforcement, especially on highways, all cars must emit warning beeps for non-buckling of rear seat belts as well. The safety rulebook, ultimately, is about self-discipline and disciplining those on the roads. When over-speeding, risky overtaking, travelling without seatbelts and jumping lights go unchecked and unpunished, every stretch becomes a public safety risk.
N Sadhasiva Reddy
Indian origin leaders
Many who expected Rishi Sunak to be elected as Prime Minister of Britain must be disappointed. Once someone becomes a permanent citizen of a country, obviously he/she will be totally committed to that country. Hence, it is wrong to presume that India would have greatly benefited if Rishi had become UK Prime Minister. All of us rejoiced when Kamala Harris, who is of Indian origin, became the Vice-President of the US. But has India really gained by that?