“...if a corporate has an interest in a bank as a promoter or a shareholder, but has no position on the board, then there is no prohibition on the bank lending to the corporate. This opens up opportunities for self-dealing,” Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor D Subbarao said in Mumbai
Mumbai: Amid the debate over whether business houses should be allowed to set up banks or not, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor D Subbarao on Tuesday said that entry of corporates into the banking space could open up opportunities for ‘self-dealing’ and use of bank money for own needs, reports PTI.
“...if a corporate has an interest in a bank as a promoter or a shareholder, but has no position on the board, then there is no prohibition on the bank lending to the corporate. This opens up opportunities for self-dealing,” he said at Ficci-IBA summit here.
His statement assumes significance as RBI is expected to soon come out with a draft for giving banking licences to more corporate entities.
Pointing out that there are persuasive arguments both for and against the proposal of allowing business houses in banking, he said, “By far the biggest apprehension is about self-dealing—that corporates will use the bank as a private pool of readily available funds.”
He said that the strongest point in favour of permitting business houses in banking “is that corporates can bring in the capital as also business experience and managerial competence”.
There are, of course, both statutory and regulatory checks against self-dealing. For example, the Banking Regulation Act prohibits banks from lending to directors on the board and to entities in which they are interested, he said.
Regulations also prohibit lending to relatives of directors without the prior approval or knowledge of the board, he said.
He noted that as much as these prescriptions are extensive, there are still gaps.
“Another apprehension that was raised during the public debate on the discussion paper was that it is not easy for supervisors to prevent or detect self-dealing because banks can hide related party lending behind complex company structures or through lending to suppliers of the promoters and their group companies,” he said.
“As we contemplate allowing corporates to promote banks, there is need for changes in statutes and regulations to address these concerns,” he said.
Following announcement by the finance minister in his Budget speech last year to allow business houses to enter into banking sector, many have corporates have evinced interest to enter the sector. These include Reliance Capital, LIC Housing Finance, Aditya Birla Group, etc.
On the remuneration issue of CEOs of the banks, Mr Subbarao said, “Taking into account the feedback received on the draft guidelines, the result of the impact studies and the final prescriptions issued in the matter by the Basel Committee in May 2011, the Reserve Bank is in the process of finalizing the guidelines relating to compensation.”
The guidelines are scheduled to be implemented from the financial year 2012-13, and banks have already been advised to start preparatory work in this regard, he said.
“The surge in headline inflation, despite an overall moderation is food inflation was on account of an unanticipated increase in oil and commodity prices and demand pressures reflected in significant increase in inflation in non-food manufactured products,” minister of state for finance Nano Narain Meena said
New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said high commodity prices and demand pressure in manufactured items have led to inflationary pressure, but added that the rate of price rise is likely to moderate to 6%-7% by the end of this fiscal, reports PTI.
“The surge in headline inflation, despite an overall moderation is food inflation, was the combination of two factors—an unanticipated increase in oil and commodity prices... and demand pressures reflected in significant increase in inflation in non-food manufactured products,” minister of state for finance Nano Narain Meena said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
Headline inflation, measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), has been above 9% since December 2010. Food inflation remained in double-digit for most of 2010 before falling below the 10% mark in March this year.
Inflation of manufactured items, which have a share of over 65% in the WPI basket, has been above 7% since March this year.
Mr Meena said the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken a number of steps to control inflationary pressure.
The RBI has hiked interest rates 11 times since March 2010 and “related measures to moderate demand to levels consistent with the capacity of the economy to maintain its growth without provoking price rise.”
“In the absence of tightening, inflation perhaps would have been higher on account of demand pressures,” he said.
Regarding steps by the government, he mentioned reduction of import duty to zero on rice, wheat, pulses, edible oils and onion, ban on export of edible oils and pulses, suspension of futures trading in rice, urad and tur and extension of stock limit orders in case of pulses and rice.
Mr Meena also said that the government has reduced import duty on skimmed milk powder, petrol and diesel and custom duty on crude oil.
In reply to another question, he said that headline inflation is expected to fall to 6%-7% by March 2012.
“Overall WPI headline inflation is expected to fall to ... 6% to 7%,” the minister said.
He said the expected slowdown in economic growth will also act to ease inflationary pressure in the second half of the fiscal.
“Growth is expected to decelerate... to around 8% in 2011-12, which should contribute to some easing of demand-side inflationary pressure, particularly in the second half as the full impact of monetary tightening is realised,” Mr Meena said.
The snobbery of intellectual writers and insensitivity of the political class comes as a shame at this defining moment in our country’s history. Let’s show some respect to this mass awakening, so essential for a vibrant democracy and a pro-active citizenry
Propagators of mass hysteria and mobocracy have one thing in common-they refuse to get out of their mindset and understand the new wave of mass participation, so essential for a vibrant democracy, that is now sweeping across the country. They have to realise that the printed word in newspapers or the debates on TV channels, are not longer bible truths for people, who have begun to examine the facts and reject untruth. This is evident from the comments on articles about the movement available through a random check on the Internet.
Clearly, the ruling political and intellectual class (at least most of it) is in disconnect with people's sentiments and the untiring efforts being made to get the government to work for the people and not for a privileged few. In fact, these privileged classes have themselves completely forgotten the fundamentals of governance in a democracy-first, information dissemination and second, participation in governance.
The movement for the Jan Lokpal Bill may be largely a campaign against corruption, but to say that most of the participants involved in this peaceful social revolution know nothing about the Bill is an insult to what is probably the biggest people's movement since Independence.
Everyone need not know every detail of the Bill like a scholar, academician or an activist would, but they have sensed that the government was trying to push down the throats of millions of people, an absolutely weak and draconian bill that would ultimately protect the corrupt. This attempt by the government to try and fool the people and numb them into submission, should have been reason enough for intellectual writers, newspaper editors and activists across the country, no matter what their differences over the alternative Jan Lokpal Bill, to unite and pull up the government over its sinister plan. Or, they ought to have tried to work out ways to strengthen the Lokpal Bill with a sense of urgency since the issue came into the public domain instead of criticisms and new drafts that have come a bit late in the day. This is no time for prolonged debates anymore-the nation is outraged; what is necessary is swift action.
The government says it requires time-an excuse that has been supported by several high-profile columnists. Don't they realize the uniqueness of the situation, when lakhs of people have come out onto the streets in the cities, towns and villages, to peacefully agitate, and many more are supporting the movement from their homes and share this spirit in their hearts. It's an extraordinary situation, when citizens in such massive numbers are demanding a quick decision. If something extraordinary came up in our day-to-day lives, say a marriage that is to be organised within 48 hours as the bridegroom has to return to his job abroad, or a lucrative project that has been awarded with a challenging deadline, what would we do? Obviously, we would work round-the-clock, if this is necessary, to complete the task. Is the government so insensitive, so callous, as to not be able to work 20 hours a day if required, to debate and reach a conclusion during the ongoing parliament session itself? It is outrageous that ministers continue to buy time when all that the protestors are peacefully and humbly saying is "please do it with immediate effect". Even Lord Meghnad Desai told a television channel that the issue could be debated and decided in 60 hours.
By criticising the movement at this defining moment in the country's history, we are encouraging the government to close its eyes and ears to the foremost demand for a strong anti-corruption law, which is unarguably the urgent need of the hour.
As a journalist who has watched Anna Hazare's crusades from close quarters, over the past two and a half decades, the government should have known that Anna never takes up an issue he does not believe in and that once he takes it up he is not known to give up easily. Also, the government should collect intelligence from among the crowds to understand that the young generation will not be victims of mobocracy or mass hysteria. They will not join a movement that they are not convinced about.
I have worked with students in Pune who have been a part of this movement and it is a pride and passion for them to be part of the process to cleanse the country of corruption, which they believe is the single biggest factor that has tarnished its image, and this is admirable. Anna might be a rustic villager and may not have studied law as Gandhiji did, but his knowledge of the laws by which our democracy functions is better than many of us who are educated. Hence, there is no dismissing him as some "instant saint" trying to play God or turn into a legend.
This is an example of a pro-active democracy and the powers that be and the celebrity columnists must see it in this new perspective, by dropping the conditioned mindset to look down on the "middle class fraternity" (one columnist had the gall of calling it the "chattering class".) It is evident that Anna Hazare's movement is cutting across many classes-whether it is the poor, the lower middle class, the upper middle class and now even the rich-are represented in the movement. It is the yearning of every Indian that corruption should be rooted out, and now. Why then are some intellectuals playing into the hands of those who sow and breed corruption?
Having said this, one must admit that the film fraternity, barring a few exceptions, has shown sensitivity to the people's sentiments and to Anna Hazare's selfless crusade. It, too, is a privileged class in that sense, but it has heard the heartbeat of millions of Indians. It only goes to prove that if your heart is in the right place, you can read the pulse of the people. Otherwise, you are simply convenient spokespersons of scamsters who are a hindrance to the tremendous movement for change that we are witnessing now.
(Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected].)