Economy
Banking sector reforms is the need of the hour

While going ahead with the processes and procedures for allowing new banks, the RBI should, simultaneously, reopen the banking reforms agenda. If this is not done corporates and small borrowers will continue to disbelieve the banking system and find out escape roots for deploying their surpluses and meeting their financial needs

Perhaps because of a sense of futility in the present coalition scenario, the Government of India (GOI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in the recent past, have been making sub-sector-specific or issue-based observations on financial sector reforms. Reforms, to be successful, need a holistic treatment. There appears to be a studied silence on structural reforms in the financial sector, except for passing references to additional banking licenses to private players or changes in regulatory environment for NBFCs. These are more with the interests of certain stakeholders in view than the overall health of the financial sector.

 

The RBI governor’s recent observation about GOI’s liquidity problems for allowing further expansion of public sector banks adds to the confusion. If the financial sector has to rise to the expectations in regard to credit delivery, especially to agriculture and service sectors, the banking infrastructure will need structural reforms, skill development and a change in outlook on HRD-related issues. 

 

Public sector banks continue to shoulder more than their real share of the burden of lending to traditional priority sector which includes agriculture and small borrowers. Even if they come into being, the proposed additional private sector banks may not be immediately in a position to support the critical areas which are neglected by private sector banks to a large extent, as of now.

 

In this context, any further delay in comprehensive financial sector reforms, for political reasons (“compulsions of coalition politics”, government not having adequate dependable numbers in both the Houses), may have long-term adverse impact on the country’s economic development. Perhaps, this is the right time for the finance minister to open a debate for a consensus in the matter.

 

Here one has to admit that it is quite natural that as a regulatory body responsible for the health of the financial sector, RBI’s concerns go farther from just the net worth of the promoter or his professional capability to run a bank. RBI’s intention to regularize and ratify the parallel banks which can conform to regulatory norms and rehabilitate some RRBs (regional rural banks) which may have manpower and infrastructure in place but may be finding it difficult to perform for want of leadership as also the central bank’s desire to keep the business of banking trustworthy is evident from the cautious approach of RBI in regard to new bank licenses despite perceivable pressure from industry and to some extent from GOI.

 

Read New banking license announcement is first major reform in two decades

 

Even when the RBI came out with the discussion paper on the issue of new bank licenses, it was known that the idea of setting up some more private sector banks was loaded with compulsions much beyond the government’s stated intention to give a greater role for private sector in banking to promote financial inclusion and reduce government’s financial commitments for running banks. The role so far played by the private sector banks which came into being post-LPG (Liberalisation-Privatisation-Globalisation), which are driven by profit-motive, in lending to traditional priority sector, penetration to semi-urban and rural areas and financial inclusion has not been very impressive.

 

It has to be said to the credit of RBI that the central bank effectively brought to the fore the real issues and concerns of all stakeholders in the financial sector, about new banking licenses. In the present scenario, the central bank should take initiative to reopen the banking reforms agenda which was kept in the backburner after allowing some banks in the private sector during the introductory years of financial sector reforms. 

 

In 1991, the Committee on Financial System (Narasimham Committee) visualized a structure for Indian banking system with “three or four large banks that could become international in character; eight-10 banks with a network of branches throughout the country engaged in ‘universal banking’; local banks whose operations would be generally confined to a specific region and rural banks (including RRBs) whose operations would be confined to the rural areas and whose business would be predominantly engaged in financing of agriculture and allied activities”. As more than two decades have passed, though there may be reason to re-evaluate a suitable model in the present context, the relevance of structural reforms has not lost validity.

 

Although the recommendations of the Narasimham Committee were realistic and had kept in view the long-term credit needs and the inability of large banks to reach out to un-banked and under-banked rural India, for various reasons including compulsions of coalition politics, RBI and the Centre did not take a serious look at reorganization of banking infrastructure. Banking services, in India evolved through a multi-agency system and through different limbs, supported the credit needs of small borrowers to a great extent.

 

The need of the hour is to ensure that all players in the business of banking in the formal sector, namely, commercial banks, cooperatives and RRBs remain healthy and perform their assigned roles effectively and the informal sector, through which banks and NBFCs support microfinance needs, is also brought under financial discipline through regulatory arms such as RBI, NABARD and state governments.

 

To read about other initiatives of RBI, click here.

 

The present scenario is partly the result of GOI and RBI keeping the residual banking sector reforms in the backburner after allowing some banks in the private sector in the initial days of reforms. The debate in the media during the last couple of years about “new private sector bank licenses” shows that a bank or a financial institution is a different animal to different persons, depending on the person’s financial status and banking needs. 

 

At this delayed hour at least, a total view of banking needs of agriculture, industries and service/export sectors and institutional infrastructure for meeting them may have to be taken by the central bank. If this is not done, corporates at the national level and small borrowers at the ground level will continue to bypass the banking system.

 

The RBI has been consistently playing a proactive role in institution-building in the financial sector, since early 1950s. SBI, IDBI, NABARD and new private sector banks are some examples of the central bank’s success stories in institution-building. Despite its efforts, along with GOI, to improve the health of the rural financial infrastructure by rehabilitation of existing cooperatives, trying experiments like Regional Rural Banks and Local Area Banks and promoting financial inclusion, adequate and cost-effective institutional credit is yet to arrive in rural India. The proposed new private banks will initially be able to focus on large investors and borrowers only, which will definitely have an impact on the sources and uses of funds available to banks and financial institutions. In the circumstances, the central bank should, while going ahead with the processes and procedures for allowing new banks, simultaneously, reopen the banking reforms agenda.

 

The diversions so far provided for bigger banks to dilute their priority sector and rural lending responsibilities should be reviewed with a view to ensure that deposit-mobilization gets tied up to the social responsibility of meeting the genuine credit needs of all sectors considered relevant for overall economic development. If this is not done corporates at the national level and small borrowers at the ground level will continue to disbelieve the banking system and find out escape roots for deploying their surpluses and meeting their financial needs.

 

The public sector-private sector divide in meeting social responsibilities also needs a closer look. If this is not done corporates at the national level and small borrowers at the ground level will continue to bypass the banking system.   

 

Overlap of functions, large-scale outsourcing of activities and challenges from business houses who are telling that if you will object to owning a bank, the same objective will be achieved through an NBFC or some other arm or instrument which can achieve desired objectives and reluctance of banks in the private sector to directly penetrate below the creamy layer of the large majority which is waiting for “financial inclusion” are all major areas of concern needing immediate response from RBI.

 

GOI, at this late stage, should think in terms of (a) encouraging individual banks to do business in functional and geographic areas in which they are better equipped and have competitive advantage in terms of outreach (b) redefine the role of various categories of banks considering their background, skills and capabilities and (c) involving the regulator, namely RBI, for conveying GOI’s expectations, so that multiplicity of guidances is avoided.  A comprehensive review of the banking needs and institutional infrastructure for meeting them with focus on how best the existing banks can be guided to meet the genuine credit needs of various sectors of clientele is the need of the hour.  

 

Read other articles by MG Warrier, here.

 

(The writer is a former general manager of RBI. He can be contacted at [email protected])

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COMMENTS

Dr Anantha K Ramdas

4 years ago

Thank you for this interesting article on the banking system and the urgent needs to bring in various improvements.

One of the many problem areas includes the issue of protecting the "savings" and deposits of the account holders.

I believe the insurance coverage for the loss of deposit or savings in an account for any reason is limited to Rs 1 lakh. Time is now for this coverage to be increased to a reasonable level bearing in mind the fact that the amount was fixed decades ago and Rupee value and savings capacities have gone up

REPLY

M G WARRIER

In Reply to Dr Anantha K Ramdas 4 years ago

Safety of deposits is important. Insurance cover ceiling is Rs1 lakh per account. While I agree that the comfort level will improve if the ceiling is raised, normally it may not be of much significance to small savers as our country has not been allowing many bank failures in the recent past and the position may not change for the worse unless we mimic developed countries in banking practices. Most of the small savers are with public sector banks. A hike in the ceiling may mean higher outgo of fee and lead to cost escalation for banks. I am for status quo.

Nilesh KAMERKAR

4 years ago

Sir,

Why are banks operating like kirana stores; selling all types of products from insurance, mutual funds, gold, foreign currency, credit cards, equity & what have you . . . While NBFCs and MFIs are focused on extending credit/loans which is supposed to be a core banking function.

Is there any way, that RBI can get Banks to do what they are primarily supposed to do?

REPLY

M G WARRIER

In Reply to Nilesh KAMERKAR 4 years ago

You have raised a valid point, which needs to be addressed while formulating a comprehensive policy for financial sector. Short answer to your question is, every ‘shop-keeper’ including banker has an eye on expansion of business in areas which are less risky to improve profit. Thus banks try to add more products and services in their bouquet to attract customers. On the other side, you will find NBFCs, Industrial Houses, Postal Department and even governments wanting to start banks.

Air India Maharaja's political woes!

Will the aviation minister pay attention to how Air India continues to treat passengers even when taxpayers are set to provide a massive bailout of Rs40,000 crore to the ailing carrier?  Here is a harrowing experience of Padma Bhushan Prof Hegde’s trip from Chandigarh to Bengaluru

It was to be a bad day for me on the 21st October when I planned to travel from Chandigarh to Bangalore for a commitment there the following day. I was in Ludhiana for a national conference and had to reach the Chandigarh airport well in time for my Maharaja’s flight from there via Delhi to Bangalore. The roads were not too friendly in that part of the country but the organisers of the meet were too good to be true. When I see their faces all my tiredness used to vanish. The driver of my cab, a bearded Sardar, was a real friend indeed. He drove so carefully so that I could even sleep on those bumpy roads.
 

Trouble, though, awaited me in the airport. Air-India’s commercial partner, Optiontown.com, kept sending me messages for a 75% reduced business class ticket which I had to buy online. A computer illiterate that I am, it took me hours to do just that, having paid the charges online again with considerable distress. When I presented myself at the Air-India's airport office the wise people there laughed at me. They told me that there is no such agency in the service of their Maharaja. They implied that I must have been taken for ride by some internet crooks.
 

Confused and dismayed at that information I offered to buy the upgrade by paying them money which luckily was less than what the on line agency had charged me! Little did I realise that I was in for more surprises. Before losing complete hope of my money paid online I called my good friend, an old hand at Air India in Mangalore, Sunil Bhat, for more details. He not only told me that the scheme does exist and the partner company is an internationally reputed one.
 

He told me that I could get my full money refund minus their Rs100 service charge. Now comes the second part of Maharaja’s curse. Having bought the business class ticket at the office, I went to the counter for my boarding pass where was told that I will get only my Chandigarh- Delhi boarding pass but not the on-going one to Bangalore as they did not have a computer link to Delhi airport? The gap between the two flight at Delhi airport was less than an hour and it is a human impossibility to go the booking counters in Delhi's Indira Gandhi airport where the flight landings and the office counters are miles apart, that too in that short time.
 

I was in a special quandary, having thus paid twice for my upgrade I was with a ticket in hand but no boarding pass. Seeing my pitiable state the station manager, Mr Negi, if I remember right, a good human being told me that he would send a message to Delhi to help me with my boarding pass at the transit desk at the arrivals. The officer in charge at the office was too rude and told me that people like me do not know the rules and then bother them unnecessarily as such a partner like optiontown.com did not even exist. He showed me his papers to say that only cash payment to them would get me the upgrade voucher. Thank heavens, the flight arrived on time and departed on time and the journey took less than the scheduled time leaving me with good hour gap between flights at the Delhi airport.
 

The Delhi airport transit counter experience was simply out of this world. There were six young and not-so-young big-bellied men standing there on the inside with me alone on the outer side of the counter. Despite that they took quite some time to look at me as they were engaged in an animated personal discussion. When I told them my problems, one of them, their senior may be, told me that I have to get out and get my boarding pass at the booking counters outside which was an impossibility with hardly any time left for reporting at the gate. My pleadings with him went waste as he stood his ground that he could not do anything as his computer would not tell him if there is a vacant seat in the business class or not. He went to the extent of telling me that people like me who want to take advantage of cheaper fares must wait for the last minute as the airline might prefer full fare paying clients. Rightly so, but I was not naïve to believe him when the airline’s business class is going vacant and the seats are offered on discount, who, in his right mind, would pay four times more for a full fare ticket? This is very curious as when I finally got into the plane I saw only three people in the business class having ten seats—seven still empty. One of them was a Khadi-clad MP who travels at our cost and one more passenger in addition to myself with seven empty seats.
 

Resigned to my fate, as I do not believe in fighting raising my own blood pressure, I went towards the gate. I had to pass through another security, though. There I saw another transit counter with one young girl sitting doing nothing. I went to her with my story. She had the patience to listen to me and took pity on me. She called her boss who, after much cajoling, told here that my upgrade voucher was true and she could give me the last seat in the business class. Thank God, I got my boarding pass at long last.
 

Before I forget I must give you the full woes of the staff in Chandigarh airport. They do not have computer links to other parts of the country and cannot issue boarding passes to on-going journeys. They do not have a lounge for business class passengers. Their pleas fell on deaf ears. While there are flights of private airlines going to Chennai, Bangalore and other major cities via Delhi,  Air India’s bosses refused to give a direct flight even thong the commercial value of these sectors is excellent. The benefit goes to the private airlines.
 

Chandigarh is commercially a very profitable airport for airlines but the Maharaja’s bosses want to help the private airlines in all those commercially viable routes. It was Ambrose Bierce who called politics strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles, and means of using public affairs for private advantage. May be the concerned people have vested interest in some private airlines.
 

I have been flying Air India from the 1960s. During the early days of my experience with them, when JRD Tata was the chairman, with half a dozen long-haul aircrafts like the Boeing 707s, they were adjudged the best in the world. Today, they are anything but the worst, thanks to political brinkmanship with hundreds of aircraft bought under suspicious circumstances. Many of our netas travel in private airlines even when they have an Air India flight available for better comforts. I have a good story to tell you.
 

I was in New York some years ago and was to take the Air India flight back home on a particular day.  I had to reach the airport very early as the new security problems had just begun then. We all waited for the departure time at 7.30 pm only to be told that the flight is delayed indefinitely as the aircraft did not arrive from London!
 

Another long wait followed without much information as to what had happened to the aircraft from London which incidentally arrived that morning at London from Bombay (those days). At 2 am we were told that the aircraft will arrive the following evening and we will have to wait till then. Obviously people started fighting with the hapless staff at the airport with their bosses sleeping in the cool comfort of New York City. Finally they agreed to give us some hotels. That is where I met a good man in Indian politics, Late MP Prakash and his wife. He was not a minister then. They were new to New York for sightseeing and took my assistance to locate the hotel on our own. We became very good friends ever since till he died recently. Very good human being that he was I pray for his soul.
 

Later we were to learn that the then prime minister who was in London for a meeting thought of going to Africa for a holiday with his wife. He took the London New York aircraft to Kenya. That was why our flight was cancelled without any prior knowledge of Air India staff in New York! Lots of sick people and elderly ladies were all left stranded in the airport for a full 24 hours.

 

I was in London a couple of months ago. I met a very nice senior officer of Air India in a meeting where I delivered a lecture. He came to see me after that in my hotel room as he wanted to learn more about his health etc. He was narrating his bad experience recently in London. He was in charge of the flight to Mumbai from London on a particular afternoon at 13.30 hours. The aircraft was new and everything was getting ready when the then aviation minister, who was in London city, called the airport saying that he wanted to travel by the same flight to Mumbai. The staff reminded him that the flight was ready for departure but the minister’s PA curtly told them that they could delay the flight giving some reason.
 

Lo and behold! Within minutes the Bombay head office was on the line telling this gentleman that he should open the engine of the plane and declare that there is a fault there. He pleaded that opening a new engine might create problems but he was asked to follow the HO instructions. The engine was opened! The minister came at 5 PM. The flight had to start but the engine would not start! There really developed a new fault.
 

Learning that the aircraft really cannot take off, the minister told the staff to get him a first class ticket on Jet Airways that was to leave in another hour or so. He continued to enjoy his food at the lounge and got on to the private airline and went to Mumbai. The problem for the passengers of the ill-fated aircraft was compounded by the lack of an air corridor for the flight from London to Mumbai for another four hours. See how our netas serve their motherland with diligence, dedication and determination. They need to be saluted. With the birth of a new breed called Kejriwal-Anna nexus does anyone think that this drama will change at all?  If anyone thinks that it is going to be a cake-walk, s/he is in for a rude shock. Man, said Shakespeare, whether in a palace or pad, castle or cottage, is governed by the same emotions and passions. Late Indira Gandhi abolished our erstwhile real maharajas’ privy purse promised to them for acceding their states to the republic. In their place we now have a new breed of political maharajas for whom no rules apply.
 

Sooner they sell Air India to a private player the better for the tax payer. Today the poor citizens pay for the upkeep of this airline. In every so called democracy it is the poor who pay for their poverty with their lives, the story is the same with Air India. While there are some dedicated staff still left in that airline, most take life easy what with their job security they could' care less for the passengers and their problems. This country can only come out of the deep trench into which it has been thrust by our netas with the help of a new generation of Indians that follow the Indian culture of walking their talk.
Culture is what one does when no one looks at him/her. Let us pray for that day when India will regain her world supremacy, Air India included.  JRD Tata must be turning in his grave indeed looking at the state of the airline which he nurtured with all his heart and strength.
 

Long live the Maharaja, his political troubles notwithstanding. Happy flying folks with Air India.  I am only hoping that I will get my money back from www.optiontown.com sooner than later.
 

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, Chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected].)

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COMMENTS

Sucheta Dalal

4 years ago

Just a few minutes after my post, Prof Hegde emailed me this heart-warming post. By a strange coincidence, it echoes exactly what I have said.... but he has one huge new angle. How lawyers and consultants are also ripping off the airline! Please do read. We have only changed the name - it is completely unedited to retain the original.


Respected Sir,
I just read your article in moneylife.
Sir, Its a great article & truthfully written to the last word.

Sir on behalf of all my colleagues I wish to apologize to you for all the hardships you have undergone.
Unfortunately as on date,we have too many contract labour/employees & therefore no full dedication.
Sir, I too am a dedicated employee of this national airline/carrier, ie AIRINDIA.
Sir my name is Krishan (Name changed by moneylife) and I have worked my sweat to the best of my ability & capacity & have served this company for more than 23 years with dedication & pride, presently working as a flight purser for AI.
Sir, unfortunately in the last few years I have lost much hope of revival of this airline as we are governed by BABUS & NETAS who have absolutely NO knowhow of the functioning of an airline.
Our past civil aviation minister,mr praful patel,though has tried & claimed that he has created a new era in aviation industry has done nothing much but erected more hotels in and around all airports in name of modernization.
Sir what we needed was more airport space. Whereas the hotels could have come up at nearby locations, hence eliminating the need for another airport (second airport)outside Mumbai jurisdiction.
HE THEN MERGED TWO AIRLINES ie IC & AI.(THE BIGGEST DOWNFALL OF OUR ESTEEMED AIRLINE & SLOWLY DIGGING A SO CALLED GRAVE FOR OUR PRESTIGEOUS NATIONAL CARRIER.)

A SLOW BUT SURE DEATH FOR OUR AIRLINE.

HE THEN ORDERS SO MANY AIRCRAFTS , WITHOUT FORESEEING THE EXPANSION OF ADDITIONAL SECTORS/ROUTES, ALL IN THE NAME OF MODERNISATION & EXPANSION..
sir, these are a few topics listed by me, sir,more & more exist ,all leading to the downfall & slow erosion of our esteemed airline.
these are just a tip of the iceberg, a small event in our global warming(employees & passengers)

THOUGH THE AIRCRAFTS ARE FINALLY BEING DELIVERED NOW, ie 787s THE DREAMLINERS, THEY ARE AS ON DATE BEING UNDER-UTILISED TO THEIR FULLEST CAPACITY.(20% EXTRA FUEL EFFICIENT AIRCRAFT DOING/OPT DEL/BLR & DEL/CCU ROUTES INSTEAD OF INTERNATIONAL SECTORS WITH MORE MILEAGE & FUEL EFFICIENCY ETC…)

OUR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT ,IS VERY UNIQUE & THE PROBABLY THE BEST IN OUR COUNTRY AS INSTEAD OF MAINTAINING GOOD RELATIONS WITH ITS EMPLOYEES IT IS MORE CONCERNED AS TO HOW THERE IS AN INDUSTRIAL UNREST OR HOW TO CREATE ONE, SUCH THAT THE RETAINER ADVOCATES/CONSULS/LAWYERS OF AIRINDIA CAN BE PAID HANDSOMELY & AWARDED FREE TICKETS FOR THEIR FREE TRAVEL ON OUR NATIONAL CARRIER.ALL THIS BEING DONE AT OUR COST.

SIR, TODAY THE MEDIA STATES WE HAVE TOO MANY UNIONS. I FULLY AGREE. BUT WHY ???.BECAUSE OUR MANAGEMENT & ITS SUPER MANAGEMENT ,ie THE MINISTERS inc BABUS & NETAS HAVE FOLLOWED & ARE STILL FOLLOWING ITS “DIVIDE & RULE POLICIES.”

WE AS EMPLOYEES DO NOT GET OUR SALARIES & ALLOWANCES ON TIME BUT UNFORTUNATELY OUR LEGAL ADVISORS & MANY OTHER RELATED INSTITUTES/ORGANISATIONS ON CONTRACT,ALWAYS GET THEIR DUES MUCH PRIOR ,EVEN BEFORE ITS REGULAR EMPLOYEES.

OUR FINANCE DEPT IS WELL VERSED AS HOW TO FINANCE VARIOUS ADVERTISMENTS/EVENTS etc BUT UNFORTUNATELY WE AS EMPLOYEES HAVE TO KEEP BEGGING FOR OUR RIGHTFUL SALARIES/ALLOWANCES & SOMETIMES EVEN THREATEN THE BOSSES TO REPAY US OUR HARD EARNED MONEY .IF NOT ON TIME ATLEAST AFTER 3 MONTHS,AS WE ARE GETTING USED TO THE IDEA OF BEING PAID AFTER MINIMUM OF 3 MONTHS.

UNFORTUNATELY WE CANNOT PROMISE OUR MONEY LENDERS THE SAME. INSPITE OF ALL THIS, WE , THE EMPLOYEES OF AIRINDIA WORK TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY & ALTHOUGH UNDER STRESS, AS WE TOO BEING HUMANS HAVE FAMILIES,CHILDREN,LOANS ETC ETC…..

TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY WE TRY TO MANAGE & BALANCE OUR WORK RELATED STRESS WITH OUR FAMILY LIFE……………..

SIR, THOUGH I AM A STRONG BELIEVER OF “ A PEN IS MIGHTER THAN A SWORD”

SIR, SOMETIMES I WONDER THAT IN THE NAME OF A MERGER CANT I HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO “DIP A SWORD IN INK & THEN RE WRITE THE DESTINY OF OUR PRECIOUS & ESTEEMED AIRLINE” ????????????????????????
HOPE THAT THIS WOULD BE TRUE
BUT UNFORTUNATELY
“IF WISHES WERE LIKE HORSES ALL AIR INDIA EMPLOYEES WOULD RIDE”

HOPE SENSE PREVAILS ON OUR PRESENT CMD MR.ROHIT NANDAN & OUR PRESENT CIVIL AVIATION MINISTER MR.AJIT SINGH & IM SURE WITH PUBLIC SUPPORT ,WE TOGETHER AS EMPLOYEES & YOURSELF & OTHERS AS TAX PAYERS & DEDICATED AIRINDIA FREQUENT FLYERS CAN HOPEFULLY TURN THE FATE OF THIS AIRLINE.

SIR,OR ELSE IN MY OLD AGE OR AFTER RETIREMENT I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO NARRATE TO MY CHILDREN OR THEIR FRIENDS WITH PRIDE & SMILE “I AM AN AIR INDIAN” as this airline may not last that long without our INDIAN citizens support , & patriotism for one & only AIRINDIA & with our employee’s dedication & hard work.

THANKS & REGARDS

--

Sucheta Dalal

4 years ago

There was a time when Indian Airlines had turned extremely customer friendly. This was at the time when Sunil Arora was the CMD and just a little before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh allowed Praful Patel to unleash his destructive genius on the airline.

I used to be a frequent flyer and a great evangalist for Indian Airline. The staff, at Mumbai airport was extraordinarily friendly and helpful. It was amazing, but they gave Kingfisher a run in terms of service standards.

The counter staff were senior people who read newspapers - always such a surprise these days when youngsters are unconcerned with news (by and large).

This quality takes years to dissipate. So even four years after Patel merged the airlines and was seriously killing the airline. I remember a time when my mother -75 and grand-aunt 85 were flying alone to Jamnagar. I was petrified and called to check if i could get permission go into the terminal. The response was amazing. I was told, dont worry, we'll take care of them. A ground hostess received them at the entrance and told me, "leave it to us, your mother is like my mother". Both my mother and grand-aunt were truly happy at the heart-warming service.

As I always say, it is dubious politicians and bureaucrats, hand-in-glove with the most venal bankers, who have destroyed our institutions and our country.
Bureaucrats are the worst... a little note from them on the files is enough of a roadblock to destruction. But they will not do it. Instead, they show newly minted MPs and ministers how to subvert rules and processes.
Today, our polity has become so brazen that these guys, on fat, tax-free dollar pensions continue to head policy making committees which make pious proposals. They will neither retire gracefully, nor devote a minute to give back to society and country on a voluntary basis.

And their children are all wallstreet bankers, hedge fund managers etc engaged in gouging the world economic system in different ways.

REPLY

A BANERJEE

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 4 years ago

I too continue to be a FF! But, look at my plight-still awaiting a response to my grievance about unclean cutlery!

Tej Mohinder

4 years ago

Air India will never privatize, not on account of resistance by employees, but on account of being the private airlines of ministers of India and the Babus.

Everything written by Prof Hedge is a piece and picture of true face of Air India.

The New GM Marketing is sending emails of promotions and all, but Mr Shrivastava, in Service industry, its service that matters most.

A BANERJEE

4 years ago

I traveled on 17 October by the Dream Liner Boeing 787-8 aircraft on the Chennai-Delhi (AI-430) route. The flight, to begin with, was delayed by a considerable time without any prior announcement. The tea/coffee cup used to serve tea/coffee had clear evidence of unclean cutlery-with tea/coffee stain in it and the crew were extremely apologetic about it. I sent a letter to the company but there has been no response as yet!

Dr Anantha K Ramdas

4 years ago

Prof. Dr Hegde's recent experience is very unfortunate; but I do hope he remembers or made notes of the irresponsible and poor customer-service-oriented guys' names if they were wearing name tags! If not, these people cannot be taken to task by Human Resources Dept of Air India, if they care to read your experience. At the same time, couple of representatives, including the lady who did her best to assist him, need to be appreciated for doing their job.

It is sad that Air Indian staff, who by and large, have been customer friendly, are no longer continuing their original tradition of hospitality and treating the customer as their Maharaja!

I think it would be perhaps a good idea if such matters are brought to the attention of the organizations by Moneylife whenever they publish such related matters. After all, Moneylife comments are voice of the people - vox populi!

REPLY

Vaidya Dattatraya Vasudeo

In Reply to Dr Anantha K Ramdas 4 years ago

I do not agree that the staff is customer friendly. Definitely not the staff at ticketing windows and boarding passes. In Singapore I was told only workers travel by Air India. Still I ventured once. And that is the last one. As mentioned by Dr. Hegde, even if you are the sole customer at the counter, you may not be attended. And if you are attended, it is better quickly go and buy a lotter ticket.

Kejriwal, wife never transferred out of Delhi, but points finger at Pulok Chatterjee

Kejriwal said he has information of at least 376 other such instances where IRS officers, including him and his wife have been posted continuously at New Delhi for more than 10 years. He also questioned why Chatterjee, a close confident of Sonia Gandhi, is serving in Delhi for over 25 years

India Against Corruption (IAC) activist Arvind Kejriwal, while accepting that he and his wife Sunita Kejriwal (both belong to the Indian Revenues Services-IRS) were never transferred out of Delhi, said that this happened due to shortage of honest and competent officers with technical skills. While Kejriwal forgot to take note of Ashok Khemka (the IAS officer from Haryana, who cancelled the mutation of the over three-acre plot that Robert Vadra's company allegedly sold to DLF last month, has been transferred for 43 times during his 20 years service), he pointed a finger towards IAS officer Pulok Chatterjee, who shares good relations with the first family of the Congress party.

 

A release, issued by IAC, says, “Posting within Delhi is not unique to Arvind. Arvind has information of at least 376 other such instances where IRS officers have been posted continuously at New Delhi for more than 10 years. Due to the severe shortage of honest and competent officers with technical skills, Arvind’s tenure/postings were repeatedly extended wherever he was posted, approvals followed in due course.”

 

“Shree Digvijaya Singh may kindly provide, in his next letter to Arvind, all postings of Shree Singh’s good friend Shree Pulok Chatterji, IAS during past 25 years, including his deputation to serve private non-governmental organisations (NGOs) closely associated with Honourable Chairperson of National Advisory Council (NAC) (Sonia Gandhi),” the release said.

 

At present Chatterjee, perceived as being close confidant of Sonia Gandhi, is working as principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

 

The IAC release also tries to convince that Kejriwal’s wife Sunita is an honest and competent officer and the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) extended her tenure over the years. “Due to her qualities the SFIO had on its own repeatedly requested her tenure to be extended. Shree Singh is making such personal allegations to ensure that honest officers are not posted to sensitive offices inquiring into the business dealings of Mr.Singh’s cronies. In June 2009 Smt Sunita Kejriwal was also appointed as the Central Public Information Officer for RTI disclosure of the SFIO,” the release said.

 

Here are the questions raised by Digvijay Singh, Congress spokesperson and replies given by IAC...

 

IAC HQ denies that Arvind has violated provisions of All India Service Rules as alleged by Sh. Digvijaya Singh. Arvind has repeatedly applied under provisions of

 

* The All India Services (Leave) Rules, 1955

* The All India Services (Study Leave) Regulations, 1960

* The All India Services (Joint Cadre) Rules, 1972, etc.

 

When his applications were malafidely not disposed of in time, Arvind followed the dictates of his conscience in the larger public interest.

 

Q1: Is it a fact that in your entire service of 20 years in Indian Revenue Service, you never served outside Delhi, even though the norms of the service are that all IRS officers  serve a posting only for 3 years in a place‘?

 

A: The facts, reasons and reasons for Arvind not being transferred out of Delhi are very well known to the prime minister and the finance minister. Everything which Arvind has ‘contributed’ during his posting at Delhi was ‘shared’ with his senior officers under the finance ministry and certainly up to the level of finance ministers. Posting within Delhi is not unique to Arvind. Arvind has information of at least 376 other such instances where IRS officers have been posted continuously at New Delhi for more than 10 years. Due to the severe shortage of honest and competent officers with technical skills, Arvind’s tenure/postings were repeatedly extended wherever he was posted, approvals followed in due course. Just recently the Income Tax department has again written to the DoPT stressing there is a severe shortage of qualified officers extending to 21,000 vacancies. Sh. Digvijaya Singh may kindly provide, in his next letter to Arvind, all postings of Sh. Singh’s good friend Sh. Pulok Chatterji, IAS during past 25 years, including his deputation to serve private NGOs closely associated with Hon’ble Chairperson NAC.

 

Q2: Is it a fact that even your wife, who also is an Indian Revenue Service officer, has never served outside Delhi?

 

A: Same as above. Smt. Sunita Kejriwal is an honest and competent officer deputed in sensitive postings like the Serious Frauds Investigation Office under the ministry of corporate affairs. Due to her qualities the SFIO had on its own repeatedly requested her tenure to be extended. Sh .Singh is making such personal allegations to ensure that honest officers are not posted to sensitive offices inquiring into the business dealings of Mr Singh’s cronies. In June 2009 Smt. Sunita Kejriwal was also appointed as the Central Public Information Officer for RTI disclosure of the Serious Frauds Investigation Office. As a consequence of discharging her designated functions in an open and transparent manner, Smt. Sunita Kejriwal was ‘selected’ to go for advanced training in Public Administration at IIPA Delhi in 2011-12 vide DoPT’s letter no. 12103/01/2011-Trg dated 27.May.2011

 

Q3: Is it a fact that any serving officer who goes on a study leave for two years with full pay, has to submit a full report of his study to GOI?

 

A: In terms of Regulation 3 of the “The All India Services (Study Leave) Regulations, 1960” such full report is to be submitted in only in the situations covered u/r 3(1)(ii) and 3(1)(iii) therein. This does not encompass Arvind’s study leaves. Sh. Singh may kindly refer to DoPT’s letter AIS-III dt.9.8.1994 to broaden his knowledge.

 

Q4: Is it a fact that you didn’t submit a full report, but only an interim report to G0I with a promise to submit a full report later, which you never did?

 

A: Please see answer to previous question and the concerned letter of DoPT.

 

Q5: lsn’t it a fact that the Service Rules provide that an officer who goes on a study leave has to compulsorily serve GOI for 3 years?

 

A: Sh. Digvijaya Singh is advised to again read the aforesaid Service Rules and DoPT’s clarifications. The said Rule provides that an applicant for study leave who has previously had long term training abroad must serve the State for at least 2-3 years before the leave is sanctioned.

 

Q6: Is it a fact that you went on an unsanctioned leave, without permission, after serving for only one and a half year, post the study leave?

 

A: All the facts and circumstances concerning this are in the records of the PMO and the finance ministry, including the letters of recommendation sent by Hon’ble Chairperson of NAC and Smt Aruna Roy member NAC etc.

 

Q7: Is it a fact that you were transferred to Chandigarh once, but you never joined?

 

A: All the facts and circumstances concerning this are in the records of the PMO and the finance ministry, including the letter sent by Hon’ble Chairperson NAC.

 

Q8: Is it a fact that you then sought voluntary retirement from service and even without it being approved, you absented from your office?

 

A: All the facts and circumstances concerning this are in the records of the PMO and the finance ministry, including the letters sent by Ho’'ble Chairperson NAC.

 

Q9: As a serving officer of IRS did you take permission of Gol to form your NGO?

 

A:  Arvind was not associated with any NGO while actively serving as an IRS officer. Doing this would be in violation of the service rules applicable to him.

User

COMMENTS

MG Warrier

3 years ago

Great! Moneylife is providing a forum for giving vent to each one's personal grievance against individuals also. Nothing wrong in it. But let us not totally deviate from the main issues and the 'PRESENT'. I liked the example of breaking window pane while playing cricket! As we have seen in Lok Sabha on February 18, we are going through tough times. Corrections will take place. We can reduce the time-lag, if all of us be serious about the issues we discuss.

Mohitkbansal

3 years ago

Arvin's kejriwal does not seem to be a normal aam admi who gets transfered if in govt job or have to switch on priva jobs.Arvind kejriwal claim that only he and his wife are clean and able can not be accepted by us

nagesh kini

4 years ago

It appears Shri & Smt.Kejrival + 376 others are the only 'honest and competent' VIP - Very indispensible personalities - in the civil services not to be moved out of Delhi!
Others incl. Arun Khemka and our Arun Bhatia at Pune who are shuttled about left, right and centre are not!

Do two wrongs make a right?

All those who are transferred are to be deemed to be incompetent and dishonest to be punished with frequent transferred?

Sachin M Regundwar

4 years ago

Do you expect GOD to come out and fight against corruption?? Kejriwal is no GOD, he is a human being. To err is human. I feel general public should forgive him for any small mistakes (or one may say corruption in bigger sense) done by him in the past. Tomorrow, somebody will come out in public and tell that he has broken my glass while playing cricket when he was a child of 10 years!!! Somebody will say that he was driving vehicle without holding any licence!!! All these allegations are only to distract his team from the bigger issues.

REPLY

Vipul Kaushik

In Reply to Sachin M Regundwar 3 years ago

Breaking someone's glass while playing cricket is not corruption. But the kind of charge that is pressed against Kejri is quite serious. He must have used some kind of powerful source to avoid his transfer. And by your logic, all the corruption that had taken place in the past should be forgotten and a fresh start should be made. Kejri is one man who projects himself as the synonym of honesty and if he had done any corruption in the past, he should be rebuked 10 times more than others.

Sachin M Regundwar

In Reply to Vipul Kaushik 3 years ago

Yes, I agree that he must be rebuked 10 times more for any corruption he had done in the past. But, my point is not that. What I want to tell is let us accept him. Let us allow somebody who want to do something good for our country to do so. Yes, he may be corrupt also, who knows?? But, he is a human being. I don't think anybody living in India is very crystal clear. At some point of time, everybody has to pay some bribe (i will call it a kind of corruption only), it may be small only. Like, giving money to get vehicle license, to get passport in fast track, to get ration card or aadhar card. Sometimes, people just do this to save their time. But, that doesn't mean that he favors corruption.
Finally, I would like to say that he is far better that other Leaders in our country whose hands are so dirty in corruption that I feel shame to vote for them. At least Kejriwal has given us other option.

SL Narula

4 years ago

I have very much liked the report about Kejriwal's answers questions of Diggy. Please continue giving such reports. You are doing very good work for removal of corruption in the country.

MK Gupta

4 years ago

Whatever Kejriwal may now say, it requires very high contacts and networking to be able to have been retained at Delhi-I mean, the same station-right from the beginning of one's active career in the corrupt IRS. The mystery must be unravelled at any cost and it sure smacks of a extremely high level of wire pulling. Compare the case of another person-a less wellknown man though honest and no less courageous-who having been banished in 1990 to the south was never brought back to his place of domicile despite the govt rules that any officer had the right to get his choice place of posting two years before retirement. This officer had no uncles or friends anywhere in the bureaucracy or political echelon, though his name is indeed associated with some of the most high voltage investigations. Controversial for his courage, he was certainly no blue eyed baby of the CBDT or anyone higher above. Kejriwals'uninterrupted stay in Delhi and the reluctance of the CBDT to pursue the disciplinary proceedings against him, despite one Member (P)'s insistence, would remain a mystery as none in the CBDT had the courage to annoy this person. Would the govt now initiate an inquiry?

REPLY

SL Narula

In Reply to MK Gupta 4 years ago

You have raised this issue but I am wondering why the Govt with all the powers it has, has not ordered any enquiry on the long tenure of Kejriwal at Delhi. And in spite of this why such questions have to be raised by Diggy when all information is available with the Govt. What is the motive of Diggy?

MK Gupta

In Reply to SL Narula 4 years ago

Yes, very correct. A High-Level investigation is certainly called for UNLESS the MoF (CBDT/Ad.VI) bis afraid of the skeletons jumping out of its cvupboards! It certainly is a mysytery as to why theb then CBDT was al;l eager to protect this person.

Pradeep R Hattangadi

4 years ago

Instead of saying all facts and circumstances are in the records of PMO and Finance Ministry does not give clarity. If the contents of those relevant records are explained with references, the public would have have a different opinion on the matter than what it seems right now.

REPLY

nagesh kini

In Reply to Pradeep R Hattangadi 4 years ago

The so-called records of the PMO seems to be harbouring a hell of a lot of explosive stuff in addition to Kejrivals - once thrown open a lot of skeletons are sure to emerge. So Arvind is safe to pursue his Aam Admi Party - why not Aam Aurat? Has his Shrimatiji, the other 'honest and competent' not to be transferred out civil servant agreed to keep the females of the species out?

Vaidya Dattatraya Vasudeo

4 years ago

This seems to a dialogue between IAC and Digvijaysing. The replies like ' All the facts and circumstances concerning this are in the records of the PMO and the finance ministry, including the letters sent by Ho’'ble Chairperson NAC. ' does not help common people to know what it is and if it supports the morality of IAC members. It is necessary to give all these details to the public, instead each individual seeking this info under RTI from PMO. Will the IAC take note of it. And it also needs to be properly published in the media.

REPLY

Subhojit Dhar

In Reply to Vaidya Dattatraya Vasudeo 3 years ago

Common people are only allowed to know what this khaas aam aadmi wants them to know.

Nem Chandra Singhal

4 years ago

Instead of asking funny questions from Kejriwal, one may ask these questions from any Govt. servants. The answers will be the same. Many Govt. servants are closely connected with their powerful bosses, and beg all favour in the power of corridors. It is not a secret. Transfers are used both for enjoyment & punishment.
Nem Chandra Singhal

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