Bulls Too Tired To Run
What a difference a year makes! After hitting a peak of 30,000 in March 2015, the Sensex has staged a steady decline, and is now down by over 22%. From the beginning of this year itself, the Sensex is down nearly 12%. The reason is that bad news has come in droves. It started with demand notices by the Indian tax authorities on foreign institutional investors, followed by the Greek crisis, China’s economic woes, continued crash in crude oil prices, and the US Fed raising interest rates. As we had highlighted in our earlier Cover Stories, the bull market was driven by euphoria. Investors expected that earnings growth would revive with the policies of the new government which would justify the high valuations. This has not happened. With valuations now cooling off, it is worth looking at only a few sectors for potential winners.
With the Bank Nifty down by over 25% over the past year, most investors would be wondering if it is a good time to invest in banking stocks. R Balakrishnan goes deeper into the issue by working out the valuation of banking stocks. Checkout his views on page 22.
While prime minister Narendra Modi is enthusiastically promoting the MakeInIndia campaign, there are several issues on the ground that need to be cleared up first. Infrastructure, especially roads, is one such area. Sucheta, in her Different Strokes column, writes that there is an urgent need to revamp the National Highways Authority of India. She lists the multifarious problems NHAI is faced with. Unless the government addresses these, rapid road building will remain a pipedream. 
On 5th March, Moneylife Foundation is headed to Pune to celebrate International Women’s Day. We will have with us Sindhutai Sapkal, an amazing social activist known for taking orphan children in her care. She will deliver the keynote address. The presentation of the Majhi Maitrin’s awards for women achievers will take place during the event. The details of the programme are given on page 9. Those who are in Mumbai, and interested in stocks, do not miss Moneylife Smart Savers Investor Club’s 2nd programme. Details on page 47.


Supreme Court asks RBI to submit list of big defaulters
RBI has been asked by the apex court to submit list of big defaulters or whose loans have been restructured under the CDR scheme
The Supreme court on Wednesday asked the Reserve Bank of India to furnish a list of the companies which are in default of loans in excess of Rs500 crore or whose loans have been restructured under corporate debts restructuring (CDR) scheme by banks and financial institutions.
While asking the RBI to file an affidavit, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice GS Thakur directed that the list be furnished to it in a sealed cover that would include details of defaults of over past five years. The Court said this as one of the counsels told the court about commercial confidentiality of the companies.
During FY2013 to FY2015, 29 public sector banks (PSBs) wrote off a total of Rs1.14 lakh crore of bad debts. RBI had disclosed in a reply under Right to Information (RTI) Act that the bad debts shot up over three times to Rs52,542 crore as on March 2015 from Rs15,551 crore on March 2012. State Bank of Saurashtra and State Bank of Indore have shown zero bad debts over the past five years.
The Court order came in the course of the hearing of a public interest litigation pointing to loans given by Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) in 2003 to some of the companies with questionable track records.
According to a newspaper report, during 2004 to 2012, the bad debt of PSBs grew at 4%, which rose to about 60% during FY2013 to FY2015. The bad debts written off in the financial year ending March 2015 make up 85% of such loans since 2013, the report says.
Earlier in December 2015, the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement, has told the RBI that the banking regulator cannot withhold information citing 'fiduciary relations' under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Hearing a set of transferred cases, a Division Bench of Justice MY Eqbal and Justice C Nagappan said, "From the past we have also come across financial institutions which have tried to defraud the public. These acts are neither in the best interests of the Country nor in the interests of citizens. To our surprise, the RBI as a Watch Dog should have been more dedicated towards disclosing information to the general public under the Right to Information Act. We also understand that the RBI cannot be put in a fix, by making it accountable to every action taken by it. However, in the instant case the RBI is accountable and as such it has to provide information to the information seekers under Section 10(1) of the RTI Act."
In most of the transferred cases, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, while directing the RBI to provide information sought by applicants, has rejected the central bank's contention of 'fiduciary relation' for denying information.



MG Warrier

8 months ago

Where public funds including bank deposits get stuck in bad loans, not only judiciary and regulators, the owners of the resources have a right to know where and why things are going wrong. Here, if legal constraints emanating from bank-customer relationship come in the way, it is time to think in terms of removing legal hurdles through appropriate legislation.

R Balakrishnan

8 months ago

Banks print names and photos of small loan defaulters. Defaulter information should be pubic data. What about the bulk who are defaulters below Rs.500 cr?


Vivek Naik

In Reply to R Balakrishnan 8 months ago

absolutely correct :)

Pulse Beat

Medical Monopoly for Sickness-care?

I wonder what would happen if there were a legal monopoly on only one system of medicine to take care of the sick people? While formulating the American Constitution, one of the members had strongly argued against letting any one system taking over the medical-care in that country. Though it was accepted, the clause was not included in the preamble. I do not think the Indian Constitution has such a clause in its preamble. Freedom to choose what one wants when one is not well should be the patient’s choice. One should not forget that it is the faith in the doctor, and the system, that cures the patient much more than the drugs given or surgery done, although the latter are also important.

Psychiatry under the Influence 

Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform is a book by Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove. It is an investigation into the corrupting influence of pharmaceutical money and guild interests on the behaviour of the APA (American Psychological Association) and academic psychiatry, for the past 35 years, and the resulting social injury. This is a book worth reading by the common man also, as it contains some home truths about what we doctors do.


Diabetics and Smelling Problems?

In the studies on rats, scientists have seen specific nerve changes inside the nose that might make their smell capacity get impaired. Did we not know why some Type-II diabetics have smell impairment? Let us not jump to conclusions and try and give treatment for this as rat studies are seriously questioned especially with regard to extrapolating them to humans. 

Choice of Hospital for Surgery

A major study showed that surgical mortality was very much related to good nursing care. Although the surgeon might be good, the outcomes eventually depend on good nursing care. So it becomes necessary to look for a hospital where nursing care is of the highest quality. Choosing the hospital might turn out to be as important as selecting the surgeon to operate on you—if it is elective surgery. Of course, in an emergency, one has no chance to do that.

Zika Virus Threat

World Health Organization is getting a new team of experts to study the Zika virus threat in detail. However, this is what some known experts like Dr Anne Schuchat have already said: “We don’t yet know what other outcomes might be associated with Zika infection during pregnancy, and there may be other factors in addition to Zika infection that might have increased risk to the foetus.” Further, she said: “More lab testing and other studies are in progress to learn more about the [...] risks of Zika virus infections during pregnancy.” She stressed that it is important for people to remember that the situation is changing rapidly and, as new information concerning the virus comes to light, health organisations may need to update their advice. At this stage, in a relatively new health threat, information evolves quickly. Zika virus is a mosquito-borne mild infection and does not produce any serious disease or death. The big fuss is about its effect on pregnant mothers’ foetus about which there is much speculation. 


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