Nation
Devendra Fadnavis to stake claim as Maharashtra's new CM

After days of rhetoric and u-turns, Devendra Fadnavis set to become new Maharashtra CM

 

Devendra Fadnavis was elected the leader of the BJP's legislative party by the party's MLAs at a meeting of the party's newly elected MLAs and senior leaders in Mumbai.

 

Rajnath Singh as Central Observer of the BJP, party general secretary (state in-charge) JP Nadda, state poll in-charge OP Mathur and former state in-charge Rajeev Pratap Rudy attended the meeting of the party’s newly elected MLAs to select the CM candidate.

 

Fadnavis was widely tipped to be the leader of choice in Maharashtra, however, there had been conflicting reports of Nitin Gadkari and Eknath Khadse both lobbying for the post with both of them putting up a show of strength and support from MLAs.

 

Eventually, Gadkari and Khadse both backed off, after discussions in Nagpur and among the BJP central leadership. Rajiv Pratap Rudy told the media that the MLAs had unanimously elected Fadnavis as their leader.

 

The BJP legislators led by Fadnavis are expected to visit the Governor soon and stake claim to form the government.

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Softbank invests $627 million in Snapdeal and $210 million in Olacabs

Japanese technology major Softbank's latest cash infusion into two hotly contested fields makes the competition even harder for the incumbents

 

Softbank Internet and Media Co has announced that it is buying stake worth $627 million in the e-commerce company Snapdeal. Just when India's e-commerce market could not have got any tougher, Snapdeal has added considerable muscle to its operations in India.


This is not a new space for Softbank, it reportedly already owns 34% in the Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba. With this investment, ex-Google honcho and current Softbank VP Nikesh Arora will be the latest addition to the Snapdeal board.


Other than Snapdeal, Softbank is reportedly leading a $210 million investment round in Ola Cabs. The Mumbai based cab aggregator has been facing stiff competition from other newer operators and lately from the likes of Uber.


Masayohi Son, Chairman of Softbank Corp. said, “Since SoftBank’s foundation, our mission has been to contribute to people’s lives through the Information Revolution. We believe India is at a turning point in its development and have confidence that India will grow strongly over the next decade. As part of this belief, we intend to deploy significant capital in India over the next few years to support development of the market.”


Other than these two investments, Softbank Chairman Son also met the PM and other senior Ministers today. He has committed to invest $10 billion in India over the next few years.


SoftBank already has made investments in many Indian companies such as InMobi and Bharti Group-promoted instant messaging platform Hike. With a market cap of $ 92 billion, SoftBank is one of the biggest telecom and internet corporations of Japan with operations in broadband, fixed line telecom, e-Commerce, finance, media and marketing.

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Economy & Nation Exclusive
Eight PSBs to remain headless till January?

Government's decision to scrap the selection of eight persons for the post of chairman and managing director (CMD) will mean another three-month delay in new appointments

 

The government’s decision to scrap the panel of  nine probable names for the post of chairman and managing director (CMD) of public sector banks will mean that these banks will remain headless at least until the end of January, say senior bankers. The process of calling for fresh applications, interviewing and selecting candidates, followed by the central vigilance clearance takes at least three months if not more.

Does this mean that the mountain of bad loans of public sector banks (PSBs) are not really a concern for Modi Sarkar? Well, the callousness of the government’s actions certainly indicate that.  While the government has all banks engaged in rolling out the hastily crafted Jan Dhan Yojana programme for opening new bank accounts, it has been dragging its feet on the important issue of appointments.

The shoddiest action has been in the case of Punjab National Bank, whose chairman Mr K R Kamat, completed his 5-year term yesterday, on 27th October. Mr Kamath, who has also headed the Indian Banks Association, has another 13 months to superannuation. It was widely expected that he would be granted a short extension, in view of the fact that PNB would have become the third large bank to turn headless. However, that was not to be. Mr Kamath went home yesterday without so much as a farewell and unsure what happens next. At the end of the day, the Finance Ministry issued a release scrapping the panel of nine and saying that “eight posts of CMDs and fourteen posts of EDs would require to be filled-up de novo”.

PNB received a letter from the finance ministry only this morning asking the three Executive Directors to hold charge until a new chairman is appointed.  

But that is not the end to the uncertainty and turmoil at banks. It is reliably learnt that the government plans to announce the split in the post of chairman and managing director sometime next month. There is also talk that the Prime Minister will address PSBs chiefs next month. But if he does, then eight of the 20 top PSBs will  have no CMD attending the meeting and 14 Executive Directors will also be missing.

Interestingly, of the six probable names shortlisted for CMD posts earlier, only one is likely to be out of the race because of vigilance related issues. The rest would be eligible for selection again. These include the following Executive Directors – R K Goel of Central Bank, B P Sharma and A K Shrivastava of Bank of India, S K Kalra of Andhra Bank, M K Jain of Punjab and Sindh Bank, and B B Joshi of Bank of India. Given that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government came to power nearly five months ago, should one assume that none of the six met with the approval of the new dispensation at the finance ministry?

Not really, says sources, but the picture that emerges is even more worrying. Things moved at a slow crawl in the otherwise fast-paced Modi government, because of Finance Minister (FM) Arun Jaitley’s absence due to bariatric surgery. Jaitley is also holding two other heavyweight ministries.

So much so that the re-shuffle of bureaucrats at the finance ministry itself was delayed almost until Diwali and is still not complete. Splitting the post of chairman and managing director is next on the agenda and the new appointments will have to wait until that is done.

Meanwhile, although the government shows concern about corruption in banks, there is no indication as to whether the split in the CMD’s post will be accompanied by more accountability and responsibility on the part of the Managing Directors. Moneylife has repeatedly pointed out the deliberate loophole in rules, that allows CMDs of banks, who are responsible for dubious lending decisions to escape responsibility without stringent action. We had pointed out how Archana Bhargava of United Bank of India was allowed to step down on health grounds in February this year, despite a damning investigation against her by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

This happened even before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) caught Syndicate Bank chairman S K Jain in a bribery case. If corruption is really a concern, then accountability and personal liability being attached to the heads of banks is as important as selecting the right person for the job. As things stand, the government’s move to split the post of CMD has only unleashed high-powered lobbying for the non-executive chairman’s post. Those who aspire for these jobs include retired bankers, bureaucrats and people who are close to the ruling government.  

At a time when the All India Bank Depositors Association estimates willful defaults at over Rs70,000 crore and gross non-performing assets (NPAs) and bad loans of public sector banks stood at Rs 1.64 lakh crore at the end of March 2013, one gets more than jerky, sporadic actions from a government that promised change and good governance.

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COMMENTS

Dinesh Kudva

2 years ago

It is sad that an honest and sincere CMD who has more than a year to complete superannuation is not given extension when so many banks are headless.

MG Warrier

2 years ago

I had responded to a related report in Business Standard on June 21, 2014 asunder:
"This refers to the report “FinMin mulls fixed 5-year term for PSB chiefs” (June 21). It is comforting to find that long last there is some move to ensure continuity of incumbents in top positions for a reasonably long period(now proposed as 5 years). Government should aim at a long term policy for succession plans at higher levels in government and pubic sector and guide private sector which are dependent on public funds and government support to adopt transparent norms for top level appointments.

The policy should, besides factoring in eligibility criteria and skill requirements take into account:

(i) The need to allow extended periods beyond the present retirement age so that any appointee is able to continue at the post for a minimum of 5 years. For the purpose changes in the present retirement age may be necessary. The retirement age in India has not been revised upwards for a long time for various reasons.

(ii) To make succession smooth, empanel prospective candidates sufficiently early and allow her/him to join six weeks to six months in advance of the retirement of the person whom s/he will succeed.

(iii) Make those appointed as CMDs/CEOs and other positions like Chief Justice, CAG etc ineligible for appointment to positions eligible for remuneration for a minimum period of 2 years post-retirement. Compensating them with some allowance or pension during this period would be in order.

M G WARRIER, Mumbai"

MG Warrier

2 years ago

I had responded to a related report in Business Standard on June 21, 2014 asunder:
"This refers to the report “FinMin mulls fixed 5-year term for PSB chiefs” (June 21). It is comforting to find that long last there is some move to ensure continuity of incumbents in top positions for a reasonably long period(now proposed as 5 years). Government should aim at a long term policy for succession plans at higher levels in government and pubic sector and guide private sector which are dependent on public funds and government support to adopt transparent norms for top level appointments.

The policy should, besides factoring in eligibility criteria and skill requirements take into account:

(i) The need to allow extended periods beyond the present retirement age so that any appointee is able to continue at the post for a minimum of 5 years. For the purpose changes in the present retirement age may be necessary. The retirement age in India has not been revised upwards for a long time for various reasons.

(ii) To make succession smooth, empanel prospective candidates sufficiently early and allow her/him to join six weeks to six months in advance of the retirement of the person whom s/he will succeed.

(iii) Make those appointed as CMDs/CEOs and other positions like Chief Justice, CAG etc ineligible for appointment to positions eligible for remuneration for a minimum period of 2 years post-retirement. Compensating them with some allowance or pension during this period would be in order.

M G WARRIER, Mumbai"

Itee

2 years ago

The Finance Ministry should stop interfering in the banking industry matters and the entire power should be given to the RBI.

Itee

2 years ago

The Finance Ministry should stop interfering in the banking industry matters and the entire power should be given to the RBI.

RTV Nair

2 years ago

NPA in Banks - Name of wilful defaulters to be publicly known and sanctioning authorities to be made responsible their salary to be cut & their assets to be attached to Govt.- except for small loans given for uplifting the poor /small and marginal farmers. Total cleaning in administration ios long due. Bribery giving and taking to be made non bailable offence. Let us clean the system and have steady growth with that. Our coming generation should enjoy a Well disciplined Groing BHARATH

PRAKASH D N

2 years ago

It appears that for the Government, PSBs are another Govt. Department which can function even without a Head. Otherwise, how a Govt. which promises Good Governance can ignore the vacancies that come up in PSBs which are the cogs in the wheels of the economy for that past three months? After cancelling the selection of UPA Govt., whether the new Government is going to conduct another process in the same opaque way the selections are made by UPA? Earlier process also was by a panel headed by Deputy Governor of RBI. But none of the candidates will be sure about his selection until he could reach the power centres through power brokers (corporates. Whether the new Government will bring any transparency in the system? Or will it be like the promise of bringing back black money within 100 days? The people of the country is eagerly waiting the new Government's transparency standards. Let us see whether any Ache Din Will come in selection of CMDs.

D N PRAKASH

SuchindranathAiyerS

2 years ago

It is facile to imagine that PSBs ever had a head. Bharath Sarkar ki Sampathi runs while it can and as it can while those who control it steal what they can. It was Indira Gandhi who established the precedent by amending the State Bank of India Act to sack R.K.Talwar a fine gentleman, spiritualist and superlative Banker from Chairmanship of the State Bank of India because he would not make the elephant dance to the exclusive benefit of the Indira Congress and its camp followers. Sanjay Gandhi and Jardhan Poojari followed through to make the Banks compliant with political expedience rather than Banking.

SuchindranathAiyerS

2 years ago

It is facile to imagine that PSBs ever had a head. Bharath Sarkar ki Sampathi runs while it can and as it can while those who control it steal what they can. It was Indira Gandhi who established the precedent by amending the State Bank of India Act to sack R.K.Talwar a fine gentleman, spiritualist and superlative Banker from Chairmanship of the State Bank of India because he would not make the elephant dance to the exclusive benefit of the Indira Congress and its camp followers. Sanjay Gandhi and Jardhan Poojari followed through to make the Banks compliant with political expedience rather than Banking.

vaidyanathan

2 years ago

That will ensure some motivated accounts are not funded. Good riddance from NPA's

MG Warrier

2 years ago

The temptation of political bosses to leave PSUs(including Public Sector Banks and statutory organisations) ‘headless’ or filling up top positions in government and PSUs for ‘short term’ or with people who want just to improve their ‘CVs’ for the next assignment is an issue that comes up every now and then. Expected some change with the change of guard in Delhi. For the results of the inefficient handling of such issues by government at the highest level, organisations and the workforce at lower levels get the blame.
M G Warrier, Mumbai

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