It seems the mobile number portability (MNP) process and fee will be so unreasonable that a sane subscriber would not be willing to switch the service provider. In a country where average recharge is less than Rs50, we cannot expect subscribers to pay in excess of Rs200 to change service providers. Moreover, the change would take three-seven days—which itself is a hindrance, and it remains to be seen whether MNP turns out to be the game changer it was touted as earlier. Moreover, apart from spectrum advantage, the service level of almost all subscribers is hardly differentiated in India. Telecom is based more on brand communication and inertia-based subscriber loyalty, which would not change much in the near future.
— Yugal Joshi
This refers to the Quick Edit, “Capital reason to exit banks” (Mint, 23 July). In order to comply with Basel II norms, Indian banks need to meet capital adequacy criteria to safeguard the interest of deposit holders, and also to enable the lending of money to borrowers. In this connection, I would like to make a reference to the government’s intention to go ahead with the pumping of funds into public sector units (PSUs) such as Air India to the tune of Rs15,000 crore. It is not known whether the infusion of funds into these PSUs is linked to productivity and accountability. The same funds, if deployed in banks, carry with them an automatic commitment to safeguard the interest of deposit holders.
Capital infusion into banks is very much required but, at the same time, the need to contain the fiscal deficit cannot be ignored. Else, the widening deficit will reach alarming proportions—and become very difficult at a later stage to control. And unless there is buoyancy in tax collections, given the recessionary conditions still haunting the country’s economic development, it will be difficult to achieve the targets.
— K.N.V.S. Subrahmanyam
The Indian and Pakistani prime ministers met in the Egyptian town of Sharm-el-Sheikh this month—a meet which was billed as an occasion when India would read the riot act to Pakistan, following the latter’s failure to prosecute terror perpetrators and take action against the executioners of the 26/11 attack. Yet, the outcome has been disappointing.
Diplomacy and foreign policy are driven by the twin principles of pragmatism and national interest. A third variable may be trust based on the bedrock of evidence. At the moment, India’s policy towards Pakistan seems to fly in the face of all three principles. The 2006 Havana round of talks were preceded by the train bombings of 7/11 in Mumbai. The Prime Minister then talked tough, albeit on Indian soil or on board his aircraft, only to capitulate in Havana while setting up the contentious joint terror mechanism—which itself was given a decent burial after Pakistan used it as a bargaining chip against India. We initiated numerous “people-to-people” contacts through rail and bus links, only to be betrayed by Pakistan with 26/11.
The Prime Minister then solemnly held that talks with Pakistan will not resume till the terror infrastructure is removed from Pakistan and till the Pakistani establishment ends support, covert and overt, to terror groups. Months have lapsed since a dossier indicting suspects has been handed over to our neighbour, only to see it indulge in doublespeak and the most vile sleight of hand. The question that arises to most minds is: Why, after repeated betrayals by Pakistan, does our Prime Minister offer a hand of friendship? What material benefit has India got from this unnecessary kid-glove approach to our neighbour? And, more importantly, where does the Prime Minister see Indo-Pak relations in the coming five years, given the Pakistani track record of the past five?
— Karan Thakur