“It’s only acting in bad faith”, Mint, 26 March, seems to be a view “sponsored” by the Vatican (to bad-mouth the BJP-led state governments), which misconstrues freedom to practise religion in India as freedom to convert Hindus to Christians. Christian missionaries lure poor, women, illiterate and tribal Hindus with money to convert them—even Gandhiji spoke of “Rice-Christians”. We dare Mint to be objective, fearless, fair, impartial and protest about “the problems of escaping the exploitative rigidities of orthodox Islam” also with the same fervour; while the BJP uses only democratic means such as legislation to protect Hindus from conversion, Islam guarantees death for apostasy.
- Ashok Gupta
Mumbai was carved out of Gujarat on the reorganization of states on administrative considerations. Over the years, this mega city has affirmed its position as the financial capital of the country. The contributions of lakhs of Gujaratis, Kannadigas, Malayalis, Tamils, Biharis, etc., in building the city are matchless. To refurbish this metro on the lines of Singapore and Hong Kong, the first step is to declare it into a full-fledged Union territory under direct Central administration. This will also bring the mega city out of the clutches of the Shiv Sena and its offshoot, the Maharashtra Nava Nirman Sena, whose one-point agenda is to target and trouble the non-Marathi-speaking people, thereby causing untold miseries to millions of Mumbaikars and damaging properties worth crores of rupees. If Mumbai continues to be in Maharashtra, it will soon lose its fascination not only for most Indians, but also foreign companies.
- B.N. Bharath
Re “One crisis, many reasons” by Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Mint, 26 March— in this case, the entire crisis is reduced to just two factors: lending to those who didn’t qualify and highly leveraged investments in structured mortgage products, which led to distress sale of assets. Neither can this be a case for fresh regulation since these activities ought to be governed by existing regulations, nor can this be a reason to question financial innovation. While the first factor is clearly an instance of operational risk,?the second,?too, is quite similar as it would need board approvals.?What brought?the?house?down?was not?some?complex structure, but simple overextending. The panic is because the financial services sector crisis is considered to run a contagion risk. The debate should be on the form and instruments of regulation, but that’s applicable to all sectors, not just financial. People would find it worthwhile to read what Henry Kaufman said about derivatives in his book On Money and Markets.
- T.J. Ravishankar
I refer to “Agencies cash in on rush for rating of loan exposures”, Mint, 21?March. While it may be true that public sector banks (PSBs) have lent to a good number of companies enjoying high ratings, a majority of the borrowing companies have a poor track record. To camouflage this, banks have the habit of appraising proposals on the basis of assumptions of future growth and profitability, ignoring past performance. When the asset becomes non-performing, either they green it with fresh loans (call it “rehabilitation or revival”) or write them off. The credit assessment skills of PSB officials, to say the least, are quite poor. Further, as the ratings are paid for by the companies, rating agencies can’t afford to offend them. With multiple rating agencies functioning, firms can always switch. That the banks depend on rating agencies is an admission of lack of their own credit appraisal skills.
- K.V. Rao