The Real Simple column, “Laundry service”, Mint, 24 September, was informative. It was enlightening to know why it’s important for banks to be cautious while opening new accounts. From my own experience, however, I must say that some public sector banks go to the extent of harassing customers in the name of know your customer norms. When I approached one particular bank for opening an account merely because car-loan financiers insist on an account with a public bank, I had to literally run from one branch to another, producing a huge number of documents. If possible, these grey shades of banking should also be written about. If you could think of covering issues such as retail loans, credit cards, etc., it will go a long way in helping readers.
In the article, “Rocks in sea”, Mint, 26 September, it is ironic that the goof-up by the government in filing an affidavit before the Supreme Court has benefited both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). While the Congress is busy sorting out the confusion over ministerial accountability and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been made the scapegoat, the BJP and the DMK have had the last laugh. It is safe to presume that the affidavit filed by the ASI would have been shown to officials in the department of shipping.
It would have suited the minister, T.R. Baalu, to overlook, if not connive at, the objectionable portions in the affidavit because the DMK has thrived on its anti-north theme of Aryan domination. By referring to Rama’s bridge as a figment of the imagination, the DMK is reinforcing its well-known stand that the Ramayana is a story of the Aryans.
To the BJP, which has been languishing on the sidelines, the affidavit comes as a gift from God. It has been conveniently forgotten that the alignment was sanctioned by the National Democratic Alliance. It is naïve to assume the engineers at that time were unaware of Rama’s bridge. If any alternative alignment was possible, the engineers would certainly have suggested it.
The BJP seems to have sanctioned the proposal to find favour with Tamil Nadu’s regional parties.
The temporary stay order issued by the apex court comes in handy for Baalu. The project is already behind schedule by one year. The foreign dredging companies quoted exorbitant rates far above the estimated cost and their bids were naturally rejected. It was left to the Dredging Corp. of India (DCI) to handle a major portion of the project. DCI, which does not have adequate dredgers, had chartered these foreign dredgers which developed snags during the course of the operation and had to be withdrawn. While Indian firms have offered to undertake dredging in the rocky areas, the ministry has been dithering over this matter.
Against this background, it is surprising the minister is hopeful of completing the project by next year, if the Supreme Court vacates the stay order.
This is in response to “Credit jitters are not over” by Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Mint, 26 September.
The rising deposits with banks and slowing credit offtake is increasing the cost of banks. As a result, banks are looking out to giving more credit. In addition, the market is flooded with liquidity.
The banks can use this money for giving credit. So, in the near future, there appears to be less of a chance of banks hiking loan rates. Also, any hike in bank credit rates will only come with a further hike in the cash reserve ratio by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to curtail excess liquidity in the market.
But slowing economic growth and inflation at almost near 3% may not support this act of RBI.
—Anjali S. Raulgaonkar