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Business Tit-Bits

The flash point of the political meddling in institutions

Akhilesh Bhargava

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It is the political and bureaucratic interference in the functioning of all institutions, that has been primarily responsible for their decimation and downfall in India. If Air India has been a victim of such corrupt interference, so have been the public sector banks, which have lost their capital, by giving loans to the most unworthy and undeserving borrowers, at the behest of politicians. Such political meddling has also been a regular feature in India’s top criminal investigation agencies like the CBI, (whose dirty linen is now being washed in full public view), but in recent times it has also encroached upon the domain of the likes of ED, SFIO and the ITD. Mr. Akhilesh Bhargava, Business Editor of HW Business and Finance shares his insights on the matter.

Business Tit-Bits

The Burden of Infrastructure NPAs

Akhilesh Bhargava

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As the country is the midst of an NPA crisis, we find that resolution are hard to come by. The only resolutions are from the Steel and Metal sector. The sector which forms the crux of the NPA crisis in India is the Infrastructure sector which accounts for roughly 25% of total NPAs. Infact, so serious are the NPAs in this sector that 1/4th of loans given turn bad and total around 2.5 lakh crore Rs. Loans given in the period 2009 to 2012 were found to be the worst. Infrastructure loans include loans given for construction of roads, bridges, highways, ports and power sector loans. Corruption, government not living up to its end of the deal and banks rushing to give loans without going through boanfides of the firm are the main reasons. The infrastructure sector bad loan problem has turned into a chronic one and no resolution worth talking about has taken place.

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Business Tit-Bits

The Diamond Cheats

Akhilesh Bhargava

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We take a look into the glamorous diamond industry in India, said to be the largest in the world. Being a very close-knit one in terms of belonging to a particular community and often only within family members, the scope for manipulation becomes easy. The diamond industry has become tainted with bogus exports, money laundering practices, massive NPAs, round-tripping of money etc. Names such as Jatin Mehta, Mehul Chokshi and Nirav Modi have become synonymous with the industry and hence banks are now restricting their exposure to the sector and implementing tougher conditions for lending money to the beleaguered diamond traders.

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Business Tit-Bits

Why Mr. Jaitley should stop the reckless tax prosecution?

Akhilesh Bhargava

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As many industry and tax associations approach the Revenue Secretary for help to prevent income tax authorities from unfairly harrasing and prosecuting them for minor discrepencies, we ask Mr. Arun Jaitley why is this being done. This culture of “prosecution raj” is hurting small and big businesses alike and is sending the wrong message to India Inc. Giving arbitary powers and setting not only revenue, but also prosecution targets for income tax officers is unfair and businessman are bearing the brunt of this. In addition to penalty and interest, other prosecution punishment is being handed down for the most minor of offences which is leaving a bad taste in the mouth of industry at large.

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