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Santosh Nair

Nationalised banks fail to protect nation’s money

Santosh Nair



The government should prune its stake in state-owned banks to a considerable extent. This is as per the directive of the chief economic advisor Mr. Arvind Subramanian. This has been reiterated by Assocham, the industry lobby as also the country’s Central Bank and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Needless to say that it has the backing of various expert opinions and editorials over the years.

The twenty-one banks in which the Government has majority stakes are bundled with bad loan that currently stands at nine lac crore and could well surge ahead if the onus is not directed in shrinking the pile. Nineteen of the twenty-one banks have posted an aggregate loss of Rs16,433 crores during the October – December 2017 period. The SBI which is otherwise considered to be profitable reported a loss of Rs 2416 crore reportedly as bad debts during the third quarter.

The need to scale down equity stems from a variety of grounds namely

The higher echelons of the bank administration are focused on political compulsions and rarely on critical administrative issues. The onus is squarely on providing loans or loan waivers to the farmers including various other welfare schemes. The stooges of the ruling dispensation then share bulk of the pie leaving very little of the funds for the common man.

While it requires a herculean effort for the man on the street to expedite a home loan from a nationalized bank a business tycoon can avail of the same by a mere phone call. Nevertheless, the defaulters are few in the case of the middle class when compared to the volume of the funds which is colossal in case of the elite class.

The nationalized banks hardly have the funds for housing or educational loans and even if they do have the process is painstakingly high and complicated. This is largely due to the absence of agencies designated to collect relevant documents for submission to the banks. This could compress the time frame for the processing of the loan and also cut down the frequency of the customer’s bank visits.

The loans are disbursed only to business conglomerates that either earns the bank’s trust or the trust of its employees with dishonourable intentions!! Manpower allocation is thereby limited only to a selective few businesses. This class of men are however treated with care and reverence lest they hurt their political masters. The loans are availed repeatedly while the payback is scarce. Vijay Mallya with Rs 9000Cr, Nirav Modi Rs 11000Cr, Vikram Kothari Rs 3700Cr and a host of other names that are shielded to avoid public wrath form part of the elitist group!!!

The government has upped the ante by sanctioning 2 lac crore as recapitalization plan for PSBs. However, it is yet not known whether the funds are meant to fill the coffers of the Ambani’s or Adani’s. Nevertheless, the custodians of the PSBs – the politicians in power have access to enormous funds that is passed on to ailing businesses at a cheap rate of interest. They leverage this resource and pass on the bill to the taxpayer. Finally, the accountability lies squarely on the fragile shoulders of the heads of the PSBs while the politician walks away scot-free.

The employee promotions are seldom based on performance but lean on seniority and age. Neither are they fired for nonperformance, unlike privately run banks where the onus lies solely on the merit. While taking sensible and calculated risk augments your career growth any attempts at deceit that is detrimental to banking norms will lead to losing one’s job. In PSBs both the stick and the carrot is missing. The result is a culture where the employees’ actions are not aligned with the bottom line.


Our PM can cry himself hoarse and blame Mrs Gandhi for her error in the nationalization of banks in 1969 and creating a budget constraint for banks. This has led to the once formidable PNB to be swindled to the extent of a few thousand crores of rupees!

Santosh Nair

The corporatization of the bureaucracy

Santosh Nair




The deployment of corporate honchos in matters of state administration is an interesting development. While a think tank is potentially and essentially a prerequisite in decrepit areas of functioning, the government could also be in the docks for its inept choice as well.

Rajiv Gandhi may be merited with the pioneering of this trend with the induction of Sam Pitroda & Arun Nehru from the higher echelons of the corporate bandwagon. While the latter could hardly be credited with any substantial achievement, the former did make a visible impact in the area of telecom.

Nandan Nilekani, the noted corporate honcho with a phenomenal reputation in business circles has been the latest entrant into the Indian bureaucracy. Later his flirtation with the murky waters of politics that culminated with him losing the Bangalore South seat to Ananth Kumar in the 2014 election unsettled his spirits.

Mr. Nilekani though is made of sterner stuff and could well carry off his assignment with aplomb. Having raised an enterprise from very modest beginnings to such dizzy heights, he had gathered enough of the proverbial moss to keep him in good stead for yet another innings of life.

While the administration is a common function, the methods and the mindsets in business and the bureaucracy may differ immensely. In a corporation the primary objectives and goals are crystal clear and the action plan is dictated by the bottom line on the balance sheet.  The pull is unidirectional across the organization as the goals at all functions are in tune with the organizational goals.

In the government, there are multiple goals, one to back the political rhetoric and the others for the politician’s gains. Many of them are at crossroads and hence the bureaucrat could encounter pulls from opposite directions. This could result in a serious impediment to growth and development.

The skill lies in being able to meet the nobler of the goals without upsetting the political applecart. The men at the helm need to be prudent enough to maintain the balance in a subtle manner. This makes the bureaucrat’s job more exacting albeit detrimental to uninterrupted growth.

The corporate head has the tacit support of a trained work force that has the competence to shape his perception into reality. The person in the bureaucracy will have to subordinate to the wishes of the Union and wait patiently for the files to move as directed by it’s diktat.

The CEO reports to the board and takes orders that are more often than not, in alignment with the objectives of the organization. The minister’s diktat is usually in stark contrast to his predecessor and in line with the party ideology, the objective could also be invariably to seek vengeance.

It requires persuasive skills of a very high order for the bureaucrat to put a complacent, secure and hence lethargic work force in action and then manage to prevail upon the illiterate minister, his lord and master, to go slow on transfers.

The stature of a corporate head is fiercely protected by the board and any controversy arising due to discord within itself is never put to public scrutiny unless when one is compelled to seek legal recourse. The ICICI board is a glaring example for offering utmost protection to its CEO till the time it was poised within the legal ambit.

The bureaucrat is reprimanded most mercilessly for noncompliance to the minister’s whims and fancies and humiliated in public via the media or the fourth estate.

Restraint is the mantra in bureaucratic circles!!!

While resources are in abundance in most of the cases, the skill set that keeps you in the reckoning are very different. To head a government controlled function is undoubtedly an arduous task.

Your survival entirely rests on your ability to maintain the fine balance between prudence and indulgence. The skill sets are at variance here and hence men who keep the politicians in good humour are more preferred!! The 10% engagement of select men and women at a high position is aimed at those who do not speak the language of dissent.

A conspicuous example is the endorsement of judges to the bench of the apex court which is still under serious preview!! This despite the collegium already making its preference loud and clear!!


A mandate is not easy to come by and when it does the political establishment plays hard to get its pound of flesh in every conceivable way possible!!!



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Santosh Nair

Political One-Upmanship

Santosh Nair




The political war has spilt into your drawing rooms and will probably spill into the streets next. The social media is abuzz with rumours and videos that has gone viral. The bone of contention being the political community whose names and images are being tarnished inexorably. While the PM is referred to as feku with a vengeance, it could be PM is Pappu, the inarticulate and dim-witted!!

Politics in India is undergoing a new low and could potentially herald in an era of bitterness and contempt. With virtual means of communication easily accessible, the spread of hate could just be a few buttons away!! This could be even more vicious if the political establishment runs an army that indulges in firing a salvo of words at whomsoever using the language of dissent!!

The head of IT cell manning the social media enjoys all-encompassing powers to unleash its diktat on the gullible masses in the form of half-baked untruths. The lies are spread in a clandestine manner with its origins untraceable!!

Sample the following:

  1. The developments, ushered in by the ruling dispensation, as perceived by an undisclosed section of people is collated and circulated for enhancing the penetration among the masses. The authenticity of the information is never verified neither is the source!!
  2. Disinformation pertaining to individual traits like integrity, intelligence, uprightness and honour are blatantly published in fine print without indicating the source!!
  3. The social media with the tacit support of the fourth estate is propagating a serious religious and casteist divide that could have huge ramifications on the social fabric of the nation.

Unfortunately, the above has the covert support of the educated class, albeit on the sly!! While the development agenda is taking a back-seat as of now, the religious and casteist agenda has made amazing headways!!! Leanings towards a religious ideology may not suit the demeanour or the decorum of the elitist class but the bias is unmistakable.

Bigotry is imbibed in the mindset of the less affluent or the regular voting class and they can easily be swayed in the direction which may be envisaged as heartfelt albeit undesirable. Polarisation is a low hanging fruit used extensively in contemporary times. The election mandate is more the resonance of a caste or a religion more than the will of the people.

Drawing inspiration from religious and casteist disposition will benefit only a miniscule section of the masses. No religion or caste has ever attained the enhanced quality of life through the electoral process!! Seven decades have elapsed, post-independence and still a vast majority of the Dalits and SCs are confronted by social orchestration.  Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar must be turning in his grave to learn that his doctrine of reservation is being grossly misused!!

Disinformation campaign, be it to rave about the governmental performance or spreading malice pertaining to the leaders of yore is extremely frivolous and mean!! It is entirely unfair to cast aspersions on folks who are not alive to combat or retaliate. Secondly, it is our privilege to be informed about the various programmes undertaken by the government but essentially through their own sources. Receiving information through a friend without the source being identified only raises concerns about the authenticity of the information.

A leader will only be as good as his electorate. The personality of the leadership reflects your aspiration, desires and dreams. Leaders, unlike in the past connects more to your wants than your needs. The CM of Uttar Pradesh is a classic example of how the administrative machinery works. When the focus is concentrated on religion and caste more than development you get a Yogi Adityanath – a sanyasi as your leader!! The onus will rest on building temples and propagating Hindutva while the law and order will be in utter shambles!!

It is deplorable that the percentage of voter turnout is utterly dismal. A mere 65.3% (mid-term 2014) engagement of eligible voters is, to say the least, a sign of indifference to the process of electoral politics. It reflects a sense of sheer apathy to democratic values and systems and needs to be censured with the utmost contempt.

The TINA (there is no alternative) factor is indeed demeaning to the 1.2 billion Indians!! Savvy men and women with proficiency, skill and qualification are available in abundance but are wary of the murky waters of realpolitik. In the present scenario, politics is the seat of power occupied by nefarious men with unholy designs involved in illegal activities. With 34% of the elected candidates having criminal charges against them, the holy precincts of the Parliament that had the privilege of hosting debates with the likes of Dr. Ambedkar, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jaya Prakash Narayan, must now yield to the frequent physical skirmish and verbal abuse of the so-called leaders of today!!!

Remain as the watchdog to the nation!! Choose your leaders with care!!  Exercising your franchise is your fundamental right, perform it with care!!



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Santosh Nair

Spreading hate!

Santosh Nair




A hate speech can be defined as statements that are communal, casteist and/or gender-based that could potentially invoke violence, riots and arson. India is a nation which has a long and troubled history of communal violence. In the past, it could be attributed to a communal divide among the masses that did not have the support of the leadership then. This has later metamorphosed into polarisation politics aided and abetted by the political leadership.

Hate speech does come under the purview of the law like section 295A (outraging religious feelings), section 153 (promoting enmity between groups) or section 505 (making statements conducive to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code. However, experience shows that these laws are infrequently used especially when it comes to political arrests.

The Law Commission defines hate speech as an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and the likes. Thus hate speech is any word written or spoken, signs, visible representation within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention of causing fear or alarm, or incitement to violence.

It needs to be however emphasized that the hate speeches rose by a whopping 490% during the four years of the NDA rule. There were 124 instances of VIP hate speeches by 45 politicians as compared to 21 under UPA 2. Moreover, during the UPA 2, the Congress accounted for just 14% of the hate speeches, while the rest contributed (!!) to 86% of them.  The BJP was associated with the bulk (90%) of the hate.

Shockingly only an infinitesimal amount of the cases (5%) were confronted with a reprimand or cautioned against or asked to issue a public apology. A massive group of 95% faced no consequence whatsoever. Cases were registered against only eleven of the forty-five politicians.

Suraj Pal Amu the BJP’s chief media coordinator offered a bounty for beheading actor Deepika Padukone. A video of Amu’s statement had gone viral on media – social and mainstream. Subsequently, the leader had repeatedly defended his comment in front of the television cameras. No action was supposedly taken, nevertheless, the police had driven 360 km to arrest a 19-year old Shaqib, for posting an offensive image of PM Modi!!

Leave alone reprimanding there are at least two cases of hate speeches that have paid off handsomely!!!

Yogi Adityanath, a member of Parliament from UP had in November 2015 said: “There is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and that of Hafiz Saeed”.

In September 2014 he ascribed the rise in riots in Western UP to the population growth of the minority community. “In places where there are 10 to 20% minorities, stray communal incidents take place,” he said. “When there are 20% to 35% of them serious communal riots take place and when there are more than 35%, there is no place for non-Muslims”.

Despite having six cases of hate speeches against him he was catapulted to the position of the CM of the state.

Anant Kumar Hegde was a BJP member of Parliament from Karnataka when in March 2016 he said: ”As long as we have Islam in this world, there will be no end to terrorism, if we are unable to end Islam, we won’t be able to end terrorism”.

On September 2017, he was promoted as Union minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship!!

Pratap Simha, another member of Parliament from Karnataka, has also posted hateful tweets since September last year.


Mr Simha has since been appointed as a member of the press council of India.

Mr Vinay Katiyar who completed his Rajya Sabha term just this month is a notable critic of the minorities and have been vitriolic as far as criticism of them is concerned.

“Muslims have no business being in India and should go to Pakistan or Bangladesh. The cremation ground inside the Taj will be destroyed, only our temple will exist and only the pillars around it will stand”.

Mr Katiyar is looking for greener pastures or at least another term in the Rajya Sabha!!

Mr Tathagata Roy, Governor of TN, was a passionate Modi fan who took pride in the Hindu led assault of Gujarat in 2002. He had asked for the intelligence agencies to keep a close watch on the people assembled before Yakub Memon’s corpse as many of them could be potential terrorists. The Governors, per se are the custodians of the constitution and not appointed to look after their constituencies. They are required to safeguard the constitution and not nurse their constituencies!!!

Mr Roy seems to be more inclined to further boost the sunset years of his career!!!

The rhetoric on cow protection, a subject that has gained currency under this government is being widely circulated.

“We will hang those who kill cows”. Raman Singh, CM of Chattisgarh in April 2017.

“I had promised that I will break the hands and legs of those who do not consider cows their mother and kill them” says Vikram Saini, a BJP MLA from UP.

“I will say it straight out, if you smuggle and slaughter cows, then you will be killed. The cow is our mother” Gyan Dev Ahuja, a BJP MLA from Rajasthan said in December last year.

The country’s PM who is considered an apostle of peace has displayed his share of hatred as well. “If there is a cemetery in the village there should be a crematorium as well: if there is electricity on Ramzan, it should be there on Diwali as well” Mr Modi proclaimed in February 2017.

Ahead of the Bihar elections in 2015 at a speech in Buxar in October that year, Modi said “Nitish and Lalu have conspired to take away the 5% reservation for OBCs, EBCs and Dalits and give it to the minorities. I swear I will die protecting their rights…” roared the PM.

Amit Shah, the President of the BJP sparked controversy with his acerbic comment “If by any mistake, BJP loses the election, the victory and defeat may be in Bihar but firecrackers may go off in Pakistan”.

Sanjay Patil is among the contemporary BJP politicians to engage in a disgusting rivalry with the minority community when he declared openly that a vote for BJP will usher in the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya while a vote for Congress, the Babri Masjid (sic!!). The Congress has filed a complaint with the election commission, nevertheless the outcome will be decided depending on the election results!!

Undaunted by the smear campaign of the Southern states Mr Dinesh Gundu Rao, a Congress MLA from Karnataka, declared the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath unfit to step into the state. “If he comes to Karnataka, we should throw chappals at him and make sure he is sent back,” said Mr. Rao.

The hate campaign provided extra stimulus to the otherwise reticent Rahul Gandhi as well. “If BJP comes to power, 22000 people will be killed, thundered the youthful Congress leader. Congress candidate Imran Masood said, ”If Modi tries to turn UP into Gujarat, then we will chop him into tiny pieces”.

Akbaruddin Owasi, the leader of All India Majlis – e – Ittehadul Musalmeen and then an MLA in Andhra Pradesh, takes the cake when he said in December 2012 “Remove the police for 15 minutes, we will finish off 100 crore Hindus” he had said during a speech. He spent 40 days in jail on charges of hate speech before getting bail.

It is apparent that with the involvement of the entire polity the views expressing hate becomes part of the mainstream rather than the fringe. The secular credential of the nation is endangered, peace and harmony make way for distress and discord.

Forging a religious divide is like clinging on to the low hanging fruits!! Easily achievable through crafty methods.

Building a nation requires gigantic efforts, aspiration, ambition, arduous challenges and fervent hopes to meet them!!

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