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Trouble is brewing in the financial sector in India

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rouble is brewing in the financial sector in India

Shimla- All is not well in the financial sector in India. For the past few years, the  financial sector in India has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; be it the loan given to the liquor baron Vijay Malaya; the revelation of  Nirav Modi saga; ever mounting NPA amount in the public sector banks; payment default by  Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services  (IL&FS); for weeks the RBI and the Government were at  the loggerheads- that culminated with the infelicitous resign of the Governor prior to his completion of term; or be it woes the various private sectors banks like ICICI, Bandhan Bank, Kotak  Mahindra Bank or Yes bank are facing.

All these incidents are not only disconcerting but can have a preponderant impact on the financial markets. Off late, banks stocks have been on the downslide because of the uncertainty and pessimism caused in the market by the series of such unwanted events. There have been rumors of liquidity crunch in the market for some time now, the credit growth has been bleak, impacting the investment and hence job creation. 

After the series of payment default by the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS), the Modus Operandi of non-banking financial companies in India is under serious scrutiny. The systematic risk associated with shadow banking in India might require a major relook. 

RBI has put 11 Public Sector banks under Prompt Corrective Action framework, and the majority of them are running in losses hence requiring a massive capital infusion. The problem of NPA is far from over in Public Sector Banks. 

The trouble with the private sectors banks will capitulate the demand for privatization of Public Sector banks, as these incidents have proved ownership of banks is not the root cause of the problems of Public Sector banks; moreover, these incidents proved private sector banks are not immune to troubles and changing ownership will not help much, as far as the problems of Public Sector banks are concerned. 

All this will have a bearing on India’s worldwide credit rating too, adversely affecting the investment ecosystem required for strong and stable economic growth. 

All this does not augur well for India’s development. The financial sector plays a critical role in the development of any nation. To reap the benefit of the economic potential, a robust and healthy financial sector with strong fundamental is required, along with an independent and accountable Central banker coalesced with a fair financial market regulator. 

At the moment there is a lot to cogitate for us. Our image, worldwide, has taken a dent, it needs to be restored. We cannot persist with the beleaguered financial system for too long. The financial sector is full of various risks, the key, however, is to infer the rumblings early and prepare to minimize such risks. 

We have a serious problem in our hands and we must act fast. If we don’t act in time, the problem may exacerbate further. And our Lehman Brother moment may not be far if we don’t manage these conspicuous risks. For a stable and sustainable growth, we need to put an end to these troubles brewing in the financial sector. It’s high time.

Misc News/Press Release

India’s Rank in World Press Freedom Index Drops to 140 in 2019, Report Points Out Hindutva and Nationalism Agendas

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India in world press freedom index 2019 report 2

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been released today. As a matter of huge concern in the list of 180 countries surveyed, India has dropped down to 140th position from last year’s 138.  Norway was ranked at number one.

India has been placed close to Pakistan at 142, and Bangladesh at 150.

The overall findings showed hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media

As per the Index, threats, insults and attacks are now part of the “occupational hazards” for journalists in many countries.

“In India, where critics of Hindu nationalism are branded as “anti-Indian” in online harassment campaigns, six journalists were murdered in 2018,”

the RSF said in its Index.

Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India, the report said.

As per the RSF report, at least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018. A number of doubts surround a seventh case. These murders highlighted the many dangers Indian journalists face, especially those working for non-English-language media outlets in rural areas.

“Attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019. Those who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate,”

the report said.

“The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that aggravate Hindutva followers are alarming and include calls for the journalists concerned to be murdered. The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women,”

the report noted.

Further, the RSF report said that the emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected. It also said that criminal prosecutions are meanwhile often used to gag journalists critical of the authorities, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment.

 The mere threat of such a prosecution encourages self-censorship.

Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult. Foreign reporters are barred from Kashmir and the Internet is often disconnected there,

RSF report said.

It also suggested that when not detained, Kashmiri journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence.

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Congress Releases Video, Alleges BJP’s Cash For Vote Scandal in Arunachal Busted

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Cash recovered in Arunachal Pradesh

New Delhi-Congress has alleged that desperate Bhartiya Janata Party is resorting to ‘Money Power’ in North East.

Randeep Singh Surjewala released a video and media statement alleging that Rs 1.8 Crore in stacks of hard cash was recovered in a midnight raid on the convoy of BJP’s Arunachal Pradesh, CM, Pema Khandu, Deputy CM, Chowna Mein and BJP Arunachal President, Tapir Gao.

Congress has allegedly related this cash to PM Modi’s rally in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh at 10:00 AM today. Surjewala said that raids were conducted based on the information given by workers of Youth Congress.

Congress has termed it as “cash for vote scandal.” Congress also alleged that the government was trying to hush up the matter. Though the raid was conducted at midnight, the Election Commission of India or BJP has not released any statement regarding it.

Arunachal Pradesh chief electoral officer Kaling Tayeng has confirmed the report of recovery. He said exact details regarding the identity of persons involved were not available yet.  

Congress said videos on social media have emerged where cash is being counted by police officers in the presence of Election Commission’s Expenditure Officer, Samrita Kaur Gill (IRS)(Observer Code: R26172)

Surjewala said the DC Pasighat Kinny Singh (IAS) can be heard in these videos and stacks of cash are clearly visible along. The cash was being reportedly transported in certain vehicles parked at the Siang Guest House, Pasighat.

Congress said five vehicles were searched in the presence of the complainants who belonged to the Youth Congress. The search resulted in the recovery of cash of Rs. 1.80 Crores in the denomination of Rs. 500 each, it said.  

According to the DC Pasighat& SP Pasighat, the recovery of cash was intimated to Priya Ranjan, Income Tax officer stationed at Pasighat for the elections, Congress alleged.

Was Rs 1.8 Cr of hard cash being transferred for the rally of PM Modi in Pasighat today, personally in the CM’s convoy and in the safe hands of BJP President?

asked Congress.

CM Pema Khandu denied his involvment.

It’s absolutely wrong. ‘Cash for Vote’ is rather practised by Congress party. Investigation under Election Commission will reveal all the details. We have got the info that it has been recovered from a BJP candidate’s car.

Khandu told ANI

Congress further alleged that Tapir Gao has been a habitual offender when it comes to being found with large stashes of cash. Before Manipur elections, he was stopped by Income tax department with a large amount of cash in Guwahati airport while he was coming from poll bound Manipur, Congress alleged.

Isn’t Concealing and hoarding cash during an election a “corrupt practice” and a serious violation of law under Section 123(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 and Section 171B of the IPC and is a solid ground for termination of candidature?

Congress asked.

Congress said if PM Modi knows about these stacks of cash being transferred, then an FIR should be immediately filed against PM, Narendra Modi, Arunachal CM, Prema  Khandu and BJP’s Arunachal Pradesh President, Tapir Gao.

Tapir Gao is the BJP candidate from West Arunachal and his candidature should be terminated henceforth, Congress demanded, adding that CM Pema Khandu should resign following this sensational ‘Cash for Vote’ scandal.

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Misc News/Press Release

Holding Clean Elections India’s Biggest Challenge as Misuse of Money Increases By Leaps And Bounds: EC

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Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence

New Delhi: Conducting clean elections is now one of the biggest challenges in our democracy given the prevalent abuse of money power, particularly when it manifests in the inducement of voters, the Elections Commission of India said today.

Unfortunately, the use of the money during the elections has increased by leaps and bounds in recent times. Mischief mongers are ever devising more ingenious ways to beat the system, said the EC Larger seizures have been made by our enforcement teams in successive elections.

To address this paramount problem, the Election Commission of India headed by Chief Election Commissioner  Sunil Arora along with Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra today held a meeting of Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence.  Heads of Tax Boards, Law enforcement agencies, Central Paramilitary Forces and representatives of Financial Institutions attended the meeting.

The Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora along with the Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra at Meeting of Multi-Departmental Committee on Election Intelligence, in New Delhi on March 15, 2019.

He said Commission is determined to curb this menace and has issued detailed guidelines to monitor election expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties.  He said individually and collectively the agencies participating in the meeting are the bulwarks of clean elections. The outcome of synergised action should exceed the commitments made. 

To ensure clean elections, it is vital keeping track of the legal expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties for election campaigns. More importantly, it is imperative to ensure that there is no illegal use of money and other items for buying of votes, said Election Commissioner Chandra.

Issues Discussed at Committee on Election Intelligence

  • Ways of Curbing of covert expenditure by candidates and political parties
  • Sensitisation of the law enforcement agencies about their role during elections
  • Co-operation and sharing of intelligence of economic offences amongst law enforcement agencies for effective action
  • Preparation of road map for action during the elections
  • Mapping of constituencies by concerned agencies to check transportation of smuggled goods, drugs, liquor, and cash, including fake currency, through seaports, inter-state borders and international borders and pro-active and preventive action by each law enforcement agency

The Heads of Tax Boards, Law enforcement agencies, Central Paramilitary Forces and representatives of Financial Institutions assured the Commission of prompt 24X7 expenditure monitoring and surveillance action.

The Commissions said a greater synergy amongst various enforcement agencies is needed to develop a collective strategy to fight this menace.  Therefore, the Commission expects that all enforcement agencies should have proper sharing of information for taking coordinated action rather than working in silos.

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