Editors Column

French president Emmanuel Macron’s on-going four-day visit to India is significant in more ways than one and may turn out to be a watershed moment in Indo-French ties that have only flourished over time.

If there is one institution in the country that has escaped corrosion it is the Indian Army. But the recent turn of events has caused alarm and voices of concern have highlighted the need to isolate the army from politicisation. Army chief general Bipin Rawat has often exhibited the unusual trait of venturing into territories that were avoided by his illustrious predecessors.

The NDA government’s decision to allow recasting of telecom operators’ debt worth Rs 4.62 lakh crore and enable them to repay over 16 years as against the earlier 10 years will help to improve liquidity in the sector. While accruals to the government against spectrum payments and licence fees will be much lower, it is assured of a constant revenue flow till 2034-35 from the top four players.

Telugu Desam’s insistence on special category status for Andhra Pradesh is bound to have political repercussions leading to possible severance of its links with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

The dismal history of non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party third front formations prompt the poser whether there is space for such a front on an all-India platform. Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao appears to believe that political space does exist to sew up a non-BJP and non-Congress front before the next general elections.

On the day Donald Trump was elected US president, all global markets witnessed a steep fall. The fear was, if he actually decided to fulfil the promises he had made in his election campaign it would start a trade war and that would bring in disruption to the fragile global economic recovery. Now, 16 months since then, the US president has finally started what global markets had feared.

Narendra Modi government has readied two key responses to prevent scamsters from abusing the system and getting away with economic crimes unpunished. These responses may not only act as a deterrent for those seeking to hoodwink the system but also take the sting away from opposition parties attack against the government on Rs 12,636 crore scam that came to fore in Punjab National Bank.

The government’s two-week deadline to state-run banks to identify risks to fraud is at best a knee jerk reaction to the recent cases involving the Punjab National Bank and others. Loan portfolios of Rs 50 crore and above would be huge in several banks and state-run banks do not have the wherewithal to collate the information relating to borrowers in this category.

The role of auditors – both domestic and foreign –in banking and corporate deals has come under scrutiny following a series of violations like tax evasion and professional malpractices. The Supreme Court’s directive on a separate law to govern MNC auditors is an eye opener to all that these firms have had it too good for too long.

The government appears to have strengthened its resolve to push ahead with the proposed Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill that, once enacted, will enable the government to confiscate assets of offenders who flee the country. There is little doubt that the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi cases have had a hand in this.

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