Editors Column

The central government is celebrating the jump in ‘ease of doing business’ ranking of the World Bank’s ‘doing business’ report by 65 places in 4 ye­a­rs under prime minister Narendra Modi. Going from 142nd place to 77th in ranking should enthuse all Indians.

Prime minister Narendra Modi may need to step in to end the ongoing feud between Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel and finance minister Arun Jaitley that has escalated into a full-blown war. Precipitating the situation is in nobody’s interest. The Centre, for its part, ought to respect and ensure functional autonomy of the central bank.

India and Japan’s $75 billion currency swap signed during the two-day visit of prime minister Narendra Modi is significant. Stabilising the rupee that has been on a free slide over the last few months, shoring up market sentiment and curbing current account deficit (CAD) could be the key considerations behind the deal.

Being small may not always be beautiful. Small payment banks seem to be conveying this very message as they lose steam. Though they began their operations two years back with lots of hope to achieve financial inclusion and bring the unbanked population into banking space, not much has moved forward.

The constitutional and political crisis unfolding in Sri Lanka may not augur well for India.

The offer by the Ruias to settle 100 per cent debt of senior creditors for retaining control of Essar Steel will have to be seriously considered by banks. It is not relevant to analyse the timing of the offer. If the Rs 54,389 crore offer made by Ruias is credible and workable the banks can surely vote again in the matter.

The Supreme Court directive barring the sale of BS-IV norms-based automobiles beginning April 1, 2020 is a big relief for most Indians suffering from vehicular pollution. In 18 months from now, Indian cars, commercial vehicles and two-wheelers will have to comply with BS-VI emission norms. This means lower carbon emissions, nitrogenous oxides, sulphur and particulate matter.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the affairs of the CBI in a midnight operation cannot be termed as a “clean up” act as the action from the top has come a bit too late in the day.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the country’s premier probe body, is facing one of the biggest credibility challenges in its history. The ongoing feud between director Alok Verma and his second-in-command Rakesh Asthana even dwarfs the allegations of corruption against two former chiefs, Ranjit Sinha and AP Singh.

It is not only in India that commercial banks are taken for a ride by corporate borrowers. Financial crises and scams around the world are evidence of how borrowers have cheated banks. The Indian experience is that neither bankers, regulators nor policy makers learn from the shocks that the Indian banking system suffers from time to time.

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