Sir — International Women’s Day is celebrated every year with a lot of fanfare. However, very little progress is made when it comes to the practical needs of women. Thus, it was heartening to learn that Victoria Memorial Hall is opening a lactation room for nursing mothers adjacent to the entrance hall. This is a step towards achieving greater inclusivity in public spaces. Mother’s milk is not only a complete food but breastfeeding is also an economical and healthy way for a mother to feed her child. There is still a long way to go before the taboo associated with breastfeeding in public is done away with; until then, it is important to continue providing such inclusive spaces.
Sir — The collapse of Yes Bank is the first instance of its kind in the case of a new-age private sector lender. The Reserve Bank of India has already faced a lot of criticism for its lapses in the supervision of Punjab National Bank and Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank, both of which had run into financial trouble in recent years. The RBI should have been able to prevent the disintegration of Yes Bank. The events that unfolded point towards serious failures in the risk management modules in the banking system in India. They also draw attention to the RBI’s inadequacies as a supervisory body. Promoter-driven banks need a special regulatory focus and loopholes in corporate governance must be plugged. Other private banks should regard this incident as a cautionary lesson. It proves that reliance on technology, wholesale deposits for boosting the balance sheet and chasing a high growth rate by focusing on corporate banking will not work. Sagacious lending and stricter corporate governance will be crucial for the survival of banks in future.
Sir — The former finance minister, P. Chidambaram, is of the opinion that it is the mismanagement of financial institutions under the Bharatiya Janata Party government that is responsible for the fiasco at Yes Bank (“Friends of PM on Yes Bank list”, March 7). The senior Congress leader would do well to remember that during his tenure as
finance minister, the United Progressive Alliance government was hit by several financial scandals. At that time, the Opposition, led by the BJP, had been proactive in pointing them out. Both the Congress and BJP-led governments have sanctioned loans amounting to crores of rupees to financial giants who supported them. In this instance, it is curious that both the RBI and the financial services of the present government at the Centre seem to have failed to notice the sanctioning of such a large number of loans.
Sir — The financial crisis faced by Yes Bank and the proposed revival scheme framed by the RBI have exposed some glaring loopholes within the Indian banking system. The Central government has imposed a moratorium, restricting the withdrawal limit to Rs 50,000 per account. This restriction has put the hard-earned money of ordinary people at stake. Earlier, a similar situation at the PMCB had rendered depositors helpless, leading to several people taking their own lives and others dying on account of heart attacks brought on by the stressful situation. It seems that Yes Bank customers have been put on the same spot. This development has led to a steep plunge in the stock market which has
investors worried. People are increasingly losing their trust in banks, primarily owing to the misconduct of those at the top. Swift and firm action must be taken against those who are found to be guilty of misleading their customers.
Sir — The crisis involving Yes Bank ought to be the last straw. Do we need any more instances threatening the financial security of citizens to realize that the government at the Centre does not care about the people at all? Yesterday, my friend, who has a Yes Bank salary account, was, with great difficulty, able to withdraw Rs 50,000 which, after bill payments, has left her with almost no liquid cash for the rest of the month.
Sir — While no one can deny the accomplishments of the former prime minister, Manmohan Singh, as an economist and a reformer, it is also true that a large number of scams occurred during his tenure, as pointed out by Ashok V. Desai in the article, “Veil half lifted” (March 3). The virtue of a leader depends on the way they handle the crises that might occur during their time in office. Their personal integrity does not absolve them of their responsibilities in such matters. While I have the highest regard for the former prime minister, certain decisions taken by the UPA government during his tenure raise questions. The expanded loan-waiver scheme which was announced in the 2008-09 Union budget, aimed at helping farmers, including those engaged in allied activities such as poultry and diary farming, has not succeeded in relieving farmers of their economic burdens. As a banking professional working in a rural area, I can still feel its repercussions. The non-repayment of a loan is a breach of contract; while the decision helped the UPA regain power in the 2009 general elections, it had a long-lasting impact on the banking sector. Ever since then, there has been a rise in the number of non-performing assets. At this point, drastic steps are required to rectify the damage that was done by the move. A discussion on the reasons by the erstwhile prime minister might help us understand the rationale behind this.