Time to act tough

Business Standard - - ISSUES AND INSIGHTS -

This is in ref­er­ence to “Jait­ley to be in of­fice next week” (April 16). That the fi­nance min­is­ter is join­ing work af­ter re­cu­per­a­tion is a wel­come news. The most crit­i­cal is­sue wait­ing for the FM's im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion is the is­sue of bur­geon­ing non-per­form­ing as­sets. The NPA vol­cano is wait­ing to erupt and turn into a na­tional catas­tro­phe, with new skele­tons tum­bling out of the cup­board ev­ery day. The prob­lem now calls for im­me­di­ate cor­rec­tive mea­sures in­clud­ing bring­ing to book cul­prits re­spon­si­ble for the fi­asco, how­ever big they are. NPAs, will­ful de­fault and scams like the one at Pun­jab Na­tional Bank are three can­cers that re­quire emer­gency surgery. Just the way Ice­land worked with its bank­ing sec­tor to stem the rot. The ques­tion is whether the FM and the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment have the po­lit­i­cal will to take nec­es­sary steps to root out the NPA mal­ady af­flict­ing the bank­ing sec­tor and re­store its health. Push­ing the is­sue be­low the car­pet for po­lit­i­cal or other rea­sons may lead to dire con­se­quences.

Ma­hen­dra B Jain Be­la­gavi ac­com­plished, but Syria coun­tered it say­ing most of the mis­siles were in­ter­cepted and shot down. With zero ca­su­alty — a great con­so­la­tion — it looked like a face­sav­ing and mes­sage-send­ing oper­a­tion.

The West’s claim can­not be taken at face value as its ear­lier claim that Iraq had weapons of mass de­struc­tion to jus­tify the in­va­sion turned out to be un­true. The proAs­sad and anti-West demon­stra­tions in Da­m­as­cus and other parts of Syria fol­low­ing the strikes demon­strated the strength of de­fi­ance and ruled out the over­throw of As­sad by the West for all its mil­i­tary su­pe­ri­or­ity. The seven-year Syr­ian war rep­re­sents a hu­man catas­tro­phe of enor­mous pro­por­tions. The loss of life and suf­fer­ing are too tremen­dous to be put in words. The re­vival of a po­lit­i­cal process by diplo­matic means for a so­lu­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing Syr­i­ans’ self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and sel­f­rule is the only way for­ward.

G David Mil­ton Maruthancode

Widen ex­port bas­ket

The oil ex­port puz­zle ex­plored by A K Bhat­tacharya (April 16) is timely. The com­merce min­istry should act swiftly tak­ing into cog­nizance the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion on ac­count of ris­ing oil prices, trade wars and a de­pre­ci­at­ing ru­pee. While the ex­port trends are en­cour­ag­ing, its sus­tain­abil­ity is doubt­ful. The ru­pee will con­tinue to slide fur­ther in the days to come be­cause of the cur­rent trade war be­tween the US and China and the fear of other coun­tries join­ing the war zone soon with their tit-for-tat tar­iff mea­sures. Mean­while, ris­ing oil prices will widen the cur­rent ac­count deficit and will have a di­rect bear­ing on ex­ports. How­ever, the com­merce min­istry can turn this sit­u­a­tion into a bless­ing in dis­guise.

The de­pre­ci­at­ing ru­pee can bring in higher value re­al­i­sa­tion of ex­port pro­ceeds; banks should be in­structed to clear all ex­port bills and is­sue BRCs (bank re­al­i­sa­tion cer­tifi­cates) quickly. A re­view of cus­toms levies on im­port de­pen­dent raw ma­te­ri­als for ex­portable prod­ucts can also help higher ex­port re­al­i­sa­tions where lower raw ma­te­rial im­port meant for ex­port pro­duc­tion could play a vi­tal role to face the global com­pe­ti­tion. Out of bound ship­ments should be given top pri­or­ity in cus­toms clear­ance. The re­cent ini­tia­tive of Mar­ket De­vel­op­ment Mis­sion (MDM) that is await­ing cab­i­net nod should be ex­pe­dited.

As pointed out by the com­merce min­is­ter re­cently, ser­vice sec­tor ex­ports could be a vi­tal area that needs to be pushed up with iden­ti­fied 12 cham­pion ser­vices where for­eign ex­change can be earned by pro­vid­ing these se­lected and highly po­ten­tial ser­vices. The Chi­nese tar­iff bar­ri­ers on US soya bean im­ports should also act as a bless­ing in dis­guise for In­dian ex­ports. The gov­ern­ment should come out with higher in­cen­tives for ex­ports of soya bean and make it com­pet­i­tive with the Chi­nese pro­duce. All these mea­sures can help to in­crease ex­ports and tide over the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

A Sathya­narayana Delhi

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.