Can a Tomato Bank Really Bear Fruit?
Hopefully, the State Bank of Tomato (SBT) launched by a local Youth Congress unit in Lucknow as a form of protest against the rising price of the indispensable vegetable — or fruit, to be precise — will not land the ‘promoters’ in a soup. Forking out .₹ 100 for a kilo of tomatoes definitely makes Indians see red, but the terms offered by SBT may not stand up to scrutiny. One bank ‘depositor’, for instance, has revealed that his 500-gm deposit would earn him a kilo in six months’ time. However, considering the reality that the price of tomatoes will inevitably fall to a fraction of the current rate, double the weight at a later date may actually be far less than the deposited value. It may be wiser for potential tomato savers to carefully extract the seeds and deposit them in pots for a greater assured returns. How the other purported offers of the SBT such as “80% loans on tomatoes” and “attractive interest rates for depositing tomatoes, especially for the poor” actually work out remains to be seen too. As for SBT’s lockers for safekeeping — presumably in response to some traders reportedly asking for security cover from tomato thieves — canning or bottling would surely be the more sensible option. The tomato bank’s promoters are presumably aware that if they fail to deliver, the long arm of the law will ketchup with them.