The Hindu Business Line
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Send your letters by email to email@example.com or by post to ‘Letters to the Editor’, The Hindu Business Line, Kasturi Buildings, 859-860, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002.
Volatility in stock markets
With reference to the editorial “Irrational exuberance?” (April 2), the ripple effect of multiple factors encompassing the present Indian equity market is a definitive warning signal to the gullible investors. The stock market dynamics are always unpredictable and the present hype built on certain unrealistic assumptions without being backed by proven fundamentals and real time asset valuations may not sustain for long. However, the growing investment interest shown by FPIs unveil their preference for India over other markets in the region. There will be emergence of strong and sustainable markets only if, post elections, whichever party comes to power does not exhibit vindictive attitude to reverse the best policy reforms undertaken by the predecessor government and introduce fair policies to address the economic problems of the country and improve global trade relations.
The nation has been witnessing a number of unnecessary by-elections leading to heavy financial burden on the public exchequer. By-elections due to death of sitting Loka Sabha or Assembly members are unavoidable. By-elections due to the elevation of a House Member to the post of President or VicePresident are also unavoidable.
Generally Prime Ministerial or Chief Ministerial candidates contest from two seats. But cases of candidates contesting from two or more seats are an exception.
Often a Lok Sabha member resigns to contest an Assembly election or vice-versa, leading to frequent by-elections. A stricter law needs to be enacted to bar a sitting Member from resigning to contest in Assembly or Parliamentary seat to prevent squandering of tax payers’ money.
It is ironic that with the general elections just a few weeks away, there is still confusion over VVPAT. The recent move by the Supreme Court to give time to potential stakeholders, who have now petitioned to audit at least 50 per cent of VVPATs at least in each Assembly or Parliamentary segment, has caught the voters off-guard.
With logistical arrangements already in place, the move to delay the results by six days in case VVPAT audit stands at 50 per cent may not be feasible as opined by the Election Commission. The best option for ECI is to innovate a strategy to speed up VVPAT counting trail than depend on the current system of manual counting. As the status of contestants is already determined in EVMs, ECI can further implement technology based solutions into VVPAT slips like digital verification, bar coding of slips, e-mapping etc to obtain and match the final audit trail and match it with the outcome of EVM results.
A historic step
Consolidation of public sector banks would help achieve the economies of scale besides reaping host of other accompanying benefits as well like cost, product and technology efficiencies. Today we need to have smaller number of big banks. Big banks will have a strong resource base and a higher risk bearing appetite. Also bigger banks have the ability to fund the big ticket cross border acquisitions. That the merger of two state run banks with the giant Bank of Baroda has finally assumed effect from April 1 is indeed welcome. Post amalgamation, the combined entity will become globally competitive and the second largest PSU bank after the SBI. Ideally, the country can have about 9-10 strong big banks SBI’s size. Consolidation is now also aided by the fact that the new small finance banks increasingly occupy the retail lending space in rural, semi urban, and also urban micro markets and in a way freeing this responsibility from large PSU banks. Srinivasan Umashankar