Cambridge Dictionary defines a coquette as “a woman who likes to attract attention by behaving as if she is sexually interested in people, in a pleasant but not serious way.” All her flirtations are mere, well… ‘chunavi jumlas.’
That Prime Minister Narendra Modi has messed up in a big way on the economy is truism accepted by all save the bhaktas. But do we have a better alternative? That is, assuming that there could be an alignment of political forces and the ouster of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the foreseeable future. Could a non-BJP government offer anything different, let alone better? The answer is depressing; it is a big ‘no’ if one goes by the Congress’ attitude to economic policy.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said on February 19, “You are unable to deal with the NPAs [non-performing assets] and banking fraud, and you say the entire banking system be privatized. This is utterly irresponsible.” He went on arguing that there was enough data available in the public domain to prove that NPAs as a ratio of total deposits of public sector banks (PSBs) is much less compared to private banks, Business Standard reported. The report did not mention how the senior Opposition leader proved if he did, the impossible. But he tried to peddle alternative facts.
Nirav Modi has practically told the Punjab National Bank, “Lay off! Catch me if you can!”
“We had hoped the Chief Economic Adviser and others, including Vinod Rai of Banks Board Bureau, would have suggested ways to strengthen banking regulations,” Tewari said. “Instead, they want PSBs to be privatized. This needs to be nipped in the bud and will be opposed with all the force at our command.”
He should get his facts right. While CEA Arvind Subramanian feebly favored bank denationalization, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has ruled that out. “This [privatization] involves a large political consensus. Also, that involves an amendment to the law [Banking Regulation Act]. My impression is that Indian political opinion may not find favor with this idea itself. It’s a very challenging decision,” Jaitley recently said. Even earlier, neither he nor any other decision maker showed any enthusiasm for dispensing with the public sector, even though it has become a drain on the economy.
As for Vinod Rai, nobody knows what does; I doubt whether he himself is aware of his own mandate. In fact, there are reports that the very Banks Board Bureau, whose first chief he was, would be wound up. It looks like the entire set-up was intended to facilitate a sinecure.
In effect, Tewari is telling us that his party will ensure that privatization—that is, the only cure for frauds in state-run banks—will be “nipped in the bud and will be opposed with all the force at our command.”
In short, the grand old party is like Pakistani jihadist preacher who doesn’t allow children to be vaccinated and then accuses the government for failing to check polio.
The senior GOP leader wants the Modi government to bring out a white paper on bank NPAs. Further, banks should post details of their NPAs and also the names of companies and their promoters who have taken these loans on bank websites. How would it help banks? Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi are regularly mentioned in the statements of politicians, news reports, and angry editorials; have they returned the money to banks. In fact, it has made them even more insolent. Modi has practically told the Punjab National Bank, “Lay off! Catch me if you can!”
Tewari has amply demonstrated that the Congress is incapable, unwilling, or both of providing a viable alternative to the Modi government.
Tewari also gave a lesson in economics to top businessmen as if they needed any. “Bank NPAs and bank frauds are different. Let the government tell the country the action that has been taken in each of the NPAs and bank fraud cases of last five years. In a right to information query, the Reserve Bank of India had recently revealed that bank frauds worth Rs 60,000 crore have taken place in the last five years,” Tewari said.
Has the Congress gone crazy? What is this telling the country about NPAs and frauds? What will it result in except more reports, claptrap, and political mudslinging? What on earth the people of this country want to know? Don’t they already know the eternal truths: might is right; justice is in the interest of the stronger; the politician will always indulge in cronyism, evidence of which is that those who embezzle thousands of crores escape to cooler climes and those fail to pay their EMIs to suffer no end?
If anything, Tewari has amply demonstrated that the Congress is incapable, unwilling, or both of providing a viable alternative to the Modi government. By a fortuitous combination of circumstances screw up—though even that seems very unlikely at this point of time—the GOP comes to power, it won’t be able to offer a better deal to the people of India.
From our perspective, redemption is a coquette. Cambridge Dictionary defines a coquette as “a woman who likes to attract attention by behaving as if she is sexually interested in people, in a pleasant but not serious way.” All her flirtations are mere, well… ‘chunavi jumlas.’
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.