Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Financial Meltdown Laments!

At least since last twelve quarters, global financial system has been witnessing the most lethal repercussions of unethical practices and unsound creation of financial products designed to suit for speculation and betting by its high profile line management.
Hundreds of bank failures world-wide, statutory shifting of holdings-following it from Wall Street to the Central Business Districts of India easily implies the unfortunate changes that have taken place with the effects of financial crisis.

Despite all wrong with such failureness, it also cast some positive point as an option of learning…Indian economy, being resilient and growing must have to pick some quick changes for overall improvement in its risk averseness. Primarily, Indian banking sector which despite emerging less scratched, suffered many implicit and long-term setbacks on the counts of prospects.
Global penetration of Indian banks have essentially suffered on the account of adverseness prevailing in external markets…mood and steps have altered after the global economic crisis and unprecedented inflationary challenges followed it. In certain senses, it’s an opportunity for Indian financial system to resonate its reach and viability within the domestic market, as still majority of its terrain is under-tapped and have huge potential to grow like the recent telecom success story.

Except systemic weakening of the Public Sector Telecom Companies {BSNL&MTNL}in the name of healthy competition, there are some positive points, like “reaching to the rural segments” can be a point of reference for further banking expansion to hitherto untouched terrains.
Instead of too much idealisation, here rational and innovative business practices are more imperative-like the telecom sector, Indian banks have to think upon the innovative products that will be compatible to the huge unbanked peoples of this country. Instead of external blind imitation, enactment to the specific needs of these targeted segments would be the true prudence. Reason of my emphatic stressing on the specific re-modelling and introduction of new financial services is primarily to see it as an extension of banking from existing level to a desired height.

For a while, model of Gramin bank of Bangladesh or present way of private Micro financial operation can’t be even appropriate for slight inferences. Idealistic and lately unrealistic notions would be hardly suitable for Indian markets…the sizable presence of Regional Rural Banks {RRBs}along with some commercial banks are accomplishing much better then any prospective option from above sighted examples.
They of course banks with the poors albeit in comparison of Indian banks, their lending rates seems unfeasible and exorbitant, so instead of making peoples poor and bank upon them, it would be better to empower them and enable them for inclusion in mainstream banking. Neither we can play on superficial western structured financial products nor on other exotic alternatives-plights of rural financing can be addressed only through the adoption of no-frills practices by the banks and other financial intermediaries.

Indeed sharpening of effects within the financial eco-system would depend upon the synergy emerging out of co-ordination among the various change agents and almighty regulators. In essence, RBI has been playing a formidable role on the regulation front but wisdom can be counted most often only through the defensive spectacles.
Progressivism is the need of hour which RBI should be and must be reckon as the catalyst of policy formulation in next all course of action. Defying of the grave reality, that around sixty percent of Indian population is still out of any sort of banking or institutional financial services would be extremely distorting and manipulative in substance.

Providing adequate universal services through smooth access mechanism will be the most revolutionising occurrence in practices-the entire exercises like, CSR and others have to be better comply with the idea of responsible banking that have broader meaning and significance in practical banking procedures. Frequent convulsions in the world of finance necessitates now to fix and chase our own targets…our characteristics are unique, so we should have our first hand propositions and ways of formulation to proceed better. Maximum financial inclusion would be the wisest exercise from domestic front.
Atul Kumar Thakur
July7th 2010, Wednesday, New Delhi

Debacles of Mismanaged Growth

Something very fundamental have changed over the years, the last budget speech of Finance Minister marked it lucidly. Probably on such occasions, first time in history of modern India, private sector had framed in top order. Proposed catalyst role of non-governmental actor in new economy were coincided with other slew of statements; very notable among them was that government will now act as an enabler for poors of this country which mean, now protection of governmental intervention would be confine as prerogative rights of the wealthy class of this nation.
I have stout faith in the state and no idea is as lovable as “Idea of India” for me-the crux I raising here has lot to do with my faith as its tantamount would be graver then we perceive today.

Consine and consciousness, both have shrunken horribly in their respective spaces-barring few, we can see it in every sphere…media have been consistently shifted from its whistle-blower role to a compromising entity, in the name of commercial compulsions and sustenance.
UPAII government, which would be known for the failureness of ministerial obligations and departure of its custodians towards the pastime with greener pasture. Recently, Agriculture Minister has taken over the charge of ICC Chief-interestingly; he never had any footprint in the gentlemen game of Cricket. Further, exactly in bizarre move, he offered to reduce his ministerial burden to focus more on his penchant and to getting away from the obstinate inflationary challenges.

Shockingly, he displayed his penchant for the politics of Cricket in wrong time when agriculture as a primary sector was passing through its worst phase. Czarism of Cricket surpassed the basic needs of India’s two-third population…ridiculously, barren field was substituted by the Empowered Group of Ministers {EGOM} to channelise the hyped food security programme. Is it feasible in the world’s largest democracy to run with a part-time Agriculture Minister?

Obviously, negligence at macro level has turning agriculture farming and services, both as an unviable employment option. In recent years, cultivation cost has radically grown up-millions of farmers moved from conventional food corps to cash corps in the influence of mad commercialization. Increased cost of production, and failureness of marketing frequently leading them to suicides as an option to escape the unbearable humility of debtors.
In last twelve years, last six years were even more horrific-National Crime Record Bureau that solely takes into account of farm suicides reveals the grimness of situation. During2003-08, average one farmer commits suicide in every thirty-two minutes; Maharastra, which account highest farming suicidal incidents, alone have 22 billionaires in the Forbes list from total 48 Indian billionaire’s entry.

Leading voice on rural affairs, P.sainath gives a very realistic account of persisting problems; through rising food prices and diminishing values of farming activities lead 50-60% of their spending alone on foods, 18%on fuel-clothing and rest on everything? Transformation in the farm sector resulted with two hundred thousand of farmers suicide {from1970 to date} in sheer dark depressions…cases are rampant where whole villages have emptied in search of job to cities where there is no opportunity? As par, last Census, Average Per Capita Expenditure/month of farmers in India revolves around Rs.503…even current Census may dwarf this figure further.
Farmer’s indebtedness that grew from 21to 48% since1991 is the real bone of contention behind the farming distress and overall desperation prevailing in the rural areas.

In last two decades, banking presence getting freezed and even lowered in the rural terrains-micro loans are being marginalize in favour of sizable loans despite the government’s best effort in this regard. Despite all tall claims, Public Sector Banks {PSBs} have share of merely 7.61% in the total rural debts-if excluded the Regional Rural Banks{RRBs} stakes, then contribution would remain very abysmal from PSBs. New classes of Moneylenders {MFIs} are dwelling with many operational flaws and impractical policy maneuverings, so they hardly appearing remarkable as an institutional alternatives.

Indeed, there is need of reform in present subsidies mechanism but it must start from the Corporate Sector who doesn’t deserve more then a fair atmosphere of business as government assistance. Gulf between interest of business and rudimentary necessities of common citizens must be taken into account at the all levels of policy implementation otherwise impressions of growth would remain subdued and cause of aberrations for the majority of deserving stakeholders.
Atul Kumar Thakur
July16, 2010, Monday, New Delhi

For the Estranged Voices

Few years back, veteran Journalist Khuswant Singh had made a very remarkable statement about the future possibility of division within the Union of India; he vehementally opposed such utopias and poignantly pointed out that divisions of Punjab and Bengal were last nightmares in same context.
I too have same answer-emphatic no for any such movements that have aspiration of map alteration within the Indian Union…too much bloodshed and emotional fragmentation are still haunting our individual as well as the collective psyche and in no manner those horror could be justified.

Recent upsurge of estrangement and their violent manifestation reveals its nexus with the growing disenchantment among youths from the institutions of state and reactionary forces who are actively counting such subversive opportunities for their vested interests in hatredness.
Conjuring tricks of these groups thriving on the discontent and desperation of youths that emerging out of voidness and absence of opportunities around them…they are getting temporary solace under the lethal resources and preaching of divisive forces. Leading Social Historian and one of the most authentic voices on Modern India, Ramchandra Guha in his article {The Hexed Generation, Hindustan Times, July5, 2010} cited appropriately the chronic failureness of state apparatus to reach out to the peoples with basic opportunities and their substitution through false one by the subversive intermediaries that making things worse.

E.V.Rammohan, one of the most respected police officials in the country, who is in charge of Anti-Naxal Taskforce, in a personal exchange of ideas with me highlighted the needs of states constructive role in maintaining law&order in the country. His stout emphasis on geographical distinction of plights and its possible specific solution is indeed worth of following.
It was nice to see his consistent focus on socio-economic intervention before the possibility of coercive action by the security forces. Facades of unrest may appearing distinct among Jammu&Kashmir, North eastern states or Naxal affected zones albeit apathy to the government is strikingly common at all places.

The huge mismanagement of natural-public resources and consistent marginalization of local inhabitants engraved the hostilities towards modern development. State for them started appearing as an oppressor instead of perceived constructive interventionist.
Unfortunately, both the theme and role of state have been misrepresented and mistaken in same manner. Redressal of local developmental issues in speedy and transparent manners along with the proper interface with local communities should be the priority of government in present context. Availability of constructive opportunities will sure overtake the fragile and hatred based commitments-those only mean for some collective engagements and temporary clouts.

Few months back, Home Minister, P.Chidambaram while speaking during a CII Conference admitted the failureness of administrative effectiveness in the all disturbed parts of the country. If he admits the problems at grass root levels and peoples at large too looking for opportunities, then of course a forward initiative for streamlining the overall strategy should be given priority instead of ungrammatically relying upon the intermediaries whose wishes and agendas will never be helpful in the sorting out of discontents.
Government must not allow the isolation to be a greater identity of delinked peoples from the national development framework…they have to ensured their stakes at every maneuverings of the state. Impressions of growth must mark the all segments and regions of the country alike and their affiliations too should be under the safeguard of authorities concerned.

Without being sympathetic to the divisive forces, there is strong need to take into account of people’s desperation and their proper redressal. However, as promised by the Home Minister, the concepts of “Multi pronged approaches” of dealing with discontents are not being visible, but now at least he should focus on a sole approach of policy intervention in terms of socio-economic turnaround of India’s vast hinterland that despite of all lofty claims, nowhere in the race with their urban counterparts.
This dominance of resources must be evenly reconsidered for reallocation in equitable manners to make the country viable for its all citizens.
Atul Kumar Thakur
July26th 2010, Monday, New Delhi

Lalit: Man of Change in Maithili Literature

Lalit, like his name came out with novelty in Maithili literary scene in 1950’s through his sensible mass concern. Officially, Lalitesh Mishra or affectionately “Bachha” was born on April6, 1932 in a village of scholars, “Chanpura” that despite falling in the catchments region of Adhwara river group has unique distinction of intellectual contribution. Geographically it is situated in the western side of Benipatti Sub-division (Madhubani district), which once known as “Masco of Mithila” for strong communist base and extensive land reform. Father Chandrasekhar Mishra was a teacher and an avid learner who left deep influence over his son for the quest of knowledge.

After his initial education from village and Darbhanga, he moved to prestigious Vidyasagar College of Calcutta University in pursuits of higher education in 1949 albeit he could not accommodate himself with the life of Calcutta and returned to home. Next year, he chosen Arts for B.A in Chandradhari Mithila College {Darbhanga, then under Bihar University}, here he intertwined to literature with sturdy enrapture and published his first story in Maithili, “Kabula” {Vaidehi, 1950}. This phase was of solemn importance for his creative genesis though he was carrying deep responsibilities for his family as hailing from a humble background made it imperative for him to dwell early with the material life.

Further, in 1953, under unavoidable compulsions, he joined M.L.Akedemi School {Laheriyasarai} as a Science teacher…in the same year; he married with Moti Mishra in village Bhoj Paraul. Despite forging of all bonds, he kept aspiring for a better life, which he attained eventually in 1957, by qualifying for Deputy-Collectorship. At least for a decade, he kept himself committed for the literary productions but after the surmounting of administrative burden, and stout spiritual leaning grossly diverted his attention from the world of words. Leading Maithili literaturer, Taranand Viyogi cited his deep spiritual inclination as major hindrance for slowing down on literary front; for him, it was not pleasant to observe such transition from a man of high potential.

Moreover, on family front too, he remained very much consumed but never on the cost of his people centric commitments. He had a son, Padmakar Mishra and seven daughters-all were groomed in finest humanist family environment; Lalit was a natural austere with ultimate human concern and even his acts in practical affairs used to resemble it. On March22, 1972, his father passed away and six years later, he revered from his loving mother on October15, 1978; certainly, these setbacks had affected his sensitive mind.

Despite sporadic contribution, his works have substantial worth in reckoning the Maithili literature from the angle of change. Without ever ingrouping, he truly appeared like a mast for the transient Maithili literature-his inception of story writing marked the end of fabrication and upheaveling of modern ideas in the forefront of literary writing.

There are many hurdles to delve deeper about the works of Lalit, majors among them are lacking of proper documentation and non-availability of older issues of contemporary Maithili magazines where he had written initially. In his total forty-seven published stories, only twelve could be assembled in his lone story collection (Pratinidhi Kahani, Maithili Art Press, Navkiran Prakashan, Calcutta, 1964). Among his two novels, only “Prithviputra” was published from Maithili Academy (1984), before that it was appeared serially in a prominent contemporary Magazine, “Mithila Mihir” (from 10/05/1960-5/7/1964).

Apart from that, about a dozen of his essays transfixed the enthusiasts of his generation and added new paradigm within existing literary space. Lucidness of social analysis drew him closer to Anton Chekhov and Guy De Maupassant-his remarkable stories depicts the sound socio-cultural intricacies within even the humble canvass. Without making his narration complex, he had vision to entangle with very serious existential issues.

In “Pratinidhi”, antagonisms of political stands have beautifully coincided with the changing social and ethical morals; “Kanchaniya” explored the many facades of survival issues. In “Do Chitra”, he minutely focused on the contemporary Maithil rural society under the wave of radicalism but not without acknowledging the stout social bonds that ultimately holds the life at equilibrium among feudal and have-nots. “Overload” presents a Sub Inspector’s introspection and dilemmas of family life through his revealing soul; fluctuations are quite noticeable from the inescapable familiar duties to spellbounding realities of life.

“Udaan” poignantly highlights the issues of void obligations of middle class and its unusual intellectualism; “Prasnachinha” led to different terrain, with high moral stands he tried to show the persistence of quest for philanthropism despite stucking through adverseness from many sides. “Ek-Prisht” is a home tutor’s tell that frequently unleashes the crisis of value in education, “Ramjani” revolves around the life of Tonga pullers with intricate angles of religion, labourers fraternity, presence of change and ultimately through attitude shaping. “Mukti” is persuasively the most acclaimed story of Lalit-this story marked the shift in Maithili literature towards a new dynamicism, and changing realities.

Choice of independence from crumbling conjugal life earmarked the bigger picture of women’s empowerment here. “Ladai Par” visualised the scene of a humble rural family while departing their lone young scion for warfront-no moral dilemmas, only some genuine affinity and insecurity placed in this story. “Nav-Puran” dealt with the life of automobile community and their plights in day-to-day affair…this is unusual in its own sort.

Lalit had ingenuity for tracing and being back on key issues of his time though he had tenuous hold on his life like every mortal. Merely at the age of fifty-one, he passed away on April14, 1983 by battling with Lyver Syrosis in Betia district. Weekly Mithila Mihir’s (29th May 1983) Lalit special had awoken the sleeping consine of entire Maithil society for the illustrating works of this great man. Lalit was second traumatic casualty in the Maithili literature after the untimely demise of Rajkamal Chaudhary-departures of both badly shocked the pace of literary development for a long time.

They both were remained very closer and heralded a new chapter in literature-Lalit has translated Rajkamal’s epic story “Phulparas Wali” into Maithili and later written “Mukti” which stands opposite and more radical then the women protagonist of Rajkamal who shows stout moral imperative in her action. Lalit remained humble in his relationship with old friends and literary companions of his time, he on several occasion stressed that Rajkamal‘s “Kankavati” as last word of modern Hindi poetry.

PRITHVIPUTRA-His Master Piece:-

“Prithviputra” appeared first in Mithila Mihir in 1965 and stormed the literary world with its underneath subjectivism. Though the works were quite analomous from Lalit as he had already crossed a long stretch convincing peoples towards new way of approaches to see the social change in new light. Not for a while, Lalit let him frittered away in his convictions, instead he chosen ubiquitous way of reawakening amidst a tense plot of land conflict. He largely succeeded to oversight the frills in the delineation of characters demeanour; infusion of progressive perspectives is the soul of this novel, which keep it vibrant until the end.

The plots were woven in Farbisganj (Kosi belt)-novel starts with the impact of social changes on the conventional social system, immediately after the independence of India. Consequences of land reform widely taken place in entire theme, Dusadhtoli (lower caste abode) in village Baburbanna too seemed transient through these changes and escalation of violence following the nasty tracts of diminishing feudals. Once notified criminal though a changed man now, Bishekhi’s family-his wife, Genma (elder son), Sarupa (younger and radical son), Bijli (daughter), and Beni (daughter-in-law) are the catalysts of the theme-side characters, like Kalpnath Mishra (Bijli’s lover) and Hiralal (Bijli’s estranged husband, a railway Patman)too accounts for a lot of micro and macro coherence in the events.

Genma’s death while struggling for his land and Contractor Durjodhan Singh‘s murder in course of his wrong doing weaves the novel in very intricate manners. “Prithviputra” manifests the arrival of new age in modern India; though it’s based upon the circumstances of Mithila but its crux is universally relevant. Noted literaturer, Bibhuti Anand who has written a monograph on Lalit (Sahitya Academy, 2004) also emphasizes about his second novel (Karmanya Wadhikareste, unpublished), whose publication would indeed make fresh impacts in revisiting his works in new light.

Today Lalit’s contribution is largely unknown among the young generation of Mithila and outside of it…proper documentation and translation of his works in other Indian languages would give a new lease to his prolific conceptions. Those initiatives must be start now as any delay may permanently fixed Maithili literary enthusiasts into “Principled forgetter”…a dooming zone where creative things ceases to exists!

Atul Kumar Thakur
July 29th2010, Thursday, New Delhi