Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nail Down the Exorbitant Financing

The Economic Times dated on October 30th2010 {Saturday} rightly placed its views in editorial that banks shouldn’t be forced for lending to Micro Financial Institutions {MFIs} under the Priority Sector Lending {PSL} albeit it straightly down while narrating MFIs as an improvement over conventional money lending system with further advice to RBI regarding the repercussions of interest control on this 27,000 crore rupees Microfinancial business. In the same page, independent views of V.Raghunathan “Permit MFIs higher interest rates” artificially and even better say hypothetically tried to end the genuine acrimony persisting among the MFIs, regulators and targeted clients…views shown by him candidly deciphering the structured backup for the greedy tendencies of MFIs.
The recent broke out at top management level in George Soros backed SKS Microfinance which hitherto have known for experiencing early innovations in Indian financial market have suddenly escalate the scenarios in swift maligning pace to entire Microfinancial sector. Vikram Akula {CEO, SKS Microfinance}, who have received accolades that is lucidly many times of summing the rest alls glamorous quotient for foraying and miraculously absorbing the less privileges dire needs in overt Spartan camouflage.
Height of MFIs limelight came out with the recent success of SKS Microfinance IPO that fetched $358million but before again leaving contagious bandwagon on its wayfarers, it completely caught under the radar of regulators and political parties for proliferation of bad ethics and finance-both within the organization and beyond…?

These institutions completely rest on the overall compulsions of banks struggling to complying with the Priority Sector Lending…they have to disburse at least slightly above of theirs one-theirs of total finances to weaker sections, unemployed, Rural sectors, MFIs etc. In my earlier article, I have elaborated on this subject in detail-how except Regional Rural Banks {RRBs}, not a single Indian bank is disbursing the requisite amount in proper manner…hence, they are banking upon on easy target like MFIs.
They lend them at 11-12% without any default and found freedom from cumbersome process of envisaged compliances…it’s a sort of ethical violation of Indian Constitution’s many articles and notably one its heart “Directive Principles” that is the originating point of Priority Sector Lending or Responsible banking. Founding easy capitalization, MFIs in India summarly violates all sort of moral imperatives in theirs business conduct…many of its ex Wall Street bankers CEOs are capitulating better the commercial pastures than their competitor moneylenders in the race of exorbitant charges. At present most of MFIs are charging near about hovering34%; 22 more than the Indian banks and around less 20% lesser than moneylenders…doesn’t it practicing like patronized moneylenders even under the eagle eyes of RBI?

The kind of business MFIs is dwelling with essentially undeserving to get any more cheap and easy capitalization from Indian banks under the quota of PSL…until the Y.H.Malegan committee report come into place, RBI must seriously look into this specific angle. If a cunning investor like George Soros is taking keen interest in MFIs, it signals something substantial advantage in favour of MFIs in India…intriguing to note that how unethically social capital being transfused for the accomplishment of maddening commercial goals. That’s the main reason, why so far private equity business have not mingled with the burgeoning MFIs…theirs money have few takers in Indian Microfinance business as our banks are more than generous in lending to these unaccountable institutions!

At this point, RBI should ensure the uniform lending rates to all the financial institutions irrespective of the nature of theirs incorporation besides the softening of collateralized loans in Microfinancial segment of banks. Why Microfinancial business should not converge with our real economy? Our banking system is quite robust and mature to trace and cater the financial needs of disadvantaged section without imitating the idealistic notional model of Md. Yunus from Bangladesh whose model is shambling in India through Private MFIs.
RBI before taking any further stances over this issue must enter into an ideation fray along with NABARD with keeping the goal to align Scheduled Commercial Banks, Private Banks and Co-operative Banks with hassle-free Microfinances. Second one, to create a competitive ground for bottom level financing where MFIs or NBFC have to compete with the banks…competition is always good in capitalism unlike the socialistic system where patronism of state plays major role. So, without swapping their inherent characteristics, Indian financial system should create a level playing field for bottom level financing…now goal should be to nail down the hasslefull and exorbitant financing out of sight instead to confusing idealism with Kurta clad CEOs!
Atul Kumar Thakur
November 1st2010, Monday
New Delhi

Wild Dream called Commonwealth Literature!

Without any pre-occupation R.K.Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao could be easily conferred the rank of early legions in Indian English literary writing albeit before these three committed man, Bankim Chandra Chaterjee’s “The Rajmohan’s Wife” too must be counted for being the first English novel produced by any India during the hay days of British Colonialism. It’s quite intriguing that Raja Rao never remained as much popular as rest of both prolific contemporary and Nirad.C.Chadhury; because in my perspectives, he was less than a product of English enlightment and never said like Mulk Raj Anand that “India could be a laboratory of Commonwealth literature” or giving considerable credit to Graham Green for Mentoring in his literary accession in western world like R.K.Narayan.

Those were the days of imperialism or transition for many countries as a free state but without having own representation of theirs nativity in Standard English writing. Indeed time really moved up over the years and a burgeoning balance from erstwhile colonies like India wouldn’t remain any longer a matter of amazement as the western world used to have earlier with temples, elephant, snake charmers and numerous other symbolism of aboriginal culture. No doubt, English writing in India is passing through high creative assertion with profound regional characteristics and intricacies of modern India is very much different from the imaginative shackle of Commonwealth literature.
Its not that, new generation of modern Indian English writer haven’t inherited the world views of theirs predecessor but theirs cosmic concern are the outcome of idealism that Indian democracy has embodied them in last six decades. Undoubtedly, with great focus on original identity and it’s entwining to a long stretch of history, Indian writing overall have formed a unique blend of wisdom and much needed sensibility.

The first sensation in English writing from India at international juncture, Salman Rushdie had once written a fabulous essay “Commonwealth literature doesn’t exist” with appropriate convictions as British writing is not a part of it, so it creating a sense of paradoxical hierarchies. Much before the landmark work over British colonialism “The Sea of Poppies” {which was beaten by a light and subversively mild novel “The White Tiger” by Arvind Adiga in the race of Booker prize}, Amitav Ghosh had denied to accept the Commonwealth Prize in nineties.
It was a great resistance from a post-colonial writer who gone through the surfaces of India’s historical realities…naturally, persons like him or any free thinker could be much happier if the attention would have come from an association like “Free State Union” or organization with similar spirits though different in nomenclature. Here argument could be prolonged, why these two illustrious expatriate writer rejecting the trap of Commonwealth literature? Did timely revelation made them conscious about the futility of this institution or Britain as shrewd conservator losing its hold from rapidly growing free states that better be leave to enthusiasts of literature and history.

Footprints of British engagement were always bounded with the drain of resources from its colony…no matter, what have changed over the years, but temptations remained same. In recently held Commonwealth Game in Delhi, we spent around $17billion-money that that were scrimped from essential areas; fourteen days long lavish party ended with stellar performance of Indian players but paradoxically disastrous by the organizers of game. They through there sordid handling of resources created new heights of corruption in India whose memories would remain vivid as a legacy of our colonial past and demeaning our own accomplishments in last six decades or time before the British intrusion. During the extravaganza, I entertained an invitation from Sahitya Akademi for a Seminar on Commonwealth literature in Delhi though remained stunned to see the thin appearances of Commonwealth sort of identity flashing there. Foreign speakers delivered their cold observation in good old gesture of passivity albeit some speakers from India drawn timid mood on different themes but alas! I couldn’t hear a single strong voice in favour of post-colonial writing that should have the basis of theirs historical inquisitions regarding colonialism.

Indeed it’s a matter of grave concern that such gathering now turning as an arena of swapation and disbursement of stodgy and saturated ideas…good Indian style of hunting and gathering swiftly being evaporated from our collective action. We Indians have great record in forgetting our own high shot achievements…in the same Mandi House region of Central Delhi at Indian Council of World Affairs premises, we as a young independent nation hosted the first Asian Relations Conference in 1947. Despite having dualism of inheritance, we couldn’t simply deny those early initiatives that used to symbolize our aspirations in a new world…in the time being; our fore-fathers lost the hold on priority that deterred us from remaining the most profound voice among the nations with exploitative colonial track record.

Even joining the Commonwealth in early fifties was neither pragmatic nor essential for India when our alternative world vision started fetching the heeds of newly independent nations. In present context, we shouldn’t be envious with Nelson Mandela’s decision to be part of Commonwealth after spending almost entire life fighting against its inherent evils and inclusion of trivial nations like Peru and Mozambique in this nostalgic colonial association despite never having link with the British colony. Choices may be beautiful or absurd without getting even a chunk of interferences from universalism, so let it be but we must mind our new standing at international arena. So, why not we should reckon our entire history in better way and move out to the world with our complete heritage instead to dwelling with any specific timeframe spasmed through the greedfull British colonialism whose last symbolic reminiscence being carries out with the brand “Commonwealth”.

We have reason to dissociate with such asymmetric institution with having havocking impressions of oppression…as world’s most vibrant democracy; we must stop here and with looking ahead for brighter pastures of forming at least one Association of Freedom. I am really proud upon Amitav Ghosh, when he keeps repeating that inclusion of “desi” word would remain an important form of expression, irrespective of what other think over it through their biased prism. We have registered a tremendous growth in every area including in literature during the last six decades and ofcourse as a citizen of vibrant nation, we could remain an universal entity too even without entangling with artificial and biased structure like “Commonwealth” which exactly resembling the “rejected manuscript”…a sensible humor not the wild one!
Atul Kumar Thakur
October22, 2010, Thursday
New Delhi

Remembering Edmond Privat!

In my early salad days in Banaras Hindu University; Shayaji Gaikwad or Central Library used to be place of my wishful loitering-thanks goes to a side stack of this grand library where I first saw the name of Edmond Privat as an author of “The Clash of Loyalties”. Charmed by its name and themes on colonialism, I found reason to engage myself with the book that could be easily acknowledged as representative work of Edmond Privat and one of the best impartial books written by any Whiteman. This Swiss national was born in 1889, educated at Cambridge University and thoroughly kept his independent views as a journalist, scholar, moralist and the Chairman of European Committee for Indian independence from 1932to1939.

He came early in journalism in 1903 with a monthly journal L’a Juna Esperantisto {Young Esperantist} with his classmate-Hector Holder, who was also a successor of an artist with high reputes. With his forthright stand, he stood with the Indian independence movement for at least three decades; his entwining with India&Indians started with meeting towering icon, Tagore in 1926 at the place of Roman Rolland in Villanueva near the Geneva Lake. Next time, he met to Tagore in 1932, meanwhile in 1931-after the failure of IInd Round Table Conference, he met to his real inspiration Gandhi, first as an interpreter at the same house of French scholar Roman Rolland. Edmond Privat had unbeatable argument about the prevailing contradiction of his time; as a journalist he overtly stood against the individual and collective prejudices and never let himself aligned with the power mongered colonialists.

Today, it’s hard to trace even a tint of information about this very genuine friend of India who played so active role in Indian independence-its matter of grave concern to see such apathy from both the academic and government side. His close acquaintances with Gandhi given him the real concern for India and of course a special nomenclature as well-Anand {Joy}, for him and Bhakti {Devotion} for his wife. His impression for Gandhi rose to momentum in his very first meeting-he accompanied Gandhi during his meeting with Mussolini in Rome and remained with him even till reaching Mumbai. His proximity to Gandhi imparted him the closer senses of India’s plight and its exploitation carries by the graceful British. Verbatim of Edmond Privat has been beautifully placed by P.C.Roy Choudhury in his small though insightful work “Edmond Privat: A Forgotten Friend of India” as “I aspired and still aspire to be a citizen, not of an empire but of community of a free association of equals…what is there that we two nations cannot accomplish together”. Dr.Privat had lucidly written about his proximity with Gandhi and India in “Ank Indes Avet Gandhi” {French}-during his London days, he played very active role for Indian League with Krishna Menon.

Privat dreamt for an active conscious world with rethinking on present state of compartmentalization among the modern states. He vehementally the coercion of collective sin for its subdued ramifications over the individual spirits. Tracing of British character was a remarkable accomplishment from him-in his book “The English from Pirates to Prophets”, he analyses how the Saxon pirates landed in Great Britain and had set up ten kingdoms on the ruins of the Roman cities. Christian churches replaced the temples of Jupiter and the antique cult of the Druids in certain regions; this solid observation is a big question mark over the fabricated intellectual tradition of western world.

He was an active entity of international politics…his zest first started as reporter for famous French daily newspaper La Temps {The Times} in Russia and entire Central Europe. Here, he displayed his moral support for Polish independence; his book “The Odyssey of Poland” was hugely admired by the peoples including the remarkable liberal voices like, H.G.Wells and Roman Rolland. As a tireless journalist, he compiled his reporting experience of Central Europe in “Addventuroj de Pionorio” {Adventures of the Pioneer}…even later, he remained contributing for Socialistic French dailies like “Droit du Peuple {Right of the People}, Le Sentinell under the title of Le Peuple. As an internationalist and a great champion of freedom, he did fairly remarkable albeit his name is almost obscure in the country like India where he contributed with the most of makers of modern India. Two jewels of Indian politics-Gandhi and Nehru were very much impressed with this gentle Englishman for being active for freedom of nation…alas! Post independence, Edmond Privat never received his due which he was deserved gracefully. At least now, we need to revisit our foreign friends of independence movement…historiography have to take an essential turn now!
Atul Kumar Thakur
October27th 2010, Wednesday
New Delhi