If BASEL norms had to be thought about in all seriousness in Switzerland, it’s because many banks have crashed of a sudden due to the lack of character and integrity in their customer population.

This severe absence of personal integrity, especially in finance matters, has been obvious across India also during the last many decades especially when it came to banks extending advances with good intentions alone!

Our banking institutions also lost a huge amount when they were purposely put under political compulsion by ministers to lend to all and sundry without meticulous assessment of their creditworthiness, solely at the behest of the late Union Minister Mr. Janardan Poojary!

Recently Kerala CM has also exhorted bankers to give out interest free loans to farmers without giving any guarantee if the amounts would be ever repaid or might have to be written off!

The farming community in India, it’s true, is battling several adverse circumstances to sustain itself.

The increasing costs of inputs as well as stagnating prices of the agricultural produce have resulted in much uncertainty in this sector. Compensations paid by the Government for crop loss are inadequate too. Crop insurance has not yet materialized too.

According to the CM, Interest Subvention Scheme alone can play the redeemer here!

(What the CM conveniently forgets here is how the bank is able to maintain the accounts of the farmer so long as he is not willing to pay back at least the principal amount he borrowed in the first place!)

Only the bank managers and working staff can experience the actual heat generated by such pronouncements! On the one hand they are accused of Lazy Banking Syndrome i.e. not being proactive enough in generating enough profit through advances and on the other, they are accused in the mass media of not being serviceable enough to the general public!

A veritable Catch 22 scenario!

More and more famers turn up at bank counters to get the benefit of loans but no amount can be advanced to them unless the bank management is convinced of their integrity and creditworthiness in some manner.

A smiling face alone is no guarantee that he person will pay back the amounts he may be advanced!

Many Indian banks had to hold back educational advances because the beneficiaries who finished their education with these amounts and became well employed never bothered at any time subsequently to remit the amounts they borrowed back to the bank with interest at all.

All this is nothing but public domain information available and accessible to one and all!


“Bad assets in the banking system are”, as the Union Finance Minister put it recently “unacceptable” for two distinct reasons at least prima facie:

  • Banks don’t mint their own money but are using public money to generate an extra income and
  • Their being able to give out advances for ensuring own upkeep is needed for national development and for redress of public contingencies.

This is why those men that are shameless enough to decline to pay back the huge amounts they borrowed from the people’s money in banks are such liabilities for all of us, and probably even for their own families!

Though these men owe big bucks to the banks on the surface, they are actually hoodwinking the people of the country since its all public money that banks play intelligently with. By delaying repayment they are also stalling national progress sin a big way.

So, with your permission, I call them “celebrity burglars in suits and coats”!

[Burdened with all such defaulters and other NPAs, public sector banks are not unsurprisingly reticent and reluctant to give our advances.

They are slower in passing on RBI rate reductions also than private banks. The latter also are cautious and wary nowadays. They need to be too!]

The banks that lent these men huge amounts are also put to enormous difficulty because, in order to retrieve the amount advanced, they have only a single option- to implement the SARFAESI Act and take over the defaulter’s immobile land properties and assets bought with the amount, and to go for RR (Revenue recovery).

Both these measures take time of course to become cash!

It’s this loophole in existing laws that the defaulter exploits to his own unfair advantage!

All bank managers are under pressure to perform, by which the management expects them not only to eliminate all prospects for loss of existing assets –not only the money reserves- but also to generate as much profit through honorable means as possible without creating a fuss.

These men and women are also busy with day to day banking operations, and so they have little time to attend court sessions, either for revenue recovery or for replying to objections raised by the defaulter’s advocate against the implementation of the SARFAESI Act.


No public bank today can run business with a total commercial mindset unlike many NBFCs in the nation since the maximum percentage of interest it can charge for a crash loan is limited. NBFCs—Non Banking Financial Companies like Muthoot, Kosamattom , Peerless or Margadarsi—, which have private ownership, are known to charge much higher tariffs by way of interest on loans than commercial banks for short term loans.

Like those men that take it for granted that train journeys are totally free and not requiring a ticket for travel, many Indians think that bank loans are freely doled out money.

They accost a bank-preferably a public sector bank- when they require money for something—say for starting an industry, persuade the bank manager to make a huge advance to them— and then go on borrowing but not paying back the amounts borrowed already till it becomes a tidy sum owed to the bank.

Attempts at “flaming and shaming”*   these men in the hope of getting the advanced amounts back have resulted in futility. [*The NIE Sunday Express, 13/1/2015]

By the time the loan applicant is evaluated as a born defaulter, not eligible for running the industry at all, the man would have borrowed a huge amount and an equally large interest would have accrued on the principal too.

In March 2013,400 Indian companies owed as much as Rs 70,300 crores to the public sector banks as per the AIBEA data. By March 2014, this amount had ballooned to Rs 85000 crores. Just 50 defaulters owe as much as Rs 40,528 crores to these banks.

Who are toppers in this 400 defaulter list?

Vijay Mallya (United Breweries and holdings Limited) leads from the front with a debt of Rs 6920 crores, followed by Jatin Mehta (promoter Winsome Diamonds) with a debt of Rs 2660 crores, Mukesh Bhandari (Chairman Electrotherm India) who owes the banks Rs 2211 crores,Nitin Sandesara (CMD Sterling Biotech) with an outstanding amount of Rs 1732 crores, Nithin s Kasliwal (S Kumars nationwide) with a debt of Rs 1692 crores , K Raghavendra Rao (Founder ,CMD orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals), with an outstanding debt of Rs 938 crores, Deepak Puri (Chairman and managing Director, Moser Baer) with a debt of Rs 581 crores, and I Madhusudan Rao (Executive Chairman Lanco Infratech) who owes banks Rs 533 crores .[ibid. From The New Sunday Express]

You may ask me why the banks can’t go in for the harder option (SARFAESI Act, hired arm twisters, advertisements for public awareness, RR etc.) straight away.

This is firstly because India does need industries and these persons are supposed to be managing industries of their own.

And in business cash flows can happen on a temporary basis in BOTH directions.

It may also be that the industries that these persons manage are unique in some ways and that the loss of the same would prove to be a huge loss to the nation’s infrastructure or lifestyle quality!

Mr. Modi can declare grand schemes such as “Start up India-Stand up India” but its takes banks to support business ideas with funds.

If they advance an amount for a Start-Up venture, and it turns out to be a liability—a sick industry swimming in a huge financial mess, who shall take the blame, please? (Financial messes are always to be expected in such units too just as in our public enterprises or public offices going by various names. E.g.  Sahitya Akademi)

At the end of 2014 only a handful of these defaulters, according to AIBEA secretary-general, have paid up any amount at all.

Bank managements term such advances as NPAs or Non-Performing Assets or stressed advances or as Restructured Standard Advances.

Such labels don’t matter much but the key problem in dealing with these men as ‘gentlemen with some oddity’ is getting back the amounts advanced by hook or by crook.

Our basic integrity needs to undergo much improvement, no matter our academic achievements, if we are to make our banks really helpful proactive catalysts for the national progress.

Neither at school nor at college do we get to imbibe this one traits that elevate us as individuals!DSC01722



The DBT Approach is certainly an improvement by the Modi Ministry made upon the Maa-Baap Subsidy approach of the UPA I and UPA II but that by itself can’t address the nation’s rampant poverty.

It smacks rather too much for comfort of the lazy short cut, likely to be adopted by the 10am-till-5 pm routinely-working Baboo or public servant.

What is needed for helping the poor have essential goods is finding a market for whatever he can offer the general public—a forward linkage- and also enabling him to get raw materials on credit- a backward linkage.

Sustainable livelihood options focused on empowerment and enabling the poor recipient of the DBT must be provided on a parallel track so that he or she shall gradually cease to even need concessions in the near future. [This same hope was behind the granting of monthly stipend system for the backward classes but they, instead of getting fully empowered through educational opportunities and privileges pressurized the successive governments in power to perpetuate the convention with minimal accountability!]

Forward linkage –provision of a ready, zero-middle-man market in the neighborhood- is more important for enhancing the individual income per recipient than that for timely supply of raw materials and water.

Normally markets are exploitative and the poor find it a herculean deal to sell whatever they have for sale. Markets are interlocked so that they can’t sell except at unfairly low rates, which in turn push them deeper into debts.

Farmers are encouraged to constitute SHGs (Self Help Groups) so they can get higher prices either at the farm gate or at the sales venue.

The recipient must be inculcated in basic marketing skills and back up sensitization of the wide public must be given about the availability of the produce on a specific week day at the market so that he can easily convert his produce into cash and go back home.

The poor must also be organized so that they have a voice to articulate what is distressing them to the government departments, whose accountability has always been in doubt. It would be ideal if women are given the leadership in such organizations so that the quality of our mid day meals in schools goes up and that of the services in our PHCs also improves.

Indeed public health delivery systems in the Indian hinterlands badly want better accountability.

This is a pointer to the present day weakness in our Panchayat Raj institutions, and lack of reform in governance.

Non availability of options, whether for education or for health, is another obstacle!

The poor in this country have been caught in, as Mihir Shah puts it in a write-up,”a terrible web of low quality local private providers of health and education” today. Before cash gets transferred it must be ensured that the quality of the services these persons provide is satisfactory.

Farms are often remote from the huge markets that offer good prices. The failure of local markets in villages, where the farms may be located, must not be permitted to push the farmer into poverty. Supermarket managers don’t feel encouraged to visit individual small time farmers in such remote places too.

Here some kind of social security must be provided to farmers by the State.

India is not only far from developed nations where the typical farmer is well protected by the State with both accessible markets and also ample supply of raw materials, besides social security amounts and even food coupo0ns in instances of crop failure. Naturally no farmer in those nations is ever in need for a helping hand alike DBT at all.

Indian governments have also erred grievously by ignoring the actual need of the farmer community when it comes to governance reform efforts.

If close to one million Indian farmers, spread across all States, have taken the extreme step out of desperation, it is basically owing to the unresponsive State and Union Governments too.

The Circean temptation to resolve a problem like recipient indigence with a hasty cash transfer of some kind is proof enough of the colossal failure of the policy makers at the political and intellectual levels.

Anti poverty programs –targeted at obliterating Poverty Syndrome–encompass a wide repertoire of activities and initiatives. The act of transferring cash is just one among more than a dozen such initiatives.

We must also think of promoting girl kid education, discouraging child marriages, quality enhancement of health and education services, establishment of local sales venues, smoothening and de-clogging the supply chain to keep the farmer well provided with raw materials for farming and even infusing him with rudimentary sales skills!

About 70% of the Indian landmass is Poor India even today in 2016.

This is something for all town dwellers too besides India’s ministries in States and the union Government to feel thoroughly ashamed about!

Launching more Smart cities won’t help us find a solution to eliminating this poverty in much of our nation.

What we need is a package deal with more than a dozen empowerment initiatives all functioning without a glitch!

[Partly based on Mihir Shah’s write-up in ”The Hindu”]DSC01388



As India changes day by day, hopefully to be a better and more sensibly balanced nation, so ought you and I too, to let ourselves think differently in tune with the India we get to see, hear and experience firsthand all around us.

30 years ago, India offered us job opportunities in public offices and private companies, partly owing to our academic eligibility, partly owing to our accident of birth, and partly owing to luck perhaps but she has never been known to either an Equal Opportunity Employer at any time in her history.

It was in a belated response to the dire need to fill slots that she did that too—just as the British used to do.

The British calculation, inspired by their delusion that they would be able to milk India for a millennium at least,  was that, once the adult generation was ‘softened’ enough with unceasing poverty and misery, they would persuade their kids like our forefathers to take up ANY job whatever that came their way. And our departed souls fell for the trap too though they were offered only peanuts for salary at the end of a sweating month!

Nor has she been well wishing one towards salaried employees due to the many vested interests that one is fated to contend with in office once one enters a career line! This has been especially so in public office of any kind!

What we got to know as Salaried, Secure, Statutory Pension-eligible job is gone into the grave for all practical reasons. What we called a Fixed Timeline Promotion-and-Seniority-based career is also gone to the cemetery.

An MBA graduate believes in making an average of 7 career jumps –under 7 different bosses at as many different locations too – in order to arrive at his dream income level!

Today your prosperity is in your own hands from the moment of birth till you choose to retire. Business activity alone can help us meet both our ends satisfactorily.

No one is actually interested in knowing which activity is involved in our business, so long as it is “business”!

Even life as a notorious gangster or a mercenary liquidator extraordinary(Like that mysterious Russian visitor that purposely injured the late KGB spy Litvinenko with a Polonium-poisoned umbrella top and thus ensured his death in pain)  ,as a snipe shooter or as an assassin, taken up as a way of living, can be called business! Ha-ha!

Between you and me, we know it’s not courteous of us if we ask a UAE-based young man what precisely his business is! He may well be a camel butcher, a female sex organ massager, a stud, a gigolo, an arms supplier, a washer man, a car washer, a caretaker, a male tourist guide, a spurious drug pusher, a dog feeder, a buffalo trader or an executioner!

If you think about those hardy pioneers that sold everything to board a huge fishing boat, braved the elements to reach the Arabian Gulf shores in the early 1960’s , you can clinically analyze how they came to be such precious companions of the Emirs or Sheikhs there.

Chug- chugging away on some fishing trawler through the wee hours of night from the misery back at home over the high seas, those pioneers exploring a distant El Dorado had but one goal in life—to make some money by taking up any job in the petro rich Arabian or “Persian” Gulf area—through tending camels or goats or sheep, picking apples in Israel, assisting a water dowser in Jordan or loading trucks with raw sulfur near the Dead Sea, taking up the unenviable task of protecting crops of dates and figs, and even catching fish for some local wholesale fish trader.

Some of them, though they had often to shoo away local old buzzards taking special interest in them,  did find themselves scrambling like mad in a Valley of Gold as we see in the film “McKenna’s Gold”!

If those pioneers had then insisted on accepting only white collar jobs they might have had to return home to India!

Indeed, like the naughty young Shakespeare caught stealing deer from Sir Thomas Lucy’s park and then fleeing for the sake of his ‘young man reputation’ to London and making a life there, the rags-to-riches got replicated in the above case too of India to UAE relocation, when many hot chestnuts from among our villages and towns made it big in the Arabian Gulf in the 1960’s and 1970’s!

Those men must have helped in at least carrying cement and b ricks to help with construction activities going on there in those early years in full swing!

Indeed, as I recall, the typical Gulf-Returnee-on-Leave, with his undisclosed but supposedly astronomical income totally tax free, commanded a much higher price in the matrimonial market also in those days than public servants like yours truly whose only source of income was an IT-deducted-at-source monthly remuneration!!

The “Bellary Raja” in the Malayalam film “Rajamanikyam” is shown as a wealthy wholesale water buffalo trader while Parameswaran in the film “Usthaad” is a gambler. In “Pokkiri Raja”, the hero is a professional bully, human ‘peacemaker’  so similar to the weapon the Las Vegas bouncers use) and riot initiator. We have film titles too like ” Tiger”, “Nattu Rajavu” (Local monarch), “Maadambi” (Zamindar) , “Asuravithu” (The Black Sheep),”Gaja Pokkiri “(Notorious Gangster) ,”Rathi Nirvedam” ( Sex Veda) and so on making a lot of money at the theatres.

If only you take a look at all the recent Indian films across the vernacular languages, you may notice this trend to make box office hit films on themes that are evidently negative.

Indeed our people heartily welcome films like Pulp Fiction!

Mr. Modi’s much vaunted “Start up India-Stand up India”  initiative has a charm about it at least when we hear those alliterative sounds, and indeed today bank managements are believed to loosening their Shylockian purse strings to encourage and promote entrepreneurs to come up with a business-friendly and investment-worthy idea and working plan.

How much truth is there in this report I am not sure till I get to personally interview—and subtly probe– some bank managers here anyway.

Actually what the man-usually the breadwinner—does during the day time for earning money doesn’t matter these days. What impresses the women at home is the amount he makes daily without any apparent end.

An entrepreneur has a decided edge over the public servant any day in this aspect!

My salute to the Indian Entrepreneur!





“We will walk together not as members of groups or parties or advocates of ideologies, but as human beings,” says Sri M, a social reformer of our times as all as an educationist based at “Snow White” in Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh. He runs the Satsang Foundation, which is working towards spiritual enlightenment and educational uplift.

Adds he, ”We will walk to free (Indian) society from fear and insecurity thus igniting the formation of an inclusive and participative society, where opportunity is given to all, where talent and effort are rewarded regardless of caste, religion, language, region and gender.”

The Walk of Hope, which began in earnest on the 12th of January 2015 at Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu is, at the moment, in one of the States in North India and gradually coming nearer and nearer to Kashmir where its destination happens to be. At every 15 kilometer distance, which they hope to cover on foot through the daytime, the members hold meetings at the end of the day with local persons and NGOs and discuss the possibility of making a collective effort towards materialzing a national change in a salutary direction.

Its other objectives, every one of which is commendable, are:

  • Conduct interfaith prayers
  • Provide clan toilets for all men and women
  • Publicize the importance of organic farming
  • Sensitize the people about the importance of walking per se

This gentleman is truly inspired to bring about a wholesome complexion change and people transformation across India, a vast nation inhabited by 1.25 billion people splintered across caste and religion if not also educational and educational attainments , talents and so on. He has travelled much and met millions of ordinary Indians in different walks of life this far.

He feels certain that he can bring about some desired and desirable changes here through conducting a cross country walk stretching about 3000 kilometers.

Reminded of Sree Narayana Guru who conducted a similar cross country pilgrimage? Or Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj or Ramakrishna Movement?  Or of Vinoba Bhave, the Bhoodan Movement stalwart by any chance? Or of Vallabhai Patel, who met all mini monarchs and feudal leaders in order to father forth a federal nation? Or of Gandhi, the Ahimsa weapon expert and doyen of our independence movement? Or of Swami Vivekananda?

Well, I understand and am not amazed that you are recalling all those unmistakably Indian social transformers.

Sri M –his former name was Mumtaz Ali Khan but now it’s Madhukarnath–happens to be a disciples of the late Maheshwarnath Babaji, in Vyasa Guha beyond Badrinath temple. He has  been trained in the Upanishads, Kriya yoga and meditation.

Yes, India has undergone many bedrock level changes towards being a clean nation through all these movements and sporadic mentally proselytizing phenomena, though much of the dross from our distant Hindu past still sticks to us like smelly kelp pulled up from the seabed!

One of these kelp pieces is the prevalence of many fake spiritual babas among our people.

He believes that India is changing ever so subtly under us and around us but he would like this change to happen a little faster than it does.

”Every human being,” says he perceptively,” has an instinct for freedom. Everybody seeks happiness and peace. The moment you realize that what you are seeking is right inside you, you will turn into a spiritual being”.

He believes in keeping one’s religious beliefs away from one’s profession and public personality and also condemns terrorism and violence. He is married with two kids and lets the kids follow their dreams. He is tech-savvy too no less.

Let’s think a bit collectively about such yatras and their effects on the commoners in India.

An improvement from the feudal lifestyle that we had centuries earlier, we started feeling like one with such collective action with an objective. The 1857 Sepoy Struggle-fondly baptized as the Fitrst Struggle for Independence today—was one such.

Still, once the yatra or pilgrimage was over and done with, we felt caste- and community- and faith-separated and thus internally alienated. The faiths that came amidst us at different times also prompted us to feel that we are actually many discrete segments fated to live together following what we like to do best!

It was Gandhi that riveted us to have a single aim.

Once Free India came into being, our numerous political parties incited us to solving our issues in different ways, even using violence as needed at times. Ministries came and went after feeling that they have helped change this country their own ways too. Our people multiplied and today we find ourselves with many more quite serious burning issues than our forefathers ever did.

Countrywide corruption is just one of these many curses that we live with. Many social evils and discriminatory acts also manage to co-exist with our personal beliefs and notions!

As I put it on an earlier occasion India lives in many different centuries and millennia from day to day.

Not only the externals help keep you and me separate in our world views but also our internal beliefs, notions and practices.

Many of us are become such oddballs that we find ourselves stared at by foreigners when we are abroad and things Indian are also deprecated globally today. Our democratic systems are still young; they are often awkward and hallmarked by an amateurish gaucherie. Most of the persons that we elect as our spokesmen in State assemblies and the Parliament are also so full of themselves that they don’t think of us, our issues and of India’s future too!

Bringing about a tectonic shift psychologically here is no easy task I admit but such persons as Sri M are doing their mite towards invoking this cataclysmic change. I am lavish in my personal appreciation foal l such movements because they help us change inch by inch.

To that extent it needs to be openly appreciated too!As they say, gently stroke a rosebud and it will get confident enough to bloom into a Queen Rose!






Indian landmass sits on a huge plate that is moving northward @50 mm every year and so plate boundaries are likely to produce earthquakes of moderate to high or mega intensity.

>50 % of the Indian landmass is vulnerable in this manner.

About 200 million Indians live in such areas or regions blissfully unaware of the fragilities of the plate below them!

A seismic map of the country can tell you if YOU are staying in such an area. If you are, it’s not necessary to move away now but it’s important and urgent that you take some quake resistant steps in erecting any dwelling place in such a place.

According to a research finding by a team at the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), a mixture of tyre crumbs plus small stones in 75:25% ratio used for raising the ground level of the home –and also all around the foundation of the house–can help withstand the impact by over 70% since it withstands the sliding movement from below. In every quake horizontal or tangential sliding forces parallel to the ground level are uppermost. In normal circumstances the house walls can’t withstand such a pulling or traction force.

(A tyre crumb is a granular material recovered from recycles waste tyres)

A combination of tyre crumbs with sand also does this but small stones or rock aggregates have proved to be superior.

Earthquake resistance aside, one needs also to think if this combo of tyre and stones will pollute the soil in any manner that is deleterious to humans. Actual evidence proves that rubber present above the existing ground water table doesn’t contaminate the water in any manner.

The scientific principle used in this combo is geo-technical isolation system (of the moderate to high brick and mortar building) using rubber stone mixtures, seated above the ground water level.

What is needed for reduction of the seismic load is a cushioning effect along with strength, giving a little flexibility to the whole structure, so that it doesn’t get displaced.

If the quake is having a Richter scale intensity of >8, all that such a house structure shall have is a minor crack along a wall and no more in actual experiment and testing.

Cost-wise this is a cost effective technique too. Waste tyres can be obtained in any number and all that is needed to take out the steel wires in them (if any) through friction.

A cleaner environment can also be ensured in this manner!


Bring up the family from Day One with deep faith in an Almighty of some kind, preferably one that you can get to take a liking to!

Pray together every single day , not only for the shared experience of auto stimulation through sound, but also through the feeling of oneness, which has a long term impact on the mindset of the children after they each adulthood.(Without your being conscious of it, your cerebellum is also involved in this kind of prayer session)

Share food every day and offer food to one another too at least for a few minutes. This is because food is a social catalyst and also a generator of harmony below the body level.

Insist on open channel communication at all levels within the family so that the kid doesn’t feel like a gust but very much an integral component of the family unit.

Start consulting the child on purchases and essentials and encourage him to tell his what he or she feels about a purchase too.

Take the kid along wherever you safely can so that he/she learns some basic social skills and etiquette too.

Never sit him in front of TV while you are chatting with your office colleague in your front room. Let the kid be seated near you and listen to that person too, without being able to understand much nevertheless!

Delegate as much effort in running the home as you can as early as the kid can take it and do justice to your delegation,  so that the kid learns unconsciously to clinically analyze the constraints around a problem, arrive at his or her own decision!

Incentivize him/her to stand on his/her own feet.