Clean up political funding
The Association for Democratic Reforms has done the nation a service by taking the pains to collate information and publicise the fact that the funds from “unknown sources” account for 69% of the ‘total’ funds collected by political parties of all hues in the decade between 2004-05 and 2014-15. All political parties without exception stress the need for transparent honesty in political funding. At the same time, they blush to admit it, but they refuse to disclose the sources of funding and take the flow of cash from anonymous donors into their coffers for granted. It does not take much brain to infer that the anonymous donors are none but black marketeers, hoarders, bootleggers, smugglers, drug peddlers, human traffickers, real estate agents, coal-mining barons, mafia members, and contractors of public works, corrupt bureaucrats and others of that ilk. There is no such thing as a free lunch. The anonymous donors see to it that no legal action is initiated against their illegal activities by the party or parties in power. Corporate behemoths form a class of their own when it comes to greasing the palms of political parties.
G David Milton, Maruthancode (TN)
I fully agree with your editorial observations of January 25 (“Second Kingfisher blow”), on IDBI’s lending to Kingfisher. It is beyond any doubt that a huge loan of about R900 crore would not have been approved to the already ailing Kingfisher without interference or influence of any political or bureaucratic pressure. Further, when the bank had accepted the brand name as the collateral for such a huge loan, it should have drawn the immediate attention of the regulatory authority which is RBI, as these banks should have a reporting system of informing all such big loans to the regulatory authority. But, suddenly arresting the previous chairman of the IDBI Bank and its top officials without attempting to find out the real culprits is really unfortunate. This loan has been approved with the interference of political/bureaucratic pressure at the highest level, and CBI would do better if its investigations covered this aspect as well.
Ananta Padmanabhan, Chennai
Bad bank a bad idea
It is unfortunate that the government is seriously thinking of setting up a “bad bank”on the eve of the Budget. The precursor to modern banks, the rural banking cooperatives, passed on the ills of dual control and sub-par professionalism to PSU banks. Decades after nationalisation, with the government as their owner, no party in power has accepted accountability nor demanded it from the bank’s management. Private banks with acumen occupy far too less space to force PSU banks to dramatically improve. No lending is without risk, and an enquiry Raj, while leaving the government functionary untouched, will only target bank managements. The government must increase private banking space and reduce its stake in PSBs. More important, it should bring in able leadership that is free to perform with authority. The government seems to prefer hiding behind the fig leaf of a bad bank to absorb huge NPAs to deflect its own failings.
R Narayanan, Ghaziabad