Running a three-legged race
Apropos of the edit “Recovering lost ground” (FE, September 1), the land Bill and the GST misadventure may well point to the BJP’s inability to deal effectively with the Opposition, but its greater concern should be on the mismatch of internal gearing .The PMO and the bureaucracy are running a three-legged race that is ill-equipped for consonance. The lack of such consonance can not be made good by frequently changing Secretaries. It gives solace though that many of them have chosen to follow their considered judgment, as they are expected to do. The economic-finance wings on the other hand, under a plethora of bureaucrats, take segmented views and are seldom seen to be under one umbrella, be it retrospective taxation, OROP or others. The Planning Commission was sent packing with no purposeful replacement yet. The UPA had better central navigation. The socio-political agenda has an external drive and neither the party nor its executive has the levers. The UPA had at least an overt NAC to take the blame, as per need, for radical populism. But the BJP remains ever-helpless against inroads by its own fringe elements. A flawed system architecture will continue to expose faultlines at the most inconvenient of times.
DBT needed for JDY success
Apropos of the report “PSB’s need govt support to make social schemes viable: Arundhati” (FE, August 29), by launching the Jan Dhan Yojana, the government has not only gone a long way in including the financially excluded, but has simultaneously thrown open the opportunity to for banks to mobilise inexpensive resources. Though banks have showed an exemplary performance in achieving their respective targets, a major chunk of the accounts are lying dormant and are adversely affecting the viability of the scheme. It seems that banks have opened accounts under the compulsion to achieve set targets. This languid approach has not only enhanced their operating costs but also has defeated the government’s objectives. Banks need to look for diverse ways to convince the dormant account-holders about the necessity of keeping the accounts live. For that, attitudinal change is needed among the bankers, that the poor strata of society are also bankable. This will pave the way for a win-win situation for the government and the banking industry. At a time when the banking industry is struggling to improve its margins, the government must look at adequately capitalising banks and compensate them for carrying out low-value transactions and step on the gas on the direct transfer of benefits.
Gender not related to money
Apropos of your edit “Money and gender” (FE, September 1), while the study finds women more prone to reckless spending than men, let us also bear in mind that women are also some of the most astute savers—especially in the economically weaker sections, it has been seen that men prioritise their own consumption over household consumption while women do the opposite and try to save for a rainy day. This association of money with compensation for emotional deficits is not an exclusively female phenomenon. Despite what women respondents might have said, men too have been increasingly seen to splurge. This evident from the range of consumer goods that have come up over the years that are targetted at men. Then, there are also the ‘pour homme’ luxury segment goods—from watches to yachts, from perfumes to fine whiskies. So, at best, the study aggregates a pattern of responses, not attitudes. It has to be understood that men, universally held (though very incorrectly) as providers, are less likely say that they are spenders.
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