Mobile key to Aadhaar success
Apropos of the edit “A billion Aadhaars now” (FE, February 15), Aadhaar for all, in a nation of 1 billion-plus population, might well have remained another static identity but for its extensive animation through the mobile. One can be sitting in judgment on the 2G allocations endlessly, but this did set the scene for a polynomial burst in user base at one of lowest of global tariffs and perhaps is the most effective government funded start- up! The mobile digital revolution that followed the rapid creation of this titanic consumer access, transformed in less than a decade the way we work, buy and pay, deliver services and pilot social inclusiveness. It is this vast captive customer base that misleads a government to set high auction levels for incremental spectrum platforms. Had we put up similar price levels at the 2G auctions, today’s proliferating applications and needs for smart business and economical governance would have remained in gestation and the Aadhaar abandoned or kept in abeyance.
Public sector banks need reform
The performance of the banking industry, especially that of the state-owned banks, has been worsening in respect of asset quality and return on assets, and has led to panic sale of shares of these banks. The negative sentiments prevailing in the market is shrinking the market capitalisation of these banks. In the meantime, the most pertinent question is that since banks being financial intermediaries, could they effectively drive the economy in the capacity as growth engines? As the banking sector and other sectors of the economy are complementary to each other, down turn of any of the sector will negatively impact the performance of the financial intermediaries and vice versa. While on the one side, the government is declaring that the economy is resilient to with stand the impact of the turbulence of global economy, then why many of the sectors are showing lacklustre performance needs to be explored for rapid remedial action. It is evident from the report cards of these banks that quarter-on-quarter, bad loans are ballooning, return on assets are declining and the overall efficiency is being dragged down. Though write-offs are being done to remove the bad loans from the balance-sheets, the subsequent efforts put to recover unpaid loans is not delivering the targeted result. This is hampering the growth of credibility and health of banks. The government is lackadaisical in executing economic reforms. Certainly, a portion of the bad loans are the result of the weak systems prevailing in the banks,and unscrupulous borrowers are taking advantage of the weak systems and eating away the capital of banks. It is high time that the government and the central bank move fast to protect the health of our banking industry.
VSK Pillai Kottayam