Specific disadvantaged sectors must be catered to!
Many insurance products,from halth to life insurance policies can be promoted.
What about the priority sector lending?
Let us reward the bank innovators
by Padmasris and Padma Bhushans!
New challenges,new opportunities and new risks!
The Indian banking system is a vast one. Ever since Inira Gandhi nationalised the banks,it is now the 26 PSU banks,as they are called,are a story with some mixed results.
Yes,there have been vast expansion of branches and banking services now are well spread out.In the South banking services are widely used by people of all categories,lower sections are all bank-exposed,as per arecent survey.
In the North the banking services ar eyet to spread. Now,lately,there are new challenges. In recent times a series of reports point to the banks,the PSU banks we have here in mind are exposed to heavy non-performing assets,NPAs and as er the latest report we see that of the 17 PSU banks have a combined Rs. 10,786.85 crores write-off,bad loans that are written off as lost!It is the taxpayers who would foot the bill!
The actual recovery of these 17 banks is just Rs.4,171.56 crores only!
So,if you are a critic or at best even a sceptic might ask:is this all to government banks?
Is this how the government run banks perform?Or,fail to perform and yet we all talk so much about bank nationalisation etc. The Communists are very fond of nationalisation. This only shows how the public opinion is ignorant and our political leaders keep the public ignorant and treat the banking system as a milking cow!
There are always the five-yearly crop loan write offs.But the very farmers and the larger public may not know that the write offs that benefit the very rich and powerful business classes are many times what the govenment write off periodically for the farmers.
This is only one side of the banking story. Then there are other sides too. There is now a new crop of private banks. Some of the latest success stories are the new generation private banks.ICCI,Yes Bank,HDFC bank are all the new generation private banks that offer very efficient and very innovative services.
Now,the government has come forward to issue banking licences for opening new banks.Of course theses will be in the private secotr.
Noiwadays people,namely,the bank customers prefer private banks for their quick services and also easy loan provisions.
There are then the foreign banks of a general and specialised nature.
HSBC,Citi banks are the two stars now on the horizon. Then there is the new revolutions.Credit cards is now widely used and they prove to be so convenient etc.
So far so good. They,these banks and their services so far we talked about cater mainly to the middle and the well-off sections of customers.
The lower end,the poor,farmers,landless and coolies,daily workers are all eligible for banking serivces and bank help but in reality the banks are not willing to take risk and time and energy to help these sections.
So,as a matter of social policy the government has come out with a variety of banking serivces.
Now, there is in law a provision that everyone should be getting the services of the banks.Both the PSU banksa nd the private banks must adhere to what is called the priority secotr lending. This in fact refers to agriculture and also other well-defined and well-ear marked sections of society including the poorest of the poor!
So,there is a great deal of disquiet and dissatisfaction among the general public about the abnking services. How a finance minister or a party loks at the banking sector depends upon the persons concerned.
This is for the first time,we see the finance minister Mr.P.Chidambaram, allowing (or promoting himself?) his photographs printed alongside of the bank/or LIC in advertisements.It is done,it seems with a deliberate intention of the FM getting his face publicised for the sake of political promotion himself!
This leaves a bad taste in the minds of the public. Or,are the banks using the FM’s p[hoto for the sake of currying the favour of the FM or his officials?
Also,there is the corruption that is perceived to be widely prevalent in the banking sector. There is also the provision for the banking ombudsman.There is not much analysis of these provisions.There is a great deal of secrecy about these matters.
Corruption cant be hidden for long,as we have seen in many recent instances where the banking chairmen are sent to jail.One chairman in the Southern bank,has 22 cases against him and in one he is repeatedly punished for corrupt deals.
On enquiry we find that bankers often go out of their wy to please the politicians.Even in Indira Gandhi days we had seen such lapses.
We are not sure what is the lapses now.One has to guess that these lapses must be on the increase only.
Much more serious is the issue of innovations in bank lending.
We are,it seems,no more living in the days and times of the giants,titans,TMA Pai and T.A Pai of the great Syndicate Bank glory days.
They were the early pioneers and revolutionaries. We are also now a nation of weak-minded leaders and bankers! So many great men and women had given their lives to promote co-operative banks.There are even now great co-operatives,Sewa to Amul. The early vionaries envisioned aNational Agricultural Bank, a National Co-operative Union etc.
Alas!All are now left to bite the dust!
Even now,we see the Nabard hasnt risen up to the challenges foreseen for its role. This journal had interviewed one early Chairman of Nabard. From that time,it looks it is decline all the way. So,it is not enough to have aFM to talk day in and day out on all topics.
This is the days of lawyers turning talkative ministers!
We need real bankers,the daring architypal T.M.A Pais and T.A. Pais!