Apropos ‘A plum deal for DBS’ (November 20), the RBI has sent out a clear message to foreign banks to consider similar deals to widen their business in India. The latter have many positives, such as strong balance sheets, total operational freedom, robust processes, superior technology and state-of-the-art services to customers. On the flip side, they have fewer branches, with a restricted customer base.
By acquiring an Indian bank, they would receive on a platter what they lack, while obviating the efforts involved in organic growth. The customers too may retain their business and deposits, considering the availability of enhanced DICGC cover.
There is already a thinking in North Block that eventually India should have five public sector banks of SBI’s size. Significantly, some chronically sick PSBs were excluded from the mega merger exercise earlier this year. The government neither has the means nor the intent to keep pumping taxpayers’ money into them, nor merge them with other PSBs, which would only make the merged entities sick. The writing on the wall is clear for these banks: perform or be taken over.
The RBI’s proposal to amalgamate LVB with DBS Bank India, a subsidiary of DBS Bank Singapore, is a better option than merging with any of the public sector banks (PSBs), which are already suffering with weak balance sheets as well as continuous losses and rising NPAs.
In this case, DBS has a lot to gain apart from expansion of business through the 560-odd branches of LVB. DBS has managed to take over the assets and liabilities at negligible costs. Perhaps, the only negative for DBS is it has to follow up on the NPAs of LVB. For LVB, on the other hand, shareholders would get nothing and the depositors lower interest.
To be sure, DBS would not have agreed to this arranged marriage had it not got the better side of the bargain.
This refers to the editorial ‘Reality check’ (November 20). Perhaps, the apex court’s recent diktat to the government to keep the electronic media on a tight leash is oblique advice to the government to self-regulate itself first.
It is common knowledge that a plethora of TV channels enjoy unbridled patronage covertly or overtly of the government of the day and are therefore singing paeans to it. There are reports that many channels and TV anchors who have not toed the government line have been unduly harassed. Legislating and enacting laws is not the remedy if used selectively and not dispassionately.
It should ease our minds that the Supreme Court is seized of the blatant misuse of media freedom by some TV news channels and keen on nudging the government to take steps to rectify the situation. Indeed, it requires urgent attention since drawing a false equivalence between “free speech” and “hate speech” and between “virulent nationalism” and “civic nationalism”, certain channels continue to peddle rabidly communal stuff.
Mass viewership or popular consumption is not a good enough reason to allow certain channels dish out news stories in adversarial terms and spread the poison of religious hatred. There is a fine line between informing the public and polarising them. One of the media’s roles is to edify and unite people and not to divide them or cater to their baser instincts.
Ideally, a democracy should do with voluntary regulation of the press. But the way some channels go about playing their role emphasises the need for some sort of regulatory oversight by, say, a judicial body or a parliamentary panel.
The country now needs more of good and ethical journalism and less of bad and unethical journalism for us to be a vibrant democracy. It’s time journalists become truer to their lofty calling to be able to play their rightful role as the fourth pillar of democracy without fear or favour.
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
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