118 years of Trust M A I L B A G THE TRIBUNE
Tuesday, November 3, 1998
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Not bankable, these NBFCs

THIS refers to the editorial “Not bankable, these NBFCs” (31.10.98). I feel it is likely to add to the existing distrust and panic among the depositors who are the pillars of this industry. The public and the authorities have of late realised that clamping of stringent restrictions and consequent closure of certain well-performing NBFCs have resulted in an irretrievable loss to the depositors at large and such companies in particular.

Your own correspondent writes in The Business Tribune (30.10.98): “The previous United Front government, alarmed by the increasing number of companies going bankrupt, clamped strict measures which, instead of helping the depositors, worsened their plight. Several NBFCs left depositors in the lurch. Even healthy NBFCs were constrained by the over-restrictive and regulatory regime. Also, the procedure for taking over the assets and liquidation of defaulting and insolvent NBFCs remained deficient, and was neither able to effectively prevent asset stripping nor did it enable quick disposal of assets for the benefit of all creditors, whether secured or unsecured.”

In this regard I would like to give here the views of Mr S. Venkitaramanan, former Governor of the RBI: “There is an urgent need to keep the NBFCs sector competitive and viable. For some time now, the authorities, particularly the RBI and Government of India, seem to have taken a strong ideological stance against NBFCs as such. This has unbalanced even many NBFCs, which were in good shape. The sudden imposition of the new regulations, even if later modified, has disturbed the working environment almost irretrievably. Unfortunately, the steps taken for relieving distress are being much less aggressively handled than those earlier taken for disturbing the situation.”

In view of these expert views, it is suggested that the media should build a healthy environment for the financial market so that further damage to the interests of small depositors is not done inadvertently. It should call a spade a spade and publish the facts about specific companies which have defaulted, and not NBFCs as a category. Within the NBFCs there are different categories which also must be mentioned since some of these have not defaulted at all and are even holding grounds in unfavourable market conditions created not because of their fault.

Let us not destabilise them also. We should leave the field to the professionals and experts to ensure smooth sailing for the depositors as well as NBFCs.

Lieut-Col HARBANS SINGH (retd)

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Civil defence in India

I read the article “Weakness in India’s civil defence” (Tribune 19) by Mr Rakesh Datta. The civil defence organisation is considered the fourth arm of a country after the army, the navy and the air force. Not because it has any fire power, but due to its important role before, during and after the war.

The primary duties of this organisation is to educate the public on how to defend themselves against the enemy bombing on civilian population. Saving the public from a nuclear attack requires a colossal expenditure.

The writer has very rightly pointed out the responsibilities of the government in this task. The civil defence department has the responsibility to extinguish the fires caused by the enemy’s bombing, to extricate those trapped under the debris and to evacuate the casualties to hospitals.

The writer has tried to make the government understand to prepare underground shelters for the citizens to save them in an event of a nuclear attack. But the tragedy with our country is that those who are running the system and carrying out the nuclear blasts may not be knowing the importance of civil defence arrangements.


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Real humanism

This refers to the letter, “Law of dual effect” (Oct 28). We have constructed a life and society too complex for us to control — now or in future. In the midst of the shambles of the human culture, the forces of pure reason, long-range planning and progress are playing a dangerous game of denial and bluff: denial that we face insoluble and worsening problems, and bluff that only a little more time, money and cooperation are needed to make everything all right.

The danger to civilisation is thus not from the kind of total authoritarian control that earlier Hobbes and later Orwell foresaw in 1984, but it is from the permanent cultural losses and destruction of the natural world that are being caused by the last, hopeless struggles of the humanistic society that is destroying itself from within.

Securing in the misguided faith that humans can do anything with the aid of reason, science and money, we are dismantling and discarding everything upon which human survival and happiness depend. In the meantime, it is possible for us to renounce so created humanism, and wait, relying on those human strengths that even humanism cannot eliminate. Our destiny is in our hands at last. As the clean white sheet of paper is to the author, so is our future to us: we can write anything we wish.


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Troubled medical students

I am one of many NRIs who turns to your internet edition daily for news from home. You are doing a great service. We are also glad that you have maintained your independence which is such a vital element in any democracy. Please keep it up.

I have been following the setting up of a medical college in Tanda, Himachal Pradesh, and the turmoil its closure has caused in the neighbourhood. It is a shame that students have been made a pawn by the politics of the state.

Once a state government has opened an educational institution, it becomes its duty to follow it through. It does not matter whether the BJP government or the Congress government initiated it.

I do not blame the Medical Council of India (MCI) for not granting recognition unless the appropriate facilities are provided. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that the then government should have taken preliminary approval of the MCI before starting the college.

Now the present state government should come to grips with the reality and try to make the situation right instead of blaming the previous government. Let’s think about the students who were admitted to the medical college early this year. The state government should adjust them in other medical colleges in Himachal Pradesh. Meanwhile, state education officials should (in consultation with the MCI) start collecting funds for starting a medical college at Tanda or anywhere else.

New Orleans (LA, USA)

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Jagadhri-Ambala road

The condition of the Ambala-Jagadhri road is awful, to say the least. The entire 56-km-long stretch is a shambles. It is a driver’s nightmare as there is hardly any stretch of road free of large and small pits and holes. At so many places large chunks are missing — washed away by rain.

However, there are no warning signs anywhere, and you drive at your own peril. The journey is full of surprises as you never know when you may get a sudden jolt or a big jump.

Travelling by this road is a painful experience both in terms of physical comfort and travelling time. This is particularly regrettable considering that it is one of the important highways for Haryana with moderate to heavy traffic linking Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana and UP.

This is a sad commentary on the state of neglect, and is an indicator of the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned. However, it seems very much in tune with the general apathy and lackadaisical style of functioning of those in power all over the country today.



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