Wednesday, April 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



A precursor to Indian Asian currency market

This has reference to the Union Government’s new Exim policy. The proposal to set up Overseas Banking Units (OBUs) in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) deserves to be complimented. With no CRR, SLR and other priority sector lending requirements, OBUs will definitely provide cheap finance to exporters due to lower spread (lending rate-borrowing rate).

The Indian export competitiveness must improve due to this cost advantageous factor. Indian banks, however, have to be careful as some international banks may shift their trading bases in India. One of the motivational factors for such international competitors is excellent potential of our country for international finance activities.

They should learn lessons from Singapore which had been flooded with international banks during the 70s because it has both time and location advantage in keeping contact with western and eastern markets. Their (international banks’) excellent expertise in this field will further support this diversification.

Consequently, it is eminently desirable that the RBI formulated the permissible activities and prudential norms for OBUs keeping in view the efficiency level of domestic banks and the likelihood of hard international capital flows to this country.

It will certainly provide domestic banks a platform to further extend their banking operations by establishing branches overseas (if the government permits), which can function on the pattern of offshore US banks, popularly known as Eurobanks.


Once it happens, it will be a major step towards the integration of Indian financial system with the global one. Some other financial services like off-shore syndication, off-shore funds management, financial futures etc. may also arise with the development of the Indian Asian Currency Market.

Dept. of Economics,
Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

Female foeticide

Female foeticide is being criticised by so many NGOs and others but without realising the practical problems. It may be ethically wrong but is practised by many couples.

We all know it is very costly to marry off a girl whereas the marriage of a son brings back whatever has been spent on him since his birth. This is a fact and unless this is addressed to, female foeticide cannot be stopped.

Talking of equality of sexes is easy but practising it is difficult. I know a couple who had to give birth to six girls to have a male child some 30 years ago.

This happened because at that time there was no possibility of sex determination of child in womb. Nowadays the couples have become wiser. They ‘kill’ their daughter before she is born. Criticising female foeticide is correct but unless we change our customs and thinking pattern, the problem cannot be solved.


When ‘Lagaan’ failed to make it

The editorial “Lagaan in No Man's Land” (March 26) concludes with the remark: “Once you compete you should be ready to take defeat sportingly. Aamir Khan and Ashutosh Gowarikar.... lustily applauded the director of ‘No Man's Land’ who walked away with honours... It is time for the whole of India to emulate them in an equally large-hearted manner. That will be in keeping with the message of Lagaan and a sign that we have matured as film-makers and as a nation”. This is a right piece of advice but I feel that it will have its effect only if the media creates the right kind of atmosphere. Unfortunately, what the newspapers and TV channels have done is exactly the reverse! For weeks together before the Oscars ceremony, they gave such an extensive coverage to Lagaan’s chances of winning the coveted trophy that it virtually became a prestige issue for the entire nation.

The media again behaved obnoxiously when the film failed to win the Academy award. As per journalistic norms, failure to win an award is not really big news. But when Lagaan fell flat at Los Angeles, it was splashed as the lead story in most newspapers.

On the day the awards were announced, the spot news at The Tribune building at Chandigarh read: “Lagaan fails to win Oscar” (as if it was a national tragedy!). And the headline of a box on the front page of the next day's issue of your paper read: “ Lagaan loses to No Man’s Land”! I don't know in what way such spot news and headlines were applauding the makers of “No Man's Land”.

Incidentally, it has been mentioned in the editorial that Lagaan won seven Filmfare awards. Actually, it won eight — for Best film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Music Director, Best Lyricist, Best Male Playback Singer, Best Female Playback Singer and Best Story.

Surendra Miglani, Kaithal

Lesson to learn

The failure of ‘Lagaan’ at ‘Oscar’ added to one more sad Indian cine story, which disappointed every Indian in the world. Despite being a very well made film, the movie slipped from the peak, repeating the history again. It is time for introspection for not only ‘Aamir’, but for the entire Indian film industry.

The length of the Indian films is one such reason, which makes a difference when you compete with the other shorter films. To compete worldwide, our films should be more subject-oriented. The unnecessary clips and songs should not form part of the movie. Our film industry has excellent brains, but the need is to develop some world-class and unique standards for Indian films.




In sharp contrast

America took fewer than seven months to bring to justice Mark Stroman who had murdered two South Asians in an act of mistaken revenge for the World Trade Centre attacks. What a stark and shaming contrast to the state of affairs in India. Is the Indian state willing to learn any lesson from this? The judiciary, which has been hypersensitive to its contempt, could start by treating any unreasonable delay in the realisation of justice as an expression of contempt for justice itself. Whosoever colludes in such a delay, including a judge, should attract severe punishment.

Similarly, the widely videotaped and photographed (by the press) barbarism of the killers and vandals in Gujarat offers a rare opportunity to the investigative agencies to assert the might of the state in the interest of justice. Every single murderer should be identified and sentenced to death.

But I am afraid nothing will eventually change. The executive and the judiciary will pass the buck to the legislature, arguing that the system of justice needs foundational alterations. Parliament will not care to wake up from its sleep. The net result will be that innocent people will continue to be killed in broad daylight on the streets of this famously civilised country.



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