Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: India

Return of Ratan Tata

On 24/10/2016 Tata Sons Board removed Cyrus Mistry as Chairman and replaced him with Ratan Tata as Interim Chairman. This was a surprise.
Ratan Tata is 78. He had retired in 2012. Cyrus Mistry is 48. He was 44 when he became Chairman. Mistry’s election in 2011 was a surprise. He was in the committee to select a successor to Ratan Tata. The committee elected him. Now Tata Sons has formed a selection committee to find a permanent Chairman. The committee comprises Ratan Tata, Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen and Sushanta Kumar Bhattacharyya.
There have been various reactions to Mistry’s removal. What happened to Cyrus is a Mistry. Surgical strike at Tata Sons. Tata group Shows Cyrus Mistry the door. Cyrus Mistry removed as Tata Sons chief, Ratan Tata is interim chairman. Cyrus Mistry sacked in Tata Sons churn. Tata Sons is the new Samajwadi Party. Tata Sons unexpectedly removes Cyrus Mistry as Chairman. Tata Sons in turmoil after Chairman’s bizarre ousting.
Tata Trusts own majority of shares of Tata Sons. Around 66%. Mistry family owns around 20% of shares of Tata Sons. Ratan Tata controls Tata Trusts. The Tata camp is said to have obtained legal opinion of former Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran about removing Mistry. Mistry is said to have been told about Tata Trusts being unhappy about him and he insisted on Board vote. Mistry may move court against his removal.
Tata companies have faced challenges and many have suffered losses. There is arbitration with NTT Docomo. Ratan Tata is said to have been unhappy with the decisions Mistry took regarding Indian Hotels, Corus, and Tata Chemicals.
It will be interesting to see who will be Chairman of Tata Sons. How long Ratan Tata will be Interim Chairman? It may be more than four months.

SBI should be split

There is a plan to merge SBI’s five subsidiaries with SBI. This is a bad plan. Arundhati Bhattacharya has got one year extension ostensibly to oversee the merger. The extension reflects poorly on the government and other SBI officials.
SBI has lost thousands of crores of rupees if not lakhs of crores of rupees due to bad loans. We do not know the exact figure because we do not know how much amount went into corporate debt restricting, strategic debt restructuring, and loan write-offs. There is recapitalization going on and this year SBI is to receive 7,575 crore rupees. It is to receive more amounts in future. Recapitalization means RBI printing notes and giving to banks. If SBI had been a small or medium bank the4 losses would not have been high.
State Bank of India is too big to fail. It should be split as per plan below.
SBI branches in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura will be State Bank of Shillong.
SBI branches in West Bengal and Sikkim will be State Bank of Calcutta.
SBI branches in Bihar will be State Bank of Patna.
SBI branches in Orissa and Jharkhand will be State Bank of Bhubaneshwar.
SBI branches in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand will be State Bank of Simla.
SBI branches in Jammu and Kashmir will be State Bank of Srinagar.
SBI branches in Punjab will be State Bank of Ludhiana.
SBI branches in Rajasthan will be State Bank of Amber.
SBI branches in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will be State Bank of Bhopal.
SBI branches in Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Diu and Daman will be State Bank of Ahmedabad.
SBI branches in Goa and coastal districts of Maharashtra will be State Bank of Konkan.
SBI branches in Vidarbha will be State Bank of Nagpur.
SBI branches in remaining districts of Maharashtra will be State Bank of Poona.
SBI branches in Karnataka will be State Bank of Adyapady.
SBI branches in Kerala, Mahe and Lakshadweep will be State Bank of Cochin.
SBI branches in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Karaikal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands will be State Bank of Madras.
SBI branches in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Yanam will be State Bank of Anantapur.
SBI branches in Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and abroad will remain State Bank of India.

Uri aftermath

On 18/9/2016 there was an attack on Indian soldiers at Uri resulting in 17 deaths that day and one more death next day. Most have called this attack a terrorist act and referred to 18 dead soldiers as martyrs. Some have said this is an act of war and not fair to call dead soldiers martyrs. As per most reports most soldiers died because the tents they were sleeping in caught fire. The four attackers were shot dead.
Pakistan denied it was behind the attack and said it was due to the unrest in Kashmir. Nawaz Sharif spoke about Kashmir when he addressed UN General Assembly. He compared Kashmir unrest to Intifada. India’s First Secretary responded by saying Pakistan is home to Ivy League of terrorism. Sushma Swaraj addressed UN General Assembly on 26/9/2016.
In India it is said about positions of political parties that where you stand depends on where you sit. That was the case this time also. When BJP was in opposition it wanted tough action against Pakistan when attacks took place. Narendra Modi spoke of 56 inch chest. Congress was measured in its response. Now BJP is in power and the response is measured while Congress wants tough action against Pakistan. Congress called Modi government the weakest government India had.
Different people have suggested different things about what should be India’s response to Pakistan. These include diplomatic isolation of Pakistan, sanctions against Pakistan, supporting Balochistan separatists, and stopping flow of Indus water. Some have suggested covert actions with deniability.
Diplomatic isolation of Pakistan is not easy. It has to start with India shutting down its High Commission and Deputy High Commission in Pakistan. Not many countries will be with India. USA and China will continue to deal with Pakistan.
Sanctions against Pakistan will mean end of trade and cultural and sports ties with Pakistan. It will affect both sides. There will be loss of business for India. Indian films will be banned in Pakistan.
Supporting Balochistan separatists can weaken Pakistan. Giving asylum to Brahudagh Bugti is part of that plan. India has to do it alone. China has an interest in Balochistan remaining part of Pakistan. Other countries will not support Balochistan separation.
Stopping flow of Indus water is easier said than done. India does not have dam capacity to hold Indus water. It will take years to build dams to hold water. Pakistani missiles and rockets can attack dams.
Covert actions with deniability mean terrorist acts. These are meant to deter Pakistan. India had agents who could carry out retaliatory terrorist acts. Inder Kumar Gujral put an end to those acts. After Manohar Parrikar became Defence Minister there was talk of having such agents who are referred to as assets. It was said it will take five years to put them in place. It is close to two years now. If India carries out retaliatory terrorist acts, it will hurt Pakistan in equal measure.
India has to fight its war alone. India should not expect help from USA because it assists terrorists in Syria and calls them freedom fighters. India’s TV channels should not call people who blame India and say attacks were a conspiracy. The situation in Kashmir has to be under control. Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed has proved to be incompetent Chief Minister. Perks and security to Kashmiri separatist leaders should stop.
In Pakistan army controls the government. Pakistan claims it has no control over terrorists who are non-state actors. Terrorists who attack India are abetted by Pak army and ISI and are not non-state actors. Killing Indian soldiers is an act of war. India should respond accordingly.

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