July 07, 2020
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Business in bitesizes

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Powerful message, wrong delivery

Power minister Piyush Goyal is believed to be one of the achievers in Modi Sarkar. But that’s no excuse for losing your cool at a meeting of state power secretaries in Delhi few weeks ago. A little bird present at the meeting recalls that although there were over 200 people in the auditorium, Goyal was upset that only six state power secretaries turned up. A livid Goyal ordered that central grants be inc­reased for those states present at the meeting, and red­uced proportionately for states which were not. That’s what they call co-operative federalism, right?

The crying game

It was a public rap on the knuckles of State Bank of India by the CBI chief last week that kick-started all the action against corporate fatcat Vijay Mallya. Anil Sinha didn’t pull his punches while addressing a gathering of banking chiefs at a conference in Mumbai. He said that even though Mallya had def­rauded banks of Rs 7,000 crore, no one had come forward to lodge a complaint with the CBI. SBI, the biggest loser in this case, was left red-faced, and chief Arundhati Bhattarcharya ordered the bank to move court. But the CBI chief let the cat out of the bag: banks are not complaining to the CBI despite crores of fraudulent loans. The question is why?

Power to the people

“I think it’s fair to say that you haven’t arrived as a kind of public intellectual in India until you’ve been anointed by the Bangalore troika, that’s the Ram (Guha), Nandan (Nilekani), Manish (Sabharwal). So think of this as an investiture ceremony more than a talk on economics,” joked chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian before delivering a New India Foundation lecture in Bangalore last week. Ram Guha and Nilekani are trustees of the foundation; Sabharwal moderated the event. Ironi­cally, the CEA’s message was far from elitist: he cited Singapore as a state where a massive social engineering project was unleashed by way of forcing communities to live together and send children to the same school.

Mojo An African kingdom nobody wants

In June 2014, US farmer Jeremiah Heaton bought Bir Tawil, an 800-sq-mile area nestled between the borders of Egypt and Sudan. It was to fulfill his six-year-old daughter Emily’s dream to be a “princess”.

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