Business in bitesizes
The Rajan aftermath

In India, June typically heralds stultifying heat and plenty symptoms of what is dubbed “the silly season”. True to form, that’s what we got in the aftermath of RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s decision to return to academia after a three-year term. A series of analyses sought to pin the blame on Rajan’s outspokenness on non-banking matters (but did not say whether he would have retained the job if he had stayed quiet). Others felt that the RBI governor should have heeded the Modi government’s 282-seat majority in Parliament (sadly undermining an effective independent institution). Adding masala was maverick BJP man Subramanian Swamy attacking potential governor candidate CEA Arvind Subramanian’s credentials. But within the bureaucracy there was clear (but unstated) respect for Rajan.

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Double standards

A team of activists and scientists got a rude shock when they went to present evidence of manipulation of results by another group of scientists seeking rel­ease of genetically modified (GM) mustard for commercial cultivation. A seven-member team that tried to present its case to the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the biotech regulator, found it clearly unwilling to listen, forcing them to stage a walkout. The space for dialogue on subjects impacting health and environment is shrinking.

Roulette at the top

What a week it has been for corporate India! The godfather of the Indian startup ­ecosystem, Nikesh Arora, left Softbank within hours of being cleared in an int­ernal investigation of conflict of interest. Meanwhile, after almost two decades at the helm of cigarette-­to-foods giant ITC, Yogi Deveshwar finally announced his decision to step down in February 2017. Last month, A.M. Naik, the long-standing CEO of another professional giant, L&T, hinted at a successor. Change is in the air.


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This week we learnt about Modi butai

Large-size imported sardines from Oman are the rage in the port city of Mangalore. For reasons unknown, except perhaps the link to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fam­ous 56-inch chest size, the imported sardines are called Modi butai in Tulu, the local language. Well, compared to the locally fished sardines, Modi butai are definitely big-sized—about 10 sardines to a kilo unlike 20-25 of the local ones, states a report. Unregulated over-fishing has led to lower and poorer catch locally, with several cargoes of Modi butai from Oman making its way to Mangalore via Gujarat for the first time this year. How tasty is the end product? We’ll reserve judgement.



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