Archive for January 13th, 2017

50 days in the life of a bank’s branch manager – from the diary..

January 13, 2017

Tamal Bandyopadhyay brings notes from a diary of a bank branch manager in Mumbai:

This 33-year old banker works for a private bank in Mumbai and heads a relatively new and small branch. For privacy, I am neither naming the banker, nor his bank. Every character and incident mentioned in this diary is true.

Back from a four-day holiday in the first week of January at Matheran, a hill resort in Maharashtra, with his three-year old daughter and wife, this man looks back at those 50 days as something surreal.

Edited extracts from his diary:

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The historical roots of India’s booming service economy…

January 13, 2017

Profs Stephen Broadberry and Bishnupriya Gupta had written a paper in 2010 on the topic.

They summarise it in ideas4india post:

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Is this India’s Marie Antoinette Moment (don’t have bread eat cake)?

January 13, 2017

Anand Teltumbde (a civil rights activist) compares the govt switch to digital cash to Marie Antoinette Moment:

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Even NRIs/PIO finding difficult to exchange old notes..

January 13, 2017

One just does not know how will all this hopelessness end. After going back on their promise that a citizen can exchange old notes even after Dec 30, the window was kept open only for those citizens who could prove they were away during the period (8 Nov t 30 Dec) and NRI/PIOs.

Now, it seems even latter are unable to exchange old notes as conditions are way too stringent:

After residents, NRIs and People of India Origin (PIO) are now braving long queues to exchange the old Rs 500/1000 notes at 5 designated RBI branches across the country but because of stringent conditions several of them have had to return disappointed. Tempers ran high outside the central bank branches as people coming from long distances were denied entry by guards on the grounds that they were not carrying the requisite documents.

Many NRIs complained that they are not allowed to speak to officials who could at least listen to their grievances. “Though I have foreign passport, I still have roots in India. Our family comes to India every year. We have few Indian currency notes and we want to exchange them but we are not allowed to enter RBI. Mr Prime Minister are we supposed to burn Indian currency that we have?,” said Ritu Diwan, an agitated US national.

This unnecessary harassment simply indicates that PIOs are no more welcome to the country of their birth, she added. Dharamveer, another US national, said PIOs generally keep some amount of Indian currency as they frequently visit India because there is no point in paying commission on exchange of currency on each visit.

“Any PIO who regularly visits India would easily have Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh worth of Indian currency and I challenge the government to prove this as black money and forfeit this from us”, he said, adding that “this money, we don’t spent in the country where we live but country of our origin”.

“It is by chance that we are here at this time and wanted to exchange few currency but we are not allowed to do so. It is very frustrating,” he added. Many PIOs who were turned away protested that they don’t have crores of rupees but only few thousands which the administration should exchange. Frustrated at the “high-handedness of RBI” and the “government policy”, there are reports of NRIs throwing defunct Indian currency at the gate of RBI as a mark of protest.

Wow. Getting better and better…

The Emergence of a Post-Fact World..

January 13, 2017

Francis Fukuyama writes on this post-fact/post-truth world:

One of the more striking developments of 2016 and its highly unusual politics was the emergence of a “post-fact” world, in which virtually all authoritative information sources were called into question and challenged by contrary facts of dubious quality and provenance.

The emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web in the 1990s was greeted as a moment of liberation and a boon for democracy worldwide. Information constitutes a form of power, and to the extent that information was becoming cheaper and more accessible, democratic publics would be able to participate in domains from which they had been hitherto excluded.

The development of social media in the early 2000s appeared to accelerate this trend, permitting the mass mobilization that fueled various democratic “color revolutions” around the world, from Ukraine to Burma (Myanmar) to Egypt. In a world of peer-to-peer communication, the old gatekeepers of information, largely seen to be oppressive authoritarian states, could now be bypassed.

While there was some truth to this positive narrative, another, darker one was also taking shape. Those old authoritarian forces were responding in dialectical fashion, learning to control the Internet, as in China, with its tens of thousands of censors, or, as in Russia, by recruiting legions of trolls and unleashing bots to flood social media with bad information. These trends all came together in a hugely visible way during 2016, in ways that bridged foreign and domestic politics.

The premier manipulator of social media turned out to be Russia. Its government has put out blatant falsehoods like the “fact” that Ukrainian nationalists were crucifying small children, or that Ukrainian government forces shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014. These same sources contributed to the debates on Scottish independence, Brexit, and the Dutch referendum on the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine, amplifying any dubious fact that would weaken pro-EU forces.

Use of bad information as a weapon by authoritarian powers would be bad enough, but the practice took root big time during the US election campaign. All politicians lie or, more charitably, spin the truth for their own benefit; but Donald Trump took the practice to new and unprecedented heights. This began several years ago with his promotion of “birtherism,” the accusation that President Barack Obama was not born in the US; Trump continued to propagate the claim even after Obama produced a birth certificate showing that he was.

For decades, US based scholars are writing about these ills facing other countries. Now things are just hitting them as well.

Interesting times..

The future of central bank independence…

January 13, 2017

A day of reporting surveys.

In another survey on central bank independence team of economists report the findings:

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What will you do when central banks helicopter drop money into your account? A survey of Europeans..

January 13, 2017

The people love the idea but most will not spend the amount.

Ian Bright and Senne Janssen, economists at ING group did a survey amidst their customers on helicopter money:

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