Archive for January 15th, 2019

Vijaya Bank Merger: Protests over losing history and community identity

January 15, 2019

The Government recently cleared the merger of three public sector banks: Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda. As per the share exchange ratio, the Bank of Baroda will issue 110 shares of Rs 2 each for every 1000 shares of Dena Bank and 402 shares of Rs 2 each for every 1000 shares of Vijaya Bank.

The merger announcement has led to discussions over viability of the merger. Bank of Baroda and Dena Bank have been under RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action framework on account of high NPAs and losses. Thus, people have questioned why two loss making banks have been merged with profitable Vijaya Bank?

Given the financials aside, the choice of Vijaya Bank has hurt emotions in a certain corner of Southern India.  The concerned corner is city of Mangalore on the western coast of Karnataka (see this as well)

(more…)

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Reflections from a Nobel winner: Scientists need time to make discoveries

January 15, 2019

Nice piece from Prof Donna Strickland  of University of Waterloo who received the Physics Nobel for 2018:

In many cases, the practical applications lag several years or even decades behind the original findings.

Albert Einstein created the equations for the laser in 1917, but wasn’t until 1960 that Theodore Maiman first demonstrated the laser. Isidor Rabi first measured nuclear magnetic resonance in 1938. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1944 for his research, which led to the invention of magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. The first MRI exam on a human patient took place in 1977.

Certainly, applications deserve a lot of attention. Before you can get to them though, researchers first have to understand the basic questions behind them.

The term fundamental science may give some the false impression that it doesn’t really affect their lives because it seems far removed from anything relatable to them. What’s more, the term basic has the non-scientific definition of simple that undermines its importance in the context of basic science.

We must give scientists the opportunity through funding and time to pursue curiosity-based, long-term, basic-science research. Work that does not have direct ramifications for industry or our economy is also worthy. There’s no telling what can come from supporting a curious mind trying to discover something new.

Perhaps applies to all subjects…

Remembering CD Deshmukh on his 123rd Birth Anniversary…

January 15, 2019

Nice tribute from Remya Nair:

In 1943, the Reserve Bank of India got its first Indian governor in Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh, a civil servant luminary who went on to do a great many things for the country in the early years after Independence.

Deshmukh’s appointment to the independent regulatory body came at a time when India was ruled by the British, and predictably in the face of opposition from various sections of the government who wanted the tradition of a European helming the central bank to continue.

But he battled all these odds to become the third governor of RBI.

What worked in his favour was his long association with the bank. Deshmukh was appointed as a government director on the bank’s board and subsequently held the posts of secretary and deputy governor before being elevated to become a governor.

His association with the central bank did not cease after he demitted the Governor’s office in 1949. Deshmukh was later appointed as the union finance minister marking a 17-year long association with the central bank.

On his 123rd birth anniversary, ThePrint takes a look at the life of the civil servant who served the country in various capacities.

We need more and more biographies of people like Mr Deshmukh…


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