After Chawla, who?

Posted on January 12, 2011 | View 704

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Finance secretary Ashok Chawla is due to retire by the end of this month, and the buzz is that an extension, even for a few weeks, for him till the Budget is over could be difficult.
Mr Chawla’s successor in the department of economic affairs could be either commerce secretary Rahul Khullar or financial services secretary R Gopalan, depending on whose word prevails finally — the finance minister or the PMO. The other option is to appoint Sushma Nath, the expenditure secretary, as finance secretary for a few months until her retirement. 

Promises to keep 
With the Budget weeks away, the government has started acting on some of the Budget promises it made in February last year. After constituting the Financial Stability and Development Council, or FSDC, the government is close to appointing a chairman for the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission, which will rewrite most of the laws governing the banking and insurance industries, besides, the securities markets. Justice Sri Krishna, who recently completed a report on Telengana, is tipped to head this commission. 

Terms and conditions 
The delay in the appointment of Anand Sinha as a deputy governor of RBI has puzzled many, with some conspiracy theories floating around. But the lag is apparently due to the fact that the government was caught in a bind relating to his term.
The deputy governor normally gets a term of three years. But in Sinha’s case, it would have meant crossing the age of 62. Chances are that the government may settle for a tenure of only up to 62, cutting short a full three-year term. 

Debt market revival, any clue? 
Over the past two decades, there have been umpteen seminars featuring the main theme of development of the debt market in India. There have been no shortage of suggestions from debt fund managers, bankers and corporates, besides, of course, other experts on reviving this market.
But Nilesh Shah, deputy managing director of ICICI Prudential AMC, summed it up well recently, saying “everybody knows that something needs to be done to develop the debt market.
Nobody does anything, but everyone thinks that somebody will do something to develop this market”. Rohit Modi, DMD of Gammon India, had the last word on it. According to him, the problem lies in the fact that the country does not have a regulator whose life and death depends on the development of the debt market. 

Banking on his laurels 
The former CMD of Union Bank of India, K Cherian Varghese, continues to be active even after stepping down as the chairman of BIFR. Mr Verghese was recently conferred a honorary doctorate from the University of Mumbai on the subject ‘Management of credit risk in commercial banks in India’.
Some bankers, who know him well, say this may encourage a few retired bankers to pursue similar projects, particularly because many capable senior bankers who have retired have not been given any new assignment by the government.

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