Money with Monika. The 20 trillion question

Money with Monika

The Corona Conversations

Decoding the Rs 20 trillion package

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Opinion: Govt needs to spell out the new rules of the game for industry, economy

It looked as if the rain would derail the annual Mint Mutual Fund Conclave in Mumbai where every year we debate issues related to the industry and investors. This year since we had the chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, Bibek Debroy, giving the keynote, we decided to have a closed-door roundtable where he would interact with some financial sector leaders to have a candid conversation about issues like the real GDP numbers, the budget, the slowdown that industry says is palpable and the changed rulebook of this government. There is worry among employees, investors and the industry on the slowdown in the economy. Wealth managers peg their advice and asset management decisions on potential growth, and if this number is in doubt, the ground moves from under the feet. But as the rain did not keep away the financial sector leaders or the delegates, there was an animated debate. Here are a few takeaways from the conversation and the event.

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The Modi mould for Indian regulators

The news of the appointment of Subhash Chandra Khuntia as the insurance regulator on 1 May 2018 came as a surprise to most financial sector watchers. Of the eight people shortlisted for the final round of screening, Khuntia was the only bureaucrat, the rest were insurance industry insiders, including the serving Life Insurance Corp. of India chairman V.K. Sharma, New India Assurance chairman and managing director (CMD) G. Srinivasan, member Life at Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) Nilesh Sathe, and K. Sanath Kumar, CMD, National Insurance. The choice of a person with limited domain knowledge over others who have spent their entire careers working in this very technical industry was the surprise. Remember that it took an earlier outsider, J. Hari Narayan, the first three years of his five-year term to understand the sector. In fact, by the time he demitted office, he understood the sector so well that it went against the then government’s own agenda to allow him to continue. So what has gone into the decision to appoint an outsider as the head of a regulatory body that watches over Rs28 trillion of household savings and over Rs2.2 trillion of general insurance money?

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Two weeks of cashless in the country

Two weeks after the sudden death of a bulk of Indian currency notes, the most obvious panic seems to be over but the elephant of demonetisation is yet to work its way through the system. The entire process will take months before the python digests the elephant.

Arguments, edits, opeds, conversations, debates and social media are sharply divided on what the currency replacement will achieve. I remain in the ‘it’s good for the country’ side of the debate and want to address some of the arguments against demonetisation.

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