Don't overload the banks
Apropos of the column “Sowing inclusion, reaping NPAs” (FE, May 1), NPAs are indeed growing because of the inclusion goals entailed by priority sector lending. Borrowers in the agri sector deem the bank loan an aid from the government and feel they have no responsibility to repay it. Otherwise, they just stall hoping that the government would write off such loans, the usual populist measure to win rural votes. But who is the scapegoat? The banks are the ultimate sufferers who have to walk a tightrope with the depositors' money. This situation is further worsened by the industrial and service sectors' NPAs.Banks are struggling with provisioning for the NPAs and mustering the capital needed to comply with the Basel III norms. The government has to look after its inclusion measures and control the fiscal deficit with rational expenditure. It should start with cutting subsidies which are unproductive and populist. The current slowdown has left the corporate players unable to service its debts, especially in the infrastructure sector, even as loans become NPAs for want of environment clearances and timely land acquisition. Hence, if prudent banking is a material goal for the government, it should not overload banks with commitments to social causes. Let banks to function prudently.
Apropos of the edit "Exporting water" (FE, April 18), agriculture is a key driver of unsustainable water use in India. India extracts more groundwater than any other country. Against the global average of 56% of fresh-water use for agriculture, India uses 90%. On average, one kg of rice uses 4,200 litres of water, wheat over 780 litres, and sugarcane far higher. When we export these, we export scarce water. We must conserve each drop of water, produce more crops per drop, change crop patterns, preserve water in situ through checkdams and watershed management, store surplus monsoon water in reservoirs and enhance the regulation and efficiency of water use in all fields.
Following profligacy in water usage,comes reckless pollution of every known source of fresh water by man. Industry has to be charged with treating its effluents. It owes an immense debt to the nation in terms of using fresh water and has to return clean water to the source. In India, where rivers are worshipped, the literate and more informed citizens have done little to translate this reverence into championing and leading with dedication simple plans and