Three Modis, over time, have really taken us in Guwahati by storm – each in their own unique way. While Narendra has given us enough reason to discuss, debate and argue on how “not” to run the country, Lalit’s high profile cricket circus continues to come annually to us on TV despite his treachery having been long forgotten. The latest Modi however, has stunned us with the sheer enormity of a swindle that he has managed to pull off. High flying jewellery designer Nirav Modi’s fabulous stunt of lightening the purses of Punjab National Bank by Rs 11,000 crores makes me wonder if the magic of money is in the name “Modi.”
Now, this brings me to wonder about the modis… sorry modus operandi of nationalised banks ever so often sucking up to these business magnates who are already wealthy beyond imagination and live in the country’s metropolitan cities, even as they fail to even acknowledge the existence of the hard-working entrepreneur in smaller cities like our Guwahati – leave alone help them. Let me cite an example here. A friend of mine who has been in business as a real estate developer for the last 10 years and has maintained excellent banking records having serviced his overdraft facility wonderfully, felt he could use a good push by his bank to move up the ladder of life. And so, with his fairly commendable banking credentials, he sought assistance from his long serving bank for a “measly” sum of Rs 25 lakhs. The bank turned him down despite the decade-long relationship on the grounds that offering a cash-credit (CC) facility to the real estate sector was not within its policy and it would be ever so gracious and helpful if at all my friend wanted to dabble in trading.
Banks today need to refresh and revise their policies and look inward towards those entrepreneurs who seek to do honest business in locations like Guwahati - those who actually need their help – rather than get carried away by the flamboyance of the Modis of the metros. Else, Modi’s (I mean Narendra’s) vision of “inclusive growth” will be reduced to the liabilities side of the banking balance sheet even as Nirav and Lalit enjoy life with their ill-gotten wealth.