SBI surprise

EducationWorld July 2022 | Magazine Postscript

Readers acquainted with the voluminous features written by your editor in disparate publications including Business India, Businessworld and EducationWorld (estb.1999) are certain to be well-aware that I’m not an admirer of the country’s 256 Central government public sector enterprises (PSEs). And an equivalent number of PSEs promoted by state governments across the country. Continuous investment of national savings in post-independence India’s black-hole PSEs was the greatest mistake in Indian history which has wiped out the modest material aspirations of three generations of free India’s children, and heinously delayed this nation from reclaiming its premier status as the world’s most prosperous landmass that it was a mere two centuries ago.

In particular, the nationalisation of the country’s 27 largest banks in 1969 by prime minister Indira Gandhi has proved to be the most egregious error in India’s economic history. The shift from risk assessment and project evaluation based lending to bureaucratic banking influenced by phone calls from venal politicians in Delhi and state capitals, totally ruined the economy and almost extinguished India’s ancient spirit of private enterprise.

In light of this dismal history of India’s nationalised banks, while on a brief vacation in the Maldives, your correspondent learned of a public tribute paid to the State Bank of India by Qasim Ibrahim, founder chairman and managing director of Villa Shipping & Trading Co. Ltd which owns Paradise Island and several other excellent resorts and successful businesses in the island republic. Ibrahim began his career as a clerk in a government hospital in Male and with a loan of $2,000 advanced by the State Bank of India transformed into the wealthiest business tycoon and philanthropist of our neighbour nation. And to this day, SBI remains the Villa Group’s primary bank. It was a pleasant surprise to hear good words about a public sector bank.

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