News Notes

Creditable earnings
There was a time when bankers said they cannot invest in Kashmir because of situation and lack of credit absorption capacity. Circa 2010 proved that it was just a myth. The state owned J&K Bank has expanded its exposure on home turf to Rs 12000 crore from Rs 1200 crore in five years and is intending to double it soon.
Credit goes to its economist chairman Dr Haseeb A Drabu who made a strategy change to feed a crippled economy vying for credit. The departure from the past proved successful and the state’s only listed company managed itself better when all others in the market were impacted by the meltdown. The bank continued minting money and recorded a profit of Rs 512.38 crore for 2009-10, the highest ever.
Right now it has the lowest NPA of 0.28 percent besides its cost to deposits ratio has reduced to 37%, – lowest in the Indian banking industry. The NPA coverage ratio stood at 86% up from 49% a year ago and well above the RBI stipulated norm of 70%. It is now among India’s top three banks in high CASA ratio. Its low cost demand and saving deposits were at Rs 15153 crore shooting up its CASA ratio from 38.11% to 40.69%.
The bank that enjoys a geographic monopoly in J&K increased its turnover by 12% to Rs 60294 crore as its loan book swelled by 10% to 23057 crore. It has a deposit base of Rs 37237 crore which is a 13% jump in a year. Encouraged, it has set a target of earning Rs 1000 crore profit by 2012-13 by crossing one lakh crore rupees business. Can other banks follow?

Autograph please  
By topping the IAS examination, Shah Faesal, overnight, has become a celebrity. And though, his training is still months away, he is already getting an overdose of public life. Everybody wants to get associated with him, and so he is being invited and felicitated by everyone. Be it an academic institute, a business body, a phone company, or the chief minister and governor.
What is more, the police have decided that there is threat to his life, so they have provided security cover to him. Two policemen escort him everywhere now. Police is keeping vigil on his residence.
People greet him, click his pictures, and hug him in the streets and restaurants. Newspapers are filled with advertisements felicitating him. An Urdu university invited and felicitated him because his subject in the mains was Urdu. His High School felicitated him because he was a pass-out. A telecom company honoured him, because he was using their phone in New Delhi.
While almost everyone is finding a reason to invite him, for some his feat is reason enough to grace an event with his presence.
It may not even be possible for Faesal to keep track of the events and media interactions, he has graced in the last two weeks, but he too seems to have got tired now.
“I want to shuffle back to normalcy,” Faesal told a newspaper this week.
Faesal’s success has also added a baggage of expectations to him, as he joins his officer training in a few months.

Varsity bulldozes student unity
Kashmir University wants no traces of the students union in the campus, so much so the authorities this week demolished the union office with bulldozers at the Naseem Bagh campus. Officials said the students union was banned and no politics was allowed in university due to the sensitive nature of the region.
The move triggered student protests in the campus.
Union activities were mostly barred in the varsity in the last two decades, but in June 2007 the University approved the formation of the Kashmir University Research Scholars Association (KURSA) and Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU), during the tenure of Vice Chancellor Prof Wahid Qureshi.
This week, however, Kashmir University demolished the office of nascent KUSU and re-imposed ban on the body. No notice and no salvaging of union documents was allowed. Protests followed.
Vice Chancellor Riyaz Punjabi while backing the ban said that he won’t allow JNU or Jammu university type politics in the campus. Working on the principle of pre-emption, Punjabi said if tomorrow separatist parties would want to set up their union how could they deal with the problem.
In the same breath he promised to let it happen gradually, starting with cultural activities to win confidence of authorities. Singing and dancing will be appreciated and puppets will be preferred.
Meanwhile a new organisation Students Welfare Forum is on cards from authorities. Sources say ruling NC has already roped some loyal students to get a foothold.


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