Archives  >  2019  >  September  >  27th

Going, Going, Gone

1. What’s the story?

The Punjab and Maharashtra Co-Operative Bank (PMC) is in trouble. According to a notice issued by the Reserve Bank of India last Tuesday, PMC has been put under strict regulatory notice. This notice also capped the daily withdrawal limits for each customer at INR 1000, resulting in various branches being stormed by the irate public. The limit was revised to INR 10,000 on Thursday, but things still look quite grim.  
 
Tell me more.

Customers were shocked on September 24, when a message from the bank revealed that it has been put under directions by RBI for six months. This meant that the bank’s operations are practically taken over by the regulator, with PMC’s management superseded and the board dissolved.”

According to reports, the biggest reason for this drastic step by the RBI was PMC’s huge loan to the bankrupt property firm Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL). PMC had loaned HDIL a staggering INR 2500 crore, none of which can now be recovered.

“PMC Bank’s Managing Director said that RBI’s restrictions came after divergences in NPAs but maintained that the action taken by the apex bank was too harsh. He also said that the depositors’ money was safe with the bank and they would come out of the situation soon to repay the customers.” (Quick recap: A non-performing loan or an NPA is a loan that is in default or close to being in default.)

In the meantime, newer reports claim that PMC’s Board of Directors include the son of a four-time BJP MLA and that the RBI Officers’ Co-Op Credit Society Limited has a fixed deposit worth INR 105 crore with the bank.
 
So, what next?

India’s banking sector has been in trouble for a couple of years now, and it looks like things are about to get even worse. If PMC fails, it may very well be the first domino to fall in a long chain.

Watch this space, we’ll keep you updated.



2. Where else should I be looking at?

Pune, that’s where. At least 17 people were killed in massive floods across the city and its neighbouring districts. More than 16,000 people have been rescued till date. Incessant rains and water release from the Nazare dam are reported to be the two main reasons behind the floods. 500 people stranded all over the city were also rescued by the local police.

“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday condoled the deaths. “Pained to know about the loss of lives in and around Pune due to heavy rains,” he tweeted. “My deepest condolences to the families. We are providing all possible assistance needed. State disaster management officials and control room in continuous touch with Pune collector and PMC.”

Fadnavis said that two teams each of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in Pune and Baramati. Another team is on its way to Baramati, he added.”



3. What more?

Mumbai’s famous restaurateur, Boman Kohinoor, passed away on Wednesday. Co-owner of the world-famous Iranian-Parsi café Britannia & Co. in the city, Kohinoor was a widely beloved figure in and around the country.

“No longer will patrons at Mumbai’s Britannia & Co be told that they’re too skinny and they must eat more. No longer will they be persuaded into ordering ‘something sweet’ to end their meals. No longer will they hear tales and be shown photographic evidence about how the Queen herself has written Mr Boman Kohinoor a letter. Mumbai’s most beloved nonagenarian, Mr Boman Rashid Kohinoor, senior partner at the iconic Britannia & Co restaurant passed away on Wednesday at 4.45pm, after being in the ICU for over two weeks. He was 97 years old.

Boman Kohinoor was 20 years old when he took over the reins of Britannia & Co, that was founded by his father, Rashid, in 1923. During WWII, young Boman and his father spent nights at the restaurant, worried that it would be attacked, owing to its proximity to the city’s ports. Under his leadership, Britannia has gone on to become one of Mumbai’s most sought-after eateries for Parsi and Irani cuisine. Its berry pulav, sali boti and dhansak attracts hungry office goers (including Condé Nast staff) and tourists from far and wide, but it isn’t just the food that made patrons return. Kohinoor personally visited every table, taking orders and sharing stories with diners.”



4. Anything else?

We’re no longer in an era of climate change. Rather, the world is currently in climate emergency – and unless governments around the world take drastic measures, this might mean catastrophic events all over the globe. Here’s what will happen if the Earth heats up even by another 2 degrees Celsius.

“At 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, about one in twenty insect and vertebrate species will disappear from half of the area they currently inhabit, as will around one in ten plants. At 2 degrees Celsius, this proportion doubles for plants and vertebrates. For insects, it triples.

Such high levels of species loss will put many ecosystems across the world at risk of collapse. We rely on healthy ecosystems to pollinate crops, maintain fertile soil, prevent floods, purify water, and much more. Conserving them is essential for human survival and prosperity.

At 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, we could expect to lose between 70% and 90% of our coral reefs. While this would be catastrophic for the millions of ocean creatures and human livelihoods these beautiful ecosystems support, there would still be a chance of recovery in the long term if oceans warm slowly. But at 2 degrees Celsius of warming, we could kill 99% of reefs. To be clear, this is a line that once crossed cannot be easily uncrossed. It could mean the extinction of thousands of species.”



5. Is that all?

We’ve had our suspicions all along, but it turns out it is true! “A robot read 3.5 million books to find we describe women by appearance, and men by virtue.”

“Researchers have used machine-learning (a reading robot!) to read 3.5 million books published between 1900 and 2008, and tally all the adjectives used to describe men and women. Not surprisingly, women in books are beautiful and men are true-hearted! Yup, when positively described, women (or other traditionally gender-specific female nouns, like stewardess or daughter) are almost always considered at the physical level, whereas men are generally described according to their inherent virtue.”

Some of the most popular words used to describe women across the literary landscape are “beautiful”, “lovely”, “chaste”, “gorgeous”, and “fertile”, while similar male adjectives include “just”, “sound”, “righteous”, “rational”, and “prodigious”.



6. Before you leave…

Take a look at the story behind every song in Abbey Road, the last-recorded Beatles album that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.



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