Pune: “Our current growth certainly reflects the hard work of the government and the people of the country, but we have to repeat this performance for the next 20 years before we can give every Indian a decent livelihood.” This is what Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India and Chairman, Governing Board, National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM), had to say at the Twelfth Convocation of the Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (Banking & Financial Services) held on April 20, 2016 at the NIBM, Pune.
While congratulating the 58 students presented with the diploma and exhorting them to focus not on the end point of their career but on the fact that work should be enjoyable, Dr. Rajan further said, “We must remember that our international reputation is of a country with great promise, which has under-delivered in the past. This is why we are still the poorest country on a per capita basis among the BRICS. We need to change perceptions by delivering steadily on our promise for a long time – by implementing, implementing, and implementing. We cannot get carried away by our current superiority in growth, for as soon as we believe in our own superiority and start distributing future wealth as if we already have it, we stop doing all that is required to continue growing. This movie has played too many times in India’s past for us to not know how it ends.”
The convocation’s opening address was made by Dr. Achintan Bhattacharya, Director, NIBM, who highlighted the milestones achieved by the institute over the past one year while reiterating the need to further push forward the need to engage in more research projects and lay the path for new directions in the banking and finance industry. “The NIBM continues to be unique and an industry leader when it comes to post-graduate specialisation in banking and finance. We create banking professionals from raw talents and there is continuous industry interface that ushers practical orientation and problem-solving skills in areas like credit, treasury, international finance and risk management. Greater focus is being given on development of soft skills for creation of well-rounded professionals for the financial services industry,” he stated.
The convocation address was delivered by Vinod Rai, Chairman, Banks Board Bureau, Former Comptroller and Auditor General. Speaking on the occasion, he said, “We need to strive to bring about structural changes so that stressed assets of the kind that we are presently experiencing becomes a thing of the past. It is a renaissance moment as we have the intellectual and technical capability to innovate on the road going forward and charter a course which will nurture growth, incubate innovations, and introduce models of financial management which will overcome the existing bottlenecks. India’s human capital, trained and skilled in institutions like the NIBM, has the opportunity to prove its professional capability to foster growth and act as a productivity multiplier. Our professionals are at the very helm of major financial institutions all over the globe. We need merely to draw upon the strength of this brilliance to ensure that Indian banking is able to re-ignite double-digit growth of the economy.”
“The banking sector has seen considerable stress in recent years. However, we should not allow the cacophony of uninformed voices to debilitate the decision-making capability of bank executives. The problems are immense but it is not that we have not faced such problems in the past. In the late Nineties, after the Southeast Asian crisis, Indian banks underwent very challenging times, but emerged stronger. Projects do have time and cost over-runs. Quite often the problems are creations of the global economy. Nevertheless, these need not be magnified to create an alarmist situation leading to a backlash wherein banks become risk-averse whether in lending afresh or settling old cases. Caution and prudence in banking activity can hardly be overemphasised. However, not all loan defaults are wilful and not all lending activity, even if it is to salvage such stressed accounts, can be branded as corrupt practice or criminal misconduct. It is this precaution that we will have to take not to create a larger scare in the sector,” he added.
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