07 August 2020


Ideas man


The Finance Ministry may have eluded him – not that he aspired for it – but HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, one of the most respected personalities in the Indian finance sector, is expected to play a key advisory role in the new government at the Centre. An indispensable voice on many national decisions about economic and financial policy, the technocrat cum finance whiz has served on many government appointed committees and task forces previously and will naturally be relied upon for counsel, notably on the way forward to finance the country’s ambitious plan to build new infrastructure worth $1 trillion dollars during the Twelfth Five Year Plan, and on policies to revive growth through investments.


A few of his responsibilities include a committee to explore the feasibility of a proposed India infrastructure debt fund; a committee to suggest ways of making Indian cities slum-free; an Expert Group for recommending investment norms for New Pension Scheme (NPS) launched by the Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority; and a task force on affordable housing. He has contributed counsel on attracting foreign investment, housing finance institutions, forward trading, attracting regional investments in key projects, taxation of life insurance groups, securities market regulation, bank restructuring, power sector reforms, civil aviation, and consumer interests. Parekh’s extraordinary contributions to Indian economic policy and related fields have garnered several prestigious awards. The President of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan in 2006 for distinguished service to his country in his field. He has very recently been conferred the prestigious 'Bundesverdienstkreuz' (Cross of the Order of Merit) award by Germany for his enormous contribution towards intensifying India-German economic relations. 




Woman power


The ascension of Anandiben Patel as Gujarat’s 15th Chief Minister – incidentally she is the first woman from that state to assume that position – assures the state of continuity from a development perspective. It most certainly underlines the confidence her predecessor and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi places in her governing abilities. While  a major plus is her educational qualifications – the retired school principal is an MSc, BEd and MEd, not to mention a gold medallist – she is also described as an efficient, no nonsense administrator, and a hard task master. Earlier Patel has held multiple key portfolios — urban development, revenue and disaster management. In her current avatar she will be taking a cue from her mentor’s cabinet at the centre and will wield control over multiple ministries. It takes guts to be in charge in the hurly burly of Gujarat politics but Anandiben demonstrated it early in her career when she heroically  jumped into the Sardar Sarovar reservoir to save two girls from drowning in 1987, for which she won a bravery award. That was when she was noticed by the BJP and persuaded to join it. Patel quickly rose through the ranks of the party getting a ticket to the Rajya Sabha in 1994.  In 1998 successfully contested from the Mandal constituency in Ahmedabad and in the 2012 State assembly elections, she contested from the Ghatlodia constituency and won by a record margin. As a minister in the State Cabinet she has logged close to one lakh km through the State annually and members of her party are wont to describe her as extremely ‘far sighted’. We agree. 



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