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Bank of Maharashtra to sell Rs.500 crore NPAs

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The Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee opening the Bank’s 1500th branch at Gangtok, Sikkim at the Concluding Ceremony of Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of the Bank of Maharashtra, in New Delhi on September 16, 2010. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Ashok Chavan, the Minister of State for Finance, Shri Namo Narain Meena, the Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, Shri Sachin Pilot and the CMD, Bank of Maharashtra, Shri Allen C A Pereira are also seen in the picture.

Kolkata: Bank of Maharashtra on Wednesday said it is planning to sell nearly Rs.500 crore of its bad loans to asset reconstruction companies (ARC) by the end of September this year.

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“By September, we have planned to sell Rs.500 crore of our non-performing assets (NPA) to ARCs and we need to be more aggressive on this,” the bank’s chairman and managing director Sushil Muhnot told media persons here on the sidelines of the FICCI Banking Conclave. A non-performing asset does not yield any income to the lender in the form of principal and interest payments.

While the amount to be sold will fall under the first tranche of the bank’s NPA sales, it has targeted shedding of another Rs.1,000-1,500 crore of these in the ongoing fiscal year. “However, it (total NPA sales) will depend on the success of the sales as projected in September,” the official said. In case the bank is unable to meet its Rs.500 crore NPA sales target, the second tranche will also hover around Rs.500 crore, Muhnot said. The public sector lender had sold Rs.200 crore of NPAs during 2014-15.

In the bank, the gross past dues of loans in the first quarter of the current fiscal year stood at 7.86 percent at Rs.7,574.86 crore. However, in case the financial institution is able to meet the target, the loans facing jeopardy of default may decline to 5.5-6 percent. Muhnot is hoping to grow the bank’s advances business by 12 percent and the deposits business by 14-15 percent in 2015-16.

(IANS)

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National Book Trust (NBT) Chairman: Nurturing Creativity and Innovation in Children at an Early Age are Much Needed

How should current school curriculum be modified for an overall development of Children?

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Nurturing creativity and innovation in children
Nurturing creativity and innovation in children. Pixabay
  • Education should work in the direction of expanding the horizon of knowledge children
  • There is a need to shift educational learning for school goers from content mastery to competency mastery
  • To compete with the children worldwide, they need to have an understanding that is beyond books

New Delhi, August 21, 2017: There is a need to look beyond the world of text books and inculcate in children qualities like empathy towards society, humanity, sensitivity towards other human beings and nature.

Baldeo Bhai Sharma, Chairman of National Book Trust (NBT), talked about nurturing creativity, innovation in young minds for nation’s economic and spiritual development.

He was speaking at the FICCI’s first-ever Children’s Publishing Conclave called ‘Scrapbook’. Mr. Sharma said that it is crucial to observe and spot the creativity in children. To not just bound them to the school curriculum. The Supplementary books in school should teach them about the life lessons, that they should be good human beings. Such books will help them in the developing a good and positive personality; it will also strengthen their thinking and imaginative skills.

ALSO READ: 11 Facts about Education System Around the World: Do they prove to be Beneficial for Children?

In the conclave, he talked about how brave soldiers can inspire kids to be like that when they grow up and fight for their country someday. If not, even then such books will inculcate a feeling of patriotism in them. According to ANI reports, Mr. Sharma (pointing towards NBT’s efforts) said, “‘The Veergatha’ series had been introduced by NBT, which talks of the great acts of bravery by Indian soldiers.” The first series has a set of 5 books in English and Hindi, they are written so as to inspire the young minds and evoke feelings of patriotism in children from an early age.

Children are sometimes overburdened with books.  UNESCO encourages learning in mother tongue, especially at the early stage.  Sharma said that education should work in the direction of expanding the horizon of knowledge in a child and he agrees with UNESCO that teaching a child in mother tongue should be encouraged to retain cultural values.

Dr. Hrushikesh Senapaty, Director of NCERT, said: “There is a need to shift educational learning for school goers from content mastery to competency mastery, where competencies should be classified into character, intellectual and social.” He stressed upon the need to make the classroom environment vibrant where teachers would play the role of a facilitator- will provide them with an opportunity where they can develop and strengthen their competencies as well as communication ability. He added, “The Indian education system is moving from knowledge construction to knowledge processing with the help of technology, enabling children to explore, innovate and create.”

ALSO READ: Ragas for Preschool Children: Combining Classical Music with Fun Exercises

Appreciating FICCI’s initiative, Dr. Senapaty said that the goal of this publishing conclave is to produce content which is rich in quality and is innovative. It will enable them to learn in a collaborative environment. He added, “Indian children have performed well when they follow a prescribed school curriculum but to compete with the children worldwide, they need to have an understanding that is beyond books and focus on skills like building their applied knowledge.”

Children should explore, innovate and create
Children should explore, innovate and create. Pixabay

Ms. Urvashi Butalia, Chairperson, FICCI Publishing Committee and Director, Zubaan, said that the conclave focused on:

  • promoting book reading amongst young minds
  • government and children’s publishers- enhance learning outcome in educational space
  • policy advocacy- nurture collaboration between schools
  • addressed- gender misrepresentation in children’s books
  • concerns- children’s content in school books
  • implementing theory of multiple intelligence on children’s content- enhance learning outcome
  • changing role of technology in children’s content and its impact on K-12 (kindergarten (K) and the 1st -12th grade) education

Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary-General, FICCI, said that this platform will help to explore possible collaboration between children, content creators, offline and online service providers, publishers, technology disruptors, schools, teachers, parents, and policymakers. The conclave focused on the important aspects like learning requirements of an individual child, crucial role publishers can play to address it.

The conclave also had some interesting workshops for school children. The workshops had activities like creative writing, story-telling and received appreciation from the young minds.


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FICCI and Carnegie India launch a report on ‘Bringing the Diaspora Home: India’s Expatriate Evacuation Operations’

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Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of India at the 2014 Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in London. Wikimedia

January 6, 2017: With the increase in diaspora, India faces more challenges to protect to protect the geographically dispersed and diverse population. The Indian government has been strengthening its diplomatic and military capabilities and trying to improve coordination with other countries. Since 1947, India has conducted more than 30 diaspora evacuation missions across Asia and Africa.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) this weekend. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), launched the report by Dr Constantino Xavier ‘Bringing the Diaspora Home: India’s Expatriate Evacuation Operations’, in partnership with Carnegie India. The report outlines the economic importance of the subject. It tries to bring awareness of accomplishments of India in its evacuation operations, mentioned ANI.

The event was attended by former Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Ranjan Mathai. He outlined the importance of different approaches for different contexts associated with each operation. Also, we need to have a good understanding of the destination country.

Retired Vice-Admiral Anup Singh stressed on the significance of maritime diplomacy and international relations in easing the evacuation operations.

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Around 10 million Indian passports are issued every year. There are more than 11 million Indian citizens residing worldwide. Every year, more than 20 million Indians travel internationally.

The Indian diaspora plays an important role in India’s economic development. Overseas Indians have become a priority for India’s Foreign and Security policies. Their remittance accounts for more than 3 percent of its GDP. After the recent crisis in Gulf region, the Indian government has been giving committed and unparalleled attention to the diaspora’s safety.

However, the credit for the success of the India’s evacuation project should be given to the officials who sacrificed their lives and bought back the diaspora. There hasn’t been any formal doctrine or an emergency plan. The Indian government needs to go beyond quick-fix solutions and punctual efforts. We cannot always depend on heroic and ad hoc efforts.

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On the basis of new data and interviews with Indian officials, Dr Xavier, in his paper, has assessed India’s experience in dealing with the evacuation missions. He has recommended some policy changes.

According to ANI report, he said that these measures must be included to institutionalise best practices as emergency plans and standard operating procedures. We need to improve operational coordination between agencies and ministers and train the diplomatic cadre to function in the hostile environment. The Indian government needs to increase cooperation and operational coordination with foreign governments. Armed forces should be given a greater role. There is a need for a balance between civil and military in decision making.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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Being part of self-help group has become more of burden than help for Rural Women in India

Until June 2016, Rs 9,000 crore in loans disbursed under the National Rural Livelihood Mission had turned NPA since 2013-14, according to government data

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Rural Population in India. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

August 20, 2016: Nirmala Devaki borrowed Rs 50,000 for a cousin’s wedding from her self-help group (SHG) about 2 years ago. SHG is one of the 3.9 million across India that offers loans as small as Rs 10,000, including for marriages.

To Devaki, a landless farmer from Dastikoppa village in Karnataka’s northwestern Dharwad district and one of approximately 40 million SHG members nationwide, the monthly interest rate of 2 per cent charged by her SHG, Gayatri Sevasahaya, seemed easy to handle.

Today, Devaki owes the SHG nearly Rs 1 lakh, a sum the widow with five children says she, like 8 million women, cannot pay back. Her family survives on Rs 5,000, which it earns from selling the milk of its one cow. “Being part of a self-help group has become more of a burden than a help,” she complained.

Across India’s villages, over the last three years, Rs 9,000 crore given by banks to SHGs, under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), a government programme set up five years ago to boost rural incomes, have turned into non-performing assets (NPA), or loans in danger of being written off, much like the bad-loan crisis unsettling India’s commercial banking system, with more than 5,000 wilful defaulters owing banks Rs 56,621 crore, as IndiaSpend reported in March 2016.

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At 12 per cent of the Rs 77,650 crore the NRLM has lent over the last three years, the NPA figure may appear low. The corresponding NPAs in the commercial banking system for corporate sector are 5.5 per cent up to March 2015, according to Reserve Bank of India data.

The scale of the NPAs in the SHGs pale in comparison to corporate NPAs: Rs 9,000 crore owed by 8 million women is less than the Rs 9,478 crore default of one commercial defaulter, Lloyds Steel, second on the corporate NPA list.

The defaults of the women from SHGs are warning signs of similar stress and indicate that the Mission’s goal of organising up to 90 million rural households into SHGs over the next decade may have overambitious targets, inadequate safeguards and could jeopardise the very livelihoods it hopes to improve.

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There are two rules to lend money, said micro-finance expert M.S. Sriram, an economics professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore: One, assess the creditworthiness of a consumer, as banks do; two, penalise defaulters, which means customers can assess their repayment ability.

NRLM. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
NRLM. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Those rules were ignored by banks lending to India’s largest companies, and they are being ignored now, as the NPA crisis similarly grows in rural India.

There are two reasons for the unfolding rural debt crisis involving women. One, SHGs are not educating and training rural women on the basics of smart borrowing, how to invest and spend wisely. Money borrowed for income-generating activities such as stitching, candle making or farming, is often spent on personal expenses, from weddings to home construction. Two, banks are aggressively pushing loans through SHGs to meet the government’s loan targets, without similar efforts at checking where this money goes.

You can hear stories like Nirmala’s in rural north India too. Mamta Kanwar, of Niwaru village in Jaipur, borrowed Rs 50,000 from her SHG, Om. She then distributed it to the group’s members so they could invest in stitching units. But they spent the money for personal purposes. Today, three years later, the Rs 50,000 has become an NPA.

Until June 2016, Rs 9,000 crore in loans disbursed under the National Rural Livelihood Mission had turned NPA since 2013-14, according to government data.

Stories from rural India reveal why loans are turning bad: Bankers appear to be scrambling to meet government-set loan targets, sacrificing due diligence.

Consider the example of Kalghatgi. The town has 1,907 Stree Shakti (Woman Power) SHGs with more than 25,000 registered members, which is more than the town population of 17,000, according to the 2011 census. This is because each of these members is registered with more than one SHG.

“The NRLM is not a government subsidy scheme,” said B. Lokesh, senior mission executive (Financial Inclusion), NRLM. “It is basically helping banks increase business. SHGs are a priority sector under RBI (Reserve Bank of India) guidelines, which means banks have to lend a certain percent of their total credit to SHGs.”

Banks are given targets, starting with an initial loan of Rs 50,000. If this amount is repaid, banks have to finance that SHG with an amount of up to Rs 1 lakh, which can later be raised to Rs 3 lakh. The branch manager decides the final loan, based on an SHG’s records, book-keeping, and repayment. So far, each SHG has received, on average, Rs 2.5 lakh.

SHGs are judged on the basis of regular meetings, regular internal lending, and bank linkage. There are no clear instructions or conditions to loan money. “Banks do not enquire about the purpose of the loan from the self-help groups,” said Vasanth Gowda, a field worker from Ujjivan Mini bank in Dharward.

“Members show handmade items to the government official for loans,” said Gaourava Ningappa, a member of an SHG in Tabakadahonnalli village, Kalghatgi. “But once the loan is sanctioned, and the money is withdrawn, they will stop whatever business they took the loan for and use the money for personal expenses.” (IANS)

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