Lucknow: In a fresh setback to the beleaguered Sahara India Pariwar, Sahara India Financial Corporation Limited’s license holding has been cancelled by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday.
The action has been taken by the department of non-banking supervision of the RBI, in Kanpur.
The move comes in wake of several irregularities and ignoring financial rules and regulations by Sahara, an official further informed.
The notice regarding cancellation of the license to conduct financial business has been sent to the Kapurthala headquarters of Sahara India.
The move is being seen as the ‘final nail’ in the fortunes of the once-fledgling company as the SIFCL was its core wing from which money was collected through small time subscribers and then routed to other wings such as media, real estate and others.
With its chairman Subrata Roy Sahara already in jail for more than a year, the RBI action, many fear, could “break the financial spine” of the organisation.
Under the new order, the Sahara India would be barred from any sort of financial transactions.
The RBI had in 2008 barred the company from taking any deposits from the people under its chit fund operations.
Many depositors had since then complained to the RBI that they were not being paid back their money by Sahara, following which a probe was ordered by the bank.
A report of the investigations was sent to the RBI HQ in Mumbai last month after which the penal action of cancelling the license of SIFCL was taken.
Mumbai, Oct 28: In what could be a bizarre situation, the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) does not seem to have any official records to prove that it had authorised the issue of new currency notes in denominations of Rs 2,000 and Rs 200, after demonetisation, according to documents available through RTI.
“As per RTI replies provided by the RBI, the country’s central bank has apparently not published any Government Resolution (GR) or a circular till date to issue the new Rs 2,000 and recently, the Rs 200 currency notes,” says Mumbai-based RTI activist M.S. Roy.
A May 19, 2016 document — roughly around six months before demonetisation — shows that the RBI’s Central Board of Directors approved a proposal put forth by its Executive Director on May 18, 2016.
This (proposal) pertained to the new designs, dimensions and denominations of future Indian bank notes, and the Board resolved to forward it to the central government for approval, as per extracts of the minutes of that Board meeting.
Essentially, this was carrying forward an earlier such proposal made on July 08, 1993 to introduce a new family of Indian bank notes of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 500 of reduced sizes.
This old proposal (July 08, 1993) was approved at an RBI Central Board Of Directors meeting on July 15, 1993 as per a memorandum dated August 3, 1993 sent from RBI’s Central Office, Mumbai, to the Chief Officer, Department Of Currency Manager (RBI Mumbai), which was signed by the then Executive Director, A P Aiyer.
As per that proposal (of July 8, 1993), these new Indian currency notes of reduced size were to incorporate several fresh and enhanced security features in order to check counterfeiting, according to the same August 3, 1993 memorandum (quoted above).
Roy had also filed a separate RTI query on February 27, 2017, asking for documentation about photographs of Mahatma Gandhi which are not being printed on the Re 1 notes, but were being printed on all currency notes of denominations ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 2,000.
In reply to this particular query, the RBI provided resolutions of its board meetings held on July 15, 1993, July 13, 1994 and May 19, 2016.
However, these resolutions talk about design features merely for Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 500, all of which bear the photographs of the Father of the Nation.
None of these RBI board resolutions make any references about design features or Mahatma Gandhi photographs for denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000 and now, the latest entrant to the Indian bank notes family, the Rs 200 currency note.
Hence, Roy said that if the RBI board resolutions never even discussed design features or Mahatma Gandhi photographs to be incorporated in Rs 1,000 notes (discontinued after demonetisation), Rs 2,000 denomination notes (introduced on November 8, 2016) and the subsequent Rs 200 notes (introduced in mid-2017), it clearly indicates that no official approval was granted.
He questioned that if no approval was granted for issuing these denominations, who authorised these denominations, their design, printing and distribution.
“If there has been no approval by the RBI Board, no supporting GR or any other known documentation in the public domain, then there is a big question mark about the legal validity and official (monetary) status of these notes — namely Rs.200 and Rs.2,000. The matter merits an independent investigation,” Roy said.
However, if such approvals do indeed exist, then the RBI and government must explain why these documents were not made available despite an RTI query or why they were not in the public domain. (IANS)
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up
The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent
The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon
New Delhi, September 4, 2017: While the RBI launched the new Rs 200 notes a week ago, it may take up to three months for ATMs to start dispensing the new denomination currency “new Rs 200 note” as it will involve a huge exercise of recalibration.
What are ATM companies saying about when will the new Rs 200 notes come into the market?
Some banks have even asked the ATM companies to begin testing the new Rs 200 notes for recalibration of the machines, though they have not got supplies of the new Rs 200 notes/ currency. Only last year, the banks were involved in the recalibration of ATM machines after the demonetization of high-value currency notes in November.
ATM manufacturing companies said that they have not received any directive from the RBI regarding the recalibration of ATMs for the new Rs 200 note. They disclosed that some banks have at an informal level have asked them to start testing of the new note since it is of a different size.
When will the supply of the new Rs 200 notes see an increase?
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up but has not given any time-frame by which it will be available in adequate numbers.
It is yet to be seen whether all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated for dispensing the new Rs 200 notes.
avi B Goyal, Chairman, and Managing Director, AGS Transact Technologies Limited, which claims to have an installed base of 60,000 ATMs, told IANS, “The process of recalibration will begin once we receive the directive from the RBI. The size of the new Rs 200 notes are different from the existing ones and so, once we receive the new Rs 200 notes, we will have to understand its dimensions and accordingly reconfigure the ATM cassettes. Next, we will have to check if the supply of new Rs 200 notes is good enough to run the cassettes at full capacity.”
“The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent. In fact, the ATMs will continue to be fully operational during recalibration and will continue to supply Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denominations,” he said.
Among the other companies operating in the sector are NCR Corporation, which has over 1,08,000 machines, and BTI Payments, which has 4,500 cash dispensers. NCR Corporation said that while some banks have reached out to them to start testing of the new Rs 200 notes, they were yet to receive the supply to begin the process.
“Banks have started getting in touch with us for testing the same “new Rs 200 notes”. They will let us know which machines they wish to configure for new rs 200 notes, which will require physical visits to ATMs. However, the new Rs 200 notes are still to be provided to us by the respective banks so that the testing can begin,” Anand Garollu, General Manager (Services), NCR Corporation said.
K. Srinivas, Managing Director, and CEO of BTI Payments, a RBI-licensed firm that operates cash dispensers not owned and managed by banks, said, “Recalibration will begin as and when we receive adequate quantity of new Rs 200 notes. We are looking to roll this out as quickly as possible.”
He said that the industry was expecting new Rs 200 notes to be available over a period of time across various geographies.
“The recalibration can be done progressively as and when the new denomination note starts to become available. Unlike the last time around (during demonetization), when we had to recalibrate all machines in one go,” Srinivas added.
The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon. However, emails to RBI in this regard did not elicit any reply, they said.
“The production of these “new Rs 200 notes” is being ramped up by the currency printing presses and over time, as more notes are printed, it will be distributed across the country through the banking channels and will be available for the public in adequate quantity,” the RBI had said in a statement.
Currently, new Rs 200 notes are available only through select RBI offices and some banks.
While State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank are reported to have received the new Rs 200 notes, Eknath Baliga, Manager, KYC-Antimoney Laundering Cell, Corporation Bank, Mangalore, told IANS that none of its branches across the country had received the new Rs 200 notes so far.
The new Rs 200 notes are currently being printed only by RBI presses. Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) sources told IANS that the company has not received any indent so far for the printing of new Rs 200 notes. India’s two currency presses are owned by RBI and two by SPMCIL, which is a government-owned company.
How ATM recalibration happens:
Usually, an ATM holds four cassettes — three of which can continue to be used for Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 2,000, and the fourth cassette can be used for the new Rs 200 notes. On an average, each cassette has a capacity to hold 2,000-2,500 notes depending upon the quality of cash issued by banks. However, there are many ATMs that only have either two or three cassettes.
The number of slots in the ATM can be configured as per the bank’s preference. The banks decide which denomination needs to be configured in a machine on the basis of the customer profile in the area where the ATM is located and the number of transactions on that machine.
The banks need to make requisite changes at their ATM switch before the rollout of the physical recalibration at the ATMs in the field.
The recalibration of a new denomination takes 30-45 minutes per ATM. The process of recalibration is not very difficult but is time-consuming given an engineer has to visit every ATM and configure it to dispense the requisite denomination.
The introduction of the Rs 200 note has been welcomed as it would ease the currency circulation in the market as people prefer lower denomination cash withdrawals from ATMs. Rs 200 would also be more convenient for rural consumers. (IANS)
New Delhi, November 25, 2016: Bankers here say that a section of police personnel are still forcing them to deposit or exchange their old currency for new money although the facility ended on Thursday midnight.
A few bankers IANS spoke to on the condition of anonymity said they were being pressured by police personnel in uniform to provide them new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes in lieu of the demonetised currency.
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Some bank employees who tried to approach senior police officers backed off after being told by the policemen that the money they wanted, converted or deposited belonged to their bosses.
They (policemen) making such demands were those deputed outside to provide security to our bank. They are not bothered about our problems. They just want to exchange their old notes all the time, one senior officer of a state-run bank told IANS.
The officer admitted that for a few days after the demonetisation was announced on November 8 she did help the policemen change their old currency for new even after banking hours.
The officer, like the others IANS spoke to, said they did this because they felt sorry for the police personnel who spent the whole day trying to control the mobs outside.
A few policemen also related personal problems to generate sympathy.
But now they talk to my colleagues and me in a way that amounts to threatening us although not in so many words. I don’t know what to do, said one female bank officer.
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Senior Delhi Police officers denied the allegations and said they had not received any complaint from any bank.
The government announced on Thursday that exchange of the demonetised currency would cease from midnight of Thursday in all banks. The facility would, however, continue at RBI offices.
But the policemen seem to have no respect for rules, the bankers said.
Unable to handle the pressure caused by an ill-mannered cop, a relationship manager of another bank told IANS: I have no option but to do what the policeman wants.
The policeman threatened to go to the Income Tax Department and lodge a complaint against me. If my senior is not taking action against the policeman, why would I face unwanted problems, the bank official asked.
Another banker complained about a police sub-inspector who allegedly brings in friends all through the day and tells the bankers to exchange their old currency for new money.
When we tell the policeman not to make us do such things, he argues with us, the bank employee told IANS.
All the bank employees insisted they should not be identified by name or designation and that even the names of their banks should not be revealed because they did not want to face the policemen’s wrath. (IANS)