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RBI will work prudently on monetary policies, hopes Jaitley

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Hong Kong: Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday conveyed hope that RBI (The Reserve Bank of India) would judiciously work on the monetary policies of the nation as the same plays a major role in defining the economic growth of a country.

Picture credit: businesstoday.in
Picture credit: businesstoday.in

“RBI historically has been a very responsible institution. Now, as somebody who wants India’s economy to grow and who wants domestic demand to grow, I will want the rates to come down,” Jaitley told media persons here.

“But then, having entrusted RBI with this responsibility, I am sure they are certainly very well informed of the developments taking place within and outside the country. RBI will appropriately act with a sense of responsibility,” he said.

The RBI’s next monetary policy review is scheduled for September 29.

Noting the government has fixed a monetary policy target, he said: “We are well within that
target at the moment and therefore, RBI will take note of that.”

“Real estate, for example, can give a big push to India’s growth and this is a sector which is impacted by high policy rates. Therefore, if the policy rates come down over the next year or so, certainly this is one sector which has a huge potential to grow,” he added.

To a question on the pending tax disputes involving Vodafone, Cairn and Shell, the finance minister also said the best way to get an early resolution is being worked out.

“The best way to get an expeditious disposal is being worked out, these are related to the companies you have mentioned. I am seized of the matter and we are very eager to reach a resolution,” he said.

“The resolution can be by way of judicial tribunals, by way of discussions within or by way of some other methods that we have used in other cases.

“You cannot have a common solution for all and therefore, each of those cases were dealt with separately. Some of them we tried to adjudicate, we had adjudications expedited. The government lost some cases and I accepted the verdict without going for appeal so that the issue gets resolved,” he said.

At an event here earlier on Sunday, he said India is currently a better investment prospect than many other countries.

“India will give better returns than many other countries,” Jaitley said at a meeting with investors and business leaders here.

He said that foreign investments can give great additional resources and the country’s infrastructure sector required major investment.

“Railways, highways and power sectors are among those that require funds and the success of projects in these areas would largely depend on bankability.

“Special focus is being given on improving ease of doing business. Investors have felt in the past that the procedures have been difficult in India,” the minister added.

Noting that stalled projects have impacted the balance sheets of private companies in India, Jaitley said the proposed national investment and infrastructure fund would be a “great enabler” to attract investment, as well as help repair the firms’ balance sheets.

The fund would be independent of the government, and would operate just as another investor, he said.

He said some states were not charging adequate tariff for electricity as a result of which the health of power distribution companies (discoms) is being affected.

“These states can not expect the PSU (public sector undertaking) banks to fund the deficit of discoms,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley, who is on a two-day visit to Hong Kong, would be addressing the investors at the Capital Markets and Institutional Investors’ Summit organized by the Asia Pacific Investors Cooperation (APIC) on Monday.

The summit will present to select Asian institutional investors the developments in India’s capital markets and investment opportunities.

Jaitley will also hold meetings with Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Greater China Chamber of Commerce, as well as small group meetings with financial sector investors and fund managers.

He will be meeting the chief executive of Hong Kong on Monday and also address an event organized by Indian community.

(IANS)

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Dangal continues its Victory march, becomes the Highest Grossing Bollywood Film in Hong Kong

"Dangal" currently has an overseas total of $217.17 million and worldwide collection of $297.68 million (including India)

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Dangal movie
  • Dangal becomes the highest grossing Bollywood film in Hong Kong with a collection of 23.45 million Hong Kong dollars
  • “Dangal” has crossed the lifetime collection of Aamir’s 2009 film “3 Idiots”
  • The film has been backed by Disney India and Aamir Khan Production.

Mumbai, Sep 23, 2017: Bollywood superstar Aamir Khans sports drama film “Dangal” is continuing its victory march at the box office worldwide and has become the highest grossing Bollywood film in Hong Kong with a collection of 23.45 million Hong Kong dollars.

As confirmed by the film’s spokesperson, “Dangal” has crossed the lifetime collection of Aamir’s 2009 film “3 Idiots”, which minted 23.41 million Kong Kong dollars in the country.
“The film released in 46 screens in Hong Kong and Macau which is four times more than the regular screen count for a Hindi mainstream release,” said Amrita Pandey, Vice President – Studios, Disney India.

Also read: Despite Testy Ties, Bollywood Movie ‘Dangal’ that addresses Social Themes and Stars Actor Aamir Khan captivates Audiences in China

“The local audience’s overwhelming response reaffirms that an inspiring story backed by the right team, distribution planning, superior storytelling with such strong performances — can win hearts and transcend boundaries, and ‘Dangal’ exemplifies that,” Pandey added.

The film has been backed by Disney India and Aamir Khan Production.

Based on the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat, an amateur wrestler, who trains his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari to be world-class wrestlers, the film also features Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Zaira Wasim.

“Dangal” currently has an overseas total of $217.17 million and worldwide collection of $297.68 million (including India).

(IANS)

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Journey of Indian Origin Harry S. Banga among Richest people in Hong Kong

Harindarpal Singh Banga is among the list of Top 50 richest people according to Forbes Magazine

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Harry S. Banga is one of the richest people in Hong Kong
Harry S. Banga is one of the richest people in Hong Kong. Pixabay

Hong Kong, Sep 11, 2017: He grew up in Chandigarh and never thought he would be a billionaire and one of the richest people in Hong Kong. But Harry S. Banga has done that successfully in the fields of commodities, ship management and asset management.

With a net worth of $1.02 billion, Harindarpal Singh Banga, as the chairman of the fairly young Caravel Group, not only figures among the list of Top 50 richest people (Forbes Magazine) in Hong Kong but is known as the tycoon who has staged a comeback in the commodities sector in a big way.

“It’s been a great journey. (I am) So proud of achieving what we have done. Obviously, there were a lot of ups and downs. Never realised on leaving Chandigarh that I will be where I am today. By the grace of god, it has been a wonderful and successful journey. One day I will write a book,” Banga told IANS during an interview in the swanky headquarters of the Caravel Group in the Central Plaza skyscraper in Hong Kong’s busy Wan Chai commercial area.

Banga, who started as a shippie, has reasons to feel proud.

He exited the Noble Group, in which he was a co-founder in 1988, just before it started crumbling on the business front. Setting up the Caravel Group in 2013 with an $800 million investment, Banga was soon back in the big league of Hong Kong billionaires early this year.

“We have three verticals within the Caravel Group. The first one is Asset Management. It is purely investing in liquid assets in equity, fixed income and debt investment and some private equity investment. The other part is brick and mortar business in Caravel International which has got two verticals. One is Caravel Resources under which we do the commodities business. Then we have Caravel Maritime and Caravel Fleet Management Limited.

“Today we are the third largest ship management company in the world. We have 450 ships under our management, close to $20 billion dollars of assets. Total officers and crew are about 18,000 — the majority of them from India,” he explained.

With operations spread in 19 countries across most continents, Banga says that doing business with China is easier.

“Seventy per cent of our total turnover comes from China. I have been dealing with China since 1983. Dealing with officials and corporates in China, I find them very easy to develop and do business with.

“Our business mainly focuses around China, which is the main consumer of commodities today. Today, we are the largest international trading company supplying iron ore to China. Total volume is 40 million tonnes. The originating countries are India, Australia, South Africa and Brazil. Caravel Carbon does the thermal coal business. Sixty per cent of that goes into China and 40 percent to India to power plants, cement plants etc,” he said.

Though his company has offices in India, the business dealing is limited.

“While in other countries in Europe, Australia, America it is either a green light or red light — it is all very clear. Though in the last three years it is changing, in India it is permanent amber light. So, you don’t know if it is red or green. They do come with a policy in India but it takes a long time to understand that policy,” said Banga, who was honoured with the Pravasi Bharatiya Award in 2011 by the Indian government.

“Ours (India) is not easy. We have religion issues, caste issues, language issues, states have their own issues. All these things are very challenging. New Delhi takes decisions. The implementation is in districts. It is a very different world there (in the districts). In Beijing, one guy decides, everyone implements,” he said.

Banga is worried that too many young people in India are getting education and skills, but not enough jobs are available.

“In India, we have the beauty product and health product e-retail company called Nykaa. That is one of the major investments that we have,” he added.

Born in Amritsar, Banga, 66, did his schooling and bachelor of engineering in Chandigarh before moving out in the 1970s.

“I became the youngest captain at the age of 27-and-a-half. I worked with companies in London, Geneva and Hong Kong, where I arrived in 1984,” he said.

Among other things, Banga has an eye for contemporary paintings and antiques. (IANS)

 

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New Rs 200 notes: It may take ATMs three months to dispense Rs 200

Will all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated?

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Wait for 3 more months as ATM recalibration is not yet done
Wait for 3 more months as ATM recalibration is not yet done. Wikimeida
  • 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)