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Demonetisation pushes banks’ Credit growth to Historic lows, says State Bank of India (SBI) report

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State Bank of India, Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Wikimedia

Mumbai, Jan 4, 2017: Demonetisation has pushed the banks’ credit growth to historic lows and the rate cuts by banks may result in a rebound at least in the housing sector, a State Bank of India (SBI) report said on Thursday.

“The low credit growth is a matter of concern, as the fortnightly data of all scheduled commercial banks indicates that credit offtake year-on-year declined to a historical low of 5.1 per cent as on December 23,” according to the SBI report titled ‘Econwrap – Betting on credit growth’.

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“During the period between November 11 and December 23, credit offtake has declined by Rs 5,229 crore, while banks’ deposits grew by around Rs 4 lakh crore,” the report stated.

With rate cuts now being 90 bps at one go, clearly the evidence is strong for a credit growth rebound at least in the housing sector, it added.

The State Bank of India on January 1 had cut its lending rates by 90 basis points for maturities ranging from overnight to three-year tenures.

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Regarding the issues of normalisation after demonetisation, the report said that by January-end, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should be able to replace 67 per cent of the demonetised currency and by February-end 80-89 per cent.

The total amount of the spiked high value denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 in circulation on November 8 was Rs 15.44 lakh crore, according to the Finance Ministry figures.

The latest data of RBI shows that by December-end, 44 per cent of the demonetised currency has been replaced.

“If we assume that RBI continues to print as it is doing as of now, things will be closer to normal by February-end,” the SBI report said. (IANS)

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RBI maynot have been Authorised to Issue Currency Notes of Rs 2,000 and Rs 200

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

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authorised to issue currency notes
Reserve Bank of India doesnot have any proof to have been authorised to issue currency notes. Wikimedia.

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.

Authorised to Issue Currency Notes.
Rs. 2000 note was issued by RBI who maynot ahve been Authorised to Issue Currency Notes. Wikimedia.

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.

authorised to issue currency notes
RBI had issued notes with no proof if authorised to issue currency notes. Wikimedia.

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)

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SBI reduces lending rates on home and vehicle loans

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Loans
SBI reduces lending rates on home and vehicle loans

India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday announced reduction of interest rates on home and automobile loans by five basis points (bps).

In a statement issued here the bank said, it has reduced home loan interest rates to 8.30 per cent. Similarly, automobile loan is now offered at a starting interest rate of 8.70 per cent per annum compared to earlier 8.75 per cent.

With this reduction, SBI’s offering in home loan is the lowest in the market. The new rates will be effective from November 01, the SBI claimed. The effective interest rate for all eligible salaried customers will be 8.30 per cent per annum for loans upto Rs 30 lakh.

Rates have been reduced by five bps in all the brackets. Over and above of 8.30 per cent rate, an eligible home loan customer can also avail of an interest subsidy of Rs 2.67 lakh under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana scheme.

For car loan customers, the loan amount ranges from 8.70 per cent per annum to 9.20 per cent per annum compared to earlier range of 8.75 per cent to 9.25 per cent. The exact rate depends on the amount of loan and the credit score of the individual.(IANS)

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A Step Towards Digital India- Google Launches Digital Payment App ‘Tez’ in India

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Google launched Tez app
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Wikimedia

New Delhi, Sep 20, 2017: A day after Google launched its new digital payment app “Tez” in India, the company’s Indian-born CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday tweeted it will help India move closer to digital transformation.

“We hope that the launch of @TezByGoogle will help take India one step closer to your vision of @_DigitalIndia,” Pichai tweeted.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who launched the app here had said the idea of “Tez” was discussed by Pichai in January, just after demonetisation.

“Google saw a great potential in Indian economy and businesses,” Jaitley said, adding that Google’s new digital payments app over the next few months was likely to make major advances in digital transaction volumes.

Built on the Indian government-supported Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Tez allows users, free of charge, to make small or big payments straight from their bank accounts.

The app was built for India, working on the vast majority of the country’s smartphones and available in English and seven Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu).

The app works in partnership with four Banks — Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India — to facilitate the processing of payments across over 50 UPI-enabled banks.

According to D D Mishra, Research Director, Gartner, Tez provides promising features which are in-line with the requirements.

Also Read: Google, Twitter enable advertisers to reach racists: Reports 

“It is too early to say whether it can be a game changer as evolution in this business is going to continue, but yes it has the capabilities to bring some disruption as of now,” Mishra said in a statement.

Moreover, Google’s information about an individual’s preferences can play a good role in enabling the business to know their preferences and provide offers with interesting options.

“The mobile wallet industry too is evolving and we are at an interesting stage in this competition. Eventually, UPI payments will have an upper hand if it continues to remain free and provide better security, convenience and add more Value Added Services,” Mishra informed. (IANS)