Mumbai: A strengthening rupee, buoyant equity markets coupled with a fall in dollar value boosted India’s Forex reserves by $2.26 billion, experts said on Saturday.
Overall, the Forex reserves stood at $353.06 billion for the week ended October 9.
“The increase in Forex reserves can be attributed to an appreciation in rupee value and the weakening of US dollar against the major global currencies like Euro, Pound and Yen,” Anindya Banerjee, associate vice president for currency derivatives with Kotak Securities, told IANS.
“It is perceived that the appreciation in rupee value allowed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to buy more dollars and keep rupee in a comfortable range,” Banerjee said.
The rupee had closed at 64.74 to a US dollar during the week ended October 9. The rupee gained 77 paise on a weekly basis from its previous close at 65.51 to a US dollar in the week ended October 2.
Previously, a rise in the value of gold reserves had added $827.4 million to India’s Forex kitty which swelled to $350.80 billion for the week ended October 2. The reserves had declined by $2.04 billion to $349.97 billion in the week ended September 25.
Furthermore, the data furnished by the RBI in its weekly statistical supplement showed that the foreign currency assets (FCAs) had gained by $2.22 billion to $329.51 billion in the week under review.
The FCA constitutes the largest component of India’s Forex reserves. It consists of US dollars, major non-dollar currencies, securities and bonds bought abroad.
“The dollar in the week under review, had depreciated by close to 1 percent against major global currencies. This added around $1 billion to the FCA,” Banerjee said.
The Indian reserves consist of nearly 20-25 percent of non-dollar currencies. The individual movements of these currencies against the dollar impacts the overall reserve value.
Besides, currency movements, increased inflows into the equity markets supported the Forex’s upwards trajectory.
During the week ended October 9, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (S&P Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), rose 858.56 points or 3.17 percent to 27,079.51 points.
The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) too made gains during the weekly trade ended October 9. It rose 238.8 points or three percent to 8,189.70 points.
“Rising equity markets, increased inflow of foreign funds and appreciating rupee have had a positive impact on the reserves,” Hiren Sharma, senior vice president, currency advisory at Anand Rathi Financial Services, told IANS.
“RBI may have entered into the markets to stabilise the rupee. RBI is seen not to be comfortable with the rupee appreciation.”
During the week under review, the country’s gold reserves remained stagnant at $18.15 billion. The country’s gold reserves had risen by $116.5 million to $18.15 billion during the week ended October 2.
The special drawing rights (SDRs) in the week under review were higher by $30.4 million at $4.07 billion.
The country’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) edged up by $10.5 million to $1.32 billion.
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)
New Delhi, November 20, 2016: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed the introduction of “Islamic window” in the conventional banks for “gradual” start of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the country.
Both the RBI and Centre are looking for the possibility of the introduction of Islamic banking so as to ensure the financial inclusion of those sections of the society that remain not a part due to mere religious reasons.
Islamic or Sharia banking is a finance system based on the principles of not charging interest, which is prohibited under Islam.
“In our considered opinion, given the complexities of Islamic finance and various regulatory and supervisory challenges involved in the matter and also due to the fact that Indian banks have no experience in this field, Islamic banking may be introduced in India in a gradual manner.”
“Initially, a few simple products which are similar to conventional banking products may be considered for introduction through Islamic window of the conventional banks after necessary notification by the government.”
“Introduction of full-fledged Islamic banking with profit-loss sharing complex products may be considered at a later stage on the basis of experience gained in course of time,” the RBI has told Finance Ministry in a letter, according to PTI report.
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“It is also our understanding that interest-free banking for financial inclusion will require a proper process of the product being certified as Sharia compliant will be required both on the asset and liability side and the funds received under the interest-free banking could not be mingled with other funds and therefore, this banking will have to be conducted under a separate window,” it said.
The central bank’s proposal is based on the examination of legal, regulatory and technical issues regarding the feasibility of introducing the Islamic banking in India on the recommendation of the Inter Departmental Group (IDG).
RBI has also assembled a technical analysis report which has been sent to the Finance Ministry.
“In case it is decided to introduce Islamic banking product in India as suggested, RBI would require to undertake further work to put in place the operational and regulatory framework to facilitate introduction of such products by banks in India,” the letter said.