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Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches MUDRA bank with Rs.20,000 crore corpus

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

In order to promote the growth of the micro businesses and increase employment in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (Mudra) bank with a corpus of Rs.20,000 crore, on Wednesday.

According to the officials, the step has been taken to encourage 58 million small businesses around the country. Also, 120 million people will be employed including the underprivileged section of the society.

“After ‘banking the un-banked’ with the Jan Dhan Yojana, it’s time to ‘fund the unfunded’,” said the Prime Minister at the launch event of Mudra.

“Millions of common men and women in this country, who run small businesses, have almost remained outside the net of formal institutional finance, in spite of their large contributions to the economy,” Modi added.

“Providing access to institutional finance to such micro and small business units and enterprises will not only help in improving the quality of life of these entrepreneurs, but also turn them into strong instruments of growth and employment generation,” said the finance minister Arun Jaitley.

The new norms will help small businesses a fair environment to repay their loans.

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Everything You Need to Know About Mudra Yojana From GOI

There is a popular misconception that Indians are not keen to initiate or run a business

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Everything You Need to Know About Mudra Yojana From GOI
Everything You Need to Know About Mudra Yojana From GOI.

The country is riding a new economic growth wave led by the new government. The buoyant markets, shining SME and MSME sectors are bearing the testimony of this new revolution. While speaking at a global economic forum, Prime Minister of the country spoke about the economic renaissance that the nation is witnessing. He said that the MSME sector would play the role of a catalyst in changing the financial climate of the country. Reports tabled by different research agencies suggests that the MSME and SME sector will grow manifold in the coming few years. Recent research tabled by ICRA revealed that the credit to micro and small, medium enterprises is likely to record a growth of more than 12 percent in the forthcoming years. The NBFCs is expected to play a major role. The report said that the NBFC and housing finance segment’s CAGR would grow at a rate of 21 percent

There is a popular misconception that Indians are not keen to initiate or run a business. The trend is rather different where people are more interested in beginning something of their own which will be sustainable and profit. This has been the major driving force behind the growth of SME sectors. Interestingly, there are ample examples where people have considered full time business with the start-up if it looks promising with the mode of functioning and the returns. No doubt, availability of finance and access to technology are key to the gradual transformation of such.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

Financial support is one aspect which demands closer introspection in India. To some extent, many Indian start-ups don’t get the much-needed small business loans from financial institutions, and ultimately the entire business goes under. The whole issue of sustainable SMEs is closely intertwined with easy finance. In this regard, the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) has been a game changer of all sorts. Within a year of its launch, it has been instrumental in giving small business loans to 1.5 crore new entrepreneurs all over the country. As of now, 3.22 crore new as well as existing entrepreneurs have been sanctioned loans under PMMY. Importantly enough, women entrepreneurs account for about 78 per cent (or 2.52 crore) of the total number of borrowers which is a giant leap towards a gender sensitized ecosystem and women empowerment in the true sense of the term.

The best aspect of the Mudra Yojana is the coverage it provides for the entrepreneurs. The
budding entrepreneurs can apply for loans for purchasing vehicles for goods and personal
transport; starting/ expanding saloons, beauty parlours, gymnasium, boutiques, tailoring shops, dry cleaning, cycle and motorcycle repair shop, DTP and photocopying facilities, medical stores; for undertaking activities such as papad/ pickle/ jam/ jelly making, small service food stalls and day to day catering or canteen services. Loans under PMMY are unique considering the bigger domain it is catering to at present. Even micro entrepreneurs are eligible to opt for such. From another perspective, the inclusive nature of the government policy regarding financial and banking institutions have complemented the efforts. In this regard, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, which got recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records for “most bank accounts opened (1.80 crores) in one week as part of the Financial Inclusion Campaign from August 23 to 29, 2014, has been key to financial inclusiveness and transparency across the country. The latest MUDRA (Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd) data has underlined that in the last 12 months, banks and microfinance institutions have sanctioned and disbursed loans aggregating Rs 1.28 lakh crore and Rs 1.22 lakh crore, respectively, which has been a big blessing to the SME sector. Interestingly, out of this, the sanctions and disbursement to women entrepreneurs are at Rs 59,132 crore and Rs 58,000 crore, respectively.

There is no denying the fact that the Mudra Yojana, which has been catering to young
entrepreneurs with small business loans, have changed the domain of MSMEs and SMEs in
India to a considerable extent. The whole framework has consistently ensured credit flow in the market. No doubt, the smooth flow of credits from financial institutions to entrepreneurs has changed the face of Indian economy and can be said that the approach has strengthened the vibrant Indian economy.

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PNB Fraud Fully Exposes the Malicious Intent Of Nirav Modi

For the past seven years, Nirav Modi’s three firms-Diamond R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds-were in the process of procuring the LoU's from the Punjab National Bank (PNB)

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Nirav Modi's stamped his name in India’s top corporates with growing global prestige with his fame and affluence.
Nirav Modi's stamped his name in India’s top corporates with growing global prestige with his fame and affluence. Facebook
  • Nirav Modi is India’s one of the better- known diamantaires
  • Since 2013, Nirav Modi has been a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians
  • Nirav Modi and his firms exploited the loopholes in the banking system to the fullest by seeking letters of undertaking

Who Is Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi is India’s one of the better- known diamantaires. Hewas born in a diamond-dealing family and spent his childhood in Antwerp, Belgium. At an early age of 19, he set sail for Mumbai. After spending nine years down the lane, he came up with his own company named Firestar Diamond Ltd. Initially, Nirav Modi started with selling loose stones and employed the only handful of people. But after attaining staggering success in his business till last year, the number of employees was more than two thousand.

As per the Firestar Group figures, the company’s revenue jumped over three years from 103 billion rupees to some 147 billion rupees by the 2016-17 fiscal year. Since 2013, Nirav Modi has been a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians. According to Forbes magazine rankings, Nirav Modi’s net worth ranges to some $1.8 billion which itself explains the lavish lifestyle of the business tycoon.

Also Read: Biggest Bank Frauds Which Shook The Indian Economy

Nirav Modi’s stamped his name in India’s top corporates with growing global prestige with his fame and affluence. The Bollywood star and former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra also adorned with Modi’s jewels. From Hollywood’s red carpets to the Bollywood awards, his diamonds have sparkled on the bodies of actors and models like Kate Winslet, Dakota Johnson and Priyanka Chopra.

Last month, Nirav Modi was spotted at the World Economic Forum in Davos. A group photograph with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the foreground and Nirav Modi in between rows of Indian business leaders have come under fire from the Congress party and notably carried out by the Indian media. Some political parties have taken a direct shot at Prime Minister for facilitating the run of Nirav Modi. In one of its tweet, Rahul Gandhi blamed Narendra Modi for this blunder.

Nirav Modi and his firms exploited the loopholes in the banking system to the fullest by seeking letters of undertaking (LOU) and thus raised credit from foreign banks to pay to its merchants. In simple words, LOU is a bank guarantee issued for overseas import payments. The scandal is termed as India’s biggest banking scams in ages.

For the past seven years, Nirav Modi’s three firms-Diamond R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds-were in the process of procuring the LOU’s from the Punjab National Bank (PNB). Through these bank guarantees, Nirav Modi was able to raise the short-term loans from foreign branches of Indian banks to pay to its suppliers of raw material for his business.

A criminal complaint with the CBI was filed on January 29 accusing Nirav Modi and others of defrauding the bank and causing it a loss of Rs. 280 crore.
A criminal complaint with the CBI was filed on January 29 accusing Nirav Modi and others of defrauding the bank and causing it a loss of Rs. 280 crore. Wikimedia Commons

Due to the recent setback to the Punjab National Bank, its shares closed 2% lower at Rs. 125.65 against the previous day’s closing on BSE.

The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) booked the billionaire jewellery designer on January 31, along with his wife Ami, brother Nishal and business partner Mehul Choksi. The Nirav Modi’s wife is a U.S. citizen and said to be equally involved in the billion dollar fraud. The charges levelled against them were of allegedly cheating state-run Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs. 280 crore. Within a fortnight of the first complaint by the Punjab National Bank, CBI was taken into the loop.

Also Read: 16 Indian origin people indicted for running a scam in the United States

Nirav Modi and his brother Nishal, who is a Belgian citizen, left India on January 1. However, it is still not known if they travelled together or separately. Meanwhile, Nirav Modi’s wife Ami, who is a US citizen, left India on January 6. Following the footsteps of his business associates, Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali jewellery chain, left on January 4, the officials said.

After the exposure of the scam, CBI and the Enforcement Directorate moved to the External Affairs Ministry in order to get revoked the passports of Nirav Modi and his associates. Hence, the passports of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi got suspended for four weeks.

The last nail is struck by CBI as it has asked Interpol for help to arrest celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi, who is being investigated for one of the biggest bank frauds of the country.

Due to the recent setback to the Punjab National Bank, its shares closed 2% lower at Rs. 125.65 against the previous day's closing on BSE.
Due to the recent setback to the Punjab National Bank, its shares closed 2% lower at Rs. 125.65 against the previous day’s closing on BSE. Wikimedia Commons

The federal investigative agency and the law enforcement officials raided his jewellery stores and other businesses in Mumbai and New Delhi. However, Nirav Modi’s flagship company, Firestar Diamond, has denied any involvement in the case.

Also Read: 5 scams that rocked India in 2015

After this scam, Nirav Modi’s biggest rivals like Tanishq and Gitanjali Gems must be having a heave of sigh in terms of competition. As per the NDTV’s report, Nirav Modi is holed up at New York’s JW Marriott Essex House at 160 Central Park South, which includes both a hotel and apartments. The place is situated in a premier location overlooking New York’s well known Central Park.

In the following paragraph, thePNB’s swoop of Rs. 11,300 Crore is explained as it is:

  • There is a system of bank guarantee called a letter of undertaking (LOU). Under this a bank allows its customer to raise money from another Indian bank’s foreign branch in the form of a short-term credit. So basically, the LOU serves the purpose of a bank guarantee.
  • In order to avail LOU, the customer or organization is expected to pay margin money to the LOU issuing bank and hence the credit limit is granted. But in the Nirav Modi’s fraud case, he didn’t pay up any margin money and on the top of that, no credit limit was set up for him.
  • On a regular basis, Nirav Modi managed to pay to its suppliers of rough stones for his three firms. The money was paid through the loans by banks including Axis Bank, and Allahabad Bank. It was done by Nirav Modi’s firms on showing the letters of undertakings issued by the Punjab National Bank.
  • Early this year, Punjab National Bank discovered that there was no official record of such letters of the undertaking before reporting the matter to the CBI.
  • In this case, Nirav Modi and his firms were supposed to repay the loans but till now, all these loans have allegedly been rolled over for want of funds. Incidentally, when the borrower fails to make the repayment, the bank which has issued the LOU is constrained to honour the commitments on the behalf of its customers.
  • On February 15, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), the central finance body of India reportedly directed the Punjab National Bank to pay all these banks that gave loans to Modi’s firm on the basis of guarantees issued by the state lender.
  • So virtually, Indian bank’s foreign branches were making payments on behalf of Nirav Modi’s to its suppliers in the form of loans.
  • The hell broke out in January when Modi’s firm requested further LOUs for paying the overseas suppliers. The bank officials straightforwardly refused to entertain the request on the ground that Modi’s firm needs to keep 100% collateral for the same. On this, Modi’s firm argued that no such money was kept ‘on margin’ in the past either and this led to an investigation by the bank officials who scanned the records only to discover that there was no trace of any such transaction. Lately, it was known that the guarantees/ undertakings were issued by bypassing the rules in collusion with some Punjab National Bank
  • The violation of the Punjab National Bank’s end was a too glaring blunder to ignore. Hence, a criminal complaint with the CBI was filed on January 29 accusing Nirav Modi and others of defrauding the bank and causing it a loss of Rs. 280 crore.The complaint included Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, managing director of Gitanjali Gems. But later on, Nirav Modi’s brother and his wife were also found to be included in this startling scam.

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Naxalism: Result of 10% Anglophone masters ruling over 90% of Indians

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Parade

By Dr Kallol Guha

The Naxal conflict has been a major question mark on the practices and policies of Indian government for decades. Every government, coalition or majority, has tried to resolve the issue, but with little success. Starting from a little village called Naxalbari in Darjeeling district of West Bengal in the 60s, the ‘red corridor’ today covers Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The present day Narendra Modi led NDA government too is dabbling with the issue. Prime Minister Modi, during his recent visit to Burdwan, appealed to the Naxalites that the shoulders of youth should bear ploughs, not gun.

The problem of Naxalism has roots in chronic corruption and consequent underdevelopment and deprivation of a given section of population. Report on youth Employment-Unemployment scenario (2012-13) states that “Every 1 person out of 3 persons who is holding a degree in graduation and above is found to be unemployed for the age group 15-29 years”. Employment situation in the villages is even worse. No Government in this universe can possibly create jobs for the number of emerging workforce in India.

Naxalism is just a symptom of poor and inefficient governance, rampant corruption, total lack of justice and understanding of the problems of the peasant class by the Anglophonic ruling class. The symptoms are getting more and more serious despite media attempt to project it as the handy work of some unruly vandals. Since the sixties state machinery has tried to exterminate the movement by brutal force and the net result is that the Naxals have now spread deeper and wider into the heartland of India.

Sustainability of this movements shows that its leadership is far more capable and talented than the Anglophonic ruling class of India. Perhaps it is time that the new Government accepts this fact and with all honesty and sincerity invite the Naxalites for a dialogue.

General VK Singh once made a comment in the context of Naxalite Movement: “ Ye alag desh banane ke liye to nehi ladta. Ye apne haq ke leye lardta hai.” . Why not ask the General to handle this issue ?

(The writer is the President & CEO of Saint James School of Medicine headquartered in Illinois.)