Mumbai, November 4, 2016: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday allowed banks to issue rupee-denominated bonds, or masala bonds, in the overseas market to shore up their capital base as well as for financing infrastructure and affordable housing.
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To strengthen their capital base, banks can raise perpetual debt instruments, which can be considered for calculating a bank’s additional tier-1 capital, or debt capital instrument that can go into calculating a bank’s tier-2 capital. These bonds will be issued according to the Basel-III norms and therefore, will have loss absorption clause. Under this clause, a bank can choose not to honour the coupon payment in case of financial stress. For financing infrastructure and affordable housing, the banks can issue long-term bonds, which doesn’t have the loss absorption clause.
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The central bank had first announced its intention for letting banks tap the overseas market with rupee bonds on August 25 when the RBI announced a slew of measures to develop the bond and currencies market. Companies were already allowed to raise money through masala bonds and a few issuances totaling Rs 7,472 crore have been done.
The rupee bond route will open an additional avenue to raise funds for banks and will help develop the market of rupee-denominated bonds abroad, the RBI said.
The borrowing by the banks would still has to be within the overall limit of foreign investment in corporate bonds, which is pegged at Rs 2,44,323 crore at present. Of this, foreign investors have exhausted Rs 1,66,120 crore so far. (IANS)
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)
Singapore has become a popular overseas destination among Indians not for its food or casinos but for its cruise.
Fly cruise tourism has become the new trend
The cruise operators offer Indian cuisine, Bollywood songs, cultural events, in order to provide a local touch and please the Indian guests
New Delhi, July 30, 2017: The rank of the hawker food or the city-state’s casinos has dropped in the list of the reasons to visit Singapore, as traveling on a cruise is becoming the current favorite activity among Indians.
Singapore is a destination that most Indians have been choosing for their trip abroad, but the case now is that most people wish to go to Singapore, not for all the exciting things they can do there, but to get on a ship.
Rahul Maini, an Indian architect, and his parents embarked on their first trip abroad in May, and with the similar purpose.
Around 100,000 Indians sailed from Singapore last year, making India the biggest market for cruises departing from the Southeast Asian nation, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. Singapore has become a dynamic entry point for Indian cruise ship passengers.
“We chose to go on a cruise because we could visit three countries in one short trip,” said Maini. The family spent about $7,700, which Maini described as expensive but worth the cost, mentioned the NDTV report.
The expenditure is part of the 777.3 billion rupees ($12 billion) that Euromonitor International has predicted to be the amount that the middle-class Indians will shell out on overseas leisure travel this year. The research company further said that the market is expanding about 10 percent annually and is expected to eclipse 1 trillion rupees by 2020.
The Changi Airport Group, which manages Singapore’s international airport have stated that India is growing the fastest among the city-state’s top 10 inbound passenger markets. Even though the Middle East and France are the most preferred overseas destinations for Indians, Singapore is on the verge of registering a 59 percent jump in arrivals from India from 2015 to 2020, according to Euromonitor.
India has even outperformed china by 3 percentage points this year, as the number of arrivals from the country increased 15 percent in the first five months of this year in comparison with the year earlier. A lot of tourists come particularly to join a cruise.
Fly cruise tourism has also become a trend among Indian tourists.
The number of Indian passengers on Royal Caribbean ships jumped 149 percent so far this year, compared with the same period last year. This includes the peak summer school holiday period that runs in India from May to June, said Sean Treacy, the company’s Asia Pacific managing director.
“Singapore is a regional-hub port which is near many attractive Southeast Asian cruise destinations in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam,” Treacy said. “Voyages from Singapore offer Indian tourists the convenience of visiting multiple destinations across different countries on a single trip while unpacking only once,” he said.
The number of cruise passengers from India leaving via Singapore has been increasing by least 10 percent a year annually, said Michael Goh, senior vice president of international sales for Genting Cruise Lines.
“Perceptions of cruising among Indian travelers are fast-changing,” Goh said.
Royal Caribbean is adding more cruises for India’s summer school holidays, Treacy said.
The cruise operators offer vegetarian meals, local cuisine and special events reflecting the culture and local traditions that appeal to South Asian guests.
“More Bollywood music may be played at the pool or disco parties, and more jewelry gift sets, which are popular with Indians, may be procured for sailings that host a higher number of them on board,” Royal Caribbean’s Treacy said.
Mani’s overseas holiday has given him a travel bug. “Singapore was good, but the cruise was better,” Maini said, who’s now saving for a cruise from Barcelona.
-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter: goel_samiksha
Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August
June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.
The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.
Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.
Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.
The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.
The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.