As per a state level bankers committee meeting held in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, it has come to light that more than five lakh Kisan credit cards are inactive in Himachal Pradesh.

There were eight lakh Kisan Credit cards issued in the state, out of which only 2.4 lakh were active and the rest inactive. The Chief Secretary (Finance) has asked the bankers in the state to motivate the farmerse to use their credit cards by holding camps for propagating the benefits of the cards in rural areas.

It is important for banks to give importance to economic activities. They should advance loans in priority sector areas to make the initiatives of the government in social security and development sectors to be more beneficial. Almost Rs. 9, 266 crore has been disbursed under the Kisan Credit Cards scheme among the farmers.

Kisan credit card provides a need-based and timely credit support to the farmers for their cultivation needs as well as for non-farm activities. The banks were asked to arrange and support point of sale terminals in government offices, hospitals and public utility services in order to reduce dependency on cash and to promote cashless transactions.

Banks were also asked to fund micro-irrigation schemes in rural areas to boost economic activities in the villages.

The state is facing problems with the declining credit-deposit ratio. The non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks were presently totaling Rs 2, 005 crore.More
Posted on: 2017-03-26 09:32:01

The Government has announced a subsidy on interest up to 2.25 percent on home loans which is applicable for applicant with an annual income of Rs. 6 lakh to Rs. 18 lakh per annum. This subsidy is being issued under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) for Middle Income Groups (CLSS-MIG) initiated by Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

The Government had earlier announced a subsidy interest on housing and home loans for 4%. This was for loans not exceeding Rs. 9 lakh for applicants with annual income less than Rs. 12 lakh. A 3 per cent subsidy on housing loans up to Rs. 12 lakh for those with income up to Rs. 18 lakh per year had also been announced.

Currently, the home loans rates are the cheapest in six years after SBI and other banks have cut down rates. This is applicable to those applicants who have been sanctioned housing loans and also those whose applications are under consideration since January 1 this year.

The loan tenure has been capped at 20 years. The total interest subsidy building up on these loans will be paid to the beneficiaries which reduce the EMI.
Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and National Housing Board (NHB) have been designated as Central Nodal Agencies for implementing CLSS. The lenders will sanction loans after verification of applications and then claim the subsidy from the nodal agencies.More
Posted on: 2017-03-26 09:23:51

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a US$ 350 million loan agreement for improving the roads of Madhya Pradesh in line with the state’s Road Development Plan.

The Madhya Pradesh government will also counter support this proposal by contributing a sum of $150 million.

This will cover about 1500 kilometers of major district roads in the state. This is aimed towards developing a seamless road connectivity across the state by linking State Highways and Rural roads through District roads. People will have better accessibility and ease of commuting due to this.

Roads will be developed with concrete pavements, culverts and bridges will be strengthened, and the improved road assets will be maintained for a period of five years after construction. It is also proposed to develop and introduce a cashless accident victim treatment facility in the state, and improve the accident response system.

Madhya Pradesh is the second-largest state in the country with an area of about 308, 000 square kilometers and a population of about 73 million.

A number of development initiatives are being undertaken to boost industrial activity such as the Pithampur-Dhar-Mhow Region as a key node on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. The road network is a vital element of the economic infrastructure as the industrial development and agricultural production are dispersed.

The project will run for almost four years with an expected completion date of March 2021.More
Posted on: 2017-03-26 09:18:08

The future of banking is now here. HDFC Bank in its endeavour to modernize its banking services, has launched an electronic virtual assistant called “EVA” which is an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot in a bid to improve its customer services.

This makes it the first case of artificial intelligence based banking chatbot in India. In a statement released by HDFC Bank, Eva can instantly answer millions of customer queries across a number of channels. Eva is also proficient to assimilate knowledge from thousand of sources and provide answers in a simple language in a short span of time – less than 0.4 seconds.

A great achievement of Eva is that it has answered over 1 lakh of queries from thousands of customers from 17 countries across the world within the first few days of its launch itself.

The statement also stated that the bank’s customers can avail information on the bank’s products and services instantaneously through Eva and this process will also make Eva smarter when it learns through the customer interactions. Eva will be able to handle real banking transactions as well in addition to providing responses for customer queries regarding its products and services. This would in turn enable the bank to offer the true power of conversational banking to its customers in the long run.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 01:24:33

A PIL has been filed in the Delhi High Court challenging the surcharge being levied by the banks and the financial institutions on credit and debit card transactions. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has responded to the Delhi HC in a bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, urging it to dismiss the PIL.

The RBI has stated that PIL cannot be used “as a weapon to challenge financial or economic decisions”. It further stated that "the decisions are taken by the RBI in exercise of its administrative/ statutory powers and in public interest. The issues in the writ petition pertain purely to the economic policy of the state and the challenge to the same at the instance of a public-spirited person cannot fall within the parameters of PIL, as has been laid down by the Supreme Court from time to time."

The PIL has been filed in the Delhi HC by the petitioner which grievances that though the demonetisation move of the government was beneficial, the decision of the banks to levy surcharge on credit and debit card transactions is “unlawful, unequal and arbitrary and promotes the circulation of black money. The arbitrariness of the surcharge is apparent in the payment of petrol charges through credit and debit cards. The petitioner seeks legal recourse from the court to safeguard the interests of the citizens from the arbitraryMore
Posted on: 2017-03-23 01:23:34

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In this digital world, every company and organization is looking to enter into the e-payment market. The leading telecom company, Samsung has launched its payment solution – Samsung Pay in India. The banks with which it has tied up as an “Early Access” program are Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, SBI and Standard Chartered Bank along with e-wallet apps like Paytm.

Samsung Pay uses both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) which sends a magnetic signal from a supported Samsung phone to the POS terminal. This service currently supports both credit and debit cards from the bank mentioned above except SBI (only credit cards supported). With the advent of time, Samsung has stated that it will add American Express and Citi Bank facility too. Registration for this facility can be done through the official Samsung Pay website.

The service is currently supported on select models of Samsung phones. The user needs to register through the website and install the app. Once the app is installed, you can add a debit/credit card or connect your Paytm wallet through which you can add money to your Paytm wallet using Samsung Pay. Payment can be made at a store by launching the app and selecting the card with which the payment is to be made. After authenticating, you will have to place your phone near the POS machine or NFC card reader to complete the payment.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 01:20:40

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) will host a London Capital Markets forum in India this week together with AZB and Partners, Deloitte, DLA Piper and HSBC. This forum will consist of series of seminars in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

After the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley’s visit to the UK last month, this forum is being conducted in India to showcase the role and growth of the LSE through its extensive equity and debt capital markets offerings in the development and growth of India’s funding and markets. Jaitley along with Nikhil Rathi, CEO, LSE and other delegates from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, leading Fintech companies and institutional investors discussed on how they can develop India in its FinTech ecosystem and deliver key Indian priorities like infrastructure development, sustainable energy investment and the growth of smart cities.

LSE has been a forerunner in helping India build its international equity and debt fund raising by listing more than 30 Masala bonds raising an equivalent to approximately USD 3.5 billion. A Masala bond is a financial instrument which provides Indian companies with a good opportunity to raise debt from overseas investors with no foreign currency risk on its own balance sheet.

This seminar would give potential issuers in India an opportunity to gather the information they need to choose a London markets based solution for their finance requirementsMore
Posted on: 2017-03-23 01:19:01

The Deputy General Manager (DGM) and the Assistant General Manager (AGM) along with three directors of Union Bank of India have been booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for alleged violation of RBI guidelines during demonetisation. In addition to this, proprietors of a private firm have also been booked in connection with the case.

These officials have been booked under the Indian Penal Code under sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption.

The FIR has been registered against the then Deputy General Manager, Ashok Kumar Dhabhai, and the Assistant General Manager, K Shivashankarrao, . Shivashankarrao is the manager of Zaveri Road branch of Union Bank.

The CBI stated in a statement that during the period from November 15, 2016 to December 26, 2016, huge amounts of cash amounting to around Rs 47.45 crore and Rs 37.15 crore were fraudulently shown as deposited in the accounts of two private firms based at Mumbai with Union Bank of India. The cash was deposited in the currency chest of bank purportedly by representative of the said firms in an alleged conspiracy with the bank’s DGM and the AGM, in violation of the RBI guidelines.

The CBI also carried out searches at 12 locations including residential and office premises of accused persons which led to recovery of incriminating documents and therefore they have been arrested.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 01:04:14

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has stated that Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) cannot lend more than Rs 25, 000 in cash against gold. As per the earlier provision, NBFCs could lend high value loans of Rs. 1 lakh against gold which could be disbursed only by cheque.

The limit of loan against gold has been reduced by the RBI from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs.25000 to bring it in line with the provisions of the Income Tax Act (IT Act). The threshold under the IT Act is Rs. 20000.

Shares of gold loan companies such as Muthoot Finance and Manappuram Finance dropped up to 4 per cent on Friday’s trade after the RBI said NBFCs cannot lend more than Rs 25000 in cash against gold.

Shares of Muthoot Finance fell 7.06 per cent to hit a low of Rs 326.65 on BSE. Manapurram Finance dropped 5.69 per cent to hit a low of Rs 89.4 on BSE.
These provisions are being brought into force to focus on the government’s efforts to make India a cashless economy and to promote digital payments.

The government had demonetised the Rs. 500/1000 notes on November 9 last year aiming to check black money, counterfeit currency and terror financing amidst a lot of confusion and chaos in the country. Almost 86% of the currency in the country was declared invalid. There were also several restrictions imposed by the banks regarding the withdrawal amounts from the banks and ATMs.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 00:53:02

Paytm has stated that it will levy a 2% fee for recharging e-wallets using credit cards. This move was carried out because many users were using Paytm to get free credit by using credit cards to top up their digital wallets and transferring the money back to their bank accounts at zero transaction cost.

Paytm will provide an equivalent amount of cashback for using credit card to add money to the wallet. The cost of adding money to the wallet through other modes such as netbanking and debit cards remains non-chargeable. It does not charge any fee to transfer back the amount in the wallet to the user’s bank account.

The digital payment wallet had introduced 0% platform fee in November last year post demonetisation to target small merchants to accept payments to their wallet.

The wallet was being misused by people to earn credit card points and access free credit at no cost. Paytm usually has to pay a fee for interbank settlement of the payment, known as merchant discount rate which could be as high as 3 to 4%.

Amongst other services, it has also added UPI enabled payment and Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) for instant fund transfer between banks using mobile phones. These payment gateways are available for shopping, bill payments, ticketing and filling Paytm wallet.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 00:51:34

In a reversal of its policies, digital payment wallet service provider, Paytm has withdrawn the charge on credit card usage within 24 hours of introducing a 2% levy on the use of credit cards. The move seems to have been taken amidst backlash over the penalty imposed for the keeping the “users” convenience in mind who use their credit card for genuine transactions.

The 2% charge was introduced on Thursday after it blocked the credit cards of users who were suspected of exploiting a discount scheme Paytm offers. Paytm stated that it had applied a refundable fee of 2% with the intent of preventing misuse of the 0% bank facility.

The company issued a statement -"Keeping the millions of customers and merchants interest as utmost priority, we have decided to suspend the 2% fees and will continue to build a series of features to curb such misuse."

In a means to counter damage this move, it also responded to customer queries and sent reassurances to its customers from its official Twitter handle to reverse the blocking of any Paytm accounts.

In November, Paytm launched a new payment platform for small merchants at 0% fee. However, this move led to being misused where there were merchants and bank staff misusing the 0% bank fee offer to fund their wallet with credit cards and then transfer the money to their bank accounts -- in effect getting loyalty points or cash and free credit.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 00:49:15

Bajaj Finance Limited, which is the subsidiary of Bajaj Finserv, which is one of India’s leading financial companies, is offering personal loans at 12.75%.

You do not need to do a lot of paperwork for applying for this personal loan as you can just log on to Bajaj Finserv’s website before 13th March and proceed with the online application process.

There are a lot of advantages in going for a personal loan at Bajaj Finserv which can be used for wedding expenses or college / tuition expenses amongst other reasons. A personal loan can be availed to fulfill a number of financial requirements.

The most convenient part about this loan is that the personal loan application gets approved within five minutes and the amount is disbursed to your bank account within 72 hours after you fulfill the eligibility criteria. A Bajaj Finserv representative will contact you once your application is in order and get the balls rolling for the disbursement. This loan process is quick and convenient for people on the move especially young professionals.

The loan tenure can range from a period of 12 months to 60 months. The Personal Loan EMI calculator can also be used on the website to plan the loan by calculating the EMI amount.

This offer to avail and apply for a personal loan from Bajaj Finserv is only available between 6th to 13th March, 2017.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 00:43:44

The State Bank of India (SBI) has set up a new firm called SBI Infra Management Solutions Private Ltd. (SBIIMS) to manage its premises and real estate property across the country. The rationale for this to boost its balance sheet by exiting non-core activities as there has been a huge pile up of bad assets over the past few years. It is also going to be beneficial as it will save the time of the bank’s executives who are currently involved in managing the non-core businesses. This subsidiary will look after work related to premises and estate of SBI group only.

A lot of state owned banks are exiting their non-core activities as well as selling their bad loans to asset reconstruction companies and other financial entities amidst strict guidelines from the government.

The chairman of SBI, Arundhati Bhattacharya said - "We realised that the job of acquisition, construction and maintenance of owned and leased premises, which is a non-core activity, were being looked after by 1, 100 officials of the bank including 200 technical officials. Hence, it made sense to create separate entity employing much lesser number of employees."

She said the new subsidiary will have 400 dedicated officials to handle premises and real estate related jobs. It will have its circle office in each local head office centre of SBI ad about 100 zonal offices at administrative office centres of SBI on pan India basis.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 00:40:45

The most number of frauds was witnessed by ICICI Bank during April – December period of 2016 while State Bank of India (SBI) came in the second spot. This data has been collated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

About 455 fraud cases involving an amount of Rs. 1 lakh and above were detected in ICICI Bank during the first nine months of this financial year. This was followed by SBI having 429 cases while Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) had 244 followed by HDFC Bank with 237.

Other banks such as Axis Bank having 189 cases, Bank of Baroda with 176 cases and Citibank with 150 cases, also reported the same to the RBI during this period of April – December.

Frauds involving a value amount of Rs. 2, 236.81 crores were reported in SBI followed by Punjab National Bank (Rs 2, 250.34 crore) and Axis Bank (Rs 1, 998.49 crore).
The data provided by RBI to the Finance Ministry also revealed the involvement of bank staff in fraud cases. 64 employees of SBI were found to be guilty of fraud cases while HDFC Bank reported 49 followed by Axis Bank, with 35 employees involved in fraud cases.

In all, 450 employees were involved in fraud cases in different public and private sector banks during April-December 2016, in 3, 870 cases involving a total value of Rs 17, 750.27 crore.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 00:39:04

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced today that it had processed the request for dematerialization (demat) of the Sovereign Gold Bonda (SGBs) with the exception of those who have provided incomplete details. This confirmation by the RBI has eased the investors’ worries and apprehensions on the issue of demat of their SGBs.

"The requests for dematerialisation have largely been processed successfully, " the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement released by the bank. It further stated that a set of records could not be processed for various reasons such as mismatches in names and PAN numbers, inactive or closed demat accounts, besides other reasons. It also attached a list of such unsuccessful demat requests. "Not withstanding the pending status, the Sovereign Gold Bonds will continue to be held in RBI books and would be serviced regularly, " the statement added.

SGBs are denominated in multiples of gram of gold with a minimum unit of 1 gram and maximum of 500 grams. These bonds can also be held in demat form for ease of trading.

Till date, the goverment has issued six tranches of SGBs for a total value of Rs 4, 145 crore.More
Posted on: 2017-03-23 00:34:36