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Abhijit Banerjee for cutting govt equity in PSBs to below 51%

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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee

New Delhi: Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee on Tuesday suggested reducing government equity in public sector banks to below 51 per cent in order to end the fear psychosis of bankers.

Addressing a press conference here, the US-based economist said that fear of investigation by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in default cases had paralysed the banking system and bankers do not want to lend. “Reducing government equity in public sector banks to under 51 per cent will take them out of the CVC purview,” he said.

Refusing to take many questions on the economy or contentious issues, Banerjee said that in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the morning, the latter had joked that the media was trying to trap him and get anti-Modi comments out of him.


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Muthoot Finance to acquire IDBI Mutual Fund

After the transactions, both IDBI AMC and IDBI MF Trustee Company will become wholly owned subsidiary companies of Muthoot Finance.

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Muthoot Finance

New Delhi, Nov 22 : Foraying into the mutual fund space, Muthoot Finance Ltd said on Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire IDBI Asset Management Ltd (IDBI AMC) and IDBI MF Trustee Company Ltd for Rs 215 crore.

Muthoot Finance said in a statement that the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of February 2020 subject to receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.

After the transactions, both IDBI AMC and IDBI MF Trustee Company will become wholly owned subsidiary companies of Muthoot Finance.

“The transaction will be completed pursuant to the share purchase agreement dated November 22, 2019 entered into by and between Muthoot Finance Limited, sellers and the target companies. Upon completion of the transaction, Muthoot Finance Ltd will purchase 100 per cent equity shares of IDBI Asset Management Ltd and IDBI MF Trustee Company Ltd held by the sellers for a total consideration of Rs 215 crore,” the statement said.

The transaction is subject to receipt of approval from the regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), it added.

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Business leadership award for Wipro czar Premji

They applauded Premji’s entrepreneurial journey, for transforming an edible oil producer into a global IT giant.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, Nov 22 : Software major Wipro’s Founder Chairman Azim Premji was conferred with the Madras Management Association – Amalgamations Business Leadership award 2019, by the Chennai-based professional association for building a business with integrity and ethics to make it a global IT powerhouse, said an official on Friday.

“Premji has put India on the world map as a software nation, being a nation builder and making yeomen contribution to business, industry and society,” said Amalgamations chairman A. Krishnamoorthy on the occasion in Chennai on Thursday.

In the ceremony, former ICICI Bank chairman N. Vaghul and Kirloskar Systems Chairman and Managing Director Vikram S. Kirloskar reminisced experiences and anecdotes on Premji.

They applauded Premji’s entrepreneurial journey, for transforming an edible oil producer into a global IT giant.

MMA – Amalgamations Business Leadership Award was instituted in 1969 by former Amalgamations Group chairman A. Sivasailam in memory of his father S. Anantharamakrishnan.

Amalgamations Group is an engineering conglomerate with interests in manufacturing, trading and distribution, plantations and services.

MMA is a professional association of management executives, established in 1956 to synthesise Indian ethos with international management thought among others.

The jury to zero in on the leadership award winner included industry veterans such as Ratan Tata, Arundathi Bhattacharya, M.M. Murugappan and Sunil Kant Munjal.

The event culminated with Premji speaking on the topic ‘Leading a young and digital India’.

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Airtel, Vodafone Idea move SC for waiving AGR penalties

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New Delhi, Nov 22 : The country’s two top telecom operators – Vodafone Idea and Airtel – on Friday filed review petitions in the Supreme Court against its AGR verdict, just ahead of the 30-day time period expiring Saturday since the court’s order dealt a financial body blow to the already battered industry neck deep in debts and losses

Both Airtel and Vodafone Idea have filed for review petitions on waiver of interest and penalties of the AGR amount, sources said. The telcos went to the court again after the government told them that there is no proposal at present to waive interest and penalties on such dues.

As per Communication Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s replies in the Parliament, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and other telecom companies owe the government as much as Rs 1.47 lakh crore in past statutory dues. In replies to separate questions in the Lok Sabha, Prasad said telecom companies owe the government Rs 92,642 crore in unpaid licence fee, and another Rs 55,054 crore in outstanding spectrum usage charges.

In the case of Bharti Airtel, the liabilities added up to nearly Rs 35,586 crore, of which Rs 21,682 crore is licence fee and another Rs 13,904.01 crore is the SUC dues (not including the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices). In the case of Vodafone Idea, this number stands at a cumulative Rs 53,038 crore, including Rs 24,729 crore of SUC dues and Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee.

Both the petitions of Airtel and Vodafone India contest imposition of interest on outstanding dues and penalties as upheld by the Supreme Court, said sources. The deadline for payment of licence fee and spectrum charges dues on account of AGR definition as decided by the court over the last 14 years is January 24.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has already issued demand notices to telcos asking them to do self-assessment, and submit the dues by around January 22, as directed by the Supreme Court in its late October judgement that favoured DoT in the 16-year-old dispute.

Under the impact of the dues, Vodafone Idea filed the highest-ever quarterly loss in the corporate history – Rs 50,992 crore in the second quarter of 2019/20. Airtel’s net losses were also phenomenal at Rs 22,830 crore in the same quarter. Both telcos have counted higher losses on the provisioning for AGR dues.

Bharti Airtel, for instance, has provisioned for Rs 28,450 crore in the September quarter which is over and above its earlier provisioning of about Rs 5,810 crore – taking the total provisioning (for AGR dues) to Rs 34,260 crore.

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