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DCCBs allowed to deposit demonetised notes with RBI




New Delhi, June 21: In a significant move, the government on Tuesday allowed the RBI to accept demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 received by the District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) during November 10-14 last year.

The gazette notification comes on a day when the Shiv Sena announced endorsement of NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, after the party had last week demanded that the over Rs 2,270 crore lying with the DCCBs be accepted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The notification says that the DCCBs can deposit the demonetised notes, collected during the five-day period after demonetisation was announced on November 8, 2016, with the Reserve Bank of India for 30 days from Tuesday. The DCCBs had been disallowed from accepting the notes after November 14.

It also allows banks and post offices which had collected demonetised notes prior to December 30, 2016 to deposit them with the RBI.

The deposits can be made under Specified Bank Notes (Deposits by Banks, Post Offices and District Central Cooperative Banks) Rules, 2017.

Officials said that the deposits would be taken in pursuance to an assurance given to the Supreme Court by the government that proper verification of each account would be done before any decision is taken.

Such a verification was done between January and May this year and it was found that the accounts complied with the KYC norms.

Last week, Maharashtra Minister Dilip Raote had demanded that the government should allow the RBI to accept the Rs 2,271 crores lying with the DCCBs.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally Shiv Sena, which had been sulking over various issues and had demanded RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat or eminent agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan be declared the presidential candidate, declared its support for the NDA candidate.

On Monday, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had slammed the move to appease caste sentiment but the party made a u-turn on Tuesday as it announced its support for Kovind.



Lower food prices ease India’s WPI to 4.64% in November



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New Delhi, Dec 14: Lower food and fuel prices eased India’s annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices to 4.64 per cent in November from 5.28 per cent in October, official data showed here on Friday.

However, on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data furnished by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was higher than the rise of 4.02 per cent reported for the corresponding period of 2017.

“The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 4.64 per cent (provisional) for the month of November, 2018 (over November, 2017) as compared to 5.28 per cent (provisional) for the previous month and 4.02 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year,” the ministry said in its review of “Index Numbers of Wholesale Price in India” for November.

“Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 4.73 per cent compared to a build up rate of 2.83 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.”

On a sequential basis, the expenses on primary articles, which constitute 22.62 per cent of the WPI’s total weightage eased to 0.88 per cent, from a rise of 1.79 per cent in October.

Similarly, the prices of food articles declined. The category has a weightage of 15.26 per cent in the WPI index. It deflated by (-) 3.31 per cent from a rise of (-) 1.49 per cent.

In addition, the cost of fuel and power segment, which commands a 13.15 per cent weightage, increased at a slower pace of 16.28 per cent from a growth of 18.44 per cent.

The expenses on manufactured products registered a rise of 4.21 per cent from 4.49 per cent.

On a YoY basis, onion prices deflated by (-) 47.60 per cent, whereas potatoes became dearer by 86.45 per cent.

In contrast, the overall vegetable prices in the month under review declined by (-) 26.98 per cent, against a rise of 59.87 per cent in the same month a year ago.

Among the non-food items, the price of high-speed diesel rose by 20.16 per cent on a YoY basis, petrol by 12.06 per cent and LPG by 23.22 per cent.


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Sensex, Nifty opens in green; banking stocks down



Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, Dec 14: The Sensex and Nifty on Friday opened with slight gains. However, minutes into the trading key indices slipped in the red tracking its global peers.

The financial stocks witnessed selling pressure while telecom, IT and realty counters gained.

On the domestic front, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) board meeting and the release of key macro-economic data was due on Friday.

The BSE Sensex that opened at 35,960.19 from its previous close at 35,929.64 on Thursday, traded at 35,919.73 at 9.36 a.m. — lower by 9.91 points or 0.03 per cent.

The Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), which opened at 10,784.50 after closing at 10,791.55 on Thursday, traded at 10,777.80 during the morning trade session, down 13.75 points and 0.13 per cent.


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Modi government thinks it owns RBI, says Chidambaram




New Delhi, Dec 13 : Attacking the Narendra Modi government over its differences with RBI Governor Urjit Patel who resigned on Monday midway through his term, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday said the Modi government thinks it owns the RBI.

He also hoped that the new Governor, Shaktikanta Das, although a vocal supporter of the much-debated demonetisation, would stand up for the central bank’s autonomy.

“This government thinks it owns the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This government thinks the RBI is another department of the government. This government thinks if CBI is listening to them, why is RBI not listening?” Chidambaram said at an event here.

“This government simply does not understand what a central bank’s independence is,” he added.

The former Finance Minister slammed the government for its eagerness to get hold of the central bank’s reserves, which apparently became the bone of contention between the government and Urjit Patel and ultimately led to his resignation.

“This government is like ‘I have one hoard of cash, so much cash lying there. I can’t meet my fiscal deficit this year, my GST revenues are less than expected, I have not provided for the food subsidy, I have not provided for Ayushman Bharat programme, and I need money in my election year. What do I do? There is this pot of gold. Now I want to reach that pot of gold’. That’s the only aim of this government,” he said.

Stressing that RBI’s independence is crucial, he said it “worries” him that the government has appointed a perceived “yes man” as the central bank’s boss.

“It worries me that they (government) have appointed two persons to two key posts, both of whom were vocal supporters of demonetisation. It worries me,” he said.

However, he “hopes” that the new RBI Governor would not buckle under pressure from the government and would keep the central bank’s autonomy intact.

“I sincerely hope, and I would appeal to Mr. Shaktikanta Das, that you (Das) are now the RBI Governor. You are no longer ex-Secretary Economic Affairs, you are the Governor of central bank of India. Therefore, you must stand up for the autonomy and rights of India’s central bank,” he added.

Asked about his differences as then Finance Minister with then RBI Governor D. Subba Rao, Chidmabaram said those were the “usual differences” that Finance Ministers across the world have with their central bank Governors.

He pointed out that Rao never resigned over these differences unlike the case of Urjit Patel who put in his papers on December 10, around 10 months before his three-year tenure could end.

He also said that the RBI suffered a blow to its reputation among the world’s central banks due to demonetisation and has not recovered its image to this day.

“Urjit Patel should have walked out on November 19 itself. He delayed his resignation. Perhaps he gave benefit of doubt to the government and thought perhaps the government would retrace its step. But everything that happened after November 19 proved the government was pressing ahead its agenda,” the senior Congress leader said.

Asked if Patel erred in endorsing demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, Chidambaram said: “Of course, he (Patel) was wrong. He should not have called a Board meeting in Delhi, a hurriedly called truncated Board meeting to pass a resolution endorsing demonetisation. He should have stood his ground. He was wrong.”

“He suffered a huge reputational slide by endorsing demonetisation and the RBI suffered reputational damage in the world. I don’t think RBI has recovered its reputation among the central banks of the world after demonetisation,” he added.

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