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Government to infuse Rs 83,000 crore in banks by March: Jaitley 

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Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Dec 20: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the government will infuse Rs 83,000 crore in public sector banks in the remaining part of the fiscal taking the total recapitalisation of banks during the year to Rs 1.06 lakh crore.These banks, including Punjab National Bank, will be provided capital to strengthen their base.

There are three to four banks namely State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Indian Bank and Vijaya Bank that have maintained regulatory capital even higher than the prescribed minimum and would not need any capital infusion.

“Today we have asked for the parliamentary sanction for (issuing) additional recapitalisation bonds of Rs 41,000 crore… As of today, of the Rs 65,000 crore recapitalisation plan for 2018-19, Rs 42,000 crore is still remaining.

“Therefore, with this additional Rs 41,000 crore, we will now have Rs 83,000 crore for the balance year and that will make this year’s recap to a total of Rs 1.06 lakh crore,” Jaitley said after tabling the Supplementary Demands for Grants in the Lok Sabha.

The second batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2018-19 involving a gross spending of Rs 85,948.86 crore includes the package of Rs 41,000 crore for banks. It will not require any additional cash outgo as the capital infusion is planned through bonds.

Jaitley said the distribution process for the Rs 83,000 crore capital infusion in state-run banks will be decided on the basis of performance of banks by the Department of Financial Services (DFS). About Rs 23,000 crore have already been infused this fiscal.

Capital infusion will be done under four heads to help banks meet regulatory capital norms, help better performing banks under RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) to get out of it, facilitate non-PCA banks that are near the “red-line” and to strengthen amalgamated banks.

Financial Services Secretary Rajeev Kumar said the capital infusion will help at least four of the total 11 PCA banks meet their regulatory capital norms. Overall strengthening of the banks will encourage lending and thereby economic growth of the country.

“We have made provisions to give capital to 4-5 banks (in PCA) depending on performance and on the Q2 and Q3 results. The figures will be decided (later) but there are chances that we equip at least 3 to 5 banks to meet the norms,” he said.

As per the current regulatory norms, the PCA banks will have to achieve 9 per cent Capital to Risk-weighted Asset Ratio (CRAR), 1.875 per cent Capital Conservation Buffer and the 6 per cent net non-performing assets (NPA) threshold to come out of PCA and restart lending.

“About the PCA banks, the performances we are looking at is the lower level and declining trend of net NPAs, whichever PCA bank has shown better performance in terms of reduction in NPAs and the improvements in return on assets. Name of these banks will be worked out.”

Kumar said there are three non-PCA banks that are near the threshold and in the danger of falling into the PCA category. These banks, including Punjab National Bank, will be provided capital to strengthen their base, he said.

 

“The process of NPA recognition that started in 2015 is almost complete. The last quarter has showed improved performance. While recognition of NPAs peaked at 7 per cent in March 2015, it has now come down to 0.59 per cent as of September 2018,” Jaitley said.

The government had initiated a comprehensive clean-up of the banking system under its 4R’s approach of recognition, resolution, recapitalisation and reforms. Since 2015-16 till end of this fiscal, the total capital infusion in public sector banks will be over Rs 3 lakh crore.

“The NPAs recognition is complete, recapitalisation is in full swing, it has been enhanced further, recovery is also in full swing, the last H1 (April-September 2018) recovery is to the tune of Rs 60,726 crore,” Kumar said.

The trend is likely to continue as the creditor-debtor relationship has changed because of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and debarment of the connected parties, he said.

“PSBs are showing tremendous improvement in terms of recognition, in terms of provisioning, recovery, reforms and therefore this is the time that we empower them and equip them with the capital so that the banks are ready to support the fastest growing economy,” he added.

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Range-bound: Rupee caught between higher inflows, swelling reserves

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Mumbai, July 11 : The Indian rupee has been caught in a flux of higher FDI inflows and swelling foreign exchange reserves, thereby restricting its future movement around the Rs 75 per US dollar mark.

Analysts opined that the rupee is caught between higher foreign inflows and the Reserve Bank of India”s efforts to shore up reserves.

Even a lower import bill and stable exports do not seem enough for the rupee to break free from its current range.

“With the RBI continually increasing its forex reserves and investment in dollar via forward contracts, a floor seems to be place below Rs 75 levels on spot,” Anindya Banerjee, DVP, Currency and Rates, Kotak Securities, told IANS.

“The upside is also capped due to improving sentiments in the equity and bond markets. All in all, we are looking at a range of Rs 74.80 to Rs 75.80 over the next few weeks, with volatility remaining at a low.”

According to Sajal Gupta, Head, Forex and Rates, Edelweiss Securities: “The rupee appreciated swiftly to Rs 74.52 per dollar due to large FDI flows and rising equity markets and then weakened to Rs 75.20 on the back of the RBI”s efforts to mop up dollars to shore up reserves which stand at a record high of $513 billion dollars.”

“India is expected to see a Balance of Payment surplus of $60 billion this year due to lower crude price and falling imports. It is a big surprise that amid such strong FDI inflows, the rupee is still not strengthening as the RBI is mopping up all dollars to the reserves.”

Besides, he pointed out that imports have slowed down at a faster pace as domestic economy looks weaker compared with global markets.

Presently, India”s foreign exchange reserves increased by $6.416 billion during the week ended July 3.

The reserves grew to $513.254 billion from $506.838 billion reported for the week ended June 26.

Last month, official data showed India posted a marginal current account surplus in Q4FY20 on the back of a lower trade deficit, along with higher remittances, and an increase in investment flows.

The current account is the net difference between inflows and outflows of foreign currencies.

On the quarterly basis, the current account balance recorded a marginal surplus of $0.6 billion (0.1 per cent of GDP) in Q4 of 2019-20 as against a deficit of $4.6 billion (0.7 per cent of GDP) in Q4 of 2018-19 and $2.6 billion (0.4 per cent of GDP) in the preceding quarter of Q3 of FY20.

At present, India”s exports are steadily moving towards normalcy.

“Going ahead, we expect the caution surrounding the impact and duration of the novel coronavirus may keep all riskier assets on an edge, including the rupee. We see USD/INR trading between Rs 74.75-Rs 75.75,” said Rahul Gupta, Head of Research — Currency, Emkay Global Financial Services.

“Only heavy inflows may cap the upside in USD/INR spot. We recommend exporters to wait for better hedging levels as we expect the spot to appreciate; however, they can start hedging their receivables once USD/INR spot falls below Rs 75.”

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])

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Apple deploys new Nokia data centre products in Denmark

The new Nokia Service Router Linux (SR Linux) NOS and Nokia Fabric Service Platform (FSP) were co-developed with leading global companies, including Apple.

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Helsinki, July 11 : Apple is deploying a new line of Nokia data centre switching products at its Denmark facility to improve its efficiency, the Finnish equipment maker has said.

According to Nokia, it has redefined data centre fabrics with the launch of a new and modern Network Operating System (NOS) and a declarative, intent-based automation and operations toolkit.

This will allow Cloud and data centre builders to scale and adapt operations in the face of exponential traffic growth and constant change brought on from technology shifts like 5G and Industry 4.0.

The new Nokia Service Router Linux (SR Linux) NOS and Nokia Fabric Service Platform (FSP) were co-developed with leading global companies, including Apple.

“We regularly upgrade our data center equipment with technology to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Using Nokia”s new system will enable better networking and routing capabilities in our Viborg, Denmark facility,” Adam Bechtel, Vice President and Networking lead at Apple, said in a statement.

Facing massive growth in demand for cloud-based applications and use of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, today”s large and growing community of Cloud builders require new level of customisation and flexibility from networking components to operate and monitor sprawling data centers.

Nokia SR Linux is a genuine architectural step forward as it is the first fully modern microservices-based NOS, and the SR Linux NDK (NetOps development kit) exposes a complete and rich set of programming capabilities, Nokia said.

According to an estimate by market research company 650 Group, total spending on Data Center switching and routing products should exceed $17 billion a year by 2024, with telco service providers and enterprises benefiting from the innovation occurring in the Cloud for years to come.

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Don’t allow Chinese firms in Train 18 project: CAIT

“The total worth of the project is more than Rs 1,500 crore for 44 Vande Bharat Express Trains,” CAIT said in a statement.

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New Delhi, July 11 : The Confederation of All India Traders on Saturday urged the Centre not to allow Chinese firm’s participation in the global tender for semi-high speed indigenous train project of Indian Railway.

The development comes as a part of its “boycott Chinese” products and services campaign in the light of growing border tensions between the two Asian giants.

Consequently, CAIT in a communication sent to Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal urged him not to allow Chinese state owned firm CRRC Corporation to participate in global tender for semi-high speed indigenous — Train 18 — project.

“The total worth of the project is more than Rs 1,500 crore for 44 Vande Bharat Express Trains,” CAIT said in a statement.

“Since this project of Indian Railways is a part of ”Make in India” call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, therefore considering this fact and the current critical period, it will be most appropriate not to consider the said Chinese company for the rail project and rather emphasis should be laid more on Indian companies who have been shortlisted for this project-said both trade leaders.”

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