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Minimum balance penalty to offset costs of Jan Dhan accounts: SBI

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Mumbai, March 9: Providing a rationale for re-introducing penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance in its savings accounts from April 1, State Bank of India chief Arundhati Bhattacharya on Wednesday said the public sector lender needs funds to balance the oprational costs of Jan Dhan accounts.

“Now there is a burden of a lot of things. We have 11 crore financial inclusion accounts – basic savings and Jan Dhan accounts – and have to manage them as well,” Bhattacharya said on the sidelines of a women entrepreneurs’ national convention here.

“SBI was the only bank that didn’t have this as we have removed it in 2012,” she said.

This condition of maintaining minimum balance will not be applicable to the Jan Dhan accounts, she added.

According to reports, the government has asked SBI to reconsider its decision to levy the penalty, though Bhattacharya said that the bank has not received any formal request on this.

She also said that SBI’s requirement for minimum balance is lowest among all banks.

The SBI has made it mandatory for savings accounts in metropolitan areas to maintain a minimum balance of Rs 5,000, Rs 3,000 in urban areas, Rs 2,000 in semi-urban areas and Rs 1,000 in rural areas, from April 1.

These charges will be based on the difference between the minimum balance required and the shortfall. For metropolitan areas, if the shortfall is greater than 75 per cent. the charges would be Rs 100 plus service tax.

If the shortfall is between 50-75 per cent, the bank would charge Rs 75 plus service tax and for below 50 per cent shortfall, a fee of Rs 50 plus service tax would be levied, according to the SBI notification of new charges.

Similarly, for rural areas, the penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance ranges from Rs 20-50 plus service tax.

A number of private sector banks already have the condition for maintenance of minimum balance.

ICICI Bank savings accounts need to have a minimum balance of Rs 10,000 in urban and metropolitan areas and Rs 5,000 in semi-urban areas.

In an HDFC savings account, the user needs to have a minimum balance of Rs 10,000 in urban and metropolitan areas, Rs 5,000 in semi-urban areas and Rs 2,500 in rural areas.

Axis Bank also has the condition of maintaining a minimum balance of Rs 10,000 in its savings accounts.

IANS

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India witnessed infusion of AI across industries

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Artificial Intelligence

New Delhi, Dec 15: When it comes to disruptive technologies that will drive businesses in the coming years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is touted as the most promising and Indian enterprises across the spectrum began embracing it to enhance real-time user experiences.

Picking up the pace globally, AI gradually cemented its position as the technology is quite transverse and perceived as less gimmicky, impacting several functions to improve productivity and business results, says Thomas Husson, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester.

From flushing out fake and terror-related content to making sense of humongous data for self-driving cars, from helping identify when someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide on Facebook to empower NASA explore space communications, AI-based tools gained a definite momentum.

Microsoft pledged $50 million over the next five years to put AI technology in the hands of those who are working to mitigate climate change.

When it comes to India, AI started playing a significant role in not just developing smart devices but in improving engagement with end-consumers — be it government or corporates.

Aiming to reduce the possibilities of signals failing, Indian Railways introduced remote control monitoring of its system to predict failures through the effective use of AI.

The national transporter is using non-intrusive sensors for continuous online monitoring of signals, track circuits, axle counters and their sub-systems of interlocking, power supply systems including the voltage and current levels, relays and timers etc.

The system entails the collection of inputs on a pre-determined interval and sends this to a central location for data analysis.

Several financial institutions in India started adopting AI in automating their operational processes. AI is now helping banks build chatbots that are interacting with customers and gaining valuable data.

Since its launch in March, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based chatbot ‘Eva’ — built for HDFC Bank by Bengaluru-based Senseforth AI Research — has interacted with over 530,000 unique users holding 1.2 million conversations and addressing their 2.7 million queries with ease.

Leading AI banking platform Payjo launched a chat assistant called SIA for the State Bank of India (SBI) that addresses customer enquiries instantly and helps them with everyday banking tasks just like a bank representative. SIA is able to handle nearly 10,000 enquiries per second or 864 million in a day.

Watch-maker Titan also launched a chatbot to engage better with millennials on its e-commerce store.

According to a Genpact study, 88 per cent of senior executives at companies that are leaders in AI expect the technology will drive better customer experiences within three years.

“Indian businesses today are actively looking to AI and machine learning algorithms in a bid to smooth processes and make well-informed decisions. Businesses are harnessing AI to gain a competitive advantage and increase profitability in a global economy,” Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix, told IANS.

To explore the possibilities of putting AI into driving domestic economic transformation, the Commerce Ministry in August formed a 18-member task force that will explore possibilities to leverage AI for development across various fields.

Amid the thrust over AI, the country also realised the need to skill its workforce for the evolving technology trends.

Sensing the urgent need to train youth in the emerging field of AI, Intel India this year collaborated with 40 academic institutions, that are using the technology for scientific research, and 50 public and private organisations across e-commerce, healthcare, technology, defence and banking and financial services sectors.

Having trained more than 9,500 developers, students and professors across 90 organisations this year, the initiative is reducing AI entry barriers for developers, data scientists and students.

“AI capabilities are greatly supplementing humans to do great work in less time in sectors like healthcare, banking and finance, transport, energy and robotics, etc. It will be interesting to see how this whole AI thing evolves with time,” Bob Rogers, Data Scientist, AI and Analytics, Data Center Group at Intel, told IANS.

Google has also come upfront and, along with technology learning platform Pluralsight and educational institution Udacity, announced a new scholarship programme that will help train 1.3 lakh developers and students across the country.

The scholarship would enable students gain access to advanced learning curriculum and further their employability in AI and other emerging technologies.

The growth of AI start-ups in the country is also driving the adoption not only for big companies but also for small and medium enterprises (SMBs).

“Technology like AI can not only play a big role in the supply-demand mismatch in India but empower rural people where health and education facilities are scarce. In order to do that, everyone needs to be connected first,” stressed Chandrakant Patel, Chief Engineer at HP Inc.

2017: Highlights

* Facebook, Twitter deployed AI to flush out fake and terror-related content on their platforms

* AI helped car makers focus on developing efficient autonomous vehicles

* AI helped Indian banks build chatbots

* Indian Commerce Ministry formed 18-member task force to leverage AI for development across fields

* Intel India collaborated with 40 academic institutions to train developers, students and professors in AI

* Google India announced a new scholarship programme to help train 1.3 lakh developers and students in AI technology

IANS

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Women more likely to be sidelined at workplace: Study

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New York, Dec 16: Love to toss creative ideas in the brainstorming session at your workplace? If you are a women, beware, you are more likely to receive less credit than your male counterparts, new research revealed.

The findings showed that when it comes time to replace the team’s leader, these men are more likely to be nominated to do so.

Further, women are more likely to be snubbed when they share ideas on how to change the team for the better, they are not given any more respect than women who do not speak up at all, and thus are not seen as viable leadership options, the researchers said.

“In sum, we find that when men speak up with ideas on how to change their team for the better they gain the respect of their teammates — since speaking up indicates knowledge of the task at hand and concern for the wellbeing of the team,” Kyle Emich, assistant professor at the University of Delaware in Newark, said in a statement.

Moreover, when most individuals imagine a leader, they are likely to expect that leader to be a man by default.

“This is the reason it is so easy for people — both men and women — to link men’s voices (speaking up) with leadership.

“Implicitly, men are already considered leaders to a greater extent than women are. The reason I mention this is that correcting the problem will take effort and the conscious attention to biases against women in the workplace,” he added.

Giving credit where credit is due can be as simple, Emich explained, “as acknowledging that who the idea came from: If a woman’s ideas have been floated around the room, you can acknowledge that by saying, ‘I think we all really like (name’s) idea'”.

Emich also recommends that professionals consider mentoring women in the workplace.

IANS

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GST Council nod for mandatory e-Way Bill for inter-state goods movement

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GST (Representative Image)

New Delhi, Dec 16: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Saturday approved mandatory compliance of e-Way Bill for inter-state movement of goods from February 1, sources said here.

Some states might roll out both inter-state and intra-state e-Way Bill from February 1 on a voluntary basis. The system for e-Way Bill will be available from January 15.

E-way bill for intra-state will be compulsory from June 1, the source added. However, implementation of e-Way Bill for intra-state movement will done in a staggered manner from February.

IANS

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