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RBI bars regulated entities from dealing in cryptocurrencies

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Reserve Bank of India

Mumbai, April 5 (IANS) In a bid to protect consumers and curb evils like money laundering, the RBI on Thursday barred all regulated entities, including banks, from dealing in virtual currencies like bitcoins, following its earlier multiple warnings on their risks.

Regulated entities already providing services to any individual or business dealing in digital currencies have been given three months to exit the relationship, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governor B.P. Kanungo told reporters here.

“The RBI has cautioned on at least three occassions members of the public and users of virtual currency regarding risks they are exposing themselves to through these cryptocurrencies,” he said.

“We have now decided to fence RBI-regulated entities from the risk of dealing with entities associated with virtual currencies. They are required to stop having a business relationship with entities dealing with virtual currencies forthwith, and unwind the existing relationship within three months.”

According to an RBI statement, “virtual currencies, also variously referred to as cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, raise concerns of consumer protection, market integrity and money laundering, among others”.

“In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by the RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling virtual currencies,” it said.

Noting, however, the benefits that blockchain technology, which underlies cryptocurrencies, can potentially bring for financial inclusion and to increasing financial system efficiency, Kanungo said the central bank is exploring a “fiat digital currency”.

“Several central banks are debating the possibility of introducing a fiat digital currency as opposed to the private digital tokens. These are issued by the central bank, are considered the liability of the central bank,” he said.

“They will be in circulation in addition to the paper currency and also holds the promise of reducing the cost of printing of notes.”

Kanungo said that an RBI inter-departmental committee has been constituted to prepare a report on the matter, to be submitted by June-end.

“They will explore the feasibility and desirability of issuing a digital currency by the central bank,” he said.

Last December, the government sounded an alarm on cryptocurrencies, comparing them with the notorious Ponzi schemes floated to dupe gullible investors.

A Finance Ministry statement said that as virtual currencies were not backed by assets, their prices are entirely a “matter of mere speculation”.

According to investigation agencies here, with the demand and price of cryptocurrencies on the rise, cyber criminals have found innovative ways to dupe those looking to invest.

Bitcoins in India have been trading at more than Rs 10 lakh each, while people are investing amounts ranging from Rs 3,000 to several lakhs of rupees.

IANS

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Kia Motors India sells 1 lakh units since July

Additionally, Kia aims to fully utilise the capacity of 300,000 units per annum at its manufacturing unit by 2022.

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New Delhi: Automobile manufacturer Kia Motors India has sold 1 lakh units since July 2020 in the domestic wholesale market.

Accordingly, the maker of Seltos, Sonet and Carnival, has successfully dispatched 200,000 Kia vehicles to its dealerships across India within seventeen months of sales operations in the country.

The company said the top-end — above GTX variants — for the Seltos, Sonet and the Limousine variant for the Carnival, have accounted for nearly 60 per cent of total cars sold.

As per a statement, Kia sold over 106,000 UVO connected vehicles on the road summing up to a humongous 53 per cent of the brand’s total sales.

Besides, Seltos leads the sales charts for Kia Motors India with 149,428 units, followed by the Sonet with 45,195 units, which was launched in September, 2020 and the Carnival with a total sales of 5,409 units.

“In just over a year of sales operations, Kia has emerged as India’s youngest automobile disruptor and one of the best-selling automobile brands in the country,” said Kookhyun Shim, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kia Motors India.

The rapid adoption of Kia cars reiterates the evolving customer preference towards a technology-led exceptional driving experience, coupled with great connectivity. Kia’s focus has also been on offering products that are designed to fulfill consumer demands across both urban and rural areas.

Currently, Kia’s manufacturing plant in Anantapur is running on two-shift operations and given the increasing demand for Kia cars, the brand is evaluating operating in three shifts to meet them.

Additionally, Kia aims to fully utilise the capacity of 300,000 units per annum at its manufacturing unit by 2022.

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Petrol, diesel prices remain unchanged at record high levels

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Retail fuel prices were unchanged on Sunday across the four metros. On Saturday, petrol and diesel touched fresh all-time high levels.

In the national capital, petrol was priced at Rs 85.70 per litre. In Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, petrol was sold at Rs 92.28, Rs 88.29 and Rs 87.11 per litre, respectively.

Although the pump prices of fuels were unchanged on Sunday, they have been elevated for long and have been touching new highs of late.

Global oil prices are above $55 per barrel currently. Crude prices have remained firm for the last couple of weeks in the wake of unilateral production cuts announced by Saudi Arabia and a pick up in the consumption in all major economies globally.

The last time the retail price of auto fuels were closer to current levels was on October 4, 2018 when crude prices had shot up to $80 a barrel.The current price rise is largely on account of steep increase in central taxes of petrol and diesel and firm crude prices.

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Fuel dearer again: Petrol prices up by 22-25 p/l, diesel by 24-26

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 Petrol and diesel prices rose sharply again on Saturday reaching new all-time highs as oil marketing companies (OMCs) decided to break the pause in revision of auto fuel prices to bridge the widening under recovery.

Accordingly, the pump price of petrol increased between 22-25 paisa per litre across all major metros on the day while diesel prices increased in the range of 24-26 paisa per litre.

With this, petrol is now priced at Rs 85.70/litre in Delhi as against Rs 85.45 a litre previously. Similarly, in Mumbai petrol prices increased to Rs 92.28 a litre, a 24 paisa increase from Friday’s price of Rs 92.04 a litre. In Chennai and Kolkata, petrol is now priced at Rs 88.29 and 87.11 a litre respectively, an increase of 22 and 24 paisa per litre from the previous day’s.

Diesel on the other hand faced sharper increase, rising by 26 paisa a litre in Mumbai from Friday’s level of Rs 82.40 a litre to Saturday’s retail price of Rs 82.66 a litre. In Delhi, diesel rose 25 paisa per litre to Rs 75.88 a litre; in Chennai by 24 paisa per litre to Rs 81.14 a litre and in Kolkata by 25 paisa per litre to Rs 79.48 a litre.

The increase in retail price of auto fuel came on a day when global crude prices showed some signs of softening declining by less than 1 per cent to close to $55 a barrel. Crude price have remained firm for last couple of weeks in the wake of unilateral production cuts announced by Saudi Arabia and a pick up in consumption in all major economies globally.

The increase petrol and diesel prices is fourth such revision this week. The auto fuels had risen sharply by 25 paisa per litre each on Monday and Tuesday before OMCs decided to give relief to consumers from frequent price rise for last two days.

With Saturday’s revision, the pump price of petrol and diesel has now increased by Rs 1.99 and Rs 2.01 per litre, respectively in January so far with OMCs deciding to break an earlier longer period of pause increasing the retail prices first time this year on January 6. The price had been raised on six different days since then.

The last few increases in pump prices in petrol and diesel has taken its price to record levels across the country in all major metro cities and other towns. The last time the retail price of auto fuels were closer to current levels was on October 4, 2018 when crude prices had shot up to $80 a barrel.

The current price rise is largely on account of steep increase in central taxes of petrol and diesel and firm crude prices.

Petrol price was very close to breaching the all-time high level of Rs 84 a litre (reached on October 4, 2018) when it touched Rs 83.71 a litre on December 7, 2020. But the march had been halted ever since then with no price revision by the OMCs in the month. The price rise started again only on January 6.

Oil companies executives said that petrol and diesel prices may increase further in coming days as retail prices may have to be balanced in line with global developments to prevent OMCs from making loss on sale of auto fuels.

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