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SBI eyes merger of five associate banks, unions protest move

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The State Bank of India board on Tuesday decided to submit a a proposal to the central government seeking an “in-principle approval” to initiate negotiations with its five associate banks, an official spokesperson said.

The move was immediately drew announcement of a nationwide strike in the five banks on Friday by the All Indian Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) to protest against what it termed the banks’ “forceful closure and takeover” by SBI.

The board of directors discussed the possibility of acquiring the State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore and their assets and liabilities. They also discussed the possibility of acquiring India’s first bank targeted to women – the Bhartiya Mahila Bank.

Though the spokesperson stressed the discussions were “purely exploratory at this stage and not certain,” the move evoked a strong reaction as staff unions of the five associate banks and AIBEA, who have long opposed it.

“The SBI management’s arrogant and high-handed approach has forced this all-India strike. Employees of the associate bank and other public sector banks express their anger and protest over this act of SBI. More agitations will follow,” said AIBEA vice president Vishwas Utagi.

He claimed that that the boards of the five associate banks met urgently here “to discuss some agenda that have been purported to have been decided earlier”.

“However, without any prior intimation or notice, a table agenda was brought in the board meeting at the dictates of SBI to close down the associate banks and acquire them,” he alleged.

However, the proposal was opposed by the AIBEA’s workman directors and some other independent directors of the associate banks.

Despite their dissent and disapproval over the agenda on the proposal and “the dubious methods” adopted in placing such serious agenda for discussion, a resolution was approved to enable SBI acquire the assets and liabilities of the associate banks, the AIBEA said.

Utagi said the SBI move and the associate banks’ forcible decisions today are contrary to the views and suggestion of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley conveyed to the AIBEA delegation at their meeting on March 23 and April 25.

“His view and opinon was that all the five associate banks can be cross-merged into one single entity. We are questioning whether SBI can force the associate banks to take a decision to merge with SBI ignoring the FM’s opinion? How can the SBI decide opposite to what the FM had suggested,” he asked.

The AIBEA accused the SBI of “taking the law of governance for granted” and forcefully attempting to acquire the associate banks, which would not be possible without the silent blessings of the bureaucracy and the government.

“We strongly condemn this high handedness and arrogance of SBI and request for the government’s intervention to reverse the resolution adopted in the meetings today,” Utagi demanded.

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China’s 5G development to empower more industries in 2021

China will build more than 600,000 5G base stations in 2021, while promoting the 5G network coverage in a wider range and at more levels, Zhao said.

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Beijing, Jan 27 : China will boost the 5G industry in 2021 by improving the capability of network coverage, application innovation and industrial base.

With the continuously increasing investment, China’s 5G commercial development took solid steps last year, said Zhao Zhiguo, director of the cybersecurity management bureau of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, at a press conference.

By 2020, all cities above the prefecture-level had full coverage of 5G networks, with more than 200 million 5G terminal connections and over 1,100 5G plus industrial internet projects, he added.

China will build more than 600,000 5G base stations in 2021, while promoting the 5G network coverage in a wider range and at more levels, Zhao said.

The country will foster emerging consumption models such as 5G plus VR/AR and immersive gaming and promote the integration of 5G technology into life services including health, elderly care and housekeeping, Xinhua news agency reported.

Continuous efforts will also be made to organise 5G millimeter wave tests, speed up the research and development of key technologies, shore up the weak links and ensure the safety of the industrial and supply chains, said Zhao.

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Sensex plunges 1,000 points, Nifty below 14,000

Heavy selling pressure was witnessed across sectors, led by banking, finance and oil and gas stocks.

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Stock Market Down

Mumbai, Jan 27 : The Indian stock market witnessed a freefall on Wednesday afternoon, with the BSE Sensex losing over 1,000 points.

Around 2.45 p.m., Sensex was at 47,310.81, lower by 1,036.78 or 2.14 per cent from its previous close.

The Nifty50 also fell below the psychological 14,000-mark.

It was trading at 13,944.25, lower by 294.65 points or 2.07 per cent from its previous close.

Heavy selling pressure was witnessed across sectors, led by banking, finance and oil and gas stocks.

Weak global cues, selling by FIIs and mixed Q3 earnings lead to the bear run in the market.

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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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