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Undeterred by Covid-19, govt goes ahead with PSU banks merger

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Customers Bank Queue Cash

New Delhi, March 28 : The government is going ahead with the plan to consolidate public sector banks, undeterred by the spread of Covid-19 that has disrupted business across the country, including banking operations.

Accordingly, the amalgamation of the Oriental Bank of Commerce and the United Bank of India with the Punjab National Bank; the Syndicate Bank into the Canara Bank; the Andhra Bank and the Corporation Bank into the Union Bank of India; and of the Allahabad Bank into the Indian Bank is being completed on schedule and will be effective from April 1.

In a press release on Saturday, the Reserve Bank of India said that branches of Allahabad Bank will operate as branches of Indian Bank from April 1, 2020. Similarly, branches of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will operate as branches of Union Bank of India from the appointed date.

All customers, including depositors of amalgamating banks, will automatically be transferred to the principal bank under the merger process, the RBI said.

The Narendra Modi-led government had announced the mega merger in August last year. Earlier this month the cabinet gave its approval for the mergers that will consolidate operations of 10 public sector banks (PSBs) into four ‘mega banks’.

Though the other two merger schemes involving the amalgamation of the Oriental Bank of Commerce and the United Bank of India with the Punjab National Bank and that of the Syndicate Bank into the Canara Bank are getting implemented from next month, the RBI did not offer information on its progress.

It was widely expected that the government may defer the consolidation exercise for some time due to the Covid-19 related disruptions. But as all banks involved in the process are government entities and there is no immediate plan to restructure branches or move employees, it was felt the process could go ahead unhindered. There would only be a change of name for a few banks but all will remain under the PSU tag.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook becomes a billionaire for the first time

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Tim Cook

San Francisco, Aug 11 : Apple CEO Tim Cook has for the first time become a billionaire as the Cupertino-based iPhone maker broke all previous records and is now the worlds most valued company at over $1.84 trillion.

The net worth of Cook has crossed the $1-billion mark, officially making him a billionaire.

Cook, however, still has a long way to go to catch up with other CEOs on the Bloomberg Billionaires’ list, like Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos ($187 billion), former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates ($121 billion) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ($102 billion).

“Cook owns 847,969 shares directly and took home more than $125 million last year as part of his pay package,” reports the BBC.

Apple is now closing in on the milestone of being the first company to be valued at $2 trillion.

Last week, Apple surpassed Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable company.

The strong earnings report helped Apple shares closed up 10.47 per cent to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, surpassing the largest oil producer in the world.

Riding on its growing services and wearables business, Apple is set to become the first company ever to touch the $2-trillion valuation mark.

Apple was the first US company to cross the $1-trillion mark in 2018.

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TikTok lawsuit against Trump ban could come as early as Tuesday

The lawsuit will also reportedly argue that the allegation that TikTok is a threat to US’ national security is baseless.

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Tik Tok

San Francisco, Aug 9 : TikTok could file a lawsuit against the Donald Trump administration in the US as early as Tuesday over an executive order prohibiting transactions with the short video sharing platform’s Chinese owner within 45 days, NPR reported.

The lawsuit will argue that Trump’s sweeping ban on the application is unconstitutional because it did not give the company a chance to respond, said the source-based report on Saturday.

The lawsuit will also reportedly argue that the allegation that TikTok is a threat to US’ national security is baseless.

The executive order issued by Trump on August 6 night said that data collected by TikTok threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party to access personal and proprietary information of US citizens.

The order said the spread of mobile applications developed and owned by Chinese companies “continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

“We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request,” TikTok said in a blog post after the executive order.

“In fact, we make our moderation guidelines and algorithm source code available in our Transparency Center, which is a level of accountability no peer company has committed to,” it added.

TikTok alleged that the executive order was issued “without any due process.”

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Microsoft’s TikTok deal a ‘poisoned chalice’: Bill Gates

Trump earlier set a deadline around September 15 for Microsoft to close the deal with TikTok that it was pursuing.

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BILL Gates

San Francisco, Aug 9 : As Microsoft pursues talks to purchase the US business of TikTok, Bill Gates has termed the potential deal between the two companies a poisoned chalice.

In an interview with the Wired, published on Saturday, the Microsoft co-founder said that being a top player in the social media business is not a simple job.

“Who knows what’s going to happen with that deal. But yes, it’s a poison chalice,” the billionaire philanthropist was quoted as saying in the interview.

When asked if he is wary of Microsoft getting into the social media game, Gates suggested that the software giant’s entry will give Facebook more competition which is “probably a good thing.”

Reacting to a question on US President Donald Trump’s demand that that the country should get a large percentage of the proceeds if part of the short video-sharing platform TikTok’s business is bought by an American firm, Gates said that the way things were proceeding were quite strange and the cut thing is “doubly strange.”

“Anyway, Microsoft will have to deal with all of that,” he was quoted as saying.

Trump earlier set a deadline around September 15 for Microsoft to close the deal with TikTok that it was pursuing.

The US President followed it up with an executive order on August 6, prohibiting US firms from doing transactions with TikTok after September 20.

A “shocked” TikTok on August 7 threatened legal action against the executive order.

“We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly — if not by the Administration, then by the US courts,” TikTok had said in the statement.

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