India to lead world in key categories: US envoy

Sep 13, 2016 0

New Delhi– US Ambassador to India Richard R. Verma on Tuesday said that by 2030, India will lead the world in key categories, including by becoming the third largest economy.

“The great promise in our (India-US) partnership lies not only in our work together, but also in India’s rising influence and confidence on the global stage, which of course is generated from strength here at home,” Verma, who is of Indian origin, said while delivering the 17th Annual Justice Bodh Raj Sawhney Memorial Trust Oration at the National Law University here.

Richard Verma

Richard Verma

“By 2030 – less than 15 years from now – India will lead the world in key categories: it will be the most populous nation, with the largest middle class, the largest number of college graduates, the third largest economy, the most patent holders, and most mega-cities,” he said speaking on the theme of “Advancing our Shared Values”.

“You will lead the world in internet and smart phone users. Development and infrastructure growth will be phenomenal, just imagine how much will change given that two-thirds of the infrastructure and cities of modern India are yet to be built”.

Speaking on India-US ties, he said that the relationship has been “on a strong trajectory for the past decade, has made great strides in the past two years in particular”.

“Our two leaders, Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and (US) President (Barack) Obama have met eight times, including last week in China and then again in Laos,” he stated.

“We have well over 100 initiatives that were launched in three big bilateral summits and there are nearly 40 government-to-government working groups that meet regularly on everything from global health and defense to cyber security.”

Citing the reasons for the growth in ties between the two sides, one was the “certain chemistry between our two leaders, that’s for sure”.

“Second, so many people of goodwill have been working on this relationship for decades – and it’s their hard work that has begun to pay off,” the Ambassador said.

“And, third, our people-to-people ties have only grown stronger – there are now some three million Americans of Indian descent in the United States. They serve as a natural bridge for so much of what we do.”

Verma described the Indian Constitution as a document that is the foundation for the shared values between India and the US.

“The American and Indian Constitutions start with the same three words “we the people,” he said.

“We are governed by the rule of law, by the people and for the people. We have complex systems for checking and balancing government excess,” he said.

He said both countries hold free and fair elections, both have federal systems, with strong and diverse states, with shared power between the central and state governments, both have bicameral parliaments, and the exceptional militaries of both countries are overseen by civilians.

“We do not share these values with every other country. As we know, not all countries choose democracy, inclusiveness, equal rights or free elections,” the Ambassador said.

“Therefore, these are the roots of a special bond we share with India. The United States set out on this democratic path 240 years ago, while India shed its colonial rule some 70 years ago.”

He said that when Obama visited India in January of 2015 as the chief guest for Republic Day celebrations, the US and India made their views clear in a joint agreement reached on the Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific.

“It was not a long or complex document – it stands at just a bit more than a single page,” Verma said.

“But its brevity belies the historic nature of the enterprise on which the United States and India agreed to embark together.”

The Ambassador said that India’s rise not only presented opportunities for India, but can shape a brighter future for Asia and beyond.

“That is why the United States unabashedly supports India’s rise as a great power on the world stage,” he said.

“India’s reach and influence reaches well beyond the Indian Ocean and South Asia.” (IANS)

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Three Indian women ranked in 50 Most Powerful Women International List of Fortune Magazine

Sep 13, 2016 0
Arundhati Bhattacharya-SBI

Arundhati Bhattacharya

New York–State Bank of India’s chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI Bank’s chief Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma ranked in the top twenty of the ’50 Most Powerful Women International’ list released by Fortune.

The list, which considered women based outside the US, placed Bhatacharya at the second spot while Kochhar was ranked at fifth. Sharma was on 19th position.

Eurozone’s largest bank by market value, Banco Santander’s Group Executive Chairman Ana Botin topped the list.

Elaborating the profile of SBI chief, Fortune said: “Bhattacharya’s profile has risen during her three-year tenure atop India’s largest bank, a 210-year-old institution.”

The SBI Chairperson, who was speculated to succeed Raghuram Rajan, as governor of the Reserve Bank of India, orchestrated SBI’s merger with six other groups. Once the merger completes, the bank will become one of largest lenders in Asia.

Chanda Kochhar

Chanda Kochhar

“She has continued her high-profile battle with the bank’s bad loans, while courting overseas partners invest in the stressed assets,” Fortune said.

Beside, ICICI Bank’s Managing Director and CEO Kochhar was acknowledged as a “visionary” even by rival bankers.

“After seven years at the helm of India’s largest private sector lender, with consolidated assets of $139 billion, Kochhar has overhauled the nation’s consumer retail business,” Fortune said while highlighting her effort to augment the bank’s performance.

Though bad loans eroded income growth this year, she has engaged turnaround experts to help ditch those distressed assets, it said.

Acknowledging Sharma’s contribution to the private lender, Fortune said:

Shikha Sharma

Shikha Sharma

“Sharma has grown Axis from an underrepresented bank to the nation’s fastest growing private sector lender, with revenue up 15 per cent to $7.9 billion in 2015 and nearly 3000 branches across 1,800 cities and towns.”

In May, Sharma issued a $500 million green bond at the London Stock Exchange – Asia’s first such certified bond in support of green energy and environmentally friendly projects. It was oversubscribed twice, it said.

Last week, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was ranked second and was the only woman of Indian-origin in Fortune’s list of the 50 most powerful women in the US.

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HP bullish on Digital India, eyes smaller towns for growth

Sep 13, 2016 0

By Nishant Arora

Boston–The laptop and printer major HP Inc is committed to the Indian government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative and is working closely with various state governments to empower the rural people in tier II and tier III cities where the future growth lies, top HP executives have said.

“Although HP already has a strong presence pan-India, it is now spreading into tier II, III and even IV cities to empower small and medium businesses (SMBs) and bring its low cost, disruptive technology right at their doorsteps,” Richard Bailey, President, Asia Pacific and Japan at HP Inc, told IANS in an interview.

Richard Bailey

Richard Bailey

“We are working very closely with the Narendra Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative and is in touch with state governments to realise the dream of connecting India with our low-cost, disruptive offerings,” Bailey added.

HP has acquired Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s printer business for $1.05 billion, besides launching 16 new A3 LaserJet and PageWide Platforms based on the powerful multi-function printing (MFPs) technology.

The acquisition positions HP to disrupt the $55 billion copier industry — a segment that has not been innovated in decades.

“We are currently working with our channel partners in India to understand the A3 market better,” Bailey said.

According to Gurpreet Brar, Director, Commercial Channel Sales, Printing and Personal Systems (HP India) with the GST coming soon, the consumption of information technology is going to grow exponentially and HP is ready the fill the gap.

“The time is really bullish. We are witnessing the growth across the country and are focused on top 30 states where retail is really going to expand,” Brar told IANS.

According to a latest report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), HP achieved 44.7 percent shipment share in Q1 2016 and remained as the market leader in India.

In the laser segment, HP continued to be the market leader with 57.7 percent market share, followed by Canon and Samsung at the second and third position, respectively.
The 16 new LaserJet and PageWide printers based on the MFP technology are set to change the printing landscape in the country.

“Some of the printers will be available in India in middle and towards the end of 2017. We are focused on the growing market in the country where we are already number one in the LaserJet printing space,” Bailey told IANS.

According to Brar, he is flooded with queries from his channel partners and customers alike.

“People are eagerly waiting for the disruptive A3 LaserJet and PageWide platforms to arrive in India. We are very bullish and looking for a major growth trajectory in days to come,” Brar told IANS.

Calling the new LaserJet and PageWide platforms a “real disruptive play”, Enrique Lores, President, Imaging & Printing, HP Inc, said that HP can now deliver the industry’s most advanced lineup of A3 MFP and A4 laser print solutions for the office.
“The complexity of traditional copiers makes repair and maintenance too inefficient for our partners and customers,” added Lores.

“By leveraging our superior printing technology, we can change the status quo with next generation A3 multi-function printers that improve the overall customer and partner experience. This is what we mean by reinventing printing,” Lores said. (IANS)

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India Inc hails move on direct selling

Sep 13, 2016 0

New Delhi– The Centre’s announcement of “model guidelines” for direct selling, which is expected to boost entrepreneurship and spur growth in the country, has been hailed by India Inc.

India Inc. termed the move, announced on Monday, as progressive and said it would boost the sector.

It is expected to affect the top global direct selling companies operating in India, like Hindustan Unilever, Amway, Oriflame, Tupperware, HLM Retail India, RMP Infotech and Dewsoft Overseas.

Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters on Monday that the state governments and union territories should take necessary action to implement the guidelines on direct selling.

Under the guidelines, state governments are to set up a mechanism to monitor and supervise the activities of Direct Sellers and Direct Selling Entity regarding compliance of the guidelines for Direct Selling.

Industry leaders welcoming the move said “the next important step” is to ensure that the states adopt these guidelines quickly.

According to the guidelines, any direct selling entity conducting sales activities shall submit an undertaking to the Department of Consumer Affairs within 90 days, stating that it is in compliance with these guidelines and also provide details of its incorporation.

By definition, direct selling includes demonstration and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.

A. Didar Singh“FICCI congratulates the government for releasing the much awaited guidelines. It is a very progressive move by the government which will give a boost to Rs 72 billion industry and will help in motivating the stakeholders associated with the sector,” A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI.

Jitendra Jagota, Chairman, Indian Direct Selling Association said the guidelines will help in making a distinction between legitimate Direct Selling and fraudulent schemes, operating under the guise of direct selling.

“Indian Direct Selling Association welcomes the guidelines on Direct Selling with open arms. This will be very encouraging for the development of the industry. We wish to thank the government, especially, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs for coming out with the guidelines for the Direct Selling Industry,” Jagota said.

“The guidelines on Direct Selling issued by the government represent an important step which will both safeguard the interests of consumers, as well as identify and help protect ethical direct selling companies,” said Anshu Budhraja, CEO, Amway India.

“We welcome this action by the government, as the direct selling industry, along with FICCI, was pursing these guidelines proactively,” he said.

Budhraja said the guidelines reinforce the company’s faith in India “where we have invested more than Rs 600 crore to set-up a world class manufacturing facility employing, directly and indirectly, close to 1,000 people.”

“The next important step is to ensure that the states adopt these guidelines quickly as that is where the implementation will happen,” he said.

By definition, direct selling includes demonstration and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.

Officials said that in the era of internet and e-commerce, direct selling would mean sales made through e-contact arrangements as well as internet sales.

Amit Chadha, secretary general of Indian Direct Selling Association, said: “It is heartening to see the government making efforts to provide regulatory backing to Direct Selling Industry. These Guidelines also take into account the consumer protection and safety, something that has been a prime concern for the Direct Selling Industry also.”

He said: “In the absence of proper policy or guidelines, numerous fraudulent players have been taking advantage of the situation.”

The conditions for conduct of direct selling business mandates that companies should maintain “proper and updated website” with all relevant details of the entity, contact information, its management, products, product quality certificate, price, complete income plan and complaint redressal mechanism for direct sellers and consumers.

“The website should have space for registering consumer complaints and should ensure that grievances are addressed within 45 days of making such complaints,” an official source said. (IANS)

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State Bank of India mulls 25 basis point interest rate cut

Sep 11, 2016 0

By Meghna Mittal

Mumbai–State Bank of India (SBI) Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya says a 25 basis points cut in interest rates was in the offing and that an improvement in the financial health of India’s banking sector was closely linked to the overall performance of the economy.

In an interview to IANS, the 60-year-old banker also said the four per cent inflation target fixed by the government is a tad low in an emerging economy like India where food inflation has rarely fallen below six per cent in the past 60 years.

Nonetheless, she felt the current inflation level is set to fall due to a statistical play that could pave the way for a cut in interest rates by commercial banks — which the central bank has been asking for, as and when it has itself cut interest rates.

Arundhati Bhattacharya-SBI“Inflation will start coming down because there was a base effect in the last two months, which was actually pushing inflation up. That effect will moderate in the coming months,” she said referring to the current impact of a lower movement in price indices in the previous year.

“So, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be looking at a small rate cut this year.”

Giving reasons why she felt the four per cent inflation target was low, Bhattacharya said in her interview that 45-50 per cent of the components in the Consumer Price Index comprised food items, which are very volatile.

Since a major weight in the index is also assigned to health, education and transport, it is also difficult to keep their inflation levels below two per cent, so as to average out the overall rise in the price line to four per cent or below.

Yet, she said, the upper limit of inflation of six per cent “is perfectly fine” as the prices are expected to ease in coming months. “The Reserve Bank’s trajectory of five per cent is within the realms of possibility.”

After the government notified the annual, five-year inflation target of four per cent, plus or minus two percentage points, on August 5, bankers saw little scope in interest rate cuts. This is because the retail inflation is already precariously close to the tolerance level.

In the interview, Bhattacharya also spoke on the recent norms for commercial banks to sell their stressed assets to other banks and non-banking finance companies, as part of the central bank’s effort to help them clean up their balance sheets.

“Many of these things we were already doing. We’ve always done the sale to asset reconstruction companies. We give them time for due diligence. There is total transparency. We have also been doing e-auctions for more than six quarters,” she said.

“But now, we are allowed to sell to other banks. But how much will the banks be eager? They will also have the same problems. So unless the resolution methodology starts performing better, I don’t think they will be in a better position to resolve issues,” she added.

“I’ve not been approached by any bank or non-banking finance company to buy stressed assets.”

As far as the State Bank of India was concerned, Bhattacharya said, while the efforts were on to deal with past non-performing assets, fresh accumulations were also inevitable. “We’ve given a guidance of about Rs 40,000 crore as the slippage, of which Rs 8,000-9,000 crore has happened.”

When asked how the legacy issues in bad loans will be addressed, the banker — who is due to retire in October — said it would take a long time. She was also quick to qualify that “long time” would not be longer than five years.

“It’s important for us to get the economy firing on all cylinders. If it happens, our turnaround will also happen rapidly. Till the time economic activity picks up and the demand picks up, even with the best of things, you’ll still have a slow recovery,” she said.

“But five years is a very long time, I don’t think we need five years. Surely the economic activity is going to pick up much before five years.” (IANS)

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Mallya expresses willingness to return to India

Sep 9, 2016 0

New Delhi– Liquor baron Vijay Mallya in an e-mail to his lawyer has expressed his willingness to return to India and respect the country’s judicial system.

An hour before the hearing on Friday, Mallya sent an e-mail to his defence counsel Ajay Bhargava asking him to file a plea seeking exemption from personal appearance before a court hearing a case of alleged violation of foreign exchange rules on his behalf.

Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya

“I request you to kindly appear before the learned judge on the said date on my behalf and file an exemption application requesting the judge to kindly dispense with my personal presence on the said date of hearing (September 9),” Mallya wrote in the mail.

“I request you (defence counsel) to also kindly convey to the learned judge that I have the utmost respect for his authority and towards the judicial systems of the country, in general,” Mallya said in the mail.

“However, in the given circumstances, despite my best intentions to obey the order of the learned judge, I find myself incapacitated to travel to India, at this moment, even though I am making all the efforts to have the said revocation of my passport set aside.”

“As you are fully aware of the matter and duly authorised by me to represent me in the proceedings thereof – I request you to kindly proceed with the final arguments in the matter,” Mallya wrote.

Mallya on Friday sought exemption from personal appearance in court and said he is unable to return to the country and face trial in a case of alleged violation of foreign exchange rules as the Indian authorities had suspended his passport.

On July 9, the court had asked Mallya to personally appear before it on September 9, after allowing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) plea to withdraw the exemption given to him from personal appearance in the case.

Mallya’s counsel Ajay Bhargava moved a plea seeking exemption from his personal appearance and told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass that his client is living in London.

Defence counsel apprised the court that Mallya’s passport had been suspended by Indian passport authorities in April.

On April 23, his passport was revoked without even affording a personal hearing which he had requested for, the court was told.

“… ever since the revocation of his passport, the applicant (Mallya) has been staying in London and is not in possession of any requisite travel document which could possibly enable him to travel to India,” Mallya’s counsel said.

The counsel said that Mallya had urged the court to allow him to be represented by his lawyer to continue with the final arguments and save the court’s precious time.

Public Prosecutor Navin Matta told the court that Mallya is evading questioning and proceedings in other matters pending against him.

The court allowed Mallya’s plea for exemption for today (Friday) and sought a reply from the Enforcement Directorate. It fixed October 4 for further hearing in the case.

During the last hearing, the court had allowed the ED plea to seek recall of a court order that granted permanent exemption from appearance to Mallya, who faces money laundering charges in India.

The court was hearing the final arguments in the 2000 case related to alleged violation by Mallya of provisions of the erstwhile Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) in arranging funds to advertise his company’s liquor products abroad.

According to ED, Mallya had allegedly paid $200,000 to a British firm for displaying the Kingfisher logo in the Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

The agency had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval from the Reserve Bank of India, in violation of FERA norms.

Mallya was summoned and tried in the case. He was granted exemption from personal appearance by the Delhi court on December 20, 2000.

The ED has sought withdrawal of exemption granted to Mallya and sought the court’s direction asking him to personally remain present in court on each and every date of final arguments of the case.

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India prohibits use of Samsung Galaxy Note7 on board aircraft

Sep 9, 2016 0

New Delhi– India’s civil aviation regulator on Friday prohibited the use of Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone on board aircraft.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the guidelines on the carriage and usage of the phone on board aircraft were issued after the recent safety related incidents involving the smartphone globally.

Galaxy 7In a public notice, the regulator advised travellers and the airlines to ensure that the communication device is not turned on or its battery charged on board the aircraft.

The notice further detailed that the smartphone should not be stowed away in any checked-in baggage. However, the smartphone can be carried in a switched off mode in hand-baggage.

“The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued a public notice prohibiting the use of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on board an aircraft,” said an official statement.

“The Ministry has advised airlines and travelling public not to turn on or charge the said mobile during flights.”

Earlier, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a warning not to charge or switch on Galaxy Note7 on board aircraft.

The stern warning came at a time when Samsung is dealing with a global recall of nearly 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 shipped so far across the world.

Three Australian airlines have already barred passengers from using or charging the smartphone during flights.

More than 35 cases of exploding batteries have been reported since the phone, which retails for $1,035, was launched on August 19.

The smartphone was launched last month in India for Rs 59,900 with iris biometric scanner for enhanced security, upgraded S Pen and a dual-curved screen.

Samsung on its part said that Galaxy Note7 sales have not started in India, and that the company has delayed sales to alleviate any safety concerns.

“We are aware of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) notice. Consumer safety and peace of mind are our top priority,” a Samsung India Spokesperson said.

“Galaxy Note7 sales have not started in India, and we have delayed sales to alleviate any safety concerns. We plan to expedite new shipments of Galaxy Note7 soon to reduce any inconvenience for our customers.” (IANS)

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UP clears Rs 2,000-crore Baba Ramdev group project

Sep 9, 2016 0

By Mohit Dubey

Lucknow– Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda Limited (PAL) is all set to launch an ambitious Rs 2,000-plus crore ($300 million) project in Uttar Pradesh.

Officials say the proposal has found “favourable response” from the SP government and has, in fact, received the nod of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. It will now be taken to the state cabinet next week for approval.

Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal told IANS that the venture was first of its kind aiming at integrating farmers to the markets and the wider world. “Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has been telling us to ensure that all developmental projects and investments have something substantial to offer and the Patanjali project is one such,” he added.

Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev

Sources said two stretches of land, totalling 400 acres, have been identified in sectors 22E and 24A of Greater Noida on the Yamuna Expressway for setting up of a Super Mega Food and Herbal Park, and at the villages of Safa and Moza in Jhansi.

An official said the group’s proposal came just a fortnight back but was “attended to at a lightening speed”, and the Steering Committee of officials headed by Singhal — which takes a call on proposals above Rs 200 crore — stamped its approval on the project, after which the matter was taken to the Chief Minister for his consent.

The high point of the project is that for the first time something so big is being linked to the impoverished Bundelkhand which will see a chunk of Rs 500 crore going to it. All major purchases would be done from Bundelkhand.

A senior official of the Rs. 5,000 crore PAL group told IANS that they were “pleasantly surprised at the alacrity at which the project was considered” and taken ahead which would take the state government to another level.

Officials said that in line with existing state policies aimed at attracting investments, the project would receive sops like 150 per cent VAT concession, 50 per cent EPF contribution for three years (after three years of operation), five per cent infrastructure interest subsidy and five per cent capital investment subsidy.

“The state government has also committed 100 per cent electricity duty exemption and 24×7 power supply to the units. Other than this, the existing 25 per cent rebate on land rates and a 100 per cent stamp duty waiver are also likely to be given to the Patanjali Group. The Mandi (wholesale market) fees have also been exempted for five years on purchase of raw material,” an official told IANS.

Patanjali officials said the integrated unit would take two years to complete and will help build capacity for the growing demand for its agro, agriculture, food, herbal, cattle feed and dairy products. The company says it will double its turnover to Rs 10,000 crore this fiscal (till March 31, 2017).

Sources also said that the Chief Minister had given a carte blanche to his team of officials to speed up the process of getting companies to invest in the state.

“Right from the start the Chief Minister has made his intentions clear on investment and infrastructure improvement,” an official said, adding that “though, initially, industry showed reluctance largely due to its experience with the previous government, they are now literally queuing up to invest in the state”.

Officials said the state had received investments of Rs 5,200 crore in the last one month.

With the state going to polls early 2017, such developments, political observers say, may well bring in goodwill and possibly votes for the Akhilesh Yadav government, which is seeking a return to power. (IANS)

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Indra Nooyi Second Most Powerful Women: Fortune

Sep 8, 2016 0

NEW YORK—PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi is the second most powerful women after General Motors CEO and Chairman Mary Barra, according to Fortune Magazine.

Fortune recently released its annual list of 50 Most Powerful Women in 2016. Nooyi is the only Indian-origin women to make the list. She was ranked second on the list in 2015 as well.

Indra Nooyi-TwitterThe list comprises 22 CEOs of major companies and many more corner office contenders across industries. The 2016 list has nine newcomers, according to Fortune.

Nooyi is now in her 10th year as CEO and  she “shows no signs of slowing down,” Fortune said.

“Investors seem to have faith that Nooyi’s push towards healthier food and drink offerings will pay off, and they like the $63 billion company’s $3 billion cost cut over the past three years too,” Fortune said.

Barra retained the Fortune’s Most Powerful Woman title in 2016.

In addition to Barra and Nooyi, the Fortune’s  top 10 most powerful women in the list includes Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin at the third place; Ginni Rometty of IBM (4th); Abigail Johnson of Fidelity Investments (5th); Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg (6th); Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (7th); General Dynamics’ Phebe Novakovic (8th); Irene Rosenfeld of Mondelez International (9th) and Safra Catz Co-CEO, Oracle at the 10th place.

Singing diva Beyonce was ranked at the 51st place as the bonus pick.

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New RBI Governor Urjit Patel calls on Jaitley

Sep 8, 2016 0

New Delhi–After taking over charge in Mumbai earlier this week, new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel called on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here on Thursday for their first meeting.

Following the meeting, Patel told reporters here that the RBI’s next monetary policy review is due on October 4 “when we will talk”.

On Thursday, Patel was also due to address the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee and answer questions from PAC members on a Comptroller and Auditor General Report (CAG) report on public debt management.

Urjit Patel

Urjit Patel

The CAG report, tabled in parliament during the monsoon session this year, has recommended that India institute a legal framework clearly specifying the objectives of government borrowing and the public debt management strategy.

“A legal framework, consisting of both the primary and the secondary legislation, may include the definition of public debt, debt management objectives, borrowing purposes and requirement of debt management strategy,” the report said.

The CAG said there has been no evaluation of outcomes despite the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003, mandating submission of three reports annually that include information on debt management activities, as well as lack of progress in setting up a separate Public Debt Management Authority (PDMA).

In a big backtrack on the issue by the government last May, Finance Minister Jaitley withdrew from the Finance Bill the clauses pertaining to setting up of a PDMA and the amendments to the RBI Act that would have taken away the Reserve Bank’s powers to regulate government securities.

The United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers Employees had struck work for a day last year to protest the government’s moves to curtail the RBI’s powers, saying the proposed PDMA “will also henceforth function as depository of government securities (G-Sec), thus taking away from RBI some vital operations having relevance to money market as well”.

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