Making clear her prime ministerial aspirations, BSP supremo Mayawati today asked party workers to ensure a big victory for BSP in the next general elections and warned them against becoming a “saleable commodity”.
Addressing a rally of party workers here, the former UP Chief Minister asked her party workers to ensure a big victory for BSP in the next general elections so that she can “deliver Independence Day speech as Prime Minister from the Red Fort”.
Mayawati cautioned her party cadre to remain alert against forces that might “try to corrupt them” during the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
“Don’t become a saleable commodity,” she warned. Read More
The Reserve Bank should give preference to the non-corporate sector for new bank licences, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council ChairmanC Rangarajan said.
“It is possible for the Reserve Bank to start with initially non-corporate business and find out whether there are suitable applicants and thereafter proceed to look at the other applicants,” he said in an interview.
The RBI is in the process of finalising the guidelines for giving new bank licences after Parliament approved Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill last month.
The central bank, Rangarajan said, “should look at various types of financial institutions that are available currently and decide”.
“…. many of the strong private sector banks today have been at one time or other in the financial system. They can look at it first and look at the other later on,” he said. Read More
The government on Tuesday cleared the decks for the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI) to initiate the process to issue new banking licences and widened the window for infusion of capital into the banking sector.
The Lok Sabha cleared the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, after Finance Minister P Chidambaram agreed to drop the contentious proposal on allowing banks to do futures trading. He also clarified status quo would be maintained on the jurisdictions of RBI and the Competition Commission of India ( CCI) in the banking sector.
“Since it is important that the Bill is passed, I am dropping the controversial clauses.” While the central bank would regulate the banking sector, the competition watchdog would look at anti-competitive practices, Chidambaram said.
Four weeks ago, on September 13, this newspaper published my column entitled “Macro signals flashing red”, which highlighted the continuing and dangerous deterioration in our economic performance with respect to economic growth, external sector imbalances, fiscal deficit, financial sector stresses, inflation and employment. As if on cue, that evening the government announced a Rs 5/litre increase in diesel prices and capped the number of subsidised LPG cylinders a household could receive at six per year. The next day the government announced a set of reform measures, including opening up to foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and domestic civil aviation. Despite a week of high-decibel opposition from various political parties and the exit of the Trinamool Congress from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition, the government held firm on its decisions. Read More
IN a much-awaited big ticket announcement that hopes to boost the financial sector, the Reserve Bank of India is set to allow the opening of new banks and invite applications for licences this month.
A top government source said the central bank will issue the final guidelines for setting up new banks and invite applications before it releases its second quarter review of the monetary policy on October 30. It is expected to offer four slots for new banks. The move has been brought forward to give a sense of direction and purpose to the current phase of economic reform, the source added.
New banks are expected to make the sector more competitive and promote financial inclusion through greater access to banking services. The RBI had last issued guidelines for new banks in 2001 and given licences to Kotak Mahindra Bank and Yes Bank in 2003. Read More
* Cabinet gives nod for hiking FDI cap in insurance – from 26% to 49%.
* Cabinet clears foreign investment in pension sector.
* Cabinet approves changes in Companies Bill.
* Cabinet approves Forward Contract Regulation Amendment Bill, says Food Minister K V Thomas.
Cabinet approved bills on Thursday to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into insurance and pension in the latest move by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to restore confidence in the economy, but the reforms will face a tough fight in parliament. Read More
Maintaining the momentum of its reforms agenda, the UPA government is set to seek cabinet approval Thursday for proposals aimed at further opening the insurance and pension sectors, amending legislation on forward contracts, companies Bill and the competition Act, and creation of a national investment board.
While conceding that the amendments would have to be passed by Parliament, a senior minister said the government had resolved to bury perceptions of a policy paralysis. “When these (Bills) reach Parliament, let us see what happens,” he said, referring to some opposition to reform within the UPA.
On insurance, the cabinet will seek approval for amendment of the Insurance Laws Amendment Bill, 2008 and raising of FDI to 49 per cent from the existing 26 per cent. The Bill has been pending in the Rajya Sabha as the government has not been able to get the BJP on board, besides facing opposition from allies. More significantly, the proposal goes against the recommendation of the standing committee on finance headed by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, which has suggested the FDI ceiling in insurance be maintained at 26 per cent. Read More
Anti-trust body CCI wants to retain the powers to regulate competition issues in all the sectors including banking, insurance, telecom and power, saying there is no conflict of jurisdiction.
“Whenever there is a new regulator people want to be outside the purview of that regulator. The argument given is that some sectors already have sectoral regulators, but the conceptual framework is very clear that those regulators have certain specific functions relating to that areas but not market functions,” CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla said.
“Essentially and conceptually the two regulators have to work in coordination and according to us there is no issue of conflict of jurisdiction and certainly no case for keeping some outside the ambit of the Competition Commission,” he said.
Chawla added that when the government brought out the competition law and prescribed a market regulator “then everybody should be subject to that unless there are extremely serious public policy considerations which needs certain activities to be out”. Read More
The government will try to legislate at least 3-4 economic bills in the ongoing session, pushing forward the financial sector reforms, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today.
“At least 3-4 bills for which we have received the recommendations of the Standing Committee, I will try to get those legislated in the later part of the (Budget) session,”
Mukherjee told reporters after meeting the Reserve Bank board here.
He further said the Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, is expected to give its report on the major economic reform bills by the beginning of Monsoon Session. Read More
The country continues to undergo a high-inflation spell, owing to the developed world’s policy response to the global meltdown, the government said on Thursday. It asked banks to be alert to the bad debts that may rise due to the RBI’s tight monetary policy to cool price pressure.
A commitment to moderate levels of price rise too has led to higher interest rates, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here. “In this environment, banks need to keep a strong vigil on their asset quality,” he added.
The minister said globalisation has its benefits, but said it also posed challenges — one being the global financial crisis. “These are turbulent times. We should watch every step we take. But this should not prevent us from taking bold and innovative steps.”
Back in India, gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of all scheduled commercial banks now comprise two per cent of the advances compared to 15 per cent in the late 1990s, Mukherjee said. Read More