Financial News – Current News on Top

0.12.2018: Today's Banking / Financial News at a Glance

🍒 Punjab National Bank invites bids for two dozen NPA accounts to recover Rs 1,179 crore : Public sector lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) has put up for sale two dozen non-performing assets to recover dues of over Rs 1,779 crore. These 24 dud loan accounts are majorly concentrated in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata zones of the bank. Two accounts belong to Chandigarh and Bhopal zones while one is of Patna zone, as per the sale notice on its website. "We intend to place these accounts for sale to ARCs/NBFCs/other banks/FIs etc on the terms and conditions stipulated in the banks policy, in line with the regulatory guidelines," PNB said. The bank has to make recovery of Rs 1,779.18 crore from these 24 non-performing assets (NPAs). Among the major borrowers are Vandana Vidyut with an outstanding amount of Rs 454.02 crore, Moser Baer Solar (Rs 233.06 crore), Divine Vidyut (Rs 132.66 crore), Visa Resources India Ltd (Rs 115.20 crore), Allied Strips (Rs 118.81 crore), Arshiya Northern FTWZ Ltd (Rs 96.70 crore), Birla Surya (Rs 73.58 crore) and Trident Tools (Rs 68.81 crore). The sale process is to be handled by the Stressed Assets Targeted Resolution Action (SASTRA) Division of the bank. - Economic Times

🍒 Syndicate Bank to cut down cost of funds to shore up NIM : Syndicate Bank will focus on increasing the share of low-cost CASA deposits and growing its retail loan book to shore up its net interest margin (NIM) to 2.5 per cent by the end of this fiscal. Its NIM currently stands at 2.25 per cent. “The focus would be on increasing the share of CASA deposits by nearly four percentage points. Each percentage of increase in CASA, given my balance sheet size of ₹2.6 lakh crore, should give me a saving of ₹50-55 crore on cost of funds. We are also looking to bring down the share of high-cost bulk deposits,” Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, MD and CEO, Syndicate Bank, told BusinessLine.CASA currently accounts for nearly 31 per cent of its total deposits. This should increase to 34 per cent by the end of this fiscal. The bank has also been focussing on increasing the share of high-rated assets and growing its retail and SME loan book.“Over the last six to nine months, there has been perceptible shift from low-rated to high-rated assets. We expect our loan book to grow by around 5 per cent in the next two quarters,” he said. - Business Line

🍒 After two years, Uday Kotak now says note ban was poorly executed : The outcome of the controversial demonetisation would have been "significantly better" if "simple things" like not cancelling the higher denomination of Rs 2,000 notes, banker Uday Kotak has said. The executive vice chairman and managing director of the fourth largest private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank has also said small businesses are in a difficult situation at present and has welcomed the government focus to revive the sector. On demonetisation, he said the outcomes would have been different if it was planned well. "I think we would have had significantly better outcomes, if we had just thought about simple things. If you are taking out Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, why would you introduce Rs 2,000 notes? " Kotak asked while speaking at former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian's book launch here over the weekend. Kotak said as part of the "execution" strategy, it was essential to ensure larger quantum of notes of the right denomination were made available - Economic Times

🍒 NPCI urges banks, corporates to adopt e-mandate : The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is pushing banks and corporate entities to sign up for electronic verification of customers through channels like net banking and debit cards, as an alternative to the Aadhaar-based process that has been suspended following a Supreme Court order. The entire tech-based services industry has been in a tizzy since the Supreme Court in September barred private entities from using Aadhaar for customer authentication (know your customer, or KYC). Many financial technology companies were entirely dependent on Aadhaar-based electronic KYC, which was a quick, cheap and secure way to verify customers. In a circular issued on Thursday, NPCI said banks need to speed up adoption of alternative electronic mandate processes. “All member banks are advised to expedite the implementation of API-based e-mandate process through internet banking as well as debit cards-based authentication of the same,” read the circular from the retail payments body. - Economic times

🍒 Kotak Mahindra Bank chief calls for integrated regulatory framework : Veteran banker and CII President-designate Uday Kotak, on Friday, underlined the need for an integrated regulatory framework, as the financial sector moves towards an issuer-investor model from the saver-borrower model. “India is at the crossroads between the bank-led model and intermediation-led model under investor-issuer mechanism, where leverage is becoming infinite, rising risk levels 24x7,” he said at the 9th Financial Markets Summit, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry . The integration of both these models in the market was imminent, he further said. - Business Line

🍒 Axis Bank inducts Amitabh Chaudhry on its board : Axis Bank on Saturday inducted Amitabh Chaudhry as additional director on its board, three weeks ahead of his taking over as the new managing director and CEO of the private sector lender. He will replace incumbent Shikha Sharma whose fourth term has been curtailed by the RBI by nearly two-and-half years. In a board meeting held Saturday, Axis Bank approved the appointment of Chaudhry as additional director. The board also gave its nod for the reappointment of Samir Barua, Som Mittal and Rohit Bhagat as independent directors. "The Board ...has appointed Amitabh Chaudhry as an Additional Director of the Bank and to hold office as such till the conclusion of the ensuing Annual General Meeting...," Axis Bank said in a regulatory filing. - Economic Times

🍒 Every day 3 banks looted during the last three years, reveal RBI data : Every day almost three banks were looted in the last three years and three months (from 2015-16 to June 2018), according to RBI data. About ₹168.72 crore was looted from various banks during this period. Of the 3,167 cases of robbery, dacoity, burglary, and theft reported by banks during this period, 10 per cent of them was reported from Bihar followed by 9 per cent each from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. With Punjab reporting 7 per cent cases and Rajasthan 6 per cent, these six States accounted for 50 per cent of the total reported cases. However, when it comes to the amount burgled, ₹87.21 crore (51 per cent) was stolen from banks in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. -Business LIne

🍒 Bank fined Rs 10,000 for giving man’s account statements to his wife in Ahmedabad : A bank was fined Rs 10,000 for furnishing three years’ bank account statements of a man to his wife without his consent. The Ahmedabad District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum on Thursday ordered Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) to pay Rs 10,000 to an account holder of its Sardarnagar-Hansol branch, Dinesh Pamnani, after he sued the bank for giving his personal details to his wife without consulting him. Pamnani argued in court that he has a matrimonial dispute pending in family court and his wife could supply the bank statement to the court, to use it to her advantage. The husband felt his efforts to not reveal his financial details were frustrated by the bank’s decision. - Economic Times

🍒 Half of ATMs may be shut down by March : Recently, the automated teller machine (ATM) industry stated that nearly 50% of ATMs may be shut down by March 2019 due to unviability of operations. “ATM operating costs have increased substantially along with additional compliance costs. The long-term profitability of ATM industry and sustainability is looking challenging at this point of time. The current ATM penetration in India is quite low compared with other nations and shutting down of existing ATMS will lead us to trail further,” said Radha Rama Dorai, managing director-ATM and Allied Services, FIS. The ideal road ahead to make the ATM management ecosystem sustainable is through mutually agreeable costing model, while renegotiating the existing servicing contracts, said Dorai. - Live Mint

Banking / Financial News at a Glance - 18.09.2018

🍒 Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank to be merged : The government has announced that Bank Of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will be merged into a single bank which will become India's third largest bank. The move follows top lender State Bank of India last year merging with itself five of its subsidiary banks and taking over Bharatiya Mahila Bank, a niche state-run lender for women. Rajeev Kumar, Secretary Department of Financial Services, said in a press conference today that employees interest would be protected in the merger process. The merger of five SBI associate banks was done without any job losses, he said. The three banks will continue to work independently post merger. Kumar said the merger would help improve operational efficiency and customer services. He said it was time for the next generation of strategic banking reforms. The government had initiated numerous reforms over the last four years, especially with respect to banking and to ensure clean lending process, he said. - Economic Times

🍒 The government logic behind the proposed merger of three banks : The government today proposed to merge three public sector banks to create the third largest lender of the country. "Alternative Mechanism under FM (Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) suggests Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank to consider amalgamation," Rajiv Kumar, Secretary, Department of Financial Services said. He said that the new entity is "positioned for substantial rise in customer base, market reach, operational efficiency and wider bouquet of products and services for customers." Below is what the government proposes and hopes to achieve through this merger: • The amalgamated bank would be the third largest bank in India. • It will be a strong competitive bank with economies of scale. • It will create synergies for network, low-cost deposits and subsidiaries. • The merger will lead to a substantial rise in: 1. customer base 2. market reach 3. operational efficiency 4. Wider bouquet of products services for customers
• Employees interests will be protected. • Brand equity to be preserved. • All three banks are on Finacle CBS Platform. • Capital support will be ensured. - Economic Times

🍒 Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank merger to be positive in the long term: D-Street experts : With a view to clean up bad loans mess in the country’s banking system, the government on Monday announced that PSU lenders Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank will be merged with Bank of Baroda. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a press conference said that the amalgamation will make the lenders stronger and sustainable as well as increase their lending ability. According to the government, the merger will be the first-ever three-way consolidation of banks in India, with a combined business of Rs 14.82 lakh crore, making it India’s third largest bank. The move follows top lender State Bank of India last year merging with itself five of its subsidiary banks and taking over Bharatiya Mahila Bank. Dalal Streets experts welcomed the news, saying the merger was a positive step for the banking industry. According to A K Prabhakar, Head of Research at IDBI Capital, the merger be painful in the short term, but will have positive effects on Indian banks in the long term. - Economic Times

🍒 Banks merger a progressive step: Ficci : Industry body Ficci Monday termed the government's decision to merge three state-owned banks as a progressive move, noting that it signifies the government's commitment to strengthen the banking sector. According to the chamber, the merger will lead to greater operational efficiencies and Dena Bank, Vijaya Bank and Bank of Baroda would benefit through a synergistic relationship that would leverage one another's network, customer base and access to low cost deposits. "This is a progressive move and signifies the government's determination to strengthen the banking sector in the country for a better performance and service delivery," said Rashesh Shah, President of Ficci. "A stronger banking sector is vital for the overall health of the economy and we hope to see more such measures in the times ahead," Shah added. - Economic Times

🍒 RBI rejects Maha Bank request to set off Rs 2,543 cr losses against share premium amount : The Reserve Bank has rejected Bank of Maharashtra request to set off over Rs 2,543-crore losses against the balance in its share premium account. The Reserve Bank of India vide its letter dated September 11, 2018 has intimated about its inability to accede to the request made by the bank for setting off the accumulated losses against the balance lying in share premium account of the bank, Maharashtra Bank said in a regulatory filing Monday. The Pune-headquartered state sector lender had got approval of board and shareholders to set off the accumulated loss of the bank as on March 31, 2018 in its annual general meeting held on June 21, subject to regulatory approvals. The bank had Rs 5,293.72 crore in its share premium account by the end of fiscal ended March 2018. - Economic Times

🍒 Loan recast: Government seeks 80 more days for lenders : The government has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to provide at least another 80 days to lenders to help them restructure loans to the tune of Rs 1.7 lakh crore as the regulator had itself failed to deliver on its guidelines. The RBI’s controversial February 12 circular did away with several loan restructuring schemes and set a 180-days deadline for loan resolutions, after which all cases were to be referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC). It had also mandated that for all loans of Rs 100 crore or more, where a resolution plan was being worked out or a management change was planned, an independent credit evaluation of the debt was needed by rating agencies authorised by RBI. For loans above Rs 500 crore, two independent credit evaluations have been prescribed. - Economic Times

🍒 Jaitley accused UPA government of sweeping NPAs under the carpet : Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today accused the previous UPA government of sweeping the non-performing assets (NPAs) under the carpet. Addressing a press conference, Jaitley said concerted efforts were made till 2014 to hide the NPAs. Jaitley said bank lending before 2008 was Rs 18 lakh crore and jumped to Rs 55 lakh crore between 2008 and 2014. He said a jump in bank lending took its toll on the economy. Jaitley said after 2015, RBI review revealed the real picture of NPAs and then the government along with the RBI began taking concrete steps to tackle NPAs. He said recognising the reality of high NPAs was the first step in the clean-up process. He said Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) was a defining moment in debtor-creditor relationship and it started a new culture of lending. He said amendments to Prevention Of Corruption Act gave more flexibility to bankers. Jaitley said that bank credit lending was becoming weak and hurting corporate sector investment. Many banks were in fragile condition due to excessive lending and ballooning NPAs, he added. - Economic Times

🍒 BoI has ₹231-cr exposure to Winsome Diamonds, Forever Precious Diamond : Bank of India on Monday said it has an exposure of ₹82.55 crore to Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Ltd and ₹148.67 crore to Forever Precious Diamond and Jewellery Ltd. The public sector bank had received a communication from the Reserve Bank of India on September 6 advising it to pay a penalty of ₹1 crore on account of ‘Violation of RBI guidelines on Frauds- Classification and Reporting’ in the aforesaid accounts. BoI said it will pay the penalty on or before September 19. Clarifying its position to the stock exchanges, the public sector bank said it classified the Winsome Diamond and Jewellery Ltd account as a non-performing asset on June 30, 2015. The Forever Precious Diamond and Jewellery Ltd account was classified as an NPA on June 30, 2016. - Business Line

🍒 NPA provisions for banks may stay elevated till FY20: Ind-Ra : Banks are witnessing a spurt in asset quality stress in the non-corporate segment and the overall loan loss provisions for lenders are expected to stay elevated till fiscal year 2019-20, an Ind-Ra report said. The outlook on private sector banks, along with SBI and Bank of Baroda among the state-run ones is stable, while all the other state-run banks carry a negative outlook, India Ratings said in its mid-year outlook on banks Monday. Banks will continue with credit costs or provisions of up to 3 per cent for both the ongoing fiscal as well as the one after, according to the rating agency. - Business Line

🍒 PayU gets RBI approval to operate as NBFC : Leading online payment service provider PayU has received RBI’s approval (subject to certain pending RBI compliance) to operate as NBFC. This will help the Naspers-backed PayU promote inclusive growth in the country by catering to the diverse financial needs of various segments of the society, the company said in a statement. Jitendra Gupta, MD, PayU India said, “Credit is the next growth driver for the fintech industry in the country. We realised the potential in consumer credit space. Our own NBFC license is a very important milestone in our credit journey. It will help us launch new product variants faster and address new segment of consumers for providing credit on tap though we continue to work with our partners such as Reliance Money.” - Business Line

🍒 Adani Capital to raise Rs 10 billion in FY19, mostly through bank loans : Adani Capital, the financial services arm of diversified Adani group, is planning to raise around Rs 10 billion in debt, mostly in bank loans, this financial year to fund growth. "We will be borrowing Rs 600 crore in term loans from the banks over the course of the year. Another Rs 200 crore is planned in short-term working capital and Rs 150 crore will be raised through commercial papers, taking the overall fund raising to around Rs 1,000 crore this fiscal year," Gaurav Gupta, chief executive, Adani Capital, told PTI Monday. - Business Standard

🍒 CBI takes over probe in Rs 1200 crore illegal fund transfers in Union Bank of India in 2016 : The CBI has taken over investigation into alleged swindling of USD 171 million (about Rs 1,200 crore) from the Union Bank of India by hackers in 2016, officials said Monday. The case, which was being probed by the Mumbai Police, pertains to transfer of about Rs 1,200 crore from the Nostro account of the bank to various countries on July 20, 2016, they said. During a reconciliation exercise of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messages, the bank had found that USD 171 million was unaccounted for, they said. The money was reportedly traced to banks in Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan and Australia from the nostro account of the bank, they said. A nostro account refers to an account that a bank holds in a foreign currency in another bank overseas to enable foreign trade by its clients. - Financial Express

🍒 United Bank's employee share sale flops on price drop : Public sector lender United Bank of India's share sale to employees has failed to receive sufficient support and managed to garner just 61% subscription even after two extensions. In a regulatory filing on September 13, the bank said it has allotted 29.2 million new equity shares of face value of Rs 10 each at an issue price of Rs 10.55 per share under the employee share purchase scheme (ESPS). The Kolkata-headquartered bank was able to mop up Rs 30.8 crore against its target of Rs 50 crore, at a subscription rate of 61%. Shares issued under the scheme are locked in for a year. - DNA India.

🍒 Government not keen on bailout by LIC, SBI : The government, which is keeping close tabs on IL&FS, is reluctant to ask state-run Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India and State Bank of India (SBI) to bail it out, and would rather push the infrastructure finance and solutions company to sell some of its investments to raise money and tide over the crisis. “It is a private company, why should we ask SBI or LIC to rescue it?” said a source, who did not wish to be identified, adding that the government had nothing to do with the problems at the institution that was set up in 1987. Over the years, IL&FS has had no government oversight, given that public sector shareholders — LIC, SBI and Central Bank of India — held less than 40 per cent equity. - Times of India.

🍒 IL&FS shareholders may want salaries cut, subsidiaries closed as terms for fund infusion : Key shareholders of cash-strapped Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd may press for cost-cutting measures as a condition for infusing capital to revive IL&FS. ‘These riders include closure of some of its 50 overseas step-down subsidiaries and a cap on remuneration of key managerial personnel. At the emergency meeting of the IL&FS board on Saturday, there was no decision on raising additional funds. Sources said IL&FS has been asked to prepare a strategy on how it will monetise and divest its assets for raising funds in the medium to short term. Any decision on fund-raising will be taken after the AGM later this month (or within 15 days). In the interim, the company’s new Chairman, SB Mathur, will have time to familiarise himself with the company and get a better understanding of its problems. Mathur took charge after LIC Managing Director Hemant Bhargava stepped down as the Chairman of IL&FS . - Business Line

🍒 HFCs', MFIs' borrowing cost may rise over 30 bps in FY19: Report : With interest rates cycle reversing, cost of borrowing for housing finance companies (HFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) is likely to increase by over 30 basis points in the current fiscal year, and by another 40-50 basis in FY20, a report said Monday. The lending rates are also likely to go up, but the pace and intensity of the increase in rates will depend on product competitiveness, existing interest rates, and a company's dominance in the industry, rating agency Crisil said in its report. "The interest rate trajectory is expected to remain elevated for a while. Players with higher exposure to market borrowings and short-term instruments will see greater impact on their cost of borrowings in the near term," it said. - Economic Times

🍒 Prashant Kumar takes charge as SBI CFO : State Bank of India on Monday said Prashant Kumar has taken charge as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Bank. Before Kumar, Anshula Kant, who has been promoted as Managing Director of SBI, was the CFO. Prior to this appointment, Kumar was designated as Deputy Managing Director (HR) & Corporate Development Officer of India's largest bank. Kumar has earlier worked as DMD and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Bank. - Business Line

🍒 BHIM UPI cashbacks crossed Rs 100 crore; a third went to SBI: RTI : The government has already spent over Rs 100 crore on referral and transaction cashbacks to BHIM users, it revealed in an RTI reply to MediaNama. The State Bank of India’s account-holders got the highest share, netting 33.45% of the cashbacks at Rs 35.2 crore. (SBI’s number was so high that it was displayed as an exponent (3.52E+08) in the RTI response.) SBI customers got almost four times as much cashbacks as the next most successful bank, Paytm Payments Bank. The cashback scheme was mostly revoked for individual transactions in July, with only referral cashbacks remaining. As such, the month-on-month growth of the cashback number is likely to be small. The government is now reportedly working on a new merchant-oriented scheme. In total, Rs 105.2 crore has been disbursed in cashback to users. This includes both merchant and individual cashbacks.

🍒 Rupee ends weak at 72.49 : The rupee depreciated 85 paise to 72.69 against the dollar, despite the government’s steps to stem a steep fall in the currency, amid reports that the US could announce a new round of tariffs on Chinese imports later in the day.

🍒 Gold rises to Rs 31,600 on global cues, spot demand : Gold prices rose Rs 180 to Rs 31,600 per 10 gram at the bullion market today, largely driven by a firm trend overseas amid increased buying by local jewellers. Silver followed suit and shot up by Rs 180 to Rs 37,680 per kg due to increased offtake by industrial units and coin makers.

Economic Times:

1. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) okayed a revamp of initial public offering (IPO) norms and a governance framework for stock exchanges and depositories. It84 also signalled moves to bring chartered accountants and company secretaries under its ambit.

2. OPEC edged closer on Thursday toward raising oil output, with Iran softening its opposition to an increase and Saudi Arabia warning of supply shortages and price rallies if production remained stable.A production rise of about 1 million barrels per day (bpd) or around 1% of global supply was emerging as a consensus for the group and its allies, OPEC sources told Reuters, adding that Iran could agree under certain conditions.

3.It certainly appears dovish that the European Central Bank expects to reinvest even more of its maturing holdings next year, as Bloomberg News reported Wednesday. It’s even more so if, as President Mario Draghi has suggested, officials relax the rules on how much time they can take to make reinvestments more flexibility here gives them room to smooth ructions in the bond market.But there’s something for the hawks as well. The net result could be to drive short-end yields for core European country bonds further into negative territory, and in the process steepen the yield curve. The reinvestments could range from 160 billion euros ($184.6 billion) to 200 billion euros next year – that’s up from the bank’s previous expectation for about 150 billion euros.

4. Microfinance lenders including private banks such as Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank and RBL Bank have raised their cumulative microloan cap per borrower by 33% in a sign of strong demand in rural India and rise in self-employment amid poor industrial demand.

5. Bank of Baroda has complained to the country's premier federal probe agency that bankrupt pipes maker PSL siphoned off about ₹700 crore from a dedicated account linked to Gail projects, the payments from which were due to the lender and not the insolvent company.

6. In an industry where size matters more than any other attribute, cement majors in the country have been acquiring large distressed rivals. But those with regional ambitions are also getting bigger, leading the capexcycle revival in the world’s second-largest concrete market.

7. India’s biggest steelmaker JSW Steel is expected to make a bid for Arcelor-Mittal’s Galati plant in Romania potentially competing against Ukraine’s Metinvest and Italy’s Marcegaglia. ArcelorMittal,has had to put six European assets up for sale to get approval from European competition authorities for its purchase of Italy’s giant Ilva plant.

8. India will raise duties on 29 products from the US, striking back against Washington’s move to impose higher tariffs on Indian steel and aluminium exports amid a global trade war that’s broken out as President Donald Trump seeks to combat what he perceives as unfair terms. The duties, which take effect August 4, will mean $240 million additional revenue.

Financial Express:

1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday held its ground and refused to give any special relief to the power sector from its February circular that mandates early detection and time-bound resolution of stressed assets.

2. Responding to requests from solar plant developers, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has extended the commissioning period for projects hurt by the disruption caused by the introduction of the GST from July 2017.

3. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) continue to sell Indian bonds with sales already crossing $1 billion in June so far. With interest rates in the US market firm and the US Fed hinting at two more rate hikes this year, foreign investors appear to be apprehensive the rupee could weaken further.

4. Over the last week, Bank of Baroda (BoB) has put on sale non-performing assets (NPAs) worth Rs 7,655 crore, including its exposures to some accounts named in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) two lists of bankruptcy cases, such as Essar Steel, Bhushan Power & Steel, Soma Enterprise and Visa Steel. BoB’s aggregate exposure to these accounts is Rs 3,004 crore.

5. The Maharashtra government is planning to auction around 2,000 MW of solar capacity by August 15.The state’s 1,000 MW solar auction in May initially faced troubles, but was eventually completed.The lowest bid at the last auction was Rs 2.71/kWh. The initial four auctions by MSEDCL failed; IPPs did not bid since they wanted higher ceiling on tariffs of Rs 4/unit from Rs 3/unit. The ceiling on tariffs was earlier reduced to below Rs 2.60/kWh after aggressive bidding last year.

Business Line

1. Four-and-a-half years after a whistle-blower first highlighted that unfair access was given to stock brokers for high-frequency trading at the National Stock Exchange (NSE), markets regulator SEBI on Thursday declared it had initiated enforcement action against entities involved in the scam.

2.The Centre has begun to sharpen its focus on improving ease of doing business at the districts level, having achieved some improvement at both the Central and State levels.As a pilot, six districts in five States have been selected for development schemes that will increase district GDP by 3 per cent. Once the pilot is successful, it will be replicated pan India, said Suresh Prabhu.

3. After its merger with DHFL Vysya Housing Finance, Aadhar Housing Finance is expecting a 55 per cent growth in loan disbursement and 50 per cent growth in its loan book.Deo Shankar Tripathi, Managing Director and CEO, Aadhar Housing Finance, said that as a merged entity on a comparable basis, the company has reported a 103 per cent increase in its net profit in fiscal 2017-18, compared to the previous year.

4. The Gujarat government on Wednesday announced the Wind-Solar Hybrid Power Policy 2018, that aims to make optimum use of the land and grid.The policy, which will have a coverage period of five years, provides incentives to renewable power producers supplying to the grid as well as those having captive use.

5. The Kerala cabinet has waived plantation tax and declared a moratorium on agriculture income tax, meeting a long-pending demand of the plantation sector. The Chief Minister is expected to make an announcement on the floor of the State Assembly during its ongoing session.

Business Standard

1. People spend 13 hours to access direct benefit transfers in Ranchi.As a matter of fact, the study found that people are so unsatisfied with the DBT system being piloted by the government that they want to return to the previous system of grains distribution.

2. Turkey hits back at Trump, imposes tariffs on US goods worth $1.8 bn.Total goods and services trade between US and Turkey was $22.4 billion in 2016.

3. IndiaFirst Life Insurance ties up with Oxigen to widen reach.The partnership will begin as a pilot project for three to six months, first in Bihar and Odisha, and then in Uttar Pradesh, to understand ground challenges.

4. ICICI Bank may ask independent directors to chair board meetings.The bank has government nominee Lok Ranjan on the board, who has not attended a single meeting since his appointment in April.

5. US-India Apache copter deal worth $ 930 mn in trouble? Misconduct alleged.Business Standard has investigated these allegations around the Apache purchase and found that the uproar stems from a lack of understanding of the way America processes foreign arms sales.

LiveMint:

1. Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group on Thursday announced the final close of its fifth Asia buyout fund Carlyle Asia Partners V (CAP V) at $6.55 billion.The CAP V fund exceeded its initial target of $5 billion and is more than 65% larger than its predecessor fund Carlyle Asia Partners IV, Carlyle said.

2. The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has reserved its order on both the plan placed before it by the resolution professional of Jyoti Structures Ltd and DBS Bank’s plea seeking that the resolution plan be rejected.On Thursday, Prateek Seksaria, the advocate representing DBS Bank, argued that the eight-day extension after the admission of the case by NCLT and the resolution professional taking over the affairs of the company should not be considered under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

3.Sadbhav Engineering Ltd, a Gujarat-based infrastructure company, is looking to raise Rs.1,500 crore through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) in the current quarter.

4.Taking a serious note of slow progress by banks in addressing security issues, the Reserve Bank of India on Thursday gave them strict timelines to upgrade their ATMs or else face action.As per the timeline, banks have to implement a host of security measures by August and upgrade all ATMs with supported version of operating in a phased manner by June next year.

5.Govt plans Rs10,000 crore tender to set up more rural Wi-Fi hotspots.The telecom dept will soon issue a revised to set up five public Wi-Fi hotspots in every gram panchayat, to ensure higher proliferation of high-speed rural broadband across 25,000 gram panchayats.

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