Morning briefing: RBI governor worried about drop in public and private investments

GN Staff | November 20, 2015

#raghuram rajan   #rbi   #paris   #sensex  

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) chief Raghuram Rajan said on Friday that a drop in public and private investments were the main concerns he had about the country's economic growth. Speaking in Hong Kong, he said weak capital investment has been a key factor behind India's struggle to realise its growth potential."Private investment has fallen back a bit and so has public investment," the governor said.  Despite the slowdown in growth and investments, Rajan said strong foreign direct investment and some traction in infrastructure development may encourage private investments.

Paris attacks 'ringleader'Abaaoud killed in raid, EU meet on border control today

The Islamic State jihadist suspected of orchestrating the Paris attacks was killed in a major police raid in the French capital, prosecutors confirmed Thursday, raising troubling questions about a breakdown in intelligence and European border security. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan origin linked to a series of extremist plots in Europe over the past two years, died in Wednesday's assault by police on an apartment in northern Paris.
Meanwhile, EU interior and justice ministers are to meet in Brussels on Friday where they will tighten checks on all travellers at the external borders of the 26-nation Schengen zone as an emergency measure.

French prime minister Manuel Valls said some of the attackers had taken advantage of Europe's migrant crisis to "slip in" unnoticed and warned the cherished passport-free Schengen zone would be in danger if the bloc did not improve border controls.

New Islamic State video threatens to blow up White House
Islamic State militants released a video on Thursday threatening the White House with suicide bombings and car blasts and vowing to conduct more attacks on France. The six-minute video, released by Islamic State fighters in Iraq, applauds last week's Paris attacks.The latest threat comes one day after the militant group put out a video showing scenes of New York City, which suggested it was also a target.

The video opens with television news clips of the Paris attacks and then shows two militants separately speaking to the camera. Titled "Paris Before Rome," the video shows an Islamic State fighter threatening to "pound" French monuments and vowing to strike at the White House. "We will blow it up, the same as we blew up the idols in this good land," one fighter says, referring to the White House. The second fighter threatens US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande. "We will grill them ... with (explosive) belts and car bombs." 

FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday he was not aware of any credible threat of a "Paris-type attack" in the United States. State Department spokesman John Kirby told CNN that Thursday's video was being examined to determine its "veracity." "Everybody here in the United States government are taking these threats seriously," he said.

CRISIL sees major problem in reality sector finances

With tepid demand for space, especially in the housing segment, the country’s top 25 real estate companies are staring at a problem in refinancing debt worth a combined Rs 30,000 crore over the medium term, according to rating agency CRISIL.

The past two years have seen realtors refinancing their principal and interest obligations, some by leveraging the cushion available in their operational commercial portfolio. Add the problem of construction cost outpacing customer advances lately and developers seem caught in a debt spiral. Most of those facing a high refinancing risk are in the National Capital Region (NCR). Sales in projects has also been declining, especially in the north. Another area of concern is inventory, which surged to 58 and 48 months, respectively, in the north and west by end-March 2015. South India had a more comfortable 22 months of inventory. The silver lining is that demand for housing, in negative territory for the past two years, is expected to turn around mildly, barring in the NCR.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius in India today
France's minister of foreign affairs and international development Laurent Fabius is in India on a two-day (November 20 and 21) visit. During the visit, the French minister will meet prime minister Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and hold deliberations on the preparations ahead of the Paris climate summit. Fabius is accompanied by ambassador for climate change negotiations Laurence Tubiana.

Madhesis to allow passage of drugs to Nepal, India looks for new routes

Nepal's Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha on Thursday decided to facilitate safe passage of medicines to Kathmandu. A meeting of the Morcha in Kathmandu on Thursday decided to allow cargo trucks carrying medicines, oxygen cylinders and health-related equipment to enter Nepal from the eastern Nepali Biratnagar border during the day-time. The major trade entry point along the Nepal-India border at Raxaul-Birgunj has been severely hit since the past two months.
Meanwhile, India's external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India will facilitate the safe passage of essential drugs through re-routing or providing air facilities.

Former minister Madan Mitra surrenders, remanded to judicial custody

Trinamool Congress leader and former West Bengal minister Madan Mitra, whose bail was cancelled by the Calcutta High Court on Thursday, surrendered before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate's court in Alipore here and was remanded to 14-days judicial custody.Mitra is accused in the multi-crore rupees Saradha chit fund scam. Soon after the HC order arrived at Alipore court, ACJM Alipore Sugata Roychowdhury remanded him to 14-days judicial custody. The counsels of Mitra in the surrender petition prayed for all necessary medical assistance for the former minister as he is suffering from various ailments. They also requested that Mitra be treated as a Division-I prisoner and lodged at the Alipore central jail, which were granted by the court. Earlier in the day, allowing a petition by the CBI pleading to cancel the bail granted by a lower court on October 31 to Madan Mitra, a division bench of Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapas Mukherjee cancelled Mitra's bail and asked him to surrender. Mitra's counsel S K Kapur sought seven days time to surrender, but the court rejected it.

Sensex, Nifty open on cautious note
The S&P BSE Sensex started on a cautious note on Friday tracking muted trend seen in other Asian markets. At 10 am Sensex was at 25,800.20, down 46 points and  Nifty was at 7,826.55, down 16 points.

Most other Asian markets traded mixed. Japan's Nikkei was down 0.52 per cent while South Korean Kospi edged higher by 0.10 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index surged 1.21 per cent while mainland China's Shanghai Composite was trading with mild losses of 0.07 per cent.

Panel to review PPP framework submits report to Jailtley

A government-appointed panel to review the public-private-partnership ( PPP) framework has submitted its report to finance minister Arun Jaitley, setting the stage for a major revamp of policy to attract private investment in infrastructure. Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said the government will consider the committee's recommendations soon.

Ease of business takes another step with changes under  Companies Act
Easing procedural requirements, the government has made changes in the annual returns form that is to be submitted by corporates under the Companies Act. The latest move is part of continuing efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the country. Under the Companies Act, 2013 -- whose most provisions came into force from April last year -- entities are required to file their annual returns by way of electronic form MGT-7.

Now, the Ministry, which is implementing the Act, has made changes in the form. Among others, the certification requirements in place for company secretaries with respect to annual filings of firms have been relaxed. The changes have been made in the form to address concerns raised by stakeholders and these are aimed to ensure that doing business becomes easier, a senior official said.

In this regard, the Ministry notified the Companies (Management and Administration) Third Amendment Rules, 2015, on November 16.Meanwhile, a high-level panel is looking at ways to address issues related to the new companies law. The committee was set up in June amid concerns expressed in various quarters about certain provisions in the Act.



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