Evening digest: Small finance bank licences next month: Raghuram Rajan

GN Bureau | August 20, 2015



Reserve Bank of India on Thursday said it will announce small finance bank licences next month and allayed concerns that these new entities can pose any threat to existing banks. Yestrday the central bank had approved setting up of 11 payment banks. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said that new payments banks would not pose any competitive threat to the existing banks and these new entities would rather serve as 'feeder' for the universal banks. The RBI had received 72 applications for small finance bank licences. The small finance banks can provide basic banking services like accepting deposits and lending to the unbanked sections such as small farmers, micro business enterprises, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.

Detention drama in Kashmir, all Hurriyat leaders except Geelani released
Top Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, were on Thursday put under house arrest only to be released within hours in actions that were linked to their proposed meeting with Pakistani National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz in Delhi on Sunday. Security personnel were deployed outside the Hydrepora residence of Geelani, the hardline Hurriyat chief who is already under house arrest. JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik was taken into preventive custody from his Maisuma residence and lodged at police station Kothibagh.

Iran asks India to clear $6.5 billion oil dues in 2 months
Iran has asked India to pay within two months $6.5 billion in past oil dues, partly in rupees and rest in dollars or euros. The dues to Iran on crude oil that refiners buy have accumulated as Western sanctions blocked payment routes since 2013. About 45% of the oil import bill is paid in rupees.

Facebook's Zuckerberg is world's richest individual under 35
Facebook Co-Founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is the wealthiest individual under the age of 35, with a personal fortune of USD 41.6 billion, says a Wealth-X report. Zuckerberg is joined on the list by fellow Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, who claimed the second place on the list with an estimated net worth of USD 9.3 billion and Eduardo Saverin who was ranked fourth with an estimated net of USD 5.3 billion. The top-20 list features only six women. Huiyan Yang, the 34-year-old Vice Chairman of Chinese real estate developer Country Garden Holdings, is the richest woman on the list, taking the third spot with an estimated net of USD 5.9 billion, as per Wealth-X, the global wealth intelligence and prospecting company. The top-10 wealthiest individuals under the age of 35 also include Scott Duncan at the fifth position with a wealth of USD 5 billion, Elizabeth A Holmes (6th, USD 4.5 billion), Nathan Blecharczyk (7th, USD 3 billion), Brian Chesky (8th, USD 3 billion), Joe Gebbia (9th, USD 3 billion) and Thomas Persson (10th, USD 2.7 billion). However, no Indian featured on the list.

Goa CM wants brother-in-law suspended in graft case
Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Thursday said his brother-in-law and another government official caught in a bribery case should be immediately suspended. The chief minister also promised not to interfere in the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigation in the case. Dilip Malvankar, along with Ajit Gaunekar, both field managers at the state government-operated Industrial Development Corporation, were arrested by ACB sleuths on Tuesday night while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 1 lakh.

Railway officer Ashwani Lohani to be next Air India chief
Ashwani Lohani was on Thursday appointed as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of national carrier Air India Ltd for three years. Lohani He will be replacing Rohit Nandan, whose extended tenure ends tomorrow. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved appointment of Lohani, a 1980 batch Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME) officer, as CMD, Air India Ltd for a tenure of three years.

Nitish Kumar, Kejriwal flayed for attacking Modi
Hitting back at Arvind Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar for their combined attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, centre on Thursday questioned Delhi chief minister's commitment to fight corruption and dismissed as a "political ploy" Bihar chief minister's insistence on special category status.Ruling out any politics behind Modi's announcement of Rs 1.25 lakh crore package for Bihar, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who hails from the state, claimed Prime Minister was focusing on the development of the state and the entire eastern India ever since he assumed office last year.

Uber suspends accounts of both driver and passenger after altercation
Online taxi firm Uber cabson Thursday said it has suspended the accounts of a passenger and a driver following an alleged fracas involving them which led to traffic jam for nearly two hours in Bangalore.Uber faced a temporary ban in New Delhi in the wake of a woman passenger alleging rape by one of its drivers in December last.

China to build $10 billion Pakistan nuclear power plant
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today inaugurated construction work on a China-backed $10 billion nuclear power plant near Karachi.The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant II (Kanupp II) with the capacity to produce 1,100 MW electricity is being built with the assistance of China, which has become the biggest investor in energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan.

Sensex ends 324 pts down amid rout across currency markets
The benchmark indices danced to the tune of weak global cues, with the 30-share BSE Sensex plunging 323.84 points, or 1.16 per cent, to settle at 27,607.82 on Thursday. The 30-share Nifty barometer, breached all key daily moving averages (DMA) to eventually close the session down 122.40 points, or 1.44 per cent, at 8,372.75.

Renault-Nissan to cut around 1,000 jobs at Chennai plant
Franco-Japanese auto alliance Renault Nissan will cut close to about 1,000 jobs in its Indian manufacturing operations as it aligns production with low demand in the market. According to sources, the 1,000 layoff will mainly impact contract workers, apprentices and trainees at the alliance's Chennai manufacturing plant.

EPFO allows small firms to pay dues by cheques and drafts
Giving a breather to small firms, retirement fund body EPFO has allowed employers, whose statutory contribution is less than Rs 1 lakh, to make payment through bank drafts, banker's cheques and local cheques till December this year. However, these employers would have to make payments electronically through Internet banking from January onwards.

AirAsia's profit drops on higher operating costs
Malaysian budget airline AirAsia reported a 33 per cent drop in its second-quarter net profit on Thursday, due to a rise in operating and financing costs. Net profit for April-June fell to 243 million ringgit from 367.2 million ringgit, although the airline carried 10 per cent more passengers and maintained a load factor of 79 per cent of capacity in what is usually the weakest quarter in the year. Revenue was flat at 1.3 billion ringgit.

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