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‘Put RBI under Prompt Corrective Action for effective sectoral control’

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Reserve Bank of India (RBI). (File Photo: IANS)
Reserve Bank of India (RBI). (File Photo: IANS)

With bank after bank in private sector getting into problems, the latest being the Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB), the efficacy of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as the sectoral regulator will soon be a question mark, said a top leader of a large bank union.

“The way things are coming out in private sector banks, RBI is not able to control or unwittingly becomes a party to it, its efficacy will soon be a question mark,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) told IANS.

“It is time the central government thinks of putting RBI under Prompt Corrective Action to really make an effective tool to control Banks,” he added.

Citing the happenings in the 93-year old LVB, Venkatachalam said its bad loans leapt from just about two per cent in 2017 to 25 per cent in 2020.

“The fact that the Bank was going in the wrong way could be visible even to a layman. How all these things and deteriorating health of the Bank was not seriously taken note of by RBI and its nominee Director,” Venkatachalam wondered.

He said, the RBI has access to everything going on in every Bank and under its very nose, many things are happening in many Banks.

“Not long ago, one RBI nominee director used to raise questions on the happenings in the bank. But later the RBI nominee directors remained silent,” R. Subramanian, former General Secretary of the Lakshmi Vilas Bank Officers’ Association and who retired from the bank as Senior Manager told IANS.

He has moved the Madras High Court to direct the Central government, RBI and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to suspend LVB’s board and appoint an administrator.

“Strangely, the nominees of the RBI on the LVB Board have not raised any concern or red flag despite the happenings in the bank,” Subramanian, 67, told IANS.

In his petition, Subramanian, who was the General Secretary of the Lakshmi Vilas Bank Officers’ Association, and retired from the bank in 2013 as a senior manager, said that he had sent a representation to the Centre, and the RBI, “bringing to their notice the mismanagement and misleading disclosures to the general public for taking appropriate action but these have not been considered”.

He contended that the mismanagement has resulted in gross non-performing assets (NPA) leaping from 2.67 per cent in 2017 to 15.30 per cent in 2019 and stretching to 25.39 per cent in March 2020.

“Any such increase in gross NPA could not be justified as a common occurrence in the banking industry. This evidences quick mortality of advances and the options of the bank made against the guidelines of the RBI and the SEBI,” Subramanian argued.

“I submit that the total deposits in the respondent bank, as on March 31, 2020, are Rs 21,443 crore. But there is no safety for the deposits made by general public as per the information available in the public domain and qualified statements of the statutory auditors of the bank in the balance sheet,” he said.

Subramanian said the unions have brought the happenings in the bank to RBI earlier, but nothing happened.

In his petition Subramanian said the loss to the bank is due to bad advances extended Religare, Star agri, products, Talwalker,ACox and Kings, Coffee Day amounting to about Rs 1,200 crores violating corporate governance.

LVB had extended big advances to Religare, Jet Airways Group, Cox and Kings, Nirav Modi Group, Coffee Day (relate to the questionable agri loans extended violating the established norms and RBI guidelines) and others to the tune of about Rs 2,000 crore, he said.

Subramanian also said in his petition that the bank did not curtail its expenditure.

“RBI did not know how Nirav Modi could play with the Banks.A RBI did not know how Vijay Mallya was playing with the banks. RBI did not know the affairs of YES Bank. RBI did not notice anything wrong when Dhanlaxmi Bank was not doing well.A RBI did not notice anything wrong when Global Trust Bank was doing so many unscrupulous things and which were brought to their notice by RBI auditors themselves,” Venkatachalam said.

“In the same way, RBI does not appear to be knowing what is happening in LVB. If they really did not know what was happening in all these Banks, then it is not the RBI it was meant to be. If they knew all these things and still did not take drastic and timely steps, then RBI has no meaning,” Venkatachalam added.

Business

Eicher Motors now offers customised Royal Enfield motorcycles

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Eicher logo
Eicher logo

Chennai, Oct 15 (IANS) Two-wheeler maker Eicher Motors Ltd on Thursday said customers can now choose to personalise and accessorise their Royal Enfield motorcycles at the time of purchase.

In a statement issued here, the company said it has rolled out the first of its kind motorcycle personalisation service – The Royal Enfield Make-It-Yours – MiY.

The Royal Enfield is the two-wheeler division of Eicher Motors rolling out bikes like Bullet, Interceptor 650, Continental GT 650 and others.

According to the company, the MiY is enabled via an app based 3-D configurator will allow buyers to access to various possible combinations in personalistion options at the time of booking the motorcycle.

Once the order is placed through the app, the buyers will also know the probable delivery time.

According to Vinod K. Dasari, CEO, Royal Enfield, with MiY, customers will have a “little bit of them” built into the motorcycle, and depending on the level of personalisation, motorcycles will be custom-made as per consumer specifications, within 24 to 48 hours, at the Chennai plant.

“We will be rolling out MiY for all our motorcycles, across all our stores in the country in a phased manner. All new motorcycle models from Royal Enfield, from here on, will come with the MiY feature,” he said.

Initially the MiY will be available for models like Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650.

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Construction picks up in unlock, cement prices rise

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Cement city Nimbhahera emerges as new hotspot in Rajasthan
Cement city Nimbhahera emerges as new hotspot in Rajasthan

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) Fading monsoons, easing of lockdown restrictions and recovery in non-trade demand have revived the construction activities in the country resulting in pan-India 2 per cent month-on-month increase in cement prices in October after four consecutive months correction.

The rising demand and prices for construction materials is a good barometer to gauge revival of economic activities in the country.

The cement price rise in October is also an aberration to historic trends when price normally corrects 2-3 per cent due to seasonality.

“A strong demand recovery in September 2020 (10-12 per cent yoy) and continued demand tailwinds in early October 2020 underpin the price strength. Cost headwinds should hit from end of 3QFY21 and price hikes, if sustained, would offset the impact on margins and drive earnings upgrades,” Kotak Institutional Equities said in a report.

The distribution of rise in cement prices indicates that consumers revival has happened across the country. Prices in North and Central markets increased 5 per cent m-o-m on a sharp uptick in demand led by easing of lockdown restrictions and return of migrant labour to metro cities supporting non-trade demand.

Prices remained stable m-o-m in East and West India while prices in South increased 2 pet cent mom after strong demand recovery in September 2020.

Historically, cement prices correct by 2-3 per cent qoq in 3Q due to seasonality. However, in 3QFY21E prices are up 1 per cent qoq led by higher prices in North and Central markets, the brokerage report said.

While government estimate suggests that demand declined 15 per cent yoy in August 2020 in the country and declined by 29 per cent yoy YTD FY2021. However, channel checks by the brokerage suggests that strong demand in September 2020 (+10-12 per cent yoy) more than offset the weakness in early 2QFY21.

South, where demand was worst-hit in April-August 2020, too witnessed 3-5 per cent yoy demand growth in September 2020 led by Andhra-Telangana.

Initial feedback suggests that demand tailwinds have continued in October 2020. We expect industry volumes to decline by 12.5 per cent yoy in FY2021E. We see grinding and clinker capacity addition at 4 per cent/3 per cent CAGR over FY2020-23E versus demand at 3 per cent CAGR.

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Business

CMS launches AI-automated ATM security software ‘Algo’

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SBI ATM. (File Photo IANS)
SBI ATM. (File Photo IANS)

Mumbai, Oct 14 (IANS) CMS Info Systems (CMS) has announced the launch of fully automated, Artificial Intelligence-powered ATM security software application ‘Algo’.

CMS Algo is an end-to-end security encrypted a fool-proof solution to prevent ATM frauds at the time of cash replenishment or maintenance, the company said in a statement.

The application is machine-agnostic and can operate on any ATM manufactured by any OEM.

Rajiv Kaul, Executive Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Whole-time Director of CMS Info Systems, said: “This application can run on any ATM across the world and helps in fraud prevention. The solution is cost-effective in the back-end and low cost in the front-end.”

“The biggest saving is the reduction of fraud, no requirement of a call centre, and restricted access to data and premises,” he said.

He noted that the company has deployed Algo on 52,000 ATMs in India.

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Business

CCI okays Tube Investments’ stake buy in CG Power

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Competition Commission of India
Competition Commission of India

New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the acquisition of shares in CG Power and Industrial Solutions Ltd by Tube Investments of India Ltd.

The proposed combination envisages acquisition of more than 50 per cent of the equity share capital of CG Power and Industrial Solutions Ltd (CG Power) by Tube Investments of India Ltd (TIIL).

TIIL is a listed entity and is part of Murugappa group. It has three business verticals including engineering, metal formed products and bicycles. It is engaged in the manufacture of a wide range of products for automotive, railway, construction, mining and agriculture industries.

Also a listed entity, CG Power has two major business units — power systems and industrial systems.

The power systems business unit focuses on power transmission, distribution, power solutions, setting up of integrated power systems among others.

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Business

Uber hires Amazon veteran to lead mobility teams in Bengaluru

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Manikandan Thangarathnam
Manikandan Thangarathnam

Uber on Thursday announced it hired Amazon veteran Manikandan Thangarathnam as senior director to lead all rider and platform engineering teams in Bengaluru.

Uber said it is also hiring 85 more engineers in the country. This is in addition to hiring 140 engineers the ride-hailing service announced last month.

“As the world steps into a new normal, adaptability is going to be a key aspect to usher in growth. I look forward to leading the bright minds at Uber and innovating together for the world, one ride at a time,” said Mani.

At Amazon, Mani helped build several core platforms and products.

He led engineering efforts for the Amazon Appstore and was instrumental in bootstrapping the tech major’s Chennai office and building a vast team of engineers.

The Rider mobility team works on the challenge of enabling the next billion trips by building new services including high capacity vehicles (Uber bus), and car rentals, among others.

The company said the Marketplace team is building a highly-available and scalable self-serve gateway to configure, manage, and monitor Application Programming Interfaces (API) of every business domain at Uber.

Uber recently hired another Amazon veteran Jayaram Valliyur as senior director to lead its global finance technology team, spread across multiple geographies.

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OnePlus investing Rs 100 crore to boost retail footprint in India

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OnePlus to launch 2 Nord smartphones on Oct 26
OnePlus to launch 2 Nord smartphones on Oct 26

Smartphone maker OnePlus is committed to invest Rs 100 crore towards deeper market penetration by taking premium offline experience beyond metro cities and expanding its reach through new online and offline retail partnerships, a top company executive said on Thursday.

With over 5,000 offline stores including partnered stores across the country, the smartphone maker is planning to scale up to more than 8,000 stores in the coming quarters, Navnit Nakra, VP and Chief Strategy OnePlus India told IANS.

“At present, we have over 30 OnePlus experience stores across India and will be opening 14 new experience stores in the next six months.

“We’ll launch our biggest experience store globally, the OnePlus Nizam Palace in Hyderabad later this year. We are also working towards covering 100 cities through our service centre network in the next year,” Nakra informed.

The smartphone maker launched its India R&D centre in 2019 and is committed to achieve long-term growth in the country.

Currently, the company has 300 employees in the R&D team and hope to double that number in the coming months.

Nakra said that India continues to be a key market for OnePlus since the brand’s entry in 2014.

“We began our commitment to Make in India initiative in February 2018 and since then, we have been manufacturing our devices in the country. We have also commenced the manufacturing of the OnePlus TVs and OnePlus Nord in India,” Nakra told IANS.

By 2021, all OnePlus TVs will be manufactured locally in India.

“On our smart TV portfolio, we commenced the manufacturing of the Y series in India and by 2021, all OnePlus TVs will also be manufactured locally including the Q and the U series,” Nakra informed.

He said that 100 per cent of OnePlus smartphones are being manufactured in India including OnePlus 8 series, OnePlus Nord and the recently launched OnePlus 8T.

OnePlus has launched its new flagship 5G smartphone the ‘OnePlus 8T’ with 120Hz Fluid AMOLED display and quad-camera set up, in India.

The OnePlus 8T will be available in two colours, aquamarine green and lunar silver at Rs 45,999 (12GB RAM+ 256GB internal storage) and Rs 42,999 (8GB RAM+128GB internal storage).

“OnePlus is consistently exploring opportunities to fuel its growth and meet the needs of more users, by starting to strategically diversify into new product categories and new price points but, at the same time, not compromising on our OnePlus promise,” Nakra told IANS.

OnePlus Nord series is also likely to get new entrants this month, according to multiple reports.

The rumoured OnePlus Nord N10 5G and OnePlus Nord N100 are said to be launching as soon as the end of October, first in the US market.

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