BANKING - 2017 APRIL

April 1

RBI to set up separate Enforcement department.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is to set up a separate Enforcement Department (EFD) proposed to be opened on April 3.
The initiative has been proposed to separate those who oversee the possible rule breaches and those who decide on punitive actions. It will hence, enable the enforcement process to operate fairly and based on evidence.
The EFD shall, inter alia, develop a broad policy for enforcement and initiate enforcement action against the Regulated Entities (REs) for violation consistent with such policy.
EFD would serve as a centralized department to deal with banks only for enforcement action.

RBI Closes Banned Notes Exchange Window For Indians Abroad; NRIs Can Exchange Till June 30.
The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI's) limited period window for exchange of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes banned during demonetisation for Indians who were abroad ended.
However, additional time period of three months is available to non-resident Indians (NRIs), with a limit of exchanging Rs. 25,000 per individual. The exchange window for NRIs will close on June 30.
NRIs coming to India are required to come through Red Channel disclosing to the Customs authorities at the airport the amount of now-defunct notes and secure a certificate to be tendered at the RBI at the time of exchange.
The exchange facility till June is subject to the Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2015. As per these regulations, bringing back such currency into the country is restricted to 25,000 rupees per person.

82nd Establishment Day of RBI - 1st April 2017.
The Reserve Bank of India is the central bank of the country. The Reserve Bank of India was set up on the basis of the recommendations of the Hilton Young Commission.
The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (II of 1934) provides the statutory basis for the functioning of the Bank, which commenced operations on April 1, 1935.
Burma (Myanmar) seceded from the Indian Union in 1937 but the Reserve Bank continued to act as the Central Bank for Burma till Japanese Occupation of Burma and later upto April 1947.
After the partition of India, the Reserve Bank served as the central bank of Pakistan upto June 1948 when the State Bank of Pakistan commenced operations. The Bank, which was originally set up as a shareholder's bank, was nationalized in 1949.

SBI customers will have to pay higher service charges from April 1.
Effective April 1, State Bank of India, the behemoth that has grown bigger following the merger of its five associates with itself, will levy fresh charges on account holders, including on their minimum balance, ATM use and cash-handling.
''The burden will vary for different categories. The major change is in charges on non-maintenance of minimum balance, ATM and cash-handling charges''.
ATM charges beyond the mandatory limit will be double - rising from Rs. 5 to Rs. 10.
As other banks ATM charges are at Rs. 20 per transaction, it would be prudent to use only SBI (including associate banks) ATMs. According to an estimate by bankers, a customer uses an ATM about 10 to 13 times a month.

April 2

SBI to enter 'Top 50 Global Banks' league with Rs. 41 lakh crore balance sheet.
Following the merger of five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with State Bank of India, the latter will enter the league of 'Top 50 Global Banks' with a balance sheet size of Rs. 41 lakh crore.
The merger of five associate banks – State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, and State Bank of Travancore, and Bharatiya Mahila Bank is effective from 1st April.
SBI now has 2.77 lakh employees, 50 crore customers, and more than 25,000 branches and 58,000 ATMs. Further, SBI's market share will increase to nearly 22 per cent from 17 per cent.

NDB invests USD 1.5 billion in 7 projects in 2 yrs of operation.
The BRICS-backed New Development Bank (NDB) has invested in seven projects totalling USD 1.5 billion in about two years of its operation.
NDB began operations in July 2015 and since then; NDB has come a long way. NDB, focussed on green and environmentally sustainable projects. Seven projects have been done so far which aggregate around USD 1.5 billion. Six of them are in the renewable energy sector and one in transport financing.

SBI gets Rs. 1,400 crore loan from European Investment Bank.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has Okayed Rs. 1,400 crore (EUR 200 million) loan to State Bank of India to fund solar power projects.
The long-term loan will support total investment of EUR 650 million in five different large-scale photo-voltaic solar power projects.
This will contribute to India's National Solar mission and reduce dependence on fossil fuel power generation.
Four solar power projects at a generation capacity of 530 MWac have already been identified under this funding.

National Housing Bank disburses Rs. 421 crore subsidies.
National Housing Bank (NHB), as a central nodal agency (CNA), has disbursed housing subsidies worth Rs. 421 crore so far this year and expects to double this next year.
The bank will also accelerate the middle income group (MIG) programme.
NHB, as a CNA, has disbursed subsidies of Rs. 421 crore so far and expects to double this next year and also accelerate the MIG programme.
Maharashtra and Gujarat accounted for 65 per cent share of the subsidies in the (credit-linked subsidy scheme) CLSS programme, which is open to people with annual household income of Rs. 6-18 lakh.

April 3

RBI Governor gets pay hike; monthly basic jumps to Rs. 2.5 lakh.
RBI Governor Urjit Patel and his deputies have got a big pay hike with the government more than doubling their basic salary to Rs. 2.5 lakh and Rs. 2.25 lakh per month, respectively.
The "basic pay of the Governor and Deputy Governors" has been revised retrospectively with effect from January 1, 2016 and marks a huge jump from Rs. 90,000 basic pay so far drawn by the Governor and Rs. 80,000 for his deputies.
Still, their salaries are much lower than the top executives of various banks regulated by the RBI.
Following the revision, the basic pay of the Governor stands increased to Rs. 2,50,000 per month while the same for a Deputy Governor would be Rs. 2,25,000. The pay hike is "with effect from January 1, 2016".

Exim Bank to raise $3 billion from overseas markets this fiscal.
Exim Bank plans to raise up to $3 billion from overseas markets this fiscal.
In 2016-17, the bank raised more than $2 billion from markets abroad. Depending upon market conditions, Exim Bank borrows money tapping overseas resources.
Even if Bank doesn't use money right away, it can deploy it as liquidity because as a financial institution it has to think long term.
Exim Bank funds long-term projects in Africa, SAARC countries and those in Far East. Of its total funding every year, half of the credit goes to African nations.

Karnataka Bank targets Rs. 1,10,000 crore turnover for 2017-18.
The city-based Karnataka Bank, a premier private sector bank in the country, is targeting a business turnover of Rs. 1,10,000 crore in 2017-18 fiscal. It was eyeing deposits of Rs. 64,500 crore and advances of Rs. 45,500 crore.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank P. Jayarama Bhat highlighted its performance during the financial year 2016-17 and rolled out the business agenda for the new fiscal.
As on March 31, 2017, the bank has 2,145 service outlets comprising of 765 branches and 1,380 ATMs across the country.
The bank also has 110 e-lobbies and mini e-lobbies.

April 4

RBI clears proposal to introduce Rs. 200 notes this June.
The board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cleared a proposal to introduce banknotes of Rs. 200 denomination.
The decision was taken at the RBI board meeting in March.
The process of printing the new Rs. 200 notes is likely to begin after June, once the government officially approves this new denomination.

SBI cuts benchmark lending rate by 0.15 per cent to 9.10 per cent.
Country's largest bank SBI has reduced benchmark lending rate by 0.15 per cent to 9.10 per cent, a move that will lower EMIs for borrowers.
Base rate or the minimum lending rate of the bank has been reduced from 9.25 per cent to 9.10 per cent effective April 1. The bank has also reduced its base rate by 0.05 per cent to 9.25 per cent.
Similarly, Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR) has also been reduced by similar percentage points to 13.85 per cent from 14 per cent.
With the reduction, EMIs for the new as well as existing borrowers who have taken housing and car loans at base rate will come down by at least 0.15 per cent.

ICICI, Axis Bank sell Rs. 1800 crore Ballarpur loans to Edelweiss.
Axis Bank and ICICI Bank sold Rs. 1,800 crore of loans to paper maker Ballarpur Industries to Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company.
It's also the first time that without a haircut loans have been sold to an asset reconstruction firm at book value.
Axis Bank sold loans of Rs. 1,200 crore and ICICI Bank sold loans of Rs. 600 crore.
Ballarpur Industries a flagship company of Avantha Group deals in the paper and pulp sector. The company will be unable to serve its Rs. 600 crore loans in time.

April 5

Aditya Birla Group gets RBI licence to start payments bank.
Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank Ltd becomes the seventh entity to receive a final licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up a payments bank.
Except Vodafone M-Pesa Ltd, all payment bank licence holders have received the final approval. Last week RBI granted a final licence to Fino Pay Tech Ltd and National Securities Depository Ltd.
Among payment bank licence holders, two entities namely Airtel Payments Bank and India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) have started operations so far. While Airtel is offering 7.25 per cent interest on its savings account, IPPB is offering three types of accounts where interest rates will vary from 4.5 - 5.5 per cent.
Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank is a 51:49 joint venture (JV) between Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd (ABNL) and telecom major Idea Cellular.

Yes Bank's IBU at Gift City crosses $1 billion business.
Mid-sized private sector lender Yes Bank the balance sheet of its international banking unit (IBU) in the GIFT City has crossed the $1 billion mark in the past financial year.
The lender, which was among the first to open shop in the country's first designated international financial services centre in Ahemedabad, claimed it is the first among lenders to touch the milestone.
Sectors in which it has worked include agriculture, affordable housing, media and entertainment, financial services, aviation, ports and logistics, manufacturing and telecom.

April 6

5 key takeaways from RBI's first bi-monthly policy statement, 2017-18.
The Reserve Bank of India, in its first monetary policy review of financial year 2017-18, kept the repurchase (repo) rate unchanged at 6.25 per cent, citing upward risks to inflation and global uncertainty.
The Monetary Policy Committee, however, raised the reverse repo rate by 0.25 basis points to 6 per cent, and cut the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate to 6.5 per cent.
The decision of the MPC is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth.
RBI hiked reverse repo rate by 25 bps to 6.00 per cent thereby reducing the corridor between repo and reverse repo to 25 bps from the existing 50 bps. The essential aim seems to be ensuring a sharper focus on the keeping overnight rates (especially the overnight call money rate) aligned to the repo rate.

IDBI Bank cuts deposit rates by up to 75 bps.
IDBI Bank has reduced interest rates, ranging from 50 to 75 basis points, on retail term deposits (RTD) with effect from April 5.
In the case of the first seven maturity buckets, starting from 15-30 days to one-two years, the public sector bank has cut interest rates by 50 basis points across the board. One basis point equals one-hundredth of a percentage point.
Following the rate cut, the highest interest rate that the bank now offers is 6.40 per cent (earlier 6.90 per cent) on deposits of one-two years maturity.

ADB lends $175 million to Power Grid Corporation.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended a $175 million loan to the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. this will be to support construction of high voltage transmission systems to evacuate power generated from new mega solar parks to the interstate grid, and improve reliability of the national grid system.
The project will improve the capacity and efficiency of interstate transmission networks, particularly in transmitting the electricity generated from the new solar parks to the national grid.
Apart from the evacuation of 2,500 megawatts (MW) of power from solar parks in Bhadla, Rajastha, and 700 MW from Banaskantha, Gujarat, PGCIL is also including two additional sub-projects that will increase solar power generation by 4.2 gigawatt and lessen carbon emissions by over 7 million tons every year.
In addition to the ADB loan of $175 million, the project includes $50 million co-finance from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) – a $5.8 billion component of the Climate Investment Funds aimed at providing developing countries resources to expand efforts in utilising low carbon technologies and transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources.

April 7

NEFT transfers to be faster as RBI cuts clearance time.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to slash clearance time for National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) in an attempt to enhance efficiency of the electronic payment system and add to customer convenience.
In line with the document on Vision-2018 for Payment and Settlement Systems, the NEFT settlement cycle will be reduced from hourly batches to half hourly batches.
Consequently, 11 additional settlement batches will be introduced at 8.30am onwards, taking the total number of half hourly settlement batches during the day to 23. This will enhance the efficiency of the NEFT system and add to customer convenience
The starting batch at 8am and closing batch at 7pm shall remain the same and the return discipline will also remain the same that is B + 2 hours (settlement batch time plus two hours) as per the existing practice.

Ban on cash transactions of over Rs. 2 lakh not applicable for bank, post office withdrawals.
The ban on cash transactions of more than Rs. 2 lakh a day will not apply to withdrawals from banks, post office savings accounts and cooperative banks.
The Finance Act 2017 prescribed to impose a penalty equal to the transacted amount on those who violated the rule restricting cash transactions.
It provides that no one can deal in cash in excess of Rs. 2 lakh a single day, in respect of a single transaction or transactions relating to one event or occasion.
The restrictions will also not apply to any receipt by government, banking company, post office savings bank and cooperative bank.

RBL Bank opens IFSC Banking Unit in GIFT City.
Commencing offshore banking operations from India, RBL Bank, announced the opening of its IFSC Banking Unit (IBU) at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).
The leading private sector bank had received an in-principle approval from RBI for setting up IBU in November, 2016. This will give RBL Bank access to international financial markets.
RBL Bank will raise foreign currency funds to meet its requirements in IBU and fund offshore subsidiaries of Indian companies, other foreign firms, and eligible Indian companies (via ECBs, bonds etc.).

April 8

Deadline for bank savings account holders to give PAN extended to June 30, 2017.
The tax department has given banks three more months till June 30 to obtain permanent account number (PAN) or Form-60 from all account holders as it looks to tighten the noose around evaders.
Though the deadline for getting the PAN or Form 60 (if PAN is not available) by banks ended on February 28, the tax department on notified the extension of the time till June 30.
In Income-Tax Rules 114B, in the fourth proviso, "for the figures, letters and words '28th day of February' the figures, letters and words '30th day of June' shall be substituted.
Rule 114B lists various transactions for which quoting PAN is mandatory. The tax department had in January asked banks, post offices and cooperative banks to document PAN or declaration of Form 60 received from account holders and maintains all records for transactions under Rule 114B of I-T Act.

HDFC Bank launches its UPI on Chillr app.
HDFC Bank has launched its UPI on multi-bank payment app Chillr. With this launch, HDFC Bank UPI will be available on Chillr, in addition to the bank's mobile banking app.
The launch of HDFC Bank UPI on Chillr will benefit customers of 44 banks that will now be able to conduct digital transactions seamlessly using the Chillr app. These transactions conducted on Chillr will go through HDFC Bank's UPI platform.
Started as India's first multi-bank payment app in 2015, Chillr has been running on IMPS with 11 banks prior to this launch and has achieved a milestone of monthly transaction value of over Rs. 500 crore.
With the launch of UPI, Chillr is targeting a monthly transaction value of $1 billion (Rs. 6,600 crore) and 10 million transacting users by the end of this year.

Canara Bank partners BSNL to upgrade bandwidth at all branches.
Canara Bank, a public sector bank, has embarked upon an ambitious project of upgrading the bandwidth at all its branches to 2 Mbps in partnership with BSNL.
The project was officially inaugurated jointly by Dina Bandhu Mohapatra, Executive Director, Canara Bank, in the presence of P.V. Bharathi, Executive Director, Canara Bank and other top executives of the Bank and BSNL.
The bandwidth upgradation of branches is in line with the bank's policy of promoting digital channels and shall be a game changer for ensuring faster service across the counters.
BSNL reiterated the commitment of BSNL in providing seamless quality service to the Bank. The bandwidth upgradation activity shall be completed in three months.

South Indian Bank, Flyworld Money in pact for remittances.
South Indian Bank has entered into an agreement with Flyworld Money Exchange to facilitate remittances by Indian expatriates in Australia.
Through this tie-up, NRIs in Australia could enjoy quick and cost-effective remittances to India using the SIB Express facility. Using this facility, NRIs can now remit funds with ease to any commercial bank in India. SIB has a correspondent banking arrangement with National Australia Bank for remittances to India.
With this agreement, SIB marks the first remittance arrangement with an exchange house in Australia. The new facility will enable the bank to reach the Indian Diaspora in Australia more efficiently.
Customers as well as non-customers can utilise this facility through the Flyworld Money Exchange across Australia or use the online platform provided by the exchange house to make remittances to India.

April 9

UK bank to pay Rs. 795 crore as compensation to fraud victims.
UK banking major Lloyds has announced that it is setting aside £100 million (Rs. 795 crore), to compensate customers who lost money in a fraud scandal.
The lender will compensate for ''economic losses, distress and inconvenience'' to assist victims.
This comes after some staff at HBOS, owned by Lloyds, were jailed for carrying out a loans scam.

Loan waiver schemes undermine honest credit culture: Urjit Patel.
Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel cautioned that loan waiver schemes "engender moral hazard", undermining honest credit culture and impairing incentives for borrowers to repay bank loans.
The comment comes against the backdrop of recent decision by the UP government to waive Rs. 36,000 crore in farm loans and increasing demand from politicians for similar concessions in other parts of the country.
It (loan waiver schemes) undermines an honest credit culture. It impacts credit discipline. It (impacts) incentives for future borrowers to repay. In another words, waivers engender moral hazard.
The move will benefit over 2.15 crore farmers, besides 7 lakh others who had secured loans which turned into non-performing assets (NPAs).

RBI to allow banks to invest in REITs, InvITs.
The Reserve Bank allowed banks to invest in Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs), a move that will help revive the cash-starved infrastructure sector.
Banks are allowed to invest in equity-linked mutual funds, venture capital funds (VCFs) and equities to the extent of 20 per cent of their Net Owned Fund (NOF).
''It is proposed to allow banks to invest in REITs and InvITs within this umbrella limit. Detailed guidelines will be issued by May-end 2017''.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has put in place regulations for REITs and InvITs and requested the RBI to allow banks to participate in these schemes.

April 10

Central Bank of India customer wins Rs. 1 crore under Modi's cashless scheme.
A transaction of Rs. 1,590 has bagged a Central Bank of India customer a lucky bounty of Rs. 1 crore under the Modi government's promotional scheme to popularise digital payments.
President Pranab Mukherjee picked up the lucky winners from the 100th draw of lots under digital payments promotion schemes at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
In the consumer section, the first mega prize of Rs. 1 crore went to a customer of Central Bank of India, while the second prize of Rs. 50 lakh went to a Bank of Baroda customer. A customer of Punjab National Bank is the winner of third prize of Rs. 25 lakh.
The winners will be felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 at Nagpur on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti.

Fino Paytech inks deal with ICICI group companies to distribute insurance products.
Fino Paytech, which just received the Reserve Bank of India's licence to launch a payments bank, has inked a deal with ICICI group companies to distribute insurance products and tied up with Exide Life insurance to sell products via its distribution channel.
Fino Payments Bank will sell life and general insurance products of ICICI Prudential and ICICI Lombard. Health insurance will also be provided by the non-life partner.
The payments bank will launch its operations with 3-4 products including current and savings account, business correspondent lending, remittances and insurance.
The bank will also offer a bouquet of products related with mobile recharge and bill payments which is currently offered though Fino Money Mart. The bank is still devising strategy on the sale of mutual products via its branches.

April 11

Manappuram Finance to launch co-branded prepaid card with YES Bank.
To promote digital financial transactions, the Kerala-based NBFC Manappuram Finance will launch its own co-branded prepaid card in tie-up with YES Bank.
The 'Manappuram YES Bank Prepaid Money Card' can be pre-loaded up to a maximum amount of Rs. 50,000 and then be used to withdraw money from all ATMs. As the card works on the popular MasterCard and RuPay networks, it can also be used for online transactions and at merchant establishments with PoS terminals.
The company will issue the prepaid cards to its entire base of 20 lakh customers and link their existing gold loan accounts to the card. This will enable them to withdraw money from ATMs across India. Moreover, customers can also withdraw money from any of the 3,300 branches of Manappuram Finance, a feature unique to this card.

Axis Bank cuts base rate by 10 bps.
Private-sector lender Axis Bank trimmed its base rate by 10 basis points (bps) to 9.15 per cent. The cut follows those by State Bank of India (SBI), which dropped its base rate by 15 bps to 9.1 per cent, and HDFC Bank that lowered the benchmark rate by 25 bps to 9 per cent.
Despite the recent series of cuts, the lowest base rate in the system - HDFC Bank's 9 per cent - is equivalent to highest one-year marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR).
The base-rate cuts are being viewed as efforts by lenders to restrict borrowers from switching to the MCLR. While fresh loans sanctioned after April 1, are supposed to be linked to the MCLR, a majority of loans in the system remain tied to base rates.

ESAF Small Finance Bank launches social deposit scheme Hrudaya Deposit.
ESAF Small Finance Bank has launched a social deposit scheme called Hrudaya Deposit at a function held in Thrissur.
The significance of the scheme is that a customer who deposit in it, becomes a part in nation building, as their deposits are used for the welfare and infrastructure development of the marginalized sections of the society.
An individual or a legal entity can join the Hrudaya Deposit Scheme with a minimum deposit amount of 15 lakh and for a minimum period of two years. An account can be opened through internet banking or by calling the Relationship Manager.
The compound interest will be given in every quarter as per the present rates. The customer will also have the opportunity to gain first hand experience of how their money is used to improve the lives of the ordinary people in the country.

April 12

Nabard to raise 7,000 crore to help fund rural housing.
To give a fillip to affordable rural housing, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is planning to raise 7,000 crore, which in turn will be deployed with a Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) special purpose vehicle (SPV) that will undertake projects under the aegis of the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana–Gramin (PMAY-G).
In view of the challenges facing affordable rural housing and in keeping with its rural development mandate, Nabard has initiated talks with MoRD for raising resources.
The PMAY-G aims to provide a pucca (permanent) house with basic amenities to all homeless households and those households living in kutcha (temporary) and dilapidated houses, by 2022.
The immediate objective is to cover one crore such households in three years from 2016-17 to 2018-19. The unit assistance is 1.20 lakh in plains and 1.30 lakh in hilly States, difficult areas, and Integrated Action Plan (for select tribal and backward) districts.

Align bank pay to that in CPSEs: Bank Board Bureau.
The Bank Board Bureau (BBB) has recommended that the government bring in reforms in the compensation process in public sector banks on the lines of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).
BBB, set up in April to select board members including MD & CEO in PSBs, put out the list of recommendations that it had submitted to the government on its website.
BBB has suggested compensation reforms in PSBs so that best practices can be introduced 'on the lines already prevalent in Central Public Sector Enterprises'. To attract high-quality talent for non-executive directors and chairmen, BBB suggested a level-playing field with the private sector with respect to role, responsibility and remuneration.

Postal Dept, SBI join hands to promote cashless transactions.
Department of Posts has joined hands with State Bank of India to promote 'SBI buddy e-wallet' and POS machines for cashless transactions at Post Office counters while booking speed post and registered post items.

P.K. Swain, Chief Postmaster General, Punjab Circle and Anil Kishora, Chief General Manager, SBI, Chandigarh dedicated SBI buddy e-wallet and SBI POS machines at Chandigarh General Post Office for the general public.
Installation of SBI Buddy e-wallet and POS machines will facilitate economy through digital payments/ cashless transactions in the post offices.

April 13

Amazon India gets RBI nod for mobile wallet.
Online marketplace Amazon India has secured a licence to operate pre-paid payment instrument (PPI) or mobile wallet in the country as it tries to compete more aggressively against rivals Snapdeal and Paytm.
The approval will help the US-based giant to cash in on the booming digital payments market in India.
Amazon Pay runs on the PPI licence issued to gift card provider Qwikcilver, in which Amazon had invested in 2014. It can now launch a prepaid wallet service that will compete with mobile wallets of Paytm and Snapdeal (Freecharge) that are accepted at other merchants also.
In December, Amazon had launched its Pay Balance service to cash in on the digital payments boom. Similar to other mobile wallet services, the payment mechanism, however, was restricted to transactions made on Amazon's platform.

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana tops target for 2016-17, loans cross target of Rs. 1.8 lakh crore.
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget for financial year 2016. It is an institution that would support the small entrepreneurs of India in the biggest possible way to help the Indian economy grow and prosper.
While large industries enjoy many facilities, there is an urgent need to focus on some 5.75 crore self-employed people who use funds of around Rs. 11 lakh crore, and have an average debt of merely Rs. 17,000 but they end up employing 12 crore people.
Loans extended under the PMMY during 2016-17 have crossed the target of Rs. 1.8 lakh crore. Government awaits final data from some of the minor non-banking lenders. The banks disbursed loans of Rs. 1.23 lakh crore while non banking financial institutions lent around Rs. 57 thousand crore.
For the fiscal 2017-18 the Union Budget has announced a target of Rs. 2.44 lakh crore for Mudra Loans. These loans are made available for non-agricultural activities for upto Rs. 10 lakh. They are also extended for allied-agricultural activities like dairy and poultry farming, Apiary or bee keeping etc.

April 14

Income-Tax department to probe over 60,000 'high risk' people under 'Operation Clean Money-II'.
The Income-Tax department has identified over 60,000 ''high risk'' persons for probe under the second phase of the 'Operation Clean Money' which was launched to detect black money generation post demonetisation.
According to CBDT the category of people who will undergo ''detailed investigations'' as part of the next phase of the operation include businesses claiming cash sales as the source of cash deposits, like petrol pumps and other essential services like hospitals, which is found to be excessive compared to their past profile or industry norms during the notes ban period.
The threshold under the first phase of the operation, that began on January 31 and ended on February 15, was kept at deposits made to the tune of Rs. 5 lakh and above.
More than 60,000 persons, including 1,300 high risk persons, have been identified for investigation into claims of excessive cash sales during the demonetisation period. More than 6,000 transactions of high value property purchase and 6,600 cases of outward remittances shall be subjected to detailed investigations.

World Bank approves $375 million loan for India's first waterway project.
The World Bank has approved a $375 million loan to India’s first waterway project. The National Waterway 1 project is to create a water transport fairway on a 1,360-km stretch of the Ganga river between Varanasi and Haldia.
NW1 passes through one of India’s most densely populated areas, and a sizeable 40 per cent of the country’s traded goods either originate from this resource-rich region or are destined for its teeming markets. While the region generates about 370 million tonnes of freight annually, only about 5 million tonnes currently travels by water.
The project will help build the infrastructure needed to develop water transportation in the area. It will finance the construction of six multi-modal terminals, 10 RORO jetties, ship-repair facilities as well as passenger jetties along the river.
The US $375 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 7-year grace period and a maturity of 17 years.


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