All banks must issue savings account pass book: RBI

Under existing rules, banks are expected to offer pass book facility to all individual savings bank account holders. In case banks offer the facility of sending statement of account and the customer chooses it, banks must issue that on monthly basis

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday directed all banks to offer the pass book facility, without any charges, to all customers holding a savings account, reports PTI.

“It has come to our notice that some banks are not issuing pass books to their savings bank account holders (individuals) and only issue a computer generated account statement even when the customer desires pass book facility.

“Banks are, therefore, advised to strictly adhere to the instructions...” the RBI said in a notification.

Under the existing rules, banks are expected to offer pass book facility to all individual savings bank account holders.

In case banks offer the facility of sending statement of account and the customer chooses it, banks must issue that on monthly basis.

At present, some private sector banks do not provide the pass book facility.

Meanwhile, in another notification, RBI has asked banks to ensure that demand drafts of Rs20,000 and above are issued with account payee crossing.

“Instruments with account payee crossing are required to be credited to the payee’s account and not paid in cash over the counter. However, some unscrupulous elements use demand drafts without any crossing for transfer of money as an alternative to settlement through cash,” the RBI said.

In view of concerns raised, it said, RBI reiterates that banks shall strictly adhere to the instructions and not collect account payee cheques for any person other than the payee constituent.

Banks may note that the above prohibition and relaxation shall also extend to drafts, pay orders and bankers’ cheques, RBI notification said.

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‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement reaches Dalal Street

India becomes the 83rd country and Mumbai the 1,501st city to witness the protests which started in New York’s Wall Street against greedy capitalism and corporate greed

Mumbai: The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement reached the financial capital today with a small crowd of Left-leaning activists protesting on Dalal Street where the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is located, reports PTI.

India becomes the 83rd country and Mumbai the 1,501st city to witness the protests which started in New York’s Wall Street against greedy capitalism and corporate greed.

The Occupy Wall Street movement started in the private park Zuccotti in New York’s downtown Manhattan area in September which caught attention of the rest of the world, particularly in the West which is reeling under an extended period of financial turbulences since the fall of Wall Street titans in September 2008.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has taken the lead in the stir against corporate greed and the failure of the capitalist model of development.

Activists from CPI, its student wing All India Youth Federation and the All India Bank Employees Association and others started assembling on the high security street. They were taken into preventive detention as soon as they started sloganeering and unfurling banners.

The protesters included Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of the Mahatma Gandhi.

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Freeing diesel prices will cool down inflation eventually: Chief economic advisor

“It is important to explain to our people that if we subsidise diesel artificially, by running up a large fiscal deficit, that would also exert an upward pressure on prices,” chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu said

New Delhi: On a day the government was battling the political fallout of petrol price hike, its economic advisor pitched for a bold decision on freeing diesel prices, which he claims would eventually cool down inflation, reports PTI.

“I personally believe that we should decontrol diesel prices, which will take some pressure off the fiscal burden.

And in the long run, it will cause inflation to go down,” chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu told PTI in an interview.

Inflation should ideally be below 5%, he said.

“However, (it is) important to explain to our people that if we subsidise diesel artificially, by running up a large fiscal deficit, that would also exert an upward pressure on prices,” Mr Basu said.

In September, headline inflation was measured at 9.72% and food inflation has risen to a nine-month high of 12.21% for the week ended 22nd October.

While petrol prices are market-linked, the government administers the prices of LPG, kerosene and diesel backed by heavy subsidies.

Only Thursday oil marketing companies increased petrol prices by Rs1.80 per litre. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has acknowledged that the hike in petrol prices will have some impact on inflation.

Both Congress’ allies and opposition parties have slammed the price hike and have sought its roll back.

Petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy has sought a meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) to devise ways to cut the mounting losses to oil marketing companies due to the pricing of diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene as oil companies.

Prices of the cooking fuel and diesel were last revised in June.

Mr Basu, who also heads a prime minister-appointed panel on inflation, said deregulating diesel prices will make India a more responsible country environmentally, because then “we will not encourage over-consumption of diesel over other more environment-friendly energy substitutes”.

On inflation, he said bringing it down is a priority.

“I would like Indian inflation to be kept firmly below 5%. In fact, I would like a target of 4%. That gives you flexibility for relative price adjustment and also purchasing power parity adjustment, which is natural during high growth,” he said.

The CEA, however, admitted that India won’t be able to bring down inflation to the target of 5% by the end of the fiscal.

“But if we can reach 5% or less sometime toward the end of the next calendar (2012), that would be good,” he added.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has hiked interest rates 13 times since March 2010, in its bid to tame inflation, a cause of big concern for the government.

The central bank expects inflation to moderate to 7% at March-end and Mr Basu agrees with the forecast.

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