Companies & Sectors
Allahabad HC grants interim relief to 'Freedom 251' makers
New Delhi : In some respite to India's cheapest smartphone makers, the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday granted interim relief to Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd -- the Noida-based firm that created a global buzz after announcing the launch of the controversial Rs.251 "Freedom 251" smartphone last month.
 
While hearing the plea, the division bench of Justice B.K. Narayan and justice Shashi Kant ordered the UP state government to furnish a status report on an urgent basis by April 5, further directing that no coercive steps be taken till then against the three top accused - directors Mohit Goel and Dharna Garg and president Ashok Chadha.
 
A first information report (FIR) was registered last week against Goel and company president Ashok Chaddha under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the Information Technology (IT) Act on a complaint filed by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya.
 
The court also directed the petitioners to submit their passports to SSP Noida within 24 hours.
 
According to lawyer Abhishek Vikram representing Ringing Bells, the three petitioners will "fully comply with the orders of the court by submitting their passport and will provide full cooperation to the investigation agency".
 
"We have nothing to hide. We are committed to affordable smartphones to people of this country and we shall achieve that. We will stick to fair practices and comply with regulations of our great country," Mohit Goel, director, Ringing Bells, told IANS.
 
"We remain committed to cooperate with any government agency that may need to inquire our organisation for any reason or suspicion. We have already done so with authorities/agencies that have so required," Goel added.
 
"I do maintain that we will deliver the most affordable quality products to our customers through our range of smartphones including 'Freedom 251'," Goel added. 
 
Ringing Bells launched the product last month in the presence of veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi. 
 
It distributed some "prototypes" of the product to the media which turned out to be Adcom handsets. However, the company maintained that the device has been developed "with immense support" from the government.
 
According to the company, 'Freedom 251' will run on Android 5.1 operating system and will sport a 4-inch qHD IPS display, a 3.2-megapixel primary and a 0.3-megapixel front camera.
 
However, doubts were raised after assessments of the viability of the handset found that such a device cannot be offered for less than Rs.2,300-2,400.
 
Ringing Bells had received 30,000 orders on the first day.
 
The rest of the customers for the first 25 lakh handsets were to be selected on first-come-first-served basis as the company received about seven crore registrations before the payment gateway crashed. 
 
Later, the company decided to return the money to the customers who pre-booked the Rs.251 device on the first day of the sale. 
 
The company said it planned to give 25 lakh handsets in the first phase before June 30.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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RBI's amended MCLR norms negative for banks
Since working capital loans will now be linked to MCLR, it will make them rate sensitive and affect margins in a downward interest-rate environment for banks, according to Religare
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made four changes to the marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) system which comes into effect from 1 April 2016. However, since fixed-rate loans up to three years will be linked to MCLR, it would be clearly negative for banks, says a research report.
 
Religare Capital Markets Ltd, in the note says, "Our interaction with bankers suggests that banks were thinking of using the fixed-rate loan approach to price working capital loans in order to avoid the margin impact. However, most of the working capital loans will now be linked to MCLR, making them rate sensitive. This will affect margins in a downward interest-rate environment."
 
As per the earlier guidelines, all fixed-rate loans were exempt from being linked to MCLR as the benchmark for determining interest rates. It has now been decided that fixed-rate loans up to three years shall be priced with reference to MCLR. Fixed-rate loans of tenor above three years will continue to be exempt.
 
As per the amended MCLR norms, banks will have flexibility in computing marginal cost of funds, which according to Religare is technical relief and its impact on net interest margin (NIM) would be minimal. 
 
Earlier, to compute the marginal cost of funds, banks were asked to reckon the balances of deposits and other borrowings outstanding as on the previous day of reviewing the MCLR. Now banks have been given the option to reckon the outstanding balances of deposits and other borrowings as on any day not more than seven calendar days prior to the date from which the MCLR becomes effective. The chosen time lag shall be maintained consistently for a period of not less than one year.
 
Religare says even the method for calculating tenor of MCLR is more technical in nature. As per the amended norms, MCLR calculated shall correspond to the tenor of funds in the single largest maturity bucket, provided this is more than 30% of the entire funds reckoned for determining the MCLR, and the weighted average tenor of two or more maturity buckets that together account for more than 30%, if no single maturity bucket accounts for over 30% of the funds. The maturity bucket shall be arrived at by calculating the cumulative weightage based on the descending order of maturity time buckets.
 
Similarly, the prevailing date of disbursement is also more technical in nature as MCLR prevailing on the date of disbursement will apply on floating rate loans. The RBI has intimated that floating rate loans will be priced at the MCLR prevailing on the date of first disbursement (be it partial or full) instead of the date of sanction guided earlier. These loans will continue to be priced at that rate till future reset dates are determined. Religare says it continues to maintain its negative stance on the banking sector.

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COMMENTS

s kumar

1 year ago

RBI should make MCLR applicable to NBFCs and MFIs too.

B. Yerram Raju

1 year ago

Religare's apprehension apparently seems not well founded as the MSME loan portfolio is not of the size of the corporate debt. Second, several MSME loans beyond Rs.10lakh limit are collateralised and most of these loans are being classified as NPAs almost at the drop of the hat. Several of the MSMEs are vendors to the corporates supplying intermediary products. With the corporate defaulting on payments of bills according to the tenor and the MSMEs mostly operating in captive markets end up as NPAs.
They have no systemic recourse. Most PSBs have slapped the SAFRAESI Act provisions on the collateralised loans and the RBI should have redefined the NPA scheduling for this sector within Rs.10lakhs to Rs.100lakhs. Up to Rs.10lakhs several banks are lending against CGTMSE cover which factor has not been reckoned in the latest instructions.
Treating all loans beyond Rs.10lakhs up to Rs.2500lakhs with the same brush is patently wrong.
No Bank has been implementing the Corrective Action Plan although such instruction has been in vogue from 2nd June 2015 as per the guidelines issued by the MSME Ministry.
Most of the PSBs are ruthless in applying the rule and impounding the assets when it comes to the MSMEs because the later do not have the ability to fight.

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