Consumer Issues
Amazon launches Kindle store in India

The India Kindle Store features a vast selection of titles, new releases, bestsellers, and works from a range of Indian authors. Amazon has also launched its bestselling e-reader Kindle at an introductory price of Rs6,999

 
New Delhi: US-based e-commerce firm Amazon today launched its Kindle store, which offers over one million e-books in India, reports PTI.
 
The company also launched its bestselling e-reader Kindle in the country at an introductory price of Rs 6,999.
 
“We are proud to launch this new Kindle store for Indian customers offering Kindle book purchases in rupees ... In addition, we are excited to work with Croma to make Kindle available at retail outlets across India,” Amazon.com vice president of Kindle content, Russ Grandinetti, said in a statement.
 
The India Kindle Store features a vast selection of titles, new releases, bestsellers, and works from a range of Indian authors, including Chetan Bhagat, Ashwin Sanghi, Ravinder Singh and Amish Tripathi.
 
“We are excited to be the first retailer in India to offer the latest generation Kindle to our customers. This product will launch exclusively in all Croma stores across India,” Croma CEO and managing director Ajit Joshi said.
 
Amazon also launched Kindle direct publishing (KDP) for independent authors and publishers in India.
 
KDP is a free and easy way for authors and publishers to make their books available to Kindle customers in India and around the world on both Kindle devices and free Kindle reading applications.
 

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Seven foreign banks given approval to open branches in 2012

Providing the information in the Lok Sabha, finance minister P Chidambaram said under the WTO, India is committed to allow foreign banks to open 12 branches in a year

 
New Delhi: BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered are among the seven foreign banks which have been given approval to open new branches in the country in 2012 till mid-August, reports PTI.
 
The other four which were also given approval are—Morgan Stanley Bank International, Westpac Banking Corporation, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait and State Bank of Mauritius.
 
In 2011, as many as 10 foreign banks were given permission to open branches in India, while the number stood at six in the year before that.
 
Providing this information in the Lok Sabha, finance minister P Chidambaram said under the WTO, India is committed to allow foreign banks to open 12 branches in a year.
 
“The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) may, however, go beyond the WTO commitments of 12 branch licenses, if the foreign banks open offices in unbanked\under-banked areas,” he added.
 
Standard Chartered Bank and State Bank of Mauritius have been given approval to open branches in under-banked areas.
 
Morgan Stanley, Westpac Banking Corporation and BNP Paribas received permissions for opening branches in Mumbai.
 
The approval to Societe Generale and Bank of Bahrain and Kuwati is to open branches at Sanand and Aluva, respectively.
 

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IDBI Bank launches floating rate deposit scheme

“Our bank’s FRTD (floating rate interest on retail term deposits) would allow our customers to take advantage of interest rate changes without closing and rebooking their fixed deposits,” IDBI Bank chairman and managing director R M Malla said

Mumbai: State-run IDBI Bank became the first lender to come out with a floating rate deposit product after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) nudged banks to switch to such mode of deposits in July, reports PTI.

 

“Our bank’s FRTD (floating rate interest on retail term deposits) would allow our customers to take advantage of interest rate changes without closing and rebooking their fixed deposits,” IDBI Bank chairman and managing director R M Malla said in a statement.

 

This is not the first time that any bank has launched such a product. Country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) had in fact experimented with such a product, only to be met with a poor response in the past and then scrapped it.

 

“Customers will not like to start a floating rate deposit when rates go down, while the bank will be wary of launching such a product in a scenario of rising rates,” an SBI official had explained as the reason for discontinuing the offer early this month.

 

The RBI, which is widely expected to soften its elevated interest rates going ahead, wants the banks to explore the product as it can help banks smoothen out their asset-liability mismatches as lenders carry higher interest rate deposits for a longer period.

 

RBI governor D Subbarao had discussed the possibility of launching such a product with bank chiefs at the customary post-policy meeting on 31 July 2012.

 

The IDBI product entails a minimum deposit of Rs10,000 or in multiples of Rs1,000 up to a maximum of Rs1 crore. The interest rate on deposit will move in tandem with a reference rate to be readjusted on quarterly basis, a bank statement said.

 

The reference rate will be arrived at as per the average yield on a 364-day Treasury bill auctions undertaken by RBI during the three months period, it added.

 

The deposit has a minimum one year lock-in period and is available in six maturity slabs ranging up to 10 years.

 

IDBI Bank’s fixed interest rate depositors have the liberty to move their deposit to the floating interest rate without any penalties, it said, stressing that the reverse is not allowed.

 

The product is expected to appeal to those retail depositors who, having borrowed at floating rates are exposed to interest arte risks, the bank said.

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