Money & Banking
Bank credit continues to trail deposit growth

Most of the banks are seeing muted loan growth this fiscal as the economy is yet to pick up

 

Indian commercial banks’ credit grew 10.38% to Rs64.42 lakh crore in the fortnight to 6th February, shows data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
 
The advances were at Rs58.36 lakh crore in the same period last year.
 
Most of the banks are seeing muted loan growth this fiscal as the economy is yet to pick up.
 
Last week, State Bank of India (SBI) said it expected credit growth to be at 10% in FY15, while the second largest lender Bank of Baroda is looking at a loan expansion of 11%-12% in the current fiscal.
 
According to the data, bank deposits rose 11.77% to Rs84.62 lakh crore in the period under review as against Rs75.71 lakh crore a year-ago.
 
Demand deposits grew 11.61% to Rs7.58 lakh crore from Rs6.79 lakh crore in the same period last year.
 
In the reporting period, time deposits were up 11.79% to Rs77.05 lakh crore as against Rs68.92 lakh crore last year, the data showed. 
 

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Daylight murders of RTI activists, whistleblowers. Does the govt care?
The recent assault on Govind Pansare in Kolhapur shows how whistleblowers are at the receiving end of brutality and hated by interested elements across the country. RTI activists of Odisha have submitted the fact-finding report on the recent murder of Krupasindhu Sahu, a 40-year-old RTI activist demanding a high-level independent inquiry by the state government
 
Forty-year-old Krupasindhu Sahu, a resident of Nachhinga village in Cuttack district was murdered on 26 January 2015, allegedly for procuring information that exposed corruption and financial misappropriation in the Bringing 2nd Green Revolution in East India (BGREI) funds. This is just after a month of the murder of another Right to Information (RTI) activist Ganesh Chandra Panda from Rangeilunda village of Ganjam district, who was allegedly killed for exposing huge corruption in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) scheme.
 
Earlier this week, Govind Pansare, the leader of anti-toll movement in Maharashtra and his wife were shot at while returning from their morning walk in Kolhapur. According to police, two unidentified assailants on a motorbike accosted the couple around 8am and fired at least four rounds from close range before speeding off. Leaders and activists across the political spectrum expressed outrage over the attacks reminiscent of the early morning killing of anti-superstitions activist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in August 2013. His killers are still absconding.
 
Distressed by the 30-odd murders and attacks on RTI activists reported every other day, over the last few years, a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the field of RTI across Odisha came together in Bhubaneshwar for a convention on 5 February 2015. The meeting was organised jointly by Human Rights Front, Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan and Civil Society Forum on Human Rights. It is pertinent to note that such assaults have become commonplace in practically every State. 
 
Besides this, a Fact Finding Committee comprising leading RTI activists who visited the spot and spoke to witnesses, have submitted the report to the Odisha government, demanding an independent inquiry and protection to whistleblowers. The team comprised Pradip Pradhan, state convener, Odisha Soochna Adhikar Abhihan, Manoj Jena, chairperson Human Rights Front, Bijaylaxmi Routray, member, Society for Fast Justice and noted activist Srikant Pakal. 
 
Incidentally, as soon as RTI supporters in Odisha circulated the fact finding mission report about the murder of Krupasindhu, the Commonwealth Human Rights Commission (CHRI) sent a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The NHRC has registered this case in addition to the complaints sent by other NGOs in Odisha. 
 
The forum has decided to unitedly to fight out corruption and irregularities in State administration and cooperate and support each other at the time of any type of attack on RTI activists in the state; and to carry out united action for protection of RTI Activists and to fight out corruption. They also decided to construct a memorial in honour of the martyrs who played the vital role of whistleblowers but were made silent, by taking away their lives.
 
The Fact Finding team has demanded high-level independent inquiry into the circumstances leading to murder of Sahu and role of some local politicians in this gruesome act. The Team also appealed to state government to direct the vigilance department to enquire into huge corruption and irregularities in BGREI fund in Niali Block. It also demanded legal action against officials of Agricultural Department and influential beneficiaries who have misappropriated funds and; the State Government should provide adequate financial support for survival of the family members and education of children of  Sahu. 
 
Excerpts from the report of the Fact Finding Committee:
The Team is of the view that RTI stands as a factor behind this pre-planned cold-blooded murder of Krupasindhu Sahu.  His use of RTI has brought to lime light the huge corruption and irregularities in BGREI fund sanctioned for development of agriculture in this Block by the influential and powerful political people. This expose enraged these people and created enmity with Krupasindhu.  Apprehending enquiry into this scam and recovery of fund from them, they got psychologically disturbed to save their image. They also threatened him to attack and murder him several times as reported by Gitanjali Sahu. It is presumed that these people whose name has been figured in FIR might have engaged Kartik Pani by paying supari (contract to kill) to murder Krupasindhu. The police has neither interrogated these people nor arrested him till yet. The Team is of the view that as these people are members of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the ruling political party of Odisha and hence the police has not dared to take any action against them.
 
Though FIR was filed on 28 January 2015, the Inspector-In-Charge did not take the case seriously. It may be the police have acted at the behest of the politically powerful people of this area.  It is also presumed that this is deep-rooted conspiracy hatched between the people involved in misappropriation of BGREI fund and the police which led to the murder of Krupasindhu by a dreaded criminal. The pre-planned strategy in connivance with the police provided golden opportunity to the criminals to murder him. The high-level enquiry can unearth the truth. In the absence of proper investigation, the criminals also dared to murder him without any fear and absconded. Detailed information can be obtained, if the all records of mobile no. ( M-94*******0, 94*******1, 91*******5) of Inspector-In-charge  can be investigated
 
The whole episode revolves around expose of misappropriation of BGREI fund through RTI by Krupasindhu. The role of the agriculture officials and NGO the SANSKAR behind murder cannot be ruled out. Apprehending arrest and recovery of fund which has been misappropriated by the beneficiaries in collusion with Agriculture officials, they might have joined and party to this conspiracy to murder conspiracy. There must be a high-level enquiry into misappropriation of BGREI fund in this Block.   
 
 
Fact Finding Team's findings:

Krupasindhu Sahoo, aged 40 is a farmer and earns his livelihood by cultivating his 5 acres of land. He was survived by his mother, wife and two children. At first, the Team members visited his house and interacted with his wife Gitanjali Sahu about the incident. His niece Gitanjali Sahoo also elaborated chronologically the event led to murder of Sri Sahoo. The excerpts of the discussion are as follows.

On 26 January 2015, Sahoo had gone to village market in the evening and did not return back. His wife got disturbed finding his delay to return to home and made repeated calls to his mobile which was found switched off. On 27 January 2015, the family members made fervent attempts to locate him and seared many places, but it went in vain. But his vehicle was found deserted near Mahaveer temple of the village. Finding the vehicle, the family members suspected that some unusual incident might have taken place. So, on 28 January 2015, Gitanjali Sahu received two mobile calls in different times ( at 8am and 7pm) from an unknown person ( M- 95839-83871) who demanded Rs30 lakh and three kg gold to release her husband who has been kidnapped and kept in some unidentified place. She expressed her helplessness and requested to leave her husband. Then, she filed an FIR in Niali Police station at 3pm to find out the whereabouts of her husband. On 31st January, the Police located the spot i.e., river bed of Tanla river where his dead body was found buried. The police team recovered the body and sent it to SCB Medical for post mortem. The Police also arrested Pratap Jena, nephew, sister and mother of the accused Kartik Pani, prime accused of same village who had returned from jail after seven years rigorous imprisonment on a murder cases. He was found absconding.

Gitanjali Sahu also shared with the team that three months back, her husband had submitted RTI Application to the office of District Agriculture officer, Cuttack seeking information about details of fund spent for SRI cultivation under BGREI and beneficiary list of Block Demonstration of HYV paddy in Krushnaprasad Gram Panhayat of Niali Block. This information supplied by the PIO exposed huge corruption and misappropriation of fund by the beneficiaries who have taken lakhs of rupees by making false bill in connivance with Agriculture officials and The SANSKAR, an NGO, which has been given the project to monitor the same. Armed with the information, Krupasindhu lodged a complaint to the authority seeking an enquiry into corruption and recovery of the fund. This enraged the beneficiaries of the misappropriation of fund who took several attempts to attack him and threatened him to murder. But he remained undeterred in his mission. His wife, in her FIR, has mentioned names of these people, who have threatened him of dire consequence several times.
 
The Team also visited the spot i.e., the house of prime accused where Krupasindhu was allegedly murdered.  This house was found deserted. The villagers said that when the prime accused Kartik Pani was jailed on murder case seven years back, his mother and sister left the place and stayed  at other places. The villagers also said that the prime accused who is still absconding was found accompanying Krupasindhu in the market on the evening on 26 January 2015. Kartik might have murdered Krupasindhu on same day. As he is hard-core criminal, he might have been given supari by the powerful people to kill Krupasindhu, which needs to be enquired by the investigating agency. 
 
The Team visited the Niali Police station and enquired to meet Satyabrata Lenka, Inspector-In-Charge. But, Nrusingha Charan Swain, SDPO, who has been responsibility to investigate into the matter said that the IIC had been asked by SP, Cuttack to go on leave. He had just joined on 31 January 2015 in his place. During interaction about the murder case, Swain apprised the team that Krupasindhu’s wife had filed an FIR and police had registered the case under IPC 364 on 28 January 2015 and started investigation. The Police have identified Kartik Pani as main accused who is absconding and arrested his nephew Pratap Jena, mother and sister after mobile phone tracking. The police team has recovered the decomposed body of Krupasindhu with help of Pratap Jena who had helped carrying dead body to river bed and sent it for post mortem.  The SDPO also said to start full-fledged investigation from 2nd February.  He also said that this is no doubt a pre-planned murder.  On query about whether any powerful people are involved in this murder, he said that it could not be ruled out. 
 
On the way back to Bhubaneswar, the Team came across the dead body in a decorated vehicle with flower  along the roadside of Niali market and gathering of hundreds of people.  The Team halted and met Rabi Mallik, ex-MLA of this area and discussed about the murder.  He said  Krupasindhu’s use of RTI has exposed misappropriation of BGREI fund by the powerful people, who have conspired to murder him in connivance of the police of Niali Police station. Satyabrata Lenka, IIC is also involved in this murder, he alleged. 
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
 

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COMMENTS

SuchindranathAiyerS

2 years ago

The simple fact of the matter is that India's Neta-Babu-Cop-Milard-Crony Kleptocracy wants to continue their criminal ways of amassing wealth without losing the respect that they imagined they had.

vishal

2 years ago

there is unbelievable level of corruption in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act ever since it was adopted by the previous Government. One can see this with open Eyes in rural sides with vested interest building huge mansions with money collected from poor labours. The whistle blowers are silenced as in the above cases with hired killers. What is more shocking is the Police is not involving in finding the crimes abetted by the corrupt. The Government must scrap this scheme and bring forward a alternative method to give employment opportunity to the needy with all fairness.

Aero show opens up new opportunities for manufacture in defence industries
The Aero Show in Bengaluru is expected to open up opportunities for making a whole range of defence-related products and services in India not only for domestic consumption but for exports as well
 
The 10th Aero India International was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, Bengaluru, watched by delegates from 33 countries, representing some 328 companies involved in the defence industries. The US leads with 64 participating companies, closely followed by France (58), UK (48), Russia (41), Israel (25) and Germany (17).  In support, it is reported that as many as 328 companies from these countries have sent their representatives, while 295 counterpart Indian companies are also in attendance to take advantage of the opportunities available during the five days show.
 
While inaugurating the show, Prime Minister Modi emphasised need to increase the domestic procurement of defence materials from the current 40% to 70% level, in the next five years, if not earlier! This Aero Show is expected to open up opportunities for making a whole range of defence-related products and services that can be made in India not only for domestic consumption but for exports too.
 
According to the media reports, India secures most of its advance defence needs from abroad and is expected to spend over $120 billion in arms acquisition over the next decade. The Budget for defence between 2014 and 2022 is an estimated $620 billion, 50% of which is likely to be on capital expenditure.  In order, therefore, to increase foreign participation, the government, which had restricted it to 26%, has suitably increased it to 49%, as this may encourage more inflow and interest in this area. There is adequate supply of raw materials and increasing number of skilled personnel, every year, which would "Make in India" a practical proposition. Besides, there are hardly any restrictions that would prevent the import of certain essential components that need to be brought from outside for incorporation in the final finished product, particularly for export!
 
In fact, one the major defence deals involving the manufacture of 126 Rafale fighter jets is expected to be finalised in the next few weeks as the French negotiating team arrive in March, to meet the team at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. HAL will also be associated with BAE Systems plc, Europe's largest defence contractor for the manufacture of 20 Hawk aircraft.
 
It may be noted that HAL currently manufacturers various types of aircrafts, and also are making 25 to 30 helicopters, both for military and civilian use. The government has plans to make 338, and, according to Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, private companies will also be roped in to make this possible. 
 
Among the Indian business community, Anil Ambani is reported to have said that his Reliance Group has plans to build a defence smart city, covering an area of 5,000 acres, to be able to house a fully integrated defence and aerospace infrastructure facility. This is expected to secure a piece of cake in the estimated $100 billion worth of defence related business that this sector would offer, in due course. According to the press, Reliance Defence and Aerospace (RDA) is likely to bid for 387 Army Reconnaissance & Surveillance Helicopters and 100 Naval Utility. Helicopters, estimated to be valued at about Rs25,000 crore!
 
Manohar Parrikar is reported to have said that the defence procurement procedure, covering various aspects, including the issues of middlemen and lobbyists will be made ready soon and this will make business in this area clear and transparent.
 
He has confirmed that Yelahanka, Bengaluru, has been chosen again to put up the 2017 Aero Show.  It is expected that this will attract even more new players in the defence related area, who would be able to assess the opportunities for making products in India for local supplies as well as exports, in the next two years!
 
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

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