Bank loan to MFIs is priority sector lending: RBI

As per the RBI norms, banks are required to lend 40% of their adjusted net credit to the priority sector, which includes agriculture, small-scale industries and other poor sections

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said that loans extended by banks to micro-finance institutions (MFIs) from 1st April onward will be classified as priority sector lending, reports PTI.

"Bank loans to all MFIs, including non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) working as MFIs on or after 1 April 2011, will be eligible for classification as priority sector loans if, and only if, they conform to the regulations formulated by the Reserve Bank," RBI governor D Subbarao said in the 'Monetary Policy Statement for 2011-12'.

The RBI has also decided to appoint a committee to review the priority sector lending classification, Mr Subbarao said, adding that the recommendations made by the Malegam Committee for the micro-finance sector have been broadly accepted.

As per the RBI norms, banks are required to lend 40% of their adjusted net credit to the priority sector, which includes agriculture, small-scale industries and other poor sections.

In January, an RBI committee headed by YH Malegam had recommended that interest rates on loans extended by MFIs should be capped at 24% and individual loans should not exceed Rs25,000.

The MFIs were allegedly charging a high interest rate of over 30%.

"The Reserve Bank has broadly accepted the framework of regulations recommended by the Malegam Committee. We have, however, adjusted some of the parameters recommended by the committee," Mr Subbarao said.

The panel has also suggested that small loans of up to Rs25,000 could be given to families having an income up to Rs50,000 per annum. On repayment, it said the borrowers should be given the option of weekly or fortnightly or monthly return of the loan.

It has said the recommendations should be implemented from 1st April 2011, for the benefit of the sector.

The panel also said at least 75% of loans extended by MFIs should be for income generation purposes. It further recommended that a borrower cannot take loans from more than two MFIs.

The RBI constituted the committee last October in the wake of allegations that overcharging and the use of coercive recovery practices by MFIs led to a spate of suicides in Andhra Pradesh.

The decisions taken by the state government to regulate MFIs slowed down the loan recovery process, hitting the financial health of the sector. It was further aggravated by the reluctance of banks to support MFIs.


Star HD: High-def headache!

The Star advertisements for its new high-definition broadcast system are a good example of poor advertising. For, you cannot use TV as an education medium. People watch TV to be entertained and not to learn science

Star India's five channels, Star Plus, Star Movies, Star World, Star Gold and Nat Geo have gone high-definition (HD). And that's great news. What's the point investing in a high-end HD TV if the telecast is low-def. Naturally, Star needed to advertise this development. But the creative is so bad, you wish they may as well have kept quiet, saved some money, and let the bahus and saases of their TV serials tell us this good news. Anyway, in-product advertising in TV programming has now almost become a norm.

Three rather tiresome commercials are on air to promote Star HD. What they try to do-and that is one of the key advertising don'ts-is to educate us stupid viewers on the science of high-definition television. For some really silly reason, this is hoped to be achieved through some pathetic conversations between two very irritating dudes, as they speed along on a national highway.

The setting of the ads is not only strange, it's pretty thoughtless. I can assure you two young chaps driving out on a holiday would have a lot of riveting issues to discuss, ranging from music to movies, to career, to girls and more girls. The last thing on their minds would be HDTV. And if on account of serious bad luck one was to be stuck with such a boring person, one would jump out of the car and hitch a hike with a bullock cart. Yup, their conversation is THAT bad.

Anyway, they discuss key requirements for high-definition television viewing. That an HD TV and an HD set-top box are faltu items without Star's HD content. And in order to inject a modicum of entertainment, in one of the ads, the youngsters compare a non-HD TV to a sugarcane juice extractor. The idea? One chap explains that a sugarcane machine will only produce sugarcane juice, and not mango milkshake, because the input is only sugarcane. Ergo, an HD TV without the Star HD will deliver poor output. Weird! Likewise in another commercial they chatter about the authenticity of a Rs500 note. And compare that to the asli Star HD. And to be honest, I simply skipped the third commercial, just didn't have the patience to even watch it once.
Good example of really poor advertising. No, you cannot use TV as an education medium, it never works. People watch TV to be entertained and not to learn science. This is well known and yet some marketers make the same folly again and again. No, two dudes on a highway will not discuss TV programming quality. And no, I am not buying Star's HD bouquet. Imagine watching such tripe on HD TV!!!



Aurobindo Banerjee

5 years ago

Thank you, C.Jyoti.
Not even the consumers' rights journals are ever interested in mounting a series of articles on the audacious, indecent and irrelelevant commercials run on the TV channels as their running fuel also comes fro the same bread-givers. Media-both print and electronic-live on the money from the companies releasing the ads. (commercial breaks !) and hence they too have a direct stake in the matter. Who wants to rock a boat or bite the hands that frrds? As a result, the society is a mute observer of the ads on women's most intimate privacies which cannot be discussed even in the evening ladies' drinking soirees, junk food id advertised with impunity and suggestions on safe conjugal happiness repeated umpteen times must be watched along with children and adolescents. As one writer commented recently im a lesser known periodical, while watching a commercial in the TV, a girl child wanted to knoe about a brand of packaged condoms and wondered if she could have one to play with! What better way to destroy the childhood of the million kids and the future citizens, with societal and State support?

The other aspect rightly highlighted by C.Jyoti is also very pertinent. Yes, the companies' evaluation of the IQ level of even the ordinary Indian viewers is very low. Acoording to them and the channer owners, the viewers must be idiots or are people with learning disability so as to make everything visually explicit, decency or taste notwithstanding.
Does anybody bother?


5 years ago

Star apart, the adverisers/companied assume and even believe that the bviewerrs are spastics or dumbheads so as to make every ad visually unpalatable for the crude manner in which the ads. (many even un-understandable) are projected. The other aspect which is conspicous is that, all the channels so aggressively agitated over scoops/sexual harassment/social discrimination/corruption/RTI/RTE/Indo-Pak bilatersl and freequent exchange of sojiurns/cricket (all the year round)/women's (i.e., high society, society ladies') liberation/CWG/2G/Hazare-Radiia-Raja-Kani-Karuna/and what not, are not even ashamed of carrying ads meant only for the high-end consumer goods for the topmost economic layer. So much for their social commitment (while many of their highprofile staffers are prominent in the Radiia exposures but still do not shy away from belligerantly interviewing senior ministers with 5-6 bdecades of political career behind them and calling them by their first names-as if these cretures of the media are omniscient and omnipotent. The govt. couldn't care less as the ministers and top bureaucrats are getting free mileage and expose in all the channels' prime time programmes! So, a poor rural family watching TV in their masters' house take it for granted that their children must take some particular drinks to become tall, their ladies nust use certain particular cosmetics to become beautiful in 7 days and also must use certain special tampons during the restrictive days, they (the couple) must use certain plasic things to maximise their pleasures of their conjugal life, and-above all-the children must eat only paticular type of meals/tiffin ready to cook in 2 minutes...and so on. One wonders that the organisers/leaders/frontrunners in the Hazare movement do not have time to protest these mundane things as such activities will not give them the coverage they got on the Jantar Mantar podium!

Sachin Purohit

5 years ago

I think they know the intellectual level of their target audience. Barring Nat Geo and Star Movies, the rest of the channels are watched by the intellectually deprived section of our society. Seriously, I wonder what good are those Saas-bahu dramas with jarry music and high pitch melodrama are going to be even in HD?!

Tight monetary policy necessary to tame inflation: FM

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said monetary policy tightening was required to contain inflation in the context of the volatility of commodity prices, including energy prices and food prices in the international market

New Delhi: Supporting the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) hawkish stance on the monetary policy, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the increase in the key rates was necessary to contain inflation, reports PTI.

"This (rate hike) was necessary to contain inflation.

Inflationary pressure in the economy is still very high," Mr Mukherjee told reporters after the RBI announced its annual monetary policy for 2011-12.

The central bank increased the repo rate (short term lending rate) by 50 basis points (bps) to 7.25% to rein in inflation, which was almost 9% in March. It is a signal for banks to tighten interest rates.

The RBI has pegged the year-end inflation at 6% but cautioned that for the first half of the fiscal 2011-12, the rate of price rise would be in the range of 9%.

The finance minister said monetary policy tightening was required "to contain inflation in the context of the volatility of commodity prices, including energy prices and food prices in the international market."

On the issue of growth-inflation trade-off, RBI governor D Subbarao said, "High and persistent inflation undermines growth by creating uncertainty for investors and driving up inflation expectations."

Agreeing with Mr Subbarao, Mr Mukherjee said the economic growth for the current fiscal would be influenced by international commodity prices and monsoon rains.

"It would depend upon the energy prices and on the behaviour of good monsoon.... We are hoping that there will be good monsoon," the finance minister said.

On rising crude oil prices in the backdrop of political upheavals in Middle East and North Africa, Mr Mukherjee said "that uncertainty is still there."

The RBI's gross domestic product (GDP) projection is lower at 8% for the current fiscal while the government had pegged it at 9%.


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