Banks to allow single ATM transaction for one PIN entry

New Delhi: Next time you go to an automated teller machine (ATM), be ready to re-enter your personal identification number (PIN) afresh for every transaction you wish to conduct, such as money withdrawal, balance enquiry and checking account details, reports PTI.

In order to check misuse of ATM cards by unauthorised people, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to allow only one transaction at ATM machines for one entry of PIN, which acts like a password for ATM transactions.

The transactions that a bank customer can conduct through the ATMs, by inserting or swiping the card and entering the PIN, include withdrawal of money, deposits, fund transfer, bill payments, checking account details etc.

Previously, customers were allowed to conduct multiple transactions through the ATM by punching in their PIN only once in a single session.

However, the practice was vulnerable to misuse by unauthorised people, especially in case authorised customers forgot to collect their ATM card after conducting the transaction.

There have also been cases when some people tamper with the ATM machines in a way that a customer cannot collect the ATM card after conducting the transaction. Once the customer moves out of the ATM machine thinking that the withheld card needed to be collected from the bank, the fraudster goes into the ATM and withdraws money as previous session remains active with the PIN already punched in.

Having received several complaints about the vulnerabilities of the existing practice, the RBI has asked the banks to make changes in their systems to allow only one transaction for every entry of the PIN.

Although, RBI had asked all banks to follow these guidelines with effect from 1 January 2011, some of the banks are still in the process of updating their systems with the required changes. In the meantime, the banks have started communicating to their customers about the changes in the way ATM transactions are conducted.

In one such circular to its customers, private sector bank HDFC Bank said: "As per RBI guidelines, you will need to re-enter your ATM PIN for every additional ATM transaction in a single session, with effect from 1 January 2011".

"Please ensure you enter the correct ATM PIN for every transaction to avoid any inconvenience," the bank said.

ATMs have become a preferred mode of banking transactions for both customers and banks, due to the convenience and cost-saving factors. The volume of ATM transactions increased from 17,797 lakh aggregating Rs4,38,151 crore during 2007-08 to 23,530 lakh aggregating to Rs6,16,456 crore during 2008-09, as per RBI data.


Manufacturers hike prices across sectors, boosting inflation even further

New Delhi: Be it cars, tyres, CNG or consumer durables like refrigerators, washing machines or microwave ovens, manufacturers across different sectors have raised prices in the last 10 days, citing increase in raw material costs, reports PTI.

The hike in prices of these items has come about over and above milk, onion, garlic, and other vegetables, which have become expensive in the past few weeks. Food inflation has crossed 14%.

Though the government is hopeful of inflation coming down to 6% by March, the latest price revision of the manufactured goods will exert more pressure on the overall inflation which was 7.48% for November, analysts say.

In the wake of rising prices of steel and other raw materials, several consumer durables manufacturers like LG and Whirlpool have increased prices up to 4%.

"Commodity prices are going up...this is a cause of concern on overall prices of the products," Whirlpool India vice president (corporate affairs and strategy) Shantanu Dasgupta had said.

For motorists driving CNG vehicles in the national capital, the New Year began with increase in their fuel bill.

Indraprastha Gas has increased the CNG prices from Rs27.75 to Rs29 per kg.

Cars too became costlier. While Tata Motors hiked prices up to Rs30,000, other auto firms like Mahindra & Mahindra, Hyundai and General Motors have announced their intentions to follow suit.

Some of the leading tyre-makers have also raised the price.

As regards food, onion prices after declining have returned to Rs45-60 per kg in different metro cities. Milk producers like Amul and Mother Dairy have raised the retail price by up to Rs2 per litre.

Given the increase in prices of both edible and non-edible products, containing overall inflation, measured by the wholesale price index (WPI) remains a big challenge for the government and the Reserve Bank of India.

"Any complacency on the inflation front is unjustified because the food inflation may remain sticky. With higher government spending in the last quarter, demand may further go up and prevent the prices to come down," said Ficci director general Rajiv Kumar.

The central government expenditure rose by 15% during the first three quarters to Rs6.90 lakh crore from Rs6.21 lakh crore in the year-ago period.

The government expenditure for fiscal 2010-11 has been budgeted at around Rs11 lakh crore. The expenditure in the last quarter of this fiscal may cross Rs4 lakh crore at a time when there is a cash crunch in the economy.

Increasing prices of raw materials like coal and iron used in steel making has forced several companies to raise the product prices. Companies like SAIL and JSW Steel have hiked their prices.

"We have increased prices across all product categories by 3% on high input costs," a senior company official of SAIL had said.

Cement prices in various metros too have inched up. According an industry expert, cement prices in Mumbai and Maharashtra have increased by an average of Rs10 per bag. The hike in cement and steel prices would also push the real estate prices.


India overtakes China as most attractive market for Japanese firms

Tokyo: India has overtaken China as the most attractive overseas investment destination for Japanese manufacturers over the next decade amid increased labour costs in China, reports PTI quoting a survey.

China, however, remained the most popular investment destination over the next three years in the survey conducted last summer, having retained top spot since fiscal 1992 when the state-backed financial institution began conducting the survey by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

The result suggests that an increasing number of Japanese companies are aiming to diversify foreign investment amid caution about rising labour costs and anti-Japanese demonstrations in China.

An additional survey conducted in November in the wake of bilateral tension over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea provided further evidence of the trend.

China no longer dominates Japanese foreign investment and Japanese companies "are increasingly turning their attention to such (emerging) markets as India and Vietnam," said Toshiharu Mimura, a senior economist at JBIC.

In the survey conducted in the summer of 2010, in which multiple responses were allowed, 74.9% of the 605 Japanese manufacturers selected India as their investment destination over the next 10 years, compared with 71.7% that chose China. In the previous year, China was first and India second.

As a destination over a shorter period, China came top at 77.3%, followed by India at 60.5% per cent, Vietnam at 32.2%, Thailand at 26.2%, and Brazil at 24.6%.

The companies that chose China and India said they viewed the two markets as having high growth potential.

Many companies, however, expressed concern over rising personnel costs in China amid the country's rapid economic growth, as well as labour issues, apparently reflecting a recent rise in disputes between Japanese firms and Chinese workers seeking wage hikes.

In the follow-up study to gauge the investment stance of Japanese companies after maritime collisions between a Chinese trawler and Japanese patrol boats near the disputed Senkaku Islands in September, 24.8% responded that China was not as attractive as before, while 46.9% said it was important to reduce their dependence on China and diversify investment risks.


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