Those looking for safety and smooth returns from bond schemes like their fixed deposits, would be disappointed again
On 16th July, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tightened domestic liquidity to stem the rupee depreciation. As a result, banks started redeeming their surplus investments from liquid and gilt schemes of mutual funds. Mutual funds were net sellers of Rs12,546 crore, whereas FIIs were net sellers of Rs263 crore in the debt market. On account of the huge redemptions, bond yields shot up by 54 basis points from 7.56% to 8.01%, the biggest single-day gain since January 2009. The average net asset value (NAV) of bond schemes (having an asset above Rs100 crore) declined by 2.07% in a single day. Over the past two months, bond yields have gone up to 8.1% as on 16 July 2013 from a low of 7.09% as on 24 May 2013. During this period bond scheme have delivered a return of -3.09%.
While regular bond schemes declined by 2.94%, the much-touted dynamic bond schemes declined by 3.46%. This would have come as a rude shock to bond fund investors. They look for safety and smooth returns when they invest in bond schemes; an alternative to bank fixed deposits.
Over a one-year period ended 16th July, bond schemes delivered an average return of just 5.43% post tax – no better than bank FD. The top 10 bond schemes delivered an average post-tax return of 7.10% while the bottom 10 bond schemes delivered an average post-tax return of 3.74%. Dynamic bond schemes fared no better delivering an average return of 5.47% over the year. “Dynamic” is a marketing gimmick. Bond fund managers are incapable of timing the market since Central Bank can change the rules of the game overnight.
Considering that since April 2012, the RBI has cut interest rates by 125 basis points to 7.25% from 8.50%, this is not the kind of returns bond fund investors would be expecting. However, the massive sell off by foreign investors over the past month has led to a loss for bond fund holders. We are sure no Indian bond fund investors, bond fund managers or mutual fund companies had reckoned with this new factor – volatility in returns caused by FIIs entering and exiting the bond market. From the beginning of June to 15th July, FIIs have registered a net outflow of over Rs40,000 crore due to a changed outlook of interest rates in the US and the strength of dollar.
The Reserve Bank guidelines on counterfeit notes to banks indicates that banks will have to streamline their system in a manner that they have to bear the risk of receiving counterfeits rather than the common man who suffers a loss by unknowingly comes into possession of such notes
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed banks to collect counterfeit notes from depositors, mark them appropriately and also give credit to the customer for value of notes submitted.
“Detection of counterfeit notes, at banks, should be at the back office or currency chest only,” the RBI said in a circular issued on 27 June 2013 . “Banknotes when tendered over the counters may be checked for arithmetical accuracy and other deficiencies like whether there are mutilated notes, and appropriate credit passed on to the depositor or account or value in exchange given,” it added.
The RBI has further said that banks, which detect and deposit such counterfeit currency, would be compensated to a small extent. In the circular the central bank said, “It has been decided to compensate the banks 25% of the loss incurred in respect of counterfeit notes of Rs100 and above detected by them and reported to RBI and Police authorities.” This means that banks will not be absolved of the duty to check for counterfeits, but would not be the losers when a small number of fakes get past them.
The problem of counterfeit notes has been escalating over the years. Recently, fake Indian currency, worth Rs37 lakh from a Chinese source was detected at a Delhi restaurant. In another recent case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed clear link between Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir-based terror outfits pooling their resources to circulate fake Indian currency and using it to fund jihadi activities in India, says a report from India Today.
According to RBI, reporting and detection of counterfeit notes has not improved on its expected lines. RBI said although 90% of the currency chests are with the public sector banks, they account for reporting of a mere 10% of counterfeit notes, while private sector banks with less than 10% of currency chests are reporting 90% of such cases.
The central bank also warned that it would penalize banks that do not report counterfeit notes in its branch or currency chest. Banks would be penalized if found holding counterfeit notes in its branch or currency chest without reporting it to RBI or Police, during an inspection by the RBI. “It will be construed as willful involvement of the bank concerned in circulating counterfeit notes, and appropriate penalty strict regulatory measures against the bank including stringent disciplinary action will be imposed by RBI,” the circular said.
Here are the RBI’s guidelines for detection of counterfeit notes to banks…
1) The process of detection of counterfeit notes should be carried out at back office or currency chest only. Banks can check arithmetical accuracy and other deficiencies like mutilated notes at counters and passed on appropriate credit to the depositor/account or value in exchange given.
2) Thereafter the notes should be passed over to the back office or currency chest, as the case may be, for detailed verification and authentication through machines.
3) The notes categorized as suspect during machine processing should be subjected to manual verification for checking their authenticity.
4) The notes identified as counterfeit should be kept separately with proper impounding stamp in the prescribed format. Details of each impounded note should be recorded under authentication in a separate register.
5) There will not be any requirement to issue acknowledgement to the tenderer.
6) In the cases of detection of up to four pieces of counterfeit notes, in a single transaction, consolidated monthly statement should be sent to the Nodal Police Station through the Nodal Officer of the bank. In case of detection of five or more pieces, FIR in the prescribed format should be lodged.
7) Banks should monitor the patterns or trends of such detection and suspicious trends or patterns should be brought to the notice of RBI or Police authorities immediately.
8) The reporting procedure to the Regional Offices of RBI in the prescribed format will remain unchanged.
It also observed that despite the measures and after rationalizing the procedure of filing first information reports (FIRs), the detection and subsequent reporting of counterfeit notes by banks continue to be inadequate. This has serious repercussions in that the Reserve Bank is not in a position to assess the number of counterfeit notes in circulation and its ramifications for the economy.
In past we saw many cases of counterfeiting of currencies, but in India it’s not as big which affects the economy as a whole. Involvement of Pakistan ISI and Counterfeit Currency boosted from Bangladesh borders may spread many Counterfeit Currency across the country but RBI also take initiatives to protect it, RBI launched website to explain detection of fake currency. As Prevention is always better than cure to prevent yourself be aware and alert! Still if you stuck with few counterfeit notes, make sure that you deposit it in your bank!
Reported by Vishrut Patel
Officials are visiting every house in the vicinity of Dharmasati Gandavan village to find out about any deaths that had not come to the knowledge of the authorities
Death toll in the Chhapra mid-day meal tragedy rose to 23 with the death of one more child. At present 25 others, including 24 children and a cook, are undergoing treatment in the Patna Medical College and Hospital.
Seventeen schoolchildren died in the Sadar Hospital in Chhapra. Four were declared brought dead on arrival at PMCH on late Tuesday night and two lost their lives during treatment at PMCH on Wednesday.
PMCH Superintendent Amarkant Jha Azad contradicted media reports about some fresh deaths, including that of the cook Manju Devi.
Principal of the school Meena Devi was absconding with her husband and the police was conducting raids against them. The Principal, against whom an FIR has been lodged, has already been suspended by the administration.