Economy
China devaluation a risk, if long-term: Raghuram Rajan
Repeating his warnings about global markets being at risk of a crash due to competitive loose monetary policies adopted by rich nations, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Thursday said the recent devaluation of the Chinese currency poses a risk only if the depreciation continues for "longer term".
 
"If Chinese depreciation holds at the current level, it's not something we need to be overly concerned about. If it is the beginning of a more longer term depreciation, if it is part of a process of gaining competitive advantage, it has to be worrisome across the world," Rajan said here at the State Bank of India's Banking and Economics Conclave.
 
"You could have tit-for-tat actions," the Reserve Bank of India chief said.
 
"We will have to wait and watch the situation," he added.
 
In a move to deal with current economic weaknesses, the Chinese central bank lowered its daily reference rate by 1.9 percent last week, that rocked currency markets globally, affecting also the rupee.
 
Pointing to the very low interest rate policies of the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England in a bid to stimulate their economies, Rajan has been warning that emerging markets are especially vulnerable to big shifts in capital flows triggered by unprecedented monetary accommodation in rich countries.
 
"I think more generally across the globe, because of a weak demand, we've seen significant efforts to depreciate currency; you can call it monetary policy or direct exchange rate intervention. That's a worrisome trend," he said.
 
Moves like these, where countries devalue currencies due to low demand, can lead to a "free for all" on the global stage, he added.
 
Predicting the 2008 financial meltdown, which is still affecting global economy, Rajan in 2005 had argued that increasingly complex markets with myriad instruments of credit and mortgage-backed securities in ever greater quantities had made the global financial system a risky place.
 
Rajan also said the consequences of the Chinese devaluation have been felt on some of India's export items.
 
While there was a pick-up in the economy, Rajan said Indian exports continued to remain a worry and the RBI would keep an eye on exports in the coming times.
 
Exports during last month fell by 10.30 percent at $231.37 billion from $257.92 billion during July last year. Exports during June stood at $222.89 billion.
 
The downturn is a fallout of the prolonged worldwide economic slowdown, and a historic plunge in oil prices that has affected the price of petroleum products.

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Dedicated portal for education loans, scholarships
A dedicated web portal has been launched for the students to access all kinds of educational loans and government scholarships, an official statement said on Thursday.
 
The portal - www.vidyalakshmi.co.in - was launched by the finance ministry, the human resource development ministry and Indian Banks Association (IBA). 
 
The portal will provide a single window for students to access information and apply for various educational loans and government scholarships, the statement said.
 
A common education loan application form for students, ability to apply to multiple banks for education loans, facility for banks to download students' loan applications, facility for students to e-mail grievances, a dashboard to view the status and linkage to national scholarship portal for information on government scholarship are some of the features.
 
Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed to set up a fully IT-based student financial aid authority to oversee education loan and government scholarships under Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram (PMVLK) to ensure that no student missed out on higher education due to insufficient financial resources.
 
The launch of the portal is the first step in this direction, the government added in the statement.
 
As many as 13 banks have registered 22 education loan schemes on www.vidyalakshmi.co.in while five banks --SBI, IDBI, Bank of India, Canara Bank and Union Bank, have integrated their system with the portal.
 
National Securities Depository Limited e-governance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL e-gov) developed the portal and will maintain it.

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Tesla Motors, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Consultancy Services among word's most innovative companies
Three Indian companies figure in Forbes' annual list of The World's Most Innovative Companies topped by Tesla Motors, leading maker of fully electric vehicles.
 
Ranked 41st, Hindustan Unilever, India-based fast moving consumer goods company, tops the list of Indian Innovative Companies.
 
It operates in seven business segments ranging from soaps and detergents to tea and coffee and packaged foods.
 
It's followed by Tata Consultancy Services in the 64th spot. India's largest IT company appears on the list for the eighth time.
 
It took a major step toward bolstering its digital services with a training programme in digital technologies for a third of its workforce.
 
Ranked 71st, Sun Pharma Industries, India's largest drugs company, with 45 manufacturing sites across the globe, appears on the list for the fourth straight time.
 
Worldwide, Salesforce.com has been pushed to the No. 2 spot for the first time in five years. Alexion Pharmaceuticals follows at No. 3 for the fourth consecutive year.
 
Rounding out the top five are Regeneron Pharmaceuticals at No. 4 and ARM Holdings at No. 5.
 
The rankings are based on, what the US business magazine calls an innovation premium (IP), the difference between a firm's enterprise value and a net present value of cash flows from its existing businesses.

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