CRISIL sees Rupee regaining 50 level by March

The Indian currency will appreciate to touch the 50 level by next March provided certain measures are taken by the government urgently, the ratings agency said


Mumbai: Rating agency CRISIL on Monday said it expects the Indian rupee, which has been at the receiving end for quite some time and hit an all-time low of 57.32 to the dollar recently, will regain the 50 level by March-end subject to the government taking measures to revive growth, reports PTI.

The domestic currency will appreciate to touch the 50 level by next March provided certain measures are taken by the government urgently, the rating agency's research wing said in a note.

Measures like initiation of some policy measures to revive the sagging growth, no further worsening of growth and inflation and an easing of current account deficit due to softening of crude and commodity prices will help in the revival of the currency, the report said.

The note gave a chance of two in three for the rupee to appreciate to 50 levels to the dollar by the fiscal-end if there is improvement in the sentiment. Whereas, there is a one-third possibility of the rupee continuing to trade in the 55-57 range in case of a status quo in domestic policy setting, and no change in the Eurozone problems and the ongoing global turbulence.

The rupee has lost over 27% since last August to earn itself the distinction of being the worst performing currency in Asia due to various factors like worsening of the current account deficit and dwindling capital inflows because of investor doubts.

During early trade today it gained 6 paise to the dollar and was trading at 55.55. The recent downfall has seen it touch an all-time low of Rs 57.32 to the dollar intra-day and a closing low of 57.14 on 22nd June.

CRISIL said the recent fall in the rupee is characterised by higher impact of the country's rising vulnerability and relatively lower impact of external shocks.

The vulnerability arises from several factors like widening current account deficit, which touched a two-decade high of 4.2% last fiscal, declining import cover of foreign exchange reserves, a high private corporate debt servicing burden and slower growth, it said.

The shock element is much lesser as there are no events like the folding up of Lehman Brothers in 2008, in the US which are on the horizon, it said.


ICICI sells entire Rs430 crore Kingfisher loan to Srei Infra

Srei Infrastructure Finance bought the entire Rs430 crore loan of ICICI Bank given to Kingfisher Airlines. However, the bank still hold 3% stake in the debt-ridden airlines


Mumbai: A debt fund operated by Kolkata- based Srei Infrastructure Finance on Monday said it has bought out the entire exposure of ICICI Bank, worth around Rs430 crore, in the financially troubled Kingfisher Airlines, reports PTI.

Sanjeev K Sancheti, chief financial officer of Srei Infra Finance group confirmed the deal to PTI over phone from Kolkata and described the asset as "a good buy as it is a fully secured debt."

When contacted, an ICICI Bank spokesperson said, "We have recovered the entire debt exposure of Rs430 crore and currently we do not have any debt exposure to the Kingfisher Airlines."

However, ICICI still holds around 3% stake in the airline. Earlier it had 5.68% stake in the carrier, after converting the bonds the airline had issued it lenders following the November 2010 debt recast. Still 14 of the 18 lenders to Kingfisher together hold a little over 21% in the airline.

The Bangalore-based carrier promoted by liquor baron Vijay Mallya has been struggling to operate for nearly a year now as it has been unable to raise even working capital from banks following its over Rs7,500 crore loan turning an non-performing assets (NPAs) from January.

The carrier has not been paying salaries to employees for the past five months, besides defaulting on tax payments as well as bills to its vendors.

It has been seeking fresh bank funding since last December apart from raising overseas funds. .

Launched in May 2005, Kingfisher has not made a profit so far and has a total outstanding debt of Rs7,500 crore and an equal amount in accumulated loss.

Of the total loans, State Bank of India (SBI) alone has an exposure of Rs1,400 crore, followed by Punjab National Bank (PNB) at Rs700 crore and Bank of Baroda at around Rs500 crore.

Around 200 pilots are on strike since yesterday, protesting non-payment of salary, which they have not received for the past five months, forcing the airline to cancel four flights today morning.

Kingfisher currently has only 15 aircraft flying, including eight ATRs, while 15 of its aircraft are grounded due to non-availability of spares on account of fund crunch.

Its lessors have already taken back 34 aircraft after the company allegedly defaulted on the rentals amounting to around Rs1,000 crore.


Acid attacks: Supreme Court questions Centre, states on open sale

The apex court asked the Union and state governments to appraise it on measures to regulate the sale of acid to prevent its misuse as a weapon, particularly against women by their jilted lovers


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to appraise it of their measures to regulate the sale of acid to prevent its misuse as a weapon, particularly against women by their jilted lovers, reports PTI.

The court sought a 'comprehensive affidavit' from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which was asked to 'consider proper action' for making appropriate provision for 'regulation of sale of acids so that it is not easily or readily available to offenders'.

A bench of justices RM Lodha and AR Dave also asked all the state governments and Union territories to file their replies to the notices issued to them on 11 February 2011 for restricting the sale of acid to prevent the growing incidents of attack on women with it.

The court on 29th April this year had asked the Union Home Ministry to coordinate with the various states and the Union territories for formulation of an appropriate scheme.

The apex court had also sought the responses of the Centre and the state governments on whether any suitable scheme can be prepared by them to provide adequate compensation to the victims for their treatment and rehabilitation.

The court's directions came during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL), filed in 2006 by Laxmi, a minor girl whose arms, face and other body parts were disfigured in an acid attack.

Laxmi, through her counsel Aparna Bhat, had sought framing of a new law or amendment in the existing criminal laws like IPC, Indian Evidence Act and the CrPC for dealing with the offence and had also sought compensation.

Luxmi was subjected to acid attack by three youths near Tughlaq Road as she had refused to marry one of them. The trial is going on for the offence of attempt to murder and two of the accused are out on bail.

The Centre had earlier told the apex court that the report of the Law Commission on the issue was supplied to all concerned parties and the National Commission for Women has placed a draft legislation to make acid attack a serious offence.

The advocate had pleaded for a total ban of sale of acid as there were increasing number of incidents of such attacks on women in different states.

The counsel had submitted that even a small country like Bangladesh had banned the use of acid to prevent such attacks.

The apex court in its 11 February 2011 order had noted that during the pendency of this writ petition, the code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 has been amended and Section 357A has been inserted by Act 5 of 2009.

It also noted that the amendment requires every state government, in coordination with the Central government, to prepare a scheme for providing funds for the purpose of compensation to the victims or their dependants who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime and who require rehabilitation.

"Though the said section has come into effect on 31 December 2009 and more than a year has elapsed, we are informed that no schemes have been formulated by any of the state governments," the bench had noted in its order.

While issuing notices to the Centre and state governments in February 2011, the court had directed them to prepare schemes as provided in Section 357A for the purpose of providing compensation to victims of crimes, in particular, acid attack victims.


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