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Public comments sought on debt recovery laws amendment bill
A parliamentary panel looking into a bill to amend the country's debt recovery laws has sought comments and suggestions from stakeholders as well as the general public, an official statement said.
 
The comments/suggestions have been sought by June 22 on the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debt Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016, currently being scrutinised by a 30-member Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) headed by Rajya Sabha MP Bhupender Yadav, a Union Finance Ministry release said on Tuesday.
 
The bill seeks to amend four legislations -- Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (Sarfaesi) Act, 2002; the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993; the Indian Stamp Act, 1899; and the Depositories Act, 1996, to "improve ease of doing business and facilitate investment which will lead to higher economic growth and development", the statement said.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha last month in a move to expedite the process of resolving the debt issues burdening creditors, particularly at a time when state-run banks are severely stressed by bad loans and have posted record losses in the last quarter on account of provisioning for the same.
 
The bill has been referred to the JPC, which includes 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha.
 
Jaitley had in the 2016-17 Budget presented in February proposed to amend the Sarfaesi Act to enable the sponsor of an asset reconstruction company (ARC) to hold up to 100% stake in the ARC and permit non-institutional investors to invest in Securitisation Receipts.
 
The legislation proposes to give Reserve Bank of India the powers to regulate ARCs, prioritise secured creditors in repayment of debts and provide stamp duty exemption on loans assigned by banks and financial institutions to asset reconstruction firms.
 
Jaitley had also announced strengthening the Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) and computerised processing of cases to speed up the resolution of non-performing assets (NPAs) or stressed loans.
 
Around 70,000 cases are pending in DRTs.
 
The bill empowers the tribunals to issue summonses within 30 days of an application, directing the defendant to disclose particulars of properties and assets, and also pass an interim ex parte order restraining the defendant from disposing them.
 
The defendant will also be expected to deposit at least 25% of the debt due while filing for an appeal.
 
Amendments proposed with respect to Sarfaesi Act, 2002, include specific timeline for taking possession of secured assets, debenture trustees as secured creditors, as well as integration of "registration systems under different laws relating to property rights with the Central Registry so as to create a central database of security interest on property rights".
 
Gross NPAs of public sector banks rose from Rs.267,065 crore in March 2015 to Rs.361,731 crore in December.
 
As a proportion, they increased from 5.43% of advances in March 2015 to 7.3% as in December-end.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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BEL to manufacture Micro ATMs, Citizen Verification Devices
Public sector defence electronics major Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) on Wednesday announced its foray into manufacturing Micro ATMs and Citizen Verification Devices (CVD).
 
Capable of strengthening financial inclusion in the country, the portable BEL Micro ATM can facilitate a low-cost payment platform for all type of card transactions using a magnetic strip card or contact and contactless chip card.
 
"A banking professional carrying cash separately can execute banking operations in remote locations facilitated by the Micro ATM," said senior BEL staffer V. Mahesh overseeing their production.
 
He said the device which looks like a point of sale machine is fully secure and tamperproof, currently being used for Public Distribution System (PDS) schemes in some states.
 
Mahesh said nearly 5,00,000 Micro ATMs will be required in 2-3 years as central government is directing state governments to deploy such a solution.
 
BEL is currently executing its initial order of 4,000 Micro ATMs.
 
"Basic transactions such as deposit, withdrawal, funds transfer and balance enquiry are supported with voice confirmation and print-out," said a BEL statement about the device which will also tap into Aadhaar database to authenticate transactions.
 
Talking about CVD, BEL chairman S.K. Sharma said, "The Registrar General of India has asked us to provide a device with a special application software for door to door census collection required for government schemes. CVD is basically a customised tablet PC."
 
Sharma said BEL had done similar projects for other government schemes as well, supplying nearly half a million tablets already.
 
"We gave 1,000 CVDs on a pilot basis," he said with the likelihood of more being produced in the future.
 
BEL is also venturing into solar energy with plans to produce 150 MW to be exclusively used by the defence industry.
 
First project under solar energy will be ready in six months, said Sharma.
 
The BEL is also installing rooftop solar energy installations in Bengaluru with an aim to produce 6-10 MW in 2-3 years.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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