Nation
Delhi gets ready for counting of votes
All the exit polls have given AAP a decisive edge with one of them giving it as high as 53 seats in the 70-member House. The BJP, however, rejected the exit polls and exuded confidence of wresting power in Delhi after a gap of 16 years
 
Counting of votes for the high-profile Delhi Assembly polls will be taken up on Tuesday and final results are likely to be available by 1pm. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Admi Party (AAP) are locked in a direct fight in the election.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for counting of the ballots, which will take place in 14 Centres across the city under tight security.
 
“Counting of votes will start at 8am and all the results should be out by 1pm,” an Election Commission official said.
 
The battle to win control over the city saw a resurgent AAP giving a tough fight to the BJP.
 
All the exit polls have given AAP a decisive edge over BJP with one of them giving it as high as 53 seats in the 70-member House.
 
The BJP has rejected the exit polls and exuded confidence of wresting power in Delhi after a gap of 16 years. The party Sunday said it would get 34–38 seats.
 
A record 67.14% turnout was recorded in the polls on Saturday in which a total of 673 candidates.
 
Polling had taken place at 12,177 polling stations, of which 714 have been identified as “critical”. Of these, 191 are “highly critical”.
 
The BJP, which is out of power in Delhi for the last 16 years, made a gamble by bringing in former Team Anna member Kiran Bedi into the party. It made her its Chief Ministerial candidate, which is said to have triggered discontent among the party leaders and rank and file.
 
The BJP strategy has been countered by Kejriwal-led AAP which has put up a spirited campaign in a bid to stop the Modi juggernaut that has been on a roll ever since the Lok Sabha election victory in May last year.
 
The Congress, which had ruled Delhi for 15 years till December, 2013 has been projected to get at most five seats.
 
The Burari constituency in North Delhi has a maximum of 18 candidates while the Ambedkar Nagar seat in South Delhi has the lowest number of contenders at four.
 
There are 63 contesting women candidates in this election as against 71 in 2013.
 
The number of candidates from recognised national and state parties is 296 while 183 candidates belong to registered parties and there are 194 Independent nominees.

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COMMENTS

Shashikant Kalsekar

3 weeks ago

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Please review CMO Feedback No. 1902222/2016/(TAPAL)
Thanks

Black Money: Indians rank 16th on leaked HSBC list
There are 2,699 accounts linked to 1,688 Indians on the list and the maximum amount related with a client connected to India was $876.3 million, says an investigative report from ICIJ
 
With total funds of $4.1 billion, Indians rank 16th on the new leaked HSBC list of Swiss bank account holders from over 200 countries, while people from Switzerland are on the top.
 
The list, made public by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), comprises over one lakh HSBC customers and their bank accounts with balances totalling over $100 billion. There are more than 19,000 clients not associated with any country, ICIJ said.
 
In terms of money in these accounts, account holders from Switzerland are on the top ($31.2 billion), followed by UK, Venezuela, US and France in the top five. India is at 16th place on this parameter.
 
In terms of the number of account holders, India is at 18th place (1,668 account holders), while Switzerland is on the top again with 11,235 account holders. Others in the top—five include France, UK, Brazil and Italy.
 
ICIJ said that its “Swiss Leaks project is based on a trove of almost 60,000 leaked files that provide details on over 100,000 HSBC clients and their bank accounts.
 
The data of these accounts were “secreted away by Herve Falciani, a former HSBC employee—turned—whistleblower“.
 
He turned the data over to the French government in 2008 and its tax authority launched an investigation.
 
French newspaper Le Monde obtained a version of the tax authority data and shared it with ICIJ with the agreement that it would assemble a global team of journalists to explore the data and produce this reporting project.
 
“The data comes from three types of internal bank files from different time periods. One reflects clients and their associated private accounts at the Swiss branch of the bank mostly from 1988 to 2007.
 
The leaked files also include a snapshot of the maximum amounts in the client accounts during 2006 and 2007, as also “notes on clients and conversations with them made by bank employees during 2005“.
 
About its findings, ICIJ said that the Swiss branch of HSBC “continued to offer services to clients who had been unfavourably named by the United Nations, in court documents and in the media as connected to arms trafficking, blood diamonds and bribery“.
 
“HSBC served those close to discredited regimes such as that of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian president Ben Ali and current Syrian ruler Bashar al—Assad.
 
“India is ranked 16th among the countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files,” ICIJ said, while adding that the maximum amount of money associated with a client connected to India was $876.3 million.
 
There are 2,699 accounts linked to 1,688 Indians on the list. Out of these, 1,403 client accounts were opened between 1969 and 2006.
 
Out of the total 1,668 clients associated with India, 51% have an Indian passport or nationality, ICIJ said.
 
The remaining accounts were liked to offshore companies, or were ‘numbered’ accounts.
 
“The bank repeatedly reassured clients that it would not disclose details of accounts to national authorities, even if evidence suggested that the accounts were undeclared to tax authorities in the client’s home country.
 
“Bank employees also discussed with clients a range of measures that would ultimately allow clients to avoid paying taxes in their home countries,” ICIJ said, while adding this included holding accounts in the name of offshore companies to avoid regulatory glare,” it added.

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COMMENTS

Sanjeev B

2 years ago

We need to differentiate between tax evasion vs income from illegal means (terrorism, violence, drugs).

Tax evasion is subjective and intricate, but crime isn't.

Governments and global crime agencies need to go after the real criminals and not get distracted investigating tax evaders.

Will RBI’s new regulations be effective for bond market?
RBI's new regulations on bond market prescribe settlement through clearing houses, allows inclusion of instruments issued by several agencies to bring more liquidity and the 'haircut' to help corporates to leverage more
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 3 February 2015 came out with a new set of regulations on the ready forward contracts on Corporate Debt Securities replacing the old one of 2010. The new regulations are certainly looking better than the old one, but not sure of how effective will it be.
 
There are three things that work for the new regulation. Firstly, unlike the earlier regulations, this one prescribes for settlement through the clearing houses of the three stock exchanges, BSE, NSE and MCX-Stock Exchange (MCX-SE). This would reduce risk of malpractices adopted by the intermediaries, which is what happened in the Harshad Mehta scam. 
 
Secondly, the inclusion of the money market instruments and instruments issued by the multilateral agencies in the list of the eligible collaterals will bring in more liquidity in the corporate bond market. 
 
Lastly, the minimum haircut has been kept quite low by the RBI, which would help the corporates to leverage to a greater extent as compared to the earlier regulations. Let us discuss this by way of numerical.
 
Say a bank holds investments in AAA securities worth Rs100. In order to enter into a ready forward contract, the minimum haircut that it will have to bear is 7.5%. Therefore, in order to utilise Rs100, it will have to spend Rs7.5 and thus will be able to leverage up to 12 times [i.e. Rs (100 - 7.5)/ 7.5]. Thus, this would help to the corporates to leverage more than it could normally do.
 
What is a ready forward transaction or a repo transaction?
To describe in commoners’ language, a ready forward transaction, which is commonly known as a repo transaction, is where a repo seller sells a security to and investor with an agreement to repurchase the transaction at a pre-determined date at a pre-determined rate. In India, these have tenure of less than one year and are therefore money market instruments and the participants to these transactions are financial institutions as listed down by RBI from time to time. The concept of repo is very common in the US as well is managed by the Federal Reserve.
 
What is new in the new regulations?
1. The 2010 regulations allowed repo transactions against only listed corporate debt securities with an ‘AA’ or above rating held in demat form, however, the Commercial Papers (CPs), Certificates of Deposit (CDs) and other instruments including Non-Convertible Debentures (NCDs) of less than one year of original maturity, were not considered as eligible collateral. 
 
The new regulations have something more in store – in addition to what we had earlier, the list of eligible collateral now includes all the money market instruments which were earlier prohibited and bonds with ‘AA’ or above ratings issued by multilateral agencies like World Bank Group (e.g., IBRD, IFC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or the African Development Bank and other such entities as may be notified by the Reserve Bank of India from time to time. This is surely a welcome move of RBI. However, the security receipts and the securitised debt instruments still stays excluded from the definition of corporate debts securities.
 
2. The old regulations prescribed for OTC settlement whereas the new regulations provide that these instruments are to be settled only through the clearing house of NSE, BSE and MCX-Stock Exchange (MCX-SE).
 
3. The minimum rates for the haircut have also undergone change and in the new regulations, different rates have been provided for securities with different ratings. Higher the rating, lower the haircut. (Haircut means the percentage, which is subtracted from the market value of an asset that is being used as collateral.) 
 
For AAA/A1 securities – 7.5%
For AA+/A2+ securities – 8.5%
For AA/A2 securities – 10%
 
Earlier the minimum rate for the haircut was prescribed at 25%.
 
4. The CRR and SLR requirements for these securities will be in line with those applicable to the government securities.
 
The concept was in limelight in the early nineties, thanks to the Harshad Mehta scam. Mehta was engaged in stock manipulation scheme financed by undervalued bank receipts, which his firm brokered in ready forward transactions between the banks. The amount involved in this scandal was about Rs5,000 crore rupees! There were several loopholes in the then regulatory framework, which was later on corrected but the concept was discouraged by several bodies in the country.
 
(Abhirup Ghosh works as researcher at Vinod Kothari & Company)
 

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