Subscribers to Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) who have a complaint can now directly dial the EPFO office—not just in their region but the head office in Delhi—and the aggrieved member may end up sharing his woes with none other than the Chief Provident Fund Commissioner (CPFO) himself. CPFO, KK Jalan, has declared grievance redress as top priority work in the Organisation; along with other top officials in the EPFO, he is now taking out time to respond to callers on specific grievances. Between them, they settled 100 of the 183 grievances the head office received in July, he says. About 20,668 grievances were disposed off in July 2013 at various regional offices compared to 13,414—the average for the three preceding months. Grievances are also being directly monitored from the head office of EPFO. The Internet-enabled EPF Internet grievance management system has been reactivated and more that 96% of the grievances registered through the portal have been addressed.
Aiming to attract risk-averse investors seeking short-term returns, mutual fund companies have lined up at least 26 fixed maturity plans (FMPs) and have filed draft documents with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The average return from FMPs has been in the range of 10%-11% over the past few years. Due to higher subscription amounts required, they are largely targeted at corporate as well as institutional investors. FMPs invest mainly in specified duration instruments like bank certificates of deposit (CDs) and commercial paper (CP) and usually have tenures of a few months or a year.
India and most of the Southeast Asian countries are likely to see difficult external funding conditions as markets are anticipating US Federal Reserve tapering, says Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs has lowered India’s growth forecast for the current financial year to 4% from 6% earlier and is expecting the rupee to touch 72 against the US dollar over next six months.
“For India, we have cut our FY14 GDP growth forecast to 4.0%, from 6.0% earlier, and our FY15 forecast to 5.4% from 6.8% previously,” Goldman Sachs said in a research note.
According to the brokerage, India and most of the Southeast Asian countries are likely to see difficult external funding conditions as markets are anticipating US Federal Reserve tapering and eventual exit from unconventional monetary policies.
In the near term, Goldman Sachs sees risks as the economy is likely to need an adjustment in the current account and fiscal balances, and says it may require below-potential growth for several more quarters to reduce inflation, before we can see an economic recovery.
The report further added that not only has data come in worse-than-expected in Q2 2013, the external funding pressure since early May was the major driving factor behind the GDP downgrade.
According to official figures, the country’s economic growth in the April-June quarter slid to 4.4%, the lowest in the past several years, pulled down by drop in mining and manufacturing output.
Goldman Sachs has lowered its growth forecasts for India followed by Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, it said.
Meanwhile, the global broking major has also lowered its rupee forecast, and sees further real depreciation over 3 to 6 months given the challenging external funding environment and the slowdown in GDP growth.
“We change our 3, 6, and 12-month USD/INR forecasts to 70, 72, and 70 (from 60 flat) respectively,” the report said.
The rupee had touched an all-time intra-day low of 68.85 to a dollar on 28th August and is currently hovering around the 67 per US dollar mark in highly volatile trade.
“We see further real depreciation over three and six months given the challenging external funding environment and the slowdown in GDP growth. Over 12 months, we expect some stabilisation, with the removal of election uncertainty in March-April likely to help sentiment, and adjustment in the current account in progress,” Goldman Sachs said.
Notwithstanding the fact that the global brokerage has downgraded its India forecast significantly, it remains optimistic about its long-term potential.
“We continue to believe that a rising middle class, favourable demographics, need for investments, especially on infrastructure, and productivity catch-up across a broad swathe of sectors can drive growth over the medium term,” it said.