Financial inclusion gains momentum in India: CRISIL

India’s overall CRISIL Inclusix score has risen by 2.7 in fiscal 2012 – the highest annual increase since 2009, says Roopa Kudva, MD & CEO, CRISIL

CRISIL today released the latest scores for CRISIL Inclusix, its financial inclusion index, based on the latest data (as on 31 March 2012) provided by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The index measures financial inclusion up to the level of each of the 638 districts in India.


According to Roopa Kudva, managing director & CEO, CRISIL, “India’s overall CRISIL Inclusix score has risen by 2.7 in fiscal 2012 – the highest annual increase since 2009. As many as 587 out of a total 638 districts in India and 34 out of 35 states and Union territories improved their scores, reflecting a broad-based improvement in financial inclusion.”


The trends observed by analysing the latest RBI data shows:

(a) A significant rise in new savings accounts across the 5 regions – north, south, east, west and north-east. Overall, 79 million new savings accounts were opened in fiscal 2012, 12.6% more than in fiscal 2011.

(b) Agricultural credit accounts have grown at 11.1%, which is the most since fiscal 2009.

(c) The number of bank branches in the bottom 100 districts has increased by 6%, faster than the all-India growth of 5.6%.


Other inferences include: Just one in two Indians have a savings account and one in seven has access to bank credit. There are wide disparities in access to financial services, too. While India’s six largest cities have 10% of India’s bank branches, the bottom 50 districts have merely 2% of the bank branches.


“To speed up inclusion, financial services need to flow beyond the south and the large cities. Specifically, policy makers will have to incentivise expansion of banking services in the districts that have low CRISIL Inclusix scores through an increase in branch network and partnerships with other players,” Kudva said.


CRISIL Inclusix is an index to measure the extent of financial inclusion in India across its 638 districts. It claims to use a statistically robust, transparent, and easy-to understand methodology. It is a relative index on a scale of 0 to 100, and combines three critical parameters of basic banking services — branch penetration, deposit penetration, and credit penetration —into one metric.


GMR to divest 40% stake in Istanbul Intl Airport for Rs1,910 crore

With its second major overseas divestment in just nine months, the GMR group expects to reduce its debt by about Rs5,000 crore

GMR Group on Monday said it signed a definitive agreement with Malaysian Airports Holding Berhard (MAHB) to divest its 40% stake in Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (ISG) and LGM Tourism, for €225 million (around Rs1,910 crore).


In a statement, GMR Infrastructure Ltd said, "Definitive agreements have been signed subsequent to the exercise of right of first refusal by MAHB under the existing shareholders agreement of ISG on 23 December 2013."


GM Rao group chairman, GMR Group said, "We at GMR Group continue to focus on creating liquidity and enhance value by effective portfolio management under our asset light asset right (ALAR) strategy. The efforts of the Group taken in recent times shall strengthen our balance sheet." 


GMR said the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including the approval of the relevant government authorities and the project lenders to ISG. This is the second major divestment of overseas assets by the GMR Group in less than nine months. Earlier in March 2013, the cash-strapped GMR group sold its 70% interest in GMR Energy (Singapore) Pte Ltd to FPM Power Holdings for an equity value of 660 million Singapore dollars (S$).


The divestment of these two assets is estimated to release around Rs3,500 crore of capital, simultaneously reducing an estimated Rs5,000 crore of debt, the company said.


Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul and is one of the world’s fastest-growing airports. The airport currently hosts more than 58 different carriers covering over 125 destinations.


The airport’s new terminal was completed in a record time and was commissioned in October 2009, 12 months ahead of schedule. LGM Tourism undertakes the operation of non-aero services at the airport such as hotel, food & beverages, and lounge. GMR’s investment at ISG was around €71.6 million.


NSEL fallout: RBI says no single promoter should control any exchange

RBI said the NSEL episode has emphasised the need for ensuring that no single shareholder or a group of shareholders is permitted to dominate the functioning of the exchange or exercise management control

With a solution to the five-month-old Rs5,600 crore crisis National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) still elusive, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that it is not advisable to let a single group of shareholders to dominate the functioning of any exchange.


In its half-yearly Financial Stability Report, the central bank said, “The (NSEL) episode has emphasised the need for ensuring that no single shareholder or a group of shareholders is permitted to dominate the functioning of the exchange or exercise management control”.


The case, which encircles the Jignesh Shah-led companies, has “revealed certain systemic concerns with regard to ownership and governance arrangements in exchanges and common ownership of exchanges and existing technology platforms.”


The RBI view comes within a fortnight of the commodities market regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) stating that promoters Shah and Financial Technologies (India) Ltd are not eligible to run the crippled exchange, an order challenged by the group in the Bombay High Court.


The RBI report says the NSEL case highlighted the gap in the regulation of commodity spot exchanges and added that “we need to comprehensively address the problems in commodity spot markets.”


It can be noted that the government had on 30th July ordered the closure of NSEL following irregularities, which later revealed that the spot exchange owed Rs5,600 crore in dues to thousands of investors and dozens of brokers/ intermediaries.


On 18th December, in a severe indictment of the NSEL promoters, commodity market regulator FMC said Shah and his company Financial Technologies were not ‘fit and proper’ to run any exchange in the country and charged him with being the “highest beneficiary” in the NSEL case.


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