HDFC Mutual Fund launches Gold Fund

HDFC Gold Fund issue closes 21st October

HDFC Mutual Fund has launched HDFC Gold Fund, an open-ended fund of funds (domestic).

The investment objective of the scheme is to seek capital appreciation by investing in units of HDFC Gold Exchange Traded Fund (HGETF).

The new issue closes on 21 October 2011. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000.

The benchmark for the HGETF fund is the domestic price of physical gold. Anil Bamboli is the fund manager.

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RBI relaxes norms on small money transfers

Under the new norms, the cash pay-out arrangements for amounts being transferred out of bank accounts to beneficiaries not having a bank account has been enhanced to Rs10,000 from Rs5,000

With a view to facilitating fund transfers to people, particularly migrants, who do not have bank accounts, RBI on 5th October relaxed norms by doubling the transaction cap on small money transfers.

Under the new norms, the cash pay-out arrangements for amounts being transferred out of bank accounts to beneficiaries not having a bank account has been enhanced to Rs10,000 from the current limit of Rs5,000.

The monthly cap on such transfer will be Rs25,000 per beneficiary, RBI said in a notification. Besides, customers not having bank account can now transfer funds to bank accounts of others, subject to a transaction limit of Rs5,000 and a monthly cap of Rs25,000 per remitter.

The RBI has also allowed transfer of funds among domestic debit/credit/pre-paid cards with the cap of Rs5,000 per transaction and a monthly limit of Rs25,000.

According to experts, the changes will impact a large number of people, especially the migrant population which does not have access to formal banking channels for want of proof of identity/address.

The RBI said such people faced difficulties in using the authorised channels for transferring funds. "RBI has been receiving frequent representations to open up the formal banking channel to facilitate fund transfers of small value, subject to monthly ceilings and monitoring, to give impetus to the process of financial inclusion. We are issuing these guidelines after having reviewed the related issues.

"These relaxations are expected to provide money transfer facilities in a safe, secure and efficient manner across the length and breadth of the country," the apex bank said.

Migrants constitute a substantial chunk of the country's population. The RBI has asked banks and other financial institutions to put in place a system of safeguards, including velocity checks and alerts to customers about credit into accounts, using the new facility.

"Any unusual spurt in volume of credits in a particular account/group of accounts shall be immediately investigated. Appropriate authorities shall be alerted regarding suspicious transactions," it said.

The apex bank has also directed that such fund transfers are to be effected on a real or near real time basis. "The total outstanding amount on a prepaid payment instrument shall not at any point of time exceed the limits prescribed in the extant guidelines on the RBI on the policy guidelines for issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments," it said.

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Essar to invest $8 billion in thermal power projects in next 3 years

For an increase of 8,000MW power capacity, Essar Power plans to invest $8 billion by 2014.

Betting big on power business, Ruias-led Essar Power has earmarked an investment of $8 billion in the next three years for setting up thermal power projects in the country.

"For an increase of 8,000MW power capacity, the company plans to invest $8 billion by 2014," Essar Power said "All the investment has been tied-up," the company said.

Essar Power currently operates five captive power projects for providing electricity to its various steel plants and oil refinery. The company's 515MW combined cycle plant supplies 215MW power to Essar Steel's Hazira plant and 300MW to Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam.

Another 500MW gas-based plant is captive to Essar Steel's Hazira Steel Plant. A 120MW gas-based plant at Vadinar supplies electricity to the company's oil refinery in that area. A 380MW gas fired power plant provides power to Essar Oil refinery Algoma, Ontario, Canada. Another 85MW plant is captive to Essar Steel Algoma plant.

Essar Power's under execution plants include a 2,520MW imported coal-based project at Salaya and 510MW Vadinar plant, 270MW Hazira plant in Gujarat.

They also include 1,800 MW domestic coal-based project at Mahan in Madhya Pradesh and 1,800 MW thermal plant at Tori in Jharkhand.
The company said that it is also exploring new opportunities in conventional and renewable power generation globally.

Meanwhile, Essar Power, which acquired 76% stake in Orissa's Navbharat Power Pvt Ltd, would also execute projects of over 2,000MW capacity as part of the joint venture agreement.

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