ICICI Bank launches cross-border remittance service — I Express

Mumbai: Private sector lender ICICI Bank today launched I-Express, an instant cross-border money transfer option for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), reports PTI.

This service will be available through the ICICI Bank's select partners in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — political and economic union involving the six Arab states of the Persian Gulf, a press release issued here said.

I-Express facility offers the remitter, the option of visiting any partner outlet for instant credit into the beneficiary account maintained with ICICI Bank in India, at no extra cost.

Under this service, the funds will be instantly remitted and the beneficiary can withdraw the money immediately.

An ICICI Bank spokesperson said, "ICICI Bank not only offers funds transfer facility into the accounts of beneficiaries held in its own branches in India, but also helps in crediting funds into accounts of beneficiaries held in over 65,000 branches of other Indian banks."

With funds being accessible through the network of over 2,500 branches and 5,600 ATMs, apart from the over 55,000 Visa-enabled ATMs, the facility significantly enhances the value-proposition of ICICI Bank's cross-border remittance offerings to both the partners and NRIs in the GCC, the release added.

ICICI Bank has been a leading remittance player in the Indian remittance market, enabling remittances from across 40 countries worldwide.

The bank has relationships with over 80 correspondent banks and 23 exchange houses across GCC.

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India’s edible oil imports doubled in four years

New Delhi: Driven by widening demand-supply mismatch, India's edible oil imports have more than doubled in just four years to over 88 lakh tonnes in 2009-10 oil year, and the momentum is expected to continue in the coming years, reports PTI.

In the first eleven months of the current oil year, which ends in October, India has already imported 80.42 lakh tonnes edible oil and up to 8 lakh tonnes are on the anvil in the current month taking the tally to over 88 lakh tonnes, said B V Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors' Association.

India imported only 44.16 lakh tonnes edible oils in 2005-06, 47.14 lakh tonnes in 2006-07, 56.08 lakh tonnes in 2007-08 and 81.83 lakh tonnes in 2008-09 oil year.

The rise in imports is led by galloping increase in demand for edible oils, and a near stagnant oilseeds production in the last decade due to non growth in acreage.

As per a Rabo India Finance report, published recently, while India's edible oil consumption has grown by 6.5% per annum since 2000-01 to reach 147 lakh tonnes — valued at $15 billion —oilseeds production has grown only by 4.7% during the period.

Further increase in areas under oilseeds cultivation is a big challenge due to lack of arable land and competition from grains and other cash crops.

"Low quality seed, low access to inputs, poor farming practices and the fact that much of India's oilseed crop is cultivated in unirrigated areas are the reasons for oilseed productivity lower than the global average," Rabo India said.

Moreover, India's per capita consumption of about 12.7 kg is well below the global average of 20 kg.

Coupled with rising income on a growing economy, India's reliance on imports — over half the total demand — is only going to escalate in the coming years.

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