IDBI Bank, MasterCard launch IDBI Bank Global Currency Card

The Global Currency Card will be issued on MasterCard platform and will be available in USD currency

IDBI Bank Ltd, has launched its new variant of pre-paid travel card—“IDBI Bank Global Currency Card”. The Global Currency Card will be issued on MasterCard platform and will be available in USD currency with similar features as IDBI Bank’s existing Prepaid Travel Card—World Currency Card (WCC) which is issued on Visa Platform. Currently, Bank is issuing WCC in 8 currencies.

The Global Currency Card (GCC) will have access to over 1.9 million MasterCard/Maestro/Cirrus ATMs for cash withdrawal and balance inquiry. The card can also be used for purchases at over 32.9 million acceptance locations across 210 countries and empowers the cardholders to shop online. The GCC also comes with a slew of insurance benefits.

The GCC offers cardholders the convenience of a traveller’s cheque, the safety of an ATM card and the acceptance of a credit card, all rolled into one. The same can be bought by any IDBI Bank customer as well as by walk-in customers from any of the IDBI Bank Branches or the associate full fledged money changers. The maximum amount which can be loaded into GCC is $10,000 per annum for individuals and USD 25,000 per business trip (as prescribed under extant RBI/FEMA regulations).

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FM seeks opposition help to improve growth beyond 7%

Contending that economic growth has been high during UPA rule, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee admitted that GDP of 7% was “not adequate” but refused to accept the opposition contention that it was all-time low

New Delhi: Acknowledging that 7% growth was inadequate, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today sought opposition cooperation to improve investment climate, reports PTI.

The government, he said, was keen to step up growth while tackling inflation which is perilously close to double digit, even though food prices have shown declining trend over the last seven weeks.

Replying to a debate on inflation, Mr Mukherjee said price rise was linked to international situation but made it clear that the government was not in a position to increase subsidy to address the price situation.

Contending that economic growth has been high during United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule, he admitted that gross domestic product (GDP) of 7% was “not adequate” but refused to accept the opposition contention that it was all-time low.

“There is no link between inflation and growth. We shall have to contain inflation, we shall have to go for higher growth... Please don’t say that nothing has happened,” he said.

Mr Mukherjee said the government would endeavour to bring down inflation to 5%-6% from 9.73% in October.

NDA and Left parties were not satisfied with his reply and staged a walkout with leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj saying that arguments offered by Mr Mukherjee were stale, oft-repeated and did not offer any relief to common man.

The economy registered a growth of 7.3% in the first half of the current fiscal. The annual growth is projected to be 7.5%, down from 8.5% recorded in 2010-11.

Mr Mukherjee said there was need for creating confidence to encourage investment. “That can be done by allowing institutions to function... We can create that confidence even though we have divergence of views on issues.”

Referring to an article which said industrialists were saying ‘tata to India, hello to world’, he said if investor confidence is created, industrialists will say ‘tata world, home sweet home’.

About inflation, the finance minister said India, which is the fourth largest economy in the world, cannot remain oblivious to global developments.

“When we discuss price rise, we shall have to keep in mind the state of the world economy... no country lives in isolation,” he said, adding oil and commodity prices have gone up and were impacting the price situation at home.

Crisis in smaller countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain, he said, would have implications for the rest of the world, including India although the country’s financial sector has no direct link with these countries.

Rejecting the opposition allegation that nothing was done by the government to check price rise, the minister said food inflation has come down from 22% in February 2010 to 6.6% in November.

He also said food production, because of the efforts of the government, increased from 198 million tonnes in 2004-05 to 241.56 million tonnes now.

On the opposition’s continued attacks, Mr Mukherjee said they could say it was not enough and “humbly accept it. But please don’t say nothing has happened.”

Mr Mukherjee also recalled how prime minister Manmohan Singh had dealt with difficulties in 1991 after he took over as the finance minister.

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Government lowers GDP growth forecast to 7.5%

“The analysis of several data series and simple macro-econometric modelling led us to forecast GDP growth of 7.5% (plus/minus 0.25%) during 2011-12,” the government said in the Mid-Year Analysis 2011-12 tabled in Parliament

New Delhi: Citing global and domestic reasons, the government today lowered the gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for the current fiscal to 7.5% from 9%, but exuded confidence of a revival in the next year, reports PTI.

“The analysis of several data series and simple macro-econometric modelling led us to forecast GDP growth of 7.5% (plus/minus 0.25%) during 2011-12,” the government said in the Mid-Year Analysis 2011-12 tabled in Parliament.

Compounding with domestic factors like decline in industrial production and the global situation has led to a clear slowdown in the growth rate in the first half of 2011-12 to 7.3% from 8.6% year-on-year, it said.

“We expect some revival next year but the outlook remains mixed. If Europe slides into proper recession, with all the attendant financial contagion that will no doubt affect other nations, the entire world economy will slowdown and we could also be impacted,” it said.

The analysis, however maintains that with India’s strong fundamentals, and if Europe and the US remain stable, it should be possible for the country to achieve 9% growth in the long run.

On high rate of price rise, the government expects that with demand side pressure moderating following withdrawal of fiscal stimulus and tightening of credit, overall WPI inflation is likely to decline December onwards.

“...the current fiscal may end with headline inflation of around 7%,” it said.

It further said “maintaining the growth momentum in the economy with price stability is one of the biggest policy challenges that India is facing in recent times,” the analysis tabled by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in Lok Sabha said.

In the mid-year review, the government, however, said it expects improvement on price front. But it will depend on strong measures to boost supply side of food and agriculture and remove bottlenecks.

Expressing concern over slow pace of moderation of headline inflation, the government said it has started easing and the decline is expected to continue.

The average wholesale price inflation during April-October 2011 was 9.6% as compared to 9.9% in the same period last year.

It further said the Centre’s fiscal policy for 2011-12 remains on the consolidation track, even though there may be a small transgression this year.

“There can be no denial that meeting the target will not be easy this year. The government is, however, determined to keep overshooting fiscal deficit target of 4.6% to as minimal as possible,” the review said.

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