Three customers of HDFC Bank found money withdrawn using their debit card in Greece while all of them were in Mumbai. Is this limited to just one bank?
It is happening again. Somebody is withdrawing money using peoples’ debit or credit cards from several places across the world. According to our information, at least three customers of HDFC Bank working in same office at Mumbai reported cash withdrawal in Greece by using their debit cards.
While all the three were in Mumbai, here is a message received by one of them. It says “Thank you for using your HDFC Bank DEBIT Card ending xxxx for Rs9103.98 towards ATM WDL in GEORGIOUPOLI at GEORGIOUPOLI on 2013-06-10:20:48:15.”
HDFC Bank, when asked said, “Prima facie, it appears that unsuspecting customers across several banks have fallen prey to a skimming attack by fraudsters. As it involves more than one bank, it would only be fair if we comment further only once we have ascertained the facts. We would like to state that our system is secure and this matter has nothing to do with the recent system upgrade,” HDFC Bank said in an email reply.
Last week, HDFC Bank took a two-day’s break to upgrade its system. During this period the bank’s customers from across the country were not be able to do shopping, both online and offline, ATM transactions, phone banking, net banking and mobile banking as well as booking of term deposits through online banking.
According to a report from The Hindu, several customers of State Bank of India (SBI) from Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhmal districts in Odisha have alleged that money had been withdrawn illegally from their accounts. Most of these illegal withdrawals have been made through ATM centres in Indore and Bhopal. It was suspected that a well-organised racket was behind this, the report says.
Similarly, according to a report from the Times of India, a Tardeo-based businessman has also alleged that his wife’s credit card had been used in over 20 transactions within 12 hours across four continents to run up a bill of over Rs2 lakh, while the family was in Mumbai.
The businessman, found alerts from the private bank about the 20 transactions between December 13 and 14 across Australia, Hong Kong, the US and several countries in Europe at apparel, computer, pharmaceutical and departmental stores, to buy airline tickets and procure services and also direct marketing totalling Rs2.06 lakh. He or his wife had not received any SMS alert about the spend varying from .01 Australian dollar to buy medicines, $607.96 in a departmental store and Euro 817.01 to buy airline tickets, says the newspaper report.
The makers of Magarpatta near Pune plan to start organic farming on the lands at Nanded city by using techniques like crop rotation, use of recycled water, compost and integrated pest management
Nanded City, a project of the Magarpatta group, has branded itself as an eco-city with a plan to utilise all its green zones, peripheral areas and even the internal nullahs to promote the concept of urban agriculture. This is the second project by Satish Magar, who pioneered Pune’s Magarpatta City, a unique project that has won global acclaim for pooling farmers land into a modern township where they remain co-owners and full stakeholders in the city's growth.
Nanded City is also a planned, integrated, self-contained development put together with lands from 235 farmer families. The plan is to start organic farming on these lands by using techniques like crop rotation, use of recycled water, compost, and integrated pest management. Nanded City has over 13,000 existing trees, which are planned to be doubled to around 28,000 mainly in the form of coconut, jamun, guava and amla orchards. The land already has 5,000 jackfruit, mango and tamarind trees. The open areas among the tree rows in the orchards will be utilized for growing a wide variety of vegetables required for daily consumption and will be produced throughout the year.
Flowers used for religious purposes will also be systematically cultivated. What is unique about the project is that residents of Nanded City will be invited to participate in cultivation and harvesting by allotting them small plots of land. They will also be allowed to walk into the farms and pick their own fruit and vegetables, which can then be weighed and purchased. This concept is popular in the developed world, especially in the US, but has not been tried in India. The farm products will also be available to the residents at designated outlets and sources say that these will be priced below market rates. We also learn that part of the proceeds will be used for the City’s maintenance.
The vision of this project is “to be a role model for developing habitats that not only exists in harmony with nature but also enhance the quality of life through new thinking, dedication and sincere purpose. For our endeavours not only would we be appreciated by the current generation but would be thanked by future generations for leaving the environment in a better condition than what we found it".
Other initiatives include:
• Eco-Stream Park: There is a stream which runs through the City site. The developers are going to convert that area into an eco park. The Mangir Baba Nallah which carries rain and waste water from the surrounding villages passes through the Nanded City. They are treating that water as a corporate social responsibility initiative and they are also building a garden along that nallah.
• Ornamental Landscaping: Flowers and aromatic plants which are needed for worship like the Sonchapha, Hibiscus, Deshi Gulab, Tulsi and Kevda would be included in the ornamental landscaped areas and along walkways at the riverside. Local varieties like Nandruk, Khair, Kinai, Aapta, Palas, Bhokar, Limbara, etc are integrated into the ornamental landscaping. Some of them also have medicinal value. Medicinal herbs, shrubs and grasses like Lemon Grass, Vetiver and Zadu Bambu will be used along with local grasses in the nallah beautification. Medicinal plants like Arjun, Salix and Nirgudi will be planted in waterlogged and out-lying areas. All this will help increase the sustainability of biodiversity that will be necessary for the success of this model. Exotic vegetables, flowers and high value products will be grown in Poly-Houses that will be set up.
• Prepaid Water and Electrical Meters: Metering of domestic water has been initiated at Nanded City, the first one to adopt this system. Prepaid electrical meters ensure that the residents know how much electricity they are consuming and that it is used effectively. They have used LED lightings in many places instead of conventional lamps which has helped them to reduce the usage of electricity.
• Soil and Waste Management: All soil on the site is preserved and the same soil is used for landscaping therefore cutting down the requirement of getting it from outside. Plantation is also being done along the riverside for beautification. The City has strict rules for waste management like the residents having to segregate domestic waste. The non-biodegradable waste will be recycled through vendors and for the biodegradable waste they have constructed a biogas plant which has a capacity of 10 tonnes per day. The biogas generated will be used for producing electricity for the common area lighting. Decentralised sewage treatment plants are being placed near clusters and slopes to avoid unnecessary sewage pumping.
Nanded City which is the second township by Satish Magar, promoter of the award winning Magarpatta City, comes from an agricultural family with a political background. In an interview with Moneylife when he was asked if he was confident that the concept would work or he was just hoping for the best, he replied, “Probably I was over confident. I had the confidence of all the landlords who were with me. I had faith in the concept. Magarpatta had not bought the land. We all pooled our land into the company.” The entire interview is published in the Pathbreaker Series by Ms Sucheta Dalal and Mr. Debashis Basu (to purchase the book click here) where he has explained in detail the entire process from the start till the end of the formation of the Magarpatta City.
The Nanded City is spread over 700 acres of lush greenery and it will house 1/2/2.5/3/4 BHK apartments, bungalows and villas, hospital, school and recreation facilities. The commercial aspect of the city will include Corporate Houses, IT Players, Animation and Gaming Companies. The residents of the Nanded city will also enjoy pollution free air, eco-friendly features and self-sustainable systems due to the 230 acres of land being reserved only for greenery. They believe in social well being, sustainable development, encouraging those who do the same and do their bit for the society. A significant effort by the Nanded City but they say that it’s not just an initiative, “it’s our way of life that we follow day in-and-out”.
Nomura asserts that a depreciating currency will exert inflationary pressures. A 10% depreciation of the rupee is expected to lead to a 0.6%-0.8% increase in WPI
The rupee has depreciated against the US dollar by around 9% since May, falling to an all-time low of 58.90 yesterday. Nomura’s latest “Asia Insights” report discusses the macroeconomic fallout of the weakening of the rupee and makes relevant policy recommendations.
Given that about 35% of the commodities making up the WPI basket are global commodities, Nomura asserts that a depreciating currency will exert inflationary pressures. A 10% depreciation of the rupee is expected to lead to a 0.6%-0.8% increase in WPI. However, manufacturers are expected to absorb part of the higher costs in their margins because of weak pricing power, arising from a sluggish demand.
In theory, a depreciating currency bodes well for the external sector as it encourages exports while curtailing imports. However, with India’s exports being more demand-sensitive than price-sensitive and India’s imports being largely inelastic, the rupee’s weakening is likely to increase the current account deficit by 0.4% of GDP for a 10% depreciation. Nomura estimates that depreciation by every rupee is likely to increase India’s annual oil import bill alone by Rs100 billion (0.1% of GDP).
Nomura estimates suggest that a 10% increase in depreciation will raise the fiscal deficit by about 0.2% of GDP. This is partly because the government's oil subsidy burden is likely to increase by 0.04% of GDP, for one rupee depreciation, and will also face a higher fertilizer subsidy bill. However, given the threat of a rating downgrade, Nomura believes that the government will be forced to stick to its budgeted fiscal deficit target of 4.8% of GDP in 2014, by raising more tax revenue and curtailing expenditure.
Since the rupee depreciation is largely in line with other emerging market currencies, the relative advantage of monetary conditions conducive to growth is unlikely to be significant. Asset price volatility or a slowdown in capital flows would adversely impact investment. Firms with un-hedged forex exposure are likely to face higher losses. The RBI is likely to delay the rate-cutting cycle in order to balance out the interests of growth with currency management.
Nomura recommends that the government should take measures to attract greater capital flows into India such as raising FDI limits in defense, telecom, asset reconstruction companies, private securities, commodity exchanges, etc. Non-resident bond issuance, relaxing FII debt and external commercial borrowing limits could help further. Pending legislative reforms such as in land acquisition, FDI in insurance and pension, the Companies Bill, etc could be addressed in the monsoon session of the Parliament.
Nomura expects that so long as the currency is weakening, the RBI will delay the rate-cutting cycle because financial stability concerns will overrule its business cycle response. It believes that repo rate is likely to be unchanged in June, with rate cuts resuming after the currency stabilizes and inflation and CAD are brought to moderate levels.