Economy
Industry bodies seek specific steps, rate cuts from RBI

Industry bodies and exporters want the RBI to cut rates and also provide sector specific measures in the upcoming monetary policy review

 
Mumbai: Apart from rate cuts, the representatives of industry bodies and exporters' organisations that met the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) top brass have sought various sector-specific measures in the monetary policy review, reports PTI.
 
RBI Governor D Subbarao would announce the second quarter monetary policy on 30th October. While there is a growing optimism that he may go along with the government following the reforms rolled out in the past one month, the latest inflation numbers may act as spoilsport.
 
In September, the wholesale inflation index rose to 7.81%, a 10-month high from 7.55% in the previous month, but factory output numbers at 2.7% in August indicated that manufacturing had rebounded.
 
Many analysts believe the Governor cannot but continue his anti-inflationary battle.
 
"The issue is of sentiment. We wanted a stand to be taken by the RBI on the basis that interest rate do come down," Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) head Niranjan Hiranandani told reporters, after the customary pre-policy meet.
 
Mahindra & Mahindra Group's Chief Financial Officer Bharat Doshi said rate cut will boost the sentiment.
 
Other associations asked for sector-specific measures, rather than a rate cut. SME Chamber of India asked for a special corporate debt restructuring (CDR) like dispensation for small businesses.
 
"We need a special mechanism like CDR so that our sickness can be handled separately," former PSU banker Ramnath Pradeep, who represented the chamber, said.
 
Another demand was to automatically restructure the debt of SME vendors supplying to larger corporates.
 
Because of the present difficulties, SMEs also want a revision in the NPA norms with a relaxation for about a year on the non-payment from the present 90 days, Pradeep said.
 
Federation of Indian Exporters' Association demanded more dollar credit for smaller exporters which will more than halve their interest outgoes, and a six-month relaxation on the realisation time to 18 months from the present 12 months, association president M Rafeeque Ahmed said.
 
It also asked the central bank to ensure than credit keeps flowing to the export sector and bankers do not keep away from lending, given the stress on the external front.
 
Ahmed claimed that RBI has agreed to form a committee to look into factoring demand of exporters.
 

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Banks should look beyond 'Gang of 4' to promote women SHGs: Ramesh

According to the Rural Development Minister, about 80% of bank lending for self help group today goes to the gang of four--Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala and the government is facing huge challenge of increasing the SHGs in northern and eastern parts of India

 
New Delhi: Noting that a major chunk of bank lending for women self help groups (SHGs) goes to four south Indian states, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has said banks can help raise the number of such outfits in the north and east Indian states to promote social development there, reports PTI.
 
"80% of bank lending for self help group goes today to the gang of four--Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Now we are facing huge challenge of increasing the self-help groups in northern and eastern parts of India," Ramesh said noting that banks in north and eastern Indian states are a laggard lot in extending credit to such initiatives.
 
Addressing a function "NABARD award for rural innovations 2012", the Minister said the Rural Development Ministry is working very closely with NABARD, an apex development bank with a mandate for facilitating credit flow for promotion and development of rural agriculture and village industries, for increasing the self-help groups in northern and eastern Indian states.
 
"I am hopeful that very soon the type of success we witness in south India will be visible in states like Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh," he said seeking the help of Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who was chief guest at the programme, to address the biggest constraint of SHGs' linkage with banks in these states.
 
Ramesh, who is also the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, also pitched for NABARD like agencies role to support the Government's mission to promote sanitation in rural areas.
 
"Innovation is needed in the area of sanitation. This is an area we need more attention. 60 percent of rural women lack toilet facilities," he said.
 

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RBI amends priority sector lending norms

RBI said banks should ensure that loans extended under priority sector are for approved purposes and the end use is continuously monitored

 
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has expanded the priority sector lending in agriculture, housing and small and medium enterprises (SME) to widen the scope loans to these sectors, reports PTI.
 
"...discussions were held with CMD/CEOs of select banks and also with priority sector heads of select banks. Based on the feedback received, it has been decided to make certain additions and amendments in the guidelines on priority sector," RBI said in a notification today.
 
RBI said lending by banks to corporates, including farmers' producer companies of individual farmers, partnership firms and co-operatives of farmers in agriculture and allied activities -- dairy, fishery, animal husbandry, poultry, bee-keeping, and sericulture -- up to an aggregate limit of Rs2 crore would qualify for priority sector lending.
 
This kind of lending could be for the purpose of raising crops, pre-harvest and post-harvest activities (spraying, weeding, harvesting, grading, sorting) and export credit for exporting their own farm produce, it said.
 
In case the loan limit per borrower is more than Rs2 crore, the entire loan should be treated as indirect finance to agriculture, it added.
 
Also, bank loans to (MSE) engaged in providing or rendering of services would be eligible for direct finance under priority sector up to an aggregate limit of Rs2 crore per borrower/unit.
 
Loans to governmental agency for construction of dwelling units or for slum clearance and rehabilitation of slum dwellers up to Rs10 lakh per dwelling unit would come under priority sector.
 
Loans to economically weaker sections and low-income groups, loans to housing finance companies for refinance, on-lending for purchase or construction or reconstruction up to a ceiling of Rs10 lakh per dwelling would also be eligible for priority sector lending.
 
RBI further clarified "banks should ensure that loans extended under priority sector are for approved purposes and the end use is continuously monitored. The banks should put in place proper internal controls and systems in this regard." 
 
The central bank has mandated targets for priority sector lending to meet credit needs of large sections of population who had no access to institutional finance.
 

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