Bonds, Currencies & Commodities
IRFC bond issue leaves retail investors high and dry

With easy access, large players oversubscribed IRFC’s bond issue within a few hours, leaving small and individual players high and dry

Indian Railway Finance Corp’s (IRFC) first tranche of a 5-year tax-free bond issue carrying an interest rate of 6% has reportedly been fully subscribed within two hours of its announcement. While the issue was easily accessible to larger players, smaller retail investors and brokers could not lay their hands even on a single bond.         
Earlier this month, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) permitted IRFC to issue tax-free, non-convertible bonds worth Rs5,000 crore carrying an interest rate in the range of 6.5% to 7.25% per annum, by 31 March 2010. Interest earned from these bonds is exempted from tax under Section 10 of the Income-tax Act, 1961. CBDT said that IRFC would have to issue Railway Bonds at Rs1,000 each for the public or Rs1 lakh each in other cases, including private placements. IRFC was also given a flexibility to peg the coupon rate of 6.5% to 7.25% per annum depending upon the size and tenor of the tranche.

“There is no transparency in these bond issues. Only large players pump in their investors’ money in such bond issues. It is almost like a private placement. The brokerage involved in this issue is only one basis point. The logistics were also formulated in such a way that it discouraged the retail investor. If I have to send the application form and get it signed from my customer it will at least take two hours. So there is no question of him getting a share of the issue,” said an independent financial advisor.

The CBDT has also permitted the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to issue 9.52 million (10-year) zero-coupon Bhavishya Nirman bonds by March-end with a maturity value of Rs20,000 each.



rohit sarawgi

7 years ago

kindly let me know that these 5 year IRFC Tax Free bonds with an interest rate of 6 % are tradeable in the stock market or not. If yes, pl. provide me more details.

S C Lall

7 years ago

The news that IRFC tax free bonds have already been subscribed is highly regretful. Retail investors have not been given the opportunity to partake in this issue. I regard this as unethical and highly disgraceful. I have been anxiously waiting for newspaper information about these bonds and kept the money ready - but the news that they have already been oversubscribed without an announcement of issue creates an ill feeling against IRFC.


7 years ago

This is insane I heard first time of the IRFC bonds(retail investor) and never got a chance to subscribe to it. I never came to know when it was open in the market for subscription and the process for subscribing to it.
GOI you are making rich more richer and poor let be poor.


7 years ago

In these day's of disintermediatiion (intermediaries are generally being discouraged as a policy) I dont think that is surprising.

All good IPOs, Bond placements are beyond retail investors reach.

I dont think the policy makers really want much retail participation


7 years ago

IRFC tax free bonds states on the application (soft copy only was available) that they are Private Placement of Secured Tax Free Non Convertible Bonds.

R Balakrishnan

7 years ago

It is the PSU Banks which put in huge applications for hundreds of crores. It is very attractive for them. Better than lending to corporate sector!
Maybe the government should have a separate issue for banks carrying a lower coupon, one for trusts and other shady institutions at a higher coupon and for retail at a slightly more higher coupon. This way the government can also raise money and also please all.

Lok Sabha changes rules to prevent collapse of Question Hour

Emulating the Rajya Sabha, which recently amended rules to ensure uninterrupted proceedings, the Lok Sabha Rules Committee has also amended rules to prevent collapse of the Question Hour

In a major change aimed at better functioning, the Lok Sabha has amended rules to prevent collapse of the Question Hour, reports PTI.

It has also sought to break from the past practice of banning Members of Parliament (MPs) from wearing badges by now permitting them to wear the tricolour in the House.

Emulating the Rajya Sabha, which recently amended rules to ensure uninterrupted proceedings during Question Hour, the Lok Sabha Rules Committee has agreed that all listed questions must be taken even if the member who tabled it is absent.

"If on a question being called it is not asked or the member in whose name it stands is absent, the Speaker may direct that the answer to it be given," the Committee has said.

The Committee also took a series of decisions to ensure that the proceedings of the House were not stalled for some reasons.

Amending the Rule 39(3), the Committee said that if the Question Hour on any day is dispensed with for any reason, the answers to questions included in the lists of questions for oral as well as written answers for the day shall be deemed to have been laid on the Table by the ministers to whom such questions are addressed and shall form part of the proceedings of the day.

If the House does not continue with its sitting after dispensing with the Question Hour, the answers for oral as well as written questions for that day shall be deemed to have been laid on the Table after the Question Hour at the next sitting of the House and shall form part of the proceedings of that day, it said.

Through another amendment, the Committee said that a question not reached for oral answer may be answered after the end of the Question Hour with the permission of the Speaker if the minister represents to the Speaker that the question is of special public interest to which he desired to give a reply.

In order to put Question Hour to maximum use, the Rajya Sabha Rules Committee had recently amended the rules under which even if the mover of the question was absent, it would be taken up.

Under this initiative, if the main questioner is absent, the Chair will allow three other members to put supplementaries during Question Hour, considered an important avenue to get the government's response on various issues.

In the last Winter Session, Question Hour in the Lok Sabha collapsed on 30th November when 28 members who had given notices for questions were absent.

In order to honour the national flag, the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha has made an exception and allowed members to wear the tricolour as a lapel pin.

The Committee, which met for the first time yesterday after the new Lok Sabha commenced, has amended rule 349 under which MPs shall not wear badges of any kind in the House except the national flag in the lapel pin.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had last year streamlined proceedings during Zero Hour by restricting members to raise their mentions only for three minutes after which the microphone will go off.


Minister wants better land deals for farmers

After the recent spate of land-acquisition controversies, heavy industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has told the industry to adequately compensate displaced farmers

Concerned over the unrest regarding land acquisition, heavy industries and public enterprises minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday asked the industry to adequately compensate displaced farmers, reports PTI.

"I personally feel that if you acquire land, it should be properly compensated as land is the main source of farmers' bread and butter," Mr Deshmukh said at the National Manufacturing Summit, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce at New Delhi.

He said that Parliament is likely to take up amendments to the land-acquisition laws in the budgetary session.

With farmers and political parties agitating over land acquisition in different parts of the country, acquiring land for new investments has become a challenge for industries.

Investment plans of many companies, including the Tata Group, Reliance Industries, Posco and ArcelorMittal, have been affected by land-acquisition problems.

The new policies will focus on giving a fair compensation—determined by market price—to farmers, instead of the government finalising the package.


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