Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Pulse Beat

Pentavalent Vaccine

Dr Jacob Puliyal, a noted child specialist at St Stephen’s Hospital in Delhi, is a vaccine specialist. His estimate of the new pentavalent vaccine which piggybacks one on the triple vaccine is not only dangerous but could kill a significant number of children. This vaccine has already been withdrawn in many countries, although the company and their thought leaders are selling an idea that these are sudden cot deaths and not due to vaccines, a claim only they believe. I hope, and pray, that our government in its wisdom does not allow this useless and dangerous vaccine from coming into this country.

Beta-blockade Fraud

It was hypothesised some time ago that if we blocked, on a short-term basis, people undergoing risky surgery, mortality will fall. I had vehemently opposed it then. Since 2009, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines have recommended the initiation of beta-blockade for patients with ischemic heart disease, or positive pre-operative stress test results, who are going in for high-risk surgery. This involves giving a short course of oral beta-blockers shortly before surgery until a few days or weeks after surgery to prevent heart attacks. 
The principal support for the recommendation came from two of the DECREASE (Dutch Echocardiographic Cardiac Risk Evaluation Applying Stress Echocardiography) family of trials, which were discredited in 2011 because of misconduct. Our 2013 meta-analysis of the remaining 11 credible randomised controlled trials indicates that initiation of beta-blockade increases mortality by 27%. No prizes for guessing who was pushing such ideas that kill more: drug companies.

Animal Farm

“At a remote research centre on the Nebraska plains, scientists are using surgery and breeding techniques to re-engineer the farm animal to fit the needs of the 21st-century meat industry. The potential benefits are huge: animals that produce more offspring, yield more meat and cost less to raise. There are, however, some complications.
Pigs are having many more piglets—up to 14, instead of the usual eight. But hundreds of those newborns, too frail or crowded to move, are being crushed each year when their mothers roll over. Cows, which normally bear one calf at a time, have been re-tooled to have twins and triplets which often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even meat producers have been repulsed. All for making more money. Products of such engineering could have long-term deleterious effects on meat-eaters. Who bothers? As for animal lovers, they say we love our money much more than your love for animals.
“They pay tons of attention to increasing animal production, and just a pebble-sized concern to animal welfare,” said James Keen, a scientist and veterinarian who worked at the centre for 24 years, quoted in New York Times. “And it probably looks fine to them because they’re not thinking about it, and they’re not being held accountable. But most Americans and even livestock producers would be hard pressed to support some of the things that the centre has done.”

International Yoga Day

The 21st day of June is declared as the International Yoga Day by the World Health Organization and the UN. A great tribute to India through the efforts of our dynamic prime minister! People all over the globe, who know the benefits of Yoga, are gearing up to celebrate. I have an invite from Portugal that has a large organisation of Yoga practitioners which has been very active popularising Yoga there. You know about the benefits of Yoga. Do practise it. If not, start today. 


RBI keeps repo, CRR unchanged; Rajan says banks not passing benefits to consumers
While keeping key rates unchanged, the RBI Governor expressed displeasure that despite a generalised fall in the cost of funds, banks have not yet passed these effects and benefits of policy rate cut from 15th January, into the spectrum of lending rates
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its sixth bi-monthly credit policy review on Tuesday has kept repo, reverse repo, cash reserve ratio (CRR) and bank rate unchanged. Earlier on 15th January, the central bank cut repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.75% from 8%. 
However, despite a rate cut on 15th January, several banks have not yet passed the benefit to consumers, the RBI governor said. "Easing inflationary pressures strengthened the impact of comfortable liquidity conditions on market interest rates; sovereign and corporate bond yields declined by 50 basis points and more in Q3. However, despite a generalised fall in the cost of funds, banks have yet to pass through these effects, as also the effects of the policy rate cut on 15th January, into the spectrum of lending rates," Dr Raghuram Rajan said in a statement.
With no change in key policy rates, the repo rate (the rate at which the RBI lends money to banks) remains at 7.75%. Similarly reverse repo rate (the rate at which the RBI borrows from banks), CRR, and bank rate remains at 6.75%, 4.00% and 8.75%, respectively. However, the central bank has reduced statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) of scheduled commercial banks by 50 basis points to 21.5% from 22.0% of their net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) from the fortnight beginning 7 February 2015.
The RBI governor said, “While inflation declined faster than expected due to favourable base effects during June-November, the upturn in December turned out to be muted relative to projections. Given that there have been no substantial new developments on the disinflationary process or on the fiscal outlook since 15th January (when RBI cut repo rate), it is appropriate for the Reserve Bank to await them and maintain the current interest rate stance.”
Commenting on the RBI monetary policy, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State bank of India (SBI) said, "RBI policy was in line with market expectations of a status-quo. The SLR cut is expected to provide growth supportive liquidity of about Rs45,000 crore. The flexibility regarding the DCCO will enthuse companies with strong balance sheets to consider taking over stuck Projects. With inflationary expectations at a 21 quarter low and coupled with a benign global environment, we are in the early phases of a prolonged rate easing cycle."
According to the central bank, the upside risks to inflation stem from the unlikely possibility of significant fiscal slippage, uncertainty on the spatial and temporal distribution of the monsoon during 2015 as also the low probability but highly influential risks of reversal of international crude prices due to geo-political events. Heightened volatility in global financial markets, including through the exchange rate channel, also constitute a significant risk to the inflation assessment. Looking ahead, inflation is likely to be around the target level of 6% by January 2016. As regards the path of inflation in 2015-16, the Reserve Bank said it will keenly monitor the revision in the CPI, which will rebase the index to 2012 and incorporate a more representative consumption basket along with methodological improvements. 
In a research report, Nomura said, it does not see the room for (RBI) aggressive easing in the current rate cut cycle. "We expect the RBI to deliver one more 25 basis points rate cut at the April policy and then leave the repo rate unchanged at 7.50% thereafter. This is because, we do not expect further sustained disinflation (rather, we expect CPI inflation to stabilise in the 5.0-5.5% range in 2015-16); and we expect real GDP growth to pick up gradually, which should result in a gradual narrowing of the output gap. In this environment, we believe the RBI's policy stance has to remain neutral to tight to ensure CPI inflation remains in the range of 4% the medium-term."
Talking about growth, RBI said, the outlook (for growth) has improved modestly on the back of disinflation, real income gains from decline in oil prices, easier financing conditions and some progress on stalled projects. These conditions should augur well for a reinvigoration of private consumption demand, but the overall impact on growth could be partly offset by the weaker global growth outlook and short-run fiscal drag due to likely compression in plan expenditure in order to meet consolidation targets set for the year, it added.
Accordingly, the baseline projection for growth using the old GDP base has been retained at 5.5% for 2014-15. For 2015-16, projections are inherently contingent upon the outlook for the south-west monsoon and the balance of risks around the global outlook.
Domestically, conditions for growth are slowly improving with easing input cost pressures, supportive monetary conditions and recent measures relating to project approvals, land acquisition, mining, and infrastructure. Accordingly, the central estimate for real GDP growth in 2015-16 is expected to rise to 6.5% with risks broadly balanced at this point. The revised GDP statistics (base 2011-12) released on 30th January along with advance estimates for 2014-15 expected on 9th February will need to be carefully analysed and could result in revisions to the Reserve Bank’s growth projections for 2015-16, the statement said. 
Bank to be allowed non-callable deposits
At present, banks are allowed to offer differential rates of interest on deposits on the basis of tenor for deposits less than Rs1 crore and on the basis of quantum for deposits of Rs1 crore and above. Banks are, however, not permitted to differentiate on the basis of any other parameter of the deposit contract. Furthermore, all deposits accepted from individuals and Hindu undivided family (HUF) up to Rs1 crore are callable i.e., have the facility of premature withdrawal. 
"This results in asset-liability management issues, especially under the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) requirement under the Basel III framework. It is, therefore, proposed to allow non-callable deposits. Callability in a deposit will then be a distinguishing feature for offering differential rates on interest on deposits. Detailed guidelines will follow shortly," the RBI said.
The reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) will remain unchanged at 6.75%, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the bank rate at 8.75%.
Repo Rate.......................7.75%
Reverse Repo Rate...........6.75%
Bank Rate.......................8.75%
The first bi-monthly monetary policy statement (for FY2015-16) is scheduled on Tuesday, 7 April 2015.




2 years ago

IMPROMPTU This, one thinks, brings to sharp focus, an aspect of extremely serious concern.
In brief, in recent times, there have been a few instances in which the RBI chief has been forthright, rightly so, in openly pronouncing his dis- pleasure (-appointment)in the way the banks have been functioning, with no sense of fair play; which, if critically looked through, is tantamount to blatantly ignoring and disregarding/disobeying the code of ethics / conduct in place on the rules book, with the principal objective of 'regulating' the banking industry, in its altruistic sense. But, the tragedy is that the RBI has stopped short of resorting to remedial measures, effectively,- through constant monitoring and proactively disciplining the constituents as irrefutably called for. Pithily stated, - same way as any other regulatory/semi-or self- regulatory authority, a number of them in existence but only a negative contribution to their credit, ,the actual role of the RBI has been confined to that of a 'watch -dog'.
In the continuously changing scenario,from bad to worse, however, the inevitable nagging poser ceiling for a righteous answer is this:Are not the aggrieved stakeholders, impacted badly in the whole process, entitled to expect and press for a suitable reform that could provide some, of not holistic meaning, nay justification, for the very existence of such authorities?!

Lamentably, the day of conscious noting,followed by action by the empowered men , and reckoning as desired , is seen to be nowhere in sight.

B. Yerram Raju

2 years ago

Depositors are given a raw deal. Banks cartel on interest rates on Savings Bank accounts. They also now cartel on the products. They do not want any society or trust to have a savings bank account. Lately banks have been behaving erratically with the depositors. Interest on SB accounts gets credited only once in six months and not on daily products. Second, earlier, they used to allow SB accounts for welfare associations and trusts that do not have regular operations with not huge balances in credit. They have recently not merely closed an account in operation for nearly 21years with the SBI but on top, they have retrospectively denied the interest in Savings Bank account and closed the account when the Secretary went for drawing the salaries for the staff before the end of January 15. of course, the Society is approaching the banking ombudsman for justice. If a resident welfare association operating on annual membership fees for maintenance of cleanliness and up keep of the colony having limited savings potential has to continue to operate only current account blocking Rs.10000 as minimum balance, how do they survive? RBI washes off its hands and says that it is the decision of the banks concerned and all banks join the chorus. Over and above this I notice that the banks lately increased charges for various services and levies penalties at will and debit the accounts with those amounts and they do not even care to inform the depositor though they have the mobile numbers on record through KYC and many a time even to those who operate through mobile banking. Customer out; computer in; charges merry; service at the bottom - this is the description of Indian banking reform track.

Ashok Visvanathan

2 years ago

If the banks have not passed on the benefits, it means it is a lenders market. It is my impression that it is a privilege to get a bank loan. Who will bargain ? Only for Car loans or credit card loans do they compete, and those are at higher rates.

Insurance: Fine Print

Fraudulent Policies  

As per Section 45 of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, no...
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