Mumbai: Concerned over the possibility of repayment default by microfinance institutions (MFIs) to banks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday asked lenders to maintain funding lines to MFIs to prevent the problem from fanning out of Andhra Pradesh, reports PTI.
"The RBI sensitised the banks to the need to maintain funding lines to MFIs on merits to prevent a contagion," the central bank said in a release after meeting bankers and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) on the situation in the microfinance sector in Andhra Pradesh and other states.
The bankers informed the RBI that collections by MFIs in Andhra Pradesh have deteriorated considerably and there were some incipient signs of the problem spreading to other states.
"All of us understand the importance of the MFI sector and do not want it to fail. Hence, we met today for finding ways (to resolve the issue)," Indian Banks' Association (IBA) chief executive K Ramakrishnan told PTI after the meeting at Mint Road.
Although there has been no default in repayment obligations to the banks by the MFIs till November 2010, the release said, "Going forward this (repayment) may be a matter of concern."
The problems in the microfinance sector erupted after the Andhra government imposed restrictions on activities of the MFIs following spate of suicide by harried borrowers.
At the meeting, the banks urged the RBI to work out interim arrangement to deal with the problem. They suggested that the banks be allowed to reschedule exposures to MFIs, subject to the condition that such institutions reduce exposure and scale down growth projections.
Besides, the lenders also demanded regulatory concessions for averting any crisis and preventing contagion spreading to other states.
"The general view of the banks was that...some interim measures may be required to address the gap between the recoveries by the MFI and their payment commitments to banks," the release said.
Mr Ramakrishnan added that a proposal to restructure MFI accounts on the lines of the concession given to the crisis-hit aviation sector has already been submitted from the bankers' side.
As regards the structural issues of the microfinance sector, the release said, it would be addressed by the Malegam Committee in due course of time.
This late entrant in the mobile services business uses more outlandish advertising to sell its first Android phone in India
Micromax is the latest mobile company to dive into the 'Android' bandwagon. This late entrant brand usually does outlandish advertising in its need to be heard over the mobile din (recall that blood curdling Akshay Kumar laughter?). And it's not very different with its android campaign. There are a slew of commercials on air, and I have watched four.
One commercial features a vagabond, unclean, tattoo-wearing, very hairy hippy. He's out for an urgent image change, and shops for decent clothes and goes in for hair and tattoo removal. So what's with the sudden makeover? Well, it's to keep his dad in good spirits, as the ol' man is all formal and clean. Here's the thought: The chap is trying to patao his dad into purchasing him a brand new Micromax Android. And all this image change business is purely a trick to achieve that.
Other creatives follow the same path. In one, a young dude gets himself a job as a tourist guide and finds himself with a rather noisy busload of travellers, all to make that extra dosh to buy himself the Micromax Android. Another one plays a chef in a restaurant to make the extra income. He is seen weeping as he slices the onions. Though my hunch is the tears are more because of the current prices of onions! In yet another commercial, a young lass gets hired as a baby-sitter for a really bratty child. One of those 'Omen' kind of kids. All for the same cause, of course.
Here are the plus points of the campaign: Thank god we don't get blinded with android's scientific features… we have already been assaulted with that before and frankly, that's not the job of TV commercials. They've stuck to entertainment and that's the correct strategy. Next: Broke kids desperate to get their hands on the latest tech will identify with these situations. And will enjoy the tongue-in-cheek approach. Though one really hopes they don't take all this seriously and attempt criminal and immoral deeds for the extra bucks!
Having said this, here's a slightly dangerous angle to this otherwise well-conceived idea: The commercials subliminally suggest that Micromax Android is a rather expensive gizmo, and needs excess monies for purchase. This may actually scare some potential buyers away, even before they've stepped into a mobile store. And Akshay Kumar certainly won't be laughing if that happens.
According to the security firm, hundreds of thousands of Facebook users are hit by resurgence of "Girl killed herself" scam this weekend.
IT security and control firm, Sophos has warned Facebook users about the reappearance of survey scams that are quickly spreading across the social network. Many Facebook users are struggling to clean up their accounts once they have been tricked into allowing a third party application to post messages from their profile, it said in a release.
According to Sophos, typical scams include messages that read-
"OMG this girl KILLED herself after her dad posted on her wall: LINK"
"Amazing how such a harmless prank could cause something so bad!: LINK"
"OMG OMG OMG...I can't believe this actually works! Now you really can see who viewed your profile! LINK"
Sophos said, these scams are able to spread across the network as users think that online friends have posted the message, seemingly linking it to the enticing material. However, by clicking on the link and giving a third-party Facebook application access to their profile, users are helping the scammers to spread the application across their network of friends, the IT security firm added.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said, "The safest way to protect yourself from such scams, is to not click on unknown links in the first place, even if you think they've been posted by a friend. If you have fallen for these tricks though, it's important to remove the applications completely, not just the wall posts, to ensure that you're not helping the bad guys to spread the scam further."
Sophos has created a YouTube video, which sites are free to embed, to help Facebook users clear up their profiles if they've been affected by any of these scams: