Economy
RBI keeps interest rates and CRR unchanged, hints at rate cut in January

RBI said the biggest risk to the outlook stems from global politico-economic developments which could delay a resolute policy action

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday kept the key interest rates unchanged but hinted easing of rates in January, saying with decline in inflation the focus of monetary policy would shift to removing impediments to growth, reports PTI.

 

Overlooking demands of the industry and the bankers, the RBI left the short-term lending (repo) rate and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) unchanged at 8% and 4.25%, respectively.

 

“In view of inflation pressures ebbing, monetary policy has to increasingly shift focus and respond to the threats to growth from this point onwards”, RBI governor D Subbarao said in the mid-quarter monetary policy review.

 

The RBI is slated to announce the third quarter policy review on 29th January.

 

The central bank is closely monitoring the evolving growth-inflation dynamics and would update projections for 2012-13 in the third quarter review, RBI said.

 

It said the biggest risk to outlook stems from global politico-economic developments which could delay resolute policy action.

 

Referring to inflation, it said, while WPI (wholesale price index) inflation is showing some signs of moderation, retail inflation has continued to remain elevated. “The non-food component of the index also suggested persistent inflationary pressure”.

 

Looking forward, it said, “The emerging patterns reinforce the likelihood of steady moderation in inflation going into 2013-14, though inflation may edge higher over the next two months”.

 

The RBI said the overall WPI inflation has been below the central bank's projected level over the past two months.

 

The WPI inflation in November moderated to 7.24%, but retail inflation remain elevated at 9.9%.

 

Commenting on the policy, Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan said it is good that RBI sees room for rate cut.

 

“I think it’s good that RBI sees that there is room to ease. And clearly they are taking a decision keeping in mind that their main job is combating inflation. I look forward to good news in policy (January),”Mr Rajan said.

 

The RBI said that since the Second Quarter Review in October, the global economy has shown some signs of stabilisation although the situation remains fragile.

 

It said that while activity is picking up in the US and the UK, near-term prospects in the euro area are still weak and there is no clarity as yet on how the US “fiscal cliff” might be managed.

 

“While several emerging and developing economies are gradually returning to higher growth, weak external demand and contagion risks from advanced economies render them vulnerable to further shocks,” RBI said.

 

On the domestic front, it said, there are some incipient signs of pick-up though growth remains significantly below its recent trend. The industrial output growth bounced back to 8.2% in October 2012 against a contraction of 5% in the same month last year.

 

The Indian economy grew by 5.4% in the first half (April-September) of the current fiscal, against 7.3% in the corresponding period last year.

 

The RBI in its second quarter policy review had projected the GDP growth for the current fiscal at 5.8%. The finance ministry in its mid-year analysis has pegged the growth estimate between 5.7%-5.9% for 2012-13.

 

Following are the highlights of RBI's Mid-Quarter Monetary Policy Review:

 

* RBI keeps interest rate (repo rate) and cash reserve ratio (CRR) unchanged.

 

* RBI says global economy has shown some signs of stabilisation although situation remains fragile.

 

* At home, there are some incipient signs of pick-up though growth remains significantly below its recent trend.

 

* Recent policy steps by the government and more reforms should help boost business sentiment, improve investment climate.

 

* Inflationary pressure moderating but high food and commodity prices continue to remain a risk.

 

* RBI says it is closely monitoring the evolving growth-inflation dynamics.

 

* RBI to update formal assessment of its growth and inflation projections for 2012-13 in January.

 

* With inflation pressures ebbing, monetary policy has to shift focus and respond to threats to growth from now on, says RBI.

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Maharashtra's emergency medical service plan may roll out in April

The EMS plan is aimed at offering assistance to accident victims and other critical patients in the 'golden hour', the time during which prompt intervention can save a patient’s life

Mumbai: The first phase of Maharashtra Government's much awaited emergency medical service (EMS) plan is expected to roll out in April, with active participation of Indian American doctors, who are working with authorities to develop US-style EMS and trauma care model for Mumbai, reports PTI.

 

"The first phase of the plan which will cover Mumbai, is expected to be launched in April," co-founder of American Association Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Navin Shah said.

 

Shah, who recently met Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, health secretary Desiraju and Maharashtra chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia, said mortality rates in accident injuries would come down by around 30% once the EMS and trauma care plan is operationalised.

 

The plan is aimed at offering assistance to accident victims and other critical patients in the "golden hour", the time during which prompt intervention can save a patient’s life.

 

The plan would enable medical professionals to provide aid to the injured within the golden hour. The EMS has been functional in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Uttarakand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

 

"We have amalgamated services and expertise of 24 Mumbai hospitals, including Hinduja, Bombay Hospital, Lilavati,Nanavati, Hiranandani, Wockhardt and Bhatia hospitals, besides government run J J, KEM and Sion hospitals," Shah said.

 

"We have full support from the American College of Surgeons Trauma Director, Dr. Wayne Meredith who has offered a fully paid scholarship to invite one Mumbai surgeon for a week’s training in the US. Six US trauma surgeons will also visit India to train surgeons in Mumbai," Shah said.

 

India has one of the highest mortality rates in accident injuries, estimated at around 3.5 lakh deaths annually, Shah said. Of these, around 9,000 are in Mumbai, which has a population of almost 1.6 crore, he added.

 

Azad welcomed the initiative to provide prompt and proper medical care to all emergent patients, especially belonging to middle and lower strata of the society, he said.

 

"Over the last five years, I have been working with the Prime Minister's Office, the Chief Minister and Health Secretary of Maharashtra, Mumbai Municipal Corporation and private hospitals, and have developed the EMS and trauma care plan for Mumbai, based on the one followed in the US," he said.

 

"In our meeting in Delhi last week, the advisor to the Prime Minister, TKA Nair, in fact, phoned the state Chief Secretary and asked him to expedite work on launch of the EMS and trauma care plan," Shah said.

 

"We also have support from the American Medical Association and we would like to create the Maharashtra project as a national model which can be replicated by other states. Such a structured US style service will save a large number of lives and curtail severe disabilities in a number of affected patients," he said.

 

In January, Maharashtra Government approved acquiring 920 ambulances for the entire state, he said. "The Government should list and classify all hospitals in the state as per their facilities and expertise prior to initiating the programme," Shah said.

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Bourses may consider shifting shares of nine companies to normal trading: SEBI

SEBI said the stock exchanges may consider to shift the scrips of nine companies from TFTS to a normal rolling settlement as these companies have established connectivity with both depositories - NSDL and CDSL

Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said the stock exchanges may consider shifting securities of as many as nine companies to normal trading category from restricted segment, reports PTI.

 

The scrips which could now be shifted to rolling settlement include Lifeline Drugs & Pharma, Dera Paints & Chemicals, Ravindra Energy, Count N Denier (India) Ltd, Monotype India, Golechha Global Finance, Shree Manufacturing Company, Midwest Gold and Delta Leasing And Finance, SEBI said in a circular.

 

In 'trade-to-trade' segment, no speculative trading is allowed and delivery of shares and payment of the consideration amount are mandatory.

 

In addition, SEBI also advised the stock exchanges to report to it about the action taken in this regard in the monthly/quarterly development report.

 

SEBI said the stock exchanges may consider to shift the scrips of these (nine) companies from the Trade for Trade Settlement (TFTS) to a normal Rolling Settlement as these firms have established connectivity with both depositories - NSDL and CDSL.

 

The shifting is subject to that 50% of non-promoter holdings in these companies should be in demat or electronic form.

 

"The stock exchanges may consider shifting the trading in these securities to normal Rolling Settlement subject to the following: at least 50% of other than promoter holdings are in dematerialised mode before shifting the trading in the securities of the company from TFTS to normal Rolling Settlement," SEBI said.

 

For this purpose, the listed companies require to obtain a certificate from its Registrar and Transfer Agent (RTA) and submit the same to the stock exchange, the regulator said.

 

In case, an issuer company does not have a separate RTA, it may obtain a certificate in this regard from a practising company Secretary/Chartered Accountant and submit the same to the stock exchange, it added.

 

"There are no other grounds/reasons for continuation of the trading in TFTS," SEBI said.

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