RBI permits correspondents to conduct business for other banks too

The central bank said any business correspondent authorised by a bank would now be able to offer services like cash transactions to customers of other banks if the lender doesn’t have a branch of the same bank

Mumbai: In a bid to step up financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted all business correspondents (BCs) or representative of any one particular bank to conduct business for other banks as well, reports PTI.

The RBI has allowed ‘interoperability’ system at the retail outlets which is the point of customer interface, RBI said in a circular.

Business correspondents are bank representatives who, besides helping rural people to open bank accounts, also facilitate in banking transactions.

The central bank said any business correspondent authorised by a bank would now be able to offer services like cash transactions to customers of other banks if the lender doesn’t have a branch of the same bank.

“Such customer services will have to be a part of the core banking solution (CBS) network of the lenders,” the RBI said, adding it should follow the standard operating procedures which are to be advised by the Indian Banks' Association (IBA).

“The business correspondents or its retail outlet or sub-agent at the point of customer interface would continue to represent the bank, which has appointed them,” it added.

The development would also help government to provide cash subsidy directly to the beneficiary, according to the experts.

The direct transfer of subsidy will help plug any pilferages during government’s money transfers.

The RBI said banks were also advised to strictly adhere to norms on managing risks and code of conduct during outsourcing of financial services, adding banks will be fully responsible for the actions of the business correspondents or sub agents.

Earlier, the RBI has permitted a business correspondent to work in more than one bank but they could provide banking services of only one bank which employed the BC.


Vedanta’s ‘happiness’ backfires; celebrities pull out of PR campaign

Looks like Vedanta’s ‘happiness’ has met with a stumbling block the size of Niyamgiri Hills

The British mining corporation’s Vedanta Resources’ PR campaign has backfired with two Bollywood celebrities pulling out of it. Renowned film maker Shyam Benegal and actress Gul Panag have decided to opt out of a panel which was supposed to judge a number of short films by budding filmmakers which would show the ‘happiness’ the company brings to the villages where the company has its presence.

This is not the first time that Vedanta has run into trouble. Its presence at Niyamgiri in Odisha has drawn severe criticism from Amnesty International, Survival International and Action Aid; who have slammed blatant violation of the rights of the local Dongria Kondh tribes. Bianca Jagger, human rights lawyer and The Rolling Stone’s lead singer Mick Jagger’s former wife has been campaigning against the mining company and in 2010 submitted 30,000 signatures on a petition asking Vedanta to respect human rights. She famously called Vedanta as one of the ‘worst companies’ she came across, which misled the world with a dubious PR campaign.

Vedanta launched its ‘Creating Happiness’ campaign a couple of months ago. Incidentally, the final hearing is coming up in 9th April on Orissa Mining Corporation’s appeal in Supreme Court against the decision to stop mining in the Niyamgiri Hills.

Also, the Sesa Goa-Sterlite merger is on the cards, both the companies being owned by Vedanta Resources. Vedanta will own 58.3% in Sesa Sterlite post-restructuring. It showed a little girl Binno and her village, where Vedanta has supposedly done a lot to promote anaganwadi and mid-day meal initiatives. It is Sterlite which was to start mining bauxite in Odisha.

Filmmakers were asked to make short films for the campaign. However, the campaign drew a lot of criticism. Ms Panag declared on Twitter that she was unaware that the competition was part of Vedanta’s PR initiative, and pulled out. She tweeted, “My bad. Just got full details. I wasn’t aware that the competition was part of Vedanta glorification/PR. Have pulled out.”

The darling of parallel cinema, Shyam Benegal, also reportedly pulled out for similar reasons. Even a filmmaker, has asked for his film to be withdrawn.

Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, an activist group that is opposing Vedanta’s project at Niyamgiri and supporting the tribals, said, “It’s astonishing the lengths Vedanta will go to pursue its goal of mining in the Niyamgiri Hills. Not content with losing its fight against the Dongria Kondh in 2010, it’s now spending millions of dollars trying to change attitudes and convince the world that it’s working in the interests of local communities. The actions of these two jury members speak volumes and set a commendable example.”

Vedanta’s reputation received a severe blow when it ventured to mine aluminium ore in the Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha, and trampled on the rights of the Dongria Kondh tribe to whom the site is sacred. The company planned to go ahead with its plans without addressing environmental or humanitarian concerns, but a popular movement built up which garnered support from all over India. Independent media concerns and activists opposed its presence, the project was stalled.

Several shareholders have sold their shares due to human rights concerns. This includes the Church of England, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Marlborough Ethical Fund and Millfield House Foundation. The BP Pension Fund and PGGM (a Pension Fund from the Netherlands) have also divested their shares. The British and Norwegian governments have both condemned the project, and Martin Currie Investments has also disinvested following pressure from Survival.




5 years ago

Great!! Now all we need to do is lead a campaign against people who endorse soft drinks, chips, and other unhealthy food, to start with?


Quantum Mutual Fund launches new payment option–Prepaid Cards

Investors can make online investments using these cards

Quantum Mutual Fund, India’s first completely paperless online mutual fund has offered Prepaid cards as an online payment option for its investors.

After logging in to Quantum Mutual Fund’s Invest Online platform, investors can complete their usual online mutual fund transaction and then select “Prepaid Card” as payment option. Investors will then have to enter their prepaid card number in order to complete their transaction.

Quantum is currently the only mutual fund house in India to offer such a payment mechanism. The fund house is known as the country’s first direct-to-investor mutual fund, and early last year launched India’s first completely paperless invest online platform.

Jimmy A Patel, Chief Executive Officer, Quantum Asset Management Company Pvt. Ltd said, “When we launched our paperless Invest Online platform last year, we were aware that one of the challenges that we would face would be convincing investors about the security of their transactions. To address this concern, we ran an ISO 27001 Certification and increased our SSL Encryption. Prepaid cards are another step in this direction to cater to investors who are still wary of or uncomfortable with using their net-banking to transact online.”

This feature is only available for online investors who can choose Prepaid Cards as their payment option for transacting on the company’s website. The transaction limit for investments via such Prepaid cards is Rs50,000 and all entities that issue such cards are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Quantum is initially accepting such payments only through iCash Cards which aim to offer a safe and easy payment option to Indian investors, without compromising on their safety or privacy. iCash Cards are available in various denominations and can be purchased online on www.iCashCard.in.


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