RBI relaxes ECB norms for low-cost housing projects

The RBI in a notification on Monday relaxed the ECB norms for affordable housing projects by withdrawing the minimum capital requirement and lowering total experience to three years

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on Monday, relaxed the external commercial borrowing (ECB) norms for affordable housing projects by withdrawing the minimum capital requirement, and lowering total experience to three years, while extending the scheme till next financial year.


“Developers or builders should have a minimum of three years’ experience in undertaking residential projects as against five years prescribed earlier,” an RBI notification said.


The RBI also withdrew the condition of minimum paid-up capital requirement of not less than Rs50 crore for housing finance companies (HFCs) to avail themselves of ECBs.


However, the RBI said the condition of the minimum net owned funds of Rs300 crore (for the HFCs) for the past three financial years was unchanged.


“The aggregate limit for ECB under the low cost affordable housing scheme is extended for 2013-14 and 2014-15 with a ceiling of $1 billion in each of the two years, subject to review thereafter,” it said.


It added that the ECB availed of by developers and builders shall be swapped into rupee for the entire maturity on a fully-hedged basis.


The RBI said that the interest rate spread charged by the National Housing Bank (NHB) may be decided by the NHB, taking into account cost and other relevant factors.


The central bank further said that the HFCs while making applications for ECB should submit a certificate from NHB stating that availment of ECB for financing prospective owners of individual unit is for low cost affordable housing.


HFCs should ensure that the cost of such individual units should not exceed Rs30 lakh, and the loan should not exceed Rs25 lakh; and units financed should have a maximum carpet area of 60 square metres, the RBI added.


India Inc Q4 net sales up 6%, net profit down 3%

A Moneylife analysis of 1,144 companies found out that India Inc’s performance for the fourth quarter of the 2012-2013 fiscal was subdued


Corporate India has had a somewhat mixed fourth quarter results for the 2012-2013 fiscal. Moneylife analysed data of 1,144 companies, and saw that sales, operating profit and net profit were subdued, due to challenging market conditions and macro-economic headwinds. India Inc saw aggregate sales amount to Rs13,30,302.41 crore, up 6% year-on-year (y-o-y), when compared to Rs 12,54,576.28 crore recorded for the March


2012 quarter. Operating profit too crept up 6% y-o-y, from Rs 1,86,287.61 for the March 2012 quarter to Rs 1,97,750.58 for the March 2013 quarter. However, net profit slumped, during the March 2013 quarter, by 3%, to Rs1,11,524.35. 


Corporate India’s margins remained more or less flat. Operating profit margins of India Inc, for the March 2013 quarter was 14.87%, marginally better than the 14.85% that it recorded in March 2012. Net profit margins dipped during the March 2013 quarter, from 9.15% to 8.38%. At the outset, these numbers are somewhat subdued, but it isn’t bad considering the dire macro-economic scenario that we have been witnessing since the beginning of the year. 

A closer look reveals a much better picture. Out of the 1,144 companies, 60.22% reported improved net sales during the March 2013 quarter, when compared to the same quarter last year. Similarly, 48% of the universe reported improved operating profit. Only 43% of the companies saw net profit improve during the March 2013 quarter when compared to the March 2012 quarter. However, 45% (518) of the companies saw their net profit margin improve, while 544 or 47% of the companies saw their operating profit margin improve. 
The global economic turbulence, the weakening rupee, are likely to affect the broader macro-economic picture in the first quarter of the 2014 fiscal. Even though commodity prices are on the decline, it is by no means positive because consumers still have to buy. With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) keeping rates steady, it is unlikely that consumer spending will pick up pace, although selective companies may do well. Those dependent on a weaker rupee, such as information technology and automotive ancillaries, could do well. 


ASCI bans 40 ads, including SMS ad from McDonald’s
The Advertising Standards Council banned 40 ads in April, including those claiming miracle remedies, placement-guarantees from educational institutes and misleading promotions through SMS
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) banned 40 advertisements in April. A complaint against an SMS advertisement for global fast-food chain McDonald’s was reviewed and upheld for the first time as part of ASCI’s efforts to proactively cover ads in every form of media. Among the 287 complaints upheld in 2013, a whopping 52% belonged to health and personal care.
The complaint against an SMS ad sent out by Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd for McDonald’s read “McVeggie or McChicken FREE on order of Rs200 above with McDonalds. Mention coupon code MCD07 while ordering, valid till 7/1/13. Call Now 66000666. T&C.” However, when the complainant attempted to avail the offer at the Food Court at the Inorbit Mall at Malad in Mumbai, he was informed that this offer was valid only for home delivery. The CCC upheld the complaint as the advertisement was misleading by omission.
Several ads for health and personal care were found to be misleading, false or inadequately substantiated and complaints against them were upheld. These include ads from GM Pharmacy’s Sadabahar Sugar Free, Anant Clinic, Nature Green Herbal Care and Musli Sakthi Herbals Pvt Ltd. Most complaints in this category were against advertisements offering miraculous cures to sexual ailments, obesity, diabetes and baldness.
A number of complaints were upheld against advertisements in the education category as well for making unsubstantiated claims. For instance, the ads from the Indian Institute of Learning & Advanced Development, Swami Vivekanada Institute of Technology, Fasttrack Institute of Technology claiming “100% assured placement” and several coaching institutes guaranteeing success in the IIT-JEE were found to be making unsubstantiated claims. A complaint against the popular Amity University’s advertisement was upheld for being misleading by showing rankings without providing details of the year of ranking.
Among others were Ganesh Atta whose claims to more nutritious and purified wheat were deemed unsubstantiated, as were Aqua Corporation’s Aqua Pure Guard Water Purifier’s claims of being the “World’s No. 1 water purifier”. 
Complaints against advertisements of Aviva Life Insurance Company India, Hindustan Unilever’s Comfort 1 Rinse Fabric and Times Business Solutions were among those that were found to be non-compliant with ASCI’s guidelines and were rejected.




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