RBI relaxes norms on unused fund refund on international travel cards

The central bank has allowed authorised persons, mainly banks, to issue foreign currency pre-paid cards to resident Indians going abroad, subject to the overall ceiling

The RBI has relaxed the norms for refund of unutilised sums to holders of international travel cards by doing away with the 10-day mandatory waiting period.

"All such authorised persons (which are allowed to issue cards) shall redeem the unutilised balance outstanding in the cards immediately upon request by the resident Indians to whom the cards are issued...", RBI notification said.

At present, the agencies issuing travel cards refund the unutilised amount only after 10 days from the date of last transaction.

As per the RBI norms, a person can utilise $10,000 or equivalent currencies for private overseas visits during a year.

The central bank has allowed authorised persons, mainly banks, to issue foreign currency pre-paid cards to resident Indians going abroad, subject to the overall ceiling.

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HSBC India appoints Stuart Milne as CEO

Naina Lal Kidwai will continue as the country head of HSBC India and also as a director at HSBC Asia Pacific

The country's second largest foreign bank HSBC said it appointed group veteran Stuart Milne as the new chief executive, effective 1 April 2012. Stuart Davis, after a three-year stint in the same role, is moving out of the country but within the group. This makes HSBC the second foreign bank in the country to have a new CEO, after rival British lender Standard Chartered Bank.

Davis' new role is yet to be announced, but it has been reported that he will be holding a larger role at the bank's Asia headquarters in Hong Kong as part of a global reshuffle of the bank as the largest European bank tries to trim costs in the Western markets which are yet to recover from the 2008 credit crisis.

Naina Lal Kidwai will continue as the country head of HSBC India and also as a director at HSBC Asia Pacific. "Milne, who was most recently its country manager for Japan, succeeds Stuart Davis who is moving to a new position within the organisation," the bank said.

On Milne's appointment, HSBC Asia-Pacific chief executive Peter Wong said, "I am delighted to announce Stuart Milne as HSBC India CEO. His appointment to the executive committee in Asia reinforces the high profile of our India business. I am pleased that in the three years that Stuart Davis has been in India, HSBC has secured its position among the biggest and most profitable foreign banks in the country. HSBC has emerged as a competitive player in the market, taking Indian businesses overseas and helping to attract overseas business to India," Wong said.

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SC to hear review petition on 2G licence cancellation

Justice GS Singhvi, who is heading the bench in the 2G matters, earlier on 16 March 2012 had said Chief Justice SH Kapadia has set up a new bench comprising him and Justice Patnaik for hearing all cases on the 2G spectrum scam.

Justice KS Radhakrishnan has been put on the Supreme Court bench to hear a bunch of pleas by the centre and various telecom firms, seeking reviews of various aspects of the verdict cancelling 122 2G spectrum licences.

He replaces AK Patnaik, who came in the place of Justice Asok Ganguly, who has retired.

Justice GS Singhvi, who is heading the bench in the 2G matters, earlier on 16 March 2012 had said Chief Justice SH Kapadia has set up a new bench comprising him and Justice Patnaik for hearing all cases on the 2G spectrum scam.

The cause list for Tuesday, however, shows that Justice Singhvi and Justice Radhakrishnan will take up the petitions for in-chamber hearing, which is normally done in case of the review and curative pleas.

A bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice AK Ganguly (now retired) had passed a slew of rulings in the scam including the order cancelling the 122 2G spectrum licences granted by former telecom minister A Raja and had held that the first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy could not be used for the allocation of natural resources.

It had also pulled up the PMO for sitting on the complaint filed against Raja and set a time limit of four months for the government to take a decision on granting sanction to prosecute a corrupt public servant.

In the aftermath of the apex court verdicts, several petitions have been filed by various bodies, including the Centre, the telecom firms, the NGOs and former minister Raja, seeking various reliefs, including review, clarification and recall of the apex court's order.

Swamy and the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation have moved the apex court against the trial court order giving clean chit to Chidambaram in the scam.
Telecom companies - Tata Teleservices, Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL) and Uninor--- have sought review of the verdict cancelling their licences.
The Centre has also sought review and clarification in the 2G verdict which held that sanction for the prosecution of public servants could be sought even prior to the filing of complaint.

It has sought review of the apex court's 31 January 2012 verdict which blamed the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for sitting on the plea to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for granting sanction to prosecute Raja.

Faced with the 2 June 2012 deadline, when 122 licenses for 2G spectrum will stand quashed, the government has virtually sought extension of time for cancellation of licences.

The main accused in the scam, Raja has also pleaded for a review of the verdict on cancellation of licences, saying it violates the “principles of natural justice” and “judicial norms” and that he was indicted without being heard.

Raja, who has been in jail for more than a year, has contended the findings in the verdict against him are “bound to prejudice” his defence in the trial.

In a separate application, the Centre has questioned the apex court verdict, which has held as unconstitutional the policy of first-come-first-served, saying it has entered into the exclusive domain of the executive and beyond the limits of judicial review.

The review petition has contended the apex court's prescription of a single method for distribution of all natural resources, including spectrum, through “auction” route is contrary to the principle of separation of powers embodied in the Constitution.

The Centre has also sought review and clarification in the 2G verdict which held that sanction for the prosecution of public servants could be sought even prior to the filing of complaint.

It has sought review of the apex court's 31 January 2012 verdict which blamed the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for sitting on the plea to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for granting sanction to prosecute Raja.

Faced with the 2 June 2012 deadline, when 122 licenses for 2G spectrum will stand quashed, the government has virtually sought extension of time for cancellation of licences.

The main accused in the scam, Raja has also pleaded for a review of the verdict on cancellation of licences, saying it violates the “principles of natural justice” and “judicial norms” and that he was indicted without being heard.

Raja, who has been in jail for more than a year, has contended the findings in the verdict against him are “bound to prejudice” his defence in the trial.

In a separate application, the Centre has questioned the apex court verdict, which has held as unconstitutional the policy of first-come-first-served, saying it has entered into the exclusive domain of the executive and beyond the limits of judicial review.

The review petition has contended the apex court's prescription of a single method for distribution of all natural resources, including spectrum, through “auction” route is contrary to the principle of separation of powers embodied in the Constitution.

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