Money & Banking
RBI relaxes norms to utilise foreign currency account balance

RBI said the instructions would also apply to the resident foreign currency domestic and diamond dollar accounts

Mumbai: Relaxing the norms for exporters, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) dispensed with the condition of fully utilising exchange earner’s foreign currency (EEFC) balance before accessing the market for purchasing foreign exchange, reports PTI.


The decision, RBI said, was being taken to remove operational difficulties faced by the account holders and the banks.


“It has been decided to dispense with the stipulation... that EEFC account holders henceforth will be permitted to access the forex market for purchasing foreign exchange only after utilising fully the available balances in the EEFC accounts,” the RBI said in a notification.


RBI said the instructions would also apply to resident foreign currency (RFC) domestic and diamond dollar accounts.


An EEFC is an account maintained in foreign currency with a bank dealing in foreign exchange.


Ghost of GAAR buried: Chidambaram

Last week, Chidambaram had announced that implementation of GAAR, which would have given unbridled powers to taxmen to check evasion of taxes by foreign investors, has been postponed to 2016

Hong Kong: India has buried the ‘ghost’ of general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR), Finance minister P Chidambaram said on Tuesday asserting that there is no threat of a rating downgrade in view of key economic decisions like allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and hiking fuel prices, reports PTI.


He said there is revival of investor interest in India as a result of a number of measures taken by the government since September.


Chidambaram was also hopeful that fiscal deficit will be contained within the targeted 5.3% of the GDP this fiscal and trimmed to 4.8% in the next. Growth is likely to climb to 6%-7% from 5.7% expected in the current year, he said.


“There is a universal acknowledgement that we have handled the GAAR situation fairly effectively and buried the ghost that GAAR will be some kind of a monster,” he told PTI in an interview.


Here on a day’s visit for an investor conference, the finance minister said as expected investors raised issues relating to the controversial provision of GAAR that was introduced in the 2012-13 Budget by his predecessor.


The GAAR gave unbridled powers to taxmen to check evasion of taxes by foreign investors that created huge apprehensions among investors.


Last week, Chidambaram announced that GAAR implementation has been postponed by two years to 2016.


“On specific questions on GAAR and I took some time in explaining all the measures we have made to GAAR and told them how market has received it very well here. There is universal acknowledgement that we have handled the GAAR situation fairly effectively and buried the ghost that GAAR will be some kind of a monster,” he said.


Kicking off his campaign to woo investment, Chidambaram met over 200 top investors at the “India for Investment Conference” organised by the Citibank and BNP Paribas.


He made a strong case for their investment assuring that all their concerns were being addressed and that the government has taken all measures including to contain the fiscal deficit.


“It is a very well attended meeting. Virtually everybody who is anybody in the financial sector was here including wealth funds, sovereign funds, banks asset management companies. It gave me an opportunity to explain the economic situation in India, the steps we are taking to put the economy on high growth path,” he said.


Chidambaram, who will be in Singapore tomorrow on a similar mission, said India continues to post growth even now.


“We are undeniably growing faster,” he said pointing that out only China and Indonesia are ahead of India.


“But this growth is not sufficient for us. We need to accelerate it. So I told them steps we are taking to accelerate growth,” he said.


He said the first step in that direction is fiscal consolidation and commitment to the path of fiscal prudence.


“At that at the end of this year, we will achieve the target of 5.3% of fiscal deficit and next year I will budget for fiscal deficit no more than 4.8%,” he said.


He said he has also explained to the international investors the number of measures taken in this regard.


“I thought it was a fruitful conference. I could get a sense of the concerns of investors. Happily many of the concerns were addressed in the last three of four months,” he said.


Chidambaram said the investors were concerned about the rating down grade.


“I think the steps we have taken assured everybody that there will not be a rating down grade. They were concerned about our ability to stay the course after we announced the decisions. They are happy we stayed the course after announcing FDI in multi brand retails,” he said.


He said the investors and rating agencies were concerned that we will not correct fuel prices. “But even the small steps we have taken has given them confidence that we will correct the fuel prices. I think each of the measures has boosted their confidence in the Indian economy,” he said.


While the government had in September last capped the supply of subsidised cooking gas and raised the price of petrol and diesel steeply, last week it had virtually begun the process of deregulation of diesel price.


On GDP growth projections, he said “projections I have received is that economy will grow above six percent (in 2013). My own assessment is it will be between 6% and 7%. Will be happy if it is closer to 7% percent but we should be happy if it is 6% to 7% “.


On revival of investor interest, he said, “People are coming to us for inquiries, approaching banks. There is a clear revival. I am not saying there is investment taking place but there is a revival of interest”.


“There is revival of confidence that we will stick to our promises to contain the fiscal deficit and lowering it by 0.6% every year by the next five years,” he said.


The confidence is showing up even in the bottom rung of many companies. This quarter results of many companies are encouraging in some sectors demand for goods quite high. This means people are willing to buy more, he said.


“Next year we should see 6% and 7%. If investment gathers pace, year after we should get back to our growth rate of 8%. India's potential growth rate is above eight percent above. We have done it before. We will do it again,” he added.




4 years ago

Are we a free ans sovereign nation?

Annual confidential reports of all IAS officers gutted in Mantralaya fire

The annual appraisal reports of all IAS officers in Maharashtra are lost in the Mantralaya fire, claims the state government in an RTI reply

In an RTI (Right to Information) response to former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, the Maharashtra government has said that annual confidential reports (ACRs) of all 280 IAS, IPS officers were gutted in the Mantralaya inferno on 21st June last year.


“The fire on 21 June 2012 gutted the General Administration Department’s (GAD) office number 10, which had all original annual confidential reports and confidential reports of officers from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Therefore, we cannot provide the information sought by you for past two and more years,” the Public Information Officer (PIO) of GAD stated in his reply.


At present there are 280 IAS officers working in Maharashtra, out of which the government has initiated the performance appraisal for 259 officers. The assessment report of the rest 21 IAS officers is also being prepared, the PIO informed.


The PIO also clarified that since 27 IAS officers are working on a deputation out of the state, it cannot provide their appraisal reports.


Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had told reporters that 2.25 lakh files had been digitalised and 3.18 crore papers had been scanned prior to the incident. This means the rest about 4.82 crore pages were not digitised and were susceptible. 


Mr Gandhi, sought information about the receipt of annual confidential reports of IAS officers in the state, for each of the last two years in the following format…


Total Number of IAS officers

Number of officers for whom ACRs/APRs have been received for the relevant year

Number of officers for whom ACRs/APRs have been not received for the relevant year

Number of officers for whom ACRs/APRs have not been received for two earlier  years

Number of officers for whom ACRs /APRs have not been received for three earlier years and more












Here is the reply given by the PIO (in Marathi)...






4 years ago

Modern offices are designed to work with less paper and fire hazards are created by accumulating old records and papers which are expected to be weeded out and destroyed at reasonable intervals. I remember a news report about former FM getting a huge quantity of 'Xerox' copies of agena/notes etc of all meetings he attended, just before he vacated office to become President.That prompted me to send this piece to Reader's Digest. I am not aware whether they published it!
All in a day’s work

Shredding machines and back-up files

“Shredders in North Block get busy as FM set to leave: For the last two days, the paper guzzlers have been working overtime in FM’s Office. In fact the scale at which papers are being destroyed has even prompted the 50-man strong ministerial staff- who work in two shifts-to borrow shredding machines from across the ministry. One explanation for the humongous pile of papers is the fact that Pranab Mukherjee presides over multiple GoMS (Groups of Ministers)-ranging from 2G spectrum to food and oil. These papers, which are usually photocopied to ensure that there are back-ups, would not be required in Rashtrapati Bhavan.”(Report in media on June 21, 2012).
This reminds me of one incident in the office I worked in late 1960’s. The officer-in-Charge visited the record room one day and found that there was no room for keeping new records as old records had not been weeded out and destroyed. He gave on-the-spot instructions to attend to destruction of obsolete files and keep only important old files and recent records which are not due for destruction in the record room. Within a week, a note was submitted to him for passing orders for destruction of a large number of files and documents which satisfied the norms for destruction. His orders on the file read something like this:
“Destroy all the files listed for destruction. Some files have become too old and clumsy to handle. Now that we have acquired a new Xerox machine which is fast and efficient, please keep copies of all the files being destroyed.”
Hopefully, North Block would have now taken advantage of the new technology available and preserved images of all the ‘back-up files’ on electronic chips before shredding!
M G Warrier, Mumbai

Shadi Katyal

4 years ago

One doesnot hear any fires in oither nations but in India in this age of digital recording.
Nice way to desgtrioy records. This is the way India

nagesh kini

4 years ago

I had thought the Mantralaya fire devoured only Adarsh files!
More skeletons are sure to pop up!

Ramesh Iyer

4 years ago

Seems GAD of Govt of Maharashtra hasn't heard of scanners !! Moreover, officers of All India Services like IAS, IPS, & IFS are governed by Central Govt enacted rules, so guess a copy must be there with the UPSC or the Dept of Personnel under PMO currently.



In Reply to Ramesh Iyer 4 years ago

The reply quoted in he article is a typical 'RTI-specific' response.In all probability, as you(Ramesh Iyer) rightly presumed, earlier records will be with other offices and essential records must have been re-constructed or may be in the process of restoration, as these form the basis for deciding posting/promotion and so on. This is possibly an easy diversion taken by the government.

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