RBI restricts NBFI in Gujarat from accepting public deposits

The central bank has cancelled registration certificate of Vishal Finlease for violating RBI guidelines

Ahmedabad: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has restricted Gandhinagar based non-banking financial institution-Vishal Finlease Pvt Ltd- from accepting public deposits, for violation of guidelines, reports PTI.


"The company-Vishal Finlease Pvt Ltd- has been stopped from accepting public deposits for violating RBI guidelines. Its certificate of registration has been cancelled," a RBI official, in department of non-banking supervision said.


"The certificate was cancelled after company took over another firm in violation of RBI guidelines," he said preferring anonymity.


An advertisement released by the department of non-Banking supervision of regional RBI states "the company cannot transact the business of non-banking financial institution (NBFI) as defined in clause (a) of Section 45-I of the Act."


Fuel loading not started at Kudankulam: AERB chairman

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board chairman said it would give clearance for fuel loading at KNPP only after receiving and reviewing report from its ground team

Mumbai: As anti-Kudankulam protests intensified, India's nuclear regulator on Thursday said it was yet to give final clearance for loading of enriched uranium fuel into the first 1000 MW atomic plant built with Russian collaboration, reports PTI.


"Fuel loading has not yet begun," SS Bajaj, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) told reporters at a briefing on safety measures at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).


Bajaj said a seven-member AERB team was carrying out last minute checks at the first 1000 MW unit of KNPP located at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.


"As soon as those (checks) are completed we will get the report from the ground team. We will then review the report and only then give clearance for fuel loading," he said.


Bajaj said it was the responsibility of the plant operator -- Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) -- to meet all the regulatory parameters after which a go ahead can be given to load fuel in the plant.


"We do not know how much time it will take. It is the responsibility of the utility (NPCIL) and not AERB. We will only ensure whether safety measures have been met or not," he said.


Kudankulam and its adjoining villages are witnessing a fresh wave of protests led by anti-nuclear activists and the locals against commissioning of the atomic power plant.


Bajaj refused to be drawn into a debate on the timeframe commissioning of the plant and made it clear that it was the responsibility of the operator.


"Timeframe for commissioning of the plant are issues with the utility. Regulatory body will only give clearances when the safety measures are met. It can be done tomorrow or one year later. If we are satisfied we will clear it," he said.


On the safety of the Kudankulam plant, Bajaj said an AERB committee had said the plant was safe and robust as far as tsunami-like conditions are concerned.


He said the committee had made 17 recommendations for incorporating additional safety measures in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.


Bajaj said the recommended actions were to be reviewed and resolved and AERB has set up a timeframe ranging from six months to two years for their implementation.


"Already implementation of some recommendations has begun. There are working groups who will review it. Without that kind of satisfaction, we will never give any clearance," he said.


On the recent CAG report on the functioning of the AERB, Bajaj said the nuclear regulator was an autonomous body and does not get its regulatory decisions cleared from anybody.


"We would like to clarify that with regards to regulatory decisions, AERB is an autonomous body and we do not report to anybody to clear our regulatory decisions," he said.


Bajaj said AERB has taken many enforcement actions in the past and will continue to do it in future as well.


"We will not agree to that we are not effective," the AERB Chairman said.


He refused to comment any further on the findings of the CAG report which would be taken up by a parliamentary committee for examination.


"CAG report is with Parliamentary committee and it is not advisable that I talk about it as it will be inviting privilege issues of Parliament," Bajaj said.


SpiceJet in talks with Gulf airline for investment

SpiceJet said as the framework for FDI in Indian aviation is not yet in place, overseas carriers were reluctant to enter more formal negotiations

Dubai: SpiceJet has held 'preliminary discussions' with a Gulf airline for potential investment in the Indian budget carrier, reports PTI quoting a news report.


"There have been preliminary discussions to check in principle whether there is interest on both sides and the confirmation there would be 'yes there is'," SpiceJet CEO Neil Mills told Arabian Business.


Any such tie-up depends on a policy shift in India's aviation industry, which currently prohibits foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector.


Mills said as the framework for FDI in Indian aviation is not yet in place, overseas carriers were reluctant to enter more formal negotiations.


"(Talks have) been on a preliminary basis, because they've quite rightly said what's the point in investing money in due diligence if the rule to enable (an investment) doesn't even exist," Mills was quoted as saying.


Mills, however, declined to reveal whether UAE-based Etihad Airways, which owns minority stakes in airberlin and Virgin Australia, and Qatar Airways were among the interested parties.


SpiceJet has a network of 41 destinations across South Asia and the Middle East.


Any future tie-up, Mills said, would provide reciprocal benefits.


"We've got a good network and we're carrying 36,000 people a day (and) about one million people a month now, so we've got good feed and good catchment," he said.


A partnership with an international carrier would give SpiceJet access to economies of scale on procurement contracts and long-haul options for its passengers, he added.


On the possibility of any change in India's aviation policy, Mills said a part of the issue is that the majority of carriers have realised "they cannot use (FDI) anyway".


"Either their debt burden is so large that nobody would want to take a stake in them because you inherit a stake of the debt, and other carriers are already owned up to 49% on an offshore basis anyway," he said.


SpiceJet will begin a daily service to Riyadh from its hub in Delhi by October, he said, adding that the airline is currently not assessing any other Gulf routes.


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