Consumer Issues
RBI sets up panel to speed up financial inclusion

The 11-member panel is expected to explore issues like developing viable and sustainable banking services delivery models and developing products and processes for rural as well as urban consumers outside the banking network

 
Mumbai: Amid slow progress in bringing the entire population under banking network, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced setting up of a high level committee to 'spearhead' efforts to ensure accessible financial services in the country, reports PTI.
 
The Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee (FIAC) under RBI Deputy Governor KC Chakrabarty is expected to suggest appropriate regulatory framework to ensure that financial inclusion and financial stability move in tandem, the RBI said in a statement.
 
Stating there has been significant, 'albeit slow', progress towards greater financial Inclusion, the RBI said ensuring accessible and affordable financial services in all the six lakh villages is a 'herculean task' and given the enormity of the task, "a lot of ground still needs to be covered".
 
"This calls for a partnership of all the stakeholders," it said. The stakeholders include, RBI, SEBI, IRDA, PFRDA, NABARD, governments, civil society and NGOs, among others, the central bank said.
 
As per 2011 census, about 58.7% households had reported availing of banking facilities. Out of the 24.69 crore households, 14.48 crore reported availing banking services. Nearly 10 crore households were not availing the services.
 
The 11-member panel is expected to explore issues such as developing viable and sustainable banking services delivery models and developing products and processes for rural as well as urban consumers outside the banking network, the RBI said.
 
The regulators and the central government are already part of the Technical Group on Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy and Sub-committee of Financial Stability and Development Council.
 
The apex bank said a need was felt to engage the members from the civil society, Non-Governmental Organisations and others for a sound and purposeful collaboration.
 
The Committee, if necessary, would call other market players like technology vendors and corporate business correspondents as special invitees to the meetings.
 
"Since the financial inclusion model selected in India is primarily bank-led, the Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee may also invite the Chairperson/Managing Directors of banks to each of its meetings to gather the perspective of the banks," it added.
 
The members include, YH Malegam, Dipankar Gupta, Ela Ramesh Bhatt and DK Mittal (Banking Secretary) besides Members of the Central Board of Directors of RBI.
 
Nachiket Mor, MS Sriram, RS Sharma, B Sambamurthy, Rama Vedashree, PDK Rao and KR Kamath, are the other members.
 

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Enfield's new Thunderbird 500 Bullet priced at Rs1.83 lakh

Enfield's new bulelts, the Thunderbird 500 is priced at Rs1.83 lakh and Thunderbird 350 is priced at Rs1.43, on road in Mumbai

 
Mumbai: Royal Enfield, the Chennai-based makers of the iconic Bullet, has launched a new Thunderbird model in two variants -- 500 cc and 350 cc. The new Thunderbird, targeted at the highway cruising buffs, are priced at Rs1.83 lakh (on road Mumbai for the 500 cc) and Rs1.43 lakh (350 cc), reports PTI.
 
"We hope to cross the 1-lakh magical sales figure this fiscal on the back of robust sales so far. We have been clipping at around 50% in sales, and have still six to eight months of waiting," managing director and chief executive of Eicher Motors (which owns the Royal Enfield Company) Siddhartha Lal told reporters.
 
These sales growth numbers come at a time when the auto market has been de-growing in the past few months.
 
In September, the motorcycle sales in the country plunged a whopping 19%, while car sales dipped 5.4%.
 
Last year, Enfield had notched up a full 50% growth in sales to over 75,000 units, Lal said.
 
Lal also announced the company's entry into the biking accessories market with a slew of apparel and biking gadgets, including leather and nylon jackets, helmets, gloves, etc.
 
"We have decided to close the plans about launching a diesel variant," he said.
 
"I hope with the commissioning of our second plant by the first quarter of 2013, we will be able to trim the long waiting period, which is now six to eight months. Currently, almost 90% of our sales come form domestic market and still we are unable to offer the bikes on demand.
 
"Definitely, we want to be global brand. But our first priority is to meet the domestic demand and the exports will be focused from FY15 onwards," Lal said.
 
Royal Enfield chief executive Venki Padmanabhan said the company sells around 1,000 units of the existing 350 cc Thunderbirds.
 
Later, senior vice-president for sales and marketing Shaji Koshy said the company has already got 100 bookings within hours of launch, 50 from Mumbai alone.
 
The first Thunderbird was launched in 2002 and sells around 1,000 units a month of the 350-cc model, Lal said.
 

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Bank manger arrested for sanctioning loans on forged documents

The branch manager of SBI sanctioned 42 personal loans out of which 27 were not repaid and four cases were found to be forged

 
New Delhi: A bank manger and a loanee have been arrested in the capital in connection with sanctioning of loans on forged documents, reports PTI.
 
56-year-old Sukhpal Singh, a manager with State Bank of India (SBI), was arrested for his involvement in sanctioning of loans on forged doucments, Devesh Srivastava, Additional Commissioner of Police (Central), said.
 
"During his tenure as Branch Manager at Jama Masjid branch of SBI, Singh got sanctioned 42 personal loans out of which 27 were not repaid and four cases were found to be forged," he said.
 
Singh and the loanee, Mahesh Mehta (40) were arrested following investigations into a complaint by MS Kardam, Branch Manager of SBI's Jama Masjid branch, who alleged that Mehta had obtained a loan of Rs2.5 lakh in 2008 allegedly using false and fabricated documents.
 
The fraud came to the notice of the bank officials only when they made efforts to recover the loan amount and it was learnt that no such person as named in the loan documents was residing at the given address, Srivastava said.
 
During investigations, Mehta's house in Bhajanpura was raided and he was arrested. His interrogation led to the arrest of Singh.
 
Mehta obtained the loan with the connivance of Singh and two other accomplices Prem Parkash Suneja, a retired AGM of the bank, and one Praveen Kumar.
 
He also got loans from Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, City Finance and HSBC Bank, however, he did not repay these loan amounts also and became defaulter.
 
"Mehta had allegedly come in contact with Suneja through Praveen Kumar. Suneja allegedly prepared forged documents.
 
Mehta used to pay 30% of the loan amount to Suneja, Singh and Praveen Kumar after the sanction of the loan amount," Srivastava said.
 
Efforts are on to arrest Suneja and Praveen Kumar.
 

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