Punjab_national_bank_in_South_Road_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1519911

When Bankers Collude

162

What is it? The number of pages in an internal report prepared by officials of Punjab National Bank (PNB) tasked with probing the $2-billion fraud involving diamantaire Nirav Modi.

Why is it important? The report is said to point out the failings of 54 PNB officials, including clerks, foreign exchange managers, auditors and heads of regional offices. Of these, eight have been charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for their roles in the alleged scam. It adds there were blatant system violations, unethical practices and dereliction of responsibilities, which went undetected due to lapses within some key units of the bank.

Tell me more: PNB’s capital adequacy ratio fell below the mandated levels at the end of March 2018, as it posted the biggest-ever quarterly loss in the January-March period by any domestic lender, which was primarily due to this scam.

6

What is it? The number of people, including Bank of Maharashtra’s chairman and managing director Ravindra Marathe, who were arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of the Pune police on Wednesday in connection with the Rs 3,000-crore DSK Group loan default case.

Why is it important? This is yet another case of bankers colluding with customers to perpetrate frauds, according to allegations by the police. The bank officials have been accused of entering into fraudulent transactions with DSK Group and sanctioned loans, which were later siphoned off. Pune-based builder DS Kulkarni and his wife Hemanti, who have been accused of cheating over 4,000 investors of Rs 1,154 crore and diverting bank loans worth Rs 2,892 crore, were arrested four months ago.

Tell me more: The others arrested on Wednesday include the bank’s executive director RK Gupta, bank’s former CMD Sushil Muhnot, the lender’s zonal manager, DSK Group’s chartered accountant and a vice-president of the firm’s engineering department.

4 lakh

What is it? The fall in ridership of Delhi Metro between May 2017 and May 2018.

Why is it important? In May 2017, the Delhi Metro saw an average daily ridership of 26.5 lakh. But, in May 2018, this figure fell to 22.5 lakh, against the projected 30 lakh. The fall comes in the backdrop of two fare hikes by the Delhi Metro, in May 2017 and October 2017.

Tell me more: The increase in fares had become an issue between the Union government and the Delhi government, with the latter opposed to the fare revision. A Central government-appointed panel has since recommended an annual revision of fares.

$71.3 billion

What is it? The amount Walt Disney has offered for Twenty-First Century Fox’s media assets.

Why is it important? This offer, at $38 per share, is $10 higher than its first bid and $3 above Comcast’s bid from last week. Though Fox has accepted the deal saying it provides more flexibility and enhancements than Comcast’s proposal, the latter can still get back with better terms. Both Disney and Comcast are looking to acquire Fox’s collection of popular television shows and movie franchises, which include “X-Men” superheroes and “The Simpsons”, that would help them compete better with online rivals such as Netflix and Amazon.com.

Tell me more: The total deal value would work out to a total of $85.1 billion as Disney has agreed to take on Fox’s debt of about $13.8 billion.

2

What is it? The number of teams that have qualified for the round of 16 in the 2018 football world cup.

Why is it important? On Wednesday, Uruguay followed Russia from Group A into the round of 16 as they beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 to notch up their second win. On Tuesday, hosts Russia had registered their second straight win.

Tell me more: The second round of group matches will continue today, with Denmark, France and Croatiain with a chance to seal spots in the round of 16.

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Indians’ debt quagmire

10.25 lakh

What is it? The number of farmers in Punjab who would benefit from the loan waiver announced by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday.

Why is it important? In the season of farm loan waivers, Punjab is the third state, after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, to announce one. However, even if over 55% of Punjab’s farmers would benefit from the waiver for small and marginal farmers, the amount the state will have to write off is yet unclear.

Tell me more: Farmers tilling up to 5 acre of land will get waivers of up to Rs 2 lakh, while other marginal farmers will get a flat Rs 2 lakh waiver. Uttar Pradesh’s move has set off demands across states, often turning violent as in Madhya Pradesh for farm loan waivers.

 

1,000 Earth-days

What is it? The time India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spent in its orbit.

Why is it important? MOM, launched in November, 2013, has remained active beyond its expected life span of six months (180 days). Lauded for its low-cost Rs 450-crore Mars spacecraft, Isro says extra fuel has led to its extended life span after it successfully entered the Mars orbit in September, 2014.

Tell me more: The spacecraft is studying the Martian surface and atmosphere and sending back images. Isro had saved Rs 2.61 crore of the budget and returned to the Union government.

 

75 million pound

What is it? The money Sahara Group advocate, Kapil Sibal, says will be brought to India towards refunding the Rs 24,000 crore to investors.

Why is it important? It amounts to around Rs 615 crore and Sibal has sought permission to transfer the amount to the Sebi-Sahara refund account. Sahara needs to pay this to Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). Its promoter, Subrata Roy, was arrested on a court order for failing to refund the dues earlier. Sahara is scrambling to meet the court order of payment of Rs 2,000 by July. It paid Rs 790.18 crore on Monday.

Tell me more: The current amount is a result of Sahara selling its stake in Grosvenor House Hotel in London and refinancing funds related to The Plaza Hotel and Dream Downtown Hotel in New York.

 

Rs 200 crore

What is it? The amount raised by the Pune Municipal Corporation in its bond issue.

Why is it important? This is the biggest municipal bond issue in India. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was the first to issue such bonds, worth Rs 100 crore, in 2002. With these funds, Pune aims to fund its Smart City plans.

Tell me more: The bonds were rated AA+, promising returns of 7.59%, higher than bonds of state governments.

 

Rs 29.8

What is it? The stock price of Bank of Maharashtra on Monday.

Why is it important? The stock fell 3.4% in a day after news broke of the Reserve Bank of India initiating Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) against it over the weekend. A high level of bad loans (non-performing assets or NPAs) and a negative return on assets led to the move. It is the sixth state-owned bank face PCA, following Indian Overseas Bank (2015), IDBI, UCO Bank, Dena Bank and Central Bank of India (all in 2017).

Tell me more: The lender had net NPA ratio of 11.76% and a negative return on assets at -1.09%, end of FY17.

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News In Numbers – August 25

News In Numbers: August 25

 

Rs 1,033 crore

The income-tax exemption extended by the government to six national political parties between 2006-07 and 2010-11, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms, a non-profit. This has been cited by ADR, in a public interest litigation, as one of the financial reasons to bring political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, which would mandate them to share information about their functioning with the public. Yesterday, in the Supreme Court, the government opposed this. Other financial reasons cited by ADR include allotment of land, accommodation/bunglows at concessional rent, and free airtime on state TV and radio broadcasters.

 

$43.6

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil on the London markets, following yesterday’s sharp fall in global markets, including those in commodities. Brent Crude fell below $45 per barrel for the first time since 2009, and it has deepened what has already been a major decline in global commodity prices, following the weakness in the Chinese economy. Crude oil prices could fall even further as major oil-producing nations such as Iran look to expand production. The fall in crude prices will help keep India’s oil subsidies low: a $1 decline in prices of crude, which is India’s largest import, reduces the country’s import bill by around Rs 6,700 crore.

 

50%+

Share of mobile devices in total searches on Google originating from India. This is a marked increase from the 25% in the second half of 2013, and underscores why the mobile will lead the coming wave of Internet adoption in India. Although smartphone sales in India dipped 7% in the first quarter of 2015, they rebounded smartly in the second quarter, with sales of 26.5 million units, a growth of 44% over the corresponding period of 2014.

 

Rs 2,700 crore

The cumulative bad loans three public sector banks — Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank and Bank of Maharashtra — are planning to sell to asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) in the second quarter of 2015-16. Of these three, the gross non-performing asset (NPA) ratio of only Bank of Maharashtra showed a decrease in the June quarter of 2015-16, compared to the last quarter of 2014-15. Union Bank of India tops the list of public sector banks in bad loans, including restructured assets, as a percentage of total advances. In the March quarter of the last financial year, only Rs 5,500 crore of bad loans were on offer for sale to ARCs, against Rs 50,000 crore in all of 2013-14. This is due to a new rule by the central bank asking ARCs to pay more cash upfront for bad loans. Banks have been battling with the problem of rising bad loans, affecting their profitability.

 


Rs 25,200 crore
The amount the Adani Group is planning to invest in two major projects in Chhattisgarh — a coal to poly- generation project, and a rice bran solvent extraction plant and refinery. The company expects the two projects to generate employment for 10,600 people in the state. The Gujarat-based group recently signed a Rs 7,525-crore project with the Kerala government for development of the Vizhinjam port. The group has had a chequered history in terms of its environmental practices and, recently, it suffered a setback in Australia when a local court overturned the government approval for its $16-billion coal mine project there.

 

 

 

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