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Further dip in GDP growth strengthens case for a 25 bps rate cut: Aditi Nayar

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In line with expectations, economic expansion slowed further in Q2 FY20, with GDP and GVA growth declining to 4.5 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively in the quarter, down from 5 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively in Q1 FY20.

The dip in GDP growth in Q2 FY20 was unsurprisingly led by anemic investment activity, with gross fixed capital formation rising by 1 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Somewhat unexpectedly, private final consumption expenditure displayed a sequential uptick in growth to 5.1 percent in Q2 FY20, up from 3.1 percent in the previous quarter. This was at odds with the evidence provided by various sectors that consumer sentiment was muted in both rural as well as urban areas.

Moreover, the quarter post-elections saw a sharp improvement in the growth of government final consumption expenditure to 15.6 percent in Q2 FY20 from 8.8 percent seen in Q1 FY20.

In terms of the sectors of the GVA, the slowdown was driven by industry, even as the services and agriculture broadly maintained their growth momentum in Q2 FY20, as we had anticipated.

Industrial GVA growth recorded a broad-based deceleration to a marginal 0.5 percent in Q2 FY20 from 2.7 percent in the previous quarter. This was driven by the 1 percent contraction in manufacturing GVA in Q2 FY20, which reflects the subdued volume trends reported for a wide variety of sectors.

In our view, muted raw material costs cushioned earnings, and prevented manufacturing GVA from displaying an even deeper contraction in Q2 FY20.

The modest agricultural growth in Q2 FY20 was in line with our forecast, based on the mixed trend in the output of kharif crops revealed by the 1st Advance Estimates of crop production.

However, with the excessive rainfall in various parts of the country in August-October 2019, additional moisture could lead to crop yields being lower than the initial estimates, in our view.

A sharp expansion in Central and state government spending in Q2 FY20 supported the performance of public administration, defence, and other services, which boosted service sector growth in that quarter. Excluding this sub-sector, GVA growth slowed to a distressingly low 3.2 percent in Q2 FY20 from 4.5 percent in Q1 FY2020.

In October 2019, the Monetary Policy Committee had indicated that it would retain the stance of monetary policy as accommodative for as long as necessary to revive growth.

Following the slowdown in GDP growth in Q2 FY20, the contraction in the core sector output has deepened sequentially in October 2019.

Therefore, we anticipate that the Committee would reduce the repo rate by 25 bps in the December 2019 policy review to support economic growth, looking through the vegetable price-led uptick in the CPI inflation in October 2019.

Not through bonds, only cash, says Rangarajan on banks recapitalisation

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Former RBI governor C Rangarajan on Friday suggested that recapitalisation of banks should be done through by infusing cash rather than issuing Bonds, as he cautioned that Boards of public sector undertakings, including banks, should maintain "arms length" from the Government.

Rangarajan comments assume significance as Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in August, announced upfront capital infusion of Rs 70,000 crore into public sector banks, a move aimed at boosting lending and improving liquidity situation.

At the inaugural session of the seminar 'Non-Performing Assets (NPA) and its Resolution in Indian Banks' at ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education,he, however, said the centre has infused Rs two lakh crore as capital into various banks during the past three years and it would be difficult for any dispensation to pump in so much as capital in cash form.

"I also have a point that one of the answers to the problems faced by the banking system is to ensure that the capitalisation of the banks is done properly."

According to him, the mode of recapitalisation that is being done now is through the issue of bonds. "What the banks really gain is only the interest income through the bonds. This also needs a relook...I plead guilty because we initiated thisin the early 1990s. But that was a different situation.

The fiscal was undergoing a great deal of problems as part of the reforms (then). But should we continue with this system?" he said.

The economist said though the majority of the stakes in banks is owned by the government, it is necessary to ensure that the lenders run business in the national interest and it is not necessary for the government to interfere with commercial decisions of banks.

"The credit decisions must be left to the Boards (of directors of banks). There is a large literature on the relationship between the government not only banks but also other public sector units.

And the people talk about the arms length between the board and the government..There is still much that needs to be done in terms of appropriate mechanism for appointing the Boards, for appointing the chief executives of the banks," he said.

Later talking to reporters, he said though there is decline in the country's growth numbers the situation does not amount to "recession."

"There is a slowdown..there is no doubt about the fact that there is slowdown, but the slowdown is in growth rate," Rangarajan said.

Hoping that the growth may pick up next year onwards, the former Chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council said it would take another eight years for India to become USD five trillion economy as opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's target of 2025, due to the muted growth now. "The growth may pick up next year. Growth may not be substantial, but it may pick up next takes 2-3 years to get back the growth of higher than 7 per cent," he said.

Advising that bankers should neither be "lazy bankers" nor "hasty bankers", Rangarajan said recent history shows that the appraisal systems for credit and working capital should be improved.

Andhra Pradesh govt hopes to get $60 million loan from World Bank for watershed project

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The Andhra Pradesh government is hoping to secure a 60 million USD loan from the World Bank to take up the Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agriculture Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD) project in five parched districts of the state over the next six years.

The total cost of the project, which would be taken up in the four Rayalaseema districts of Anantapuramu, Chittoor, Kadapa and Kurnool besides Prakasam in south coastal AP, is expected to be around Rs 500 crore.

While the World Bank would fund 70 per cent of the project cost, the state and the central governments have to share the balance, a senior official of the Panchayat Raj Department said.

The REWARD project would be implemented in Karnataka and Odisha apart from AP, with the World Bank lending a sum of 178 million USD for the three states. The total project cost in the three states is estimated to be 350 million USD.

A team of World Bank officials, led by Task Team leader Priti Kumar and co-leader Grant Milne, held talks separately with state Panchayat Raj Minister P R C Reddy and Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney and discussed the project modalities.

"The project is in a preliminary stage and the World Bank has agreed in principle to grant the loan. We hope to get about 60 million USD from the Bank," Panchayat Raj Commissioner M Girija Shankar told PTI after the meeting.

Efficient water management, soil fertility improvement, adoption of standard agricultural practices and enhancement of cultivation are some of the salient features of the proposed project. Protection of water resources in areas of scarcity and optimum utilisation of water using proper management techniques would be the key features of the project.

The project would be implemented on a convergence mode involving different departments and also the MGNREGP, official sources said.

The state government would form a consortium comprising the State Rural Development Agency, Agriculture Department, AP Space Applications Centre and the Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University to oversee the project.

Yen Inches Up, Dollar Flat as Trump Signs Hong Kong Bill

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Prices of the safe-haven rose, while the U.S. dollar stayed near flat on Thursday in Asia amid worries of rising Sino-U.S. tensions.

The USD/JPY pair inched down 0.1% to 109.45 by 1:20 AM ET (05:20 GMT). Overnight, U.S. President Donald Trump signed two bills that supports Hong Kong protestors into law, potentially complicating trade talks progress with Beijing.

In response to the U.S. move, China's foreign ministry said it resolutely opposed the law and threatened to take firm counter-measures, calling any attempts to interfere in Hong Kong are “doomed to fail.”

Chinese and Hong Kong stocks fell today following the news, while the yen traded modestly higher.

Meanwhile, data showed Japan’s retail sales plunged 14.4% in October from a month earlier, which was more than the expected 10.4% decline.

"The yen is being bought because of the news about Trump signing the Hong Kong bill," said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities, in a Reuters report.

"Algorithmic trading could push the yen up further, but the dollar's losses will be limited because we've had positive U.S. economic data, which has lifted sentiment."

The U.S. Dollar Index last traded at 98.248, little changed from yesterday’s close.

The Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product increased at a 2.1% annualized rate, compared to 1.9% in the first reading. In a separate report, durable goods gained 0.6% after falling 1.4% in the prior month.

The AUD/USD pair slipped 0.1%, while the NZD/USD pair inched up 0.1%.

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Real estate package easy to implement in the short term: Samir Arora of Helios Capital

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Indian markets on November 26 touched new milestones but failed to hold on to gains and ended moderately lower.

The Sensex hit 41,000 for the first time, rising to 41,120 at day's high before settling 68 points lower at 40,821. The broader Nifty also touched a new intra-day high of 12,132 though settled 0.30 percent lower at 12,037.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Founder and Fund Manager of Helios Capital Samir Arora said the momentum will sustain but the rally needs to broaden.

“Now we are analysing two things on stocks. One is the stock and the other is what has brought it down. Sometimes...what has brought it down is so irrelevant that we can expect that at least it will retrace 50-60 percent of that fall because the fall is so disproportionate to the news,” he pointed out.

Edited excerpts from the interview:

The big question then is the new all-time high. What should be the market strategy at this point? Stay with the leaders?

I would think that for the moment, that momentum is working but if you have to take a slightly longer-term bet, the bet must be that this rally will broaden and actually it’s already broadening; if I look at the 5-7 stocks we bought in the last 3-4 months, they are up like 30-40 percent each, some which I told on your channel also once.

So I can see that it is broadening but it has not spread yet. But overall I am still a bit confused as to why it has suddenly gone up yesterday and today – that is a separate question.

What would be the stock-picking strategy now?

As I said what we did over the last few months is buy some of the stocks which may have had some bad recent results or something, but which were not going to totally disappear from the map of investing and all of them seemed to have worked and maybe more have worked but I am only tracking the ones I bought.

I totally do not believe that to be a fund manager, you have to choose between either a strategy given by one fund manager who says buy the highest quality or the second one who says buy totally beaten-up because at a certain instance and time that would make one strategy much better and therefore that fund manager a big hero of that time.

However, overall it’s a continuous game where investors are coming, old investors are already there.

So you cannot say that if today the price is right and tomorrow, if the price is up 20 percent and a new guy comes in, the new investor comes in, basically he is buying the same stock 20 percent higher and it does not matter what the starting point is, what the time is. It is a mix and match and that is what a fund manager can do by buying 30 odd names.

So we have always had this mix and over time the discoveries will be in the stocks that have not done well or that are beaten-up or their beating up was much more.

There are so many examples where the reaction to the news is totally disproportionate and now are allocating 10-15 percent in five names; 2 percent only, but in names where the stock doesn't need to be good or bad but the response to some random irrelevant news is so high.

Can you name stocks or at least sectors?

Last time I indirectly said were the Delhi real estate company and a private sector bank which cannot be driven out of existence; only you may have a market cap of $ 1-1.5 billion and proper private sector banks, not those old banks. So those stocks have all gone 30-40 percent, not a bad deal. There are 3-4 more like that.

Some we may say, enough is enough but the point is now we are analysing two things on new stock. One is the stock and the other is what has brought it down. Sometimes the stock may not be great but what has brought it down is so irrelevant that we can half expect that at least it will retrace 50-60 percent of that fall because the fall is so disproportionate to the news.

I just want to come back to the point about what is happening with this market because as you said if you go out on the street everyone is talking about how this market is climbing a wall of worry but there are so many worries whether it is slowdown, GST, weak global cues, weak GDP, etc, you think there is still more legs for this market to go or do you think now it will catch up with reality?

I think it is not straightforward and going up at this pace may not be fair as of now. However we have a high net because we are betting on the budget but the new news that is coming on the budget is not so exciting because there is no talk on LTCG, DDT may be useful to some but not useful to others but what can they do for telecom? You cannot tell the world that there is price control, you can only give them compensation in some other form -- take two more years, three more years. So, it is not straightforward but as I said the government seems to be keen on doing things and that is helpful and over time the base effect will take over.

The real estate package which came up with reviving these old stuck projects is easy to implement in the short term. I think the government should give up on the deficit number because that is making it do things that are not necessarily optimal.

For example, you want to privatise BPCL, you can get a much higher value if you gave it a little bit more time. If you say no, I must do it by March 31 because I have to show a fiscal deficit number, most probably you will sell it at a suboptimal price. So, they should just give up the fiscal deficit number and treat it like a rolling number rather than a number which you have to get on March 31.

The sector of this year has been telecom - Bharti has been the stock of the year. Do you think this rally has a risk of perhaps completely petering off in 2020 or are you adding any telecom names to your portfolio?

You do the research of 160 countries and tell me in which country a telecom stock has done well over 10 years, any country, whatever be the structure, the whole world is available to you for research that which country the pure telecom stocks have beaten their market in a meaningful manner?

Go for 2-player countries, 3-player countries, go to any country and do any period for the last 10-15 years, it is a capital guzzling machine, it is not so straightforward.

Which sector does well across countries, liquor?

It is very easy. Best is to go and look at the Forbes list around the world and see where are the billionaires? You will see that the billionaires are mostly in technology because they don't have to dilute so much. You become a billionaire or your stock does well - which is the same thing - in two ways. One is your company becomes very big or your company doesn't become super big but you have a large stake in it. You have a large stake in it means that you didn't have to sell much along the way.

So if you look at the big billionaires, they will be in technology, they will be in consumer like the Walmarts and all have so many billionaires. Where have you found a telecom billionaire? Except for absolute monopoly in Mexico.

Since you have been in India for a week, what is the sense you are getting, is the equity cult back because mostly what we are seeing is the hot money driving this market, there has been money coming from FIIs, etc. But what about the domestic fraternity? Do you think DIIs are going to take this market ahead?

I don't know like that directly but my problem is whoever I met is confused that why am I bullish on this market because the corporate is not bullish.

We say, no, look ahead, look beyond, tax cut, long-term capital gain (LTCG) cut - LTCG cut excites us but doesn't excite the corporates. So we hope that there will be some consumption-driven or demand-driven cuts, maybe tax cuts or something. I think all this can be achieved provided the government gives up on this fiscal deficit.

Anyway, two years ago we had a higher fiscal deficit. So we can restart from that level and then say that now that we have done everything and the economy mostly will be on the mend, now we will go down but for one shot, we are taking it back to 3.8. So we are not stuck upon it.

Right now I think they are stuck upon this number which is - there is another fear that if they are stuck upon this number, what will they do in January, February, and March. Will they suddenly freeze any more spending because they will try to hit that number?

A lot of companies are complaining that dues from the government are increasing at a time when it is already difficult to raise money. So your point is taken. It can grind the economy slower. Which waters will you fish in?

I only do the same three sectors which I told you, financials, consumer - broadly defined - and technology. These days they are all working, so we are all enjoying it.

Forex - Dollar Holding Steady Amid Encouraging Signs on Trade

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The U.S. dollar was holding steady against the Japanese yen on Tuesday amid encouraging signs that the U.S. and China will soon agree an interim deal to halt their trade war.

Market sentiment was boosted by reports that China's Vice Premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He held a phone call with his U.S. counterparts and that both sides reached consensus on how to move forward in their dispute.

That came after the Chinese state-backed Global Times newspaper on its Twitter feed on Monday the two countries are very close to a "phase one" trade deal, discounting "negative" media reports.

The dollar initially rose to two-week highs of 109.19 against the yen, before settling back to 108.9 by 04:04 AM ET (09:04 GMT), unchanged for the day. It sat at 98.19 against a basket of currencies, just below a one-week high.

"The broad trend is the markets are looking for a deal because trade has been the biggest factor weighing on global growth and holding back confidence," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney.

The euro was little changed against the greenback at 1.1014, holding above the one-week low of 1.1003 reached on Monday.

The British pound was lower, down 0.2% at 1.2871 after an opinion poll in the U.K. showed that the opposition Labor Party has narrowed the governing Conservatives lead ahead of a Dec. 12 election, fueling uncertainty over Brexit.

Investors were looking ahead to U.S. trade data, house price figures and consumer confidence data later in the trading day, but overall, currency trading is slowing down ahead of U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

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Rejected for an engineering job? Your qualifications might not be the reason

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Manish Dhawan was fresh out of a leading engineering institute and had applied for a role at a manufacturing firm.

However, he was surprised when his classmate with lower scores and no relevant work experience, was chosen over him.

A senior from his college later told Dhawan that his answers in the interview lacked conviction. This is despite the fact that he answered all the technical questions accurately.

Incubation lab BridgeLabz Solutions recently did a study on technology employability in India. This showed that 50 percent of engineers were found to be under-confident while applying for jobs.

For employers, what matters is not only your degree or knowledge, but how you present yourself in an interview. Technology and manufacturing firms are paying special attention to these aspects.

There could be instances where a candidate does not know the correct answer to a technical question. Rather than faking an answer or lying, it is imperative that he/she is truthful and confident about that the fact that they are willing to learn on the job.

On the other hand, as the survey also pointed out, engineering school syllabus is out of sync with the real-world needs. Rather than having yearly meetings on fee hikes, the engineering institutes need to focus on course revamp every one to two years.

Human resource experts also state that even instances like inability to give a 'firm' handshake or drinking multiple glasses of water during an interview is a clear sign of under-confidence.

Similarly, when given an opportunity to ask questions to the interviewer, the type of queries also matter. Asking about the job role and team or compensation structure is appreciated while staying quiet can be seen as being 'dull'.

At a time when every employee is considered as a company's brand ambassador, HR managers also look to choose people who can represent this brand everywhere they go. And under-confidence means that the prospective employee will not be able to appropriately present the vision and mission of the company in any public forum.

No engineering institute will be able to help a candidate in getting this training. This will have to be done through a mix of observing seniors or talking to alumni working in a chosen company.

At the end of the day, how you market yourself on the day of the interview can be a make or break moment for your professional career.

IOC, other PSUs not to bid for BPCL, hints Dharmendra Pradhan

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Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday hinted that public sector firms such as Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) may not be allowed to bid for buying government stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), for which a buyer may have to shell out as much as Rs 90,000 crore.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had on Wednesday decided to sell the government's entire stake in the country's second-largest state refiner BPCL and India's largest shipping company Shipping Corporation of India (SCI).

It also approved privatisation of Container Corporation of India while also giving nod to paring stake below 51 per cent in select public sector undertakings but without losing control.

"Since 2014, we have a clear vision that the government has no business to be in business," Pradhan told reporters here. "We have examples of 2-3 sectors such as telecom and aviation where ushering in private participation has led to customers benefiting from price cuts, efficiency, and better service. And yesterday (on Wednesday), several reformist decisions were taken."

BPCL will give buyers ready access to 14 per cent of India's oil refining capacity and about one-fourth of the fuel marketing infrastructure in the world's fastest-growing energy market.

It, however, will be sold after carving out Numaligarh Refinery from its portfolio and given to a pubic sector unit.

"Numaligarh refinery was set up as per Assam Accord and it will remain a public sector unit. Assam Chief Minister had requested Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) to retain public sector character of Numaligarh Refinery and that has been accepted," he said.

Pradhan, however, did not say if IOC or Oil India Ltd, which already has a stake in the refinery and also supplies crude oil to it, will take over the unit.

"The details have to be worked out," he said. "Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) has stated that the privatisation of BPCL will happen this fiscal and we hope to adhere to the timeline."

Asked if public sector units will be allowed to bid for the government's 53.29 per cent stake, he said: "Nitty gritty and details of the disinvestment process will have to be worked out but when I say the government has no business to be in business, it is indicative of possible future course of action."

At the current trading price of BPCL, the government's 53.29 per cent stake is valued at a shade less than Rs 62,000 crore. On top of this, the acquirer will have to make an open offer to buy an additional 26 per cent stake from minority shareholders for about Rs 30,000 crore.

Last year, the government had sold its entire stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) to state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) for Rs 36,915 crore.

Pradhan said the privatisation of BPCL was following the policy of ushering in greater competition in sectors that can sustain on their own.

Greater private participation, like in the telecom and aviation sector, will bring about efficiencies and better service to consumers, he said.

The CCEA had on Wednesday also approved the sale of an entire 63.75 per cent government holding in SCI and 30.8 per cent out of the government's 54.80 per cent stake in Container Corp of India (Concor).

Besides, the government will sell its entire holding in THDC India Ltd (THDCIL) and North Eastern Electric Power Corp Ltd (NEEPCO) to state-owned power generator NTPC Ltd, the finance minister has said.

The government holds 74.23 per cent in THDCIL and 100 per cent NEEPCO.

Parallelly, the Cabinet had also approved reducing government stake in select PSUs such as IOC to below 51 per cent while continuing to retain management control.

The management control will continue to be retained with the government after considering equity held by other state-owned companies in the divested firm.

The government, currently, holds 51.5 per cent in IOC and another 25.9 per cent through state-owned Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC), and explorers ONGC and Oil India Ltd (OIL), and the government can potentially sell 26.4 per cent for about Rs 33,000 crore.

A similar formula can also apply to ONGC and gas utility GAIL India Ltd.

The stake sales are critical for the government to meet its disinvestment target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore set for the current financial year.

At current prices, the government's 30.8 per cent stake in Concor is worth about Rs 10,800 crore, while stake sale in SCI will fetch just over Rs 2,000 crore.

BPCL operates four refineries in Mumbai, Kochi (Kerala), Bina (Madhya Pradesh) and Numaligarh (Assam) with a combined capacity of 38.3 million tonnes per annum, which is 15 per cent of India's total refining capacity of 249.4 million tonnes. After removing three million tonnes capacity of the Numaligarh refinery, the new buyer will get 35.3 million tonnes of refining capacity.

It also owns 15,177 petrol pumps and 6,011 LPG distributor agencies in the country. Besides, it has 51 LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) bottling plants. The company distributes 21 per cent of petroleum products consumed in the country by volume as of March this year and has more than a fifth of the 250 aviation fuel stations in the country.

The government is keen to get international energy majors such as Saudi Aramco, Total SA of France and ExxonMobil to operate in the downstream fuel marketing business so as to bring in greater competition.

Currently, 95 per cent of retail petrol and diesel sales and near 100 per cent of cooking gas (LPG) and kerosene sales are controlled by the public sector units.

As on March 31, BPCL reported cash and cash equivalents of around Rs 5,300 crore, against Rs 10,900 crore of debt maturing over the next 15 months.

Highway projects worth Rs 15 lakh cr ready to be offered in next 5 years: VK Singh

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Union Minister V K Singh on Wednesday said infrastructure sector could play a mega role in bolstering the economy and the government is ready with a basket of highway projects worth Rs 15 lakh crore to be offered in next five years. He said infrastructure encompasses areas that can generate huge employment and kick off economic progress.

Regarding the slowdown in the economy, the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways V K Singh said, it is a "temporary phase".

He noted that "the sector that is going to make a difference in ensuring that the recovery is fast and the recovery is big is the infrastructure sector - whether it is railways, whether it is road, whether it is airports or whether it is communication".

Addressing 'Infra Awards 2019' by Dun and Bradstreet India (D&B India), a provider of global business information, Singh said infrastructure encompasses areas which bolster the economy, generate employment and kick off growth.

"We have a basket of approximately Rs 15 lakh crore projects which have to be given out in this 5 years that are coming up. These include economic corridors, port connectivity, connecting important places, SEZs and tourists places," he said.

He further noted that the role of infrastructure in reviving economic growth could be understood from the fact that this was the sector which pulled out the US from the great depression in 1930s.

He said with the government's focus on infrastructure, it was possible to achieve the USD 5 trillion economy target.

Project award winners on the occasion included HCC for Bogibeel Rail-cum-Road project and Larsen & Toubro for Nagpur Smart City Soultions Project.

RBI unions want govt to hike deposit insurance cover to Rs 10 lakh

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The Reserve Bank employees unions on Tuesday urged the government to hike the insurance cover on bank deposits from the present Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

The demand for increasing bank deposit insurance cover, which was last revised in May 1993, has come to the fore after the ongoing crisis at Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative Bank.

Over the weekend, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said government would bring in a legislation during the ongoing Winter session to increase the deposit insurance cover from Rs 1, but did not specify a number.

"We had earlier suggested hiking the insured deposit cover to at least Rs 10 lakh, covering all types of deposits of an individual, which we reiterate and urge the government to consider," the All-India Reserve Bank Employees Association said in a statement.

In dollar terms, the proposed cover at around USD 14,000 is much lower than in many other countries, it added.

At present, the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation insures each bank depositor up to a maximum of Rs 1 lakh for both principal and interest as on the date of liquidation or cancellation of a bank's licence.

According to a recent report by SBI Research, at Rs 1 lakh, the cover is one of the lowest and is at only 0.9 times per capita income. As against this, in Brazil and Russia, the same stands at Rs 42 lakh and Rs 12 lakh respectively.

Noting that raising the coverage has been long overdue, the RBI union noted that the Rs 1 lakh cover was set in May 1993, during the time the value of rupee has eroded sharply, necessitating an immediate hike.

Last week, Sitharman had also said the government would bring legislation to better regulate multi-state cooperative banks.

The union also demanded bringing urban co-operative banks, which have dual regulation now by the states and RBI, exclusively under the jurisdiction of the RBI.

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