Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Post Bank of India

Moving a step closer to setting up a banking business, the Department of Posts has started scouting for a consultancy firm to prepare a road map for the proposed ‘Post Bank of India’ (PBI). They don't have to invest much for infrastructure which is an advantage.
The Department has already carried out a feasibility study for setting up the Post Bank of India and has invited expression on interest from consultancy firms — domestic or foreign — to finalise the plans for the bank.
The DoP, according to an official document, “intends to obtain approval from the Cabinet and licence from RBI for creation of a full-fledged bank (PBI).”
The consultancy firm will provide inputs on issues like the organisational structure of PBI, requirement of seed money and its relationship with post offices.
The proposed PBI will provide banking services, including accepting of deposits from the public for the purpose of lending or investment.
The PBI will aim to “provide banking services with special focus on rural areas...ride on the Core Banking Solution which is proposed to be provided in all the post offices.”
PBI will also become an additional source of revenue generation for the DoP, besides creating a platform for financial inclusion programme of the government. Financial inclusion in rural areas will be achieved by this.
Currently, DoP operates seven small savings schemes through a network of 1.54 lakh post offices and collects huge amounts for both state and central governments. It has over 250 million account holders.
In addition to deposit schemes, the PBI will provide loans to general public and corporates like any regular bank.

India’s poll practices caught the fancy of SAARC countries

India’s success in holding elections through electronic systems including the use of EVMs, has caught the fancy of Pakistan and other SAARC countries, which have expressed the desire to emulate it in their respective areas.
As heads of poll management bodies of SAARC countries got together to evolve solutions to common problems at the ongoing 3rd conference of heads of election management bodies of SAARC nations here(New Delhi), India showcased its use of modern technology for strengthening democracy and election management systems.
India made a presentation on use of technology in election management which generated encouraging response from Election Commissions of SAARC countries.

Rs.100=100 channels

Television viewers will soon get to choose a minimum of hundred Free to Air (FTA) channels at a maximum retail price of Rs 100, as per new tariff rules for Cable TV announced by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
According to the regulatory framework for Digitalised Cable TV brought out by TRAI to safeguard consumers’ interests, cable operators will have to mandatorily offer a Basic Service Tier (BST) to viewers throughout the country.
The Basic Service Tier would consist of 100 Free to Air channels including 18 mandatory Doordarshan channels plus the Lok Sabha channel.
The TRAI tariff order lays down that apart from the mandatory channels in the BST, cable operators and Multi System Operators (MSOs) will have to provide customers a minimum of five channels of different genres.
The genres which TRAI has named are General Entertainment Channels (GEC) in English, GEC-Hindi, GEC-Regional, Music, News, Movies, Sports, Kids Infotainment, lifestyle.
“The BST shall be mandatorily offered by the cable operator. However it will be optional for the consumer to subscribe,” TRAI said in its tariff order.
Customers can also choose another option which includes some pay channels and pay a monthly price upto Rs 150, the TRAI rules state.
“If the total value of the channels/ bouquets opted by the subscriber exceeds Rs 150, only then actual subscription charges has to be paid,” a press release issued by TRAI said. These rules will come into force along with the Digitalisation of the cable sector for which the government has already set up a deadline of 30 June 2012 in four metros and December 2014 for the entire country.
TRAI’s latest tariff order has also laid down rules on the basis of which channels and bouquets will be priced.

India allows exports, cotton prices drop

There has been an unseemly and very public spat between the commerce and agriculture ministries over a surprise March decision to ban Indian cotton exports. India finally decided on Monday to ease a nearly two-month restriction on cotton export permits, removing all barriers to shipments. Cotton prices fell by 2 percent on the back of the news as global commodity traders rejoiced that India had finally brought clarity to a muddled situation.

Collector- Naxal issue

The prospects for the release of the abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon brightened on Monday night, when the Chhattisgarh government and interlocutors for the Maoists hammered out an agreement to constitute a high-power official committee to examine the cases of all prisoners (with a focus on tribals) in the State and to expedite their release.
Appealing for the release of the Collector at a press conference in Raipur, the interlocutors said the committee would become operational within an hour of Mr. Menon being freed.
Later at a press conference, Chief Minister Raman Singh said the committee would begin its task as soon as the Collector was released.

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