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PM Modi’s announcements will pave way for ‘cleaner and bigger GDP’: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The slew of measures announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will enhance economic activities and pave way for “cleaner and bigger GDP”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today. In a series of tweets, Jaitley said: “PM’s announcements will enable a cleaner & bigger GDP…PM’s announcements will enhance economic activities”.Referring to the sops announced for different sectors, he said agriculture, MSME and housing segments will get a fillip.The Finance Minister, who will be presenting the budget for 2017-18 in February, also said the government is committed to cleansing political funding.On the announcement of fixed 8 per cent interest rate on 10-year deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh for senior citizens, Jaitley said it is “great news”.In his address to the nation, Modi said home loans in urban areas up to Rs 9 lakh and Rs 12 lakh will receive interest subvention of 4 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively. Also, in rural areas home loans up to Rs 2 lakh will get interest rebate of 3 per cent.Modi also said government will bear 60-days interest burden on farm loans taken for rabi crops and also doubled Nabard funding corpus to Rs 41,000 crore.All 3 crore Kisan Credit Cards holders will be given RuPay debit cards, he added.

Modi speech: Farmers’ fitting reply to critics as rabi sowing up, claims PM; announces sops

New Delhi – In a bonanza to farmers post demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that government will bear interest for 60 days on crop loans taken by farmers from district cooperative banks and primary societies for sowing operations this Rabi season.

In his national address on the eve of the New Year, Modi also announced that the 3 crore ‘Kisan Credit Cards’ would be converted to RuPay Card within three months to help farmers purchase various inputs anywhere. Nabard will be given an additional Rs 20,000 crore to finance district cooperative banks and societies.

Prime minister Narendra Modi. File photoPrime minister Narendra Modi. File photo

Prime minister Narendra Modi. File photo

“In the last few weeks, an impression was sought to be created that agriculture sector has been destroyed. Farmers themselves have given a fitting reply to those who were doing so. Rabi sowing is up by 6 per cent when compared to last year. Fertiliser offtake is up by 9 per cent during this period,” Modi said.

The government has taken care to ensure that farmers do not suffer for want of access of seeds, fertilisers and credits, he added.

“Now, we have taken some more decisions in the interest of farmers. Farmers who had taken loan for the Rabi crop from district cooperative central banks and primary societies will not have to pay interest on such loans for a period of 60 days,” the Prime Minister said.

Farmers who have paid interest during the last two months will get this amount back directly in their bank accounts, he said.

Arrangements are being made to provide farmers better access to loans from district cooperative banks and primary societies, Modi said.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 21:55 IST

Govt, BJP say the worst is over on demonetization front

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Within a fortnight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to ban high currency notes, several ministries in his government went into a tizzy tackling problems, particularly in labour-intensive sectors.However, the government now feels the storm has passed. The string of complaints and representations that came last month owing to cash crunch from various trade and industry bodies have slowed to a trickle, a senior union minister said. As the 50-day timeline sought by the Prime Minister, who had promised a “new India in the new year” nears its end, the central government and BJP are heaving a sigh of relief saying the “worst is over”.The BJP was hoping to cash in politically on demonetization and the Prime Minister’s assurance to fight black money. Some party MPs had expressed apprehensions about the impact of the inconvenience faced by people because of the cash crunch on the party in the forthcoming elections, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. Internal ground reports also indicated that demonetization would give the BJP an advantage. The party national executive is holding its meet, the last before assembly elections in five states, next week in the Capital. Ahead of the meet, Modi will be holding a rally in Lucknow.The government has indicated that various departments have received reports from the ground showing that things had started improving over the past fortnight and the story of demonetization woes was nearly over. While it was not entirely ruling out the flip side of its impact on the economy, it saw it as a temporary phase that was waning faster than expected, the sources said.One by one, the woes of various sectors because of cash crunch in the aftermath of demonetization had to be addressed, but the situation is now returning to normal, sources said, adding that the labour force which had migrated was getting back and the use of digital mode for transactions was picking up.The worst affected were around half a dozen labour intensive sectors including handloom, carpet weavers and metal pickers, where payments were made in cash.Worried that the cash crunch would hit farmers in the northern states, including poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, where the sowing of the rabi crop was just starting, the government had asked NABARD to ensure credit flow in rural areas in the end of November, sources said. The money flow into metropolitans was cut down to increase availability in rural areas.The government had also faced demands from the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) to withdraw the decision to scrap import duty on wheat or give an assurance that the rabi crop would be bought at the prevailing MSP. Government sources said the move was aimed at avoiding any knee-jerk reaction in case of shortage of wheat and that import was not mandatory. It is understood that the government has given an assurance that the concerns would be kept in mind.

Bihar: ATM guard killed near police station while resisting robbery bid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A security guard of an ATM kiosk in Patna was murdered by unidentified assailants on Friday night while resisting a robbery bid by the criminals.The incident took place in Maurya Lok complex barely 200 metres away from Kotwali police station in the heart of the state capital. Maurya Lok complex is a popular shopping centre in Patna which houses hundreds of shops and some prominent offices including those of regional passport officer, Patna municipal corporation and NABARD.According to the police, Deepak Kumar, a guard with the Central Bank of India ATM, was found dead by his son on Saturday morning. “When he did not respond to phone calls, his son went to check on him. He found him lying in a pool of blood with his throat slit,” a police official told DNA.The criminals, however, were unsuccessful in looting the ATM.Soon after the incident came to light, local residents and relatives of the security guard demonstrated against the administration by blocking roads and burning tyres. They demanded the arrest of the criminals and a compensation to Kumar’s kin.Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj has removed Kotwali SHO Avinash Kumar. “No tolerance will be shown for slackness in patrolling, law and order and crime related incidents,” he said in a statement. A special investigation team (SIT) of police has been constituted to probe the matter. They will also look into the CCTV camera footage of the incident.

Demonetisation: Debit card charges dropped, farmers to get easier cash access

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing political outcry over demonetisation, the government today announced more steps to help farmers to meet their cash needs during the ongoing rabi season and directed banks to waive debit card transaction charges to encourage digital payment.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

To ensure quick and unhindered flow of credit and cash to farmers during the current rabi season to deal with ban of Rs 500/1,000 notes, the government has allowed Nabard to disburse Rs 21,000 crore through cooperative banks to farmers.

Listing various measures taken by the government to incentivise digital transactions, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said the Railways has already waived service charges on online booking of tickets and telecom operators have agreed to make mobile banking services in feature phones free of cost till December 31.

While government departments and PSUs have been asked to make electronic payment to contractors and its employees, the road transport ministry has asked automobile manufacturers to install digital RFID tag on all new vehicles to enable cashless payment at toll plazas and checkposts.

Similarly, the government has doubled the monthly transaction limit through e-wallets to Rs 20,000. “All these measures are meant to promote digital
penetration. It will also help farmers in the current rabi season to ensure a normal rabi crop on the back of good monsoon,” he said.

Das said: “Public sector banks, some of the private banks and some of the service providers that provide switching services have agreed to waive the service charges on the use of debit cards up to 31 December, 2016.”

As of now, Rupay debit cards have already waived the switching charges. Other debit cards that operate through international card network companies like Mastercard and Visa currently charge transaction charges.

“The MDR (merchant discount rate) charges on use of debit cards, the charges being levied by banks and the switching charges will stand completely waived. So, there will be no charge on use of debit cards,” he said, adding that banks will make announcement in this regard individually.

With regard to the farm sector, Das said Nabard will disburse Rs 21,000 crore to District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) for onward lending to farmers through Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies. Over 40 per cent small farmers get crop loans from cooperative institutions.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 17:30 IST

RBI asks banks to ensure cash supply to rural cooperative banks for ongoing Rabi crop season

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank on Tuesday asked banks to ensure adequate cash supply to cooperative banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) so that farmers can have enough valid notes needed for purchase of seeds, fertiliser and other inputs during the ongoing rabi season.

The decision comes a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had a meeting with RBI, Nabard and all bankers and impressed upon them to make available funds to the cooperative sector as it is an important financing mechanism for rural India.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to RBI, it is imperative that farmers are adequately supported financially to ensure unhindered farming operations.

“It is estimated that about Rs 35,000 crore would be required by DCCBs (District Co-operative Banks) for sanction and disbursement of crop loans to farmers at the rate of Rs 10,000 crore per week,” an RBI notification said.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) will be utilising its own cash credit limits up to about Rs 23,000 crore to enable the DCCBs to disburse the required crop loans to Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) and farmers, it said.

“As many of these loans will be disbursed in cash to facilitate farming related expenses, we advise in this regard that banks with currency chests should ensure adequate cash supply to the DCCBs and RRBs,” it said.

Adequate cash supply should also be ensured for rural branches of all commercial banks, including RRBs, it said.

Further, it said, bank branches located in Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) may also be given adequate cash to facilitate smooth procurement.

Jaitley on Tuesday said its focus will now be on rural areas and more measures will be announced for farmers.

The minister said the credit flow from banks will also go up for various activities, including agriculture as huge amount of cash due to demonetisation was deposited in the banking system.

It is expected that the government may announce some more measures to ease pressure on the farm sector.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 20:59 IST