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RBI Governor warns banks, NBFCs over slapping extra fees on customers

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Mumbai, June 7 (IANS) RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday sent a clear message to banks and NBFCs against charging extra fees and high interest rates on loans to customers.

“In general, we have observed that guidelines on Key Facts Statement are followed, but a few banks and NBFCs still charge fees, etc. that are not specified or disclosed in the statement,” Das said at a press conference after the monetary policy committee meeting.

“It has also been observed in some micro-finance institutions and NBFCs that the interest rates on small-value loans are high and appear to be usurious,” the RBI Governor pointed out.

The regulatory freedom enjoyed by banks and NBFCs in respect of interest rates and charges should be used judiciously to ensure fair and transparent pricing of products and services. The Reserve Bank continues its constructive engagements with such financial entities to safeguard the interest of customers and ensure overall financial stability, he added.

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Das also said that in November last year, the RBI had flagged certain concerns on excessive growth in the unsecured retail loans and over-reliance of NBFCs on bank funding. Recent data suggests that there is some moderation in these loans and advances, he added.

“We are closely monitoring the incoming data to ascertain if further measures are necessary. The Boards and top management of banks and NBFCs should ensure that risk limits and exposures for each line of business are kept well within their respective risk appetite framework,” he said.

The RBI Governor also observed that the persisting gap between credit and deposit growth rates warrants a rethink by the Boards of banks to re-strategise their business plans.

A prudent balance between assets and liabilities has to be maintained,” he added.

–IANS

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India's CPI inflation eases to 12-month low of 4.75 per cent in May

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) India’s consumer price inflation eased to a 12-month low of 4.75 per cent in May, compared to the same month of the previous year as declining fuel and cooking oil prices helped to bring down the burden on household budgets, figures released by the Ministry of Statistics on Wednesday showed.

CPI inflation had come down to 4.83 per cent in April, which was an 11-month low and the declining trend is continuing.

“Spices has shown a considerable decline at sub-group level in year-on-year inflation as compared to April 2024. Among the groups, inflation corresponding to ‘Clothing & Footwear’, ‘Housing’, and ‘Miscellaneous’ has decreased since last month,” the Ministry said.

The declining trend in cooking oil prices continued in May with a 6.7 per cent fall during the month. The price rise in spices slowed to 4.27 per cent from 11.4 per cent in April.

The inflation in pulses, however, stayed high at 17.14 per cent.

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Vegetable prices, too, shot up by as much as 27.33 per cent, albeit a tad lower than 27.8 per cent in April which remains a pain point for consumers. The prices of cereals also increased by 8.65 per cent during the month.

Food inflation, which accounts for nearly half of the overall consumer price basket, rose 7.87 per cent in April, compared with an 8.52 per cent rise in the previous month.

The country’s CPI inflation has been showing a declining trend in recent months as it fell to 4.85 per cent in March from 5.09 per cent in February and 5.1 per cent in January this year.

However, it is still above the RBI’s mid-term target of 4 per cent and is the main reason why the central bank has not gone in for a cut in interest rates to rev up growth.

The RBI is keen to keep inflation under control to ensure growth with stability and held the repo rate steady at 6.5 per cent for the eighth consecutive time in a row in its bi-monthly monetary policy review on Friday.

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While the RBI has raised its projected GDP growth estimate to 7.2 per cent for 2024-25 from 7 per cent earlier, it has kept its projection for retail inflation at 4.5 per cent.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the forecast above-normalmal monsoon bodes well for the kharif season and could bring respite to food inflation pressures, particularly in cereals and pulses. However, the outlook on crude oil prices remains uncertain due to geo-political tensions. Assuming a normal monsoon, CPI inflation for 2024-25 is projected at 4.5 per cent as the risks are evenly balanced, he added while making the monetary policy announcement last week.

“At the current juncture, the uncertainties related to the food price outlook warrant close monitoring, especially their spillover risks to headline inflation. In parallel, the behaviour of the core component also needs to be watched carefully. We need a descent of inflation to the 4 per cent target on a durable basis, while supporting growth,” Das said.

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–IANS

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Musk had sex with two of his employees, asked another woman to have his babies: Report

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San Francisco, June 12 (IANS) Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been accused of having sexual relationships with two of his employees, including an intern, and approaching another worker to have his babies, a media report revealed on Wednesday.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Musk in his companies — Tesla and SpaceX, created a culture which made the women staff uncomfortable.

Women employees at Tesla claimed that they were shown “an unusual amount of attention or pursued” by Musk. A SpaceX flight attendant had alleged that the tech billionaire exposed himself to her and offered to buy her a horse in exchange for sex in 2016.

A former female employee who left SpaceX in 2013 claimed that Musk repeatedly asked her to have his children. Tesla CEO, who has at least 10 children, has expressed concerns about underpopulation and has stated that individuals with high IQs should have children, the report mentioned.

In addition, the report claimed that a woman who worked at SpaceX received repeated invitations from Musk to come to his house at night.

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This is the latest in a series of allegations against Musk, who has previously been accused of regularly using drugs such as LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, mushrooms, and ketamine, sometimes even at work with board members.

Meanwhile, Musk has threatened to ban iPhones from all his companies over the integration of ChatGPT into iPhones and other Apple devices.

–IANS

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India’s toy exports expand to more than 100 countries

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) The Indian toy industry has expanded its global presence to more than 100 countries including the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and even China and the next step for the toy manufacturers is to reach international consumers through the effective use of online mediums, a senior official of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said here on Monday.

In line with the objective of providing an impetus to the growing Indian toy sector, DPIIT organised a “Workshop with Flipkart and Indian Toy Industry” on Wednesday in New Delhi, which played a pivotal role in laying the roadmap for enabling further growth of the toy sector, scaling domestic consumption and upskilling/reskilling workforce.

Addressing a joint workshop of Indian toy manufacturers and e-retail giant Flipkart, Joint Secretary, DPIIT, Sanjiv said: “The success of the Indian toy industry reflects in the enhanced exports, increasing robustness of the manufacturing ecosystem and reduced import dependence.”

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The deliberations laid special focus on how the emerging opportunities from the e-commerce marketplace can be leveraged to bolster the growth of the Indian Toy Industry.

Secretary, (DPIIT), Rajesh Kumar Singh while addressing the participants said: “As part of its strong commitment to create a better ecosystem for the toy industry, the government has identified the sector as one of the champion sectors, with a long-term vision to create a global market for ‘Made in India’ toys. A cohesive approach is being followed by breaking the silos and working with industry in all aspects for enhancing the robustness of the sector.”

The workshop organised in collaboration with Flipkart and the Indian Toy Industry helped the domestic toy manufacturers to understand the nuances of online selling, thereby enabling a step further towards building a “Toyconomy”.

According to industry estimates, Indian exports of Toys, Games, and sports articles between 2014-15 to 2022-23 increased by 239 per cent whereas the imports fell by 52 per cent.

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Further, the report presented the current market size of the industry is USD 1.7 billion, and expected to reach USD 4 Billion by 2032 with a 10.5 per cent annual growth rate.

–IANS

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Sensex jumps 149 points, Nifty closes above 23,300

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Mumbai, June 12 (IANS) Indian equity benchmark indices closed in the green on Wednesday following a volatile session.

At closing, Sensex settled at 76,606, up 149 points or 0.20 per cent, and Nifty was at 23,322, up 58 points or 0.25 per cent.

During the day, the NSE benchmark hit an all-time high of 23,441 after breaching an earlier high of 23,411.

Buying was seen in small and medium stocks. The Nifty midcap 100 index closed 559 points or 1.02 per cent higher at 54,226 and the Nifty smallcap 100 index closed 216 points or 1.23 per cent higher at 17,788.

Among the sectoral indices, PSU Bank, Metal, Media, Energy, Infra, Healthcare, and PSE were major gainers while Auto, FMCG and Realty were major losers.

India volatility index (India VIX) was down 2.64 per cent, at 14.38 points.

Power Grid, Tech Mahindra, Bajaj Finance, NTPC, UltraTech Cement, L&T, Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, and Bajaj Finserv were the top gainers. M&M, HUL, Titan, Infosys, Axis Bank, Nestle, TCS, and Kotak Mahindra Bank were the top losers.

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Rupak De, Senior Technical Analyst, LKP Securities said, “The Nifty closed flat after a strong initial hour of trading, encountering resistance around 23,400. However, the short-term trend remains positive as the index stayed above 23,300.”

“In the near term, the index might continue consolidating within the 23,300-23,500 range. A decisive breakout above 23,500 could trigger a rally towards 23,800,” he added.

–IANS

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Karnataka’s Min for IT/BT Kharge launches new scale-up programme for startups in California

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Bengaluru, June 12 (IANS) Priyank Kharge, Karnataka’s Minister for IT/BT, announced ‘Hypergrowth Global Karnataka’, a global late-stage scaling programme at London Tech Week, stated an official release on Wednesday. Minister Kharge made the announcement at the event in San Francisco, California, last evening.

“The Government of Karnataka is committed towards making Bengaluru the best place for founders to start and scale their businesses through conducive policies,” stated Dr Ekroop Kaur, Secretary, Department of Electronics Information Technology Biotechnology and Science and Technology, Government of Karnataka.

“We are thrilled to work with the Government of Karnataka to launch the Hypergrowth programme to move it rapidly to the top startup ecosystems in the world. With 13,000 start-ups and more than 40 unicorns, Bengaluru has shown tremendous growth as a startup ecosystem,” remarked JF Gauthier, Founder and CEO of Startup Genome.

“Entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community leaders in Karnataka are pushing the limits of possibilities – evident in the latest strides in both Life Sciences, Aerospace, Defence, Space Technology and Cleantech,” he stated.

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Hypergrowth Global Karnataka will focus on high-growth startups, recognising them as drivers of economic growth and competitiveness, and creators of sustainable jobs and societal well-being.

The programme addresses a significant support gap for fast-growing scale-ups, as most efforts traditionally concentrate on early-stage startups.

The initiative aims to propel the best Bengaluru-Karnataka-based tech companies into successful global commercialisation and expansion into international target markets.

This comes on the heels of the Bengaluru-Karnataka startup ecosystem being highlighted in the 2024 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), which was also launched at the conference this week as an initiative between Startup Genome and the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission.

–IANS

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