RBI Imposes ₹5.4 Crore Penalty On Paytm Payments Bank
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a significant fine of ₹5.39 crore on Paytm Payments Bank, highlighting various instances of non-compliance with the RBI’s guidelines. The penalties were levied for failing to adhere to specific provisions concerning Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols, cybersecurity measures, and other regulatory requirements.
The RBI’s Action
The RBI’s decision to impose a ₹5.39 crore fine on Paytm Payments Bank stems from multiple instances where the bank failed to meet regulatory requirements. The penalties were imposed based on the following key areas of non-compliance:
KYC Guidelines Violations
Paytm Payments Bank was penalized for “non-compliance with certain provisions of the ‘Reserve Bank of India (Know Your Customer (KYC)) Directions, 2016‘.” The failure to adhere to these KYC guidelines was a significant concern for the RBI, as it plays a vital role in ensuring the security and authenticity of customer accounts.
In addition to KYC violations, Paytm Payments Bank was found to be in breach of cybersecurity measures. The RBI guidelines for licensing of payment banks and the “Cybersecurity framework in banks” were not adequately followed. One of the key issues in this regard was the failure to report cybersecurity incidents promptly.
Beneficial Ownership Identification
The RBI also highlighted that Paytm Payments Bank had failed to identify the beneficial owners of entities onboarded for providing payout services. Identifying the true owners of these entities is crucial for maintaining transparency and preventing illicit activities.
Payout Transactions Monitoring and Risk Profiling
The bank was found lacking in its ability to monitor payout transactions and perform risk profiling of entities using payout services. Effective monitoring and risk assessment are essential to safeguard against financial irregularities.
Customer Advance Account Balances
Paytm Payments Bank was also penalized for not adhering to the regulatory ceiling concerning the end-of-day balance in certain customer advance accounts that availed payout services. This lack of compliance raises concerns about the security and integrity of customer funds.
Device Binding and V-CIP Infrastructure
Specific technological security measures were also not implemented correctly. Paytm failed to implement device binding control measures related to ‘SMS delivery receipt check.’ Additionally, its V-CIP infrastructure was unable to prevent connections from IP addresses located outside India, which poses a potential security risk.
RBI’s Review Process
The RBI’s decision to impose this substantial fine on Paytm Payments Bank was made following a comprehensive review process. The regulatory body conducted an analysis of deficiencies in regulatory compliance, examined a special scrutiny report, and assessed a comprehensive system audit report, among other documents.
It is worth noting that this isn’t the first instance of regulatory action against Paytm Payments Bank. Last year, the RBI had restricted the bank from acquiring new customers and had ordered a comprehensive audit of its IT systems. These actions indicate a history of non-compliance and regulatory concerns surrounding the bank’s operations.
Putin in Kyrgystan for first trip abroad since ICC arrest warrant
Russian President Vladimir Putin embarked on his first foreign trip since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him in March, raising international attention and scrutiny. The visit took place in Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian nation historically tied to Moscow.
Russian President’s Rare International Ventures Amidst Controversy
Putin, who has seldom traveled abroad since deploying troops into Ukraine in early 2022, notably had not left Russia since the ICC issued a warrant, accusing him of overseeing the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.
Despite the warrant and ICC’s allegations, Russia, including Putin, rejects the court’s jurisdiction and claims.
Challenges to Moscow’s Regional Influence
Putin’s visit comes at a critical time, with signs indicating Russia’s influence in former Soviet republics like Armenia is under pressure.
Sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries have strained Moscow’s relationships with its neighboring nations.
Kyrgyzstan: A Key Partner in Russia’s Regional Strategy
During his meeting with Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, Putin emphasized Russia’s significance as Kyrgyzstan’s top trade partner and largest investor, reaffirming their commitment to mutual cooperation.
Focus on Economic Cooperation: Expanding Russian-Kyrgyz Trade
Putin highlighted the impressive double-digit growth in Russian-Kyrgyz trade, a trend raising suspicions in the West.
Some Western observers suspect Kyrgyz intermediaries of facilitating sanctions evasion by Russian businesses, possibly contributing to the notable trade increase.
Kyrgyzstan’s Balancing Act: Navigating Western Sanctions
The United States took action against Kyrgyzstan in July, imposing sanctions on four Kyrgyz companies involved in re-exporting electronics components and technology to Russia.
In response, Kyrgyzstan’s central bank urged local banks to enhance compliance controls concerning Western sanctions against Moscow.
Strategic Significance: Commemorating the Kant Military Airbase’s 20th Anniversary
As part of his visit, Putin participated in a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of Russia’s Kant military airbase, strategically located outside Bishkek.
This outpost serves as a crucial tool for Moscow to project power in the region, underscoring Russia’s geopolitical interests in Central Asia.
Upcoming Diplomatic Engagement: China’s Belt and Road Forum
Following his Kyrgyzstan trip, Putin is scheduled to travel to China for the third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, indicating Russia’s active participation in significant regional initiatives despite international controversies.
RITES Ltd Granted ‘Navratna’ Status: India’s 16th Central Public Sector Enterprise
RITES Ltd, a prominent Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Ministry of Railways, has achieved the prestigious ‘Navratna’ status, becoming the 16th CPSE in India to be granted this distinction. This article explores why RITES Ltd earned this coveted status and the potential benefits it offers.
RITES Ltd is known for providing transport infrastructure consultancy, railway inspection, rolling stock leasing and maintenance, and various related services. The achievement of Navratna status acknowledges its contribution to the nation’s growth and development.
Benefits of Navratna Status for RITES Ltd:
Attaining Navratna status brings several advantages for RITES Ltd, including:
1. Mergers and Acquisitions: The Board of Directors of CPSEs with Navratna status gains the authority to undertake mergers and acquisitions within India and abroad, enhancing RITES Ltd’s growth prospects.
2. Investment Powers: While they can invest abroad, these CPSEs require approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for foreign investments, providing opportunities for global expansion.
3. Expedited Business Tours: The Chief Executive of the PSU is empowered to approve business tours abroad for functional directors, up to five days’ duration (excluding study tours and seminars) in emergency situations, with intimation to the administrative ministry’s Secretary.
Understanding the Navratna Status
The Indian government classifies Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) into three categories: Maharatna, Navratna, and Miniratna. To attain Navratna status, a PSU must meet specific criteria, including financial performance and operational excellence.
Eligibility Criteria for Navratna Status:
For a company to obtain Navratna status, it must fulfill the following requirements:
1. Miniratna-I, Schedule ‘A’ Company:
The PSU should already be classified as a Miniratna-I. It must be a Schedule ‘A’ company, indicating its significant presence and operations.
2. Excellent MoU Ratings:
The PSU should have achieved an ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ rating in its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government in three of the last five years.
3. Composite Score of 60:
The PSU must have a composite score of 60 or more in six performance indicators, demonstrating its consistent and substantial performance.
To achieve Navratna status, a PSU must also meet specific financial benchmarks, including:
A net profit of over Rs 5,000 crore for three consecutive years.
An average annual turnover of Rs 25,000 crore for three years.
An average annual net worth exceeding Rs 15,000 crore for three years.
List of Other 15 Navratna PSUs:
The esteemed list of the 15 existing Navratna PSUs in India includes
Bharat Electronics Limited,
Container Corporation of India Limited,
Engineers India Limited,
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited,
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited,
National Aluminium Company Limited,
National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited,
Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited,
Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited,
Shipping Corporation of India Limited,
Rail Vikas Nigam Limited,
ONGC Videsh Ltd,
Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Limited, and
South Indian Bank appoints VJ Kurian as its new chairman
VJ Kurian has been appointed as the non-executive part-time chairman of the South Indian Bank, based in Thrissur. His appointment is set to take effect from November 2, 2023, and will continue until March 22, 2026. This development follows regulatory approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and comes as Salim Gangadharan, the current non-executive part-time chairman, is set to retire after the completion of his term on November 1, 2023.
The outgoing non-executive part-time chairman, Salim Gangadharan, will be retiring from his position on November 1, 2023. This change marks the end of his term, making way for VJ Kurian to step into this important role.
VJ Kurian: The Incoming Chairman:
VJ Kurian, the newly appointed non-executive part-time chairman, is set to take the helm at the South Indian Bank. His appointment is indicative of his experience and expertise, which will guide the bank through a crucial period. The bank can look forward to a fresh perspective and guidance that aligns with the bank’s vision and objectives. His leadership will be instrumental in shaping the future direction of the South Indian Bank.
Regulatory Approval by RBI:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as the governing body overseeing the banking sector in India, has given its official approval for VJ Kurian’s appointment as the bank’s non-executive part-time chairman. This regulatory clearance is an essential step in ensuring the smooth transition of leadership within the bank.
South Indian Bank: A Key Player in Banking:
South Indian Bank, headquartered in Thrissur, has a significant presence in the banking sector. The appointment of VJ Kurian as the new chairman is expected to have a positive impact on the bank’s operations, strategy, and governance.
RBI Cancels Registration Certificate Of Ind Bank Housing Ltd
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently taken a significant regulatory action by canceling the Certificate of Registration of Chennai-based Ind Bank Housing Ltd. This move has raised eyebrows in the financial sector, as Ind Bank Housing Ltd had major shareholders in the form of Indian Bank and HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd), who held a 51 percent and 25 percent stake in the housing finance company, respectively. Ind Bank Housing Ltd, established in 1991, has been facing financial challenges, as evidenced by its widening net loss and negative capital adequacy ratio.
Widening Losses in FY23
In a significant revelation, Ind Bank Housing Ltd reported a substantial increase in its net loss for the financial year 2023. The net loss for the year amounted to ₹55.78 lakh, a stark contrast to the ₹12.93 lakh loss in the previous fiscal year (FY22). This deterioration in financial performance has raised concerns about the company’s sustainability.
Accumulated Losses on Balance Sheet
The company’s financial troubles are further underscored by its balance sheet figures. The balance loss carried to the balance sheet stood at ₹135.70 crore in FY23, slightly higher than the ₹135.15 crore reported in FY22, as per the housing finance company’s annual report. These accumulated losses have contributed to a negative capital adequacy ratio, which is a critical measure of a financial institution’s ability to meet its obligations.
Discontinuation of New Loan Provision
As part of its response to the financial challenges, Ind Bank Housing Ltd has taken a significant step by discontinuing the provision of new loans. The company is currently not engaged in any new lending activities. Moreover, the credit period of existing loans has already expired. This strategic move is an attempt to mitigate further financial risk and focus on recovering existing loans.
The annual report of Ind Bank Housing Ltd states that the company is making conscious efforts to recover the loans it has previously extended. These efforts are pivotal in light of the company’s dire financial situation. Effective loan recovery can help stabilize the company’s financial position and potentially pave the way for future operations.
RBI’s Regulatory Action
In response to Ind Bank Housing Ltd’s financial woes, the Reserve Bank of India has issued a statement outlining its regulatory action. The RBI has directed that the company is not permitted to transact the business of a Housing Finance Institution or a Non-Banking Financial Institution as defined in the National Housing Bank Act, 1987, and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, respectively. This regulatory action has far-reaching consequences for the company’s operations and future prospects.
Gold medalist Neeraj Chopra appointed Laureus Ambassador
Asian Games gold medalist and reigning Olympic and World Champion in men’s javelin, Neeraj Chopra, has been honored as a Laureus Ambassador, pledging his support to the Laureus Sport for Good initiative. This recognition comes as a result of his historic achievement at the Tokyo Olympics, where he secured the first-ever gold medal for an Indian track and field athlete. Neeraj’s association with Laureus began in 2022 when he was shortlisted for the Breakthrough of the Year award at the Laureus World Sports Awards. Let’s delve into this significant development.
Neeraj Chopra’s Journey with Laureus
Neeraj Chopra’s connection with Laureus dates back to 2022 when he was recognized as a finalist for the Breakthrough of the Year award at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards. This recognition was a tribute to his remarkable feat at the Tokyo Olympics, where he made history as India’s first track and field athlete to clinch a gold medal.
Inspired by Sport’s Transformative Power
What ignited Neeraj’s interest in Laureus was the organization’s commitment to honoring sport’s transformative power. As he learned more about Laureus, he was drawn to its athlete-led initiatives and programs that utilize the unifying and uplifting influence of sports for positive change.
Joining Elite Athletes and Icons
Neeraj Chopra’s appointment as a Laureus Ambassador places him in the company of elite athletes spanning generations. He joins esteemed figures in Indian sports, such as Kapil Dev, Rahul Dravid, and Sachin Tendulkar, who have been associated with the organization.
Neeraj Chopra’s Remarkable Rise
Neeraj’s journey to becoming a Laureus Ambassador is marked by his incredible achievements in the world of athletics. With gold medals at the World Championships and, most recently, at the Asian Games, he has ascended to the pinnacle of his sport. His golden performance has catapulted him to a level of fame that transcends the boundaries of the track and field. His winning throw in Tokyo on August 7 is now celebrated as National Javelin Day in India, underscoring his profound impact on the country’s sporting landscape.
About Laureus Sport for Good
Laureus is a global sports-based charity with a core mission of improving the lives of young people. It employs various initiatives, including the Sport for Good program, the World Sports Academy, the Ambassador program, and the World Sports Awards, to harness the inspirational power of sports as a force for positive transformation. The organization supports over 300 programs worldwide that utilize sports to combat inequality and discrimination, particularly for young people.
54th International Film Festival Of India To Take Place From November 20 To 28
The 54th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI), known for its celebration of cinema from around the world, is scheduled to take place from November 20 to 28 in the beautiful coastal state of Goa. This iconic event promises to be a cinematic extravaganza, showcasing the best of contemporary and classic films from India and across the globe.
Categories and Highlights of the Festival Program
The Festival Program’s Diverse Categories include:
i) International Competition for Feature Films: Up to 15 entries, including a selection of up to three Indian films. This category is dedicated to fiction films with a minimum duration of 70 minutes or more.
ii) Non-Competition (World Panorama): Featuring feature films from across the globe, with a minimum duration of 70 minutes or more.
iii) Country Focus & Curated Packages: Includes both Indian and foreign films, along with special screenings and gala premieres.
iv) Indian Panorama: Reserved for Indian feature films, following the guidelines of Indian Panorama Regulations 2023.
v) Technical Workshops, Masterclasses, and Academic Sessions: Featuring both virtual and physical events, including panel discussions and the Talent Hub.
vi) Film Bazaar: Hosted by IFFI, it’s South Asia’s largest and one of Asia’s most prolific film markets, presenting a wealth of content to potential buyers from various countries.
vii) Content Selection Criteria: The NFDC (National Film Development Corporation) has the discretion to exclude films that do not align with the festival’s objectives, potentially causing offense to participating countries or promoting discrimination in any form.
The Evolution of IFFI: From Its Origins to the 54th Edition
India has been the host of 53 International Film Festivals of India (IFFI) since 1952, which have included both competitive and non-competitive segments. Starting in 1975, the festival became an annual event. The upcoming 54th edition of the festival, featuring a competition for feature films by directors from all continents, is set to take place in Goa.
IFFI: Celebrating Cinematic Excellence and Cultural Unity
Established in 1952, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has firmly established itself as a leading film festival in Asia. From its inception, IFFI’s primary mission has been to honor the art of filmmaking, its compelling narratives, and the gifted individuals who bring these stories to life.
The festival’s core objectives include fostering a profound appreciation for the world of cinema, bridging understanding and unity among diverse communities, and inspiring individuals to reach new heights of personal and collective achievement.
Organization and Management of IFFI: A Transition to NFDC
IFFI is an annual event organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, in partnership with the Entertainment Society of Goa, Government of Goa, the festival’s host state. While the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) within the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting traditionally oversaw the festival, the responsibility for its management has shifted to the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) following the merger of film media units.
Udaipur Set To Become India’s First Wetland City
The Rajasthan government, in collaboration with the Environment and Forest Department, is making concerted efforts to elevate Udaipur, also known as the ‘City of Lakes,’ to international prominence by aiming to become India’s first wetland city. According to recent reports, the city has been chosen as a potential Ramsar Convention site of International Importance, a recognition coveted by wetland-rich regions around the globe.
The Ramsar Convention and Udaipur’s Candidacy
The Ramsar Convention, officially known as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat, is a global treaty designed to protect and sustainably utilize wetlands of international importance.
According to the Ramsar Convention, a wetland must meet specific criteria to be deemed of international importance. These criteria include containing a rare, representative, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type within the appropriate biogeographic region and supporting vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.
Udaipur’s Wetland Potential
Udaipur, with its striking natural beauty and ecological significance, is poised to fulfill all the requirements stipulated by the Ramsar Convention. Covering an area of 37 square kilometers, the city is graced by five major lakes – Pichola, Fateh Sagar, Rang Sagar, Swaroop Sagar, and Doodh Talai. These stunning bodies of water, collectively known as the ‘City of Lakes,’ have long been integral to Udaipur’s identity and culture. They are not only picturesque but also essential to the city’s ecology, supporting a diverse range of species and contributing to the region’s biodiversity.
National Lake Conservation Plan and Udaipur’s Restoration
Further bolstering Udaipur’s quest to become a wetland city is its inclusion in the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP), a restoration project initiated by the central government of India. The NLCP focuses on rehabilitating and conserving significant lakes and wetlands across the country, ensuring their ecological health and sustainability. The lakes and wetlands of Udaipur, which are primarily managed by the tourism and local self-government departments, are crucial components of this plan.
Stakeholder Involvement and Future Plans
To propel Udaipur’s candidacy for the prestigious title of a wetland city, the state Environment and Forest Department is diligently working on sending a formal nomination to the Ramsar Convention. Monali Sen, Joint Secretary of the Environment and Climate Change Ministry, has announced plans for a one-day workshop, which will bring together district officials and representatives of local bodies to finalize the nomination draft. This inter-departmental meeting aims to incorporate suggestions from all stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive and robust submission.
A Rare Distinction in the Making
If Udaipur succeeds in its bid to become a wetland city under the Ramsar Convention, it will join a select group of cities around the world that have received this prestigious recognition. This title is a rare distinction, with only a handful of cities worldwide having earned the honor. Udaipur’s competition for this prestigious status is fierce, as Bhopal is also vying for the same recognition. These efforts underscore India’s commitment to preserving its wetland ecosystems and fostering sustainable environmental practices.
Global Wetland Cities
The Ramsar Convention has already recognized several cities across the globe as wetland cities. In 2022, during the Convention’s proceedings, 25 cities were acknowledged for their commitment to preserving wetlands of international importance. Some of these cities include Sackville in Canada, Cape Town in South Africa, Ifrane in Morocco, and others from various countries. Presently, there are 42 wetland cities situated across 17 nations around the world, with China boasting the highest number, with 13 such cities.