He lives in a property modelled on the White House. He had his company’s name emblazoned on the shirts of India’s beloved cricket team. And his group owns some of the world’s most prestigious properties, including London’s Grosvenor House.
Subrata Roy, head of Sahara India Pariwar, an unlisted hotel to sugar conglomerate, doesn’t jump at anyone’s demand. Or so he thought. Continue reading »
Over Christmas, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) finally published a comment warning the public about the dangers of dabbling in Bitcoin. Raids have followed, forcing websites that trade the virtual currency to suspend operations.
Enthusiasts have long hailed Bitcoin as a panacea for India’s economic problems, from low rates of financial inclusion to an unsustainable demand for gold. But even the most zealous Bitcoin miners admit that the future of the virtual currency lies with the regulator – which seems to be wary. Continue reading »
China’s ban on banks doing business in Bitcoin, the volatile digital currency, throws up big questions for Bitcoin enthusiasts in India, who insist India is the world’s largest potential market for the e-currency.
The Bitcoin community in India remains small, with just 50,000 people using or even aware of the e-currency so far according to Sathvik Vishwanath, chief executive of CoinMonk Ventures, an Indian Bitcoin service and investment company. But interest is growing. Continue reading »
Second quarter numbers from India’s largest bank by assets, State Bank of India (SBI), were announced on Wednesday – and despite weak profits the markets are still cheering.
As the economy slows and companies suffer, the focus for India’s public sector banks is firmly on asset quality. Continue reading »
One bright light for gender equality in India is the world of banking, where a relatively impressive number of powerful posts are filled by women.
You can add Arundhati Bhattacharya to that list: on Monday she took over as chairperson of the State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender by assets. Continue reading »
What to make of the “big bang” from incoming governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, as he announced a set of unexpected reforms on his first day in office?
Well, the markets have given the ex-IMF economist the thumbs up. The rupee was up 1.5 per cent to 66 to the US dollar on Thursday morning, while the benchmark Sensex index rallied 2.2 per cent to 18,971.03. Continue reading »
Speak to people in Mumbai’s business community and it sounds like it’s about to go into pause mode, as investors wait for the general elections to bring some clarity before shelling out any cash.
PwC seems to think otherwise. In a new report, the consultancy says there are several business reasons for private equity funds to invest in India in the coming months. Continue reading »
Crowdfunding may be the new fashionable financing option in the global start-up scene but it’s a well-established practice in India. In 1976, director Shyam Benegal financed his film Manthan by collecting Rs2 each from thousands of Indian farmers, whose cause was presented in this story about a rural milk co-operative.
Like Manthan, most examples of crowdfunding in India have occurred offline. But now green shoots are emerging in online, too. Continue reading »
It’s a problem that many countries are experiencing: the central bank cuts rates, but the banks aren’t passing the reductions on to borrowers. What can be done to make more credit available?
In India, finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram is trying the direct route. On Wednesday, he met with the heads of public sector banks and requested they reduce lending rates. Will they? Continue reading »
Need a bank account?
In the last 20 years, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank, has licensed just a dozen new private sector banks. Now, the RBI has invited applications for a new round of permits and Monday was the deadline.
It’s anybody’s guess what will set the succesful applicants apart. But one thing is for sure – the government is out to improve financial inclusion. And a new index developed by Crisil, the ratings agency, uncovers the problems across India.
Continue reading »
As the July 1 deadline approaches for applications for India’s new banking licences, there has been a flurry of activity with companies either registering their interest or challenging the guidelines for licencees. Some have pulled out of th eprocess over the status of their existing non-banking financial units.
But Reliance Capital, part of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group, is limbering up to bid, and is wheeling out some big-name partners to help out. Continue reading »
When Indian policy makers held rates steady last week, their main concern was over the current account deficit and the weakening rupee.
But there is another group of people who will be watching those two numbers closely – who just happen to be the same folk that have been quietly helping reduce the current account deficit for a while now: non-resident Indians (NRIs) with deposits in Indian banks. Continue reading »
In March, the online magazine Cobrapost claimed it had evidence that officials at India’s three leading non-state banks were facilitating money laundering. Probes were initiated, staff were suspended and the local press was abuzz.
Now, in the second part of the sting operation, Cobrapost levelled similar allegations against 23 more financial services companies, including public sector banks and insurance companies. Many say the news is less exciting this time. But are they missing something? Continue reading »