New Delhi/Zurich: Amid a controversy over its official data showing 50 per cent surge in Indians’ money in Swiss banks last year to CHF 1.01 billion (about Rs 7,000 crore), Switzerland’s central banking authority SNB today said these figures are for total deposits of Indian customers, including from banks and enterprises.
The Swiss National Bank (SNB) further said its figures include the “data from branches of Swiss banks in India” and therefore the locational banking statistics (LBS) compiled by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), a global central banking body, would be more reliable.
Only only one Swiss bank — Credit Suisse — has a branch in India, while two others — UBS and Zurcher Kantonal Bank — are present in the country through one representative office each, as per the RBI data updated till January 31, 2018.
Weeks after SNB’s annual publication, ‘Banks in Switzerland’, showed a rise in Indians’ money in Swiss banks in 2017 after falling for three consecutive years, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal today said the Indian deposits in Swiss banks actually fell by 34.5 per cent last year as per the data from the BIS.
Goyal told the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour that he discussed the issue with Swiss authorities, who told him in a written reply that media reports “have not taken account of the way the (SNB) figures have to be interpreted”.
The minister said that according to Swiss authorities, more reliable data source is the locational banking statistics of the BIS, which measures international banking activity from a residence perspective, focusing on the location of banking office and captures around 95 per cent of all cross-border banking activity.
The BIS data show that non-bank loans and deposits — which constitute the individual and corporate deposits and exclude inter bank transactions — have fallen by 34.5 per cent in 2017 to USD 524 million compared to USD 800 million in 2016, Goyal said and vowed to continue the crackdown on black money.
Replying to e-mailed queries in this regard, the SNB said the figures that showed an increase of 50 per cent in Indians’ money in Swiss banks “are for total deposits of Indian customers at Swiss banks (ie. Total liabilities of Swiss banks towards India), including deposits from banks and enterprises”.
On whether the BIS data was more reliable, the SNB said, “That is correct. The data of Swiss National Bank include also data from branches of Swiss Banks in India”.
As per the BIS website, the ‘amount outstanding’ towards non-bank loans and deposits of Indians in Swtizerland-based banks stood at USD 94.84 million (Rs 653 crore) at the end of 2017, down nearly 44 per cent from USD 168.13 million (Rs 1,158 crore) at 2016-end.
Further, the latest BIS data shows this figure to have risen again to USD 100.88 million (Rs 695 crore) at the end of March 2018.
In its emailed reply to PTI queries, the SNB also shared details from its annual statistics about the total liabilities of ‘Banks in Switzerland’ towards clients in India at CHF 999.094 million at the end of 2017, including CHF 151.894 million as amount due to other banks, CHF 464.164 million in form of customer deposits; and CHF 383.036 million as ‘other liabilities’.
Separately, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) issued a statement on the issue saying the SNB’s annual banking statistics are based on surveys of banks and provide for a comprehensive picture of the Swiss banking sector.
“The figures published by the SNB are regularly mentioned in the public domain as a reliable indicator of the amount of assets held with Swiss financial institutions in respect of Indian residents,” it said.
India can’t achieve 9-10 per cent GDP growth without agri-revolution: Kant
New Delhi: India cannot achieve 9-10 per cent GDP growth without revolution in the farm sector, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.
Addressing Mahindra Samriddhi Agri awards, he said there is a need to boost investment in the agriculture sector as well as to introduce new technology and market reforms.
Kant also stressed on scrapping Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee and some old laws like Essential Commodites Act, which restrict movement of farm produces.
However, he said agriculture is a state subject and the central government has limited role in it.
“In India 50 per cent of our population is dependent on agriculture. If India’s GDP has to grow at 9-10 per cent for the next 30 years, then it cannot be without bringing revolution in the agri sector,” Kant said.
He also emphasised on eliminating middlemen in marketing of farm produces to boost farmers’ income.
Kant expressed confidence that farmer income will be doubled by 2022.
He said there is a need to spread good agriculture practice and success stories of farmers across the country.
“The second revolution in agriculture will come from technology and marketing,” Kant said.
Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd,, said: “The contribution made by our farming community is a manifestation of this new age of farming which we celebrate through our annual awards”.
As part of Mahindra Agri Village (MAV) programme, he said the company has worked closely with more than 50 villages.
“Our Prerna initative has empowered nearly 2,000 women farmers over 40 villages, through the introduction of gender-neutral farm tools for reducing farm drudgery, and dissemination of knowledge and essential capabilities,” Goenka said.
Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Shiromani Samman (Lifetime Achievement Award) 2019 was conferred upon E A Siddiq for his immense contribution to Indian agriculture. The award was handed over to recognise his contribution of enhancing productivity of paddy (Both Basmati & Non Basmati).
The group gave awards in total 11 categories.
Mukesh Ambani bails out Anil in Ericsson payout case day before SC deadline
Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani stepped in to bail out younger brother Anil Ambani by helping him repay Reliance Communications’ (RCom’s) dues to Ericsson. The last-minute rescue spares the younger Ambani a three-month jail term for contempt of court.
RCom cleared the entire dues to Ericsson India to purge the contempt of a Supreme Court order. The debt-ridden company had already paid Rs 118 crore of the Rs 550-crore dues. In addition, the company had paid around Rs 3 crore in penalties to Ericsson.
“My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita for standing by me during these trying times and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support,” said Anil Ambani in a media statement. RCom had time until Tuesday to make the payment, failing which Anil Ambani, its chairman, would have had to serve a three-month jail term, according to the court’s order.
Probing Amazon, Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law: ED
New Delhi : Investigation has been initiated against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday informed the Delhi High Court.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani noted the submissions of the ED that a case has been registered under provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against the two companies and disposed of a PIL which has alleged that the e-commerce giants were violating foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.
The court had earlier sought response of the central government, Amazon and Flipkart to the plea which has sought a probe into the alleged FDI violations.
The ED, in its reply filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, has said the “department has already registered and initiated investigation under the provisions of FEMA against the two companies to ascertain whether they have been contravening any provisions of FEMA or contravening any rule, regulations, notification, direction or order issued in exercise of the powers under FEMA….”
The agency also sought dismissal of the petition.
The petition by an NGO, Telecom Watchdog, also asked for initiation of legal proceedings against the two e-commerce companies under the FEMA for alleged violation and circumvention of FDI norms.
The plea, filed through advocate Pranav Sachdeva, has claimed that Amazon and Flipkart have created multiple entities to circumvent the FDI norms and route the hot-selling stock at cheaper rates.
The petition has contended that according to Press Note 3 of 2016, which regulates FDI in e-commerce, entities like Amazon and Flipkart are not to exercise ownership over stock, nor directly or indirectly influence price of goods and services sold on their marketplace.
It claimed that by creating name lending companies, Amazon and Flipkart buy branded goods in bulk at discounts from manufacturers and render small sellers uncompetitive by a wide margin, thus influencing the prices in violation of the FDI norms.
“As a consequence of this FDI norms violation, smaller sellers are unable to participate in the fast growing e-commerce sector,” the plea has contended, adding that due to subsidised prices on such platforms, small sellers are unable to sell in the brick-n-mortar world too.
Besides, the plea has also claimed that the two e-commerce firms have created several other group companies in the chain to divide discounts and losses.
“Exchange offers, EMI costs and bank offers are funded completely or substantially by Amazon and Flipkart and constitute a clear influence on price in violation of FDI norms,” it has alleged.