Jerusalem: The Gaza Strip’s economy is in “free fall,” a report from the World Bank warned Tuesday, calling for urgent action by Israel and the international community to avoid “immediate collapse.”
According to the report, Gaza’s economy contracted by 6 percent in the first quarter of 2018. It said unemployment is now over 50 percent — and over 70 per cent among Gaza’s youth.
The World Bank cited various factors, starting with Israel’s decade-long blockade against the territory’s militant Hamas rulers, for the precarious downturn. It also cited budget cuts by the rival Palestinian Authority and a reduction in international aid to the Palestinians, particularly from the United States.
“A combination of war, isolation, and internal rivalries has left Gaza in a crippling economic state and exacerbated the human distress,” said Marina Wes, the World Bank’s director for the region.The report was released ahead of a high level meeting of the bank’s Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, responsible for coordinating development assistance to the Palestinians, on September 27.
Wes said the increasingly dire economic situation in Gaza “has reached a critical point.” “Increased frustration is feeding into the increased tensions which have already started spilling over into unrest and set back the human development of the region’s large youth population,” she added.
Gazans have staged near weekly demonstrations along the border with Israel since late March, in part to protest the blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt since 2007, when the militant group Hamas seized the territory. Hamas has led and organised the protests, but turnout has also been driven by growing despair over blockade-linked hardship, including lengthy power cuts and soaring unemployment.
Israeli soldiers have killed at least 136 Palestinians during the weekly protests since March, including 27 minors, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. A Palestinian sniper also fatally shot an Israeli soldier. Israel contends it’s defending its border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as a screen for attempts to breach the border fence to attack civilians and soldiers.
Human rights groups have accused Israel of excessive and unlawful use of force against unarmed protesters. In the report, the World Bank calls upon Israel to lift restrictions on trade and movement of goods and people to help improve Gaza’s economy, and urges development of “legitimate institutions to govern Gaza in a transparent and efficient manner.”
MPC to meet six times during 2019-20: RBI
Mumbai: The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which decides on key interest rates, will meet six times during the next financial year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said.
The first meeting of the six-member MPC to decide on the first bi-monthly monetary policy statement for 2019-20 will be held from April 2 to 4.
The policy will be announced on April 4. Headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, the committee also includes two representatives from the central bank and three external members.
The external members are Indian Statistical Institute professor Chetan Ghate, Delhi School of Economics Director Pami Dua and Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad professor Ravindra H Dholakia.
According to the schedule provided by the RBI, the second meeting of the MPC in the next fiscal will be held on June 3, 4 and 6; third meeting (August 5-7); fourth meeting (October 1, 3 and 4); fifth meeting (December 3-5) and sixth meeting (February 4-6, 2020).
SBI raises Rs 1,251 crore by issuing Basel III-compliant bonds
New Delhi: The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) said it has raised Rs 1,251.30 crore by issuing Basel III-compliant bonds.
“The Committee of Directors for Capital Raising at its meeting held today on 22 March 2019 deliberated and accorded approval to allot 12,513 non-convertible, taxable, perpetual, subordinated, unsecured Basel lll-compliant additional tier-I bonds, for inclusion in additional tier-I capital of the bank…aggregating to Rs 1,251.30 crore,” SBI said in a regulatory filing.
The bonds with a face value of Rs 10 lakh each bears a coupon rate of 9.45 per cent per anum payable annually with call option after 5 years or any anniversary date thereafter, it said. The bonds were subscribed on Friday, it added.
State Bank of India (SBI) also said the central board of the bank at its meeting held has accorded its approval for extension of validity period for raising equity capital of up to Rs 20,000 crore from market by way of follow-on public offer, qualified institutional placement, preferential allotment, rights issue or any other mode or a combination of these till March 31, 2020.
Sebi fines 4 entities Rs 27 lakh for fraudulent trading in BSE stock options
New Delhi: Markets regulator Sebi imposed a total penalty of Rs 27 lakh on four entities for indulging in fraudulent trade in illiquid stock options segment of BSE.
Umapati Oil Mill and Ginning Factory, Yudhbir Chhibbar, Kasturbhai Mayabhai Pvt Ltd and Vimladevi Shyamsunder Khetan are the four entities, according to Sebi’s separate orders.
fter observing a large-scale reversal of trades in the BSE’s illiquid stock options segment, Sebi conducted a probe from April 2014 to September 2015.
Following the probe, the regulator found that the trades executed by the entities were not genuine as they were reversed within few seconds with same counter parties with significant difference in price, resulting in profit to the entities.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said it was a deliberate attempt to deal in such a fashion and not a mere coincidence.
The trades executed by the entities were not genuine and created an appearance of artificial trading volumes, thereby violating PFUTP (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) regulations, Sebi noted.
Accordingly, a fine of Rs 8.7 lakh and Rs 8.4 lakh were imposed on Yudhbir Chhibbar and Vimladevi, respectively while a penalty of Rs 5 lakh each was levied on Umapati Oil Mill and Kasturbhai Mayabhai Pvt Ltd, totalling Rs 27.1 lakh.
In a separate order, Sebi imposed a total fine of Rs 6 lakh on four promoters of Artech Power Products for delayed disclosures to exchanges regarding their change in the shareholding in the company.
Ranjith Vijayan, I V Vijayan, Repsy Vijayan and Resmi Vijayan are the four promoters, according to Sebi’s order.
The promoters have deprived the vital information to the public by non-disclosure /delayed disclosure as mandated by the Takeover Regulations, Sebi noted.