Why RBI should not lend US$1 billion to SBI?

25/07/2010

The State Bank of India has raised   US$ 1 billion through overseas bond issue at an interest rate of 4.5%. This money is for providing its foreign operations and also for supporting Indian companies with external commercial borrowings.

Reserve Bank of India has foreign exchange reserves of about US$ 270 billion. RBI has deposited the same in foreign countries with foreign central banks etc at much less than 1% interest rate. For any country foreign exchange required for meeting imports for 3-6 months is sufficient. This means that   the country needs foreign exchange of about US$ 75-150 billion. Thus RBI has excess foreign exchange. Instead of allowing SBI to raise funds through overseas bond issue at 4.5% interest rate, if RBI had lent this amount, the country could have saved foreign exchange of $45 million dollars per year.

RBI should consider lending money in foreign exchange to Indian commercial banks from its foreign exchange reserves instead of allowing commercial banks to raise funds overseas.

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Bharat Bandh uncalled for

05/07/2010

Increase in diesel, petrol, cooking gas prices should lead only to a marginal or negligible increase in overall prices as:

a) The price of diesel was increased by Rs.2 per litre i.e. by around 6%. The cost of diesel in the truck freight charges is only about 40-50%, the balance being the cost of driver, cleaner, depreciation and profit margin. Thus the freight charges should increase only by about 2.4% – 3%.

 b)transport charges in the retail cost of any product is only 5- 10%, the major components being cost of raw materials, interest rates, depreciation, profit margin, wages & salaries, tax, advertisement charges etc. Thus the fuel price increase should lead to general price rise of just 0.12 to 0.30% i.e. if the retail price of a product was Rs.100, it should cost now only Rs.100.12- Rs.100.30 i.e just 12 -30 paise more, which is definitely negligible.

c)In the case of  auto rickshaws, one litre of petrol gives about 25 kilometers for which the charges are around Rs.150. After price increase it could go up to only Rs.152 or just 1.67%.

 d)in the case of private use of motorcycles, assuming an average consumption of 10 litres (traveling about 800 to 1000 km) per month by a person with an income of Rs.20000 per month, his expenses on petrol will go up by just Rs.35 only i.e less than 0.2% of his income which again is negligible.

 e) cooking gas price has gone up by 10% but average consumption in a  family per month is just 1 cylinder or increase in expenses is only Rs.35 or less than 0.2% of the monthly income.

 f) overall additional expenses for a middle class family shall not be even 1% and this every one can easily absorb

 g) the interest rates had drastically come down recently(by about 4 percentage points) as a measure of reversing the economic slow down. Truck owners, auto rickshaw owners, and manufacturers who usually get finance from banks save a substantial amount on this account. They can easily afford to absorb the additional expenses due to fuel price increase, in stead of passing on the same to the customer. Even if they pass on the additional cost to consumer, consumer’s burden is negligible.

 h) the common man, who works under employment guarantee scheme got an increase of 25% in wages, from Rs.80 to Rs.100 three months ago. So he should not have any problem in meeting less than 1% increase in cost of living.

 i)the increase in salaries of central and several state government and public sector undertaking employees on account of 6th  Pay Commission as also income tax liberalization will enable employees to bear the additional expenses without any difficulty.

 In view of the above, it appears that Bharat Bandh is uncalled for. At the same time the government should restrain truck owners from increasing their charges/prices on the pretext of fuel price increase, beyond 3%, auto rickshaw owners and taxi owners beyond 2%, and manufacturers beyond 1%.