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Since then, it has been quite a struggle for NBFCs due to assorted reasons ranging from stricter regulation to global financial melt-down and what not. Predictably, the latest RBI terms have left the industry fretting and fuming. A sense of frustration has left a feeling of resignation among them.
That the RBI has put all eggs — good, bad and ugly — in one basket, and treated the diverse constituents of NBFCs as a homogenous group has upset the long-serving saner players in the industry. There are no two views on the need to exercise stricter supervision over the NBFCs.
There also appears to be no disagreement on pushing them on a par with banks insofar as it allows them to conform to best accounting practices. The moot point, however, is: Are they really given a level playing field in the financial services space. That has been the grouse, more than stricter regulations per se.
If the absence of level playing field is a common concern, the application of rules to all NBFCs of unlike-kind commonly has proved a big worry for many in the industry. Is it difficult to prescribe a risk-related capital requirement for NBFCs based on the assets they finance?
This, in a way, has an unintended consequence of driving up the cost for NBFCs which have less risky assets in their portfolio.
If the objective is to straighten the field in the financial service sector, the NBFCs, too, should have banks-like empowerment to re-possess assets should they turn NPAs by any chance. The enforcement of contractual right in the event of a default has become tougher these days due to assorted reasons.
From time immemorial, NBFCs have been playing the role of last-mile connectors in the socio-economic chain. So, it is important that this industry does not run dry for money. Their ability to take public deposits is constrained even further by the latest RBI guideline. On the other hand, the ECB external commercial borrowing window also shut on them. Ipso facto, they have to depend heavily on bank funding and domestic debt. Level-field suggests that NBFCs should also have multiple fund-raising options.
With political bosses going to town with their social inclusion slogan, constraining the NBFCs could very well negate this political goal, which has been embraced by almost all parties in different ways. What has hurt the NBFCs most is the step-motherly treatment given by the tax authorities.Downshift Brisbane Meet May 2013
While banks and housing finance companies are given exemption in respect of income relating to NPAs, this privilege is denied to the NBFCs. They are in an unenviable spot. What is required in the changed time and context is a relook at NBFCs from a realistic perspective taking into consideration the evolution that has happened over the last two decades.
S headquartered global solar energy services firm, has been very active in participating solar PV photovoltaic projects across states. Where is the Indian solar market heading? Indian power minister has an ambitious vision of building GW of solar power by and that vision is exactly the same as what China has for solar industry by In solar, may be, we are 10 years behind China, but no country that has the same capacity, availability of labour and qualified workforce and a huge domestic market.
India can only be perhaps second to China. We have to give him the credit for being so courageous and bold. So, not just talks, the new government at the Centre is doing some real work.
International Energy Agency has also said that by the Number One source of electricity in the world will be solar. Are all these solar capacity targets feasible? In fact, if there is one source of energy that can actually make an appreciable impact in a very short time frame, it is solar. What you require to install large scale of solar is land and evacuation infrastructure. Other great thing is development of solar projects can be done in a matter of couple of months.
Unlike nuclear, which takes 10 years, or thermal projects, which takes a few years, or even wind, which takes about two years and more, solar can be developed very quickly. It can also be constructed extremely quickly. So, planning large capacities in solar is very much feasible. How should India drive its solar transformation for both economic and social benefits?
In my view, solar is going to become one of the lowest-cost forms of generating electricity, even cheaper than fossil fuel. In India, if you analyse the bids for power plants with imported coal, they are all in the range of Rs. It is not cheaper than that. And, usually the thermal plants powered by imported coal have all kinds of relief for increase in price of coal and forex.
Basically, there is some sort of indexation of international coal prices. So, the price can go up. The most recent solar bids that have come in Karnataka are all in the range of Rs. So, solar is already in the ballpark of coal prices. Also, coal is polluting, takes many years to develop. Environment clearances are challenging.
Fuel linkage is an issue, and domestic coal has been having all sorts of problems over the last few months. Imported coal has the price variability. But, solar is clean. It can be developed in few months, and constructed in months, no issue of fuel linkages, generates electricity during the day time, and no seasonality. So, when we compare all sources of energy — nuclear, wind, gas and coal- solar clearly is emerging as a darling.
Solar costs have also come down. Renewable sources have to play a big role in energy generation, and in that renewable space, solar is clearly emerging as a winner. This may be the year in India for the first time that solar may surpass wind in annual capacity addition. What kind of an indigenisation plan is required to develop a strong domestic manufacturing? I think it is a golden opportunity for India to create an industry in early days of that industry.
It is really nice and welcoming to see the Prime Minister focusing on Make in India strategy. But fundamental idea should be to focus on the industries that can win, export and be competitive globally. If you look at the solar value chain, over 90 per cent of solar in the world is crystalline silicon, and thousands of companies do crystalline silicon.
So, it is very hard for thin-film segment to compete with crystalline silicon as there is only handful of companies.
You have the innovation happening through a handful of companies versus thousands of companies where engineers are going to work every day and are making progress. If India decides to scale in solar, it has to think about supporting the crystalline value chain.
If you look at this value chain, it is just the module and cell that have been discussed for domestic content in India. But they are the much simpler parts of the value chain.
A very little value is added domestically. It is really a soldering operation and the module making is very, very simple. India needs to think what can be the strategic focus area in the value chain. Polysilicon is the crude oil refining equivalent, and that needs to be done domestically. Once that is done, all the others will surround the ecosystem. Supply chain industry can easily come because it requires only a little investment. Today, there is probablymetric tonnes of polysilicon manufactured in the world.
Byit will double, but with new technology. Polysilicon takes billions of dollars of investments. When we look back, we were a company that has received a lot of support from parent. He always felt that solar will be big in developing countries because so much energy infrastructure is going to be required, and sooner or later, the costs are going to be at parity.
As far as we are concerned, across several segments there is parity and solar can compete effectively today not in future. So, grid parity is achieved. With that background and vision, he supported us a lot, and we have been able to accomplish reasonably well in our first part of the journey in India. Now we have a new and vibrant India.
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The promises are big and expectations are even higher because things seem to be looking up significantly. We have begun our journey, but it is still a long way go to make any meaningful impact.
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We have won MW projects in Karnataka. We are also awaiting results in few other states. When we do our job, we will bring capital also. Our goal is to be a participant in a meaningful way.
Solar mission is not only about large power plants, but also about smaller distributed generation. What are the opportunities and challenges in this segment?
In distributed generation, there are five segments. Solar Energy Corporation of India is doing a great job of promoting this. Second is industrial segment. It has large roof-tops that make sense. But industrial tariff is lower.
So, it is more challenging to make economics work now. Third is the residential segment that is very impressive. It will grow like what happened in countries like Japan, the U. But the challenge is the residential electricity, which is subsidised a bit already and is lower when compared to commercial and industrial.
So, may be a couple of years from now, it can show good progress. In the mean time, the leading adopters will do off-grid residentials in conjunction with battery or inverter. Fourth segment is the irrigation pumping segment. In my view, it is one of the most fascinating and important segment and government should support it as it will transform India. If the government takes it seriously, it can convert the 30 million irrigation pumps into solar-powered ones. Thirty million pumps of 5 kw or 5HP will be GW of power generation from solar.
It is possible and can transform the lives of farmers. Some state governments are supporting this. Fifth is the solar micro-grids.
This will also have transformation effect, and the government is focusing on it. So, when you think of distributed generation, each of these five segments has to be dealt with separately with right policy and framework. New subsidy regime The reintroduction of the direct benefits transfer scheme for the supply of cooking gas, after its withdrawal in March this year, is a welcome signal that subsidy targeting is back on the policy agenda.
Unlike its UPA avatar, cash transfers will now be based on LPG consumers providing their bank account numbers, rather than Aadhaar numbers, to distributors. The change in approach is a way of addressing the Supreme Court ruling in March prohibiting Aadhaar from being made compulsory in the implementation of welfare schemes. The Centre has also drawn up a scheme to make an advance deposit in bank accounts in an apparent bid to offset the hardship of coughing up the market rate that poorer customers may face while making their first purchase under the new scheme.
Those without a unique identification number may switch to Aadhaar-based bank accounts once enrolled. The modified DBT scheme is a further indication that the Modi government will use Aadhaar as a vehicle for the delivery of benefits and subsidies.
Already, 60 per cent of the population has an Aadhaar number and, hopefully, it is only a matter of time that such things as LPG distribution and other welfare programmes become UID-driven. The reservations expressed by the Home Ministry about a full roll-out of Aadhaar have been thankfully overcome. The reasons for this pragmatism are not far to seek.
The LPG savings will result from bogus consumers being weeded out, a cap on the subsidy amount most LPG users are middle-class and above, anyway and conservation efforts, leading to lower imports.
The first round of DBT brought down the diversion of subsidised cylinders for commercial purposes: However, this is only the beginning. It is necessary to promote the shift away from inefficient cooking fuels such as firewood to LPG in rural areas. To this end, the subsidy should be gradually diverted from the well-to-do sections, who account for at least 60 per cent of all LPG users. The Jan Dhan scheme and post office network can come in handy. Above all, it is necessary to have foolproof systems.
The stakeholders should come up with credible solutions. We cannot afford a second derailment of DBT. Citing risks from financial markets and geopolitical tensions, the leaders said the global economy is being held back by lackluster demand, according to their communique following a two-day summit that ended yesterday in Brisbane.
The group submitted almost 1, individual policy changes designed to lift growth and said they would hold each other to account to ensure they are implemented. With policy makers facing domestic challenges to implementing their deregulation and investment plans, immediate impact from the communique was limited. Trade is one such area where more concrete steps could have been laid out. Futures on the U. Action to bolster growth comes as policies around the world are diverging with the U.
The IMF and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development assessed the policy commitments and said they would raise G gross domestic product by an additional 2. The G urged the U. How will the inflation numbers impact RBI policy? CPI inflation was 5. Significantly, the rate of increase in food prices was 5.
The only food items showing persistent price pressure are milk and fruit, which clocked about 11 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. Cereals and vegetables, which contributed significantly to the trend over the past couple of years, were muted at six per cent and The most significant implication of these patterns is that the threat posed by an inadequate monsoon has proved to be unfounded.
Two factors could have been at work here. One, the government sold significant amounts of rice and wheat from its stocks into the open market.
Two, with a late recovery in the monsoon, farmers grew more vegetables, which are typically short-cycle crops.
The latter may, thus, be a one-time phenomenon, but the former will have a lasting impact on price expectations and, through them, on crop choices. The drivers of this indicator are different than those of consumer inflation. The main reason for the sharp drop in wholesale inflation is the overall softening of global commodity prices. Oil has clearly been the most dramatic of these over the past two months, but other commodities have also seen an unmistakable downshift.
The October fuel index was over a percentage point lower than it was in September; however, the correction in diesel prices over the course of the year took the fuel index to 0. The prices of manufactured goods rose by about 2.
This suggests that producers had, by and large, run out of pricing power for a while. The significant easing of commodity prices will clearly contribute to widening operating margins and profitability at current price levels, a basic requirement for any revival in investment.
The key consideration in deciding on whether or not to lower interest rates will be whether the food and commodity price trends are durable or not. On the food front, continuing open market operations combined with realistic procurement pricing should induce the agricultural sector to begin rebalancing its cropping patterns.
On the commodities side of the equation, while there are still some analysts who see these developments as temporary, the weight of opinion is tilted towards further softening or, at worst, stabilisation. Lower oil prices will also help narrow the fiscal and current-account deficits; the former adds another argument in favour of monetary easing. The essential question before the Reserve Bank of India, then, is not whether to ease, but when to do it and at what pace.
A Swachh Financial Sector Abhiyan? And as with all his other initiatives, Mr Modi is not interested in putting out a white paper on the current status so that the nation knows where we are and where we are headed under the new thinking emanating from him.
Clearly, the financial sector is an important area for the prime minister. He is preparing the ground for important decisions. These two would have been the most ambitious steps so far. It would have amounted to a big-bang reform of the sort that many expected the prime minister to implement but which he has steadfastly refused to, preferring incremental changes. One was demolishing sectoral regulators for insurance, capital markets and pension, and putting them under the UFRA.
It must be remembered that the FSLRC recommendations were so contentious that that there were major differences among the members on important issues. One of the commission members, Kishori J Udeshi, a former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India RBIobjected to the proposed overbearing role of government regarding capital flows: The finance ministry thereby becomes a new dominant regulator.
Similarly, investors who rebalance their own portfolios regularly and day traders who routinely place limit orders on a stock exchange could also be deemed to require authorisation. An expansive reading of Section 2 75 k could require even a messenger boy who delivers a mutual fund application form to obtain authorisation. All this creates scope for needless harassment of innocent people without providing any worthwhile benefits. In essence, of the six members other than the chairman, four of them had important points of disagreement that could not be ironed out before the report was signed.
If the Modi government really wants to make an impact, however, it should think of fast-tracking the Financial Redress Agency, putting some genuine pro-consumer people to run it, who will make it a mission to treat the duped and harassed financial consumer fairly.
As this column has explained many times in the past, while the business of financial services essentially runs on the deposits we put in the bank, the insurance premium we pay or mutual funds we buy, the financial consumers have absolutely no voice anywhere. The three main regulators have different approaches to grievance redressal and different standards to stop harmful from coming pitched at the consumer. He lost his temper with a group of professional cyclists who were out on a training ride and he rammed one of them with his Oldsmobile Aurora, nearly killing the victim.
As some of you know, your humble author competed in various cycling disciplines for twenty years, including a decade as a professional BMX racer. Many road riders are great pals and fun people. Some of them, however, are passive-aggressive whiners who are forever complaining about everything from the weather to the use of Biopace chainrings in a paceline, to name just two things I heard bitched about continually when I did winter training rides in the Eighties with a Biopace-equipped Cannondale SR BMX and mountain bikers tend to be pretty regular guys, with high pain tolerances and a certain joie de vivre, but the hardcore roadies are often really nasty, picky, bitchy little people.
The majority of the trouble I saw between drivers and riders was in large part actively sought-out by the riders. Tyler Wren is a year-old pro road cyclist and cyclocrosser.
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Last week, he published a blog entry which quickly went viral. We departed for our ill-fated training ride on Friday at The rider group was riding two-abreast in a long line, as far to the right as possible, in full accordance with Arizona traffic law.
He and I crashed hard on the front of the group as Mr. My teammates also reported that Mr. Kinkade was shouting obscenities at us during the attack through his open car window. Wren then tells a tale of using chase cars and long-lens cameras to nail the perpetrator. Based on the presented evidence and testimony from the riders, the police arrested Rodney Kinkade of Tuscon, AZ. Kinkade is apparently facing felony charges. Sounds reasonable and fair, right? Kinkade winds replacement guitar pickups for people who are too stupid, cheap, or plain ignorant to buy Throbaks musicians who want a vintage sound.
Over the past week, Mr. Does he deserve to be convicted of the most malicious possible interpretation of events, without benefit of investigation or trial? What if he simply was moving back into the lane and made a mistake? What if Todd The Cyclist drifted further to the left and participated in the responsibility for the impact? We were aggressively occupying the lane and spread out wide.