FM meeting PSU bankers today

FM meeting PSU bankers today
Highlights

New Delhi (PTI): Finance Minister P Chidambaram will meet heads of public sector banks on Monday to take...

chidabaramNew Delhi (PTI): Finance Minister P Chidambaram will meet heads of public sector banks on Monday to take stock of their concern amid moderating growth and slowdown in investment. The broad agenda of the meeting include direct benefit transfer, deteriorating asset quality and credit growth. The Finance Minister is likely to ask banks to increase lending to productive sectors to prop up growth, sources said. Hit by poor performance of farm, mining and manufacturing sectors, economic growth in the October-December period this fiscal slipped to 4.5 per cent. Despite many measures being taken by the government to promote investment, as many as 109 private sector projects, with proposed investments of Rs 1,000 crore or more each, are awaiting clearance from different ministries. The high-profile meeting will be held a day before mid- quarter review of monetary policy by RBI. The meeting is also likely to review banks' system and procedure to check money laundering activities in the light of recent sting operation allegedly showing some officials of three private sector banks indulging in such activities. Deteriorating asset quality of banks may also come up for discussion during the meeting. Non-performing assets of the banks have been on the rise for past several months due to slowdown in the economy. The Gross NPAs of some public sector banks, including State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Central Bank of India, have crossed four per cent of the total assets at the end of December, 2012. The meeting will also dwell upon steps to increase credit flow to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), farm sector, infrastructure and housing sector, sources added. In its third quarter policy review on January 29, RBI had lowered key short-term lending rate by 0.25 per cent and also injected Rs 18,000cr liquidity through similar reduction of Cash Reserve Ratio.
I-T offices to remain open on March 30, 31
New Delhi: Income tax department offices across the country will remain open on March 30 and 31 for the benefit of taxpayers. CBDT has taken the measure as the last two days of the month are Saturday and Sunday. As March 27 and 29 are holidays owing to Holi and Good Friday and the offices would be closed then, an official said.
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