RBI-Apr2015

A SUMMARY OF NOTIFICATIONS ISSUED BY RBI DURING THE MONTH

Interest Subvention for Crop Loan
Govt. of India has advised RBI that presently various alternative approaches for improving the efficacy of the interest subvention scheme are being examined, the finalization of which may take some time. In view of this, it has been decided by GoI, as an interim measure, to implement the Interest Subvention Scheme for 2015-16, till JUNE 30, 2015, on the terms and conditions approved for the Scheme for 2014-15.

Interest Rates on Deposits
In terms of circular dated 24.01.13, banks were allowed to offer differential rates of interest on term deposits on the basis of tenor for deposits less than Rs. 1 crore and on the basis of quantum and tenor on term deposits of Rs. 1 crore and above. RBI decided (Apr 16, 2015) to introduce the feature of early withdrawal facility in a term deposit as a distinguishing feature for offering differential rates of interest. Accordingly, banks will have the discretion to offer differential interest rates based on whether the term deposits are with or without-premature-withdrawal-facility, subject to the following guidelines:
i. All term deposits of individuals (held singly or jointly) of Rs. 15 lakh and below should, necessarily, have premature withdrawal facility.
ii. For all term deposits other than (i) above, banks can offer deposits without the option of premature withdrawal also. However, banks that offer such term deposits should ensure that at the customer interface point the customers are, in fact, given the option to choose between term deposits either with or without premature withdrawal facility.
iii. Banks should disclose in advance the schedule of interest rates payable on deposits i.e. all deposits mobilized by banks should be strictly in conformity with the published schedule.
iv. The banks should have a Board approved policy with regard to interest rates on deposits including deposits with differential rates of interest and ensure that the interest rates offered are reasonable, consistent, transparent and available for supervisory review when required.

Use of Floating Provisions/Counter Cyclical Provisioning Buffer
As per extant guidelines, the countercyclical provisioning buffer will be allowed to be used by banks for making specific provisions for non-performing assets, inter alia, during periods of system wide downturn, with the prior approval of RBI.
In terms of RBI circular dated Feb 7, 2014, banks were allowed to utilise upto 33% of countercyclical provisioning buffer/floating provisions held by them as on March 31, 2013, for making specific provisions for non-performing assets.
RBI decided (30.03.15), as a counter cyclical measure, to allow banks to utilise upto 50% of countercyclical provisioning buffer/floating provisions held by them as at the end of December 31, 2014, for making specific provisions for non-performing assets.

Revision of interest rates for Small Savings Schemes
Scheme wef 1.4.14 wef 1.4.15
5 year SCSS, 2004 9.2% p.a 9.3% p.a
PPF, 1968 8.7% p.a 8.7% p.a
Kisan Vikas Patra 8.7% p.a 8.7% p.a
Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme 9.1% p.a 9.2% p.a

Documents acceptable as address proofs under PML Act
(Ministry of Finance notification dated 15.04.15)
Where simplified measures are applied for verifying the limited purpose of proof of address of the clients and a prospective customer is unable to produce any proof of address, the following documents shall be deemed to be ‘officially valid document’:
(a) Utility bill not more than 2 months old of any service provider (electricity, telephone, post-paid mobile phone, piped gas, Water bill);
(b) Property or Municipal tax receipt;
(c) Bank account or Post Office savings bank account statement;
(d) Pension or family pension payment orders (PPOs) issued to retired employees by Government Departments or Public Sector Undertakings, if they contain the address;
(e) Letter of allotment of accommodation from employer issued by State or Central Government departments, statutory or regulatory bodies, public sector undertakings, scheduled commercial banks, financial institutions and listed companies. Similarly, leave and licence agreements with such employers allotting official accommodation; and
(f) Documents issued by Government departments of foreign jurisdiction and letter issued by Foreign Embassy or Mission in India.

FDI in India – Insurance sector
The extant FDI policy for Insurance sector has been reviewed and further liberalized. Accordingly, with immediate effect (Apr 08, 2015), FDI in Insurance sector shall be permitted up to 49% subject to the revised conditions (dated March 2, 2015). Also, a new activity viz. “Other Insurance Intermediaries appointed under the provisions of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 (41 of 1999)” has been included within the definition of ‘Insurance’.
The salient changes over the existing regime include:
a. Foreign investment in Indian insurance company shall be limited up to forty-nine per cent (49%) of the paid up equity capital;
b. Foreign direct investment up to 26% shall be under automatic route and beyond 26% and up to 49% shall be with Government approval;
c. Foreign investment is subject to compliance of the provisions of the Insurance Act, 1938 and the condition that companies bringing in FDI shall obtain necessary license from the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India for undertaking insurance activities.
d. An Indian insurance company shall ensure that its ownership and control remains at all times in the hands of resident Indian entities;
e. Foreign portfolio investment in an Indian insurance company shall be governed by the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or issue of security by a person resident outside India) Regulations, 2000 and provisions of the Securities Exchange Board of India (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations.
f. Any increase of foreign investment of an Indian insurance company shall be in accordance with the pricing guidelines specified by RBI under FEMA, 1999.

Filing of ‘Nil’ CTR / NTR
FIU IND has clarified vide their circular dated December 19, 2014 that banks are required to file ‘Nil’ Cash transaction reports (CTR) and Non- Profit Organisation Transaction Reports (NTRs) at prescribed periodicity, if they have nothing to report.

Provisioning pertaining to Fraud Accounts
In terms of extant guidelines of RBI, in accounts where there are potential threats for recovery on account of erosion in the value of security or non¬-availability of security and existence of other factors such as frauds committed by borrowers, the asset classification, and consequent provisioning, depends upon the realisable value of security.
On a review, RBI decided (Apr 01, 2015) to prescribe a uniform provisioning norm in respect of all cases of fraud, as under:
a. The entire amount due to the bank (irrespective of the quantum of security held against such assets), or for which the bank is liable (including in case of deposit accounts), is to be provided for over a period not exceeding four quarters commencing with the quarter in which the fraud has been detected;
b. However, where there has been delay, beyond the prescribed period, in reporting the fraud to RBI, the entire provisioning is required to be made at once. In addition, RBI may also initiate appropriate supervisory action where there has been a delay by the bank in reporting a fraud, or provisioning thereagainst.

Rights of transgender persons – Changes in bank forms/applications etc.
Banks have been advised by RBI (23.04.15) to refer to the judgement dated April 15, 2014 of the Supreme Court in the case of National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India and others [AIR 2014 SC 1863: (2014) 5 SCC 438] on treating all transgender persons as ‘third gender’. The Supreme Court, upheld transgender persons’ right to decide their self-identified gender and directed the Centre and State Government to grant legal recognition of their gender identity such as male, female or as third gender.
Banks have been directed by RBI to include ‘third gender’ in all forms/applications etc. prescribed by the Reserve Bank or the banks themselves, wherein any gender classification is envisaged.