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Banking News dated 14th November 2018

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Banking News: November 14, 2018


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Union government to press hard to align  RBI regulations with international norms


Union government to press hard to align
RBI regulations with international norms

Somesh Jha
The Business Standard
Published on November 14, 2018


In the regulator's central board meeting, it will ask the RBI to ease provisioning norms for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to bring them in line with the Basel framework


New Delhi, November 13: The Union government will continue to push the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to align its regulatory capital norms and the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework with Basel-III guidelines, an international regulatory framework for banks, in a crucial meeting next week.

In the regulator’s central board meeting, it will ask the RBI to ease provisioning norms for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to bring them in line with the Basel framework. Government representatives will also be present in the meeting on Monday.

The government has argued while the Basel framework requires the application of minimum capital norms to internationally active banks but the RBI has applied the norms to all scheduled commercial banks in India, irrespective of their global presence.

The government has based its argument on the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s (BCBS’s) assessment report on Basel-III regulations in June 2015 that observed “several aspects of the Indian framework are more conservative than the Basel framework”.

However, two RBI Deputy Governors publicly reasoned last month why India required a stricter regime than the Basel framework.

Basel-III, which provides minimum standards to be met by banks, is being implemented in India in phases since April 2013, and will be fully implemented by March 2019. Sources said India had four internationally active banks, including State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and ICICI Bank, citing the BCBS report. These are banks with more than 10 per cent assets on their international books.

However, the RBI’s perspective is that it wants all commercial banks to have the same set of standards in a bid to prevent any potential build-up of risk in the banking system.

The government is in favour of adopting the international guidelines (Basel-III norms), to be implemented ideally in the case of four banks in India as a stricter regime followed by the RBI has a “significant impact on capital requirements of banks”, sources said. In addition, the government has flagged how countries like the US, Peru, Japan, the Philippines, along with the European Union, do not use net non-performing assets (NPAs) and profitability, in the form of return on assets, as additional parameters to put banks under their early intervention regimes (known as the PCA framework in India).

Another critical issue bothering the government is that the capital requirements set by the RBI are higher than the international standards. According to the regulator, common equity tier 1 (CET-1) of banks must be at least 5.5 per cent of its risk-weighted assets and Tier-I capital 7 per cent — 1 percentage point higher than the Basel-III norms.

“A higher capital norm leads to additional capital requirement, restricting lending ability and income generation,” a government source said.

Banks are required to maintain a minimum capital, in terms of capital-to-risky asset ratio (CRAR) and common equity tier (CET)-1, to ensure they do not lend all the money they receive as deposits and keep a buffer to meet future risks. The capital adequacy ratio of banks is considered to be one of the key indicators of banks’ health.

However, during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay last month, RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya had said Basel norms were only a floor and after the global financial crisis, many countries required their banks to hold capital at higher levels. These include Brazil, Mexico, China, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and Switzerland.

In addition, the government wants the RBI to do away with the need for maintaining a capital conservation buffer (CCB) — an additional layer of common equity — for the present financial year. Basel-III requires the CCB to be maintained “during normal times (i.e. outside periods of stress)” at 2.5 per cent of risk-weighted assets by March 2019. The government feels that a phased implementation of the CCB between 2016 and 2019 coincided with stress in balance sheets of public sector banks.

In a speech last month, RBI Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan said the current level of provisions done by Indian banks for expected losses arising out of NPAs was not enough and “adequate buffers have to be built” in.

“Front-loading of regulatory relaxations before the structural reforms fully set in could be detrimental to the interests of the economy,” Vishwanathan had said. A government official said PSBs had done a provisioning close to 70 per cent for expected losses arising out of NPAs.

On the PCA framework, the government feels the additional triggers, apart from the minimum capital requirement, restricts the growth of Indian banks.

Currently, any of the three scenarios — banks registering a net NPA level of 6 per cent, two consecutive years of negative return on assets, defined as a percentage of profit to average total assets, or the capital adequacy ratio falling below the regulatory requirement — can prompt the RBI to put a bank under PCA.

The PCA framework, introduced in 2002, was tightened by the RBI in April 2017, following consultations with the government. However, according to a report by Bank of International Settlements in April 2018, “asset quality indicators can provide useful complementary information.”

In countries like Peru, United States and Japan, their early warning systems are triggered automatically as against a discretionary action by the RBI in India. The RBI considers putting a bank under PCA based on its financial results and supervisory assessment.

While revising the PCA framework in 2017, the RBI revised the minimum net NPA ratio threshold from 10 per cent to 6 per cent and introduced a negative return on assets ratio as an additional parameter. However, the RBI also put some corrective actions to be prescribed by it from mandatory actions to a “more comprehensive menu of ‘discretionary actions’.”

An official said public sector banks are wary of lending to MSMEs due to higher risk weights assigned to them compared to Basel norms. While an unrated MSME is assigned a risk weight of 100 per cent and a BB-rated MSME gets 150 per cent, the Basel-II framework prescribes a risk weight of 75 per cent, the source added.

However, according to Vishwanathan, the losses due to loan defaults in India are much higher than what is observed internationally. “It would be evident that with this kind of default behaviour, applying the Basel specified risk weights would understate the true riskiness in the loan assets carried on the books of Indian banks,” he had said during his speech.


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Chinese banks’ big tech threat

Brian Caplen, Editor
The Banker Magazine
Published on November 13, 2018


Investors have doubts about Chinese banks’ ability to withstand the competition in a market where tech companies have a solid grip, writes Brian Caplen.

London, November 13: Statistics about Chinese banks are always impressive. In The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking for 2018, China’s banks hold the top four slots globally in terms of Tier 1 capital. They have the highest profits and the lowest costs. Overall, they account for one-third of global profits. They increased their aggregate Tier 1 capital by $337bn (or 20%) in 2017.

But they are also in investors’ sights as banks that could face credit losses and whose business is most under threat from big tech companies. The challenge they face is tougher than that faced by most developed country banks. In China, companies such as Alipay and WeChatPay have become leaders in peer-to-peer payments and almost half of domestic payments now flow through third-party platforms. Chinese payments conducted through e-wallets account for nearly 40% of the global total.

This is affecting the banks' valuations. For many years, banks in emerging markets were valued more highly than those from developed markets, given their higher growth prospects and lesser impact of the financial crisis. But in 2017, the price-to-book value (market cap divided by net asset value) of developed country banks overtook those of emerging markets, according to research presented in the latest McKinsey Global Banking Annual Review. Price-to-book valuations of emerging market banks have decreased by half since 2010, with Chinese banks contributing to this change.

McKinsey puts this down to rising credit losses in emerging markets, with the extra risk and capital costs that this implies. Non-performing loan ratios in Chinese banks are currently low but “uncertainty about the balance sheet composition of Chinese banks is causing jitters”.

Then there is the tech threat. “Stiffening competition from digital firms and peer-to-peer companies has thus far had greater impact in emerging markets than in developed markets,” says McKinsey.

But this does not mean that investors are bullish on banks in developed markets. Bank stocks are currently underperforming even in sluggish sectors such as utilities, energy and materials. Investors worry about future earnings amid disruption to the banks’ traditional role in financial intermediation. All banks need to consider their strategy carefully if they are to negotiate these challenges successfully.

Brian Caplen is the editor of The Banker.


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More firms battling squeeze in
profit margins, finds IIM-A survey

The Business Line
Published on November 14, 2018


BIES for Sept 2018 points at more proportion of
companies facing ‘much less than normal profits’

Ahmedabad, November 13: The manufacturing sector seems to be going through a troubled time as more companies have indicated a ‘much less than normal’ profit margin, according to a survey by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

The latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) for the month of September 2018, revealed that 45 per cent of the firms have indicated ‘much less than normal’ profit margins for the month of September 2018. The same was recorded at 42 per cent for the month of August.

“The proportion of firms reporting ‘normal or above normal’ profit has not witnessed a significant change during the last 3 months,” the study revealed. However, the proportion of companies witnessing a squeeze in the profit margins has been growing since June 2018, when 36 per cent companies believed profit margins to be ‘much less than normal’.

The BIES surveys about 1,600 companies, mostly the manufacturing sector. It focuses on four parameters—inflation expectations, costs, sales levels and profit margins—and is seen as an indicator for slackness in the economy.

Uncertainty of business inflation expectation in September 2018 has remained elevated, but marginally declined to 2.15 per cent, the report noted. On cost perceptions, around 64 per cent of the surveyed firms reported more than a 3per cent increase (y-o-y) in costs. The same was 70 per cent in August 2018. The proportion of firms perceiving significant increase in cost has come down to 38 per cent from 41 per cent earlier. For the sales, around 43 per cent of the sampled firms reported ‘normal or greater than normal’ sales in September 2018. The average of last 3 months was 45-46 per cent.

Started in May 2017, this monthly survey goes straight to businesses, the price setters, rather than to consumers or households, to understand their expectations of the price level changes. Results of this survey are useful in understanding the inflation expectations of businesses and help in policy making.


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India’s bankruptcy law: Lenders, take note! This
act helps only vigilant creditors, not sleeping ones

Vikas Kumar & Surbhi Jaju
The Financial Express
Published on November 14, 2018


The conundrum of whether the Limitation Act, 1963 (Act) applies to the proceedings initiated under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code) has confused the stakeholders since the inception of the latter. Here's what it really means under IBC regime.

The conundrum of whether the Limitation Act, 1963 (Act) applies to the proceedings initiated under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code) has confused the stakeholders since the inception of the Code.

The Code was formulated primarily to provide a mechanism to creditors who have been unable to recover their debts and to resolve the procedural and systematic inefficiencies pertaining to the insolvency process in India.

The insolvency resolution in the pre-Code era dealt with challenges of delay, inadequacy and ineffectiveness. The objective laid down in the preamble of the Code primarily indicated towards settling these concerns and constituting a robust mechanism for recovery of debts and balancing the interests of all stakeholders.

However, the issue with respect to the applicability of the Act on Code has been well debated and has now been settled by the Apex Court through its judgment in BK Educational Services Private Limited v. Parag Gupta and Associates (‘BK Educational’).

The confusion on the issue has been caused due to various conflicting decisions of NCLT and NCLAT that have led to contrasting views. To elucidate and ascertain the role of the Act in matters of Code and to clear the prevailing confusion, the 2018 Amendment expressly made the Act applicable to the proceedings or appeals before the NCLT, NCLAT, DRT and the DRAT by introducing Section 238A.

This stance has now been further reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in BK Educational where while deliberating on this issue, the Apex Court affirmed the application of the Act along with providing it retrospective application.

The Supreme Court observed, that from the commencement of Code, the legislature intended to apply limitation period on applications instituted under Section 7 and Section 9 of the Code. It interpreted clarificatory intention from the 2018 Amendment that expressly made the Act applicable to the Code, which meant that debts which have become time-barred cannot be claimed afresh via the insolvency route.

The Apex Court passed this ruling while relying upon and discussing the provisions of the Companies Act 2013 (‘2013 Act’) and the Insolvency Law Committee’s Report (‘Report’) aside of Section 238A of the 2018 Amendment constituting the basis of its finding.

The Companies Act, 2013

In the judgment penned down by R.F. Nariman J, Hon’ble Apex Court pointed out that the 2013 Act makes the Act applicable to the NCLT and NCLAT under Section 433. The adjudicating authority i.e. the NCLT and NCLAT are set up to discharge such powers and functions that are conferred on it not merely under the 2013 Act but also under any other law for the time being in force.

Additionally, Section 434(1)(c) of the 2013 Act provided that all the proceedings pending under the Act before various High Courts and District Courts including winding up proceedings pending immediately before such date shall be transferred to the NCLT.

Hence, Section 433 read together with Section 434 implied that the Limitation Act is applicable to all winding up cases which moved from various High Courts to NCLTs after the Code came into force. It also connoted that the Act shall be applicable to all the cases instituted under the Code as the forum for adjudication under the Code is NCLT.

Insolvency Law Committee’s Report

Relying on the Insolvency Law Committees Report, Hon’ble Justice observed that the intent behind formulating Code was not to provide new lease to time barred debts, but instead to provide mechanisms to recover and settle the debts that have become ‘due and payable’.

The Report discusses at length the nature of debts and reiterates the point that when a debt is barred by time, the right to remedy is also time barred. The Report also laid down the issues that non-application of the Act creates and observed the following problems that arise – (i) reopens the right of creditors holding time barred debts and lies in adversity to general law on debt recovery; (ii) it allows time barred debts as a part of resolution plan and restructuring time barred debt is against the essence of the Code.

Retrospective Application of Section 238A

In BK Educational, the Apex Court when confronted with the question of whether Section 238A pertaining to limitation introduced in the 2018 Amendment has retrospective applicability, deliberated extensively on the views adopted by NCLT and NCLAT along with the arguments put forth by the Counsels for the parties.

It was held that limitation law being procedural in nature should be applied retrospectively except where law of limitation revives a dead remedy. The context of the exception being that the new law of limitation should not provide for a longer period of limitation than what was provided earlier before amendment. Hon’ble Justice Nariman observed that if the retrospective applicability of the Act is not applied, a creditor can trigger the Code for a debt that is time barred which cannot be the intention of the legislature.

Conclusion

The Apex Court through its discussions arrived at the conclusion that the Act is applicable to applications that are filed under Sections 7 and 9 of the Code from the inception of the Code i.e. from 2016.

In our opinion, the Supreme Court in BK Educational has further pronounced the already laid down common law maxim “Vigilantibus Et Non Dormientibus Jura Subveniunt” which means the law helps those who are vigilant and not those who sleep over their rights.

Through the judgment, it is clearly laid down that a creditor that has slept over its rights and has allowed the limitation period to set in, it cannot rely upon the Code to recover its time barred, dead and stale debts.

This judgment and reasoning by the Apex Court are important as it clears the prevailing confusion regarding applicability of Act and authoritatively lays a precedent that is binding on the NCLT and NCLAT.

(Vikas Kumar is a Partner and Surbhi Jaju is an
Associate at law firm Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan.)


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Rupee rises 67 paise against
US dollar on falling crude prices

The Tribune
Published on November 14, 2018


Mumbai, November 14: The rupee appreciated 67 paise to 72 against the US dollar at the interbank foreign exchange on Wednesday after crude prices fell to a one-year low in the global market, easing concerns over expanding current account deficit and inflation.

The rise in the rupee was also supported by dollar-selling by exporters and banks and the US unit’s weakness against some currencies overseas, traders said. Furthermore, a higher opening in the domestic equity market too supported the rupee.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, dropped almost 7 per cent to a one-year low of USD 65 a barrel after the US President Donald Trump urged Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Saudi Arabia to maintain their current policy of gradually increasing output, which helps to cap oil prices.

At the interbank forex market, the rupee commenced with strength at 72.18 and appreciated further to quote 67 paise higher at 72 against the US dollar. The rupee had gained 22 paise to close at 72.67 against the US dollar on Tuesday. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) had sold shares worth Rs 494.95 crore on Tuesday, as per provisional data.


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Delinking Ayodhya from polls

Editorial: The Tribune, Chandigarh
Published on November 14, 2018


Supreme Court helps keep social temperatures in check

The Supreme Court has dampened the expectations of the Hindutva camp of an early hearing in the Ayodhya title suit case. A last-ditch attempt was made on Monday to persuade the court to review its October 29 order, adjourning the hearing of the case until January 2019. While declining to be persuaded, the apex court had made it clear that the date for January was ‘not for hearing but for fixing the date of hearing’. Politically that means not only will the temple cease to be an issue in the November-December polls to five states, the verdict may not be pronounced before the General Election expected to be held in April and May. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has gone by the book in reposing faith in the judiciary.

Prasad would also be aware that the clamour by Hindutva fringe organisations to keep the pot boiling by an Ordinance does not apply in this case. Parliament can enact a law to alter a judgment, but several apex court orders have pointed out that this cannot be done in a case between two parties. It has been curious how the Ayodhya dispute has suddenly acquired prominence and an early judgment began to be framed in terms of meeting an urgent requirement of faith. Implicit in this argument is that only one type of judgment will be acceptable to the Sangh Parivar. The other argument that the pendency of the case has caused discord among Hindus and Muslims is similarly self-serving.

It was in early October that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat called for a law for the construction of the temple and since then the gauntlet has been picked up by its camp followers. The Supreme Court’s refusal to be dictated on its roster of cases should lead to reworking of calculations in the Hindutva camp. With ‘gau raksha’ and ‘love jehad’ having run their course and the Supreme Court failing to oblige it on the Ayodhya title suit, the Hindutva organisations will have to discover a new emotive issue or wait for vikas to deliver results.


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Find the balance

Editorial: The Business Line
Published on November 14, 2018


TRAI must protect telecom infra investments
while encouraging digital innovations

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation paper seeks to kick off a discussion on creating a regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) communication service providers such as Skype, WhatsApp, Viber and home-grown messaging apps like Hike. It looks to balance the economic interests of the telecom service providers (TSPs) who have created the infrastructure, the OTT services and consumers. There is no denying that OTT services have become the default choice for communication for millions of people not only in India but the world over. However, the growth of these services has disrupted the business models of TSPs; they have lost their traditional sources of revenue from voice calls and text messages, and need to now rely on data. But while technological advancements often disrupt business models, curbing innovation cannot be the solution. Rather, smart businesses embrace technology changes and adapt their revenue models.

That said, the angst of TSPs is that they make all the investment in infrastructure and maintain it not just to retain consumers but also to meet the regulatory requirement that stipulate minimum standards in data speed. TSPs and the OTT services have a symbiotic relationship of sorts. The quality of OTT services depends on the quality of telecom infrastructure. So does the quality of various other data-based services such as video streaming that are increasingly being bundled as packages by telecom service providers. TSPs have to comply with various licensing conditions, regulatory obligations and statutory requirements, pay license fee and taxes and preserve user data in the interest of national security. In comparison, the OTT players are not subject to any licensing or taxes, and can exercise self-regulation. They are not obligated yet to maintain users’ data in the users’ home country and investigative and law enforcement agencies are usually unable to access it. OTTs also have the advantage of providing encrypted services to offer more secure communication but has been misused to wreak havoc in nations and spread misinformation. Some of that needs to change, but in creating the regulatory framework for OTTs, TRAI must ensure innovation and free speech are not compromised.

One approach being considered in many nations, where the OTT players provide services that are identical or similar to those provided by telecom service providers, is to subject them to licensing and registration obligations. The EU has proposed a mix of deregulation and application of a limited set of rules to OTT services. The French telecom regulator does not regulate OTTs but treats all voice over internet protocol (VoIP) providers who connect to public switched telephone networks as equivalent to traditional TSPs. A white paper by German authorities has proposed measures such as subjecting OTTs to the same rules of consumer protection, data protection and security as TSPs. The TRAI should be in step with major democracies in this regard.


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No way out of the Brexit maze

Paran Balakrishnan
The Business Line
Published on November 14, 2018


Britain faces an unsolvable dilemma as it attempts
to make a clean break with the European Union

The words come tumbling from Cobra Beer founder Karan Bilimoria in a torrent as he talks about the looming risks of a “disorderly” Brexit. “It’s worse than you can imagine. All the chickens are coming home to roost,” says the British peer who’s been campaigning non-stop to prevent Britain from a bitter parting of the ways with the European Union. Ever since Britons narrowly voted to exit in a 2016 referendum, he’s been writing anti-Brexit newspaper articles and making speeches in the House of Lords. Most recently, he was among a group of top business leaders who called for a second “People’s Vote” on whether Britain really wants to cut itself adrift from the EU after building its entire economy around it for over 40 years. “From the beginning, everyone underestimated the complexity of the exercise,” says Bilimoria heatedly.

Now Prime Minister Theresa May says Brexit talks are in the “endgame,” and there's a chance of a deal this week. But Bilimoria has lots of company when he says Britain’s making a monumental mistake in axing EU ties. Three ex-prime ministers, Tony Blair, John Major and Gordon Brown, have called for a fresh vote.

Even more crucially from a political standpoint for beleaguered May, last Thursday, Jo Johnson, the Remain-backing younger brother of Leave leader Boris Johnson, quit as transport minister. In a blistering 1,600-word resignation letter, Jo Johnson accused May of presenting Britons with a choice between “vassalage and chaos” and declared it would be a “democratic travesty” not to allow another referendum.

In his letter, he noted Brexit had split his family and the rupture was on display again Monday when Boris, who resigned as foreign minister last July, wrote a stinging article urging May’s cabinet to mutiny. Boris said May was forcing through a deal that would keep the UK locked in a customs union with the EU and represent a “total surrender” to Brussels.

Brexit’s important for India in many ways. Britain’s often the first port of call for any Indian firm venturing abroad and many of our software services companies have ongoing contracts there. Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s biggest carmaker, has warned a “bad” Brexit deal would cost it £1.2 billion a year and curtail future operations.

Also, London’s been the hub of the financial universe where Indian companies go to get deals done. From a larger standpoint, the Brexit imbroglio is a case-study on how a government can box itself into a corner from where there’s no escape. “It’s like watching a train crash in slow motion,” says Bilimoria in exasperated tones.

Blaming May

Ardent pro-Brexit supporters lay the blame for the mess squarely at May’s door. And she’s stuck because moderate Brexiteers, who’d hoped there might be a middle-of-the-road path out of Britain’s troubles, are getting cold feet at the growing flight of corporate and financial jobs to Europe over Brexit. And as unemployment worries and warnings of food and medicine shortages mount over Britain’s EU exit, the tide of public opinion appears to be turning. A new poll suggests 54 per cent of Britons would vote Remain in contrast to the 48.1 per cent who voted in 2016 to stay in the EU. Even if May can get cabinet agreement on broad outlines of an exit deal and afterwards parliamentary assent — and that’s a huge if at this point — it will mark only the first step. The really hard part comes afterwards in the niggling details of what Britain can and can’t do in Europe.

There are worries planes will be grounded unless Britain works out licensing agreements with each of the EU’s 27 other countries. Britain says it will get around this by granting operating rights to all EU airlines in hopes the other countries return the favour. British planes also have the right to fly from one European city to another and an agreement on that could be even tougher to hammer out.

In another serious turn, British ministers have realised most trucks travel from Dover to Calais and, if they have to go through customs checks, it will as one minister put it, “turn the whole of Kent into a parking lot.” In addition, there are major issues about security because Britain’s a key member of EU security agencies.

But the greatest dilemma is about what’ll be done about Northern Ireland. Under the Good Friday Agreement struck with Ireland in 1998, the UK guaranteed open borders between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland and helped solidify the peace process. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has firmly warned Britain it can’t go back on this. There’s been talk about border controls in the Irish Sea between Ireland and the British mainland, but nobody’s clear how that would work.

Also, compounding May’s problems, Northern Ireland’s small Democratic Unionist Party, on which her minority government depends, has said it won’t tolerate such a border. Says Bilimoria: “Northern Ireland is the Achilles heel of Brexit.” And the EU’s in no mind to do the UK any favours, insisting May can’t “cherry-pick” the deal it wants.

The result is the entire British political class is in a fix. Brexiteers say this wasn’t the Brexit they dreamt about. Hardline Conservatives like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson advocate a damn the torpedoes “no-deal option” which would mean crashing out of Europe without any agreement about what happens March 30, 2019, when the new order is scheduled to come into place.

On the opposition side, Labour Party members have voted for a second referendum if needed. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a far-leftist who sees the EU as a capitalist haven, opposes the vote idea but his more right-wing MPs don’t share that view. So it’s likely May won’t be able to push any deal through parliament.

Delay Brexit?

Are there any ways out? Bilimoria advocates delaying Brexit at least till December 2019 and also looking at the so-called Norway Option, which involves a relationship like the one which Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have with the EU, as members of what’s called the European Free Trade Association.

One way or another, time’s running short. Britain has slightly over four months to find a way out of its EU quagmire. A delay on the departure, followed by a second Brexit vote, would probably be the best option. But there are people who’ve already concluded a no-deal Brexit is most likely and they’re stocking up their larders with baked beans and other non-perishables in case the worst-case scenarios really do come true.


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Lenders oppose moratorium
against IL&FS at NCLAT

The Press Trust of India
Published on November 13, 2018


Banks seek permission not to classify the account as NPA

New Delhi, November 13 (PTI): Lenders of IL&FS group today opposed before the NCLAT the 90-day moratorium over the loans taken by the debt-laden group and its subsidiaries. The banks have also asked the appellate tribunal to allow them not to classify IL&FS account as NPA in case of non-payment.

Meanwhile, the government informed National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) that it has prepared a roadmap to revamp the company. The tribunal has fixed December 17 as the next date of hearing. On October 15, NCLAT had stayed all proceedings against IL&FS group and its 348 firms till its further orders, over an urgent petition moved by the government.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs had approached the appellate tribunal after the Mumbai Bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) turned down its plea to grant 90-day moratorium over the loans taken by IL&FS and its subsidiaries.

The NCLT on October 1 suspended the Board of IL&FS on the government’s plea and authorised reconstitution of the Board by appointing seven directors two days later.

IndusInd Bank calls off deal to buy IL&FS arm

IndusInd Bank today said its agreement to fully acquire IL&FS Securities Services Ltd (ISSL) has been terminated due to non fulfilment of conditions. In June this year, IndusInd Bank had signed a share purchase agreement with Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) to acquire its securities services subsidiary.


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Overweight pushing up India’s diabetes burden

Aditi Tandon
The Tribune News Service
Published on November 14, 2018


New Delhi, November 13: High body mass index is driving India’s diabetes burden, suggesting policy makers need to check the overweight population to check the epidemic.

A government-led study on India’s diabetes trends published in The Lancet Global Health shows the prevalence of overweight in adults aged 20 and above doubled from 1990 to 2016 with an increase observed in every state of the country.

The increase has been attributed to the switch from traditional foodstuffs to energy-intense, nutrient-poor, high-carbohydrate diets; increasingly sedentary occupations; low levels of recreational physical activity; and socioeconomic transition.

Punjab with Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu has reported the highest prevalence of overweight. The findings suggest that the prevalence of diabetes in Indians aged 20 or above increased from 5.5 per cent in 1990 to 7.7 per cent in 2016 with the highest prevalence reported in the more developed states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Punjab.

“The prevalence of overweight in adults aged 20 years or older in India increased from 9 per cent in 1990 to 20.4 per cent in 2016. This increase occurred in every state of India with a 3.5 times variation across the states in 2016,” says the study.

There were 65 million prevalent cases of diabetes in India in 2016 compared with 26 million in 1990 and the crude prevalence of diabetes in adults over 20 years rose by 39.4 per cent from 5.5 per cent in 1990 to 7.7 per cent in 2016 with a rise in every state from 1990 to 2016, concludes the research with Dr Nikhil Tandon of AIIMS as the lead collaborators along with several others, including top cardiologist K Srinath Reddy.

The study finds that among every 100 overweight adults aged 20 or older in India in 2016, there were 38 adults with diabetes compared with the global average of 19 adults. This rate in India was higher for men than for women.

131% increase in death rate: Study

·       As per the government-led study published in The Lancet, diabetes contributed to 3.1 per cent of the total deaths in 2016
·       The overall death rate increased between 1990 and 2016 by 131 per cent from 10 to 23.1 per 1 lakh persons, it said
·       High BMI had the highest impact on diabetes among risk factors with 36% of DALYs (healthy years of life lost) attributed to it




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It’s real: Researchers develop
Fake-O-Meter to tackle fake news

K V Kurmanath
The Business Line
Published on November 14, 2018


The solution, developed at IIIT-H, is based on
Machine Learning and Artificial-Intelligence

Hyderabad, November 13: Not every message in your WhatsApp groups or on your Twitter and Facebook timelines is true.

Far from the truth, the news reports, images and videos may well be a figment of someone’s imagination, and have the ability to trigger tensions.

With the fake news menace virtually going out of control, researchers at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H) have developed a Fake-O-Meter — a web engine that quickly analyses voluminous data to assess the veracity of the report in question.

“The solution is based on Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technologies. You copy the URL (web address) of a report that you wanted to verify and paste it in the query box.

“You will get an answer,” Vasudeva Varma, Professor and Dean (Research) of IIIT (H), told BusinessLine.

After testing the solution in labs and demonstrating it at a few seminars, the institute plans to soon release the tool for public use. The solution gets better by the day as it takes questions, solves them and learns, resulting in better results. “Fake news is affecting our lives. It is even resulting in killings. The existing methods have limitations. Checking them manually takes a lot of time,” said Varma.

A 10-member team, led by Vasudeva and J Ramachandran, the mentor of data visualisation firm Gramener, developed the Fake-O-Meter, which rates the reports in green, amber and red after checking them in the background.

Sitting on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and NLP technologies, the engine learns by the day when used more and more.

The solution does content analysis, network (identifying who is spreading the news) analysis and domain analysis.

Currently available in English, Chinese and Spanish, the meter will be available in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu at a later stage.

Tailormade versions

While it will be offered for free to the public, tailormade versions will be offered to media houses for a fee.

“We are doing the analysis in specific verticals such as politics, entertainment and technology,” he said.

“For media organisations, we can deploy on their servers and they can check the reports against the data they provide,” he said.

The problems created by technology can be solved by technology itself, he asserted.

Source: Internet News papers and anupsen articles

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