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RBI, Centre share similar concerns on cryptocurrencies, says Shaktikanta Das

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Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Shaktikanta Das on Thursday said that the central bank and the government share similar concerns on cryptocurrencies in India.

“I do not think there is any difference of opinion between the RBI and the Central government on cryptocurrencies,” Das made the statement during his speech at the Times Network India Economic Conclave.

His statement comes against the backdrop of prevailing uncertainty around such digital currencies in India.

Das underlined that both the government and the RBI are “committed to financial stability” and that RBI has flagged some “major concerns” to the government on cryptocurrencies. However, “it is still under examination, the government will come out with a decision on it.”

It can be noted that the RBI had first banned such digital currencies through an order, which was struck down by the Supreme Court last year. The central bank’s concerns stem from the non-fiat nature of such currencies which are touted as the future in some quarters, and in the volatile price movements in them. The RBI had also come out with an appeal cautioning people not to trade in such currencies in the past.

The government, on the other hand, heading to propose a complete ban on such currencies. Reports suggest that the Centre is likely to introduce the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 in the ongoing Parliament session

Das on Thursday said the RBI continues its work on a digital version of a fiat currency and is currently “assessing the financial stability implications of introducing such a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)”.

“As the underlying technology is still developing, we are exploring ways for a clear, safe and legally certain settlement finality, which is most crucial for a secure and efficient payment system,” he said.

Das added that there are not many “practical instances” of operationalisation of a CBDC globally, and this calls for “utmost precaution” before India goes ahead.

Meanwhile, Das said digital is the future across the banking landscape and “we will have a lot of shifts taking place on this front going ahead”.

On the forex market and the Indian rupee, he said that it is a dynamic situation, and there are two objectives of the RBI’s forex intervention — to prevent excessive volatility of the exchange rate of Indian rupee against the dollar, and the second theme is that emerging market economics need to build up their own buffers.

Emphasising that emerging market economies should build up their forex buffers, Das said that the recent framework of International Monetary Fund also recognises that forex intervention has become necessary for emerging market economies to deal with volatile situations and to deal with adverse situations.

“We are ready always to keep it (forex rate) stable because certainty and stability are good for investors. It is good for importers, it is good for exporters, in fact, it is good for all stakeholders in economics.”

source: The Statesman

Business

Consumers spared of hike; petrol, diesel prices unchanged on Thursday

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Consumers have been spared another increase in auto fuel prices with oil marketing companies (OMCs) deciding to keep petrol and diesel rates unchanged on Thursday.

This is second consecutive day of fuel price pause and follows slight softening in global oil market over demand concerns prime markets in Asia seeing rising cases of coronavirus.

With fuel prices spared of another increase, the price of petrol continues to remain at Wednesday’s level of Rs 92.85 a litre and diesel Rs 83.51 per litre in Delhi.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel price remained static on Thursday but its actual retail prices varied depending on the level of local levies in respective states.

Before Thursday, OMC was revising fuel prices on every alternate day for last one week rather than undertaking changes on a daily basis as has been practised. Accordingly, Wednesday’s price hold came after there was an increase in prices on Tuesday. There was no price increase on Monday as well.

Also, on Sunday while petrol and diesel prices were raised by 24 and 27 paisa per litre respectively, there was no price revision on Saturday. Similarly, while fuel prices were raised on Friday, they remained unchanged in the previous day.

Under daily price revision, OMCs revise petrol and diesel prices every morning benchmarking retail fuel prices to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate. However, in a market where fuel prices need to be increased successively, alternate day price revision seems to be the flavour.

It is worth noting that with 10 price increase in May, the retail price of regular petrol has already reached over Rs 99 a litre in Mumbai. Petrol prices are already over Rs 100 per litre in several cities in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Premium petrol has been hovering above that level for some time now.

Petrol prices have increased by Rs 2.30 a litre Delhi in May in the 10 increases so far. Similarly, diesel prices have risen by Rs 2.78 per litre in capital this month.

IANS had written earlier that OMCs may begin increasing the retail price of petrol and diesel post-state elections as they were incurring losses to the tune of Rs 2-3 per litre by holding the price line despite higher global crude and product prices.

With global crude prices at around $ 67 a barrel mark (lower than $ 70 it touched last week), OMCs may keep a watch and freakin’ from any further increase in fuel prices for some time now.

source: The Statesman

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Business

Sony expands E-mount lens lineup in India

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Sony India on Thursday unveiled the newest addition to its E-mount lens lineup with the introduction of the FE 14mm F1.8 GM -a compact, large-aperture, ultra-wide-angle lens.

Priced at Rs 162,990, the company said that it allows users to capture the world with new perspectives, especially when shooting landscapes, architecture, starry skies and interiors.

“The latest Sony lens from the G Master series, the FE 14mm F1.8 GM, offers extraordinary resolution, fast and quiet autofocus and is remarkably compact,” Mukesh Srivastava, Digital Imaging Head at Sony India, said in a statement.

“We are constantly innovating and working towards bringing technology that fulfils the needs of our customers so that they can realise their creative vision and deliver what they desire,” Srivastava added.

The new lens features a compact optical design, measuring just 83mm x 99.8mm and weighing just 460g (approx.), with advanced optical technology that delivers superb resolution and stunning contrast.

Users can render light point sources thanks to a maximum aperture of F1.8, making it possible to capture astrophotography or shoot in other low-light environments without having to use extremely slow shutter speeds.

When shooting in challenging lighting conditions, Sony’s original Nano AR Coating II technology maximises clarity by subduing flare and ghosting.

The new lens also features several advanced and versatile control options including, a focus hold button, a focus mode switch and a focus ring to ensure smooth, efficient operation in a wide range of shooting environments, the company said.

source: The Statesman

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Business

NEFT transfers will not be operational on May 23. Here’s why

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday said that due to NEFT system upgrade, this service will not be available from 00:01 hrs to 14:00 hours on Sunday, May 23, 2021.

“A technical upgrade of NEFT, targeted to enhance the performance and resilience, is scheduled after the close of business of May 22, 2021. Accordingly, NEFT service will not be available from 00:01 hrs to 14:00 hrs on Sunday, May 23, 2021. The RTGS system will continue to be operational as usual during this period,” the RBI tweeted today.

Member banks may inform their customers to plan their payment operations accordingly.

A similar technical upgrade for RTGS was completed on 18 April 2021.

NEFT is available 24X7 that happens in batches of half an hour. There is no maximum limit on the amount that one can transfer through NEFT, but different banks have various limits on the amount that can be transferred.

source: The Statesman

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