Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mouni Roy To Team Up In Shamas Siddiqui’s Romantic Movie ‘Bole Chudiyan’

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is geared up to appear in another love story, ‘Bole Chudiyan’. Siddiqui will share the screen with Mouni Roy. The movie will be produced by Woodpecker Movies and will be directed by Shamas Siddiqui.

“The chemistry between Nawaz bhai and Mouni is going to be the high point of this film as both are great actors,” producer Rajesh Bhatia said.

Speaking about working with Mouni Roy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui said in a statement, “Mouni Roy believes in experimenting and I feel she is the perfect choice for this kind of character. We hope to do some wonders on screen. I am really excited to work on this project. It is something new.”

Mouni is also extremely excited to be working with Nawazuddin. The actor said he is an institution of acting and she is looking forward to learning a lot from him.

Talking about her role, Mouni said, “She is a spunky, spontaneous girl from a small town. It is too early to talk more about the character as I am in the phase where I am getting to know it myself. What I love the most about her is that she is very real. I am looking forward to playing the full-fledged Hindi film heroine. To prepare for my role, I will sit with my writer-director and try to understand how they want me to play the part. It is a journey. It will reveal itself.”

On the work front, Mouni Roy has her plate full with interesting projects. The actor will be seen in Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra, Made in China with Rajkummar Rao and John Abraham starrer Robert Akbar Walter.

Jet Airways Seeks ₹750 Crore Immediate Funding From Etihad

Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal has asked for an immediate funding of Rs 750 crore from its equity partner Etihad, stating “the very precarious” position of the airline after the lingering cash flow issue got amplified due to the forced grounding of over 50 of its planes.

In a letter to the Gulf-based carrier’s group chief executive Tony Douglas, Goyal also said the airline has also secured the go-ahead from the aviation ministry to pledge its shares in JetPrivelege for securing the interim funding. The airline holds 49.9 percent stake in the loyalty programme, while the majority is with Etihad.

It can be noted that Etihad board is meeting in Abu Dhabi Monday to discuss the resolution plan for Jet in which it owns 24 percent stake since April 2014.

“I now look forward to your support and cooperation in saving the airline by an urgent fund infusion of Rs 750 crore by early next week, so that a matching contribution from banks is also disbursed, as per the resolution plan,” Goyal said in the letter dated March 8.

On February 14, the airline’s board had approved a debt recast plan whereby the lenders would become the largest shareholders in the airline by converting the debt into equity at a nominal price of Re 1. The same was approved by the shareholders on February 21. 

“Any conditions precedent to the Rs 750 crore infusion by Etihad Airways may please be taken up with the banks and settled bilaterally with them,so that the much-needed funding is made available to Jet Airways early next week,” he said. 

He also warned that the if interim funding is not received at the earliest it will be severely “deleterious” to the future of the carrier and could even result in its “grounding”.

RBI Had Listed Four Objections To Note Ban, Reveals An RTI Reply

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) board had put forward four key objections against the note ban announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, before they had agreed to it “in larger public interest”, revealed an RTI reply. 

The board had met just about 2.5 hours before PM Modi had made the announcement. 

The ban of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, which wiped out 80 per cent of the cash in circulation, was announced even before the board’s approval.

The approval was sent to the government weeks later, on December 16, and the RBI had disagreed with most of the government’s pleas in favour of the ban.

According to the minutes of the RBI meeting, shared in response to the Right To Information (RTI) query, the directors had noted that it was a “commendable measure” but would have a short term negative effect on the GDP “for the current year”.

The board pointed out that the growth rate of economy mentioned was the real rate while the growth in currency in circulation was nominal. “Adjusted for inflation, the difference may not be so star. Hence, the argument does not adequately support the recommendation,” the directors said.

The central bank directors also felt that while counterfeit notes was a concern, “Rs 400 crore as a percentage of the total quantum of currency in circulation in the country is not very significant”.

Also, most of the black money was held not in the form of cash but in the form of assets like gold or real estate and demonetization would not have a material impact on those assets, the board felt.

The Board was assured that the matter has been under discussion between the centre and RBI over six months.

GMR Infrastructure Gains 1.5%, Subsidiary Receives LoA From NIHAN

GMR Infrastructure shares made a profit of 1.5 per cent intraday Monday after the company’s subsidiary received letter of award from Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) India.

GMR Airports (GAL), the company’s subsidiary has received the formal letter of award (LoA) from MIHAN India, the concessioning authority for the Nagpur Airport.

It includes development, operations and management of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur, at a revenue share of 14.49 percent of gross revenues.

At 10:03 hrs GMR Infrastructure was quoting at Rs 17.05, up Rs 0.20, or 1.19 percent on the BSE.

The share touched its 52-week high Rs 21.50 and 52-week low Rs 13.45 on 03 September, 2018 and 05 February, 2019, respectively.

Currently, it is trading 20.7 percent below its 52-week high and 26.77 percent above its 52-week low.

WhatsApp Puts Temporary Ban On Third- Party Messaging App Users

The world’s most popular messaging service, WhatsApp has millions of users in India as well. Recently, WhatsApp had limited the forward features to only five contacts at a time. Now the app is for solving another issue. 

It is the download of a third-party version of WhatsApp. Yes, several users use the third party version of WhatsApp instead of the official version these days.

WhatsApp is trying to combat this issue by banning users who are running a modded version of the application. Some media reports suggest that the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform are temporarily banning users who are running on modified versions of WhatsApp. Reportedly the banned users will be able to reclaim their chat histories and account only by deactivating their account on the unofficial version of the app and downloading the official app version of WhatsApp.

Are You Banned on WhatsApp?

In the past, several media reports have suggested that some unofficial versions of the WhatsApp app are available on the app store for download and several users actually installing it. Users are attracted to these third-party apps of WhatsApp more because of the additional and exciting features that these apps offer which are not available in the official version of the application.

However, while these third-party WhatsApp apps offer several attractive features, they are a severe threat to user’s privacy and data. These unofficial WhatsApp apps compromise factors of privacy and data security. To combat this issue and enable users to avoid using these third party WhatsApp apps the messaging platform is displaying a message to the users using such malicious apps that notes that a user has been temporarily banned from using WhatsApp. It further notes that the user can only be able to use WhatsApp’s services only after downloading the official version of the application.

It is however not very clear if downloading the official version of the WhatsApp will restore the chat history, or the certain user will need to start afresh. Notably, of late WhatsApp has updated its platform with several features to make the chatting experience interactive than ever before. WhatsApp has introduced several features like group invitation restrictions, easy file sharing, new options to WhatsApp status, group video calls, new stickers and so much more.

Oppo VP Brian Shen Announces New Product Line- Reno

Oppo’s Vice President Brian Shen has announced a new product line in the Oppo portfolio by the name Reno. 

Shen posted the teaser on Weibo, and the top comment is by the company account, saying this is not a sub-brand but “a new product line”. We are yet to see what is Oppo planning to do, but our assumptions are leading to a gaming series after vivo, another subsidiary of BBK Electronics, announced the vivo IQOO.

Unlike iQOO though this product has a name that is easy to pronounce – Ree-noh (just like the city in the state of Nevada, United States). We are yet to see if Reno will follow the path of Realme which had one device launched under the mother brand, later separating into a different entity.

Telecom Operators Busy Revising New Plans Competing Jio, BSNL Rolls Out ₹599 Plan

Telecom operating companies are introducing new plans to give competition to Reliance Jio. The government- owned telecom operator BSNL, has brought in a new prepaid plan of ₹599.  

As reported by TelecomTalk, this new prepaid plan from BSNL is also offering extended validity to its subscribers. The customers who wish to opt for the Rs 599 plan from BSNL can extend the validity of their old plan by 180 days. The report said, “When the consumers recharge with this plan, they will extend the validity or the expiration date by six months.”

During the plan period, BSNL users will get free local and STD calls in all telecom circles expect for Mumbai and Delhi. The interesting thing to note here is that the plan does not offer any data. 

This new plan from BSNL will face competition from Reliance Jio’s plan of Rs 499 and Airtel’s plan of Rs 448. The Mukesh Ambani-owned telecom operator offers unlimited local and national calling with 100 SMS and 1.5GB data per day under the plan. The plan comes with the validity of 91 days. The telco also offers another plan of Rs 399 which offers the same benefits but comes with the validity of 84 days. 

On the other hand, Airtel also offers 1.5GB data with unlimited STD and local calls and 100 SMS under the Rs 448 plan. The plan is valid for the period 82 days. Apart from these two Vodafone also has a plan of Rs 509 which can give competition to BSNL. Under the Rs 509 plan, the Vodafone subscribers will get benefit of unlimited calling with 100 SMS and 1.5GB data per day. This plan is valid for the period of 90 days. Along with this, the telco is also offering 100% cashback if the users recharge their number using the MyVodafone app.

Redmi Note 7 Likely To Arrive With Redmi Note 7 Pro In China

Redmi 7 may likely come with the Redmi Note 7 Pro launch in China on 18th of March this year, said the company’s General Manager Lu Weibing. The all new Redmi Note 7 was so far into rumours and leaks until recently it was spotted on TENAA with model number M1810F6LE. 

The TENAA listing of the Redmi 7 revealed its key specifications that include a 6.26-inch HD+ display, 3,900mAh battery, and Android Pie. The new model will notably come as the successor to the Redmi 6 that Xiaomi launched last year.

Weibing in a Weibo post mentioned that alongside the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Xiaomi is set to launch a new product. This is quite likely to be the Redmi 7 that will debut as the successor to the Redmi 6.

Notably, Xiaomi earlier this month confirmed that it will launch the Redmi Note 7 Pro in China on March 18. Weibing also in an earlier post hinted at some “more surprises” on the China model that came with the Redmi Note 7 Pro in India last month. The executive didn’t reveal the surprises in detail, though.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun in a separate post on Weibo has asked Redmi users to share their expectations for the Redmi 7. Jun also reshared his previous post revealing the price of the Redmi 7. That post was published in January, and it essentially mentioned that the Redmi 7 would be priced between CNY 700 (roughly Rs. 7,300) and CNY 800 (roughly Rs. 8,300).

Teasing the features, Jun while responding to users on his Weibo post said that the Redmi 7 would come with a 3.5mm headphone jack, infrared (IR) blaster, and a large battery pack.

If we look at the TENAA listing that was spotted last week, the Redmi 7 will come in a list of colour options, including Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Pink, Purple, Red, and White. The listing also specified that the phone comes with an octa-core processor that is clocked at 1.8GHz, coupled with 2GB, 3GB, and 4GB RAM options. There is also a mentioning of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB of onboard storage options along with microSD card support. Moreover, the phone is found to have a dual rear camera setup that includes a 12-megapixel primary sensor and an 8-megapixel secondary sensor.

On the part of other specifications, the Xiaomi phone on TENAA was found to have a 6.26-inch HD+ (720×1520 pixels) display and include a 3,900mAh battery. Also, it runs Android 9 Pie with MIUI on top. A hands-on video recently mentioned that the Redmi 7 will come with a Snapdragon 632 SoC.

The phone listed on TENAA measures 158.65×76.43×8.47mm and weighs 180 grams. Besides, it early images on TENAA revealed the presence of a waterdrop-style display notch.

SBI Announces Linking Of Deposit, Loan Interest To Repo Rates

The State Bank of India (SBI) has announced linking of its interest rates on deposits and loan to an external benchmark from May 1, 2019. SBI is the first bank to do so. This means that whenever in future the RBI will announce a repo rate change, it will automatically reset SBI’s interest rates.

Changes announced by SBI bank

In savings account with deposits balances above Rs 1 lakh, the effective interest rate will be 2.75% below repo rate, which is currently at 6.25%. With this, effective interest rate in savings account works out to be 3.5%, which is unchanged at present.

Further, all cash credit accounts and overdrafts above Rs 1 lakh would be priced at 2.25% over the repo rate. So, at current repo rate of 6.25%, this comes to floor rate of 8.5% for the bank. On this floor rate, the bank will charge a risk premium based on the risk profile of the borrower.

Interest rates remain unchanged for savings account holders and borrowers with cash credit and overdraft up to Rs 1 lakh.

Why these changes were announced ? 

These announcements from SBI came after a meeting of RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das in February, 2019 with top lenders asking them to effectively pass on the benefit of repo rate cut to the customers. On February  6, 2019, RBI had reduced its repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25%.

Also, in December 2018, the RBI had asked banks to link all floating rate retail loan products to external benchmarks starting April 2019. As per RBI released statement on developmental and regulatory policies, these external benchmarks are RBI policy repo rate, or Government of India 91-days or 182-days Treasury bill yield produced by the Financial Benchmarks India Private Ltd (FBIL) or any other benchmark market interest rate produced by the FBIL.

While the RBI guidance was to pass on the benefit of falling interest rates to borrowers by linking lending rate to an external benchmark, SBI has also linked its savings bank rates (over a limit of Rs 1 lakh) to the external benchmark.

Sukanya Kumar, Founder & Director of home loan advisory firm, RetailLending.com said, “With this surprise announcement by SBI on linking savings account rates to an external benchmark, it means now both assets and liabilities in the bank’s balance sheet will move in same direction when there is a cut or hike announced in repo rate by the central bank. Linking only lending rates to an external benchmark could have led to increase pressure on liability side with woes of managing non-performing assets.”

However, PK Gupta, Managing Director, SBI told Moneycontrol that, “If policy transmission has to happen as per RBI regulatory, then both sides of the balance sheets have to be linked to policy rates by the banks. So, best way to do policy transmission is to link savings bank rate to the policy rate. This gives us flexibility to do policy transmission on asset side as well.”

Impact to depositors and borrowers

Now, depositors in SBI account with balance above Rs 1 lakh will see slight movements in the interest rates they presently earn. At present effective interest rate in savings account is 3.5%. However, if there is a repo rate cut by 25 basis point in near term then interest rate on the savings account would also fall in similar way.

So, interest rate on savings account will be 3.25% and if there is a hike in repo rate by 25 basis points in future then interest rate on the savings account will be 3.75%. Above illustration is based on announcement by SBI of linking the interest rate in savings account (more than Rs 1 lakh). So, effective interest rate will be 2.75% below repo rate (current and future announcements).

Arvind Rao, a Mumbai-based financial advisor and founder of Arvind Rao and Associates explained, “In case there is a reduction in repo rate there won’t be any major impact on your savings account in absolute terms.”

For instance, you have Rs 5 lakh in your savings account and current interest rate is 3.5% per annum. You would have earned Rs 17,500 as interest on savings account at end of the year. If there is repo rate cut by 50 basis points by central bank then interest rate on your savings account will reduce to 3% based on changes announced by SBI (explained above). Now, you will earn Rs 15,000 as interest on savings account at end of the year. So, overall reduction is of Rs 2,500 which is small in absolute terms but seems bigger on percentage wise.

Although, there would be an impact on savings account; it would be minimal as explained above. Also, if other banks follow suit, the impact would be there as well to savings account holders.

However, with linking of interest on savings account to repo rate by SBI bank, Kumar believes this is a first step by an Indian bank to move towards near-zero interest on savings account like some of the banks in United States of America (USA).

According to bankrate.com the average interest rate on a savings account was a minuscule 0.10 percent in USA (as per calendar year 2018), meaning consumers are collecting virtually no interest on their savings account. This has happened in USA because banks have seen rise in deposits from consumers seeking a safe haven for their money amid volatility in the stock market.

In India, we could also see near-zero interest on savings account, if there is excess amount lying ideal in savings account / deposits and there is lack of demand for loans at these banks.

Harshvardhan Roongta, CFP is Principal Financial Planner at Roongta Securities said, “It’s a good decision by SBI of not linking fixed deposits rates to an external benchmark like public provident fund (PPF) and other small savings schemes which are linked to Gsec rates. Since, many conservative investors are investing in fixed deposits with banks and depending on interest income.”

However, in near term SBI don’t have plans to link fixed deposit rates to external benchmarking. Gupta said, “To do that bank needs to move fixed deposits rates on to the floating rates and we find that consumers don’t like floating rates on deposits. We tried in the past but it was not successful.”

For borrowers, this change means any cut or hike in repo rate will be directly reflected in base rates. However, frequency of change in loan rates will increase on quarterly basis since linked with repo rates. This could get a bit complicated for borrowers to track and understand but it also means that the interest rates would be more transparent.

Will other banks follow SBI footsteps ? 

Other public sector banks will follow, they can’t ignore it but financial experts believe private banks will prefer waiting for some time before they follow suit. Gupta said, “We have given one way how the transmission can happen. It’s up to other banks whether they want to follow similar method or come up with other alternate that needs to be watch out.”

Rao added, “The stable private banks will analyze how the SBI announcement of linking with repo rate is going down with the account holders and borrowers then announce linking with external benchmark of RBI.”

At SBI, savings bank deposits are linked at 2.75% below current repo rate of 6.25% and loans at current repo rate 6.25% plus a spread of 2.25%. But, financial experts believe other public sector banks and private banks may announce some other spread for savings and lending on repo rate or come out with other method of linking with external benchmark sooner or later.