CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI ■ ■ MADURAI FRIDAY AUGUST 07, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION KEY POLICY RATES UNCHANGED After its 3-day deliberations, RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee kept repo rate unchanged at 4% LTV RATIO FOR GOLD LOANS RAISED TO 90% RBI Guv Shaktikanta Monetary policy Das said the decision stance remains was taken while ‘accommodative’ to “ensuring inflation revive growth and remains within target” mitigate Covid impact Maximum loan-tovalue of loans against gold jewellery for nonagri purposes raised from 75% to 90% It will be available till March 2021. The move will help households, entrepreneurs and small businesses DOWNSIDE RISKS FOR ECONOMY Earlier guidelines said loans against gold pledge should not exceed 75% of the value of gold Covid-19 poses ‘downside risk’ for economy. RBI will use available monetary space to boost growth Early containment of the pandemic could impart an ‘upside’ to the economic growth outlook, says RBI HEADLINE INFLATION TO REMAIN HIGH According to RBI, the economy is facing unprecedented stress in an austere global environment Headline inflation is expected to remain elevated during the second quarter and may subside thereafter Supply chain disruptions on account of Covid-19 persist, with implications for both food and nonfood prices RBI, however, did not give any range on inflation expectations RBI pauses to take a hard look, offers balm for Covid wounds Decides against rate cuts due to low credit demand; One-time restructuring scheme for corporate, retail borrowers; EMI moratorium unlikely to be extended S U N I T H A N AT T I IF banks and borrowers needed strength to bear the financial sorrows, RBI gave it all. On Thursday, Gover nor Shaktikanta Das rolled out a one-time loan restructuring scheme, but only for obedient customers paying corporate loans, home, auto or other personal loans on time. If you have opted for the sixmonth EMI holiday but missed one instalment as on March 1, you will still be eligible for the proposed loan recast. But two missed EMIs prior to March 1, makes you unqualified. What do you get? A twoyear moratorium and an extension of loan tenure as a bonus. The K V Kamath-led committee is working out the fine print. Das also dropped the biggest hint that the ongoing moratorium ending this month may not be extended. In all, the scheme brings cheer for cashstrapped borrowers, while for capital-starved banks it leads to lower bad loans. RBI kept repo and reverse repo rates intact. Nobody was expecting a cut as headline inflation in June was above the central bank’s 4% mandate. This saw the return of negative real interest rates after a 6-year gap. Repo is now anchored at 4% and an additional reduction will take real rates deeper into the negative zone, which RBI doesn’t want. So, it deployed an alternative policy lever, reverse repo rate, which was slashed by 155 bps since February This is now the unofficial . policy tool, but even that failed LIFELINE FOR HOUSING FINANCE FIRMS, MSMEs NABARD and National Housing Board will get ` 5,000 crore liquidity each to support housing finance companies, small NBFCs and MFIs Extension of restructuring scheme for MSMEs first announced on January 1 will now be implemented till March 2021 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Madurai/Dindigul C S H I V A K U M A R @ Chennai Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, along with his Cabinet colleagues, inspecting a Covid care centre set up at Vadapalanji in Madurai on Thursday Marginal spike in numbers Chennai reported 1,091 cases, while the caseload remained high in Chengalpattu (408), Kancheepuram (336) and Tiruvallur (320). FRESH CASES The State tested 67,153 samples and 65,062 persons on Thursday. As many as 6,272 were discharged, taking the total number of cured patients to 2,21087. Chennai city’s tally touched 1,06,096 and 22 deaths took the toll to 2,248. The number of active cases in the city stood at 11,720. DEATHS RECOVERED TOTAL CASES 5,684 110 6,272 2,79,144 CHIEF Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami began his threeday whirlwind tour of the southern districts from Dindigul and Madurai. Following a low-key inaugural ceremony, Palaniswami chaired review meetings to assess the Covid situation in these districts that have been witnessing spurts in fresh cases since early July. This is the chief minister’s first visit to Madurai following the outbreak of Covid. Addressing the media later, the chief minister said the State was doing everything under its capacity to contain the spread of the virus, and protect the public. Meanwhile, it was also looking to make life easier for the public, who have been left hassled by the subsequent lockdowns. As an immediate move, the State government has reformed the e-pass system. Municipal workers clear a road on Thursday after heavy rains triggered landslides in Mumbai. Many areas of the city remained waterlogged | PTI MONSOON’S FURY IN FULL FORCE EXPRESS READ Former J&K L-G Murmu appointed as new CAG Unprecedented amount of rainfall Mumbai residents over a 24-hour period woke up to in south Mumbai waterlogged streets on Thursday after torrential rains lashed rainfall in Colba parts of the city region—its highest in overnight at least 40 years MUMBAI New Delhi: G C Murmu, who resigned on Wednesday as the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, has been appointed as the country’s new CAG. “The President has been pleased to appoint Shri Girish Chandra Murmu to be the Comptroller and Auditor General of India with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office,” a notification by the Ministry of Finance on Thursday evening said. 331 mm KERALA K’TAKA Heavy rain continued to batter Kerala on Thursday. Incidents of mudslide in Wayanad, Idukki and Malappuram dists. About 400 houses damaged Heavy rains lashed the state on Thursday. Five missing, two houses washed off after landslide at Bramhagiri Hills TRAILING A DON DNA test to establish identity of Lokka begins EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Coimbatore/Madurai WAS the man who died in Coimbatore really Sri Lankan don Angoda Lokka? Was he the same wanted criminal against whom the Interpol had issued a Red Alert? With multiple theories doing rounds, a special team of the CB-CID investigating the case has initiated DNA tests on samples collected from the dead body . A five-member team of officials credit demand won’t be influenced by any amount of cheap money. Aggregate demand is central to credit growth, which in turn is a precondition for economic recovery Both have . a bearing on inflation and growth, but RBI seems clueless about the next one-year. Will national output shrink by 5-10-15%? Preferring to keep the estimate private, Das reiterated that FY21 GDP will decidedly be negative. Food inflation will likely re- Steps taken to simplify e-pass system, says CM Chennai’s ticking time bomb to be dismantled soon AT a time when a massive explosion in Beirut shocked the world — caused by ammonium nitrate impounded five years ago and was lying in a warehouse — it has come to light that a similar time bomb is ticking in Chennai. A whopping 740 metric tonnes of the same chemical substance, used for making fertilizers and explosives, is lying unattended in a container freight station in Manali for the last five years. Now, with the issue causing alarm, the government has swung into action, and asked the Customs Department to safely dispose the material. Sources say that on Thursday, the process was set in motion to e-auction the chemical, stored in 37 containers. A top revenue department official assured that the chemical was kept tightly packed. “The Customs Department has conduct‘Not left ed a safety audit, and adequate steps are open; safely being followed,” the source said. “The storpacked’ age facility is 20km away from the city. There is no residential locality within a Revenue Dept 2km radius,” said T Samaya Murali, Joint says it has not Commissioner of Customs. Government been left open sources tell Express that the Customs Debut stored in partment has assured to dispose the chemtightly packed ical within a month. containers. The The consignment, sources say, was Customs Dept seized in November 2015 from Sri Amman has done a Chemicals in Karur. It is valued at `1.8 safety audit and crore. While the importer had claimed the adequate steps material was of fertilizer grade, on examiare being nation it was found to be of the explosive followed. grade. The inspection also revealed that the importer had not followed the Ammonium Nitrate Rules of 2012. Fire safety experts have warned that if an explosion occurs, the State lacks adequate mechanisms to tackle a situation similar to what was witnessed in Beirut. Experts say that the country lacks a clear mechanism to track and monitor those handling ammonia, once the commodity is unloaded at a port. “There is a need for a safety audit to be done across the country,” says fire consultant V Sivaramakrishnan. “We need to know who is handling the commodity and how much or how safely it’s being stored. Ammonia should be compartmentalised and not allowed to mix with combustible chemicals.” to nudge banks to lend. Clearly, rate cuts appear futile at this juncture, so RBI opted for a do-nothing phase in this cycle. Though both rates are at historic lows, credit growth is stuck at a six-decadelow of about 6% implying that from the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) met their CB-CID counterparts to find out more about the death of the gangster, who is supposed to have controlled his criminal empire back in the island nation, virtually from India. CB-CID IG K Shankar dismissed the meeting as a “usual procedure”, but Sri Lankan media suspect Lokka had links with LTTE. Currently, sources tell Express, the only evidence to prove that the dead man is Lokka are statements provided by three persons arrested in connection with the case, including Lokka’s girlfriend Amani Dhanji. She was admitted to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital after suffering a miscarriage, and was discharged on Thursday . Lokka was allegedly living in India under the name Pradeep Singh, as per the Aadhaar card he had secured. He was declared brought dead at a hospital in Coimbatore on July 3. While it’s alleged that he died of a cardiac arrest, the Sri Lankan media suspects he was poisoned, following which the police of the island nation reached out to their counterparts in Coimbatore for information. The CBCID sleuths on Thursday raided the houses of two others arrested — advocate Sivakami Sundai and Thiyaneshwaran — and seized P5 several documents. “The e-pass system is still being implemented to restrict unnecessary movement of people, which is the primary reason for the spread of the virus. As a result of this system, we have been able to bring down the caseload across districts,” Palaniswami said in Madurai. “Now, we have taken measures to simplify the e-pass system by appointing two teams in each district to clear applications faster.” Earlier, it was just one team per district. Media reports, over the last few months, have been highlighting the difficulties faced by the public in securing an e-pass. Speaking about the spurt in cases in the South, the chief minister said, fresh Covid cases have begun to dip in Madurai district as a result of the introduction of fever camps. Palaniswami inaugurated a 900-bed Covid care centre set up at the IT park in VadaP2 palanji, Madurai. main sky-high due to supply chain disruptions till next month, but will be back to its best behaviour later this fiscal. RBI may tame headline inflation, but food prices are impermeable to monetary policy actions. So all our bets are down to monsoon, rabi harvest and global crude prices. As long as prices remain high and growth uncertainties persist, rate cuts will remain on the table and as Das said, will be used ‘judiciously’. P10 New J&K L-G handpicked by Modi to win hearts E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi FORMER Union minister and senior BJP leader Manoj Sinha’s appointment as the new Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor on Thursday took many by surprise. But, sources say he was handpicked for the job by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fill the prevailing “political vacuum” in the Union Territory . Sinha’s appointment is seen as an attempt to win Kashmiri people’s hearts. Sources said that the PM and the top leadership believe that Sinha, with his political as well as administrative experience, would be able to convey government’s programmes in a better manner to the Kashmiris. He reached Srinagar on Thurday and will take charge on Friday after a low-key oath-taking ceremony .
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