Indian Parlimentarian should Act to stop banking frauds

If the regulatory system is working with transparency at global standard (Banking fraud)it would have not happened. I gave a dissenting note when the Rajya Sabha Parliamentary select committee considered to Payment and settlement system (amendmend )bill 2014

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Assocham has a solution to the falling accountability at state-run banks — their privatisation. The industry body feels the government should reduce its stake to less than 50% in public sector banks if it wants to avoid a repeat of the $1.8-billion fraud at Punjab National Bank. “Senior managements of PSBs keep implementing directions from bureaucrats even for innocuous issues, which hurts risk mitigation… there is a limit the government can keep bailing them out,” Business Line quotes Assocham as saying. Data from the RBI shows PSBs have reported loan fraud cases totaling ₹61,260 crore over the last five years.

Rotomac Pen promoter Vikram Kothari has allegedly fled the country after defrauding state-run banks of ₹800 crore. The owner of the Kanpur-based company, Economic Times reports, had borrowed ₹485 crore from Union Bank of India and ₹352 crore from Allahabad Bank, in cahoots with bank officials. A year on, he has repaid neither the interest nor the principal amount, the report adds. Bank of Baroda, a member of the lending consortium, had declared Rotomac a wilful defaulter last year, but the court said it was unfair as the company had “offered assets” following the default.

Walmart is in talks to acquire more than 40% in Flipkart, Reuters reports. The US retailer is likely to buy new and existing shares in the e-commerce firm at a valuation of up to $23 billion, and due diligence for the transaction may begin next week. A Mint report said Walmart wanted a buyout, but Flipkart’s largest investor SoftBank — which invested $2.5 billion in the company last year — didn’t want to “cash out this early.” Search giant Google is also in the fray, the Mint report adds. Walmart snapped up New Jersey-headquartered e-tailer for $3 billion last year.

The government will try to “extradite and punish” Nirav Modi, the diamond czar at the centre of the $1.77-billion fraud at Punjab National Bank. NDTV reported that Modi is staying at a plush hotel suite in New York’s Manhattan. Meanwhile, the CBI has made three arrests in the case, including that of retired PNB official Gokulnath Shetty, who is accused of sharing bank passwords with Modi’s employees and issuing scores of fraudulent Letters of Undertaking. The government also plans to probe 150 shell companies associated with Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. Learn more about the scam here.

India’s digital spend will more than double to $100 billion by 2020. According to a joint report by Google and Boston Consulting Group, the number of women shoppers will increase two-and-a-half times and first-time internet users will treble. E-commerce, financial services and digital media will drive the next wave of growth, the report adds. India lags the US and China when it comes to digital transactions — just one in five Indians shop online compared to four in five Americans. “The ecosystem needs to create targeted value proposition for different segments of users to drive adoption,” says Google’s Nitin Bawankule.

Idea of the Day: As AI grows increasingly sophisticated, some (including Elon Musk) have begun to fear that humankind is setting itself up to be enslaved by ultra-intelligent robotic overlords. But Harvard’s Steven Pinker tells Vox that such beliefs are based on the assumption that AI will have the same desires as humans.

“We mistakenly think that intelligence and the drive to dominate are the same thing. But we have these desires because we’re products of evolution. An artificial intelligence will not have evolved in this way, and there’s no reason to assume it will share the desire to dominate or maximize its power.”

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