News in Numbers: SBI, ICICI Bank, PNB raise MCLR rates, other banks likely to follow suit
What is it? The net loss of Fortis Healthcare in the October-December quarter of 2017-18, compared to a net profit of Rs442 crore in the same period a year ago.
Why is it important? After allegations of taking Rs500 crore from Fortis surfaced, its former promoters Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh resigned from the board. The latest quarterly results were awaited to see the auditor’s note on accounts. Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP has said that it cannot give a conclusion on the company’s statement of unaudited financial results, citing insufficient appropriate evidence to form a conclusion.
Tell me more: Fortis’s statutory auditor has raised three main concerns, including ongoing investigations, unsecured advances to vendors and inter-corporate loans, with respect to its earnings in the quarter and nine months ended December 2017. Besides, Fortis has also appointed an external legal firm to probe a few issues, including inter-corporate deposits given by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the parent company.
What is it? The number of banks, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Punjab National Bank, that announced an increase in lending rates on Thursday.
Why is it important? This is the first time since April 2016 when the marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) regime came into effect that banks have increased lending rates. And, this has happened without the central bank increasing its policy rates. The rate hike will increase the borrowing costs for new loans, and for existing customers, the new rates will come into effect when the interest rates are reset.
Tell me more: Other banks are likely to follow suit. This is because of two key reasons: one, banks’ profitability has been hit due to the high levels of soured loans and two, increase in bond yields of the government, which the lenders have to bear.
What is it? The approximate number of countries that have moved away from self-regulatory professional accountant bodies and created independent audit regulators.
Why is it important? India has now joined that list as the cabinet on Thursday approved the draft rules to set up a body called the National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) to monitor auditing and accounting standards in India. NFRA will also have powers to investigate misconduct on part of chartered accountant or CA firms, debar them for up a period of up to 10 years and impose penalty. ICAI, which trains and certifies CAs, gives them licence to practise and regulate them, will continue to exercise these powers on small firms.
Tell me more: The cabinet also approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018 to seize the assets of loan defaulters and financial offenders who escape from the country to evade criminal prosecution in cases involving claims of Rs100 crore or more.
What is it? The minimum National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score needed by an educational institution to admit more foreign students.
Why is it important? This will help better ranked institutions like Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management to improve their global rankings, as student diversity will increase. Qualified institutions are also free to fix the fee structure for foreign students.
Tell me more: NAAC, which accredits higher educational institutions, gives score on a rating scale of 1 to 4. A score between 3.26 and 3.50 is given a letter grade of ‘A+’. And a score above 3.5 to 4 would secure a ‘A++’ grade.
What is it? The number of species of ornamental fishes that are being imported by India.
Why is it important? This number is far higher than 92 species of ornamental fishes permitted to be imported. The unscrupulous import has resulted in higher number of invasive alien species (IAS) that is threatening the aquatic biodiversity. Lack of quarantine facilities at the airports is cited as a reason for higher than allowed import of ornamental fishes.
Tell me more: IAS are species which are introduced outside their natural habitat, and their introduction threatens biological diversity in the new place.
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