Police officer cannot summon a person for investigation from outside territorial limits of his station or adjoining station: Delhi HC - Business Guardian
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Police officer cannot summon a person for investigation from outside territorial limits of his station or adjoining station: Delhi HC

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In a very significant judgment titled Jamshed Adil Khan & Anr. v. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Anr. in W.P. (Crl.)976/2022, Crl. M.A 8240/22 & Crl.M.A 10543/22 which was reserved on July 6 and then finally pronounced on July 8, 2022, the Delhi High Court has held that as per Section 160 CrPC, for the purposes of investigation, a police officer cannot summon a person situated outside the territorial limits of his police station or at most the territorial limits of his adjoining police station. The provision empowers police officers to require attendance of witnesses. The Single Judge Bench comprising of Hon’ble Ms Justice Poonam A Bamba observed that, “From the plain reading of the sub-section (1) of Section 160 CrPC, it is evident that for the purposes of investigation, a police officer can require attendance of a person situated within the limits of his own police station or that of the adjoining police station and not someone who is situated beyond the said territorial limits.”

At the outset, this remarkable, refreshing, robust, recent and rational judgment authored by the Single Judge Bench of Delhi High Court comprising of Hon’ble Ms Justice Poonam A Bamba sets the pitch in motion by first and foremost putting forth in para 1.0 that, “Vide this writ petition under Article 226 of The Constitution of India r/w Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C), the petitioner has prayed as under:- “(a) Issue a Writ of Certiorari or any other Writ, Order of direction of like nature quashing the Summons dated 17.03.2022 bearing No. SDPO/PMP/C-3/2022/1540 and No. SDPO/PMP/C-3/2022/1541 issued by the Office of the Sub-Divisional Police Officer Pampore and any other consequential notices and/or orders that may be passed qua the Petitioners in FIR no. 153/2021 of Police Station Pampore u/s 370, 120-B Indian Penal Code and Section 81 of the Juvenile Justice Act ;

(b) Pass such other and further order(s) as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and the circumstances of the case.””

While elaborating on petitioners submissions, the Bench then lays bare in para 2 that, “It is submitted by the petitioner that :

(i) the petitioner no. 1 is an investigative journalist. A report prepared by the petitioner no. 1 regarding giving in adoption the children orphaned during Covid-19 for a price, was broadcast on air on 30.11.2021 followed by the publishing of an article titled ‘The Pandemic’s ruthless toll – Covid orphans up for sale’;

(ii) on 01.12.2021, the Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Pulwama forwarded a written complaint to P.S. Pampore for registration of a formal case in the matter. Based on the said complaint, the aforesaid FIR no. 153/2021 was registered;

(iii) on 10.12.2021, the respondent no. 2/office of the SubDivisional Police Officer, Pampore issued a summon u/s 91 of CrPC to the News Director, India Today Group directing the News Director to provide the following information: a. Original/Unedited footage of the video b. Complete details of the sting operation team for recording of their statements;

(iv) on 13.12.2021, a representative from the office of respondent no. 2 visited the office of TV Today Network at Noida, U.P. to collect the information. The TV Today Network Ltd. handed over a letter to respondent no. 2 in response to the notice u/s 91 of CrPC along with the CD in question;

(v) on 11.02.2022, the office of the ACP/Enquiry Officer, Anti Human Traffic Unit, (AHTU) Crime Branch, Delhi police sent a letter/notice to Mr. Rahul Kumar Shaw, CEO, TV & Radio, The India Today Group, requesting for various details and video footages of sting operation and same was responded by India Today Group informing that Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Govt, of NCT of Delhi had taken suo moto cognizance over the report of the petitioners and directed the Delhi Police to conduct inquiry and take cognizance of the matter. By way of said letters, request was also made for providing details of video footage of their investigation/sting operation;

(vi) the above letter of AHTU was replied by TV Today Network Ltd., vide its reply dated 23.02.2022, providing a CD of the complete video footage of the news report and further details as requested by the AHTU, Delhi Police. In that regard, a further reply was given by TV Today Network Ltd., on 24.02.2022 informing that they have also received a notice u/s 91 CrPC from respondent no. 2/Sub-Divisional Police Office, Pampore;

(vii) on 17.03.2022 the respondent no. 2/office of Sub-Divisional Police Officer Pampore, Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir issued the impugned summons to the petitioners no. 1 & 3 u/s 160 CrPC directing the petitioners herein to attend the office of Sub-Divisional Police Officer Pampore, within 2 days. Said summon was received on 23.03.2022. The said notice is illegal and needs to be quashed.

2.1 It is submitted that notice under Section 160(1) of the Cr.P.C can only be issued to a person who is situated within the local jurisdiction of that police station or is within the adjoining police station. Therefore, a police station in Jammu and Kashmir could not have issued notice to the petitioners who are residents of Delhi and are outside the jurisdiction of the Respondent no. 2 office.”

Needless to say, the Bench then states in para 3.0 that, “This petition is opposed by ld. counsel for respondents submitting that nothing stops the investigating agency to require the attendance of a person acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case.”

Simply put, the Bench then mentions in para 4.0 that, “Let me at the outset refer to the relevant provision of law i.e. Section 160 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which reads as under :-

“160. Police officer’s power to require the attendance of witnesses.—

(1) Any police officer making an investigation under this Chapter may, by order in writing, require the attendance before himself of any person being within the limits of his own or any adjoining station who, from the information given or otherwise, appears to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case; and such person shall attend as so required:

Provided that no male person under the age of fifteen years or above the age of sixty-five years or a woman or a mentally or physically disabled person shall be required to attend at any place other than the place in which such male person or woman resides.

(2) The State Government may, by rules made on this behalf, provide for the payment by the police officer of the reasonable expenses of every person, attending under sub-section (1) at any place other than his residence.””

Most significantly, the Bench then enunciates in para 5.0 what forms the cornerstone of this notable judgment wherein it is postulated that, “From the plain reading of the sub-section (1) of Section 160 Cr.P.C, it is evident that for the purposes of investigation, a police officer can require attendance of a person situated within the limits of his own police station or that of the adjoining police station and not someone who is situated beyond the said territorial limits. A reference with benefit may be made here to the judgment dated 27.07.2010 of a Co-ordinate Bench of this court in a similar case in Ravinder Singh V. State and Anr. W.P. (Crl.) No. 971/2010. In that case, while quashing the summons, this court held that:

“Reading of this Section makes it abundantly clear that notice under Section 160 Cr.P.C can be issued by an Investigating Officer or the police person concerned to a person residing within his own jurisdiction and at the most in the adjoining police station surrounding that police station. There may be 10 police stations adjoining that police station….

The Section does not need help of dictionaries or other judgments for understanding its meaning when there is no ambiguity and it is so clearly written either within his own police station or in the adjoining police station. I, therefore, consider that summons issued to the petitioner under Section 160 Cr.P. C in Delhi. which is not adjoining the police station of Rewari is without jurisdiction and the notice is. therefore. quashed.”

To buttress what is stated hereinabove, the Bench then waxes eloquent to hold in para 5.1 that, “The above view was reiterated by another bench of this court in Directorate of Enforcement & Ors. v. State of West Bengal & Ors. [WP(Crl) No. 1768/2021], wherein it was observed in para 27 as under:-

“27. By a mere reading of the said provisions, it becomes apparent that the power of the Police Officer to require the attendance of a witness is circumscribed by the words “within the limits of his own or any adjoining station”. It is to be noted that if the said power was in the nature of pan-India power, as has been sought to be argued by the respondents, there was no reason for the Legislature to use the terminology quoted above. To the contrary, if the same was the intention of the Legislature, the Legislature would have clearly stated so and bestowed unlimited jurisdiction on the Police Officer by using terminology in the nature of “anywhere in the country” or even “anywhere within the State”. The clear departure of the Legislature and the use of the terms “within the limits of his own or any adjoining station” points towards a legislative intention to limit the jurisdiction in this regard . ..””

Be it noted, the Bench then elucidates in para 6 that, “6.0 The petitioners no. 1 and 2 have pleaded that they are residents of Delhi and have filed in sealed cover, their affidavits disclosing their addresses along with copy of their respective aadhar cards. Ld. counsel for the petitioners submitted that petitioners’ addresses be not revealed on record, as the petitioners apprehend threat to their life on account of having carried out journalistic investigation in other sensitive matters in Jammu and Kashmir. The petitioners have also submitted that even the aforesaid summons were addressed to them at the office of TV Today Network, Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

6.1 Aforesaid sealed envelopes were opened and the affidavits and copies of Aadhar Cards of the petitioners were perused. From the same, I am satisfied that the petitioners no. 1 and 2 are residents of Delhi. Summons u/s 160 Cr.P.C were also addressed to the petitioners at Film City, Sector-16 A, Noida.”

It is worth noting that the Bench then observes in para 7.0 that, “In view of the above facts and circumstances, the petitioners being residents of Delhi and having their office addresses of Noida, U.P, could not have been summoned under Section 160 Cr.P.C by Sub Divisional Police Officer, Pampore, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The summons issued to them were without jurisdiction and are therefore, quashed. However, this shall not come in the way of the investigating agency to examine the petitioners as per law at Delhi, if so required. Nor shall quashing of the impugned summon would have any reflection on merits of the case.”

What’s more, the Bench then notes in para 8.0 that, “In view of the apprehension to their safety expressed by the petitioners, the petitioners’ addresses are not revealed on record. Let affidavits and copies of Aadhar Cards furnished by the petitioners, be kept in a sealed cover on record.”

Finally, the Bench then concludes by holding in para 9.0 that, “The petition is disposed of, accordingly.”

All in all, we thus see that the Delhi High Court has made it indubitably clear in this learned judgment that a police officer cannot summon a person for investigation from outside the territorial limits of his station or adjoining station. Of course, it definitely merits no reiteration that all the police officers must always certainly pay heed to what the Delhi High Court has ruled so very commendably in this leading case and act accordingly! There can be just no denying or disputing it!

Any police officer making an investigation under this Chapter may, by order in writing, require the attendance before himself of any person being within the limits of his own or any adjoining station who, from the information given or otherwise, appears to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case; and such person shall attend as so required:

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Policy&Politics

Govt extends date for submission of R&D proposals

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The Government has extended the deadline for submission of proposals related to R&D scheme under the National Green Hydrogen Mission. The R&D scheme seeks to make the production, storage, transportation and utilisation of green hydrogen more affordable. It also aims to improve the efficiency, safety and reliability of the relevant processes and technologies involved in the green hydrogen value chain. Subsequent to the issue of the guidelines, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy issued a call for proposals on 16 March, 2024.

While the Call for Proposals is receiving encouraging response, some stakeholders have requested more time for submission of R&D proposals. In view of such requests and to allow sufficient time to the institutions for submitting good-quality proposals, the Ministry has extended the deadline for submission of proposals to 27th April, 2024.

The scheme also aims to foster partnerships among industry, academia and government in order to establish an innovation ecosystem for green hydrogen technologies. The scheme will also help the scaling up and commercialisation of green hydrogen technologies by providing the necessary policy and regulatory support.

The R&D scheme will be implemented with a total budgetary outlay of Rs 400 crore till the financial year 2025-26. The support under the R&D programme includes all components of the green hydrogen value chain, namely, production, storage, compression, transportation, and utilisation.

The R&D projects supported under the mission will be goal-oriented, time bound, and suitable to be scaled up. In addition to industrial and institutional research, innovative MSMEs and start-ups working on indigenous technology development will also be encouraged under the Scheme.

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Policy&Politics

India, Brazil, South Africa to press for labour & social issues, sustainability

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The Indian delegation also comprises Rupesh Kumar Thakur, Joint Secretary, and Rakesh Gaur, Deputy Director from the Ministry of Labour & Employment.

India, on Thursday, joined the G20’s two-day 2nd Employment Working Group (EWG) meeting under the Brazilian Presidency which is all set to address labour, employment and social issues for strong, sustainable, balanced and job-rich growth for all. India is co-chairing the 2nd EWG meeting, along with Brazil and South Africa, and is represented by Sumita Dawra, Secretary, Labour & Employment.

The Indian delegation also comprises Rupesh Kumar Thakur, Joint Secretary, and Rakesh Gaur, Deputy Director from the Ministry of Labour & Employment. India has pointed out that the priority areas of the 2nd EWG at Brasilia align with the priority areas and outcomes of previous G20 presidencies including Indian presidency, and commended the continuity in the multi-year agenda to create lasting positive change in the world of work. This not only sustains but also elevates the work initiated by the EWG during the Indian Presidency.

The focus areas for the 2nd EWG meeting are — creating quality employment and promoting decent labour, addressing a just transition amidst digital and energy transformations, leveraging technologies to enhance the quality of life for al and the emphasis on gender equity and promoting diversity in the world of employment for inclusivity, driving innovation and growth. On the first day of the meeting, deliberations were held on the over-arching theme of promotion of gender equality and promoting diversity in the workplace.

The Indian delegation emphasized the need for creating inclusive environments by ensuring equal representation and empowerment for all, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic background. To increase female labour force participation, India has enacted occupational safety health and working conditions code, 2020 which entitles women to be employed in all establishments for all types of work with their consent at night time. This provision has already been implemented in underground mines.

In 2017, the Government amended the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, which increased the ‘maternity leave with pay protection’ from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for all women working in establishments employing 10 or more workers. This is expected to reduce the motherhood pay gap among the working mothers. To aid migrant workers, India’s innovative policy ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ allows migrants to access their entitled food grains from anywhere in the Public Distribution System network in the country.

A landmark step in fostering inclusion in the workforce is the e-Shram portal, launched to create a national database of unorganized workers, especially migrant and construction workers. This initiative, providing the e-Shram card, enables access to benefits under various social security schemes.

The portal allows an unorganized worker to register himself or herself on the portal on self-declaration basis, under 400 occupations in 30 broad occupation sectors. More than 290 million unorganized workers have been registered on this portal so far.

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Policy&Politics

India to spend USD 3.7 billion to fence Myanmar border

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India plans to spend nearly $3.7 billion to fence its 1,610-km (1,000-mile) porous border with Myanmar within about a decade, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter, to prevent smuggling and other illegal activities. New Delhi said earlier this year it would fence the border and end a decades-old visa-free movement policy with coup-hit Myanmar for border citizens for reasons of national security and to maintain the demographic structure of its northeastern region.

A government committee earlier this month approved the cost for the fencing, which needs to be approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, said the source who declined to be named as they were not authorised to talk to the media. The prime minister’s office and the ministries of home, finance, foreign affairs and information and broadcasting did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Myanmar has so far not commented on India’s fencing plans. Since a military coup in Myanmar in 2021, thousands of civilians and hundreds of troops have fled from there to Indian states where people on both sides share ethnic and familial ties. This has worried New Delhi because of risk of communal tensions spreading to India. Some members of the Indian government have also blamed the porous border for abetting the tense situation in the restive north-eastern Indian state of Manipur, abutting Myanmar.

For nearly a year, Manipur has been engulfed by a civil war-like situation between two ethnic groups, one of which shares lineage with Myanmar’s Chin tribe. The committee of senior Indian officials also agreed to build parallel roads along the fence and 1,700 km (1,050 miles) of feeder roads connecting military bases to the border, the source said.

The fence and the adjoining road will cost nearly 125 million rupees per km, more than double that of the 55 million per km cost for the border fence with Bangladesh built in 2020, the source said, because of the difficult hilly terrain and the use of technology to prevent intrusion and corrosion.

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Policy&Politics

ONLY 2-3% RECOVERED FROM $2-3 TN ANNUAL ILLEGAL TRADE THROUGH BANKING: INTERPOL

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However, Stock highlighted the enormity of the challenge, noting that between 40% and 70% of criminal profits are reinvested, perpetuating the cycle of illicit financial activity.

In a press briefing held on Wednesday, Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock unveiled alarming statistics regarding the extent of undetected money laundering and illegal trade transactions plaguing the global banking network. Stock revealed that over 96% of the money transacted through this network remains undetected, with only 2-3% of the estimated USD 2-3 trillion from illegal trade being tracked and returned to victims.

Interpol, working in conjunction with law enforcement agencies and private financial sectors across its 196 member countries, is committed to combating the rising tide of fraud perpetrated by illicit traders. These criminal activities encompass a wide spectrum, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, arms dealing, and the illicit movement of financial assets.

Stock emphasized the urgent need to establish mechanisms for monitoring transactions within the global banking network. Currently, efforts are underway to engage banking associations worldwide in setting up such a framework. However, Stock highlighted the enormity of the challenge, noting that between 40% and 70% of criminal profits are reinvested, perpetuating the cycle of illicit financial activity. The lack of real-time information sharing poses a significant obstacle to law enforcement agencies in their efforts to combat money laundering and illegal trade.

Stock underscored the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in exacerbating this problem, citing its use in voice cloning and other fraudulent activities. Criminal organizations are leveraging AI technologies to expand their operations and evade detection on a global scale. Stock emphasized the importance of enhanced cooperation between law enforcement agencies and private sector banking groups. Realtime information sharing is crucial in the fight against illegal wealth accumulation.

Drawing inspiration from initiatives such as the “Singapore Anti-Scam Centre,” Stock called for the adoption of similar models in other countries to strengthen the collective response to financial crimes. In conclusion, Stock’s revelations underscore the pressing need for concerted action to combat global financial crimes. Enhanced cooperation between public and private sectors, coupled with innovative strategies for monitoring and combating illicit transactions, is essential to safeguarding the integrity of the global financial system.

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Policy&Politics

FM defends Atal Pension Scheme, highlights guaranteed returns

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman defended the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) against Congress criticism, asserting its design based on choice architecture and a guaranteed minimum 8% return. She emphasized the scheme’s opt-out feature, facilitating automatic premium continuation unless subscribers choose otherwise, promoting retirement savings. Sitharaman countered Congress allegations of coercion, stating the APY’s guaranteed returns irrespective of market conditions, supplemented by government subsidies.

Responding to Congress’s claim of scheme misuse, Sitharaman highlighted its intended beneficiaries – the lower-income groups. She criticized Congress for its alleged elitist mindset and emphasized the scheme’s success in targeting the needy. Sitharaman accused Congress of exploiting vote bank politics and coercive tactics, contrasting it with the APY’s transparent framework. The exchange underscores the political debate surrounding social welfare schemes, with the government defending its approach while opposition parties raise concerns about implementation and efficacy.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s robust defense of the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) against Congress criticism highlights the ongoing debate over social welfare schemes in India. Sitharaman’s assertion of the APY’s design principles, including its opt-out feature and guaranteed minimum return, underscores the government’s commitment to promoting retirement savings among lower-income groups. The Atal Pension Yojana, named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was launched in 2015 to provide pension benefits to workers in the unorganized sector. It aims to address the significant gap in pension coverage among India’s workforce, particularly those employed in informal and low-income sectors. The scheme offers subscribers fixed pension amounts ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000 per month, depending on their contribution and age at entry, after attaining the age of 60. Sitharaman’s response comes after Congress criticism alleging the APY’s inefficacy and coercive tactics in enrolment.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh described the scheme as poorly designed, citing instances of subscribers dropping out due to unauthorized account openings. However, Sitharaman refuted these claims, emphasizing the APY’s transparent and beneficiary-oriented approach. The finance minister’s defense focuses on three key aspects of the APY: Choice Architecture: Sitharaman highlights the opt-out feature of the APY, which automatically continues premium payments unless subscribers choose to discontinue.

This design element aims to encourage long-term participation and ensure consistent retirement savings among subscribers. By simplifying the decision-making process, the scheme seeks to overcome inertia and promote financial discipline among participants. Guaranteed Minimum Return: Sitharaman underscores the APY’s guarantee of a minimum 8% return, irrespective of prevailing interest rates. This assurance provides subscribers with confidence in the scheme’s financial viability and incentivizes long-term savings.

The government’s commitment to subsidizing any shortfall in actual returns further strengthens the attractiveness of the APY as a retirement planning tool. Targeting the Needy: Sitharaman defends the predominance of pension accounts in lower income slabs, arguing that it reflects the scheme’s successful targeting of its intended beneficiaries – the poor and lower-middle class. She criticizes Congress for its alleged elitist mindset and suggests that the party’s opposition to welfare schemes like the APY stems from a disconnect with the needs of marginalized communities. Sitharaman’s rebuttal also addresses broader political narratives surrounding social welfare policies in India.

She accuses Congress of exploiting vote bank politics and coercive tactics, contrasting it with the transparent and inclusive framework of the APY. The exchange underscores the ideological differences between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress, with each side advocating for their vision of social welfare and economic development. In addition to defending the APY, Sitharaman’s remarks shed light on the broader challenges and opportunities facing India’s pension sector.

Despite significant progress in expanding pension coverage through schemes like the APY, the country still grapples with issues such as financial literacy, informal employment, and pension portability. Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach involving government intervention, private sector participation, and civil society engagement.

As India strives to achieve its vision of inclusive and sustainable development, initiatives like the APY play a crucial role in promoting economic security and social equity. Sitharaman’s defense of the scheme underscores the government’s commitment to addressing the needs of vulnerable populations and ensuring their financial well-being in the long run.

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Economic

Regulatory steps will make financial sector strong, but raise cost of capital

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India’s financial system regulator, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), is demonstrating a serious commitment to improving governance and transparency at finance companies and banks, with the RBI’s recent measures aimed at curtailing lenders’ overexuberance, enhancing compliance culture and safeguarding customers.

While the global ratings firm has appreciated the RBI’s “diminishing tolerance for non-compliance, customer complaints, data privacy, governance, know-your-customer (KYC), and anti-money laundering issues”, it has cautioned that increased regulatory risk could impede growth and raise the cost of capital for financial institutions. “Governance and transparency are key weaknesses for the Indian financial sector and weigh on our analysis. The RBI’s new measures are creating a more robust and transparent financial system,” says S&P Global Credit Analyst, Geeta Chugh. “India’s regulator has underscored its commitment to strengthening the financial sector. The drawback will be higher capital costs for institutions,” Chugh cautions.

The RBI measures include restraining IIFL Finance and JM Financial Products from disbursing gold loan and loans against shares respectively and asking Paytm Payments Bank (PPBL) to stop onboarding of new customers. Earlier in December 2020, the RBI suspended HDFC Bank from sourcing new credit card customers after repeated technological outages. These actions are a departure from the historically nominal financial penalties imposed for breaches, S&P Global notes.

Besides, as the global agency points out, the RBI has decided to publicly disclose the key issues that lead to suspensions or other strict actions against concerned entities and become more vocal in calling out conduct that it deems detrimental to the interests of customers and investors. “We believe that increased transparency will create additional pressure on the entire financial sector to enhance compliance and governance practices,” adds Chugh. The global agency has also lauded the RBI’s recent actions demonstrating scant tolerance for any potential window-dressing of accounts.

These actions include the provisioning requirement on alternative investment funds that lend to the same borrower as the bank finance company. Amidst the possibility of some retail loans, such as personal loans, loans against property, and gold loans getting diverted to invest in stock markets and difficulty of ascertaining the end-use of money in these products, S&P Global underlines the faith of market participants that the RBI and market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, want to protect small investors by scrutinizing these activities more cautiously.

On the flip side, at a time of tight liquidity, the RBI’s new measures are likely to limit credit growth in fiscal 2025 (year ending March 2025). “We expect loan growth to decline to 14 per cent in fiscal 2025 from 16 per cent in fiscal 2024, reflecting the cumulative impact of all these actions,” says Chugh. The other side of the story is that stricter rules may disrupt affected entities and increase caution among fintechs and other regulated entities and the RBI’s decision to raise risk weights on unsecured personal loans and credit cards may constrain growth. Household debt to GDP in India (excluding agriculture and small and midsize enterprises) increased to an estimated 24 per cent in March 2024 from 19 per cent in March 2019. Growth in unsecured loans has also been excessive and now forms close to 10 per cent of total banking sector loans.

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