“Forward ever, backward never: onwards with Breaking Through”
31/01/2017 to 03/02/2017  -  Hyderabad.
05/02/2017 to 08/02/2017- AIC NAPEC Trivanthapuram.
09/02/2017 to 12/02/2017- Mumbai.
20/02/2017 to 24/02/2017- New Delhi.
27/02/2017&28/02/2017- Ahmedabad,
India Post Payments Bank will be a game changer for financial inclusion - Manoj Sinha
Press Information Bureau,
Government of India
Ministry of Communications & Information Technology

30-January, 2017 18:27 IST

India Post Payments Bank will be a game changer for financial inclusion - Manoj Sinha IPPB branches launched in Ranchi & Raipur
Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley and Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha launched the operations of the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) here today as two pilot branches at Raipur and Ranchi through video conferencing from Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Jaitley said that about 650 IPPB branches will be opened by September this year and that will have a multiplier impact as far as banking in India is concerned. He said with IPPB, banking at the doorstep will no longer remain a mere slogan, but will become a reality due to huge postal network in the country. He said that financial Inclusion is critical for the socio-economic development of the country, but there are significant gaps in this area and a large proportion of country’s population remain unbanked or underbanked. IPPB will effectively leverage the ubiquitous post office network with its pan-India physical presence, long experience in cash handling and savings mobilization, backed by the ongoing project of IT-enablement, to bridge this gap in Financial Inclusion.

In his address, Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha has commended the hard work done by the Department of Posts in setting up the India Post Payments Bank and hoped that both organizations will work in tandem to take the benefits of government schemes and financial services that are not easily available in rural areas to customers across the country and to the marginalized population in urban and rural areas alike. He said, the objective of IPPB will be public service rather than promoting commercial interests.

Secretary, Department of Posts, Shri B.V.Sudhakar said that the IPPB is widely expected to be a game changer for financial inclusion in the country as the USP of this initiative is doorstep banking, particularly in the rural areas.

As mandated by the RBI, the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) would focus on providing basic financial services such as all kinds of payments; including social security payments, utility bill payments, person to person remittances (both domestic and cross-border), current and savings accounts up to a balance of Rs 1 lac, distribution of insurance, mutual funds, pension products and acting as business correspondent to other banks for credit products especially in rural areas and among the underserved segments of the society.

Set up us a 100% Government of India owned Public Limited Company under the Department of Posts, it will open around 650 branches in district HQ locations. All 1.55 lacs post offices including the 1.39 lac of the rural post offices will be mapped to the IPPB branch at the district headquarter and function as access points for IPPB. IPPB will usher in state of the art internet and mobile banking platforms, digital wallets and use innovative and emerging technologies to catalyse the shift from a cash dominant to a less cash economy.

While many other banks and financial institutions are working on the same theme, the USP of IPPB will be its ability to ease access and handhold the adoption of new age banking and payments instruments among citizen of all walks of life through the delivery by postmen and Grameen Dak sevaks, savings agents and other franchisees who will take banking to door steps. IPPB thus aspires to the most accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man with the motto - "No customer is too small, no transaction too insignificant, and no deposit too little".

Given 'in principle' approval by the RBI along with 10 other aspirants on 19th Aug 2015, IPPB received the cabinet’s approval on 1st June, 2016 and was incorporated as on 17th Sept, 2106. Today it became the second payments bank to launch its operations. Having got its final banking license from the RBI on the 20th Jan 2017 it has commenced operations in record time of 10 days in partnership with the Punjab National Bank, after obtaining all necessary approvals and registrations from the RBI, NPCI etc.

A commemorative stamp and a logo of the new bank were also launched on the occasion.

Promotion and postings of Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) officers of Indian Postal Service, Group 'A' to Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) of the Service and posting of an HAG officer of the Service 30-01-2017

To view please Click Here.

Inauguration of the pilot branches of IPPB at Raipur and Ranchi through video conferencing by Arun Jaitely and Manoj Sinha on 30th January 2017, at 5PM
 MTS &Mail Guard , Chennai Sorting 39th Division Conference 

Budget 2017: The Make it or Break it one for Modi government

If there was a general budget that was eagerly awaited, it is the forthcoming one to be unveiled on February 1, 2017. That the corporate world is eagerly anticipating would be an understatement. All eyes would be on single taxation. While corporate tax rates have fallen globally in the last ten years, in India it has averaged 35% in the last two decades, making India one of the highest tax regimes.
Bringing down corporate tax rates and to what extent is what the corporate world would be interested in. Single taxation at a uniform rate would be crucial to attract investments in the economy. Bringing a cut in the corporate tax down to 25 per cent would attract investment
A clear road map for the implementation of GST is eagerly awaited. Presently, there are multiple excise duty rates in sectors such as textiles, cement, automobiles etc. A simplified rate structure is long desired.  This budget is significant in more ways than one. The announcement of a simplified GST regime could be a game changer. The industry is ready for changes in GST, however, they need clarity sooner than later.
It is for the first time that rail budget would be merged with general budget and going by the recent developments massive investment in rail infrastructure is expected. The rail behemoth indeed needs a revamp but India Inc would also want a favourable business climate for the SME sector that employs 40 % of India’s work force.
Another area is the innovation and startup arena that needs a fillip. Presently, India is home to the third largest number of technology driven startups in the world. If the government could recognize it as a separate asset class and create liquidity, the startup space would only become more vibrant. One looks forward to the budget 2017 for creating a conducive business climate for startups to thrive. Somehow Startup India scheme has not come as per expectation of the startup world, there is a dire need to drive it with solid leadership behind it.
Getting the balance right with due emphasis on the manufacturing sector, increasing budget for infrastructure, announce ease of doing business while executing digital transactions. In short, corporate India wants to look forward to innovative and seamless alternatives for digital transactions. The Indian economy was growing at 7.6 %. Will it continue or would it stream roll further, only the coming budget would tell.


Budget 2017: What the upcoming GST reform means for the common man’s pocketBudget 2017: What the upcoming GST reform means for the common man's pocket

With the sticky issues of dual control and jurisdiction over high seas settled in the recently concluded meeting of the Goods and Service tax (GST) Council, the much awaited GST regime finds itself one step closer to reality. Arguably one of the biggest tax reforms in independent India, GST finds itself making inroads slowly but steadily as the Union Finance Minister cites July 1, 2017 as a more ‘realistic’ date for implementation.
With multiple GST rate structure agreed for various goods and services, it is apparent that GST may not be introduced in its pure form in India i.e., there should be uniform tax rate for all goods and services across the country. The current approach and speculations around GST tax rates and its implementation date have left the common man worried about how this paradigm shift in the taxation structure is going to impact his pocket.
Budget 2017: Tax Slab Changes, Home Loan Sops - Ravi Shingari Of KPMG On What Taxpayers Can Expect
Beginning with the very basic necessity, food, it is only fair to expect that the government continues to exempt necessary food items such as milk, food grains, vegetables from GST and to not add any burden to the consumer’s wallet. For other essential items such as edible oil, spices, tea etc. with GST rate likely to be 5% basis the recommendations of the GST Council, the overall impact will be neutral as compared to the current taxes on such products.
With the increased focus on the government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, one also needs to assess the impact of GST on its basic drivers in the form of mobile handsets and internet services. As mobile handsets are currently taxed at around 7%, a sum of Excise Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT), any increase in the same could derail or obstruct the initiative’s progress. This probably makes a case for the government to keep cheaper smart phones in the concessional tax bracket of 12% and make them affordable for the lower sections of the society. Internet services, on the other hand, are also likely to see a 3% rise in tax rate from the current service tax rate of 15% to the proposed GST rate of 18%. This can make the consumer cough up more money to the telecom operators, who unless decide to drop the prices for survival in the aggressive 4G market.
Modi Government Fast-Paced On Reforms Even Outside Budget: Naveen Aggarwal, KPMG
For medicines, the consumers may not feel a pinch since the current tax structure on medicines is likely to remain more or less the same as long as medicines are taxed at the concessional tax rate of 12%. Instead, consumers may experience a dip in their medical bills if the pharmaceutical companies pass on the positives of GST in the form of reduction in tax costs, by reducing their prices. On the other hand, for life saving drugs, one would hope that the same are either kept exempt or taxed at 5%.
Speaking of cars which are fast emerging as a necessity for the middle class society, the rates are likely to remain in the same range since the proposed additional cess could take care of the differential between the current tax incidence and the peak rate of GST of 28%.
Having said the above, the real impact would be a trickle-down effect of whether the positives of GST in the form of removal of cascading effect of taxes, additional tax credits etc. are passed on to the end consumer by the manufacturer by reducing the prices.
Budget 2017: Will You get Tax Relief? Check Out 5 Likely Ones
Similarly, looking at the rate change in isolation, it appears that services such as saloon, tuition, gymnasium etc. consumed by common man would become costlier as the rate is likely to increase from 15% to 18%. However, if the benefit of additional tax credits (VAT paid on goods used by service provider, Central Sales Tax (CST) etc.) is passed on to the end consumer, even services may not become costlier or perhaps may become cheaper.
In a nutshell, GST appears to be a mixed bag with certain necessities getting cheaper, while the others are likely to disturb household budgets. Irrespective of the above, the economic history of various countries suggests that while introduction of a Value Added Tax in the form of GST has seen an inflationary trend in the initial 12 to 18 months, eventually the market competition and dynamics are bound to take charge and force businesses to pass on the benefit to the consumers resulting in overall growth in the economy.
The anti-profiteering provision contained in the draft GST law also refrains businesses from pocketing the gains of GST, and if necessary can be used to help ensure the benefit of GST is passed on to the consumers.
Thus, as India prepares for one of its biggest tax reform with expectations soaring high, the task is cut out for the government to not only ensure smooth transition for all businesses into a more simplified tax regime, but more importantly to live up to the industry’s expectation of making products and services affordable.


India Post Payments Bank gets RBI nod to start ops

NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given its nod to the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to start operations. The government has also appointed an interim CEO, who will help set up the entity.

IPPB is the third entity (got final licence from RBI on January 20) after Airtel and Paytm payment banks to get the central bank's approval, sources said. Operations are expected to start before March 31 and will be gradually rolled out in 650 districts using the network of 1.54 lakh post offices.

The government has appointed A P Singh as the interim managing director and CEO of IPPB. A 1986 batch Indian Postal Service officer, Singh was earlier joint secretary in the department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM). He has also served as the deputy director general in-charge of financial inclusion and payment systems in the founding team of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India). The Aadhaar enabled payments system, e-kyc (electronic know your customer) and direct benefit transfers were piloted by him.

Payments banks are brainchild of former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, who came up with the idea of differentiated bank licences. These banks do not offer loans and several other facilities that are offered by full-fledged banks and are not allowed to accept deposits over Rs 1 lakh. But, they can be of immense help in taking banking services across the country and in remote areas.

Earlier this month, Airtel Payments Bank launched nationwide operations, offering 7.25% interest on savings, which is more than maximum 7% paid by SBI on FDs. Paytm is expected to start operations of its payments bank next month.

The India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has been incorporated as a public limited company under the department of posts with 100% equity from the government.

It will offer demand deposits such as savings and current accounts up to Rs 1 lakh, digitally-enabled payments and remittance services of all kinds between entities and individuals and also provide access to third party financial services such as insurance, mutual funds, pension, credit products, forex, and more, in partnership with insurance companies, mutual fund houses, pension providers, banks, international money transfer organisations, according to its website.

The postal payment bank will use postmen to help deliver banking services. The huge network of post offices provides enough muscle to the new player and it has also drawn up plans to offer services through internet and mobile banking, and pre-paid instruments such as mobile wallets, debit cards, ATMs, PoS (point of sale) and MPoS (mobile point of sale) terminals. Postmen will trained in soft skills to be able to carry out banking operations.
Source: Time of India.

Reflection of the recurrent lapses in observing financial discipline in the Annual Performance Assessment Report (APAR)
F. No. 21011/21/2015-Estt. (A-II)
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, P. G. and Pensions
Department of Personnel & Training
North Block, New Delhi-110001
Dated: 16th/18th January, 2017

Office Memorandum 

Subject: Recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee regarding reflection of the recurrent lapses in observing financial discipline in the Annual Performance Assessment Report (APAR).
The Public Accounts Committee in its Nineteenth Report (16th Lok Sabha) (PAC) on Excess over Voted Grants and Charged Appropriations (2012 -13) which was presented to Lok Sabha on 29th April, 2015 has, inter-alia, recommended in its recommendation no. 21 that:

"the Department of Personnel & Training to look into that the recurrent lapses in observing financial discipline should be reflected in the Annual Performance Appraisal Report of the budget controlling authorities as well as the Financial Advisors of the Ministry/Department concerned so as to ensure strict adherence to the financial discipline thereby reducing the recurrent phenomenon of excess expenditure to the barest minimum, if not, eliminated altogether.

2. The matter has been examined in this Department. There already exist various tools in the existing PAR formats to assess the attributes and performance of the officers by reporting, reviewing and accepting authorities including observance of financial discipline. Therefore, whenever instances of recurring financial lapses come to light, these may be brought to the attention of the Reporting/Reviewing/Accepting Authority so that they may include these instances in the PAR of the officer of the relevant year.

3. Hindi Version will follow.

(N. Sriraman)
Director (E-II)
All Ministries/Departments of the Govt. India
Source: www.dopt.gov.in

Yes, this is the Asian Century. But there’s still cause for Western optimism

An illuminated cube bearing the Chinese flag is seen in the entrance foyer of the London Stock Exchange in London
Watch the Asia takes the Lead session from the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2017 here.
The big question of our time is a simple one: should we feel optimistic or pessimistic for the future of humanity, all 7 billion of us?
The world’s response is divided. Many Western societies are drowning in pessimism. By contrast, the rest have never been more optimistic. This represents a reversal of previous centuries’ pattern, where the West was always more optimistic. What happened? And what do the facts tell us?
The facts are clear. The human condition has never been better. Global poverty is declining steadily. In 2015, we far exceeded the UN’s Millennium Development Goal of halving global poverty. According to the NIC, extreme poverty could halve again by 2030. The number of people living in extreme poverty, 1981-2011
The global middle classes are exploding, from 1.8 billion in 2010 to 3.2 billion in 2020 and 4.9 billion in 2030. The world’s infant mortality rate has decreased from an estimated 60 deaths per thousand live births in 1990 to 32 in 2015. This translates to more than 4 million fewer infant deaths per year. If we were rational and objective, we would be celebrating the current human condition.

Western naval-gazing

Why are we not? One simple answer is that Western intellectuals who dominate the global intellectual discourse are only aware of their societies’ short-term challenges, not the long-term global promises. Francis Fukuyama illustrates this well. In an essay written after the election of Donald Trump, he says, “Donald Trump’s stunning electoral defeat of Hillary Clinton marks a watershed, not just for American politics, but for the entire world order. We appear to be entering a new age of populist nationalism, in which the dominant liberal order that has been constructed since the 1950s has come under attack from angry and energized democratic majorities. The risk of sliding into a world of competitive and equally angry nationalisms is huge, and if this happens it would mark as momentous a juncture as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.” [Note: emphasis added.]
Please study his words carefully. He is conflating the condition of the West with the condition of the world. It’s true that populism has risen in the West. That explains Trump and Brexit (and possibly Le Pen). But it hasn’t emerged in the more populous regions of Asia and Africa.
More importantly, the West only represents 12% of the world’s population. 88% live outside the West. And their living conditions (with the exception of a few Arab countries and North Korea) have never been better.
Take three of the most populous countries in Asia: China, India and Indonesia. The lives of the almost 3 billion people in these countries have never been better. And they will get much better in the coming decades, as this figure shows.
 Asia's growing middle class
The decade of 2010 to 2020 is probably the best decade Asia has ever experienced. The Asian middle class population is going to jump from 500 million in 2010 to 1.75 billion in 2020. In short, Asia is going to add 1.5 times the total population of the West to the global middle class population in one decade.
Why is this happening? One simple answer is the triumph of reason. The spread of Western science and technology demonstrates this most clearly. At the most basic level, humans around the world can see the benefits of modern Western medicine. As a result, reason is replacing superstition. In all spheres of human life, from economic policies to environmental management, from education to urban planning, Western best practices are being almost universally adopted by all societies.

So what’s with all the pessimism?

If the world is getting better, why is the West becoming more pessimistic? The simple answer is that the West has pursued a deeply flawed strategy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Like the British defenders of Singapore in World War II, they had their guns pointed out to the sea in the South when the Japanese came by land from the North.
To put this point even more starkly, the West thought it had won a colossal and epic struggle with its dramatic victory in the Cold War. As a result, it didn’t notice that an even bigger struggle had begun with the “return” of Asia at the same time. China decided to re-join the world economy in the 1980s. India did so in the 1990s. The return of 3 billion Asians was obviously going to shake up the global economy. The West didn’t notice.
It didn’t notice because Western minds were intoxicated with an unhealthy opiate of triumphalism. Francis Fukuyama’s famous essay “The End of History” captured this well. As a result, the West developed a flawed interventionist strategy towards the rest. Many of the interventions led to disaster. Michael Mandelbaum notes that “the Clinton administration’s track record was not encouraging: it has promised order in Somalia and left chaos. It had gone to Haiti to restore democracy and had left anarchy. It had bombed in Bosnia for the sake of national unity but presided over a de facto partition.”
And 9/11 made things worse. It seduced the Neo-Con advisers of George W Bush to invade Iraq, after invading Afghanistan. A decade later, Europeans saw two-thirds of their refugees coming from three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
But that was not where the real disaster was. As Western strategic thinkers were distracted, they didn’t see that the most important event in 2001 was not 9/11. It was China’s entry into the World Trade Organization. The entry of almost a billion workers into the global trading system would obviously result in massive “creative destruction” and the loss of many jobs.
Trump and Brexit are therefore the natural and logical results of a flawed Western strategy of not dealing with the real economic challenges to the West. While the West was distracted, China emerged. According to IMF statistics, in 1980, in PPP terms, America’s share of global GDP was 25% while that of China was 2.2%. In 2016, America’s share has shrunk to 15.5% while that of China has risen to 17.9%.

The relative decline of the West

There are therefore sound strategic reasons for Western pessimism: From 1820 to roughly 1980, Western economic power either grew steadily or maintained a huge globally dominant position. In the past three decades, the combined GDP of North America and Western Europe has shrunk from 51.5% in 1990 to 33.45% in 2014.
An even more destructive strategic change happened at the same time. While the workers in the West suffered job losses and deteriorating incomes, the Western elite became super rich from accelerated globalization and the return of Asia.
RW Johnson describes well how American workers suffered: “Between 1948 and 1973, productivity rose by 96.7% and real wages by 91.3%, almost exactly in step. Those were the days of plentiful hard-hat jobs in steel and the auto industry when workers could afford to send their children to college and see them rise into the middle class. But from 1973 to 2015 – the era of globalization, when many of those jobs vanished abroad – productivity rose 73.4% while wages rose by only 11.1%. Since 2000 the wages paid to college graduates have fallen.”

A reason to be optimistic

The existential questions that the West faces today are quite simple. Is everything lost? Will Western power and influence steadily decline? Or is there hope for the West? Can the West also benefit from the resurgence of the rest?
The simple answer is that the West can benefit from the surge of the rest. 12% of the world’s population can be pulled along by the remaining 88%. To achieve this, Western leaders and pundits need to make many significant psychological adjustments.
Instead of constantly trying to retain control of the world, the West should learn to share power. Asians should be allowed to run the IMF and World Bank. Equally importantly, Western pundits must drop their traditional condescension when speaking about the rest. Emerging Asian entities, like China, India and ASEAN, should be treated with more respect. India should be immediately given a seat on the UN Security Council, with the UK and France stepping aside.
All this sounds inconceivable to many Western minds. But until recently, it was also inconceivable that the rest could be more optimistic than the West. The West must now do the inconceivable to prepare for the inevitable inconceivable world.

Kishore Mahbubani is the author of The Great Convergence: Asia, the West and the Logic of One World. His forthcoming book, The ASEAN Miracle: A Catalyst for Peace will be published by NUS Press in early 2017.