The first weekly close of the new calendar year took the 30 share benchmark index, Sensex, up to a monthly high. The index claimed a 646-point weekly gain to close at 27,887.90 points. Buying sentiments raged across the board led by banks and extending into IT, infrastructure, commodities and metals. The 50-share CNX Nifty of the NSE surged over the 8,400 level before closing the week at 8,395.45 points, a gain of 111.45 points (1.35 percent).
Bank Nifty scaled past the 19,000 point barrier on Friday to reach a lifetime high of 19118.85 points. The index closed the week at 19,057.80 points at a gain of 1.6 percent. ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and YES Bank all gained from 2 to 3 percent while United Bank and South Indian Bank rose over 5 percent. According to an HSBC survey, in December, the country’s manufacturing sector showed fastest growth in the past two years. The HSBC India Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was recorded at 54.5 in December, up from 53.3 in the previous month.
Gold ended the week at 26,730, up 0.11 percent. According to experts, the yellow metal shall be trading at lower levels. The negative outlook of the US interest rate scenario is further likely to cut down on gold prices. Silver closed at 36,235.00, a gain of 0.17 percent. Most market watchers are also suggesting selling silver in anticipation of a fall. The Rupee closed the week posting a 0.10 percent fall, trading at INR 63.2850 to the USD.
Jan Dhan Yojna – Phase I target achieved
As of December 26, 2014, the Government has declared that the phase I of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna has been achieved. Over 10.09 crore accounts have been opened in the NDA Government’s flagship financial inclusion scheme. The scheme intends to provide the poor masses at least one bank account per family along with access to financial services such as RuPay debit cards and insurance cover. The Phase I target, initially set at about 7.5 crore accounts was later revised to 10 crore accounts and this too has been achieved in about four months since the launch on August 28, 2014.
Some of the Union Territories that have achieved the target include Puducherry, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep while the States include Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura and Kerala. Over 7.28 crore RuPay debit cards have been issued and the rest are in the process of being issued. What is worrying the authorities, however, is the fact that about 75 percent of the accounts are still lying dormant with zero balance. The authorities have started working to strengthen the infrastructure and environment and promote savings through the savings accounts opened under the scheme.
Cut down on gold buying: PM
Prime Minister Modi has urged the people to curtail their investments in gold and divert these investments towards banking and financial tools. While most Indians do invest in banking tools such as savings accounts, bonds and fixed deposits, in the long term all these investments are diverted towards gold. Buying gold for security and safety is unproductive, said the PM. “The challenge is not to rely on gold. People buy gold and they have that psychological feeling that gold is safe, secure and good for the future…the challenge for banks was to assure people that a bank account would ensure easy access to their savings whenever required,” said Modi at an event hosted by the ICICI group.
Bengal Govt claims investment offer of Rs 83,000 cr
Making a U-turn on its anti-industry stand, West Bengal is all set to woo corporate investors and promote the State as the ideal investment destination. In its attempts to speed up growth development in the State and to showcase the availability of resources to interest investors from the private sector, the West Bengal Government is gearing up to host a “Bengal Global Business Summit – Bengal Lead 2015“ on January 7 and 8. The Mamata Banerjee-led Government claims that the State has received an investment commitment of about INR 83,000 crore in the past three years of the Trinamool Congress administration. “Contrary to general perception, West Bengal is riding the growth path. The State has attracted Rs 83,212-crore committed investments between April 2011 and December 2014, which includes investments in operational as well as upcoming large and medium industrial units,” the State’s Finance Minister, Amit Mitra, had said.
ICICI Bank adopts village
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi defined his ideals of a Digital India, it was commonly understood that corporate houses would also adopt the dream and contribute in their own unique ways. The ICICI bank has made its contribution this week with the adoption of an entire village in the State of Gujarat with an intention to transform it into a digital village. The bank launched its digital village project to commemorate its 60th anniversary.
ICICI – Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India – had initially been set up in the year 1955 as a World Bank initiative to develop the Indian industrial environment. The bank has now promised to provide the village (Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat) a range of technology-driven services including digital classrooms, cashless banking, telemedical services, Wi-Fi connectivity and use of technology in every field. The bank hoped that this would inspire more corporate entities to take up similar initiatives across the country.