Top 5 biz headlines: Repo rate unchanged, P2P lending limit raised & more

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das along with his deputies arrives for the RBI's bi-monthly monetary policy review meeting, in Mumbai, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019.
1) RBI surprise: Repo rate left unchanged; FY20 GDP forecast lowered to 5%

Springing a surprise, the monetary policy committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) maintained the repo rate at 5.15 per cent points (bps) in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy meeting of the financial year 2019-20 (FY20) on Thursday. However, GDP growth forecast for FY20 was slashed to 5 per cent from 6.1 per cent.

The three-day rate-setting meet started on Tuesday (December 3). In its October meet, the RBI had cut interest rate by 25 bps to 5.15 per cent. Read here

2) RBI raises P2P lending limit five-fold, cap on single-party exposure stays

The Reserve Bank of India has raised the lending limit of Peer-To-Peer (P2P) platforms five-fold. The apex bank said in a statement on developmental and regulatory policies issued on December 5, that the aggregate exposure of a lender to all borrowers at any point of time, across all non-banking financial company peer-to-peer platforms, will be capped at Rs 50 lakh, against Rs 10 lakh at present. Read here

3) Economic slowdown a man-made catastrophe, govt to blame: P Chidambaram

Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram launched a strident attack on the government over the state of Indian economy on Thursday, a day after getting bail in the INX Media case.

Stating the last six quarterly GDP growth figures, Chidambaram said the upcoming quarters are not likely to be any better. He also raised doubts over the GDP numbers. "Please remember Dr Arvind Subramanian’s caution that 5 per cent under this government, because of suspect methodology, is not really 5 per cent but less by about 1.5 per cent," he said. Read here

4) I-T crackdown: Brokers, investors come under scanner for fraudulent trades

A large number of brokers and investors are under the scanner of the income-tax (I-T) department for allegedly executing fraudulent trades in illiquid stock options.

According to sources, I-T officials on Wednesday conducted surveys and search operations at about 150 locations across the country, including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. “We have launched a probe in the matter following information from the market regulator about irregularities in the equity derivative segment,” said a tax official privy to the development. The official added that this was a fresh probe based on the inspection of certain derivative contracts both on the BSE and the National Stock Exchange (NSE). Read here

5) PNB scam: Special court declares Nirav Modi a fugitive economic offender

A special court on Thursday declared diamond businessman Nirav Modi, the key accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, a fugitive economic offender, on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate.

He is the second businessman after liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya to be declared a fugitive economic offender under provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act which came into existence in August last year. Read here

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