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After opening the day in the red, the Indian indices traded near the dotted line. However, they later managed to log in some gains and are presently trading in the positive. Sectoral indices are trading mixed with stocks from the energy, oil & gas and realty sectors leading the gains.
The BSE-Sensex is trading up 65 points (up 0.3%) and the NSE-Nifty is trading up 16 points (up 0.2%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading up 0.4% while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up by 0.5%. Gold prices, per 10 grams, are trading at Rs 25,194 levels. Silver price, per kilogram is trading at Rs 33,681 levels. The rupee is trading at 66.37 to the US$.
Most of the power stocks are trading on a firm note with GVK Power & Infra and Rattanindia Power leading the gainers. As per a leading financial daily, the government is soon going to invite bids for transmission projects that are estimated to cost about Rs 120 billion. This is part of Rs 1 trillion worth of investment that is planned in the power sector.
In the pipeline is the Warangal project, which is estimated to cost around Rs 90 billion. The second project is said to be in Odisha and is estimated to cost around Rs 30 billion. The government is said to call bids for the Warangal project in January while those for the Odisha project in the next month. With that, six entities have already been identified by the government that will be qualified to bid for the Odisha project.
The Warangal project is for an additional inter-regional link for transmitting power to the southern region. This is planned as South India faces severe power shortages. The planned system can facilitate import of about 9,000-10,000 MW into the southern region.
As per an article in Economic Times, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has asked state-run banks to clean up their balance sheets of non-performing assets (NPAs). With that he further added that the government is willing to take necessary policy corrective measures to help them.
Gross NPAs of state-run banks rose 25.2% year-on-year to Rs 3.14 lakh crore in September 2015. These constituted around 5.6% of total advances.
Furthermore, the issue of passing on the benefits of rate cuts to borrowers was also discussed. Regarding this, state-run banks stated that they have reduced their base lending rates after the central bank announced a 50 basis points cut in the repo rate in September.
Lastly, Arun Jaitley said that the government has already initiated several measures to bring down NPAs or bad loans of state-run banks.
One of such measures is the reforms announced in the power sector which can ease the stress caused by financially-troubled state-owned power discoms. Also, recently the RBI empowered banks to bring ownership changes of borrowing entities under stress. Under this, banks can now change the management of companies that are in trouble because of operational or managerial inefficiency.
Borrowers will hopefully aim to allocate capital more efficiently. While the initiative may not produce immediate results, it could go a long way in strengthening India's banking system over the long run.
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