RBI looks to protect consumers from digital fraud

In its fight against cybercrime India’s central bank is considering setting up a database of fraudulent websites and phone numbers, including relevant locations.

Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Executive Director Anil Kumar Sharma said the database would help prevent fraudsters from repeating their crimes because phone numbers will be blacklisted and websites blocked.

“There is no timeline for setting up of the fraud registry. At present, we are talking to different stakeholders including different departments like payments and settlement and supervision of the RBI,” Sharma said.

Companies involved in India’s payment systems will be allowed access to the database for the purposes of real-time fraud monitoring. The fraud data will be also be used to educate consumers about emerging risks.

Sharma also revealed that the time it takes the banking Ombudsman to deal with customer complaints about bank frauds has fallen significantly from 95 days in FY20 to 38 days at present. The integrated banking ombudsman scheme was launched by the RBI in November 2021 to cover organisations regulated by the RBI.

“The fall in turn around time (TAT) is because of the number of process efficiencies, such as centralisation, delegation, integration and simplification, that we have introduced as part of Reserve Bank- Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS),” said Anil Kumar Sharma, RBI Executive Director. The TAT is expected to fall further in future, he added.

The number of complaints received by the banking ombudsman scheme has seen growth of 15.7% in 2020-21 and 9.39% in 2021-22. However, the rate of dealing satisfactorily with complaints filed with the ombudsman has grown from 92.52% in FY20 to 97.57% in FY22.

 

Economy grows at fastest rate for a year

India’s economy grew at the fastest rate in 12 months in the last quarter as consumption levels grew, although the rate of growth is now slowing as policymakers prioritize inflation over growth, Bloomberg has reported.

Gross domestic product rose 13.5% in the April-June period from a year ago, according to data released by the Statistics Ministry. That’s the quickest pace since the 20.1% growth in the same quarter last year and compares with the median forecast of a 15.3% increase in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

India’s GDP growth was based on robust domestic demand, particularly in the services sector. Investment during the April-June period grew by 20.1% from a year ago while private consumption was up 25.9%, the figures show. Government spending rose 1.3%.

Growth in gross value added – which removes tax and subsidy transfer payments – rose 12.7% from a year ago.

“Substantial statistical base effect apart, the strong growth print is also a reflection of pent-up demand following the exit from the Omicron wave,” said Kunal Kundu, an economist with Societe Generale GSC Pvt. But there are signs of waning intensity of “tailwind generated by economic reopening,” he said.

But India’s growth “may be short-lived as the impact of a broader reopening wanes and the nation grapples with higher borrowing costs, elevated inflation and unemployment, and fears of a global recession”, according to Bloomberg.

“The GDP print was a mixed bag, largely a story of service sector rebound,” said Madhavi Arora, an economist at Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd. “Global drags in the form of still-elevated prices, shrinking corporate profitability, demand-curbing monetary policies and diminishing global growth prospects weigh on growth outlook.”

The Reserve Bank of India has lifted interest rates by 140 basis points in three rates rises since May as it attempts to bring inflation under its 6% target ceiling.

The latest figures show that India’s GDP is now above pre-pandemic levels, Finance Secretary T.V. Somanathan said. India is on course to achieve 7% growth in the current fiscal year, he added.