Down 12,700 pts (31%), sensex has worst quarter

MUMBAI: As the fears about the impact of the spread of Coronavirus weighed on investor sentiment globally, Dalal Street ended its worst quarter ever on a brighter note. On Tuesday, a strong rally in sensex heavyweight Reliance Industries, along with across the board short covering and index management by large funds on the last day of the financial year, helped the index close at 29,648, up 1,028 points on the day. Of the sensex’s 30 constituents, 26 ended higher while IndusInd Bank, of late being hammered due to asset quality concerns, led the slide with a 14.7% crash.
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The January-March quarter, that saw the sensex give up almost 12,700 points, or 31%—that too after reaching an all-time high at 42,274 on January 20—has been the worst in terms of points loss as well as percentage loss. Also investors wealth erosion of Rs 42.6 lakh crore with BSE’s market capitalisation now at Rs 112.6 lakh crore, was the sharpest, official data showed. Foreign investors too took out over Rs 48,000 crore during the quarter, again making the three-month period the worst ever. Mutual funds, however, have acted as the cushion in the face of strong FPI selling and have recorded a net buying figure of about Rs 37,500 crore.

According to a note by Shrikant Chouhan, EVP — Equity Technical Research, Kotak Securities, the day’s gains could be called the yearly and quarterly NAV management day for the market with several of the large-cap stocks closing at the day’s high. Technically, if the nifty falls below 8,350 level, it would retreat further to 8,250 or even up to 8,000 level, Chouhan said. “Global markets are doing better than expected but our markets are trading cautiously due to consistent selling from foreign institutions.”
In Tuesday’s session, it was RIL that rallied over 8% and contributed about a fifth of the sensex gains which came after the company late on Monday said that its board on April 2 would consider fund raising. The decision by the company comes in the backdrop of an expected delay in stake buy by global oil major Saudi Aramco in RIL’s refinery business, a deal to offload a stake in Jio, its telecom arm to social media giant Facebook also being pushed back due to the Covid-related uncertainties, which also had shaved off over 40% of its value in less than three months and oil prices crashing by about 60% in less than two months.
The other top sensex gainers in Tuesday’s session were ITC, ONGC and Tech Mahindra. Other than IndusInd Bank, the other index laggards were Maruti, Bajaj Finance and Titan, BSE data showed.

Your rent is due. What help is available for tenants across Canada

Across the country, April 1 will mark the first rent due date since the COVID-19 pandemic hit home in Canada.

As the pandemic ravages the economy, leaving more than a million Canadians suddenly unemployed, provincial governments have rolled out emergency measures for both tenants and landlords.

So far, all provinces have to some degree suspended evictions, which represent a health concern as Canadians are told to practice social distancing.

Many jurisdictions also offer financial help for utility bills or the option to postpone payments. However, the degree of emergency assistance for tenants varies significantly across jurisdictions.

Here’s a look at some of the major initiatives as of March 31:

British Columbia


B.C. is halting evictions for any reason except in extreme circumstances where there are safety concerns. The province is also freezing existing eviction orders.

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Rent increases

Rent increases are also frozen.

Temporary Rental Supplement

The province has announced a new Temporary Rental Supplement program that will provide up to $500 a month. The funding, which will flow directly to landlords, is available to tenants who are struggling to pay rent because the pandemic has affected their income.

Applications will be available in mid-April on the B.C. Housing website, according to the government.

BC Emergency Benefit for Workers

Some tenants struggling to make their April rent may be able to tap the province’s Emergency Benefit for Workers, which will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to those who lost income because of COVID-19.

B.C. residents who receive Employment Insurance or Ottawa’s new Canada Emergency Response Benefit are eligible for the one-time payment.

Applications will open “soon,” the government has said.

Online petition calling for rent relief gains momentum

Online petition calling for rent relief gains momentum



So far, the province has suspended evictions for tenants who fail to pay rent and/or utility bills before May 1. However, landlords can still seek evictions for reasons unrelated to the health emergency or if a tenant refuses to negotiate or comply with a payment plan.

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Rent increases

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The province has also put a halt on rent increases for as long as Alberta’s State of Public Health Emergency remains in effect. Landlords cannot apply or retroactively collect fees for late rent payments for the period until June 30.

The government is encouraging tenants and landlords to develop rent payment plans.

Emergency isolation support

Another possible source of funds for some tenants is Alberta’s emergency isolation support for workers who are sick with COVID-19, caring for someone with the virus or in self-isolation.

The province has pledged a one-time payment of $1,146. Income support is available only to those who have no other source of compensation.

READ MORE: ‘Shocking and disgusting’: Tenants face rent increases despite coronavirus crisis



As of March 26, the province is no longer accepting applications for non-urgent evictions.

Self-Isolation Support Program

Another possible source of support for some cash-strapped tenants is the province’s Self-Isolation Support Program, which will provide $450 per week for up to two weeks for workers who have to self-isolate and are not covered by federal jobless benefits or other supports.

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How landlords are coping with the COVID-19 outbreak

How landlords are coping with the COVID-19 outbreak



The province has suspended non-urgent evictions hearings until May 31. However, landlords can charge fees for late payments as well as initiate evictions applications for missed payments during this period.

Rent increases

Landlords won’t be able to raise rent between April 1 and May 31.

Non-urgent evictions are suspended until May 31, while rent increases are suspended for April 1 – May 31.



The province has suspended eviction orders “until further notice” and postponed scheduled enforcement of current eviction orders. Still, landlords can collect compensation for every day that an eviction order is not enforced.

Ontario Works

Ontarians who are experiencing a financial emergency because of COVID-19 can turn to the province’s Ontario Works program, which can help with the cost of housing and food, the government said.

Coronavirus outbreak: Ford asks people still employed to pay rent

Coronavirus outbreak: Ford asks people still employed to pay rent



Eviction hearings are on hold for as long as the province’s state of emergency is in force.

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Temporary Aid for Workers Program

Some tenants could benefit from Quebec’s Temporary Aid for Workers Program, which will provide eligible residents $573 for two weeks of self-isolation. The benefit may also be extended to a maximum of 28 days for those who contract the virus.

The lump-sum payment is only available to residents who are not receiving any other form of compensation, including from private insurance or through other government programs.

Online petition calling for rent relief gains momentum

Online petition calling for rent relief gains momentum

New Brunswick


The province has suspended evictions for tenants who fail to pay rent until May 31, 2020. This also applies to the enforcement of existing eviction orders issued for the same reason.

Workers Emergency Income Benefit

There’s good news for tenants in New Brunswick: the province is rolling out a one-time income benefit of $900 for residents who have lost their income due to the pandemic.

The benefit is meant to provide bridge financial aid until payments kick in from Ottawa’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and has similar eligibility requirements.

READ MORE: ‘Shocking and disgusting’: Tenants face rent increases despite coronavirus crisis

Nova Scotia


The province has banned evictions for tenants whose income has been affected by COVID-19 for three months starting on March 19.

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Income assistance

Individuals and families on income assistance will receive an additional $50 starting on March 20. The top-up is automatic — there’s no need to apply.

N.S. small businesses struggling with rent problems

N.S. small businesses struggling with rent problems

Prince Edward Island


The province has a moratorium on evictions until June 30.

Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit

Prince Edward Island has created an emergency benefit for tenants who are facing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19. The emergency aid will provide up to $250 per month per household for renters who do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs or social assistance.

As is the case in B.C., the payment will go directly to landlords.

More information on the benefit should become available in coming days on the government’s website.

Employee gift card program

Some PEI tenants will also be able to get some help with their grocery bill. The provincial government recently announced a program to offer a $100 Sobeys gift card to employees who have been laid off as a result of COVID-19 and are waiting to receive EI payments.

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Employers must complete an application form for eligible employees and are in charge of distributing the gift cards.

On March 26, the province introduced legislation to prevent evictions for tenants who can’t pay rent because they have lost income resulting from COVID-19.

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India keeps date with BS-VI fuels amidst lockdown

NEW DELHI: India will keep its date with ultra-clean Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) fuels on April 1, leapfrogging from BS-IV amidst slump in demand and constraints on movement in the last five weeks due to the spread of coronavirus infections and the countrywide lockdown.
“The April 1 deadline (for a countrywide switch to BS-VI) is intact. The country will switch over to BS-VI petrol and diesel. In fact, we started selling these fuels across the country about 10-12 days ago,” Sanjiv Singh. chairman of India’s largest fuel retailer IndianOil, told TOI.
“The oil industry is braving the odds to supply fuel for vehicles carrying essentials and homes for cooking. We are running our refineries and other operations to ensure the country leapfrogs to BS-VI as planned. This shows the strength of India’s oil industry,” Hindustan Petroleum chairman M K Surana told TOI.
Executives of Bharat Petroleum too said all their outlets have become “BS-VI compliant. Private marketers too are ready. The state-run companies control 85% of India’s fuel retail market, the fastest-growing in the world with 64,625 outlets.
The switchover is a global feat as no other major economy is known to have improved fuel standards two notches up at one go by skipping an intermediary stage. The roadmap was drawn in January 2016, when the Narendra Modi government decided to skip the intermediary BS-V stage in an effort to quickly improve the quality of fuel to reduce vehicular emission. BS-VI fuels are similar to, but not the same as, Euro-VI standard and have better emission parameters than CNG in some respects.
India now joins a club of countries using petrol and diesel containing just 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur. The new fuels will reduce NOx emission from BS-VI engines by 25% in petrol cars and 70% in diesel cars. Delhi has been running on BS-VI a year before the deadline, while the NCR (National Capital Region) switched in Ocotber last year.
Singh said the public sector oil companies managed to upgrade in just three years without any disruption at an estimated investment of Rs 35,000 crore. “First upgrading to BS-V and then shifting to BS-VI would have prolonged the switchover by 4-6 years. Refineries and automakers then would have had to make investments twice — first to producing BS-V grade fuel and engines and then BS-VI ones.”

Govt to borrow Rs 4.88L cr in first half of FY21

NEW DELHI: The government will borrow Rs 4.88 lakh crore in the first half of fiscal 2020-21 starting April 1 to shore up resources amid a war it is wagging to contain economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government has front-loaded borrowing as it proposes to raise nearly 63 per cent of total in the first half (April-September).
“Out of gross borrowing of Rs 7.8 lakh crore, it is proposed to borrow 62.56 per cent (Rs 4.88 lakh crore) in H1 FY21 as compared to 62.25 per cent in H1 FY20,” economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty said on Tuesday.
Gross borrowing includes repayments of past loans.
The borrowing plan has been drawn up keeping in view the anticipated demand because of the fully accessible route being opened for non-residents investors, he said.
In line with the Budget announcement, the Reserve Bank on Monday opened certain specified categories of government securities (G-Secs) for non-resident investors as part of an initiative to deepen the bond market.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in her Budget for 2020-21 pegged gross borrowing in the new financial year at Rs 7.8 lakh crore, higher than the Rs 7.1 lakh crore estimated in the current fiscal.
Weekly G-Sec auctions of Rs 19,000-21,000 crore will be held as against Rs 17,000 crore in the current fiscal. Government paper of maturity 2, 5, 10, 14, 30 and 40 years will be issued, Chakraborty said.
All the auctions covered by the calendar will have the facility of non-competitive bidding scheme under which 5 per cent of the notified amount will be reserved for the specified retail investors.
Chakraborty also clarified that there will be borrowing in April as per the calendar agreed with RBI. About Rs 79,000 crore has been decided to be raised during April.
Besides, he said the government will not be directly selling bonds to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to meet its expenditure.
With regard to short term treasury bills, he said weekly borrowing of Rs 25,000 crore will be made in the first quarter and the net borrowing will be Rs 1.37 lakh crore during April-June period.
Wage and Means Advances (WMA) limit is proposed to be revised to Rs 1,20,000 crore and will be reviewed on a need-basis, compared to Rs 75,000 in H1 of FY 2019-20, he said.
He also said that the annual maturity ceilings are being revised to accommodate higher issuances in 2020-21, from Rs 3.25-4.75 lakh crore to Rs 5-7 lakh crore.
“Like in the past, the RBI in consultation with the government, will continue to have the flexibility to bring about modifications in the calendar in terms of notified amount, maturities, etc and to issue different types of instruments, including floating rate bonds (FRBs), including CPI linked inflation linked bonds, depending upon the requirement of the Union government, evolving market conditions and other relevant factors,” the central bank said in a statement.
The RBI reserves the right to exercise the green-shoe option to retain additional subscription up to Rs 2,000 crore each against any one or more of the above security, which will be indicated in the auction notification.
However, it said, the exercise of the green-shoe option within one or more securities in an auction shall be within the overall notified amount for the auction.
RBI further said it reserves the right to retain an additional amount up to Rs 20,000 crore, over and above the notified amount under the green-shoe option in the first half of 2020-21, depending upon the market developments and the additional amount will be set-off in second half.
The RBI will also be conducting switches of securities through auctions on every third Monday of the month. In case third Monday is a holiday, switch auction will be conducted on the fourth Monday of the month.
Switches and buy-back combined will be at Rs 2.7 lakh crore for the whole year.
“G-sec issuances through debt ETF route is proposed to be rolled out soon by initiating appointment of required intermediaries. The budget announcement related to debt ETF would be operationalized in H2 of 2020-21,” he said.

Govt cuts interest rates on small savings schemes

NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday slashed interest rates on small savings schemes, including national savings certificate (NSC) and public provident fund (PPF), by up to 1.4 percentage points for the first quarter of 2020-21, in line with moderation in bank deposit rates.
Interest rates for small savings schemes are notified on a quarterly basis.
“The rates of interest on various small savings schemes for the first quarter of the financial year 2020-21 starting April 1, 2020, and ending on June 30, 2020, have been revised,” the finance ministry said in a notification.
With the reduction, term deposits of 1-3 years will now earn an interest rate of 5.5 per cent as against 6.9 per cent, down 1.4 percentage points, the notification said.
However, the interest rate on the five-year term deposit has been reduced to 6.7 per cent from current rate of 7.7 per cent, it said adding that interest rate on these are paid quarterly.
The cut in the interest rate on a 5-year recurring deposit is 1.4 percentage points. The new rate for this saving instrument will be 5.8 per cent.
The interest rate for the five-year senior citizens savings scheme has been lowered by 1.2 percentage points to 7.4 per cent, from the existing 8.6 per cent. The interest on the senior citizens scheme is also paid quarterly.
However, interest on savings deposits has been retained at 4 per cent annually.
The girl child savings scheme Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana account will earn a lower rate of 7.6 per cent as against 8.4 per cent during the first quarter of the next financial year 2020-21.
The interest rate moderation for PPF and NSC for the next quarter is 0.8 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points, respectively, it said. The rates will now stand at 7.1 per cent for PPF and 6.8 per cent for NSC.
The Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) will give a lower yield of 6.9 per cent with enhanced maturity period of 124 months as against 7.6 per cent and 113 months maturity at present.
While announcing the quarterly setting of interest rates in 2016, the finance ministry had said the rates of small savings schemes would be linked to government bond yields.
Last month, economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty had hinted at revision in small savings rates for the next quarter, in line with market rate for speedier transmission of monetary policy rate.
Stating that the Shyamala Gopinath Committee report has been accepted, but operation of the linkage was still in the works, he had said “wait for this quarter interest rates. That will give you a fairly good indication.”
Bankers have been complaining that high small savings rates prohibits them to cut their deposit rates immediately to check flight of savings.

RIL overtakes TCS to become the most valued firm

NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Tuesday surpassed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to grab the title of most valued firm by market capitalisation.
At close of trade, the market capitalisation (m-cap) of RIL was Rs 7,05,211.81 crore, which was Rs 21,133.32 crore more than that of Tata Consultancy Services’ Rs 6,84,078.49 crore valuation on the BSE.
Shares of RIL zoomed 7.76 per cent to close at Rs 1,112.45 on Tuesday, while TCS rose 2.64 per cent to Rs 1,823.05.
On March 27, TCS had reclaimed its status as the country’s most valued firm by market valuation.
Both TCS and RIL have in the past also competed with each other for the rank of number one company by m-cap.
The m-cap figures of companies change daily with the movement in their stock prices.

AI to fly cargo flights to China for medical supplies

NEW DELHI: Air India will operate regular cargo flights between India and China from Friday (April 3) to transport “critical medical equipment and supplies”. The airline will establish a “cargo air-bridge” with China for the purpose.
The Air India (AI) Group, parent AI and regional subsidiary Alliance Air, have operated 45 of the 62 cargo “lifeline Udan flights” that ferried 15.4 tonnes of essential medical supplies to fight coronavirus within the country in the five days from March 26 to 30, said the aviation ministry.
Private carriers like IndiGo, SpiceJet and Blue Dart flew some medical cargo flights on a commercial basis.
The “lifeline Udan” cargo includes COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, gloves and other accessories required by Corona warriors across the country.
Indian Air Force and Pawan Hans also operated some flights to ferry this essential material.
“The lifeline Udan flights are planned using a hub and spoke model. Cargo hubs have been established at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. Lifeline Udan flights connect these hubs to each other and therefrom to different parts of the country… Special focus has been on the North East Region (NER), island territories and the hill states. NER is being connected by Lifeline Udan through the regional hubs in Kolkata, Bagdogra and Guwahati. These in turn are connected to cities like Dibrugarh, Shillong, Aizawl, Agartala, Imphal and Dimapur using turboprops and helicopters,” said the ministry statement.
National Informatics Centre (NIC) developed a website for Lifeline Udan flights in a record three days to enable coordination between various agencies. “The website allows state governments and airlines to upload their consignment and flights details respectively, in advance. The aviation ministry control room then assigns the cargo consignments to different flights and coordinates with multiple stakeholders till the consignment reaches its destination. There is no service fee levied on the website,” the ministry said.

Investors lose Rs 37.59L crore in 2019-20 fiscal

NEW DELHI: Investor wealth dropped by Rs 37.59 lakh crore in 2019-20 fiscal, led by a weak broader market where the BSE benchmark tanked nearly 24 per cent.
The 30-share BSE sensex ended 2019-20 with a loss of 9,204.42 points or 23.80 per cent, while the Nifty sank 3,026.15 points or 26.03 per cent.
Led by the massive sell-off in equities, the market capitalisation of BSE-listed companies fell by Rs 37,59,954.42 crore to Rs 1,13,48,756.59 crore during the financial year.
March turned out be a nightmare for the markets, as the benchmark sensex plunged a whopping 8,828.8 points or 23 per cent during the month as the coronavirus pandemic led to lockdowns across the world, fanning fears of a global recession.
Selling in the market was so strong that the benchmark index came crashing to its one-year low of 25,638.9 on March 24 — just two months after scaling its all-time peak of 42,273.87 on January 20.
The market capitalisation (m-cap) of BSE-listed companies had risen by Rs 8,83,714.01 crore to Rs 1,51,08,711.01 crore in 2018-19 fiscal.
Markets had achieved big milestones in the just-concluded fiscal, with the BSE sensex crossing the historic 40,000-mark and the broader NSE Nifty conquering the 12,000-level.
Selling in market heavyweights also dragged down the overall m-cap of BSE-listed companies in 2019-20.
RIL is currently the country’s most valued firm with a market valuation of Rs 7,05,211.81 crore, followed by TCS at Rs 6,84,078.49 crore.
In November last year, Reliance Industries became the first Indian company to hit the Rs 10 lakh crore market valuation mark.

SpiceJet cuts March salary by 10-30%

NEW DELHI: SpiceJet will cut March salaries by 10% to 30%, for all employees except those in the lowest pay grades. The airline, while assuring of no job losses, will not pay March 25-31 lockdown period salary to anyone. Other airlines like IndiGo, GoAir, Vistara and SpiceJet had earlier announced pay cuts for their employees as travel was one of the first casualties of the corona pandemic.
“In its bid to tide over the unprecedented crisis thrust by the COVID-19 pandemic, SpiceJet announced a company-wide pay cut for its employees for the month of March 2020. The airline has implemented a 10-30% pay cut for all its employees across top and mid rung levels.
SpiceJet has, however, assured that its employees in the lowest pay grades will remain unaffected by the decision. In the wake of the crisis, the airline’s chairman and managing director Ajay Singh has decided to opt for the highest cut of 30% in salary,” the airline said in a statement.
“Unfortunately due to the lockdown, SpiceJet has been forced to announce ‘leave without pay’ for employees during March 25-31, 2020 — the period of the lockdown when all passenger flights were suspended. However, employees who have been actively working during this period like our cargo, ground staff, crew who have flown during this time will not be affected by the ‘leave without pay’ and their salaries for this period will be reimbursed,” it added.
Ajay Singh said: “The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have forced us to take some tough measures to ensure that no one at SpiceJet is retrenched. What we are facing is a global phenomenon and no airline in the world is immune to the impact. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. SpiceJet was born of adversity and it is the same adversity that brings out the best in each and every one of us.”
India’s aviation industry has sought support from the government to survive the crippling effect of coronavirus on the sector.

State-run banks offer EMI relief to customers

NEW DELHI: In a relief to customers, some public sector banks on Tuesday announced deferment of EMI (equated monthly instalment) payments on loans for three months following directions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which asked all lending institutions to allow three month moratorium on loan payments as the economy grapples with Covid-19 challenges.
Last Friday, the RBI had announced that all term loans, including retail and crop loans and working capital payments, will be covered by the three-month moratorium.
Banks have the discretion in deciding the limits on working capital, with RBI saying that no payment miss should be considered a default and reported to credit information companies.
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Here are the PSU banks which have announced the deferments:
* State Bank of India(SBI): The country’s largest lender said it has initiated steps to defer instalments and EMIs on loans for 3 months, as per RBI’s Covid-19 regulatory package.
“In terms of RBI COVID-19 regulatory package, SBI has initiated steps to defer the instalments and interest/EMIs on term loans falling due between March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020 and extended the repayment period by 3 months. The interest on working capital facilities for the period March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020 is also deferred to June 30, 2020,” SBI said.

*Punjab National Bank (PNB): In view of the coronavirus pandemic, PNB has deferred payment of all instalments on loans which were due from March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020.
In a tweet, the bank said: “PNB presents relief scheme for our customers. In view of COVID-19, it has been decided to defer payment of all installments on term loan and recovery of interest on cash credit facilities falling due between March 01,2020 and May 31 2020.”

* Bank of Baroda: The bank has granted three month moratorium on all term loans including corporate, MSME, agriculture, retail, housing, auto and more.

* Union Bank of India: In a tweet, the bank said: “We are extending COVID-19 Relief to customers to defer their instalments / interest falling due between 01/03/20 to 31/05/20 for 3 months.”

* IDBI Bank: Like other banks, IDBI has also extended the option of EMI moratorium to its customers for three months. However, the bank said that customers whose cash flows are not impacted may continue paying the EMIs as per schedule.

* Canara Bank: “In terms of Covid 19- RBI package, borrowers are eligible for moratorium/ deferment of installments/EMI for Term loans falling due from 01.03.2020 to 31.05.2020 & repayment period gets extended accordingly. SMS also has been sent to customers to avail the same,” the bank said in a tweet.

* Syndicate Bank: Payment of EMIs on housing, vehicle, MSME loans and all other term loans falling due after March 1, 2020 up to May 31, 2020 have been deferred by the bank by three months.
* Indian Overseas Bank: IOB has not only deferred EMI payments for term loans but it has also slashed its repo linked lending rate from 8 per cent to 7.25 per cent with effect from April 1, thereby benefiting customers of retail and MSME loans.

* Indian Bank: As per Covid-19 regulatory package of the RBI, Indian Bank has also allowed a moratorium by deferring payment of EMI/term loan instalments and interest on working capital for three months, the bank said in a statement.
* UCO Bank: The bank has extended repayment schedule of its customers for three months and the next instalment will now be payable in the month of June 2020, it said. However, customers who wish to continue with their EMI payments as per the existing schedule may continue to do so.
* Central Bank of India: Central Bank has allowed moratorium of three months on payment of instalments in term loans including principal/ interest component, bullet repayments, EMIs, credit card dues for a period of three months.