A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Compulsory public float rule issued
On June 5, 2010, the Union government made it mandatory for all listed companies
to have a minimum public float of 25 per cent. Those below this level will have
to get there by an annual addition of at least 5 per cent to public holding.
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The move is expected to result in equity dilution of about Rs 1,60,000 crore by
179 listed companies. These include Reliance Power, Wipro, Indian Oil
Corporation, DLF and Tata Communications.
According to the notification, ‘public’ will not include the promoter, promoter
group, subsidiaries and associates of a company. ‘Public shareholding’ will mean
equity shares of the company held by the public and not the shares held by the
custodian against depository receipts issued overseas.
A company can increase its public shareholding by less than 5 per cent in a year
if such increase brings its public shareholding to the level of 25 per cent in
that year. If the public shareholding in a listed company falls below 25 per
cent at any time, the company will have to bring the public shareholding to 25
per cent within 12 months from the date of such fall, compared with the two
years allowed at present.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Bhopal Gas Tragedy verdict
On June 7, 2010, nearly 26 years after the world's worst industrial disaster
left more than 15,000 dead in the Bhopal gas tragedy, former Union Carbide India
Chairman Keshub Mahindra and seven others were convicted and sentenced to two
Chief Judicial Magistrate Mohan P. Tiwari held the 85-year-old non-executive
chairman of the Indian subsidiary of the US-based company and gave them
punishment under less stringent provisions of the Indian Penal Code for causing
death by negligence.
The 89-year-old Warren Anderson, the then Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation
of USA, who lives in the United States, appeares to have gone scot free for the
present as he is still an absconder and did not subject himself to trial. There
was no word about him in the judgement.
The US based company reacted to the judgement saying neither it nor its
officials were subject to the jurisdiction of the Indian court since they were
not involved in the operation of the plant, which was owned and operated by
Union Carbide India Limited.
In his 93-page verdict, Tiwari said the accused were not sentenced under section
304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder that provides a maximum of
life imprisonment) since they were old age and were suffering from serious
ailments including heart disease.
All the convicts applied for bail immediately after the sentencing and were
granted relief on a surety of Rs 25,000 each.
Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily described the verdict as an example of “justice
buried” and said there was need for fast-tracking such cases and ensuring proper
The BJP termed the order as “painful” and said the prosecution should appeal
against the lower punishment. It also utilised the opportunity to reconsider the
provisions of the nuclear liability Bill.
OIL get freedom to price natural gas
In a significant development, the Union government has given national oil
companies, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL), freedom to
price any additional natural gas produced from blocks given to them on
nomination basis at market rates. So far, all gas—current and future—produced
from blocks given to ONGC and OIL was priced at government-controlled rates,
called administered price mechanism (APM).
Even the price of APM gas from June 1 has been more than doubled to $4.2 per
million British thermal units, on a par with the rate at which Reliance
Industries sells gas from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields.
The government has also made a significant departure from the previous practice
of pricing natural gas in rupees and has now decided to price it in US dollars.
State-run ONGC and OIL produce 54.32 million cubic metres of gas per day — about
40 per cent of the total amount originating from the country — through fields
given to them on a nomination basis.
Petrol, Diesel prices freed from government control
On June 25, 2010, the Union government announced that prices of petrol and
diesel would become market-driven, in line with the recommendations of a panel
headed by former Planning Commission member Kirit Parikh.
An empowered group of ministers led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee agreed
to raise diesel prices by Rs 2 a litre for now. The fuel will eventually be
freed from State control. Petrol has been freed fully.
The panel also increased prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by Rs 35 a
cylinder and of kerosene by Rs 3 a litre, though both will remain under
The decision will help to cut fuel subsidies and limit losses of State-run
The market-driven mechanism would mean users would have to pay more whenever
international crude oil prices rise and less when they fall.
The move would bring down the government’s huge subsidy bill and relieve
State-owned oil marketing companies of some of the burden they bear by selling
fuels much below the market prices. This burden, also called under-recovery, is
estimated at Rs 215 crore every day.
Jharkhand again under President’s rule
On June 1, 2001, Jharkhand came under Central rule with President Pratibha Patil
accepting a recommendation of the Union Cabinet after the Congress and the BJP
gave up efforts to form an alternative government following resignation of Chief
Minister Shibu Soren.
The State Assembly will be kept in suspended animation during the President’s
rule, which has been imposed for a second time in two years.
The Soren government was reduced to a minority on May 24 when the BJP, with 18
MLAs and the JD(U) with two, withdrew support to it. The JMM, with 18 MLAs and
having the support of seven other legislators, was short of the required 42 in
the 82-member House. The BJP took the decision after Soren voted against the cut
motions sponsored by the opposition in Lok Sabha on April 27.
Jharkhand has seen seven CMs since its creation on November 15, 2000, came under
President’s rule for the first time on January 19, 2009.
India, Canada sign civil nuclear pact
On June 28, 2001, India and Canada signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.
The pact was signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Canada.
The deal, the ninth signed by New Delhi, significantly alters Canada’s stance
towards India. The North American nation had led the world in pushing for
nuclear isolation after the 1974 tests in Pokhran.
The US, France, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Namibia and Britain are
the eight countries that have already signed similar pacts with India.
Among other things, the India-Canada Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses
of Nuclear Energy provides for tie-ups in design, construction, maintenance,
supply of uranium and waste management. The two countries can also promote
cooperation in the development and use of applications related to health,
industry, environment and agriculture.
of South African President
On his maiden visit to an Asian country as the President of South Africa, Jacob
Zuma was given a rousing reception by the Indian leadership on June 4, 2010, as
the two countries signed three key pacts, including one on air services, and
agreed to support each other’s candidature for the non-permanent seat at the UN
Security Council for the 2011-2012 term.
A wide range of bilateral issues as well as global developments, including
reforms of the UN Security Council, closer cooperation between the two countries
at various international fora, particularly on climate change, and increasing
the volume of bilateral trade, came for discussions during the talks.
Apart from the pact on enhancing air connectivity, the two countries signed an
MoU on agriculture cooperation and another for linkages between the Foreign
Service Institute of India and the Diplomatic Academy of South Africa.
Both India and South Africa are keen to increase the two-way trade, which
currently stands at $7.5 billion annually. Zuma said he wanted that to grow to
$10 billion by 2012.
of Sri Lankan President
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited New Delhi on June 9, 2010. During
his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he sought to cool down tempers in
India over the plight of Tamils in his island nation by promising to quickly
resettle displaced Tamils and expedite a political solution to the ethnic issue.
The two countries also signed seven agreements, including a treaty on mutual
legal assistance in criminal matters and an MOU on sentenced prisoners, after
The two countries announced a major initiative to undertake a programme of
construction of 50,000 houses for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in
Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka with India’s assistance. India would
also be taking up several projects for the reconstruction of the North and the
East, including rebuilding of railway infrastructure, rehabilitation of
Kankesanthurai harbour and Palaly Airport, construction of a cultural centre in
Jaffna and several vocational training centres, renovation of the Duraiappaj
stadium and rehabilitation of war widows.
The two countries also decided to resume the ferry services between Colombo and
Tuticoran and between Thalaimannar and Rameswaram. India would also establish
consulates general in Jaffna and Hambantota. India would also assist the island
country in setting up a thermal power plant at Trincomalee.
At their one-on-one meeting which was followed by delegation-level talks, the
Indian PM and the Sri Lankan President also discussed a wide range of bilateral
issues, including the proposed comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA),
as well as international issues. Sri Lanka supported India’s case for inclusion
in an expanded UN Security Council, as well as its candidature for a
non-permanent seat for the 2011-2012 term.
The five other agreements, signed after the talks between the two sides, were:
renewal of MoU on SDP schemes, MoU on setting up of a women’s trade facilitation
centre and community learning centre, renewal of cultural exchange programme,
MoU on interconnection of electricity grids and MoU on Talaimannar-Madhu railway
Indo-US strategic dialogue
The Strategic Dialogue between India and US is another “milestone” in bilateral
relationship with the Obama Administration. External Affairs Minister S.M.
Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-chaired the first
Cabinet-level Indo-US Strategic Dialogue, which helped to set the pace for the
long-term strategic relationship between the two countries.
Police strength in India
total number of sanctioned posts as on March 31, 2010,
in all ranks, is about 21 lakhs. Of these, about 3,35,000 posts are vacant.
Thus, the police: population ratio for the whole
country is about 160 per 100,000 persons. This ratio, much lower than the
international norm, conceals more than it reveals. It is an average. In a State
like Bihar the number is about 75; in UP it is about
115; in Andhra Pradesh it is about 125; in Orissa it is about 135; in
Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, two States most affected by Left Wing Extremism,the
number is about 205.
Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar
In reverential memory of
late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, the Ministry
of Environment and Forests, in the year 1987, instituted an award called “Indira
Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar “ to give recognition to those having made or have
the potential to make the measurable and major impact
in the protection of environment.
Any citizen of India or
organization working in India for the cause of environment is eligible for the
Isha Foundation, founded
by Sadhguru J Vasudev, is getting the Indira Gandhi Pariavaran Puraskar for the
year 2008 in recognition of Isha Foundation’s massive ecological
initiative, called ‘Project Green Hands’ to prevent
and reverse environmental degradation and to enable sustainable living.
Project Green Hands is a
massive people’s movement to raise the green cover of Tamil
Nadu by 10%. In the last 5 years, over 300,000 Isha volunteers across
Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry have raised 8.2 million
trees for plantation. The goal is to mobilize the entire population of Tamil
Nadu to plant an additional 106 million trees within the next 10 years.
of Mathematicians (ICM) at Hyderabad
India will host the
International Congress of
Mathematicians (ICM) at Hyderabad from August 19 – 27, 2010. This is the
first time in more than hundred years of history of
the ICMs that the Congress will be held in India and only
the third time in an Asian country (the 1990 Congress was held in Kyoto and the
2002 Congress in Beijing).
The Awards given out at
the ICM are one of the most attractive features of the Congress from the point
of view of the public at large. The Fields Medal, the Nevanlinna Prize and the
Gauss Prize are given out at these ICMs.
At Hyderabad, a new prize
called the Chern Prize, named after S S Chern, a well known figure in geometry
in the twentieth century, will also be awarded for thefirst time to an
individual whose lifelong outstanding achievements in
mathematics warrant the highest level of recognition. A onetime ‘Lilavati’
Award, named after the daughter of legendary astronomer and mathematician
Bhaskaracharya, will also be given to anindividual recognised for contributions
towards popularization of mathematics. The Fields Medal is considered by the
mathematical community as an equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
The medals are awarded,
once in four years at the inaugural function of the Congresses. The prize is
administered by an international organization – the International Mathematical
SDR to be used for SME
The Cabinet Committee
on Economic Affairs approved the proposal for making a budget provision of
Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
equivalent of USD 100 million (approx.
Rs.450 crore) of International Development
Association (IDA) loan for on-lending
to Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)
through the budget of Department of
Ministry of Finance.
The fund will be used
to promote responsible and balanced growth of microfinance outreach,
particularly in the under served areas where microfinance penetration is
low, thereby serving the larger objective of promoting financial inclusion.
The growth in the
microfinance sector has been very high in the last few years with
some of the Micro Finance Institutions
registering 100% year on year growth.
Global Campaign on
Making Cities Resilient
The Global Campaign on
Making Cities Resilient was launched here today with the call to make South
Asian cities ready to face challenges of urban risk management with effective
governance and urban planning.
The campaign will be run
with the close coordination of United Nation
and Governments of the region and urban local bodies of the
Under the campaign all the
agencies will work towards disaster reduction, planning and raise awareness and
commitment for sustainable development practices.
The campaign will convince
city leaders and local Governments to commit a checklist- of ten essentials for
making cities resilient and to work alongside local activist, grass root
networks and national authorities.
Ministry of Urban
Development and National Institute of Disaster Management will jointly
coordinate the campaign in the country.
List of Biosphere
Reserves in India
Biosphere Reserves have been designated in the country. They are :
Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka),
Nanda Devi (Uttrakhand),
Gulf of Mannar (Tamil
Great Nicobar (Andaman
& Nicobar Islands),
(Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh),
Nadu and Kerala),
Katchchh (Gujarat) and
Cold Desert (Himachal Pradesh).
The primary criteria for
selection of sites for Biosphere Reserves as laid down in the Guidelines issued
by the Government are ,a site that must contain an effectively protected and
minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation and should include
additional land and water suitable for
research and demonstration of sustainable methods of research and management and
the core area should be typical of a biogeographical unit and large enough to
sustain viable populations representing
all trophic levels in the ecosystem.
The secondary criteria are
areas having rare and endangered species, areas having diversity of soil and
micro-climatic conditions and indigenous varieties of biota and areas potential
for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious
use of environment.
of the Year Award (YEYA)
Environmentalist of the Year Award (YEYA) is an national level award given by
National Museum of Natural Museum (NMNH) (Ministry
of Environment and Forests) every year to the best-performing teenager in
the of age group of 13 – 16 years on the occasion of its Foundation Day on 5th
June, coinciding with World
The aim of the
award is to create awareness among teenagers to observe and understand
nature and to encourage them to play an important role in conserving nature and
This award was launched on
5th June, 1999.
This year Ishita Vishnoi
won the “Young Environmentalist of the Year Award – 2010” for showing best
performance in the National Level Written Quiz Contest conducted by
National Museum of
Natural History, New Delhi
Short definition of
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak
Yojana is a 100 % centrally sponsored scheme to provide road
connectivity in the rural areas of the country. PMGSY envisages
connectivity to all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in
the rural areas and about 250 persons and
above in respect of the hilly states,
tribal areas and desert
areas through good and all weather roads.
Some initiatives by
In the last year, the
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) has organized eight major
cultural events, namely, the Braj Bhumi festival, Nature Bazar, Surabhi Theatre
festival, Inter-cultural Dialogue between North East India and South
East Asia, International Federation of Library
Association Conference, Vasant Bazar, Gharana festival and Women on Record: A
Musical event. It is estimated that approximately seven to eight lakh people
witnessed these events.
Preparations have started
to commemorate the 150th birth anniversaries of
Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda, both
nationally and internationally.
A project to set up a
memorial for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, at his native place at Khatkar Kalan, has
been sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 16.80 crore.
Rs. 46.38 crore have been
released to the Government of Punjab for development
of Talwandi Sabo and Anandpur Saheb as part of the concluding phase of the ter-centenary
of Guru-ta-Gaddi of the Guru Granth Saheb.”
In a major intervention to
further safeguard India’s priceless monuments and
archaeological sites, the Central government has recently amended the Ancient
Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, which prohibits
construction, including public projects, within the 100 metre ‘prohibited area’.
It has also been
stipulated that Heritage Bye-laws shall be prepared for each of these protected
monuments so as to regulate building activities in the next 200 metre ‘regulated
area’ that lies beyond the 100 metre ‘prohibited area’. A National Monuments
Authority is being set up as the apex body to oversee the implementation of the
India boceoms member of
the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
After nearly a five-year
wait, India has finally become a full-fledged member of the Financial Action
Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental
body responsible for setting global standards on
anti-money laundering (AML) and combating
financing of terrorism (CFT).
With its induction as the
34th member-country of the global body that chalks out policies to counter
financial frauds, India will have access to information on suspicious financial
transactions in Switzerland, China, the U.S. and the U.K. The
development marks a significant step towards tracing the source of terror
financing and black money stashed away in
tax havens abroad.
550 new mobile towers
to boost communication facilities
The Centre has started work
on installing over 550 new mobile towers to boost communication facilities in
the Naxal-affected districts in Jharkhand,
Chhattisgarh and Bihar.
“The state-owned Bharat
Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) has already
started work on the project so that adequate communication facility could be
provided to security personnel and citizens living in these three States.
Mobile towers have become
vulnerable targets and are often destroyed by the Maoists. The BSNL as well as
private operators are finding it hard to re-erect destroyed towers due to
security and financial reasons.
Central Scheme for
Interest Subsidy for Edu. Loans
Human Resource Development has finalized
the modalities for implementation of a new Central Scheme to provide full
interest subsidy during the period of moratorium on educational loans for
students belonging to economically weaker sections
(with parental family income from all sources of less
than Rs.4.5 lakh annually) from scheduled banks under
the Educational Loan Scheme of the Indian
Banks’ Association (IBA) for pursuing courses of studies in
professional/technical streams from recognized institutions in India.
The modalities have been
finalized in consultation with the Indian Banks’ Association. The Scheme is
effective for all IBA approved educational loans sanctioned in form of eligible
students’ in respect of approval course of studies from the academic year
Intl Awards for Young
President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari presented the
International Awards for
Young People (IAYP) – India Gold
Awards to the young awardees at a function
here today. He presented 44 Gold Awards in 4
categories i.e Service, Adventurous Journey, Skills and Physical Recreation.
The International Awards
for Young People (IAYP) is an exciting
self-development programme for all young people aged between 14 and 25 years
worldwide. It equips them with like skills, builds their confidence and engages
them with their communities.
There are three Award
Levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, each requiring increasing commitment and
effort. Bronze usually takes 6-12 months to complete, Silver 12-18 months and
Gold 18-24 months.
The Award Programme
comprises four Sections: Service develops a sense of community and social
responsibility; the Adventurous Journey cultivates a spirit of adventure and an
understanding of the environment; the Skills Section develops cultural,
vocational and practical skills; and Physical Recreation encourages improved
performance and fitness
Petrol and Diesel
To arrive at a viable and
sustainable system of pricing of petroleum products,
Government had set up an Expert Group under the chairmanship of Dr.
In the light of
Government’s budgetary constraints and the growing
imperative for fiscal consolidation, and the need for
allocating more funds to social sector schemes for the common man, the
Government has decided that the pricing of Petrol and Diesel both at the
refinery gateand the retail level will be market-determined. However, in respect
of Diesel, the initial increase in retail
selling price of Diesel will be Rs.2 per litre at Delhi, with corresponding
increases in other parts of the country.
Further increases will be
made by the Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs)
in consultation with the Ministry of Petroleum &
Natural Gas. It has also been decided that in case of a high rise and
volatility in international oil prices, Government will suitably intervene in
the pricing of Petrol and Diesel.
Schemes to develop cold
Horticulture Board (NHB)
provides back-ended capital investment subsidy to the
eligible organizations for creation/modernization/expansion of cold
storage/Controlled Atmosphere Storage @
25% of the project cost.
Under National Horticulture
Mission (NHM) scheme, financial assistance
is provided for the development of post harvest
management including for cold storages and cold chain component. Subsidy @ 40%
(for general areas) and 55% (for hilly and tribal areas) of capital cost of the
project is available for both public and private sector enterprises. The subsidy
for the private sector is credit linked and back-ended.
Technology Mission for North East (TMNE)
scheme, back-ended capital investment subsidy is provided for
creation/modernization/expansion of cold storages @ 25% of the project cost.
For North Eastern Region,
the subsidy is 33.33% of the project cost with a cost ceiling of Rs. 2.00 crore
for 5000 MT.
10% Divestment in Coal
Cabinet Committee on
Economic Affairs gave its approval to
divest 10% equity of the Coal India Limited out of its holding of 100% through
book building process in the domestic market.
One percent of the equity
will be offered to the employees of CIL and its eight subsidiaries. The CCEA has
also decided to allow 5% price concession to the retail investors in order to
encourage greater public ownership of the public sector companies.
After this disinvestment,
Government of India’s shareholding in the company would come down to 90%..
Coal India Ltd. (CIL), a Central Public
Sector Enterprise, is a Navratna Company engaged in production and marketing of
coal and coal products. At present, the paid up equity
capital of the company is Rs.6316.36 crore and the Government of India holds
100% of the equity in the company. .
Broadband Wireless Access.
BWA- Broadband Wireless Access. The BWA spectrum was auctioned by the Govt. BWA
Spectrum is essential for rolling out WiMAX services enabling hand held devices
and laptops to access Intranet. It will allow firms to offer high speed Net, Web
telephony & TV Services. The govt fixed Rs.1750 crore as base rate for BWA
license. The auction was held for 117 rounds and in 16 days. Rs.12848 crore was
the pan India BWA license price which was won by Infotel Broadband services ( in
all 22 circles). The Govt auctioned the BWA license for a total of Rs.38,543
crore. Mumbai had the highest bid of Rs.2293 crore followed by Delhi with
Rs.2241 crore respectively.
signed Civil Nuclear agreement with Canada.
signed Civil Nuclear agreement with Canada. The agreement was signed by Manmohan
Singh and Canada’s PM Stephen Harper. Canada is the 8th nation to enter into
such an agreement with India. Canada served nuclear ties with India in 1974 when
India conducted its first nuclear test at Pokhran in 1974. India’s nuclear power
programme is based on the CANDU ( Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactor.
become a full fledged member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
India become a full fledged member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a
34 member inter governmental body that devises policies at both national &
international levels to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. FATF
membership will enable Indian authorities to access information on suspect
accounts in nations such as Switzerland & UK. India become its 34th member.