16, January 2017

1.Market regulator tightens merger norms
Source : The Hindu

The Securities and Exchange Board of India has tightened the rules for mergers and amalgamations by Indian companies in an effort to make listing process more transparent and give public shareholders a bigger say in consolidations of companies.

SEBI has decided that,

  • Holding of public shareholders post the merger cannot be less than 25%
  • Threshold for institutional shareholders: Further, the watchdog has stipulated a similar threshold for institutional shareholders of the unlisted entity as well, post-merger
  • An unlisted company can be merged with a listed company only if the latter is listed on a stock exchange having nationwide trading terminals
  • E-voting mandatory: To ensure larger say for the public shareholders, the regulator has also made their e-voting mandatory in cases wherein the stake of such shareholders reduces by more than 5% in the merged entity
  • Reduced broker fees: The regulator also reduced the broker fees by 25% from Rs. 20 per crore of turnover to Rs. 15 crore. This will result in reduction of overall cost of transactions and will benefit the investors and promote the development of securities market
  • Include performance of scheme in ads: In order to help mutual fund investors take better informed decisions, SEBI has decided that fund houses will have to include in their advertisements, the performance of the scheme in terms of CAGR for the past one year, three years and five years and since inception.Currently, the fund house only publishes the scheme’s returns for as many twelve month periods as possible for the past three years.

Why this move by SEBI?

  • SEBI was concerned because there have been instances where the route of merger was used to get an indirect listing for an unlisted company
  • There was another category of misuse where under an arrangement; securities were being issued to promoter related persons only.

About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):

  • SEBI is the statutory regulator for the securities market in India.
  • It was established in 1988 and given statutory powers through the SEBI Act, 1992.
  • To Protect the interests of investors in securities, promote the development of securities market and to regulate the securities market.
  • SEBI has is responsive to needs of three groups, which constitute the market, issuers of securities, investors and market intermediaries.
  • It has three functions: quasi-legislative (drafts regulations in its legislative capacity), quasi-judicial (passes rulings and orders in its judicial capacity) and quasi-executive (conducts investigation and enforcement action in its executive function).

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2.SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket successfully places 10 satellites into orbit

Source : The Hindu
SpaceX successfully launched constellation of 10 satellites into orbit on board of its two stage Falcon 9 Rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The satellites were deployed into the designated to low-Earth orbit about an hour after launch. Besides, rocket’s first stag also landed upright on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg.

 Key Facts:

  • The constellation of 10 satellites was launched as part of McLean, Virginia-based Iridium’s project to replace its existing network of satellites that provide global voice and data communications.
  • This was SpaceX’s first launch since September 2016 accident of similar rocket on a Florida launch pad which exploded after its launch along with $200 million Israeli communications satellites Amos-6.

About SpaceX:

  • SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is aerospace manufacturer and space transport Services Company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, US.
  • It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and former PayPal entrepreneur with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both designed to be reusable.
  • It also has developed Dragon spacecraft to supply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). It is also developing a manned version of Dragon is in development.

SpaceX’s achievements:

  • First privately funded, liquid-propellant rocket Falcon 1 to reach orbit in 2008.
  • First privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (Dragon) in 2010.
  • First private company to send a spacecraft (Dragon) to the ISS, in 2012.
  • As of July 2016, it has flown nine missions to the ISS under a cargo resupply contract with NASA signed in 2006.

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3.Union Commerce Ministry launches SEZ India app
Source : PIB

The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) has launched a mobile application named “SEZ India” under its broader e-Governance initiative to help the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Units and Developers.

It will help the SEZ Units and Developers to find information easily and track their transactions on Online System.

It will also facilitate them to file all their transactions digitally through SEZ Online system and track the status on the go through the SEZ India mobile app.

 The app has four sections

  • SEZ Information: It consists of compendium of the SEZ Act, 2005, MOCI Circulars, SEZ Rules, 2006, details of SEZs and Units etc. and gives up to date comprehensive details on all these aspects.
  • Trade Information: It gives access to important information and tools such as Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), Hand Book of procedure, Customs & Excise Notification, Duty Calculator and MEIS Rates.
  • Contact Details: It consists of contact details of all Development Commissioners Office, DG System, DGFT, DGCI & S and SEZ online.
  • SEZ online Transaction: It dynamic submenu that tracks the Bill of Shipping/Entry Bill processing status and also does verification. It also helps the Exporters/Importers to track status of Shipping Bill/ Bill of Entry integration and processing in the EDI system of the ICEGATE.

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4.The new Adoption Regulations, 2017
Source : PIB

Adoption Regulations, 2017 framed by ‘Central Adoption Resource Authority’ (CARA) as mandated under section 68 (c) of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 shall be effective from 16 January 2017. The Adoption Regulations, 2017 replace the Adoption Guidelines, 2015.

  • The Adoption Regulations have been framed keeping in mind the issues and challenges faced by CARA and other stake holders including the Adoption Agencies & Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs).
  • This will further strengthen adoption programme in the country by streamlining the adoption process.
  • Transparency, early deinstitutionalisation of children, informed choice for the parents, ethical practices and strictly defined timelines in the adoption process are the salient aspects of the Adoption Regulations.

Salient features of the Adoption Regulations, 2017:-

  1. Procedures related to adoption by relatives both within the country and abroad have been defined in the Regulations.
  2. Validity of Home Study Report has been increased from two to three years.
  3. The time period available to the domestic PAPs for matching and acceptance, after reserving the child referred, has been increased to twenty days from the existing fifteen days.
  4. District Child protection Unit (DCPU) shall maintain a panel of professionally qualified or trained social workers.
  5. There are 32 Schedules annexed to the Regulations including model adoption applications to be filed in the Court and this would considerably address delays prevalent in obtaining the Court order.
  6. CARA shall be facilitating all adoptions under the JJ Act, 2015 through Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS) and all kinds of adoptions, including adoptions by relatives shall be reported to CARA which would enable safeguards for all adopted children by maintaining their record and ensuring post adoption follow up.

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5.Why can’t FM stations broadcast news, asks SC
 Source : the Hindu

The Supreme Court has sought the central government’s response on a plea seeking direction for allowing private FM radio stations, including community radio to broadcast news.

  • At present, the government has kept news out of the purview of FM channels, which are only allowed to carry All India Radio news bulletins in exactly the same format.

Background:

The court is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the NGO Common Cause in 2013, seeking directions from the Centre on the possibility of allowing private radio stations and community radios to broadcast news, arguing that radio is a more accessible medium for the masses, particularly the poor. The apex court had also issued a notice to the Centre on the PIL back in October 2013.

  • The NGO’s petition had also submitted that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which took over the regulatory duties for broadcasting in January 2004, has recommended to the government that rules restricting private and community radio channels from broadcasting news and current affairs programmes be removed.
  • The NGO has challenged the validity of the policy guidelines and permission agreements framed by the Centre, saying that while these norms allow broadcast of information, including news on sports, traffic or weather, what is not allowed is the broadcast of political news.

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6.Saksham – 2017
Source : PIB

  • Saksham – 2017 (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav) is aimed to create awareness amongst masses towards judicious utilization and conservation of petroleum products along with use of energy efficient appliances and switching to cleaner fuels.
  • The programme is being organized by PCRA (Petroleum Conservation Research Association) and other Oil & Gas PSUs under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
  • It is a month long awareness programme. During one-month long drive, workshops will be held for drivers of commercial vehicles and housewives, cooks on adopting simple fuel saving measures.
  • Saksham – 2017 also aims to educate on various steps for fuel conservation through activities like Quiz Show, Saksham Asian Cycling Championship, Walkathons, concerts and other activities across the country.

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7.India gears up to ink pact for global customs transit system
Source : Economic Times

India is gearing up to sign the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR), or the customs convention on the international transport of goods, as it eyes seamless trade connectivity with both Eurasian region and Southeast Asia.

 TIR convention:

The Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Convention is a multilateral treaty that was concluded at Geneva on 14 November 1975 to simplify and harmonise the administrative formalities of international road transport.

  • The 1975 convention replaced the TIR Convention of 1959, which itself replaced the 1949 TIR Agreement between a number of European countries. The conventions were adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
  • The TIR system operates with certain parameters – secure vehicles or container, international guarantee chain, TIR carnet, reciprocal recognition of customs controls, controlled access and TIR IT risk management tools.
  • These elements guarantee that goods travel across borders with minimum interference en route and at the same time provide maximum safeguards to customs administration.

Significance:

  • TIR is the only global customs transit system that provides easy and smooth movement of goods across borders in sealed compartments or containers under customs control from the customs office of departure to the customs office of destination.
  • It plays an important role in boosting regional connectivity and facilitating cross-border trade flows, according to connectivity experts.
  • The TIR system has a globally accepted electronic control system for integrated transit operations.

Benefits for India:

  • This will allow India to take full benefit of International North South Transportation Corridor or INSTC, which enables access to Eurasian region via Iran, and Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement.
  • Aligning with the TIR system will also enable India to take full advantage of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). EEU, comprising Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, have an integrated single market of 183 million people and GDP of more than $4 trillion in purchasing power parity.
  • The TIR system can also make Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement efficient for sub-regional cooperation on India’s eastern flank

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