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Insights Daily Current Events, 23 March 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 23 March 2015

‘Water Man’ Rajendra Singh wins Stockholm Water Prize

Eminent environment activist Rajendra Singh, has been conferred the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize this year for his innovative water restoration efforts and extraordinary courage to empower communities in Indian villages.

  • He is widely popular as the ‘Water Man’.
  • He was named the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for improving water security in rural India, and for showing extraordinary courage and determination in his quest to improve the living conditions for those most in need.
  • He has already won Ramon Magsaysay award in 2001 for his work on community-based water harvesting and water management.

About the Award:

  • The Stockholm Water Prize is a global award founded in 1991 and presented annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to an individual, organisation or institution for outstanding water-related achievements.
  • The Stockholm Water Prize Laureate receives USD 150,000 and a specially designed sculpture.

 

Sources: The Hindu.

 

 

Humayun’s Tomb gets its finial back

The Humayun’s Tomb in the national capital has got its finial back, after a storm dislodged it last May. The new finial was installed last week.

  • Almost a replica of the previous one, the new finial is made of copper of 99.5% purity.

Background:

  • In May last year, the ornamental and auspicious finial installed atop the dome of the 16th century tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was damaged in a massive thunderstorm.
  • The 18-foot-long finial had 11 copper vessels in gold finish and covered with a brass crown. It had a beam made of sal wood inside.

 

Humayun’s Tomb:

It is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India.

  • It was built in 1565 A.D. by Humayun’s first wife Bega Begum (Haji Begum).
  • It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale.
  • The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

 

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

SEBI clears municipal bonds

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) recently announced a slew of measures including listing of municipal bonds and setting up of a global financial hub within India on the lines of Singapore and Dubai.

Why?

To deepen markets and help raise funds for business and infrastructure projects.

Details:

  • SEBI has made it easier for banks to acquire control in distressed listed companies, by converting their debt into equity.
  • SEBI has tightened the noose on entities indulging in market manipulation and insider trading by selective leak of information at the cost of investors.
  • It has announced a road map for the new fiscal, beginning next month, with regard to new norms to help young entrepreneurs raise funds through listing of start-ups and crowd-sourcing, while it would streamline and strengthen its enforcement process for better efficiency.
  • Proposing a new avatar by adopting latest technologies, the SEBI has said it would tap social media in a big way to reach out to the investors and make it easier for them through measures like e-IPO and Aadhar-based e-KYC initiatives.

About Municipal Bonds:

A municipal bond is a bond issued by a local government, or their agencies.

  • ‘Muni bonds’ are very popular among investors in many developed nations, especially in the U.S., where these have attracted investments totalling over $500 billion and are among preferred avenues for household savings.
  • The Bangalore Municipal Corporation was the first municipal corporation to issue a municipal bond of Rs.125 crore with a State guarantee in 1997. However, the access to capital market commenced in January 1998, when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) issued the first municipal bonds in the country without State government guarantee for financing infrastructure projects in the city. AMC raised Rs.100 crore through its public issue.
  • Among others, Hyderabad, Nashik, Visakhapatnam, Chennai and Nagpur municipal authorities have issued such bonds
  • As per guidelines of the Urban Development Ministry, only bonds carrying interest rate up to maximum 8% per annum shall be eligible for being notified as tax-free bonds.
  • There is massive capital investment need in municipal infrastructure and funds from programmes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) can only partly meet the requirement. Therefore, to meet their financing needs, the municipalities have to seek recourse to other means including issuance of municipal bonds.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

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