Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 January 2017
Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Market regulator tightens merger norms
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.
New norms are as follows:
- In case of merger of an unlisted company with a listed company, the unlisted company will have to disclose all the material information in the form of an abridged prospectus, similar to what companies file before launching initial public offering (IPO).
- The resultant public shareholding holding post such mergers or amalgamations between an unlisted entity and a listed entity cannot be less than 25%, which is similar to what all listed entities need to follow at present.
- The effective total of the public shareholding of the listed entity plus the qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) of the unlisted company has to be at least 25% after the two companies merge and the unlisted entity gets automatically listed.
- An approval of public shareholders will be mandatory for any merger between a listed and an unlisted entity if such a merger results in reducing the voting share percentage of pre-scheme public shareholders by more than 5% in the total capital of the merged entity.
- Public shareholders’ approval will be mandatory for those schemes too which involve transfer of substantial undertaking of a listed entity and if a consideration for such a transfer is not in the form of listed equity shares.
- A favouring vote from public shareholders will also be compulsory for the mergers of unlisted subsidiaries with their listed holding companies if the shares of the unlisted subsidiary have been acquired by the holding company from the promoters.
- Among other issues, 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.
- Also, to ensure that all classes of shareholders get an equitable treatment during mergers and acquisitions, Sebi has directed companies to follow the pricing formula for stocks as per Sebi’s ICDR norms (issue of capital and disclosure requirements) during mergers. This will prevent companies from issuing shares to select group of shareholders instead of all shareholders during mergers and amalgamations between listed and unlisted entities.
Why these norms were necessary?
Sebi is concerned because in recent times there were instances where route of Scheme of Arrangements or Merger was being used to get an indirect listing for an unlisted company. There were another category of misuse where under an arrangement; securities were being issued to promoter related persons only. There was an issue on electronic voting requirement as well.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
India’s rising income inequality: Richest 1% own 58% of total wealth
According to a study by rights group Oxfam, India’s richest 1% now hold a huge 58% of the country’s total wealth — higher than the global figure of about 50%. In the report titled ‘An economy for the 99 per cent’, Oxfam said it is time to build a human economy that benefits everyone, not just the privileged few.
Highlights of the study:
- Just 57 billionaires in India now have same wealth ($ 216 billion) as that of the bottom 70% population of the country.
- The richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet. Globally, just 8 billionaires have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50% of the world population.
- Referring to the Global Wage Report 2016-17 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the study said India suffers from huge gender pay gap and has among the worst levels of gender wage disparity — men earning more than women in similar jobs — with the gap exceeding 30%.
- In India, women form 60% of the lowest paid wage labour, but only 15% of the highest wage-earners. It means that in India women are not only poorly represented in the top bracket of wage-earners, but also experience wide gender pay gap at the bottom.
- The study also said that more than 40% of the 400 million women who live in rural India are involved in agriculture and related activities. However, as women are not recognised as farmers and do not own land, they have limited access to government schemes and credit, restricting their agricultural productivity.
- The study also said that the CEO of India’s top information technology firm earns 416 times the salary of a typical employee in his company. In the US, by contrast, billionaires have frequently chosen to cash out of their businesses, and their wealth has not lasted so long.
- The report asks the Indian government to end the extreme concentration of wealth to end poverty, introduce inheritance tax and increase the wealth tax as the proportion of this tax in total tax revenue is one of the lowest in India.
- Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs — a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.
- The study findings showed that the poorest half of the world has less wealth than had been previously thought while over the last two decades, the richest 10% of the population in China, Indonesia, Laos, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have seen their share of income increase by more than 15%.
- On the other hand, the poorest 10 per cent have seen their share of income fall by more than 15 %. Also, due to a combination of discrimination and working in low-pay sectors, women’s wages across Asia are between 70-90% of men’s.
- In Asia, Singapore and India have a high number of multi-generational billionaires and a lot many people across the globe, including India, will transfer wealth to their heirs in the next 20 years, the study said, while pushing for a need to establish a system of inheritance tax.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
India gears up to ink pact for global customs transit system
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.
What is 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 of this convention:
- 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.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Why can’t FM stations broadcast news, asks SC
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.
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.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
Saksham – 2017:
- 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.