Govt begins global roadshow for NTPC, BEL disinvestment
- Government has embarked on global roadshows at four locations, including the US and the UK, to attract investments for its big-ticket stake sale in the country’s largest power producer NTPC and BEL that may fetch around Rs 6,600 crore to the exchequer.
- Government already has cabinet approval for 5 percent stake sale in NTPC. Both NTPC and Bharat Electronics Ltd form part of the Basket Two of public sector enterprises, which the Department of Disinvestment (DoD) had created earlier this year.
- Going by the current stock price, 5 percent stake sale in NTPC could fetch about Rs 5,200 crore, while in case of BEL offloading 5 percent may garner Rs 1,400 crore.
- With first half of the current fiscal already over, the government has garnered only Rs 12,600 crore through stake sale in four PSUs — IOC, PFC, REC and Dredging Corporation.
- It had budgeted to raise Rs 69,500 crore through disinvestment in current fiscal, of which Rs 28,500 crore is to come from strategic stake sales.
- The government had in August appointed Deutsche Bank, ICICI Securities, SBI Capital Markets and Edelweiss Financial Services as merchant bankers for Basket Two — which apart from NTPC and BEL, also has Engineers India, NALCO and Hindustan Copper
Neutrino scientists win Nobel Prize for Physics
- Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Arthur McDonald of Canada won the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for the discovery of neutrino oscillations.
- The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the two researchers had made key contributions to experiments showing that neutrinos change identities.
- Neutrinos are particles that whiz through the universe at nearly the speed of light. They are created in nuclear reactions, such as in the sun and the stars, or in nuclear power plants
- Kajita, 56, is director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research and professor at the University of Tokyo. McDonald, 72, is a professor emeritus at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada
- The winners will split the 8 million Swedish kronor (about $960,000) prize money. Each winner also gets a diploma and a gold medal at the prize ceremony on Dec. 10.
Government revises amount collected under black money compliance window to Rs 4,147 crore
- The government has revised upwards the amount declared during the 90-day black money disclosure compliance window made available under the black money law, though the number of disclosures remained unchanged. The total amount disclosed stands at Rs 4,147 crore compared with Rs 3,770 crore stated earlier.
- The total number of disclosures is 638 as stated last week but the total illegal foreign assets disclosed is Rs 4,147 crore, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said, warning those who have not come clean.
- Those declaring undisclosed foreign assets under the scheme will have to pay 60% tax (30% tax and 30% penalty) by December 31. At that rate, the government stands to net Rs 2,500 crore from the declarations.
- The revenue secretary said information flow would increase once the multilateral arrangement on Common Reporting Standards (CRS) comes into effect from 2017.
Sagarmala project: Government to spend Rs 70,000 crore on 12 major ports
- The government’s ambitious Sagarmala project, which aims to develop port infrastructure along the country’s 7,500 km coastline, is likely to see an investment of more than Rs 70,000 crore in coming years.
- “The project includes modernisation of our ports and islands, setting up of coastal economic zones, new major ports and fish harbours. We expect that the total investment in the project would be to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore,” shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said today.
- Most of this investment is expected to be made by government. But some projects, including development of islands and tourism facilities, would be taken up in public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
- According to the plan, the government intends to develop 30 projects in the current fiscal at a cost of Rs 14,226 crore
- The Sagarmala meeting was attended by several ministers including railways minister Suresh Prabhu, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, environment minister Prakash Javdekar, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Niti Ayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya and minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation Uma Bharti.
Stock of stalled projects rise to 7.6% of GDP in Q2
- Led by an increase in the steel sector, the stock of stalled projects increased in the quarter ended September after falling for five quarters, but in value terms there was increase in new projects, adding up to a mixed quarter for capacity expansion.
- Data released by independent economy tracker CMIE showed the stock of stalled projects rose to 7.6% of GDP in July-September quarter, reversing five quarter of declines. The steel sector contributed 52.2% of increase in stalled projects
- Stalled projects had reached a high of 8.5% of GDP in January-March 2014 quarter. The iron & steel and power generation sectors account for 22% and 30% of all stalled investment projects respectively Overall, projects that were abandoned, shelved or stalled, declined in value for the fourth consecutive quarter, according CMIE.
- In terms of value, new investment projects worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore were announced in July-September quarter as opposed to Rs 1.2 lakh crore in the previous quarter
GK QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
1. Who was conferred with the Merlin Award by International Magicians Associations?
[A]O P Sharma
Answer: Famous magician Zenia Bhumgara was conferred with the Merlin Award by International Magicians Associations. The Merlin is to magicians what the Oscar is to films. The association selects a handful of people worldwide each year to bestow this honour.
2. The Sircilla and Siddipet constituencies which have become first 100 per cent open defecation constituencies in the country are in which state?
Answer: Sircilla and Siddipet constituencies are in Telangana state. These two constituencies are all set to achieve a rare honor of being the first in the country to become 100 percent open defecation-free constituencies. About 20 thousand personal toilets have been constructed on war footing in these constituencies to achieve cent per cent by Gandhi Jayanti, the annual day of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on 2 October.
3. Which of the following states has decided to impose drought tax, recently?
Answer: Maharashtra government has decided to levy a surcharge of Rs 2 on petrol and diesel while VAT on liquor, cigarettes and beverages have also been raised by 5 per cent. The decision aims to raise more funds for tackling drought in the state. The measures will be in force for five months.