(Current Affairs) Economy & Energy | July + August: 2015


Home Ministry may not give licence to Sun TV firms

  • The Home Ministry may not grant licence to Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV Network’s group companies citing the alleged involvement of its owners in 2G spectrum scam and Aircel Maxis cases before various courts and investigating agencies.
  • The stand is likely to be communicated to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley had written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue, according to official sources here.
  • The company operates 45 radio channels under the brand name Suryan FM in Tamil Nadu and Red FM in rest of the country.
  • The Home Ministry said the company and its owners were allegedly involved in 2G scam, alleged bungling in Aircel-Maxis deal as well as running an “illegal” connections of telephones used for uploading their content, the sources said.
  • The company of Kalanithi, who is the brother of former union minister Dayanidhi Maran, had sought renewal of licence of its radio channels from one phase to another.

HDFC Bank, Apollo Hospitals join hands

  • HDFC Bank, in association with Apollo Hospitals, has launched a co-branded pre-paid card called HDFC Bank Apollo Medical Benefits Card, which will enable corporates to easily disburse medical allowance to their employees without waste of time and incurring any cost.

  • Corporates can load the specified allowance on to the card of each employee every month, which can be used by employees for medical expenditure at pan-India VISA/MasterCard outlets. “This card offers an easy and convenient way for corporates to save costs and eliminate administrative issues while disbursing medical allowances,” said Parag Rao, Senior Executive Vice-President and Business Head, Cards Payment Products and Merchant Acquiring Services, HDFC Bank.

  • “The Medical Benefit card is a win-win for employees, who benefit from cashless transactions for healthcare with unmatched savings, and the employer in terms of transparency, compliance and transaction cost saving. All companies and their employees will benefit and shift to this card in the future,” Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., said in a statement.

  • This first-of-its kind card offers employees access to additional benefits such as discounts and facilities, including free ambulance services. The card comes with a free accidental death insurance and accident hospitalisation insurance, and discount at Apollo Network (Apollo Hospitals, Apollo Pharmacies, Apollo Clinics and Apollo White Dental) across India.

Emerson Process buys Ameya Transmissions

  • Emerson Process Management India, a part of American multi-national Emerson, has announced the acquisition of the Pune-based manufacturer of gear operators and gearboxes Ameya Transmissions for an unspecified amount.

  • This acquisition would support Emerson’s final control technology used primarily in the oil and gas and power industries both domestically and globally, the company said.

  • Ameya Transmissionsdevelops and manufactures a wide range of gear operators, including quarter-turn and multi-turn manual gearboxes, which are supplied to the manual valve industry.

  • Gear operators and gearboxes are a critical component of automated valve packages to serve as a fail-safe in the event of a power failure. Ameya has supplied over a million gear boxes so far.

  • “Ameya’s reputation as a quality manufacturer is a great strategic fit for Emerson and strongly complements our actuator business,” said Amit Paithankar, Managing Director, Emerson Process Management India.

  • Apart from catering to the Indian market, Ameya also has been exporting its products to many countries including the U.K., the U.S., Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Turkey, China and Middle East. The company has two manufacturing units.

  • “This deal makes great sense for both companies,” said Rohan Pai, co-founder of Ameya Transmissions. “Our businesses complement each other and we have the opportunity to grow even further because of Emerson’s global reach and commitment to excellence,” he added.

Tata launches GenX Nano

  • QUOTE: “There is a huge opportunity in the entry level hatchback segment in India as entry level compact cars account for 15 per cent of India’s automobile market’’ Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicle Business, Tata Motors

  • In a move clearly aimed at reviving the fortunes of its mini hatchback, ‘Nano’, Tata Motors on Tuesday launched the product in a new refurbished avatar, the GenX Nano, in a move clearly aimed at reviving the fortunes of its mini hatchback. The GenX Nano will replace existing models of the Nano.

  • The new product, positioned as a ‘smart city’ car, comes with a range of new technological features. The car will be sold in five variants, starting with the base variant, the XE priced at Rs.1.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and the higher end XT priced at Rs.2.49 lakh.

  • The company also launched two new variants — XMA and XTA with ‘Easy Shift’ Automated Manual Transmission (AMT). While the XMA will be made-to-order and available from August 2015, the top-end XTA will be available post-national launch.

  • Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicle Business, Tata Motors, said, “There is a huge opportunity in the entry level hatchback segment in India. The last three years were an aberration for the Indian car industry and it is expected to double in the next five years to become the third largest after China and the U.S.” The new variants offer enhanced acceleration and ‘creep’ feature for heavy traffic manoeuvrability and ease of parking.

  • The GenX Nano continues to have the Electric Power Assisted Steering (ePAS) designed for light steering feel and easy parking. The GenX Nano offers fuel efficiency of 23.6 kmpl and 21.9 kmpl for the manual and AMT variants.

  • On the new AMT variants, Mr. Pareek said, “there is a huge propensity for AMT vehicles and 30-35 per cent customers are opting for it.’’

Govt may do away with mandatory RBI approval for FDI

  • In a bid to attract more foreign investment, the government is looking at doing away with the mandatory approval of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which currently is needed after an investment proposal has been approved by the FIPB.

  • Till now, the government and RBI shared oversight over direct and indirect foreign investments.

  • Sources said the Section 6 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) has been amended in the Finance Bill 2015 approved by Parliament earlier this month to delete the requirement of RBI consent for cross-border transactions and acquisition or transfer of immovable property to foreigners.

  • The Finance Ministry and the Industry Department are working on new norms which would be issued shortly, they said.

  • Under the proposed mechanism, all foreign investment proposals requiring government approval will only need FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) nod.

  • The regulation under FEMA that required foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals to be examined by RBI, is being done away with, they said.

  • Currently, foreign investment is permitted either through the automatic route or the government approval route. The proposals under the approval route envisaging investment up to Rs 3,000 crore are cleared by FIPB and beyond that require Cabinet nod. The foreign investment is also subject to sectoral caps which are specified in the FDI policy.

  • The move is aimed at making it easier for doing business in India. India currently ranks 142 out of the 189 countries on Ease of Doing Business list.

SEBI notifies norms for MFs managing offshore money

  • Simplifying norms for domestic funds to manage offshore pooled assets, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has dropped ‘20-25 rule’, which required a minimum of 20 investors and a cap of 25 per cent on investment by an individual, for funds from low-risk foreign investors.

  • As per the existing norms, a fund manager who is managing a domestic scheme, is allowed to manage an offshore fund, subject to three specific conditions.

  • The first requires the investment objective and asset allocation of the domestic scheme and of the offshore fund to be the same.

  • The second condition requires at least 70 per cent of the portfolio to be replicated across both the domestic scheme and the offshore fund.

  • The third condition, which was being considered as the most stringent by the industry, requires that the offshore fund should be broad-based with at least 20 investors with no single investor holding more than 25 per cent of the fund corpus.

  • Otherwise, a separate fund manager is required to be appointed for managing an offshore fund.

  • In a notification uploaded on SEBI’s website, the regulator said these restrictions would not apply “if the funds managed are of Category I foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and/or Category II foreign portfolio investors which are appropriately regulated broad based funds.”

Bachchans invest in Ziddu.com

  • Actor Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek Bachchan have invested $125,000 each in Ziddu.com, a Singapore based website owned by Meridian Tech Pte Ltd.

  • The $250,000 investment will fetch them a small, minority stake in the company whose valuation is around US $ 71 million.

  • A free cloud storage and e-distribution and micro payment platform founded by Venkata Srinivas Meenavalli, it has a development centre in Hyderabad.

  • “We employ about 25 people in Hyderabad,” he told, adding that the Bachchans were keen on investing more. One of the leading families of Bollywood, the Bachchans made use of the Liberalised Remittance Scheme of the Reserve Bank of India to invest in the company, he said.

  • Although the apex bank has doubled the limit under LRS to $250,000 per person per year, the Finance Ministry is yet to issue a circular giving effect to the hike. This made the Bachchans limit their investment to $125,000 each.

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