Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday arrived in Chennai on a day's visit to launch the National Handloom Day on August 07 2015.
1.ISRO hopes soar for another indigenous GSLV launch success
Towards this month-end, national space agency ISRO hopes to realise its second consecutive success with the indigenous GSLV launcher boosted by its Indian cryogenic third stage.
The upcoming GSLV-D6 is the ninth in the series of the indigenous medium-lift satellite launch vehicle. It is for now slated to take off on or around August 27 from Sriharikota. Its passenger, the 2,140-kg communication satellite GSAT-6, was taken to Sriharikota from Bengaluru on July 20.
ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, A.S. Kiran Kumar, told The Hindu: “Our last GSLV launch with the indigenous cryo stage was in January 2014 and it was a success. [A success this time] will mean that ISRO can go ahead and have two GSLV launches a year as planned.
“Each success adds to the reliability and continuity of the vehicle. We now have a viable version. The basics have already been demonstrated. There is a lot of confidence and we are already working on the next lot.”
Satellites from home
The forthcoming launch will notch a significant milestone in the nation’s elusive GSLV programme, which was taken up in the mid-1990s and tried out for the first time in April 2001. The launcher will enable India to put into space two-tonne-class communication satellites from home — rather than on costly Western launchers.
Six early GSLVs, called Mark I, used Russian-made cryo stages. Mark II uses the homegrown cryo stage.
The next four or five GSLV launches would be for domestic use: INSAT-3DR and a spare to replace the meteorology satellite INSAT-3D; GISAT and its follow-on; and GSAT-6A to replace GSAT-6 after a few years.
Mr. Kiran Kumar said: “This flight will also test a few new technologies. One of them is the satellite antenna, which is unfurlable and of six metres in diametre. We are looking forward to testing this out as it has some advantages. It can give concentrated energy density for the same power. So far in older INSATs, we have routinely used antennas with diametres of 2.2 to 2.8 metres.”
As for its older and successful PSLV light-lift launcher, ISRO has made 30 flights since 1995 and has also commercially put 45 small and medium foreign satellites into orbit. Their launch fees earned ISROs business entity Antrix Corporation revenues totalling about Rs. 102 crore.
It is the ninth in the series of the indigenous medium-lift satellite launch vehicle.
2. The Creative Cities Network: Jaipur and Varanasi from India nominated to be added to the network.
The Creative Cities Network is a project under the patronage of UNESCO. With the aim of celebrating and maintaining cultural diversity, the alliance formed by member cities share their experiences in promoting the local heritage, as well as discuss plans on how to cope with the influx of globalization.
The Creative Cities Network aims to find and enrich a member city’s cultural identity in the midst of a growing trend towards internationalism.
The project focuses on the main product of excellence of these cities, and finds ways to maintain its relevance in city life, local economy and social development. The fields of excellence are classified among: Literature, Film, Music, Craft and Folk Art, Design, Media Arts, and Gastronomy.
Despite the general knowledge that change (towards modernity) is generated from urbanization, the Network aims to adapt and harness the proliferation of technology and social development to further a city’s product of excellence. In doing so, the city becomes a center for the protection of a past industry and its eventual preservation.
3.Foxconn plans to invest $5 billion
In a major push for the ‘Make in Maharashtra’ initiative, Taiwanese electronic contract manufacturer Foxconn has committed to invest $5 billion (over Rs.31,500 crore) in Maharashtra to set up large scale research & development (R&D) and manufacturing facilities for its global requirement. This investment will spread over three years.
4.P-Notes require more stringent monitoring
Way back in 2005, the then Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Y. V. Reddy spoke on the need for a view be taken on the ‘quantity and quality of FII flows’ and expressed the need for taxing or capping such flows. Immediately, the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram denied any such moves, constraining Mr. Reddy to clarify his statement.
The issue again came up for discussion recently as the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money in its third report pointed out to the Supreme Court that the overseas derivative instruments (ODIs), popularly known as Participatory Notes (P-Notes), were used from destinations such as the Cayman Islands, a tax haven.
India allowed FIIs to invest in Indian capital market since 1992. As the Know-Your-Investor or Know-Your-Client (KYC) norms were applicable for these foreign funds, the FIIs started to issue P-Notes, which helped the beneficiary (end-user) to remain anonymous. P-Notes are, in essence, overseas derivatives instruments (ODIs), which have Indian stocks and derivatives as their underlying securities.
As per reports, P-Notes comprise around 15 to 20 per cent of the total FII investments in the country since 2009. While it held around 25 to 40 per cent in 2008, it was as high as 50 per cent in 2007.
Concerned with tax evasion through the stock market route and in an effort to curb black money, the SIT also suggested to the Government to obtain details of beneficial ownership or the end-user, which should be known to the capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Around the same time when Mr. Reddy had raised the issue of hot money, the then SEBI Chairman M. Damodaran also presumably held the same view of Mr. Reddy on such foreign inflows. However, in those days, the Government or the Finance Ministry was reluctant to take further action and forced the financial regulators to retract on their stand. The investments through P-Notes were legitimised by SEBI in 2002, when D. R. Mehta was the Chairman of the capital market regulator.
Mr. Reddy had said that there was scope for enhancing quality of flows through a review of policies relating to eligibility for registration as FIIs, and assessment of risks involved in flows through hedge funds, participatory notes, sub-accounts etc. “Strict adherence to ‘Know Your Investor’ principle, especially in regard to flows from tax-havens, including beneficial ownership would enhance quality,” he pointed out. His concern: The magnitudes of FDI/ FII flows are tending to be large and volatility has perhaps increased. The impact of such flows on the stock markets is discernible, but perhaps less evident at this juncture in corporate ownership and control.
Now under the new Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) regime, which came into effect from 2014, the regulator had segregated the FIIs into several categories.
“The fundamental worry we are having is that whether hot money or inappropriate funds are coming into the country,” said Harish H. V. Partner, Grant Thornton India LLP. According to him, there is always been a suspicion that this route has been used for laundering funds.
“While some PNs may be genuine some others could be illegal funds. But FPIs should give conformity to the funds that brought in with all documentation,” he said.
However, Sandeep Parekh, Founder, Finsec Law Advisors, said that these were highly regulated products and beneficiary was known on a monthly basis to SEBI and daily basis to FPI. “But there is no daily monitoring of the beneficial ownership (end-user) by the regulator, which is a must.”
SEBI officials also reportedly accepted the views of the SIT, though not fully. The SIT in its third report on July 25 had suggested to the regulator to put in place an effective mechanism to monitor any unusual rise in stock prices and inform other agencies such as CBDT and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for necessary action.
The outstanding value of ODIs at the end of February 2015 stood at Rs.2,715 lakh crore. The top five locations of end-beneficial owner of ODIs were Cayman Islands, the U.S., the U.K., Mauritius and Bermuda contributing to 31.3 per cent, 14.2 per cent, 13.5 per cent, 9.9 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively of total ODIs outstanding.
“This translates to roughly Rs.85,006 crore. The Cayman Islands had a population of 54,397 in 2010...It does not seem conceivable that a jurisdiction with a population of less than 55,000 could invest Rs.85,000 crore in one country,” a note from Ministry of Finance stated on the recommendations of SIT.
The SIT report stated that obtaining information on ‘beneficial ownership’ of P-Notes is of crucial importance to prevent their misuse. In this, the “final beneficial owner” of ODIs is known.
P-Notes are giving a varied and ulterior connotation to investors, especially among the retail and long-term investors in the country. It is the duty of the regulator to remove the doubt in the minds of genuine investors while curbing the black money in the country.
These are highly regulated products and beneficiary are known on a monthly basis to SEBI and daily basis to FPI. But there is no daily monitoring of the end-user by the regulator, which is a must.
1.Kayyara Kinhanna Rai passes away
Centenarian Kannada poet and freedom fighter Kayyara Kinhanna Rai passed away at his residence at Badiyadkka in Kasaragod district of Kerala on Sunday.
Born on June 8, 1915, he left an indelible impression not only as a poet but also as a social activist, teacher, scholar, journalist and people’s representative. He was a champion for integrating the region around Kasaragod, north of Chandragiri, with Karnataka, an aspiration of the Kannada-speaking minority in Kerala after the 1957 States reorganisation.