Thursday, September 11, 2014

clears stake sale in CIL, ONGC, NHPC; may get Rs 43k cr

"Disinvestment proposals of ONGC, Coal India and NHPC have been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs," an official source said after a meeting of the CCEA, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At current market prices, the sale of shares in state- owned CIL, ONGC and NHPC could garner over Rs 23,000 crore, Rs 18,000 crore and Rs 2,800 crore respectively, helping the government meet its disinvestment target of Rs 43,425 crore for this fiscal.

CCEA has cleared 10 per cent stake dilution in CIL, 5 per cent in ONGC and 11.36 per cent in NHPC through the Offer For Sale (OFS) route, sources said.

The government has already selected merchant bankers for managing ONGC and NHPC disinvestment and is in the process for doing so for CIL.

The previous government had cleared disinvestment in SAIL and according to sources the 5 per cent stake sale in the state-owned steel maker is likely to hit the markets this month.

The sale of 5 per cent stake or about 20.65 crore shares of SAIL at the current market price of around Rs 80.95 a piece would fetch the exchequer over Rs 1,600 crore.

The Cabinet had in July 2012 approved 10.82 per cent stake sale in SAIL. Accordingly, the first tranche of disinvestment of 5.82 per cent was completed in March 2013.

Govt asks UIDAI to generate 100 cr Aadhaar numbers by 2015

The Government has approved Phase -V of Unique Identification project which entails generation of 100 crore Aadhaar numbers by 2015 including enrolments done under the National Population Register.

The government has also given go-ahead to the Unique Identification Authority of India, which is implementing the Aadhaar project, to undertake enrolments in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.

"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for Phase-V of the UID scheme for undertaking enrolments in the four States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand," a press release said in New Delhi on Wednesday.

According to the statement, with this approval, the UIDAI has been given the target of generation of 100 crore Aadhaar numbers by 2015.

Generation of 100 crore Aadhaar or unique identification numbers includes UID numbers issued in respect of enrolments done under the National Population Register in 12 states and union territories allocated to it.

Agni-1 successfully test-fired

India on  12-Sep-2014 successfully test-fired it’s indigenously built nuclear capable Agni-I missile, which has a strike range of 700 km, from a test range off Odisha coast as part of a user trial by the Army.

The surface-to-surface, single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test-fired from a mobile launcher at about 11.11 hrs from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island, about 100 km from Balasore, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) spokesman Ravi Kumar Gupta said on Thursday.

Describing the trial as fully successful, Gupta said the ballistic missile was launched by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the army as part of a training exercise.

"The entire exercise was conducted in a perfect manner and the trial was totally successful," he said

EC reprimands Adityanath for hate speech

Two days ahead of bypolls in UP, the Election Commission on Thursday reprimanded controversial BJP MP Yogi Adityanath for "provoking feelings of enmity" during a recent speech in Noida and asked the state poll officials to ensure filing of an FIR against him.

The EC's rebuke for the Hindutva hardliner for allegedly invoking "religion" and making "appeal on this ground to secure votes" for his party came a day after he was booked for defying a ban on election meeting in Lucknow.

The poll body in its order also cautioned the BJP leader to be careful in his future public utterances.

Asking the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Uttar Pradesh to ensure that an FIR is lodged against him for violation of the Model Code of Conduct in his speech last week, if it has not been filed till now, the EC demanded a compliance report by 5 PM tomorrow.

Bypolls will take place on Saturday in Noida and other assembly constituencies of UP and Adityanath is BJP's lead campaigner.

The Commission also expressed its displeasure with the MP for not addressing his reply to the EC in this regard and rather marking the communication vaguely as "What So Ever It May Concern".

One lakh evacuated in J & K flood

One lakh people in flood- hit Kashmir Valley were evacuated so far in rescue operations as authorities today shifted focus to relief supplies to lakhs of stranded victims and prepared to combat possible spread of waterborne diseases with flood waters receding.

With many stranded people reluctant to leave their homes, authorities said they are concentrating more on providing them food and water.

As a tragedy of epic proportions unfolded in the worst-ever floods to hit Kashmir in 109 years after heavy rains from September 2, the death toll was stated to be around 250.

Authorities fear that the number of dead could be higher.

Kamal Bawa gets 2014 Midori Prize in Biodiversity

The founder president of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) in Bangalore, will receive the prize with a cash award of $100,000 during the Oct 16-17 Conference of Parties (COP-12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in South Korea.

The prize also honours his contributions to research in ecology of tropical forests, sustainable use of tropical forests, promoting engagement of civil society in conservation efforts, and for his leadership role in setting up ATREE.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

WHO sounds alarm over Ebola infections as deaths top 1,500

World Health Organization said that the number of Ebola cases was increasing rapidly and could exceed 20,000 before the virus is brought under control, as the death toll topped 1,500.

New figures showed the massive scale of the crisis, which the WHO said indicated a "rapid increase still in the intensity of transmission" that could cost at least $490 million (370 million euros) to tackle.

Bruce Aylward, the WHO's head of emergency programmes, said it could take six to nine months to bring Ebola under control, by which time the number of infections could have passed 20,000.