first_imgPresident Pranab Mukherjee signed two key ordinances Friday, clearing the way for the auction of coal blocks that were ordered cancelled by the Supreme Court, and for a hike in foreign equity cap in the insurance industry from 26 percent to 49 percent.The legislations for the two measures could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition did not allow the upper house, where the government is in minority, to conduct business during the last few days of the winter session that ended Tuesday.A cabinet meeting Wednesday, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to issue the two ordinances so as to send a strong signal that the government will pursue reforms and would not allow disruptions in parliament to come in the way, an official said.The ordinance on coal is necessary for the government to hold auctions for the blocks that were ordered cancelled by the Supreme Court, while that on insurance will operationalise the reforms in the sector, the bill for which was okayed by the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.”With the repromulgation of the ordinance on coal, the unfinished process of allocations can begin again,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the cabinet decision, adding that reforms will not be halted if the opposition does not cooperate.The government has, in fact, moved quickly on the coal auctions.A day after the cabinet approval for the allocation of coal blocks, a web portal was formally launched for e-auction of 24 coal mines which will be held in February. Soon after, the tender documents were also released.”Twenty-four blocks are being put up for auction in the first stage. The process will benifit the common man. Power tariff will not go up, I assure you, because in this case it will be reverse bidding, and tariffs will come down,” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goel said.On insurance, the industry expects the upward revision in the foreign equity limits to result in an additional capital infusion of around Rs.50,000 crore ($8 billion) by 2020. This apart, it is also expected to help in increasing insurance penetration that is abysmally low now.The Indian insurance sector has 52 players — 28 in non-life business and 24 in life.last_img

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first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Essar Ports Following a successful first quarter, India’s port operator Essar Ports expects to meet its target of handling 60 million tons (MT) of cargo in FY 2020.For the quarter ended June 30, 2019, Essar Ports reported a 17.4 percent growth in cargo volumes across its four terminals.The combined throughput stood at 13.5 million tons, up from 11.5 million tons recorded in the same period last year.As explained, higher capacity utilization at the company’s recently commissioned terminals at Salaya and Vizag, and an increase in third-party cargo were the two key factors that will help the company achieve its target of handling 60 million tons of cargo by March 31, 2020. With throughput being 47 MT in FY19, this would translate to a growth of 27 percent, the port operator said.“Our business is on a record growth trajectory with all terminals operating in full swing. Significant boost in third-party business and enhanced capacity utilisation of our anchor customers has been the key driver for the growth in volumes,” Rajiv Agarwal, MD & CEO of Essar Ports, commented.“We have consistently surpassed the average sectorial growth rate and are confident of achieving our target by March 2020,” Agarwal added.Essar Ports is one of India’s largest private sector port and terminal developers and operators. Its current operations span four terminals with a combined capacity of 110 MTPA, which is roughly 5 percent of India’s port capacity.Outside India, Essar’s port assets include a liquid terminal in the UK and a coal terminal which is in the development stage at Mozambique’s Beira port.last_img

The United Nations agencies tasked with assisting refugees and promoting sexual and reproductive health rights have bolstered their partnership to tackle common challenges such as combating sexual and gender-based violence and addressing the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs). UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres and UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid signed a joint letter in Geneva yesterday formalizing the strengthened ties between the two bodies which have been working together for many years on issues of mutual concern. “The newly signed letter is an attempt to broaden the cooperation between the agencies,” said Karl Steinacker, head of UNHCR’s field information and coordination support section. The two agencies have collaborated to ensure that refugees and IDPs can enjoy their rights to good health, including in the preparation of health manuals, and to provide training, guidelines and resources to combat sexual and gender-based violence, particularly in refugee communities. In addition, UNFPA supplies UNHCR with items, including male and female condoms, to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections in conflict zones. They have also worked together on a photographic and video project – “Positive Living, an exhibition for refugee settings” – designed to help de-stigmatize HIV/AIDS by showing that people living with HIV can lead a normal existence, which has toured refugee camps all over Africa. Other areas where the two agencies stand to benefit from closer cooperation include obtaining accurate information on displaced populations, which will help to ensure that the vulnerable receive the assistance they need. Also, UNFPA’s expertise in carrying out population censuses can help in identifying the world’s stateless people. 1 May 2008The United Nations agencies tasked with assisting refugees and promoting sexual and reproductive health rights have bolstered their partnership to tackle common challenges such as combating sexual and gender-based violence and addressing the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The Colombo Chief Magistrate today issued notice on former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris to appear in court on March 8.Peiris and two others were ordered in court over a case filed by the Bribery Commission. (Colombo Gazette)

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