Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2018

Bharat-22 ETF follow-on offer may be worth Rs. 10,000 crore

The Union Finance Ministry may come out with Rs. 10,000 crore follow-on fund offer of Bharat-22 exchange traded fund (ETF) as it looks to dilute stake in Coal India Limited (CIL) to meet the minimum public holding norm. Besides, it is also keen to takeETF route to sell off government shares held through  Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India in private companies (SUUTI)—ITC, Axis Bank and L&T.

Background

The Union Government is planning to raise Rs. 80,000 crore in current fiscal from disinvestment, lower than over Rs. 1 trillion raised in 2017. The Bharat-22 ETF was launched in November 2017 to meet some part of this disinterment target. It comprises shares of 22 companies, including public sector undertakings (PSUs), public sector banks (PSBs), ITC, Axis Bank and L&T. The fund so far has garnered bids to tune of Rs.32,000 crore, although government retained only Rs. 14,500 crore.

Prior to the launch of Bharat-22 ETF, which has diversified portfolio, Union Government had floated CPSE ETF comprising stocks of 10 bluechip PSUs—ONGC, Coal India, IOC, GAIL (India), Oil India, PFC, Bharat Electronics, REC, Engineers India and Container Corporation of India. Through the CPSE ETF, the government had raised Rs. 11,500 crore in three tranches

Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)

ETF is index funds that offer security of fund and liquidity of stock listed and traded on exchanges. Much like index funds they mirror index, commodity, bonds or basket of assets. They are similar to mutual funds in certain manner but are more liquid as they can be sold quickly on stock exchanges like shares.

The ETFs trading value is based on the net asset value of the underlying stocks that it represents. Their price changes daily as they are traded throughout the day. ETF route is considered as safer mode of disinvestment as it shields investors against stock market volatility.

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Government launches DARPAN-PLI App

The Union Ministry of Communications has launched DARPAN-PLI application for seamless collection of premium for Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) policies. The app launched under DARPAN Project will help in collection of premium of these two policies at branch post offices anywhere in India, with online updation of the policies.

Key Facts

With launch of this app, indexing of maturity claims of PLI and RPLI polices can be done at Branch Post Office itself, upon which insurant will immediately be provided with request number for further references. This will help in providing better after-sales service to customers of PLI and RPLI, particularly those living in rural areas of country.

DARPAN Project

The Ministry of Communications had launched DARPAN (Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for a New India) Project to achieve total digitisation of postal operations in the country, under IT Modernisation Plan, Department of Posts (DoP).

The project aims at connecting all 1.29 lakh Rural Branch Post Offices in country to enable them to do online postal and financial Transactions. Under it, hand held devices with SIM connectivity and solar power backup are installed in all Branch Post Offices across the country to ensure improvement in quality of Postal services being offered in remote rural areas.

Significance

DARPAN project seeks to increase rural reach of Department of Posts (DoP) and enable BOs to increase traffic of all financial remittances, savings accounts, RPLI policy and cash certificates. It also will improve mail operations processes by allowing for automated booking and delivery of account. Overall, this project will help to improve quality of service, add value to services and achieve financial inclusion of un-banked rural population.

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