Pune Current Affairs

Mitra Shakti 2017: India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise held in Pune

The 5th India-Sri Lanka joint training exercise “Mitra Shakti 2017” was held Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharshtra.  The two weeks exercise (October 13 and 25) is based on Counter Terrorist Operations (CTO) and Infantry company from both countries are participating in it.

Mitra Shakti 2017

The aim of joint training is to exchange best of military practices of two countries and build strong military-to-military (M2M) relation between two armies. It also aims at developing joint strategies by sharing the expertise of conducting operations, especially in counter-insurgency and counter terrorism (CI and CT) environment under UN mandate. The training module of exercise will include weapons training, basic military tactics and complex battle strategies.

Background

The Mitra Shakti series of exercise between India and Sri Lanka had started in 2012, mainly as a response to China’s efforts to increase its influence in South Asia and Indian Ocean region. The armies of India and Sri Lanka also serve together in the United Nations Peacekeeping missions. The fourth edition of exercise was held at Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka, in 2016 with main focus to enhance inter-operability in CI and CT operations under the UN mandate.

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India’s Largest Municipal Bond Programme Launched

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu has launched India’s largest municipal bond programme.

Salient Highlights

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) became the first municipal corporation in the country to tap money through municipal bonds in 14 years. The AA+ rated PMC’s municipal bonds raised Rs 200 crore at 7.59 per cent rate at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

This is the first-ever mobilisation of debt capital by a municipal corporation on the BSE BOND platform. This will also be the first issuance since the publication of ‘Issue and Listing of Debt Securities by Municipalities Regulations, 2015’ by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The 10-year bonds will be used by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for a Rs 2,300-crore water project. The scheme is aimed at providing water 24×7 for all residents of Pune.

Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was assisted by the US Department of Treasury to create a debt policy. PMC has also planned to prepare a case study based on its experience and share it with other urban bodies to help them raise money from the bond markets.

Since the bonds do not have any guarantee from the state government, an escrow account has been created to deposit the funds for the comfort of investors.

Municipality Bonds

Municipality bonds can be issued by the city corporations to fund developmental projects. Institutional investors, as well as the public, can buy these bonds. The corporations can use the revenues earned from the developmental projects like Metro rail network to repay the interest and principal on these bonds. These municipal bonds have now been permitted for public offering by SEBI.

Municipal bonds have been in existence in India from the year 1997. Cities such as Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Nashik and Madurai have already issued them. These bonds will help the city corporations to directly raise funds without the help of grants from the state governments or agencies such as World Bank.

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