• A week of hectic activity in the Parliament as a number of bills get passed including the Finance bill’ 2016-17, popularly known as “Budget”.

  • Rajya Sabha clears amendment to laws dealing with mines allowing the transfer of non-auctioned mines in cases of mergers and acquisition, a serious stumbling block for corporate deals. This would facilitate the conclusion of a number of deals particularly in Cement sector stuck due to this provision.
  • Lok Sabha clears Bankruptcy bill, an important step ahead in improving the ease of doing business. The bill essentially aims to simplify the process of winding up of a bankrupt company which is currently governed through many separate laws. (More on this, in a separate story)
  • Government clears new coal supply linkage policy providing flexibility in sourcing of coal based on the distance of the power plant from the coal mines. As per the earlier policy, each power station was linked to a coal mine depending upon the availability at the time of application and was supplied from there only. (Loosely, it can be compared to children being sent to school nearest to their home rather than the school where they got admission. :))
  • Telecom Commission, Deptt. of Telecom, approves base price of Rs 11,485 crore per Mhz for all India license for 700 Mhz frequency. Auction for this frequency range, most suitable for 4G services, is being planned for the first time. The price, quite stiff, doesn’t seem to leave much room for telecom operators, already facing heat due to intense competition.
  •  JSW Energy agrees to buy out JSPL’s 1,000 mw power plant for a consideration of Rs 4,000 crore. The deal is a testimony of stress in Steel sector, with Naveen Jindal group, facing a liquidity crunch, is being bailed out by the elder brother, Sajjan Jindal, although on commercially acceptable terms only.
  • UK’s GDP growth slows to 0.4% in March quarter, down from 0.6% in Dec. what is more worrying is that except for services, other three segments, manufacturing, construction and agriculture have recorded a contraction. The decline may further sharpen the divide between proponents and opponents of “brexit”, as the country readies for referendum in June.

(Image courtesy – Parliament of India website)

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