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Global trade in fake goods worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year - OECD & EUIPO
Apr 21,2016

Imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year, or around 2.5% of global imports, with US, Italian and French brands the hardest hit and many of the proceeds going to organised crime, according to a new report by the OECD and the EUs Intellectual Property Office.

n++Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impactn++ puts the value of imported fake goods worldwide at USD 461 billion in 2013, compared with total imports in world trade of USD 17.9 trillion. Up to 5% of goods imported into the European Union are fakes. Most originate in middle income or emerging countries, with China the top producer.

The report analyses nearly half a million customs seizures around the world over 2011-13 to produce the most rigorous estimate to date of the scale of counterfeit trade. It points to a larger volume than a 2008 OECD study which estimated fake goods accounted for up to 1.9% of global imports, though the 2008 study used more limited data and methodology.

n++The findings of this new report contradict the image that counterfeiters only hurt big companies and luxury goods manufacturers. They take advantage of our trust in trademarks and brand names to undermine economies and endanger lives,n++ said OECD Deputy Secretary-General Doug Frantz, launching the report with EUIPO Executive Director Antn++nio Campinos as part of OECD Integrity Week.

Fake products crop up in everything from handbags and perfumes to machine parts and chemicals. Footwear is the most-copied item though trademarks are infringed even on strawberries and bananas. Counterfeiting also produces knockoffs that endanger lives - auto parts that fail, pharmaceuticals that make people sick, toys that harm children, baby formula that provides no nourishment and medical instruments that deliver false readings.\

The report covers all physical counterfeit goods, which infringe trademarks, design rights or patents, and tangible pirated products, which breach copyright. It does not cover online piracy, which is a further drain on the formal economy.

It notes that emerging economies tend to have the infrastructure for large-scale trade but often suffer from governance gaps and may lack the institutions and enforcement capacity to effectively tackle counterfeiting. While China is the top provenance of fake goods, its most innovative companies also fall victim to counterfeiters.

The top countries whose companies had their intellectual property rights infringed in the 2011-13 seizures were the United States, whose brands or patents were affected by 20% of the knock-offs, then Italy with 15%, and France and Switzerland with 12% each. Japan and Germany stood at 8% each followed by the UK and Luxembourg.

Postal parcels are the top method of shipping bogus goods, accounting for 62% of seizures over 2011-13, reflecting the growing importance of online commerce in international trade. The traffic goes through complex routes via major trade hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore and free trade zones such as those in the United Arab Emirates. Other transit points include countries with weak governance and widespread organised crime such as Afghanistan and Syria. The report shows trade routes change greatly from year to year as counterfeit gangs spot new weak points.

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Half of CEOs Expect Their Industries to Be Substantially or Unrecognizably Transformed by Digital
Apr 21,2016

CEOs have underlined that growth will be their top business priority for 2016, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. The 2016 Gartner CEO and senior business executive survey found that despite indications that the global economy is struggling in early 2016, CEOs do not plan to significantly change their priorities. After growth (54 percent), the second and third business priorities are customers (31 percent) and workforce (27 percent).

The Gartner CEO and senior business executive survey of 400 senior business leaders in user organizations worldwide was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2015, asking questions about 2016/2017. Most responding organizations were those with annual revenue of $1 billion or more. The survey results show that while business conditions are challenging, CEOs remain confident enough to sanction strategic investments, particularly when it comes to digital business transformation.

The big rise of explicit mentions of the word customer was very noticeable in the results of this years survey, said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow. CEOs seem to be concerned about improving customer service, relationship and satisfaction levels. At the same time, CEOs have become much more concerned about employee issues than a couple of years ago. The emphasis is as much on benefits, retention and training of mainstream staff. It is not constrained only to senior grade talent issues.

In a bid to stick to their digital business transformation plans, more and more CEOs are choosing to head up digital change in the business. The survey found that CEOs now understand that digital business is substantial enough to warrant them leading it personally. If they delegate primary responsibility, then the next most likely leader is the CIO.

The rise in the number of CEOs heading up digital change is unsurprising given that half of the CEOs surveyed expect to see substantial digital transformation in their industries, or for their industries to be almost unrecognizable within five years. Examples of digital changes in industries include self-driving cars, the rise of blockchain in banking, the e-cigarette revolution in tobacco and the potential impact of Internet of Things (IoT)-fuelled data science in insurance.

The survey results also showed that CEOs appear to see digitalization as a positive force, not a destructive one. Overall, they are very bullish about the effects of digital change on the gross (pretax) profitability of their businesses. Eighty-four percent of CEOs said that they expect digital change to bring higher profit margins.

One explanation for CEOs optimistic attitude toward digital change may be because they can see how it helps with the product innovations that matter to customers, said Mr. Raskino. We asked CEOs what proportion of the customer perceived value of products and services they think is digital. Thinking about the product features that customers are choosing and believe they are buying, CEOs said the value percentage is already 30 percent on average, and will rise to 46 percent by 2019.

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Under investment in IRs Track Capacity addition between 1951 to 2014 grew at a meagre 0.7% CAGR- PHD Chamber & ICAI paper
Apr 21,2016

A knowledge paper on Indian Railways, prepared jointly by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Institute of Coast Accountants of India (ICAI) reveals that Indian railways suffered so much from under investment between 1951 to 2014 that its track capacity addition could grow at CAGR of a meagre 0.7% whereas it witnessed a respective passenger and freight traffic growth by CAGR of 3.1% and 4.3%.

The paper which was released here by the Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr. Jitendra Singh in the presence of President and Vice President of the PHD Chamber Dr. Mahesh Gupta and Mr. Anil Khaitan among others at 3rd Global Rail Convention-2016 under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry also states that a consequence, capacity augmentation has suffered and so the quality of service delivery.

The paper titled Indian Railways - Transforming into an Engine of Growth further states, n++the resources have been insufficient for improving customer satisfaction and introducing technological improvements. Investments in safety have also been insufficient and the biggest challenge facing Indian railways is its inability to meet the demands of its customers both freight and passengern++.

According to the paper, due to low track km addition over the years, the high density networks of the Indian Railways are facing acute capacity constraints, 40% of sections are running at 100% or above line capacity showcasing the high congestion in the system. More than 65% of high density network is running at over 100% utilization levels.

It points out that Indian railways is equipped with train engines that can travel at a speed of 160 km per hour, but due to old coach designs, the maximum speed they can travel at is 110 km per hour. In India the main line tracks built cannot even sustain the trains travelling at a speed of 110-130 km per hour. Due to this, the average speed of the trains is hampered. The time required to travel is increased because of weak infrastructure.

The paper further highlights that while passenger segment utilizes 65% of the resources, it contributes only 30% to the revenues, whereas freight contributed 70% by utilizing only 35% of resources. Cross subsidizing of passenger fares by artificially high freight fares has led to shift in favour of road transport, both in freight and short distance passenger traffic.

The Minister pointed out that between 2009-10 until 2013-14, an allocation of Rs.2,128.6 crore was made by the previous UPA government to establish railways linkages in the entire northern eastern region to mainstream it with the rest of India.

n++Whereas, ever since the Modi government came to power in May 2014, it increased such an allocation for the same purpose by 150% at a level of over Rs.5,300 crore in the last two years, as a result the capacity building of railways has been intensifying in the north eastern regionn++, pointed Dr. Singh who is also MoS of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Sapce and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, PMO.

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Public Sector Energy Blue Chips Companies Likely to Launch Masala Bonds to Tap the UK Investor Community
Apr 21,2016

As India gears up to meet its ambitious renewable energy targets of 175 GW of installed capacity by 2022, the country is exploring international mechanisms of funding and is evaluating new and innovative tools to finance the renewables sector.

As a step in this direction, Indian public sector giants are likely to examine rupee denominated debt instruments like Masala Bonds to create and develop a new market and identify benchmark prices for these new instruments. The issuances which would be offered by blue chip government companies are expected to help evolve new vistas of funding for the renewable energy space.

n++Companies including NTPC, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Power Finance Corporation, Power Trading Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation are likely to launch these Masala Bonds totalling $1 billion in the next three or four months in the UK to gauge the investor appetite. The tenor of these bonds is likely to be limited to a band of five to seven years and these are going to be in smaller denominations ranging from $150-250 million. These will be subject to decisions made by the Boards of the PSU energy companies.

In addition, Energy Efficiency Services could explore issuance of Green Masala Bond subject to credit rating. ,n++ said Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, Government of India.

In 2015, IFC issued the first Masala bond listed on the London Stock Exchange. The bonds worth over Rs 1000 crore were issued in a range of tenors, including a ten-year, 10 billion rupee-denominated bond to raise funds for infrastructure projects. Masala bonds are primarily rupee denominated bonds issued to overseas buyers

Talking about the changing landscape the Minister said that several measures are being taken to address the risks in the system one among them the distribution reform UDAY. This is expected to hard stop future losses for distribution companies and is targeted to get these companies back on track. While some of these companies are likely to be revived sooner the entire distribution segment should be on track by 2019. Shri Goyal also announced that IREDA is coordinating a billion dollar equity fund perhaps the largest in the renewable space. This will be professionally managed by an independent international fund management company. Indian public sector companies gave already committed $ 315 million.

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MoU between India & Bhutan on Technical Cooperation in the Field of Capacity Building, Benchmarking & Bilateral Exchange in Infrastructure Engineering
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bhutan on technical cooperation in the field of capacity building, benchmarking and bilateral exchange in infrastructure engineering.

India and Bhutan have had a long standing diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with each other. The India-Bhutan friendship treaty signed in New Delhi in February, 2007 also strengthens the mutual relations. The Honble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi made a state visit to Bhutan in June 2014. The visit reinforced the tradition of regular high level exchanges between the two countries. During the Indian Prime Ministers visit, the two sides agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation in areas relating to their national interest.

The MoU is in furtherance of Article 2,7 and 8 of the India-Bhutan friendship treaty. The MoU will provide an Umbrella for educational, scientific & technical research and environment protection which are also stated aim of the India-Bhutan foundation established in August 2003.

There is already ongoing Hydro Power Cooperation between the two countries which provides an exemplary template for mutual cooperation.

Through this MoU, the Central Public Works Department will stand to gain in terms of experience in hills road construction which is of paramount importance in J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and various States of North-East Region. The CPWD also expects to garner some road construction projects in Bhutan.

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Ex-post facto approval for the MoU between the MSDE, NSDC and WOF of USA in the fields of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minster Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Wadhwani Operating Foundation (WOF) for cooperation in the fields of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

This MoU will assist facilitating and supporting Skill Development initiatives in the country through Multi-skill Institutes and Skill Universities along with promotion and creation of an eco-system for skill development. Additionally, the MoU is expected to contribute significantly to Entrepreneurship Education & Training through an open source; thereby, assisting in enterprise and job creation.

Under the MoU, Wadhwani operating Foundation commits a minimum of USD 30 million and maximum of 40 Million contribution in value of services to be provided in support of mutually agreed Skill and Entrepreneurship Development initiatives but subject to a maximum of 10% (ten percent) of the total new spending of the Government of India in each of these identified and mutually agreed schemes and initiatives over a period of three years.

The following are the salient features of the MoU:

i. Facilitate and Support Integration of stilting at School and Higher Education level: MSDE through NSDC and WOF would provide support to the initiative of Centre and State Government to integrate skilling in schools and institutions of higher education in a more organized and structured manner and on a bigger scale by pooling of resources and setting up of State Programme Management Units (SPMU) at the State level or below, as required.

ii. Skill Development through Multi-skill Institutes and Skill Universities: MSDE will set up Multi-skill Institutes and Skill Universities with the help of Sector Skill Councils and NSDC. WOF funding would be utilized on initiatives on programme design, institute design, curriculum design and development, faculty development, etc. The Parties shall setup a joint committee to review the progress on development of this initiative.

iii. Provide Entrepreneurship Education & Training: Expand WOFs existing Entrepreneurship Education program in Universities/ Colleges, to a significant order from the existing magnitude, over the next three years. This would include areas like providing access to entrepreneurship content, pedagogy and best practices delivered through ICT based e-content in appropriate delivery modes by qualified and trained Entrepreneurship Educators and facilitated by local faculty. This would be facilitated through a few Central Hubs along with many regional centres each for designing, facilitating, monitoring and evaluation.

iv. Promote Skill Development and Job Fulfilment: This will be done in any other areas identified by the parties during the term of this MoU through an ecosystem consisting of a vibrant policy, financial ecosystem and industry-academia -training providers.

v. The Parties and representatives of other stakeholders will set up a National Project Implementation Committee (NPIC) which shall review the setting up and working of SPMU on a periodic basis.

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Transfer of 58.81 acres land of Farakka Barrage Project at Farakka to Border Security Force for establishment of 04-BattaIion Head Quarters of BSF
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for transfer of 58.81 acres of surplus land of Farakka Barrage Project under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to Border Security Force under Ministry of Home Affairs for establishment of 04-Battalion Head Quarters of BSF at Khejuriaghat in Mouza Jagannathpur, J.L.No. 35 P.S. Kaliachak, District, Malda of West Bengal.

Farakka Barrage Project will also be benefitted by guarding of crucial Indian frontiers with Bangladesh by BSF in Malda District, which is adjoining to Farakka Barrage Project, a project of both National and International importance. Also, possibility of encroachments of FBP land and ensuing security concerns to FBP would be reduced due to presence of the BSF personnel in the area.

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Cabinet approves Expansion of India - Chile Preferential Trade Agreement
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for expansion of India - Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Chile.

Indias export basket with Chile is diversified and keeping in view the wide variety of tariff lines offered by Chile, the expanded PTA would immensely benefit India. Under the expanded PTA, Chile has offered concessions to India on 1798 tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) ranging from 30%-100% and India has offered concessions to Chile on 1031 tariff lines at 8-digit level with MoP ranging from 10%-100%. Under the proposed expanded PTA, 86% of Indias exports to Chile will get covered with concessions, which is likely to result in doubling of our exports in the near future.

A Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Chile was signed in March, 2006. The said PTA came into force with effect from August, 2007. During 2006-07, Chile was ranked 51st export destination for India. Bilateral Trade during the year 2006-07 was US$ 2.3 billion. Trade dynamics changed after the PTA came into force from September 2007. Bilateral trade registered a growth of 58.49% from 2006-07 to 2014-15. Bilateral trade during 2014-15 stood at US $ 3.65 billion with exports at US $ 0.57 billion and imports at US$ 3.08 billion respectively.

India has friendly relations with Chile. Chile has been cooperating with India at the International fora and expansion of India Chile PTA will enhance the trade and economic relations between the two countries. The expansion would be an important landmark in India-Chile relations and consolidate the traditional fraternal relations that have existed between India and LAC countries.

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Cabinet approves Operationalisation of new Indian Institute of Science Education and Research at Tirupati
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for operationalisation of new Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh from the Academic Year of 2015-16 from a transit / temporary campus, at an estimated cost of Rs. 137.30 crore for the initial three years (2015-18).

Background:

As a sequel to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, bifurcating the then State of Andhra Pradesh to the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, the Government of India inter alia decided to establish an Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISER), an Institute of National Importance, in the residual State of Andhra Pradesh. Consequently, the State Government of Andhra Pradesh has earmarked 244 acres of land at Srinivasapuram, Pangur and Chindepalli villages of Yerpedu Mandal for construction of the permanent campus of IISER, Tirupati. Meanwhile, pending construction of the permanent campus for the Institute, on the recommendation of the Site Selection Committee, it has been decided to commence its functioning from the academic

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Cabinet approves signing the Paris Agreement
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today gave its approval for signing the Paris Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties held in Paris in December 2015.

Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, will sign the agreement on behalf of India on 22 April 2016 at the high level signature ceremony convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

The Paris Agreement on climate change is a milestone in global climate cooperation. It is meant to enhance the implementation of the Convention and recognizes the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances.

The salient features of the Paris Agreement are as follows:

a) The Paris Agreement acknowledges the development imperatives of developing countries. The Agreement recognizes the developing countries right to development and their efforts to harmonize development with environment, while protecting the interests of the most vulnerable.

b) The Paris Agreement recognizes the importance of sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption with developed countries taking the lead, and notes the importance of climate justice in its preamble.

c) The Agreement seeks to enhance the implementation of the Convention whilst reflecting the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

d) The objective of the Agreement further ensures that it is not mitigation-centric and includes other important elements such as adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology, capacity building and transparency of action and support.

e) Pre-2020 actions are also part of the decisions. The developed country parties are urged to scale up their level of financial support with a complete road map to achieve the goal of jointly providing US $ 100 billion by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation by significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity building support.

India had advocated a strong and durable climate agreement based on the principles and provisions of the Convention. The Paris Agreement addresses all the important concerns and expectations of India.

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Memoranda of Understanding on Youth Exchange Programmes with foreign countries
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was today apprised of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed with Bahrain, Kuwait, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and BRICS Nations on Organising Youth Exchange Programmes with these countries.

International Youth Exchange programmes promote exchange of ideas and values amongst youth of different countries and help in developing international perspective among the youth. Further, through people-to-people contacts, these Programmes promote peace and understanding and strengthen friendly relations between countries.

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Transfer of 21.93 acre of land belonging to the CTRI, Rajahmundry to the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today gave its approval for transfer of 21.93 acre of land belonging to the Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI), Rajahmundry to the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad on a long lease basis for a period of 50 years for establishment of an Agriculture College at Rajahmundry. Background: The Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University had established a new agriculture college at Rajahmundry in East Godavari district during the academic year 2008-09 to train agricultural graduates for acquiring advanced agricultural knowledge associated with Godavari Delta. At present, the agricultural college is temporarily running from rented accommodation of local Arts and Science College (SKVT College). After transfer of the land, the college would be able to develop its own permanent campus. Establishment of a new agriculture college at Rajahmundry would certainly go a long way in development of agricultural research and education in Godavari delta and also help the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to fulfill one of its mandates including education research and extension.

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Cabinet approves Amendments in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015
Apr 20,2016

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today gave its approval to move official amendments in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015.

The legislation will ensure expeditious utilization of accumulated unspent amounts available with the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), which presently is of the order of Rs.40,000 crore, and fresh accrual of compensatory levies and interest on accumulated unspent balance, which will be of the order of approx. Rs. 6,000 crore per annum, in an efficient and transparent manner.

Utilization of these amounts will facilitate timely execution of appropriate measures to mitigate impact of diversion of forest land, for which these amounts have been realised. Apart from mitigating the impact of diversion of forest land, utilisation of these amounts will result in creation of productive assets and generation of huge employment opportunities in the rural areas, especially the backward tribal areas.

Apart from the amendments of drafting and consequential in nature, the official amendments provide for the following:

i. Amendment of clause 2 (e) of the Bill to make the list of environmental services inclusive and to delete some of environmental services for which credible model to assess their monetary value does not exist.

ii. Amendment of clauses 2 (I) and 30 (1) of the Bill to provide for prior consultation with States Governments for making rule under the new legislation.

iii. Amendment of clause 4 (1) of the Bill to provide for establishment of State Fund of a Union territory having no legislature under Public Account of the Union of India.

iv. Amendment of clause 6 (d) of the Bill to provide for use of monies realised from the user agencies in lieu for forest land diverted in protected areas for voluntary relocation from protected areas.

v. Amendrnent of clause 8 (4) (ii) of the Bill to include Secretaries of Ministries dealing with Space and Earth Sciences as members of governing body of the National Authority.

vi. Amendment of clause 8 (4) (x) of the Bill to increase the number of expert members in governing body of National Authority from two to five.

vii. Amendment of clause 9 (2) (ix) of the Bill to increase the number of expert members in executive committee of National Authority from two to three.

viii. Amendments of clause 11 (2) and 11 (3) of the Bill to include an expert on tribal matters or representative of tribal community as a member in both steering committee and executive committee of a State Authority.

ix. Amendment of clause 15 (1) (i) of the Bill to fix time limit of three months for Executive Committee of National Authority to approval annual plan of operations of State Authorities and to empower Executive Committee Of National Authorities to make amendments in annul plan of operations of State Authorities.

x. Amendment of clause 29 of the Bill to provide for laying of the annual report and the audit report along with memorandum of action taken on recommendations contained therein of State Authority constituted in Union Territories having no legislature before each house of the Parliament.

The amendments do not involve any additional expenditure. The legislation will extend to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Background

While according prior approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of forest land for non-forest purpose, Central Government stipulates conditions that amounts shall be realised from the user agencies to undertake compensatory afforestation and such other activities related to conservation and development of forests, to mitigate impact of diversion of forest land.

In compliance of Orders passed by the Honble Supreme Court these amounts are deposited in the State-wise accounts operated by an Ad-hoc Authority consisting of two officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change one representative of the Comptroller and Auditor General and one representative of the Chairperson of the Central Empowered Committee.

In the absence of permanent institutional mechanism more than Rs.40,000 crores have accumulated with the said ad-hoc Body.

In order to provide for the establishment of funds under the public accounts of India and the public accounts of each State and crediting thereto the monies received from the user agencies towards compensatory afforestation, additional compensatory afforestation, penal compensatory afforestation, net present value and all other amounts recovered from such agencies under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 Central Government introduced the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015 in the Lok Sabha on 8th May 2015. The Bill also provides for constitution of an authority at national level and at each of the State and Union territory Administration for administration of the funds and to utilise the monies so collected for undertaking artificial regeneration (plantations), assisted natural regeneration, protection of forests, forest related infrastructure development, Green India Programme, wildlife protection and other related activities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

On 13th May, 2015 Lok Sabha referred the Bill to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests. On 26th February, 2016 the Committee submitted its report to the Parliament. The Central Government after examination of the report of the Department-related Parliamentary Committee propose to move official amendments in the Bill.

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ADB Sells Dual-Tranche $2.5 Billion 2-Year and $1 Billion 10-Year Global Benchmark Bonds
Apr 20,2016

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) returned to the US dollar bond market with the pricing of a dual-tranche $2.5 billion 2-year and $1 billion 10-year global benchmark bond issues, proceeds of which will be part of ADBs ordinary capital resources and used in its non-concessional operations.

n++In accessing two parts of the curve simultaneously, ADB has demonstrated its ability to remain nimble and responsive to investor needs. The engagement from different pockets of interest at the short-end and long-end further demonstrates the breadth of ADBs investor base and confirms its position as a premier supranational issuer in the capital markets,n++ said ADB Treasurer Pierre Van Peteghem.

The 2-year bond, with a coupon rate of 0.875% per annum payable semi-annually and a maturity date of 26 April 2018, was priced at 99.830% to yield 20 basis points over the 0.875% US Treasury notes due March 2018. The 10-year bond, with a coupon rate of 2.000% per annum payable semi-annually and a maturity date of 24 April 2026, was priced at 99.335% to yield 27.95 basis points over the 1.625% US Treasury notes due February 2026.

The transactions were lead-managed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, and Mizuho International. A syndicate group was also formed consisting of Citi, BMO Capital Markets, Daiwa Securities, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Nomura, RBC Capital Markets, SMBC Nikko, Standard Chartered, and TD Securities.

Both issues achieved wide primary market distribution with 31% of the 2-year bonds placed in Asia, 42% in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and 27% in the Americas. By investor type, 70% of the bonds went to central banks and official institutions, 15% to banks, and 15% to fund managers and other types of investors. For the 10-year bonds, 29% was placed in Asia, 48% in Europe, Middle East and Africa and 23% in the Americas. By investor type, 32% of the bonds went to central banks and official institutions, 33% to banks, 35% to fund managers and other types of investors.

ADB plans to raise around $20 billion from the capital markets in 2016.

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Fitch: EMEA Oil Majors Earnings May Fall a Further 22% in 2016
Apr 20,2016

The aggregate earnings of seven major EMEA oil companies will fall by 22% in 2016, and most integrated firms will see a significant deterioration in credit metrics as weaker downstream performance adds to the impact of lower oil prices on cash flows, according to Fitch Ratings analysis. The fall in earnings will come after a 34% drop in 2015 and is a severe, but not disastrous decline in the context of a 65% drop in oil prices.

2016 metrics will be weak for current ratings, but our approach is to rate through the cycle and we therefore focus more on 2018, when we expect the cycle to be past its trough, and by which time companies will have been able to adjust their operating profiles to a more challenging oil price environment.

This approach is reflected in the limited rating action since February when we lowered our oil price assumptions to USD35/bbl in 2016, rising steadily to USD55/bbl in 2018 and USD65/bbl in the long term.

We downgraded Shell to AA- in February following our reassessment of its financial profile following its acquisition of BG. The downgrade of Eni to A- in April resulted from weaker credit metrics and a worse-than-expected performance in the gas and power and refining and marketing segments, indicating the companys vertical integration is weaker than its peers.

Four companies - Shell, Total (AA-), OMV (A-) and Repsol (BBB) - are on Negative Outlooks and their leverage is likely to still be close to our negative rating action triggers by 2018. Maintaining the ratings will depend on companies being able to successfully implement the spending and disposal plans we currently assume, or on a stronger than assumed oil price recovery.

Companies financial priorities also remain a key rating driver. Integrated players have already announced considerable capex cuts and opex savings. In a USD35/bbl scenario we believe companies will be more flexible with dividends. Companies expecting significant disposal proceeds from upstream assets may see their financial profiles come under pressure if asset sales plans prove challenging to implement. In the current macro environment, agreeing on asset valuation is difficult.

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