Companies & Sectors
Government may rake in Rs13,000 crore through NTPC stake sale

At the current market price, the 9.5% stake sale of NTPC is likely to fetch Rs13,000 crore for the exchequer

New Delhi: Pushing forward its disinvestment agenda, the Indian government has approved sale of its 9.5% stake in the country's largest power producer NTPC that could fetch as much as Rs13,000 crore, reports PTI.

 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), at its meeting, gave the green signal for NTPC disinvestment by way of offer for sale through stock exchanges.

 

The approval comes a day ahead of the 4% stake sale in Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) -- the government's maiden disinvestment in the current fiscal. The government has set a target of mopping up Rs30,000 crore through sale of shares in various public sector companies.

 

"After the disinvestment, Government of India's shareholding in the company would come down to 75%. The paid up equity capital of the company, as on 31 March 2012, is Rs8,245.46 crore," an official statement said.

 

The President of India holds 84.5% stake in the company, it added.

 

At the current market price, the stake sale (over 78.33 crore shares) is likely to fetch Rs13,000 crore for the exchequer. Shares of NTPC today closed at Rs 163.70, up 1.05% at the BSE.

 

The disinvestment would help NTPC to comply with the minimum public shareholding norms.

 

Meanwhile, the government has decided to re-allocate three coal blocks that were taken away from NTPC for delay in the development of those mines, sources said.

 

With the re-allocation of coal blocks, the overall valuation of NTPC is expected to go up. This would help the government to get higher returns from the proposed share sale.

 

NTPC became a listed company in 2004. Thereafter in 2009, government further diluted its stake in the power producer.

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CCEA nod for Rs4,909 crore plan to modernise post offices

Under this plan, all post offices will be connected through a computer network to provide facilities similar to core banking system, besides efficient delivery of services, disbursal of government subsidies and seamless access of its services

New Delhi: The Indian government has cleared a proposal to modernise 1.55 lakh post offices across the country over the next two years at a cost of over Rs4,900 crore, reports PTI.

 

"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the proposal of Rs4,909 crore towards IT modernisation project of the Department of Posts, covering 1.55 lakhs post offices," official statement said.

 

Under this plan, all post offices will be connected through a computer network. This will enable the Department to provide facilities similar to core banking system, besides efficient delivery of services, disbursal of government subsidies and seamless access of its services.

 

The statement said that the IT modernisation project is expected to "provide access (to services of the department) by multiple channels to customers, for example, post office counters, kiosks, internet, mobiles ATMs, etc".

 

In this phase, DoP will provide 30,000 netbooks and 1 lakh handheld devices to its officials and postmen for delivery of services, like subsidies and immediate updation of records, at doorsteps.

 

"IT modernisation project has been structured into eight segments ...such as data centre, network, computers and peripherals, software applications which will cover all the product and services of the Department of Posts, and change management which will help in effective transformation into IT mode," the statement said.

 

Earlier on 2010, government had earlier approved Rs1,877 crore for IT modernisation project which had been spent and the Department required additional funds for expansion of the project across country.

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Nordic countries ask Facebook to stop ads

Norwegian consumer agency like its counterparts in the Nordic region, wants to put an end to the unsolicited advertisements that appear on users' news feeds on Facebook

Oslo: Facebook should stop unsolicited advertising to users in Nordic countries or face legal action, the Norwegian consumer agency said, reports PTI.

 

The agency, like its counterparts in the Nordic region, wants to put an end to the unsolicited advertisements that appear on users' news feeds.

 

It has sent a letter to the European Commission to determine whether Facebook is in line with the EU's directive on privacy and electronic communication -- and possibly to make amendments to rules drawn up before Facebook was founded.

 

"It is prohibited to send electronic advertisements to consumers who haven't given their consent, either by email or SMS," consumer mediator Gry Nergaard told AFP.

 

"We think that some of the advertising that Facebook calls 'sponsored stories' is beginning to look like unsolicited electronic messages," she said.

 

Depending on the response from European authorities and Facebook, Norwegian officials may undertake legal action to put an end to the practice.

 

"Sponsored stories" are advertisements that show up on a Facebook user's page informing him or her that one of his contacts, or "friends", whose name and or photo may also appear, "likes" a product, giving the false impression that the product or company is being endorsed by the friend.

 

"It has evolved even further," Nergaard said. "Now you can receive an advertisement without the mention that your friend 'liked' it," she said.

 

Facebook, which is hugely popular worldwide but is struggling to generate advertising revenue, claims it is abiding by European and Norwegian laws.

 

Its spokesman in northern Europe, Jan Fredriksson, said users could choose to block this type of advertising in their settings.

 

But Nergaard said it was not enough to provide an "opt out" option, the key issue was that Facebook did not have users' prior consent.

 

The European Commission was to examine the issue in the near future, she said.

 

Facebook in June settled a $10 million lawsuit from users in the US who claimed their names, images and other information were improperly used in "sponsored stories".

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