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More rainfall in September to help rice crop: Agriculture Secretary

Better rains in September will help in retaining soil moisture and support sowing of rabi crops and will benefit kharif crop as well

 
New Delhi: Rainfall during the next month is expected to be better as monsoon is unlikely to be influenced by El Nino weather pattern, helping rice and other kharif crop, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna said on Wednesday, reports PTI.
 
El Nino refers to abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the Pacific that disrupts weather pattern causing drought and floods in many regions of the world.
 
"I don't think the September rains will be impacted due to El Nino. Even if El Nino temperature do increase, I do not think, it will impact our monsoon. It may affect other parts of the world," Bahuguna said on the sidelines of a CII event.
 
So far, monsoon deficit is 13%. However, the seasonal rains have revived because the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), known as Indian Nino, is now favourable, he said.
 
Better rains in September will help in retaining soil moisture and support sowing of rabi crops, Bhauguna said, adding that kharif crop will also benefit.
 
He said there may be more rainy days ahead as monsoon could withdraw late from north-west India.
 
"Normally, monsoon starts withdrawing from north-west India around 1st September. This year, it seems withdrawal will be delayed. Onset of monsoon was delayed and withdrawal will also delay. We will have more rainy days," he said.
 
On Kharif crops situation, Bhahuguna said the crop health looks better and the gap in sowing area has been made up due to the recent spell of rains.
 
Area coverage under rice, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane is good, though it is slightly lower under coarse cereals and pulses, he said.
 
"I think, recent spell of rains will help area under coarse cereals to pick up, especially ragi in Karnataka, bajra and jowar in Rajasthan," Bahuguna said.
 
Although the kharif crop prospects are improving, there will certainly be some impact on overall production and productivity, he noted.
 
Total area under kharif crops is down at 32.9 million hectare as on 24th August, against 34.2 million hectare in the same period last year.
 
Bahuguna said Karnataka, Maharasthra, Gujarat and Rajasthan have officially declared drought in some areas.
 
"The situation in all of these states is much better than what it was a month ago. Saurashtra region in Gujarat is still bad as it has not received rains at all. Saurashtra is probably the worst affected now," he said.
 
The Secretary mentioned that a central team is on the job of assessing the situation. A team, which visited Karnataka, has come back and will shortly submit a report. A separate team will visit other three states as well.
 
To mitigate the impact of drought in these states, the government has already announced some measures like diesel subsidy and will further consider some relief measures in the forthcoming meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on drought next week, he added.
 
"We still have few proposals that will be submitted to the EGoM as and when it meets next week. The proposals would be to get measures to support the protective irrigation for orchard crop among others," he added.
 

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SEBI favours shorter IPO bidding period, faster listing

To shorten the entire IPO process, SEBI is also working at faster allotment of shares to investors and reduce the time -gap between closure of issue and final listing from 12 days to five days

 
New Delhi: Capital Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will soon ask companies seeking to raise funds through initial public offers (IPOs) to complete the bidding process within a maximum five days and get listed in another five days, reports PTI.
 
To shorten the entire IPO process, SEBI is also working at faster allotment of shares to investors and reduce the time -gap between closure of issue and final listing from 12 days to five days, a senior official said.
 
Currently, SEBI regulations require the bidding period to be completed in a minimum of three working days and a maximum of 10, including the extension given pursuant to a revision in price band by the issuer.
 
However, companies are not allowed to extend the bidding period in case there is no revision of a price band.
 
SEBI is of the view that a faster and shorter IPO period would "induce greater process efficiencies and enhance the investor confidence in the issue", the official said.
 
Consequently, SEBI is looking to shorten the bidding period in an IPO to two or three working days in normal cases.
 
Besides, it would consider granting one extension of maximum two working days, irrespective of whether there is a change in the price band.
 
In case of an extension, all the investors would have the option to withdraw their earlier bids made until the revised issue closure date.
 
The decisions are being taken by SEBI pursuant to the recommendations given by its Primary Market Advisory Committee (PMAC). The new guidelines would be soon put in place by SEBI.
 
Some other steps identified by SEBI for the benefit of IPO investors include reduction of time taken after issue closure to the listing date from 12 days to five days in a phased manner, while it would also look at rationalisation of disclosures in the offer documents filed by the companies.
 
The regulator has already announced a number of steps recently, after its last board meeting on August 16, intended at reforms in the primary market for the benefit of investors.
 
These steps include allotment of a minimum lot of shares to retail investors and setting-up of a nationwide network of brokers to facilitate submission of bid applications through e-IPO process.
 
Besides, SEBI board in its last board meeting also approved steps for review of the public issue processes and regulatory framework, putting in place a framework for rejection of offer documents and evolving an appropriate mechanism for effective monitoring of issue proceeds.
 
SEBI has also announced that the companies would have to disclose the price band five days before the issue opening, which is already a practice.
 
However, regulations require that the companies may announce the floor price or price band at least two working days before the opening of the IPO.
 

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HSBC offloads entire 4.98% stake in Federal Bank for Rs341 crore

HSBC sold its entire 4.98% stake in Federal Bank at an average price of Rs401.04 per share, while Warhol and ICICI Prudential MF increased their stake in the Kerala-based lender

 
Mumbai: Global banking giant HSBC has sold its entire five% stake in Kerala-based private sector lender Federal Bank for a little over Rs341 crore through open market transactions, reports PTI.
 
According to bulk data available with the stock exchanges, HSBC held 85.16 lakh shares, or 4.98% stake in Federal Bank through HSBC IRIS Investments Mauritius Ltd.
 
The shares were sold on an average price of Rs401.04 valuing the deal to Rs341.53 crore, as per BSE data.
 
Meanwhile, Warhol, which held 24.12 lakh shares, or 1.41% stake, in the Kerala-based bank at the end of June quarter, further bought 11.75 lakh shares for Rs47 crore. Also, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund acquired 10.43 lakh shares of Federal Bank for Rs42 crore.
 
Earlier in June, HSBC had offloaded its entire holdings in Axis Bank and Yes Bank for about Rs2,425 crore through open market transactions.
 
HSBC, which held 4.75% in Axis Bank through HSBC IRIS Investments Mauritius Ltd, sold the entire stake for about Rs 1,880 crore.
 
The UK-based entity also divested its 4.76% holding in Yes Bank. At the time of stake sale, the deal was valued at around Rs550 crore.
 
Earlier this year, Citigroup sold its stake in housing finance major HDFC for nearly Rs10,000 crore ($1.9 billion), while US private equity major Warburg Pincus offloaded its stake in Kotak Mahindra Bank for about Rs1,350 crore ($274 million).
 

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