Stocks
Over Rs.5,000 crore garnered from NTPC stake sale
New Delhi : The government on Wednesday raised around Rs.5,030 crore from sale of 5 percent stake in India's largest power generator NTPC, although retail participation was lukewarm at a time of steep fall in the country's stock markets.
 
Disinvestment Secretary Neeraj K.Gupta told reporters here that the retail portion too would have been over-subscribed in the manner of the instituitonal response on Tuesday, had the broader markets been stable.
 
"Despite 700 points plunge, investor interest was alive with retail investors coming in at an effective price of Rs.116," Gupta said.
 
While the retail investors bid for only about 3.63 crore shares out of the 8.24 crore reserved for them, institutional investors had bid 1.8 times the offer size of 32.98 crore shares.
 
"Cut off price with respect to non retail category of NTPC has been fixed at Rs.122.05," the Bombay Stock Exchange said.
 
The stake sale began in splendid fashion on Tuesday with the institutional investors portion getting oversubscribed within two hours of the opening of trade.
 
The base price for the NTPC offer for sale (OFS) had been fixed at Rs.122 per share. The government, which currently holds 74.96 percent stake in the power utility.
 
SBI Cap Securities, ICICI Securities, Edelweiss Securities and Deutsche Equities are the bankers to the share sale.
 
The government has divested stake in five companies, raising a total of Rs.13,300 crore so far in this fiscal, while this sale will be the second biggest divestment after Indian Oil Corp, which garnered the exchequer around Rs.9,370 crore. It has a divestment target of Rs.69,500 crore for 2015-16.
 
NTPC stock closed on Wednesday at Rs.118.70 a share, down 4.20 percent over its previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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WTO rules against India on US solar exports
Washington : In a setback to India, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel has ruled in favour of the US in its challenge to New Delhi's alleged discrimination against US solar exports, according to US Trade Representative (USTR).
 
The panel agreed with the US that India's "localisation" rules discriminated against imported solar cells and modules under India's National Solar Mission, according to an official news release citing USTR Michael Froman.
 
India's domestic content requirements, it agreed, discriminate against US solar cells and modules by requiring solar power developers to use Indian-manufactured cells and modules rather than US or other imported solar technology in breach of international trade rules.
 
The panel also rejected India's defensive arguments and determined that India's local content requirements are inconsistent with the national treatment obligations in Article 2.1 of the Agreement on Trade-related Investment Measures (TRIMs Agreement) and Article III:4 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.
 
The USTR called it "an important outcome, not just as it applies to this case, but also as other countries consider localization policies."
 
USTR said it initiated this dispute in February 2013 because it considered that India's domestic content requirements are inconsistent with WTO rules that prohibit discrimination against imported products.
 
The US, it said, has consistently made the case that India can achieve its clean energy goals faster and more cost-effectively by allowing solar technologies to be imported from the US and other solar producers.
 
"Today, the WTO panel agreed with the United States that India's 'localization' measures discriminate against US manufacturers and are against WTO rules," Froman said.
 
The US and India "are strong supporters of the multilateral, rules-based trading system and take our WTO obligations seriously," he said.
 
"This is an important outcome, not just as it applies to this case, but for the message it sends to other countries considering discriminatory 'localization' policies."
 
"The United States strongly supports the rapid deployment of solar energy around the world - including in India," Froman said.
 
"But discriminatory policies in the clean energy space in fact undermine our efforts to promote clean energy by requiring the use of more expensive and less efficient equipment, raising the cost of generating clean energy and making it more difficult for clean energy sources to be competitive," he said.
 
The US had challenged the Government of India's imposition of domestic content requirements for solar cells and modules under India's National Solar Mission.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Hoss Sense, Court Delivered
When they throw good money after bad
 
This is a story about judges, common folk and gamblers; in a descending order of intellect. It’s about America; but we, too, have laws of similar ilk. So, rather than clamour about changing them, why not sit back and enjoy the fun? Illinois, Obama country, has a law on gambling, something that was frowned upon a long time ago. As with all legal fiction, a limit of $50 was imposed as the Laxmanrekha. To win over that amount meant that the winner had to return the balance to the loser. So, at any given time, no one, literally, lost his shirt.
 
Times change. ‘Online Everything’ is the world today. Gambling is big business on the Internet, though we have never met anyone who claims to have made a profit, virtual or otherwise, by banging away at a keyboard.
 
Two men, Sonnenberg and Farhner, went a-gambling on the Net. They lost money. They bet again. Lost more. Repeat show. Bottomless pit. And on it went. Gambling ‘fools’ do not stop. But they had ingenious mothers who knew the law. They sued the online gamer. “Take the $50 and give us the balance.”
 
You be the judge. Would you order the refund?
 
In law, there is, what is known as, equity. Not to be confused with equality. Common law, common sense, and equity make the judiciary greater, beyond the texts. America has a violent birth and it was guns and horses that made it what it is today. The old cowboys had a word for plain thinking. ‘Hoss-sense’. Fortunately, a lot of contemporary American judges display that. Richard Posner, about whom we have written before, is one such person who looks beyond the hidebound, to deliver path-breaking judgements.
 
Imagine the horse-racing tracks in Illinois. Punters would line up at the end of the day, claiming all but $50 of their daily horse-feed. The question, thankfully yet unanswered, would be, does the $50 rule apply? And to every race, or the day’s total?
 
To compound the court’s dilemma, the law allowed a third person to claim on behalf of the loser. In stepped mothers Sonnenberg and Farhner. To be sure, we, too, have such a provision, where a best friend can step into the shoes of a victim and approach the courts. A very helpful idea, especially when the victim is unable to seek the remedy himself.
 
The Illinois law, as it stands, states that anyone, “knowingly establishes, maintains, or operates an Internet site that permits a person to play a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of value by means of the Internet or to make a wager upon the result of any [such] game.” It also punishes “any person who knowingly permits any premises or property owned or occupied by him or under his control to be used as a gambling place.” Shades of 1887. WOW.
 
More wow. The law states that if the gamblers could not claim within six months, their mothers could claim thrice the amount! There has to be some ‘logic in this madness’, but we will not tax our noggins on that right now. Suffice it to say that the courts owed one to the public, to set the conundrum straight.
 
More issues surfaced. Action could be brought against a ‘person’ who had won. But a gaming site was not a person. A person may induce another to gamble away his soul. A contraption, like a slot machine, cannot. A person-gambler takes away all. A site allows a gambler to put his cash in a kitty, takes its share and leaves the rest to some program.
 
Finally, in appeal, with the mothers crying for their sons, Justice Posner, for the three-judge bench, found for the respondents. The mothers’ (and the sons’) appeal was dismissed. Thank God!
 
Some laws seem crazy. About the best-in-class is one that says that a person cannot carry an ice-cream cone in his trouser pocket. One man did. With mod jeans, even a comb cannot slide in; but our victim had the space. As he turned around, a horse bit off the top of the cone and a bit of a bottom. “Hence,” as they say in legalese, “the law.” 
 
Remember Steve McQueen, in The Magnificent Seven, with his, “It looked like a good idea at the time?” 

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