Regulations
States should monitor chit fund firms, says SEBI
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Thursday said the state governments need to play a pivotal role to control and monitor the spread of chit fund and ponzi firms.
 
"This is a matter which cannot be controlled by one central agency - there is a three-tier approach required. The first level has to be state government. It is not possible for RBI or SEBI or any other agency," SEBI chairman U.K. Sinha told media persons here.
 
He was speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce.
 
He said the state governments in various parts of the country have passed their own legislations on depositor protection to safeguard their interest and prevent any malicious acts from any chit fund firms.
 
"In that act, they have given wide powers to the district magistrate and the superintendent of police," he said.
 
Sinha referred to the recently amended act in Odisha, which has made it compulsory for the firms to get registered with the district magistrates before raising any money.
 
"If you are defaulting, then the district magistrate can impound all the assets, they can even issue arrest warrants and things like that," he said.
 
Sinha said a total of 20 states have enacted such laws to contain and monitor chit fund firms.
 
He said collections or fund raising exceeding Rs.100 crore from these firms needs to be monitored by the SEBI while collections less than Rs.100 crore need monitoring by the state governments.
 
"It is not possible for RBI or SEBI or any other agency. SEBI has got 700 employees and how can we work in close to 700 districts of the country?" he said.
 
Sinha also said there has to be coordination between the central agencies like the Reserve Bank of India or SEBI and the state government.

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Anil Ambani Group in pact with Singapore company for airships
The Reliance Group, led by industrialist Anil Ambani, on Thursday said it has signed a pact with Augur Overseas Operation of Singapore to manufacture aerostats and airships in India for both the domestic and export markets.
 
"Under the agreement, the two companies will form a joint venture company with Reliance having a 51-percent stake, consistent with the current government regulations," the Reliance Group said in a statement.
 
"The joint venture will be involved in development, production, sales, modification and life support for different sizes of aerostats, airships and lighter-than-air systems. This venture will address the requirements of domestic market and also addressable regional/global markets."
 
Aerostats -- also called lighter-than-air aircraft -- comprise balloons to stay afloat and the airship to ferry passengers, cargo or payload. They get their lift from a body of gas, usually helium or hydrogen. Airships are asrostats equipped with propulsion to move on its own.
 
The pact announced on Thursday is an extension of earlier one between Augur Aeronautical Centre with Pipavav Defence, a company that was acquired some months ago by the Reliance Group. Augur Aeronautical Centre is a leading Aerostat and Airship designer, builder and supplier globally.
 
In fact, the first medium size aerostat envelope was delivered recently and acceptance tests were performed at the Pipavav facility. The tests included integration and simulated mooring, as also verification and functioning of Aerostat envelope together with pressurization system.
 
"In the present changing security scenario in the Indian context, the borders require constant monitoring as the country has a 7,000-km coast line with almost 14,000-km-long international border with various countries," the Reliance Group statement said.
 
"Aerostat radars are a force multiplier as they are deployed extensively in the surveillance, reconnaissance and communication roles by the armed forces. These are also useful in detecting low-flying fighter aircraft," the statement added.
 
As per industry estimates, the market for aerostats is projected to rise from Rs.25,000 crore (approx $4 billion) 2014 to Rs.65,000 crore by 2020, at an estimated compounded annual growth of 17 percent.
 
The present requirement by the armed Forces, including the paramilitary forces, is pegged at some 40 systems over the next five years with an estimated expenditure in excess of Rs.12,000 crore to meet its operational roles.
 
In natural disasters and other situations where infrastructure is non-existent, aerostats can be used to bring in emergency supplies such as food, water, blankets. Recently, aerostats have also seen a sharp rise in the tourism industry, which is expected to be around Rs.6,000 crore.
 
Major players in this field include TCOM-LP and Lockheed Martin, along with AAC.
 
With the indigenous aerostat program fully operational, as part of the "Make in India" initiative, India would join a select group of nations having developed such capabilities, including the US, Germany and France.

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Rajasthan plans land acquisition bill
With Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit drawing closer, the state government is now planning to come out with a land acquisition bill in the next assembly session likely to be held in next two months, an official said.
 
"The demand to table the bill in the state assembly has been felt as the state government is of the view that projects signed during Resurgent Rajasthan summit are not held up due to land acquisition... so they plan to come out with the bill before that," a senior state government official told IANS.
 
The summit, slated to be held here November 19-20, will have strategic conferences, panel discussions, roundtable deliberations, presentations and one-on-one business meetings.
 
With the event bringing together investors from all over the world for interacting with policy makers, including the political leadership, government officials and local business leaders on the investment environment and opportunities in Rajasthan, the state government expects a significant surge in investor interest and definite commitment to invest as a result.
 
According to sources in the state government, the bill will aim to provide for, and expedite the process of, land acquisition for public purposes with the least disturbance to owners of the land and other interested parties and to provide for fair and better compensation to the original owners.
 
The bill was earlier introduced in the state assembly in September last year but was referred to select committed due to certain issues and objections. Now again with certain modifications - mainly to simplify procedures and provide farmers better compensation, it is likely to be tabled soon in the assembly.
 
Sources said the bill also seeks to protect, in this desert state, double cropped, or irrigated land, from acquisition except if the acquisition is for infrastructure projects.

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