Government seeks to cut SBI stake to 51% from 55%

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has moved the SBI (Amendment) Bill, 2010, in the Lok Sabha that seeks to cut the government's stake in the Bank to 51% from 55%

A Bill, seeking to reduce the Indian government's shareholding in the State Bank of India (SBI) to 51% from 55% now and to allow the Bank to raise more capital from the market through preference shares, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday, reports PTI.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee moved the State Bank of India (Amendment) Bill, 2010, amidst slogan shouting by Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members against the Women's Reservation Bill in its present form.

The Bill's statement of objects and reasons said that the legislation was aimed at allowing 'reduction of shareholding of the Central government to 51% from 55% consisting of the equity shares of the issued capital'.

It said that the SBI Act, 1955, was amended in 1993 to enable the Bank to access the capital market. "While SBI can access the capital market by issuing equity shares or bonds, or by both equity shares and bonds, there is no express provision under the SBI Act to enable the bank to issue preference shares and also bonus shares," the Bill added.

"The amendment Bill seeks to provide for enhancement of the capital of (the) State Bank (of India) by issue of preference shares, to enable it to raise resources from the market by public issue or preferential allotment or private placement," it said.

"The Bill also aims to provide for flexibility in the management of the Bank," it added.

The Bill will provide for increasing the authorised capital of SBI to Rs5,000 crore and enable the Union government to increase or reduce the authorised capital in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India.
 

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'The Hurt Locker' trounces 'Avatar' at the Oscars, Bigelow creates history

The $16 million 'The Hurt Locker' that tells a story about the travails of a US bomb disposal squad trounced James Cameron's 'Avatar' to win six trophies out of the total nine categories in which it was nominated for the Oscars. 'Avatar' won the rest

'The Hurt Locker', a gritty Iraq war drama, swept the Oscars this year by winning six trophies with Kathryn Bigelow creating history by becoming the first woman director to win an Academy Award, reports PTI.

The $16-million film about the travails of a US bomb disposal squad trounced James Cameron's 'Avatar' to win the Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing trophies. It was nominated in nine categories along with the sci-fi blockbuster.

'Avatar', which was in a neck-and-neck race with 'The Hurt Locker', won three golden statuettes —for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Visual Effects.

"It is a moment of (a) lifetime. I am so honoured to be sitting in this extraordinary company of powerful filmmakers, who have inspired me. I would not be standing here but for Boal (writer) and the extraordinary cast and the technicians. I would like to dedicate this award to the women and men in the military and pray that they come home safe," said the 58-year-old Ms Bigelow.

Only three women have ever been nominated in the Best Director category in the 80-year-old history of the Academy.

The 82nd Academy Awards, which was held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, had no surprises in the acting categories with favourites Jeff Bridges (‘Crazy Heart’) and Sandra Bullock (‘The Blind Side’) winning the trophies for the Best Actor and Best Actress respectively.

Unlike last year, when Mumbai-based potboiler 'Slumdog Millionaire' walked away with eight Oscars, including trophies for AR Rahman and Resul Pukutty, it was a blank for India this time.

'Kavi', a short Hindi film about modern day slavery in India, lost out to Danish film 'The New Tenants' in the Short Film (Live Action) category.

Mr Bridges, 60, who won his first Oscar for his portrayal of alcoholic country singer Bad Blake in 'Crazy Heart', beat off competition from Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney (‘Up In The Air’), Morgan Freeman (‘Invictus’), Jeremy Renner 'The Hurt Locker' and Colin Firth (‘A Single Man’).

"I would like to thank my mom and dad for this. I remember my mom taking me to the showbiz parties and dad giving me acting lessons. I am an extension of them and this award is an honour to them," said Mr Bridges, who then went on to thank his director, cast and the crew as well as his wife of 33 years.

Ms Bullock, also a first timer, took home the trophy for the Best Actress for her role as Leigh Anne Touhy in 'The Blind Side', a film about a feisty Southern homemaker, who changes the life of a troubled African-American teenager.

The 45-year-old actress beat off competition from veteran actresses like Meryl Streep (‘Julie & Julia’), Dame Helen Mirren (‘The Last Station’) and newcomers Carey Mulligan (‘An Education’) and Gabourey Sidibe (‘Precious’).

"Did I really earn this or did I just wear you all down? I would like to thank the Academy for allowing me in the last month to have the most incredible ride with rooms full of artists," said Ms Bullock, dedicating her award to 'moms across the world'.

Actress Mo'Nique, who plays an abusive mother in 'Precious', gave an emotional speech after winning the Best Supporting Actress trophy.

"I thank the Academy for proving that it can be about performance and not the politics," said Ms Mo'Nique.

The award for Best Supporting Actor went to Austrian Christoph Waltz for his role as a Jew-slaying Nazi in Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds'.

'Crazy Heart' also won in the Best Original Song category for 'The Weary King’ (Theme from ‘Crazy Heart’).

Disney-Pixar's film 'Up', which was also nominated for the best picture, won the Oscar for the Best Animation Film. It received a second award in the Best Original Score category.

'Precious' won its second award for the Best Adapted Screenplay, which went to Geoffrey Fletcher for his adaptation of novel 'Push' by Sapphire.

The award for Best Short Film (Animated) went to 'Logorama' by Nicolas Schmerkin while 'Music by Prudence' by Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett won in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category.

The Best Costume Design award went to opulent period drama 'The Young Victoria' while the trophy for Best Make-Up went to the futuristic franchise 'Star Trek'.

The award for the Best Documentary (Feature) went to 'The Cove', which depicts the illegal slaughter of dolphins in Japan.

Argentinian film 'El Secreto de Sus Ojos' (The Secret In Their Eyes) won the award for the Best Foreign Film.

The Governor's awards were received by Hollywood veterans, producer-executive John Kalley, actress Lauren Bacall, producer-director Roger Corman and cinematographer Gordon Willis.

The Academy also paid a tribute to 'Home Alone' director John Hughes, Patrick Swayze, 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson, actress Brittany Murphy and Jean Simmons, who passed away recently.
 

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Retail Investors: To Invest in Mutual Funds, Shares, IPOs and NPS

Despite economic prosperity and multiplying 24-hour business channels, retail investors are staying out of IPOs, mutual funds and pension funds—gypped by self-serving intermediaries and irritated by cumbersome rules of unaccountable regulators. Sucheta Dalal analyses

Media reports suggest that the government is giving up on the fond hope of raising Rs30,000 crore from the capital...

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