Nation
HC asks on record RBI orders on Essar Steel's insolvency proceedings
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday directed for placing on record before it an RBI directive to a consortium of 22 lenders to initiate insolvency proceedings against Essar Steel following its high Non-Performing Assets (NPAs).
 
Hearing the July 4 petition filed by the major steelmaker to seek quashing of insolvency proceedings, a single bench of Justice S.G. Shah expressed its surprise that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directive to a consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India and Standard Chartered Bank had not been placed on court record neither by the petitioner nor the respondents.
 
It is this directive that is under challenge by Essar Steel, which has claimed in the court, among other things, that it was kept in the dark while the central bank asked the lenders to initiate the insolvency proceedings when the company was in a restructuring mode. 
 
The company also alleged that it is being singled out for action among all 12 major accounts identified as NPAs totalling Rs 7,50,000 crore.
 
Essar Steel had a debt of Rs 45,655 crore, of which Rs 31,671 crore had turned NPAs for banks by March 31, 2016. This increased to Rs 32,864 crore by March 31 this year.
 
The RBI, meanwhile, has disputed the company's claims. 
 
The central bank's counsel Darius Khambata told the High Court that it was crystal clear from the minutes of the meeting between the company and its lenders that it was "far from reaching any restructuring settlement". 
 
Also, he contended, Essar Steel was quite aware of insolvency proceedings against it at the National Company Law Tribunal.
 
As for the company's allegation that it was being singled out, the RBI counsel said the insolvency proceedings would actually help the company and added that the objective of the proceedings at the NCLT was to recover "maximum value in a minimum time-bound manner".
 
"The IBC (The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) is not for winding up a company but to resolve and restructurea to avoid winding up," Khambata said.
 
The RBI counsel said the list of 12 large NPAs against which the RBI had advised banks to initiate insolvency proceedings had been drawn to prevent the loss of public money. 
 
"The NCLT follows a time-bound, structured process, under statutory provisions. Its purpose is to maximise the value of assets and put it back into the system."
 
The hearing in the case will continue on Friday.
 
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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Data from India helps Bangladesh prepare for floods, but Assam reels
As the monsoon begins, some parts of Bangladesh are already flooded, and the Brahmaputra and Ganga rivers are expected to burst their banks sooner rather than later. But the people are now more aware of potential disasters thanks to improved flood forecasting and monitoring systems.
 
"We made a forecast for the ongoing flood in the Surma-Kushiyara basin prior to June 30, and now we are forecasting that the water level at many points of the Brahmaputra and Ganga might cross the danger level in the next three days," said Sazzad Hossain, Executive Engineer at the Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC).
 
The projections made by the centre are based on data about water flow upstream in the Brahmaputra, Ganga, Teesta, Feni and Barak -- all transboundary rivers flowing in from India. It is provided to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department by their Indian and Chinese counterparts and gives the authorities more time to prepare and even evacuate the vulnerable residents if necessary.
 
Under bilateral agreements between the countries, India and China provide information twice a day during the monsoon to help Bangladesh update its flood forecasting systems.
 
India provides data from two points on the Ganga, five on the Brahmaputra, and one each on the Teesta, Feni and Barak rivers, while China provides river flow information from three points on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet.
 
People living in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin are used to floods during the monsoon season. Just last year, Bangladesh experienced a severe flood due to heavy monsoon rains in the Brahmaputra basin and in 2015, 200,000 hectares of Aman paddy and 50,000 hectares of vegetable fields were inundated with floodwater, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
 
In early June this year, heavy rainfall in Bangladesh and in Assam and Meghalaya caused floods in some parts of the country. Northeastern Bangladesh was badly hit, with the Surma river in Sylhet district flowing 72 cm and 78 cm above the danger level at two points.
 
According to the Bangladesh Water Development Board, the ongoing flood has affected several hundred people in the districts of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj and Moulovibazar, where 280 schools have been closed and around 300,000 people have been cut off.
 
But now that the country can learn about potential hazards a few days in advance, preparations can be made earlier. The DAE has made preparations to provide fresh Aman paddy seeds to farmers, in case crops are damaged by the floods.
 
"We have enough preparation to supply farmers Aman paddy seeds after the flood so that they can continue their cultivation," Chaitanya Kumar Das, Deputy Director of the DAE, told thethirdpole.net.
 
"Considering the FFWC's forecast, we have made preparations, including relief and rehabilitation mechanisms, to tackle the natural disaster," Abu Saleh Mohammad Ferdous Khan, Deputy Commissioner of Kurigram district administration, told thethirdpole.net. "We get enough time to evacuate people living in low-lying areas near the rivers."
 
Meanwhile, in Assam, over 1.25 million people have been affected by the floods, and at least 33 already reported killed. Major highways have been disrupted, and the famed Kaziranga National Park, home of the one-horned rhinoceros, is mostly under water, with animals seeking higher ground.
 
It is unclear why, if Bangladesh is better prepared for floods at least partially due to information shared by India, Indian states do not seem to be. In the past, the states of West Bengal and Assam have blamed lack of information from upstream riparians such as Bhutan and China.
 
The floods are a regular catastrophe, occurring year on year with comparable amounts of people affected. And while it is argued that India and Bangladesh must work together to deal with transboundary floods, the challenges for India seem to be as much within than outside its borders.
 
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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COMMENTS

Deepak Narain

4 months ago

We believe in helping others and ignoring ourselves and our people. Otherwise, why would our government give away 17160.63 acres of our land to Bangladesh for a paltry 7110.02 acres of Bangla land while our own 'chicken-neck' (our only link to our North-East) continues to be as precarious as ever.

Ensure all traders register under GST by August 15, Modi tells Chief Secretaries
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called upon all Chief Secretaries to work towards ensuring that all traders are registered under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime by August 15.
 
Modi, who chaired his twentieth interaction through PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) platform, began with a review of the situation caused by flood and other natural calamities in the northeastern states and assured all possible help from the Central government. 
 
He also urged the Central Public Works Department to encourage all vendors to come aboard the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) platform, a paperless and cashless system to enable procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface. 
 
"The Prime Minister urged all Chief Secretaries to work expeditiously towards ensuring that all traders register under the GST regime, and this task is completed before August 15," a PMO release said. 
 
It said that Modi reviewed the progress of vital and long-pending infrastructure projects in the railway, road and petroleum sectors across several states and urged the Chief Secretaries to take all possible steps to avoid delays and the resultant cost escalations. 
 
Noting that several of the projects reviewed had been pending for decades, and in one case, over four decades, he emphasised on speedy implementation of such infrastructure projects, the release said.
 
The release said that the pending infrastructure reviewed are spread over several states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh. 
 
The projects reviewed include the Chennai Beach-Korukkupet third line and Chennai Beach-Attippattu fourth line and Howrah-Amta-Champadanga new Broad Gauge line. They also included four-laning of Varanasi bypass and four-laning of Muzaffarnagar-Haridwar section of NH-58.
 
Modi reviewed the progress towards resolution of grievances related to Central Public Works Department and Directorate of Estates and asked the Urban Development Ministry to "proactively monitor" them with sensitivity. 
 
He also reviewed the progress of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) and urged the departments concerned to accelerate the adoption of new construction technologies at the earliest.
 
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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