Opening Bell 28 December | All eyes on Lokpal action

Opening Bell 28 December | All eyes on Lokpal action

Mumbai: It is mid-week and the Lok Sabha has finally passed the government’s version of the Lokpal Bill, which will now face the acid test in Rajya Sabha today where the opposition will call the shots, reports Times of India. The government needs two thirds majority for the bill to become a constitutional amendment in the upper house. On the other hand, Anna Hazare, the Gandhian activist has begun his three day fast in Mumbai to seek support for his version of the Lokpal Bill.

Asian markets lost ground in morning trades following lacklustre closing on Wall Street, reports MarketWatch. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average clung to marginal gains, South Korea’s Kospi declined 1% and China’s Shanghai Composite further slid 0.4% after closing at a 33-month low on Monday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.4% after the Christmas Holiday.

Back in India, Adani Group has set a target for mining 200 million tonnes (mt) of coal, 200 mt of cargo-handling and 20,000 megawatts (MW) of power generation capacity by 2020. This is after Adani Power deferred its plan to expand capacity by 6,500 MW due to lack of clarity on coal linkages. The company is facing several hurdles such as it is not able to source coal from domestic markets, it is not getting environmental clearance for capacity expansion of Mundra port and an approval to mine coal.

Tata Power Company is set to buy out BP Alternative Energy’s (the renewable energy arm of the UK-based BP Plc) entire holding of 51% in their joint venture Tata BP Solar for an undisclosed sum. India’s largest independent power producer is focusing on solar module and solar cell market to grow. Tata BP Solar manufactures and exports solar photovoltaic cells. The company is tapping the solar market as India aims to develop 1000 MW of solar power capacity by 2013, enough to power nearly one million homes.

Jet Airways may be in focus after the chairman Naresh Goyal has denied evading of tax payment, reports Business Standard. This was after a notice was sent to him from the income tax department for details of his foreign bank accounts. Goyal,a non-resident Indian owns Tail Winds, a UK registered company which has 79% stake in Jet Airways. However, Goyal said that the Tail Winds account was officially disclosed to and approved by the RBI, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and the ministry of civil aviation.

India’s largest public sector bank , State Bank of India raised deposit rates on NRE deposits to 9.25% from as low as 3.5% and doubled the cap on tenure to 10 years from five years, reports Economic Times. The State Bank of India has joined rivals HDFC Bank which has also raised its deposit rates to attract more dollars. However, this may lead to leveraging by non-resident Indians who can borrow overseas at rates as low as 2-3% and deposit money in India to benefit from arbitrage. This may also erode banks’ profitability in the near term, said analysts.

Lastly, Anil and Mukesh Ambani finally met at the much talked about re-union at their ancestral home in Chorwad, Gujarat, reports Business Standard. The family plans to formally inaugurate a memorial to Dhirubhai Ambani at their home on his birthday. This will open to the public on January 16, 2012. The memorial will house a picture gallery, the old house of Dhirubhai and an auditorium for screening a short film on his life.