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Bharti Airtel shareholders to vote on July 31 on scheme of arrangement

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Airtel.

The National Company Law Tribunal has directed for a meeting of Bharti Airtel shareholders to consider and approve the scheme of arrangement between Airtel, Bharti Airtel Services, Hughes Communications and HCIL Comtel.

The meeting will be held on July 31 through video conferencing.

In an order dated May 11, 2020, the Principal Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal at New Delhi had directed a meeting to be held of the equity shareholders of Bharti Airtel Limited on Friday, July 31, 2020 between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. (“Meeting”) through video conferencing or other audio visual means.

The meeting is being called for the purpose of considering, and if thought fit, approving with or without modifications, the proposed composite scheme of arrangement between Bharti Airtel, Bharti Airtel Services Limited, Hughes Communications India Limited (now known as Hughes Communications India Private Limited) and HCIL Comtel Limited (now known as HCIL Comtel Private Limited) and their respective shareholders and creditors under Sections 230 to 232 and other applicable provisions of the Companies Act, 2013.

As per a company notice to shareholders, there shall be no meeting requiring physical presence at a common venue in view of the present circumstances on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Airtel will also be offering Postal Ballot and remote e-voting facility prior to the meeting of the equity shareholders including the public shareholders to cast their votes for or against on the resolution set forth in the notice.

Airtel has appointed KFintech to provide remote e-voting facility as well as to enable the equity shareholders of Airtel to attend and participate in the meeting through VC/ OAVM.

Each equity shareholder (including public shareholders) can opt for only one mode for voting i.e. through postal ballot or through e-voting prior to or at the meeting (through VC/OAVM). In case equity shareholders cast their vote via both the modes i.e. postal ballot as well as e-voting either prior to or at the meeting, then voting done through either of the e-voting mode shall prevail and voting by equity shareholder through other means shall be treated as invalid.

Business

Government to identify electronic items for export thrust: Piyush Goyal

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As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission, the government plans to push domestic manufacturing of certain electronic items where India could quickly build scale and increase exports.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said, here on Tuesday, his ministry was looking at identifying select electronic items that could be manufactured in India on a large scale, like television sets, close circuit TVs and air conditioners, and could be exported in large quantities.

While interacting with members of the Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) through a conference call, the Minister urged the industry to give specific suggestions regarding such products and the policy tooling required to make them competitive. The government would help in creating conducive ecosystem for such products to be manufactured and exported, he said.

It came as a response to the ESC suggestion that since focus on mobile handset production has paid off in terms of increasing exports, several other electronic products could also deliver similar results with support from the government.

While calling upon the electronics hardware sector to use the innovation, R&D and disruption route to expand domestic footprint and raise exports, Goyal said industries that were more self-reliant and try to grow without the government support had made their mark. In this regard, he pointed to IT, ITeS and BPO sectors that had created a formidable position as a solution provider and exporter.

Depending exclusively on incentives, such as the Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), the Minister said might not add to the competitiveness since such schemes were time-bound and export competitiveness should come from inherent strengths.

He also underscored the need for joint industry-government efforts to implement the National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA), used for engineering solutions to extremely complex problems in computing, communications, sensing, chemistry, cryptography, imaging and mechanics.

Referring to another ESC suggestion that quality and accurate data for software and services exports must be ensured, Goyal said his ministry would take up this with the Reserve Bank of India to tone up the process and procedure of data collation. Some schemes would be put in place to address this issue soon, he added.

Goyal called upon the industry to bring to the government’s notice genuine problems being faced by them.

On the issue of MSMEs facing problems in availing the recently announced incentives, he said, “To the best of our knowledge, such schemes are working well, provided the industry complies with the banks’ requirements; yet in case of any genuine difficulties, if brought to the notice, timely action will be taken.”

The Minister also unveiled the strategic paper, prepared by ESC for augmenting exports of electronics hardware and computer software. The papers contain several proactive suggestions to accelerate exports from these two areas.

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Business

Drones chase vectors, pests at Western Railway’s Mumbai workshop

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In a first for Indian Railways, the Western Railway (WR) has teamed up with BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to deploy drones to step up cleanliness and hygiene in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic coupled with risks of monsoon illness, an official said here on Tuesday.

WR Chief Spokesperson Sumit Thakur said keeping pace with modern technology, drones are keeping tabs on the sprawling 144-year-old Lower Parel Workshop, for vectors and other pests in difficult areas or those beyond human reach.

“Some areas cannot be accessed physically or even visually, but drones help us to reach there and now we can keep serious diseases diseases like mosquito, dengue, etc, at bay, thus providing a safe and healthy working environment for the staff,” said Thakur.

The brainchild of Chief Workshop Manager Tarun Huria, the Aerial Microbial Disinfection, drew applause from WR General Manager Alok Kansal both for its innovativeness and simple yet effective practical applications.

Thakur added that the huge workshop is situated in one of the low-lying areas of central Mumbai which is regularly prone to flooding during monsoon.

This in turn creates problems of breeding of mosquitoes and other pests posing a health hazard to the workers, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

One drone flies around to survey and peek over half-km (500-metres) high rooftops, valley gutters, long down-take pipes, drainage lines and the complete yard hunting for mosquito sites, and provides video footage.

The second drone follows the path and goes around spraying the correct insecticides at the right time and at the required sites to avoid mosquito breeding, without any human contact in view of the pandemic.

Apart from the drone technology for fumigation or spraying, the workshop has also installed pumps to drain out the water during heavy rains which would eliminate the problem of stagnant water and killing the breeding fields of the vectors.

Built in 1876, the workshop comprises huge sheds and administrative buildings including some heritage monuments of the British era where the work of overhauling of new generation railway coaches is done with latest technology.

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Business

Karnataka allows all to buy, own farmland

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Karnataka has made changes to the Land Reforms Act 1961 through an ordinance to allow non-agriculturists to buy and own farmland for farming, according to an official here on Tuesday.

“The Land Reforms Act has been amended through an ordinance and notified after Governor Vajubhai R. Vala gave his assent to it on Monday night,” a Revenue Department official told IANS.

It now permits non-farmers to buy farmland and grow food crops. But they can’t use it for other activities.

“Sections 79 A, B and C of the Act have been repealed, paving way for bona fide citizens to invest in farmland and take to farming as a hobby, passion or additional occupation, which is rewarding,” the official said.

The amended Act will enable the state to attract investment in the farm sector and boost food output. The farm sector’s contribution to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been less than manufacturing and services sectors over the last two decades.

Criticism by farmers, the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) since the cabinet approved changes on June 11 forced the state government to retain section 80 of the Act, with an amendment, to prevent sale of the dam water irrigated farmland.

“The ordinance has also added a new section (80A), which says relaxations under the Act will not apply to land given to farmers under the Karnataka SC and ST Act 1978,” the official said.

The changes permits mortgage of farmland only to the state-run institutions, firms, cooperative societies as specified in the Act. The ordinance also makes legal cases pending in courts against the sections amended redundant as the new Act addresses the concerns raised in them.

“Besides generating substantial revenue for the state government, the Act will now allow farmers who find the occupation non-remunerative and risky due to droughts/floods and labour shortage to sell their surplus land to urban buyers,” the official said.

Hundreds of people who have been in diverse professions, like business, services, manufacturing, hospitality, education, health and teaching, will get an opportunity to take to farming and serve the nation.

Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Rajya Sabha member K.C. Ramamurthy from Bengaluru said the amended Act would allow any citizen to buy farmland.

“Though hundreds of people petitioned successive governments since 45 years to abolish the ‘draconian’ sections, they were ignored. I compliment Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Revenue Minister R. Ashok for the decision to allow everyone to buy farmland irrespective of their occupation or profession,” Ramamurthy had told IANS.

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