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Sensex jumps 167.48 points to end at 28,468.75

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ONGC to buy government’s 51.11% stake in HPCL for Rs 36,915 cr

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New Delhi, Jan 20: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) will acquire the government’s 51.11 per cent equity share-holding in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) at a consideration of Rs 36,915 crore.

Through the single share sale, the Centre would be able to meet half of its disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore for 2017-18.

“The Government of India has entered into an agreement with ONGC today (Saturday) for strategic sale of its 51.11 per cent equity share-holding in HPCL at a consideration of Rs 36,915 crore,” a statement said.

In line with the budget announcement, ONGC had proposed to acquire the Centre’s existing equity shareholding in HPCL.

Accordingly, the Union Cabinet, in its meeting held in July last year, gave “in-principle” approval to the proposal and decided to set up an alternative mechanism to decide on the price, timing and the terms and conditions of the strategic sale.

“The Alternative mechanism under the Chairmanship of Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) in its meeting today (Saturday) approved the price bid of ONGC and the terms and conditions of the sale,” it said.

Through this acquisition, ONGC will become India’s first vertically integrated “oil major” company, having presence across the entire value chain.

According to the statement, the integrated entity will have advantage of having enhanced capacity to bear higher risks, take higher investment decisions and neutralising the impact of volatility of global crude oil prices.

“In this process, ONGC has acquired significant mid-stream and downstream capacity and will attain economies of scale at various levels of operations,” it said.

Through this economic consolidation, HPCL will join as a member of an integrated oil and gas major group. This will help it in further leveraging synergy at various levels of vertical value chains and look for economic consolidation within and outside the group.

HPCL will continue to be a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE).

In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had underlined the need of efficient management of government investments in CPSEs during the review in February 2016.

The centre accordingly expanded the approach from disinvestment to investment and public asset management.

As part of investment management strategy, Government decided to explore possibilities of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions within CPSE space.

IANS

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Govt. sends tax notice to the people dealing in cryptocurrency

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The government has sent tax notices to the people dealing in cryptocurrency mainly Bitcoin. The government’s move came after a nationwide survey showed more than $3.5 billion worth of transactions have been conducted over a 17-month period, the income tax department said.

Tech-savvy young investors, real estate players and jewellers are among those invested in bitcoin and other virtual currencies, tax officials told Reuters after gathering data from nine exchanges in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune.

Governments around the world are grappling with how to regulate cryptocurrency trading, and policymakers are expected to discuss the matter at a G20 summit in Argentina in March.

With inputs from media reports

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‘I don’t regret’ firing man who wrote anti-diversity memo: Pichai

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai

San Francisco, Jan 20: Indian-born Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said he does not regret firing James Damore, a former employee who was ousted from the company last year for criticising the tech giant for its diversity policy.

When asked about Google’s decision to fire Damore during an interview with MSNBC, Pichai said. “I don’t regret it. It was the right decision”.

“The last thing we do when we make decisions like this is look at it with a political lens,” Pichai told the TV show hosts late on Friday.

Damore, who was ousted for writing a 10-page anti-diversity memo last year, filed a class-action lawsuit against Google this month, claiming that it discriminates against white men.

Damore, in his lawsuit filed in a California court, said that Google “ostracised, belittled and punished” him and a fellow plaintiff.

He added that he and others who share his views at Google long have been “singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google, in violation of their legal rights”.

The former Google employee also wrote an op-ed titled “Why I Was Fired by Google” in the Wall Street Journal in August last year.

Pichai had earlier described Damore’s memo as “offensive”.

IANS

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