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1. RBI released PG Apte Working Group Report on Introduction of Interest Rate Options in India
1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the Report of the Working Group on Introduction of Interest Rate Options in India. The report was prepared by RBI committee chaired by Prof PG Apte.
2. Key recommendations of the Apte Committee
• To begin with, simple call and put Options, caps, floors, collars and swaptions may be permitted. Complex structures may be introduced subsequently.
• Both Over-the-Counter (OTC) as well as exchange traded options may be introduced. While in the OTC segment only European options may be permitted, both American and European structures may be permitted on Exchanges.
• Fixed Income Money Market and Derivatives Association of India (FIMMDA)/Financial Benchmark India Private Limited (FBIL) may come out with the list of eligible domestic money or debt market rates as benchmarks like G-Sec, T-Bills, MIBOR,OIS, MIFOR, IRF etc.
• While banks, PDs and other regulated entities having sound financials and prudent risk management may be allowed as market makers subject to the approval of concerned regulator, all domestic entities having underlying interest rate risk may be permitted as users.
• While no documentation relating to underlying exposure may be required for exposures up to 5 crore rupees, large corporate may also be allowed to take hedging positions for their anticipated interest rate exposures.
• The minimum lot size of the contract is to be kept at 2 lakh rupees on Exchanges and on the OTC, it is 5 crore rupees and in multiples of 5 crore rupees thereof among the market makers. Transactions between user and market maker may be standardized.
3. The RBI placed the recommendations of the panel for comments, which can be emailed by 26 February 2016. Final guidelines will be issued by the end March 2016 taking into account the feedback received.
2. National Deworming Day observed on 10 February
1. India on 10 February 2016 observed the first National Deworming Day in schools and preschools (anganwadis). The day is observed to combat parasitic worm infections among preschool (anganwadi) and school-age children.
2. During this albendezole 400 mg chewable tablets are provided to children at government, government-aided, and private schools, and anganwadis. Out-of-school children will be administered the deworming tablet at anganwadis.
3. The albendazole tablets will be given free-of-cost to children.
The National Deworming Day will be followed by a mop-up day on 15 February 2016 to administer the deworming tablet to children who were absent from the school or anganwadi on 10 February.
3. World’s largest concentrated solar plant opened in Morocco
1. The Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex, world’s largest solar power plant, was opened in the Souss-Massa-Drâa area in Morocco, 10 km from Ouarzazate town.
2. The plant holds the capacity to produce enough energy to power over one million homes by 2018 and reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 760000 tons per year.
3. Phase One of the project involved the construction of a 160MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant named Noor I, while Phase Two involved the construction of the 200MW Noor II CSP plant and the 150MW Noor III CSP plant, and Phase Three will involve the construction of the Noor IV CSP plant.
4. US President unveils Cyber Security National action plan
1. United States President Barack Obama has unveiled a cyber-security national action plan to boost security awareness amid of growing risks from new technologies. Under this action plan, President Obama in his budget request has asked for 19 billion US dollars for cyber-security efforts. This budgetary request is 35 per cent up from current levels which have 3 billion dollars allocation.
2. This plan has been earmarked to help modernise the patchwork of computer systems used in government agencies. The budgetary funds will be used for replacing overhaul of aging government networks and establishing a high-level commission to boost security awareness.
5. UP Panchayati Raj Minister Kailash Yadav passes away
1. Uttar Pradesh Panchayati Raj Minister Kailash Yadav passed away in Gurgaon after reportedly suffering a brain stroke. He was 65.
2. He was a senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and a cabinet Minister in the present Akhilesh Yadav government and was considered close to the SP Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.