Below the line

| Updated on November 15, 2020

A feint for the market

Recently, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had announced that it would import 10 lakh tonnes of potatoes to meet the shortfall in production in the previous rabi season. The decision surprised many as it came barely three weeks before the new crop is to hit the market. When asked, a senior Minister let the cat out of the bag: It was only “strategic announcement,” he said.

Since the statement, made on October 30, the retail price of potatoes stopped rising or started falling. The message was meant only for the market and the government may not actually import, the Minister hinted.

Amit Shah ‘locked out’

Twitter ran into a controversy on Thursday when it locked out Home Minister Amit Shah’s official account due to “an inadvertent error”. The display picture on his account showed a blank page with the message-“Media not displayed. This image has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder.”

Though the social media site corrected the error immediately, #BanTwitter started trending. However, some users believed that this was after the government reportedly issued a notice to Twitter for showing Leh as part of Jammu & Kashmir instead of the UT of Ladakh.

Tough and easy on Covid

The WTO Secretariat recently postponed a meeting of its Dispute Settlement Body because of a recent Covid-19 restriction that limits face-to-face meetings at the WTO to five people. All over Europe, governments and organisations have taken the new wave of infections very seriously and are putting in place various measures.

Such measures are indeed slowing important work but a pandemic cannot be taken lightly.

But, In India, because of the on-going festivital season, hundreds are thronging public places and, alarmingly, many are not wearing a mask. While overall new infections in the country may have gone down from the peak, Delhi has again seen a steep rise. Whether the government has the political will to implement the strict measures during the festival season remains to be seen.

Gland IPO & China dampener

The ₹6,480-crore initial public offering of Gland Pharma may have closed successful by getting subscription nearly two times of the issue. But, according to exchange data, the success was mainly due to institutional investors, as the portion reserved for them got nearly six times.

High net worth individuals, who have wildly chased most IPOs in recent times, and retail investors were conspicuous by their absence. The portion reserved for retail investors saw just 23 per cent subscription and that of non-institutional investors (HNIs) 50 per cent. Even as the company is set to join the top 100 companies in India by market capitalisation, these investors largely stayed on sidelines.

According to market men, the main reason was the China factor. The company is backed by China’s Fosun Pharma, which is selling one crore shares through the issue. Given the recent border tensions with China, HNIs and retail Investors preferred to stay away. Besides, Satyam founders holding a stake in the company had also dampened the sentiment for IPO, they added.

Science-society connect

Connecting science to society can make science and technology one of the strongest pillars for peace and development, so believes Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST). At a webinar on the occasion of the World Science Day, he highlighted that a policy on Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) would be in place in the next few months to create new interfaces between science and society. “Communication of science to society at large is a major challenge. Science needs to reach the masses so that it can be used as a major tool for peace and development,” he said. Our Bureaus

Published on November 15, 2020

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