Opinion

Below the line

Our Bureaus | Updated on September 28, 2021

Extreme step

You must have heard of only listed entities — and that too post listing of their shares — coming out with directions and norms to employees as regards sharing of unpublished price-sensitive information, lest the company be forced to face SEBI action on insider trading.

Raising several eyebrows, a somewhat intriguing step has now been taken by IPO-bound Life Insurance Corporation, which has barred its officials at all levels from interacting with the media as regards sharing of “unpublished price-sensitive data” in the run up to the IPO.

This is taking compliance with SEBI regulations to a new level, quipped a capital market observer. It now transpires that LIC officials have been barred from making comments or statements on IPO size/IPO timing/IPO valuation or any futuristic projections in any public forum.

First it was the appointed merchant bankers to the IPO who were asked to keep mum about LIC’s fundamentals and the IPO’s timing and valuation. Now, there is a bar on employees, too, from sharing any unpublished information/data on social media or with any media personnel or even customers.

It would be nice if this directive is also followed by a largesse from the LIC management, giving a good dose of ESOPs to its employees and help them turn into crorepatis after the IPO, quipped an insider.

Not a bad idea — LIC should seriously take a leaf out of the book of Freshworks, which was recently listed on Nasdaq.

Whistle-blower

If you thought that Competition Commission of India had unearthed the more than decade old cartelisation practices among leading beer companies (UB, SAB Miller India and Carlsberg India), think again. It now transpires that it is AB Inbev — which acquired SAB Miller India — that had used the CCI’s leniency programme to disclose that it had detected a cartel while integrating SAB Miller’s operations in India. Subsequently, AB Inbev became a whistle-blower alleging collusion between UB, SABMiller and Carlsberg India in the past. True courage this from AB Inbev.

A bloomer

A placard held by a person receiving delegates for the ‘Musculoskeletal’ conference in Hyderabad read: ‘Mosquito Skeleton Society’.

Wedding bells

Marriages are made not just in heaven but on terra firma as well. Or so it seems. The Thidanad Grama Panchayat in Kottayam has taken upon itself the task of match-making in an area falling within its jurisdiction.

The panchayat has taken up the novel initiative after assessing the swelling ranks of ‘single’ youth. The situation prompted the local body to waste no time finding for them suitable life partners. The panchayat has also opened a marriage diary that has received overwhelming response, with more than 700 registrations within four days of its launch.

This follows a survey which revealed that young men and women are looking for life partners, either because their marriages were delayed or had broken up due to various reasons.

The panchayat is offering the service free of cost. It is also coordinating with other local bodies to get suitable matches for the registered members. The registration of profiles can be made by filing an online application, which is being circulated through social media.

Ease of undoing business

In Kerala, Ease of Doing Business just seem to fly in the face of a series of contra-indicative cases even as the State vows to improve its ranking. Try as it might, it has failed to wish away militant trade unionism, much less sweep it under the red carpet rolled out to investors.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has spoken against the practice, but only just. One need not go beyond the embarrassing episode when unionists demanded ‘gawking charges’ ('nokkukooli') — a charge levied when forced to watch others load or unload cargo — of a mind-boggling ₹10 lakh to let an ISRO truck with a large-sized cargo onboard pass. A few other instances too have kept the pot boiling so much so the Kerala High Court has demanded corrective action.

Published on September 26, 2021

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