23.08.2019

Indian dailies have commented on the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on eased the regulatory and compliance framework for foreign portfolio investors (FPI). Newspaper have also said that Boris Johnson’s letter to the European Union this week, it is perhaps the fact that he wrote it at all. Print media have also discussed Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year.

THE HINDU in an editorial NEW NORMS writes foreign investors have something to cheer about finally. On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), based on the recommendations of the H.R. Khan committee, eased several regulatory restrictions that are likely to make life easier for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs). Among a slew of measures, the financial markets regulator has simplified the registration process for FPIs by doing away with the broad-based eligibility criteria, which required a minimum of at least 20 investors in a foreign fund, and certain documentary requirements. FPIs can now also engage in the off-market sale of their shares with fewer restrictions. Further, SEBI has allowed entities registered at an international financial services centre to be automatically classified as FPIs. This might help foreign investors bypass some of the restrictions. Mutual funds with offshore funds too can invest in India as FPIs to avail certain tax benefits now. Smart cities, along with other urban development agencies, will now be allowed to issue municipal bonds to raise funds for development. These measures to cut red tape will help lower the regulatory burden on investors, globalise India’s financial markets, and aid the growth of the broader economy by increasing access to growth capital.

THE STATESMAN in an editorial LETTER FROM MR JOHNSON says by despatching a letter to the European Union this week the Prime Minister of the Unites Kingdom has recognised the reality that the relationship with EU does matter and profoundly so, whatever the eventual formula for the exit. So too did his predecessor, Theresa May. Small wonder the chief cause Of surprise in London is that Boris Johnson cast in the mould of Donald Trump, wrote it at all. For nearly a month Mr Johnson’s government has also articulated the proposal that a no-deal Brexit is an acceptable prospect for Britain. So when the new Prime Minister starts his letter by saying that he very much hopes the UK will be leaving with a deal it might be reasonable to hope that he may actually mean it. Further comment must await the evolution of developments before the deadline of 31 October. The core of the letter is the statement that the Irish backstop is not viable. The letter refers to the backstop as an undemocratic brake on UK’s trade and regulatory policies and a threat to the Northern Ireland peace process. There is little or no trace of a serious diplomatic approach to solving the impasse that threatens Britain’s economic stability trade jobs constitutional cohesion and security.

FINANCIAL EXPRESS in an editorial FIRE ALARM observes, the “lungs of the Earth”, the Amazon rainforests which produce 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere, is on fire for more than two weeks now. The rainforest that experiences torrential rain throughout the year has witnessed the highest number of wildfires this year—of the 72,843 that have been reported so far this year in Brazil, more than half were in the Amazonian rainforests. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that July 2019 was the hottest July ever. The global temperature is already 1.7oF above the 20th century levels, and severe droughts have occurred in Alaska and Canary islands. Widespread deforestation, illegal logging and mining have acted as catalysts in the case of Amazon’s wildfire. Jair Bolsonaro’s government has been busy rolling back crucial protections for the rainforests to facilitate mining and logging, and the forests have witnessed an 88% increase in deforestation over June 2018-June 2019, as per the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).