- Govt accords ‘Maharatna’ status to Hindustan Petroleum, Power Grid Corp
Bilateral & International Relations
- Minister of Petroleum visits Sakhalin oil field in Russia
Science & Technology
- CSIR conducts Whole Genome Sequencing of over 1,000 Indians
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Govt accords ‘Maharatna’ status to Hindustan Petroleum, Power Grid Corp
The government accorded ‘Maharatna’ status to state-owned Hindustan Petroleum and Power Grid Corporation, thus giving them greater operational and financial autonomy.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE MAHARATNA STATUS?
- The Boards of Maharatna central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) can make equity investments to undertake financial joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries.
- They can undertake mergers and acquisitions in India and abroad, subject to a ceiling of 15 % of the net worth of that Maharatna CPSEs.
- The Boards can structure and implement schemes relating to personnel and human resource management and training.
- They can also enter into technology joint ventures or other strategic alliances.
- The holding companies of a Maharatna CPSE are also empowered to transfer assets, float fresh equity and divest shareholding in subsidiaries.
- Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) was incorporated in 1974 after the takeover and merger of erstwhile Esso Standard and Lube India through the Esso (Acquisition of Undertaking in India) Act passed by Parliament.
- Power Grid Corporation of India Limited is India’s largest electric power transmission utility firm.
MAHARATNA, NAVRATNA AND MINIRATNA STATUS OF PUBLIC SECTOR ENTERPRISES (PSES)
- The government grants the status of Maharatna, Navratna, and Miniratna to Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) based upon the profit made by these enterprises.
- The Maharatna, Navratna and Miniratna statuses give financial and administrative power to the companies to a certain extent.
- Currently, there are 10 Maharatna, 14 Navratna and 73 Miniratna CPSEs.
Criteria for grant of Maharatna status: –
The CPSEs fulfilling the following criteria are eligible to be considered for grant of Maharatna status.
- Having Navratna status.
- Listed on Indian stock exchange with minimum prescribed public shareholding under SEBI regulations.
- Average annual turnover of more than Rs. 25,000 crore, during the last 3 years.
- Average annual net worth of more than Rs. 15,000 crore, during the last 3 years.
- Average annual net profit after tax of more than Rs. 5,000 crore, during the last 3 years.
- Should have significant global presence/international operations.
Criteria for grant of Navratna status: –
The Miniratna Category – I and Schedule ‘A’ CPSEs, which have obtained ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ rating under the Memorandum of Understanding system in three of the last five years, and have composite score of 60 or above in the six selected performance parameters, namely,
- net profit to net worth,
- manpower cost to total cost of production/services,
- profit before depreciation, interest and taxes to capital employed,
- profit before interest and taxes to turnover,
- earnings per share and
- inter-sectoral performance.
Criteria for grant of Miniratna status: –
- The CPSEs which have made profits in the last three years continuously and have positive net worth are eligible to be considered for grant of Miniratna status.
Bilateral & International Relations
Minister of Petroleum visits Sakhalin oil field in Russia
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel visited Sakhalin oil field in Russia.
- He also visited the Rig Krechet which is the biggest and most powerful land rig in the world. It is a covered rig to allow people to work in extreme temperature. A drilling rig (similar to Bombay High) is an integrated system that drills wells, such as oil wells, in the earth’s subsurface.
ABOUT SAKHALIN OIL PROJECT
- The Sakhalin-I project, a similar project to Sakhalin-II, is a consortium for production of oil and gas on Sakhalin Island in Russia.
- It operates in three fields in the Okhotsk Sea.
- It will continue to produce oil and gas till 2055.
- Since 2001, ONGC Videsh Limited has 20% stakes of Sakhalin-1.
Science & Technology
CSIR conducts Whole Genome Sequencing of over 1,000 Indians
Announcing details of the IndiGen Genome project, the health minister said that the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has conducted Whole Genome Sequencing of 1,008 Indians from different populations across the country for biomedical applications.
- Scientists have also developed IndiGenome card and mobile application for researchers and clinicians to access clinically actionable information. The minister said it would ensure privacy and data security, which is vital for personal genomics to be implemented at large scale.
ABOUT THE INDIGEN INITIATIVE
- IndiGen programme aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.
- The IndiGen initiative was undertaken by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in April 2019.
- It was implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.
- This project is a supplement to India’s first human genome mapping project to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.
- The whole genome data will be important for building the knowhow and indigenous capacity in the area of Precision Medicine.
- The genomic data will help scientists understand genetic diversity of the Indian population.
- The outcomes of the IndiGen will have applications in a number of areas including predictive and preventive medicine with faster and efficient diagnosis of rare genetic diseases.
ABOUT THE INDIA’S FIRST HUMAN GENOME MAPPING PROJECT:
The Indian genome project will be executed in two phases.
1st phase: It involves sequencing the complete genomes of nearly 10,000 Indians from across the country and capture the biological diversity of India.
2nd Phase: About 10,000 “diseased individuals” would have their genomes sequenced.
- Then, these vast data would be compared using machine learning(ML) techniques to identify genes that can predict cancer risk, as well as other diseases that could be significantly influenced by genetic anomalies.
- The data generated can be accessed by anyone through a proposed National Biological Data Centreenvisaged in a policy called the ‘Biological Data Storage, Access and Sharing Policy’.
WHAT IS WHOLE-GENOME SEQUENCING (WGS)?
- Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is the process of determining the complete DNA sequenceof an organism’s genome.
- Genomic information has been instrumental in identifying inherited disorders, characterizing the mutations that drive cancer progression, and tracking disease outbreak
- Many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and resilience) to disease.
- There is interest among private and public companies in sequencing genomes due to the declining costs for the process.