Daily Current Affairs – 17th May 2022

LIC IPO- lists on the stock market at a Discount

Life Insurance Corporation of India logo.svg

The shares of  Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) debuted the stock exchanges on a weak note on Tuesday with the shares listing 8.62 per cent lower from the issue price. The LIC scrip opened at Rs 867.20 on the BSE, down 8.62 per cent from the issue price of Rs 949. On the National Stock Exchange (NSE),  it opened 8.11 per cent lower at Rs 872.00.

The issue price of LIC was fixed at Rs 949 apiece for allotment to investors. All policyholders and retail investors got the shares at a price of Rs 889 and Rs 904 apiece, respectively, after taking into account the discount offered. The government had offered a discount of Rs 60 per share for its policyholders and Rs 45 apiece for retail investors and LIC employees.

LIC is the country’s oldest and largest life insurance firm. It was formed by merging and nationalising 245 private life insurance companies on September 1, 1956, with an initial capital of Rs 5 crore. LIC now manages around Rs 40 lakh crore assets and is the fifth-largest life insurer globally and the largest asset manager in the country.

As of December 31, 2021, it covered 91 per cent of all districts and had 1.33 million individual agents, and had a market share of 61.6 per cent in terms of premiums or GWP, 61.4 per cent in terms of New Business Premium, 71.8 per cent in terms of number of individual policies issued, and 88.8 per cent in terms of number of group policies.

It is owned by the central government which sold 22.13 crore (22,13,74,920) shares or 3.5 per cent of its stake in LIC through the public offering. The IPO was entirely an offer-for-sale (OFS) and the government raised over Rs 21,000 crore through the sale.

Special Drawing Rights (SDR)

  • Recently, the IMF lifted the yuan’s weighting in the Special Drawing Rights currency basket.
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Recent changes in SDR
  • Recent change in Weightage: The IMF raised the yuan’s weight to 12.28% from 10.92% in its first regular review of the SDR evaluation since the Chinese currency was included in the basket in 2016.
    • The weighting of the US dollar rose to 43.38% from 41.73%, while those of the euro, Japanese yen and British pound declined.
  • Implications: It will prompt the Chinese central bank to pledge to push for a further opening of its financial markets.
    • The change came amid a sharp depreciation of the yuan.
    • The Chinese currency is expected to play a rising role in global payments, settlements and foreign exchange reserves over the long term.

What are Special Drawing Right (SDR)? 

  • This is a kind of reserve of foreign exchange assets comprising leading currencies globally and was created by the International Monetary Fund in the year 1969.
  • SDR is often regarded as a ‘basket of national currencies’ comprising major currencies of the world – the US dollar, Euro, British Pound, Yen (Japan) & the Chinese renminbi (included in 2016). 
  • The composition of this basket of currencies is reviewed every five years wherein the weightage of currencies sometimes gets altered.
  • SDR can be freely exchanged between the member countries instead of relying on the currency of any one particular country
  • Quota (the amount contributed to the IMF) of a country is denominated in SDRs.
  • Members’ voting power is related directly to their quotas.
  • IMF makes the general SDR allocation to its members in proportion to their existing quotas in the IMF.
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves also incorporate SDR other than gold reserves, foreign currency assets and Reserve Tranche in the IM
  • It is a portion of the required quota of currency each member country must provide to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that can be utilized for its own purposes.

Human Cell Atlas

  • Recently, scientists mapped out more than a million cells across 33 organs in the human body which can provide unparalleled insights into health and diseases.
  • Researchers looked at single immune cells from deceased individuals to understand the function of immune cells in different tissues.
  • Foetal tissues were also studied to generate a map of the developing immune system across gestation stages — the period between conception and birth.
  • Mapping was also specifically undertaken about cells that host genes linked to diseases like muscular dystrophy or heart disease.
  • Study observed multiple tissues from human donors. The researchers named it the Tabula Sapiens cell atlas
  • The Human Cell Atlas is an open global initiative, founded in 2016, that charts the cell types in the healthy body, across time from development to adulthood, and eventually to old age.
  • By using cutting-edge single cell and spatial genomics and computational techniques, HCA researchers are creating a unique “ID card” for each cell type.
  • Atlas will facilitate the development of better drugs and more accurate predictions of unintended toxicity
  • It will also aid regenerative medicine — the process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to establish normal function.
  • The atlas will help researchers to answer key questions in diverse biological fields.
    • In cellular taxonomy, it might enable the discovery and identification of cell types and molecular markers or signatures (a collection of genes, say, that characterise a specific cell type). 
    • In histology, it should enable researchers to relate tissue structure to the position of cells and molecules. 
    • Developmental biologists will be able to use it to track cell fate and lineage. 
    • Physiologists could characterise dynamic states, such as the cell cycle, and transient responses such as a T cell’s reaction to a pathogen. 
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