Saturday, December 1, 2012

MCX-SX joins UN's initiative

MCX Stock Exchange (Multi Commodity Exchange) has signed the voluntary commitment to the UN's Sustainable Stock Exchanges (UN SSE) initiative to promote long term investment and improved environmental, social and corporate governance disclosure and performance among listed companies. With this, the MCX-SX has joined the global league of six other exchanges that have commited to the UN SSE initiative. The other six exchanges that have commited to the SSE initiative are NASDAQ OMX, the Brazilian stock exchange BM & FBOVESPA, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, BSE, Egyptian Exchange and Istambul Stock Exchange. 

RBI to buy government securities to ease liquidity crisis

To ease the liquidity pressure in the banking system, the Reserve Bank of India has announced the purchase of governmant securities worth Rs 12,000 crore through Open Market Operations (OMOs) on December 4. The banks have been collectively borrowing over Rs 1 lakh crore on a daily basis since the second week of November. 

Lok Sabha passes money laundering amendment Bill

Lok Sabha passed the Prevention of Money Laundering (amendment) Bill 2011. The Bill will expand the definition of money laundering to include cheating, concealment, acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

FIPB clears IKEA's bid to invest in single-brand retail

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has received the nod from FIPB( Foreign Investments Promotion Board,the government's single-window body to clear foreign investment proposals), to set up stores in India. It will become largest FDI deals in single-brand retail so far, which will bring in investment of over Rs 10,500 crore in India. 

Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram announced this.

IKEA Group proposes to invest this amount through a 100 percent subsidiary. IKEA group  are manufactures and sellers of home and office furnishing products.

IKEA's intends to set up 25 stores in India for which they already have permission from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Commerce and Industry Ministry. The proposal will now have to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) as the FIPB can clear investment applications worth up to Rs 1,200 crore only.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Changes in Kisan Credit Cards(KCCs)

By March 2014 all Kisan Credit Cards(KCCs) should be converted to ATM cards by public sector banks(PSBs), Finance Minister P Chidambaram asked PSBs. This will mean a total of 11.39 KCCs will get converted. The total money lend by these cards is RS.5,21,617crore. The scheme was introduced in 1998-99.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Order of Australia conferred on Sachin

Sachin Tendulkar conferred with the Order of Australia which recognises Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service. The order is divided into general and military divisions. Awards in the Order of Australia are sometimes made to people who are not citizens of Australia, to honour extraordinary achievements.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Walt Disney buying Lucasfilm for $ 4.05 billion

The Walt Disney Co announced that they are buying Lucasfilm Ltd for $ 4.05 billion. Lucasfilm Ltd is the production company behind "Star Wars". The deal brings Lucasfilm under the Disney banner with other brands including Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC.

Financing vehicle for Dalit entrepreneurs

The Maharashtra Government has set up a finance corporation to help Dalit entrepreneurs who are waiting for initial capital to set up industrial units. The corporation will have a corpus of about Rs.700 crore for investment in small and medium enterprises started by Dalit entrepreneurs. The name for the corporation has yet to be finalised.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

RBI eases money supply

The Reserve Bank of India cut cash reserve ratio(CRR) by 25 basis points from 4.5 per cent  to 4.25 per cent which will release some Rs.175 billion into the system for commercial lending with the hope that it will keep inflation under check, while also pushing growth. The CRR is the money against deposits which commercial banks have to retain in the form of liquid assets such as cash.
“The reduction in the cash reserve ration is intended to pre-empt a prospective tightening of liquidity conditions, thereby keeping liquidity comfortable to support growth,” Mr. Subbarao said explaining the decision.

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Union Ministers

In a major Cabinet reshuffle Prime Minister Manmohan Singh introduced many new faces in an effort to improve the image of the government.

K. Rahman Khan : Minority affairs

Dinsha J. Patel : Mines
Ajay Maken : Housing and urban poverty alleviation
M.M. Pallam Raju : Human resource development
Ashwani Kumar : Law and justice
Harish Rawat : Water resources
Chandresh Kumari Katoch : Culture

M. Veerappa Moily : Petroleum and natural gas
S. Jaipal Reddy : Science and technology and earth sciences
Kamal Nath : Urban development and parliamentary affairs
Vayalar Ravi : Overseas Indian affairs
Kapil Sibal : Communications and information technology
CP Joshi : Road transport and highways
Kumari Selja : Social justice and empowerment
Pawan Kumar Bansal : Railways
Salman Khurshid : External affairs
Jairam Ramesh : Rural development

Manish Tewari : Information and broadcasting
K. Chiranjeevi : Tourism

Jyotiraditya Scindia :Power
K.H. Muniappa : Micro, small and medium enterprises
Bharatsinh Madhavsinh Solanki : Drinking water and sanitation
Sachin Pilot : Corporate affairs
Jitendra Singh : Youth affairs and sports

Shashi Tharoor : Human resources development

Kodikunnil Suresh : Labour and employment
Tariq Anwar : Agriculture and food processing industries
K.J. Surya Prakash Reddy : Railways
Ranee Narah : Tribal affairs
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury : Railways
A.H. Khan Choudhury : Health and family welfare
Sarve Sathyanarayana : Road transport and highways
Ninong Ering : Minority affairs
Deepa Dasmunsi : Urban development
Porika Balram Naik :Social justice and empowerment
Killi Kruparani : Communications and information technology
Lalchand Kataria : Defence

E. Ahmed : External affairs
D. Purandeswari : Commerce and industry
Jitin Prasada : Defence and human resource development
S. Jagatharakshakan : New and renewable energy
RPN. Singh :Home
KC Venugopal : Civil aviation
Rajeev Shukla : Parliamentary affairs and planning

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nobel 2012 Summary

Serge Haroche, David J. Wineland
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012 was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems"

Robert J. Lefkowitz, Brian K. Kobilka
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012 was awarded jointly to Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors"

Sir John B. Gurdon, Shinya Yamanaka
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 was awarded jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent"

Mo Yan
Mo Yan "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary"

European Union (EU)
European Union (EU) "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe"

Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley
Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley "for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design".


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

India, Australia discuss uranium exports

An important high-level meeting between India and Australia was held in New Delhi. At the meeting, Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and his visiting Australian counterpart Julia Gillard held talks on strengthening economic and strategic ties and explore cooperation in civil nuclear energy. The two leaders also discussed about Australia’s decision to overturn a long standing ban on exporting uranium to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. India has not signed the treaty. Australia has 40 per cent of the world’s known uranium reserves.

Monday, October 15, 2012

RBI panel on financial inclusion

To spearhead the efforts to bring the entire population under the banking network, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), announced setting up of Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee (FIAC). It will be led by the RBI Deputy Governor K.C Chakrabarty. The panel is expected to ensure that financial inclusion and financial stability move in tandem.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rangarajan panel

Government committee, led by C. Rangarajan, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council has favoured complete decontrol of the sugar industry, dispensing immediately with the levy sugar obligation and administrative control on non-levy sugar. These recommendations are in line with the industry’s demand for easing controls.The committee also pitches for a stable trade policy and a moderate duty on imports and exports, but wants outright ban or quantitative restrictions done away with.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

IMF cuts India's growth forecast

Due to low business confidence and sluggish structural reforms, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed the growth forecast of India to 4.9 per cent for 2012. Earlier, the IMF had projected a growth rate of 6.1 per cent for this fiscal. Indian economy expanded by 5.5 per cent in the first quarter of financial year 2012.

Monday, October 8, 2012

World Bank loan for RMSA

To support secondary education, World Bank has offered $500 million loan to India. This loan will be used to finance Rashtriya Madhyamic Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), a government initiative to support secondary education in India. OnnoRuhl, country director, World Bank (India), and Prabodh Saxsena, joint secretary, finance ministry signed the loan agreement in New Delhi.

National Investment Board(NIB)

To speed up clearances for mega infra projects, the Union Government has decided to establish National Investment Board. Describing the scaled down growth target of 8.2 per cent for the 12th plan as 'realistic',  Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, the cabinet was expected to establish a National Investment Board(NIB, to be headed by Prime Minister) this week, to speed up clearances for projects that are now bounced from one ministry to another in a process that can stretch for years and frustrates investors.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

West Indies T20 World Champions

West Indies won the 2012 T20 world cup beating Sri Lanka in the final which turned out to be one sided match. It is been a long time since the last world cup victory by the West Indians.
West Indies were the favorites of critics from the beginning itself. Chris Gayle played a crucial role in the progress of West Indies in the tournament. In the final he failed to perform, while his role was played by Marlon Samuels.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Economic reforms round-2

49% FDI in insurance, 26% in pension sector
After foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail sector, the Union Cabinet hiked FDI limit in pension and insurance sectors. Still foreign investors would not be able to gain controlling shares of pension and insurance providing companies as the cap being fixed at 49 per cent for insurance sector and 26% for pension sector. 
This is against the recommendation of Parliament's standing committee on finance headed by BJP's Yashwant Sinha to cap FDI at 26%.

Companies Bill
Breaking a legislation deadlock Companies Bill gets the cabinet nod to incorporate crucial changes. The bill deals with the competition law.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Parekh panel suggestions

Parekh panel on financing of infrastructure headed by HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh suggests big-ticket reforms to attract investment in the infrastructure sector, it recommended increasing electricity charges and rail fares.
The committee also recommends 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the telecom sector as against current 74 per cent.
The panel also suggested raising prices of natural gas.

The pannel thinks these recommendations will help in attracting Rs 51.46 lakh crore for funding infrastructure sector during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), said the report which was presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The report adds, "a time-bound action plan...with a view to improving the enabling environment for private investment which is expected to finance about 47 per cent of the projected investment during the 12th Plan".

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission

The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission(FSLRC), headed by former Justice B. N. Srikrishna suggests key regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) and the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) should be merged into a Unified Financial Agency (UFA).
It also suggested setting up of a financial redressal agency (FRA) to address consumer complaints against companies across the financial sector.
At present, while the stock market is regulated by SEBI, the activities in the commodities market are looked after by the FMC. The insurance sector is regulated by the IRDA, while the PFRDA is responsible for managing the pension sector.
The FSLRC was set up to recast the financial sector legislations in tune with the contemporary requirements of the sector.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Federation Cup 2012

East Bengal regained the Federation Cup after a season, beating Dempo SC 3-2 in the final at Kanchanjungha Stadium. 

Federation Cup:
The Federation Cup (abbreviated as Fed Cup) is an annual knockout style club football tournament in India. It has started in 1977. From its inception till I-League has been started in 1997 (then called NFL), it was the most prestigious national level club football tournament in India. Presently it is the most important club tournament after the I-League, to which it has become a de facto League Cup. The winning club of the Federation Cup gets a chance to compete in the continental level in AFC Cup.

Read More about Federation Cup...

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Kelkar panel recommendations

The Committee headed by former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar asked Government to eliminate various subsidies in phases by hiking prices of LPG, kerosene, diesel and food grains  by one-third by 2014-15 in ration shops to deal with the deteriorating fiscal situation. 
It also suggested a slew of bold measures to cut the subsidy bill, which did not find favour with the government.
About disinvestment, the Committee said that in absence of adequate steps the government will be able to raise around Rs 10,000 crore, as against the budget target of Rs 30,000 crore.
It cautions that in absence of these measures, the fiscal deficit of the government could shoot up to 6.1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the current financial year where as it can can be contained to 5.2 percent with the proposed reforms.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Triple Five scheme

The Union Government set up a directorate, under Tea Board, which will serve small tea growers, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry.
The initiative is now only for the tea sector. This could be extended to other plantation sectors, if needed, Scindia said.
He added that some of the areas of importance for the tea sector were re-plantation and rejuvenation, increase in exports, and tackling challenges such as labour shortage and higher mechanisation.
The government had come out with the Triple Five (555) scheme to increase Indian tea exports.
It is 555 scheme because, the focus would be on five markets with five major measures for five years. For the first phase, the government had sanctioned Rs.6.5 crore for this scheme.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Centre confident of disinvestment target

Kelkar Committee report pegged the receipts from disinvestment this fiscal at Rs.10,000 crore, way below the budgeted target of Rs.30,000 crore. But the government appeared confident in raising Rs.25,000-30,000 crore through sell-off of the Centre’s equity in public sector undertakings (PSUs) and thereby remain as close as possible to the fiscal deficit target of 5.1 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) set for the financial year. The disinvestment is purely based on the equity market conditions, so if the condition is good government will be able to achieve the target.
Appreciation of rupee will help reduce subsidy bill and contain inflation, says Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram

Friday, September 28, 2012

New chairman of the senior selection committee of BCCI

Sandeep Patil, former Indian has been appointed chairman of the senior selection committee for a maximum term of four years to be renewed each year by the BCCI.

He is part of a new five-member panel appointed by the Board, others being Roger Binny, Saba Karim, Vikram Rathour and Rajinder Singh Hans. Indian cricket will thus have a new set of selectors.
He replaces K. Srikkanth the former head. BCCI president N. Srinivasan explained the reasons for selecting this new panel.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Saraswati Samman...

Tamil scholar A A Manavalan conferred with the prestigious Saraswati Samman(by K K Birla Foundation) consisting of a citation plaque, memento and a cheque of Rs 7.5 lakh, for his work Irama Kathaiyum Iramayakalyum, a comparative study of epic Ramayana written in 48 languages. Corporate Affairs and Power Minister M Veerappa Moily presented the award.

This award is for 2011.

Fiscal deficit could be higher than estimates in FY’13

The government now expects fiscal deficit —gap between expenditure and revenue —could overshoot the Budget target of 5.1percent and touch 5.3 percent of the GDP this financial year, Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram says.
In the first four months of 2012-13, fiscal deficit has already crossed 50 percent of Budget Estimate of Rs 5.13 lakh crore, or 5.1 percent of GDP.

According to the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC), India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is likely to be 6.7 percent this fiscal given the economic slowdown.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aishwarya Rai named UNAIDS goodwill ambassador

Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan appointed as the new international Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, the joint UN programme on AIDS and HIV.
The announcement was made at the UN headquarters by UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe. In  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's new role, she will help raise awareness on issues related to stopping new HIV infections in children and advocate for increased access to anti-retroviral treatment. 
Her main focus will be to advocate for the global plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive. This plan was launched at the UN in June 2011 and focuses on 22 countries including India, which account for more than 90% of all new HIV infections among children.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Double trap shooting World Cup

India’s double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi won a silver medal at the ISSF World Cup in Slovania. It is third year in a row that Ronjan has won a medal at World Cup finals. In the previous two editions — 2010 and 2011 — he had won a gold each. Joshua Richmond, of USA won the gold.

Growth estimates by S&P and PMEAC

S&P version:
Even after the FDI decisions and policy changes Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has lowered the growth forecast for India to 5.5 per cent for this fiscal, from 6.5 per cent projected earlier, citing “volatile” global economic situation. Lack of monsoon is the main reason for for this cut. 
“A trifecta featuring a slowdown in China, ongoing troubles in the eurozone, and a weaker recovery in the U.S. leads us to forecast slower economic growth rates for Asia Pacific,” S&P said.

PMEAC version:
Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman C. Rangarajan expects India to grow at a much higher rate of 6.7 per cent which is better than last year. He expects the growth to pick up in the second half and will compensate for the first half which saw a muted growth.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Archery World Cup

India’s top archer Deepika Kumari lost a close game in the World Cup final to Olympic double gold medallist Bo Bae Ki to settle for a silver in the recurve women’s individual event at Hibiya Park in Tokyo. 
Deepika was in splendid form as she won the quarter-finals and semi-finals to lead 4-0 in the final before she lost 4-6 (26-23, 27-25, 24-28, 23-26, 25-26).
This is the first tournament after her disappointing performance in London Olympics. Because of her disappointing performance in Olympics she lost her no:1 ranking and she is currently ranked 2. 

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‘Barfi’ chosen to contest in Oscars

Anurag Basu’s “Barfi!" has been chosen as India’s official entry for the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Barfi is a film which  portrays the love between a deaf and mute boy and an autistic girl. These roles are played by Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra respectively.
“‘Barfi!’ has indeed been chosen as the country’s official entry this year,” Film Federation of India(FFI) secretary general
 Suparn Sen told after the decision making meeting at Hyderabad.
The movie has been lauded in film circles for its simplistic and moving narrative that has managed to tug at the heartstrings of audiences which equally enjoy commercial potboilers.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi receives Congressional Medal

Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi of National League for Democracy, received prestigious Congressional Gold Medal, a rare honour to any foreign leader by the US administration.

“This is one of the most moving days of my life, to be here in a house undivided, a house joined together to welcome a stranger from a distant land. This is a moment for which I have been waiting for many years,” Suu Kyi said receiving the honour.

“To be a full human being, we need both security and freedom. Without security, we cannot rest in peace necessary to discover the world to be the beautiful place that it can be. Without freedom we will be deprived of the opportunities that will make us more human and more humane,” she added.

3% fiscal deficit target for FY15 not feasible: Planning Comm

The fiscal deficit numbers will stay high and one can expect some relief only after five years. The Planning Commission believes that the fiscal consolidation targets for the next three fiscals will be off target because of the domestic and international conditions and one can expect the fiscal deficit to reduce to 3% levels only by the end of the 12th Plan ie FY17 according to the draft bill 5-year plan.

The document also say that the government did not compress the fiscal deficit target immediately. However, to achieve fiscal consolidation, the government has to bring down its subsidy levels to 1.7% by FY17 and substantially increase its revenues.

It expects the growth number to be at 9% level by FY16 and FY17.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Visa with HDFC bank will offer mobile payments

Movida mobile payments platform promoted by Visa will be going live next month with the second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank as its banking partner. Other banks also will follow suite.

Movida, is an equal joint venture between Visa and the LSE-listed mobile banking solutions company Monitise.

The product is pitted against the interbank mobile payment service (IMPS) launched by the National Payments Corporation of India(NPCI), which already has 50 banks as members.

The IMPS is an account-to-account transfer of money and requires a special registration while the Movida solution will allow for a card-to-card transfer of cash using the mobile platform.

Rajapaksa begins India visit

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa begin his Indian visit during which he will meet President Pranab Mukherjee, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This visit is expected to bridge the communication gap between the leaders of two nations while the fact remains that Sri Lanka and India have not been on the same side on many issues, especially after the fall of Tamil Tigers in May 2009. India wants substantial progress in reconciliation issues, especially the question of political rights of Tamils, ahead of Dr. Singh’s planned Sri Lankan visit. 

India’s vote against Sri Lanka in the March session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is one of the reason for the differences between the nation. India decided to vote against Sri Lanka because it made promises in 2009 which it did not keep.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Current Account Deficit will be lower: Rangarajan

Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C. Rangarajan expects Current Account Deficit(CAD) to be lower at 3.5 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) this fiscal compared to 4.2 per cent of GDP last year following a declining trend in imports of gold. This expectation is on the backdrop of declining trend in inflation which will reduce the attraction of gold as an investment. This view is also enforced by the recent quarter import bill which shows a 18% decline in gold imports.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Effect of CRR cut on banking industry and Economy

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), cut the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by 25 basis points to 4.50 per cent while retaining the indicative policy rates at the current level. The CRR cut will inject a liquidity of around Rs.17,000 crore into the banking system.

“Since the first quarter review, while growth risks have increased, inflation risks remain…….In the current situation, persistent inflationary pressures alongside risks emerging from twin deficits - current account deficit and fiscal deficit - constrain a stronger response of monetary policy to growth risks,” RBI's Mid-quarter Review of the Monetary Policy say.

“Monetary policy also has an important role in supporting the growth revival,” it says. 
CRR is the portion of deposits that banks keep with the RBI, and it does not earn any interest for banks. Which means for banks it is a dead asset. This year so far RBI slashed CRR by 150 basis.

The reports adds further, “Liquidity conditions have remained comfortable since the first quarter review. However, going forward, the wedge between deposit growth and credit growth could widen on the back of the seasonal pick-up in credit demand in the second-half of the year.”, which shows RBI did this with a future outlook. 


The short-term policy rate, repo rate, unchanged at 8 per cent and Reverse repo rate at 7 per cent. Repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow funds from the RBI, and Reverse repo is the rate at which banks park their funds with the central bank.

However, the central bank complemented the government for taking actions to spur growth, and contain fiscal deficit, mentioning goverment's policy decisions of FDI in retail, aviation and broadcasing and fuel price hike.

“Headline Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation (year-on-year) has remained sticky at around 7.5 per cent throughout the current financial year so far….Even as demand pressures moderate, supply constraints and rupee depreciation are imparting pressures on prices, rendering them sticky,’’ RBI said.

In terms of the new Consumer Price Index (CPI), the RBI said, inflation (year-on-year) remained broadly unchanged in July from June at close to 10 per cent, held up by rising prices of food items. Notwithstanding some easing in July, core CPI inflation (CPI excluding food and fuel sub-group) remains elevated.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kohli wins ICC ODI cricketer of the Year Award

With his consistent performance over the last 12 months during which he amassed runs all over the world and against almost all the countries India played, Virat Kohli named the ICC ODI cricketer of the Year Award.

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ICC ODI team of the year announced...

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been named captain of ICC’s ‘ODI Team of the Year’ for the fifth consecutive year which also includes Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir.

ICC ODI Team of the Year (Batting Order) Gautam Gambhir (Ind), Alastair Cook (Eng), Kumar Sangakkara (SL), Virat Kohli (Ind), MS Dhoni  (Ind,wicketkeeper/captain), Michael Clarke (Aus), Shahid Afridi (Pak), Morne Morkel (SA), Steven Finn (Eng), Lasith Malinga (SL), Saeed Ajmal (Pak); 12th Man – Shane Watson (Aus).

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A bunch of economic reforms from UPA...

Broadcast industry: 74 per cent FDI allowed

In a major decision to liberalise the broadcast industry, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decided to raise Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) cap to 74 per cent in various services of the sector.This does not include the TV news channels and FM radio where the cap of 26 per cent will apply.

The decision apply to broadcast carriage services providers, including Direct-to-Home, Head-end in the Sky (HITS), Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) and cable TV to bring about uniformity.

HITS is a satellite multiplex service that provides TV channels for cable operations.
74 per cent FDI was allowed in Mobile TV, which is a segment likely to see future growth.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma explained, out of the 74 per cent, 49 per cent will be through automatic route while the rest will be allowed through government route, ie Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance.

However, for sensitive segments like TV news channels, current affairs, FM radio and content providers, the FDI limit will not be changed from current 26 per cent.

Airlines industry: 49 p.c stake allowed for foreign airlines

Foreign airlines can now pick up 49 per cent stake in India’s domestic carriers, a step that is expected to give a boost to cash-strapped aviation industry.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Friday approved the proposal which would pave way for equity infusion into India’s airlines that are passing through acute turbulence as most of them are in dire need of funds for operations.

“Though FDI of upto 49 per cent, 75 per cent and 100 per cent was there in aviation sector, foreign airlines were not allowed,” Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters after the meeting.

Current FDI norms allow foreign investors, not related to airline business, to directly or indirectly own an equity stake of up to 49 per cent in Indian carrier.

Allowing foreign airlines to pick up stakes in Indian carriers has been a long-pending demand of the aviation sector.

Most of the Indian carriers are suffering losses because of high taxes on jet fuel, rising airport fees, costlier loans, poor infrastructure and cut-throat competition.

Except IndiGo, all airlines have posted losses in the financial year ending on March 31.

Multi-brand Retail: 51p.c FDI allowed

Cabinet decided to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail but left it to the state governments, the final authority in setting up of such stores. The approval should be obtained from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). The minimum investment is pegged at $100 million, 50 per cent of which should be invested in “back-end infrastructure”. Also, 30 per cent of the products must be procured from small-scale industries.

This will enable much-awaited entry of foreign retail giants such as Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour into the retail market(which is estimated as $450 billion), but they are allowed in million-plus cities in states which have agreed to back the measure.

For single-brand retail, the Cabinet decided that any firm seeking waiver of the mandatory 30 per cent local sourcing norms would have to set up a manufacturing facility in the country, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.

In November last year, the government had approved 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand. This was, however, put on hold due to political opposition, including from UPA constituent Trinamool Congress.

The minister said since the implementation of the decision was put on hold, it had to go to the Cabinet again before going ahead with the decision.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

12th five year Plan highlights

The proposed 12th five year plan document that seeks to raise the average annual economic growth during the five-year period ending March 2017 to 8.2 percent from 7.9 percent achieved in the previous Plan.

The meeting of Full Planning Commission, which has been called by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will also vet various other social sector targets relating to poverty alleviation, infant mortality, enrollment ratio and job creation.

Besides other things, the 12th Plan seeks to achieve 4 percent agriculture sector growth while that for manufacturing sector is aimed at 10 percent.

The total plan size has been proposed at Rs 47.7 lakh crore, 135 percent more that the investments realised in the 11th Plan (2007-12).

The meeting will be attended by regular Planning Commission members and key cabinet ministers.

Once the document is approved by the full Plan panel, it will be considered by the Union Cabinet and then pass it to National Development Council(NDC), the apex decision making body, for final approval.

In view of the ongoing global problems, the average annual growth target for the 12th Plan has been scaled down at 8.2 percent from 9 percent stated  in the Approach Paper to the 12th Plan.

As regards poverty alleviation, the Commission proposed to bring down the poverty ratio by 10 percentage points during the Plan period. At present the poverty is around 30 percent of the population.

The targetted  job creation in the non-farm sectors during the five year period  is five crore.

In education efforts would be made to create 20 lakh additional seats in higher education and eliminate gender and social gaps in school enrollment.

It also aims to reduce infant mortality rate to 25 and maternal mortality ratio to one per 1,000 live births by end of the Plan period.

It also seeks to increase investment in infrastructure sector to 9 percent of the GDP by 2016-17.

The other monitorable targets include reduction of aggregate technical and commercial losses in power sector to 20 percent and electrification of all villages during the five year policy period.

The document proposes to create additional generation capacity of 30,000 MW in renewable energy segment during the 12th Plan period.

Efforts, it said, will also be made to provide banking services to 90 percent of Indian household by the end of the 12th Plan period.

As regards exports of goods and services, the commission said, the target would be to increase them to 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product(GDP).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ECB norms relaxed by RBI

Reserve Bank of India hiked the maximum limit to $3 billion for foreign borrowers under the External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) norms with an aim of increasing the foreign fund flow into the country.

"We will continue to look at various spaces of which ECB is one...not only to increase the foreign flow in the country, but also to improve business climate," Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Dr Arvind Mayaram said.

The High Level Committee on ECBs also permitted Foreign Institutional Investors to invest up to $5 billion in rupee bonds within the overall corporate bond limit of $45 billion.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

MGNREGA now guarantees 150 working days

A ministerial panel has decided to increase the number of guaranteed work days under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(MGNREGA) to 150 days for one year and cut interest rates on crop loans to 7 percent for one year, according to sources. These decisions were approved by the EGoM on drought headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to offer some relief to farmers in drought-affected states.

Four states—Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan—have declared drought in many sub-divisions. Monsoon deficiency in the country now stands at 9 percent.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S Jaipal Reddy and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, are also members of the EGoM. 

MGNREGA is the scheme in which the government assures 100 days of work every year to each household in rural areas.

Generally, people avail of the benefit under the scheme during the off-season for agriculture. The government has provided Rs 33,000 crore to implement the scheme this fiscal, as against Rs 31,000 crore in 2011-12.

Somalia's new President

Somalia’s Parliament elected a new President for the country- Hassan Sheikh Mohamud beat out the Sharif Sheikh Ahmed(present President).

Mr. Ahmed had been the favourite heading into the election, so the result is a surprise to a nation which is in a process intended to establish a stable government in the war-torn country.

US Open summary

Men's singles:

Andy Murray(Britain) wins men's singles title defeating Novak Djokovic(Serbia).
Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry to lift the trophy at a major. He is also the 2012 London Olympics champion.

Women's singles:

Serena Williams(USA) won women's single title defeating Victoria Azarenka(Belarus, Current world no:1).
This is her 15th Grand Slam title and fourth at the US Open. 
The final was the first on the women’s side to stretch to three sets since 1995. She is also the 2012 London Olympics champion.

Men's doubles:
American twins Bob and Mike Bryan won men's doubles title defeating Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek.

Women's doubles:
Sara Errani and Roberta(Italians) won women's doubles title defeating Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.

Mixed Doubles:
The unseeded Ekaterina Makarova  and Bruno Soares won doubles title defeating Kveta Peschke  and Marcin Matkowski.

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Infosys makes a major acquisition

Infosys, announced the acquisition of Lodestone Holding AG, a leading management consultancy firm based in Zurich, for 330 million Swiss francs ($345 million or Rs.1,925 crore).
For this acquisition, Infosys will pay two-thirds of the amount immediately while the rest is to be paid after three years. Lodestone, which reported revenue of 200 million Swiss francs in 2011, derives 50 per cent of its revenues from Switzerland, and 23 per cent from Germany.
For a long time Infosys wasn't in the acquisition mode. This ends its waiting.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The father of India’s ‘White Revolution’ passed away

The father of India’s ‘White Revolution’ Dr Verghese Kurien passed away.
Dr Kurien, who took India from being a milk-deficient country to the world’s largest milk producer, is recognized as the father of White Revolution and the man who started ’Operation Flood’, besides making the Amul dairy brand.This made him ‘Milkman of India’.

Major recognitions:
Padma Vibhushan
World Food Price
Ramon Magsaysay award for Community Leadership
Carnegie-Wateler World Peace Prize
International Person of the Year award from US.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

India, Pakistan: New visa agreement

India and Pakistan signed the much anticipated liberalised visa agreement, introducing for the first time group tourist and pilgrim visas, separate visa for businessmen and visa on arrival for those over 65 years of age.

The agreement, signed between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, will replace a 38-year-old restrictive visa agreement and ensure time-bound visa approval and greater people to people contacts and will boost trade.

This agreement was signed in S.M. Krishna's Pak visit. 

APEC meet

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member nations met in Vladivostok, Russia to discuss ways for regional development amid fragile world economic recovery. 
The meeting which focuses on trade and investment liberalization and regional economic integration, food security, supply chains and cooperation to foster innovative growth, is of the theme “Integrate to Grow, Innovate to Prosper” .
With the 21 member nations, APEC accounts for approximately 40 per cent of the world’s population, around 57 per cent of world GDP and about 48 per cent of global trade.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Plan panel cuts GDP growth target for 12th Plan

Due to the mild economic recovery, Plan panel has decided to lower annual average economic growth rate to 8.2% in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) from 9 percent estimated earlier.
This will be presented in the meeting of the Full Planning Commission, to be presided over by the Prime Minister, on September 15.
After this is approved by full Planning Commission  it would be reviewed and approved by the Union Cabinet and then it would be placed before the country’s apex decision making body National Development Council (NDC) for final approval.
The NDC headed by the Prime Minister also includes chief ministers and union cabinet ministers on board. It is the final authority to finalise the five-year policy document.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chinese Defence Minister's India visit

General Liang Guanglie, Chinese Defence Minister on his visit to India discussed defence issues and military exchanges and cooperation with his Indian counterpart A.K. Antony. They agreed to enhance and maintain peace and tranquillity on the border, India and China decided to conduct the next round of joint military exercises at the earliest. A.K. Antony accepted General Liang’s invitation to visit Beijing next year.

Buchi Babu championship

Karnataka won Buchi Babu all-India cricket tournament outshining Kerala's commendable fight in the final. Last year also Kerala gave a decent fight to Maharashtra who won the championship. This tournament is to honour Mothavarapu Buchi Babu Naidu (1868–1908). Who was an Indian socialite and cricket pioneer who organised cricket clubs for native Indians. He is considered to be the "father of Madras cricket" and founded the annual Madras Presidency Matches, the first of which was held shortly after his death.

RIL is now in Dubai Mercantile Exchange

Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) has got listed on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME). RIL is now the first major Indian firm to participate directly in a global oil futures market. DME is one of the fastest growing mercantile exchanges in the world. By this move Mukesh Ambani group company achieves one more milestone in terms of international presence.

Girisha wins silver at Paralympic Games

Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda, 24-year-old from Karnataka, won silver in the men’s high jump F42 event in London Paralympic Games 2012. Iliesa Delana of Fiji won the gold, while Lukasz Mamczarz of Poland settled for bronze finished on the same height of 1.74m. The medals were determined by the number of jumps.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tajikistan President's India Visit

Visiting President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon expressed his views on expeditious conclusion of the Mumbai terror attack trial in Pakistan and called for “active prosecution of the authors of such crimes and their accomplices”. In his visit he held talks on key regional and international issues and reviewed the current status of bilateral ties apart from deciding to elevate it to “strategic partnership” which will include cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas, including political, economic, defence and counter-terrorism, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The talks were mainly focused on terrorism but also included economic matters also.

Inflation not growth is of more priority

If India want to control high inflation, RBI Governor D Subbarao said compromise in growth is “inevitable” amid efforts to bring down prices to acceptable levels. RBI Governor D Subbarao accepted the criticism that even after  raising interest rates and running a tight monetary policy, inflation is still “high and persistent” and growth has been hurt. But there is no other way explains Governor. He said the sacrifice in growth is short-term and if the inflation is under control growth will be more stable. Inflation based on the Wholesale Price Index stood at 6. 87 percent in July which is above RBI’s comfort level of 5-6 percent.
“In order to support growth, we need to keep interest rates low but in order to rein in inflation we have to keep interest rates high. The challenge is how do we manage growth-inflation trade off,” he said.

India lifts Nehru cup once again

India wins Nehru cup third consecutive time. This time beating Cameroon in penalty shootout. The ONGC Nehru Cup is an international association football tournament organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). The tournament was hosted in New Delhi, India. The other teams in the tournament were Maldives, Syria and Nepal.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

GAAR panel coverage widens

The government widened the scope of the expert committee on General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) to include non-resident tax payers also, even as the Committee submitted its draft report to the Ministry. The committee headed by tax expert Parthasarthi Shome, was set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July to address concerns of foreign and domestic investors on GAAR.  Earlier the scope was only FIIs which now becomes wider with the inclusion of non-resident tax payers. Currently Government aims to implement GAAR from April 2013.

To know more on GAAR...
Independent member on GAAR panel
GAAR deferred by one year
General Anti-Avoidance Rules(GAAR)
Union Budget 2012-13 highlights

Friday, August 31, 2012

PEN Open Book award

Indian author Siddhartha Deb won PEN Open Book Award for “The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India”. This book is on India’s journey on the bumpy road to stardom as globalisation impacts the lives of its ordinary people. Siddhartha Deb is from Shillong, Meghalaya. This is his second novel while his first novel is “The Point of Return.” This US literary prize includes $5,000 cash award also. 

Sahara have to return Rs.17,400 crore to investors

Supreme Court of India asked Sahara group to return Rs.17,400 crore to investors in group's two companies Sahara India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation with 15 per cent interest. The court gave permission to SEBI, the investment regulator to attach properties and freeze bank accounts of the two companies if they did not comply with its order. 

GDP growth slows in first quarter

Economy grew by 5.5 per cent in the first(April-June) quarter, thanks to poor performance of manufacturing, mining and farm sectors. The gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 8 per cent in the corresponding quarter of 2011-12. The previous quarter(January- March) saw the slowest growth in nine years. The higher inflation also creates problems for our economy, it prevents RBI from reducing the rates. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

'Father of radar research in India', passes away

The former Director of the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) under Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO), Dr. Ramdas P Shenoy passed away.  He is considered the father of Radar research in India who is also world famous in this field. Apart from radars used by Indian armed forces, he was responsible for developing many communication systems for the force. He was a Padma Shri award winner.

Emerge: SME platform of NSE

Emerge is a special platform of National Stock Exchange(NSE) for Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs). This platform will be useful for SMEs for fundraising while investors will benefit from low size high growth investment opportunities. SMEs play a very important role in the development of the economy. They have been a key engine of economic growth, job creation, wealth distribution and effective mobilization of resources (capital and skills).

For more information visit...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Complete ban on hiring children below 14

The Union Cabinet gave nod to a proposal for amending the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, to ban employment of children aged up to 14 in any form of industry. As per this act it will be an offence to employ children below 14 not only in factories or industries but also in homes or on farms, if their labour is of any commercial interest.

National Sample Survey Organisation(NSSO)'s figures show that this act would benefit 46 lakh children who  work in different industries. Another amendment also approved for banning employment of children in the age bracket 14-18 ( “adolescents”) in hazardous conditions. This decision is in line with the convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This act will help in implementing Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE which makes education fundamental right of a child aged 6-14.

Check this also...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

No-frills demat account

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), introduces no-frills demat account for small investors. The annual maintenance charge will be slab based. SEBI asked all depository participants (DPs) to make available a Basic Services Demat Account (BSDA) with limited services and reduced costs for retail individual investors. This is for those investors whose holdings in demat account does not exceed Rs.2 lakh at any point of time.
The Annual Maintenance Charge(AMC) slab is as below:
   Up to Rs.50,000, AMC will be nil while it will be Rs.100 between Rs.50,001-200,000.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Apple - Samsung patent case

Apple Inc won over Samsung as a US jury found the Korean company had copied critical features of the popular iPhone and iPad and awarded the US company $1.049 billion in damages. This could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products which will benefit Apple product sales in US.  This decision firmed the position of Apple at the top of the list of highest ever market value company in the history of the world. The interesting fact is that even when the companies are rivals they  have a $5 billion-plus supply relationship in which Apple buys microprocessors and other parts central to Apple’s devices which makes Apple the biggest customer of Samsung.
According to experts this ruling will affect Google's Android platform the most. Now manufacturers will not be happy to go with Android as they will have to face risk of patent issue. Time only will tell about this...

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