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.

Worth reading