Five wheeler to take on Tata’s Rs. 100,000 car
Costing as low as Rs. 60,000 it was developed by Harimohan Saini and his brother Manoj Saini from Rajasthan. It is a gearless vehicle and gives about 50 km per litre.
About 450 mln in India are estimated to be below 20 years of age.
Of this 105 mln individuals are in the age group of 15-19 years.
About 112 mln are in the age group 10-14 years.
Sale of Indian tractors to America
India manufactures tractors in the 45 hp range, while most other advanced countries have migrated to 75 hp and above range.
Hobby farming, lifestyle farming or weekend farming has caught up with people in America.
Instead of driving the heavy 75 hp machines, people find it easy to drive the 45 hp variety on their farm lands.
As a result there is demand for Indian made tractors, which are seeing a growth in exports of over 40% in the last couple of years.
The project essentially involves the setting up of a deep sea transshipment terminal on the international shipping route.
Two Chinese entities – Kaidi Electric Power Company and China Harbour Engineering Company – have competed in the bidding process.
But the National Security Advisor Mr. N.K. Narayanan has taken a strong objection to the participation of the Chinese companies on security grounds.
Muslims in India
Justice Sachar Committee was set up to figure out the educational, social and economic status of Muslims in India. It is yet to submit its report.
Share of Muslims in total population is about 15.4%, while their representation in government is only about 6.45.
Beauty contest method of deciding on spectrum allocation
The ‘beauty contest’ here refers to the submission of the bidders’ respective business plans and the government identifying which of the business plans are best suited for the country.
Kyoto protocol and world pollution
The world emissions rose to 17.9 bn tonnes in 2004 from 17.8 bn tonnes in 2003.
Damaging effects of increased emissions include: floods, erosion, heat waves and higher sea levels.
35 countries have joined the Kyoto Protocol. They agreed to cut their emission levels by 5% below the 1990 levels by 2008-12.
US pulled out of the protocol by saying that it would damage its economy and that it wrongly excluded the developing nations from it.
US is the world’s largest polluter.
Five wheeler to take on Tata’s Rs. 100,000 car
Foreign money lines up for Reliance Capital’s ARC pie
Suitors include JP Morgan, George Soros, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America
Last November, the government had allowed FDI up to 40% in asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) which buy out non-performing assets of banks, which now stand at over Rs. 65,000 cr.
Desi team promises super computer
A team headed by Dr. Narendra Karmarkar (of Karmarkar algorithm fame) is trying to develop a very fast super computer. The team is working with Computational Research Laboratories (CRL), a subsidiary of Tatas.
Post IPO passage for VC funds goes
The SEBI has removed the provision that allows venture capital funds to sell their stake in a company after an initial public offering. They need to stay invested at least for a year before they can sell their stake in such firms.
This was done by SEBI to prevent “pre-IPO flipping” – i.e., buying shares in a company just prior to its listing and selling them for quick gains.
Govt. likely to bar dollar seats on local bourses
A restrictive clause is being built in the regulations which will keep out foreign portfolio investors from the boards of bourses.
In many countries there are fetters on foreign investment in stock exchanges with investment ceilings ranging from 5 to 15% in Australia.
Dr. R.A. Mashelkar is the Director General of CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research)
Essentially cosmopolitan here means having variation in circulation of different regional language newspapers in the city.
Top 3 cosmopolitan cities in India: Mumbai(5.43), Nagpur(5.27), Hyderabad(4.78)
Pushkar festival in Rajasthan
The festival takes place in the month of Kartika (October-November). It begins on the 8th day of the lunar calendar and continues till the day of the full moon.
Cattle fair and Mahasnan (holy dip) are the prominent events.
Many foreigners visit Pushkar. This year about 12000 foreigners are expected to visit Pushkar during the festival.
India’s vehicle exports
Currently India exports 8,00,000 vehicles of which about 1,75,000 are cars, 5,00,000 are two wheeles and 77,000 are three wheelers.
PML Act to be amended
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act is about to be amended by India. These amendments will bring terrorism financing and customs offences under the glare of PML Act.
FATF – Financial Action Task Force, a Paris based inter-governmental organization launched in 1989, has sought for making insider trading in stock-markets also a money laundering offence. But the government is not in favour of doing so.
The amendments are significant as the monetary authorities in US, Europe and Singapore are not satisfied with the existing framework to curb money laundering in India and hence are not allowing out banks to freely operate and open branches in their countries.
BPO sector exports
India’s BPO sector exports stood at $6.3 bn in 2005-06 and are expected to cross the $8 bn mark in the current fiscal.
India’s middle class
India has about 100 mln people who have an annual per capital income of a little under $2000 and about 325 mln people whose annual per capital income is about $700.
India’s international students
Currently there are at least 500,000 students going abroad to various countries every year to pursue higher education.
Bologna Process: it aims at removing the differences between education systems across Europe and unifying it with global standards.
India’s jewellery exports:
Are about Rs. 20,000 cr or $4 bn
Mira Nair, the film maker
She is noted for her films: ‘Salam Bombay’ and ‘Monsoon Wedding’ – works which presented the lesser known faces of India before the global audience.
She is currently doing a film on Beatles, the rock group.
There are currently about 17,000 ATMs in India.
China has about 1,20,000 of them.
Foreign trade as a proportion of GDP
It is about 26% of the GDP currently.
Share of agriculture in Indian budget
Dwindled to 12%.
Cryogenic rocket – development and testing by ISRO
India became the 6th member of the exclusive club of countries to have developed a cryogenic stage in rocketry. The others which have this capability are: US, Russia, European Space Agency, China and Japan.
G. Madhavan Nair, ISRO Chairman
A cryogenic engine uses liquid hydrogen at minus 260 degress celcius and liquid oxygen at minus 183 degrees celcius. Liquid hydrogen is the fuel and liquid oxygen is the oxidizer.
IX schedule to the constitution of India
A law enacted and included in this schedule gets the protection under Article 31-B (validation of certain Acts and Regulations) and it is not subject to judicial review.
Thousand pillar temple at Warangal
The temple is an example of Kakatiya architecture and was built in 1163 AD by King Rudra Deva. Erected on a star shaped adishtana (platform for devotees to circumambulate the mantapam), the temple is dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Surya.
It is called Rudreswara Swamy temple.
It has 119 of the original 132 pillars.
It is currently being renovated.
Is a new worldwide literary award of 60,000 British pounds. It is the highest prize and is restricted to work by writers under 30 years.
The first prize was won by Rachel Trezise, 28 from the Rhondda valley in South Wales for her novel “Fresh Apples”.
Dylan Thomas award is richer than the other two British awards – the Man Booker prize and the Costa (formerly the Whitbread).
FSI for hotels
Is kept at 2.0. It is very low compared with other international destinations. It is supposed to be dampener for investments by international hotel chains in India.
SAP, the ERP software
Has about 40,000 customers worldwide and is planning to have around 100,000 by 2010.
The travel insurance is currently estimated to be about Rs. 250 cr.
With about 6 mln Indians traveling abroad, this amount roughly covers about 20% of the travelers – 1.2 mln persons.
Only a fraction of the domestic 17 mln tourists buy travel insurance.
The business is growing at a rate of 15-20% per annum.
Globalization and FDI – inward and outward
Capital inflows last year (2005-06) were at $8.4 bn which included the reinvested capital. But if pure equity inflow is considered the figure is at $5.6 bn while the outward FDI by Indians abroad is at $4.5 bn.
There are about 37 companies in India which have a turnover of more than $1 bn.
Top overseas investing companies include: SBI, Dr. Reddy’s and Suzlon Energy.
The contribution of the developing countries to the world-wide investment outflow stands at 12% while that of the developed countries is at 87%. This is according to UNCTAD figures.
Worldwide e-learning industry
It is estimated to be about $10 bn in size.
NASA is mulling repairing the Hubble telescope. A rehab mission is expected to keep the telescope in working condition till 2013.
Roman Abramovich, the Russian business tycoon, is an example of this species; he owns the Chelsea Football Club.
Top companies in India by market cap:
Companies which have crossed the figure of rupees one lakh in market cap include: ONGC, RIL, Infosys, TCS and NTPC.
Bharti Airtel is about to join this club soon. Its subscriber base is currently at 28.7 mln.
Betting in Indian cricket
The domestic cricket betting industry has been estimated to be worth Rs. 50,000 to 75,000 cr.
The issue in the Taj Corridor project case:
Forest land diversion to private parties.
Cargo shipping services with Pakistan restored
The Indian government restored the cargo shipping services with Pakistan after a gap of nearly 35 years to substantially bolster sea trade.
Maritime trade between India and Pakistan is governed by the 1974 protocol which does not allow third-country vessels to lift cargo bound for India or Pakistan, from Pakistan and India respectively.
Federation Council is the Upper chamber
Duma is the Lower house.
Conditional Access System and differential tariff
TRAI has defended its stand before the Supreme Court that in order to ensure an orderly growth of the telecom sector in the country, it is necessary to adopt differential tariffs for commercial and non-commercial subscribers of CAS.
Industrial disputes post decline
The number of disputes has come down from 552 in 2003 to 458 in 2005.
The number of man-days lost has come down from 30.26 mln man-days in 2003 to 23.27 mln man-days in 2005.
Munich Re to enter India
The world’s 2nd largest reinsurance company is about to enter Indian market as insurer.
However, under the present guidelines foreign reinsurers can have a presence in India only by having a joint venture company with a domestic partner holding 74%.
Sugar production figures
In the season ended September 2006, 19.3 mln tonnes of sugar produced.
For 2006-07, estimates are put at 22 to 23 mln tonnes.
Stocks from previous year are at 4 mln tonnes.
Government may allow sugar exports from November; to be capped at 1 mln tonnes; basically to facilitate the export of refined sugar, which was imported earlier as raw sugar under the Advance License Scheme.
World’s largest oil company
Global carbon market
Estimated at $21.5 bn in the first nine months of 2006.
Foreigners buying agricultural land in Goa
Extant government rules allow only people with business visas and that too of an indefinite period to invest in agricultural land in India. As Government of India never issues this type of visas, its policy is not to allow foreigners to invest in agricultural lands. They could invest only in industrial activity.
An own brand introduced by a retailer is known as a private label.
Globally private labels are a big trend. They have a 17% share of the consumer FMCG market.
They hold a market share of 6% in emerging markets.
First international low-cost airline to come to India
Indian travel industry
Indian online travel industry is estimated to grow from $300 mln in 2005 to $2 bn over the next three years.
Expedia, the world’s leading travel portal will launch its operations in India in Q1 of 2007.
Online tourism market in India is expected to cross $750 mln in 2006.
The Indian tourism market is a $38 bn industry and is expected to touch $90 bn by 2010.
Is the online B2C platform through which Tata Motors plans to market its Rs. 1 lk car. The portal is expected to reduce the transaction costs by 8% to 15%.
Regional airlines likely to get sops
The government is considering to exempt these carriers from paying airport and navigation charges for the first five years of operations.
Initially these benefits will be given to those carriers which have aircraft of less than 80 seats.
Footprints from sands of time
Cuatro Cienegas in Mexico is where fossilized footprints in stone are recently found.
Genetic secrets of bee revealed
It is the 3rd insect to have is genes fully mapped. The other two are fruit fly and mosquito.
India’s iron ore reserves
According to Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, the country has 22 bn tonnes of iron reserves, of which about 8 bn tonnes are proven reserves.
In 2005-06 the country produced about 150 mln tonnes of iron ore of which 90 mln tonnes was exported and the remaining was consumed by steel plants.
Youth will form 55% of India’s population in the next 10 years.
China’s ‘string of pearls’ strategy:
The strategy is followed by China in the Indian Ocean Region by clinching defence and security agreements to secure its mounting energy requirements, enhance its military profile from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea and significantly expand its presence and visibility in the area.
India and US view this strategy with lot of concern.
There are three major political parties viz., the ruling Labour Party, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
Labour Party is led by Prime Minister Tony Blair. He is likely to be succeeded by the Treasury Chief Gordon Brown shortly.
Conservatives are led by David Cameron
Liberal Democrats are led by Ming Campbell
Derivatives demand has ballooned in the recent past
The over the counter derivatives market – estimated to be over $1 bn and around 0.1% of the average daily global turnover – has ballooned in the recent past.
Therefore the RBI is putting in place a new policy to regulate the market.
Kids market in India
It is Rs. 20,000 cr in size and is expected to grow at 25% per annum.
India is the largest kids market in the world.
Toys market is about Rs. 2500 cr in size and 90% of it is in unorganized sector.
Number of PCOs in the country
Total number of public call offices has crossed the 4.5 mln mark.
Of this BSNL commands a share of 46.92%.
City gas monopoly determinants:
Size, market to decide city gas monopoly.
The new gas pipeline policy which is set to be announced shortly , well require the regulator to fix the monopoly time caps for each city.
The oil and gas exploration policy implemented by the Government has resulted in yielding large quantities of gas as the blocks are becoming operational. The gas available will be to the tune of 100 mln cubic meters initially. After meeting the primary demands from the fertilizer, power and other industries, gas will be provided to the urban household sector as cheaper and cleaner fuel for domestic purposes.
Contrast this with the statement of R.V. Shahi, Union Power Secretary on non-availability of natural gas.
In the spot market the landed cost of LNG works out to over $10 per mmbtu resulting in the cost of generation exceeding Rs. 4 per unit.
Gas based power plants account for 12,700 MW of installed capacity, of which about 5000 MW is stranded for want of gas. These are typically operating at a PLF of 55% despite using naphtha for augmenting generation during periods of shortages.
It was a $11 bn accounting fraud.
Its the then CEO was Bernie Ebbers. He was handed over a prison term of 25 years in June 2005.
It includes supply chain management, distribution management, transportation management and technology services.
Telecom as failure of enterprise
It is perfectly viable to see Indian telecom as a case study in failure of entrepreneurial imagination and ambition.
This failure is of two kinds: absence of a major Indian telecom equipment maker and the failure of telecom operators to engineer the sort of networks that would prevent them from being drowned by the coming deluge of convergence – of mobile and fixed line telephony, the internet and television.
While a paper ticket costs over Rs. 400 to process (for airlines), e-ticket reduces the cost to less than Rs. 50.
In India e-ticketing penetration is estimated to be less than 15%.
Credit cards in India
India has 2.08 cr credit cards and 5.37 cr debit cards as of March 2006.
There are more than 1.9 lk merchant establishments with POS terminals in the country in 150 towns and citites.
It requires control and modification of individual atomic layers to bring about important changes in the properties of a material.
By manipulating the fundamental building blocks of nature, we can fabricate a new generation of products that are faster, more power efficient, cleaner, stronger, lighter and more precise.
This will revolutionize many industries including computing, consumer electronics, flat panel displays and energy generation and storage.
The value of outsourced work is seen to be growing from $582 bn in 2004 to $760 bn in 2009.
Modernization of non-metro airports
AAI(Airports Authority of India) will look into the airside modernization while the private players are expected to look into the city-side modernization.
The airside modernization is estimated to cost about Rs. 5,500 cr for the 35 non-metro airports.
The investment by private sector is expected to be around Rs. 7000 cr.
What is enterprise value?
Simply put, it is the total value of a firm or a company.
To calculate enterprise value, one needs to add the total debt on the books of the company to the market capitalization of the company. The amount of cash held is subsequently subtracted from this total to arrive the enterprise value.
Employment figures in India: NSSO figures
Share of manufacturing sector in total urban employment rose from 227 per 1000 in 1999-00 to 246 in 2004-05. In rural sector the figure has increased from 71 to 84 during the same period.
There is a fall in share of agriculture and allied activities in the total employment. Number of workers employed in agriculture has declined to 727 per 1000 in 2004-05 from 763 per 1000 in 1999-00.
Centre mulls 0.5% uniform stamp duty on mortgages by banks and financial institutions for loans against houses and land.
Currently the rates are varying between 1% and 4% across states.
The move is meant to incetivise more borrowers to actually register loans taken against mortgage.
The House of Representatives has 435 seats. The November 7 elections are for all the 435 seats.
The Senate has 100 seats. 33 of these are up for vote in the November 7 elections.
UHT Milk sales in India
The market for UHT (Ultra Heat Treated) milk has touched 140 mln litres from 80 mln litres in the last three years.
Alliance Air to turn low cost airline
It will be the 5th low cost carrier in the domestic Indian sky after Air Deccan, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo.
Air India Express is Air India’s low cost carrier.
Chinese political heads:
President: Hu Jintao
Vice President: Zeng Quinghong
Prime Minsiter: Wen Jiabao
Norwegian royals visit India
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are on a week long visit to India.
Norway’s PM: Jens Stoltenberg visited India last year.
Crude import bill touched $22 bn in 5 months this fiscal
Given the current trends, it is estimated that the imports will touch the $50 bn mark this fiscal.
We imported 100 mln tonnes last year.
Last year the private importers paid Rs. 1605.73 cr per MMT, while the PSUs paid Rs. 1,790.28 cr/MMT.
Starbucks is the world’s largest coffee chain. It plans to enter India by teaming up with Planet Retail to set up shop in 2007.
Govt. to vet use of IPO funds
The Companies Act as well as SEBI’s disclosure and investor protection guidelines of 2000 prescribe the disclosure requirements for raising funds from the market.
Not using the funds for their stated purpose will attract company law provisions dealing with misstatement, diversion of funds and inducement.
The violations impose civil as well as criminal liabilities on the promoters and the directors of the company.
Lankan parties sign deal to work together on LTTE
President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the opposition United National Party (UNP) led by Ranil Wickremesinghe decided to work together on resolving the ethnic conflict with LTTE.
Mosquito control market
The Indian market is of the size of Rs. 1400 cr. and is growing at 10% per annum.
India’s leather garmets industry
Current leather exports are at $2.4 bn. Projected to grow to $5 bn by 2010.
Top five countries which import our leather products include:
Germany, UK, USA, Italy and Spain.
Energy production efficiency in India
A recent Planning Commission study shows that relative power costs in India are amongst the highest in the world and up to thrice those in the US.
The current efficiency levels of transforming coal energy into power is no more than 30.5% on average, in India. In glaring contrast, the corresponding efficiencies in Germany for example, are as high as 46%. If the ratio was 40-42% here, we would be getting one-third more power using the same amount of coal.
Private companies in coal mining soon
Both Indian and Foreign companies to get exclusive rights; boost for power sector.
The Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 made coal mining an exclusive preserve of public sector activity.
The government is planning to permit coal mining by stand alone mining companies that have tied up firm supply contracts with power, steel and cement companies. This scheme is set to be operational from next month.
The Planning Commission has estimated that coal demand-supply gap would be to the tune of over 60 mln tonnes by 2011-12.
New patent regime sets off pharma fights
Since India’s commitment to WTO’s intellectual property regime in January 2005, domestic pharma companies have filed 148 pre-grant oppositions to patent applications in India.
India’s new patent regime allows anyone to oppose a patent application by bringing to the patent examiner’s notice, information which would show that the patent is deficient. Pre-grant oppositions give domestic pharma companies a chance to provide the patent examiner with information, that he might otherwise be unaware of.
It take over 12 years on an average for a new drug to travel from the lab to the patient, and costs an estimated $802 mln in the process.
Hyderabad is famous for Haleem
The recipe was brought from Iran. In the Caucasus region it was called Keshket or Harisa. Though it came from there, it is the Indian version which has gained more global palates.
The word Haleem means patience as it takes many hours to prepare. As it is cooked for many hours it takes the form of a paste.
Judges bill to be introduced in parliament next month
The Judges (Inquiry) Bill provides for setting up a National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe any misconduct by a judge of the Supreme Court or High courts.
Any person can make a complaint to the NJC against judges except the Chief Justice of India.
North Korea, key Middle East states resist weapon stock destruction: OPCW
UN affiliated Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) seeks to eliminate chemical weapons.
Currently it has 180 member states. Countries automatically become member of OPCW when they accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention that came into force in 1997.
India’s population details
Currently there are 124 old dependents per 1000 working people in 2006. The figure is expected to go up to 192 in 2026.
Competition Panel wary of airline cartel
Industry bodies taking up issues like taxes, infrastructure and security on pricing amounts to cartelization
Cartelization reduces efficiency and hurts the consumers’ interest.
Competition Commission is looking at capacity deployment to see if airlines are keeping supply on leash
Civil Aviation ministry has been talking about careful scrutiny of the business plans of new airlines to prevent overcapacity from addition to losses
It is estimated that airlines would make losses to the tune of Rs. 2200 cr this year.
Mumbai-Delhi is the busiest airline sector. It has almost 35 service a day in each direction.
SaaS gains ground among security software firms
Software as a Service (Saas) to make up 30% of the software market by 2007 worth $10.7 bn.
Module provides comprehensive PC protection solution as a service to home users
Day-to-day application maintenance, which can be very time-consuming and expensive, is done on-demand by service providers
Companies can focus on their core competencies and software deployment costs are also cut drastically
CPWRR mantra of Merom Klein and Rod Napier
Candour – means the quality of speaking out in a constructive and contributing way.
Purpose – is about pursuing lofty and ambitious goals.
Will – is the ability to inspire optimism.
Rigour – means the discipline to put a process in place.
Risk – is the willingness to trust others to do their bit.
The Peter Principle
It states that in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.
It was abolished in October 1998. Before that gifts were taxed in the hands of the donor.
The Finance Act 2004 introduced taxation of gifts in the hands of the recipient.
MNES (Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources) is now renamed as Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Home video market
The Indian organized home video market is pegged at Rs. 300 cr.
Indian wine market
The market is pegged at 5 mln bottles a year, which is the equivalent of some 200 people sharing one bottle.
Wine accounts for less than 1% of India’s $1.8 bn alcoholic drinks market.
Wine market is growing at 25-30% a year, nearly three times faster than beer, whisky or rum.
Revenue from the world’s publicly traded biotech firms grew 18% in 2005 reaching an all time high of $63.1 bn
Indian IT market
The domestic IT market is currently pegged at around $5 bn and growing at a CAGR of 19%.
For modernizing the Indian agricultural marketing infrastructure an estimated outlay of about Rs. 70,000 is needed.
Indians have bought 43% of the gold coins and small bars sold worldwide during Q2 of 2006.
Demand for jewellery in India fell by 43% due to high prices.
World video gaming industry
Annual estimated turnover is in excess of $25 bn. It is more than Hollywood’s revenues.
Pre-launch offers in housing may be banned
A real estate bill under consideration of the government proposes that development should take place only when the developer has got clear titles.
Government to make it mandatory for developers to sign a deal with buyers, assuring delivery of property within stipulated time.
Developer would be liable to give payment options, installment scheme in writing to the prospective buyers.
30% buying from SC/ST entrepreneurs on cards
The GoM (Group of Ministers) headed by Mr. Pranab Mukerjee has mooted a proposal that the central government source 30% of all purchases from entrepreneurs belonging to SC/ST categories.
The recommendations were drawn from the procurement policy of the MP government, the first such measure adopted in the country by any state.
The GoM is also considering declaring a village with over 40% Dalit population as “Prime Minister’s Ideal Village” with all facilities including health, education, drinking water and electricity.
SC resurrects creamy layer issue
The Supreme Court has ruled that affluent beneficiaries be kept out of job reservation purview.
The concept of creamy layer, as held in Indra Sawhney judgment, had to be maintained as a constitutional requirement, failing which the structure of Article 16(4) would be destroyed, felt the Supreme Court.
The 5 judge constitutional bench made it clear that the extent of reservation shall not exceed 50%. In this regard, the State will have to show in each case the existence of the compelling reasons, namely backwardness, inadequacy of representation and overall administrative efficacy before making provisions for reservation.
Tamilnadu Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Society, popularly called Cooptex is a large network of 2.11 lakh handlooms in Tamilnadu. They clocked a turnover of Rs. 427 cr in 2005-06. It is considered the country’s apex handloom cooperative society.
Footwear market in India
The organized footwear market in India is stated to be having a share of 25% in the market.
The footwear market size is estimated to be Rs. 10,000 cr.
US Visas issued in 2006
An SEZ gets income tax exemption for 15 years – 100% for first five years, 50% for the next five years and 100% exemption for ploughed back profits for the next five years.
Indo China war
On October 20, 1962 China invaded India on the north-east and the western border. The war continued for a month by the end of which the Indian resistance totally collapsed. On November 20, China announced a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew its forces to positions it had occupied before the war erupted.
New road map – better highways
State highways comprise about 1,31,899 km. They carry about 40% of the total road traffic and 20% of total road length.
The government is expecting an investment of Rs. 10,665 cr in 12 major ports to achieve the targeted 2000 mln tonnes ports capacity by 2016. The capacity of the domestic ports in 2005-06 was 660 MT.
The growth rate in ports has remained above the GDP rate at about 9 to 11% during the last four years.
Gas run cities in the pipeline
If the Government’s plans bear fruit, half the urban population and 60% of vehicular traffic will have easy access to clean fuel.
On an energy-equivalence basis natural gas costs an average of 68% less than petrol and about 38% cheaper than diesel in Delhi.
ONGC net growth less than 1%
ONGC continued to sell crude at heavily discounted prices in the region of $45.42 per barrel when global prices were averaging around $68 a barrel.
Subsidies by ONGC are given in the form of discounts to the price at which crude oil is sold to the refining companies.
According to RBI policy, an entity will be treated as an NBFC (Non Banking Financial Company) only if its financial assets are more than 50% of its total assets and income from financial assets is more than 50% of the gross income.
International players are looking at getting into the NBFC business on the back of a growth in customer finance business. Also, unlike a foreign bank, there is no restriction on the number of branches an NBFC can open in India.
Bank credit zooms in Q2
Last year banks lent around Rs. 1,00,008 cr by way of non-food credit. This year, the figure stood at Rs. 1,14,147 cr.
Total loan outstandings of the banking system are currently at Rs. 16,54,734 cr.
Global shortfall makes Indian spices hot
Total exports of spices is put at 1,65,198 tonnes valued at Rs. 1405.34 cr. against 1,71,616 tonnes valued at 1208.64 cr last in 2004-05.
Exported spices include: Chillies, Cumin seeds, Pepper, Cardamom, Turmeric and Mint products.
According to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, fiscal deficit would have to be reduced from 3.8% of GDP in 2006-07 to 3.4% in 2007-08 and 3% in 2008-09.
India to take up bio-piracy issue at WTO Trips meet
Developed countries, especially the US have made several efforts to patent the properties of biological products like neem and turmeric which Indians have been using for centuries. The US government revoked patents on certain uses of neem and turmeric when India challenged the decision. Despite the small victories, the developed countries have been extensively using products growing in the developing world in their patented products without paying royalty.
PSU banks eye online trading business
Daily online turnover in stocks is expected to double to Rs. 10,000 cr next year from the present Rs. 5,500 cr.
At present there are only 2 cr participants in the online share trading community. Of them active participants are considered to be very less.
Nicaragua set to chase Panama canal
Nicaragua wants to build an $18 bn 277 km long alternative to the increasingly overloaded 92 year old Panama Canal.
About 5% of the world’s maritime trade crosses the Panama Canal. But its growth is limited: 10% of the world’s ships are too big for it.
Financial inclusion in India
Nearly 50% of the country’s population is out of any institutional and non-institutional finance.
Hence there is a call for consolidation in PSU banking.
On a hypothetical basis if all 27 PSU banks are merged, their capital base would be just $3 bn, which stands nowhere against the capital base of $20 bn of a single entity in China – the
Industrial Commercial Bank of China.
Indian fire works market
India is estimated to spend about Rs. 900 cr on fireworks every year, most of it during Diwali season.
Sivakasi caters to 90% of this market.
Kerala tourism heads windward with uru cruises
Uru is a classical sailing vessel fashioned out of timber that has for centuries plied the Indo-Persian routes on the Bekal-Kochi sector.
It is the India equivalent of the Arabian dhow.
Global legal services
The cost of legal services globally is expected to cross $250 bn.
To generate 1 MW of power, an investment of Rs. 8 cr is needed for generation, transmission and distribution.
Currently bilateral power trading accounts for no more than 2% of generation.
Global coffee festival can help growers
Karnataka grows 2/3rd of India’s coffee.
India’s domestic consumption is about 80,000 tonnes now.
Currently there are about 1000 cafes and the number is growing rapidly.
Technorati, the blog search service tracks about 5.73 cr blogs internationally.
About 1.75 lakh blogs are being created everyday.
The blogging space is about 100 times bigger than what it was 3 years ago.
Kenneth Lay, the founder of Enron who died in July is freed of charges by a federal judge.
Lay was convicted on ten counts of fraud, conspiracy and lying to banks.
Enron’s collapse in 2001 wiped out thousands of jobs, more than $60 bn in market value and more than $2 bn in pension plans.
See more details here.
Railway reservation system
The Indian railway reservation system issued daily 7.5 lk tickets.
Currency in circulation
India’s currency in circulation is 11.8% of the GDP, which is a reflection of the fact that more than half of India’s economic output is produced by small scale agriculture and 44 mln household business.
Online payment system
India could save about $6.3 bn by fully moving into electronic payment system annually, according to a study conducted by McKinsey.
Airlines join hands; fares likely to move north
10 domestic airline companies have come together to form Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) to represent the airlines’ interest.
According to Competition Act, a cartel would attract a penalty of 10% of the turnover of the cartel or three times the profits out of that cartel, whichever is higher.
Direct tax kitty swells by 40%
Direct tax collections are soaring over 40% to cross Rs. 90,000 cr.
Two positive trends noticed:
- A rise in the tax/GDP ratio and
- A rise in the share of direct taxes in the overall tax kitty to well above 50%.
Gifting industry is pegged at an estimated Rs. 150 cr in India and is growing at 20% per annum.
The total oral care market in India is estimated to be Rs. 5,000 cr.
Fall in outsourcing deals marks shift in market dynamics
The volume of outsourcing in 2005 stood at $81.9 bn in contracts while it was $84.7 bn in 2004.
A further slowdown to $55.3 bn is expected in the current year.
Government may club three ways to buy RBI’s stake in SBI
At present the SBI Act, 1955 mandates that RBI’s stake should not fall below 55%.
Taking over the stake of the RBI in the bank would entail an investment of Rs. 29,000 cr. As this would leave a huge effect on the fisc, the government is toying with innovative ideas in this regard.
- Some fiscal space to provide for part of the bill
- Partly from borrowing and
- Partly by dipping into the ways and means advances from the RBI.
Government to protect trademark of global Indian companies
India is planning to become part of the Madrid protocol (Madrid International Protocol – MIP)
Protocol has a 78 country membership. Signing it means protection of trademark in those countries. Violation can be challenged in WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Cashew exports from the country stood at 58,210 tonnes valued at Rs. 1222.93 cr. in the first six months of the current fiscal year.
IRDA for cap on LIC equity exposure
With 19 cr policyholders, LIC needs to limit its risk profile feels the IRDA.
The total sum assured plus bonus etc., would be around Rs. 4.7 lk crores as on March 31, 2006.
The prudential guidelines framed by the IRDA stipulate a maximum of 10% investment cap in any company’s equity.
Banking sector reform
The present FDI policy allows for 74% foreign investment (including FDI, FII and other foreign sources) but with a cap on voting rights at 10%. That is, even if a foreign shareholder has more than 10% stake in a private sector bank, his voting rights are restricted to 10% only.
The governments proposal now is to allow this restriction to be increased to 26%.
The President’s mercy power
It is exercised under Article 72 of the constitution. Although the President is expected to act on the advice of the Union Cabinet, the power is believed to be plenary in nature. What this means is that the President has full and complete discretion in arriving at a decision in the matter.
That is he need not be bound by the advice rendered by the Council of Ministers.
The Finance Minister’s prescription:
We need more reforms for growth. There are three areas where we need to raise the bar :
- Agriculture: India Inc cannot be preoccupied with manufacturing and services and needs to enter in a big way in agriculture – without disturbing the sacred relationship between the tiller and the land.
- Energy sector reforms: We need new and innovative ways to raise crude production, to raise coal production and to solve problems of pricing and distribution of electricity.
- Financial sector reforms
Tatas set to take over Corus for $9 bn
The new entity will become the sixth largest steel maker in the world with an annual production of 23 mln tonnes.
NSE trades ties with regional stock exchanges
The MOU will give the regional stock exchanges’ members the right to trade on the NSE platform. Members of the RSEs can issue contract notes for trades done on the NSE order book.
NSE will also allow securities listed in the RSEs to be traded on its platform.
NSE has close to 70% of the total turnover in local equities market.
Market cap races past the GDP
For the first time in the history of Indian stock markets, the market capitalization of the BSE has crossed the country’s domestic GDP. It stood at Rs. 33 lakh cr on Friday, as against the country’s GDP of Rs. 32 lakh cr.
Thus India joins an exclusive club of developed markets, including the US, the UK, South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore.
SC questions the basis for 27% quota for OBCs
While the Mandal Commission, which first made out a case for reserving 27% seats in government jobs and educational institutions for the OBCs, relied on the 1931 census, Round 2003 of the National Sample Survey pointed out that non-Muslim OBCs comprised 32% of the total population. The figures obtained by the National Family Health Survey indicate that the non-Muslim OBC population was about 30%.
The NSSO data and in particular, some of the figures were simply unpalatable for the pro-quota lobby in the oversight committee:
The status of OBCs is only slightly different than that of the people belonging to the general category in so far as health indicators are concerned. In some states these indicators are even better than that of the general category people.
The land-holding pattern of the OBCs and the general category people shows only a slight variation.
Unemployment and under-employment among the OBCs is lowest among all social groups in the rural areas, but only slightly higher than the upper castes in urban areas.
The total balm (pain balm) market is pegged at Rs. 250 cr.
POSCO’s investment plans for country have undergone a revision. It is now planning to invest close to $27 bn. Over the next 7 years.
The book industry in India at placed at Rs. 3,000 cr with organized market accounting for Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 cr.
AP pins hopes on SEZs for jobs
Andhra Pradesh is looking at creating 4.7 lk fresh jobs from the new SEZs that are coming up in the state. So far about 48 SEZs are given approval.
Plan panel favours merger of mid-day meal scheme and SSA (Sarva Siksha Abhiyan)
The Ministry of HRD is not favour of clubbing the two schemes fearing that it will create a behemoth that is unable to deliver the goods.
It also appears that the rules of business may not allow a merger of the two schemes. The SSA is administered by the SSA state society and the money given by the Centre goes to the society; not to the state government. In contrast, the mid-day meal funds are given to the state government.
Cross-border M&A deals up 88% in 2005
According to the World Investment Report 2006 prepared by UNCTAD the cross border mergers and acquisition deals have touched $716 bn in 2005 and their number is at 6134.
There has been an overwhelming spur for the total FDI inflow globally, which has risen 29% to $916 bn
Grain output estimates for India are put at 208 mln tonnes.
Oil seed production is estimated to touch 13 mln tonnes.
Acreage under the oil seeds declined by 1 mln hectares to 157.21 lk hectares.
PDS accounts for less than 10% of the food requirements people living in the BIMARU (Bihar, MP, Rajasthan and UP) states.
India is among the top 10 global suppliers of aluminium and steel in the world.
Governments – State and Central – spend more than 20% of their budget on the purchase of goods, works, and services.
More than 90% the human brain develops during the first two years of a child’s birth.
Only about 16% of all babies in the country start breast-feeding within an hour of their birth.
Agriculture, the largest private sector in the country employs approximately 65% of the population.
The Indian express courier industry is worth Rs. 7,100 cr ($1.6 bn) with 2500 players.
FIIs, PNs may come under security lens
PNs are issued by FIIs to their overseas clients who may not be eligible to invest directly in India. According to current norms, the names of end invedstors need not be disclosed. This practice allows unverified funds to enter the stock market and commodity trading, according to National Security Council.
It has been found that nearly 88% of the FII inflows into India came through the PN route in 2005-06.
Govt. leans towards 26% cap for foreigners in private banks
Basel II norms come into force from April 2007 onwards.
The present policy for ownership and governance in private sector banks, laid down by RBI says that no single entity or group of related entities would be allowed to hold shares or exercise control, directly or indirectly, in any private sector bank in excess of 10% of its paid up capital.
The government may break new ground in financial sector reforms by letting foreign investors in private sector banks to get voting rights up to 26%.
Carbon emission trading in India
The value of accumulated stock of carbon emission reduction (CER) units in India is estimated at approximately Rs. 4,500 cr. Only China and Brazil are ahead of India in this regard.
Each time a company, through its actions like using lesser or cleaner fuel, reduces the emission of one tonne of carbon dioxide, it accumulates a CER. It can then sell this CER for a price – 12 euros at the present (translates to about Rs. 720 per CER)– to another company in another part of the world that might want to reduce the emissions but is unable to do so for some reason.
As a genre of financial services Islamic banking shuns the very idea of interest rates, and rests on profit-sharing principles. Based on the Sharia law, it abhors the business of making money out of money, and upholds the belief that wealth is generated through actual trade and investment.
Unanimous voting for financial, weapons sanction on North Korea
The resolution adopted by UN Security Council allows nations to stop cargo going to and from North Korea to check for weapons of mass destruction or related supplies. The resolution bars trade with North Korea in dangerous weapons. It also imposes bans on heavy conventional weapons and luxury goods and asks nations to freeze funds connected with North Korea’s non-conventional arms programs.
The six nation talks involving the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan – were boycotted by Pyongyong 13 months ago to protest against the financial measures imposed by the US for alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.
Mercedes Benz sales in India
About 1800 mercs are sold in India last year and this year they are expected to touch 2400 units.
In China the Merc sales are expected to touch about 18,000 to 20,000 this year.
The domestic market for fat fighters is pegged at Rs. 100 cr.
Diabetes and heart disease could impose a burden of about $250 bn on India and about $550 bn on China in the next decade.
Currently only 34 hospitals across the country are being promoted as standard hospitals for medical tourism for foreigners.
The world oil demand is pegged at 84.6 mln barrels per day for 2006 by the IEA – International Energy Agency.
Liquidity in the financial system can be partially measured from surplus cash that banks park with the RBI. This amount has crossed Rs. 20,000 cr recently from about Rs. 3000 to 4000 cr in mid September.
Bribery in the world
The World Bank Institute estimates that annual world wide bribery is $1 trillion. The US department of commerce has estimated that corruption in arms trade accounts for approximately 50% of all corruption transactions globally, despite the fact that the value of arms trade annually does not exceed 1% of global trade.
The global organic food market is estimated to be $9 bn in size and is growing at 9%.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is coming out with an IPO of $19 bn, the largest IPO in the world.
US gamblers make up about one third of the world’s estimated 12 mln online betters. Annual gambling revenues in US are about $5.7 bn in 2003.
All told Americans wager $637 bn in state-sanctioned casinos and lotteries per annum.
Micro credit sector in India
There are more than 22 lk households under the Self Help Group (SHG) model in the country at present. An additional 3.85 lk will be added by the end of this fiscal.
The total amount outstanding with these groups is nearly $1 bn while another $1.4 bn is expected to be made available by the voluntary sector to these groups by the end of 2006-07.
The RBI is in the process of framing guidelines to allow micro-credit institutions to tie up with banks to offer savings deposits.
Blue ocean strategy
It is based on a book by professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. It is a theory that talks about creating uncontested market space and making competition irrelevant, rather than competing within the confines of an overcrowded industry and trying to steal customers from rivals.
Yellow fever is caused by Aedes Aegypti, the same mosquito which causes chikungunya and dengue fever. Monkeys act as reservoirs of yellow fever virus.
Not many takers these days for small savings schemes
In the first five months of this fiscal, the savings deposits and certificates collections are down over 30% to Rs. 21,989 cr.
Gold hallmarking must in metros by 2008
Hallmarking of gold – an official guarantee of purity – is being made mandatory at least in metros by 2008
As per a market survey conducted by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the ASSOCHAM in 16 cities this year, 90.7% of samples tested were found short in purity with an average shortfall of 13.44% and a highest shortage of 44.66%.
At present there are only 39 recognised hallmarking centres across the country.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act
Recently the PM felt that calls for abolition of this act have to be considered in view of the prevailing security situation in the Northeast and J&K. He said, no action can be taken immediately on the Jeevan Reddy Committee’s recommendation, which has reportedly recommended the scrapping of the anti-terror law.
Infrastructure funding suggestions
The government should look at options like:
- Exist options for initial lenders such as limited recourse financing under which creditors are repaid primarily from the revenues generated by the project itself
- Clarify the contribution of the central government, state governments and the multilateral agencies etc.
- Deepen the long term debt market to enable banks and finance institutions to participate more in infrastructure financing
- Create tradable debt based securities and development of corporate bond market
According to Mr. Clive Harris of the World Bank PPPs in infrastructure can be costly if they are not well-designed, if the contracts are not well structured and realisitic in their allocation of risks and incentives and if the government does not have the capacity to monitor the implementation of the PPP and undertake good oversight.
India has the largest number diabetic patients in the world with 35 mln and this is projected to grow to 80 mln by 2030.
Sensex at new peak
The sensex touched a new high of 12,756.23 yesterday after the high of 12,671 recorded in May.
The total market capitalization, a measure of investor wealth, was flat at Rs. 3.26 lk crore.
Nobel prize for Dr. Muhammed Yunus
The 2006 Nobel peace prize was awarded to the Bangladeshi and the pioneer of microfinance who established the Grameen Bank in 1976.
Domestic Economic Zone
A new concept of Domestic Economic Zone is proposed to be set up in J&K for areas which lack adequate resources to have enough exports. The DEZ would need an investment of around Rs. 700 cr for creating a separate business district with adequate infrastructure.
Proliferation Security Initiative launched by US in May 2003 encourages countries to interdict weapons from North Korea, Iran and other states of concern.
Indian spirits market
The 115 mln cases market is primarily known as a whisky market, rum commands a 60% share in this.
Rum is distilled from molasses, and is water white when first distilled, but it gets its colour from the oak barrel during the ageing process and probably from caramel too, colouring agent.
Telecom VAS players ringing in profit
The Value Added Services (VAS) industry is currently worth Rs. 400 cr in India and is expected to touch Rs. 4000 cr by 2010. Although VAS currently contributes only 7-9% to telecom ventures, with just a few serious players in the market, it is one sector that is sure to rake in more revenues in the future.
Good time for hotel biz
All India occupancy touches 70.8%.
MAT technology now in India
Mobile Asset Tracking (MAT) is the latest technology to hit the market. It can be used to detect any tampering of a goods vehicle.
Green Building Congress to create eco-sensitivity
The projected growth potential for green buildings in India is estimated at Rs. 2000 cr by the year 2008.
Today more than 40 buildings are directly applying the LEED, US rating system.
Jaipur foot was developed out of poly-urethane which was primarily researched and developed by ISRO for use in rocket motors.
Planning Commission moots education voucher system
Under this system, the government, instead of funding schools, will provide funding directly to students in the form of vouchers. Students would be able to redeem these vouchers in a school of their choice. In turn, the schools will receive payments from government against the vouchers.
First tranche of oil bonds to be issued next Monday
Govt. is set to issue oil bonds worth Rs. 14,500 cr in three tranches. Rs. 5,000 cr, Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 4,150 cr.
The Government anticipated an under recovery of Rs. 73,500 cr in June this year on selling fuel. At the current level of global crude prices, it is anticipated that the under-recoveries would be around Rs. 60,000 cr.
Price cut would considered only if the Indian basket of crude oil fell to $50 per barrel. The Indian basket of crude was at $56.63 per barrel currently.
India has 125 airports, of these 11 are designated international airports. In contrast US has 20,000 airports. It also has 6,10,000 pilots and about 2,20,000 of various types of civilian planes.
China’s trade surplus for the first 9 months of the current year is at $110 bn exceeding last year’s total.
IL&FS to set up Rs. 3000 cr PMDO facility
Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services announced the setting up of a Rs. 3000 cr Pooled Municipal Debt Obligation (PMDO) facility in association with 15 scheduled commercial banks.
The fund would partly help answer the debt requirements of municipalities across India.
Statistics indicate that by 2020, 40% of India would be in urban centres and that 65% of the country’s GDP will come from the urban areas.
The tenor of PMDO will be for 13 years and will come with a 3 year moratorium and carry a 9.5% coupon rate.
Agriculture in Andhra Pradesh
The Government’s aim is to bring 1.2 lakh hectares of land under micro irrigation.
About 2.5 mln farmers are availing free power in the state.
Currently about 50,00 farmers in the state use technology for farm mechanization.
From the year 1750 util the present, methane levels went from 750 part per billion to 1700 ppb. About 60% of the methane going into the atmosphere is anthropogenic or human caused. Methane is CH4 and is colloquially referred to as swamp gas.
Composition of IIP (Index of Industrial Production)
It is a weighted average of mining, manufacturing and electricity output.
Diageo in talks with Sula for 26% stake
Diageo, the world’s largest drinks company is in talks with Sula, one of the top three Indian wine companies for a stake.
The Indian wine consumption is currently pegged at 8 lakh cases and growing at 20-30% YOY.
Nobel for literature
The Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk won this year’s prize for his “quest for the melancholic soul of his native city (that) has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.”
Other Nobel laureates whose work is permeated with the experience of a single city include:
Naguib Mahfouz and Cairo, Saul Bellow and Chicago and Heinrich Boll and Cologne.
Poverty biggest violator of human rights: NHRC Chief Justice (Retd.) A.S. Anand
According to the UNDP report for 2003, Indian society is a highly inequitable society where the richest 10% consumes 33.5% of resources and the poorest 10% get only 3.5% of resources.
Around 233 mln people are chronically hungry.
India’s consumer durables industry is pegged at Rs. 20,000 cr.
UL to set up fire test lab in India by 2007
Underwriters Laboratories is an international fire safety and security body.
The National Building Code prescribes fire protection equipment approval by ISI or an international body. With UL setting up the lab in India, the UL tested fire safety equipment manufactured in India will find acceptance in markets abroad.
Motorola makes India its brand focus
India is edging close to China in terms of number of subscribers addition with nearly 5.9 mln subscribers (mobile) added in August 2006.
The handset market size is moving fast, growing from 33 mln handsets last year to an estimated 60 mln handsets by the end of 2006.
There are about 65 mln people in India who use search engines and the current size of the search engine advertising market in India is estimated to be $50 mln.
There are about 550 mln youth below 25 years in India and only 7 mln university seats in the country.
The Indian retail industry is estimated to be worth $300 bn and is expected to double by 2015.
Toll soon for two-lane highways
The government is considering the move as only four and six lane highways are presently tolled.
The tolling formula is linked to the Wholesale Price Index. According to the new policy a fixed additional charge of 3% will be added to the 40% increase in WPI to incorporate cost escalation.
Steel production in country
There are about 116 MOUs signed by the three state governments of Chattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand. If all these projects go on stream, they will add 146 mln tonnes of production capacity to the country.
There are about 17 lakh cases of multiple PAN card holders in the country.
Golden rice to arrive in India within a year
Golden Rice is a variety of rice containing 23 mg of provitamin A, which is converted by the body into Vitamin A.
Coal mining shifts to private hands
Reins of 93 blocks now held by private companies. These blocks together hold reserves of around 13 bn tonnes, which can be extracted up to 80% on a conservative basis.
Net telephony may join ISP licence league
Net telephony calls will soon attract a service tax of 12.24% in addition to a revenue share of 6%.
Kiran Desai bags booker prize
Daughter of Anita Desai and the author of “The inheritance of Loss” has bagged the Booker Prize when she just turned 35.
She is the youngest woman to bag the award and that too at the very first instance of nomination.
Three other Indians got the Booker Prize earlier:
- Ruth Prawar Jhabvala (1975)
- Salman Rushdie (1981)
- Arundhati Roy (1997)
Two thirds of the population of developing countries live in rural areas in comparison to less than 10% in developed countries.
The prosperity of so many cannot be sacrificed for protecting the interest of so few – says the PM.
Air traffic forecasts
AAI (Airports Authority of India) estimates that traffic at Indian airports will touch 205 mln by 2011-12 up from the 73.3 mln in 2005-06.
IT companies are expected to account for 8-10% of GDP by 2008 from 1.4% in 2001.
India's living population
According to the census 72% of Indians are still rural. The rest live in 5,161 towns including 21 cities that have a population of more than 1 mln. Of the total urban population, 15% live in slums.
A recent study by IDC estimates that a mere 10% reduction of piracy in India (from the current level of 75%) could translate into 115,000 new IT jobs, pump in $5 bn as additional revenues for software companies and $386 mln as additional tax revenues for the Indian economy.
There are around 4000 sites all over the country which are suitable for installing small hydro power (less than 25 MW per project) plants capable of producing 10,000 MW.
There is an estimated 5000 MW potential that has not been identified as yet.
Small tailors feel stitch of time
The neighborhood tailor’s share in the total garments business in the country has significantly gone down from 80% to 60%.
Of the $13 bn western style Indian apparel market – urban as well as rural – in 1990’s ready-to-wear segment was just $2.5 bn, while tailors enjoyed a whopping 80% share worth $10.5 bn.
Automobile sales in H1 in India
Cars 5,03,249 (22.8%)
Two wheelers 38,15,489 (15.4%)
Commercial vehicles 2,06,222 (36.9%)
Three wheelers 1,97,627 (19.9%)
India’s retail industry is estimated at about $300 bn and is growing to $427 bn by 2010 and $637 bn by 2015.
Global sports goods market is at $97.95 bn and is growing annually at 7%. Half of it is accounted for by US.
Last year medical tourism brought about 2 lk people to India. The industry is expected to be worth $15 bn by 2010.
Total size of India’s financial market is $50 bn as against China’s $750 bn.
PM’s aid no help for farmers
The Rs. 3,750 cr aid package given for Vidarbha farmers is not helping them. The package includes Rs. 50 lk each to be made available for the six district collectors, a Rs. 712 cr interest waiver and Rs. 1300 cr for loan restructuring. The balance was mainly for long term planning such as irrigation and seed replacement.
The Rs. 712 cr and Rs. 1300 cr components have been more beneficial for the district cooperative banks than for farmers as it cleaned up their books of accounts.
New drug launches dip
New products contributed to just 1% of the domestic market’s total sales in 2005, compared with 2% in 2004.
The number of drug launches in the domestic market has dropeed to 1361 compared to 2037 last year.
Domestic companies cannot lauch branded generic versions of drugs with a post 1995 patent, with India’s commitment to the WTO’s intellectual property regime in place since January 2005.
Total pharma sales were at Rs. 25,711 cr and grew 17%.
Lalit Suri dead
Leading hotelier and Rajya Sabha MP died in London on 10th October of a massive hear attack.
He is the CMD of Bharat Hotel Group.
Limit for tax free rental income likely to go up
The government is considering an increase in the limit of tax free income from property leasing to 50% from existing 30%. The idea is to bring in 15.8 mln unoccupied dwellings across the country in circulation, to bridge the housing shortage in the country.
It is estimated that about 130 cr people will migrate to urban areas in next decade as employment in agriculture sector is loosing its trend.
Nobel for Economics
American Edmund Phelps won the prize for his research into the interplay between prices, unemployment and inflation expectations.
In his research he suggested that in setting prices and negotiating wages, employers and workers make judgements about future inflation that in turn influence the inflation outcome. As a consequence, the long-run rate of unemployment is not affected by inflation but only determined by the functioning of the labour market.
40 kg of plutonium is sufficient to produce about 7 nuclear bombs. North Korea is believed to have stored up to 40 kg of plutonium.
The Indian ophthalmology market size is estimated to be at $55 mln.
India’s millionaire club increases by 19% to 83,000
Indian HNIs held $290 bn in assets at the end of 2005.
HNIs are people who have net financial assets of at least $1 mln.
India’s Gini index is 33, compared to 41 for the US, 45 for China and 59 for Brazil.
Only 70% of India’s children attend primary school. As many as 47% of its children are malnourished.
Indian ad industry size is estimated to be about Rs. 13,500 cr.
AI Express is the low cost subsidiary of Air India and started its operations in April 2005.
BSNL floats the single largest tender for GSM equipment in the world. The plan is to add a capacity of 6 cr lines with about Rs. 20,000 cr investment.
Ethanol blend for petrol may hit roadblock
Alcohol production of 176 cr litres from an anticipated bumper sugar crop of 220 lk tonne in the next 12 months will not be able to meet even the existing 180 cr litre requirement by the Rs. 4,400 cr domestic chemical industry.
Potable alcohol has only up to 40% alcohol content and the rest is water as against the chemical industry’s higher requirement due to many layers of value additions.
It is estimated that there are 1000 micro finance institutions in the country.
The spot price of LNG being imported at Dahej terminal is ruling about $8.5 per mbtu to $11.5 mbtu.
State cooperative banks’ profitability going down
NABARD figures show that the aggregate profit of SCBs declined to Rs. 289.45 cr in 2004-05 as against Rs. 373.25 cr in the preceding fiscal.
There are 32 SCBs in the country and the aggregate ratio of NPAs to the total outstanding credit of these banks has improved to 16.25% in 2004-05 from 18.7% in 2003-04.
In absolute terms the total NPAs have come down to Rs. 6,071.6 cr in 2004-05.
Sulphur deficiency in Indian agricultural lands
An estimated 76% of the total arable land in the country shows ‘alarming’ sulphur deficiency according a study conducted by The Sulphur Institute, a Washington based NGO.
The institute along with Fertilizer Association of India is trying to the get the government to change the countrywide soil nutrition formula from NPK (4:2:1) to NPK-Sulphur (4:2:1:1).
In this page you will find some of the online resrouces that will help you in your preparation for Civils and other competitive examinations.
Resources for Civil Services Examination:
During the last couple of months, I happened to browse the web to help some of you find the online resources available for Civils preparation. I found the following links useful. I have also given my comments on the sites, where I felt appropriate.
This is where I keep posting some thoughts and points about topics of current interest in detail. The topics would help you in your preparation for the general essay paper. If you follow this site, you will usually be well prepared for facing some discussions during the interview.
Various courses podcasts from University of California at Berkeley
A very good site giving lot of courses in downloadable MP3 format. Courses from Physics to Astronomy to Psychology to Zoology are available.
The India Portal
An excellent resource from the Government of India about all official information. Though you may not find it as comprehensive as say "The India Year Book", an annual publication of the Government of India, it nevertheless has lot of useful and latest information.
Civil Service India
This is a very good site where you will get lot of info about preparing for Civil Services Exam. A very well maintained and comprehensive site. Has lot of resources and useful links.
This is a site dedicated for preparing for the General Studies Paper of the Civil Service Exam. A very good site.
This is a site dedicated for enabling people to prepare for various competitive exams. It is very well done. High tech. Has discussion forums and useful resources.
This is a site by those who have made the grade. This site is also very high tech. Has good discussion forums.
This is another site which has some useful info about syllabus for UPSC exams.
This is a blog where you have some GK stuff. The kind that you get to see in books like Limca book of records.
Dipan Karmakar's Blog
This is the blog by an IAS aspirant who appeared for mains twice (as of February 2007). He wrote a beautiful piece on budget. Any IAS aspirant should be able to write something on anything. I give my encouragement to him.
Sriram is a long lost acquaintance of mine. I met him sometime in the early 1980's when I was preparing for civils. He was then damn good in Political Science. I came across him (ofcourse only the Net) through my blogs. I understand he is now running his own coaching institute in Delhi. Just take a look at the content in his blog. Those of you appearing with Public Administration will surely find his blog useful.
This is my India
There is a discussion forum dedicated for discussions about preparing for the Civil Services Exam. A very good and active forum.
Resources on Sociology:
Sociology Guide on the web
This site has some material on sociology. Being not a sociology student I don't know how far is it useful for attempting civils. If any one of the civils aspirants can give me a critique of this site, I will mention about it here.
Resources on Psychology:
Professor Dave's psychology classes podcast.
This is a Canadian Professor who is making his classes public through podcasts.
Prof. Michael Britt's lectures
Learn how theories in psychology affect you in everyday life.
University of California course on Psychology
Psychology lecture podcasts from University of California at Berkeley. Available as downloadable MP3 files.
Resources in Geograpy:
Mr. Chandra pointed out to me an excellent web resource on Geography.
This is really an excellent site having lots of useful info about the various countries of the world, almost all their statistics etc. Well worth reading by anybody.
While going through that site I discovered two more sites worth reading:
This is site is for anybody who wants to know greater details about the US.
One more that I found interesting was:
The World Fact Book
This is by the CIA. Yes the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA. They keep a database about all the world.
These three sites that I described are not necessarily about Geography; they also contain lot of other useful info. Each one is almost like an encyclopedia in itself. Take a look. You will not regret, I am sure.
Ever wanted to know how is the climate in your city? This is a ready reckoner for knowing the information. It will give you the weather details for a number of cities and places worldwide. I was thrilled to see Hyderabad's details.
Reportedly covering the whole of physical geography syllabus, this site has good quizzes and explains concepts with animations.
This is a site that offers Geography notes for various purposes for sale.
Courtesy Mr. N. Saikrishna of IRMA, Anand we have the following links, if you are appearing for IFS examination:
I have not checked the above links myself. Let me know if you have any comments on them.
Links to some Coaching Institutes:
This site, they say is an online coaching center for all Indians.
Economic and Political Weekly
Should I say anything about this? India's most highly respected magazine which will give you an in-depth analysis about issues of current interest. Any person who wants to stay well informed, cannot ignore this magazine.
Competition Success Review
11th Plan (2007-2012) expenditure on infrastructure envisaged
Rs. 14,50,000 cr ($320 bn) on road, rail, air and water transport, electric power, telecommunications, water supply and irrigation.
Plans to invest Rs. 3.5 lk crore by 2012 to develop private container trains, freight corridors and upgrade stations.
Freight carried by railways has risen to 668 mln tonnes getting a revenue of Rs. 36,490 cr.
Reasons for increase in freight traffic:
- Fall in average turnaround time (the round trip time) for the wagons between two loadings from 7 days to 5 days.
- Increase in the load the wagons carry by 4-8 tonnes.
Railways plans to carry 750 mln tonnes and 6.5 bn people this year by March end 2007.
Private and foreign banks nibble away at public sector banks’ share
SBI and associate banks accounted for 22.9% in aggregate deposits and 22.6% of credit in the banking system for the year 2005-06.
Public sector banks as a group accounted for 48.5% of the deposits and 47.6% in the credit during previous quarter.
Private sector banks increased their share in deposits from 19.4% to 20.3%. Foreign banks increased their share in deposits from 5.3% to 5.4%.
Private sector banks share in credit is at 20.3% and that of foreign banks is at 6.9%.
Microsoft has 68% share in server market vs Linux’s 21% share currently. Two years ago Linux’s share was just 11%.
On the desktop just 3% PCs in India use Linux.
Indian Linux market is expected to grow by 21% annually to $19.9 mln in 2010.
Opportunity in adversity
The relief, rehabilitation and recovery market is a big opportunity.
On an average 70% of the relief money goes to temporary shelter tents and roofs
60% of reconstruction money goes in macro-infrastructure including roads, electricity, bridges, school buildings and water supply systems
60% of the recovery money goes into setting up disaster management authorities, preparedness forces, rescue equipment and transportation vehicles.
It is estimated that 2.5 bn emails per day contain pornographic content (8% of total emails) and that there are over 68 mln porn search engine requests daily (25% of search engine requests).
Everyday there are more than 70 mn requests for pornography made on search engines like Google and Yahoo.
FDI tangos with economic boom
Inflows increase 92% to $2.9 bn in April-July
The government estimates an inflow of $12 bn this fiscal, which is 50% more than the previous year’s inflow.
According to RBI data, India has received a cumulative inflow of $50.1 bn FDI since 1991 to June 2006.
“It is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity and the father of mischief” said George Washington about gambling.
Congress wants the bad debts of co-op banks wiped out
It wants the centre to clear the burden of non-performing assets (NPAs) of the cooperative banks, pegged at about Rs. 8,000 cr to unclog the cooperative credit lines for agricultural loans.
The NPAs of commercial banks stand at Rs. 30,000 cr.
Family jeweler may lose sheen as branded jewellery catches on
The family jeweler segment currently controls 97% of India’s fragmented jewellery retail market.
The size of the jewellery market is being estimated at $15 bn and it is growing at 10% to 12%.
Indian jewellery industry too is booming and has the potential to touch $31 bn by 2015.
The market for diamond jewellery is being estimated at $1.5 bn and growing at the rate of 18% to 20%.
India is the third largest market of jewellery in the world after the US and China.
E-commerce in India is expected to reach around $500 mln by this fiscal end.
India has a shortfall of 619 pilots at present.
Presently 450 foreign pilots are working in India.
Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) market
RIL plans to set up 25 ATF stations.
The size of the ATF market in India is about 3 mln tonnes per annum and is one of the fastest growing markets in the world with growth rates of 14-15% year on year.
Banks seek RBI nod for long term bonds
Banks are battling a liquidity crunch and an asset liability mismatch in their books.
They want the RBI to relax the norms to help lend and borrow more in their inter-bank money market.
Over the years banks have increased their lending to mortgages and infrastructure loans. As the average tenure of these loans is more than 10 years, there are no long-term liabilities to take care of these long-term assets. Hence the demand from banks for relaxation of norms.
Solar radiation equals roughly 10,000 times our current energy needs.
Govt’s dope to stop PDS kerosene diversion
Fuel dealers across the country have been asked to dope kerosene with an imported marker to detect its adulteration in diesel and petrol.
New system to check adulteration worth Rs. 4,000 cr.
System will help under-privileged sections of society to get their due quantity of kerosene.
About 38.6% of PDs kerosene is diverted – 18.1% for non-household use, 17.9% for black marketing and 2.6% is used up by non-card (PDS) holders.
LPG subsidy burden on govt. is around Rs. 11,000 cr and that of kerosene is Rs. 15,000 cr.
Suggestion to introduce IT systems to monitor movement of trucks carrying kerosene as well as fuel tankers.
Eastern Air Command is based in Shillong, Meghalaya.
Tata Steel has capacity to make 5 mln tonnes of steel per annum. It is eyeing Corus of Europe which has a capacity to make 18 mln tonnes per annum.
Australia is the world’s leading producer of wool accounting for over 90% of the world’s wool production.
The wool is supplied to China, Italy and India.
Price cuts score over freebies for FMCGs
A study by an IIM Professor found that freebies, bonus packs and non-price promotions do not lure the customers the way price-off offers do.
X-ray files on your cell
Specific absorption rate (SAR) is a count that specifies whether your mobile radiates more or less than the permissible limit for radio waves.
The US and Europe have standards that specify thresholds for these rates. The US’ FCC lays down that the SAR level cannot exceed 1.6 W/kg (watts per kg) while the EU Council lays down a SAR level of 2 W/kg for public exposure from mobile phones.
National offtake of cell phones from grey market is about 6 mln per annum in India.
Most of the standard cell phones being marketed in India do meet the US or EU standards.
Global online advertising business
Ii is about $5.2 bn in 2005 and is expected to touch $9.72 bn in 2006 and may go up to $33 bn by 2010.
The global outsourced clinical trials market is estimated to be of the size $10 bn. Of this India accounted for about 2% of less.
The world’s topmost universitites are Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge.
About 60,000 defence personnel retire every year from the Indian armed forces. Of them 95% are accounted for by personnel below officer rank.
Cabinet okays 6-laning of 6,500 km of National Highway including 5,700 km of Golden Quadrilateral at a cost of Rs. 41,210 cr.
India is the largest producer of milk, pulses, sugarcane and tea in the world.
Solar power use in India
Bangalore and Pune are ahead of others in installation of solar water heaters. This is because of the climate there as well as the policies of the respective state governments. Every household with solar water heater systems gets a rebate of 50 pasie per unit in these states.
In the recent past the cost of SWH systems has gone up from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 due to the jump in the price of copper, a prime material for such systems.
The Centre through IREDA(Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency) has engaged the banks and financial institutions to offer subsidized interest loans for SWH systems. The rate of interest for SWH systems for home use is 2%; that for institutitonal and commercial sectors is 3% and 5% respectively.
Chemical and Textile industries are the other large consumers of hot water.
More than $3 bn is spent annually by students going from India to study abroad.
Services exports have risen from $25 bn in 2003-04 to $60 bn in 2005-06. Services contribute as much as 37% of India’s exports and over 50% of the country’s GDP.
India has a 3.3 mln km road network in the country. Natinoal Highways constitute only about 2% of this network. It is estimated that about $40 bn investments will be made in the road sector by 2012.
There are 259 berths in the 12 major ports and 97 berths in non-major ports of the country.
India has about 83,000 millionaires in 2005.
Power Grid Corporation of India
Inter regional power transfer capacity is at 9,500 mw currently. It is to be enhanced to 18,000 mw by the end of the current fiscal.
It has plans to increase this capacity to 1.50 lk mw by 2027.
Business Software Alliance estimates that 35% of the software installed in PCs worldwide is pirated.
Tata Steel may buy huge chunk in Corus
The Anglo-Dutch company, which is the world’s 7th largest steel maker, is valued by Tatas at $10 bn.
Iron ore prices have touched $60 per tonne, a sharp jump of over 140% during the last three years.
NYSE on move to take exposure in BSE
New York Stock Exchange is in advanced negotiations to take a stake in BSE, a move that could lead to a sharp rise in listed companies in India and an improved access to modern trading processes.
The direct taxes to GDP ratio was 2.8% in 1995-96 and it is poised to touch 5.5% by 2006-07.
Just 1% of the 207.2 mn households studied have a home PC. For telephones the penetration is 11.7% households.
Engineering outsourcing the next sizzler
The $750 bn a year global engineering services sector may be the next big thing for offshore firms.
Only about $10-15 bn of the $750 bn is at present offshored. The potential is estimated to rise to $150-225 bn by 2020.
India needs to build a significant manufacturing capability to tap the ESO space.
To support the engineering services market India will need about a quarter million engineers by 2020.
The number of internet users in India is said to be 37 mln.
The subsidy bill for petroleum sectore is estimated at Rs. 3,080 cr for 2006-07.
Is headed by Ratan Tata.
Was setup to invite domestic and foreign businesses to invest in India and to make India more attractive for investors.
Travel and tourism is a $32 bn industry in India and contributes about 5.3% of the GDP.
Agreement on drug price cut to cost finance ministry Rs. 50 cr.
The revenue loss is not a concern as the government had shifted the applicability of the 16% excise duty on medicines from the ex-factory price to the MRP in order to discourage huge trade margins.
National Building Code of India is in the final stages of legislation in many states. The energy conservation building code (ECBC) will legally bind builders to adhere to minimum energy saving steps.
Insurance costs come down despite terror attack fears in aviation industry
Airlines are spending at least $8.36 bn a year on risk management, with around 70% or $5.86 bn of it going to insurance premium.
Globalisation – is essentially the free movement of goods, services and service-providers across the borders of nations.
Nobel prize for Chemistry
American Roger D. Kornberg was awarded this year’s Nobel for Chemistry for his studies of how cells take information from genes to produce proteins. Disturbances in that process known as transcription are involved in many human illnesses, includig cancer, heart disease and various kinds of inflammation.
His father was awarded the Nobel in 1959 along with Severo Ochoa for their studies of how genetic information was transferred from one DNA to another.
RRBs (Regional Rural Banks) may get freedom from banks
RBI to deliberate on areas where RRBs could be given more autonomy.
The 10-member task force is headed by KG Karmakar, MD of Nabard.
Commercial banks hold 35% in each RRB, the union government holds 50% and the remaining 15% is held by the state governments.
Memebrs are expected to suggest alternative revenues for RRBs and explore new lines of business for them.
RBI has asked the panel to assess manpower requirement in these banks.
Mutual Funds on a roll
The mobilization by MF industry during H1 is Rs. 34,611.53 cr. (Rs. 42,541.31 cr)
Total AUM (Assets Under Management) are at Rs. 2.91 lk cr for this H1 as against 2 lk crore last year.
CCIs refuse to offer soft loans to farmers
Cooperative Credit Institutions which work more closely at the ground level have refused to lend to farmers at the concessional rate of 7% with an upper limit of Rs. 3 lk.
This refusal stems from the government’s decision to offer interest subvention only to commercial banks and regional rural banks under this scheme.
There are 32 state cooperative banks, 368 district cooperative credit banks (with a network of 13,000 branches) and more than 1 lakh primary agricultural cooperative credit societies (PACS) in the country.
The government has a total lending target of Rs. 39,000 cr for CCIs for 2006-07. This means that these agencies need a total subvention of Rs. 1,750 cr this fiscal for lending this sum at 7%.
NPRR (National Policy for Resettlement and Rehabilitation) mandates the preparation of a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) report simultaneously along with the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for all those projects which involve displacement of 400 or more families in plain areas and 200 or more families in tribal or hilly areas.
Branded Alleppey coir in the offing
Over 80% of the coir exports ae from Alleppey district in Kerala.
It is entitled for GI (Geographical Indication) so as to give it a patent status and brand name.
World’s largest airline is US based Southwest Airlines in terms of market value. Singapore Airlines comes next.
India is 30th in global bribe payers index
The index is based on the propensity of the companies in bribing abroad.
A score of 10 indicates no corruption; a score of 0 means rampant corruption.
Switzerland, Sweden, Australia and Canada have less corruption in this regard.