• What is powertrain in automobile industry?
    • Powertrain, in the automobile world, consists of all the components of a vehicle's drive system. This includes the engine, the transmission, and any separate driveshafts, differential etc. Sometimes, "powertrain" is used to refer to simply the engine and transmission, including the other components only if they are integral to the transmission.
  • ECB (External Commercial Borrowings) facility for realty projects on the cards?
    • Real estate companies want the Government to implement Press Note 2 of 2005, which allows a liberal foreign investment regime in the sector. This allows real estate companies to raise ECB as per FCCB guidelines, subject to FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) clearance.
    • At present Press Note 3 of 2002 is in force, which has adopted a more restrictive foreign investment regime. According to this, investment of proceeds from FCCB (Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds) is prohibited in real estate.
    • Proposals in this regard are pending with the RBI, which has to take a call.
  • Mechanism for complaints against erring judges
    • At present the only way complaints against judges (of the High Courts and Supreme Courts) can be launched is through a reference procedure, in which a motion by an MP (Member of Parliament) is made in the Parliament. And this results in only major punishment that is impeachment. No judge has so far been impeached by our Parliament.
    • A new bill is proposed in which any person can initiate an inquiry against a judge by lodging a complaint with the National Judicial Commission. The Commission is to be headed by the CJI (Chief Justice of India), 2 senior most judges of the Supreme Court and 2 senior most Chief Justices of the High Courts to be appointed by the CJI. This Commission will have the power of imposing minor measures like asking the judge to take retirement, stoppage of assignment of judicial work for a limited time, warning, censure or admonition.
  • Indo-Israel defence ties
    • India is Israel’s second largest trading partner after China.
    • India accounts for half of Israel’s arms exports.
    • Defence equipment imports include: Phalcon Awacs, Tavor 7.62 mm sniper rifles, night vision devices, laser range-finding and targeting equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles, Green Pine radars and Barrak anti-missile system.
    • Israel is also involved in upgrading 125 MIG-21 fighter aircraft.
  • First e-literate panchayat in the country
    • Sreekantapuram in Kerala. Under the landmark Akshaya program of the state government, this (making at least one member of each of families e-literate) was achieved.
  • Human development index and India
    • India is placed at 126 out of 177 countries. It improved its ranking from 127. China is at 81st place.
    • HDI is a comprehensive measure of economic welfare achieved by a nation. It is supposed to be a better measure of a nation’s progress than the conventional GDP.
    • Top countries heading the list are Norway, Iceland, Australia, Ireland and Sweden.
    • You can download the full report at http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/pdfs/report/HDR06-complete.pdf
  • What is solvency margin for an insurance company?
    • It is the minimum prescribed surplus of assets over liabilities. IRDA prescribes this minimum as 1.5 times. Insurance companies are required to increase their net worth in line with the increase in exposure to risk to ensure that there is some cushion in case any assumptions go wrong.
  • Organic products market
    • Organic foods market in India is currently at Rs. 100 cr. Stated to be having a potential of Rs. 2,300 cr.
    • Production of organic products does not use pesticides or synthetic or sewage-based fertilizers for plant materials and hormones and antibiotics for animals, does not allow genetic engineering or the use of radiation, and emphasizes the utilization of renewable resources as well as conservation of land and water.
  • Nuclear power plants proposed at four sites
    • Kudankulam (TN), Kakrapar (Guj.), Rawatbhata (Raj.) and Jaitapur (Mah.)
  • European Central Bank President: Jean Claude Trichet

Today’s topic for discussion
: Should there be an increase in priority sector lending? Either in absolute terms or proportionately? Perhaps you may like to look at this information before posting your comments.

Click on the comments link below and give your suggestions and comments.