11.12.2006

  • A bit of history about SpiceJet
    • It is in the news because the Tatas are stated to be buying about 10% in this company in their bid to re-enter the airlines business; albeit in a non-strategic holding.
    • It was earlier called the Royal Airways, an entity that took over ModiLust of SK Modi. A group of NRIs led by the Kansagra family bought into ModiLuft and re-launched it as a low cost airline, SpiceJet in 2005.
  • India among the top 20 wealthiest markets in the world
    • So says ‘Global Wealth’ an annual research conducted by BCG (Boston Consulting Group).
    • India and Russia made it to the list this year with positions at 19 and 20 respectively.
  • India’s savings
    • It is reported that 52% of India’s savings are in cash and bank deposits.
    • Nearly 60% of these deposits are in non-urban areas.
  • The EU-India dispute about tipple (tipple means liquor)
    • India levies customs duty at 100% on wines and 150% on spirits.
    • An additional duty ranging from 20% to 75% on wines and between 25% to 150% on spirits is also levied.
    • EU contends that the aggregate duty levels exceed the bound level of 150% for wines and spirits set forth in the WTO tariff schedule of India.
    • India appears to have seen a point in EU’s stand and is likely to discuss the issue with a team that is about to come from Brussels in a week’s time.
  • Air ambulance services
    • Vayu Vahan service launched last month by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) is one such service.
  • Broadband penetration in India
    • It is a woefully low figure of about 0.16% with absolute numbers being 2 mln broadband connections.
    • Measures suggested by ISAPI for increasing the broadband penetration in India
      • 100% depreciation for computers and broadband equipment within the first year.
      • Exemption from income tax for employees (government and private) of the amount spent on acquiring a PC or laptop.
      • Tax free broadband allowance to all employees to be paid at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per annum. Extending the same to self employed professionals also.
      • Tax holidays for individuals and corporations who donate their PCs and other related equipment to institutions like schools, charitable organizations and local bodies.
      • 100% exemption from customs duty on goods imported by ISPs for providing broadband access.
      • Sales tax waiver on e-commerce transactions for the next five years.
      • Entertainment tax waiver.
  • Blogging news
    • Number of bloggers worldwide has touched 200 mln
    • India with about 1.2 mln bloggers is in the 7th position.
    • Top ranks are notched up by US, China, Japan, France, UK, Spain.
  • Virtual representatives
    • BPO sector (an $8.4 bln market at last count) should be worried not about other countries walking away with their business; but about virtual representatives.
    • These are automated online personalities that emulate the best human customer service by providing personalized and immediate answers to customer questions via two-way natural language dialogue.
    • Some companies that have deployed this technology already include:
      • Ford with it ‘Ernie’ to provide 24 hour internal technical support to technicians at various Ford dealerships in the US.
      • Convergys, the world’s largest call centre company.
      • Coca-Cola with it ‘Hank’ to answer customer queries about the company’s product.
    • Some companies which are in the business of making such software are:
      • NativeMinds
      • Artificial Life
      • Finali
      • LifeFX
  • India Barista Championship for 2007
    • Is to be held in Bangalore
  • India International Coffee Festival will be held in the 3rd week of February 2007
  • World Barista Championship will be held in Tokyo.
  • Cairn Energy – ONGC cess payment dispute
    • Oil Industry Development Act (OIDA) levies a certain cess on the commercial crude oil production. This cess is currently at Rs. 2,500 per tonne.
    • Cairn Energy has been saying that ONGC, its partner in the Rajasthan block also should bear the cess proportionately. The petroleum ministry earlier had given its decision that Cairn and ONGC would be liable for the cess.
    • Following this ONGC is likely to be taken to arbitration by Cairn for payment of this cess proportionately to a London arbitrator.
    • The total cess obligation out of this block is estimated to be about $941 mln
  • India’s subsidy bills
    • During the last 5 years India has spent a whopping Rs. 2,09,000 cr on subsidies.
    • Rs. 46,874 cr was spent in 2005-06.
    • The subsidy bill has been rising at about 13%.
    • Average share of subsidies in total expenditure is about 9%, with food subsidy alone contributing about 5%.
  • Minimum distance norms for airports
    • The current policy prohibits construction of any new airport within the radius of 150 km of an existing international airport.
    • A policy shift is expected laying down that cities within the 150 km radius of an international terminal can have their own airport.
    • This shift is expected to create an aviation grid across the country by developing 400 airports and airstrips to ensure that a person was located within 50 km range from any airport.
  • Postal ATMs and some interesting figures about Post Office system in India
    • We have 140 mln postal savings account holders with a total savings of Rs. 4 lakh crore.
    • The DoP is planning to introduce ATMs.
    • Postal department’s services portfolio includes:
      • Mail (letters and parcels)
      • Express (SpeedPost)
      • Financial Services
      • Postal Life Insurance
      • Philately
  • II East Asia Summit
    • To be held in Cebu, Philippines on December 13th 2006
    • 16 of Asia’s major and minor economies come together in the summit.
  • Global demographics
    • Between 1950 and 2050, the global strength of those above 60 years of age is expected to increase from 200 mln to 2 bln.
  • 2nd GIFA awards
    • Global Indian Film Awards held at Kualalumpur, Malaysia
    • Lage Raho Munnabhai bagged the Best Film award. It also bagged the Best Story award.
    • Hrithik Roshan – Best Actor (Krissh)
    • Rang De Basanti bagged
      • Best Director (Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra)
      • Best Supporting Actor (Soha Ali Khan)
      • Best Music (A.R. Rehman)
      • Best Lyrics, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Background score and Best art director
  • Gulf Cooperation Council
    • Comprises of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE

4 comments:

Ramakrishna said...

India-EU dispute about liquor tariffs:
India had taken on a WTO commitment of binding its duties on liquor at 150%; but its aggregate duties ranged from 177.33% to 264% for imported wines and from 252.22% to 550% for imported spirits.

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