12.01.2007

  • NRIs may be let into farm houses
    • The DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) is considering a proposal to allow non-resident Indians to buy farm houses and small plantations in India.
    • The proposed policy is aimed at curtailing the ‘benami’ transactions that are already taking place.
  • India Portugal sign extradition treaty
    • Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva is currently on a visit to India.
    • When Abu Salem, the prime accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts was arrested in Portugal along with his girl friend Monica Bedi, the process of extraditing him to India took a long time in the absence of an extradition treaty.
    • India and Portugal also signed agreements in the field of culture, education, language and science and technology.
  • US to send more troops to Iraq
    • American President George Bush told Americans that 21,500 more troops would be sent to Iraq to help “break the cycle of violence” in Iraq and hasten an eventual withdrawal.
    • This is surely going to set him on a collision path with the Congress, which has become Democrat controlled in the recently concluded Congressional elections.
  • Automotive Research Association of India
    • It is the country’s apex automotive testing and certification agency.
    • Its Director is Mr. S.R. Marathe.
    • It has signed an agreement with Nigeria to help it set up its own testing and homologation institute.
    • What does “homologation” mean?
      • Homologation is a technical term, derived from the Greek homologos for "agree," which is used in English to signify the granting of approval by an official authority. This may be a court of law, a government department, or a professional body, any of which would normally work from a set of strict rules or standards to determine whether such approval should be given.
  • FTA with ASEAN
    • ASEAN is reported to have agreed finally to India’s negative list of 490 items.
    • Both sides have further agreed that trade coverage in the negative list should not exceed 5%.
    • A negative list comprises items to be excluded from tariff reduction commitments.
  • Government’s tax kitty keeps on swelling
    • Indirect tax collections for the period April to December 2006
      • Rose by 17% to Rs. 1,44,201 crores
    • Direct tax collections
      • Rose by 41.8% to Rs. 1,44,286 crores.
  • Sugar export ban lifted on bumper crop
    • The government lifted the ban on export of sugar with immediate effect.
    • The bumper crop in this sugar season is expected to lead to a 33 lakh tonne surplus in the market.
    • India is the world’s second largest sugar producer in the world.
    • Sugar exports were banned in July 2006 to check rising prices of the commodity.
  • Why is that job and educational quotas are proliferating fast and becoming the bedrock of political success and defeat?
    • In the current coalition era, small group based parties have huge clout since they can make or break coalitions. Elections are won and lost on swings of just 1% of the vote, so parties have a strong incentive to give in to group demands over individual rights.
  • Some debatable thoughts (from Narendar Pani in today’s centre page article) on rehabilitation of farmers who are dispossessed of their lands for industrialization:
    • An ideal rehabilitation package would give the displaced persons the option of continuing with their old lifestyle in a different location.
    • But because land is scarce, this cannot be implemented. Nor is it possible for the government to foot the entire costs of rehabilitation.
    • So rather than putting in place a rehabilitation package that promises more than it can do, it would be much more rewarding to reduce the costs of displacement. One way of doing this would be to strengthen the links between the new industrial units and the displaced farmers – either by giving them employment, or by taking their land on lease instead of outright purchase. But this kind of an approach also has its limitations. In this, the farmers lot gets tied to the fortunes of the industrial unit. If the industry goes down, the farmer also gets hit in the process.
    • So, the alternative could be to empower or enable the farmer to move to urban centres with much more ease than is possible at present. This can be done by improving urban housing for the poor, improving the basic amenities in urban areas etc.
  • FII taxation and the difference between ‘investment’ and ‘trading’
    • FIIs buying stocks directly in Indian stock markets and disposing them off in less than a year will be treated as traders and their gains from such transactions would be taxable as capital gains. If they hold the stocks for more than a year, then the gains would be long term capital gains and would be exempt from tax.
    • FIIs operating in India, can classify their income from operations under two categories: capital gains or business profits.
    • India and Mauritius and India and Singapore have a DTAA – Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.
    • FIIs operating out of Mauritius or Singapore and trading in capital markets of India, would not be subject to capital gains tax because of the DTAA.
    • For FIIs which come from other locations, their profits would not be taxable in India, if they are considered “business profits”. But if these FIIs have a PE (Permanent Establishment) in India, then their “business profits” would be taxable, if they are attributable to their PE.
  • Chairman of the Forward Markets Commission
    • S. Sundaresan
  • SAFTA: South Asian Free Trade Area
    • Under this, which was implemented from July 2005, all SAARC members have to phase out tariffs on products by 2016. The agreement is expected to triple regional trade to about $18 bn in the next five years.
  • 150th Member of the WTO
    • Vietnam officially became the member of WTO after years of negotiation and anticipation on yesterday.
  • Amaranth Advisors founder
    • Nicholas Maounis
    • This is the hedge fund that has seen a mind boggling loss of $4.6 bn in just one week in September 2006. Ultimately the hedge fund was closed down, with about $6 bn in losses.
    • He is the news again for setting up another business so soon after having lost such mind boggling money on behalf of his investors.
  • IX Schedule judgement by Supreme Court
    • In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court has said that laws which violate the fundamental rights of citizens, even if are sought to be given protection from judicial scrutiny by placing them in the IX Schedule to the constitution, would be struck down.
    • The 9 judge constitutional bench of the Court was answering an issue raised by a 5 judge bench whether laws placed in the Ninth Schedule were beyond judicial review. The Court held that laws which are placed in the Ninth Schedule after 1973 (April, 24) when Kesavananda Bharti judgement was delivered, will be open to judicial scrutiny.
    • In Kesavananda Bharti case, the Court has laid down the basic structure doctrine. The same was upheld in Waman Rao vs. Union of India in 1980.
    • The present judgement of the Court has added the touchstone of fundamental rights.
    • Ninth Schedule now has about 285 legislations. Those of them that are kept there after April 24, 1973 can be questioned, if they are violative of fundamental rights of the citizens. This means that the Tamilnadu law on reservations, reserving about 69% of seats in educational institutions can be questioned on this ground, even though it is placed under the IX schedule.

1 Comment:

GoldStone India said...

I think you havea great blog here. We like it when more and more people spread awareness about the India story. Keep it up!

YC,
Co-founder,
Goldstone India
http://goldstoneindia.blogspot.com/