13.02.2007

  • February 14th
    • In addition to being known as Valentine’s Day, it is also observed as the National Impotence Day in Britain.
  • Invoice tweaking is serious crime now
    • Usually importers resort to under-invoicing to reduce their customs duty liability.
    • Exporters resort to over-invoicing to corner more export incentives.
    • Now the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) is being amended to impose severe punishments for invoice tweaking, on par with terror funding.
  • Baglihar dispute
    • Finally the neutral expert Raymond Lafitte has submitted his report on the dispute. This dispute arose between India and Pakistan on the dam proposed to be constructed by India on Chenab river.
    • As against the proposed height of 144.5 meters, he recommended that India should reduce the dam height by 1.5 meters.
    • As the report cannot be disputed by either party, the issue can be taken as settled. It will now make it possible for India to go ahead with the project. Ultimately, the project is expected to generate about 900 mw for the power starved J&K state.
  • Mohammed Yunus and Social Business
    • He defines ‘social business’ as one in which the return on investment will be rolled back into the business and not distributed as dividends. He says it is neither a ‘for profit’ nor a ‘for charity’ venture.
  • Nepal
    • It moved from a Hindu monarchy to secularism on May 18, 2006, when the major parties have virtually agreed to abolish monarchy.
  • Patents on anti-HIV drugs and ‘evergreening’
    • There is a legal battle going on in obtaining patent protection for anti-HIV drugs in India. Some companies have been trying to obtain patent protection.
    • Novartis is challenging an Indian law that refuses to grant patents on drugs when they are modifications of some existing drugs.
    • ‘Generics’ are copies of medicines whose patents have expired, with the same active ingredients and the same proven effects – ‘bio-equivalence’.
    • ‘Copycat’ drugs, are unregulated copies of patented drugs; they are usually untested and cannot be sold where patent law is respected.
    • ‘Evergreening’ refers to the practice of the patent holder trying to patent trivial modifications of already existing drugs to extend their monopolies beyond the 20-year period granted for the original patent.
  • IBM’s new transalation technology
    • Called ‘Mastor’ the software can translate any spoken word into English in real time.
    • Mastor is the abbreviation for multilingual automatic speech-to-speech technology.
  • Grammy Awards
    • Dixie Chicks won 5 Grammies including the song and record of the year prizes for their ballad ‘Not Ready To Make Nice”.
  • India’s below the poverty line numbers
    • People living below the poverty line are about 22 crores.
  • Stamp duty and deepening of corporate bond market
    • The RH Patil committee has recommended in 2005, imposing a uniform stamp duty across the country as one of the measures to deepen the corporate debt market.
    • At present, as per the Indian Stamp Act, now debentures attract 0.375% duty, promissory notes attract a duty of 0.05% duty. However, in the case of mortgages, stamp duties vary across the states.
    • All this is set to be rationalized in the forthcoming amendment to the Indian Stamp Act.
  • Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDG) in Airlines
    • These guidelines stipulate that a minimum number of flights should be deployed on loss making routes.
    • The Airlines have been demanding that a fund, termed the Essential Air Services Fund, may be created levying a cess on both the domestic and international passengers. The Civil Aviation Ministry will utilize the fund to provide to subsidy to airlines flying to identified uneconomic routes.
    • But this is surely going to impose an additional burden on the consumer. This needs some explanation. The RDG make it mandatory to the company to fly to uneconomic routes. The expenditure/loss relating to such operations cannot be transferred by the Airline directly to the other passengers. It is only the combined performance of the company that will matter. Now, the creation of a fund, will make it easy for the companies to charge additional amounts from the customers.
  • Rice cultivation in India
    • It is grown in 4.46 crore (44.6 mn) heactares.
  • MRTA – Multi Role Transport Aircraft
    • This is expected to replace the Indian Air Force’s ageing workhorse, the AN-32 medium tactical transport aircraft (known as Metac). Presently there are about 80 AN-32 planes with the IAF.
  • Spices Products Industrial Park
    • Kinfra (Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation) would tie up with Spcies Board to establish this park in Idukki district.
    • Spices Board is Cochin based.
  • Birla-Novelis deal
    • Birla group acquired the Canada based Novelis. It Is a technology leader in aluminium products.
    • Birals’ Hindalco is recognized as a least-cost aluminium maker in the world.
  • Ratan Tata flight in defence planes
    • Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and its rival Being’s F-18 were test flown by Ratan Tata at the just concluded India Aero show in Bangalore.
    • He is one of a rare breed of corporate honchos who can fly planes.
  • The Indian tax reform
    • A World Bank study has found that the average time taken to comply with tax laws in India is an astonishing 264 hours, excluding the time involved in litigation.
    • World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index has placed India at the 43rd position out of 125 countries.
    • India’s overall tax-GDP ratio is about 17% currently. In mature economies this is about 27%.
  • About currency swaps
    • It is a transaction that allows the investor to convert the cash flows from one underlying currency to another.
    • A corporate, who gets an opportunity to raise cheap funds in dollars but generates most of its sales in rupees, can eliminate the currency risk in repayment of the loan by going in for a currency swap.
    • The cost of the swap is determined by the view players take on a currency in the market.
    • Currency swaps are also used by borrowers to raise funds from currencies such as Japanese yen where interest rates are very low, but the currency is highly volatile.
  • A revolutionary way money transfer through mobile phones
    • Of the 650 crore (6.5 bn) population of the world, less than 100 crores have a bank account.
    • But about 300 crores have mobile phone connections.
    • This presents an excellent opportunity for banking. People can load cash on their mobile and order it to be sent to a mobile phone number in another country, where the recipient receives a message that money has arrived. Thus money transfer is as easy as sending a text message.

2 comments:

sam said...

your publishings are excellent.

can you send a copy directly to all the members joined.

ramkyc said...

Thanks Sam and welcome aboard. The idea is that people should read the content presented here and then take the daily quiz that is posted on my other blog i.e., http://discover-it.blogspot.com
This way my expectation is that you would all stay very well prepared for the current affairs section of the GS paper or any other competitive examination. Even if you are not aspirant, it pays to stay 'well-informed'.