09.03.2007

  • Advance Estimates and Quick Estimates
    • On 1st March, 2007 while covering the budget notes, I left it to some of you to answer about quick estimates and advance estimates. I am surprised that none of you followed it up for discussion. I gave something in the form of comments for 1st March 2007 posting. Take a look and let me know whether it makes any sense.
  • About coastal security
    • A Rs. 551 crore coastal security scheme was launched in 2005, envisaging the setting up of 73 coastal police stations across 9 coastal states/UTs over five years.
    • Operation Swan: A scheme to strengthen security along the Maharashtra and Gujarat coastline. It envisages setting up of 3 new Coast Guard stations at Dhanu and Murud Janjira in Maharashtra and Veraval in Gujarat.
  • Market size of clothing, textiles and fashion accessories
    • For the entire country it is estimated to be about Rs. 1,13,500 crores.
  • Foreign law firms wanting to enter India
    • Foreign law firms are eyeing India thanks to the global Indian takeovers, huge PE investments and a flood of real estate funds.
    • Currently, foreign law firms are not allowed to start full-fledged operations in India.
    • Besides, Indian corporates with US dreams need to hire American law firms to fulfill SOX (Sarbanes Oxley Act) requirements.
  • New technology replacing computer mouse
    • Stanford University researchers (Manu Kumar and Terry Winograd) have come up with an alternative to the ubiquitous computer mouse.
    • The alternative allows computer users to click links, highlight text or simply scroll by just looking at the screen instead of tapping a key on the keyboard.
    • The technology is called Gaze-enhanced User Interface Design or GUIDe.
    • It works with standard eye-tracking hardware. A person has to look at a document and hold a hot key on the keyboard. The area of the screen that is being looked at becomes magnified. When the person pinpoints his focus within the magnified region and releases the hot key, he effectively clicks through to the link.
  • Reverse mortgage
  • Is an SEZ project to be treated as a real estate project?
    • The RBI had directed banks to treat loans for setting up SEZs at par with lending to the real estate sector.
    • RBI move aimed at restricting bank finance to SEZs.
    • Real estate projects attract higher interest rates than infrastructure projects.
    • With the commerce ministry taking strong objections to this move by RBI, the issue is now referred to the EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers) on SEZs.
  • Foreign stakes in NSE
    • FIPB approved the picking up of stake in NSE (National Stock Exchange) by Goldman Sachs, General Atlantic, NYSE and Softbank Asian Infrastructure Fund of Hong Kong. Each of them is acquiring a 5% stake in the NSE.
  • Tax exemptions on donations
    • The IT law presently allows assesses to deduct 50% of donations made to recognized charities from taxable income, while 100% deduction is allowed for donations made to notified charities like the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. However, there is an overall ceiling of 10% of the donor’s annual income. That is, donor’s cannot say they have donated more than 10% of their annual income as charities and avail tax deduction.
    • Companies have reduced their tax liability by as much as Rs. 3,500 crores in 2005-06 through donations to charities. They are expected to save a tax of about Rs. 5,090 crores in the current fiscal.
  • Meaning of ‘fall guy’
    • A guilty or innocent person who accepts the full blame for a crime in order to protect others. A scapegoat.
  • Watergate scandal
    • The term Watergate scandal refers to a 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. by members of the Richard Nixon (Republican) administration and the resulting cover-up which led to the resignation of the President. The burglars' aim was to plant listening devices, while disguised as common criminals to provide cover. They were informally called the "plumbers unit" to "plug leaks," and included former members of the CIA. Though President Nixon had endured two years of mounting political embarrassments, the court-ordered release in August, 1974, of a "smoking gun tape" about the burglaries brought with it the prospect of certain impeachment for Nixon; he resigned only four days later on August 9, making him the only U.S. President to have resigned from office.
    • Book: Woodward and Bernstein wrote a best-selling book based on their experiences titled “All the President's Men”, in 1974.
    • Film: Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford starred (as Bernstein and Woodward respectively) in the 1976 movie “All the President's Men.”
  • An excellent critique of the Finance Minister’s strategy on agriculture
    • I strongly recommend that all of you should read today’s article by Narender Pani at least once. Do so here.
    • He criticizes the FM’s strategy on agriculture as a belief in Green Revolution strategy. He says that Green Revolution strategies are no longer effective. This is because it was based on the state taking out the risk of a collapse in prices.
    • Farmers were offered remunerative prices and a guaranteed procurement of their produce. This enabled the farmers to keep producing without worrying about a glut in the market. As long as there was shortage of food, this strategy worked well. When there is no shortage, this led to unmanageable subsidy burden.
    • He suggests that the farmer should be empowered to face the risks of the market. He should be tightly coupled with the futures market. So that, by looking at the future price of a commodity he can take an informed decision on whether or not to grow a particular crop. In the absence of this coupling, the farmer is not able to know how much price his produce can command at a future date.
  • Washington Accord
    • It is an agreement between bodies responsible for accrediting professional engineering degree programmes in each of the signatory countries. It was singed in 1989. It has presently a membership of 10 countries.
    • India is not yet a member of this Accord. This year, it may be allowed entry into the Accord.
    • An entry into this would enable Indian students doing accredited degree programmes in any engineering college get recognition in the signatory countries.
  • Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement
    • A 10 year ACSA was signed by US and Sri Lanka.
    • This provides for among other things, logistics supplies and re-fuelling facilities for American military.
    • Sri Lanka is the 90th country to enter into such an agreement with the US.
    • The 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Accord provided for not allowing their respective territories to be used for activities prejudicial to each other’s unity, territorial integrity and security.
    • What should be India’s reaction now? Can we say that in the current phase of relations with Washington, the signing of the ACSA was detrimental to India?
  • International Film Festival
    • The 9th IFF being organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) was inaugurated yesterday.
  • What is a wild card in sports?
    • The term wild card refers broadly to a tournament or playoff berth awarded to an individual or team that has not qualified through normal play.
    • For example, in professional tennis tournaments, a wild card refers to a tournament entry awarded to a player at the discretion of the organizers. All ATP and WTA tournaments have a few spots set aside for wild cards in both the main draw, and the qualifying draw, for players who otherwise would not have made either of these draws with their professional ranking. They are usually awarded to players from the home country, promising young players, players that are likely to draw a large crowd, or players who were once ranked higher and are attempting a comeback.

1 Comment:

Sandeep said...

The current market scenario has brought everyone on his toes. One should be careful before investing in real estate. Do confirm prices by other builders/other sources.
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