• Dear money policy
    • RBI has hiked the CRR (part of the deposits that banks have to keep with it as cash) to 6.5%. It has also hiked the repo rate (rate at which banks borrow from RBI) to 7.75%.
    • In addition, it has also halved the interest it pays on CRR balances to 0.5%.
    • These high interest rates are sure to attract international money into Indian shores. That will make the rupee dearer i.e., its value vis-à-vis the dollar is going to go up.
  • A good HIV/AIDS initiative from the Indian industry
    • About 1000 companies in India have joined together and signed a HIV/AIDS policy.
    • The policy mandates companies to provide a safe and healthy work environment, educate employees on the HIV/AIDS, maintain confidentiality about HIV positive employees and ensure that they are not discriminated against in the work place.
  • Iran-UK stand-off
    • Iranian defence forces have rounded up 15 British soldiers (including a woman soldier) in the Iranian waters a week back. Britain refutes the charge and says that they were patrolling in the Iraqi waters.
    • Iran is yet to release any of the soldiers.
  • 123 agreement
    • The nuclear agreement that is to be signed between India and US is often referred to as the 123 agreement. Any idea why is it called so?
    • Today’s paper says that it is named after a section the US Atomic Energy Act.
  • Mergers & Acquisition scene: global
    • Sometime back somebody (I think it was Roshini) was enquiring about the M&A scene in India. But today’s paper has a good article on the global M&A scene. It is sourced from www.bloomberg.com.
    • It says that mergers and acquisitions worldwide are a record $1.07 trillion so far this year. For them, usually year is a calendar year, not our financial year. In the very first quarter of the year, this is a record.
  • Riches sunken booties are off Spain
    • Spain is believed to be one of the world’s riches underwater treasure houses. More than 700 wrecks dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries are estimated to lie in its waters, many of them possibly loaded with gold and silver plundered in Latin America.
    • Out of all those, the HMS Sussex which sank in the Strait of Gibraltar in 1694 is believed to be worth more than $4.4 billion. The ship went down with 500 men, 80 cannons and an estimated 10 tonnes of gold coins on board.
    • There are is recovery expedition launched for this. If this is found, the private company Odyssey Marina Exploration will share the booty with the British government, the legal owners of the ship.
  • Deficit lingo
    • Fiscal deficit: difference between the total expenditure and the non-borrowed receipts.
    • Primary deficit: difference between the fiscal deficit and interest payments.
  • What are geo-textiles?
    • While reading today’s paper I came across the word geo-textiles. A quick search on the web for the meaning of this word handed me the two following definitions:
      • synthetic fabric for use in landscapes as a soil covering to smother weeds or prevent them from germinating.
      • textile products that are used in the ground.
  • Do you know the total stock of money that is there in Indian markets today?
    • It is Rs. 32,06,298 crores. This is as on March 16, 2007 as given out by RBI.
  • Should government stop the private trade from acquiring food grains?
    • Recent paper reports indicated that there were efforts by some government mandarins to ensure that farmers supply their wheat to FCI first and that if they don’t do so, it is quite likely that there will be a ban on procurement of wheat by private sector. Government has done well to clarify that there is no such ban contemplated.
    • Government right now is facing a dilemma – that of achieving conflicting goals. Ensuring that farmers get remunerative prices and consumers get cheaper prices for food grains.
    • It is facing this because it is using only one policy tool – MSP (Minimum Support Price) based procurement. It is not allowing the other tool – that of the market forces – to work its way.
    • If markets are allowed to work their way, the increasing prices of food grains sends a signal for encouraging more production. The extra income from the increased price realization will find its way into the efforts at increasing productivity.
    • It should stop trying to shield every consumer from high prices. It is only the poor and the deserving who need to be shielded from high prices of food grains. If its procurement cannot fill the PDS shops with adequate grain for this purpose, then it should procure the grain at market prices and fulfill its obligation to the needy and deserving.
  • Remember Kaavya Viswanathan?
    • She is the 17 year old girl (studying at Harvard University) who wrote the famous (now notorious) book “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life”.
    • She was accused of plagiarism. The publishers withdrew the book.
  • Cricket
    • Anil Kumble announced his retirement from One Day International game. He was quick to add that he is available for Test matches.
    • He is India’s highest wicket taker in both forms of the game – 547 in 113 Tests and 337 wickets in 271 ODIs.

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