· One of you was asking me to explain something about IIP. I made an effort today in Discover It. Take a look at it here.

· Mrs. Pratibha Patil is the Presidential candidate!!!

o Hails from Losal Chotti village of Jalgaon District, Maharashtra.

o Husband’s name: Devi Singh Shekhawat. It’s a surprising coincidence that the father of our present Vice President also goes by the same name.

o Presently she is Governor of Rajasthan. She is 72 years old.

o Do you know what is she known for? I found it interesting that she never lost any directly contested election. Let’s hope she will continue the same trend the win the President’s office.

· What is a leveraged buyout?

o I remember having noted about this sometime back in our blogs. Anyway a repeat, as it is worth noting.

o When an acquisition is funded by loans taken against security of assets (and cash flow) of the target company, it called a leveraged buyout or LBO. Examples of LBOs include the Tata Steel’s acquisition of Corus and Hindalco’s acquisition of Novelis.

· Relaxed norms in core projects

o Lock in periods for consortiums executing infrastructure projects are recommended to be done away with by the Deepak Parekh committee on infrastructure financing.

· IFCI on its own; govt. rules out concessional finance

o Concessional finance was withdrawn with the opening up of the economy in 1991. This resulted in development financial institutions such as IFCI, which lent imprudently, going bankrupt.

· India leads the world in banana tissue culture

o Tissue culture in banana plantations has increased the yield by 100 tonnes per hectare and is gaining popularity in the Gulf, Sri Lanka, Africa and Pakistan.

o But what is this tissue culture? It is a process of growing a plant in the laboratory from cells rather than seeds. This technique is used in traditional plant breeding as well as when using techniques of agricultural biotechnology.

o Banana is a globally important fruit crop with 97.5 mn tonnes of production. India produces 17 mn tonnes from 4.9 lakh hectares. The area under cultivation is around 40 to 50%. The annual yield for traditional banana farming using drip irrigation technology is a mere 65 tonnes per hectare.

o While the traditional banana plans bloom in 16 to 18 months, those grown using tissue culture bloom in only 11 months.

· Quota issue

o All of you by now know that I am against caste-based quotas and that I am in favour of economic criteria based quotas.

o But we also need to know and tolerate the other points of view on this. I found a good piece written in today’s ET by an IIM professor on the subject. His theory is that there is a passive resistance to quotas from the urban caste hindus (UCH) from the beginning. It is this passive resistance that is responsible for the snuffing out of transformative potential of reservations (quotas). Rather than debate why quotas have not been filled, the UCH elite, under the garb of equality, removed the ‘creamy layer’ from the within the purview of the quota, effectively extinguishing the possibility of the formation of a countervailing elite.

o He further says that in societies like ours characterized by deep-rooted social inequalities, using ‘merit’ as a means of access impedes the mobility and tends to reproduce the same inequalities. It is therefore, neither democratic nor egalitarian, unless there are countervailing tendencies.

o Forceful arguments, eh? Take a look at the full article here.

· SKS Microfinance

o Many of us would have noticed this NGO, predominantly operating in AP as one of the torch bearers of microfinance revolution in India.

o But we would be pleasantly surprised to know that the founder of this NGO, Vikram Akula gave up a cushy job with McKinsey to join the NGO sector.

· What is the Dutch disease? It afflicts the currency markets!

o It is an economic concept that seeks to explain the deterioration in a country’s manufacturing sector due to a rise in exchange rate. The term is usually used to explain problems of resource rich countries that see their currency appreciate due to export of resources such as oil and ores.

· Baron Guy de Rothschild dead

o The father of French banking empire died at the age of 98.

o He witnessed the family’s bank taken over first during the Nazi occupation and then by a socialist government 40 years later.

o He was a jew.