Politics & the Nation
  • Private pension funds to be allowed to manage public pension funds
    • Don't get confused by the heading.  It is about banks, insurance companies and mutual funds being given an opportunity to manage retirement assets of all Indian citizens, other than government employees already covered under the existing pension scheme.
  • FDI limit in tobacco sector
    • According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco kills up to half of those who use it. 
    • Estimates say that in India, a fourth of all health care spending goes to treat tobacco-related diseases. This money could be much better utilised to reduce child mortality through immunisation programmes, access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation and so on. 
    • In the light of this, the reported move of the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) to reduce the foreign direct investment (FDI) ceiling for the tobacco industry from 100% to 74% is welcome.
  • States seem to be doing extremely well in containing the revenue deficit
    • Of the 28 states, about 24 of them have contained the deficit and have turned revenue surplus.
    • Only Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab and Jharkhand have remained revenue deficit states for the year 2006-07.
Finance & Economy
  • Advance tax collections nose dive
    • That the slow down is for real is now attested by a steep drop in advance tax collections from India Inc.
    • The tax mop up in the third quarter ending December was lower by over 22% to Rs 42,600 crore from Rs 54,900 crore a year ago.
    • This brings down the growth rate in direct tax collections for the first nine months to 12% and raises the distinct possibility of the government missing the budget target of a 15% increase in direct tax collections this fiscal to net Rs 3,65,000 crore.
    • BTW, a fact that is for our keeps:
      • Advance tax is paid by the corporate world and the non-corporate assessees other than salaried employees in four instalments in a year in June, September, December and March.  Salaried employees have their tax deducted at source on a monthly basis.
  • Who is controlling our monetary policy?
    • Is it the RBI?  I am left to wonder at times when I see reports like these:
      • "THE Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may further trim key rates and reserve ratios in the coming weeks as it looks to make cheap credit available to borrowers and prevent the economic slowdown from gaining momentum, government officials said."
      • Why should government officials have anything to say about this?  Isn't it for the RBI to speak its mind on this?
    • The report says that the repo, reverse repo and CRR rates are likely to be cut by about 50 basis points.
      • Repo:  the rate at which RBI infuses money into the system is at 6.5%
      • Reverse repo:  the rate at which RBI sucks out money from the system is at 5%
      • CRR: the amount of money that banks have to keep with the RBI is at 5.5%
      • SLR: the proportion of deposits that banks have to compulsorily invest in government securities is at 24%.
    • Since banks have reportedly parked about 27% of their deposits in various government securities as against the requirement of 24%, SLR may remain untouched.
  • India's tax paying millionaires
    • According to data compiled by income-tax department, the number of salaried taxpayers earning more than Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million) crossed 5,000 in fiscal 2008 from 2,200 in fiscal 2006. 
    • The number of people earning between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore per annum has also more than doubled. It has increased from 4,400 persons in fiscal 2006 to 10,500 in fiscal 2008. The number of those earning more than Rs 10 lakh also increased to 2.24 lakh in FY08 from 87,000 in FY06. 
    • In 2007-08, more than 1.5 lakh employees were earning between Rs. 10 lakh and 20 lakh. 
  • Boxing Day
    • We all know that the day after Christmas (mostly) is celebrated as Boxing Day.  But why or how did it get its name?
      • Boxing Day dates back to past centuries when it was the custom for the wealthy to give gifts to employees or to people in a lower social class, most especially to household servants and other service personnel. The name 'Boxing Day' originates from the tradition of putting gifts in boxes for the less fortunate.
  • Basket ball
    • We all perhaps would have heard of NBA team - Los Angeles Lakers, in the US.  It is considered the best team to play for in the world.
    • Stories like these  should inspire us into giving our best to whatever we do and not be dejected in the face of difficulties.  Looking at the kind of handicaps this lad from Canada faced, how many of our handicaps are really handicaps?  Whether it is competing in Civils or in achieving something else in life?  Read on and be inspired.


Hemanth Pallavajula said...

A suggestion:
In your blog dated "27-12-2008", it was mentioned that NBA is a team. Actually, its a legaue of basketball and the guy in the article "Vijay Patel" has been called for selection trails by a NBA team "Los Angeles Lakers".

ramkyc said...

Hi Hemanth,

Carried out the clarification. Thanks for pointing out the omission.