Following the reported unhappiness of the armed forces with the recommendations made by the sixth pay commission, the Government has decided to entrust armed forces pay revision issues henceforth to a separate pay panel.
Finance & Economy
Why should we be not worried about our current account deficit touching the 3% mark of our GDP at this juncture?
In 2007-08 the trade deficit widened very rapidly to $80.6 billion due to rising oil prices and other imports. Due to surplus in services trade, the current account deficit (CAD) was contained within the 1.5% of GDP in 2007-08.
In 2008-09, the trade deficit could increase to $140 billion because of high oil prices in H1 and declining export demand for both goods and services in H2 in the wake of global slowdown. Hence, the current account deficit may widen to 3% of GDP.
One should hasten to add that the present situation is quite different from the one that existed in 1991 when India’s CAD had breached the 3% level pushing the country into a liquidity crisis. We did not have the comfort of large foreign exchange reserves of $250 billion then, which we do now.
Telecom demands more working hands
Contrary to the worrisome picture that engulfs every other sector today in the economy, telecom sector is worried that it will not be able to find the right kind and quantity of people in 2009, as it looks to add about 1.5 lakh jobs.
While new players are launching operations, existing ones are beginning to scale up. Now that the government has issued 120 new licences, telecom industry officials fear a talent crunch that could push salaries in core operations by up to 30% in the next few quarters.
What is solvency margin in insurance parlance?
Solvency margin is the excess of assets over liabilities that an insurer maintains as a prudential measure in the interest of policyholders.
The insurance regulator - IRDA - has reduced solvency margins for ULIPs - Unit Linked Insurance Plans.
Lower solvency capital means insurers will have more money to underwrite new business
It will also ease the pressure on bringing in extra capital.
Bank lending goes up
Lending by banks rose more than 76% during April-November period this financial year from the same period a year ago. Banks lent about Rs 2,80,000 crore during the period.
This supports the projections of 7 to 8% GDP growth.
Science & Technology
ISRO plans on GSLV and Mars
The new year will see a series of tests in the development of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III, which is expected to take to the skies in 2010-11.
The new rocket, which can put a four-tonne satellite in orbit, will help ISRO offer cheapest space launches in the niche market.
The regular GSLV can put 2.2 tonne satellites in orbit.
ISRO has announced that it will launch a mission to Mars in 2013 using the regular GSLV which is capable of carrying a 500-kg payload to the Red planet.
Scientists use CymaScope to decipher dolphins' language
It is an instrument that reveals detailed structures within sounds, allowing their architecture to be studied pictorially.
With its help, researchers have turned into images the sounds that dolphins make in water, bringing humans closer to deciphering their language.
The images of the sounds, named "CymaGlyphs", are reproducible patterns that are expected to form the basis of a lexicon of dolphin language, each pattern representing a dolphin 'picture word'.
Slovakia becomes the 16th country to adopt the Euro
The Euro was launched exactly 10 years ago.
Slovakia abandoned its currency, koruna and adopted the Euro.