Politics & the Nation
  • Central government employees get DA bonus!
    • In a move that took even the employees by surprise, the Central government has announced the release of two instalments of DA at one go.  Usually the DA instalments have been in increments of 3% for every six months.  But this time the government announced a hike of 6% taking the DA payable to 22%.
    • The decision will benefit half a crore employees and 38-lakh pensioners and will put Rs 6,020 crore in the hands of government staff and pensioners over the next 14 months, spurring consumer spending. 
    • Starting this January, employees and pensioners will get DA as per the new rate for 14 months till the end of the next fiscal. 
    • Should we note that it also enhances the electoral prospects of the UPA constituents?  It's a no-brainer.
  • Curtains down on 14th Lok Sabha
    • After an acrimonious five-year tenure, the curtains came down on the 14th Lok Sabha on Thursday amid a show of warmth between ruling and Opposition benches with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh praising Opposition leader LK Advani. 
    • Mr Singh lavished fulsome praise on Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, whom he described as a ‘role model’. The office of Lok Sabha Speaker has been “truly elevated and dignified” by Mr Chatterjee, he said admitting “we strained your patience and at times, even your conscience.”
    • It heartens me no end to see some warmth still left in our leaders.  What a praise for the Speaker!  Our PM richly deserves the goodwill such feelings generate.  
Finance & Economics
  • Will the excise duty reduction revive demand?
    • Though it should be remembered that the December 7 and February 24 decisions mean a cumulative reduction in the duty incidence of the peak rate of Cenvat by a hefty 43%; from 14% to 8% (or from 14.42% to 8.24% to be precise), it is still debatable whether the reduction by itself would perk up demand; as there are several other contributing factors for demand recession. 
    • Second, in the demand recession situation the industry is likely to pass on the benefit of duty reduction to the consumers. Thus, it is quite likely that the trend of demand recession would be arrested to some extent. It might take some time. It is unlikely, though, that it would boost demand because there are several other factors also that have led to demand recession. 
  • Record budget deficit in US
    • In the current fiscal year, begun under former president George W Bush, the new budget projects a deficit of $1.750 trillion. That amounts to 12.3% of United States’ gross domestic product, the biggest since World War II. 
    • President Barack Obama has unveiled a $3.606 trillion spending plan for next year that will boost taxes on the wealthy and curtail medicare to make way for a $634 billion down payment on universal healthcare. 
    • In addition to sending Congress his budget for 2010, Obama on Thursday proposed a series of changes that will push spending to $3.94 trillion in the current year.
    • US defence budget is about $663.7 bn.
    • Take a look at the budget highlights here.
    • The employment scene in the US is deteriorating fast.  Employers cut a net total of nearly 600,000 jobs in January, the highest monthly tally since 1974, sending the unemployment rate to 7.6%. 
    • BTW do you know US's fiscal year?  October 1st to September 30th.
  • Cricket T20 at New Zealand
    • Is India losing the winning streak?
    • If the performance of the team thus far is any indication, it will appear so.  Having lost the first T20 match, the Indians Kiwis opted for fielding first in today's T20 match and have restricted Indians to 149 for 6.
    • Black caps are to start their batting.  Let's hope India will be able to restrict them and win this match. 

1 Comment:

Ram said...

Yes, even I am also very much happy about Mr. Somnath Chatterrjee being lavishly praised by one and all. He is apolitical and that is how one should hold that office. I can very confidently tell that there is one person in our Indian politics who is not corrupt, that is, obviously, our Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr. S. Chatterrjee.