Politics & the Nation
  • Attention grabbing headlines 
    • HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh to call it a day on December 31.
    • Shikha Sharma is the new CEO of Axis Bank; PJ Nayak quits as CEO in a huff.
    • TCS announces 1:1 bonus.
    • Oracle acquires Sun Microsystems in a $7.4 bn deal that is expected to put lot of pressure on IBM.
Finance & Economics
  • Snippets of info about credit and debit cards
    • According to the RBI, the number of outstanding credit cards was 2.55 crore in February 2009, down from 2.83 crore at the end of April 2008. In the same period that credit cards numbers declined, as many as 2.37 crore debit cards were issued.
  • Sugar production figures
    • In the current sugar year, October 2008-September 2009, production is estimated to drop a massive 40% to 15 million tonnes against a domestic consumption of nearly 23 million tonnes. 
    • Factories in many states have stopped crushing barely seven months into the season for want of sugarcane; in response, local prices went up to nearly Rs 30 a kg before the government threatened intervention and allowed duty-free imports of both refined and raw sugar.
  • How many foreign banks are there in India?  How may branches are there for the private commercial banks in India?
    • As per RBI data, there are 280 branches of foreign banks and 8,265 branches of private commercial banks. 
  • On debt recovery tribunals (DRTs)
    • These are the institutional mechanism set up by the government for recovery of loans given by banks to borrowers.  There are 29 DRTs and five Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunals across the country, with the number of cases deciding the formation of a tribunal.  Most cities have one DRT, while Mumbai and Delhi have three tribunals each. Chennai and Kolkata have two DRTs each. 
    • Typically, recoveries valued below Rs 10 lakh are sent to civil courts, while those above Rs 10 lakh can be referred to the DRTs. The BIFR sees cases pertaining to the medium to large scale companies. DRTs account for only about 10-15% of the total number of recovery cases remaining with the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). 
    • Each DRT is presided over by a presiding officer with two recovery officers. The presiding officer is typically a judge of the rank of district and sessions judge. The presiding officer is the sole judicial authority to hear and pass any judicial order. The recovery officer’s work is allocated by the presiding officer. Though a recovery officer need not be a judicial officer, the orders passed by a recovery officer are judicial in nature, and are appealable before the presiding officer of the tribunal. The DRTs are fully empowered to pass comprehensive orders like the civil courts. The tribunals can hear cross suits, counter claims and allow set-offs.
    • A receiver attaches the property after all negotiations with the defaulting unit fails. 
    • The DRTs are governed by provisions of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, popularly called as the RDB Act. After the enactment of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests Act (SARFAESI Act) borrowers could become first applicants before the DRTs. Earlier only lenders could be applicants. 
Science & Technology
  • India has its own eye-in-the-sky now
    • India on Monday launched its first ‘spy’ satellite using the PSLV C-12 rocket. It is an all-weather satellite (RISAT 2 - Radar Imaging Satellite) capable of sending detailed pictures of objects as small as cars even in the dark.   It can see through clouds even in the night and is built on almost the same specs as Israel’s spy satellite Tecsar.  
    • RISAT-2 will help tackle infiltration and terror activities.
    • India is now the sixth country after Japan, Canada, Germany, Israel and the US to have such a satellite.
    • Isro was developing its own indigenous radar imaging satellite, the RISAT-1, for Earth observation to help predict floods, cyclones and landslides. 
    • The other payload, the Anusat, which has been under development for the last six years, will help in document-sharing between colleges and universities and make online transfer of question papers among colleges feasible. 
  • The transition to sustainability
    • Jeffrey D Sachs is one of the celebrated writers that we follow keenly in our blog.  His pet subject is sustainable development.  After a long time we take a look at a piece penned by him on the subject.
    • In the present troubled times, are the stimulus plans announced (mostly in the developed world for the developed world) enough to pull the world out of recession?  What should be done to bring the world out of the present messy conditions that it finds itself in?  Take a look at his take:
    • It's naive to think that the stimulus packages announced in one part of the world will pull the world out of the present recession.  What will be needed is an overhaul of the world economy towards sustainability. 
    • An essential policy that developed and developing countries should pursue in overcoming the crisis is to build infrastructure suitable for the twentyfirst century.  This includes an efficient electricity grid fed by renewable energy; fibre and wireless networks that carry telephony and broadband Internet; water, irrigation, and sewerage systems that efficiently use and recycle fresh water; urban and inter-city public transit systems; safer highways; and networks of protected natural areas that conserve biodiversity and the habitats of threatened species.
    • It is time for a concerted global effort to bring the backlog of infrastructure investment projects on line.  It is the increased funding for sustainable infrastructure in poor countries that would provide a powerful boost to richworld economies.
    • Unless the developed world sets its sights on helping poor countries finance the transition to sustainable technologies, the world will have to brace for a longer period of recession.
Language lessons
  • gnaw at: verb
    • Become ground down or deteriorate
  • polemic:
    • Adjective: Of or involving dispute or controversy
    • Noun: A writer who argues in opposition to others (especially in theology);  A controversy (especially over a belief or dogma)
  • nary: adjective
    • (used with singular count nouns) colloquial for 'not a' or 'not one' or 'never a'
    • eg: ...with nary a thought for the inevitable hangover.

1 Comment:

BK Chowla said...

Shikha Sharma at HDFC.
Banking seems to be the success ground for the ladies.Good luck