Politics & the Nation
  • Some very good commentary on the state of distribution reform in electricity sector in our country
  • Mulayam the neo-Luddite?
    • Mulayam's reported stance against computerization makes us ponder over his electoral fate.  An excerpt from an article by Arvind Panagariya:
    • In the early 19th century, great Luddites, so named after the fictive Ned Ludd, fought against the Industrial Revolution that introduced wide-framed automated looms. Protesting the job losses, the Luddites destroyed many of these looms and even clashed with the British Army. But unappreciative, British government subjected them to a mass trial, eventually executing some of them. With the ITrevolution unleashing the computer, history may now be poised to repeat itself. 
    • The Mulayamites have declared war against the computer. Will the electorate reward them? Or will it give them the same treatment the British government gave the Luddites in the early 19th century? 
  • Accounting professionals now have a new appellate forum
    • The Government has established a tribunal before which professional accountants -- CAs, Company Secretaries and Cost Accountants -- can go in appeal against the disciplinary orders passed by their respective regulatory bodies viz., the ICAI, ICWAI, etc.
    • So far, they had to approach the High Courts concerned for justice.  Now they can have their cases heard by professionals who have regulatory experience and can deliver speedy decisions.  An appeal against the decision of the appellate authority will be admissible in the Supreme Court. 
    • The nine-member tribunal has been set up under the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Act, and is being chaired by Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice CY Somayajulu. 
Finance & Economy
  • IOC poised to record its first loss in 50 years
    • India's largest company by sales volume could be reporting a loss of Rs. 233 crores in the FY 2008-09 on the back of under-realizations estimated to be about Rs. 7,497 crores.
    • However, it is expecting a net profit of Rs 5,452 crore even after a projected Rs. 5,419 crore under-realizations, according to its budget estimates for the year ending March 31, 2010
    • It is a fortune 500 company that posted revenues of $62 bn during 2007-08 and has a market share of 49%.
    • Its GRM for 2008-09 is at $4.34 a barrel; while that of $9.02 in 2007-08 was the highest ever for it.  In 2009-10 it is expected a GRM of $4.88 a barrel.
  • Companies may get to pay in stock abroad
    • The government is examining a proposal to allow companies to use equity shares instead of cash for important payments abroad, including technology transfer, import of capital goods and interest on foreign debt. 
    • The government also plans to allow Indian companies to enter into share-swap deals with foreign firms for mergers and acquisitions, as it looks to help cash-strapped companies expand their businesses and liberalise foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.
    • If cleared, the proposal would allow companies to issue shares against import of capital goods, components, kits, spare parts, technology transfer, interest on external commercial borrowings (ECBs) and commission brokerage. 
    • This form of cashless transactions would go a long way in addressing a severe liquidity crunch that has forced several companies to curtail their expansion plans. 
  • Why did the RBI keep investing in US treasuries, even in these troubled times?
    • Read this report.  It makes an interesting reading in view of the consistent view held in this blog that US dollar's days of glory are going to be over soon.
    • Looks like this is not a view shared by the RBI.  Bets apart, it's time for some facts:
    • India has increased exposure to US bonds -- especially the treasury bonds -- by over 70% to $34.6 bn from its September 2008 figure of $20.3 bn.  This is the period when the global financial crisis unraveled and there were huge fluctuations in various currencies.  But the dollar held its ground against most currencies. Apparently this is the reason why central banks from Asian countries kept preferring US t-bonds over any other instrument to park their reserves.  It is the safety aspect; rather than the return aspect that has ensured this.  The returns from US t-bonds during this period have in fact have gone to historic lows of 1% or even less.
    • Take a look at the various countries' exposure to US t-bonds during this period.  
  • Fallin TRPs give IPL some jitters
    • The latest ratings update from TAM Peoplemeter, which advertisers and media buyers closely follow to plan their television spends, reiterates lower ratings compared to Season I. Though TAM states that over 12 million viewers tuned in to IPL over the weekend, almost the same as last year, TRPs have dipped. Across all-India cable and satellite homes of four-years-plus audiences, ratings of the two matches on the opening day were 5.1 and 5.2, compared with the 7.2 rating of Season I’s first match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers. 
    • TAM had, earlier in the week, reported that the first match posted TRPs of 5.5 across the top six metros in cable and satellite four year-plus households. Last year, day one of IPL across the same sample size had opened to a huge rating of 8.2. 
Language lessons
  • atelier: Noun
    • A studio especially for an artist or designer
  • stiletto: Noun
    • A very high narrow heel on women's shoes
  • fictive: adjective
    • Adopted in order to deceive; Capable of imaginative creation
    • eg: "fictive sympathy"; "fictive talent"