Politics & the Nation
  • What steps has the government outlined to signal a shift in its resolve to mean business when it comes to execution of programs, policies and projects or say in short governance?
    • An ongoing, independent evaluation and public reporting of progress in implementing government schemes;
    • Big strides in e-governance;
    • Decentralisation and empowerment of panchayats and nongovernment organisations to implement and monitor government schemes;
    • Breaking barriers between departments and schemes to achieve synergy, integration and better utilisation of existing resources;
    • Innovative regulation of health, education and provision of public services;
    • Liberal use of technology in welfare transfers and achieving public awareness; and,
    • Institutionalisation of the government’s basic commitments by requiring all Cabinet notes to specify how their proposals would enhance the goals of equity or inclusion, innovation and public accountability.
  • Government's measures to tackle terror threats
    • National Counter Terrorism Centre — an operational mechanism to address Internal Security Challenges would be set up to take pro-active anti-terror measures. NCTC is conceived as a full-time agency with operational objectives that will have access to all MAC (Multi Agency Centre) information, which will help it prepare intelligence-based operational plans. NCTC is proposed as a broadbased structure, complete with representatives of the Army and Central para-military forces. As many as 30 SMACs are being set up to ensure smooth flow of intelligence to MAC from all parts of the country.
    • Strengthening the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has already been entrusted three cases for investigation. It would be empowered adequately to handle terror-related cases.
    • Central and state police forces as well as intelligence agencies would undergo massive expansion, both in terms of manpower as well as technology.
    • Special Forces and Quick Response Teams would be raised and deployed in vulnerable areas.
    • A shift in beliefs that counter-Naxal operations and development should go hand in hand, to counter-operations first to clear the area of Naxalites and an immediate follow-up with development of the ‘liberated’ zones. In the north-east too, the government is planning to tackle insurgent groups, especially small but lethal players like DHD (Jewel) with full military might. Once the small insurgent groups have been decimated in counter-operations, the big fish like ULFA will be tackled.
Finance & Economy
  • StanChart probes graft charges
    • It is common for many of us to assume that MNCs or foreign companies are paragons of virtue, while the Indian bureaucrat or the minions working in government offices are horribly corrupt. While we don't hold brief for any one of them, let's take a look at what these paragons of virtue -- the MNC wallahs are up to.
    • It is reported that StanChart is probing into graft charges against some of its employees in India. It has reportedly carried out an investigation into allegations that some of its employees in India, including a few senior officials, had received bribes from corporate clients. It would be naive to think that there is no corruption in private sector or foreign MNCs.
  • Know anything about 'liquidity risk premium' and 'default risk premium'?
    • The US investment-grade credit spread — the difference in yields on AAA-rated and BAA-rated bonds — is broken into two parts. The first component, which is called the “liquidity-risk premium”, is the excess yield demanded by investors to hold between AAA-rated corporate bonds rather than US treasuries. The second component, which is called the “default-risk premium”, is the additional reward investors want in order to hold BAA-rated bonds instead of those that are adjudged to be AAA.
    • Confusing? Read this op-ed piece in ET today. Worth a read. But you should be a braveheart in finance to really appreciate much of it.
  • Want to know the basics about QIP -- Qualified Institutional Placement -- in IPOs?
  • Government's 8 missions on climate change
    • The eight missions are — enhancing contribution of solar energy in the total energy mix; introducing energy efficiency steps; promoting sustainable habitats; saving Himalayan glaciers; water resource management; protecting mountain eco-systems; improving eco-system services and making agriculture more resilient and adaptable to climate change.
  • Open interest in stock futures rises as rally holds
    • CONTINUOUS upsides in stocks over the past three months have altered the composition of investors’ activity in the equity futures segment. With the market rally maturing into a broad-based one over the past 3-4 weeks, interest in stock futures has steadied, while activity in index futures is declining.
    • What Does Open Interest Mean?
      • The total number of options and/or futures contracts that are not closed or delivered on a particular day.
      • The number of buy market orders before the stock market opens.
    • Not yet clear? See this investopedia write up on the subject. Very lucid.