Politics & the Nation
  • Supreme Court admits petition on gay sex
    • The Delhi High Court order that read down Section 377 of the IPC and decriminalized gay sex among consenting adults has been challenged in a public interest litigation by an astrologer. Though the Supreme Court took up the case and issued notices to the Centre, it did not stay the High Court's order.
    • It would be interesting to follow the course that this case takes, as gay sex is taboo in India.
  • We have seen / heard about Pakistan President's candid statements about state sponsoring of terrorism in Pakistan
    • While Mr. Zardari has been known to be a candid speaker on one too many an occasion, there were many denials, retractions soon thereafter to avoid political fallout back home. It is that which made us almost ignore his admissions yesterday.
    • As there are no retractions / denials this time, is it to be construed that the Pakistani Army also has given its approval for its President's remarks? Is it really working closely with the civilian establishment? What has made it change its stance?
    • A pointer to some of these questions can be gauzed from today's ET editorial on the subject. Take a look.
  • New US ambassador to India
    • Tim J. Roemer is confirmed as ambassador to India by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    • A former US lawmaker from Indiana and a member of the 9/11 commission, 53-year-old Roemer is currently the head of Washingtonbased think tank Center for National Policy (CNP).
Finance & Economy
  • Why is the revenue deficit alarming?
    • On reading the budget documents, economists may understand that the revenue and fiscal deficits are really alarming. But common people like us, can only realize the gravity of the situation with the help of experts. Today's ET editorial has done an excellent job of explaining to us as to why the revenue deficit is alarming. Take a look at it here.
    • An excerpt which gives the alarm:
      • Incredible as it might sound, the RD (Revenue Deficit) for 2009-10 is budgeted to go up an astonishing 412% from that estimated for 2008-09. At 70% of the FD (Fiscal Deficit), as against 41% in 2007-08, this is the highest RD since the reform process began in 1991.
  • T. Rowe Price to acquire 26% in UTI MF?
    • US-based investment management firm T Rowe Price is reportedly buying a 26% stake in UTI Asset Management Company (UTI AMC) for Rs 650-700 crore. The deal, if it were to finally go through, would value India’s oldest mutual fund house between Rs 2,500 crore and Rs 2,800 crore, or roughly 4-5% of its assets under management.
    • As on June 30, 2009, UTI MF managed roughly Rs 68,000 crore across its debt and equity schemes, and is the fourth-largest fund house in India in terms of assets under management. Total assets managed by T Rowe Price group of companies world-wide stood at $269 billion as on March 31, 2009.
    • While there is no immediate financial benefit for UTI MF, a strategic partner like T. Rowe Price could help UTI AMC expand its presence in international markets.
    • The advantage for T. Rowe Price is that it will get a toehold in the fast-growing Indian mutual fund industry, besides being part of the most profit making as well as most profitable domestic fund house.
    • UTI MF posted a net profit of Rs 147 crore for the year ended March 31, 2008, the highest among all local fund houses in absolute terms. Though no longer the number one among Indian fund houses, it still remains the most profitable, because of a higher proportion of equity assets — around 22% of the total — compared with rivals.
    • Is it a case of selling family silver? Opinions are bound to vary.
  • Why is that many of our corporates that have lot of financial muscle not entering banking?
    • The answer lies in the entry barriers imposed on banking by the RBI. One is the minimum net worth requirement of Rs 300 crore. Another is the restriction that no entity can own more than 5% equity in a private bank, although this can go up subject to ‘fit and proper’ criteria being met. There is the ceiling on voting rights of 10% for any shareholder in a private bank.
    • Some committees that went into the issue of allowing industrial houses into banking:
    • The second Tarapore committee favoured letting industrial houses into banking. But these houses would want more control and that is fraught with the danger of inter-connected lending. The Raghuram Rajan committee suggested the creation of small banks with lower capital requirements and subject to tighter regulation. But the experience with small, local banks has not been a happy one.
  • Banking sector reform should not mean merely allowing more private sector banks -- whether foreign or Indian owned. It should necessarily encompass our PSBs. If you are asked to state three areas of reform in our PSBs that would help improve the state of our banking what would your answer read like? Will it be like this one that is given by TT Ram Mohan? The points summarized as bullets for you:
    • Composition of PSB boards.
    • Succession planning at PSBs.
    • Lifting of the recruitment freeze.
  • Why does the finance ministry want banks to be out of the purview of PN2?
  • We should now breath easy as the government said it will not be monetizing the fiscal deficit
    • We have been noting this with concern for the last few days. But how does this monetization happen? By RBI subscribing to the Central government debt directly. This is provided for by the FRBM Act. Whenever the government resorts to such a step, the grounds for such subscriptions should be placed before both the houses of Parliament.
  • G8 doesn't give in to developing countries' demands
    • The five developing countries that participated in the ongoing G8 summit in Italy had called for an end to the trade distorting subsidies given by developed countries. But the G8 declaration merely said they would refrain from raising fresh barriers to trade.


Jyothikarthik said...

This s not related to today's news..

ve bin following parliament activities on Lok sabha channel for a while..

For some time ive noticed., ppl other thn Speaker and dty Speaker hold the chair..

Like francisco sardinha and PC Chacko..

why so? and what powers do they hold to preside over Lok sabha..

sriram srirangam said...

When these two are absent, one of the Chairmen nominated by the Speaker presides.