Politics & the Nation
  • India says "No" to a pledge on Co2 cuts
    • India firmly reiterated its position that it was not in a position to take on “legally-binding targets” on reducing emissions. This statement came even as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted that developed countries had made “mistakes”, but that all countries need to take steps to reduce emissions.
    • Climate change and the divisive issue of how developed and developing nations should share the burden of carbon emission cuts is a key focus of the secretary of state’s visit. The Indian side expects considerable pressure from the United States on two major issues. The first, a formal level of emission cap — something that India has consistently opposed. India has refused to commit to carbon emission cuts until developed nations like the United States agree to cut emissions by 40% over the next decade.
    • The second issue which India expects will figure in the discussions is verification on efforts being made by India to respond to climate change. On this count as well, India has maintained that efforts undertaken domestically will not be subject to international monitoring or verification.
  • Government to promote pentavalent vaccines
    • The government is expected to upgrade the existing three-in-one vaccine for infants to a five-in-one by the end of the year under the national immunisation programme.
    • The government is reportedly negotiating with the World Bank for additional funds to expand the programme.
    • The pentavalent potion will enable infants to be immunised for five ailments—diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT), hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) that causes pneumonia and meningitis—through a single shot.
    • The country’s national immunisation programme uses a tetravalent vaccine. The introduction of a pentavalent vaccine was recommended by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) on June 16, 2008.
    • According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), routine immunisation rate in India is 65%.
Finance & Economy
  • Realty companies about to be favoured with a rule interpretation?
    • Read this compelling story. It is about how property companies are seeking an interpretation of rule that would favour them in the present trying circumstances to the detriment of foreign investors. In all likelihood the government may play ball with the realtors. As the entire story is a must read, we are desisting from giving excerpts.
  • Want to know how deeply can the failure of the monsoon hurt us?
  • Worries about agriculture
    • With everyone watching the progress of monsoon with trepidation, let's take a look at why agriculture is important for us:
    • The share of agriculture in GDP is now just 18%, and barely 12% relates to crops (the rest is animal husbandry, horticulture, etc). Despite extensive irrigation, a drought will turn agricultural growth negative, as against average growth of 4.3% in the last five years. That will directly reduce GDP growth by at least 0.5%.
    • It indirect impact -- reduced employment and reduced rural spending on goods and services — will be even greater. That's why one suggestion that an ET editorial today gives is that NREGS should now be targeted at drought-hit areas rather than spread evenly over every district.
  • In defense of divestment
    • This is a very well researched article supporting divestment in PSUs. Well worth a read. Some excerpts worth our attention:
    • Size of the government’s assets in PSUs:
    • The total market value of government companies (including unlisted companies) is $406 billion. The market value of 55 listed public sector companies is $281 billion. The average government stake in these listed companies is 80%, and hence the government’s stake in them is worth $224 billion. These estimates are based on secondary market-based valuation tools.
    • The total workforce employed in quasi-government entities (including PSUs) of the central government (excluding those working directly in administrative machinery) is 5.9 million people, just 1.4% of the total workforce.
    • The median age of the Indian population is currently 23.7 years, one of the lowest among large nations. India is likely to add 141 million to its current working-age population of 750 million by 2018, according to estimates by the United Nations.
  • Government's proejcted borrowings for the ensuing fiscal have been giving fits to every finance/economic expert watching the financial scene India.
    • For those of us the lesser mortals who can barely understand the import of such programmes, this is an article that gives a good background on how things are likely to pan out in the coming year. Take a look. If you are weak in finance/ecnomics, you may find it incomprehensible though. So be warned. But an excellent article worth trying to understand what it tries to say.
  • A look at Air India's financial status
    • Amid reports that it may have to pay penalty to Boeing and Airbus for postponing and / or cancelling the delivery of some of the planes it had ordered earlier, a look at its financial status is well worth our attention:
    • Air India had placed orders for a total of 111 aircraft — 68 from Boeing and 43 from Airbus SAS — valued at Rs 50,000 crore for its fleet replacement and expansion programme in 2005. Currently, it has a fleet of 155 aircraft. Air India has paid Rs 8,000 crore for purchase of 24 aircraft, while Indian Airlines has purchased 24 aircraft at a cost of Rs 4,738 crore in the past three years. In the past two years, Air India has inducted 11 Boeing 777s and 15 Boeing 737-800s for its international routes.
    • Nacil, formed after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, has accumulated losses of Rs 7,200 crore till March 2009. This is more than 10 times the losses Air India posted in 2006-07, before the merger.
    • It has a workin g capital overdraft of Rs 15,000 crore, while fuel and manpower cost is about 60% of its total cost, against 45% in the case of private airlines.
  • ESOPs are not 'promoter' shareholdings
    • It is an interesting story. A proposal by the finance ministry to reclassify employee stock options (ESOPs) as promoter shareholding has been shelved for the present. Read this story for full details. But the gist is that:
    • There was a feeling that employees are closer to a company than the public and have access to privileged information
    • But to classify Esops as promoter holding, govt would have to distinguish between top management and ordinary employees, which would complicate matters
    • Finance ministry’s move is part of a larger policy change proposed on prescribing a higher minimum public shareholding
    • Besides an indicative public float of 25% for all listed companies, finance ministry had also proposed to take a fresh view on how to classify the holding of employees and other entities, such as FIIs, MFs and NRIs
Language lessons
  • Some quotes worth our attention for their pun
    • Definition of litigation: It is "a machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage."
    • Justice is "a commodity which, in a more or less adulterated condition, the state sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.”
    • These quotes were from Ambrose Bierce's 19th century work "The Devil's Disciple"

1 Comment:

Jyothikarthik said...

Ther r ppl who chair lok sabha other thn Spkr and Dty Spkr.. Like Thambithurai, Francisco sardinha., Chacko PC and so on.. in what position do they take the chair... why ppl other thn spkr and dty spkr chair the lok sabha...?????

Can someone please resolve!!!