Politics & the Nation
  • Justice Dinakaran and why is he in the news
    • He is the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court and is due to be elevated to the Supreme Court. In fact the collegium of Supreme Court judges headed by the Chief Justice of India has recommended his name for elevation to the Supreme Court.
    • Then all hell broke lose with prominent personalities from the legal fraternity airing views that he has amassed assets disproportionate to known sources of income. This has made his elevation to the Supreme Court quite tough.
    • Take a look at this news report which gives further details.
Finance & Economy
  • An interestingly speculative story about why RIL is shedding its Trust shares
    • Take a look at this story. Incidentally, did you notice the phrase "Treasury stock" in the story? Remember what is this concept about? Take a quick recap of it from our 11.09.2008 notes. It's there right on top.
  • We can learn even from advertisements
    • Time was when, one of us, as a student of Bachelor of Communication and Journalism, learned the answer to the conventional question -- what purpose do ads serve? Today, we have an answer in practical terms.
    • Look at this Seimens ad. It dishes out some very useful facts and also lets us on to a new concept in power distribution. Some excerpts:
    • ATC (Agreegate Technical and Commercial) losses range between 35 to 40% in the country. If non-technical losses like theft and pilferage are included, losses shoot up to 50%.
    • Every 1% reduction in T&D loss can save the need for an additional capacity of 800 MW.
    • Two technologies that can help reduce AT&C losses:
      • HVDC
      • FACTS
  • Selective credit control; what is it?
    • "Selective credit control on anvil to tame inflation" So reads a headline in today's ET. What is meant by this phrase?
    • It means credit flow will be allowed to some sectors while denied to some others which are seen as inflation strengthening.
    • RBI is likely to resort to sector-specific measures to tame food price inflation and to ensure credit flow to some key sectors, including sub-Rs 30 lakh housing and SMEs.
    • Under Section 21 of the Banking Regulation Act, RBI is empowered to issue directions to control advances by banking companies when it feels it is necessary to give directions in public interest, in the interest of depositors and in the interest of banking policy.
    • The sector-specific measures are being considered as credit growth in India is around 15%, which is below RBI’s expectation of a 20% growth against last year’s credit growth of 26%.
    • The annual inflation for food items is currently at a decade high of 15% while the headline retail inflation as measured by the three consumer price indices is at around 12% each.
  • What are the measures that RBI could possibly take to tame inflation?
    • The likely inflation control measures could include an increase in the minimum margins for lending against select commodities, currently close to 25%, ceilings on levels of credit, and increase in interest rates on advances against specified commodities. Scarcity of funds is expected to discourage speculative hoarding and thereby alleviate the pressure on prices.
  • States agree on two tier GST
    • STATES have agreed on a two-rate structure for the proposed unified goods and services tax (GST), brightening prospects for its speedy implementation, but a meeting of state finance ministers on Wednesday was divided on whether the tax could be implemented by next April.
    • States want a standard rate, another lower rate for essential commodities and a special rate for precious metal. Till now, the Centre was keen on having a single rate, and is likely to stick to this view for central GST.
  • We should not get tired of understanding the concept of dual listing, as it is making headlines for the third successive day...
    • Simply put, a dual-listed entity involves two companies incorporated in different countries contractually agreeing to operate their businesses as if they were a single enterprise, while retaining their separate legal identity and existing stock exchange listings. You could call it a virtual merger of sorts. The shares in each corporate entity reflect the combined economics of the two companies and the operations of the companies are managed through a common governance structure. On the face of it, this may seem a very complicated exercise.
    • For an understanding of the problems involved in allowing dual listing by India, take a look at today's ET editorial on the subject.
  • The limitations of GDP in measuring well-being
    • Joseph Stiglitz, one of our favourite authors while writing on the subject sounded to us as if he was echoing the Bhtanese King's words on the limitations of measuring economic growth through GDP. (Look at our notings on 11.11.2007 and 24.03.2008) Bhutanese King is well, a King from a very small country and perhaps will not be taken seriously in academic circles. But when a Nobel Laureate like Stiglitz speaks of the same concept, the concept gets noticed. Not the King of the small kingdom.
    • It was after all, not the Bhutanese King alone, even the French President was bored with GDP. Therefore he set up a committee to explore the possibility of finding an alternative to GDP. That committee is called the "Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress." Let us hope that it will come up with a better alternative to GDP.
    • In the meantime take a look at what our Nobel Laureate is suggesting that its report should be speaking of:
    • It should provide guidance for creating a broader set of indicators that more accurately capture both well-being and sustainability; and it should provide impetus for improving the ability of GDP and related statistics to assess the performance of the economy and society.
    • Well... is it sounding like gibberish? Forget it for now. It doesn't? Then delve into details here.
  • US is reported to have approved four vaccines for H1N1 virus.
    • The initial lots of the vaccines are expected to become available in a month’s time.
    • The four vaccines approved are made by CSL Limited, MedImmune LLC, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited, and Sanofi Pasteur Inc.
  • Asafa Powell wins 100 metres in Pedros Cup
    • Asafa Powell dominated the field to win the 100 metres in 9.82 seconds, and Tyson Gay cruised to victory in the 200 at the Pedros Cup.
    • The Pedros Cup is an annual Athletics (track and field) competition that takes place each year in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The event typically draws top level competition. At the 2008 event, Asafa Powell became the first sprinter to turn in a sub-10 second 100 metres time in Poland.