Politics & the Nation
  • Finally the women's reservation bill is passed
    • In a day that was filled with lot of tension and expectation, the women's reservation bill was finally managed to be passed in the Rajya Sabha.
    • The government, which carried out Ms Gandhi’s stern “walk-the-talk-on-the-Bill” diktat, threw out obstructionists from the House and ensured its passage with the help of the BJP and Left parties.
    • Now what is the situation?
      • Congress scores a point in the RS, but is silent on bringing the bill in LS
      • The bill cannot go to state legislatures without it being passed by LS
      • Jettisoning support of SP and RJD will make the government vulnerable to pressure from within and outside
      • Loss in numerical comfort could make movement of policy more difficult
      • Trinamool has already begun throwing tantrums. It has 19 MPs in Lok Sabha and the party does not share Manmohan’s economic world view
    • Because the bill is a constitutional amendment, it has to be passed by at least 50% of the state legislatures also; after it is passed in the Lok Sabha.
Finance & Economy
    • At present the Government of India is holding 59.41% stake in SBI. While the government already has Parliament’s approval to bring down its stake to 55% in SBI, this gives the bank limited space in fund-raising. Hence the government is thinking of reducing it further to 51% so as to facilitate SBI in mobilizing additional capital.
    • The government is reportedly about to introduce a bill in Parliament to this effect. If the bill is passed, the Centre will be empowered to appoint four managing directors (as against two now), abolish the post of vice-chairman and enable shareholders with at least Rs 5,000 worth of shares to contest the election for directorship of the bank. The State Bank of India (Amendment) Bill, 2010, moved by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, also seeks to allow the government to raise the bank’s authorised capital to Rs 5,000 crore from Rs 20 crore.
    • After the amendment, SBI will find it easier to comply with the Basel Capital Accord, the current international framework on capital adequacy adopted in 1988, and Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s new framework called Basel-II, under which public sector banks are required to increase their capital base to meet minimum requirements.
    • Once the law is changed, SBI can not only raise an additional 15% or more equity, but can also get a chance to float preference shares to raise long-term funds, place equity with financial investors and come out with bonus issues to its shareholders.
  • What is design thinking?
    • Design thinking, in the true sense of the word, is an interdisciplinary approach that brings together insights and research methods from business, engineering, art, social sciences and humanities to architect products and services that are willingly embraced by a community of users.
    • Secondly, design thinking focuses on the entire life-cycle of products and services, offering a solution that encompasses all points of interaction between the product/service and the users.
    • Design thinking is about creating user experiences and giving new meanings to the products. It approaches a problem from the point of view of how an end user would experience a product/service in its entirety because the customers value experiences more than the product features. Along with valuing experience over function people attribute meanings —functional, emotional or symbolic — to all objects that they interact with. Design thinking is about understanding how people assign meaning to products and propose new meanings that are readily accepted and incorporated into their life.
    • Too abstract? Take a look at this op-ed that appeared today, to get a deeper understanding of the concept.
  • Staffers fire up companies' ideas machine
    • If you are a practising manager or aspire to be one in the near future, you may find this article very interesting. It points to a trend that is apparently catching up quite fast in Indian companies.
  • TFC's recommendations on debt to GDP ratio
    • The thirteenth finance commission has suggested the reduction of the consolidated debt of the Centre and states to 68% of the GDP by 2014-15 from the estimated 82% in 2009-10. It has also recommended a steady reduction of Centre’s debt stock to 45% of GDP by 2014-15 and that of the states to less than 25% by the same year.
    • As per the budget estimates, the estimated debt to GDP ratio for central government would be 51.5% in 2009-10 and 51.1% in 2010-11, after factoring in adjustments.
    • With the projected level of fiscal deficit of 4.8% of GDP in 2011-12 and 4.1% in 2012-13, the estimated debt to GDP ratio would be 50.0% and 48.2% respectively.
  • More on base rate system
    • We have had a dekko at the recent RBI's move to come up with base rate mechanism in place of the existing PLR system. This article that appeared in today's ET takes a look at the issue. Very useful for articulating our views.
  • What is MFIN?
    • It is a self regulatory body formed by the Microfinance Institutions in India. Take a look at this news story that appeared in today's ET. It gives deatils about it.
  • Mahindra takes an interest in promoting Basketball in the country
    • The Mahindra group and the US National Basketball Association (NBA) on Tuesday announced a partnership to set up a basketball league for teenagers in India.
    • The Mahindra NBA Challenge League, meant to nurture players in the 14-18 age group, will start off in Bangalore, Ludhiana and Mumbai and will run for seven weeks every year.
    • The league is being set up in collaboration with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).
    • The NBA, founded in 1946 is a professional sports league and a global business that features 30 teams in the US and Canada. During the 2009-10 season, the NBA games will reach 215 countries and territories in 41 languages.
  • agape: Adjective
    • With the mouth wide open as in wonder or awe
    • eg: ...And it’s Lalit Modi’s IPL brouhaha which seems to be leaving us all agape with its unabashed celebration of lucre and pelf.
  • skittish: Adjective
    • Unpredictably excitable (especially of horses)
  • ducat: Noun
    • Formerly a gold coin of various European countries
  • vermin: Noun
    • An irritating or obnoxious person; Any of various small animals or insects that are pests; e.g. cockroaches or rats