Politics & the Nation
Finance & Economy
  • NMDC issue reported to be attracting few investors
    • NMDC’s share sale received bids for 17% of the offer on Day 1, as investors baulked at the steep valuation. The bids on Wednesday, mostly from the government-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and state-owned banks such as Bank of Baroda, were at the bottom-end of the Rs 300-350 range set for bids.
    • NMDC is overpriced, according to analysts, by most valuation parameters when compared with larger global miners such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto and even local peers such as Sesa Goa controlled by Vedanta Resources.
    • NMDC’s revenue is at about $2 billion, BHP’s is at $51 billion and Rio’s is $41 billion.
    • The government, which planned to raise Rs 25,958 crore through share sales this financial year, has been struggling to draw investor interest in profitable companies such as NTPC and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) unlike in the past when they sold like hot cakes.
    • It is not that NMDC’s share sale will flop, but it is the government-owned institutions that would be buying it, defeating finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s objective of making the citizens share the nation’s wealth.
  • Some snippets about wind power in the country
    • It is Tamilnadu which leads wind power capacity in the country with about 3,900 MW.
    • Maharashtra’s wind power capacity stands at around 1,800 mw at present, earning it the second rank. Most of Maharashtra’s existing wind farms are located in Dhule, Satara and Sangli districts. The state is also home to an incomplete 1,000-mw power project currently managed by a private company in Dhule district. The state’s estimated wind power potential has been pegged at 4,584 mw.
  • Know anything about Kirloskarvadi?
    • This is largely considered the birthplace of engine revolution in India. It was set up near Kolhapur in 1910 on March 10 as Maharashtra’s second and the country’s third such project. The other two are Tatanagar (now Jamshedpur) in Jharkhand, and Walchandnagar (of the Walchand Hirachand group) near Baramati.
    • Take a look at this interesting story that takes us back in the country's economic history.
  • Sharia funds get decent returns for their investors
    • Shariah or ethical funds, which are compliant with Islamic investment laws and available from only two insurers — Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance and Tata AIG Life Insurance — are doing much better in terms of returns on investment (RoI) than a host of traditional funds.
    • Though total assets under management for these funds in the insurance sector is a modest Rs 525 crore, which has been mopped up over the last 3-4 years, returns were as high as 109% compared to the CNX NSE Nifty Index, which registered a 70% growth during the same period.
    • Islamic investment laws, popularly known as ‘Sharia’, disallow profitmaking from interest. Neither can these funds invest in equities of companies that are into gambling, lottery/contests, animal produce, liquor, tobacco, entertainment like films, or in hotels, banks and financial institutions. Such lines of business are considered ‘Haram’ — as in ‘forbidden’ under Islamic Laws, which is why all Shariah-complaint funds (ethical funds) do not invest in them.
  • The Lithium rush
    • Lithium, a lightweight element long associated mostly with mood-stabilising drugs, is now getting the attention of mining majors all over the world as it is a crucial ingredient for hybrid and electric cars.
    • Lithium is found in trace amounts in many places, but it is being produced commercially mainly by two methods. One is through mining and processing, a relatively expensive method that produces the metal mostly for glass, ceramics and the manufacturing of television tubes.
    • The more economical and significant method is through evaporation of lithium-containing brines, mostly in salt flats in the highland areas in South America and western China. Lithium reservoirs have been formed over millions of years in highland bowls, after rivers and hot springs washed over lithium-laden rocks and leached the mineral from them. Producers drill wells into the salt flats and pump the brine into evaporation ponds. With the removal of water, the lithium content in the brine increases to a level where it can be collected and shipped to a chemical plant for processing.
    • The industry leader in this method of production is Sociedad QuÝmicay Minera, a Chilean fertiliser company in which Potash, a Canadian fertiliser giant, holds a major stake.
  • prise: Verb
    • To move or force, especially in an effort to get something open; Make an uninvited or presumptuous inquiry
  • hand over fist: Phrase
    • at a tremendous rate
    • eg: State-owned telecom service provider BSNL makes a profit thanks to interest income and loses money from core operations, even as its private counterparts make money hand over fist.
  • spatula: Noun
    • A turner with a narrow flexible blade; A hand tool with a thin flexible blade used to mix or spread soft substances