Politics & the Nation
  • What are khaps and why are they in the news?
    • Khap is a caste panchayat. Reportedly they are highly active in the North of the country, especially in places like Haryana. These panchayats oppose same gotra marriages and are demanding an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act in order to ban same gotra marriages.
    • They are in the news because one of the GeNext leaders and an MP from the Congress party -- Navin Jindal -- has reportedly extended support to them and even eulogised them recently.
    • Various caste panchayats in Haryana had launched a campaign against same-gotra weddings after a Karnal court on March 30 awarded death penalty to five and sentenced two others, including a Khap leader, to life imprisonment in connection with the honour killing of a couple who had married despite having a common lineage.
Finance & Economy
  • Global markets get a trillion-$ fillip from EU
    • Indian shares gained the most in Asia on global investors’ euphoria after central banks across the world opened the floodgates of liquidity, and the European Union agreed to a trillion-dollar financial assistance to save the battered euro and debt-ridden member countries.
    • The actions revived memories of the days following the collapse of Lehman Brothers when easy policy measures helped revive investor confidence in markets and led to a surge in flow of funds to emerging stocks.
    • The global financial turbulence may be a blessing for emerging markets such as India as international investors would invest their cheap money in these nations to capture high economic growth. Their central banks may keep interest rates at record lows to prevent the financial systems and economies from collapsing.
    • What is the rescue plan about?
      • The EU & IMF agreed on emergency measures worth about $1,000 billion to protect the euro zone against a sovereign debt crisis
    • What was agreed on?
      • The 27 finance ministers agreed to create a “European stabilisation mechanism” worth about € 500 billion
      • The IMF is also expected to contribute about € 250 billion
      • The European Central Bank announced steps to contain Greece’s debt crisis, saying it would buy euro zone government and private debt
      • The Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening fiscal discipline & establishing a permanent crisis resolution framework
    • What is the stabilisation mechanism?
      • It consists of € 60 b that will be available to euro zone states facing “exceptional circumstances”
      • These loans will carry an interest rate similar to the 5% rate charged on EU/IMF aid to Greece
      • A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be formed via which euro area states would guarantee up to € 440 b. This will be available for three years
      • The SPV would raise money on financial markets to buy debt of fragile euro zone states
  • TRAI proposes sweeping reforms
    • Looks like TRAI is making up for lost time. Having seen that 3G auctions have raked in unheard of moolah for the government, TRAI has proposed far reaching measures to get more out of the fast growing telecom sector. Take a look.
  • 3G auction revenue touches Rs 55k cr
    • The bids for 3G spectrum neared the Rs 55,000 crore mark. As of Tuesday, 148 rounds of bidding had been completed, DoT said. The pan-India bid price for an individual licence touched Rs 13,473.55 crore, up 285%, compared to the original base price.
  • Why are solar companies unhappy with the Government?
    • This has to do with the government’s decision to import solar power equipment for its flagship clean energy programme -- Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The mission aims to add 20,000 mw of grid connected power by the year 2020.
    • Many countries impose domestic content clauses on importers. Canada mandates minimum domestic content level of 50%; China has given a $586-billion stimulus package to those projects that purchase local products.
    • These clauses have not acted as disincentive for investment. Samsung has signed a $6.6 billion deal with the Canadian government to build 2,500 mw of wind and solar power projects, by establishing manufacturing facilities that will build the necessary equipment locally.
    • What the domestic companies are expecting from the government is some similar treatment.
  • On basic travel quota and capital controls
    • This is an excellent ET in the Classroom column that explains us about these two concepts. Take a look at it here.
  • Is China the next bubble?
    • If you look at the following assessment from Sumant Sinha, that looks quite probable:
    • For many years China has been growing rapidly. Its stock market has been among the best performing in the world. On the back of a deliberately cheap currency policy China's exports have swamped the world. It will shortly cross Japan to become the world's second largest economy. Per capita income has almost trebled in the last 10 years. Infrastructure has boomed and the country is unrecognisable to those who revisit it after a gap of afew years. In many sectors China adds capacity in a single year equivalent to India's cumulative installed capacity. It has become the world's largest consumer of many commodities (and the world's largest polluter). By any measure, these are phenomenal achievements.
    • And yet uneasy lies the crown. Much of the capacity that has been created is not being used. In sector after sector, there are excess capacities. The currency cannot be kept cheap forever and when it gets to realistic levels, it will surely impact the external sector negatively. Worryingly, the response of the government to the current crisis has been a further opening of the bank lendingpigot to create even more capacities. Economic growth cannot endlessly come from capacity creation. Chinese planners understand this and are now doing their best to ensure that consumer demand manifests sufficiently to absorb all the excess capacity, being created. But if this does not happen the banking sector will be left with a huge amount of non-performing and unproductive assets. Markets will go into a tail spin, the government will be forced to step in and things could well go out of control.
Language Lessons
  • sucker: Verb
    • Deceive somebody
    • eg: In each instance, the smart early investors “discovered” the trade, others then piled herd like into securities they understood little, and were eventually suckered into huge losses amounting to billions of dollars.

1 Comment:

Ravi said...

really very helpful blog for competitors.