Politics & the Nation
  • On Kashmir issue
    • A report on an interesting debate that happened in the Parliament on the issue.  Very good interventions from Farooq Abdullah and M.M. Joshi.  Worth a look.
Finance & Economy
  • DTC gets Cabinet approval; bill to be introduced in Parliament on Monday
    • The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a new set of direct tax rules that proposes to raise income tax exemption limit from 1.6 lakh to 2 lakh, leaving more money in the hands of individuals, and a lower tax rate for companies.
    • The much-awaited Direct Taxes Code, or DTC, Bill, which seeks to replace the nearly 50-year-old income tax law, is likely to be introduced in Parliament on Monday and may then be referred to a select committee of members of both houses of Parliament.
    • Senior citizens and women will enjoy a higher exemption to up to 2.5 lakh. There will be no surcharge or cess on companies, thereby bringing the corporate tax rate to 30% from present 34%.
    • The new code proposes three income tax slabs—income of up to 2-5 lakh will face 10%, 5-10 lakh will attract 20% and income over 10 lakh will face tax at the rate of 30%. The housing loan exemption of 1.5 lakh would also be available to individual taxpayers on the interest component.
    • The government proposes to raise the minimum alternate tax (MAT) on book profits to 20% from current 18%.
    • Look at this graphic to get a picture of what it means for our purse.
  • Take a look at how Mukesh Ambani makes his RIL holding 'tax efficient'
    • You might have noticed news reports which said that Mukesh Ambani has been restructuring his holdings in RIL, in the last few weeks.  What exactly are the motives for this restructuring?  'Tax efficiency' is what is being touted as the reason.  Is there something more behind it?  Only time can tell.  But here is what ET tries to explain for us.
  • NTPC experiments with new business models
    • With a view to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel for its power plants, NTPC is offering stakes to gas suppliers in its power projects.  This is in sharp contrast with the strategy of buying equity assets in gas abroad.
    • The state-run power producer has offered up to 20% equity to Qatar Petroleum in its gas-based projects at Kayamkulam in Kerala and Ratnagiri Gas and Power in Maharashtra.
    • The company’s board has empowered the management to negotiate a deal. NTPC doesn’t need prior approval from the government, which holds 74% in the company, as it has been granted maharatna status that offers functional autonomy to public sector firms.
    • Offering equity stakes to component suppliers is a common practice in the automobiles industry, but replicating the same has been found difficult for resources based-companies, given the global competition for such assets. Secured fuel supply will help NTPC expand the capacity of these power plants.
  • Bits and pieces on angel investing and crowd funding
    • In developed markets such as the US, around 3.5 lakh angel investors put in up to $ 30 billion every year. In India, only about 1% of the total funds invested makes it to early stage companies.
    • Crowd funding describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money together, usually via the Internet, in order to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowdfunding occurs for any variety of purposes, from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns.
  • Do you know it costs to keep your savings in banks in the US?
    • It's getting tougher for US savers to find a bank where they won’t end up paying to keep their money safe.
    • Average interest on savings, checking, money-market and certificate of deposit accounts fell to 0.99% in July, the first decline below 1% in a decade.
    • The result is that an increasing number of savers are seeing their deposit earnings eaten up by charges.
    • The low-rate environment is created by the Federal Reserve as it has kept the overnight interbank lending rate target near zero since the end of 2008 to stimulate the economy after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings.
    • Unattractive rates and new fees may drive consumers to smaller banks and credit unions.
    • The average interest rate offered on a checking account by a credit union is 0.21%. That compares with 0.12% at the five largest banks and five largest thrifts in each of the 10 largest markets.
Language Lessons
  • appellation: Noun
    • Identifying word or words by which someone or something is called and classified or distinguished from others