Politics & the Nation
  • Premji shows CEOs the door
    • Wipro chairman Azim Premji moved with unprecedented aggression on Friday, removing its two top officials as India’s third-largest software exporter tries to stave off challenge from a fast-rising rival while closing a widening gap with market leaders TCS and Infosys.
    • Premji appointed TK Kurien, a company veteran, as CEO of Wipro’s IT division and junked the joint-CEO model in which the company had been led by Suresh Vaswani and Girish Paranjpe, the sidelined officials.
Finance & Economy
  • Some interesting stats on urban infrastructure
    • A recent McKinsey report estimates that by monetising urban land assets, together with realistic levy of property taxes and user charges that reflect reasonable costs, India could generate up to $27 billion a year (or $58 per capita per annum). Given that our current investment in urban infrastructure is a paltry $17 per capita, pro-active policy can provide much-needed resources for trunk infrastructure for boosting housing and real estate.
  • Panel to rework Factories Act in a step towards labour reforms
    • Prime minister Manmohan Singh has set up an expert panel to rework the archaic Factories Act of 1948, giving a big push to labour reforms to ensure the safety of workers.
    • The committee led by Planning Commission member Narendra Jadhav has chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu as a member. The panel will submit its recommendations within the next four weeks.
    • The Act defines factory as any premise where 10 or more workers are working or were working on any day of the preceding 12 months and manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of electricity.
    • In addition, it lays down the following criteria:
      • A factory that has more than 100 employees needs to take govt nod to sack any employee
      • An employee working for more than 9 hours a day to be paid double his normal wages as overtime
      • No work period can exceed 5 hours without a break of at least 30 minutes
      • No factory can be overcrowded to an extent injurious to the health of the workers
      • Every factory has to be kept clean and free from effluvia arising from any drain, privy or other nuisance & in particular accumulations of dirt
      • Factories with more than 30 women need to have a room for the use of children aged under 6
  • Reliance net rises 28% on higher GRM
    • Reliance Industries, India’s top company by market value, reported a 28% growth in quarterly net profit as it earned more dollars for each barrel of oil it refined while strong demand boosted the petrochemicals business to its best-ever performance.
    • The company, which runs the world’s biggest refining complex at Jamnagar, is expected to maintain robust refining margins in the current quarter as economic recovery in western countries fuels demand and expands gross refining margins (GRM). Its refinery is expected to process more crude in the current quarter as one unit was shut down for maintenance in the October-December period.
    • Third quarter net profit rose to Rs. 5,136 crore, the highest since 2007, while sales rose an annual 6% to 62,399 crore.
    • The company's GRM in October-December improved to $9 a barrel from $7.90 in the previous quarter and $5.9 a barrel reported in the quarter ended December 2009.
  • The copyright conundrum that is tormenting the film industry in India
    • It's supposed to amend the copyright laws in India but The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010 (the Bill) might just also amend the way movies are made. The discordant note here is music — the creators versus the owners. Do the ones who create it, own the music or the ones who invest in it? There are no simple answers. Neither with the industry, nor with the lawmakers. For the last year, since things were brought to a flashpoint by the lyricists, no one seems to have budged an inch. Now, the government has put the ball squarely into the industry’s court. They have to come together and arrive at a solution of what constitutes Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and how to split the commercials fairly.
    • Currently, music rights for big films can contribute as much as 10-15% of the film’s revenue while the proposed amendment would reduce this to 5%. According to the amendment the new royalty split would read: 50%: music label; 25%: film producer and 25%: split between the lyricist and composer. This is against the current scenario where 100% goes to the music label (read T-Series, Saregama, Sony BMG, Yashraj etc).
  • Ever heard of cloud telephony?
    • Cloud Telephony is on-demand voice services provided by a hosted, dynamically scalable, often virtualized, deployment of voice infrastructure that can manipulate inbound and outbound calls through a simple programmable interface.
    • It is an internet-based platform that allows an organisation to make multiple calls.
  • Some very good ideas on how the post-Cancun framework should be
    • Take a look at this article by Ashok Khemka.  Well worth a read.
Language Lessons
  • comestible: Noun
    • Any substance that can be used as food