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Print me a Stradivarius - Economist
Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale.
Rising share value behind Devas deal fall - Indian Express
Before the Indian Space Research Organisation began seriously looking in December, 2009 at its commercial arm the Antrix Corporation’s agreement with the private firm Devas Multimedia, a number of watershed events occurred that is now believed to have had a cascading effect in bringing the contract to a close as decided by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
Jairam ready to dump no-go policy - Times of India
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh is ready to abandon the no-go policy for coal project clearance.
India to resume rare earth exports after seven years - The Hindu
For the first time in seven years, India will begin the export of rare earth minerals, said government sources here on Thursday.
No permanent IIT foreign faculty - Charu Sudan Kasturi, HT
In a major setback to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) plan, the ministry for external affairs (MEA) has rejected a proposal to liberalise visa norms to allow foreign teachers to take up permanent posts at the IITs.
Towards superior retail price data - Sanjeeb Mukherjee, Business Standard
The country today moves to a new consumer price index that includes services and is likely to help govt improve policymaking.
Study links heavy rains to human action - Justin Gillis, Live Mint
An increase in heavy precipitation that has afflicted many countries is at least partly a consequence of human influence on the atmosphere, climate scientists reported in a new study.
Registry for movable assets in the works - Remya Nair, Live Mint
India may soon have a registry for movable assets, making it easier for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to borrow from banks to meet funding requirements.
Aviation ministry takes on airport regulator - Tarun Shukla, Live Mint
The civil aviation ministry has waded into battle with the airport regulator, seemingly angered by the watchdog body having sought and received the attorney general’s endorsement of its independence.
Needed - a more honest vocabulary! - Bus Std
Are we are getting trapped by our own spin doctoring?
S-band meister - Business Standard
Ram Vishwanathan is determined to fight out the Devas deal.
A price index to hide inflation - Madan Sabnavis, Financial Express
The new CPI is another addition to the series of changes one is witnessing in the data sets on the Indian economy. We have had a new WPI series followed by GDP, which chose 2004-05 as base year.
Nineteen For Him - Arindam Mukherjee, Outlook India
Indian taxmen home in on foreign deals involving Indian companies
Global investors fret as Devas' deal with Antrix scrapped - Business Standard
Annulment before report by two-member committee to review deal raises concern.
Maharashtra denotifies Mumbai SEZ - Business Line
A planned financial market - LIve Mint
Financial markets are displaying a pattern that reeks of manipulation, management and massaging by sovereigns
How crony is crony capitalism? - Live Mint
A fashionable argument stumbles in the face of evidence, and what emerges is a sign of healthy economic activity
India Inc slams making CSR spend mandatory - Ronojoy Banerjee, Financial Express
Attempts by corporate affairs minister Murli Deora to make corporate social responsibility spending mandatory in the new Companies Bill has come in for sharp criticism.
BP, Reliance in $7.2bn deal - Business Standard
British firm to buy 30% in RIL’s oil & gas fields, investment may touch $20 bn.
Catharsis for corruption - Business Standard
Indian corruption: It’s easy to see why investors in India are running scared.
NREGS and poverty alleviation: Teach them to fish! - Shreekant Sambrani, Financial Express
You see those hills?” Jamshed Kanga, an illustrious IAS officer, then divisional commissioner, Pune, asked the noted development economist John Lewis who was visiting him in 1972, pointing to the barren Sahyadri range behind his office. “I will break every one of those if necessary, but will not let a single person starve.”
I beg to differ, Prof Sen - Arvind Panagariya, Economic Times
Inside RIL-BP - Rohit Bansal, Pioneer
Oil majors need a good “story” for us to believe that theirfuture is bright. No one understands this better than BP, the British oil major. A$7.8-billion share swapjust last month with Rosneft in Russia, described as ``historic” by BP chief executive Bob Dudley, has been followed up with a ``landmark’’ $7.2-billion plan for 30 per cent of MukeshAmbani’s23 oil and gas blocks. Another $1.8 billion is linked to future exploration successes.
Off-balance sheet - TN Ninan, Business Standard
The Enron scandal in the US was facilitated by off-balance sheet items — transactions and entities that were not disclosed to shareholders. The build-up to the US financial collapse of 2008 also saw banks taking large transactions and risks off the publicly reported books, and tucking them away in unreported corners where regulators and shareholders could not get a peep.
India seen as world's largest economy - Indian Express
China should overtake US by 2020, then be overtaken by India by 2050, a Citi report said.
Factories of the future - P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Indian Express
The uncharacteristic neglect of manufacturing in the last 10 years seems to suggest the government is content with the prospect of finding jobs for its millions largely through its national rural employment guarantee programme. 
On a wing and a prayer - Arvind Singhal, Business Standard
Recent reports suggest India’s economy is likely to grow by 8.6 per cent this fiscal and perhaps as much as nine per cent in the next one.
Walking the fiscal tightrope - Laura Papi & James P Walsh, Business Standard
With India growing faster than almost every other large economy, the government is right to address its long-run challenges.
Futures mkts have turned into ‘alternative casinos’ - Shyamal Gupta, Economic Times
The plot of the commodity futures market reads like that of Prometheus in Greek mythology. Prometheus was entrusted with the task of moulding mankind out of clay. 
India’s food future - Nirvikar Singh, Financial Express
February has finally brought some relief in the rise in India’s food prices. The government has some breathing room in this dimension—just as well when it is beset by multiple corruption scandals.
EU's pharma trade hoax - The Hindu Businessline
The proposed India-EU trade pact is riddled with intellectual property provisions that would harm India's 2005 Patent Act.
Outgrowing infancy - Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Business Standard
There are two news items about the current negotiations going on about the proposed India-Europe free trade agreement that deserve some reflection on everyone’s part. One is about the possible impact of the agreement on luxury, or higher-end car prices in India; the other was a case filed against the European Commission, by the Corporate Europe Observatory (COEb), a lobby watchdog.
AICTE takes a giant step back - Amit Kapoor & Shivi Goel, Business Standard
Higher education is no more a mere matter of national policy and government regulations. Not only have private companies long entered and established themselves in the education sector, even government-associated institutions have been moving towards a regime of greater autonomy. 
Don't take it - Pierre Briancon, Business Standard
The problem of corrupt dictators isn't new, and would be better addressed ahead of time. It’s nice to freeze the money. It would have been better not to accept it.
The Budget doesn’t matter - Nidhi Nath Srinivas, Economic Times
When a country of one billion spends almost one out of every two rupees on food, nothing is more important. That’s why for most people tomorrow’s Budget will be irrelevant. It will say little, do little and matter even less to soaring food prices.
FM doesn’t walk the talk - Sidhartha & Surojit Gupta, TOI
Pranab Mukherjee might have spent an hour trying to emphasize his government's inclusive agenda and focus on infrastructure but it does not seem to have translated into actual allocation.
RBI ready to let big firms set up banks - LIve Mint
Regulatory nod for new licences only after laws are changed to give central bank power to supersede boards
Buffett's Berkshire to enter India; ties up with Bajaj Allianz - Economic Times
Berkshire Hathaway, conglomerate led by billionaire Warren Buffett, said it plans to enter the Indian insurance sector as a corporate agent of Bajaj Allianz General.
Oil fear trade: How Middle East unrest could lead to lower prices - By Daryl Jones, Fortune
Vast liberalization and democratization in the Middle East could be positive for oil production in the long run. Just look at what happened in Russia and Iraq.The price of oil is already indicating to us that the current turmoil in the Middle East will not be resolved in the short term. Prices of most major grades of oil spiked last week after tensions heightened in Libya and, although they've retreated a bit, they remain volatile.
Ex-McKinsey ‘High Priest’ Gupta Linked to Rajaratnam by SEC - Max Abelson, Dakin Campbell and John Helyar, Businessweek
When the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Rajat K. Gupta for insider trading yesterday, it wasn’t simply accusing “a Westport, Conn.-based business consultant” of providing illegal tips to the billionaire hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.
Why the Dollar's Reign Is Near an End - Barry Eichengreen, WSJ
For decades the dollar has served as the world's main reserve currency, but, argues Barry Eichengreen, it will soon have to share that role. Here's why—and what it will mean for international markets and companies.

How Pranab squared the circle - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, The Financial Express
The Budget makers in Pranab Mukherjee’s team have shifted so many goal posts between now and the last fiscal year to arrive at the figures for 2011-12, the most charitable description for the changes is to call them innovation.
Fine move on iron ore - The Hindu Businessline
The Budget has used the tariff mechanism to gradually restrain the export of iron ore, a crucial raw material for domestic industry.
Steve Jobs: How he changed the world - Business Standard
Shiv Bakhshi looks back at Steve Jobs’ two stints with Apple and how he made the brand a modern day cult.
Budgets and disclosure - Indira Rajaraman, Business Standard
The Union Budget of 2011 should have made me very happy. I got promoted to the rank of senior citizen, and have been told that I deserve special attention. I got a substantial hike in my income tax exemption limit as a result of my promotion, and I now have an incentive to live until eighty and become very senior, with an even higher exemption limit.
Tale of missed opportunities - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
The heroic expenditure assumptions in the Budget may result in significantly higher borrowing requirement than outlined. This, in turn, will keep capital costs high and dampen much-needed investment.
High inflation needn't be cost of growth - Subodh Varma, The Times Of India
Is price rise going to be a permanent fixture because of India's high growth rate? This appears to be the argument put forward by the government's top economic advisers in the recently issued Economic Survey. 
It's immoral for us to slow growth - Gurcharan Das, The Times Of India
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said last Sunday that his country's annual growth target has been lowered to 7% for the next five years. He made this remark in an online chat with the nation.
China flowers bloom in Delhi - Shreya Roy Chowdhury, The Times Of India
This Lalu Prasad Yadav has modest ambitions. He sells solar powered dancing potted plants at the Tilak Marg crossing. He negotiates his way through cars and autos, not spending more than a few seconds on one vehicle. He buys at Rs 40, demands Rs 100 and has 10-15 pieces per day as sales target.
An Unfashionable Budget - Dipankar Gupta, The Times Of India
Budget language, or budgetese, reveals how a society thinks. In India, concessions to the rich are "incentives", those for the poor "relief", but when it comes to the middle class it is "sops" - a drippy four-letter word. 
Muhammad Yunus and the crisis of microfinance - Shashi Tharoor, CTV News
The ouster of the Nobel Prize-winning Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus as managing director of the Grameen Bank, which blazed a trail for microfinance in developing countries, is highlighting the crisis engulfing a business that was once seen as a harbinger of hope for millions.

Risky move on bank licences - Live Mint
Compared with industrial and service companies, banks are more tightly regulated in most countries because they have high leverage and can be the source of economic instability
Hook, line and sinker - Business Standard
Marine fisheries in India has steadily been losing out to inland aquaculture, in terms of fish production, but its relevance for exports has not diminished.
Fulfilling The Promise - Kirit S Parikh, Times of India
The announcement in the budget of providing fertiliser and fuel subsides through cash transfer, if successfully implemented, can effectively reach the poor and reduce the burden of subsidies. There are, however, sceptics who question if this can be effectively implemented. The old-age pension and widows’ pension schemes that involve cash transfer are, according to some, the least effective schemes in reaching the intended beneficiaries.
Brace yourselves - Economic Times
Rise in bad loans unlikely to be limited to agriculture, and only policy is to blame.
Rs 1,360 crore lying unclaimed in Indian banks - Chetan Chauhan and Mahua Ventakesh, Hindustantimes
Indian banks have over Rs 1,360 crore unclaimed amount, enough to run Central government hospitals and dispensaries for a year or provide funds to farmers under the National Horticulture Mission.
Not Saint Gupta, maybe not Sinner Gupta either - Andrew Ross Sorkin, The Telegraph
The fact pattern looks bad, very bad. Seconds after Rajat Gupta, then a director of Goldman Sachs, finished up a board call during which he learned that Warren E. Buffett had agreed to invest $5 billion in the firm, he picked up the phone and called his friend Raj Rajaratnam, regulators contend. Minutes later, Rajaratnam placed bets on shares of Goldman Sachs that netted his firm, the Galleon Group, $900,000.
More or less equal? - Financial Express
With India's relatively less well-off earning more in the recent past, the gap between the nation's poor and rich appears to have narrowed.
Cash transfers are a good idea but hasten slowly - Swaminathan Aiyar, Times of India
The finance minister’s Budget speech proposed a radical change in subsidies: instead of trying (and failing) to provide subsidized goods to the needy, the government would provide cash transfers. This would cut leakages in subsidies, which former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi estimated at 85% of outlays.
Govt proposal to muzzle bloggers sparks outcry - Atul Thakur, Times Of India
A government proposal seeking to police blogs has come in for severe criticism from legal experts and outraged the online community.
Why isn't the iPhone made in America? - Clyde Prestowitz, Foreign Policy
John McCain provided some good laughs and made himself look stupid on a recent ABC news interview by telling Diane Sawyer that the iPhone and iPad are great examples of products that are made in America.
18 Indians in Raj Rajaratnam insider trial - Varun Sood, DNA
As a New York federal court started the trial of hedge-fund executive Raj Rajaratnam, 53, on Tuesday, the court disclosed a list of scores of potential witnesses, including 18 executives of Indian origin. Interestingly, one of their prosecutors will be an Indian-origin American — Preet Bharara, a New York attorney.
Meet The Rajaratnam Jury - Halah Touryalai, Forbes
The government accused Galleon Group titan Raj Rajaratnam of using an illegal network of sources to earn millions in illegal gains while defense lawyers countered the claims saying their client traded stocks on public information and not insider tips.
Huffington-Armstrong smackdown at AOL - Jon Friedman, Market Watch
 If it came down to a war of words at AOL Inc., Chief Executive Tim Armstrong would have little chance of thwarting Arianna Huffington. And if things got really contentious, he might not be able to defend his throne against her, either.
Traders Watch Saudi Arabia & Economic Reports - Patti Domm, CNBC
Markets head into Friday watching and waiting to see if economic news outweighs geopolitical concerns, after Thursday's "risk off" selling spree.
Food inflation at single digit - Deccan Chronicle
Food inflation, which measures the pace of rise in agri-commodities prices fell to single digit at 9.52 per cent for the week ending on February 26 due to decline in prices of commodities like potatoes.
Freedom means faster growth - Swaminathan S A Aiyar, Economic Times
The report shows that measuring economic freedom at the state level is a difficult and inexact exercise, given data limitations.
Moving with the cycle - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
High GDP growth in India has created expectations of sustained 9 per cent GDP growth. The government and various forecasters expect the Indian economy to keep growing steadily at 9 per cent year after year.
Feb inflation at 8.31% YoY - Money Control
India's wholesale price index (WPI) rose an annual 8.31% in February on higher fuel and manufactured product prices, government data showed on Monday.
India, China driving global oil demand, says Obama - The Pioneer
Following the current unrest in the Middle East, gas prices in the US have crossed $3.5 a gallon and is expected to further go up, which is prompting demand of use of strategic oil reserve, which Obama said is an option not under consideration right now because there is no major disruption in oil supplies.
Inside the deal that made Bill Gates $350,000,000 - Bro Uttal, Fortune
This story was first published in the  July 21, 1986 issue of Fortune. As Bro Uttal told Fortune's editor, Marshall Loeb, at the time (see Editor's Letter at the bottom of this page), "I doubt that a story like this has been published before or is likely to be done again."
'Misery index' clearly up: Guessing what this could mean - J Gupta, Business Standard
India’s ‘misery index’ is shooting up. The index, a formulation of economist Arthur Okun and got by adding the proportion of unemployment to the inflation rate, is a popular measure in the developed world to judge economic well-being. India's was at 20 in 2010, the highest since 2003, as both inflation and unemployment rose after the global economic crisis in 2008-09.
Rajaratnam bores out a defence - Ann Woolner, Financial Express
Billed as a knock-down, drag-out courtroom battle, the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading trial opened in Manhattan this week with so many onlookers jockeying for seats that it took two overflow rooms with closed-circuit TV to accommodate them.
Curtains down for STPI? - K V. Kurmanath, Business Line
If a historian were to record the STPI's contribution to the Indian IT industry, he would naturally classify life as being before and after STPI.

Will Japan's quake rock the world economy? - Michael Schuman, Time Cnn
After a stress-inducing day on Wall Street, investors have finally woken to the potential dangers to the world economic order posed by the giant earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Will Japan's trauma signal historic change? - William Pesek, Bloomberg
Temblors have a complicated place in the Japanese psyche. There’s a widely held belief, a local mythology, that tectonic- plate shifts can coincide with big ones above the ground, too.
Will you stop production of cars because they pollute? PC to Ramesh - Chetan Chauhan, Hindustantimes
Will you stop production of automobiles because they pollute, is what Home Minister P Chidambaram asked Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh regarding his ministry’s go no-go policy on coal mining at a Group of Ministers meeting in February.
Is there an ethics deficit in business? - Subir Roy, Business Standard
A team of consultants worked with the senior management of a venerable third-generation private firm to evolve a set of core values and objectives, which would be codified.
Inflation, exchange rates and PPP - Harish Damodaran, Business Line
The Economic Survey is normally a bland document written in typical boring sarkari English.
Green nods see major decline in last 3 years - Kirtika Suneja, The Financial Express
The number of green clearances granted by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has seen a significant decline over the last three years, with most of the brunt being borne by the non-coal mining projects.
ED finds pot of gold at end of 2G spectrum - Abraham Thomas, The Pioneer
Key players in the 2G racket may have violated Acts others than the Prevention of 
Money Laundering Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Supreme Court is likely to expand the investigation ambit. 
A flight from risk - The Economist
WHEN troubles come, they come not as single spies but in battalions. The markets have suffered from a series of blows in the last few weeks that have derailed the stockmarket rally. We are merely halfway through March, and two events that were on few people's radar screens for 2011 - middle east political turmoil and the terrible Japanese earthquake/tsunami are dominating the headlines.
Read my lips: No overspending - Mythili Bhusnurmath, Economic Times
It usually takes about a week to digest the fine print of the Budget. That's when googlies emerge and initial reactions are revised in the light of what emerges from a more leisurely study of the Budget numbers.
Two sides of the growth story - Business Standard
Although the macroeconomic indicators of India show an encouraging trend, a comparison of growth within the country highlights disparities across states. The top six contributors to national income are Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. 
A land policy debate unfolds in Gujarat - Priyanka P Narain & Saumya Roy, LIve Mint
A Nirma cement plant site has become a battlefield for two opposing ideas of development in Gujarat: the govt believes a factory fits into the image of a vibrant Gujarat; local people say it will destroy farmlands and ruin them
Quota or merit? - Shyamal Majumdar, Business Standard
On International Women’s Day each year, the usual suspects issue their press releases, noting the disadvantages that women face in the work place and how female quotas for company boards can be the magic medicine to deliver improved performance.
Put your money on it - Bhaskar Dutta, Times of India
Switching to direct cash transfers will go a long way in reforming the subsidy system
Rating a lack of leadership - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
Was Thursday’s widely-expected repo rate hike really necessary and warranted by the international environment and domestic economic data? Or did the RBI act as a Greenspan follower, as a slave to the markets?
Massive uranium deposits found in Andhra Pradesh - TS Subramanian, The Hindu
Huge deposits of natural uranium, which promise to be one of the top 20 of the world's reserves, have been found in the Tummalapalle belt in the southern part of the Kadapa basin in Andhra Pradesh.
Nervous energy - Special Report, Times of India
Fukushima is making people edgy. Especially those who live near India's nuclear power plants. Sunday Times reports 

Govt. rolls back misery tax on health care - DNA
Pranab Mukherjee rolled back the controversial 5% "misery tax" on health care, diluted the excise duty levy on branded garments and promised further reliefs on some other tax proposals.

Brands of Beijing - Rohit Bansal, The Pioneer
Don’t fuss over India versus China. See the latest Brand Finance numbers on the world’s 500 most valuable brands. Sadly, the only ``angle’’ I have noticed in our media is an obvious and insular one. We’ve been told that the Tata brand has made it to the top 50, up from 65 last year
Sen versus sense on healthcare - Arvind Panagariya, Economic Times
Last month, I took issue with Professor Amartya Sen on the importance of growth comparisons in policy discourse. Space constraints precluded a critique of his views on international comparisons of the well being of people and public versus private provision of healthcare. I undertake this task below. Sen argues that India compares poorly with China on indicators of people's well being
The insurance buffet - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
The easy, almost languid way the sage of Omaha—Warren Buffett—has side-stepped the insurance firewall, which was crafted over almost 20 years by Parliament savants, is amazing.
Regulatory turbulence for airlines - A K Bhattacharya, Business Standard
Creating more regulatory bodies will only create more confusion and widen the governance deficit.
Cracks in Micro Foundations - Ajit Ranade, Business Standard
This year’s Economic Survey, a statutory document presented annually to the Parliament, had an unusual section on morality and economics. In its lucidly written second chapter, entitled “Micro Foundations of Macroeconomic Development”, the survey says that “honesty, integrity and trustworthiness are not just good moral qualities” but lead to economic progress and human development. 
Sharing the music moolah - Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times
India’s singers, music composers, song writers and other artistes are at the cusp of consummating a long battle for copyright law amendments that promise to dramatically change power equations in Bollywood and the music industry.
RBI losing its grip on public opinion - Govardhana Rangan, Economic Times
We now track the bank deposit rate as a better measure of tightening of monetary conditions instead of the policy rates," Morgan Stanley's Chetan Ahya wrote recently. That is something similar to a farmer saying he prefers to look at the sky to decide on sowing seeds rather than tune in to the weather report from the Indian Meteorological Department. 
Tata Com says DoT being ingenuous on VSNL surplus land - Business Standard
Tata Communications (erstwhile Videsh Sanchar Nigam) today said the “surplus land” which came when it bought the company from the government did not vest in it and it made no money from the land, either.

Money where the mouth is - E Somanathan, Hindustan Times
As of 2006, over 43% of Indian children under five were malnourished, a rate that has barely budged since the early 1990s. This gives India the dubious distinction of having the highest percentage of malnourished children in the world. There are at least 53 poorer countries with lower malnutrition rates, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Haiti and several African countries.
DMK's free lunches turn costly - N. Madhavan, Business Today
Eighty labourers, both men and women, are at work at Thiruvanduthurai village in Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu, about 325 km south of Chennai. 
Ashok V Desai - Inflation and openness, The Telegraph
The Central government has recently been engaged with inflation. Its policy has failed, which led the government to reflect. 
Blankfein testifies in Rajaratnam trial - Fierce Finance
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein appeared as a witness for the government in the trial of alleged insider trading mastermind Raj Rajaratnam, adding depth and color to the government's contention that the tips by former board member Rajat Gupta were a big deal
The dilemma of leadership transitions - MS Sriram, Live Mint
The controversy over Muhammad Yunus’ exit from the Grameen Bank has again brought to the fore crucial issues about how some leaders manage transitions.
Gupta hopes to win on the offensive - Sujeet Rajan, Economic Times
As a business executive, being proactive has been second nature to Rajat Gupta. He did not become the head of McKinsey-the leader of 8,000 cream-of-the-crop 
The curious economics of luxury brands - Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Live Mint
A recent study by behavioural economist Dan Ariely and his colleagues even suggests that luxury brands could improve human performance.
Giving as good as you get - Pushpa Sundar, Indian Express
Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s visit to India, to encourage the country’s richest people to pledge 50 per cent of their wealth to philanthropy, has shone a new spotlight on Indian philanthropy. 
India's broken news business - Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, Business Standard
Why on earth would anyone want to launch a news channel in India? Going by the latest TAM Media Research figures, there are 122 news channels in the country, the highest in the world.
We’ve come a long way - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
Warren Buffett says that India is no longer an emerging market. In some ways, India does seem to have outgrown the symptoms of emerging markets.
As the voices grow louder - Gautam Adhikari, TOI
Maximum India. That was the banner under which the Indian embassy and the external affairs ministry organised a fortnight-long festival at the Kennedy Centre
No more crimson piracy! - Michael Pinto, Business Standard
Did it not seem strange that with so much else to occupy us, so much time was spent on pirates captured by the navy on the high seas? 
To reveal or not to reveal - TN Pandey, Business Line
The government is not on solid ground in refusing to share any information on those holding black money stashed abroad.
Stick to gum - TN Ninan, Business Standard
In general, India is a better place for building a business than it is for plain investing. Why? Because there are barriers to entry that new players face, and those who are already in the game are, therefore, able to capture better returns. Companies doing plain manufacture are able to deliver margins of 20 per cent and more, which does not happen in more competitive markets. For a variety of reasons, the environment is also more friendly to domestic players than international entrants.
Oil on fire March - Gautam Sen, The Pioneer
West Asia and North Africa produce more than a third of the world's oil, but the turmoil in the region threatens to unsettle this arrangement. As the US, France and Britain bomb Libya and oil prices touch new heights, one wonders if the world is headed towards another energy crisis

Philanthropy-mongering as PR - Business Standard
No one grudges Warren Buffet and Bill Gates their desire to donate part of their considerable wealth to good causes in India. If their visits encourage more of our indigenous tycoons to emulate them, so much the better.
Memo to Buffett on the beauty of daana - TJS George, Express Buzz
Warren Buffett is a capitalist’s dream. Sitting in his patch of the world, he watches stock markets and investment conditions, learns what moves to make at what time and turns himself into a billionaire many times over.
Nothing special, or economic, about these zones - The Hindu Businessline
The PAC report urges a rethink on Special Economic Zones, increasingly panned as a ‘scheme to garner land at advantageous prices and obviate taxes without expected multiplier benefits'.
Foreign firms give oil blocks cold shoulder - Utpal Bhaskar, Live Mint
India’s ninth round of auctions of hydrocarbon exploration blocks received a muted response, with foreign investors spooked by frequent revisions in government policy.
Rising India all but locks out labour unrest - Vivek Sinha & Prabha Jagannathan, Economic Times
Year 2010 was the most peaceful for India Inc in over four decades,at least officially.Labour strikes and management lockouts were at their lowest in more than 40 years,government data show.
Walmart in talks to pick up stake in Future Group's Big Bazaar - Kala Vijayraghavan & Sagar Malviya, Economic Times
At a time momentum is building to allow foreign players into front-end retail, senior officials of the Future group and Walmart have met at least five times in the past four months, raising the possibility of an alliance between India’s largest retailer and the world’s largest retailer.
Why Indian geeks in US are home-bound - Rituparna Chatterjee, Tech Gig
Indian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are finding their dreams imprisoned in an immigration warp.
Gujarat leads in growth, South India needs to catch up - Indian Express
As a result of its focused growth initiatives, Gujarat has leaped ahead of other Indian states in growth, whereas the states in South India are witnessing a slump in growth, according to a report.
Gates stops HIV/AIDS funds to India - Shalini, CNN-IBN
Bill Gates has wrapped up his high-profile visit to India, and with that, the massive funding for the country's HIV/AIDS programmes through the Gates Foundation has also officially ended.
A platter of choices - Abhijit Banerjee, Indian Express
One of the more charming aspects of being in India is the seeming obsession that everyone has with feeding people
Will next time be different? - Raghuram Rajan, Live Mint
These words are often uttered when politicians and central banks want to bail out some troubled segment of the economy. “Yes,” one can almost hear them saying
India’s missing growth driver - Nirvikar Singh, Financial Express
India’s Union Budget has been presented, the Economic Survey has been published and attention has returned to day-to-day governance and politics as usual.
Doha Round: Dead parrot talks - Jagdish Bhagwati, Economic Times
The Doha Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTN) is the first negotiation to take place under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), founded in 1995
The risk of waning investment - Chetan Ahya, Economic Times
Immediately post the credit crisis, while the policymakers took support of loose fiscal and monetary policy to revive growth
RIL to enter financial services business - Business Standard
Reliance Industries (RIL) today said it will set up a joint venture with DE Shaw group to establish financial services business in India.
Home remedies for CAD - Nagesh Kumar, Business Standard
Indian economy weathered the impact of global financial crisis quite well and continued to grow robustly while some of the most advanced economies were actually contracting.
Selected stories from FICCI Frames... - Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, Business Standard
The imperfections of Frames, on content, timing and the chaos on opening and closing days, is just a reflection of the stage of evolution we are at
RIL fails to meet gas commitment - Business Standard
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), the operator of the country’s biggest gas field, KG-D6, has not met its commitment on drilling gas wells, the government’s upstream oil regulator said today.
RIL fails to meet gas commitment - Business Standard
No link between futures trading, high commodity prices: Rangarajan - Business Line
There is no evidence to show that futures trading in commodities results in a surge in the prices of those commodities, says Dr C. Rangarajan, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

Guess where US business houses are headed? Bihar! - Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
Guess where US businesses are turning to now for new opportunities in India: to Bihar, the new turnaround success story, and, depending on the outcome of the coming elections, West Bengal. "We would like to meet Nitish Kumar who has just won a sweeping mandate in favour of progress," Ron Somers, president of the United States India Business Council (USIBC).
Oil Will Be Gone in 50 Years: HSBC - Patrick Allen, CNBC
There could be less than 49 years of oil supplies left, even if demand were to remain flat according to HSBC’s senior global economist Karen Ward.
No data sharing on drugs of pharma cos in FTAs: Sharma - Indian Express
India today ruled out sharing test data of drugs, or data exclusivity, of Indian pharma firms with developed countries and multi-national companies, and stressed that the provision will not form part of any free trade agreements pursued by the country.

India’s inequality low thanks to more education - Financial Express
One of the remarkable features of India’s growth story, over the past three decades, according to Surjit S Bhalla, has been the fact that inequality levels haven’t risen much. The Gini coefficient, Bhalla pointed out in a presentation to NCAER, was 35.4 in 1983, fell to 33.2 in 1999-00 and then rose to 37.8 in 2007-08 (Bhalla’s findings were, however, contested by Himanshu, Assistant Professor at JNU).
ADAG, Essar used fronts to corner spectrum: CBI - Business Standard
Swan Telecom and Loop Telecom were used as fronts by the ADA Group and Essar Telecom, respectively, to get 2G spectrum illegally during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has told the Supreme Court.
Costly coffee day - Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Business Standard
Coffee growers in Orissa have demanded that subsidies for the expansion of coffee plantations in areas that have traditionally not grown coffee should be the same as those given for such expansion in traditional areas.
E-Indica to hit UK streets soon - Business Standard
Tata Morors to target business, fleet users with most popular hatchback; no plans for India launch.
Doha's death will be a disaster, says Bhagwati - Business Standard
Failure to conclude the Doha round of global trade talks would spell doom for both developed and developing countries.
Charity begins in governance - Kanika Datta, Business Standard
How much would it help India’s human development indicators if India’s richest businessmen assigned the bulk of their wealth for philanthropy, as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates exhorted them to do last week?
Nuclear or Coal? - Philip Bowring, NYT
Twenty five years ago a million people here signed a petition opposing a plan to build a nuclear power station with two reactors a few miles across the China border to provide power for Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.
Wages of fiscal imprudence - Sumant Sinha, Economic Times
As per the Budget estimate , India's fiscal deficit will be 4.6% of GDP and total borrowings will be Rs 3,43,000 crore. Both these targets are likely to be exceeded.
Nature’s gift or curse? - Prodipto Ghosh, The Financial Express
What is common to Naxalism, the 2G scam, fratricidal African wars, the Narmada controversies and the US’s patronage of Pakistan for over six decades now?
Greasing the market’s skids - Esther Dyson, Live Mint
Internet firms are supposed to be all about the cutting edge, but reality and buzz sometimes conflict.
Essar exits Vodafone for $5 bn - Business Standard
Ruias exercise call option, valuing company at Rs 67,000 cr. The bosses in Vodafone’s headquarters in UK’s Newbury will surely be breathing easy, with the Ruias of Essar deciding to sell their 33 per cent stake in Vodafone Essar for $5 billion in cash.
The Facebook of ideas - Madhukar Sabnavis, Business Standard
First, big ideas are born small, sometimes seemingly wild and untenable. Yet, they evolve through careful nurture and development. Facebook started as “Facemash”,
Govt relaxes FDI norms to boost inflows - Hindu Business Line
To give a fillip to flagging foreign direct investment, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has announced a slew of changes in its policies
Warren Buffett: Hard shoes to fill - Agnes T Crane, Business Standard
Warren Buffett’s succession plans have hit serious turbulence. The shock resignation of David Sokol, the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway's NetJets airplane charter unit who was considered a prime candidate to run the whole shebang
The economic fallout - Indira Rajaraman, Business Standard
The world has realised that a key ingredient for running nuclear facilities is abundant water. After the disastrous Japanese earthquake and tsunami saw the start of a deluge of predictions and speculation over the economic impact in our connected world.
Goodies for the deserving - T N Ninan, Business Standard
This week is a good time to discuss who deserves goodies from the government. Here are three candidates. The first is Members of Parliament (MPs), who have been given a 150 per cent hike in their budgets under the MP local area development (MPLAD) scheme
Fertiliser companies to pay more for gas - Gireesh Chandra Prasad, Financial Express
Gas-based fertiliser units will have to pay more for their feedstock as the government is mulling pooling of its price with imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is much costlier.
India being hurt by undervalued yuan: RBI - Economic Times
China's policy to keep its currency, the renminbi or yuan , artificially undervalued gives it a huge economic advantage and impacts India's trade, says a research paper released by the Reserve Bank.
Space tourism closer as Virgin Galactic nears lift off - Richard Scott, BBC
In the Mojave Desert, a hundred miles north of Los Angeles, engineers are working on a project which could bring space travel to the general public a little bit closer.
Enterprise spirit of the South - Sushila Ravindranath, Financial Express
Entrepreneurship can be tucked away in unexpected corners. It happens even if there are no ecosystems existing to help set up a business and no Angels and PEs stepping in to fund a project.
Watch those states carefully - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Economists have argued, for a long time, that it is economic growth that determines the outcomes of elections. The higher the growth, the higher the chances of a government getting re-elected.
Economics of content on the Web - Shouvick Mukherjee, Financial Express
Internet brought the information age. The technology that makes content so readily available has also evolved over the years.
Cash machines - The Economist
THE hero of “American Pastoral”, an electrifying novel by Philip Roth, owns a glove-making company. Seymour “Swede” Levov mourns the skills that were lost when he moved all his production offshore
Competition lowers power costs - Shantanu Dixit, Financial Express
Private sector participation in the power sector started in the 1990s when the Indian government adopted a policy on Independent Power Producers (IPPs). However, IPPs were not selected on a competitive bidding basis and most MoUs were signed in an absolutely opaque manner.
Tales the new Census tells - P Raghavan, Financial Express
The 17.64% increase in population between 2001 and 2011, as per the provisional population number, is of major significance in the sense that it is the largest deceleration in population growth rates since independence.
A new lease of rice - Surinder Sud, Business Standard
In Kerala, where paddy cultivation is going out of favour because of labour problems and high costs, the novel System of Rice Intensification’ (SRI) has shown the potential to rehabilitate this crop.
Liberate by growth - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
For every 1,000 boys in India, there are only 914 girls in the age group of children up to 6 years old. Blaming the failure of the health regulatory system in preventing female foeticide
Something to cheer about - Uma Vishnu, Indian Express
In 1911, J. Charles Molony, superintendent of census, Madras, wrote: “The Village Officer, source of all Indian information, is the recorder of his village
Gas production, R-Com debt challenges in the new fiscal - Aveek Datta, Live Mint
The resolution of a bitter legal battle, overseas acquisitions, new partnerships, the end of a limiting anti-compete treaty between warring brothers—the year ended 31 March was an action-packed one for Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Reliance Group. Analysts who have tracked both for years insist that the activity has been most intense since the Reliance empire was carved up between the brothers in 2005.
Apex court lifts Karnataka iron ore export ban - Business Line
Eight months after Karnataka stopped iron ore exports, the Supreme Court on Tuesday passed an order which, in effect, lifts the ban.
The wage-inflation nexus revisited - Abheek Barua, Business Standard
Why is the government losing the battle against inflation? The stock answer, at least from the inflation hawks, is that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has fallen seriously “behind the curve” in raising rates. I don’t entirely buy this argument.
Why ONGC says Vedanta Cairn’t - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Much of the confusion over the Cairn-ONGC dispute, to be decided by the Cabinet today, results from the two seemingly parallel strands to the issue. 
A long way to go for India’s manufacturing - Vidya Mahambare, Live Mint
Faster expansion in the sector can in turn boost services and provide jobs for a growing working-age population. Yet it continues to under perform.
Inflation: RBI should restrain itself in rate increases - Economic Times
Inflation, inflation, inflation - the bugbear refuses to go away. The central bank raised its estimate for the wholesale price index (WPI) to 8%.
Some inconvenient truths - Vikram Singh Mehta, Times of India
What is to be done? I ask this question of energy policy in India and in the wake of the convulsions in Egypt and Libya, the public unrest in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen and the tragedy in Japan. The energy sector is at a point of inflexion and our decision makers may have to spring themselves from what the corporate world refers to as the 'status quo' and the 'sunk cost' traps.
Two sides of a coin - MK Venu, Indian Express
India’s engagement with its major trade partners is marked by interesting paradoxes. The India-US strategic partnership signed during President Barack Obama’s recent visit seeks to take economic cooperation between the two countries to an altogether new level.
Go for arbitration now - Financial Express
Even those sympathetic to ONGC in the Cairn-Vedanta deal are hard put to justify the PSU oil major’s refusal to protect its interests. Going by the calculations made by ONGC.
West Bengal vs Tamil Nadu - Parthasarathi Shome, Business Standard
Chennai and Kolkata, where I equally divided my school days, are two of my favourite places. I like to recall them as Madras and Calcutta, with their unique cultures, habits, beliefs and practices.
Poor states reap big demographic dividend - S A Aiyar, TOI
Poor states reap big demographic dividend Many have celebrated the census revelation that Indias population increased only 17.64% in the last decade, down from 21.54% the previous decade.
Paths for indebted democracies - Live Mint
Democratic governments are not incentivized to take decisions that have short-term costs but produce long-term gains, the typical pattern for any investment.
Less is more for Plan Panel - Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
In a major governance revamp, the Planning Commission wants the Centre to administer just 30 schemes and give money for remaining programmes directly to the state governments.
Now, corporate corruption to get more attention - Dhirendra Kumar, Hindustan Times
Even though it’s the political corruption that has been getting star billing during Anna Hazare’s fast, sooner or later the role of businesses will start getting more attention.
Political economy of future reform - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Economic Times
Many foreign observers ask, why is the pace of economic reform in India so slow and halting? One answer is that having achieved miracle GDP growth of 8.5%, politicians have little incentive to reduce corruption, misgovernance or unwarranted economic controls. If it ain't broke, why fix it?
Expat ‘Unhappiness’ - Rohit Bansal, Pioneer
The India CEO of a Fortune 50 MNC once told me why he never invited his bosses to the Gurgaon farm where he, his wife, three dogs and seven servants lived. “Carol will kill me! If John sees how we live, that would be the end to our hardship allowance.’’
The green signal - Yoginder K Alagh, Indian Express
The increase in agricultural production shown by the Third Advance Estimates — 235.88 million tonnes of foodgrains during 2010-11 compared with 218.11 million tonnes in the previous year — is impressive by any standards.
Telecom policy: back to the future - Manoj Gairola, Hindustan Times
It’s really back to the future. The roots of the New Telecom Policy that communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal announced on Monday lie as far back as 2003, when the NDA was in power.
India beats China in growth sweepstakes - P Raghavan, Indian Express
It’s official! India’s growth in 2010 was a notch higher than that of China. According to data from the IMF, India’s GDP grew 10.4 per cent in 2010 versus China’s 10.3 per cent.
Spectrum reforms - Good & bad news - Shyam Ponappa, Business Standard
There’s some good news, and yes, some bad news… The good news is that momentous developments are under way in spectrum and telecom policy: The Ministry of Communications & Information Technology held consultations with service providers, then posted the transcript on the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) website. The Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing (WPC) disclosed data on all commercial spectrum allocations.
Corruption - Take two - Kanika Datta, Business Standard
In the anti-corruption sentiment that has overcome the general public, the corporate sector has somehow managed to get sympathetic billing as a victim of venal governments and bureaucrats. This is a notion that was initially reinforced by Ratan Tata.
Indo-China to deepen ties in energy space: Jaishankar - CNBC
India would like to step up cooperation with China in energy sector, specially in the field of green technologies to boost trade ties, which in turn could help to build mutual trust to overcome differences.
Nimble-footed desi managers go global - Times of India
Rakesh Kapoor's appointment as CEO-designate at UK-based Reckitt Benckiser adds to the growing list of Indians joining the elite club of global CEOs. The elevation of Indians may be because of the clout of the region ( Asia), which is being looked upon by MNCs as the biggest growth driver, or because desi managers have proven to be capable leaders, the fact remains that the Indian leadership quotient in Global Inc has gone up significantly.
Rejecting state report, Jairam presses pause on POSCO again - Amitabh Sinha, Indian Express
Holding back forest clearance to POSCO’s iron and steel project yet again, the Environment Ministry has directed the Orissa government to recognise the rights of forest-dwellers living in two villages in the proposed project area while rejecting the state’s contention that there was no one eligible for such rights in that area.
Keep it less taxing, please - Jaimini Bhagwati, Business Standard
On March 23, 2011, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne made a fleeting reference to the Indian tax code in his Budget speech. Embarking on reducing UK corporate taxes from the current level of 28 per cent to 23 per cent by 2014-15 and simplifying its tax structure, Osborne remarked that “our tax code has become so complex that it recently overtook India to become the longest in the world”.
The curious case of Datacom - Rishi Raj, Financial Express
The first chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on April 2 before the special court to try the 2G spectrum scam has been seen as weak by many, for it has merely tried to structure the manner in which the irregularities were committed by former telecom minister A Raja and his key officials in connivance with certain private parties.
Citi fraudster took Rs 1.13-lakh cr exposure on Nifty: SEBI - Business Line
The mastermind of Citibank fraud Mr Shivraj Puri took an exposure of Rs 1.13 lakh crore in the equity market using Rs 236 crore of 51 high net worth individuals and corporates and lost everything following the decline in stock markets, says a SEBI report.
What Fukushima tells us - Anil Kakodkar, ToI
The accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant as result of a tsunami seems to have made a heavier impact on the public mind all over the world than the tsunami itself. This calls for a deeper understanding of the perceived as well as real risks of nuclear power.
A bad time to lose control - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
The debate on the effectiveness of capital controls has come alive after an IMF staff proposal supporting the use of controls by emerging economies facing large volatile inflows. The impact of controls on the magnitude and composition of capital flows, the cost of transaction and monetary policy has been a subject of enormous debate.
Refusing the bitter pill - Rajendra Prasad, Indian Express
A gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to almost all known antibiotics — popularly called the “superbug” — has been found in bacteria taken from the water supply in New Delhi, used by local people for drinking, washing and cooking. This came from a UK-based scientist last week. The news that this has spread, and in Delhi’s environment, came as shock to all of us.
Five-star banking - T N Ninan, Business Standard
It was announced last week that there would be a new director on the board of Kingfisher Airlines; a nominee of the 13 banks that have lent vast sums to the troubled airline will join the existing eight directors.
Reviewing capital controls - Deepak Lal, Business Standard
Recently, there has been much lamentation about the US Fed’s policy of quantitative easing (QE), which has led to a decline in the dollar and sparked fears of global inflation.
The economics of corruption - M Govinda Rao, Financial Express
The crusade on corruption launched by Anna Hazare surely is one of the most important events in the history of independent India.
How we can top the power index - Minhaz Merchant, Times of India
Can a poor country be a great power? Three examples from recent history suggest it can. These parallels would have weighed on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's mind as he flew to the southern resort city of Sanya in China's Hainan province for the BRICS (a grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit. When 19th-century Britain became the world's most powerful nation, it was still relatively poor. It had the world's largest economy but, as the cruelties of Dickensian London showed, it also had deep pockets of real poverty. 
Southern States achieve replacement fertility level - Aarti Dhar, Hindu
The provisional Census 2011 figures suggest that two contrasting demographic “nations” are emerging in the country with all four south Indian States — Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu — already having achieved the replacement level fertility of 2.1 children per women required to initiate the process of population stabilisation, while the four large north Indian States — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — have still a long way to go before they achieve the required level.
From field to mandi: Problem of plenty - Rukmini Shrinivasan, ToI
For seven nights, Deviram Oike, a 65-year-old adivasi farmer, slept by the 50 quintals of wheat he had brought to sell in Sultanpur mandi in central Madhya Pradesh's Raisen district. On April 2, the eighth night, he died, his harvest still unsold.
Villagers see Red over NREGA - Rakhi Chakrabarty, Times Of India
It's that time of the year when Jharkhand celebrates the Sarhul festival. As saal trees sprout new leaves and blossom in leafless forests, tribals troop to the village 'saran sthal' (place to pray) to worship nature.
Soon, nod for projects a click away - Surojit Gupta & Sidhartha, ToI
India could soon be an easier place to do business.The government is set to launch a project that will not just provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to seek all clearances for starting a business at the click of a mouse but is also going to guarantee approvals in a specified number of days. In all,35 approvals from from municipalities,state government agencies and the Centre are required to start a business.
Managing rich harvest: Extend procurement and export surplus stocks - Ashok Gulati, Economic Times
There is a good news on the farm front. After the dip in 2009-10 due to severe drought, agri-production in 2010-11 has bounced back on its rising trend. The third Advance Estimates for 2010-11 indicate a rich harvest with foodgrains touching a new peak at 235.9 million tonnes.
Consumer needs more protection - Arvind Panagariya, Economic Times
Several recent experiences have convinced me that our corporations are running well ahead of our regulatory agencies in deploying deceptive schemes to boost profits at the expense of the innocent consumer. I narrate just three such experiences, which may ring familiar to many readers. During my visits to India, I have often used an Indiabased pre-paid cell phone. On more than one occasion, I have had episodes of balance disappearing or the SIM card being deactivated between two visits but overlooked them as part of the cost of the service.
Missing link in food distribution - Shashanka Bhide, Business Line
Food markets have overlooked consumer needs. Organised retail can plug this gap and offer fair prices in the face of rising input costs. But to ensure that this segment buys from producers rather than wholesalers, infrastructure must improve.
It’s raining false prophets - Shreekant Sambrani, Financial Express
If the good folks at Mausam Bhawan who just gave us yet another rosy-goosy forecast of a normal monsoon in 2011 were to predict the winner of 2011 Cricket World Cup, they would surely have picked Sri Lanka. Most of their five parameters would have favoured the islanders: batting first, not playing at home, century in the first innings, record in the World Cup against India, average score of teams chasing at the Wankhede.
India Inc’s arresting silence - Gunjan Pradhan Sinha, Indian Express
Corporate India maintained a studied silence, preferring to stay away from the 2G controversy as five senior executives were sent to Tihar jail on Wednesday after a Delhi court rejected their bail plea. This is the first time high-profile corporate executives have been arrested on charges they colluded with some government officials and a Cabinet minister to get favours for their companies.
India's illicit financial flow is $462 billion: Book - Economic Times
Tax evasion , crime and corruption have combined to remove a staggering $462 billion from India, says a new book based partly on scholarly studies. "From 1948 through 2008, India lost a total of $213 billion in illicit financial flows (illegal capital flight)," says the book, The Darker Side of Black Money " (Konark Publishers), by B.V. Kumar. 
Shareholders' option put down - Sandeep Parekh, Economic Times
There is some interesting debate on the recent Sebi mandate to Vedanta-Cairn to repudiate a call/put/pre-emptive rights in their share purchase agreement. Sebi's stand is both interesting and dangerous. However, Sebi is mainly the messenger of an archaic law. And the message deserves to be shot. Luckily, Sebi owns the handgun that is capable of quickly shooting down this quixotic law.
Centre not in favour of banning insecticide endosulfan - Devesh Kumar, Economic Times
Even as an all-party delegation from Kerala meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Friday to press for the imposition of a ban on the use of endosulfan, the Centre has stuck to its position that a precipitate action on the issue would adversely affect the average Indian farmer and overall agricultural productivity.
Ugly war erupts again among The Hindu's owners - Business Standard
A boardroom battle has again erupted among family members of Kasturi & Sons, which owns and operates The Hindu group of publications. It came with a decision on Monday to appoint Siddharth Varadarajan as editor of the flagship daily and to relieve five family members on the board of all editorial reponsibilities. The new editor is a professional employee, not related to the family.
Focus on reforms: PM to Plancom - Business Standard
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked the Planning Commission to focus on policy reforms, while aiming for an average annual growth of 9-9.5 per cent in the 12th Plan, which starts from the next financial year. 
Government gets tough with RIL on K-G gas - Ajay Modi, Business Standard
Tells it to implement official utilisation policy without more delay, end lag in drilling targets. The petroleum ministry has hardened its stance on the fall in development plan targets from the D6 gas field of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin. It has directed the company to meet its drilling commitments for KG-D6 and reiterated it will have to meet government orders on diverting gas from non-priority to priority sectors.
A practical test for economists' theories - Namrata Acharya & Ishita Ayan Dutt, Bus Std
In the rough and tumble of Assembly polls, CPI(M)’s Asim Dasgupta and Trinamool Congress’ Amit Mitra cross theoretical swords in Khardah. Earlier, they would often meet in air-conditioned conference halls buzzing with discussions on taxation and economy. These days they are more likely to run into each other in the heat and dust of Khardah, an unlikely intellectual hotspot in the rough and tumble of West Bengal Assembly polls, but studiously avoid crossing each other’s path.
57 Indian companies in Forbes Global 2000 list - Hindustan Times
Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries Ltd  (RIL) leads the pack of 57 Indian companies that feature on a list of the world’s most powerful publicly-listed companies,  brought out by Forbes based on the firms’ rankings for sales, profits, assets and market value. RIL, with sales of $45.3 billion (about Rs 2,00,000 crore), was ranked 121 — up five rungs from last year — on the list of the 2000 global companies, followed by State Bank of India at 136, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation at 172 and India Oil Corporation at 243. Last year, there were 56 Indian companies on the Forbes Global 2000 list.
Jairam isolated on power target at plan panel meet - Business Standard
Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh found himself isolated at the meeting of the full Planning Commission (PC) on the issue of the 12th Plan’s power generation target. Dubbing the Plan’s aim to add 100,000 Mw to India’s existing power generation capacity of around 165,000 Mw as “ecologically unsustainable”, Ramesh suggested aiming for less than the targeted seven per cent annual rate of growth of generation.
Pakistan to extend most favoured nation status - Financial Express
In order to boost the trade relations between the two neighbouring countries, Pakistan has agreed to extend the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India. Both the countries have jointly announced the blueprint to spur trade between the two nations at the end of a two-day meeting of the commerce secretaries on Thursday in Islamabad, an official statement said.
A milestone reached, an agenda unfinished - Hari Shankar Singhania, Business Standard
After twenty years of reform, areas that still need attention are nfrastructure, labour reforms, land acquisition, environment clearances, an integrated domestic market and a second green revolution. We are presently celebrating 20 years of economic reforms. It is time for us to review how far we have progressed and the way forward. After two decades of gradual but slow economic reforms, the Indian economy has come a long way, and is now destined to be the world’s third largest economy in the next two decades. From a state of prolonged slow rate of growth we have achieved a steady state of sustainable high growth; from a low-income economy to a fast- moving emerging market economy.
Triumph of gold, the anti-investment - James Saft, Reuters Blog
In investing, extreme behavior is becoming more mainstream every day. How else can we interpret the extraordinary moves by the University of Texas’ endowment fund to not only buy nearly $1 billion of gold, equal to about 5 percent of its assets, but to insist on taking physical delivery of the precious metal.
The new Hindu constant - Surjit S Bhalla, Financial Express
It is now official. It has the imprimatur of both the Planning Commission chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and the lead poverty member in the Commission, Abhijit Sen: India has a new Hindu constant.
India fails to leverage arms imports - Rahul Bedi, Sunday Guardian
Despite being one of the world's largest importers of military equipment, India has proven inept in either leveraging these purchases to its advantage or exploiting them for strategic benefit.
Don't inflate inflation expectations - Pankaj Vaish, Economic Times
The whole country is indulged in self-flagellation on inflation. Politicians too never miss an opportunity to fish for votes - normally dovish but now prodding the Reserve Bank of India ( RBI )) to tighten further . As a hawk who had advocated hikes in late 2009, in the face of 3.25% rates which stayed till March 2010, I feel the national mourning might be unproductive.
The insiders at Infosys - Saritha Rai, Indian Express
Infosys Technologies, for long the model of a successful Indian homegrown corporation, has recently missed profit expectations in a tough global technology environment. Margins are squeezed and attrition is high, as stock market investors have noted of a company that has only delivered stellar performances, quarter after quarter.
Time to benefit from bamboo - Sunita Narain, Business Standard
Stroke of the pen reform is critical since in many cases policy is dastardly and change is laggard. The essential element is to find a big-ticket item that can have an impact on a scale and at a pace that are needed. Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh’s letter addressed to all chief ministers clarifying that bamboo is grass and not timber is one such item.
Infra, governance key to double-digit growth: Kaushik Basu - Indivjal Dhasmana, Bus Std
The finance ministry’s chief economic advisor, Kaushik Basu, says India may achieve double-digit economic growth after five-six years, if some reforms are set in motion. “Given global problems like high oil price and the sovereign debt overhang in Europe, double-digit growth will not be easy for India,” he told Business Standard. This is despite the fact that the long-run growth prognosis for India is very good, he said. “In 2008-09, the investment rate was 34.5 per cent. In 2009-10, it rose to 36.5 per cent.”
Cutting your nose to spite your face - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Once the assembly elections are over next month, it’s almost certain that we’ll see another round of oil price hikes, but how large the hikes will be is really the question, and whether they’ll be enough to cover the yawning deficits of the public sector oil companies. The losses or under-recoveries rose from R9,274 crore in 2003-04 to a whopping R1,03,292 crore in 2008-09, fell to R46,051 crore in 2009-10 and rose to an estimated R78,000 crore for the year just gone by.
Show us the data. (It’s ours, after all.) - Richard H Thaler, NYT
Companies are accumulating vast amounts of information about your likes and dislikes. But they are doing this not only because you’re interesting. The more they know, the more money they can make. If a business collects data on consumers electronically, it should provide them with a version of that data that is easy to download and export to another Web site. Think of it this way: you have lent the company your data, and you’d like a copy for your own use.
An economist for all seasons - Business Line
Last Saturday, during a TV show, the official spokesperson for the Congress party put forth an interesting proposition. “This is a democracy”, she said. People are entitled to their views, she pointed out. “You are in public life”, she reminded Justice Santosh Hegde. So you must have a thick skin, she concluded. In other words, according to her, people in public life in a democracy must have thick skins. This is just the sort of thing that Dr Kaushik Basu, the multi-dimensional Chief Economic Advisor, likes to analyse for leaps of logic.
The insiders at Infosys - Saritha Rai, Indian Express
Infosys Technologies, for long the model of a successful Indian homegrown corporation, has recently missed profit expectations in a tough global technology environment. Margins are squeezed and attrition is high, as stock market investors have noted of a company that has only delivered stellar performances, quarter after quarter.
Fashioned in India - Malavika Sangghvi, Business Standard
As we catch our breath between the incessant fashion weeks in India, I find myself wondering when our fashion will finally get its due internationally. Remember the time before Sir Salman won the Booker and India was still the ingénue at the international literary ball? Indian fashion seems to be on the verge of its own Midnight Moment.
Why can't media sellers consolidate? - Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, Business Standard
India is one of the world's largest TV and print markets. But it continues to have one of the worst ad spend-to-GDP ratios among emerging economies. Raj Nayak was called the “superman” of media advertising sales. If there was one person who could convince an advertiser to buy a block of television time or a spot of internet space, it was Mr Nayak. He headed ad sales at Star India, and then set up NDTV Media — an independent company that he owned along with Prannoy Roy’s NDTV. The idea was to bundle a whole lot of television channels, websites and anything else that came along and sell it to advertisers.
Warren Buffett, the delegator in chief - Andrew Ross Sorkin, Business Standard
“He picked the chorus line but didn’t attempt to dance.” That is Warren Buffett’s management style, as described in a biography by Roger Lowenstein. Buffett delegates; he empowers his executives. Buffett, the 80-year-old chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway known as Uncle Warren, has been praised as one of the world’s greatest business managers. He has racked up average annualised returns of more than 20 per cent for four decades. Yet in a potential case study for business schools, the question is now being asked: Does Buffett delegate too much?
BRICS move to dump the dollar will shake markets - William Pesek, Financial Express
Conference call, anyone? Several times a year, the lords of the global economy descend on the city of the moment. Their massive entourages fly business class, zoom around in motorcades and sleep at 5-star hotels. What do taxpayers funding all this summitry get in return? Ambiguous communiqués, hollow pledges and a nagging sense that world leaders should discover videoconferencing.
What will replace the dollar? - Saugata Bhattacharya, Financial Express
The importance of the downgrade of the outlook for US long-term sovereign credit ratings from stable to negative by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) a few days ago lay not so much in a deep impact on global economic and financial conditions but a reaffirmation of the concerns that have been repeatedly voiced by a wide variety of stakeholders regarding the ballooning US sovereign debt. This also gives us an opportunity to review the current global economic architecture, which this newspaper has recently succinctly editorialised.
Not by rate hikes alone - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
Inflation continues to persist and pose a problem even though food inflation has declined. For nearly two years, the Reserve Bank’s stance on inflation was that food inflation is caused by supply side constraints, and the RBI could not, and should not, do anything about it. The result of that policy has been high inflationary expectations and persistent inflation. Today, when world crude oil prices are rising, what should the RBI’s policy be?
The Hindu battles to transform - Anupama Chandrasekaran, Live Mint
Operation Kamadhenu was supposed to help Kasturi and Sons Ltd (KSL) sort out its external problems related to growth and competiton, and internal ones arising from the dynamics of being a family-owned and family-managed enterprise. Instead, the consulting assignment undertaken by McKinsey and Co. last year may have only served to amplify the discord at the company, which publishes The Hindu and The Hindu Business Line newspapers that compete with the Hindustan Times and Mint, published by HT Media Ltd, in some markets.
Injustice to wheat farmers - Business Line
By getting its agencies to procure wheat at sub-MSP rates and not allowing the farmers to export, the Centre has committed a double injustice. On April 1, at the start of the new harvesting season, India's public wheat stocks, at 15.36 million tonnes, were more than twice the required minimum buffer and strategic reserve of seven million tonnes. On top of that, the size of the crop about to be marketed was reckoned at an all-time-high of 84.27 million tonnes. There could not, arguably, have been a better time to lift the ban on exports, in place since February 2007.
Indian work visas for US citizens equal H-1Bs, L1s - Goutam Das, Financial Express
While Indian IT companies are often accused of replacing American workers in the US, data from India’s home ministry reveal that substantial jobs have been created for US nationals in India. The numbers suggest that India is issuing nearly equal if not more work visas as compared to the US.
Slow and steady goes the road ministry - Mihir Mishra, Business Standard
Meticulous C P Joshi is triggering comparisons with his predecessor, Kamal Nath, a man of the world. Early morning last Friday, in a post timed at 7.44 am, one Ramesh Jain wrote a rant against overloading. It was the usual anguish many of us feel on seeing overloaded trucks on highways and toll plazas and the state officers’ connivance in letting them go.
Wheat market: The price of minimum support - Prabha Jagannathan, Economic Times
It is an abiding irony of the Centre's flawed food management policy that the agriculture ministry works to maximise foodgrain production while the food, PDS and civil supplies ministry tries to cut the holding cost for grain - and overall food subsidy - by offloading stocks at the earliest . It is an even more stinging irony that when the farmer achieves record production, he is threatened with below-floor prices and distress sales for his produce.
Allocate all airwaves in future through auction: Panel - JT Philip & R Singh, Economic Times
A government panel, set up to recommend rules for pricing of all natural resources, has said that all future allocations of airwaves must be through auctions. The panel, headed by former finance secretary Ashok Chawla , in its draft report, has also called for spectrum trading to be permitted amongst telcos. The committee was also of the view that price discovered though market mechanisms could be used to calculate the charges payable by legacy users. 
Does it pay to spend less? - Kanika Datta, Business Standard
Would more Indians be better off if rich Indians were more austere? As the latest War on Wasteful Weddings suggests, the issue has come to acquire an enduring significance as middle class incomes and lifestyles scale new heights of opulence, the band of crorepatis expands by the year and lefty economists shake their heads disapprovingly at Gini coefficients that point to growing inequality.
India overtaking China? Not so fast - Beyondbrics
s census results from the world’s two most populous countries pour in, the China India demographic transition debate rages on. The rate of population growth in China has slowed to less than 6 per cent over the past decade, while in India it surged ahead by almost 18 per cent. 
RBI moots deregulation of savings bank interest rate - Hindu
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday made a pitch for deregulation of savings bank deposit rates, saying that deregulation of interest rates on savings bank (SB) accounts would benefit savers, as it would enable lenders to come out with innovative products to attract more funds from low-income households.
Homecoming: India better than US for business - Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times
India today offers better economic opportunities than the US, say seven out of 10 US-returned Indian entrepreneurs, suggesting a dramatic generational shift with consequences for both countries. In a study by three top American universities, 72% of Indians who have returned from the US to set up companies at home in recent years said the “opportunities to start their own businesses were better or much better” here.
India softens its stand on endosulfan - Zia Haq, Hindustan Times
Indian government representatives at the UN-backed Stockholm Convention signaled on Thursday that they would push for an “exception” to using endosulfan, farm insecticide, on 22 crops for a five-year time limit — a move independent observers at meet described as a “climb-down”.
Not for the 9th time - Madan Sabnavis, Financial Express
Ever since we embarked on the path of fine tuning monetary policy last year, meaning eight such announcements, a lot has been said every time about what RBI should or should not do. Fiscal year 2011 was quite unique in the sense that it has thrown up a lot of surprises. Inflation has been an enigma that we just could not understand and several theories that popped up did not stand the test of time. We spoke of food.
A strange savings instrument - K Kanagasabapathy, Business Line
Indian banks are perhaps unique in opening savings bank accounts with cheque-writing facilities. Such accounts do not promote the savings habit. Interest rates should be freed and accounts allowed only for individuals and families.
Ban call inspired by European interests - Economic Times
The Indian pesticide industry has opposed listing endosulfan as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) under the Stockholm Convention, suggesting that the proposal is inspired by European agrochemical interests. Endosulfan was manufactured and exported out of Europe for over 55 years. There were no issues until 2001, when the sole European manufacturer (Bayer Crop Science) decided to phase out the product to promote their new products.
Chronicle of a deal on hold - Jyoti Mukul & Kalpana Pathak, Business Standard
There are no guesses on how many times the group of ministers will meet before any clarity emerges on the $9.6-billion deal. More than eight months ago, India’s oil and gas sector saw the signing of its biggest acquisition deal. That was when on August 16, 2010, Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Resources entered into an arrangement with the Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy to acquire a controlling stake in Cairn India, the latter’s Indian company that along with ONGC operates the country’s biggest onland oilfield in Barmer district of Rajasthan.
Business of growing, harvesting and packaging food expanding rapidly - Radhika P Nair, Economic Times
Across the country, the business of growing, harvesting , transporting and packaging food is emerging as a hot entrepreneurial opportunity as the market for processed foods with better quality expands rapidly. Agri-businesses in areas ranging from farm inputs, logistics and warehousing, processing and marketing dairy and food produce are scaling operations and raising cash from a plethora of risk capital investors keen to get a share of this fast growing pie.
India goes to towns - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
It was just five years ago that an expert investment committee, headed by Ratan Tata and set up by the prime minister, came up with a report that said India should aim for increasing the investment rate to the mid-30s over the next decade. Before the ink was dry, India was investing at that rate.
Time to pull plug on Air India? - Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times
In the 100th year of India's civil aviation history, when the first air flight between Karachi and Delhi was started by the Indian State Air Services in 1912, the national carrier Air India (AI) is all but grounded. A year that should have seen firecrackers and celebrations is, instead, passing through serial fiascos, with the airline staring at the possibility of a lock-out —it’s third — after 1971 and 1973.
India has 11 years to ban endosulfan - Zia Haq, Chetan Chauhan & Gaurav Choudhury, HT
A UN-backed regime of 173 countries on Friday agreed to globally “phase out” the farm insecticide endosulfan —  a decision with significant implications for India, the world’s largest manufacturer and user of the chemical. The phase-out commitment, often loosely referred to as a “ban”, will put endosulfan in Annex A of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, thereby clearing it for elimination. The country’s pesticide industry deplored the move, saying it would benefit European manufacturers of costlier alternatives.
Pulse of the nation - Lux Lakshmanan, Business Standard
The critical state of India’s food security is only getting worse each year. Besides, the cost of food items is rapidly increasing beyond affordability to a majority of people. Added to these woes are the short supply of pulses and edible oils that the central government is forced to import. Pulses play a critical role in the Indian diet because large sections of people are vegetarians. Proteins play a key role in the human diet in that it is the body building nutrient that develops muscles and is responsible for body strength, endurance and productivity at the workplace.
Ordering ordnance - TN Ninan, Business Standard
India's defence spending this year will be 1.8 per cent of GDP, the lowest since the 1962 war with China. Much of the initial comment in the Indian media on the shortlisting of two of the six contenders for a Rs 42,000-crore fighter aircraft has focused (predictably, perhaps) on the elimination of the two American contenders. The US ambassador has made some gratuitous comments: he is “respectful” of the selection process which, he has been assured at the highest level of the government, is “fair and transparent” (so what did he expect?).
Why the poor want to stay very poor on paper - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, TOI
Poverty has declined from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 32% in 2009-10, according to preliminary Planning Commission estimates based on consumption surveys of the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO). Some welcome the news; others complain that fast growth has not reduced poverty fast enough. Still others, notably economist Surjit Bhalla, pour scorn on the data, and imply these have been fudged to exaggerate poverty.
With outsider Kamath as chairman, Infosys begins a new chapter - Saritha Rai, IE
After three decades as a spectacularly visible and stunningly successful company, both in India and overseas, Infosys entered a new phase today with three vital changes. Its iconic, charismatic founder and chairman N R Narayana Murthy will step down. For the first time, a non-founder, non-insider, non-techie—KV Kamath of ICICI—will head the Infosys board.
India loses ground in ICT ranking - T Ramachandran, Hindu
India has slipped five places in the network readiness index rankings of countries released by the World Economic Forum and the business school INSEAD. The rankings indicate the relative position of countries in information and communication technologies (ICT). The rankings, presented in the 10th anniversary edition of the Global Information Technology Report 2010-11, paints a picture of an India that has fallen behind in “most indicators.” 
India not for IPR beyond domestic law in FTA with EU: PM - Indian Express
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed Indian negotiators not to take IPR obligation, particularly in the pharmaceuticals, beyond domestic laws or as mandated in a WTO pact, while entering into a FTA with European Union.
"The Prime Minister firmly directed that the Indian side shall not take on any obligation beyond TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights)/domestic laws."
Coal shortage may trip 42,000 MW of new projects - Anil Sasi, Business Line
A coal crunch threatens to trip the power sector with a cascading impact on the country's growth story. With domestic coal production floundering amid a sharp upsurge in power capacity addition, over 40,000 MW of new generation capacity could get stranded over years for want of fuel. This is close to 70 per cent of the power capacity slated to come up during the period, most of which is being set up by private developers.
Air India: The wheels are off - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
The umpteenth attempt at putting Humpty Dumpty back on the wall does not look like succeeding. It’s well known that Air India has been in a precarious state for the past couple of years, but the current management seems to be aiding and hastening the downfall.
An act of commission on emissions - Rohini Pande , Michael Greenstone, Indian Express
India’s growth miracle has improved the lives and prospects of millions of people, but it is taking a toll on the country’s environment. High levels of air and water pollution are shortening people’s lives and threatening vital ecosystems. What’s the best way for India to continue to increase the standard of living of its citizens while preventing further environmental harm?
You can't run a company as a democracy: KV Kamath - Mayur Shetty, Times of India
Kundapur Vaman Kamath, while scaling ICICI into the country's largest private bank, built a reputation for coming up with ideas which at that time seemed audacious for their sheer scale and ambition. It was his statesmanship that helped broker an ambition between the warring Ambani brothers. Now almost two years after he hung his boots as CEO of ICICI Bank, Kamath is being watched to see whether as the new chairman of Infosys, he brings new audacious ideas into the company.
The mirage of corruption quick fixes - Gulzar Natarajan, Live Mint
A litany of scams has been followed by a scramble for solutions to contain, nay eliminate, corruption. Gandhian activist Anna Hazare, riding a wave of public angst against corruption, argues that a Jan Lok Pal Bill will reduce corruption by 90%. In a much discussed paper, the chief economic adviser to the government of India, Kaushik Basu, advocates that giving immunity to bribe takers “will cause a dramatic drop in the incidence of bribery”.
Where have all the investments gone? - Mahesh Vyas, Financial Express
CMIE’s CapEx database has thrown up three disturbing signals. The first is that the pace of announcement of new investments has fallen substantially. New investment announcements amounted to R2.63 trillion in the quarter ended March, 2011. This was lower than the R2.92 trillion in the preceding quarter, which, in turn, was lower than the R3.57 trillion worth of new announcements made in the earlier quarter.
Posco clears the final green test - Business Standard
South Korean steel company Posco can finally go ahead with its $12-billion project in Orissa. The environment ministry on Monday gave the Orissa government the go-ahead for using 1,253 hectares forest land for the project. The final nod has come six years after Posco’s agreement with the state government. This will be the biggest foreign direct investment into the country to date.
The rural road of BPOs climbs up the value chain - Diksha Dutta, Financial Express
It is no more about entry-level basic work for village employees. Small-scale rural BPOs are catering to international clients and cream of the top domestic customers by offering niche services such as email and chat-based help desk, GIS-based mapping, content creation and social media marketing. Ajay Chaturvedi, the founder and chairman of HarVa Rural BPO, is a busy man these days. He is hunting for a multi-purpose middle level manager who is good at marketing, sales and content development for various clients.
RBI credit policy: Home, auto loans to cost more, say bankers - Economic Times
Home, auto and corporate loans are likely to cost more, with the Reserve Bank raising key policy rates by half a percentage point, bankers said. "I think banks do not have any other option but to increase rates. It could be 25 basis points or 50 basis points, depending on individual banks," IDBI Bank Executive Director R K Bansal told. 
Interest rate hike to hit investment: India Inc - Hindustan Times
Disappointed with RBI's strong signal of interest rate hikes, a large section of India Inc on Tuesday said the upward revision in key rates in the credit policy will dampen the investment environment. "This is certainly a very hawkish monetary stand and one which would make the investment environment more difficult. 
Commodity surprise: Some are now heading down - Liam Pleven, Wall Street Journal
The months-long rally in commodity prices has sparked fears it could ignite inflation or cripple consumer spending. But a surprising trend is now sweeping the markets for some key materials: Prices are falling. Goods from cotton to zinc that were highfliers late last year have turned into laggards in recent weeks. Several have logged double-digit-percentage declines in futures markets.
RBI fights inflation, wounds borrowers - Business Standard
Repo, reverse repo rates raised by 50 basis points; Bankers expect 50-100 basis points rise in rates; Markets see red, Sensex slumps by 463 points; Central bank pegs GDP growth at 8 per cent; Savings rate to go up by 50 basis points to 4 per cent. The “baby steps” have finally given way to what Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D Subbarao himself defined as a “large step”. The central bank on Tuesday raised key policy rates by 50 basis points (bps) and declared it would battle high inflation even at the cost of some economic slowdown.
India's population will peak at 1.7bn in 2060: UN study - Rukmini Shrinivasan, Times of India
India's population is projected to peak at 1.718 billion in 2060, after which it will decline. At its peak, India will be the most populous country there has ever been or probably ever will be. According to population projections released by the United Nations on Tuesday, India's share in the world's population will peak in 2030 after which it will decline, and the growth in the world's population from then on will be fuelled by Africa.
When the flag follows trade - Ashok Malik and Rory Medcalf, Times of India
Business is taking India's international relations in new directions, and the flag must follow trade. Yet is the nation's traditional foreign policy community up to the task? Can it, for instance, contemplate a merger of the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and the ministry of commerce?
Time to fast-track full convertibility - Jamal Mecklai, Business Standard
The dramatic (37.5 per cent) growth in exports in 2010-11 confirms my long-standing belief that the exchange rate is not a major determinant of India’s export competitiveness. Despite the rupee strengthening by four per cent on an average in 2010-11 – 5.5 per cent, if we use the average rate three months in advance, when most exports were likely priced – exports surged like never before.
High interest cost will hurt EPS - Jitendra Kumar Gupta, Business Standard
Besides construction and real estate, even consumer staples and telecom are likely to be substantially hit. The negative impact of an inflationary environment on corporate profitability is already a big worry for 2011-12. Importantly, after the interest rate rises by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the recent past, there is a high probability of corporate India getting hit on profits.
The frightening fisc - P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Indian Express
I am not sure if this sounds scary. Certainly, the government doesn’t seem to acknowledge the enormity of the situation. But dark clouds seem to be gathering around India as its economy just about manages to wriggle out of a roller-coaster 2011. There isn’t one particular factor that threatens to test the crisis management skills of Manmohan Singh’s government. An interplay of several domestic factors and exogenous variables has started worrying many New York analysts tracking India. So far, this worry has manifest itself in the equity markets. A top-notch hedge fund manager, who was in India recently to study the situation on the ground and meet those at the helm of policy-making, said: “The equity market is like the public urinal. You eat and drink all kind of stuff. The distilled (sic) output that you get reflects the health of the economy.”
World Bank prefers cash transfers to 'leaking' PDS - Times Of India
Amid a raging debate over the feasibility of conditional cash transfers to ensure food security for the poor, the World Bank in its recent report has supported the concept of phasing out of large scale public distribution of foodgrains with cash transfers as a long-term solution.
RBI's policy stance: The message is the aim - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
In the monetary policy statement this week, the Reserve Bank changed its policy stance to a strong anti-inflationary one. However, though this step was much needed and is in the right direction, it will not be enough to bring inflation down. Hiking rates and contracting demand is only one part, the painful part, of the story.
RBI: Words, actions and outcomes - Rajeev Malik, Financial Express
Investors in India already have had two major shifts in policy guidance so far in 2011. The first was the federal budget in February that signalled some overdue spending restraint after sharply higher expenditure in the prior three years. The second is the recent RBI policy meeting where the central bank announced a higher-than-expected 50 bps increase in the repo rate.
Sky wars: Europe battles to erase borders in the air - Daniel Michaels, Wall Street Journal
When air travel plunged following the global recession in 2008, Spanish air-traffic controllers suffered little impact: They were earning, on average, a half a million dollars apiece. Last year, as the Spanish government tried cutting those payouts to below $300,000—still 10 times Spain's average salary—controllers protested by staging wildcat strikes during December holidays.
Problem of plenty after bumper wheat harvest - Sangeeta Singh & Ruchira Singh, Live Mint
Lallu Paswan from Bihar was a regular in Punjab during the harvest season—until 2009, that is, when he found the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), which promises 100 days of employment every year to every rural household, to be a more attractive alternative. This year, Paswan is back in the ranks of migrant labourers who come from Bihar to assist in the harvest season that will go on until mid-May.
Pace of infrastructure holding back internet growth in India - Pranjal Sharma, Live Mint
India’s online population of 100 million is larger than the total population of many developed nations, making the country an immense market for Internet-based companies, said Nikesh Arora, chief business officer, Google Inc. Nonetheless, 100 million is just a fraction of India’s own potential, and the country needs to develop its online infrastructure substantially to exploit its market optimally, Arora said in an interview.
Sensex falls for a 9th day, its longest losing streak in decade - Rajhkumar K Shaaw, Mint
Indian stocks dropped for the ninth day, the longest run of losses in a decade, on concerns that rising borrowing costs will pressure company earnings. Bharti Airtel Ltd, the nation’s largest mobile phone operator, fell the most in three months. Profit in the quarter ended in March was Rs. 1,400 crore, compared with Rs. 2,040 crore a year earlier. That lagged behind the Rs. 1,630 crore average of 10 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
‘At times, I am forced to regularise illegality’: Jairam Ramesh - Indian Express
Despite having shown the rule-book to many a mighty project, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday said in many instances he had to tolerate violations of green laws and regularise illegalities.
The wrong war? - TN Ninan, Business Standard
No one should cavil at the new repo rate of 7.25 per cent (up from 6.75 per cent earlier), since inflation is at 9 per cent. Still, in a week when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that combating inflation is now its primary focus, it is important to ask: is RBI fighting yesterday’s war, instead of peering into the future to glean what might be coming — as monetary policy is supposed to do?
Guj watershed model among best in India - Dayananda Yumlembam, Times of India
The history of the construction of 200 check dams in the Khopala village of Saurashtra region in the state will now grab the attention of the policymakers at the centre. A project under the Ministry of Rural Development that intends to analyze the best practices in watershed development in the country handled by Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) will highlight the case of the village as an example to learn from.
An airline hijacked - PC Sen, Hindustan Times
Air India (AI) is in an ICU and there are strident voices demanding its demise. Governments and most people have short memories. AI in the 1950s and 1960s was one of the finest airlines in the world and mentored Singapore Airlines. It is true that after the 1970s, AI and Indian Airlines (IA) often had turbulent flight paths. But never were these airlines in the state the merged airline is in today.
NREGA’s the cure as well as the problem - Meghnad Desai, Financial Express
The move by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) yet again to raise interest rates comes as no surprise. Inflation pressures have remained strong in India for the two years the UPA-2 has been in power. In the first year, there was the excuse of the drought, though even here the countervailing action—timely release of foodgrain stocks—was neglected. The sum total of policy seemed to be the periodic forecasts by policymakers that within the coming six months inflation would subside.
India cuts a sorry figure with contracts - Somasekhar Sundaresan, Business Standard
“I feel ashamed to call myself a lawyer,” a senior lawyer with over 30 years in practice wrote to me. Since he is not a person given tohistrionics, I sat up to read his mail. He was referring to the DoingBusiness 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs, a report jointly authored by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
Resurrecting the FDI inflow - Kumkum Sen, Business Standard
While FDI inflows are not the sole indicator of a growing economy, the fact remains that India, projected as the second most attractive destination for foreign investments, and FDI in particular, has witnessed a downtrend in the last year. While this cannot be attributed entirely to the global meltdown and its aftermath, one also does not have to look very far to identify the reasons for the decline. Some obstacles are endemic, while others are comparatively recent, but unless these are addressed speedily, we have a problem at hand.
Govt to divest in SAIL, ONGC, Hindustan Copper - Hindustan Times
The government has set a target to raise Rs 40,000-crore through disinvestments in four public sector companies in the fiscal year 2011-12, disinvestment secretary Sumit Bose said on Monday at the press conference for the opening of the follow-on public offer (FPO) of Power Finance Corporation (PFC).
Trai, ministry spar over approach to broadband - Shauvik Ghosh, Live Mint
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and the department of telecommunications (DoT) have a new point of conflict—broadband. This follows long-running battles over second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) mobile services. Last week, the telecom regulator sent a letter to DoT, objecting to changes the latter has made to its December 2010 recommendations on the National Broadband Plan.
Disinvestment hope floats, again - Santosh Tiwari, Business Standard
Two decades ago when the finance ministry discovered 'disinvestment' as a way of raising revenue from the sale of public sector equity to private entities, the Indian Left saw this as privatisation through the backdoor. While India's politicians have had a love-hate, see-saw relationship with the idea of privatisation, disinvestment has continued as a favourite revenue raising measure of finance ministry mandarins.
Uranium to be part of FTA between Inida, Australia - Business Standard
With India expected to kick off free trade negotiations with Australia tomorrow, the opposition party here today called for inclusion of uranium sale issue in the negotiations. Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma will reach Canberra tomorrow to start talks on the deal that could potentially deliver about AUD 30 billion into the economy over the next 20 years.
Send for the supermarketers - The Economist
At first sight the Easy Day store in Gurgaon on the outskirts of Delhi seems to be a supermarket like any in the developed world. On a sunny Saturday morning housewives and couples with children push their trolleys down the long, straight aisles, choosing from well-stocked shelves that offer Western brands such as Coca-Cola and Tropicana fruit juice as well as Thums Up and Real, two Indian counterparts.
Contested acres - MK Venu, Indian Express
The perceived value of land remains the most contentious issue in India’s political economy today. The farmers’ agitation in western Uttar Pradesh seeking higher compensation for land surrendered for urban clusters along the Yamuna Expressway project is but a small manifestation of this.
CII to set up task force with new government in Bengal - Hindu
Commenting on the Election results for West Bengal, CII Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee said that the clear mandate given by the people of West Bengal would help the State Government to carry out its action agenda for the economic and industrial development of the State most effectively.
Private power helps meet record peak demand - Anil Sasi, Business Line
Thanks to new generation capacity addition coming on stream, led by a big boost in private project commissioning, a new record has been achieved in meeting peak demand this year.
Money can't buy you votes - MR Subramani, Business Line
On April 14, the day of the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, a colleague recounted how his neighbour travelled some 125 km to Villupuram to cast his vote — incidentally, in favour of the AIADMK. The young man had travelled on the top of a bus, with several others, to exercise his franchise. And he and his fellow travellers were among the thousands of voters who criss-crossed the State on all kinds of modes of transport, to be able to cast their votes.
Tax defaulters: Disclose and damn them - TCA Ramanujam, Business Line
Tax evasion is not in public interest. The Government is duty- bound to disclose the names of defaulters. The Government has been stoutly resisting attempts to get information about Indians citizens holding money in secret accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens.
Will rate hikes work? - Madan Sabnavis, Business Standard
It is not clear whether policy changes will impact growth or inflation in India. The major takeaway from the credit policy is that we are taking a chance on growth to bring down inflation. Friedman has triumphed over Keynes and markets know what to expect.
Politics over green nod to dams? - Moushumi Basu, The Pioneer
Is politics influencing environmental clearance to projects? When the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) gave the go-ahead last week for the Maheshwar dam project, Jairam Ramesh hinted that he agreed to remove the embargo under pressure of Digvijay Singh and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Our forbidden cities - Hindustantimes
'Professor, I think I didn't get the point of your classes on exchange rates and price comparisons across countries,' said Ashish. Since he had been the best student in my MBA class thus far, I was rather surprised. May be my students had indeed been confused. "Not at all," replied Ashish, "You've b een very clear, professor. But I still don't understand.
Fuel prices set to pinch wider - Hindustantimes
Brace yourself for a spell of high prices in the coming months. The decision of oil companies on Saturday to raise prices of petrol by Rs 5 a litre and a possible hike in prices of diesel and cooking gas will pinch household budgets more, already pummeled by a bout of relentless rise in prices of most goods.
What colour infrastructure? - Vinayak Chatterjee, Business Standard
What colours come to mind when you think of infrastructure? Possibly, the black of coal and roads, or the grey of power-plant smoke and ash, or the drab ochre of concrete. Green is possibly the farthest removed; yet that is the direction in which infrastructure development has to head.
India Inc’s interest costs jump 34.4%, set to rise further - George Mathew, Indian Express
The battle against inflation has started taking a toll on borrowers in the corporate sector. There has been a 34.4 per cent rise in interest charges in Q4 of the financial year 2010-11. Interest costs are expected to shoot up further in the current fiscal as lending rates have gone up after the recent rate hike by the RBI, and with more hikes in the offing, slowdown in demand and investments could follow.
Record production of pulses likely to bring down prices - Seema Sindhu, Pioneer
With India reaching self-sufficiency in pulse production for the very first time in history, consumers can expect price of pulses to fall this year. According to the third advanced estimates of crop production for 2011-11, production of pulses is estimated at 17.29 million tons. According to estimates, the country requires pulses between 16 and 18 millions tons.
Tata to come back to Mamata’s Bengal? - Times of India
Ratan Tata may have blamed Mamata Banerjee for ousting his Nano project from West Bengal but newly-elected MLA Amit Mitra, tipped to be finance minister, said the Trinamool-Congress regime would seek the salt-to-software conglomerate's return to the state.
Building India innovation inc - Arindam Bhattacharya, Financial Express
The Nano was a revolutionary product not just for Tata Motors but also for the global automotive industry. The ‘bottom of the pyramid’ customer needs to be addressed through cutting-edge innovation. It highlighted the ‘frugal engineering’ capability of Indian engineers and has been lauded in the international press, as well as by global leaders like Carlos Ghosn and Jeff Immelt, and made Indians proud, and rightly so. 
Cabinet okays BPL census, for debate on BPL criteria - Subodh Ghildiyal, Times of India
The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the BPL census to identify the country's poor while asking rural development ministry to consult National Advisory Council member N C Saxena on certain criteria for exclusion of people from the poverty list.
Average infant mortality rate down 30% in past 10 years - Subodh Varma, Times of India
Recently released data on infant deaths across states in India has thrown up surprising results, leaving health experts puzzled. Average infant mortality rate for the country as a whole stood at 50 in 2009, down by 30% compared to a decade ago. The rate is much higher than developed countries but the pace at which it is declining is encouraging. But the surprises lurk in state level data.
A monetary fix for inflation - Mint
Confusion remains over the reasons why inflationary pressures in India have not abated. The spread of inflationary pressure from just a basket of commodities and food items to general manufacturing seems to have caught even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) by surprise. What has caused this acceleration in “core inflation”? Answering this question is key to evaluating RBI’s response and to understanding the desired future course of policy action.
Are we living in a gilded age? - Arvind Panagariya, Economic Times
In a joint novel published in 1873, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner described the then state of the United States as "Gilded Age". The expression has since been widely used to refer to the late 19th century United States when the country grew exceptionally rapidly but also came under unduly heavy political and social influence of the super-wealthy. 

A few uncertain unions - Saubhadra Chatterji & Sreelatha Menon, Business Standard
With political equations changing in bastions of Left unionism, stiff challenges await the soldiers of strikes and bandhs. After the results of the Assembly elections, two bastions of Left-affiliated trade unionism now stand faced with two different challenges. In West Bengal, trade unions have lost the shelter of the Left Front and will have to deal with a government not led by the Left forces for the first time in 34 years.
Water 24x7 in urban centres - B Rajesh, Financial Express
India is still at an early stage of the urbanisation process and many of its cities will see exponential growth over the next few decades. By 2030, India’s urban population is expected to reach more than 590 million. This will put enormous pressure on all existing resources, especially water. Despite sufficient availability of raw water, many cities supply water only for a few hours. The issues confronting urban water supply are complex but well-known. 
A monetary fix for inflation - Live Mint
Confusion remains over the reasons why inflationary pressures in India have not abated. The spread of inflationary pressure from just a basket of commodities and food items to general manufacturing seems to have caught even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) by surprise. What has caused this acceleration in “core inflation”? Answering this question is key to evaluating RBI’s response and to understanding the desired future course of policy action.
A few uncertain unions - Saubhadra Chatterji & Sreelatha Menon, Business Standard
With political equations changing in bastions of Left unionism, stiff challenges await the soldiers of strikes and bandhs. After the results of the Assembly elections, two bastions of Left-affiliated trade unionism now stand faced with two different challenges.
Water 24x7 in urban centres - Financial Express
India is still at an early stage of the urbanisation process and many of its cities will see exponential growth over the next few decades. By 2030, India’s urban population is expected to reach more than 590 million. This will put enormous pressure on all existing resources, especially water.
Speed bumps on India’s economic highway - Ashok K Lahiri, Live Mint
The dot-com bubble had burst in 2001. With the history of a crisis every decade on average, the recent global financial crisis was par for the course. Yet in terms of intensity and timing, it was particularly unfortunate for India, hitting just as the country was establishing a record of sustained high growth.
Shrink PDS & rework NREGA, World Bank tells India - Sharad Raghavan, FE
A World Bank review of India’s social sector programmes has suggested a smaller public distribution system with more cash transfer, reworking of NREGA as a public works programme for urban areas and finally, a social security package including health care for those without regular employment.
Money matters - Nitin Desai, Business Standard
A few weeks ago, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised its policy rate by 50 basis points mainly with the intention of containing inflationary pressures. Its intention has been quickly transmitted onwards by most banks, which have raised their base lending rates by a similar amount. During the fiscal year 2010-11 the RBI was quite circumspect in its anti inflationary stance and tended to underestimate the prospects of price rise in its projections. The present move is a much more vigorous response and has led to widespread public debate because of its timing.
The new tech bubble - The Economist
SOME time after the dotcom boom turned into a spectacular bust in 2000, bumper stickers began appearing in Silicon Valley imploring: “Please God, just one more bubble.” That wish has now been granted. Compared with the rest of America, Silicon Valley feels like a boomtown. Corporate chefs are in demand again, office rents are soaring and the pay being offered to talented folk in fashionable fields like data science is reaching Hollywood levels. And no wonder, given the prices now being put on web companies.
Govt is about to screw ONGC’s minority shareholders – again - R Jagannathan, First Post
India’s primary oil producer, the Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), is about to get it in the neck once again. According to news reports, the government is planning to increase the company’s subsidy burden in order to avoid taking a more direct hit on budgetary finances.
World Bank criticises India's pro-poor schemes - Economic Times
The World Bank on Wednesday criticised the Indian government's anti-poverty schemes , saying they did not offer value for money and were sometimes undermined by corruption. The bank said India was not getting "bang for the rupee" due to "leakages" in the funding of national projects such as the Public Distribution System (PDS) which doles out state-subsidised food and fuel to the poor.
In absence of clear policy, 40 districts roiled in land stir - Subodh Varma, Times of India
In the past three years, protests by farmers against land acquisition have roiled over 40 districts spread over 17 states. Nearly 10 crore people reside in these troubled districts. What is at stake is nearly 4 lakh acres of land, most of it fertile and under cultivation.
Next Governor of RBI: Raghuram Rajan a candidate - Indian Express
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is not inclined to extend the tenure of Reserve Bank of India Governor D Subbarao, sources said. Raghuram Rajan, honorary economic adviser to the Prime Minister since November 2008, is a prospective candidate.
Reviving West Bengal - What the state already has and what it can develop - Ashok V Desai, The Telegraph
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) had a big fall. Although it had a highly competent set of public relations people in the Karats and Sitaram Yechury, it got a bad press. Their techniques of attacking without ever listening to contrary arguments, their undentable self-righteousness, put an end to their persuasiveness. The party’s penchant for beating up opponents got it into PR trouble in West Bengal. 
Tatas can set up industry on 600 acres at Singur: Mamata - Indrani Dutta, Hindu
In her first major announcement after being sworn in as Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee said on Friday that the West Bengal government would return the 400 acres of land acquired for the Tata Motors' small car project at Singur (subsequently relocated) to farmers who were unwilling to part with it.
Good riddance to dollar hegemony - James Saft, Reuters
While the U.S. will fight it kicking and screaming, the dollar’s upcoming fall from its central global role will be a blessing all round. The World Bank on Tuesday predicted that the dollar will lose its place by 2025 as the principle global reserve currency, to be supplanted by a multipolar world where it, the euro and the yuan will share top billing.
Back-door amnesty for secreted foreign funds - TCA Ramanujam, Business Line
Right from the Supreme Court onwards, the one fiscal problem agitating the minds of enlightened citizens all over India relates to the problem of secreted funds kept in foreign banks without paying taxes. The Government would like to announce an amnesty scheme to enable account holders in foreign banks to bring home such funds so that the same can be used for developmental purposes.
Defeat in TN assembly elections blocks DMK from acting in haste - Nistula Hebbar, Financial Express
The only thing Congressmen were ready to say about the arrest of Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum case was that the DMK-Congress alliance’s loss in the recent assembly polls in Tamil Nadu couldn't have come at a better time. “Now, the DMK’s bargaining power at the Centre is much diminished and Jayalalithaa’s actions soon after taking over have doused much of the anger that could have been directed at the Centre,” said a senior Congress leader.
'New normal' growth rate - T N Ninan, Business Standard
The finance ministry likes to talk of the “new normal” when it comes to inflation — code for saying that everyone should get used to a higher rate of price increases. The question is whether the country should also adjust its sights when it comes to growth, to a “new normal”. When considering the economy’s potential for rapid growth, most people’s mind-sets are influenced by the fact that India did better than 9 per cent in each of the three years of 2005-08.
Why are Chinese firms more productive than Indian ones? - Manas Chakravarty, Mint
Do we need another paper comparing the Chinese and Indian economies? Everybody knows that China’s economic performance has been significantly better than ours. This paper, however, takes a different tack, looking not at the macro numbers, but instead at differences between firms in the private sector in China and India to identify key constraints to development. The surveys have been conducted exclusively among manufacturing establishments.
Rising bank loan defaults a cause for concern, says Pranab - Business Line
The rise in the default of loans disbursed by state-owned banks appears to have set the alarm bells ringing in the Finance Ministry. The Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, on Saturday said the asset quality of banks' is a cause for concern Pointing out that during 2010-11, non-performing assets (both gross and net) had increased compared with the previous year.
The Change that Bengal needs - Mihir S Sharma, Indian Express
Dawn broke on Bengal on Friday with, for the first time in 34 years, a non-Communist in Writers’ Buildings. Mamata Banerjee is faced with problems unique in Indian politics, she is burdened with expectations unmatched in Indian history. Poriborton, for her voters, will have meant far more than the content-free call for “change” that has marked other election campaigns elsewhere. Here, they hope for fundamental alterations in what Bengal has become.
It's sad Mukesh Ambani lives in such opulence: Ratan Tata - Ashis Ray, Times of India
Tata group chief Ratan Tata has said he is surprised why fellow tycoon Mukesh Ambani wants to live in the opulence of a billion-dollar home in south Mumbai. "It makes me wonder why someone would do that," Tata said in an interview published on Saturday in The Times newspaper of London.
The seven year glitch - Shankkar Aiyar, Express Buzz
Seven days, they say, is a long time in politics. Manmohan Singh completes seven years as Prime Minister, the longest tenure by any Prime Minister in over a quarter of a century. As he looks back on the 2,550-plus days he is bound to wonder what his legacy is. The father of India’s liberalisation story, it would appear, has been rendered a mute witness to the slow strangulation of reforms.
Don't forget to recharge your jacket - A A K, Economist
What happens when a young Indian engineer moves from the sweltering heat of Andhra Pradesh to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in a state notorious for its -15°C winters? He feels very cold and has to wear multiple layers of clothing, which he then finds himself wanting to remove whenever he enters a warm classroom. Kranthi Vistakula, who found himself in just this situation, credits a dazed mind, as well as his professors at MIT, for his decision to invent an all-weather jacket designed to cope with extreme temperatures—from the heat of Mumbai to the chill of a Mount Everest base camp.
‘We should not ignore the criticality of GDP’ - Jairam Ramesh, Indian Express
The question I want to ask today in the Indian context is whether we should even worry about the limits to growth, or more precisely, about the limits to sustained high growth. It is a good time to ask this question.
Comments on Mukesh, Brit workers misleading: Tata - Ashis Ray, Times of India
Discomfited by an interview with him published by The Times of London, Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata charged the British newspaper with publishing an interview that was taken two months ago and publishing his comments out of context to create a "misleading and mischievous" interview-based article in its magazine section on Saturday.
Details of patented drugs to be made public - CH Unnikrishnan, Live Mint
To increase transparency, India’s patent regulator will soon make public details about patented drugs which include whether domestic demand for these medicines is met at a reasonable price. Patent holders in the country are required to submit once every year the so-called working details which include the quantity and value of a product that is sold, manufacturing base, quantity of production or imports, and a statement on whether public requirement has been met partly.
Amma targets Maran’s SCV with cable rate cuts - Ashish Sinha, Financial Express
The cable war in Tamil Nadu is fit for prime time. The Jayalalithaa government has decided to hit the DMK where it is sure to hurt the most. In a three-pronged strategy aimed at benefiting 12 million cable consumers but destroying the cable distribution empire of the DMK-backed and Kalanidhi Maran-owned Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), the AIADMK government is set to slash cable rates by 65-70% soon.
Watch those lights dim - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
With 9,600 MW of power generating capacity set up last year, and 60,000 MW over the entire 11th Plan ending 2011-12 (that’s triple the capacity set up in the 10th Plan and 10% more than the capacity in the last three Plan periods), you’d be pardoned for thinking the power sector is doing well—at the Express Group’s Idea Exchange a few months ago, the power minister too contributed to the all-is-well belief.
India may join OECD-backed club to track black money - Vrishti Beniwal, Business Standard
The government of India is considering joining a multilateral platform initiated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Council of Europe for promoting international cooperation in the assessment and collection of taxes. The Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters will provide for exchange of information (on request as well as automatically) on tax examinations.
Manufacturing hub called India - Ashoak Upadhyay, Business Line
With a host of firms from Japanese automakers to telecom equipment producers moving to India, manufacturing could overtake services as the engine of growth. This is desirable, as services-led economies are vulnerable to financial upheavals. With the German engineering technology major, Siemens, planning to make India the global hub for manufacturing its key steel plant equipment,.
Ambani’s KG gas gambit: I will eat my cake and have it too - R Jagannathan, Firstpost
Mukesh Ambani is a grand master in strategy. So when something happens at flagship Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), it’s time to sit up and take notice. It is also a good time to ask: what’s his gambit this time? In recent weeks, RIL has done its best to confuse everyone about what is really going on at its Krishna-Godavari (KG-D6) offshore gasfield.
Ratan Tata is losing patience - Indrajit Gupta, Firstpost
Ping! The clarification from Vaishnavi Communications, the Tata group’s communications agency, hit my inbox at 9:25 p.m. on a Saturday evening. Obviously, someone had swung into damage control mode inside Bombay House at that late hour. And I guess they had reason to get a bit rattled by their chairman’s sudden, sharp attack on the declining British work ethic in evidence at Corus and JLR in a candid interview to The Times of London.
Accumulating stocks lead textile mills to down shutters - Hindu
Textile mills across the country downed shutters for a day on Monday as cotton yarn stocks were piling up in the units. The mills will also cut one-third production from May 24 for a week. “The strike was to draw the government's attention to the crisis faced by the mills,” said Shishir Jaipuria, Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry.
Poor estimates of the poor - P Raghavan, Financial Express
The Cabinet cleared the proposal to have a new BPL Census to see how many families in the country are poor. The Census is to be combined with one on caste, to ascertain the asset-ownership of various caste groups. We examine the implications of the move.
The poor need right to property - Gyanant Singh, India Today
Farmer's unrest in places like Greater Noida and Singur call for a serious re-look not only on the law pertaining to acquisition but also on the status of the right to property in our existing Constitutional scheme. Though an amendment to the existing law on acquisition is an immediate necessity, there is a need for a serious debate on restoration of the right to property as a fundamental right.
Make food subsidy self-selecting - Subir Roy, Business Standard
The management of food and poverty in India is getting increasingly unreal. On the one hand, the country has a bumper harvest with every likelihood of the grain mountain to be procured adding to the existing mountain of official stocks. Without adequate storage space, a not-so-insignificant part of it will rot and go to waste.
Rs.17,000 crore warning for great food gamble - Samar Halarnkar, Live Mint
Unpaid bills of Rs.17,000 crore—and growing—have shown hidden food subsidies and financial mismanagement at a time when the government prepares to adopt the costliest, most ambitious legislation of its tenure. Documents accessed by Mint show this is the money the government now owes state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI), hampering its mammoth operation of buying grain from the farmer, storing, transporting and selling it to millions of poor Indians.
NSE abused dominant market position: CCI - Financial Express
 In what would be its most significant ruling till date, the Competition Commission of India has said that the National Stock Exchange (NSE) abused its dominant position by resorting to predatory pricing. According to sources, the commission has sent a show cause notice to NSE and has given one week for it to respond.
The fall of Rajat Gupta - Salil Tripathi, Mint
The market rewards talent and multiplies wealth. But when wealth becomes the objective, judgement can get clouded. The slow-motion disintegration of Rajat Gupta, the first Indian to head McKinsey and Co., the world’s leading consulting firm, has tragic elements and shows the perilous consequences that befall when you cross limits.
Indians to man world's industry by ’25: Panagariya - Sharad Raghavan, Financial Express
By 2025, developed countries will have 37 million people less, and China will have 63 million people less in the age group 20-49, according to Arvind Panagariya of Columbia University, citing United Nations population predictions.
Are the IITs/IIMs world-class or third-class? - Arvind Singhal, Financial Express
While Jairam Ramesh’s comments have stirred a hornet’s nest, his candour has to be lauded since this “controversy” may lead to a debate on actual versus perceived quality—when benchmarked with the best in the world—of our educational institutions, including IITs and IIMs.
Print media is alive and kicking - Chidanand Rajghatta, Economic Times
The comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked about how amazing it is "that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper."
It’s not rocket science - Sandipan Deb, Hindustan Times
When minister of environment and forests Jairam Ramesh recently said that the faculty in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) wasn’t “world-class”, he would have expected the furore that followed. But he, an IIT alumnus himself, would have also known that he was merely articulating Indian higher education’s worst-kept secret.
Flight of business from Bengal - Ishita Ayan Dutt, Business Standard
In July 1998, Bata Managing Director Keith Weston was hospitalised with a deep gash following an assault from a trade union leader. For anti-capitalist trade unions, it was a pyrrhic victory that set the stage for the company’s exit in 2003. For Bengal, the company’s flight was another is a long list of lost businesses that began the mid-1980s.
'Tata' to work ethic - Shyamal Majumdar, Business Standard
When his comments on the work ethic of British workers and their unwillingness to work out of hours were widely reported, Ratan Tata quickly distanced himself from the row caused by his remarks. But a survey done by The Mail, London the following week suggested that Mr Tata may have unwittingly revealed an uncomfortable truth.
Global commodities and India - Akash Prakash, Business Standard
Once again the buzz is around commodities and their long-term outlook. Goldman Sachs has just raised its outlook on commodities and reaffirmed their long-term bullish thesis. Morgan Stanley and Macquarie have also raised their oil forecasts for 2011 and 2012 to $120 and $130, respectively.
In defence of the IITs: An insider's view - R Krishna Kumar, Business Line
Going by data in the Web site, IITs are not in the top 100. The list is dominated by the US (29), followed by the UK (17); China has two entries. The same Web site gives world rankings for Engineering and Technology. In this, all five older IITs make it to the Top 100 — IIT-B (47th rank), IIT-D (52), IIT-K (63), IIT-M (68), and IIT-KGP (90). India is close to Germany's six ranks and is on a par with Japan and China.
Avoiding a fiscal hole - Mint
The next few days will test the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) resolve to stand by its convictions. The pillar on which the budget rests —reduction in fiscal deficit—is likely to be threatened from within by a temptation to avoid short-term discomfort regardless of long-term consequences.
Foreign investment in Indian oil exploration waning - Shilpa Kannan, BBC
As India's economy grows and the country looks to become a major player in the global field, its demand for oil has been outpacing supply at an alarming rate.
Give cash some credit - Guy Standing, Indian Express
The fact is that, in India today, poverty and economic insecurity remain endemic in spite of fantastic economic growth. The existing system has failed to arrest the growing number in poverty, despite substantial government spending ostensibly designed to reduce poverty.
RBI eases India Inc’s overseas investment norms - Indian Express
Providing more operational flexibility to Indian corporates with investments abroad, the Reserve Bank of India has relaxed the investment norms governing performance guarantees, write-offs, restructuring and corporate guarantees.
Going around in circles, on land - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
Do you want to get a usable estimate of black money in the economy? For each state, subtract the circle value of land from the market rate for each district in the country. Multiply the figure for the land sold in the district in that year and add it up for all the districts, and you have a fine figure.
Wanted - a flexible food security plan - Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Business Standard
The Right to Food Act is well intentioned, but a rigidly mandated approach may pre-empt more efficient solutions emerging in the future.  In a right-to-development approach, citizens are given some basic rights by the government of the country. One such right is freedom from hunger, which has prompted the move towards a Food Security Act. Various people have debated and discussed what an appropriate approach for such an Act should be and the National Advisory Council (NAC) has put up a draft Bill on its website. I have read the draft and am a bit worried about whether it will solve our problems of hunger and starvation.
India's middle class pays the price for growth - Mukul Devichand, BBC
The world is jealous of Asia's sky-high growth rates, but for ordinary people the price of success is corrosive inflation which could eat away their savings.
Mamata invites NRIs, cell under Finance ministry soon - PTI
Kolkata, May 28 Inviting NRIs to make large-scale investments in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said her government was working to open a cell under the Finance Ministry, to be monitored by her, to cater to their investment proposals.
Govt links up top think-tanks for new study on black money - Hindustan Times
The government on Sunday announced that it has commissioned a joint study by three think-tanks — National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) and the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) — to estimate Indian entities’ unaccounted wealth both at home and abroad.
Slack in policy cramps India-focused funds - Shailesh Menon, Economic Times
More than 65% of the top India-focused offshore funds trail their benchmarks as their bet on infrastructure burnt holes in portfolios, dealing a setback to hopes of attracting a trillion dollars to build roads, ports and power plants.
Moves afoot to remove veil over corporate structuring - Rononjoy Banerjee, FE
Concerned over the complex ways in which companies structure their operations and route funds from one subsidiary firm to the other, the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) has come up with a unique solution to the vexed issue. It is considering directing companies to clearly chart out their various subsidiaries and layered subsidiaries in a ‘family tree’ format in their annual reports.
Sushil Modi: BJP's other Modi & pilot of India's most important tax reform GST - Farzand Ahmed, Economic Times
Sushil Modi already wears three hats: he's the head of the Bihar BJP, the state's deputy chief minister and the finance minister of Bihar. Soon, he'll have to wear one more, as the head of a committee of state finance ministers to pilot India's biggest tax reform in decades - cutting through the clutter of hundreds of indirect taxes, to a unified goods and services tax (GST). Modi will replace Asim Dasgupta, the former finance minister of West Bengal, but it's unlikely that this assignment will be a bed of roses for the Bihar politician.
Let markets work - Business Standard
The news that the south-west monsoon has hit the Kerala coast on time augurs well for the management of inflationary expectations. However, the monsoon alone cannot douse inflationary fires. Apart from much-needed fiscal stabilisation, mentioned above, the government needs urgent policy reform. The task at hand has to be handled by both the central and state governments, as correctly emphasised by the Reserve Bank of India in its meeting with state finance secretaries.
India's oil-price folly - Kunal Kumar Kundu, Asia Times
Moves by the Indian government to reduce fuel subsidies remain more a paper fiction than hard reality as it continues to prevent state-controlled oil suppliers charging prices that reflect the international rates they must pay for fuel. The average basket of prices for oil imported by India has surged by nearly 50% since January but, after a long hiatus, and only after results of this month's assembly election in five Indian states were announced.
Taxing tangle - Financial Express
With three think tanks—NIPFP, NCAER and NIFM (National Institute of Financial Management)—in the race to estimate the size of India’s black economy, various figures are once again doing the rounds. There’s NIPFP’s original 21% of GDP estimate of 1985, Arun Kumar’s 35% in 1991 and Global Financial Integrity’s (GFI) 50% in 2008—as compared to this estimated annual generation of black economy, GFI estimated the total stash of illicit assets held abroad is $462 billion. It’s a bit like the estimates of the 2G scam, three or four by the CAG itself in one report and another by the CBI!
An anomalous economy - Haseeb A Drabu, Mint
Raju Rastogi’s mother in the iconic film, 3 Idiots, sums up the paradox of priorities succinctly when she tells Rancho, “Ours is a strange country; pizza is guaranteed to come in 30 minutes, but you can’t be sure about an ambulance called for a medical emergency.” After the latest round of petrol price hikes, a business daily pointed out that fuel for cars, scooters and buses was now more expensive than the fuel used by aeroplanes.
Retail Therapy - Economic Times
The government's move to free up foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, signalled by the support of an inter-ministerial group headed by chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu, is welcome. This committee was asked for ways in which inflation could be moderated, and the freeing up of overseas investment in retail was one of its suggestions.
Persistent tightening of monetary policy affected GDP:Chambers - Msn
Industry lobby groups today said the slowdown in India''s GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2010-11 was mainly on account of high interest rate regime, aimed at taming inflation. The Reserve Bank, which has hiked key rates nine times since March, 2010 to tame inflation, has led to high borrowing costs for the industry and hit their margins.
The cost of growth for India Inc - Bhavana Acharya, Business Line
While companies recorded strong topline growth in FY-11, surging operating costs prevented this from translating into enviable profit growth. Profit growth for India Inc is showing signs of slowing down in the financial year just gone by even as revenues chart a happy journey upward. Revenues have clocked rising growth rates for the past two years.
India's GDP grows at 8.5% in FY-2011, Q4 growth at 7.8% - Economic Times
Confirming fears of a slowdown, India's economy grew by just 7.8 per cent in the fourth quarter ending March this year, mainly due to poor performance of the manufacturing sector, as against 9.4 per cent in the same three-month period of the previous fiscal. However, economic growth, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product, improved to 8.5 per cent in 2010-11 from 8 per cent in 2009-10 due to better farm output and construction activities and financial services performance. 
Money plant: Clever farmers borrow at 4%, invest at 8.5% - Mayur Shetty, Times of India
When finance minister Pranab Mukherjee brought down the effective interest rate on crop loans to 4% in this year's budget, it was to encourage farmers to grow more food and address the supply side issue of food inflation. But canny farmers in some states have discovered an arbitrage opportunity in this — they avail of the loans from banks at 4% and then invest them in fixed deposits at 8.5%. 
War on inflation hurts India growth story - Hindustan Times
The UPA government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which successfully steered the economy through the world's worst economic crisis in eight decades now face a harsh dilemma: prices are not under control but the war against inflation is hurting growth. India's economy grew at 8.5% in 2010-11, higher than last year's 8% growth, data released on Tuesday said, but in the January-March quarter GDP grew by only 7.5%, the slowest in five years.
Maruti goes to Gujarat - Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
India's largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) has said it is looking at setting up a manufacturing unit in Gujarat, where it has sought 500 acres of land. The company's managing director Shinzo Nakanishi and chairman RC Bhargava on Tuesday met chief minister Narendra Modi with a proposal to set up a plant in a 500-acre plot with capacity to produce a million cars per annum.
'Dear Mrs Gandhi': Open letter by economists - LensOnNews
Dear Mrs Gandhi,
We, a group of academic economists, are writing to you about the proposed National Food Security Act, legislation that is of profound importance to India’s economy.
Google, a benign evil? - J Jagannath, Business Standard
In one of G K Chesterton stories the hero observes that nothing is as frightening as a labyrinth without a centre. Google might be one such labyrinth: a cloud computing major, owner of an insanely successful operating system called Android, owner of YouTube, even producer of a car that drives itself. All of this, apart from its lucrative search engine exoskeleton. 
Return of the lending brigade, minus the fire - Gayatri Nayak & Anita Bhoir, Economic Times
When it comes to retail lending, Indian bankers are beginning to be like the legendary Scottish King Robert Bruce , who was inspired by the success of a spider in spinning a web after numerous attempts. ICICI Bank that revolutionised retail lending here, Citi and HSBC , which cut lending to individuals after the 2008 crisis burnt holes in their balance sheets, are back. The difference now is that 'caution' dominates the air rather than 'fast growth'.
New trends in financial inclusion - Sumita Kale, Business Line
Universal financial inclusion, talked of for decades by policymakers, finally may be coming to fruition. All the requisite pieces have been coming together, some rather rapidly in the past few years, and some of the most dramatic changes to sweep the economy have happened in the payment and settlement system. For years, India has been seen as lagging behind, with Kenya pointed to as the poster boy of mobile money and financial inclusion.
Taking a breather - Economic Times
Whatever can be said about India, remarked a British economist, Joan Robinson, the opposite can also be said. This also appears to apply to the speed at which people think India’s economy can grow. Today’s estimate by India’s Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) appears to confirm that the tiger may be tiring somewhat. According to the CSO, the economy grew by a lower-than expected 7.8% year on year in the first three month of 2011 (GDP grew by an annual 8.5% in the fiscal year 2010-11 (April-March), up from 8.0% in the previous year). 
Companies with tax haven links set to be penalised - Bijay Shankar Patel, Financial Express
The government is set to penalise companies deciding to do business with tax havens that are reluctant to share banking and tax-related information.
Just FDI in retail isn’t enough - Madan Sabnavis, Financial Express
There is talk once again of allowing FDI into retail. This thought has been driven not so much by change in ideology of being less xenophobic but by the high food inflation numbers.
Rising input costs crimp profits in March quarter - Pramit Bhattacharya & Ravindra Sonavane, Mint
Profit at 27 of 30 Sensex firms grew 4.4%, raw material costs up 24.5%; lower numbers add to growing macro concerns. Earnings of listed Indian companies in the March quarter grew at the slowest pace in three quarters as rising input costs eroded profit margins even as sales remained buoyant, riding on higher prices.
Gas output drops again; crude oil production up 11% - Business Line
With Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) continuing to produce less from its East Coast gas fields, domestic natural gas production fell for the fifth straight month in April. The output dropped by 9.3 per cent year-on-year to 4.1 billion cubic metre, according to data released by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Diesel decontrol urgent: Rangarajan - Times of India
An increase in diesel prices looks inevitable with the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council ( PMEAC) chairman C Rangarajan on Thursday saying that there is an urgent need to take corrective action. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 26th Skoch Summit here, Rangarajan said that the need to take corrective action has become urgent. 
Getting the power equation right - P Abraham, Financial Express
The Thirteenth Finance Commission clearly highlighted the worsening financial position of the state power distribution companies even after reforms, leading to further deterioration in state finances. Earlier, the Planning Commission used to annually publish the performance of state electricity boards (SEBs), highlighting the performance parameters (T&D losses, rate of returns etc) but it, unfortunately, has been discontinued.
Ramdev 10, UPA 0 - Business Line
The UPA government often seems to forget, much to the dismay of Indian citizens, that UPA II comprises not just a collection of Ministers thrown together by the fickle finger of fate but that it is the Government of India. As such it has a duty to conduct itself in a way that is not farcical, to put it mildly. Yet, on Tuesday, the country was witness to an extraordinary sight. 
When SEBI turned a blind eye - Lokeshwarri S. K., Business Line
The Competition Commission of India has taken the bull by its horns within a few days of the enactment of the new Competition Law, by bringing up the issue of predatory pricing by the country's premier bourse, the National Stock Exchange. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has held the exchange guilty on this charge and issued a show-cause notice asking why it should not be penalised.

Another giant leap - The Economist
Even two decades after the Indian technology miracle began it is hard not to be impressed by the scale of the achievement. Particularly considering the obstacles. The roads in Bangalore, the city at the heart of the revolution, still suck. Power cuts still periodically kill the lights and air conditioning on the campuses of the big IT firms, until back-up generators come to the rescue. This is a world-class industry built from nothing, that won most of its business abroad, while overcoming India’s lousy infrastructure and inept, and sometimes venal, state.
Baba, here’s a Dummy’s Guide to black money & tax havens - FirstPost
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated in 2010 that the balance-sheets of small island financial centres alone added up to $18 trillion — a sum equivalent to about a third of world GDP (Shaxon). The IMF estimates the size of global black money — excluding Switzerland, China, Taiwan and the oil-exporting economies — at US$ $18 trillion. But that’s still an underestimate, says the IMF!
Apple's iCloud triumph - Dan Lyons, The Daily Beast
Apple’s new online service, iCloud, is destined to beat Google and Amazon, Dan Lyons says, by offering users access to all their files from any device with the ease we’ve come to expect from Steve Jobs. Amazon and Google both rolled out cloud music services recently, and now everyone is buzzing because Apple says it will introduce its own cloud service, iCloud, at a conference for developers next week, and that Steve Jobs himself will be on stage to show it off. 
Slow train to nowhere - Shreekant Sambrani, Financial Express
Mamata Banerjee may have chugged off to Writers’ Building from Rail Bhawan, but she does not seem to have taken the baggage of populist mismanagement with her, judging from the Prime Minister’s non-critical non-review of the non-performance of Indian Railways on June 1.
Challenges of fiscal adjustment in Kerala - M Govinda Rao, Financial Express
Kerala, along with Punjab and West Bengal was considered to be a highly fiscally-stressed state according to the 13th Finance Commission. Even with significant improvements in the finances of state governments since 2003-04, these were the only states among the general category to continue to have a revenue deficit in 2007-08 and fiscal deficits of more than 3% of GSDP.
On the back of supply side - Rajiv Kumar & Anshuman Khanna, Business Standard
In a poor economy, combating inflation by curbing demand reduces growth and employment generation. Instead, we have to focus on anticipatory measures for removing supply bottlenecks thus preventing inflation from occurring. One critical challenge we have been facing for over two years now is high inflation in case of food articles.
Software piracy caused tax loss of USD 866-mn in 2009: Study - PTI
Pune, Jun 4 - In a significant finding, a study has claimed that the Indian government had suffered huge revenue losses to the tune of USD 866 million in 2009 on account of the high rate of software piracy in the country.
US economic and unemployment woes make Indian top tech firms nervous - Shruti Sabharwal & Pankaj Mishra, Economic Times
Early signs of a potential slowdown in the US, marked by high unemployment and weakening consumer demand, is causing anxiety among India .s top tech firms deriving more than half of their business from the world's biggest market for software outsourcing. Concerns of worsening macro-economic factors including falling housing prices can delay new technology investments by American firms.
Legal outsourcing firms creating jobs for American lawyers - Heather Timmons, NYT
Outsourcing firms, the companies that in recent years added to the financial woes of the American legal profession by sending work to low-cost countries like India, are now creating jobs for lawyers in the United States.
Political will missing in the fight against black money - Mythili Bhusnurmath, Economic Times
If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it,' quipped Charles F Kettering , the famous American engineer and inventor of the electric starter. Well, the government has done just that! It has appointed an eight-member committee to examine ways to tackle black money. Perhaps that is too cynical! After all, the flurry of activity (the committee is only one of a series of moves) comes after months, nay years, of inactivity by successive governments.
‘Urban planning is a truly fascinating process’ - Binoy Prabhakar, Economic Times
British engineering and design firm Atkins is sharply increasing its India focus, at a time when the country is bracing for a raft of changes in its urban landscape . The £1.4-billion company has had a "relation with India for many years through an office in Bangalore", where Indian graduates across disciplines have been providing outsourcing services in the UK and other global markets.
Getting that dividend out of demographics - Janmejaya K Sinha, Economic Times
The 2011 census results have given encouraging news in respect of literacy in the country. However, a 10-percentage-point increase to 74% is just not enough for us right now. We need to convert literacy to education and cover the country's youth immediately to make this century truly ours. The facts are well-known: we have 570 million people below the age of 25. In fact, we have more people than all of Australia , or 20-27 million, at every age between 0 and 25.
World Bank to suggest CO2 levy on jet, shipping fuel - Gerard Wynn, Reuters
The World Bank will suggest a global levy on jet and shipping fuel in recommendations to G20 governments later this year on raising climate finance, a senior official said on Sunday. Developed countries have already written off chances of agreement on a new binding deal at a U.N. conference in Durban this year, placing a new focus on piecemeal efforts including fund-raising.
Getting India job ready - Darlington Jose Hector, Financial Express
It is difficult to catch Manish Sabharwal dressed below par. Here he walks in with a spanking new orange coloured tie, and pin striped suit. “Sorry for being a little late,” he says. It’s not that he was late, but probably I had arrived five minutes ahead of schedule. So how does he feel to be a successful entrepreneur? “You know what, it is difficult to work for someone after starting one’s own firm,”
Designing an auto hub - Jyotsna Bhatnagar, Financial Express
When a high-powered delegation of top executives of Maruti Suzuki held lengthy confabulations with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi last week over the possibility of setting up its seventh plant in India, and the first outside Haryana, with a whopping one million car manufacturing capacity in Gujarat, it sent the state’s already overheated PR engine into overdrive.
The 10 signs that the double-dip recession has begun - Business Insider
There is almost nothing that damages consumer confidence as badly as a rapid rise in prices. Starbucks recently increased the price of a bag of coffee by 17% because wholesale prices have risen by almost twice that rate in the last year. Cotton prices nearly doubled in 2010 but has fallen this year. But, apparel is made months in advance of when they reach store shelves. Summer clothing prices are up as much as 20%. 
Indexing Indian production - P Raghavan, Financial Express
A new series of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with 2004-05 as the base year will be used to estimate the industrial growth from April, the first month of the fiscal year 2011-12. The quick estimates to be released in the second week of June will mark a major improvement over the current series, which has 1993-94 as the base year and is outdated in many ways, with the UN statistical commission recommending incorporation of substantial changes to the IIP.
Black: The colour of evasion - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
Black money of Indian citizens held abroad might only be a fraction of the black income in the domestic economy. All black money, whether held in India or abroad, should be traced to individual accounts, and legal proceedings undertaken to ensure payment of taxes. At the same time, black money is being generated in the domestic economy all the time. This is a consequence of the failure to implement the goods and services tax (GST), to remove loopholes in the tax system, to get rid of high statutory tax rates and reform the tax administration. These are issues that can be solved more quickly.
Savings panel wants KVP to go, rates linked to g-secs - Indian Express
A high-powered government panel has suggested sweeping changes in popular small savings schemes including post office savings plans and the Public Provident Fund (PPF) as part of the government's efforts to restructure the National Small Savings Fund. The panel, led by Reserve Bank deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath to review the NSSF, has suggested discontinuation of the Kisan Vikas Patra, while continuing with all other small savings scheme, albeit in a revamped manner. 
Inflation over the decades - Bornali Bhandari $ Rumki Majumdar, Business Line
The Reserve Bank's repeated rate hikes point to its concern over inflation. Consumer price inflation has been in double digits for the two consecutive years. The last time annual consumer price inflation was in double digits was in 1998-99 for a single year. The average annual inflation rate (calculated from the Consumer Price Index of Industrial Workers with 2001 as the base year) was 12.05 per cent peaked in 2009-10, declining slightly last financial year (2010-11) to 11.12 per cent.

How much will cash transfer cost? - Himanshu, Mint
Last week, a group of 40 economists wrote an open letter to United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi arguing for cash transfer as a mode of delivery for the proposed National Food Security Act (NFSA). The letter was carried in detail in several newspapers including Mint. The good thing is that there is now almost a consensus, at least among economists, that whatever be the mode of delivery of subsidy, there is no space for a targeted system.
Mamata woos Tata, industry leaders with investors’ conclave - Romita Dutta, Mint
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee may be getting ready to bury the hatchet with Tata group chairman Ratan Tata. Banerjee is all set to appeal to Tata and other industry leaders to invest in West Bengal, following her victory in the recent elections and the defeat of the Communists, putting an end to their rule of 34 years in the state. The sales pitch will be made by Banerjee at an 18 June conclave in Kolkata that’s being billed as the biggest ever such meeting in the state.
Can Twitter predict the future? - The Economist
One day in 2008 an anonymous Twitter user posted a message: “I am certainly not bored. way busy! feel great!” That is all well and good, one might think, but utterly uninteresting to anyone besides the author and, perhaps, a few friends. Not so, according to Johan Bollen, of Indiana University Bloomington, who collected the tweet, along with plenty of others sent that day. 
Was Aircel Siva forced to pay Rs 50 cr to Karuna TV? - Pioneer
The DMK landed in fresh trouble with emergence of allegations that former Aircel boss and promoter of STel, C Sivasankaran had transferred Rs 50 crore to DMK-owned Kalaignar TV. Sources said the CBI is probing if a fund flow of Rs 50 crore to Kalaignar TV from STel was a quid pro quo for the award of six licences to STel in contravention of the guidelines of the Department of Telecom. The licences to STel were granted during former Telecom Minister A Raja’s tenure.
Black money: 18 Indians on Liechtenstein list - Amitav Ranjan, Indian Express
The list of Indians with accounts in LGT Bank, in European tax haven Liechtenstein, that is now with the government shows that 18 individuals collectively put away Rs 39.66 crore during 2002-04 in trusts with the bank.
Acreage rises for cotton, shrinks for paddy - Economic Times
As kharif sowing begin in irrigated belts of India, farmers are changing the sowing pattern depending on the remunerative prices they got in the previous year. Cotton prices, which touched a 140-year high this season, is expected to see an increase in acreage in prime growing states of Gujarat and Maharshtra.
MTNL, BSNL, Air India: Why govt is bad owner of business - Ajay Shah, First Post
When the UPA came to power, the word privatisation was buried, partly out of deference for the Communist parties which were supporting the UPA. The sale of shares did revive after the UPA-2 commenced.
How Steve Jobs' Pixar experience helped lead to Apple's iCloud - Mark Milan, CNN
The folks at Amazon and Google must have been wringing their hands on Monday when Apple CEO Steve Jobs showed off a new service called iTunes Match. That all-important "one more thing" from Apple's software presentation is part of the iCloud Web application and storage suite.
An unequal balance - Vasundhara Raje, Financial Express
The National Advisory Council worries me, because of the misleading “advisory” in its name. Extra-constitutional advisory bodies are not normally a real source of concern, as decisions on their advice are taken by a constitutionally established government.
This cloud won’t burst in India - Priyanka Joshi & Varada Bhat, Business Standard
But to access cloud services seamlessly, one requires high speed internet. In India, the average internet speed fell to 0.8 mbps as per Akamai report where as the average internet speed in the world was registered at 1.9 mbps. High-speed broadband penetration in India remains at less than 1 per cent, adds Akamai.
Contract labour pains - Shyamal Majumdar, Business Standard
In August last year, Maruti was one of the two case studies presented at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) seminar on contract labour for the way the automobile company had “engaged with its contract labour”. It is ironic that less than a year later, the company is in the middle of an indefinite strike by 800 of its workers who are demanding a permanent absorption of contract workers at the Manesar plant, among other things.
How about India Ink? - Bhupesh Bhandari, Business Standard
Why are Indian businessmen, I have often wondered, so reluctant to write their autobiographies? If you go to any bookshop, you are unlikely to find more than one or two. The only one stores stock these days is Capt Gopinath’s Simply Fly.
In India, dynamism wrestles with dysfunction - Jim Yardley, Washington Post
In Gurgaon and elsewhere in India, the answer is that growth usually occurs despite the government rather than because of it. India and China are often considered to be the world’s rising economic powers, yet if China’s growth has been led by the state, India’s growth is often impeded by the state.
Cracking the code for industry - Arindam Bhattacharya, Financial Express
The ‘hype’ around the investment in a new plant announced by Maruti in Gujrat tells its own story. Industrial hubs have become the new ‘silver bullet’ for our policymakers to develop the manufacturing sector. All state governments want to build industrial hubs in their states and compete with each other to provide attractive incentives to attract new investments.
Investment needs policy push - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
Investment sentiment has dipped after September 2010, threatening to derail growth. A growth model that revives investment through reforms and puts aside fiscal profligacy is the need of the hour.
Oil companies tried to duck audit, says CAG - Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said that it faced obstacles from private oil and gas companies, some of which operate India's prestigious fields, as it probed accounts to unearth their irregularities.
The key to not landing in trouble - T E Narasimhan, Business Standard
In the times of Bhatta-Parsaul, Singur and Nandigram crises, the way Tamil Nadu has gone about land acquisition for industry could be a lesson for all states.
Drive V, achieve vision - Shombit Sengupta, Indian Express
Arithmetical number crunching in business always has limitations. Perhaps that’s why the first alphabet letter A looks blocked, sans a horizon. But the letter V opens wide into infinity, it drives unrestrained vision for achievement that is sustainable.
Indian banks: The pendulum swings again - Economist
During India’s long experiment with socialist economics after gaining independence in 1947, many big industrial houses managed to survive as recognisably private firms. Banking, though, got it in the neck. “Major banks should be not only socially controlled, but publicly owned,” Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister, announced on All India Radio in 1969. Nationalisation followed.
Ambani vs Ambani redux - TV Mahalingam, Economic Times
It's Ambani versus Ambani, again. On Friday, Mukesh Ambani's $58-billion Reliance Industries (RIL) announced that it inked an agreement with Bharti and French insurance major AXA to acquire Bharti Enterprises' 74% stakes in two insurance joint ventures — Bharti Axa Life Insurance and Bharti Axa General Insurance.
ABC of new Indian economy - Haseeb A Drabu, Live Mint
In the last 20 years, the Indian economy has changed unrecognizably. The classic undergraduate textbook one liner, “Indian economy is a gamble on the monsoons” which accurately described the economy at that point of time, is hardly relevant now.
Dell's lessons for India's big push - Economic Times
While Dell is bullish about India's prospects as a global growth driver, it is held back by issues ranging from a pesky permit system and the country's fragmented taxation methods. One of the biggest challenges is an underdeveloped supplier base to make components, such as microprocessors, locally.
Mauritius may shed tax haven tag - Vrishti Beniwal, Business Standard
Even as the chorus of demands against tax havens is gathering momentum at home, Mauritius, after years of dilly-dallying, has softened its stand on taxing capital gains on investments routed through the island nation to India by third-country investors.
Healthy cities - Suman Bery, Business Standard
In the coming decade Indian cities will grow massively. Who will keep them healthy? More by accident than design, India’s Five-Year Plans are today well-synchronised with its population census. The 12th Five-Year Plan is due to commence in 2012, a year after the population census of 2011 was conducted.
Hard policy choices ahead for India - Devjyot Ghoshal, Business Standard
Amidst fear of an economic deceleration, New York University economics professor Nouriel Roubini on Monday said India would have to alleviate supply-side constraints, including inadequate infrastructure, if it wanted to move into a higher growth path.
Oil, gas-sharing contracts favour private players: CAG - Sujay Mehdudia, Hindu
If ‘first come, first served' was the structural flaw which led to the 2G spectrum scam in the telecom sector, the Comptroller and Auditor-General has identified the production-sharing contract (PSC) structure for oil and gas as the original sin which allowed private companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd. to gain “undue benefit” at the government's expense.
‘PMO turned blind eye to repeated warnings on Reliance, Cairn' - Sujay Mehdudia, Hindu
A former Revenue Secretary, E.A.S. Sarma, has accused the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) of turning a “blind eye” to his repeated warnings about the “alleged irregularities” committed in auditing capital costs and allowing price and other concessions to the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in the KG basin and Cairn India in Rajasthan.
Waiting for the rainmakers - Shobhana Subramanian, Indian Express
When the UPA government came back to power without the support of the Left parties, in May 2009, the stock markets were so overjoyed the Sensex soared 17 per cent in a single day. But after two years of being in power the government has done precious little to push through reforms — and even with the state elections out of the way, reforms don’t appear to be the government’s priority.
Modern retail outgrowing Kirana stores in India: Nielsen Study - Sagar Malviya & Maulik Vyas, Economic Times
Arrival of big retailers has had an impact on small grocers, but neighbourhood stores are still growing their sales, although at a much lower rate than modern trade, according to data from market research firm The Nielsen Company .
The curious case of inflation combat - Madan Sabnavis, Financial Express
In the last 15 months or so, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relentlessly pursued the goal of inflation control as the number appears to be quite intransigent despite all the positive developments in agriculture. The results have not been encouraging so far and the impact has been limited.
Venkatesh Prasad: Man who brought Internet inside Ford vehicles - Pankaj Mishra, Economic Times
At Ford, the second biggest carmaker in the US, Krishnaswamy Venkatesh Prasad is called the 'what's next guy'. It's a nickname he acquired as a founding member of Ford's nextgeneration research team responsible for creating a smart phone and Internet-like experience inside cars.
The coming crisis in groundwater - M Rajshekhar, Economic Times
Water availability can make a pronounced difference to agricultural output and standard of living. Areas fed by canals fare better than those that rely on rains. Unfortunately, such irrigated areas account for only 40% of India's net sown area.
Bihar: Hot new destination - Anand Adhikari, Business Today
Balram Singh Yadav, 46, the Mumbai-based Managing Director of Godrej Agrovet, has toured Bihar on business six times in the last seven years. Each time he visits, he finds the overall atmosphere has improved over the last time.
Tax data points to stress on India Inc - Times of India
The latest tax numbers emanating from Mumbai, which accounts for the largest chunk of direct tax collections, are indicating a sharp impact on company bottom lines as margins have come under pressure due to rising input and oil costs as well as interest rates.
NH-2: A highway of change - Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times
A 90% increase in school enrolment, especially girls, increase in female workforce and improved job opportunities — all this is a result of the extension of National Highway 2 (NH-2) to four lanes. The extension — covering 995 km between Agra and Dhanbad — has led to an overall enhancement of living standards of the people who live within 5 km of the highway across 1,697 villages of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand, a World Bank-funded study has found.
Black money war runs into an e-mail identity crisis - Debobrat Ghose, Hindustan Times
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) wanted to use the term “black money” so that people will find it easier to mail the government, but the National Informatics Centre (NIC) advised against such a move because spam filters used to keep e-mails safe frown on the term.
Policy stagnation to cripple economy, warn top bankers - Sangita Mehta, Economic Times
The country's top bankers have warned the government that if it does not resume economic reforms at the earliest, there are chances the current slowdown may turn into a slump, three people familiar with the matter said. 
Close the casino - Economic Times
The efforts of regulators to cool India's real estate market seem to be paying off finally. Recorded home sales are down in Mumbai , Hyderabad and Bangalore; there's substantial oversupply - and softening prices - in the outskirts of Delhi.
New food safety law likely to cost India over Rs 15,000 cr - Nivedita Mookerji & Joe C Mathew, Business Standard
India will need Rs 15,000-17,000 crore in four to five years for implementing the Food Safety & Standards Rules, 2011, according to estimates by the health ministry.
Food Bill could unleash new wave of inflation: Raghuram - Devjyot Ghoshal, Business Standard
The Bill, which proposes to give about 68 per cent of population the legal right to subsidised food, will not only widen the fiscal deficit further, but could also spark a new round of inflationary pressures, if it is introduced before the food distribution, procurement and supply systems are improved, he warned.
India Inc most optimistic even as Apac business sentiments slip - Financial Express
Business sentiment at Asia’s top companies fell in the second quarter, hitting its lowest since the third quarter of 2010 as rising costs and growing doubts over the strength of the global economy weighed, a Reuters survey showed.
Land acquisition: The way forward - Ram Singh, Hindustan Times
The proposed measures betray the ignorance of the ministry of rural development and the national advisory council (NAC) about the fundamental causes behind the protests against land acquisition, the inadequacy of compensation and the resulting litigation.
Growth must wait in war on inflation - Financial Express
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday left no one in doubt that it is determined to tame inflation, while maintaining there was no evidence of any sharp or broad-based slowdown and that pricing power remained intact. 
Hawkish on inflation, softish on growth - Rajesh Chakrabarti, Financial Express
Governor Subbarao has dutifully lived up to the market consensus of delivering the 10th rate hike in 15 months—a 25-basis-point rise in the repo and reverse repo rates, bringing them to 7.5% and 6.5%, respectively. The cash reserve ratio (CRR) remains constant at 6%.
Dismantle the forex licence raj - SS Tarapore, Business Line
The RBI has done well to set up a panel to streamline foreign exchange rules for individuals. Most of these rules are vestiges of an earlier era, a throwback to a ‘control mindset'.
Bt brinjal and its discontents - N Chandra Mohan, Business Standard
This transgenic crop was approved by the GEAC in October 2009, following nine years of testing involving as many as seven government departments, committees and institutes. But shortly thereafter, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh stated that he would not accept the GEAC’s decision and went in for public consultations.
A North Atlantic monetary fund? - Jaimini Bhagwati, Business Standard
The chief executives of the IMF and the World Bank have always been European and US nationals, respectively, since the two institutions were set up in the mid-1940s. In the light of the rising shares of Asian and Latin American countries in global gross domestic product (GDP), commentators have suggested that the heads of the IMF and the World Bank should no longer necessarily be European and American.
Food corps, mafia bleeding farmers - Seema Sindhu, Pioneer
The Government’s bid to benefit farmers by way of a minimum support price (MSP) has come a cropper. The agrarian community in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh has dubbed it a ‘farce’. Deep-rooted corruption in Government corporations is not just forcing the farmers to sell wheat in the open market but also at prices less than the MSP. While the wheat MSP announced by the Centre is `1,120, besides the bonus of `50 per quintal, farmers are compelled to sell their produce at `100 below the MSP.
Access to info on Swiss accounts made easier - D Ravi Kanth, PTI
Geneva, Jun 17 - The Swiss Parliament today gave approval to amendments to tax treaties with countries, including India, that makes it easier for them to access information about the illegal funds held by their nationals in Swiss private banks. The upper house of the Swiss Parliament endorsed amendments to double-taxation agreements in line with internationally applicable standards. Governments which have signed DTAAs can now secure easy legal assistance and information as well as identify an account holder from their territories by providing an IBAN number or social security number.
Graft and slush funds - Mohan R Lavi, Business Line
During the fasts of both Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, the focus of certain sections seemed to be more on the personalities fasting and their backgrounds/lifestyles than on the purpose — a Bill to tackle corruption and a call to import untaxed funds held abroad.
Indian media to reap ad bonanza during 2011-15 - Ashish Sinha, Financial Express
Advertising is set for explosive growth in India in the next five years, with print, TV, internet and radio benefiting significantly, says the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) global entertainment and media outlook.
The risks of coming home - Kala Seetharam Sridhar & V Sridhar, Business Standard
What are the benefits and costs of living in India for expatriates? The quantifiable benefits are salaries and public services whereas costs are the payment of taxes. Fully understanding the risks of quantification, these aspects are the only ones that can be quantified (family ties and the joy of being in one’s own country, unfortunately, cannot be quantified).
Indian mobile telecoms: Happy customers, no profits - Economist
India has almost 600m active mobile-phone subscribers—about one for every two people, including babies. It also has among the lowest prices anywhere, and a home-grown, world-class operator, Bharti Airtel. India’s mobile-phone industry inspires great hopes.
Nandan Nilekani does a Google to Aadhaar - Jayadevan PK & Indu Nandakumar, ET
Like Google and Apple, who opened up their platforms such as Android and iPhone , wooing developers to write software applications that enhanced user experience; Aadhaar's Holy Grail is to ensure that the unique numbers given to Indians translate into better citizen services.
India's answer to VISA from today - Parnika Sokhi, Business Standard
Rupay, dubbed as India’s answer to MasterCard and Visa, is set to make its debut tomorrow. Bank of India will give the first batch of automated teller machines (ATM)-cum-debit cards to Unique Identification (UID) number holders in Pagdha village of Maharashtra’s Thane district.
CAG report fallout: A rigged pipeline - Lola Nayar, Outlook
But it really doesn’t matter who leaked the CAG’s draft report of the probe into the private sector operations of three major oil and gas producing blocks. The report vindicates the oft-repeated charge that exploration majors were being allowed to inflate costs to the detriment of the national exchequer.
TAK: Marans' Malaysian connection - Economic Times
For instance, the Central Bureau of Investigation is probing whether his businesses invested in the direct-to-home business of the Maran brothers as a quid pro quo for bagging the telecom company Aircel, which itself is under cloud.
Crisis looms as godowns overflow with grain stocks - Surojit Gupta & Sidhartha, ToI
The government had record rice and wheat stocks of 65.6 million tonnes in its godowns in early June and officials say there will be no place to keep paddy after the kharif harvest arrives by September-October.
Monetary policy: The percentage game - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
The RBI credit policy continued with its anti-inflationary stance, raising interest rates, and indicated that controlling inflation would be its priority. For a central bank to be able to prevent price shocks from becoming persistent inflation, its policy strategy has to go beyond episodic rate hikes to a full-blown strategy of commitment, communication and consistency.
Stable core inflation to end rate hikes - Joel Rebello, Mint
 The key to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ending the rate hike cycle is for non-food manufacturing, or core, inflation to stabilize around 4-4.5%, says deputy governor Subir Gokaran. Core inflation for May was at 7.3%.
Power to the Himalayas - Vinayak Chatterjee, Business Standard
India has been blessed with tremendous hydro potential within the country. In addition, we have the good fortune to have neighbours like Bhutan and Nepal — equally blessed with hydro potential, and with their domestic demand-supply equation that would allow for export to India.
India’s coming energy crisis - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
If India is to restore or impart competitiveness to its manufacturing, it has to approach the energy problem in an integrated manner and urgently.
Can Indian newspapers survive the Net? - Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, Business Standard
The Pew Research Centre’s latest “The State of the News Media (2011)” report says extreme dependence on advertisements made American newspapers an easy target for the internet. Readership, circulation and revenues have gone into free fall in the US market as readers shift to the internet.
Is NREGS stealing labour? - Ajit Ranade, Business Standard
For some time now, many employers have been muttering about the role played by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in the emergent labour shortage.  Whether it is farmers in Punjab, or construction projects in Mumbai, or garment makers, they are all saying that the NREGS is keeping labour from moving out. If you can get minimum wages at home (with relatively less hardship), why would you venture out halfway round the country?
Why NREGA is turning out to be an expensive boondoggle - First Post
The reason is inflation. NREGA has — according to some experts — added to food price inflation, which has pushed more than one crore people back into poverty, according to a recent World Bank study quoted by Firstpost. This is the exact opposite of what the scheme was designed to achieve: lift people out of poverty.
Growth in the 2000s - Key facts - Arvind Subramanian, Business Standard
India’s policy turnaround enters its third decade this month, but the remarkable Indian growth turnaround is now in its fourth decade. The first two decades of higher growth – the 1980s and 1990s – have been well explored. Only now, with data becoming available, can we begin studying Indian growth patterns in the third decade, the 2000s.
Nasty shock NBFCs didn’t deserve - Sushila Ravindranath, Financial Express
The non-banking financial (NBFC) sector got a nasty shock last month. The priority sector status accorded to bank loans to NBFCs for lending to SMEs, small road transport operators, agri-based activities and SSIs was withdrawn by RBI.
NREGS deals a deadly blow for delta farms - CNN-IBN
Farmers insist that the scheme will be useful only in arid districts and its implementation in fertile areas, where crops are harvested at least twice a year, is proving to be counter-productive. Villagers who used to work in fields now prefer to work under the NREGS, leading to a shortage of farmhands.
NAC's food bill entitles 70% to subsidised grain - Economic Times
The draft bill proposes to give legal entitlement to highly subsidised foodgrain to 70% of the population or nearly 80 million people, with monthly entitlement of 7 kg for every member of families below the poverty line and 3 kg to each individual from "general households".
Food security: messy jam, but here's a map - Ashok Gulati, Economic Times
The World Food Summit of 1996 clearly states, "Food security at the individual, household, national, regional and global levels [is achieved] when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life" (FAO, 1996).
Push for food price hedging - Javier Blas, Financial Times
The World Bank is taking the rare step of encouraging developing countries to buy insurance in the derivatives markets against sudden changes in food prices with a deal that should allow the nations to hedge some $4bn worth of commodities.
When a bank becomes too cooperative - Sanjay Jog, Business Standard
The rift between the Congress Party and Nationalist Congress Party seems to have found a new battleground – Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank. According to Nabard's inspection report, the bank resorted to ‘ever-greening of loans’ – it adjusted non-payment of loan installments and interest by issuing fresh loans. Drawals were allowed to defaulting units without submission of an unconditional irrevocable default guarantee upfront from the state government.
India worst-performing market; even Pak gets more FII inflows - George Mathew, FE
Stock market returns in India were at an abysmal level (-14.18%) this year. Countries like China (-3.96% return), Indonesia (+10.27%), South Korea (+8.07%), Russia (+2.58%), Brazil (-5.93%) and Malaysia (4.42%) have fared better than India.
No more free lunch for FIIs? - Mohan R Lavi, Business Line
If the DTAA is amended on the lines of the treaties with other jurisdictions, Mauritius-based FIIs would have to start planning for taxes on capital gains.
The busts keep getting bigger: Why? - Paul Krugman and Robin Wells, NYBooks
Suppose we describe the following situation: major US financial institutions have badly overreached. They created and sold new financial instruments without understanding the risk.
Peak rates — perhaps - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
There is justifiable concern about the level of inflation in India. And there is progress from the RBI. Not so long ago, the RBI used the overall wholesale price index, or WPI, as the indicator of inflation.
Whose land is it anyway? - Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Business Standard
The West Bengal government has passed a new legislation that transfers the land back to those who refused to accept the compensation that they were offered during the acquisition of their lands for the Tata Nano factory. The Tata group has promptly gone to court claiming that this is an unconstitutional Act.
Export surge: Govt looking at ‘DEPB-angle’ - Arun S, Business Line
A 57 per cent year-on-year growth in exports in May and 45 per cent-plus over the first two months of the current fiscal is something that would normally do any country proud.
Get reforms back on track - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
Instead of relying on monetary policy to beat back inflation, the government should push long-pending reforms to ease supply constraints, such as allowing FDI in multi-brand retail and paving the way for GST.
Projects’ delay costs Govt Rs 1.2 lakh cr - Seema Sindhu, Pioneer
While the Government plans a $1-trillion investment target for infrastructure projects in the 12th Plan (2012-2017), the tardy pace of execution continues to pose a big threat. In 2010-11, the completion delay cost the Government Rs 1,20,627.15 crore.
Indecisiveness key reason for slow growth of PSEs: Plan panel body - Priyadarshi Siddhanta, Indian Express
In its blueprint to make them more viable and competition-oriented, the Steering Committee on Industry for the 12th Plan period has prescribed the need for setting up an ombudsman type institution to help them shed their inhibitions. It has also suggested that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) should factor in the losses sustained by PSEs on account of their indecisive approach instead of financial losses.
The one billion internet game: what clicks with Indians - Rashmi Chugh, Hindustan Times
Internet usage is India is growing and driving its growth is the obsessive usage of social media by 15 to 24 years olds - reveals a recent State of the internet report by Comscore with special focus on India. Unlike the rest of the world, 75 % of the audience in India is aged below 35.
Paying a heavy price for ignoring the manufacturing sector - Oomen A Ninan, Hindu
The share of manufacturing sector in China's GDP was 34 per cent in 2007, compared with 16.1 per cent for India in 2009-10.
The average share of manufacturing sector in real GDP increased from about 13 per cent during 1970-75 to about 15.1 per cent during 2002-07, that is, by just about 2 percentage points over a period of more than three decades.
Opening up retail - Shobhana Subramanian, Indian Express
Media reports say the government may throw open multi-brand retailing to foreign direct investment (FDI) in the six big metros with a rider that foreign retailers would be asked to set aside 50 per cent of their investment, stipulated at a minimum Rs 450 crore or roughly $100 million, to create back-end infrastructure.
Trusting the poor with choices - Patrice Coeur Bizot, Indian Express
“Will they use the cash efficiently?” We have evidence to believe that the poor will use the cash efficiently. Given the chance of free choice and voice, by and large, the poor make responsible choices.
We may not require more tightening, says YV Reddy - Anup Roy, Mint
Interest rates may have peaked in the country, though the full impact of monetary tightening by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is not felt yet, former governor Y.V. Reddy said.
Lexicon of new Indian economy - Haseeb A Drabu, Mint
For a green economy what needs facilitation is green education, green businesses, and green innovations.
How should India avert the coming slowdown - Chetan Ahya, Economic Times
After the credit crisis, India (like many other developed and emerging economies) resorted to fiscal and monetary stimulus to push growth back to pre-crisis trend immediately. This was a justified policy action at the worst point of the crisis, but we believe the policy-makers overstayed the course.
India compiles own list of Mauritius conduits - Bijay Shankar Patel, Financial Express
India won’t wait until the definition of ‘tax resident’ status is amplified under the India-Mauritius treaty to clamp down on foreign investors from third countries who are misusing the pact.
Banking lessons from Canada - Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Financial Express
n his Budget speech in July 2009, the finance minister had labelled bank nationalisation as visionary and revolutionary since, according to him, bank nationalisation ensured that India did not suffer from the financial crisis like the other parts of the world. Was that an economically sound argument that is supported by facts?
The facts about fracking - WSJ
The U.S. is in the midst of an energy revolution, and we don't mean solar panels or wind turbines. A new gusher of natural gas from shale has the potential to transform U.S. energy production—that is, unless politicians, greens and the industry mess it up.
It’s fight to finish for Indian exchanges - Pramit Bhattacharya, Mint
The stock exchange business in India has become intensely competitive. It has also become the focus of efforts by the regulator as well as the government to foster competition, improve governance, and increase transparency. In a two-part series, Mint looks at the developments in the area. The first part looks at efforts by BSE to compete with NSE.
Grain Train - Ravish Tiwari, Indian Express
In 2007-08, staring at a global food crisis, a nervous government banned export of wheat and non-basmati rice without bothering to create the space for the stocks the country would hold back. Today, with the granaries overflowing, the government is struggling rid itself of stocks that it just cannot manage.
Misguided debate on environment - NR Krishnan, Business Line
Today, environment and development confront each other, instead of being two faces of the same coin. Given its impact on development, it is time to usher in a stage of ‘conciliation'.
India's herbal hitch - Surinder Sud, Business Standard
Despite the rapid growth of modern medicine, nearly 80 per cent of the global population relies on traditional herbal therapies for primary healthcare, according to the World Health Orgnisation (WHO). Besides, nearly 80 per cent of the raw material for all drugs comes from medicinal plants.
India’s workforce goes casual - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the number of casual workers grew by 21.9 million, while growth in the number of regular workers nearly halved (compared with the period between 1999-2000 and 2004-05) to 5.8 million; the number of the self-employed, dominated by agricultural workers, declined by 25.1 million.
Big question mark over demographic dividend - Smriti Seth & Rishi Shah, ET
The relative decline in the number of people willing to work has come as a reality check for India, where a larger working population is seen aiding economic growth.
How India compares - Ashok V Desai, Telegraph Calcutta
The OECD tries to penetrate the opacity of government debt. What the Central government shows as debt in the budget is only part of it. In addition, it borrows through what the OECD calls public accounts; these accounts are highly convenient because the government borrows through them without Parliament’s approval.
Farm wages shoot up 43% - Surojit Gupta & Sidhartha, Times of India
If there is one sector that has been hit hard by rising wages it's agriculture. Latest government data shows that farm wages have shot up by up to 43% in states such as Orissa, although the average increase is lower.
Digvijaya meets PM: ‘Corruption trail reaching Maya door’ - Indian Express
A Congress delegation led by Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apprise him of the situation in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the murder of a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and a deputy CMO.
The oceans and the monsoon - N. Gopal Raj, Hindu
Keralites call it “ Idavapathy,” the rains that come in the middle of the Malayalam month of “ Idavam.” It marks the arrival of the South-West monsoon in India, the end of a long, hot summer and the start of a four-month season that provides well over three-quarters of the rain that this country receives each year.
Wobbly reforms put new projects in deep freeze - John Samuel Raja D & Kaushik Datta, Economic Times
Spooked by policy paralysis and rising interest rates,the private sector is hitting the brakes on new capital investments,threatening to push the economy back to the sub-8 % growth orbit.Data for the January-March quarter,the latest available,shows that new project investments made by India Inc were the lowest in seven quarters while the value of projects shelved was the highest in eight quarters.
Twenty years of foreign trade - A K Bhattacharya, Business Standard
The Indian economy has seen dramatic changes in the last 20 years, thanks largely to the economic reforms introduced by the P V Narasimha Rao government in 1991. One way of measuring that change would be to see how India’s merchandise trade has performed in this period.
Telecom economics that NTP 2011 needs to heed - Rohit Prasad, Mint
The supposed tension between market pricing of spectrum and the need to keep the price of services low is emerging as a pivotal point in the formulation of the National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2011.
UPA-nomics: Spend Rs 5.8 lakh cr, and send the bill to voters - R Jagannathan, First Post
If a salesman asked you whether you would like to buy something at a cost of Rs 100 today or Rs 105 tomorrow, you would probably choose the first option.
Is land the new high-risk asset? - Indranil Banerjie, Deccan Chronicle
Earlier, anti-acquisition agitations were localised affairs, a significant percentage confined to remote tribal areas, that attracted little media or political attention. The politicisation of this process was inevitable and once politicians like Bengal’s Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, and more recently the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, jumped into the fray to make capital of such agitations, the equations changed abruptly and dramatically.
Tedious TDS - Indira Rajaraman, Business Standard
In the current discourse about black money, let us not lose sight of the honest taxpayer in India, whose good intentions are severely tested every year by procedural obstacles.
China’s boon, India’s bane - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
A recent issue of Time offers an interesting snippet of information: 47 per cent of Americans can’t raise $2,000 in 30 days without selling an asset. I dare say most of the middle classes in India, including the lower echelons of the descriptor, can find, or borrow, one solitary lakh of rupees in one month without liquidating any asset.
Indian companies invest abroad - Shivaji Sarkar, Pioneer
There is a growing realisation that the future growth of Indian companies will be influenced by the share that they can garner in the world market. They are acquiring overseas assets to establish overseas presence and to upgrade their competitive strength in overseas markets.
Tax defies logic, says Vodafone - Gaurav Choudhury, Hindustan Times
British telecom giant Vodafone, which  is contesting a $2.5-billion (Rs 11,200 crore) tax bill in India over its acquisition of a controlling stake in mobile firm Hutchison Essar, said on Wednesday that it was difficult to understanding the rationale behind the authorities seeking to impose penalties on the dea.
The regulators strike back - MK Venu, Indian Express
Regulatory institutions evolve in a capitalist system necessarily through a robust interface between the state and market forces.
News Corp. Sells myspace for a song - Jessica E.Vascellaro, Emily Steel & Russell Adams, Wall Street Journal
sold music and entertainment website Myspace to a little-known ad-targeting firm, shedding a onetime Internet success whose steady slide had been a distraction at the media conglomerate for years.
The rise and inglorious fall of myspace - Felix Gillette, Business Week
In 2006, Jeremy Jackson—the buff, bronzed former Baywatch child star—couldn't imagine a world without Myspace. He was a single, underemployed actor in Los Angeles, an exhibitionist in need of an audience, and Myspace filled almost every need.
Has RBI lost control of the rupee? - Jamal Mecklai, Business Standard
Fifteen or so years ago, when it first took shape, the Indian rupee non-deliverable forward (NDF) market traded barely a few hundred thousand dollars a week. By four or five years ago, the volume had risen to $2 billion to $3 billion a day, and the terms “NDF arbitrage” and “buying in NDF” became more and more common in dealing rooms.
Why bet big on bonds - Sharmila Chavaly, Financial Express
The OECD estimates that global annual infrastructure requirements for the period ending 2030 for electricity (transmission and distribution), road and rail transport, telecommunication, and water would be around an astounding 3.5% of world GDP—over $50 trillion.
Don’t just blame the speculators - Jeffrey Frankel, Financial Express
Under French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s leadership, the G20 has made addressing food-price volatility a top priority this year, with member states’ agriculture ministers meeting recently in Paris to come up with solutions.
Take cotton success story forward - Ram Kaundinya, Business Line
Chinthi Reddy, a farmer in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, who cultivates cotton with Bt seeds on his five-acre land, says: “Life has never been so good.”
Has employment fallen in India? - T C A Anant & Rajiv Mehta, Mint
The National Sample Survey (NSS) has just released some key characteristics of employment and unemployment in India based on the survey conducted between July 2009 and June 2010.
When CEOs are ineffective - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Indian Express
Do public-sector companies work on autopilot mode? It would seem so. The Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) website this week shows 15 vacancies for top jobs in public-sector companies.
Corporate India fund raising slumps 50% - George Mathew, Indian Express
The mega plan of Indian companies to raise big money to fund their expansion and new investments is likely to remain a dream in 2011. While the volatile Sensex has hit the primary market hard, debt market mobilisation also declined sharply as interest rates surged.
Cheap loans for big bucks - Seema Sindhu, Pioneer
Low interest rate loans for agriculture are being diverted for purposes other than agriculture. The racket is on such a scale that so-called “farmers” of Delhi get more loans than the rest of the States, except Punjab.
Reversal of fortune at Tata’s JLR - John Reed, Financial Express
Jaguar launched the diesel-engine version of its XF saloon last week near Munich, in the backyard of its far-bigger German competitors, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
When umpire turned batsman - Raghuvir, Business Line
It is just as well that the Cairn-Vedanta deal is finally out of the way. The soap opera has dragged on for too long, 10 months to be precise, and it has done nothing for the reputation of all those concerned with it — ONGC, the Government or Cairn Energy.
India's 'DPLS' syndrome - Vinayak Chatterjee, Business Standard
PhDs and learned papers dwell on how timely decision-making at different points of our economic history have spurred growth.
Why postpone agriculture reforms? - Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Economic Times
In the rapidly transforming Indian economy all the attention has consistently centered on the emerging sectors, almost by default.
Cairn may not accept Govt conditions on Vedanta deal - Richa Mishra, Business Line
More action can be expected in the Cairn Energy-Vedanta Resources stake sale deal, with the Cairn India board unlikely to accept the conditions set by the Government. The Government has set certain riders for the deal approval including the issue of royalty raised by ONGC — royalty to be shared by all stakeholders — and that Cairn has to withdraw all arbitration cases.
The Copyright Amendment Bill 2010: on the death of books and the digital environment - Aparna Viswanathan, Hindu
The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010, approved by the Union Cabinet on December 24, 2009, and introduced in the Rajya Sabha on April 19, 2010, sparked great controversy for a number of reasons.
On yesterday’s deadline - P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Indian Express
Find below snippets of actual conversation, names being withheld for reasons you will appreciate. Cabinet Minister 1: The reshuffle has to be radical. I will do the job the two (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi) decide for me. But yes, a bold call is the need of the day.
Commodity derivatives hold grain of future - Dr N P Singh, Financial Express
There is an uncomfortable link between volatile food prices and poverty, with the countries that have endemic poverty ironically witnessing the steepest rise in food prices.
Missing demographic dividend? - Arup Mitra, Economic Times
The results of the NSS 66th round survey (2009-10) on employment and unemployment show a striking decline in the female labour force and the workforce participation rates as per all the three criteria (the usual, weekly and daily status) in rural and urban areas as compared to 2004-05.
India inc dividend over prospects in West Bengal - Atmadip Ray, Kalyan Parbat & Debjoy Sengupta, Economic Times
The West Bengal government and the Tata Group may have daggers drawn at each other, but India Inc feels the Mamata Banerjee-led administration must tread carefully from here on lest her hopes of luring industry into her state remains a pipe dream.
The bottom-most bric - Mythili Bhusnurmath, Economic Times
Has civil society gone beyond its remit by refusing to back down on the issue of tackling corruption? The answer to that depends on which side of the on-going debate on the Lokpal Bill you are on.
Setting up of land bank corporations mooted - Hindu
The working group on land and water that was assisting the Planning Commission in formulating the 12th Five Year Plan had mooted the establishment of State land bank corporations to acquire land for industrial clusters, president of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) B. Muthuraman said here on Monday.
Formalising the informal sector - M Govinda Rao, Financial Express
There has been considerable consternation over the issue of the large and growing underground or informal economy. The main focus has been on the drafting of the Lokpal Bill, defining the scope, powers and functions of the Lokpal.
A smart solution to power shortage - Rahul Tongia, Business Standard
A recent news report in Business Standard drawing attention to the power shortage that India faces today was a stark reminder of the state of electricity in the country. 
Post ministerial rejig, Reliance loses its mojo - Soma Banerjee, Economic Times
 For a company that is used to getting the rub of the green, for the past six months, Reliance Industries has suffered the repeated ignominy of being left kicking the dirt.
Indian consumption to grow 14% in 3 years: Study - Ratna Bhushan, Economic Times
Consumer durables, automobiles, food and personal care products have the maximum growth potential in the country as multinationals shift focus to Asia Pacific and Latin America to drive up their sales, says a study.
Gurgaon, Chandigarh show challenges facing the nation - Nidhi Misra, Mint
The cities of Chandigarh and Gurgaon are a study in contrast. The former, planned and designed by Le Corbusier, was built on an area of 114 sq. km for a population of half a million.
Subsidy shakeup: Cash transfer soon - Hindustan Times
Beneficiaries of kerosene, cooking gas (LPG) and fertiliser subsidies will soon be able to get direct cash transfers through banks, ATMs or even mobile banking, once the recommendations of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to plug leakages in the system are implemented.
Bajpai panel for reform of NPS - Business Standard
To revive the New Pension System (NPS), a committee has suggested sweeping changes in its architecture. It has proposed bringing in the postal department, telecom companies, pension fund managers, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and third-party corporate agents for selling the product.
RBI: Data revisions crippling policymaking - Business Standard
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Duvvuri Subbarao on Tuesday said policymaking by the central bank had been hit by the frequent revisions in key data like that of the country’s growth, inflation and factory output.
Ministry of corporate affairs launches a much-needed makeover - Joe C Mathew, Business Standard
Corporate Affairs Minister Murli Deora offered his resignation yesterday and, while the reasons for it are still being debated, it most certainly wasn’t because of a lack of traction in his ministry.
Can services-led growth continue? - T T Ram Mohan, Economic Times
The services sector is largely responsible for the Indian growth miracle. Few had anticipated this when economic reforms were rolled out two decades ago. It is one of many aspects in which the Indian growth story has not conformed to the text.
Panel suggests revenue model for PFRDA - Deepti Bhaskaran, Mint
The pensions business may well become the first where the regulator earns a fee from fund managers that is a percentage of the assets managed by the latter.
SC's G Noida order affects dubious deals across India - Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
The Supreme Court's order upholding the Allahabad high court verdict quashing the acquisition of around 156 hectares of farmers' land in Greater Noida could potentially put a question mark over all such land acquisitions in and around urban areas.
High interest rates restricting growth - Economic Times
Pressures from the most basic elements are, therefore, off their heated levels. Add to that inflation in food items, which, in May, was half its level seen five months ago, giving much relief, and prospects of a good monsoon make for additional comfort.
Measuring government inaction - MK Venu, Financial Express
These days a new term has permanently entered the lexicon of commentators on various business television channels. “Government inaction” is routinely cited as a component of the domestic headwinds the stock markets are facing.
Flying on a wing and a prayer - M P Bezbaruah, Hindu
The troubles that the aviation sector faces worldwide are not about to go away. Its future depends on measures that involve technology, good management and governmental support.
UK Bribery Act: Threat or opportunity? - Ramesh Venkataraman, Business Line
At a time when the country is debating the Lokpal Bill, a landmark piece of legislation, the UK Bribery Act, came into effect from July 1, 2011.
No money, can’t pay: Mother of all defaults looms in FCCBs - Shishir Asthana, First Post
Get ready for the mother of all loan defaults in Indian corporate history. Scores of mid-range companies which issued foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) in 2006-08 are now in no position to repay.
India's growth story shining - Rupali Mukherjee, ToI
India's growth story continues to attract global investors with inbound investment deals rising three-fold to $17.4 billion in the first six months of 2011. The value of outbound transactions dropped sharply to $5.8 billion from $17.8 billion in the year-ago period.
Jayalalithaa's ringing call to investors - BS Raghavan, Business Line
Her firm commitment to make Tamil Nadu a new growth model and Number One among Indian States in all spheres of development and not to spare any efforts to act as a catalyst to fulfil the investors' dreams carried conviction precisely because she squarely and frontally admitted the “infrastructure deficits” and the prevailing “nervousness” of the corporate sector over power cuts without making any attempt to gloss over them.
Is govt going overboard on telecom security? - Mahesh Uppal & GK Pillai, Financial Express
The issue of legal interception of services like BlackBerry, Nokia emails, Skype and Gmail has to be seen in larger perspective. There are two school of thoughts here. The first is the American thought which places national security above privacy while the second, that of the EU, places higher importance on privacy.
Time we privatised Air India - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
The airline has been financially bankrupt for several years. The only solution is privatisation, not even disinvestment. As for serving commercially unviable routes, a more sensible way of doing this is to create a funds pool for private players.
CAG blames ministry for AI mess - Surajeet Das Gupta & Mihir Mishra, Business Standard
The civil aviation ministry initiated and then made a mess of the merger of the erstwhile Indian Airlines (IA) with Air India (AI), according to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report. The national auditor also said Accenture, the consultant asked to prepare the merger plan, did not do enough work on the move’s financial implications.
Mining royalty gives tribals a better deal - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, ToI
At last a pernicious nationalization is going to be partly rectified. A new mining bill has just been cleared by a group of ministers, mandating the sharing of 26% of mining profits with the local population in the case of coal, and the payment of a sum equal to last year's royalty for other minerals.
Germany’s trade with India crosses 15 bn euros - Huma Siddiqui, Financial Express
The relationship between Germany, the financial pillar of Europe, and India, the rising Asian giant, has reached a new high with trade volumes crossing the 15-billion-euro mark.
E-tailing India - Debojyoti Ghosh, Financial Express
When shoe company Bata decided to develop a new e-commerce platform for the Indian market last year, it was confident of the online model clicking with the consumers who are traditionally more inclined to buy products from stores.
Profit sharing could trigger coal price rejig - Himani Kaushik, Financial Express
Allaying fears that coal miners would be hit hard by the proposal to make them share 26% of their post-tax profit with the local population, Union mines secretary S Vijay Kumar said that the burden on them would be less than that on miners of other minerals, who must earmark a sum equal to the ad valorem royalty paid on the output with the locals.
UID, queues and zoozoos - Haseeb A Drabu, Mint
Its two neighbours, China and Pakistan, are a source of great angst for India. While Pakistan is a perennial security irritant—having implications on the stability and certainty of doing business in India—the panda has been giving the tiger sleepless nights by setting a scorching pace of economic growth, creating infrastructural availability and cornering of markets globally.
BJP set to block multi-brand retail FDI Bill - Pioneer
Manmohan Singh Government’s move to open up multi-brand retail for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will face a major challenge from the Opposition with the BJP on Wednesday expressing its reservation to the proposal being actively considered by the Centre.
The investment flight: More money going out, lesser coming in - George Mathew, Indian Express
Months after HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh said India’s aura was fading, with domestic companies increasingly realising it’s easier to do business outside, there are numbers to support this flight of investment — Indian companies are investing more abroad than what’s coming in as investment from abroad.
Asia’s engine of growth - Amitendu Palit, Financial Express
Asian connectivity has assumed a whole new meaning with high-speed rail linking people and places not only within the countries, but also across countries.
A new urban reform agenda - M Ramachandran, Economic Times
All saidand done, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was instrumental in introducing one of the pioneering changes in the way our urban governance system functions.
No let-up in food inflation, say economists - Indivjal Dhasmana, Business Standard
A group of economists feel there is every possibility that food inflation will hover around eight per cent in the near future, though it is down to a seven-week low of 7.61 per cent and the monsoon is expected to have a cooling impact on it.
How to remove subsidies and not hurt the poor — Iran offers lessons - R N Bhaskar & Satish John, DNA
India is beginning to experience the pains of removal of subsidies on oil and gas. However, unknown to many, Iran has begun doing that even more forcefully, four months ago, and appears set to do a much better job of it.
PE players lay fund PIPEline to listed companies - Sarika Malhotra, Financial Express
Private equity is in a churn and the spinoff benefits are being felt, among others, by listed companies looking for growth capital.
Ramesh shift gives India Inc a lift - Ronojoy Banerjee & Kirtika Suneja, Financial Express
India Inc heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday with the exit of Jairam Ramesh as environment minister. His shift to the rural development ministry, albeit with the elevated status of a Cabinet minister, was seen as the most significant part of the Prime Minister’s latest reshuffle exercise.
Inclusive growth, here we come - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
We are so focused on berating ourselves, and often with good reason, we’re unable to focus on the good news. To be sure, India has a long way to go on any parameter you can think of, but the past week has seen a series of good news coming out from two NSSO samples, one on employment and the other on consumption.
Contract sanctity must for attracting investment in oil business - Vikram S Mehta, Times of India
The exploration and production (EP) segment of the petroleum business has been much in the news recently. There was the tussle between Cairn and ONGC over the sharing of the fiscal burden: the CAG has reportedly criticised the production-sharing contract that defines the split of the " profit oil" between the contractor and the government.
Telecom equipment: From services to manufacturing - Financial Express
India now has one of the most competitive telecom services and this has positive implications in reducing communications costs for the outsourcing industry even when other factor prices have been rising. India’s trade imbalance is rising in the telecom equipment segment, thanks to a weak manufacturing base to support the phenomenal growth of new subscribers and the substantial import of telecom equipment.
Agri markets and small farmers - Shashanka Bhide, Business Line
Market intermediaries and farmers have usually been at odds with each other, in spite of the interdependence of the two.
Tax havens draw 1/3rd of Indian funds - Economic Times
Over 80 companies invested in countries like Mauritius, British Virgin Islands and Cyprus - popularly known for their liberal taxation regimes, where usually not many questions are asked about investments to and from these markets.
Wages of virtue - P Raghavan, Indian Express
The results of the 66th round of the National Sample Survey (NSS), which was conducted in 2009-10 and focused on employment, have been mired in controversy, with some experts questioning the credibility of the numbers. Its findings — a sharp deceleration the growth of the labour force, of the workforce and even of unemployment rates, have been challenged.
Deo brandishes Forest Rights Act - Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times
While other new UPA ministers present in Delhi have assumed office, Vyricherla Kishore Chandra Deo spent the entire day at his Lodhi Estate bungalow.
Wheat export: Too little, too late - Tejinder Narang, Economic Times
On July 11, 2011, the government in-principle cleared wheat export, subject to modalities of price and quantity, and terminated embargo on non-basmati rice export for a limited quantity of one million tonnes (mt) with a minimum export price ( MEP )) of $400 fob per tonne.
Agriculture: Be like Gujarat - Shankar Acharya, Business Standard
In the 60 years since 1950 Indian agriculture has recorded an average growth rate of 2.7 per cent per year. In the past 30 years, the rate has crept slightly above three per cent, well short of the four per cent target set in successive recent Five-Year Plans.
Your haven may not be so safe anymore - Sugata Ghosh & M Padmakshan, Economic Times
A fortnight ago, three businessmen from the same family were summoned by tax officials in Mumbai and Kolkata to appear with their tax returns and passports.
Sectoral caps are inefficient - Manoj Pant, Economic Times
Last month, the Department for industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) put the cat among the pigeons by suggesting that FDI caps below 49% be done away with.
Logjams hurt India story - Gaurav Choudhury, Hindustan Times
India is the world's second fastest growing economy, and the hottest market after the rise of China, but the promise that it spurred among investors and entrepreneurs is now choked.
From treadmill to fast track - Renu Kohli, Business Standard
The Indian manufacturing sector has had to run very fast in order to stand still in this millennium. Despite an exceptional performance in the first decade, its share in the overall gross domestic product (GDP) has remained between 15 and 16 per cent.
What’s a trend? - Shombit Sengupta, Indian Express
Being a reverse wave, a trend stuns people, creates discomfort in society. It forms as a distinct character in the backdrop of history, and mainly emerges from human manifestations of being anti-establishment.
India's unique forex reserve accumulation story - Harish Damodaran, Business Line
On March 31, 1991, India had foreign exchange reserves of $5.83 billion that could finance not even 3.5 months of imports. Twenty years later, on the same day, the reserves stood at $304.82 billion.
A union of Indian Ocean nations - B S Raghavan, Business Line
Caught in the stranglehold of concepts and models emanating from the West, the opinion leaders, strategic thinkers and policymakers of Asian countries have long shied away from examining boldly and with a fresh mind the new and exciting vistas of social, cultural and economic partnership that exist right at their doorstep.
Making and unmaking of brands - C Gopinath, Business Line
A brand is meant to differentiate a product from its competition. Hence, companies spend a lot of money branding their products to communicate the quality, design, and/or other features that they feel make their products stand out.
Govt apathy to blame - R Srinivasan, India Today
Mumbai's stock brokers are known for their resilience. A mere bomb blast or two generally doesn't faze them.
Urbanization: It’s happening, can we cope? - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
The revival in tempo of urbanization, as said earlier, is welcome. But, what is worrying is that states such as Bihar, which is among the economically laggard states, show only around 10% urbanization.
The second rung of affluence - Mint
According to the five income-segment classification of the Indicus urban consumer expenditure spectrum, in the second rung of affluence, or the upper middle class, among urban Indian households are those who earn between Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh annually.
Railways pays monopoly rent to suppliers: Panel - Praveen Kumar Singh, Financial Express
Indian Railways, with an annual procurement bill of R20,000 crore, follows a non-transparent and non-competitive system that virtually assures continuous payment of “monopoly rent” to suppliers like US-based firm Electro Motive Diesel (EMD), a high-level government committee has said.
What do the NPA numbers suggest? - Biswa Swarup Misra, Financial Express
The Union finance minister, on the occasion of the 64th annual general meeting of the Indian Banks’ Association, expressed concerns and sounded a word of caution concerning the rising bad loans of banks.
More clarity needed on anti-dumping notifications - T N C Rajagopalan, Business Standard
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has clarified (through Circular number 28/2011-Cus dated July 8, 2011) that definitive/final anti-dumping duty can be collected beyond the stipulated period only when a notification extending the levy has been issued, before the expiry of the parent notification.
Institutional decay terrorises investment - Somasekhar Sundaresan, Business Standard
The nation seems to be under siege. By a medley of forces, the scale and complexity of which only seem to expand by a new dimension every day.
Secession of the successful - Sanjaya Baru, Business Standard
Last month the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) put out the latest data on outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) from India. The liberalisation of restrictions on Indian investment abroad has helped Indian companies acquire assets worldwide.
From small beginnings - Ajay Shankar, Times of India
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of industrial economies whether in Japan or in Germany. Small-scale industries were central to our development strategy in the heyday of planned industrialisation.
When the tide goes out - Krishnamurthy V Subramanian, Financial Express
According to the authors, while understanding the role of these GSEs is valuable in and itself to avoid a similar crisis in future in the US, understanding their role may also offer important lessons to other countries where the government plays a critical role in the financial sector. India is an important case in point.
India's weight in FII portfolios rises - Jitendra Kumar Gupta, Business Standard
India’s weight in the emerging market portfolios of foreign institutional investors (FIIs) has risen by about 100 basis points in June to 7.96 per cent as compared to May.
The great steel rush - Viswanath Kulkarni, Business Line
Steel yourself to witness an exciting race. Propelled by strong domestic demand, both private and public sector steel players in India are furiously expanding capacity – and one could soon see a neck and neck battle for pole position.
NREGS may be informally shut down in peak season - Prabha Jagannathan, Economic Times
The UPA government has advised states to suspend its rural job guarantee programme during peak farming periods, adopting a wink and a nod strategy to stay legally clear and yet head off complaints the vote-winning scheme was causing a shortage of hands on farms.
India’s growing wealth bolsters demand for gold - Financial Express
Gold always falls in summer. That is the conventional wisdom among gold traders, conditioned over decades in which the period from June to August has been characterised by slack demand for bullion.
2010-11: The year of record crop for india - Economic Times
Spurred by attractive prices, India's farmers produced record grain in the just-concluded 2010-11 farm year, even as the world struggled with shortages.
High flyers low on cash - Anjuli Bhargava, Business World
The monsoon may have been a tad slow in arriving, but in India, it is raining aeroplanes all of a sudden. Since the second half of 2010, budget airlines in India have been on a roll.
Govt tears up NAC’s Food Bill; time to send it packing? - R Jagannathan, First Post
Reality is catching up with Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council (NAC). Having spent the last few years scripting loads of spending programmes without worrying about who’s going to foot the bill, it is now facing the prospect of the government using the scissors liberally on its Food Security Bill (FSB), not to speak of the flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).
Wages of a quick fix - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
The agriculture ministry has asked for NREGA to be suspended during peak farming seasons of sowing, transplantation and harvesting. NREGA has raised the cost of farming, by pushing up labour costs by as much as 40 per cent.
Proper broadband design can add 2% to GDP: Pitroda - Financial Express
Properly designed broadband can add 1-2 per cent to gross domestic product of India, advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovations, Sam Pitroda, said on Wednesday.
Poverty analysis sans 'WBT' and 'TFT' models - Laveesh Bhandari, Business Standard
Economics provides a host of tools that enable us to better understand poverty and why it might arise, persist, reduce or increase. That better understanding should, ideally, help us in designing policy and actions to tackle poverty better.
Did nationalised banks save India? - Nirvikar Singh, Financial Express
When India survived the global financial crisis relatively unscathed, several prominent public figures claimed that the country’s public sector banks had been pillars of stability and resilience, contributing to the economy’s strong performance under stress.
India regaining status as trading powerhouse - Economic Times
India broke into the club of top 20 exporters of goods and reclaimed its position among top 10 services exporters in 2010, moving up two notches in both categories from 2009 in a display of resilience to the economic downturn that continues to cast its shadow on the US and the EU.
Tata succeeds, while Posco struggles - Ruchira Singh & Alekhya Mukkavilli, Mint
Tata Steel and Posco conceived their high-profile projects in Orissa at around the same time— 2004-05. Both faced similar opposition from land owners and saw long delays in meeting schedules.
Laggard power generation could derail India’s growth story - Utpal Bhaskar, Mint
India’s target of achieving a 9-9.5% growth during the 12th Plan period (2012-17) may come unstuck, with power generation unable to match pace with growing demand.
Asset reconstruction mirage - S Murlidharan, Business Line
A lender ought to recover his dues himself because he is the one who processed the loan application and has in his possession the dossier on the borrower.
Pranab pooh-poohs reform fatigue, policy inaction - Business Line
The Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, denied any ‘reform fatigue' or policy inaction by the UPA Government. Seeking to allay such fears, Mr Mukherjee told reporters at his North Block office here on Wednesday that a series of major economic enactments are likely in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament beginning August 1.
BHEL equipment rated higher than Chinese companies' - Sujay Mehdudia, Hindu
Once again proving its expertise, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has got a “thumbs up” from international rating agencies like JM Financial and Merrill Lynch. BHEL's performance in supply of power equipment is higher and more efficient as compared to that of the Chinese companies, they say.
Not-so-cheap spectrum - Bhupesh Bhandari, Business Standard
When it was under scrutiny for selling spectrum cheap to new operators in 2008, the department of telecommunications or DoT submitted in its defence that the policy directives were to improve telecom services in the country and not to maximise revenue.
Clear and present danger - Dharmakirti Joshi, Financial Express
As we progress into 2011-12, inflation woes continue to weigh down on the economy. Inflation, which remained high at 9.4% in the first quarter of 2011-12, is expected to surge to double digits in the second quarter.
This decade for Agriculture - Ashok Gulati, Economic Times
July is a month when we need to remind ourselves how reforms have changed India since 1991, from vulnerability to resilience, whether to external shocks (say, oil) or internal ones (droughts).
Reliance, RCom accused of corporate misgovernance - First Post
Reliance Industries shares fell 1.6 percent on Thursday. The BSE Sensex fell only 0.5 percent. A couple of issues could bother investors in the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and Anil Ambani-led ADAG Group in the coming days.
How to feed inflation - V Kumaraswamy, Business Standard
The official response to the sustained spell of inflation is like treating patient A for tuberculosis to cure B of cholera, even if A has no illness since A is the only patient under its control and the medicine to treat tuberculosis is all it has in its stock.
India's economy: The half-finished revolution - Economist
India’s liberalisation began with a bang in 1991, but two decades on the unreformed parts of the economy are becoming a drag on growth.
India Inc under siege - Arindam Bhattacharya, Financial Express
 In the last one month there were three reports in the business media, quoting leading business leaders, who were highly critical of the investment climate in India.
AgriMin wants NREGA labour glitch uprooted - Seema Sindhu, Pioneer
The Agriculture Ministry is seeking a policy change to tackle shortage of labour for agricultural work due to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). Sources said the Ministry is likely to propose an amendment to MNREGA to link agriculture work to the scheme or restrict it to the lean period in farming.
UPA on overdrive after season of 'policy paralysis' - Nivedita Mookerji, Business Standard
Just when “policy paralysis” was fast turning into a catch phrase, the government has sprung into an overdrive taking many decisive steps. Experts and industry watchers agree the UPA government seems to have woken up from its policy slumber, which it had slipped into while coping with corruption charges in 2G telecom spectrum scam and Commonwealth Games.
FIIs shun P-Notes for investment in India market - N Sundaresha Subramanian, Bus Std
Foreign institutional investors’ (FIIs) India exposure through participatory notes (P-Notes) fell to an all-time low in June. Last month FIIs pared P-Note positions worth Rs 53,570 crore, bringing these off-shore derivative contracts’ share in total FII investments below 10 per cent for the first time since 2003, beginning which data is available with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
RBI’s action: A suboptimal policy mix - A Prasanna, Mint
The central bank rolled back a few years and proceeded to shock financial markets with a 50 basis points hike in the repo rate. The previous regime at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) viewed surprising markets as a useful tactic.
Food security law could push up world prices, widen subsidy bill - Surojit Gupta & Sidhartha, ToI
The government plans to introduce a legislation which aims to ensure food security for 75% of the rural households and 50% of the urban areas and includes both below poverty line and above poverty line families.
Cash crisis: FCI doesn't have money for procurement - Samar Halarnkar, Hindustan Times
Over the last month, the state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) has twice stopped payments to state governments, various grain-purchasing agencies and rice millers who buy wheat and rice, the main food crops, from millions of farmers, a senior government source told HT on condition of anonymity.
Mineral exports: Is there a lesson for India from China's experience? - G Srinivasan, Business Line
Against this backdrop, China has demonstrated some original ideas on using its sovereign power to prevent large-scale squandering of vital raw materials such as bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorous and zinc and rare earth (materials), where it is a monopoly supplier, by subjecting them to export restraints in 2009.
What's wrong with our statistics? - Madan Sabnavis, Business Standard
Less than a week after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expressed concern over the quality of data, the Central Statistics Office drastically reduced the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth number for capital goods for April to 7.3 per cent from 14.5 per cent when it was initially announced. Such revisions are quite bizarre and have a deeper implication because such high-frequency data is used for high-frequency monetary policy stances.
Tunnels to cut Jammu-Srinagar travel time by 5 hours by 2016 - Dipak Kumar Dash, ToI
In the next five years, you can hope to travel to Srinagar by road even during harsh winter or at the height of monsoon, and that too at a high speed.
'A-maizing' progress - Surinder Sud, Business Standard
Breakthroughs in the production and productivity of wheat and rice in the sixties and of cotton recently have been much appreciated, but similar advances in maize have gone largely unnoticed and unsung.
Inflation fight to take toll on growth - Times of India
The risk of growth slowing below 8% has intensified after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) surprised markets with a bigger-than-estimated rate increase and made it clear that calming inflation remains its top priority.
Just retail therapy - MK Venu, Indian Express
Last December, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had passionately advocated the need to “intensify the battle against corruption” and had spoken of the need to “ensure thorough legislation and clear procedures, full transparency in public procurement and contracts”.
With FDI at $25 bn in 2010, India slips to 14th spot: UN report - Indian Express
At a time when other countries of developing Asia are setting new records in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, India’s position among the top 20 recipients fell to 14th position, from 8th last year, down at $25 billion in 2010 from $36 billion in 2009, according to a UN report released on Tuesday.
Carbon capture and utilisation could make economic sense - Fiona Harvey, Guardian UK
Passing carbon dioxide through slag left over from steel-making turns the waste product into a strong material that can be used for construction. Pumped into greenhouses, it provides a growing boost for crops.
A vegetarian who'll bring home the bacon for Deutsche - Sudeshna Sen, Economic Times
Usually, when banks announce succession plans, a handful of Wall Street analysts sit up and pay attention. But when Deutsche Bank announced early on Tuesday that Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen would become co-CEOs, with current chief executive Joseph Ackerman taking over as chairman of the board
Real estate czar proposes annuity to rein in rising farmer discontent - Ravi Teja Sharma & Partha Ghosh, Economic Times
DLF ChairmanKushal Pal Singh termed the ongoing farmer agitation overland acquisition a 'revolution' and said farmers whose land is acquired must be paid the potential value of their property and not merely the current market value.
India Inc hits out at RBI for rate raise, some call it 'madness' - Economic Times
India Inc has come down heavily on the central bank's decision to harden interest rates by more than expected, saying the move will badly hurt industry and will slow down the country's growth.
Patents stifling innovation, says Google - Financial Express
Google’s general counsel Kent Walker said the smartphone industry is using patents in an arms race that hurts consumers, leaving the company trying to “sort through the mess” of litigation.
Ex-Gen: Purchase system props bribery - DNA
The defence equipment procurement system in the country is structured in such a way that it is an open invitation for corruption. This is the view expressed by a retired general based in Pune, who spoke to DNA on condition of anonymity.
Insurers force hospitals to trim hefty bills - Pradeep Thakur, Times of India
Vishal, a marketing professional, underwent heart bypass surgery last month at a multi-specialty hospital in NCR and was billed Rs 2.60 lakh.
Rate rise may lead to more defaults: Banks tell RBI - Times of India
Banks have warned the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that repeated rise in interest rates could push up defaults, especially in case of highly-leveraged firms, infrastructure projects and small scale enterprises.
Food security: Robbing Peter to pay Paul - Nidhi Nath Srinivas, Economic Times
From next year, atta,bread,biscuits ,snacks and everything made frommaida andsooji will become seriously more expensive. Even after a bumper crop, there just won't be enoughwheat for us. ET helps you join the dots.
Come August and you can start a Company in 24 hours - Apurv Gupta, Economic Times
It took Kishore Biyani almost three months to incorporate Pantaloon Retail; Tulsi Tanti needed a month to float Suzlon Energy; Ramesh Chauhan says it took him ages, and he had to agonise over 50-100 pages of documentation
Karnataka remains investor-friendly, say industry leaders - Ajay Sukumaran & Goutam Das, Financial Express
Karnataka may be facing a governance deficit with its bouquet of scams but counter intuitively, there is no flight of investments from the state just as yet, a cross section of industry leaders said.
Greater Noida property crisis puts development at stake - Financial Express
Greater Noida’s land woes are a microcosm of a broader dilemma facing India: balancing the livelihoods of villagers with the need to maintain economic growth, revamp shoddy infrastructure and acquire enough land to build mass housing for urban dwellers.
Pause in rate hikes is in order - A Seshan, Business Line
As the Reserve bank of India (RBI) formulates its review of monetary policy, it faces, as in the past, a number of paradoxes, both on the international and domestic fronts. The US and Europe are still mired in the after-effects of the international financial crisis; this time it is even deeper.
SEBI changes code to ease takeover by India Inc - Economic Times
The Securities & Exchange Board of India, or SEBI, has proposed new takeover rules that will ease acquisitions by Indian companies and scrap thenon-compete fee, an anomaly that enriched promoters over minority shareholders.
Patent hunting is the latest game - Richard Waters, Financial Express
A new kind of bubble is inflating in tech and, like all the most alluring bubbles, this one is being pumped up by a potent combination: expansive claims from its promoters
Not too much of a stretch - Ajay Sukumaran & Dilip Bisoi, Financial Express
Recently, Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said consent by farmers will be essential for the revival of a R30,000-crore steel plant project in Gadag district of the state.
Three things to worry about - Abheek Barua, Business Standard
Three things about the current state of the Indian economy bother me. And no, I’m not going to harp on the clichéd “policy paralysis” that everyone is talking about. In fact, I believe initiatives like the fairly sharp increase in fuel prices, the accelerated clearance of foreign direct investment projects and the pick-up in spending on road projects and other infrastructure seem to suggest that someone is in charge (finally!) and is following a conscious strategy to fight the slowdown.
Mining scam taint on PSUs - Samar Halarnkar, Hindustan Times
Three of India's leading companies, Adani Enterprises, JSW Steels and Sesa Goa, and three public sector institutions — including NMDC, India's largest mineral producer — are among hundreds of smaller companies accused by the Karnataka lokayukta of involvement in the state's growing mining scandal.
New takeover code: India Inc may have to live with hostile bids now - George Mathew & P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Indian Express
India Inc’s sitting ducks could see a lot of action for control in the future. With market regulator Sebi changing the rules of the takeover game, corporate predators could find it easier to target hundreds of companies in which promoters have stakes below 25 per cent and gain majority control of 51 per cent.
NHAI project to fetch Rs 32,000 cr premium - Dipak Dash, ToI
During a bidding process on Friday, GMR Infrastructure quoted the premium for the 555-km Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway stretch that is expected to cost around Rs 5,500 crore.
Land wars - Devabrata Sengupta, Pioneer
Nandigram, Singur, Jaitapur and now the Noida-Greater Noida region of western Uttar Pradesh — India’s land wars seem to be escalating by the day. What's the way out? Do we need to amend the colonial Land Acquisition Act, 1894? Will it have any implications on next year's Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh?
Just flippin' fabulous! - Vivek Sinha, Hindustan Times
In 2007, Bansal buddies Sachin (29) and Binny (28) dug into their personal savings and put together Rs 4 lakh to start an online bookstore, which they called They knew it was not a new idea and if they were not going to have a big differentiator, the venture carried a high risk of joining the ranks with failed start-ups that promised so much but delivered so little.
SC order pushes steel industry into crisis - P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Indian Express
The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to ban all mining activity in Bellary has overnight put the entire iron and steel industry in crisis. Bellary supplies iron ore not only to steel units in Karnataka, but also to companies in five other states: Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Maharashtra. Besides JSW Steel, that has the largest plant with an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes at Toranagal, and employs some 22,000, there are several small sponge iron, pig iron and pellet plants in the region—all suddenly strapped for the basic raw material.
The dark side of solar - V Shoba, Indian Express
For those of us who look at solar energy as a means to environmentally sustainable living, here is an unpleasant surprise. According to a new study, the planned solar energy systems in India and China will be responsible for large-scale lead pollution to the tune of a third of the world’s 2009 lead production.
Directors, wake up and smell the company! - Shaili Chopra, ToI
Clearly, it's time for directors to wake up and smell the coffee - or shall we say, company? "Every company has a smell," says Ashok Ganguly, who headed Hindustan Unilever before moving to the board of Unilever in London, and is now a Rajya Sabha MP.
Suzlon: Minimal wind, maximum power - Shifra Mincer, Aol Energy
The fifth largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world with installations in 28 countries, Suzlon has reason to worry about the efficiency of wind turbines.
A curious diagnosis of inflation - Ashok Upadhyay, Business Line
By arguing that inflation is driven by demand pressures, the RBI is making out a case for applying the brakes on growth, even as investments are declining. This runs against New Delhi's visions of totting up a growth of above 8 per cent.
Why US deregulated the banks - Sebastian Mallaby, Business Standard
Seven years ago, James Mann published Rise of the Vulcans, a history of the neoconservative foreign-policy advisers who rose to prominence with the presidency of George W Bush. 
Column : Power play and the players - M Govinda Rao, Financial Express
In a recent public lecture delivered at the India Policy Forum, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission underlined the new challenges of managing the water, energy, urbanisation and environment as critical to accelerating growth and making it more inclusive during the 12th Plan.
How can we save India's MFI industry? - Mint
One-and-a-half decade ago, state-run Indian Bank came very close to a collapse when its accumulated losses wiped out its equity and reserves. The Chennai-based lender had made huge losses as it had to set aside money to provide for its bad assets. Now, Vijay Mahajan-promoted Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Ltd (BSFL), India’s oldest microfinance institution (MFI), is also collapsing under the burden of bad loans.
Naxal extortion from road projects in Bihar - Santosh Singh, India Express
V N Mishra says he cannot remember how many threat calls he has received since he joined as a project manager on M/s MBL Infrastructure Ltd’s road project in Aurangabad.
Intelligent design for the environment - Prodipto Ghosh, India Express
The announcement last weekend by the prime minister that an independent National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Agency (NEAMA) would shortly be set up has been welcomed in the media. The PM indicates that it would be staffed by professionals, will set up a new process for environmental appraisal of projects, and monitor the observance of environmental management plans. 
The right to choose your food - Sandip Sukhtankar , Paul Niehaus , Karthik Muralidharan, IE
The state of food security delivery in India through the public distribution system is much lamented, with the government of India’s own estimates suggesting that only 27 per cent of expenditure on the PDS reaches intended beneficiaries. This has prompted suggestions that it may be worth considering replacing targeted PDS entitlements with equivalent cash transfers. 
Clear bottlenecks, get cracking on reform front, India Inc tells govt - Financial Express
India Inc on Monday urged finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to speed up regulatory and procedural measures, especially relating to environmental clearances and land acquisition, to give a push to investment. The industry said in one voice that there has been complete stalemate on the reforms front, which needs to be addressed. Another major concern flagged was the rising cost of funds and the worsening European debt crisis.
Predatory pricing - Sanjay Sehgal & Muneesh Kumar, Financial Express
The recent judgment of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against the predatory pricing strategy followed by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in the currency derivatives (CD) segment is a landmark verdict in the history of Indian financial market.
Madhu Kannan - The ‘Superman’ influence - James Lamont and James Fontanella-Khan, FE
The New York Stock Exchange left an indelible stamp on Madhu Kannan. It was there that the 38-year-old chief executive of the Bombay Stock Exchange cut his teeth in the late 1990s, and where later he fell under the spell of John Thain, former CEO of the NYSE. Few close to him fail to notice the influence of “Superman” - as Mr Thain was known for his facial resemblance to Clark Kent - on his professional life.
FE Launches policy sensitive index - PSI-50 - Financial Express
Today we launch the PSI-50 index, a dynamic financial tool developed by The Financial Express. This will quantitatively gauge the effectiveness of government policy reforms – literally on a day-to-day basis.
Data indicates an e-commerce boom - Shuchi Bansal, Mint
This could be the year that marks a decisive shift in the online purchasing habits of the Indian consumer. The number of online buyers has seen a 70% jump—from 10 million to 17 million—while that of active Internet users has risen 28% in 2011 over 2010, according to a study by JuxtConsult, a market research firm.
Financial markets: Speed can and will kill - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
Lately, we had come across comments on the quality of data (or, rather the lack of it) that our policymakers work with. The governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) spoke about the limitations of data on industrial production and inflation. Swaminathan Aiyar wrote a column on the Indian labour force and employment data. Problems with data quality and reliability are well known.
Sea change in map of global risk - Matthieu Wirz & Matt Phillips, WSJ
As the pristine credit rating of the U.S. remains under threat, and the debt crisis in Europe rolls on, investors, traders and policy makers are grappling with fundamental changes in the global bond markets.Many so-called emerging countries, which have typically been charged higher interest rates because of their perceived risk, are now paying as little to borrow as developed nations, if not less.
Mining: An unalloyed mess - Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Indian Express
It is hard to believe that only a few years ago many mines were practically going a-begging, with several partly idled and few serious applicants for new leases. Yet, today mining is not only a booming business, but is also symbolic of so much that is wrong with India: massive corruption; nexus between politicians, big business and mafia; disenfranchisement of local residents; and environmental damage.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala pledges to give away 25% of his wealth, sets a $1 bn corpus target - Ahona Ghosh, ET
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, India's most famous investor, has pledged to give away 25% of his wealth during his lifetime. He is the fourth Indian businessperson - after Azim Premji, Shiv Nadar and GM Rao - to make a statement of intent to give away a substantial part of their personal wealth to philanthropy.
NMDC for nationalisation of small mining companies - Hindustan Times
India’s largest iron ore miner National Mineral Development Corporation on Tuesday said it would be better to nationalise small miners around the country since they are often found guilty of illegal mining and environmental degradation. The state-run miner with an iron ore roduction capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) has been hit by the Supreme Court ban on all mining activities in Bellary in Karnataka. The company said that the Lokayukt report released last week as well as the SC order gave an impression that every miner was at fault, which was not correct.
Power plants in pause mode, lenders press panic button - Katya B Naidu & Abhijit Lele, Business Standard
Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW Energy said it had put its Ratnagiri expansion plans on hold due to costly imported coal. High cost of imported coal had already dented its profit.
Justice @ the speed of consent, sebi way - Reena Zachariah, Economic Times
When UK Sinha took over as the chairman of securities market regulator, Sebi, in February this year, one of the first things he did was to seek a review of the consent order mechanism to ensure uniformity in settlement of cases between the regulator and violators of securities laws.
Bad loans grow fastest in five years - Anup Roy & Ravindra Sonavane, Mint
Indian banks’ bad debts are rising as companies have started feeling the pinch of high interest rates. Banks may also have to restructure loans that borrowers are finding difficult to service because their businesses have been affected by a slowing economy.
Cash transfers can be inflationary - Narendar Pani, Business Line
The move to replace the current system of subsidies with cash transfers to the poor is gathering momentum within government circles. The eagerness to make this change is based on the belief that cash transfers are less likely to leak than the current system of subsidies embodied in the price of the commodity.
Why India’s newspaper industry is booming - Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News
The newspaper has a weekly circulation of more than four thousand copies, but its offices are modest. One small room with bright blue walls houses the production team which comprises no fewer than seven people at any given time.
A tale of India's cities - Amitabh Kant, Times of India
Recent studies have projected that India will face an unprecedented scale of urbanisation - 350 million Indians will move to cities by 2030. This number is likely to double to 700 million by 2050. This is 2.5 times the size of the US's present population and will be the largest urban movement in the world. This implies that every minute during the next 20 years, 30 Indians will leave rural India for settling in urban areas.
Sad growth chapter in happy India story - Indicus Analytics, Economic Times
The central bank did it again. After injecting a sense of stability with calibrated hikes over the past year, there have been, surprisingly, two more 50-basis-points (bps) hikes since April 2011. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also made clear that it now wants to reduce growth to address galloping inflation. 
The price of land, the price of power - Sunil Jakhar, Indian Express
After 117 years of dithering by various governments, a landmark draft of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011 has been proposed by Jairam Ramesh, the minister for rural development. It has attractive rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) proposals, which people will find hard to reject.
Foreign investors doubt India’s export numbers - Sugata Ghosh, Economic Times
On Friday, as stocks across markets plunged, foreign portfolio managers and India economists with MNC banks were taken aback by a strange query from many of their offshore clients. These investors, who largely depend on external advice and research reports to buy shares, were questioning India's stunning export numbers.
Look beyond Bellary - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia and his fellow judges Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Swatanter Kumar were understandably enraged upon reading the report of the Central Empowered Committee, comprising environment experts, on illegal mining in iron ore-rich Bellary district of Karnataka.
RBI predicts high food prices for next 1 year - Pioneer
Aam admi will not have any respite from high food prices, at least, for the next one year if one is to go by the RBI survey result released on Thursday. According to the Inflation Expectations Survey of Households: June, 2011 (Round 24), food inflation is expected to be 12.9 per cent by June 2012. There are strong reasons to believe the data, as food inflation has already jumped from 8.04 per cent and neared to double digit figure at 9.90 in the last week of July.
Indian firms abroad: Under the radar - Economist
THE world is used to big Indian firms planting flags in foreign fields. Now the subcontinent’s medium-sized firms are venturing abroad, too, and often proving quicker and nimbler than their peers in other emerging economies.
Lufthansa pushed Air India into a corner over Star Alliance entry bid - Smita Aggarwal, IE
What queered the pitch for Air India in its entry bid for Star Alliance is the latter’s insistence that rival Jet Airways also be allowed to become a member as and when it applied for one. In fact, according to government sources, Lufthansa (founding member of the grouping) that was hand-holding Air India in its membership bid, together with Star Alliance, wanted Air India to pitch Jet’s case with the government in due course. Clearly, this did not go down well either with the carrier or its owner, the government of India.
RBI strikes, but why now? - Renu Kohli, Mint
The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) shock and awe strike has stunned everybody, leaving the markets reeling with its impact. Coming, as it does, against the backdrop of its new “openness-no surprise” approach to policymaking, the hefty hike of 50 basis points (bps)—on the back of a cumulative 75 bps hike in the past two months—throws up several puzzles.
The trouble with outsourcing - Economist
WHEN Ford’s River Rouge Plant was completed in 1928 it boasted everything it needed to turn raw materials into finished cars: 100,000 workers, 16m square feet of factory floor, 100 miles of railway track and its own docks and furnaces. Today it is still Ford’s largest plant, but only a shadow of its former glory. Most of the parts are made by sub-contractors and merely fitted together by the plant’s 6,000 workers. The local steel mill is run by a Russian company, Severstal.
Steel for a post-Bellary future - DJ Hector, Financial Express
The environment ministry is expected to submit an interim report to the Supreme Court on Friday on the extent of the iron ore requirement for the domestic steel industry. All steel plants would be hoping that the ministry’s report may tempt the apex court to either lift the ban or make it applicable to only the errant firms. 
Govt has to handle US visa issue: Som Mittal - TE Raja Simhan & M Ramesh, Business Line
Our youngest and the brightest have gone there (the US). It is benefitting the US. We are not going and taking away jobsbut generating employment there.
Kerala is now Frauds’ Own Country - George Abraham, Express Buzz
Kerala has become the happy hunting ground for fly-by-night operators of all hues: sham real estate builders, lottery mafia, money-chain racketeers, mushrooming chit fund and finance companies, share market investors and job recruitment agents. Kerala’s envious records in literacy, life expectancy and infant mortality rates are now matched by the highest rate of suicides, alcoholic consumption and social and economic crimes.
Mining ban will cripple economy - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
Although the Supreme Court has subsequently restored the right to public sector NMDC to continue operations, its imposition of a ban on iron ore mining in the Bellary district of Karnataka was in the nature of an extreme step.
Dynamics of poverty and inflation - Kaushik Basu, Business Line
I will begin by examining a particular argument which was being used in India in the context of the last 17 months of inflation, which began with a sharp upward rally of food prices. Food price inflation peaked in the early months of 2010, when it exceeded 20 per cent. Non-food inflation would pick up a little later.
Going after money stashed abroad - S Murlidharan, Business Line
It is now becoming clear more than ever before to the regulators as well as investigators that it makes infinitely more sense to use intelligence either to ideally pre-empt a terror or criminal act or to nab the one who has already indulged in these acts. The income-tax sleuths' tapping of phones used by Niira Radia in the 2G scam is a case in point.
Global tremors rock markets - Business Standard
The key stock market indices slumped over 2 per cent on Friday, their lowest close in nearly 14 months, amid a global stock market rout as concerns about a slowdown in US growth and the euro zone debt crisis prompted investors to dump risky assets.
Wanted - New ways to figure facts - Laveesh Bhandari, Business Standard
Statistical theory says if we randomly pick a small number of households and obtain a truthful set of responses from them, the aggregate of those responses will be representative of the whole population. P C Mahalanobis, who was as close to god as statisticians will ever come, designed a phenomenal system to help decision makers access information critical to good policy.
FDI in retail to open floodgate of job opportunities - Nivedita Mookerji & Dilasha Seth, Bus Std
The Opposition may be asking the United Progressive Alliance government how foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail would help generate employment, but the industry has already begun crunching numbers.
Aditi Gopalakrishnan: Competition law is shaped by context - Aditi Gopalakrishnan, Bus Std
We know that competition law and policy are fundamental in improving consumer welfare and increasing economic efficiency. But it is time to ask the question whether that tells the whole story in a country like ours. The POSCO conflict over land acquisition in Orissa sharply highlights the competing interests of business and development in India. 
Indian stock market among worst performers this year - Rajalakshmi Sivam, Business Line
Do you know that India has been one of the two worst performing equity markets of the world this year? The Indian benchmark index Sensex has plunged 16 per cent year-to-date. The US benchmark index Dow Jones, despite all the recent troubles, is just 1.5 per cent down for the year even after last Friday's free fall.
India to pitch for rating upgrade - Deepshikha Sikarwar, Economic Times
India will pitch for a significant upgrade of its credit rating by global rating agencies in the hope that a better rating will offset some of the negative consequences of Friday's US downgrade.
Long march of Mumbai's textile workers - Ashoak Upadhyay, Business Line
On July 28 thousands of mill workers marched from Byculla in central Mumbai to Azad Maidan further south to press for free housing. In itself, the event was noteworthy for the roadblocks and traffic disruptions it caused in the densely crowded area, but more so as a throwback to the last century when south Mumbai with its administrative buildings and corporate offices would witness frequent demonstrations.
Too big for India - Economist
THE story of Reliance Industries (RIL) is almost folklore in India. It was founded in the late 1950s by the late Dhirubhai Ambani, a former petrol-pump attendant. He had made his first fortune in the port of Aden, in what is now Yemen. He spotted that local coins had a face value less than the value of the silver from which they were made. So he bought every coin he could, melted them down and pocketed the difference. “I don’t believe in not taking opportunities,” he said, according to his unofficial biographer, Hamish McDonald.
Sebi probe shows rise in dirty money in stock market - Times of India
The finance ministry, in response to a Parliament question, has not ruled out that a lot of black money is flowing into the stock market.
An uneven field - Pranab Bardhan, Hindustan Times
The rural development ministry has put out a draft of the proposed National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) bill for public comment. There is no doubt it is a big improvement on the 1894 colonial law that was long overdue for repeal; in particular, it is intended to be far more farmer-friendly. Yet, in several respects the Bill is patently inadequate, both in its objectives and the mechanics of implementation.
Multinational corruption tightrope - TV Mahalingam & Shantanu Nandan Sharma, ET
It is a shot that London-based liquor giant Diageo Plc would rather gulp and forget in a hurry. Last fortnight, the world's largest spirit maker agreed to pay up more than $16 million to settle charges levelled by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC — the Securities and Exchange Board of India equivalent in the US).
Time to worry Mr. PM? - Jayant Sinha, Deccan chronicle
India’s economy is stalling and inflation remains stubbornly high. Job creation and investment levels are not at the level they need to be to absorb the 20 million young people entering the workforce every year. FDI and FII capital flows have declined substantially in the past year. Many Indian companies are investing outside of India rather than putting their Rupees to work in India. Global forces have certainly played an important role in slowing India’s economic growth; however, it is the spectre of crony capitalism that is haunting us. To dispel this gloom, we need the strong sunlight of transparency.
FDI in India shoots up 310% - Pioneer
Reinstating investors’ confidence in the Indian economy, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) witnessed the highest monthly inflow in last 11 financial years to a whopping 310 per cent increase in June to $5.65 billion. In June, 2010, FDI inflows into the country amounted to $1.38 billion. FDI flows were also very high in May, 2011, with the country receiving foreign investment worth $4.66 billion, a jump of 111 per cent vis-a-vis the same period last year.
Jobs are the key to inclusive growth - Arun Maira, Economic Times
The raging debates about the poverty level in the country remind one of the wag who said: 'There are lies, damn lies, and then, statistics'. Though they dispute how much poverty has reduced, all debaters do agree that we should have less of it. Poor people lift themselves out of poverty through gainful employment.
Learning from the Maruti impasse - JN Amrolia, Business Line
The recent unrest in Maruti's Manesar plant should not be seen as an aberration or a mere industrial dispute. It is, in fact, an indicator of a new set of challenges facing the Indian industry — challenges which both the Government and the industry can ignore only at their peril.
S&P: For India, slowdown impact may be deeper, prolonged - Business Standard
In the event of a renewed slowdown in the US and Europe, the impact in India is likely to be “deeper” and “more prolonged”, since India's fiscal capacity has shrunk compared to pre-2008 levels, said Standard & Poor's Rating Services (S&P). Another global slowdown would require governments to use their fiscal capacities to support their economies and financial sectors once again, the rating agency said in a note.
Soaring indirect tax collection points to robust economy - Shishir Sinha, Business Line
Despite the duty cut on crude and petroleum products in June, indirect tax collections in July registered a 27 per cent growth. The Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Custom, Mr S. Dutt Majumdar, told Business line, “The current rate of growth shows that economy is on the strong path.”
In 1991, other things happened besides the budget speech - Ashok V Desai, Telegraph
It was on July 24, 1991 that Manmohan Singh made his first budget speech, which is generally taken as heralding the economic reforms. He said that he missed the handsome, smiling face of Rajiv Gandhi, who had been murdered just weeks before.
Investors see India as safe haven - Partha Sinha, Times of India
The Indian market showed remarkable resilience on Tuesday and ended just 132 points lower at 16,858 on Tuesday despite a 5.6% fall in the Dow Jones index in the US on Monday. The less than a percentage point closing came on the back of Rs 2,100-crore net selling by FIIs. However, the market was well supported by domestic funds, who net bought stocks worth about Rs 1,400 crore.
Introspection time for RBI - Rajeev Malik, Business Standard
There is something uncanny about the timing of the 50-basis point (bp) rate increases by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The two 50-bp hikes in June-July 2008 came slightly before the global financial meltdown, which was triggered by the Lehman bust in September that year.
The future of natural gas - Economist
America’s deregulation of its natural-gas market encouraged entrepreneurial energy companies to gamble on new technologies allowing them to extract the gas conventional drilling could not reach. Geologists had long known there was gas trapped in the country’s shale beds.
Crop ‘holiday’ in food bowl - GS Radhakrishna, Telegraph Calcutta
Andhra’s rice bowl has dished out a lesson to the government’s inflation busters — it will have a “crop holiday”. Farmers in large swathes of the fertile East and West Godavari districts have decided not to cultivate paddy this season, preferring to keep their fields fallow rather than risk continued losses blamed on soaring input costs and low prices at which the government buys the produce.
Coming to grips with inflation - Ashima Goyal, Business Line
Monetary policy is moving rather too fast on the inflation front, while government action on the supply side continues to be glacial. The RBI did wait for supply-side improvements before reverting to its historical sharp tightening.
Number casting - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
The credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded US sovereign ratings from AAA to AA+ after the US government failed to agree on a path of fiscal consolidation. On August 5, the US Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling of the US as required by the Public Debt Acts. The agreement reached among political parties in the country was to inflict no pain until the end of 2012.
Black money: How Indian law compares with other countries - Sudhir Kapadia, ET
The issue of tax evasion, or black money, continues to occupy centre stage in the country. According to a 2006 report of the Swiss Banking Association, Indian nationals hold $1,456 billion in Swiss bank deposits.
India: Before and after global crisis - Shankar Acharya, Business Standard
Nearly three years ago I had noted that the period 2003-08 was the best sequential five years of macroeconomic performance that India had ever achieved, according to the usual criteria of growth, inflation, external balance, fiscal deficit and aggregate investment (“The halcyon years, 2003-08”, Business Standard, October 9, 2008).
Tax gateways to India - Devid Cay Johnston, Financial Express
The equatorial island nations of Mauritius and Singapore are competing for the role of preferred gateway for foreign investments into India and other Asian countries. Think of it as a triangle, not of love, but of lucre.
Loopholes in the Land Bill - Manoj Pant, Economic Times
As Parliament debates this month it will, hopefully, move beyond issues of corruption in high places to important economic legislation. Two such pieces of legislation are the land acquisition bill and the bill for a new regulatory body for higher education. In this month's column I will take up the first leaving a discussion of the latter issue to subsequent columns.
No freedom for farmers - Sharad Joshi, Indian Express
Jairam Ramesh, the new minister for rural development, has put the draft of the National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011(LARR) online. According to the draft, land acquisition can be done for any public purpose, including development of industry, development of infrastructure, special economic zones and so on.
Does India have a bad-debt problem? - Economist
A RITUAL familiar to students of the subprime and euro crises has started taking place on Indian banks’ conference calls with analysts and investors. The number-crunchers probe the lenders about their exposures to potential bad debts. Bank bosses insist that, although there are niggles, all is under control.
Why mining in India is a source of corruption - Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, BBC News
The mining scandal which led to the unseating of a prominent leader in India's southern state of Karnataka is the latest scandal to hit the industry.
Waiting for the recession - Shobhana Subramanian, Indian Express
If the current financial crisis is worse in any sense than the one in 2008, it is because countries and not just corporations could be going bust. Indeed, corporate earnings in the US have been reasonably good with a few exceptions. But the US is more indebted than ever, having borrowed more than a third of what the world did between 2007 and 2011.
The end of the road for motormania - Fred Pearce, New Scientist
Is the west falling out of love with the car? For environmentalists it seems an impossible dream, but it is happening. While baby boomers and those with young families may stick with four wheels, a combination of our ageing societies and a new zeitgeist among the young seems to be breaking our 20th-century car addiction. Somewhere along the road, we reached "peak car" and are now cruising down the other side. Peak car takes several forms. Sales of new cars have almost halved in the US, down from nearly 11 million in 1985 to about 5.5 million in 2009.
Land, water, fire - Girish Kuber, Indian Express
After land, it’s water. The watery war near Pune that has taken three lives so far could well be the first among many in Maharashtra. Having undergone rapid industrialisation, parts of Maharashtra’s hinterland are bursting at the seams. What happened in the Maval region, where protests by villagers opposing water supply to a nearby township turned violent last week, is a manifestation of a friction that will only grow.
Potholed roads in the economy - Shankkar Aiyar, Express Buzz
The state of roads in India’s financial capital Mumbai and the National Capital Region symbolise the state of the economy. You can, like Usain Bolt, sprint a short distance and even break the 9 per cent GDP growth barrier but pause you must at the next pothole. The motorists using Indian roads and those steering the economy face a common caution: speeding can lead to loss control and a fatal crash.
The Nano that wasn’t - Rishi Raj, Financial Express
The slowdown in auto sales has been well recounted in the news pages by now. Beginning this fiscal it hasn’t exactly been rocking like the previous two years, but what has not been noted is that the same numbers signal the end of a big dream—a dream that promised to change the motoring landscape of India, something that would have wiped off two-wheelers and mopeds from the Indian roads.
Loan waiver by another name - Mint
It is not uncommon for large parts of rural India to undergo what are called “power cuts”, a euphemism for forced rationing of electricity. The situation in urban areas is not very different. Galloping demand and deficient generation go almost hand in hand. The solution, it would seem, is simple: generate more electricity.
Microfinance gets lending boost with RBI nod to crowdsourcing - Deepti Chaudhary, Mint
India's microlending sector has got a significant nudge with the central bank giving its first nod to a crowdsourcing company to attract small loans from abroad for the country's poor.
Another google(y) from google - Andrew Ross Sorkin, Financial Express
Back in 2004, Eric E Schmidt, then Google’s chief executive, proclaimed, “We’re not going into the phone business, but we’re going to make sure Google is on those phones.” Less than a year later, however, Google did the opposite. As Steven Levy described in his book In the Plex, Google soon acquired Android, the mobile phone operating system, and began building a phone business that it has since developed into a juggernaut.
Of porous ports and unmanned rails - Darlington Jose Hector, Financial Express
The manner in which rail networks and ports in the south-west coast of India have been exploited for transporting illegally mined iron ore is a real eye opener. The damning Karnataka Lokayukta report, which has already claimed a chief minister, deals extensively on the subject and the details are shocking to say the least.
No bank licences for corporates: RBI - Financial Express
Notwithstanding the finance ministry’s initial prodding to go big on new bank licencing, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has got the ministry to toe its cautious line on how to expand the banking sector in India. The ministry and RBI have come to an understanding that big corporate houses ought not to be allowed to enter the banking business at this juncture.
India on global R&D map - Pranav N Desai, Express Buzz
Globalisation of innovation has emerged as a contentious issue due to its differential impact on economies at different levels of development. There is also a growing realisation that R&D and codified knowledge are important but not the sole factors that promote innovations and that most of economically useful knowledge has a tacit dimension having equally vital role.
EU frees Indian antibiotics from countervailing duty - Arun S, Business Line
Some Indian broad spectrum antibiotics will now become more competitive in the European Union with the EU scrapping the countervailing duty (CVD) on import of these drugs from India.
After PM council, Plan Panel warns: Need political will for 9% growth - P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Indian Express
Soon after the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council said the government has lost policy focus, the Planning Commission has warned that the government cannot adopt a “business as usual” approach and must show “political will” to achieve an “ambitious” 9 per cent growth target set by it for the next five years.
The quarter-million patents on your phone - Steve Lohr, NYT
Google was willing on Monday to pay $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility in no small part because of its stockpile of 17,000 patents. The patent portfolio, some analysts estimate, could represent more than half of the value of the deal, or more than $400,000 a patent.
Policy panel wanted status quo, Subbarao went for 50 bps hike - Indian Express
When the RBI Governor D Subbarao raised repo rates by a steep 50 basis points on July 26, he had ignored the suggestions of the bank’s Technical Advisory Committee, or the TAC.
India’s very own Greece - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
At the last auction of state government papers by RBI this month, Jharkhand raised debt on better terms than Gujarat. West Bengal was rated a better paper than Andhra Pradesh and the banks and financial institutions thought the Punjab state government was the best place to put their money in, compared to all other states.
Anna to have a domino effect, says india Inc - Economic Times
The Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption protests reverberating across the country are a hot topic in drawing room conversations. Now, they seem to be resonating in India Inc's boardrooms too. 
Narayana Murthy: Humble person, great brand - Ramanujam Sridhar, Business Line
Mr N. R. Narayana Murthy is retiring from Infosys, the company that he founded (with a few of his friends), a company that he led to pre-eminence even as everyone is asking “Why” and not “Why not?”.
Inventive warfare - Economist
This deal is all about patents. That was the near universal view of Google’s announcement this week that it was taking over Motorola Mobility, a maker of handsets and other devices, for a colossal $12.5 billion. Indeed, the purchase will provide Google with an awful lot of patents: around 17,000 of them issued and another 7,500 pending.
The real foreign hand backing Anna - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
I wonder if those who see a foreign influence on Anna Hazare's movement realize how close they are to the truth. As I argue below, global trends now unfolding have a major influence on our social and political realities. Not of course in terms of the rather silly charges of conspiracy and the hidden hand but in a deeper more structural manner. Hazare's movement, aided and abetted unwittingly by the ruling establishment, has pushed all other burning issues to the background and now threatens to wipe out the monsoon session of the Parliament.
Anti-graft movement to create better climate for American investments - Indira Kannan, Business Standard
American business leaders are hopeful that the anti-corruption protest in India led by activist Anna Hazare would not sidetrack burgeoning economic ties between the two countries, but would, in the long term create a better climate for American investment.
The cost of the black economy - Arun Kumar, Hindu
Much of the black economy in India is like “digging holes and filling them.” One digs a hole during the day and another fills it up at night. The next day, there is zero output but two salaries are paid.
Aerospace can make India soar - Anand Mahindra, Business Standard
It seems to me that in this particular year – 2011 – your Foundation Day carries an added significance. First, because it marks 51 years since you moved to Bangalore in March 1960. 51 years is a good time to look forward and plan for the next 51 years.
Centre plans, states perform - Sanjaya Baru, Business Standard
India, that is Bharat, is a Union of states. It goes without saying that in an essentially market-based economy like India’s, where the share of the state sector has been declining, where the fiscal capability of the Centre has been circumscribed and its political authority has waned, the growth rate of the economy is increasingly a sum of its parts. This is a sobering thought on the eve of the launch of India’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17).
Google searches for next Indian key word - Financial Express
Google’s buyout of Motorola Mobility in a $12.5 billion deal last week had investors and analysts across the globe gushing over its implications on the mobile handset space. While India’s smartphone market, one of the fastest growing in the world, could present the company with a big future opportunity, a mobile driven explosion in internet access, may make India the largest market for much of Google’s products portfolio in the next two to three years.
US firms hide outsourced jobs - Washington Post
Some of the country's best-known multi­national corporations closely guard a number they don't want anyone to know: the breakdown between their jobs here and abroad. So secretive are these firms that they hand the figure over to government statisticians on the condition that officialswill release only an aggregate number. The latest data show that multinationals cut 2.9 million jobs in the U.S. and added 2.4 million overseas between 2000 and 2009.
Neither America nor Anna - P Raghavan, Financial Express
The slow momentum of the US recovery and the instability in the global markets have now added to the worries about the prospects of the Indian economy. With the threat of a double-dip looming larger, even as India’s quarterly growth rates continue to slip in response to the efforts to nip inflation by raising interest rates, the GDP growth estimates have already been lowered closer to 8%. The new worry is that a global slowdown will not only hit exports but also foreign investments—which are important props that boost overall growth—and further delay any recovery.
India can still prevail, with will - Sumant Sinha, Economic Times
So we are once again in the thrall of a global economic crisis. The double dip recession appears round the corner in the US, while the eurozone continues its struggles to stave off impending Armageddon in the form of an outright default by one of its peripheral countries. Stock markets are forecast to test their 2009 lows and the outlook is grim at best.
In a tiny, remote village exists a BPO - Ronald Anil Fernandes, Deccan Herald
A remote Indian village is a highly unlikely location to set up a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) unit to serve a client in the United States. But 75 km from Mangalore city lies Mundaje, a breathtakingly beautiful village with verdant paddy fields, areca trees, pepper vines and rubber plantations which boasts of a BPO unit, too.
Prime Minister bails out Pakistan - Satish Chandra, Pioneer
To compensate Pakistan for the losses caused by the flood last year, the European Council offered it tariff concession on 75 items. India had opposed it on the ground that it would hurt the interest of our exporters. The Prime Minister’s decision to reverse India’s position has not only comes as a surprise but also shows he is soft on Pakistan.
No need to fear FDI in retail - KT Chacko, Business Line
With the government's conditional nod to FDI (foreign direct investment) in multi-brand retail seemingly around the corner, the question arises: does organised retail really require FDI? The unequivocal answer: ‘Yes'.
Rangarajan wants Planning Commission to shed funds allocation role - Devika banerji & Deepshikha Sikarwar, Economic Times
The Planning Commission may lose its power to decide allocations to central ministries if the government accepts recommendations of a high-level expert panel. The panel has sought abolition of the present system of classifying government expenditure into Plan and non-Plan, saying allocations should be the primary domain of the finance ministry.
In India, industries boom, but logistics lag behind - Rama Lakshmi, Washington Post
In India’s burgeoning consumer economy, transporting items from factory to store is a painfully slow process. Trucks jostle for space on pothole-filled roads that lack clear lanes, moving at an average speed of 19 miles an hour. India’s 28 states follow different tax systems, resulting in long bureaucratic delays at warehouses. The average turnaround time at ports is 84 hours, according to a report by KPMG and the Confederation of Indian Industry, compared with seven hours in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The Outsourcing Bogeyman - Jagdish Bhagwati, Project Syndicate
Outsourcing of services has been a persistent cause of panic and protectionism in recent years, especially in the United States since the 2004 presidential election. Back then, the Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry, upon hearing that digital x-rays had been outsourced from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for examination by radiologists in India, denounced firms that outsourced as Benedict Arnolds, the most infamous traitor in US history.
GST: A weapon against corruption - Pratik Jain, Economic Times
Over the last few months, there has been a national debate on corruption and different ways of tackling it. Fortunately, this time, there seems to be a sense of purpose in the discussions rather than a thought around 'learning to live with it'. 
Household savings hit 13-year low - Economic Times
India's household savings, which have fuelled growth over the last few years, have dropped to below 10% of gross domestic product, or national income, for the first time in 13 years, as soaring inflation ate into disposable incomes. 
We can be self-reliant in pulses - G Chandrashekar, Business Line
Peak pulses output was achieved in 2010-11. The only way to become self-sufficient is to improve yields through technology. The government's fourth advance and final estimates for agricultural crop production during 2010-11 has disclosed highest ever output of foodgrains (241.6 million tonnes or mt), that includes wheat (85.9 mt), coarse cereals (42.2 mt), pulses (18.1 mt) as well as oilseeds (31.1 mt) and cotton (33.4 million bales).
Food inflation nears 10%, RBI may hike rates again - Times of India
Food inflation quickened surprisingly in mid-August, driven by higher prices of vegetables, onions, fruits and protein-based items and economists said the Reserve Bank of India is likely to continue with its tight monetary policy as inflation continues to remain a concern.
RBI warns of higher inflation, lower growth - Times of India
The Reserve Bank of India has said that it expects economic growth to moderate to 8% or below in 2011-12 due to global uncertainty and rising interest rates. The central bank also expects inflation to be high for most of the year.
Diamond trade epicentre Belgium agrees to share black money info - Vrishti Beniwal, Business Standard
The government is a step closer to tracing the secret bank accounts of Indians, especially diamond traders, in Belgium. Under pressure from India and various global forums, Belgium has finally agreed to provide information held by its banks and financial institutions to India.
Betting on a range-bound rupee - Jamal Mecklai, Business Standard
With the rupee having slipped below 46 against the dollar this week (for the first time since September last year) after having peered above 44 just a few weeks ago, my January forecast – that the rupee will range between 43.50 and 46.50 this year – looks to be getting well filled out.
India's drive in overseas port infrastructure to slow home port plans - Economic Times
India's desire to spend billions of dollars on overseas infrastructure could undermine efforts to ease major domestic port congestion that has hindered trade in Asia's third largest economy. 
To catch a bribe - Ashutosh Prasad, Indian Express
With the question of corruption dominating the national discourse, we need to realise that the Lokpal is a limited solution, and additional tools are required to battle this pervasive problem. Recently, the chief economic advisor, Kaushik Basu suggested a way to reduce bribery, by decriminalising bribe-giving.
Plan panel backs for-profit institutes of higher learning - PK Nanda & S Singh, Mint
In a potential game-changer for India’s education sector, the Planning Commission has suggested that the country allow establishing institutes of higher learning that could be run for profit.
Annanomics: Strong Lokpal to aid business, says India Inc - Namrata Singh, ToI
After Parliament endorsed Anna Hazare's demands for a strong Lokpal, leaders of India Inc have started discussing Annanomics-the effects of the anti-corruption campaign on the economy. Industrialists, who kept a keen watch on the Anna-government standoff, said strong and effective checks against corruption will spur the country's GDP growth
The daughter also rises - Economist
Zhang Yin (also known by her Cantonese name, Cheung Yan) was the eldest of eight children of a lowly Red Army officer who was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution for “capitalist offences”. Today she is one of the world’s richest self-made women, with an estimated fortune of $1.6 billion. In the early 1980s, as a dogsbody in a paper mill, she noted that the waste paper her superiors so casually discarded was actually worth something. She has been capitalising on her insight ever since. Nine Dragons Paper, which she founded with her husband in 1995, is now one of the world’s largest paper recyclers.
Where Jobs stand among America's iconic CEOs - Business Standard
The question is not whether Steve Jobs is an iconic CEO, but where Apple Inc's co-founder ranks in the pantheon of business leaders who have carved out a place in history.
CVC to revisit ONGC chief's appointment - Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times
Anna Hazare's anti-corruption drive seems to have made the government machinery extra vigilant. In a new turn of events, the case of Sudhir Vasudeva's selection as the next chief of India's highest profit making firm Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has been re-opened, with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) refusing to give a clean chit for alleged corruption charges against Vasudeva.
Business confidence plunges to 2-year low in India: Survey - Economic Times
Business confidence in India has plunged to two-year low as companies grapple with problems, such as high interest rates, frustration with governance, land acquisition issues and eroding pricing power in an inflationary environment, according to an industry survey. 
Falling rupee begins to hurt dollar investors - NS Subramanian & A Divase, Bus Std
While Sensex fell 14.4% since July 26, dollar investors lost 18.07%. The emerging weakness of the local currency against the greenback is beginning to hurt foreign investors. The rupee’s weakness has a cascading effect on equity returns of investors who buy stocks with their dollars. In the absence of full convertibility, foreign investors have to convert their dollars into rupees to buy stocks here and do the reverse while selling.
Reaping the rewards of risk-taking - Steve Lohr, NYT
Since Steven P. Jobs resigned as chief executive of Apple last Wednesday, much has been said about him as a peerless corporate leader who has created immense wealth for shareholders, and guided the design of hit products that are transforming entire industries, like music and mobile communications.
RBI lays pitch for corp bank entry - Times of India
For the first time since bank nationalization in 1969, the ground has been cleared for corporate houses to own banks. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday announced draft guidelines for new banking licences, first promised during the Union budget in February 2010.
Let a dozen banks bloom - Mint
Forty-two years after nationalizing the nation’s major banks, India is readying to allow industrial houses to return to the banking space, which many countries across the globe are still wary of as smart corporations are capable of using money to their advantage and deny funds to competition. But if the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) draft licensing norms for a new set of banks are anything to go by, not too many business houses will be able to meet the fit and proper criterion.
Governments shall not interfere - Lubna Kably, Economic Times
Some tax laws can be stupid, to put it mildly. Other legislations are equally insane. Several months ago, there was a hue and cry, in Corporate India, when the government in India had proposed to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandatory - in other words, companies would have to contribute a certain percentage of their profits towards CSR. The reasons were many.
Inflation spawns a buying spree in valuables - S Gangadharan, DNA
Reading between the lines, the official data clearly show that, during the initial quarter of 2011-12, both investment and consumption spending has slackened markedly but the expenditure in acquiring valuables has seen a phenomenal surge.
Losing the mandated mandays - Prasad Nichenametla, HT
Within three years of its nationwide implementation, the UPA government's flagship rural jobs programme has shown a decline in work provided. The downtrend is in contrast to surveys showing that more people are becoming aware of the right to work. The number of households demanding work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in 2010-11 was 2.8 million more than in 2009-10. But the number of workdays had dipped by nearly 10%.
A 10 per cent safeguard - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
The RBI has issued draft guidelines for private bank licences. These emphasise dispersed shareholding. Proposed rules on entry into banking require that, for a company to get a bank licence, no one entity hold above 10 per cent shares in a company. These rules are similar to those proposed by the Bimal Jalan committee that, for the ownership of an exchange, no one entity hold above 5 per cent shareholding. These rules are on the right track.
RBI lens on off-balance sheet exposures of foreign banks - Sunny Verma, FE
New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has stepped up its oversight on the off-balance sheet (OBS) exposures of foreign banks, which have risen exponentially. Off-balance sheet deals, which include currency and interest rate derivatives, securitised loans and guarantees, are more lucrative for banks than their other portfolios.
Innovations in mobile telephony - Rajat Kathuria, FE
In Brazil, Russia, China, Indonesia and India (the so-called BRICI countries), there are 610 million regular Internet users, but a staggering 1.8 billion mobile-phone connections, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In a report called The Internet’s New Billion, BCG predicts that by 2015 there will be 1.2 billion Internet users in these countries—dwarfing the total in America and Japan.
Finance Ministry not for BSNL setting up broadband network - Thomas K Thomas, Business Line
The Finance Ministry has rejected the Department of Telecom's proposal to appoint Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd as the agency for executing the national optical fibre broadband project. The Finance Ministry has said a Special Purpose Vehicle comprising both private and state-owned operators should be entrusted with the responsibility of executing the Rs 20,000-crore project.
How foreign IT companies reduce tax liability in India - John Samuel Raja D, TOI
The operations of Indian and foreign IT firms are now structured similarly, they fight for the same business, there is parity in their contract pricing and employee salaries, they follow the same tax rules. So, then, why are foreign IT firms reporting profitability numbers that are a fraction of their Indian peers? It's a question the IT department is beginning to evidently ask foreign IT firms with greater frequency -- and extract more tax revenues from them.
Reviving growth - Shyam Ponappa, Business Standard
India’s heady economic prospects of a year ago have deteriorated unthinkably. True, the rest of the world is wobbly, too, from America’s unreconstructed and unsustainable headlong decline, to much of Europe’s companion piece. But the possibility of some buffering for India seems to have evaporated. Expectations of better prospects were not so much from decoupling as from our limited dependence on exports, and headroom from activity levels with enormous scope for improvement and expansion — in basic infrastructure, housing, second-order infrastructure like education, sanitation and health care, as well as manufacturing, tourism and retail.
Sanand now in auto hub league - Rutam Vora & Vinay Umarji, Business Standard
Come 2014, Sanand, a small town around 40 kms from Ahmedabad, will be a name to reckon with in the country’s automotive sector. Following the re-entry of French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen, the erstwhile sleepy town — already home to Tata Motors’ manufacturing plant for small car Nano — finds itself along the country’s prominent auto hubs like Pune in Maharashtra and Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
Internet businesses in India are here to stay - Shelly Singh, Economic Times
"The euphoria is back and it's for real," says Agarwal. Naaptol is not an exception, but an early mover in the Internet start-up 2.0 era. Zinnov Management, a consulting firm, estimates the last 12-18 months have seen about 1,000 digital businesses - Internet-based to mobile apps - being floated. Several have become shopping carts of Internet users, selling everything from books to movies , iPods to televisions, jewellery to lingerie, discounts to bulk deals. And more.
Skills and growth - Indira Rajaraman, Business Standard
The global market is in disarray. India can survive on the strength of its domestic market, but this calls for attention to the spatial spread of economic activity. The infrastructure for this in turn requires skilled personnel in volumes that are not even close to being met.
Health Ministry wants FDI safeguards to keep drug prices low - Aarti Dhar, Hindu
Worried that the trend of multinational companies taking over Indian pharmaceutical firms will undermine the government's efforts at making the generic version of drugs available at affordable prices, the Health Ministry wants safeguards to be built into the Foreign Direct Investment process.
Centre working on exit policy for telecom firms - Shalini Singh, Times of India
NEW DELHI: The Telecom Commission, India's apex policy-making body in the sector, has directed the department of telecom ( DoT) to prepare an exit policy for operators. This will come as welcome relief to several players combating the dual threats of market viability and licence cancellation following the 2G spectrum scam.
UK-type tax treaty with Swiss not possible: Govt - PTI
NEW DELHI: Unlike the UK, India cannot have a treaty with Switzerland under which the deposits of Indians in Swiss banks would be taxed by the European nation, said the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). "We cannot have such a treaty with Switzerland because the environment is not conducive," said a senior CBDT official when asked if it was possible for India to have a similar tax treaty as was negotiated between the UK and Switzerland.
Mittal’s brave face amid hard times in steel industry - Peter Marsh, Financial Times
Earlier this summer, as the India cricket team made a difficult start to its four-match series against England, Lakshmi Mittal said it was good to see the “champions challenged”. It is doubtful, however, that Mittal views with the same equanimity the tough knocks his steel company has suffered as it struggles to re-establish its previously dominant industry position.
Removal of parallel imports clause may stir up debate - C.H. Unnikrishnan, Mint
Mumbai: The latest copyrights amendments Bill, to be tabled in Parliament this week, will upset book lovers and academicians over the decision of the ministry of human resources development (HRD) to drop a key proposal that allows import of books and other published materials from anywhere in the world if they are not available in India or available at a higher price.
India Inc’s Q2 confidence low: CII - Financial Express
Corporate India’s confidence has been dampened for the second quarter of this fiscal owing to global economic uncertainties and high interest rates, says a CII Business Outlook Survey. The dip in business confidence is also evident from the fact that most of the firms surveyed by the chamber do not plan to increase their investment.
How India dismantled textile regime with Bangladesh - Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has overruled the traditional caution of his foreign policy mandarins and in conjunction with commerce and textiles minister Anand Sharma crafted a trade liberalisation initiative with Bangladesh that will be a key element in what promises to be a historic visit to Dhaka beginning tomorrow.
Nobody's baby: The offset orphan - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
As this newspaper reported last week, the ministry of defence (MoD) is backtracking from its defence offsets programme. Its resolve to jump-start indigenous defence production through offsets has been broken by a cartel of foreign arms merchants.
Citi, Goldman downgrade Indian IT stocks on global headwinds - John Satish Kumar, Mint
Mumbai: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs on Monday lowered estimates of Indian information technology (IT) firms, slashing price targets of these stocks across the board against the backdrop of the deteriorating macroeconomic situation in the US and Europe, from where these firms earn most of their revenue.
Gibson guitars set to miss Indian notes - Shailesh Menon, Economic Times
Last week, US federal agents raided Gibson's facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars, acting on a Federal Department of Justice decree that said the use of wood from India that is not "finished" is illegal.
The rise of the public sector - A K Bhattacharya, Business Standard
In the last few weeks, three developments took place in different sectors, completely unrelated to each other. Underlining all of them, however, was a common factor. In each of the cases, the principal player was a public sector undertaking. And what distinguished the developments was the manner in which the public sector entities flexed their muscles.
The new telecom policy lags practice - Vsridhar & G Krishna Kumar, Economic Times
The DoT panel looking at various issues for the forthcoming New Telecom Policy has recommended that the country be considered as a single region - instead of the current 22 circles - a move that will spare customers roaming fee while travelling. Roaming fees for voice calls have dropped considerably in recent years thanks to intense competition. So, the proposal may not have a significant effect.
Why corporate India's confidence levels are low - Shobhana Subramanian, Indian Express
The GDP numbers for the three months to June 2011 threw up a pleasant surprise; fixed capital formation rose a smart 7.9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) from a low of 0.4 per cent y-o-y in the March quarter. However, since the fixed capital formation numbers for the June 2010 quarter were revised sharply downwards from 17.4 per cent to 11.1 per cent, the growth has happened on a much lower base. Nonetheless, data from CMIE corroborates the trend, showing a slight recovery in new project announcements during the quarter.
India slips five ranks on competitiveness index - Financial Express
New Delhi: India has slipped by five ranks in the latest Global Competitiveness Report because its performance in areas like supply of transport and energy infrastructure worsened last year. The list brought out by the World Economic Forum has retained Switzerland at the top of the rankings for 2011-12. Singapore came in second by overtaking Sweden.
After Tata Motors, Ford & Peugeot, Narendra Modi set to drive Maruti into Gujarat - Chanchal Pal Chauhan & Himanshu Darji, Economic Times
Maruti's new plant may come up in Gujarat as strident labour unions force the company to consider moving out of Haryana for the first time in its more than 30-year history. A team of officials led by Osamu Suzuki, chairman of Suzuki Motor Corp, Maruti Chairman RC Bhargava and MD S Nakanishi are meeting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar on Thursday.
India may soon join sovereign fund club; fund to fuel natural resources acquisitions overseas - Reena Zachariah, Economic Times
India's policy makers will discuss next week a proposal mooted by corporate chiefs to float a sovereign wealth fund (SWF), which would potentially invest in overseas projects and companies to secure access to natural resources for one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. A committee headed by Reserve Bank of India Governor D Subbarao will discuss the merits of the proposal on September 15, according to senior officials.
Twelfth Plan approach - Shankar Acharya, Business Standard
The operational relevance of the Planning Commission has declined over several decades. Certainly, in my 15 years in the finance ministry up to 2001, we did not pay much attention to the Planning Commission, except for the squabble over the scale of “gross budget support to the plan” in each year’s Budget. Nevertheless, it is the only organisation within the government charged with crafting a medium- and long-term vision of India’s economic and social development and securing some degree of semi-formal co-ordination, or at least acceptance, of that view.
Steve Jobs: the CEO as auteur - Ajit Balakrishnan, Business Standard
Steve Jobs, co-founder, visionary and CEO of Apple, whose creations much of the word craves, left centre stage in August this year. He is only 56. His 142-word resignation letter was as minimalist as the design of Apple products. It read: “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”
With HAL overloaded, IAF turns to private sector - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
The new Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, has reached out to India’s fledgling private aerospace industry. Worried by the growing inability of public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to keep the IAF fleet flying, Browne has promised to back a private sector production line that will manufacture a replacement for the vintage HS-748 Avro transport aircraft. The private sector is needed, says the IAF chief, to back the air force’s major expansion.
The second draft of land history - Sandip Das, Indian Express
The national Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement bill (LARR), 2011, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, has been now referred to a Parliamentary standing committee chaired by BJP MP Sumitra Mahajan. Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh said that if the parliamentary committee gives its report prior to the winter session, it could be passed in both Houses.
Swiss open to taxing Indian deposits - Bijay Shankar Patel, Financial Express
New Delhi: The lure of Swiss bank deposits for Indians wanting to keep their unaccounted money away from the taxman’s glare could end as the Swiss government is ready to discuss a formula with India to tax such funds. Switzerland recently agreed to tax the money held by British and German citizens in Swiss banks and the idea is to replicate the model for India too.
August car sales skid 10% on surging rates, high fuel costs - Indian Express
Car sales continued to remain sluggish in August as rising interest rates, fuel costs and an uncertain economic environment made customers postpone their purchases.
Tax evasion as corruption - Parthasarathi Shome, Business Standard
Tax evasion leads to inefficient and inequitable outcomes. Because tax evasion erodes tax revenue, the lost revenue is attempted to be made up through high tax rates. An example is real property tax rates in India that range around seven per cent, as opposed to developed countries where it approximates one to two per cent. Note, therefore, that paradoxically, an estimate of tax evasion based on this elevated or artificial or compensating tax rate would yield an exaggerated number. That is, if the tax rate were lower, tax evasion could also be lower. Thus, the consequence of those who get away with it is an extra burden of taxation on those who pay tax.
India debt ratio swells, signals worsening external economy - AR Mishra, Mint
New Delhi: India’s short-term debt to total external debt ratio rose to 21.2% in 2010-11, the highest in at least five years, signalling a worsening of the external economy of the country. The status report on external debt released by the finance ministry for 2010-11 also showed that the short-term debt to foreign exchange reserves increased to 21.3%. The rise in short-term debt is considered riskier as it needs to be repaid from foreign currency reserves in a shorter duration of time. However, the external debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio fell to 17.3% in 2010-11 compared with 18% a year ago.
Floating concerns - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
Export data has been showing exceptional growth. Such growth is unlikely to be maintained in the future, given the gloomy outlook on the world economy. In 2010 and 2011, if a slowdown in investment was taking place, remarkable export growth helped to counteract the impact upon demand in the economy. If, in coming months, a reduced pace of investment growth and export growth come together, this would exacerbate the downturn.
Embarrassing surplus of wheat and rice - PA Seshan, Hindu
It was not expected that the yield of foodgrains in the 2010-11 season would rise to dizzy heights and finally estimated that the output of all crops would be 241.56 million tonnes against only 218.11 million tonnes in 2009-10. It was not expected in the initial stages that the total output would be more than 235 million tonnes. What is noteworthy is the fact that an all time peak has been achieved even with rice yield being lower at 95.32 million tonnes against the earlier record of 99.15 million tonnes in 2008-09.
Temping it out - Anupam Kant Verma, Mint
Globally, people are pretty used to working in 10 or more different jobs or companies in their career,” says Rajesh Rathnam, group manager, TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd. “In India, temp jobs are generally taken up in the initial stages of a career, as a sort of jumping board to better, more secure job opportunities.
Veggies, fruit and milk may overtake cereals' contribution to India's GDP in value terms - Rishi Shah, Economic Times
Every Indian who shops for food knows this, but the government doesn't: We spend more on fruit, vegetables and milk than on rice and wheat. And when the detailed numbers for last fiscal, due in a few months, come out, they'll show that in value terms, fruit and vegetables and milk may each overtake cereals in India's GDP. This is likely to lead to big changes in the way the government runs its massive food economy and procurement and distribution programmes.
Sixth freedom choked Air India - Surajeet Das Gupta & Mihir Mishra, Bus Std
Nearly one-third of the 32.07 million international passengers who flew in and out of India in 2009-10 did so thanks to foreign carriers leveraging the sixth freedom rights. The sixth freedom permits a foreign carrier to fly passengers from one country to another while stopping in its own country. And, airlines like Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways, Qatar, Gulf Air and Singapore Airlines — which operate large hubs (like Emirates in Dubai) and offer passengers onward flights to the US and Europe — have used it effectively to increase their Indian market share at the expense of Air India (AI).
Floods and climate change - Sunita Narain, Business Standard
Even as I was writing this, my city, Delhi, was drowning. It had been raining since early morning and four hours of rainfall brought the city to a standstill. The Meteorological Department recorded 60 mm of rainfall in just about six hours, 90 mm in 24 hours, and with this the city made up its deficit of rainfall of the season. In other words, in just about 24 hours, Delhi and its surrounding areas got half as much rain as they would in the entire month of September.
Embattled power companies may default on Rs 135,000 cr of loans - SC Singh, ET
New Delhi: Indian power companies have slowed down project implementation and are unable to operate new plants at targeted capacity, which may lead to defaults of over Rs 135,000 crore from the sector that is battling low tariffs, scarce fuel and land acquisition problems.
Slowdown in India to persist: OECD report - Financial Express
The slowdown in the Indian economy is expected to persist, says a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released on Monday.
5 Indians on list of top 50 influential people - Robert S Dieterich, Hindustan Times
Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, boasts 15% annualised returns over two decades for his main hedge fund and 25.3% this year through August 31 amid extraordinary economic turmoil. He runs more money than any of his macro rivals.
Growth ceiling is 8%, for now - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) published its annual report in late August. Its accounting year runs from July to June. Hence, the annual report is released. The good thing about this report is that it is updated with the most recent macro data. In this particular report, even the Standard and Poor’s downgrade of the US finds a mention.
IIP skids to 2 year low; RBI expected to continue with rate hike - Economic Times
Industrial output growth has tumbled to its lowest level in almost two years, proof the monetary tightening underway since March 2010 is choking economic demand, although not enough to prevent an inflationfocused central bank from raising rates again this week.
How GM succeeded in China - Dilip Chenoy, Business Standard
General Motors is the largest car manufacturer in the world’s largest market. This is not GM in the US, but General Motors in China, where the market grew from 640,000 units in 2000 to over 11 million in 2010. Michael Dunne captures the journey of GM in China from its first attempts to enter that market to the year 2010 when it was the largest car maker there.
The technology of saving India's precious water supply - Shilpa Kannan, BBC News
Surrounded by the rocky Aravalli hills, Rajasthan is one of India's driest states. Despite good rains this year, water has always been an issue here. But the problem now is that beneath the lush, green, irrigated fields of north-western India, the groundwater is fast disappearing.
Land rush and sustainable food security - MS Swaminathan, Hindu
Managing our soil and water resources in a sustainable and equitable manner needs a new political vision, which can be expressed through the proposed Land Acquisition Bill and the recently formed Global Soil Partnership.
Re dives 8% since Aug as euro storm sparks dollar rush - Financial Express
As fears of an impending Greek debt default stoked turmoil in the euro zone, the rupee continued its free fall, weakening against the dollar for the seventh straight day. The Indian currency ended Tuesday's session at 47.60, down from Monday’s 47.20, hitting its lowest level since May 25, 2010.
AI: Story of a slow death retold - Subir Roy, Business Standard
Of the scandals that have visited the United Progressive Alliance government lately, perhaps the most damaging is the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the way state-owned Air India has been run into the ground. Damaging, not because of the actual financial loss but because it exposes the system.
Ban export of raw minerals, ores: Tribal Minister - Ravish Tiwari , Amitabh Sinha, Indian Express
Arguing that indiscriminate exploitation of mineral resources was leading to alienation amongst local tribal populations and furthering the cause of Naxalite groups, Minister for Tribal Affairs V Kishore Chandra Deo on Wednesday advocated a ban on export of raw materials like iron ore or bauxite.
High cost of holding forex reserves - Chandan Sharma & NR Bhanumurthy, Business Line
In the last two decades, the Indian economy has witnessed a dramatic transformation from a regulated environment to the one which is more market-oriented. Over this period, a crisis-hit economy with limited resources to finance even three months of imports in 1991, accumulated a huge stock ($ 321 billion on September 2, 2011) of international reserves that is enough to fund almost a year of import.
The growing China threat - Ritesh Kumar Singh, Business Line
China has become a top exporter, accounting for roughly 10 per cent of global merchandise exports. This manufacturing giant presents both an opportunity as well as a challenge. It is a cheap and critical source for procuring inputs such as power equipment, auto-components, electronics & computer hardware, pharmaceutical ingredients and coking coal, besides being an important export market for India.
Falling rupee to make imports of crude, pulses, fertilisers costlier - NN Srinivas, ET
Currency fluctuations could be the new wild card in India's food inflation as it becomes more expensive to import inputs such as crude oil and fertilisers and staples such as cooking oil and pulses. The rupee has depreciated 3% in the past six days and 5% in this calendar year. India is the world's largest importer of pulses, cooking oil and fertilisers, leaving it more vulnerable to currency risk.
The plots thicken - Abhijit Banerjee, Hindustan Times
The other day at lunch, a friend and colleague was recounting how, in the small town in Pennsylvania he grew up, there was suddenly a plan to build a new exit from the highway, despite the fact that there were already a couple.
US Jobless claims climb to highest since June - Business Standard
Applications for US unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week to the highest level since the end of June, underscoring the risk of further weakness in the labor market. Jobless claims climbed by 11,000 to 428,000 in the week ended September 10 (that included the Labor Day holiday), figures from the Labor Department showed in Washington on Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a drop in claims to 411,000, according to the median forecast.
Now, India Inc can borrow $1 bn in yuan - Indian Express
Concerned over the slowing of investment in the economy due to rising cost of credit, the government today allowed companies to raise debt in Chinese yuan and also borrow more from the overseas market.
Not another tax amnesty, please - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
As the second instalment of advance tax numbers rolled in on Thursday, it is obvious the finance ministry will fall short of the budget estimates for tax receipts for 2011-12 by at least 7%. Since the disinvestment receipts, too, will be nowhere near the budgeted R40,000 crore, the struggle finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will face is tough to come anywhere near his target for fiscal deficit.
Corporate India questions rate hike - Indian Express
India Inc on Friday questioned the RBI’s 12th rate hike since March 2010 saying “it’s unlikely to tame rising inflation and could instead lead to a further slowdown in investments and industrial growth”.
Have repeated interest rate hikes killed growth? - Hindustan Times
The UPA government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are facing a dilemma: the string of measures to snuff out inflation have hurt growth raising the risk of plunging the economy into slowdown. The RBI on Friday acknowledged that underlying inflationary pressures remain strong, even as risks to growth are emerging.
It shouldn't pay to pay bribes - Jaithirth Rao, Times of India
Corruption cannot be eliminated. Human beings are not always given to ethical behaviour. If it suits me, if it benefits me, i will on occasion submit to the temptation of being a bribe-giver or a bribe-taker. If i am clever, i will create situations where i can rationalise my acts and convince myself that i am not really corrupt. 
DEPB scheme to end on October 1 - Times of India
In a move towards tightening fiscal policies, the government on Friday announced putting an end to the Duty Entitlement Passbook Book Scheme (DEPB), effective October 1. The revenue forgone to exporters last year on account of DEPB was to the tune of Rs 8,700 crore. Exporters who will be affected are from the engineering sector, including auto and auto component industry, chemicals, pharma, textile and the marine sectors. 
Land Bill will act as a drag on industry - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
Ownership, valuation and transfer of land are complex issues, especially for countries like India, characterised by high population densities. Land has been occupied over millennia and owned within the family or community, and its transfer often evokes high emotions.
Farewell DEPB - P Raghavan, Financial Express
By the end of this month, exporters will see the curtains come down on the duty entitlement pass book scheme (DEPB)—a popular export incentive that has been prevalent since the mid-1990s. All export products that are now covered under the DEPB scheme will have to move to the duty drawback scheme.
The death of govt data in the information deluge - Srivatsa Krishna, Times of India
The irony couldn't be starker. People on the planet stored enough data, which could fill 60,000 US Libraries of Congress in just one year, aka 2010, and yet our government doesn't seem to find the right numbers to make the right decisions. Living as we are in the information age, we are deluged by data on our phones, televisions, computers, the Internet and what have you. Yet we cannot find the right data or use what is available for enhancing the quality of decisions in the government.
Power ministry paves way for consensus on open access - Sudheer Pal Singh, Business Standard
There is good news for electricity consumers in India. The power ministry has managed to evolve a consensus on the contentious issues that have so far plagued attempts at opening up the power market in India through open access. Open access allows large users of power — typically consuming 1 megawatt (Mw) and above — to choose their electricity supplier.
India Inc pulls out all stops for nurturing talent - M Saraswathy & Shivani Shinde, Business Standard
Infosys, YES bank, Airtel and HUL, among others, scout for future leaders from among their existing employees. At the Infosys Leadership Institute in Mysore, Matt Barney, vice-president and director, is busy assessing close to 1,400 Infosysians for the role of future leaders at India’s second-largest IT services company.
How to tame hunger - Arun Firodia, Times of India
Food inflation in August accelerated to 9.78% year on year, the fastest it has been in 13 months. This is over and above the high inflation of last year. As it has been doing all along, an alarmed RBI has tried yet again to combat this by hiking interest rates by 25 basis points - its 12th hike in the last 18 months. But obviously, this is not going to reduce demand for food nor food inflation.
Mining for lessons - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Given that every fifth diamond in India comes from Rio Tinto and all of the UK-Australian mining firm’s diamonds from its Australian operations (54% of the Canadian ones as well) are sold to Indian customers, it’s not surprising that more Indians know the company for its diamonds—the famous pink Argyle diamonds are a Rio Tinto brand and, in the auctions that have just begun, the top 50 are expected to fetch anywhere between $60-80 million. Yet, Rio Tinto offers valuable lessons for India, and not just for its mining operations and technology, as a group of journalists, including yours truly, discovered last week in a trip sponsored by the miner to western Australia.
Getting ready for a public procurement law - Sandeep Verma, Financial Express
The government recently announced its clear intent to operationalise a public procurement law, with a view to fostering transparency, competition, efficiency and economy in government contracts. If the 2011 UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Model Law forms the basis of new legal formulations, the changes will be significant indeed, since the UNCITRAL Model Law essentially mirrors the procurement practices of the EU and the US.
Basu for lowering interest rates to tame inflation - PTI
New Delhi, Sept 18: Chief Economic Advisor Mr Kaushik Basu has pitched for a reduction in interest rates to maintain growth, saying the RBI’s tight monetary policy has had limited impact and the time has come to try something different.
How gold caught up with platinum - Aarati Krishnan, Business Line
Gold is accessible to the common man, but platinum is way beyond reach. If that is the common impression, it is time to change it. Surging 40 per cent in the last one year, gold has already caught up in absolute price, with the rarer precious metal — platinum.
How Germany gets its logistics right - Mohan Murti, Business Line
Germany is a logistician's marvel. Rightly famous for its engineering brilliance, the country is where the world finds innovative brass-tacks solutions to satisfy its logistics needs. This is where machinery gets its logic, where technical skill is combined with a quest for methodical efficiency. These virtues characterise German engineering across-the-board.
Polity vacuum spurs industrial unrest - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
Last week, operations at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s biggest car maker, came to a halt, following industrial unrest. Significantly, the agitation also turned violent after some of the protesting workers attacked a few supervisors. It was not the first time that industrial strife had assumed violent overtones. Mercifully, there were no fatalities; more importantly, it will not be the last and is frighteningly becoming a habit.
Sustainability, the next business wave - Martin Wright, Mint
Ask many an Indian company about their stance on sustainability, and you’d get a polite acknowledgement that it’s a worthy endeavour—but a peripheral one. Like sponsoring “Kids for Tigers” or some other such green-tinged philanthropy, it’s been filed firmly in the box labelled “nice to have—but non-essential”.
Thinking river-linking - Vinayak Chatterjee, Business Standard
Two memorable and “visionary” political thrusts in the national infrastructure space have been former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “bharat-jodo” National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Civil Nuclear Programme. Many feel that the current lacklustre mood could well do with another visionary nation-building idea. River-linking is one such idea.
Madhya Pradesh's high-tech formula for PDS - Latha Jishnu, Jyotika Sood, DTE
Madhya Pradesh has opted for the technologically most sophisticated—and costliest—method for revamping its public distribution system (PDS). It is one of a handful of states that is trying to ensure that subsidised food reaches the segment it is meant for, the poorest of the population or those below the poverty line (BPL). But the route it has taken is different from the rest and marks a couple of firsts in the efforts to streamline the system.
China, India making inroads in biotech drugs - Gardiner Harris, Hindustan Times
Chinese and Indian drug makers have taken over much of the global trade in medicines and now manufacture more than 80% of the active ingredients in drugs sold worldwide. But they had never been able to copy the complex and expensive biotech medicines increasingly used to treat cancer, diabetes and other diseases in rich nations like the United States — until now.
Foreign oil majors whine on space, defence hurdles - Anupama Airy, HT
In what is seen as a new low for India's oil and gas exploration programme, major international oil and gas companies including global mining and energy major, BHP Billiton, UK companies British Gas and Cairn Energy and Canada's Canaro Resources have expressed apprehensions about conducting exploration activities in India following restrictions imposed by the country's defence and space authorities.
Don't go soft on tax evaders - S Murlidharan, Business Line
The current amnesty move seems an outcome of lobbying to ensure that sources of funds abroad should not be questioned and names not made public, in return for investment in infrastructure sectors.
India to topple Japan as world's 3rd-largest economy - Rishi Shah, Economic Times
India might become the world's third largest economy in 2011 by overtaking Japan in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) measured according to the domestic purchasing power of the rupee, otherwise called purchasing power parity. India is now the fourth-largest economy behind the US, China and Japan. Numbers from 2010 show that the Japanese economy was worth $4.31 trillion, with India snapping at its heels at $4.06 trillion. But after March's devastating tsunami and earthquakes, Japan's economy is widely expected to contract while India's economy will grow between 7% and 8% this fiscal.
India’s energy ignorance - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
In one of his recent blog posts, Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution ( contrasts a blogger from a statesman. He says, in effect, that a blogger can state what he wants to say but a statesman has more constraints. Fair enough. But he goes on to add that a statesman takes costs and benefits into account and postpones the decision hoping for better times so that the right decision could be taken in more propitious circumstances. I am not sure that is my understanding of statesmanship.
Government flip-flop continues, lifts onion export ban - Times of India
The government's policy flip-flop on onion exports is continuing despite the price of the politically sensitive kitchen item rising 43% over the past one year. On Tuesday, the commerce department issued a statement saying that the government has decided to lift the ban on the export of onions. "Onions can now be exported subject to a minimum export price (MEP) of US$ 475 per tonne. This is exactly the position that was prevailing on 8 September 2011, immediately before the ban on the export of onions was imposed on 9 September 2011," it said. 
Green ministry softens stand on coal mining - Business Standard
Ray of hope for power, metal companies. In a significant softening of stance over the ‘go’ and ‘no-go’ mining policy, the environment ministry has agreed to discuss coal projects on a case-by-case basis. The move indicates some headway towards resolving the deadlock since February.
Inflation to remain high for next three months - Business Standard
Inflation is expected to remain high for the next three months and the Reserve Bank of India’s next move on policy rates depends much on how the situation pans out in the coming three weeks, according to Prime Minister’s economic advisory council chairman C Rangarajan.
RBI's competition phobia - Ashok V. Desai, Telegraph
The Reserve Bank of India is extremely reluctant to allow new banks to enter the field. Normally, the finance ministry lets it do what it likes. But in the early 1990s, when the payments crisis forced the government to rethink its policies, it also tried to make the RBI do so. The RBI issued 10 bank licences in 1993.
Why the rupee is down – and only capital flows can rescue it - R Jagannathan, Firstpost
The joker in the pack this year has been the Indian rupee. At a time when the Indian and Chinese economies may be the last men standing, the rupee – unlike the Chinese yuan – is into steep decline and fall. On Tuesday, the rupee hit a two-year low of 48.24 against the US dollar, suggesting that short-term demand and supply issues are determining its value when the macro-fundamentals should actually lead to a strengthening of the Indian currency.
Sebi cracks down on GDR scam, bars 7 firms from market - Indian Express
Pulling the plug on a scam involving Global Depository Receipt (GDR) issues, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has barred seven companies — Asahi Infrastructure, IKF Technologies, Avon Corp, K Sera Sera, CAT Tech, Maars Software and Cals Refineries — from issuing any shares or convertible instruments or alter their capital structure in any manner till further directions after the regulator detected evidence of manipulation by these companies through GDR issues.
Nearly half of Goa’s mines illegal: PAC - Ketaki Ghoge & Snehal Rebello, Hindustan Times
Less than a month after the first arrest in the country’s biggest mining scam in Karnataka’s Bellary, the lid is about to be blown off the illegal mining that has cost Goa — the state that exports 40% of India’s iron ore — thousands of crores, Hindustan Times has learnt.
FDI in retail: firms focus on backend - Hindustan Times
Even as top organised retailers in India are preparing to see the new FDI policy norms come into play, foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail became the burning topic among retailers who gathered at the Indian Retail Forum 2011, Mumbai.
NREGA widens gaps between states - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
Five years into the implementation of the right to work programme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) has the potential to create even sharper division between states than what existed before it was launched.
Nuclear waves from Koodankulam - Sajan C Kumar, Financial Express
Tamil Nadu heaved a sigh of relief on Wednesday when the agitators decided to call off the 11-day fast demanding the scrapping of the Koodankulam nuclear power project. Sensing the urgency of the matter, Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa agreed to a Cabinet resolution to request the Centre to halt the project.
Biotech policy muddle deters investors - G Chandrashekar, Business Line
Will someone within the government explain what precisely is the policy relating to agricultural biotechnology? Huge investments have been poured into researching genetically modified crops, covering grains, oilseeds and vegetables. But there seems to be no transparent approach or stability of policy relating to acceptance of the technology.
Industry hit by reforms deficit - TK Bhaumik, Business Line
A growth of 7.7 per cent in GDP in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (2011-12) is a continuation of the slowdown that descended on our economy in the third quarter of the previous fiscal year (2010-11).
Soft advance tax mop-up confirms slowdown fears... - Economic Times
Nearly a quarter of India's top 100 companies have paid lower advance tax for the July-September 2011 quarter than a year ago, reflecting the slowdown in growth and pressure on margins because of rising input costs and higher interest rates.
How competition reform can check inflation - Pradeep S Mehta, Business Standard
Once again the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has raised the interest rates, with several questioning the wisdom of the decision. Inflation has become the bugbear of our growth story, and in the recent past some of our econocrats have also suggested for lowering the growth rate to curb it. This may be true for an advanced industrialised country like the US where growth and inflation have been generally low.
Sebi prohibits 7 companies from raising capital, 10 from trading - Anirudh Laskar, Mint
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Wednesday banned seven firms from issuing equities and equity-related instruments. It also banned 10 other entities, including some foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and sub-accounts, from trading securities for allegedly manipulating markets through issuances of global depository receipts (GDRs).
Poverty estimate: Plan panel split on affidavit in SC - Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
Split in Planning Commission is wide open with members saying the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court related to determining number of poor in India was never discussed in the panel’s internal meeting.
Because poverty looks different now - SL Rao & Rajesh Shukla, Indian Express
The uproar over the Planning Commission’s decision about how many are really poor, and who will be supplied free (or cheap) grain, points to the need for better data for identifying the poor. The poor are also consumers of manufactured goods. Approximately one-fourth of the around 14 million officially-designated “poor” urban households own a two-wheeler; one-third own a colour television; and almost two-thirds own a pressure cooker.
Old whine - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Do you know, CNBC’s Vivian Fernandes called to say after a heated television debate on Wednesday on the Planning Commission’s estimate that those urban Indians spending less than R32 per capita on a daily basis were poor, that you can buy two dosas in small hotels in his home town (5 km from the centre of Mangalore) for R8. Vivian was reacting to one of the TV panelists pooh-poohing the Planning Commission, saying that the bananas he buys in Jor Bagh (New Delhi) for his daughter cost R60 per dozen, so he can’t even eat two bananas per meal for fear Montek Singh Ahluwalia would say the sixth banana would take him above the poverty line!
$1 bn & 15 months later, DoT spikes Qualcomm plan - Indian Express
Fifteen months after CDMA chipmaker Qualcomm won bid for four circles and paid $1 billion to the government in an auction, the department of telecommunications (DoT) has informed it that its application for an internet service provider (ISP) licence is rejected. The licence is imperative for the company to undertake any operations at all with the broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum it won last year in Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala and Haryana.
The tale of the Twist - N Sundaresha Subramanian, Business Standard
When Deepika Padukone twisted at will for the famous “twist” song in 2009 hit Love Aaj Kal, which had some 64 twists, she would not have imagined that a single twist could be worth $400,000,000,000 or 400 billion US dollars. That’s the amount the US Federal Reserve governor said he would spend on his ‘Operation Twist’ over the next nine months.
The subsidy gravy train - Bibek Debroy, Economic Times
The acronym LPG has several expansions. It stands for liquefied petroleum gas. It stands for liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, a term of abuse used by those with Leftwing persuasions. It stands for life plundered by the government, sentiments associated with those who are against state intervention, but increasingly felt by the so-called middle class - however defined - because of price hikes, and proposed price hikes, for petroleum products.
The Socialist push behind India’s Capitalist rise - Pankaj Mishra, BusinessWeek
Singh, a technocrat in the style of former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has no base of his own in Indian politics. He really serves at the pleasure of Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress Party. Uncharismatic and a poor communicator, he was always a slightly incongruous icon of the bold New India.
Inequality has fallen this decade - Nilanjan Banik & Anurag Banerjee, Business Line
It is believed that during the post-reform period, especially the early part of this decade, there was an increase in income inequality. How true is this perception? When one compares district-level per-capita income data (from the Planning Commission) for 1999-2000, and 2004-05, one finds that income distribution has not changed for the worse. The perception that economic reforms have benefited just the rich is not necessarily true.
Land for growth - Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Business Standard
India needs infrastructure and urbanisation while fragmented and small holdings have rendered agriculture non-remunerative. If the agricultural land was restructured, not only would urbanisation and infrastructure improve, it would also open up job opportunities outside of agriculture. This will go a long way towards making growth inclusive by offering non-farm work, more productive than agriculture work, to the rural Indian youth.
India Inc baulks at new land Bill, calls for balance - Financial Express
The proposed new land Bill means cost increases and project delays for developers, thanks to rules that will raise land values and compel them to provide new homes, jobs, monthly stipends and a cut of future profits to former landowners. “This just isn’t going to work for buyers,” said Rupen P Patel, managing director, Patel Engineering, an infrastructure firm specialising in power and road projects. “It is going to make a lot of projects unfeasible both in the short and long term, and growth will be hurt.”
Don’t defend the rupee, RBI - Ila Patnaik, Financial Express
The turmoil in global currency and stock markets has led to large movements in the rupee and it has weakened sharply. Should RBI have intervened in a big way to try to prevent rupee depreciation? Even in normal times, defending a currency is a difficult job. In current times, a central bank of one country trying to bravely fight the tsunami of financial flows with its little kitty of reserves would be a really bad idea. As the rupee hit 50 to a dollar, the best thing RBI could do was to keep away from the foreign exchange market.
Taxation and class war: Hunting the rich - Economist
Recent austerity budgets in France and Italy slapped 3% surcharges on those with incomes above €500,000 ($680,000) and €300,000 respectively. Britain’s Tories are under attack for even considering getting rid of Labour’s “temporary” 50% top rate of income tax on earnings of over £150,000 ($235,000).
Britain's sordid Swiss tax deal is doomed to failure - Nicholas Shaxson, Guardian
The UK is about to sign an agreement with Switzerland under which Swiss banks levy taxes on secret Swiss accounts held by UK tax evaders, while keeping those accounts secret. The UK says the deals will raise billions. It is bad enough that these deals sabotage major European efforts to tax their citizens properly and to penetrate secret banking, and that wealthy criminals will get impunity. But there's an even stronger objection to these deals: they will fail, raising only a tiny fraction of what has been promised.
Will China eye Arunachal Pradesh’s shale oil? - Swaminathan SA Aiyar, Times of India
From 1990 onward, Chudamani Ratnam, former chief of Oil India Ltd, repeatedly claimed that India had a treasure trove of shale oil in Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of the north-east. He said these deposits could produce 140 million tonnes per year for 100 years, making India a net oil exporter. However, the deposits looked uneconomic, so he was not taken seriously. Analysts laughed when he suggested that China might one day invade Arunachal Pradesh to grab the oil.
India Inc and the great walls of China - Reshma Patil, Hindustan Times
The China chief executive of India’s largest wind turbine maker, Suzlon, likes to emerge from his glass-walled cabin and show off to visitors the company’s latest acquisitions in Beijing: goldfish, the traditional Chinese symbol of fortune, and a Ganesha idol flown in from India. Behind such harmonious scenes in cubicles manned by Indian and Chinese staff, seasoned chief executives and managers of India’s best-known brands from software services to wind turbines are on edge as they grapple with the looming challenge of breaking into the world’s largest market.
Brakes on at Manesar - P Vaidyanathan Iyer & Smita Aggarwal, Indian Express
On June 17 this year, the management of India’s largest car manufacturer, the Rs 37,522-crore Maruti Suzuki Ltd, buckled under pressure to buy peace with workers at its Manesar unit in Haryana. They had been on strike for 13 days demanding the recognition of a new but yet-to-be registered union, Maruti Suzuki Employees Union, that was to be different from the Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union at its Gurgaon mother plant. At the end of the 13-day strike, the company reinstated 11 workers who had been earlier sacked for indiscipline. A precedent had been set, something that returned to haunt the management barely 45 days later.
Govt to step in currency market if needed: FM - PTI
Washington: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that intervention in the currency market would be considered at an appropriate stage and he has discussed with Reserve Bank governor D Subbarao the situation created by the depreciating rupee in the past few days. “I had a discussion with the RBI governor as he is here,” Mukherjee told a group of Indian reporters here. The finance minister and the RBI governor are here to attend the annual meetings of the Indian Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Mukherjee said the government was closely monitoring the situation and intervention in the currency market would be considered whenever necessary.
Global economy on the brink, India at risk - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
Global financial markets can brace for the worst on Monday with the euro zone brushing off pressures to come up with a new specific bailout plan for the region to prevent a sovereign default at the end of the two-day annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington, DC.
Rupee decline catches firms off guard - Joel Rebello & Anup Roy, Mint
The rupee’s rapid slide against the US dollar has caught many importers unawares as they did not limit their currency risk by booking forward dollars. Many are still waiting for the market to correct and the rupee to strengthen, but they may not get a chance in the short term, say currency dealers. Neither companies, which need dollars, nor banks, which advise them, anticipated the sudden slide in the rupee.
Rupee free fall: Importer's worry, exporter's euphoria - Business Line
The rupee's recent plummeting has seen exporters thanking their various Gods, even as importers are gnashing their teeth. Import dependent firms like steel, coal and oil marketing firms face hugely higher costs now. But everyone is keeping a stiff upper lip. Most firms Business Line spoke to – even those holding large dollar loans – insisted that the medium-term and long-term outlook for the Indian currency remained bright.
Government must let the debt market grow - R Srinivasan, Mail Today
The Planning Commission is not infallible. Despite the awesome collective intellect it possesses, it can sometimes go embarrassingly wrong, as the recent contretemps over the poverty level has shown. By claiming that less than a thousand rupees a month is sufficient to meet the food, shelter, clothing, education and health needs of an individual in a city, and that anybody earning that much does not need any form of state assistance and subsidy, since that individual, by definition, would be ‘ not poor’, it has exposed itself to anger and ridicule. Furthermore, it has provided handy fodder to political parties gearing up for elections.
How US nabbed its tax evaders - TCA Ramanujam, Business Line
The Government of India is seriously considering declaration of amnesty for such of those Indians who have chosen to stash away moneys in foreign tax havens. It would appear that leading industrialists have been urging the Finance Minister to bring such an amnesty scheme so as to find funds for infrastructure development in India. Indian money secreted in offshore banks is estimated to be of the order of $1,456 billion.
Decadal journeys: debt and despair spur urban growth - P Sainath, Hindu
The re-classification of villages and towns, and the changes this brings to the nation's rural-urban profile, happens every decade. Yet only Census 2011 shows us a huge turnaround, with urban India adding more people (91 million) than rural India (90.6 million) for the first time in 90 years. Clearly, something huge has happened in the last 10 years that drives those numbers. And that is: huge, uncharted migrations of people seeking work as farming collapses.
India spent only Rs 800-900 crore on mineral exploration in last 60 years, says panel - Priyadarshi Siddhanta, Indian Express
India, the world’s second fastest growing economy, has spent not more than Rs 800-900 crore in the past 60 years in mineral exploration. According to a committee set up by the Union mines ministry, the country has emerged as a poor performer in composite policy and mineral potentials as compared to Chile, Western Australia, Arizona, Brazil and Peru.
An Internet Spring? - Indian Express
Get ready for the global brain. That was the grand finale of a presentation on the next generation of the Internet I heard last week from Yuri Milner. Milner is the technology guru most of us have never heard of. He was an early outside investor in Facebook, sinking $200 million in the company in 2009 for a 1.96 per cent stake. His investing savvy propelled Milner this year onto the Forbes Rich List, with an estimated net worth of $1 billion.
Montek Singh defends Rs 32 day limit for poverty line - Indian Express
Defending Plan panel's criteria under which those who consume items worth more than Rs 32 in urban areas in a day are not poor, its Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Monday said the limit will not be the basis for extending benefits to the poor.
Finmin plans cut in securities transaction tax to aid trading - Financial Express
The finance ministry is considering a cut in the tax on buying and selling of shares to boost investor sentiment, which has been hurt by the developments in the global markets, particularly in Europe. According to a finance ministry official, the government is looking to reduce the securities transaction tax (STT) to encourage trading in shares. The STT is currently 0.017% for derivatives and 0.125% for non-delivery-based trades.
New Takeover Code may change corporate India landscape - Amit Jain, Financial Express
With increased complexities and challenges facing corporates world-over, the regulatory environment across jurisdictions has been facing “catch up” especially over the past few decades. Regulators, the world over, are concerned about transparency and corporate governance while at the same time working overtime for providing laws that facilitate competition and encourage investment.
Chickens come home to roost - P Raghavan, Financial Express
GDP trends show that growth has steadily declined in the last five quarters, slowing from a peak level of 9.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009-10, when RBI started moving up the policy rates, to 7.7% in the first quarter of 2011-12, a decline of 1.7 percentage points.
‘Credible India’ campaign to boost appeal to foreign investors - James Lamont, Financial Express
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry is launching a nationwide initiative with Bain, the US management consultant, to restore faith in India’s business community and investment prospects. The country’s leading companies are starting a campaign - “Credible India” - aimed at countering the effect of a tide of corruption cases that has weighed heavily on India’s attractiveness as a leading emerging economy investment destination.
More ammunition for GST discord - Vrishti Beniwal, Business Standard
The Europe trip of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers was meant to untangle the various knotty differences on the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST). It may, however, make things a bit more complex for the central government plan to roll out the new indirect tax regime from April 1 next year.
Pipavav warship joint venture put on hold - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
The ministry of defence (MoD) on Monday sent a clear signal that private Indian defence shipyards are to be treated as serious partners in building warships for the Indian Navy. Responding to written complaints from three private shipbuilders about the allegedly improper selection by government-owned Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Mumbai, of Gujarat-based Pipavav Shipyard as its joint venture (JV) partner, the defence minister has struck down MDL’s decision.
Rupee takes India Inc down - Shobhana Subramanian, Financial Express
It seems a long time ago but it was around this time last year that economists were debating the need for capital controls; foreign funds couldn’t get enough of Indian stocks, with the result that September alone saw more than $7 billion flowing in. In October, RBI expressed its anxiety at the surge in capital flows, hinting that it might intervene if flows were volatile or lumpy.
Smart grid, the way to a brighter future - Debjoy Sengupta & Jayadevan Pk, Economic Times
Amitabh Bacchan has a facility installed at his home that lets him monitor power consumption on Google. If you think it is a special gadget installed for the celebrity you are mistaken. Welcome to the world of smart grid, which is gradually moving into our living rooms across cities.
Supply crunch may trip 8,000 MW of new gas-based power capacity - Rachita Prasad, Economic Times
At a time when the country is struggling to fill the power demand-supply gap, almost 8,000 megawatt of new gas-based power capacity may be stranded due to lack of fuel as the domestic gas output continues to fall with no signs of recovery in sight.
Nalco losing Rs 1 cr/day due to coal shortage, cuts output - Economic Times
State-run aluminium producer NALCO is facing a production loss of about Rs 1 crore per day due to coal shortage, a company official said on Monday. "We are losing about Rs 1 crore per day due to coal shortage ... the production has to be scaled down as there has been very less availability of coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL)," the official said. 
Vijayawada’s inclusive expansion - Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Indian Express
Land has been very much in the news these days. There are many who keep talking about the rural-urban divide, and land of course is the principal bone of contention. Recognising the importance of rural-urban synergy in development, we will have to put scarce land to alternative uses of farming as well as urbanisation — which, in any case, is inevitable.
Belt-tightening at goldman sachs - Suzanne Craig & Kevin Roose, Business Line
Goldman Sachs, bracing for what could be one of its worst quarters since it went public 12 years ago, is preparing to expand its cost-cutting initiative by hundreds of millions of dollars, a move that could lead to additional job losses at the Wall Street bank.
Indian pay TV regulations among world's worst - S Mukherjee, Bus Std
India and China feature among the worst countries in the world in formulation and implementation of regulatory policies for the video broadcasting industry, says a report from the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA).
China better place to do business than US, says Coke chief - Alan Rappeport, FT
Coca-Cola now sees the US as a less friendly business environment than China, its chief executive has revealed, citing political gridlock and an antiquated tax structure as reasons its home market has become less competitive. “It’s like a well managed company, China,” Muhtar Kent, Coke’s chief executive, told the Financial Times. “You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other.”
In red, Kingfisher exits low-cost business - Indian Express
Saddled with losses and facing uncomfortable questions from auditors and research outfits which doubt its status as a ‘going concern’, Kingfisher Airlines has announced another makeover to improve margins, reduce interest burden and keep the airline flying.
Amazon unveils kindle fire to burn Apple iPad - NYT
Seeking to stake a claim in the tablet computer market alongside Apple and Samsung, on Wednesday revealed plans to begin selling a colour touchscreen tablet. Named the Kindle Fire, the device has a 7-inch touchscreen, weighs 14.6 ounces and is outfitted with a dual-core processor. But the most important feature may be the price. 
Nuclear energy is not all that bad - Avik Roy, Pioneer
Notwithstanding protests against the setting up of nuclear power plants, the fact remains that we are fast running out of conventional energy sources. It is time to adopt alternative sources of energy that are clean, green and cost-effective. Following Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption fast, the country was recently witness to another protest fast that took place on its southern fringes.
Indian manufacturers feel the heat - Financial Express
A new scooter rolls off the Honda assembly lines at Manesar in the north Indian state of Haryana every 20 seconds. Yet the Japanese-owned company cannot produce enough of its scooters and motorcycles to supply the strong demand in the world’s fastest growing large economy after China.
Hard for MFIs to go it alone - Tara Thiagarajan, Business Line
In 1995, Bank of Madura had 95 rural branches that were generally unprofitable. Deposits in these branches were too low and defaults on loans too high to justify the cost of servicing these communities. Besides, the bank's staff disliked rural postings and it was difficult to attract talent into these areas.
Qualcomm: a spectrum of questions - DPS Seth, Business Line
Auctions for the spectrum for BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) services were successfully completed more than a year ago. Several major players have successfully participated in these bids, even though only one player has a possible pan-nation footprint. Prospective customers have been waiting for the launch of these services.
Who's afraid of kindle fire? - BBC News
Amazon's launch of the Kindle Fire was the most impressive unveiling of a new gadget since, well, the iPad 2. And Jeff Bezos seemed to be channelling Steve Jobs as he held the device aloft before going on to extol its amazing properties. But will Apple be worried about the Fire?
Encashing land - Anuradha Dutt, Pioneer
World Bank suggests selling of Government land to raise funds. The latest World Bank prescription for funding India’s infrastructure projects is to sell excess public land in cities. Along with India Development Foundation and the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility, the World Bank has set up a steering committee to frame a proposal in this regard. Mr Vijay Kelkar, Chairman of the 13th Finance Commission, heads the body. 
India returns to Hindu growth rate talk - James Lamont, Indian Express
India has quickly come to regret Manmohan Singh’s second term as prime minister. The country’s most respected bureaucrat was handed a powerful mandate by his country’s voters two years ago and had a magnificent opportunity to modernise the economy. How distant that dream now seems.
The year of useless rate increases - Vinay Bharat-Ram, Indian Express
We seem to be in the midst of a scissors crisis. On the one hand, prices are rising; on the other, GDP growth — particularly industrial growth — is slowing down. Joseph Stiglitz, not long ago, argued that raising the interest rate is too blunt an instrument to tackle inflation in a complex economy like India, especially when the final victim is likely to be the growth rate. There is evidence for this in that India has experienced no let-up in rising prices, despite steadily rising interest rates over the past year, and that industrial growth has suffered.
India, Pak set to ease visa restrictions for biz people - Sameer Arshad, ToI
Pakistan commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim on Thursday said New Delhi and Islamabad have in principle agreed to ease visa restrictions for businessmen to remove one of the major impediments to bilateral trade. "The visa restrictions are a major issue. (Commerce minister) Anand Sharma and I have in principle agreed to resolve it and allow multipleentry visas valid for a year to businessmen," said Fahim at a joint Aman Ki Asha and CII meeting. Fahim said the visa regime could be further liberalized to boost bilateral trade and allow it to reach its full potential .
Animal spirits and taxation - S Murlidharan, Business Line
Warren Buffet perhaps guilt-tripped when he said in a mood of customary candour a couple of months ago that American billionaires have had it too good when it comes to income-tax. Echoing this thought, President Obama is now saying spending cuts by the government that essentially affect the poor more are simply not on unless accompanied by a hefty increase in taxes payable by the rich. Where does all this leave India?
Tax fat cats of finance - Bill Nighy, Guardian
It's a script that even Hollywood might have balked at. In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the second world war, a small band of merry men and women hatch a plan to protect the poor by taking on the world's titans of finance and making them pay their fair share to society. In the final scene Goldman Sachs transforms into the good Samaritan, generating billions to tackle the world's problems.
A progressive code of a new era - Mahavir Lunawat & Rekha Bagry, FE
Within less than 2 months from the date when the Sebi Board considered the Takeover Regulations Advisory Committee (TRAC) report and accepted most of the TRAC recommendations, the final text of the new Takeover Code, i.e. the Sebi (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 have been notified on September 23, 2011. The new Takeover Code would be effective on and from October 22, 2011. This article analyses some of the key changes brought in by the new Takeover Code.
India’s Birla and Godrej in global drive - J Fontanella-Khan & James Lamont, FT
Two of the largest family-run groups in India plan to invest billions of dollars worldwide as they seek to boost revenues by expanding in emerging marketsand by acquiring distressed assets of companies based in developed markets. Aditya Birla Group, India’s aluminium-to-retail and mobile telephony conglomerate, plans investments of $17bn globally, aimed at almost doubling group revenues to $65bn by 2015.
Bitter pill for Big Pharma - Bhupesh Bhandari, Business Standard
A committee headed by Planning Commission member Arun Maira, the former head of The Boston Consulting Group in India, wants all acquisitions of Indian pharmaceutical companies by foreigners to be scanned by the Competition Commission of India or CCI.
The Next Generation of women entrepreneurs - RP Nair & Sreekala G, ET
Jessie Paul was not yet 35 when she became Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of IT major Wipro Technologies. Five years on Paul, quit her high flying corporate career to venture out on her own. She set up a marketing advisory firm, Paul Writer and thereby joined a growing band of women entrepreneurs creating high growth business ventures.
The child malnutrition myth - Arvind Panagariya, Times of India
In the early 2000s, when the 55th (1999-2000) round of the expenditure survey showed a surprisingly sharp decline in poverty over its predecessor survey, the reform critics descended on the finding like a ton of bricks. Their critique eventually led to a healthy debate, important new research and eventual downward revision in poverty reduction numbers by the reform advocates themselves. 
Coal miners to share 26% profits with local people - Business Standard
Other miners to share royalty, as cabinet clears draft mining Bill; industry frets. In a landmark decision that will impact the entire mining and mineral-based industry in the country, the government on Friday announced an overhaul of the law governing the sector.
Organised rental housing is the need of the hour - PSN Rao, Indian Express
Rental housing has been a popular form of investment in the early part of the twentieth century. Landlords in cities like erstwhile Bombay were investing surplus funds in building ‘mansions’ which they would in turn rent out in order to earn a regular revenue stream. This also provided a viable housing access to the less fortunate who could not afford houses; they could easily rent out a place. 
Is the dragon learning to fly? An analysis of the Chinese patent explosion - Markus Eberhardt, Christian Helmers & Zhihong Yu, Voxeu
The number of domestic patent filings in China increased at an annual rate of 35% from 1999 to 2006. But the reasons behind this ‘patent explosion’ are unclear. By compiling a new dataset of 20,000 Chinese manufacturing firms, this column shows that the explosion has been ignited by the ICT sector.
Will India overtake China in the next decade? - Ganeshan Wignaraja, Voxeu
With the global economy in the treatment room, Asia’s economic giants are under examination as among the few exciting sources of world trade and growth. This column summarises the results of research on reforms, regionalism, and exports in China and India. It finds that China is likely to remain ahead in world trade in the next decade, although India has the opportunity to narrow the gap using policy measures.
Root for transparency - Jim Hagemann Snabe, Times of India
In view of the popular movement for a stronger Lokpal Bill, India should consider how technology can help enable accountability and transparency. It is clear to any observer that the Indian government will seek to incorporate further measures that will help restore some confidence in the system. 
RBI must not intervene in currency markets - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
The recent sharp movement of rupee-dollar exchange rate is part of the turmoil in world markets, which are currently witnessing large currency flows. In coming months, world economic conditions may lead to a further increase in cross-border flows, and currency markets may see even sharper movements.
How did the robot end up with my job? - Thomas l Friedman, NYT
Here is a typical evening at a major cable TV network: arrive at Washington studio and be asked to sign in by a contract security guard. Be met by either a young employee who appears to still be in college or an older person who seems to have hung on with tenure. Have your nose powdered by that person.
Even Haldiram's Bhujia plays a vital role in capital markets - Dhirendra Kumar, Economic Times
While listening to a friend's experiences of attending a company's annual general meeting last week, I discovered that Haldiram's bhujia plays an important role in India's capital markets. My friend had gone to this AGM, which was of a somewhat smaller company than he has hitherto been familiar with. Here's what he observed. Outside the venue, there was a brisk trade in signed proxy forms.
Govt gives quality touch to ties with WB - Deepshikha Sikarwar, Economic Times
In keeping with its rising economic stature, India has decided it will substantially alter the nature of its engagement with the multilateral financial institutions. Instead of just seeking funds from the global donors, such as the World Bank, the government will qualitatively enhance its engagement through greater emphasis on leveraging the institutional knowledge of these bodies. 
Battered by crisis, Greeks turn to barter networks - Rachel Donadio, NYT
The first time he bought eggs, milk and jam at an outdoor market using not euros but an informal barter currency, Theodoros Mavridis, an unemployed electrician, was thrilled. "I felt liberated, I felt free for the first time," Mavridis said in a recent interview at a cafe in this port city in central Greece. "I instinctively reached into my pocket, but there was no need to."
Can we Plug and Play in India? - Osama Manzar, Mint
They call themselves “Silicon Valley in a Box”. They define themselves as an “accelerator”. They are located in a building with a space of 170,000 sq.ft. There are hundreds of people working in the building. They have 250 companies stationed within the building, along with 70 data centres. They have 170-plus investors and venture capital companies among their partners.
Rangarajan on UPA's record of jobless growth - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
In an article published in the Economic and Political Weekly (dated 24 September), the former Reserve Bank of India governor has, among other things, made the key observation: “As against 60 million job creation in the period 1999-2000 to 2004-05, just about a million jobs were created in 2004-05 to 2009-10.”
Indian garment makers head to Bangladesh as costs, sales hurt - Anupama Chandrasekaran, Mint
Indian garment exporters, facing rising costs and declining sales, are moving factories to Bangladesh, risking snail-paced transportation, thefts and erratic power supply as they seek to benefit from wages that are one-third of those at home and lower taxes in Western export markets.
India lacks the political will to control inflation - SL Rao, Telegraph India
The setback to growth is not because of the deteriorating world economy. Effects of that are yet to hit India in full measure. The decline is owing to poor management of the domestic economic fundamentals by governments at the Centre and in the states. Monetary authorities whose mandate is to control inflation have tried their best but with severe constraints. The government was more focused on growth than on controlling inflation, and on attracting volatile foreign institutional investment inflows via Mauritius and elsewhere. It neglected fiscal control on deficit.
80% of IITians are of poor quality: NRN - PTI
New York: Voicing his displeasure over the quality of engineers that pass out of the IITs, Infosys chairman emeritus N R Narayana Murthy has said there is a need to overhaul the selection criteria for students seeking admission to the prestigious technology institutions. 
Manufacturing growth lowest in 30 months - Business Standard
India’s manufacturing activity has been showing clear signs of a slowdown in growth as it bears the brunt of monetary tightening, which may have repercussions for industrial and overall economic growth as well. Manufacturing growth fell to the lowest in two and a half years in September, almost close to contraction in output, according to the widely tracked HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
Developers sell land banks as home sales drop - Raghavendra Kamath, Business Standard
The festival season has kicked off, but the cheer is clearly missing in the real estate sector, which depends on the October-January period for 60 per cent of annual sales. So, if Tata Housing managing director Brotin Banerjee is talking about the festive season being the “last hope” for developers, Peninsula Land executive vice-chairman Rajeev Piramal says “things will get harder” going forward.
The hunt for the poor goes on - P Raghavan, Financial Express
Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today clarified that the poverty line of R32 per capita expenditure in urban areas and R26 in rural areas (at current prices) was a mere indicator to determine how much GDP growth has helped reduce poverty levels. Anti poverty-line programme expenditure is not related to the poverty line estimates. The actual poverty line, Ahluwalia said, will be determined by the BPL census in each state.
Gearing up for agro-trade - Yoginder K Alagh, Financial Express
The government of India has been taking a number of useful, although belated, steps to move over agricultural commodities to trading regimes. Export of onions has been allowed, subject to a minimum export price (MEP), sugar has been decontrolled, grain exports of superior varieties have been announced, cotton is again on the export list. So far so good. But having started, there should be the energy to score the final goal, and going back should be eliminated.
A radical fix to the climate change problem - Cornelia Dean, Hindu
With political action on curbing greenhouse gases stalled in the U.S., a bipartisan panel of scientists, former government officials and national security experts is recommending that the government begin researching a radical fix: directly manipulating the Earth's climate to lower the temperature.
Making farm markets deliver - Shashanka Bhide, Business Line
The spurt in food prices and their divergence across locations have not escaped the notice of producers and consumers. The case for organised retail has become stronger in view of the infirmities in the distribution chain. The unyielding nature of food inflation draws one's attention once again to the opaque marketing systems for farm products. It is interesting that the consumers who are keenly aware of the wide margin between wholesale and retail, and the farmers who are aware of the gap between the prices they receive and the market prices, have been reduced to helpless actors.
Telecom R&D: Blundering decades - RRN Prasad, Financial Express
A working group has been constituted by the department of telecommunications to prepare a perspective plan for the telecom sector in the 12th Plan. The group has endorsed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations on manufacturing telecom products. The Trai seeks to dramatically increase the percentage of systems designed, developed and manufactured in India by 2020. At present, this percentage is 3%. Another 10% products are manufactured in India under technology transfer. The remaining 87%, or almost all high-tech products, is imported.
Sri Lanka: Maritime challenge - Vijay Kurup, Financial Express
The race for maritime dominance in the Indian Ocean is on. The flurry of activities by countries in the Indian Ocean testifies to this fact. Sri Lanka, the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, China and the Asean countries are all involved in upgrading, developing and modernising their maritime infrastructure, in a race to corner the traffic plying in the trade route--the Asia-Europe, Asia-US East Coast and Asia-West Africa.
Railways: Harakiri incorporated - RC Acharya, Financial Express
If there is one organisation that is hell bent on committing ‘harakiri’ it is the Indian Railways, ably aided in its onward march to bankruptcy by a string of political heavyweights who have adorned the corner room in Rail Bhavan for over more than a decade. Call it the nation’s economic lifeline or the ‘people mover’, transporting millions of people in a fast, safe and economic way, Indian Railways is basically a transport utility, whose unit for business is a ‘train load’.
Delhi: Power saver plan to slash your bill woes - Bhuvan Bagga, India Today
Can electricity be sold to consumers at different rates at different times of the day? Cheaper during lean hours and costlier during peak hours, unlike the uniform rate at which it is sold now? Sounds like one of those ideas that appears in Western magazines from time to time under '10 great ideas that have changed our lives'. Except that it has come from a Delhi-based power company. If implemented successfully, the concept can change the way electricity is sold in India and, possibly, the world.
Services sector in contraction mode - Times of India
Activity in the services sector shrank in September as new orders sank, a new survey released on Wednesday shows. To add to the worries, overall economic activity is seen to be nearly stagnating, while employment levels fell for the second successive month. The seasonally adjusted Service Sector Business Activity Index fell to 49.8 from 53.8 in August, HSBC Purchasing Managers Index, which is based on a survey of 350 private sector executives showed. Any reading of less than 50 indicates contraction, while economic activity is seen to be growing if the index is over 50. This is the first time since April 2009 that the services sector, that accounts for more than half the Indian economy, has slipped into negative terrain.
Steve Jobs - 'who made ugly world of technology beautiful' - PTI
New York, Oct 6 - From a college dropout to heading an over USD 350 billion Apple empire, Steve Jobs dramatically transformed the worlds of personal computing, music and mobile phones, ushering in a new digital era. Jobs, who died yesterday at the age of 56 after a seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer, was also the man behind the stupendous success of the computer animation firm Pixar, makers of Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
India has 3 million 'affluent' families - Indian Express
India and China have overtaken European countries in the number of affluent households while the US remains the most prosperous country in the world, according to market research firm TNS. According to TNS’s “Global Affluent Investor” study, India, China and Brazil have overtaken many European countries in this measure of consumer wealth with three million affluent households each in these countries which have over $ 100,000 investible funds.
Jobs script skipped India, twice - Deepa Kurup, Hindu
It wasn't “all romantic,” as Steve Jobs said at the inspiring commencement address that he delivered at Stanford in 2005. Talking about that phase in his iconic life when he chose to drop out of college and spend time simply dropping in on interesting lectures — including one on calligraphy, which gave him ideas he would later incorporate into the first Macintosh 10 years later — he recalled his weekly excursion across town for one good vegetarian meal a week at the Hare Krishna Temple. His “curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless” later on in life, he said.
Steve Jobs: A tech Talisman who thought different - Times of India
In dark suit and bowtie, he is a computing-era carnival barker - eyebrows bouncing, hands gesturing, smile seductive and coy and a bit annoying. It's as if he's on his first date with an entire generation of consumers. And, in a way, he is. It is January 24, 1984, and a young Steve Jobs is standing centre stage, introducing to shareholders of Apple Computer Inc the "insanely great" machine that he's certain will change the world: A beige plastic box called the Macintosh. 
King Coal - Jyotsna Bhatnagar, Financial Express
Arun Kumar Jagatramka, chairman and managing director of the country’s largest independent producer of metallurgical coke, the R1,600-crore Gujarat NRE Coke Limited, runs his business in what he calls ‘overtime’. But then he can afford to do so. Having fought hard to resuscitate the once ailing company, which was neck deep in debt with a negative networth of R20 crore when he took it over from his father in 1997, he has turned it into a market leader not only in India, but Australia as well.
Forex loans haunt India Inc, firms to take big hit in Q2 - Ranju Sarkar, Business Standard
India Inc might be sitting on a multi-billion-dollar debt time bomb, with several big companies having large foreign exchange loans staring at a depleted September quarter. The sharp depreciation of the rupee against the dollar will force companies to revalue such loans and provide for mark-to-market (MTM) losses (marking down assets to current values) in their quarterly results.
After SBI's rating cut, govt takes stock of its banks - Manojit Saha, Business Standard
After Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded the standalone rating of the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, the government has swung into action and started taking stock of capital requirements of the public sector banks and their ratings. Public sector banks account for nearly 70 per cent of the loans in the country.
A crisis waiting to happen - Rohit Chawdhry, Financial Express
It was yet another credit ratings action amidst a series of global banking sector downgrades by Moody’s. But, this one has caught the attention a bit more. SBI’s downgrade of stand-alone financial strength by one notch to D+, on account of deteriorating asset quality and low tier-1 capital ratio, has been telling.
Capital inadequacy - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
There is an easy solution to meet the shortage of capital in the State Bank of India (SBI), which the government would love to deploy. Just as it did in 2009-10 for smaller public sector banks, it can and possibly will approach the World Bank for a dollar loan that will be converted into equity support for SBI.
Helping the poor: Harnessing brains on affordable houses - Leslie D`Monte, Business Standard
Vijay Govindarajan, now a professor who teaches international business at the US-based Tuck School of Business, has a dream that could become a reality soon. He wants even the ‘very poor’ to have a house for just $300 each (around Rs 15,000). Along with a marketing expert, Christian Sarkar, he wrote a blog on the website of Harvard Business Review about this possibility last year, and followed with a contest.
Facing up to moral hazard - Shyam Ponappa, Business Standard
Amid the general sense of an ailing socio-economic environment in the country, consider these situations. Coal supplies for power generation are eight per cent short of generation capacity. Worse, nearly 42,000 Mw of additional generation capacity over the next five years is jeopardised because anticipated supplies are short by two-thirds of the requirement (100 million tonnes against demand for 313 million tonnes).
Touring the ruins of the old economy - Michiko Kakutani, Business Standard
Michael Lewis possesses the rare storyteller’s ability to make virtually any subject both lucid and compelling. In his new book, Boomerang, he actually makes topics like European sovereign debt, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank not only comprehensible but also fascinating — even, or especially, to readers who rarely open the business pages or watch CNBC.
$45 tablet may not be the magic pill India needs, say experts - Prashant Nanda & Surabhi Agarwal, Mint
The much-hyped launch of the world’s cheapest tablet in India created the requisite ripples, but the pedestrian technical specifications of the device, and feedback from people who have been exposed to or tested the product, suggests that it won’t win any awards for performance, design, or even utility.
As govt keeps domestic carriers grounded, foreign airlines hog seats, profits - Smita Aggarwal, Indian Express
The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled in Parliament last month assailed the government for giving away foreign flying rights to carriers other than Air India, and recommended freezing or rolling them back to provide “a more than level playing field” to the national carrier. The fact however, is that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has steadfastly refused to negotiate any new or additional flying rights with other countries in the last three years.
Slums need to be prevented, rather than cured - PSN Rao, Indian Express
Old parts of our historic cities turn into slum-like conditions over the centuries due to a variety of reasons. Economic dereliction, shift in traditional occupations, moving out of households to modern areas, overcrowding, densification, extensive commercialization, ageing and dilapidation, narrow streets of yesteryears not being able to cope with motorised traffic of the present day and such other conditions lead to old parts of cities being declared as ‘slums’.
US business leaders seek FDI from India, China - PTI
America’s top business and political leadership has sought more investments into the country from India, China and Brazil so that more jobs could be created in the US. “Our direct investment from places like China, India, Brazil, the people that really have a hot hand today, are minuscule, almost non-existent, and there’s no reason why those countries shouldn’t be investing more broadly in the US than they are today,” said Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of the General Electric Company.
Why prices don't fall, why prices won't fall - Shankkar Aiyar, Express Buzz
On Thursday India was told that food price inflation had gone up once again. India was also told that overall inflation has been over 9 per cent for nearly a year and is now threatening to cross over into double digit territory. Of course rising inflation is not exactly breaking news for India. What is interesting, however, is that the Prime Minister and the finance minister eschewed the temptation to predict a fall in inflation. After all how many times can you predict a fall and deliver a rise in inflation.
Clamping down on high-speed stock trades - Graham Bowley, NYT
Regulators in the United States and overseas are cracking down on computerized high-speed trading that crowds today’s stock exchanges, worried that as it spreads around the globe it is making market swings worse. The cost of these high-frequency traders, critics say, is the confidence of ordinary investors in the markets, and ultimately their belief in the fairness of the financial system.
Pushed by the private sector, UPA nibbles at reform - Business Line
It's hard to believe but the UPA Government is not just alive but also kicking sporadically when prodded by the private sector. In the last three months, there has been a flurry of small reform activity. The main impetus, as can be seen, is coming from the need to find money for the Twelfth Plan which begins next year, with strong private sector participation.
Who moved my labour? Job guarantee, says chamber - Business Standard
The UPA government's rural job guarantee scheme MGNREGA has drawn flak from industry chamber Ficci for having deprived businesses of sufficient labour. Loss of confirmed orders, increase in wages and labour shortage were blamed on the scheme in a survey of 100 companies from diverse sectors.
States scramble to raise power tariffs as bank finance dries up - Noor Mohammad, Financial Express
A recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directive to tighten loans for state power distribution companies (discoms) seems to have had the desired effect. The drought in short-term finance has forced at least seven states to raise tariffs and reduce losses for their discoms.
Govt rejects letter of comfort to Air India - Nirbhay Kumar, Financial Express
The finance ministry has turned down Air India’s request seeking letter of comfort (LoC) for increasing the buyers’ credit limit to $288 million from Standard Chartered Bank. This is a major setback for the cash-strapped airline which is finding it difficult to pay its vendors for spare parts and maintenance.
R&D outsourcing comes of age - Shreya Roy, Financial Express
With the Indian R&D outsourcing market expected to touch $13.1 billion by the end of the this year, Indian IT outsourcing companies are witnessing a sea change in the projects being outsourced to them. After the success of Indian software products in recent years, these firms, that were mostly engaged in basic functions such as testing a few years back, are now producing end to end products for some of the biggest technology players in the world in sectors such as consumer electronics, personal device segment, medical electronics and telecom and automotive sectors.
Clouds over Sun empire - Manoj Gairola, Hindustan Times
The sun never sets on the Maran business empire. So they said. But, on Monday,  clouds of trouble began hovering over their empire. Kalanithi Maran started Sun TV with a bank loan of $86,000 in 1993 and his journey to becoming India's 16th richest person (Forbes ranking) with a total net worh of $3.5 billion is a classic example of political patronage. During these 18 odd years, most of the time DMK was in power — either at the Centre or the state, or both.
New telecom policy rings in free roaming - Sujay Mehudia, Hindu
Seeking to eliminate the ambiguities of the past, the draft National Telecom Policy 2011 will remove national roaming charges, make broadband available on demand, bring in an ‘one-nation, one-licence' policy and allow mobile numbers to be ported to any part of the country.
Montek defends poverty line - Ravish Tiwari, Indian Express
Unfazed by criticisms over its affidavit regarding the poverty line, the Planning Commission has decided to stick to its poverty benchmark contending that the level might not be comfortable but it is also “not all that ridiculous from Indian conditions”.
Voice resale could be a game-changer - Shalini Singh, Times of India
The real gamechanger in NTP 2011, hidden away in the fine print, is a commitment by the government to permit voice resale at both wholesale and retail levels. For example, in the future, operators like Bharti Airtel will be permitted to appoint resellers who will buy bulk minutes from Bharti at a wholesale price and resell them under their own or a joint brand to the end-user . This can be particularly useful to drive teledensity targets in rural India. The reseller will not need to invest in infrastructure as is the case with the MVNO (mobile virtual network operators) model. Currently this is prohibited. 
Excise mopup drops first time in 16 months - Economic Times
The government's excise duty collections fell for the first time in 16 months in September, confounding analysts and policy makers alike while raising hopes this might compel the central bank to put its monetary tightening on hold. Collections from the excise levy - a tax imposed on goods at factory gate and considered one of the few accurate gauges of industrial activity - dropped 8% year on year in September, finally catching up with the trend of slowing industrial production.
Solar energy generates political heat - Vandana Gombar, Financial Express
The bankruptcy of three solar companies in the US last month—Solyndra, Evergreen Solar and SpectraWatt—has turned the spotlight again on China and the support it provides to its solar industry. Solyndra is likely to be one of the more prominent bankruptcy cases in the clean energy industry. Until a few weeks ago, it was a promising company that had got backing from the US Department of Energy in the form of a $535-million loan guarantee—the largest given to any company.
Broadcasters vs Regulators - Ashish Sinha, Financial Express
he information and broadcasting ministry has two sets of policy guidelines for permission/regulation of private satellite TV channels in India, namely the downlinking and uplinking guidelines. On October 7, the Union Cabinet revised these guidelines by upwardly revising the net worth criteria for both news and non-news channels. For obtaining a news channel licence, the net worth requirement for the applicant is now set at R20 crore, up from R3 crore earlier. For a non-news TV licence, the net worth will be R5 crore, up from R1.5 crore.
Sargent, Sims Win Economics Nobel - Phil Izzo, WSJ
The economics Nobel was awarded this morning to Thomas J. Sargent of New York University and Christopher A. Sims of Princeton University for their work on how to assess the effects of policy changes on the economy.
Positive direction, little detail - Ram Prasad Sahu, Business Standard
The draft National Telecom Policy (NTP), though positive on intent, has left many questions unanswered, especially those concerning the spectrum issue. The key positive takeaways from the policy are the one-nation-one-licence framework and the full mobile number portability. While the first means customers wouldn’t have to pay roaming charges and calls across the country would be treated as local, the second — in the absence of ‘circles’ — will help customers retain their numbers irrespective of where they intend to relocate within the country. The fallout of a single-licence policy is negative for telecom companies, who could lose out on up to Rs 2,000 crore in revenue, unless they raise tariffs or volumes rise to balance out revenue loss.
Rate hike: Bankers say enough! - Business Standard
The country’s leading bankers don’t want any more policy rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Speaking at the Business Standard Banking Round Table in Mumbai on Monday, five of the six bank chiefs said ‘no’ when asked whether RBI should raise rates in the second quarter review of the monetary policy on October 25.
PM accepts Maira report, no FDI cap - Sanjeeb Mukherjee, Business Standard
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday accepted the Maira committee’s recommendations and decided the Competition Commission of India (CCI) would scrutinise all mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the domestic pharmaceutical sector. The ministries of commerce & industry and health had expressed reservations over the recommendations.
New norms curtail ‘options' for FDI investors - Aarthi Sivanandh, Business Line
On October 1, 2011, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) altered the way foreign direct investments (FDI) into India are to be structured. The new policy is nebulous in that it is bereft of all explanations and clarifications, while blandly stating that the only eligible equity and debt instruments through which FDI may come into India are those that are fully mandatorily and compulsorily convertible into equity.
This Time, It Really Is Different - Joe Nocera, NYT
The title of the white paper is, admittedly, a mouthful: “The Way Forward: Moving From the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness.” It was commissioned by the New America Foundation, which hoped that it might “re-center the political debate to better reflect the country’s deep economic problems,” according to Sherle Schwenninger, the director of the foundation’s Economic Growth Program.
Rs 32 per day poverty line not all that "ridiculous": Montek - PTI
New Delhi: Amid raging controversy over Rs 32 per capita per day poverty line, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said "it is not all that ridiculous" in Indian conditions. "The fact is that Rs 4,824 per month for a family (of five persons) to define poverty is not comfortable but it is not all that ridiculous from Indian conditions," Ahluwalia said in a letter to Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati. 
Soaring successes in the Defence sector - M Somasekhar, Business Line
It was a hat-trick of sorts. In a busy week, India's missile scientists scored three successes. First, it was the launch of Shourya (Valour), the 750-km, short to intermediate range missile. Then came the Prithvi-II, a 350-km range, strategic missile. And, finally, Agni-II, the 2000-km, intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), all of which give a big boost to the country's defences. These launches were preceded by the first test of Prahaar (Strike) missile. The short-range, surface-to-surface, tactical missile with capability to carry 200 kg warhead filled an important gap in the Defence armoury.
Coal shortage hits NTPC’s output - Sanjay Dutta, Times of India
The power situation has worsened as generation at state-run utility NTPC's several plants across the country has been hit because of recent heavy rains in coal producing areas in eastern and central parts of the country and disruption of coal supplies due to continuing blockade in Andhra Pradesh's Telengana region. 
Rain and Telangana protest hit coal supply - S Niyogi & UP Mukherji, ToI
The country is staring at a blackout situation as nearly all thermal power generation units are operating on a fast-depleting supply of coal that can run out any moment. At Kolaghat, Bakreshwar, Kahalgaon, Tuticorin, Khaparkheda, Panipat and Badarpur, there is barely a day's stock. Nearly 40 other thermal units have less than seven days' stock of coal. Coal India Ltd is citing unprecedented rain at several mines and the Telangana stir as the causes for squeeze in supply. Coal fuels 86 power plants in the country that generate 85,477 MW or 64% of the total power supply, meaning the disruption is wreaking havoc in several states. Some 44 plants that generate 60% of coal-based power have less than seven days' stock. 
Why India fares poorly in digital indices - Rajat Kathuria & Mansi Kedia, FE
The International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) annual publication on ‘Measuring the Information Society’ presents 2011 rankings for two important ICT benchmarking tools, the ICT Development Index (IDI) and the ICT Price Basket (IBP). While the IDI captures access, usage, capability (skills to use) and impact, the IBP is a composite basket based on the price of fixed telephony, mobile cellular telephony, and fixed broadband Internet services, computed as a percentage of average income levels.
Food security leakages - Ashok Kotwal, Indian Express
Who are the poor? Who should the government assist? These are the questions at the heart of the recent debate about the use of poverty lines to define subsidy-worthy populations. After much outrage, a defensive government clarified that a new “expert” committee will answer these questions in a way that is consistent with the provisions of the forthcoming food security bill. However, thorny questions await this committee as well.
Is India becoming an export powerhouse? - Economist
It is common to posit that India’s economy is more self-contained than China’s. Lately the facts have got in the way. In dollar terms China still sells five times more than India, but relative to output, exports of goods and services from India have been chugging up while those from China have fallen. Measured this way the two countries are converging (see chart).
Power situation turns dire with 29 plants precariously low on coal - Anil Sasi, Business Line
As many as 29 key thermal power stations are operating with coal stocks of less than four days. This translates into 41,022 MW of power generation capacity. The worsening fuel shortage situation gripping the power sector is reflected in the sharp increase in thermal stations faced with bare minimum coal stocks. Usually, thermal plants operate with coal stocks for 21 days.
More tempests in the making? - Arvind Singhal, Economic Times
Even as the headwinds against the Indian economy get stronger, there are four major sectors that are even more vulnerable than others. Urgent and bold policy interventions are needed to prevent these very crucial sectors from becoming terminally sick. These four sectors are textile, retail, aviation and telecom.
Leverage its demographic dividend - C Rangarajan, Padma Iyer Kaul & Seema, FE
The much awaited results of the 66th NSSO quinquennial round of the Employment-Unemployment survey are out. The initial reactions to the results of the survey have been quite extreme. One set of reactions has turned the spotlight on employment generation and has criticised the slowdown in the work force growth rate in the 2004-05 to 2009-10 period as being indicative of policy failure. The other set of reactions has questioned the methodology of data collection for the survey, stating that the informal sector employment, especially for females, has not been captured.
Souring industrial relations - Shyamal Majumdar, Business Standard
The past few days have been a nightmare not only for Maruti, but also for a host of other companies: Coal India, Dhanlaxmi Bank, Dunlop — the list is getting longer by the day. Employees of even much smaller entities like Meru, a car leasing company, got influenced by the general employer-bashing mood.
Nobbling port projects - Michael Pinto, Business Standard
This has not been the kindest of times for the ministry of shipping and the port sector. Ambitious plans to expand capacity by attracting large amounts of private investment in major ports have met with limited success. All available figures show that the ministry has been able to attract barely a small percentage of what it thought it could get by way of private investment.
Realism rewarded - Economist
Macroeconomists are widely disparaged for getting most things wrong, but really it is a wonder that they know anything at all. Chemists and biologists can repeat experiments at will, slightly changing one factor or another to see how things respond. Macroeconomists must piece truths together one disaster at a time. That dismal scientists can tell us anything is in large part due to Thomas Sargent of New York University and Christopher Sims of Princeton University, who were awarded the Nobel prize for economics on October 10th.
Indian industry’s bipolar disorder - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
Last week, a section of Indian industry that likes to identify itself as “a group of like-minded citizens” shot off another open letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemning, among other things, the strong nexus between “certain” firms, bureaucrats and power brokers. They then went on to identify this axis of evil as it were as one of the “greatest” threats to the Indian economy.
What Maruti must learn - Abheek Barman, Economic Times
Since its first cars rolled out nearly 30 years ago, Maruti Suzuki has been an extraordinary company. Back then, its Japanese-style working culture, flattish management practices and shared ownership between the government and Japan's Suzuki made it a formidable competitor to existing carmakers, Hindustan Motors (HM) and Premier Auto (PAL).
The illusion of export growth - Rajat Kathuria & Mansi Kedia, Financial Express
The ‘Washington Consensus’ on widespread poverty is the lack of integration of the poorer economies into the global economy. If poorer economies were able to sell more goods to advanced and emerging economies, they would benefit immensely. By this logic, India’s extraordinary export (and import) performance since it embraced globalisation in 1991 should have had a measurable impact on poverty, with the most recent numbers on export growth reinforcing a trend that began in 1991.
Army needs Rs 41,000 crore to meet equipment shortage - Rajat Pandit, ToI
Navy and IAF may be on the modernization track, albeit much slowly than desired, but the Army seems to be floundering. The 1.13-million strong force needs as much as Rs 41,000 crore to even meet its existing shortages in equipment and ammunition. Army has painted a grim picture in its 11th Plan (2007-2012) review, pointing at operational gaps in fields ranging from artillery, aviation, air defence and night-fighting to ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles), PGMs (precision guided munitions) and specialized tank and rifle ammunition, say sources.
Coal: Strikes and shortages - Business Standard
The worst of the coal crisis may be over, and the country may be able to avoid the power crisis that had seemed imminent as coal stocks with power stations ran down to critically low levels. This is because Coal India, which supplies the bulk of the coal that feeds power stations, has managed to ramp up supplies from 0.6 million tonnes a day to nearly a million tonnes; the usual level is 0.9 million tonnes. 
India's internet surfing and shopping boom - Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News
"Most people of my age today in India literally live online," says Seeya Malhotra as she unwraps a box that has been delivered to her desk at work. The box contains a set of desk speakers which she had ordered on the internet a few days before.
Gurgaon restive, Maruti eyes gujarat - Pankaj Doval, Times of India
Maruti, which is synonymous with Haryana and Gurgaon, is looking outside the state to set up its operations. The continuing labour unrest at its Manesar and Gurgaon plants appear to have hastened its search, and the company is zeroing in on Gujarat.
Hizb almost wiped out in Valley - Times of India
Once the most formidable face of Kashmir militancy, Hizbul Mujahideen is slowly fading away as its remaining commanders and cadres are being taken out on a regular interval by security forces. According to estimates available here, there is hardly over two dozen active militants left in HM, the biggest indigenous militant group ever in Kashmir. 
India's problem is graft, not corporate greed: Industry - Times of India
The Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed has spread to other parts of the world. With the list of billionaires from India rising every year, the question on everyone's mind is whether there exists a possibility of the country witnessing a similar movement? Indian industrialists that TOI spoke to are currently divided on the matter with most agreeing that the issue in India so far is not so much about corporate greed as it's about corruption. 
Making your mind up in India - Wally Olins, Reuters
When I tell people at a dinner party in London that I’ve just been to India — which I sometimes do because I’m frequently in India and I lived in Mumbai once — people very often say to me, ‘Oh, how wonderful! I went there once. India’s so spiritual isn’t it?’ So I reply ‘Well, it probably is, but not the bits I go to’. By which I mean Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and all that — bustling, busy, commercial and industrial India isn’t remotely spiritual. Or am I missing something?
India and China second-most fraud-prone nations: Report - Business Standard
India has “promoted” itself to the second spot in a list of nations with the highest prevalence of fraud. According to a Global Fraud Report by risk consultancy firm Kroll, India was at the fifth spot last year. China is on a par with India, but fares better than last year when it was at the top spot. Africa has topped the list this year and North America is at the bottom.
India’s vocational future - Anurag Behar, Mint
Vocational education is the poor cousin of what the urban middle class in this country hopes for its children. This is largely because it is directly linked to the perceived low-status manual work. As it exists today, vocational education perpetuates the iniquitous social hierarchy in the country.
Road contractors pay off Naxals for 'cooperation' - Dipak Kumar Dash, Times of India
The arrest of an Essar steel executive for allegedly giving money to Maoist groups in return for 'protection' of its pipeline in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh may not be an isolated case. Recently, the road transport and highways ministry got around 80 contractors verified by the home ministry and four are suspected to be involved in bribing the Naxals.
Inflationary expectations, damned lies & statistics - Anshuman Khanna & Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Financial Express
With the September 11 inflation rate now at 9.72% (vis-à-vis 9.78% in August), there are fears of a rate hike. In fact, recent speeches by RBI have added to an apprehension that the apex bank will continue to hike rates even in the October 25 policy. Without getting into the rate hike debate, in this article we would like to raise our concerns regarding (a) the debate on inflationary expectations and (b) too much reliance on statistical artifacts by the market and RBI in its successive monetary policy statements.
Dark nights loom as discoms default - Noor Mohammad, Financial Express
Debt-ridden power distribution companies (discoms) have started defaulting on payments for merchant power, triggering supply cuts that could sink many parts of the country into darkness. In what looks like a throwback to the situation more than a decade ago, discoms from at least two major states — Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — have failed to keep their payment obligations to PTC India, the country’s leading power trader and co-promoter of the fledgling national power exchange.
Cracking the secrecy code - Noopur Tiwari, Business Standard
Take Switzerland. One of the world’s biggest financial centres, it has also been ranked number one on this year’s Financial Secrecy Index compiled by the Tax Justice Network. There are rigid laws in Switzerland that help banks shield account holders from being exposed. The country has a long tradition of bank secrecy since the Middle Ages, of which it is very proud. Since 1934 breaking bank secrecy has been a criminal offence in Switzerland. So no bank can divulge information unless the Swiss government asks.
Muslims, SC/STs gained most: HDI report - Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
A Planning Commission report released a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is meeting of chief ministers to decide on plan approach for next five years (12th plan) says the Muslims and Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) were converging on health and education outcomes at a faster rate with the national average, especially during last six years.
Human Development: Bharat catching up with India - Amitabh Sinha & Ravish Tiwari, IE
In the gathering gloom of slowing growth and political drift, comes some good news to brighten up the festival season. The latest Human Development Report, released today, shows that “inclusive growth” — the mantra of the entire political establishment — may not be just a mere slogan.
Navigating the maze called urban governance - PSN Rao, Indian Express
The Indian urban governance model has been constructed on the Victorian system of municipalities. The long British rule in India led to the setting up of urban local bodies in various parts of the country. However, right from the beginning, there has always been a lack of clarity on their role, functioning and financing. At times, these organisations were seen as organs of state administration and at times, they were visualised as nurseries of democracy and politics. The existence of the third tier of local government, therefore, was always hazy and nebulous.
Economy on cusp of crisis - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
The steady decline of the Indian rupee, even at a time both the American and European economies are deeply unsettled, may be greeted with whoops of delight in circles that specialise in body shopping from India. However, for those who have a stake in the well-being and prosperity of the Indian consumer, the decline of the rupee is bad news. It means higher fuel prices, higher prices of imports (which, sooner rather than later, will also come to include foodstuff) and high inflation.
What comes before, Agriculture or Food? - Ravish Tiwari, Indian Express
While differences among UPA-II ministers are now routine, this is one tussle that has been largely brewing under the radar. It involves Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Minister of State (Independent Charge), Food, K V Thomas. It was in January this year that Thomas was given independent charge of the Food portfolio after Pawar requested that his burden be reduced. So Pawar was divested of Food and the portfolio given to his junior minister.
Time to privatise the oil trade - Sandip Sen, Business Standard
On July 16, the world became privy to one of the widely suspected secrets of the oil trade. The immense profits from trading operations in the volatile oil futures market became public. An email of energy giant Chevron leaked to Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and other global news agencies revealed that the company made far greater profits from trading than from drilling.
Jobs' iBio - Janet Maslin, Business Standard
After Steve Jobs anointed Walter Isaacson as his authorised biographer in 2009, he took Mr Isaacson to see the Mountain View, Calif, house in which he had lived as a boy. He pointed out its “clean design” and “awesome little features”. He praised the developer, Joseph Eichler, who built more than 11,000 homes in California subdivisions, for making an affordable product on a mass-market scale. And he showed Mr Isaacson the stockade fence built 50 years earlier by his father, Paul Jobs.
Foreign airlines can invest in domestic carriers soon? - Shishir Sinha, Business Line
The Government has initiated inter-ministerial consultation for allowing foreign airlines to buy equity in domestic carriers. Highly placed sources have told Business Line that, after an in-principle approval from the Civil Aviation Ministry, the Department of Industrial Policies and Promotion (DIPP) has moved the proposal. However, there are differences over the limit for foreign airlines, they added.
Land Acquisition: New legal regime gets under way - Sudhanshu Ranjan, Business Line
The courts have ruled against land acquisition in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, in effect, preparing the ground for implementation of the proposed Central law on land acquisition even as it awaits passage in Parliament. Recently, the Allahabad High Court quashed the compensation of land in three villages — Asdullapur, Shahberi and Devla - while instructing the Greater Noida Development Authority to pay a higher compensation in villages that had challenged land acquisition by the state.
Indian IT weathers a global storm - Debojyoti Ghosh, Goutam Das & Shreya Roy, Financial Express
It is not quite the Lehman moment yet for India’s $60 billion IT industry. Nonetheless, the litany of headwinds is baffling to say the least—slowdown in the US, the Euro-zone crisis that is now impacting the continent’s strongest economies and large scale unemployment across the developed world and wild currency fluctuations.
China searches for the next Steve Jobs - Kathrin Hille in Beijing, Financial Times
When Dave McClure, a venture capital investor from Silicon Valley, spoke at an internet entrepreneurs’ club in China last week, he had a lot of praise for his hosts. “Chinese entrepreneurs are most likely smarter and more aggressive than [those] in the US,” he told the audience. “Beijing is one of the few places in the world where the pace of innovation is faster than in Silicon Valley.”
The case for a flat tax - Steve Forbes, NYPost
Thankfully in 2012 we will get a mandate to make this happen. Presidential contender Herman Cain vaulted to the head of the Republican pack when he proposed his 9-9-9 plan -- a flat 9% income tax, corporate tax and national sales tax. Even better, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will, in a few days, unveil his version of a flat tax, a concept that I have long advocated.
CNG: Eco-friendly, but road traffic has worsened - Pioneer
India is poised to become the world’s third largest economy by 2030, after China and the US. One of the striking features of a high economic growth is the large-scale urbanisation. According to a report, among all the States and Union Territories the National Capital Territory of Delhi is the most urbanised, with 93 per cent urban population, followed by Chandigarh (89.8 per cent).
Swiss banks ready to reveal customer names - Times of India
Swiss banks will likely settle a sweeping US probe of offshore tax evasion by paying billions of dollars and handing over names of thousands of Americans who have secret accounts, according to two people familiar with the matter. US and Swiss officials are concluding negotiations on a civil settlement amid US criminal probes of 11 financial institutions, including Credit Suisse, suspected of helping American clients hide money from the Internal Revenue Service, according to five people with knowledge of the talks who declined to speak publicly because they are confidential.
India to grow faster than China - Times of India
India is expected to record higher growth than China in 2013 and the two Asian powerhouses are expected to be less impacted among the 25 rapid growth markets in case of a deterioration of the Eurozone debt crisis, a report by Ernst & Young said on Monday. The first Rapid Growth Markets (RGMs) forecast released on Monday attributes India and China's ability to better withstand a likely slowdown to the large size of their domestic markets and the effects of lower oil and commodity prices.
Dodgy numbers, creaking system - Biswajit Dhar, Mint
India’s exports have grown by an extraordinary rate in recent months, so say the statistics released by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), the custodians of data on the country’s merchandise trade. During the first five months of this fiscal, exports have increased by more than 54% over the corresponding period of 2010-11.
And now, the rupee-induced spiral - Saugata Bhattacharya, Financial Express
Given the sense of inevitability of continuing tightening at its monetary policy review yesterday, RBI will have sewn up the arguments of its inflation-fighting stance preparatory to another 25 basis points (bps) hike to 8.5%, together with a statement of its commitment to carry on with “its unfinished task of taming inflation”.
Write off power discoms' losses: Ministry to states - Mansi Taneja, Business Standard
Proposes conversion of Rs 1 lakh crore cumulative losses into bonds or loans. In what could be another bailout for loss-making power distribution companies, the Union ministry of power has advised all state governments to write off their cumulative losses. The losses stood at more than Rs lakh crore as of last year.
Future tense for power companies - Jitendra Kumar Gupta, Business Standard
Coal shortage and lower merchant tariffs will hurt performance and return ratios. The coal shortage situation in the power sector is like putting the cart before the horse. While a significant number of new power units have become operational and more are expected, there is an acute shortage of coal to keep these plants running — even at optimum capacity.
Policy paralysis has led to stagflation: Yashwant Sinha - Hindu
In a sharp attack on the Manmohan Singh government, the Bharatiya Janata Party said “policy paralysis” had pushed the country into stagflation — a combination of inflation and deceleration in economic growth. Senior party leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha told journalists here on Tuesday that the government's inaction on the fiscal front was baffling and raised questions on the possibility of a nexus between sections of the establishment and the beneficiaries of inflation.
Looking for the next Infosys - Economist
SACHIN BANSAL AND Binny Bansal are not identical twins, or even related, but they should be. They both grew up in Chandigarh in north-west India, studied computer engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and spent a brief stint working for the same American technology firm. Two years after meeting in Delhi in 2005 they took $10,000 of their savings, set up shop in a flat in Bangalore and began an e-commerce business that delivered books to people’s homes—like Amazon, but with an Indian twist.
China takes a loss to get ahead in the business of fresh water - Michael Wines, NYT
TIANJIN, China — Towering over the Bohai Sea shoreline on this city’s outskirts, the Beijiang Power and Desalination Plant is a 26-billion-renminbi technical marvel: an ultrahigh-temperature, coal-fired generator with state-of-the-art pollution controls, mated to advanced Israeli equipment that uses its leftover heat to distill seawater into fresh water.
Far from dousing it, govt is fuelling further food inflation - R Jagannathan, Firstpost
The spurt in food inflation in the week to 15 October is further evidence that the government is fighting a losing battle on this front. Barely two days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a possible pause in interest rate hikes from December on the assumption that wholesale price (WPI) inflation will start falling from November, primary articles inflation – which accounts for 20 percent of the WPI – showed a rise from 11.18 percent to 11.75 percent while the food inflation component rose more sharply from 10.60 percent to 11.43 percent.
Just 4 days’ coal stock in 33 power plants - Times of India
Even after the coal ministry's assurance of supplying more coal to power plants, as many as 33 electricity generating stations are running at less than four days of stock due to less receipt from Coal India. As per the data (as on October 23) released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 33 power plants with a total generation capacity of 39,054MW across the country are reeling under acute fuel shortage and have coal stocks for less than four days. 
Crying out for reform - R Sukumar, Mint
A string of strikes at factories across India and facts that have come to light in the course of these seem to indicate that India's much-touted big manufacturing renaissance of the mid-2000s was built on the back of labour policies and practices that are downright exploitative.
Govt differs with CAG on taking back RIL blocks - Gireesh Chandra Prasad, Financial Express
Notwithstanding the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) advice, Reliance Industries (RIL) may be allowed to retain a large area in its Krishna-Godavari natural gas block where discoveries are yet to be made. The petroleum ministry feels that asking the company to return the entire undiscovered area will not only be too harsh on the company but also difficult to enforce and bad in policy.
Rahul-flation soars as India’s elections loom - Financial Express
Why is the scandal-hit Indian government seemingly doing so little about inflation? Because it’s so busy worrying about elections, writes Neil Munshi. That’s the view of many commentators, among them blogger R Jagannathan, on, who has even coined a phrase to describe India’s persistently high level of price increases. Rahul-flation, he calls it, after Rahul Gandhi, the scion to India’s Gandhi family political dynasty. It could catch on.
Towards Inclusion - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee & Sandip Das, Financial Express
As a report card of the last decade of the performance of the governments at the centre and the states, the India Human Development Report is a useful summary. Overlooking the problems that a ten-year summary can possess for a billion-plus population, the report is a good beginning. The major inferences that it draws show that the overall direction of the growth-led development in the country is headed in the correct direction. There is also an element of under-statement in the calculation of the country’s human development index. The rank is calculated on the basis of consumption expenditure and not income.
Private gain, public loss? - Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Business Standard
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has complained to the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) about the recent roaming agreement among Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular. The latter are competitors of BSNL in all circles that they operate in.The agreement among the three competitors of BSNL allows them to offer 3G services in areas where they have not been provided any 3G spectrum.
Stir-hit Maruti goes to Gujarat for its biggest plant - Pankaj Doval, Times of India
New Delhi: Gujarat finally bagged Maruti's new mega factory as the country's largest carmaker, frustrated by the recurring labour trouble in Haryana, cleared a proposal to build a facility outside its home state to increase its production capacity. It is the second biggest automobile project for the Narendra Modi-led state after it won Tata Motors' prestigious Nano project in 2008 when the company was forced to move out of Singur in West Bengal due to political unrest.
A dam steeped in history and controversy - T Ramakrishnan, Hindu
Today marks 125th anniversary of signing of agreement on Mullaperiyar dam. October 29 marks the 125th anniversary of the signing of an agreement on the Mullaperiyar dam between the erstwhile Madras and Travancore governments, but the matter still remains a bone of contention between their successor States, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
What does Formula 1 mean to India? - Armaan Ebrahim, BBC
There are more than 40 million cars in India. By this year end we should be the sixth largest car manufacturer in the world, overtaking Brazil. By 2050, India is expected to become the top car maker in the world, with more than 600 million vehicles on the road. On the other hand, India is ranked 126th in the world in terms of car ownership - cars per 1,000 people - far behind Estonia, Latvia and Trinidad and Tobago (China is ranked 114th).
The shadow of others’ jobs - Craig Lambert, Indian Express
The other night at the supermarket I saw a partner at a downtown law firm working as a grocery checker, scanning bar codes. I’m sure she earns at least $300,000 per year. Even so, she was scanning and bagging her purchases in the self-service checkout line. She was performing the unskilled, entry-level jobs of supermarket checker and bagger free of charge.
Indian consumers confident amid global downbeat - Nielsen - Susan Fenton, Reuters
Global consumer confidence remained weak in the third quarter with more than 60 percent of consumers saying it was not a good time to spend, and one-in-three North Americans saying they have no spare cash, a survey showed on Sunday. The economic outlook, followed by job security, became consumers' biggest concern in the third quarter, overtaking worries about rising inflation, according to the quarterly survey by global analytics and information company Nielsen.
Banking on banks - Robert Skidelsky, Hindustan Times
The financial crisis that started in 2007 shrunk the world economy by 6% in two years, doubling unemployment. Its proximate cause was predatory bank lending, so people are naturally angry and want heads and bonuses to roll — a sentiment captured by the current worldwide protests against Wall Street.
Rajat Gupta was role model for middle-class India - IBN Live
Before Indra Nooyi became CEO of PepsiCo Inc or Vikram Pandit took the reins at Citigroup Inc there was Rajat Gupta, the original "global Indian" who was the first to head a major Western business. More than 17 years after first being elected head of McKinsey & Co, the management consultancy, Gupta was charged last week in part of the same insider trading investigation that saw his friend, hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, sentenced to 11 years in prison, the longest-ever sentence in such a case.
Import curbs on China likely as deficit grows - Amiti Sen, Economic Times
India's widening trade gap with China has triggered an alarm in the government, forcing it to brood over a host of measures to restrict imports from the country. The commerce department has hammered out a "China Strategy" that calls for higher tariffs on most Chinese goods while proposing a complete ban on specific items, like power and telecom equipment.
The Charan every top honcho seeks - Chitra Narayanan, Vinay Kamath, Business Line
As the curtains go up on Monday on Ad Asia 2011, the biggest event this year in the advertising industry's calendar, taking the podium first at New Delhi's Taj Palace will be celebrated CEO coach Mr Ram Charan. The fact that the corporate sage will be delivering the keynote ahead of a formidable array of speakers shows how seriously the industry hangs on his words.
After Niira Radia - Archna Shukla, Indian Express
Tuesday would have been a day of celebration for Vaishnavi Corporate Communications Pvt Ltd. The public relations agency had been launched on November 1, 2001, by lobbyist Niira Radia and would have completed 10 years of its high-profile existence — had she not decided to shut down. Now, Radia’s core team managers are busy finding jobs for more than 200 personnel she employed across a four-agency network.
The justice of policy - Manish Sabharwal, Indian Express
In theory, all the three branches of government — executive, legislature and judiciary — are equal. But in practice, cautioned Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers, the judiciary is the weakest because it controls neither sword not purse. But I suspect that Hamilton would have reviewed his conclusion if he’d studied the decisive role of India’s courts in shaping higher education and employment policies. Indian courts have not nudged policy in education and employment; they have made it.
India should move ahead with nuclear energy plan: IEA - Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times
Global energy advisory body, the International Energy Agency (IEA), says that India should not get influenced by countries that have announced changes in their nuclear energy plans in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. “India should go ahead and implement its civil nuclear power plans,” Richard Jones, American diplomat and the deputy executive director of IEA told the Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview. “Of the countries like Germany, Italy and few others that have announced changes in their nuclear policy, we were not expecting them to do much in nuclear anyway.”
A Tale of two Duties - Rajat Mukherjee, Economic Times
The new takeover code notified by the Sebi on September 23, 2011 has brought about various changes in the extant law aimed at benefitting shareholders. An important provision, which has been drafted, is the obligation of the board of directors to constitute a committee of independent directors to provide reasoned recommendations regarding the open offer to the company. 
Big boost for manufacturing - Chandrajit Banerjee, Economic Times
The clearance of the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) by the Cabinet could not have come at a better time. This is a historic step on the economic reform agenda and will set the pace for a much higher trajectory of growth in employment, investment and output.
Slip sliding away - Shobhana Subramanian, Indian Express
It might seem harsh on consumers but the government now has very little choice but to increase pump prices of petrol and diesel. Given that crude oil prices are still averaging $110 per barrel, despite dire predictions of a recession in the US and a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy, China, the government cannot afford to foot the bill on its own. Citigroup estimates that, at an average cost for the Indian basket of $105 per barrel, subsidies could cross Rs 68,000 crore. While the government can’t be blamed for soaring crude oil prices, it has done very little to keep prices in check; among its initiatives that will further stoke inflation is the hike in the minimum support prices by 15-38 per cent.
Reading the fine print - Mythili Bhusnurmath, Economic Times
The obsession with inflation and growth, and hence with interest rates, over the past many months has had one inevitable fallout: a matching obsession with what the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) calls Part A of its Monetary Policy statement. Almost all discussions that follow the RBI's Monetary Policy announcements are limited to this part of the statement - that discusses the central bank's monetary policy stance and its policy initiatives - virtually ignoring the second part, Part B. 
An elusive formula - Business Standard
It was almost inevitable that some commentators would describe India’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix as an inappropriate event in a country that still qualifies for lower middle-income status. Certainly, it is difficult to ignore the contrast between the unabashed capitalism demonstrated by this 65-year-old tournament and the abysmal human development record of Uttar Pradesh, the state in which the event was hosted. The observation may be valid, but to focus exclusively on this issue is to miss the useful takeaways from an event that has done India’s global reputation no harm.
Shadow banking in China - CP Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh, Business Line
As China's real estate bubble finally subsides, there will be effects not only on construction and related activities, but also on the country's banks. C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh investigate the recent growth of shadow banking in China and its implications.
Dreamliner turns nightmare, AI tries to douse crisis - Pragya Singh & TN Raghunatha, Pioneer
The issue of parity between pre-merger Air India and Indian Airlines pilots over the training for the Dreamliner (Boeing 787) is all set to snowball into a major crisis. A shadow of disruption looms over the Airline’s international operations. “As many as seven Air India Express international flights from south India to the Gulf have already been affected even as the low cost carrier has put in place a contingency plan.” The plan is issued under the current pilot crisis the low cost carrier is facing,” said an Air India spokesperson.
Kapil Sibal, the computer salesman - Arvind Kumar, DNA
The misplaced enthusiasm for Kapil Sibal’s subsidy for the Aakash tablet computer stems from a lack of understanding of the role of politicians in the economy. Not only is Sibal’s effort doomed to fail and get mired in corruption like any other government scheme, but it is also an example of the government interfering in the markets, which is a regressive step that takes the country back towards socialism.
Why we need the Policy - Arun Maira, Economic Times
ET, in its lead editorial on October 28, 2011, has described the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) as 'a waste of time'. It concludes, "Let us work for these, and shun hollow policies." 'These' are ET's recommendations of solutions to accelerate growth of manufacturing, the thrust of which is to improve the environment for manufacturing more broadly, not only within a few zones. This candid editorial raises some important questions, not only about the NMP but also about processes of policymaking generally.
Why petrol hike: Pranab hasn’t paid subsidy bill of Rs 64,900 c - First Post
The threat of another petrol price hike barely a month after September’s whopper has government spokespersons ducking for cover. But Manish Tewari, Congress spokesman, made a brave attempt nevertheless. Faced with a volley of questions on how the government can countenance another petrol price hike this month (Rs 1.50-2 a litre is the number being spoken about) after winking at a Rs 3.30 hike in September, Tewari took the high road: “This question should be asked from the petroleum ministry or the concerned oil companies. After the dismantling of the administered price mechanism (APM), this issue comes under the jurisdiction of oil companies. Oil companies can better answer why and for what reason the fuel price hike took place.”
US hard sells Gen5 fighters - Rajat Pandit, Times of India
The US may be bagging lucrative Indian defence deals, notching up sales worth over $11 billion in the military aviation sector alone, but it cannot get over the fact that New Delhi does not want its fighter jets. Just a couple of days ahead of a crucial Indian defence ministry's meeting, which will set the stage for eventual selection of either Eurofighter Typhoon or French Rafale for IAF's over $10-billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project, the US has again dangled the bait of an advanced 5th-generation fighter before India.
China shadow on Indian economy - Narendar Pani, Business Line
The government's reported efforts to rein in Chinese incursions into the Indian economy reflect the dangerous turn that economic relations between the two countries have now taken. The concerns over the balance of trade shifting sharply in favour of China have acquired a strategic edge, with state-influenced Chinese companies gaining a significant share of critical sectors of the Indian economy. The knee-jerk reaction to this turn of events would be to raise tariff and non-tariff barriers at random.
Daunting road ahead for nuclear power - M Somasekhar, Business Line
The Department of Atomic Energy is bullish on the power programme, but achieving the target of 20,000 MW by 2020 is plagued by resource crunch, technology issues and environmental problems. At the end of October 2011, India's installed capacity of nuclear power stood at 4780 MW. The ambitious aim of the Atomic Energy establishment, set at the beginning of the decade, is to reach 20,000 MW by 2020.
Reaping the profits of social change - Malia Politzer, Mint
eFarm co-founder Venkat Subramanian stands barefoot on the ground floor of a three-storey building, pointing energetically to neatly sorted piles of potatoes, onions and coconuts. “This is our Wipro, our Infosys and Tata,” Subramanian says, gesturing at each in turn. “We have top business school graduates who plot their prices like they’d analyse the stock market, which is how we can guarantee a good price to our clients.”
Telecom path-breaker? - Shyam Ponappa, Business Standard
There’s much to criticise the government for not initiating systematic reforms. Yet, the draft National Telecom Policy 2011 (NTP-2011), announced three weeks ago, is a stunner1. It begins with a solid, integrated-systems preamble to IT, Communications and Electronics, followed by an excellent vision statement: “[to provide] secure, reliable, affordable and high quality... telecommunication services anytime, anywhere.” A sound beginning, although open-ended in terms of how the details could evolve.
Human development & social inclusion - Ankita Gandhi & Santosh Mehrotra, Financial Express
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite index of health, education and income dimensions. India HDR 2011 (released on October 21) finds that India’s HDI has registered an improvement of 21% over the eight-year period 1999-2000 to 2007-08. This improvement is driven by education—as the education index improved by 28.5%. It is the lower pace of improvement in the health sector (13%) that pulls down the HDI.*
3G Roaming: Kill it before it grows - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Kafka couldn’t have scripted it better. The government tells private firms what services they can offer which encourages them to pay R68,000 crore in the 3G bid and to invest another R15,000-20,000 crore in rolling out networks, it then tells them that this is illegal, when shown that the permissions were in writing the government says “it is clear that we will go by what (we said) and we are trying to understand what (we have) said on this”!
Trade-Off Union: Sonu Gujjar takes 40L & flees flock - Vikas Dhoot & Chanchal Pal Chauhan, Economic Times
The key faces behind the recent labour unrest at Maruti Suzuki that cost India's largest carmaker Rs 1,600 crore in lost revenues have quietly resigned from the company, pocketing payouts worth several lakh and leaving their one-time comrades both dazed and angry. By Wednesday, 30 suspended workers at Maruti's Manesar plant, including their two leaders Sonu Gujjar and Shiv Kumar, had quit the company, taking home amounts ranging between Rs 16 lakh and Rs 40 lakh, several people familiar with the matter said. Gujjar and Kumar, both of whom have gone incommunicado, are said to have resigned by October 22 for a full and final settlement of around Rs 40 lakh each. 
Contradictions of Millennium City - Sandipan Deb, Mint
I live in Gurgaon, the dusty town adjoining Delhi, that’s proudly referred to as the Millennium City. By one estimate, at least 300 of the Fortune 500 companies have offices here, many of which are their India headquarters. In fact, at least 50 of those offices are within a kilometre or so from my home. The building that I see straight across from mine, from my study’s balcony, used to be the planet’s biggest single-site call centre. Maybe it still is. Two-and-a-half thousand people work eight-hour shifts there, three shifts a day.
A place under the sun for microfinance - Ramesh Ramanathan, Mint
Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Y.V. Reddy recently wrote a tough piece on microfinance in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW). Given his stature, these views will be read carefully in policy circles, especially given the proposed Microfinance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill. His essay, therefore, deserves a detailed analysis.
GoM gives green signal to sovereign wealth fund - Priyadarshi Siddhanta, Indian Express
A Group of Ministers (GoM) on external security interface chaired by Pranab Mukherjee has agreed in principle on setting up a sovereign wealth fund to help companies acquire mineral and energy assets abroad. This caps discussions on the need for such a fund, which have been on for more than a year among various sections in the government. The money from the fund would be available only to state-owned undertakings, and not those in the private sector.
More prices need to be freed: Prime Minister - KG Narendranath, Indian Express
Unfazed by the criticism over the latest hike in petrol prices by oil companies, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday called for decontrolling prices of “most commodities” except those which are in the nature of “semi-public goods”. Speaking to the Indian media at the G20 Summit here immediately before his departure for Delhi, Singh said the general policy direction was irreversibly for “decontrolling more and more prices”.
The girl child’s future - Ravinder Kaur & Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
The seven billionth baby is born in Uttar Pradesh, India — and it is a girl. Now UP has not been known for producing girls much; it has one of the worst sex ratios at birth (girls per 1000 boys) in India, which means one of the worst in the world. China gives India a lot of competition in biased sex selection — India, for once, appears better. However, not much should be read into the girl being selected by an NGO as the seventh etc baby — it may have been all so politically correct.
RBI, backdoor financier? - A Seshan, Business Standard
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has once again expressed its anguish over the state of central finances in its latest monetary policy review. This is a repetition of the view in an earlier review that monetary policy cannot bear the burden of fiscal deficits. The proposed additional borrowing by the Centre of Rs 53,000 crore has already sent the securities market into jitters. RBI refers to the consequent crowding out of the private sector from the market.
Food security channels - Indira Rajaraman, Business Standard
Poverty lines have been in the news again. This round started when a Planning Commission affidavit to the Supreme Court placing the poverty line at Rs 26 per capita per day (rural), Rs 32 (urban), raised a furore over the use of these to set a cap on the percentage of the population covered by the food security Bill.
Seeking to avoid a mid-life crisis - Economist
India's technology firms are no longer spring chickens. Infosys had its 30th birthday this year and its lead founder retired, hailed as a visionary by his colleagues and celebrated as the man who kick-started the country’s first world-class industry. Yet judged by their share prices of late, the three big firms, TCS, Infosys and Wipro, are still giddy, uncertain things. Last month TCS’s shares, which had swaggered earlier in the year, slumped as it posted disappointing quarterly figures.
TCS in America: From Mumbai to the Midwest - Economist
Drive up the leafy Leadership Trail in Milford, Ohio and you reach what appears from the outside to be a luxury ski lodge. Inside, large windows with forest views are a constant reminder of the surrounding American heartland. This is Tata Consultancy Services’ new American facility, a stark contrast to TCS’s colonial-era headquarters overlooking sweltering cricket pitches in Mumbai.
New policy will force operatorsto pay for spectrum hoarding - Sandeep Joshi, Hindu
Mired in the controversy over the 2G spectrum allocation in 2008, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has decided to ensure optimum utilisation and maximum revenue generation from this scarce resource through a policy mechanism. Under its soon-to-be-released National Telecom Policy-2011, the DoT will ensure that no operator is allowed to “hoard” spectrum, a practice that hinders the growth of the entire telecom sector and causes the exchequer loss. It will allow sharing, pooling and trading of spectrum for its more efficient use.
The Corruption Trade-off - Bibek Debroy, Economic Times
Between 2004 and 2009, ifyou mentioned CPI, most people would have taken this to mean Communist Party of India. Since 2009, CPI is likely to be interpreted as Consumer Price Index or Corruption Perceptions Index. Inflation and corruption have moved to the top of the agenda. Specifically, Corruption Perceptions Index is produced by Transparency International and has been around since 1995. Based on surveys, it ranks countries on perceived levels of corruption. The last such CPI was for 2010 and ranked 178 countries. India was 87th.
Give me land, we will give you coal - Indronil Roychowdhury, Financial Express
As a shortage in coal supplies hits crucial sectors like power, the government has been mounting pressure on Coal India to increase production. CIL chairman NC Jha talks to Indronil Roychowdhury about the measures CIL is taking to mitigate the shortage in the long and short terms. Excerpts.
Making rare earths more common - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
India is a rank outsider when it comes to owning and producing strategic mineral and metal resources. In fact, it has not even made an honest start. Lack of access to best-technology practices due to restrictive regimes, coupled with the larger problem of a protectionist environment that did not incentivise innovation, meant that critical strategic industries — nuclear, space, defence and communications — depended on high-technology imports which got progressively more difficult for largely non-economic reasons.
Angry China can’t stop ONGC’s Vietnam hunt - Gireesh Chandra Prasad, Financial Express
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to pursue exploration and production activities in the South China Sea despite Chinese opposition, CMD Sudhir Vasudeva said. Chinese officials and media have recently voiced protests against ONGC’s plan to develop oil blocks in the South China Sea allocated to it by Vietnam.
Know your customers - if they are yours! - Debashis Basu, Business Standard
In a piece written for this paper about a month ago, I had pointed out that risk profiling (which is now being sought to be made mandatory by the market regulator) is a pseudo-rational idea. But why should mutual fund companies and regulators embrace it? There are several reasons but the main one is another shocker: neither the regulator nor the fund companies are in touch with their core constituency – the saver – and so simply don’t know how irrelevant, or even harmful, risk profiling is on the ground. It seems hard to believe that mutual funds don’t know their investors. After all, equity mutual funds are supposed to be retail financial products. Well, think again.
Government the biggest gainer from petrol price hikes - Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times
It’s cheaper to tank up cars in Washington, New York, Karachi, Dhaka, Beijing and Colombo, among many other cities, than in Delhi — and for a very good reason. About 40% of what you pay for petrol goes to the government as taxes and duties. Although the Centre does not put out numbers, conservative estimates suggest that half the excise duty collection in the country is from petroleum products. In 2011-12, therefore, the Centre expects to earn about Rs 82,000 crore as excise duty from petroleum products.
Australian firm says Indian judiciary under govt thumb in corporate row - Maneesh Chhibber, Indian Express
It is a minor case between an Indian and Australian company being heard by an arbitration panel in London. However, senior officials here are among those involved, as the Australian firm, White Industries, has argued before the panel that the Indian judiciary works under the influence of the government of India and that the latter has stalled hearing of its appeal against Coal India Ltd. This may be the first case where a foreign corporate has involved the entire Indian Republic, down from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the coal minister and law minister, in a case.
Questions in reserve - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
International reserve holdings by all countries put together have risen rapidly since 2000. They did not go down during the crisis as few countries used reserves in the crisis, allowing their currencies to depreciate in response to capital outflows as they also faced declining export growth. Post-crisis, there are new reasons for central banks to build reserves. We should expect to see a rise in international reserves in the coming decade. As a consequence, despite all its debt difficulties, the US government it likely to continue see demand for its bonds rising.
Regulating the regulators - Nripendra Misra, Indian Express
One would have hoped that moving from the commanding heights of the economy to market-led economic reforms would reduce the number of rules and regulations passed by various authorities. Yet, not only have these exponentially grown, but they have become increasingly outdated. In fact, thus cluttering of statute books that impinges on the government’s ability to all-round economic development, became the catalyst to kickstart the process of regulatory reforms.
Lack of Regulatory Will - Soma Banerjee, Economic Times
In 2001, the government bailed out cash-strapped state electricity boards with a Rs 40,000-crore cheque to wipe out their losses and start on a clean slate. Ten years later, the picture has changed dramatically for the worse. In 2011, discussions are on the table to bail out state power utilities yet again. This time, the cheque would be in the region of more than Rs 1,00,000 crore if the dues are to be totally waived. A decade of reforms in the power sector has reduced the loss of selling electricity in the country by 2.5 paise per unit. 
Only a Satyam-like Operation can save this Airline - Anindya Upadhyay, Economic Times
There was no expectation this time. When a group of ministers (GoM) met last month on a 'turnaround plan' for shipwrecked Air India, it barely drew the attention an endeavour to save the country's number one aviation asset would. So many times has Air India been through a cycle of destruction - airline messes up, government disassociates itself, losses and debt mount, government steps in, heads roll, government cobbles up new plan - that any intention to heal draws more mirth than sympathy, ridicule than belief. 
India's netizens: Now 100-mn strong - Business Standard
After mobile phones, India is set to see another revolution in the technology space. According to the latest report of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the number of internet users in India crossed the 100-million mark in September. This is a 13 per cent increase over last year, when the number of internet users stood at 87 million.
A case of rise and sprawl - Amy Kazmin, Financial Times
When Duraisamy Balasundaram was a teenager, his south Indian home town of Coimbatore had just 120,000 people, with factories set along wide roads amid big open spaces. In the 1980s, his 8km commute to his automotive components factory took just 12 minutes and he regularly went home for lunch. Today, the 65-year-old industrialist’s once pleasant town is a congested, chaotic mess, with snarled traffic, housing shortages and a frenzied edge. Lured by factory jobs, rural mig­rants have poured in, swelling the population from 816,000 in 1991 to an estimated 1.7m and saturating the city core. 
Watch those lights go out - SL Rao, Financial Express
Many have warned over the last 20 years of the dire state of the power sector in India. Since 1991, officials assumed that opening private and foreign investment to generation, and from 1998 to transmission and distribution, would attract huge funds into electricity. It did not happen. The lessons were not learnt from the Montek Ahluwalia committee that converted into bonds the outstanding of state electricity boards of over R40,000 crore to central public sector suppliers like the Railways, Coal India, etc. 
Maruti set to get a new union - Sumant Banerji, Hindustan Times
After three months of workers' agitations, 30 workers leaving their jobs and the worst-ever quarterly financials, India's largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, may see a new union at its Manesar factory. A new team of workers on Friday filed a fresh application for registering the 'Maruti Suzuki Employees Union' to the Haryana Labour department, a process earlier scuttled in July. But this time there is tacit support from the management and the state government, sources told HT.  
Refarmed spectrum worth several lakh crore, finds Trai - Shalini Singh, Times of India
The Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has valued the revenue potential of refarmed spectrum at several lakh crore rupees. This bounty, arising from its recommendations on spectrum pricing of November 3, 2011, could become the single largest source of new revenue for the finance ministry over the next few years.
After Kingfisher, it’s Jet. Can anything save the airline industry? - Firstpost
The hits just keep on coming for the Indian aviation industry. On Tuesday, Kingfisher Airlines was in the news because it planned to cancel up to 31 flights daily until 19 November because of a severe cash crunch and dwindling numbers of cabin crew and pilots.
Nitish steals Modi’s growth thunder, but Guj still miles ahead - R Jagannathan, Firstpost
Bihar is India’s new growth tiger. Thanks to the return of the rule of law under Nitish Kumar and steadily rising investments in infrastructure, Bihar clocked a superfast 14.15 percent state GDP growth rate in 2010-11, topping Tamil Nadu’s 11.74 percent and Gujarat’s 11.58 percent. Chhattisgarh, with 11.57 percent, and Maharashtra with 10.47 percent, are the other two states with double-digit growth rates last year.
Compromise, confuse and pray - Rajeev Malik, Business Standard
Monetary policy communication is an art, not a science, hence there is no single correct style or content. Thus, central banks’ monetary policy communication can understandably be self-serving. After all, they are privy to the decision about their action, say to raise policy rates, and can tailor the policy statement accordingly.
How Wall Street turned income inequality into gold - Kevin Drum, Mother Jones
Steve Randy Waldman has a post today which, to simplify a bit, suggests that we're seeing negative real interest rates today because (a) the rich have all the money, (b) there's only a limited number of yachts the rich can buy, so (c) there's a huge amount of money sloshing around the financial system looking for a home. When there's a lot of supply and not much demand, prices go down, and that's what's happening to the price of money.
Govt killing its own offspring: BSNL, MTNL gasp for survival - J Gopikrishnan, Pioneer
Policy issues and Government apathy are killing State-run enterprises in a big way. Telecom PSUs BSNL and MTNL and national carrier Air India are examples of this systematic assault by Government's on its own enterprises, which are battling for survival in a hostile economic and competitive environment.
Banks should lead the war on poverty - MS Swaminathan, Hindu
The banking community played an important part in enabling the Green Revolution. It should play such a role in ushering in the era of freedom from hunger. At BANCON (annual bankers' conference) 2011 in Chennai, financial institutions explored avenues for greater participation in agriculture and rural development. There are a few areas in need of additional attention and investment.
Extra spectrum held by GSM biggies worth 6264cr: Trai - Shalini Singh, Times of India
The top four GSM operators face a huge hit in terms of payouts for spectrum beyond the contracted amount of 6.2 MHz,with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) valuing this spectrum at Rs 6,264.52 crore.After factoring in public sector majors BSNL and MTNL,the total amount due to the government on account of excess spectrum could be in the range of Rs 10,000 crore.
Where are India's savings? - Ashima Goyal, Business Line
There are many paradoxes attached to Indian savings. At over 30 per cent, India has one of the highest savings/GDP ratios in the world. Yet, firms have been raising cheaper capital abroad, in the low-saving economies of the West. Small firms also find it difficult to finance their needs, while exclusion from the formal financial system is widespread.
Cup of woes runneth over - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
It’s pretty obvious by now that the impact of the US-EU crisis gets magnified through what happens in financial markets, but just how much is the subject of the IMF’s latest ‘spillover’ research. The research is not yet complete—parts of the findings on China don’t look quite right and Ranjit Teja, who presented the findings at Ficci, was candid enough to admit they looked a bit ‘soft’. But the research is fascinating, and shows just how much more there is to be done.
8% growth pipe dream running out of steam - Business Standard
GDP outlook goes for a toss as industrial growth sinks to 2-year low. It was a foregone conclusion the Indian economy would not clock nine per cent growth this year as expected at the time of preparing the Budget. But, now, even eight per cent looks extremely unlikely.
Oil and Gas Production Stuck in Regulatory Mire - Shuchi Srivastava, Economic Times
State-run oil companies appear caught between the devil and the deep blue sea -while rising price of crude and fuel price revisions threaten to render them bankrupt, bureaucratic apathy is holding up any possible increase in oil and gas production. ET turns the spotlight on four major oil and gas fields where production and other critical development works are stuck due to lack of regulatory approvals. Cairn India, which is developing three oilfields in the Rajasthan block, India's largest oilfields on land, has not been able to start production at Bhagyam for want of necessary approvals.
S&P differs with Moody's, upgrades banking sector - Business Standard
Breather likely for bank stocks but sector to remain in sharp focus. Differing with its peer, Moody’s, leading rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) upgraded India’s banking industry on Thursday, terming the country’s domestic regulations in line with international standards. S&P’s “Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment (BICRA) on India” score was upgraded to group five from group six. The agency also revised the economic score to five from six and assigned an industry risk score of five. Other countries in BICRA group ‘5’ include China, Portugal, Thailand and Turkey.
More colleges, less learning - Kirtika Suneja, Financial Express
The annual Ficci-Ernst & Young report has shown interesting data about the situation of the Indian higher education sector especially the number of institutions that have come up in the country and in fact, are growing faster than the enrollment numbers! India has the largest higher education system in the world, with 31,000 institutes compared with 6,742 in the US and 4,297 in China.
Will paying off Sonu Gujjar help Maruti? - Dipankar Mukherjee, Financial Express
Just as the Vatican is starting to make peace with the fact that some marriages may need to end in divorce, Indian labour laws and trade unions must recognise that employment contracts cannot be for life. While there are many conspiracy theories going around, the bilateral decision by two consenting adults—union leaders and Maruti—to voluntarily end their employment relationship reflects the reality that it is better to end frayed relationships.
A story of farmers on holiday - Himanshu, Mint
In an unprecedented move, farmers in East Godavari and adjoining districts of Andhra Pradesh declared a crop holiday last season, refusing to cultivate paddy in this fully irrigated region of the state. Farmers say the reason for this drastic step is that cultivating paddy has become unremunerative and they are left with no other choice. The agrarian crisis and its neglect by successive governments are responsible for the low profitability in agriculture. This issue has grabbed media attention.
Mixed report card on social indices - K Kanagasabapathy, Business Line
India is shining in one respect and if the current economic growth is sustained, it is expected to become the world's third largest country by 2030. But, for real development of the country, the human side of development in terms of reducing inequality, improving health and education and enlarging and empowering women participation are equally important.
Tale of two disastrous Bills - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
The second quarter results from corporate India and the latest IIP numbers have confirmed beyond doubt that Indian industry is in trouble. While demand continues to grow — thankfully — profits both before and after tax are down significantly. This is bound to adversely affect the fiscal situation, and could well lead to calls from populist and Left-leaning segments within the ruling coalition for higher rates of direct taxation, both on individual and corporate incomes.
No country for old men’s values - Ravinder Kaur & Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
In our previous article ‘Here comes the girl child’ (IE, November 5), we had presented evidence to suggest that the decline in the sex ratio at birth may have been arrested. Further, that amongst the many issues facing the Indian economy and polity, gender imbalance is a problem that may be on its way to getting resolved.
Is Kingfisher worth saving? Or should it be a ‘bali ka bakra’? - R Jagannathan, First Post
The question assumes significance because of the sharp fall in Kingfisher’s share price (last close: Rs 19.65, resulting in a Rs 3,200 crore destruction of investor wealth in the last one year), and the public anger over the cancellation of so many Kingfisher flights in an effort to rejig its operations.
India needs nuclear energy, say experts - Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times
Nuclear power, in particular, costs about Rs 12 crore to Rs 14 crore per MW, compared with Rs 4 crore per MW for thermal power. But the energy generated by the fission of uranium, the fuel, is about two million times more than that obtained by burning coal of equal weight.
Kingfisher: The rise and fall of a castle in the air - K Giriprakash, Hindu
Kingfisher Airlines was set up in 2003 but hasn't seen a single year of profit since it got listed in 2006. Today, accumulated losses stand at about Rs 8,200 crore and the money to pay for fuel, salaries and airport fees is running out, prompting Mallya to approach the government for a bailout.
‘Bad operating climate' may ground us, airlines tell Manmohan - Vijay Kumar, Hindu
Taking their woes to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, top bosses of India's airlines on Saturday sought his intervention to help them tide over the “bad operating climate” that has pushed all carriers into a deep financial crisis. Dr. Singh gave them a “patient hearing” during the hour-long, high level meeting here and said the government would discuss their “legitimate grievances” to find ways and means of helping the ailing civil aviation sector, particularly airlines, come out of the crisis. Official sources, however, said Dr. Singh did not give the airlines any assurance.
Sinha panel seeks answers on black money - Animesh Singh, Pioneer
Taking serious note of reports suggesting that India has received a list of 700 account holders from the French Government, having deposits totalling around Rs 4,000 crore in various banks abroad, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has summoned top North Block mandarins as well as Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials, in what is believed to be an extensive meeting on the matter scheduled for November 18.
Ambani now: Govt needs to move faster - Indian Express
After Deepak Parekh and Azim Premji, leading industrialist Mukesh Ambani on Sunday sent a strong message to the political leadership, seeking dramatic changes in the way governments are run and decisions taken. The chairman of Reliance Industries, the largest Indian company in terms of market value, called for a “dramatic shift in governance” and asked both the central and state governments to “align and move a lot faster”.
Looking for a silver lining - Shobhana Subramanian, Indian Express
It is true rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s don’t have much of a reputation left after the way they called the global financial meltdown, bolting the stable door much after the horse had fled. Nevertheless, one can’t completely ignore what they have to say: last week, Moody’s said it sees a case for downgrading the country’s banking sector from stable to negative.
Financing infrastructure in India - BS Raghavan, Business Line
Aresearch paper under the above title, coming out of the IMF stable, opens the window to some new thinking of relevance to the efforts India is making to find resources of the order of one trillion dollars during the next five years for investment in this vital sector. It is a truism that without putting in place commensurate infrastructure of high quality, all hopes of raising and sustaining economic growth, expansion of trade and production and productivity at a high enough rate to be abreast of the demands for even the basic amenities of a burgeoning population, leave alone the clamour of the ambitious middle-class for higher lifestyles, will be dashed to the ground.
Ethics, Economics and Poverty - Raghav Gaiha & Vani S Kulkarni, Economic Times
The UPA government - especially the Planning Commission - has been taken to task for fixing a poverty line at a level (Rs 32 per capita/day in urban areas) that does not even guarantee a bare subsistence. In the medley of scathing critiques and rebuttals, three strands of arguments seem dominant. One is that the poverty line is utterly unrealistic as a measure of subsistence requirements of food, health and education. Indeed, it has been argued that the poverty line is so low that it could barely buy one or two items of a subsistence basket. 
Mr Triffin's problem - Abheek Barua & Shivom Chakravarti, Business Standard
Whether the euro survives or not remains a matter of opinion. However, there is little doubt that the currency has lost its sheen somewhat permanently. Its woes are far from over and if it were to survive, it would remain vulnerable to episodes of severe stress and panic. The fundamental inconsistency of running a currency union without a fiscal union is likely to resurface in different forms and weigh on the currency. Thus, by default, the turn of events in Europe has re-established the dollar’s hegemony as a global reserve currency.
Making skilling viable is the key - Arindam Bhattacharya & Seema Bansal, FE
Was the world’s 7 billionth child born in India? Recent headlines in most newspapers debated this question extensively. While it is impossible to say for sure, given India’s population and population growth rate, that is quite possible. This highlights the huge demographic dividend India can reap from its large young population, with 250mn to 400mn people joining the employment market between now and 2025 to fuel its growth. However, to become productive, they have to be trained to avoid large-scale unemployment, which underscores the huge challenge in reaping these benefits as India’s current capacity for vocational skilling is only about 4-5mn per annum against a requirement of 10 times that.
Essential principles of regulatory oversight - Nripendra Misra, Business Standard
No single law can address the issue of regulators’ accountability, but a start could be made with a committee of MPs monitoring their functioning — the practice in the United Kingdom. In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh outlined a legislative framework to monitor the work of regulatory authorities and make them more accountable. The Planning Commission has presented a framework under the Regulatory Reform Bill that seeks to rein in regulators while granting them effective autonomy. In order to address the subject comprehensively, it is important to identify the regulatory framework and the nature of the products delivered by such regulatory authorities.
Storm in a Harvard economics class - Amity Shlaes, Mint
What’s wrong with Ec 10? The dozens of Harvard University undergrads who walked out of the school’s famous introductory economics course this month think they know. The students’ general criticism is that Ec 10, in which some 700 students are enrolled, “espouses a specific—and limited—view of economics”. Their criticisms are that economics as taught in this class, failed to prevent the financial crisis and does nothing to narrow the gap between rich and poor. They’d like a more diverse intro course that includes exposure to more progressive economic frameworks.
Sick industries vs sick industrialists - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
It will be difficult to find an adequate reason why Kingfisher Airlines was not asked to sign up for formal corporate debt restructuring (CDR) on Saturday. There are three plausible reasons for why this has not happened, but none of them sound good. Rather, at an alarming stage of economic stress, they show up India Inc, the banking sector and the government in a pretty poor glow of achievement.
Oil over troubled waters - P Raghavan, Financial Express
What are under-recoveries of oil marketing companies? Under-recoveries are the difference between the price at which the oil marketing companies (OMCs) source their products from the oil refineries that is fixed on a trade parity basis, which is taken as their cost price, and that of the price realised from the sale of the products in the market. Under-recoveries are different from profit and losses, which also include other incomes like dividend income, pipeline income and profits from sale of freely-priced products.
Lenders to control Kingfisher earnings - Sangita Mehta, Economic Times
Banks will take control of the cash flow of Kingfisher Airlines - a harsh step that lenders rarely take to protect their exposure. They will put in place a mechanism where the airline's earnings will flow into one bank account that will be closely tracked to avert loan defaults. The decision was taken by the lenders at a hurriedly called meeting last week as the Vijay Mallyapromoted airline hit the headlines after it cancelled 200 flights and sought government help. At present, Kingfisher operates similar accounts, better known as escrow, with some foreign banks that are not its lenders. The company's earnings are parked in these accounts for servicing loans and payment of bills. 
Black Money: And the trail goes cold - John Samuel Raja D & M Padmakshan, ET
Two years after India sought permission from Singapore to conduct investigations there in the money-laundering case involving Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, the two governments are still discussing the request. A chief commissioner in Mumbai was probing shell companies of a leading corporate to detect black money parked abroad by it. He was transferred to Chennai. 
The financial trilemma in China and a comparative analysis with India - Joshua Aizenman & Rajeswari Sengupta, Voxeu
Policymakers dealing with the Great Recession of 2008–09 are confronted with what we call the ‘financial trilemma’. This hypothesis, based on pioneering work by Mundell and Fleming in the 1960s, asserts that a country may not simultaneously target exchange-rate stability, conduct an independent monetary policy, and have full financial integration – it is a potent paradigm of open-economy macroeconomics (see Fleming 1962 and Mundell 1963).
China’s economic growth ‘miracle’ and its outlook by 2020 - Yuhan Zhang, Voxeu
China’s growth since the 1980s has been phenomenally high. This column argues that it has been driven not by exports, as widely believed, but by investment. It adds that this strategy makes China’s economy unsustainable as it creates significant overcapacity in a range of sectors and leads to increasing debt. China’s road towards more consumption-driven growth will be far from smooth.
Haven’t asked for a bailout, says Mallya - Indian Express
UB group chairman Vijay Mallya today said he was not seeking a bailout for Kingfisher Airlines — “all we want is working capital funding of around Rs 700-800 crore”. I have not asked for bailout from the banks or the government,” Mallya said at a press conference. “We have not asked the government to dip into taxpayers’ money. We have never done it, we will never do it.
Pak’s ‘short’ negative list to usher in MFN by Feb’ 12 - Indian Express
Indian exporters are likely to be able to ship 7,000 plus items to Pakistan after February 2012. Commerce secretaries of India and Pakistan today agreed to move towards full trade normalisation in a phased manner for which, as a first step, Pakistan will reorient the current ‘positive list’ approach and finalise a “small negative list and ratify it by February, 2012”.
Microfinance: Lords of poverty struggle to survive - Namrata Acharya, Business Standard
Just a few years ago, Microfinance institutions were the lords of poverty, imperiously ruling over a new goldmine unearthed in corporate India, this one lying at the bottom of the pyramid. SKS Microfinance head Vikram Akula, posterboy of the industry claimed he wanted to be the ‘google’ of microfinance, using his company’s branding and reach to sell all kinds of goods through its pipeline to the poor. Despite warnings from industry veterans like SEWA founder Ela Bhatt and David Gibbons of Cashpor that companies like SKS and its peers were merely serving relatively well-heeled segments of the poor and creating ‘debt treadmills’ where one loan would be taken out to finance another, no one listened.
Ideate And Innovate - Economic Times
In decades past, research & development in India was not really tied to the economy ; an isolated industry didn't feel any need for it. Now, the integration of the Indian economy with the global economy has created a dependence on R&D for some segments. And in the future, its value will only increase as countries that have the ability to innovate will be better placed to compete in the global marketplace. 
‘Meta university' to help students pursue two courses in different institutes - Business Line
Students will soon be able to pursue two courses simultaneously in two different institutions. The Government has proposed setting up a ‘meta university', which will make it possible for, say, an IIT Kanpur student to also enrol in the Ancient History course in Jawaharlal Nehru University or a mathematics student from Indian Institute of Science to pursue a course in comparative literature from Jadavpur University. The setting up of the ‘meta university' was announced by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Tuesday, while releasing the first report of the National Innovation Council (NIC). The Government also announced a Rs 5,000-crore National Innovation Fund, with initial infusion of Rs 100 crore, to support new ideas that will be useful for the common people.
Telecom sector: On the cusp of consolidation - Prashant Singhal, Business Line
The hyper-competitive telecom industry, reeling under the pressure of stressed margins, has been eagerly awaiting a policy around mergers and acquisitions, to initiate consolidation. The draft of the National Telecom Policy 2011 (NTP), provided some direction on the mergers and acquisition policy. TRAI's recent recommendations on spectrum management and licensing framework, is expected to fuel consolidation in the industry.
Govt notifies rules: N-supplier liability to be ‘limited in time’ - Amitabh Sinha, Indian Express
The foreign suppliers of nuclear material to Indian nuclear power plants would not be held liable for accidents caused by defective or faulty equipment supplied by them if the accident takes place after a guarantee period specified by them.
According to the Rules of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act, which was made public today, suppliers of nuclear material would be allowed to specify a ‘product liability period’ beyond which they would not be held liable for any accident.
Give names of top defaulters, CIC tells RBI - Indian Express
The Central Information Commission has directed RBI to reveal names and details of the top 100 industrialists who have defaulted on loans from public sector banks. The CIC rejected RBI’s argument that it held the information in fiduciary capacity, and disclosing it would hurt India’s economic interests.
Falling rupee stares at uncharted waters - Business Standard
Global risk aversion and India’s widening current account deficit have dragged the rupee close to all-time low levels against the dollar. Any fresh trigger from the troubled euro zone may push the Indian currency to the level of 52 against the dollar, say forex traders and economists. The rupee on Wednesday fell by seven paise to close at 50.73 against the dollar, inching closer to the all-time low of 51.97 seen in March 2009. The Indian currency has lost around 15 per cent against the dollar in the past three months.
Govt readies for big next generation reforms push - HT
In a bid to counter perceptions of policy paralysis, governance deficit and political drift, the UPA government is poised to introduce a slew of long-pending second-generation economic reforms — including allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and permitting foreign airlines to invest in domestic aviation companies — over the coming weeks and months.
Stop the great firewall of America - Rebecca Mackinnon, NYT
China operates the world’s most elaborate and opaque system of Internet censorship. But Congress, under pressure to take action against the theft of intellectual property, is considering misguided legislation that would strengthen China’s Great Firewall and even bring major features of it to America. The legislation — the Protect IP Act, which has been introduced in the Senate, and a House version known as the Stop Online Piracy Act — have an impressive array of well-financed backers, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Screen Actors Guild.
Arbitration in India: a glass half empty or half full? - Nikhil Kanekal, Mint
Businesses have always been wary of India’s courts because of the delays in cases. Which is perhaps why, a decade and a half after the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, was passed, a new study reveals that arbitration has become a well-established method of settling commercial disputes.
Vijay Mallya: King of bad times - Raghuvir Badrinath, Business Standard
“I am taking things personally,” Vijay Mallya, chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, says when it comes to running his airline. Perhaps this is one reason why the airline is in shambles. Unlike his other two major businesses — the spirits and beer segments, which have been running exceptionally smoothly under the helm of managing directors, the airline has been crash landing because of one trouble or another with frequent changes in strategy and direction as well as the absence of no long term CEO or MD.
What a dismal quarter - Shobhana Subramanian, Financial Express
It’s true that much of the damage to corporate bottom lines in the three months to September 2011 has been caused by the sharp depreciation of the rupee, which lost nearly 10% in a month. But it’s not just the debilitating effect of a weakening currency that has hit profits so hard; for a sample of 2,437 companies (excluding banks, NBFCs and oil marketing companies), net profits have actually crashed by some 50% y-o-y. In fact, it’s the first quarter in two years to see a fall in the profits of the Nifty 50. The adjusted net profits for the Sensex set of companies have risen 10.8% y-o-y but ex-energy they’re just flat.
MPs keen to quiz Mukesh in gas scam - AM Jigeesh, India Today
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani may have to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for violating the profit sharing contract (PSC) with the government for exploration of hydrocarbons in the Krishna Godavari basin. The violations by the RIL in the Krishna Godavari basin, also called the KG D6 gas block, with a contract area of 7645 sq. km, were pointed out by the CAG in its performance audit of the hydrocarbon production sharing contract.
Cap & trade, Nrega style - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
Good sections of rural India don’t want NREGA any more, showing the government spending pattern on the scheme. Since a large percentage of the village labourers have moved to the cities, it makes far better sense to develop an unemployment dole for them. The subtext is an accounting arrangement that ensures that like NREGA, the government can keep on rolling out similar entitlement programmes like the proposed Food Security Act, but the hit on the fisc will be far less than the projected expenditure. The fiscal deficit does not balloon even as the vote bank is kept happy.
Real estate in real trouble - Saikat Neogi, Indian Express
The Indian real estate sector is passing through an inflection phase. Higher interest rates, rising inventory levels and tightening of liquidity have impacted the capital availability of developers and are resulting in widespread delays in the construction of residential projects across segments. Even in the commercial segment, which accounts for nearly 40% of gross asset value of large developers, rising vacancies since 2008 have affected rental income.
Financial scamsters of America - PV Indiresan, Business Line
The Italian Prime Minister, Mr Silvio Berlusconi, has resigned after 17 years in office. Most people blame him for ruining his country's economy. However, Italy has not been alone: Greece, Spain, Ireland, Iceland or even the US are in no better condition. For instance, Iceland had a reputation of very low unemployment and an equally low crime rate. Its population is about only 320,000; yet, its GDP was over $13 billion in 2010. When its banks were deregulated, they took loans 10 times the country's GDP and ultimately incurred losses of a $100 billion. Now, Iceland is a country in distress.
Where's the flight going? - Shobha John, Times of India
In September, India's aviation industry was the fastest growing domestic market with a very healthy 18% rise. So why's everyone playing dead? The aviation industry, once touted as a sunrise sector, seems to have run into turbulence . With all airlines, except Indigo, bleeding over the last quarter, and Kingfisher Airlines facing a severe cash crunch, it will be some time before the sector gets out of the dark cloud.
Graft costing India 1.5% of GDP growth each year - Chetan Chauhan, HT
Corruption, especially in high places, is eating up India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth by at least 1.5% each year. This figure has been calculated in an internal report of the Planning Commission and points to similar concerns voiced by top business leaders of the country in the recent Past.
NREGA is like a cash distribution system: Kiran Shaw - Business Line
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is “more like a cash-distribution system” than an employment guarantee scheme, says Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon Ltd. Speaking at TiECON Chennai, the annual conference of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), a global network of entrepreneurs, Ms Shaw said she was “concerned” over policies such as NREGA and stressed that the country “needs to address larger issues with political vision and will.”
Coal India’s monopoly has to go - Ajay Dua, Financial Express
Coal supplies 55% of India’s primary energy and coal-fired power plants produce 80% of our electricity. Yet year after year, paucity of coal results in blackouts and unscheduled power-cuts, holding back valuable industrial and agricultural production. But far-reaching policy changes, needed to augment domestic coal availability, are being pushed under the carpet.
Have we turned the oily corner? - Meghnad Desai, Financial Express
After a policy paralysis that has lasted for two years, do we now have some signs of change? First there was the petrol price decontrol. Despite the usual protests, the Prime Minister stuck to his guns and the pricing of petrol has now been shown to be the responsibility of oil companies. Then we had the debacle of Kingfisher Airlines. 
Power pressure on states’ fiscal consolidation - Devendra Kumar Pant, Financial Express
The state power utilities’ (SPUs) losses are not a serious fiscal consolidation concern at the aggregate level. However, they are a serious threat for fiscal consolidation in a few states. The inability to resolve issues such as reducing aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) costs, cross-subsidisation and tariff hikes may lead to a structural deficit. SPUs’ losses could threaten the fiscal consolidation plan for five states, as set out in the Thirteenth Finance Commission (TFC).
Draft Mining Bill will harm mining companies - S Thiagarajan, Economic Times
Two months ago, Cabinet approved a draft law that seeks to create a better legislative environment to attract investments in mining and ease land acquisition through higher compensation to people displaced by projects. This show of goodwill could help the government win some hearts in troubled landscapes of Orissa and Karnataka.
How the land lies for industry - Vinayak Chatterjee, Business Standard
The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 (LAA) has often been portrayed as a draconian, anti-people legislation. In response to recent high-profile land-related snafus, the Ministry of Rural Development has sponsored a Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill 2011 (LARR) that has received cabinet approval. The Draft Bill is now before a Standing Committee of Parliament and Jairam Ramesh is trying hard to get it passed in the winter session of Parliament.
Children's condition: Wither demographic dividend? - Parthasarathi Shome, Business Standard
India and the international community have been talking about the demographic dividend that India should reap until mid-century. United Nations Population Division data indeed reveal that the share of the working age group of 15-64 years in total population will grow in South Asia until 2040, in some until 2045, and in Afghanistan until 2075. The challenge is to convert this population into productive citizens through nutrition and education. 
Diplomacy for coal's sake - Anil Sasi, Business Line
In August 2009, China arrested four employees of Rio Tinto on charges of stealing trade secrets and taking bribes. The arrests of the Anglo-Australian mining firm's Shanghai-based employees, which included an Australian citizen, were widely seen as action by China in retaliation to the collapse of Rio's proposed deal with Chinese state-owned firm Chinalco a couple of months earlier.
UPA flagship schemes fail to meet 50% target - Cithara Paul, Express Buzz
None of the major development programmes being initiated by the Rural Development (RD) Ministry has met even the 50 per cent target, both fiscally and physically. Beginning with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the UPA government’s much-hyped job guarantee scheme, to National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY)  to National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), all the programmes have been underutilised.
Seeming Green - Bjørn Lomborg, Project Syndicate
When Denmark’s new government ministers presented themselves to Queen Margrethe II last month, the incoming development minister established his green credentials by rolling up to the palace in a tiny, three-wheeled, electric-powered vehicle. The photo opportunity made a powerful statement about the minister’s commitment to the environment – but probably not the one he intended.
EU to ease visa rules if India opens its market - Amiti Sen, Times of India
The European Union is ready to ease visa rules for professionals if India agrees to open up more of its sectors and markets as part of a proposed free-trade agreement the two sides hope to sign early next year. While all 27 EU member states have approved liberalised visa norms for professionals, the Indian government could also allow entry to legal and accountancy pros, a commerce department official told ET, adding that New Delhi is open to lowering duties on costly spirits and automobiles as well. 
Understanding the coal crisis - Rohit Chandra, Business Line
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness. While the current dynamics of coal may not match the intrigue and tumult of A Tale of Two Cities, the initial sentiments certainly reflect how things are shaping up in the sector.
Out of the deep freeze? - AK Bhattacharya, Business Standard
No critic of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government can deny that it has shrugged its lethargy off in the past few weeks. Instead of perpetuating the perception of policy stasis through inaction in many areas that require urgent action, the Union government has initiated several measures for policy change.
Black money list to be made public on prosecution: Gujral - Shruti Srivastava, Indian Express
Finance Secretary RS Gujral on Tuesday said that secrecy regarding the names involved in money laundering that have figured on the list provided by the French government is being maintained pending prosecution. The Income Tax (I-T) Department is investigating a list of 700 Indians having accounts with banks in Geneva. “The commitment is regarding secrecy. Secrecy has to be maintained. As and when prosecution proceedings are there, the information comes into the public domain, and before the courts,” Gujral said here while inaugurating the 35th meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies.
Industry disenchanted with UPA - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Corporates are ever eager to do business with whichever party or alliance that comes to power, whether in the States or in New Delhi. Their endorsement of UPA1, hence, did not come as a surprise. With UPA2 adrift like a rudderless boat, there has been a rapid decline in their faith in Manmohan Singh and the Government he heads.
If China gets 7/10 in pharma policy, India scores 2 - Soma Das, Financial Express
The managing director of Pfizer India, Kewal Handa shares his reservations on the country’s emerging pharma policy landscape in an interview with FE’s Soma Das. Excerpts. What are your apprehensions on the new pharma pricing policy? A good part of the new pharma pricing policy is progressive. For instance, the entire shift of the policy to being more market driven, inclusion of clinical trials under weighted deduction benefit and the move to regulate prices of formulations rather than bulk drugs is commendable. However, preserving the scope of the national list of essential medicine (NLEM) is the most critical aspect here.
Telcos want 3G refund if roaming is not allowed - Shalini Singh, Times of India
Taking a rare confrontational position, the heads of three top telcos -Sunil Mittal, chairman and group CEO, Airtel; Vittorio Colao, Group CEO, Vodafone; and Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman, Aditya Birla Group (Idea Cellular)-have asked PM Manmohan Singh to refund their 3G auction payments with interest and compensation charges in the event that 3G roaming will no longer be allowed.
From disinvestment to reinvestment - Shobhana Subramanian, Financial Express
The government deserves some black marks for what’s being called the white paper on disinvestment. As hard up as it is, having managed to pick up just about R1,500 crore of its R40,000 crore disinvestment target for the year, it would not be right to ask one public sector unit to pick up a stake in a fellow PSU simply because it has some spare cash. The government is reportedly hoping to mop up some R13,500 crore through such cross-purchases; for instance, a CIL, which is sitting on around R50,000 crore of cash, or an NMDC, which has around R20,000 crore, could be asked to pick up a 5% stake in a SAIL with the government selling some of its shares. In these difficult times when the economy is slowing, cash flows could get squeezed and should be preserved to run the business.
Private sector drives power capacity additions - Anil Sasi, Business Line
Fuel shortages and funding woes notwithstanding, private sector developers accounted for much of the power capacity addition that has taken place so far this fiscal. During April-October 2011, the private sector added 4,301 MW, more than what was added by the Central and State sector utilities put together. The continued hold-up at the near-complete Kudankulam nuclear power units, though, could ensure that the actual capacity added could be well short of the 17,716 MW target for the current fiscal, which is the terminal year of the current Plan period.
RBI moves prop up rupee from its lifetime low - Business Standard
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tried to calm the nerves of foreign exchange market participants jittery over a depreciating rupee, which hit a new low on Tuesday. The rupee closed at 52.32 a dollar as compared to 52.15 yesterday after hitting a lifetime low of 52.73 intra-day on sustained demand from importers, mainly oil refiners. The rupee has depreciated nearly 17 per cent from a 2011 high reached in late July.
NREGA leaves textile, handloom sectors gasping - Seema Sindhu, Pioneer
UPA’s much-publicised scheme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), is not creating labour shortage for agriculture and dairy production alone, but the textile and handloom sectors are also facing the heat on this count. A Working Group report on textile and handloom sectors has noted that the scheme was drawing skilled weavers to ‘unskilled’ MGNREGA. It says that high-end weavers are sticking to the profession, but low-end weavers are moving out of it as they find MGNREGA wages more profitable.
Revised draft of food bill gives primacy to cash transfers, coupons - Gargi Parsai, Hindu
The government's new move to give primacy in the revised draft of the National Food Security Bill, 2011, to controversial schemes like cash transfers and issuance of food coupons to identified public distribution system beneficiaries in lieu of foodgrain entitlements has got social activists up in arms.
Piloting the aviation sector - Ashwini Phadnis, Business Line
What should the Government's role be in the aviation sector? Should it be extending a helping hand to an individual airline when it is in distress, or should it be creating an environment which will help all the players in the sector to not only survive but also thrive?
Being Cyrus - Economic Times
What is common between Reliance's Jamnagar refinery in Gujarat, the RBI building in Mumbai and Jammu and Kashmir's Chenab bridge, which will be the world's tallest railway bridge when completed? All of these were or being built by companies that are part of the Shapoorji Pallonji group, whose relative low profile came to an end on Wednesday, when Cyrus Mistry, the scion of the Pallonji family, was unveiled as Ratan Tata's successor.
Mukesh's meet with PM raises eyebrows - KR Srivats & Richa Mishra, Business Line
His smallest movements are keenly noted, but Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman, Mr Mukesh Ambani, on Thursday took media persons by surprise. Only when Mr Ambani came out after his meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in the latter's office in Parliament did the media know of his presence.
The workforce misses the boat - Himanshu, Mint
Recent reports of the employment and unemployment surveys of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) have confirmed the fear of jobless growth during 2004-2010. This data has led to much debate, but the overwhelming consensus remains that the recent period of high gross domestic product (GDP) growth has not benefited the majority of workers.
Stop being in denial, please - Akash Prakash, Business Standard
All macroeconomic signals in India are flashing red. The country’s current account balance and the fiscal situation are in disarray. Even worse, the government doesn’t seem to have a coherent strategy to address either. Market-based price indicators – the rupee, bond yields and equity markets – risk spiralling out of control. The stickiness of inflation is another cause for concern. In fact if one looks at a chart of macro-based indicators, there seems to be no difference between the situation today and in 1991: India’s fiscal deficit and current account deficit are as bad, and so is inflation.
Poor man’s fuel, kerosene, runs mafia dreams - Ch. V.M Krishna Rao, Pawan Bali, K.A. Dodhiya, K. Sreedevi, Deccan Chronicle
The repeated increase in the price of petrol and aviation fuel, purportedly due to the rising cost of oil in the international market, has raised some pertinent questions regarding the government’s policy of subsidising kerosene. It is a widely accepted fact that the poor, who are the target population of the kerosene subsidy, do not get the fuel at a lower price and sometimes do not get any fuel at all because it is siphoned off into the flourishing black market.
Foundation to pick young Cyrus Mistry was laid years ago - Kausik Datta & Kala Vijayraghavan, Economic Times
A quick run through the appointments at the helm of major Tata companies over the past few years would have provided some clues to the kind of successor Ratan Tata was looking for. N Chandrasekaran took over as CEO of IT services giant TCS at 46 in 2009; R Mukundan picked up the reins of Tata Chemicals at 42 in 2008; the same year, Mukund Rajan was appointed head of Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) when he was just 40; N Srinath got the top job at Tata Communications in 2007 when he was 45; and three years ago, Brotin Banerjee became CEO of Tata Housing when he was all of 35.
FDI in retail: Why it works for everyone - First Post
After years of dithering, the government finally eased up on foreign investment rules in India’s booming retail sector. On late Thursday evening, the government announced that it would allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail segment and raise the cap on foreign investment in single-brand retailing to 100 percent from 51 percent.
Don’t pity the kirana guy, he knows how to fight back - Akshaya Mishra, First Post
Never underestimate the resilience of the kirana shop owner. Rest assured, competition won’t kill him. The hullabaloo over 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail is a bit off-focus. The argument is that it would bring global players with deep pockets such as Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco into the picture and subsequently drive the neighbourhood mom-and-pop stores out of the market.
Rupee fall pares India Inc's profit by a fourth in Q2 - B G Shirsat, Rajesh Bhayani & Ashok Divase, Business Standard
The rupee depreciation alone knocked off almost a fourth of the total net profit of India Inc in the quarter ended September. An analysis of the results show the cumulative net profit of 2,680 companies was Rs 48,148 crore. That number could have gone up by at least Rs 15,000 crore but for the amount some companies set aside to account for currency fluctuations, derivative losses and mark-to-market (MTM) losses on foreign currency loans. The cumulative net profit could have been much lower if all companies provided for such loss in the Q2 results, instead of carrying such losses in the balance sheet.
Don’t worry, the kiranas are quite safe - Shobhana Subramanian, Financial Express
The Walmarts and Tescos of the world must be excited at the thought of setting up shop in India; they’ve been cooling their heels for a long time now, making the most of the cash and carry opportunity in the country. Moreover, they must be even more delighted that they can have a controlling interest of 51% and that the catchment is a large one comprising cities with a population of over one million people.
FDI in retail: More heat than light - Devangshu Dutta, Financial Express
The debate on allowing more foreign investment in retail reminds me of an incandescent bulb: producing more heat than light. With a variety of agendas at play, the heat has been generated by both sides, for and against foreign investment in retail. Conflicting views have emerged not just outside but from within the government and the civil services as well. Much time has been spent, multiple studies and consultations carried out, even as behind-the-scenes negotiations have gone on.
Retail India: We are open now - Gaurav Choudhury, Hindustan Times
It has been more than two years since Rajendra Kumar downed the shutters of his 100-square feet provision store in the bustling Ajmal Khan area of Delhi. Kumar blames the Big Bazaar store at Rajouri Garden for this, as it takes a mere 10 minutes on the Delhi Metro Rail for residents of Ajmal Khan and adjoining Karol Bagh to reach Rajouri Garden and the Big Bazaar therein.
Modern retail, general trade to co-exist: Experts - Namrata Singh & Samidha Sharma, ToI
FDI in retail will see a host of foreign chains opening up single and multi-brand stores in India, but experts believe modern retail would continue to co-exist with general trade. With an average of 46 minutes being spent by a shopper accompanied by family in a large modern retail store as against 29 minutes in a general store, according to an industry study, it would be crucial how each of these store types makes an attempt to pinch away more of the consumers' time to clock higher sales.
Retail chains can help farmers - Surinder Sud, Business Standard
Regardless of the merits and demerits of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, the fact is that a tie-up between organised retailers and farmers benefits both, as also consumers of farm goods. Retail chains, irrespective of whether they are owned by foreign or local companies, usually find it advantageous to source their supplies of fresh agricultural produce locally, preferably from the growers themselves.
India Inc looks to invest overseas - Piyush Pandey & Shubham Mukherjee, Times of India
What started as a buzz in corporate boardrooms is gathering momentum as India Inc, seized of policy and operational bottlenecks in setting up projects in India, is now looking to invest abroad in a big way. The investments are no longer chasing just stressed assets in the US and Europe or for that matter mining resources in Australia but is now focused on greenfield plants around a larger geography encompassing the middle east, Africa, and south east Asia.
Kerala govt's Shariah finance firm nears start - Manu P Toms, Hindustan Times
The Kerala government-promoted Shariah-compliant Al Barakah Financial Services Ltd hopes to start operations from next fiscal, pending RBI licence for non-banking finance company (NBFC). Al Barakah is also trying to get Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI) approval to float Shariah-compliant private equity and venture capital funds and portfolio management services.
Missing the ‘India Inside’ label - Komal Sharma, Mint
History lauds the Indus Valley Civilization, the concept of zero and the decimal system, and we are repeatedly told in school about the progressive, fascinating superiority of the Indian civilization of yesteryear. So how has the West overtaken us in innovation?
Entrepreneurship and jobs - Nirvikar Singh, Financial Express
India needs more jobs than it is creating. Without enough job creation, its demographic dividend—adding a million people to the workforce every month—will become a disaster. One possible source of job creation is entrepreneurship. Recently, Ejaz Ghani, William Kerr and Stephen O’Connell (GKO) have been systematically exploring this hypothesis for India, in several research articles. What do we learn from their work?
SME sourcing norms violate WTO norms - Sidhartha, Times of India
While pushing through FDI in retail, the government may end up completely watering down the sourcing requirement from micro and small enterprises as the revised provision is non-compliant with the provisions of the World Trade Organisation.
Shaken MNC major cancels promo - Pioneer
The initial euphoria of international corporate giants over  Government’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail seems to have evaporated in the political heat generated by the moves in Parliament, could be gauged from the fact that the Scandinavian home products major IKEA on Monday cancelled its scheduled Press meet for November 29, where it was supposed to announce plans for the Indian market.
Centre commissions study to estimate ill - gotten wealth - Pioneer
With the clamour over black money growing, the Centre has commissioned a study to estimate the quantum of unaccounted wealth inside and outside the country. The study will also try to ascertain black money’s ramifications on national security. “The study will be conducted separately by three Government institutes, namely the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), the national Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) and the National Council of Applied Research,” Finance Minister said, in reply to a question from Samajwadi Party MP Shailendra Kumar. These institutes have been given time up to September 2012 to submit their reports.
Retail norms diluted to soften critics - Sangeeta Singh & Aman Malik, Mint
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government did a flip-flop on Monday that could effectively make foreign investment in retail less attractive, even as political opposition against the move to liberalize the foreign direct investment (FDI) regime in retail gained momentum.
Auto Expo could elevate India to global league - Ronojoy Banerjee, Financial Express
India’s home-grown Auto Expo could soon join the league of the world’s most exclusive auto exhibitions. The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) that accords ‘premium’ status to significant automobile events around the world is considering giving the tag to the Auto Expo in January.
Kiranas under no threat from foreign investment: Ficci, CII - Financial Express
Amid protests on FDI in retail, the day saw the country’s top two industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) addressing press conferences to allay fears that entry of foreign retailers would lead to displacement of kirana stores and loss of jobs. On the contrary, they said that they would create more jobs.
FDI in Retail: To domestic players’ rescue - Rasul Bailay, Financial Express
How big is the retail market in India and what is the share of organised retail? India’s retail market is an annual $471 billion business and it is expected to swell to $1,248 by 2020. The share of organised retailing in India is currently at $35 billion and is expected to grow to $262 billion by 2020.
Retail FDI to tame inflation: Basu - Ashis Ray, Times of India
Kaushik Basu, chief economic adviser to the finance ministry, has warned that hundreds of millions of India's poor people will be forced to pay higher prices for basic food including rice and vegetables if overseas supermarket majors are not allowed to operate in the country. Basu's statement - in The Times of London - came amid opposition to Cabinet's nod to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail.
India Inc sitting on cash mountain - B G Shirsat, Rajesh Bhayani & Ashok Divase, Business Standard
India Inc (excluding trading and financial services companies) was sitting on a cash mountain of Rs 456,700 crore as on September 30, up 21 per cent from the same time a year before. Adding back the investment of Rs 114,000 crore in liquid schemes of mutual funds, the total cash pile is Rs 570,700 crore, or 34.7 per cent of total debt. The figure has swelled partly through money raised through public offers and private placement, stake sale to strategic investors and unused cash generated through internal accrual (net profit) after making provision for ongoing capex plans.
Two-thirds of indians support FDI in retail - Hindustan Times
Politicians who oppose the entry of foreign retailers into India may have completely misread the public mood. Read on to out more.
Sibal's report card: A mixed bag - Mansi Taneja, Business Standard
Kapil Sibal’s scorecard after one year as telecom minister is one that undoubtedly evokes sharp responses in certain quarters, but on the whole, does not stand out as being noteworthy in either a positive or negative way. In other words, a decidedly mixed bag. His detractors say that his tenure has seen a virtual policy paralysis—he could not cancel licenses of erring operators despite the recommendations of the regulator for not having met their roll out obligations, was unable to get more spectrum (5 MHz) slot vacated for another broadband wireless access (BWA) license, or finalise the pricing policy for excess 2G spectrum.
A guide to FDI in retail - Hindustan Times
So, what’s the fuss all about? The government has decided to open up the retail sector to global investors through foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail with a ceiling of 51%, and 100% FDI in single-brand retail. What does it Mean? It means that global retailers such as Walmart, Carrefour, Tesco and others can set up mega deep-discount stores in the country through joint ventures with Indian firms, where the foreign partner can hold up 51% equity.
Spot power rates zoom as coal stations face dwindling stocks - Business Line
Coal shortage is beginning to reflect in the spot electricity rates, which have risen steadily to an average of around Rs 5 per unit in the Southern region and close to Rs 4 per unit in the rest of the country. Tuesday's peak electricity rates on the IEX — the country's largest power exchange — were recorded at Rs 9 in the South and close to Rs 6 in the other parts of the country, as coal supplies to the sector, manifested in terms of the fuel stocks at key coal-fired stations, are slipping again after a mild recovery in the middle of last month.
The ‘demand' side of agriculture - Shashanka Bhide, Business Line
It is generally assumed that the demand side of agriculture is all very well and the idea is to get the supply side to work by making investments in rural roads, electricity, irrigation and now cold chains. There is also a whole range of research and extension action, designed to keep the supply side moving and raising output at affordable prices.
Reliance Industries refuses to invest as tiff over D6 block escalates - Rajeev Jayaswal, Economic Times
The stand-off between Reliance Industries and the government is intensifying as the company will not make fresh investments needed to revive sagging output from the D6 block until legal issues are resolved, while ministry officials are frowning at the firm's unexpected arbitration notice, government and industry sources said. 
Organised retail cushion against Inflation - Sarah Jacob & Sagar Malviya, Economic Times
Ram Agarwal, a kirana store owner at Kolkata's Salt Lake area, every fortnight walks up to competition in the locality-in his case Big Bazaar and Spencer's Retail outlets-to spy on their product prices. Without surprise, lower prices greet him at every visit. "The kind of deals these retailers provide in some products is impossible to match," says Agarwal, who has been running his shop, Radhe Shyam, for 24 years now. But he does match the retail goliaths when it comes to small pack sizes, which makes up the core of his sales basket. 
Growing euphoria over America's energy future - Neeraj Kaushal, Economic Times
There is growing euphoria over America's energy future. Energy experts around the globe have been claiming that the US will gain energy independence in the next eight years. Optimists have even gone on to claim that America's energy independence will lead to global energy independence.
India Inc's overseas retail biz on high - Pradeep Thakur, Times of India
While the government may be finding it difficult to get its FDI in multi-brand retail pass the test of Parliament, India Inc has been pledging huge investments in wholesale and retail trade abroad, including in countries like the US and the UK. In the 2010-11 fiscal, investments of Indian companies in wholesale and retail trade overseas went up 78% as compared to the previous year - up from $1,052 million in 2009-10 to $1,870 million in 2010-11.
US nears milestone: Net fuel exporter - Liam Pleven & Russell Gold, WSJ
U.S. exports of gasoline, diesel and other oil-based fuels are soaring, putting the nation on track to be a net exporter of petroleum products in 2011 for the first time in 62 years. A combination of booming demand from emerging markets and faltering domestic activity means the U.S. is exporting more fuel than it imports, upending the historical norm.
Silver linings in economy cloud, at last - Hindustan Times
At last, some signs of relief - and rebound. India's food inflation rate eased to 8% for the week-ended November 19, from 9.01%  in the previous week, rekindling hopes that the price monster may well be on the verge of being tamed and possibly signalling the beginning of the end of a prolonged  battle between rising inflation and sliding growth.
Telecom chiefs agree on 6 key issues; Write to PM - Joji Thomas Philip, Economic Times
Leading mobile phone companies have reached a consensus on six key issues, including auctioning of 2G spectrum to determine its market value, top telecom executives told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an unprecedented letter. On Wednesday, the country's top telecom chiefs, including Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal, Reliance-ADA chairman Anil Ambani and Aditya Birla Group chairman K M Birla, had met Prime Minister Singh to highlight the challenges that confronted the scam-tainted telecom sector, while also seeking a favorable roadmap for the future.
Resistance to FDI a hangover of the past - Bhaskar Balakrishnan, Business Line
The recent Cabinet decision to allow up to 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent in single brand retail, subject to certain conditions, is a welcome step in cleaning up India's FDI regime and making it more in tune with the country's needs. Our FDI policy has moved hesitantly away from the licence raj mentality of protection against imagined foreign devils towards a more open and competitive environment. But much more needs to be done to free FDI policy and practice from the hangovers of the past.
Telecom firms pitch for auction of 2G spectrum - Surajeet Das Gupta, Business Standard
Top telecom honchos who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, besides five other key economic policy makers in the government late yesterday, made a strong pitch for auctioning of 2G spectrum. They rejected an earlier formula suggested by a panel of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) that had linked it with the price reached at on the basis of 3G spectrum auction.
Debt load, soaring losses slow down India's retail juggernaut - Rishi Raj, Rasul Bailay, Financial Express
Contrary to the general perception that organised retail has the potential to capture dominant market share by wiping out kirana stores and generate huge profits, a closer look at the balance sheets of India’s seven listed retailers in the last five years suggests a long haul. While these firms posted cumulative losses or somewhat modest profits in the last five years, one indicator is common: Their debts have galloped as the firms have ratcheted up scale. As a result, the debt-equity ratio of these companies has become quite steep.
This too shall pass, Basu reassures on slowdown - Sukalp Sharma & Sarika Malhotra, Financial Express
Even as India clocked its lowest growth in nine quarters at 6.9%, chief economic advisor in the finance ministry Kaushik Basu described the present phase as turbulence stemming from a shift of the global economic base to emerging economies. “It is not all gloom. When a shift takes place, just like when an earthquake occurs, everyone suffers, but once the earthquake is over, new lands emerge,” he said.
Farmer organisations back retail FDI - Nanda Kasabe, Financial Express
Even as traders across the country downed shutters on Thursday in protest against the government's decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, farmer organisations are coming out in support of this decision subject to the condition multi-formats are compelled by law to directly purchase from farmers. The farmer bodies are looking for removal of the middlemen, better infrastructure and a good supply chain so that they benefit from the presence of large multi-formats in India.
FDI in retail will help flatten prices: Basu - Hindustan Times
The entry of foreign capital in India's retail sector will bring about an immediate correction in prices, and it is in the country's interest to harness the resources that will flow in from large global retailers, chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu said on Friday. "In the short-term there may be a very small amount of turmoil… but a price flattening will take place," Basu said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.
Wholesale-retail food prices: Widening gap makes case for FDI entry - Anil Sasi, Business Line
The widening gap between wholesale and retail prices of essential items buttresses the argument in favour of foreign direct investment in retail. Most essential food items, with the exception of pulses and sugar, have seen a much higher increase in the prices at the retail level over the last one year in comparison to the change seen in wholesale prices during the period.
For kiranas, municipal woes outweigh FDI fears - Rasul Bailay, Financial Express
The biggest concern for kirana store owners and other small traders is not the supermarkets but the congested parking and potholed roads in front of their shops. A yet-to-be-released national survey conducted by one of India’s leading think tanks says 42% of the respondents from the mom-&-pop stores cite lack of infrastructure in their market places as the biggest factor that harms business.
Retail googly on sticky wicket - Arati R Jerath, Times of India
Rarely have sworn political foes fought on the same side.The architects of the Manmohan Singh government's decision to permit FDI in retail must have been stunned,therefore,by the unlikely gang-up in Parliament between the SP and the BSP,the AIADMK and the DMK,the Trinamool Congress and the Left Front and BJP.For once,they were talking the same language and most unusually,coordinating behind the scenes to derail the winter session unless the government rolled back the move to allow international supermarket giants like Walmart,Tesco and Carrefour to set up shop in India.
Add to shopping cart - Archna Shukla, Indian Express
It took India more than six decades to become a consumption market of around $450 billion. Given the country’s stage of economic evolution, the rising incomes and the demography where young unapologetic consumers have taken charge from the bashful old guard, it is estimated that Indians will account for an additional $450 billion worth of consumption in less than a decade from now. “We do not have elegant means to meet this demand,” says Kishore Biyani, the doyen of organised retail in the country and also, the founder and managing director of India’s largest organised retail chain, Pantaloon India Retail Ltd. “But can we create a scenario where we can provide better environment and value to all involved in the long producer-to-consumer chain? The answer is yes,” says Biyani.
What goes down will surely go up - Raghuvir Srinivasan, Hindu
Have you ever wondered why when petrol prices go up or down they do so uniformly across the retail outlets of the three oil marketing companies — Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum? If they are three different companies with their own refineries and distribution systems, then surely their costs and selling prices must be different? Welcome to the strange world of petroleum product pricing in the country. A world where the laws of economics are turned on their heads, where there is no competition between the different players and where the price that we pay for petrol (or for that matter diesel or aviation turbine fuel) has no resemblance whatsoever to its cost of production.
Kirana shops cheer FDI in wholesale, not retail - Vivek Sinha, Hindustan Times
Is the threat posed by foreign multibrand retailers to local kirana stores for real? The government has put the decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail in cold storage. But Hindustan Times conducted a dipstick survey of small storeowners in three cities — Delhi, Zirakhpur near Chandigarh and Bangalore — where three multinational retailers have cash-and-carry wholesale stores.
Will name Indians with Swiss accounts in 2012: Julian Assange - Times of India
The names of Indians holding Swiss bank accounts may be revealed by WikiLeaks sometime next year, its founder Julian Assange said on Saturday. Assange, who is under house arrest in the UK, said this through videoconferencing during a conference held in Delhi , that whistleblower Rudolf Elmer, who passed CDs containing information to him, is undergoing trial and it would not be proper to make disclosures at this juncture. Asked if names of Indians holding Swiss accounts will be revealed in the coming year, he said, "yes".
Farmers want FDI in Retail - Anand Sharma, Times of India
A delegation of farmers from north India met commerce industry and textiles minister Anand Sharma on Saturday and backed the government's move to allow 51% foreign direct investment in the multi-brand retail sector. The farmers said the policy removes middleman and will bring better prices for the farmer's products. They said a progressive move that is expected to benefit the farm economy should be supported. "As far as FDI is concerned, farmers have welcomed it and they want the government to stand firm because they feel that it is in their interest. There will be investments that will lead to creation of infrastructure, warehousing, cold storage and generate employment and they will get a good price for their produce," Sharma told reporters after his meeting with the farmers' delegation.
Industry sees red over flip-flop on retail FDI - Nivedita Mookerji & Raghavendra Kamath, Bus Std
The die had been cast and a rollback would be an international embarrassment, several industry representatives liked to believe a day after Trinamool leader and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee let out the secret on retail FDI. In the 24 hours, since Banerjee made the Centre’s intention public to keep the retail FDI policy on hold, the corporate world has been trying to read between the lines of her statement.
Rising imports widen trade deficit with China - Nayanima Basu, Business Standard
The trade deficit with China continues to soar at a blistering pace even as India is looking at aggressively increasing and strategising the reach of its products into the Chinese markets. The trade deficit which was $19 billion in 2009-10 rose to $23.87 billion in the last financial year. Analysts say there are indications that by the end of current financial year it might widen to a whopping $40 billion.
Why there's no Apple in retail finance - Debashis Basu, Business Standard
The other day I got an email from one of our readers saying: “I want to bring to your attention how bogus these online term insurance plans are. I have paid a premium of Rs 11,000 for a term insurance policy and agreed to medicals. After the tests they have increased my premium by 100 per cent, stating I have elevated high blood sugar levels.
Curing the cancer of concessions - M Govinda Rao, Financial Express
By now it is clear that India faces a difficult fiscal environment at present and the medium-term challenges are formidable. The indications are that the central government’s fiscal deficit target is likely to slip by one percentage point and at the state level, although the consolidated deficit is within the Finance Commission’s target, the power sector losses add to the problem. The consolidated deficit excluding the power sector losses for 2011-12 would be close to 8% of GDP (9% of GDP) and this has to be brought down to 5.4% in 2014-15. In addition to this 2.6 percentage point adjustment, there will be additional demands for spending on healthcare, education and food security, which could result in an additional 3% of GDP. Thus, the required fiscal correction in the next three years would be 5.5-6% of GDP and at the central level alone it could be 4-4.5%.
Economic policy: The terrible twosome - Mythili Bhusnurmath, Economic Times
India’s ‘elephant dance’ got disrupted by the global financial crisis and needs to be rejigged if the country is to regain growth momentum, said the central bank governor D Subbarao in his P N Haksar Memorial speech in Chandigarh late last month. In a thinly-veiled attempt to quell fears that our pre-crisis growth was only a flash in the pan, he pointed out it would not be quite correct to compare the Indian elephant with the Asian tiger economies or the Chinese dragon.
Mullaperiyar: Concerns of a lower riparian State - Swati Das, Pioneer
Tamil Nadu and Kerala have crossed swords once again over Mullaperiyar dam. But this time the situation could turn into a full-scale confrontation between the two States. Tamil Nadu has its own concerns which cannot be ignored. For a fruitful dialogue between the two States to resolve the looming crisis, these concerns have to be addressed. In a way, the film, Dam 999, has opened the floodgates of panic in Kerala, building on the fear psychosis already unleashed by politicians upon their own people, over the 116-year old Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki district of Kerala, bordering Tamil Nadu. The film has been banned in Tamil Nadu on the apprehension that it could incite violence.
NRI executives line up for desi jobs - Mini Joseph Tejaswi & Samidha Sharma, Times of India
BANGALORE/ MUMBAI: Blame it on the economic slowdown or the growing power of Indian businesses; many senior Indian professionals working across the US, UK and other parts of Europe are looking at the Indian job market as they prepare for a homecoming. While the influx has been visible for a while, the pace seems to have quickened.
AP women entrepreneurs may move to Gujarat - T E Narasimhan, Business Standard
Frequent bandhs and power cuts in the state make it difficult for them to convert orders from domestic and overseas customers. Women entrepreneurs in Andhra Pradesh are facing the heat due to the frequent bandhs and power cuts in the state. While they have been receiving business enquiries regularly from both domestic and overseas customers, these are not turning into orders. Considering the current situation in the state, these entrepreneurs are now considering shifting to other parts of the country. They have already got an invitation from the Gujarat government.
Green tape tangles 400 projects - Kirtika Suneja, Financial Express
New Delhi: Environmental clearance delays are rising again, pushing up the number of pending infrastructure projects. There are now 400 projects in mining, hydro and thermal power, and building and construction pending signatures at different levels in the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). The figure had eased to 245 in August this year. Among pending projects, the maximum (209) are in building and construction, followed by mining ((143). The share of thermal power projects comes next at 32 followed by 13 hydro-power projects.
Learning Chinese lessons - Dheeraj Sharma, Financial Express
There has been a tremendous hue and cry recently about the government’s decision to allow 51% FDI in the retail sector. There seem to be four major reasons for the government to allow this FDI, namely, job creation, consumer savings, better prospects for farmers, and reduced wastage of food products. In other words, proliferation of large organised retailers such as Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour in the Indian market will result in increased employment, consumer savings, prosperous farmers and reduced food wastage.
Farmers open to FDI in retail - Rasheeda Bhagat, Business Line
The maligned and almost comatose United Progressive Government's decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail has kicked up a huge storm. The biggest argument against it is that the entry of foreign retail giants such as Walmart and Carrefour, will wipe out millions of kirana shops all over India. There is also much breast-beating about how the many layers in the delivery of farm produce to our markets, providing employment and sustenance to millions more, will get wiped out as the big bad foreign wolves (Walmart and company) will buy directly from the farmers.
Hyper-Inactive Govt freezes Foreign hypermarkets - Bharti Jain, Times of India
The government has frozen plans to allow foreign firms into Indias retail sector,bowing to protests from ally Trinamool Congress,which has upped the ante and put other planned reform measures on notice,potentially dealing a severe blow to the UPAs authority.After Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee announced on Saturday that the government was set to throw in the towel on the issue,Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday formally conveyed to BJP-led NDA and the Left parties the governments decision to put retail FDI on hold.
Big oil shifts focus back to the west - Guy Chazan, WSJ
Big Oil is redrawing the energy map. For decades, its main stomping grounds were in the developing world—exotic locales like the Persian Gulf and the desert sands of North Africa, the Niger Delta and the Caspian Sea. But in recent years, that geographical focus has undergone a radical change. Western energy giants are increasingly hunting for supplies in rich, developed countries—a shift that could have profound implications for the industry, global politics and consumers.
Experiment that protected 6500 farmers from a curse - Sambit Saha, Telegraph Calcutta
The Trinamul Congress and the Left, the principal political formations in Bengal, have opposed foreign direct investment in retail. Among the many fears expressed by the two is one that small farmers will be crushed under the feet of multinational giants, who will monopolise the market. The debate comes in the middle of a potato crisis in Bengal where marginal farmers are staring at a pile-up in cold storages and a flood of the fresh crop from Punjab.
FDI Retail: 30% sourcing promise clashes with WTO norm - Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times
The government’s eagerness to gift-wrap the 30% sourcing being given to Indian micro and small enterprises in its efforts to push through FDI in retail can land India in international arbitration, say officials dealing with the issue in finance and commerce ministries.
Indian cos still parking funds in tax havens - Pradeep Thakur, Times of India
The top 10 investment destinations for Indian companies in the last three years are all tax havens, if the US and UK which figure at number 4 and number 8, respectively, are discounted. The statistic, released by the finance ministry, reinforces the belief that the government has failed in curbing the flow of black money out of the country. Around 40% of the total investments in these three years have been in real estate, insurance and financial instruments, where it is very difficult to establish purchase value of such assets.
India most disappointing in BRIC - Times of India
Growth in all four BRIC economies has surpassed expectations in the decade since the term came into existence but India's record on productivity, FDI and reform has been the most disappointing, the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management Jim O'Neill said on Tuesday. O'Neill, who coined the term, BRIC, in December 2001 to jointly describe the four biggest developing economies -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- was speaking at the London leg of the Reuters 2012 Investment Outlook Summit.
Beijing keen on investments in India, seeks govt guidance - Amitav Ranjan, Indian Express
Beijing has informed New Delhi that it plans to focus its investments into India and has asked India’s Finance Ministry to “identify the possible areas for mutual discussions”. China’s interest was conveyed at the Fifth India-China Financial Dialogue last month in New Delhi. Given India’s interest in roping in foreign direct investment in infrastructure sectors, a background note has been prepared and circulated for inputs from ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs, ministry documents said.
IT Inc oppose Sibal’s ‘great’ firewall proposal - V Shoba, Indian Express
Information Technology and social media experts have questioned telecom and IT minister Kapil Sibal’s directive to social media and search engine firms to remove “disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory” user generated content from India and are doubting the cogency of such an exercise. “It is virtually impossible to monitor all incoming content. Yes, internet service providers — both mobile and landline — could install equipment to find and filter certain phrases, but this would prove expensive,” said Mahesh Murthy, founder and CEO of Pinstorm, an internet marketing company with a global presence.
Mired in retail row, it’s yesterday once more for Walmart - New York Times
For multinational merchants like Walmart, it seemed to be the long-awaited opportunity to jump into India with both feet. But, now, that moment appears to be delayed once again. Late last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that, for the first time, big foreign companies like Walmart and the British company Tesco could open retail stores in India. Until now, foreign companies have been restricted to serving only as wholesalers. That has already helped create more modern distribution networks, often while generating better prices for farmers and other producers, and giving customers better deals.
Coal-rich States raise barriers as fuel situation turns grim - Anil Sasi, Business Line
Protectionist measures by coal-bearing States such as Chhattisgarh and Orissa threaten to further worsen the already dismal coal availability situation for the power sector. Resource-rich States are vying to corner cheaper electricity supplies from generation projects coming up within their boundaries. This move could result in consumers in other parts of the country being forced to shell out higher tariffs for electricity.
India must try doing business in China - Ashwini Phadnis, Business Line
On the surface, everything seems to be in favour of Indian business making inroads into the Chinese market. China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world; it is India's largest neighbour and has a lot in common with India's business environment. The Chinese are also sending feelers to Indian business in their country. The most recent of these came from the Governor of Xinjiang, who was in India at an invitation from the Ministry of External Affairs. He not only welcomed Indian business but also reiterated that the Hindi film industry should look at China for filming its block busters.
Sonia’s pet project may leave India broke - Annapurna Jha, Pioneer
On a day when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee admitted that the Indian economy was passing through a lean patch, the Agriculture Ministry expressed concern over massive expenditure of Rs 1.2 lakh crore needed on the proposed Food Security Bill and said that rising fertiliser prices and upward revision of MSP of food grains, could entail more funds to meet the populist measure.
Single-brand FDI map stays, may be step by step now for multi-brand - P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Express India
The government is likely to recalibrate its retail foreign investment strategy, while simultaneously trying to bridge the political divide with allies and states. Government sources said with neither the opposition nor the allies, Trinamool and DMK, objecting to 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail approved by the cabinet, the commerce and industry ministry would work on a notification to operationalise the decision.
Banks: Zones of scepticism - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
This week the eurozone will attempt to find a solution to the deepening banking and fiscal crisis. Many believe that liquidity provision may provide a short-term solution, but the deeper problem of solvency of many governments will remain. There is often a strong overlap between borrowing by governments and lending by banks. This relationship has a long history in India. In the light of the problems of Europe, it is important to look at this intimate connection with fresh scepticism, and worry about distancing bank assets from government bonds. Holding risk-free government bonds, a practice Basel norms encouraged for banks, has, as it has turned out, encouraged governments to borrow imprudently.
Innovation awards: And the winners were… - Economist
This newspaper was established in 1843 to take part in “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.” One of the chief ways in which intelligence presses forward is through innovation, which is now recognised as one of the most important contributors to economic growth. Innovation, in turn, depends on the creative individuals who dream up new ideas and turn them into reality.
Ban ore exports to break unholy mining nexus: Shah Commission - Priyadarshi Siddhanta, Indian Express
An independent inquiry commission set up by the government on mining has suggested a ban on exports of iron and manganese ores to conserve the mineral for posterity. It said that the mining mafia was engaging in plunder of the natural resources to rake in “unimaginable profits” and warned that a section of miners and traders could, through their ill-gotten wealth, potentially influence state policies and render it difficult to break the nexus between them and the law makers.
Industrial output shrank 7% in Oct, shows initial data - Sidhartha & Surojit Gupta, Times of India
There is more disappointing news for the slowing Indian economy. According to initial estimates, the country's industrial output has declined by 7% in October, dragged down by a fall in the capital goods sector. This is the first time industrial output has entered negative territory since June 2009 and comes at a time when the economy is passing through a difficult period. The industrial sector has been under stress for the past few months, hit by rising interest rates, input costs and stubbornly high inflation.
Govt gets secret accounts info from 10 nations - Times of India
The finance ministry on Wednesday said that it has obtained bank accounts and transaction details from at least 10 countries about Indians having deposits in these nations. Speaking to reporters after an international tax conference here, finance secretary R S Gujral said the Income Tax department has started its probe on the basis of the information. He said once assessment proceedings are complete those found guilty would be prosecuted.
Let domestic carriers fly freely, global airlines body tells India - Shishir Sinha, Business Line
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has advised the Indian Government to set domestic carriers free from policy interventions. It wants the Government to refrain from micro-managing the aviation industry, such as in ticket pricing. IATA has projected a dismal picture for the global aviation industry in 2012 with a fall in profitability and profit margin. However, it believes airlines in Asia-Pacific will be in a better situation in comparison to their global counterparts. IATA represents 240 airlines accounting for 84 per cent of global air traffic.
The case for RBI intervention in today's forex market - Ashima Goyal, Business Line
The rupee's exchange rate is said to be market-determined, with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) intervening only to prevent excess volatility. But if this is the regime, the situation should be ripe for intervention, because of recent excessive volatility.
TN: Laptop scheme exposes gaps in system - Vidya Padmanabhan, Mint
Until recently, S. Dhibeka, 16, who had never used a computer until she chose the computer science stream last year at the aging, leafy Kakkalur Government Higher Secondary School near Chennai, could practise programming for only an hour or two a week, often sharing a desktop computer with one or more of her classmates.
Subsidy Bills a Shocker,to Top Budget by 1 L cr - Times of India
After the defeat,came the deficit bombshell.Soon after the UPA government retreated on its decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail to restore normalcy in Parliament,it had to confront some grim economic numbers.The total subsidy bill for the year 2011-12 could exceed the estimates by up to.1,00,000 crore,or 70%.This could widen fiscal deficit to as much as 5.7% of GDP.Although fiscal slippage isnt unexpected as the finance minister himself confirmed and explained the overshooting of expenditure a few weeks ago it is the extent of it that is surprising.
SEZ developers allowed to dilute project equity - Nayanima Basu & Nivedita Mookerji, Business Standard
Five years after the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) policy came into existence, the department of commerce and industry has allowed developers to sell their stake partly or fully to other promoters and firms, including foreign ones. In other words, foreign real estate players will now be able to own SEZs in India, even though there are restrictions on FDI in real estate.
Auto hub: Gujarat eyes driver's seat in 4 years - Surajeet Das Gupta & Sharmistha Mukherjee, Business Standard
Narendra Modi has a big reason to thank his West Bengal counterpart, Mamata Banerjee. Her staunch opposition to the Tata Nano gave the Gujarat chief minister a foothold in the country’s automobile map. To his credit, Modi not only grabbed the opportunity with both hands, but also ensured he got to be in the driver’s seat as far as attracting automobile investment was concerned.
Paralysed Govt Immobilises Corporate India - Times of India
India Inc is in a fretful mood.Businesses fear that reforms will be pushed back till the next elections.While some hope that the government may flirt with a few measures after the Uttar Pradesh polls,there are unsaid concerns that populism will surge and fiscal deficit may shoot as the country approaches the general elections.Are companies changing tack as they read the writing on the wall It will be a long pause before the next elections.On every count,the process of making infrastructure investments has been decelerated, says Ravi Uppal,CEO & MD of L&T Power.Uppal,whose company makes supercritical power turbines and boilers,puts the onus of the current dismal scenario on policy impediments,cost of funds,non-availability of coal blocks and environment policies.It is our own making.
Costlier gas for Merchant power plants - Shuchi Srivastava & Rachita Prasad, Economic Times
The government's desire to be on the right side of its top auditor by increasing fuel prices for merchant power plants is likely to worsen the crisis in the sector reeling under high input costs and low tariffs. GAIL (India) Ltd, the country's state-owned gas marketing arm, has told some merchant power plants that they will have to pay higher prices for gas supplied to them. 
Revenge of the petrolheads - Economist
The Chevrolet Volt, a compact, petrol-electric hybrid launched by GM a year ago, was already selling poorly before it emerged last month that its batteries had caught fire in crash tests. GM is likely to fall several thousand short of its target of selling 10,000 Volts this year. Despite subsidies, electric cars and hybrids (which can run off batteries or a generator powered by an engine) are shifting sluggishly.
House panel kills 3 key reform bills - Times of India
In a major setback to the UPA government still smarting from the FDI in multi-brand retail fiasco, Congress MPs joined opposition members in Parliament's standing committee on finance to reject three major bills relating to unique identification numbers, banking and insurance on Thursday. The finance panel felt the UID Authority suffered from serious deficiencies over duplication of work with the registrar of census while it turned down the banking bill seeking to give investors in banks voting rights commensurate with their shares instead of the 10% cap at present.
Inflated incomes, growth and inflation - Madan Sabnavis, Financial Express
There is a new dimension to the inflation conundrum. A thought that comes to mind is whether higher prices have also been driven by higher incomes. This is so because, so far, we are talking of cost-push or demand-pull inflation as the causes; and debates, if not policies, have been geared towards this direction. But if incomes or the classic wage-push forces have played their role, then we need to think differently as our growth model has to be reviewed as it affects future scenarios.
Decarbonisation of the economy - Barun Mitra, Financial Express
This article explores the relationship between economic development (GDP) and carbon emission. Carbon is emitted as a consequence of energy use as most fuel sources are carbon-based. Therefore, the two measures of carbon we use here are carbon intensity (metric tonnes of carbon per $1,000 of GDP produced) and per capita carbon emission (metric tonnes per capita). GDP is measured in constant US dollar in 2000. The thrust of the analysis is to look at the relationship between economics and carbon emission, without going in to the debate about whether CO2 is contributing to global warming or not, and how much of climate change is induced by anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases.
The anatomy of a slowdown - Hindustan Times
As the 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)  Sensex continued its downward journey on Friday, having lost 664 points in just two trading sessions, analysts advise retail investors to stay away from the stock market. However those in long term investment horizon can bet on large blue-chip stocks, they said.
Few details, huge subsidy in 3 versions of food Bill - Ravish Tiwari, Indian Express
Over two and a half years after President Pratibha Patil announced the government’s plan to enact a food security law, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday is slated to consider three separate versions of the National Food Security Bill (NFSB) for introduction in the current session of Parliament. These three versions arise out of differences between the Food Ministry and the Law Ministry over the issue of grievance redressal mechanism. The Legislative Department has said that the mechanism provided in the NFSB is “at variance with the established legislative practice about separation of powers between executive/regulatory functions and adjucatory functions”.
Affordable housing: Walking the talk - PSN Rao, Indian Express
India faces an urban housing shortage to the tune of around 25 million units. That is the official figure. By any stretch of the imagination it is a huge figure that can by no means be easily fulfilled. Further, the problem is more acute in the urban areas rather than rural areas. The question becomes all the more complex when we look at the population segment that is more in need of housing.
Online shopping is the real threat to small shopkeepers - SA Aiyar, TOI
Faced with opposition from its own allies like Mamata Banerjee, the government has shelved its proposal to allow Walmart and other multibrand foreign retailers to have majority stakes in Indian hypermarkets. Critics have accepted the bogus claim that foreign retailers will kill small Indian shopkeepers.  In fact, the Walmart model is a 20th century concept that’s rapidly becoming obsolete in the 21st century. Internet shopping now threatens the hypermarket, which may survive in small towns with low land prices, but looks doomed to becoming a minority player.
Free tickets for Air India bigshots, serving, ex, deceased too - Ajmer Singh, IE
Doesn't matter how badly Air India is bleeding — when it comes to deciding on freebies for the staff and the top brass. The Air India Board has received a startling proposal cleared by itsHuman Resources Committee that goes far beyond the current entitlements and allows the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), top officials and their families, to get lifelong free air tickets for both domestic and international travel, that, too, in First Class and Business Class. 
Air India's ‘first right' to fly overseas routes blocks private airlines' plans - Business Line
Air India's first right to fly overseas is coming in the way of attempts by private airlines to fly on more overseas routes. Existing laws give Air India the first right of refusal on overseas routes as it is the national carrier. Flights between two countries are determined by air services bilaterals which are exchanged between two sovereign nations. So, the number of flights between, say, the US and India are determined by the bilaterals that the governments of these two countries sign.
The coming Dark Age of India - Raghuvir Srinivasan, Hindu
Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra… no, this is not a listing of States with high growth. These are States that imposed rolling power cuts as late as in October, well after autumn had set in. In fact, Tamil Nadu still has power cuts for periods ranging from 1-3 hours across the state. So, what's new, you might ask. Aren't power outages a fact of life in India?
Goodbye, financial inclusion - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Financial Express
Imagine the finance ministry collecting the tax and asking the home ministry to make India’s expenditure budget. The approval to the National Population Register (NPR) under the home ministry to collect the biometrics of all Indians and then asking the Planning Commission adjunct UIDAI to produce the identity numbers is just about the same, a line of argument the Standing Committee on Finance has endorsed.
Vertical cities are pro-poor - Kala Seetharam Sridhar, Financial Express
In his recent book on the triumph of the city, Edward Glaeser looks at the importance of urban life to business and innovation and suggests the most important investment in any city is human capital. In recent research, I find that the most important determinant affecting positively a city’s economic output is human capital, as measured by the literacy rate of its population, taking the case of Indian cities.
Slowdown fears deepen as IIP growth contracts 5.1% - Business Standard
The optimism exuded by the government of 7.5 per cent economic growth this financial year on a better second half is ringing hollow, with industrial output contracting 5.1 per cent in October. The contraction, seen after more than two years, was led by a 25.5 per cent fall in the capital goods sector, despite the festive season. It may not be a repeat of what happened during the global financial crisis, when industrial production contracted for seven months in a row from December 2008. But, the euro zone crisis, the RBI’s tight monetary stance and the government’s policy inaction have subjected the economy to tough times. The manufacturing and mining sectors are among the worst affected.
This is no Act of kindness - Seema Sindhu, Pioneer
On November 22, Union Minister for Finance Pranab Mukherjee in his statement on inflation in the Lok Sabha said there was an urgent need to amend and enforce the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act in order to enable farmers to bring their products to retail outlets and retailers to directly purchase from the farmers. This would bring better remuneration to farmers, check wastage and allow competitive pricing in retail markets.
China's accounting issues swell India's opportunity - N Sundaresha Subramanian, Business Standard
A problem for Chinese companies is turning out to be an opportunity for Indian ones. The recent controversy over accounting standards of Chinese firms listed in the US is forcing investor pools which traditionally invested in these, to capitalise on their high growth, to look at similar investment opportunities in India.
Infrastructure: A win-win game for all - Vikas Guru, Financial Express
Power is an essential input for the growth of the country. Access to affordable and reliable power to all is a necessity to maintain the India story. All sectors of economy are dependent on the availability of uninterrupted electricity supply. However, we are falling short of targets set for power generation capacity. According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the installed power generation capacity as in October 2011 in India is 1,82,690 MW. The capacity addition target for the year 2011-12 is 17,716 MW. However till October 2011, only 7,500.5 MW of capacity could be added. There have been several issues marring power generation and capacity addition.
Indian cos most bullish on hiring among 41 countries - Samidha Sharma, ToI
This will stand out as a bright spot in an otherwise sluggish economic environment. As we usher in the New Year, despite all the gloom surrounding the global economy, employers are holding onto the India story with a strong intention of increasing hiring over the next three months compared to the last quarter. Backed by the buoyancy in the services space, and a possible resurgence in the financial sector (see chart) Indian employers have emerged as the most optimistic, as far as hiring goes, among 41 countries surveyed by Manpower group. India , Brazil and Taiwan emerged as the top three countries with the most positive hiring sentiment for next year, said the report released on Tuesday. The net employment outlook, stood at 41% for the January-March period next year, a 2% increase over the last quarter. 
Did Anil Ambani play overseas investor? - Raghuvir Srinivasan, Hindu
Revelations from an ongoing case against two bankers of UBS in a London tribunal could prove potentially damaging to billionaire industrialist Anil Ambani, chief of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG). Mr. Ambani has been named as the ultimate owner of a Mauritius-based investment fund called Pleuri that was set up to invest in Indian stocks. As per law, it is illegal for Indian citizens and companies to invest in Indian shares through foreign institutional investors.
Rainbow Bridge to Broadband - Rohit Prasad, Economic Times
Econometrics, the science of statistics applied to economic models, emerged with sophisticated techniques for establishing cause-effect relationships between the adoption of new technologies - the mobile phone, the internet and broadband - and GDP growth, starting from the 1980s. Such studies typically established relations such as: an x% increase in mobile/internet/broadband penetration will increase GDP per capita by y%. This became the basis for espousing the use of public money, either collected through taxes or part of the universal service funds, for internet access and broadband expansion.
The big picture on FDI in retail - Nilanjan Banik, Business Line
India's FDI inflows have improved since 2005, perhaps at China's expense. In this context, the expected FDI inflows from retail are not significant. However, retail FDI can lead to FDI flows in other sectors and improve our BoP situation. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector has been at the epicentre of national debate. Much has been said on India possibly losing out on investment by sending a wrong policy signal. But do we really need to get so worked up?
Time to start cutting interest rates - Saugata Bhattacharya, Financial Express
The November inflation data has quashed the faint hope of a reversal in RBI’s monetary policy stance in its forthcoming mid-quarter policy review. Two of the biggest concerns (growth and the rupee) need to be addressed very quickly, while the third (inflation) is becoming increasingly intertwined with the former.  Although the case for the economic situation warranting an easing of monetary policy stance still remains strong, it is easy to empathise with RBI’s caution in doing so.
Dalit Inc. ready to show business can beat caste - P. Vaidyanathan Iyer, IE
Two days from now, a 1,000-strong club of Dalit entrepreneurs will showcase their wares over 1 lakh square feet of space in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla complex. The Rs 2-crore infrastructure budget for the three-day event beginning December 16 is not without purpose. It will tell the world that Dalits, given the opportunity, will beat the caste order with capitalism — and will give much more than they seek.
Policy pundits clueless on inflation - TN Srinivasan, Business Line
At a recent seminar on September 21, on inflation, Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Adviser in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), apparently agreed with the comment of Govinda Rao, (Director of NIPFP and a member of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council) that “the country's economic managers have not been able to fully grasp the processes underlying the persistence of high inflation.” Such a conclusion by the two senior policy makers is deeply disturbing.
CEOs in US raking it in - Dominic Rushe, Guardian
Chief executive pay has roared back after two years of stagnation and decline. America's top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay. The dramatic bounceback comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.
Inside the high-stakes game for 3G roaming - Surajeet Das Gupta, Bus Std
Telecom incumbents are using 3G roaming to offer services without having paid for spectrum—the legality of which is being scrutinised. Surajeet Das Gupta reveals why what happens here can shape rules for the next big battle in telecom. On 30th November, the country’s top five telecom chiefs, in an unusual show of solidarity, trooped into the offices of the country’s key policy makers, including prime minister Manmohan Singh. 
World money, salted and seasoned - Devangshu Datta, Business Standard
The publishing industry has a fetish for slotting books into neat pigeonholes — “young adult fiction”, “chicklit”, “popular science” and so on. They must have found it difficult to classify Extreme Money. Calling it a history of global finance written with an educated lay audience in mind is accurate, insofar as it goes.
Karnataka to soon offer guaranteed land titles - Rahul Chandran & Shamsheer Yousaf, Mint
Karnataka will become the first state in the country to provide a state guarantee to urban property titles, albeit only implicitly, when Mysore district issues the first urban property cards later this month. They will be issued under the Urban Property Ownership Records (UPOR) project— which surveyed 275,000 properties in the Mysore urban area—that creates a record of the current owner of the property.
Holding RBI accountable - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
The time has come for accountability at the RBI. This institution makes decisions that affect the fortunes (lately misfortunes) of many Indians, rich and poor. By making its very predictable statement of no change in policy, on December 16, the RBI stands out alone in the entire world with its ultra-hawkish policy against inflation. This, when fear of very low growth and deflation is the problem facing most economies in the world, and India too — but the RBI does not seem to realise this. The real economy, when measured in terms of GDP, is growing at the lowest quarterly rate (July-September 2011) since the first quarter of 2004.
Gold wins the 2011 returns chase; beats all asset classes - Rajalakshmi Sivam & Aarati Krishnan, Business Line
Those who bet on gold funds at the start of 2011 would have every reason to pat themselves on their backs for the good fortune. In the race between different asset classes in 2011, gold funds won hands down, with domestic investors in them pocketing a 32 per cent return.
UBS wealth manager who rode the Trojan horse around Indian laws - Vidya Ram, Business Line
Yet another case of wealth managers of UBS, the Swiss banking major, enabling a wealthy Indian client to invest in Indian equities violating domestic and Indian securities market regulations has come to light. Mr Jaspreet Ahuja, a former senior client adviser at UBS' wealth management division in London, has been fined £150,000 and handed out a lifetime ban by the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) for breaching its code.
Watch out retail giants, online majors aim for sky - Nivedita Mookerji, Bus Std
Indian non-store market set to touch Rs 57,500 crore by the end of the year. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail may have turned into a hot potato for the UPA government, forcing it to put the reformist decision on hold, but industry gurus now say online commerce would pose a bigger challenge than FDI for traditional retail in India.
Political knives that should not cut the supply chain - Rashid K Kidwai, Bus Std
As the opening up of retail gets put on the back burner, at least until the Uttar Pradesh election, I still do not understand why the Congress has not pushed this through earlier. They would certainly benefit from rewarding the huge number of voters at the two ends of the tunnel — the farmers and the consumers. The tunnel itself, or the chain of middlemen, comprises a much smaller but powerful lobby of traders, traditionally supporters of the BJP.
Foreign investors can get equity in lieu of dividend - Surajeet Das Gupta, Bus Std
In a significant liberalisation of the foreign direct investment policy, the government has permitted the issuance of additional equity shares to a foreign investor that already has shareholding in a company in lieu of its dividend income. The approval will, however, be subject to the regular conditions on valuation and pricing norms laid down by the Reserve Bank of India.
Nationalising the grain trade - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Given how Sonia Gandhi praised her late mother-in-law’s decision to nationalise the banking system, it must be with a great feeling of pride that she is now starting the process of nationalising the country’s foodgrain trade. What is surprising, however, is how the traders’ party of India, which has been so voluble when it came to opposing FDI in retail, has remained largely silent on the Food Security Bill that the Cabinet is trying to push through.
Nov core growth holds out hope for economy - Deepshikha Sikarwar, ET
Output growth in eight infrastructure industries accelerated in November after near-stagnation in the previous month, raising hopes of a robust recovery in industrial growth from its 28-month low in October. The output of the core sector, which in India includes industrial inputs such as petroleum, coal, electricity and steel, expanded over 4.5-5% in November, a government official said, adding that the final figure could rise to 5%. 
Over 1,000 cases solved through consent order: Sebi - Sandeep Singh, IE
The consent order mechanism of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) whose validity has been challenged through a petition in the Delhi High Court has resulted in resolution of 1,099 applications till September 2011. The stock market regulator has collected Rs 203 crore (excluding amount collected under compounding) through this mechanism between March 2007 and September 2011.
Re curbs: Shooting the messenger now - MC Govardhana Rangan & Ruchira Roy, Economic Times
Chinese emperors built the Great Wall around the nation, but that did not prevent invasion. The Reserve Bank of India's recent moves to prevent speculation in the currency trade is akin to the Wall, it serves a limited purpose, but may not be a sufficient condition to restore the rupee's strength. That was evident in the way the Indian rupee resumed its slide in the last two days after a spike in value after the central bank imposed qualitative measures, as there are few signs that factors beyond speculation do not support it.
US ruling that takes corporates to task - C Gopinath, Business Line
There are scores of people who have been congregating in public places around the US, in protest. There are several things they don't like about the country, primarily the fact that the odds are loaded against the poor, the weak and the minorities. They claim to be the 99 per cent who are being pounded upon by the 1 per cent elite. One frequent charge of the protestors is that the wealthy and powerful do not pay a price for their crimes and the disasters they engineer. They accuse the corporations of controlling the government. And the role of banks and the financial services companies whose egregious behaviour led to the financial crisis in 2008.
Sonia’s reckless food security largesse could bust the bank - Venky Vembu, First Post
The virtue of making donations of food (or annadhanam) to the poor has always been upheld in scriptural parables and in popular culture as worthy of emulation. It has traditionally been pitched as an effective way for the wealthy, even those lacking in empathy towards those less privileged than themselves, to earn karmic brownie points.
India Inc’s SOS to govt: Cut credit cost - Indian Express
Corporate leaders on Monday urged the government to reduce the cost of credit and spur flagging investment, which contributed to disappointing figures for economic growth in the three months to September. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma met heads of corporates and officials from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) a week after government figures showed a 25.5 per cent fall in capital goods output, a measure of investment, in October from a year earlier.
Walmart entry can help India tackle agri, job issues - Srinand Jha, Hindustan Times
Walmart has virtually been edged out of business by powerful domestic chains in the German market, but India's engagement with the US multi-brand retailer can be mutually beneficial. Gero Winkler of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce elaborates on his assumption, “Approximately 40% of agricultural produce in India is lost post-harvest. Retail brands such as Walmart can help address such issues by setting up infrastructure including the setting up of cold storage chains.”
Hard times in Eurozone - Abheek Barua, Times of India
If we take the first rumblings of trouble in the US sub-prime mortgage markets as the starting point, it's been roughly five years since the global financial crisis began. There have been significant qualitative changes along the way. The US now seems, at least in relative terms, best placed to pull itself out of a slowdown. Consensus forecasts peg US growth rates for 2012 at 2% contrasted to 0.3-0.5% for Europe. 
Cos bill bars non-audit ops of auditors - Pankaj Doval, Times of India
Audit firms may no longer be able to offer non-audit services like investment advisory and management services to companies as the government plans to prohibit such activities to check any conflict of interest, leading to a potential fraud. The move, in line with rules proposed by the European Commission, has seen the global audit and financial service providers like Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers cry foul, saying the proposal is "ridiculous" and will hit their operations.
RBI crackdown on speculation stabilises rupee's volatility - Business Standard
The rupee bounced back from the day's low on Monday, buoyed by dollar sales from some local companies. However, weakness in local equities, along with strong demand for the dollar due to worries that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death could spark political instability in the region, kept the local currency on the edge, traders said.
Indian bonds trail Indonesian debt - Financial Express
India is trailing Indonesia in the bond market like never before. While Fitch Ratings raised Indonesia’s rating by one level to the investment grade BBB- last week, the company said in October that further deterioration in government finances may weigh on India, ranked at the same level.
India Inc Breaks Divide,Opens up to Dalit Suppliers - Naren Karunakaran, ToI
An intimidating wall,separating the sprawling Tata Motors plant and the spartan workshop of Abhijeet Surface Coatings,at F II block,Pimpri Industrial Estate,Pune,has stood tall and strong for many years.Gokul Gaikwad,the dalit founder of Abhijeet Surface Coatings,could hear the deep rumblings of industrial activity behind the wall everyday,but never managed to scale it and do business with the auto major.The wall cracked last weekend.Gaikwad didnt cross it;Tata Motors did.Several vendor development officers from Tata Motors spent time with Gaikwad at his stall at the Mumbai trade fair organised by the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) the last weekend.
Aadhaar's national goals hinge on tech pilot success - Jayadevan PK, ET
A fight is about to break out across the street from Krishnarajendranagar Police Station in Mysore as two middle-aged men try to force their way into a gas agency manned by a few uniformed delivery men. One of them yelled: "This is stupid! Let me talk to the owner." The air is tense and the heat is not helping things either. 
Where the young are - Manish Sabharwal, Indian Express
For years, social scientists believed that human beings were generally rational, but emotions like fear, hatred and affection could explain most departures from rationality. Until Daniel Kahneman got the Nobel Prize for tracing human errors to the design of the machinery of cognition rather than to the corruption of thought by emotion. As he points out in Thinking, Fast and Slow — one of the most interesting books of this year — human beings are blind to the obvious, but they are also blind to their own blindness. The debate on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail recently joined labour law reform in reflecting this blindness.
Power SOS: Coal running out in 70 units - Priyadarshi Siddhanta, Indian Express
The power ministry has rung alarm bells saying shortage of coal has pushed 26 power plants into “super critical coal stock positions” — having stocks of barely seven days. And 44 are “critical,” with stocks for 15 days. It has sought the Committee of Secretaries’ (CoS’s) intervention to secure coal supplies to ensure uninterrupted power generation. In a note to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth last week, the ministry said state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) registered negative growth of about 1.2 per cent during April-October 2011.
India out of 1 trillion-dollar market capital club - TOI
Fears of further economic slowdown and policy paralysis at the Centre prompted foreign funds to sell aggressively on Tuesday, leading to a 204 points fall in the sensex to a 28-month closing low of 15,175. Selling by FIIs also had its impact on the rupee, which again dipped below the 53 level against the US dollar in intra-day trade but settled at Monday's level of 52.89.
Take broadband to the masses - Naresh Wadhwa, Business Line
The Indian economy has been growing steadily over the last few years. To sustain this growth there is a need to ensure a more well-rounded development that includes remote rural pockets. Financial inclusion of the poor and vulnerable groups, and provision of better access to healthcare and education is critical to achieve equitable development. The role of technology in furthering these ambitions is pivotal.
With mining sector in the pits, GDP growth to take a big knock - Smriti Seth, ET
NEW DELHI: An unprecedented crackdown on corruption in India's mining industry, led by the Supreme Court and state-level agencies such as Karnataka's Lokayukta, coupled with rigorous enforcement of environmental norms is resulting in collateral damage to the economy, with plunging mining output leading to a fall in industrial production and GDP growth. The suspension of mining activity by the Supreme Court across large parts of Karnataka, after a committee appointed by the court detected widespread damage to the environment, combined with restrictions on ore exports in many states was reflected in a 7.2% decline in mining output in October this year. 
The crisis now is worse than in 2008, says India Inc - Business Standard
Some still hopeful, most say lack of confidence has made the difference. Corporate India has added a new word to its jargon: the C-word. Ask any CEO or banker about the difference between the slowdown in 2008 and now, the answer is almost repetitive: “We can still live with the S-word, but the C-word has made all the difference this time”. What it means is simple. The deteriorating macro numbers (see chart) tell only half the story. While the slowdown has been a common factor in both 2008 and 2011, what makes it worse this time is that confidence has taken several hard knocks, courtesy an “almost lame duck” government, an unreasonable Opposition, which has gone for the kill, and a global crisis yet to unfold fully.
An area of darkness - Shyam Saran, Business Standard
Over recent weeks, reports of frequent and increasingly longer power cuts from across the country have added another layer of serious concern to India’s faltering growth story. What is unusual about these power outages is that they have been occurring during the months of October and November, when demand is traditionally low. The immediate causes of the power crunch are well-known. There is a growing and acute shortage of coal, which is the mainstay of power generation in the country, accounting for over 50 per cent of overall capacity. Over the past four years, demand for coal, mainly for thermal power generation, has grown by 7.3 per cent, while domestic output rose by only 5.4 per cent.
Real issues lost in Real Estate Bill - Pranav Ansal, Pioneer
The real estate sector is one of the most unstructured yet an important sector — providing largest employment next only to agriculture — of the economy that has been trying hard to get industry recognition and has been earnestly pushing for a regulatory body to create a policy framework. The Real Estate (Regulation of Development) Bill is the response of the Government to the oft-repeated demands of the developers and the consumers. The Real Estate (Regulation of Development) Bill 2011 falls woefully short of the need for a Real Estate Regulator. In essence, it seeks to punish developers for each and every slippage, even where the issues are beyond his imagination and control — a travesty of justice.
Securing food delivery - MK Venu, Indian Express
The national food security legislation may be well-intentioned but it can turn out to be a logistical nightmare if its delivery system is not designed optimally. Optimal delivery mechanism is the core element which will make or break this ambitious programme with serious fiscal implications over the longer term. There are several dimensions to this debate. Logistical efficiency, in my view, is the most important, and has the potential to somewhat mitigate the fiscal burden as well.
A second look at international arbitration - Karan Singh Tyagi, Hindu
Global convergence and harmonisation in international commercial arbitration are particularly evident in the area of judicial control of a foreign arbitral award. In most countries, the possibility to bring before a court an action for annulment of an arbitral award rendered abroad is excluded. On the other hand, the Supreme Court of India has over the years adopted a very aggressive nationalistic posture in deciding international arbitration disputes, and is an outlier in this arena.
Moody’s upgrades India’s local currency debt rating - TOI
Global ratings agency Moody's Investor Service on Wednesday upgraded its local currency rating for Indian government bonds to Baa3 which is investment grade as compared to the earlier Ba1 which is junk or speculative grade.  The ratings agency has had traditionally separate rating for investors who choose to buy bonds in foreign currency and separate rating for those who have a rupee exposure. Until September, the ratings agency had a Baa3 foreign currency rating and a Ba1 local currency rating.
Coal imports may touch $30 bn/yr, rival bill for crude - Noor Mohammad, FE
The relentless spike in the oil import bill has long been a headache for policymakers for the pressure it exerts on the current account. Now they have a new worry: Over the next five years, the outgo on coal imports could turn out to be an equally significant pressure point. A stern warning from the Planning Commission about the potential of coal imports rising manifold in the 12th Plan period to a level of $30 billion a year coincides with the estimate that the current account deficit (CAD) this fiscal could widen to over 3% of GDP, a level not seen since 1990-91.
Election effect: Budget may be postponed to March - Sidhartha and Surojit Gupts, Times of India
 Government may postpone the 2012-13 budget to March to ensure that it does not clash with the Model Code of Conduct during upcoming assembly elections. Sources in the government said the issue of postponing the Union Budget, which is preceded by Railway Budget and the presentation of the Economic Survey, has been discussed informally. "We are keeping the option of postponing the budget by four-five days open," said a senior government functionary.
Private Equity's pressure test - Rahul Sachitanand, Economic Times
Roughly 15 years after the first private equity (PE) dollars started trickling into India, PE funds find themselves in a rather tight spot. In the next 12-18 months, one bunch of firms, mostly the newer ones, will desperately try to close the funds they have just set out to raise. Another bunch, slightly older ones, will be equally desperate to deploy about $20 billion-$30 billion they have already raised.