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MAY 24 TO 31, 2011

After 16 months, Assembly back at Fort St. George (Chennai)

The inaugural day of the 14TH Legislative Assembly on May 23rd the return of the State legislature to Fort St. George after a gap of 16 months.
The last time the legislature met at the historic Assembly Chamber was on January 11, 2010, after which the Assembly met at the new Secretariat-Assembly complex on Omandurar Government Estate.
The sittings of the legislature had taken place at the Fort for 75 years in three broad spells (1921-1937, 1946-1952 and 1957-2010).
When Rajaji became Premier of the Madras Presidency in 1937, the legislature met for five months at the Senate House, Chepauk, from July 1937 to December 1937.
The period between January 1938 and October 1939 saw the legislature having its meetings at Banqueting Hall (Rajaji Hall), Government Estate.
The legislature went back to Fort St. George in May 1946 and held its sittings till March 1952. Between May 1952 and December 1956, the Children's Theatre, later known as Kalaivanar Arangam, housed the Assembly.
Fort St. George again became the venue of the legislature from April 1957 till January 2010.
In April 1959, the Assembly met at Aranmoore Palace, Udhagamandalam, for 10 days.
The Legislative Council too had its sittings at the same place for five days in May 1959.

RBI moots holding company model for financial sector

The Reserve bank of India (RBI) on May 23, 2011 suggested that the financial holding company (FHC) model would be pursued as a preferred model for the financial sector which could be extended to all large financial groups, irrespective of whether they contain a bank or not.
“Therefore, there can be banking FHCs controlling a bank and non-banking FHCs which do not contain a bank in the group. There should be a separate regulatory framework for financial holding companies,” the RBI said.
Invites comments on panel report
The RBI has released the report of the working group on Introduction of Financial Holding Company Structure in India, which was headed by Shyamala Gopinath, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India.
The RBI is also inviting comments on the report, which would be e-mailed or forwarded by end-June to the Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Banking Operations and Development, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Mumbai.
A separate new Act for regulation of financial holding companies would be enacted and the amendments would also be simultaneously made to other statutes/Acts governing public sector banks, Companies Act and others, wherever necessary. Alternatively, in order to avoid separate legislation for amending all individual Acts, the provisions of the new Act for FHCs should have the effect of amending all the relevant provisions of individual Acts and have over-riding powers over other Acts in case of any conflict.
Now, credit default swaps in India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on May 24, 2011 came out with a credit default swap (CDS) guidelines that would allow corporate entities including insurers, FIIs and mutual funds (MFs) to hedge risk against default in corporate bonds to which they subscribe.
The guidelines, which were finalised by the RBI after receiving views from stakeholders, will come into effect from October 24, it said in a notification.
CDS is a risk management product which helps entities guard against possibility of defaults in repayment of corporate bonds.
As per guidelines, foreign institutional investors (FIIs), banks, insurers, NBFCs, listed companies, housing finance companies, provident funds and primary dealers can buy credit protection under the scheme.
It further said that banks, primary dealers and NBFCs with sound financial and good track record will be allowed to act as market makers or facilitators (for buying and selling of such swaps)

The bonds for the purpose of CDS would include unlisted and unrated debt instruments, including those issued by the infrastructure companies engaged in sector like road, port and telecommunication, power among others.
"CDS ... would increase investors' interest in corporate bonds and would be beneficial to the development of the corporate bond market in India," the RBI said.
Elaborating on the guidelines, the RBI said that beside banks, the NBFCs and primary dealers with a net owned fund of Rs 500 crore will be permitted to act as market makers.
The guidelines further said that entities will only be allowed to buy CDS contracts to hedge credit risk and not for speculation.


Stalin elected leader of DMK legislature party

Former Deputy Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) treasurer M.K. Stalin was on mAY 25, 2011 elected leader of the DMK legislature party. Mr. Stalin represents the Kolathur constituency in the Assembly.
Former Law Minister Durai Murugan (Katpadi) was elected the deputy leader and R. Chakrapani (Oddanchatram) the party whip.
Their election took place at a meeting chaired by DMK president M. Karunanidhi at the Anna Arivalayam.
Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) founder Vijayakant is the leader of his legislature party. As the party has 29 MLAs (accounting for over 10 per cent of the total number of seats) and its strength is greater than that of the DMK, Mr. Vijayakant is likely to be recognised as the Leader of Opposition.
Other office-bearers of the party are: Panruti S. Ramachandran (Alandur) – deputy leader and V.C. Chandirakumar (Erode East) – whip.
Coal India Limited

Coal India Ltd (CIL), which finalised its accounts on May 25, 2011, breached the Rs.10,000-crore mark in profit reporting a net profit of Rs.10,867.35 crore for 2010-11 against Rs.9,622 crore in the year before, recording a rise of 12.92 per cent.

India and China lead global recovery: United Nations

Emerging economies of India, China and Brazil are leading the global economic recovery, according to a UN report released on May 25, 2011..
"The rebound has been led by the large emerging economies in Asia and Latin America, particularly China, India and Brazil," the report said.
The mid-year issue of the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP), said that "weaknesses in major developed economies continue to drag the global recovery and pose risks for world economic stability in the coming years".
The report said that many developing countries have been able to use the policy buffers (in the form of ample fiscal space and vast foreign-exchange reserves) they had generated in the years before the crisis to adopt aggressive stimulus packages.
The report said that while developing countries continue to drive the global recovery, their output growth is also expected to moderate to 6.0 per cent on average during 2011-2012, down from 7.1 per cent in 2010.

ATM glitches to cost banks Rs.100 per day

The Reserve Bank of India On May 27, 2011 directed banks to reimburse customers for amounts wrongfully debited from their accounts in failed ATM transactions within seven days of an account holder's complaint or else pay a Rs 100 per day compensation.
"The time limit for resolution of customer complaints by the issuing banks shall stand reduced from 12 working days to seven working days from the date of receipt of customer complaint," the RBI said in a notification.
Failure to re-credit the amount within seven working days will require the issuing bank to pay a compensation of Rs 100 per day, it said.
Earlier, banks were required to reimburse customers for amounts wrongfully debited from their accounts in failed ATM transactions within 12 days.
The RBI further said that all customers are entitled to receive such compensation for delays only if a claim is lodged with the issuing bank within 30 days of the date of transaction.

Myanmar president on visit to ally China
BEIJING: Myanmar’s president is in Beijing for a state visit and talks with the leaders of one of his isolated government’s closest allies. Thein Sein arrived Thursday afternoon on his first state visit since being appointed president in February,2011.
China confirms visit by Kim Jong-il
BEIJING: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il met China’s president on a state visit to increase cooperation on economic development, China’s state broadcaster CCTV and Xinhua News Agency confirmed on 26th May 2011.

Siemens gets RBI nod for NBFC foray
Mumbai: In order to provide financial services to its Indian customers, the global electronics major Siemens on Thursday said it has been granted a non-banking lender licence by the Reserve Bank of India.
CIL eyes Indonesian mine for $1 bn
Mumbai: Coal India is eyeing 40 per cent stake in Indonesia's Golden Energy Mines for as much as $1 billion. The rare move to grab such a large chunk of an Indonesian miner would be the biggest acquisition deal in the country this year.

Moradabad goes for solar energy
LUCKNOW: Moradabad is all set to become the state’s first solar city. The project, supported by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, will have the city utilising solar energy for supplying power for streetlights, water pumping sources, lighting in parks and supply of office lighting.

India's onion exports fell by over 31%

India's onion export dropped by over 31 per cent in 2010-11 at 12.89 million tonnes as compared to the previous year due to damage to the crop and ban on shipment in the later part following soaring of domestic prices of the kitchen staple.
India had exported 18.73 million tonnes of onion in 2009-10 financial year.
The sources attributed the dip in 2010-11 to damage to the crop due to unseasonal rains in main producing regions of Maharashtra and Gujarat in October-November last year.
It was also due to government imposing ban on its export since last week of December, 2010 in view of soaring prices of the bulb.
Indian-origin man pleads guilty in insider trading case in the US

An Indian-origin hedge fund manager in the US has pleaded guilty to his involvement in insider trading schemes and could face up to 20 years in prison. Samir Barai, 39, a portfolio manager at two different New York hedge funds, pleaded guilty before Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York said. Barai, arrested on February 8 this year and charged in a criminal complaint, is to be sentenced on August 29, 2011. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.


Mubarak fined for telecom shutdown

An Egyptian court on mAY 28, 2011 fined ousted President Hosni Mubarak 200 million Egyptian pounds, former PM Ahmed Nazif 40 million pounds, and former interior minister Habib el-Adly 300 million pounds for cutting off mobile and internet services during January protests, a source said. It was the first court ruling against Mubarak since he was ousted. The court ruled that they were guilty of causing damages to the national economy

Chennai Super Kings crowned again (IPL 4)

Chennai Super Kings defended its IPL title, overpowering Royal Challengers Bangalore in 28TH mAY 2011 final in front of an adoring home crowd at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here.
After scoring 205 for five in 20 overs thanks to a marvellous partnership of 159 between M. Vijay (95, 52b, 4x4, 6x6) and Michael Hussey (63) – an IPL record for the first wicket – Chennai restricted Bangalore to 147 for eight.
Bangalore's chase was impaired by off-spinner R. Ashwin. Much depended on Chris Gayle, who had had an incredible IPL-4, but the left-hander from West Indies couldn't fire in the final. Ashwin, who took the new ball, had Gayle caught behind for a ‘duck' in the first over.

Intel set to cash in on RBI’s financial inclusion plan

Global chip maker Intel sees big opportunity in RBI’s financial inclusion programme and is all set to launch its Universal Handheld Device (UHD) for banking operations by the end of this year, according to a top company executive.
“The UHD reference design has been developed in India for Indian market. We are taking to companies, who are willing take it up with their brand name,” said R Ravichandran, director (sales)-Intel South Asia.
UHD is a compact instrument with seven inch screen and a biometric finger print readers along with a thermal printer, which can be used by business correspondents hired by banks to take banking to rural and remote areas of the country.
As two-thirds of the Indian population doesn’t have access to banking services, the RBI has come out with an initiative — Financial Inclusion @@— in which banking will be taken to the doorsteps of rural masses.
Most of state-owned banks have already announced their Financial Inclusion plans and targets and started recruiting business correspondents in large scale. UHD, an Atom-based embedded device has a printer, biometric capable. It has got a smartcard reader and is also GPRS integrated. Customers can pick and choose the functions they want to perform.
According to Ravichandran, the pilot programme and device testing is currently underway and they anticipate huge demand for this device as the financial inclusion programme takes off at large scale.
@@Financial inclusion is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low income segments of society. Unrestrained access to public goods and services is the sine qua non of an open and efficient society. It is argued that as banking services are in the nature of public good, it is essential that availability of banking and payment services to the entire population without discrimination is the prime objective of public policy. The term "financial inclusion" has gained importance since the early 2000s, and is a result of findings about financial exclusion and its direct correlation to poverty. Financial inclusion is now a common objective for many central banks among the developing nations.

C.M. Kiran wants hike in average loan size for SHGs

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has asked the banks to increase the average loan size for each group of women SHGs to Rs. 2.5 lakh from the existing Rs. 1.8 lakh.
The Chief Minister wanted the banks to play a more pro-active role in helping women SHGs in the light of the marginalised role of the micro finance institutions. He hoped that the banks would give a serious thought to the request.
Interacting with bankers at the recent State Level Bankers Committee meeting here, the Chief Minister exhorted banks and the Indira Kranti Patham staff to gear up for achieving the target of Rs. 9,082 crore bank linkages to SHGs for the current year, against the Rs. 7,082 crore achieved last fiscal.

SAIL game plan to become a global player

Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) hopes to emerge as a global company in the next few years, Chairman Chandra Shekhar Verma said. Even as the company races to complete its Rs.72,000-crore modernisation plan, it has put in place a perspective plan to increase the capacity to 60 million tonnes by 2020 from the present 14 million tonnes. “Our target is to take the company from being a domestic player to a global brand,'' Mr. Verma told this correspondent.

Reliance Broadcast Network signs pact with RTL of Germany for thematic television channels

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Broadcast Network (RBNL) has entered into an agreement with RTL Group, a leading European entertainment network, to launch thematic television channels in India. Under the agreement, RBNL and RTL Group will form a 50:50 joint venture company, RBNL said in a statement .

Fiscal deficit down to 4.7% in FY’11

The government contained its fiscal deficit, the gap between overall expenditure and receipts, at 4.7 of GDP during 2010-11 much lower than the revised estimate of 5.1 per cent, a development which provide much needed comfort to the Centre fighting stubborn inflation.
The deficit finally stood at Rs 3,69,043 crore for the fiscal ended March 2011, constituting 4.69 per cent of GDP at Rs 78,75,627 crore, the official figures released today showed.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget speech in February this year revised downward the fiscal deficit number to 5.1 per cent against the earlier estimate of 5.5 per cent for 2010-11, on the back of higher-than-expected realisation from auctioning of 3G and BWA spectrum.
For the current fiscal the Government expects to bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.6 per cent. The Finance Minister has already expressed the confidence of meeting the target.

Per capita income jumps to Rs.54,835/

Per capita income of Indians grew by 17.9 per cent to Rs 54,835 in 2010-11 from Rs 46,492 in the year-ago period, according to the revised data released by the government on May 30, 2011..
The new per capita income figure estimates on current market prices is over Rs 8,000 more than the previous estimate of Rs 46,492 calculated by the Central Statistical Organisation.
Per capita income means earnings of each Indian if the national income is evenly divided among the country's population.
However, the increase in per capita income was only about 6.5 per cent in 2010-11 if it is calculated on the prices of 2004-05 prices, which is a better way of comparison and broadly factors inflation.
Per capita income (at 2004-05 prices) stood at Rs 35,917 in FY11 as against Rs 33,731 in the previous year, the latest data on national income said.
The size of the economy at current prices rose to Rs 73,06,990 crore in 2010-11, up 19.1 per cent over Rs 61,33,230 crore in FY10.
The India's population increased to 121 crore at the end of March 2011, from 117 crore in fiscal 2009-10.

Salary under Rs.5 lakh? - need not file income tax return

As many as 85 lakh salaried tax payers with an annual income of up to Rs 5 lakh will not have to file income-tax returns from now, a finance ministry official said.
"No income-tax returns would be required for salaried persons earning up to Rs 5 lakh per annum. We would notify this in first week of June," outgoing Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes Sudhir Chandra told reporters here.
The scheme would be applicable from assessment year 2011-12 onwards.
This means that the salaried persons eligible under the scheme would not have to file returns for the financial year 2010-11 in 2011-12 (assessment year).
However, such tax payers would have to file returns if they want to claim refunds, Chandra said.
As per the Memorandum to the Finance Bill 2011, the government will be issuing a notification exempting 'classes of persons' from the requirement of furnishing income tax returns.
In case such a salary earner has income from other sources like dividend, interest etc and does not want to file returns, he would have to disclose such income to his employer for tax deduction.
In the scenario, the Form 16 issued to salaried employees will be treated as Income Tax Return.
The idea behind the move is that in cases where there are no other sources of income, filing of a return is a duplication of existing information.

Germany to halt n-power by 2022
BERLIN: The German government agreed on May 30,2011 to phase out nuclear power by 2022. “It’s definite,” Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen said after marathon talks held at the chancellery. Seven plants were shut down in March after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Zuma in Tripoli to broker peace
TRIPOLI: South African President Jacob Zuma flew into Tripoli on May 30, 2011 to try to broker a peace deal with Muammar Gaddafi. Zuma’s previous trip made little progress because Gaddafi has refused to relinquish power.
Berlusconi suffers setback in local vote
ROME: Silvio Berlusconi’s mayoral candidates lost elections in the premier’s stronghold of Milan and in Naples Final results from the runoff elections held on May 29 and 30, 2011 supported opinion polls that have shown Berlusconi’s popularity slipping as he faces trial in a prostitution scandal.

Municipal corporation of Delhi to be trifurcated

The suspense over division of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi ended on Monday with the Delhi Cabinet approving trifurcation of the civic body into East, South and North corporations and providing for the first time 50 per cent reservation for women in corporations. The announcement was made by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit after a Cabinet meeting.
NATGRID chief's tenure extended

The government has decided to extend the service of Chief Executive Officer of the proposed National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) Raghu Raman for six months beginning June 1.
A formal government notification to this effect will be issued soon, official sources said.
The Natgrid — the Home Ministry's ambitious project — will facilitate sharing of information by security agencies and law enforcement agencies to combat terror threat at home and abroad.
Sources in the Ministry said the proposal to implement the project was likely to get approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) next month, hence Mr. Raman's service tenure was being extended.

ESIC to go digital from July 1, 2011

From July 1, 2011 onwards, the activities of Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) will be carried out digitally, said its Director General C.S. Kedar .
Taking part in the 2011-12 Diamond Jubilee year of ESI Scheme, he said that they have planned a massive roll out of IT project named ‘Panchadeep' at an investment of Rs.1,200 crore and it was next only to Project Unique Identification Authority of India of about Rs.2,000 crore, covering its branch offices, dispensaries and hospitals across the country.

Bengal retains Santosh Trophy (football)
Branco Vincent Cardozo and Budhiram Tudu produced a goal in each session to help Bengal retain the Santosh Trophy after beating local favourite Manipur 2-1. This was Bengal's 31st title and second successive triumph in three consecutive final appearances.
The final of the 65th senior National football championship here on Monday saw the holder dominate for a greater part of the action before its challenger mounted a late resistance to reduce the margin. Manipur's goal came from L. Nabachandra Singh.
CURRENT AFFAIRS - MAY 24 TO 31, 2011 Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 10:30:00 PM Rating: 5

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