Saturday, February 19, 2011

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Nation and politics:

Decision on Lokpal Bill soon:

    * The Lokpal Bill has been decided by recently constituted group of ministers to firm up earliest.
    * The important thing about the Bill and considering recent corruption issues in which role of Prime Minister has been under scrutiny; the bill takes the Stature of Prime Minister also to be under it.
    * Group Of Ministers led by Pranab Mukherjee has directed the Cabinet Secretary to form two committee to examine various reports dealing with anti-corruption mechanisms.


Russia takes on greater Afghan role:

    * Russia has agreed to play a larger role in the region with expansion of military and economic assistance to Afghanistan.
    * Russian has stepped up to provide defence aid, including the training of greater numbers of Afghan military personnel in Russia.
    * Russia voiced the hope that the U.S-led international military coalition would succeed in Afghanisatn and leave the country “with honours and dignity” by 2014.
    * A joint Russia-Afghanistan statement voiced support for Russia’s involvement in regional infrastructure projects, including a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India across Afghanistan (TAPI) and electricity exports from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, know as the CASA-1000 (Central Asia-South Asia) project.

Business and Finance:

Airbus arm in race to supply mid-air refueling aircraft to IAF:

    * Airbus Military, the military aircraft-producing wing of Airbus, which is a consortium supported by several governments in Europe, has announced that is in the race to supply six mid-air refueling transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
    * Airbus Military is in competition with the Russian-made IL_78 to supply the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT).”
    * Aircraft, which is based on the A330 civilian aircraft, “can easily be converted into an MRTT.” This aircraft is of latest vintage, which gives it an edge over the IL-78 manufactured by Ilyushin said Head Market Development, Airbus Military Didier Vernet.
    * The design of the Aircraft is such that it can be used for a combination of in-flight refueling, troop carrier and cargo operations.
    * What is to be noted that already 28 A330 MRTT aircraft have been ordered by six air forces- Australia, the U.K., United Arab Emirates, Canada, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
    * The move towards making it fool proof is in the process, converted A330 aircraft are undergoing certification at Airbus’ facility in Spain. “The IAF can verify the capability of the aircraft at the facility,” said Didier Vernet.
    * Airbus Military’s new transport aircraft, A400M, which is under going testing is being positioned as a transport carrier for both civilian and military will be ready for deliveries in early 2013.”

RBI favours subsidiary structure for foreign banks:

    * Reserve Bank of India on Friday came out with a discussion paper suggesting that foreign banks should be incentivised to operate in India as wholly-owned subsidiaries as against the current systems of having presence through branch network.
    * The idea behind bringing foreign banks under this is “on balance the subsidiary model has clear advantages over the branch model despite certain downside risks…there may be a need to incentivise the subsidiary form of presence of foreign banks.”
    * The important thing is that after the wholly-owned subsidiary (WOS) form, a foreign bank will have to operate as a locally incorporated legal entity and will be subject to domestic laws such as the Companies Act and the Banking Regulation Act.
    * At present, there are 34 foreign banks operating in India, with five major banks, including StanChart, HSBC, Citibank, and Deutsche, accounting for over 70 percent of the total asset size.
    * The RBI in its discussion paper have said that the subsidiaries should be given preferential treatment for opening of branches as compared to those foreign banks which operate through branches.