Any attempt by an institution to withhold information from its stakeholders should invite strict censure. Do you agree?

No, I do not completely agree. There may be situations where information would
need to be withheld for larger public interest. Such circumstances can arise when the matter concerns:

i. Preserving national security e.g. it would be wrong for the media to relay live
coverage of a terror attack while the operation is still in progress, as happened in Mumbai in 2008.
ii. Matters that are sensitive in the socio-political context and likely to arouse
negative public sentiment e.g. if a political leader is assassinated by a person
from a different religion, disclosing the assassin’s religion could lead to communal
violence.
iii. Protecting the privacy of an individual e.g. the personal details of a rape victim.
iv. Policies and programs that are still under consideration e.g. the master plan for an upcoming project which is likely to lead to a spurt in land prices.
v. Privileged and sensitive information that few people have access to e.g. writing a
book that chronicles the private functioning and inter-personal relations of a highranking functionary.
vi. Privileged information that is confidential and can be misused for speculative gains e.g. Insider trading.

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FASTags:

  • FASTag is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it.
  • It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables to drive through toll plazas, without stopping for cash transactions.
  • The tag can be purchased from Tag issuers and if it is linked to the prepaid account, then recharge/ top up can be made as per the requirement.
  • Benefits of using FASTag:
    • Cashless payment
    • Faster transit
    • Online recharge
    • SMS alerts

Minerals of India

Minerals

Metallic 

Ferrous – Iron, manganese

Non Ferrous – Cu, Bauxite

Non Metallic 

Fuel – Coal, Oil, petroleum

Others – mica, limestone, granite

Iron ore 

  • India has largest reserve in Asia
  • Haematite and magnetite
    • Northern Orissa – Rourkela steel plant (German collaboration)
    • Jharkand – Jamshedpur , Bokaro steel plant (Russian collaboration)
    • Chattisgarh – Bhilai steel plant (Russian collaboration)
    • Western WB – Durgapur steel plant (UK Collaboration)
    •  Goa

 

  • Iron Vs Steel

    • Iron is an element while steel is an alloy.
    • Steel is a derivative of iron.
    • Steel is actually made by mixing iron with carbon; hence it is a byproduct of iron
    • The iron that contains less than 2% of carbon is called steel whereas which contain more than 2% of carbon is known as pig iron

Manganese 

  • Raw material for smelting of iron and used for manufacturing ferro alloys
    • Orissa
    • Karnataka
    • Maharashtra

Bauxite 

  • ore used in the manufacturing of Aluminium
  • Found in tertiary deposits
  • Associated with laterite rocks
    • Orissa – Kalahandi and Sambalpur
    • Jharkhand
    • Chattisgarh
    • MP

Copper

  • Making wires, electric motors, generators, transformers
  • Mixed with gold for strength
  • Alloy able, malleable, ductile
    • Jharkhand – Singhbhum
    • MP
    • RJ

Mica

  • Used in electrical and electronics industries
    • Jharkhand
    • Andhra – Nellore
    • Rajasthan

Coal

  • Generation of thermal power and smelting of iron ore
  • Bituminous type and non coking grade
    • Damodar Valley – Jharkhand Bengal belt
      • Raniganj
      • Jharia
      • Bokaro
    • TN – Brown coal/brown diamond/Lignite

Petroleum 

  • Liquid gold
  • Automobiles, railways, aircrafts
  • Byproducts are used in soaps, wax, lubricants, vaseline etc..
    • Assam – Digboi
    • Gujarat
    • Mumbai high
    • KG Basin
    • Kaveri Basin
  • Oil needs to be refined
    • Field Based – Digboi, Assam
    • Market Based – Barauni, Bihar

Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES):

Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES):

  • It is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from around the world.
  • It was started by U.S. government in 2010.
  • It serves as a vital link between governments and the private sector, and convenes global participants to showcase projects, network, exchange ideas, and champion new opportunities for investment.
  • Its aims to highlight entrepreneurship as means to address some of the most intractable global challenges.

GES-2017, Hyderabad:

  • It will be the eighth annual GES summit.
  • It will be the first GES summit to be held in South Asia.
  • Since 2010, it has been hosted by Kenya, Morocco, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and last year it was held in Silicon Valley in the US.
  • The Theme of GES-2017 is ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’, the main focus will be on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally.

Areas of main focus:

The GES 2017 will focus on four key industry sectors:

  1. Energy and Infrastructure.
  2. Healthcare and Life Sciences.
  3. Financial Technology and Digital Economy.
  4. Media and Entertainment

India’s new role:

  • The event will highlight India’s enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Through two and half days of training and mentoring sessions, networking, and investment matchmaking, the United States and India will forge new collaborations and launch new initiatives, while reducing the barriers inhibiting international growth and innovation.

What is ‘Swiss challenge’ approach?

Swiss challenge method is a process of giving contracts. Any person with credentials can submit a development proposal to the government. That proposal will be made online and a second person can give suggestions to improve and beat that proposal.

  • It is a method where third parties make offers (challenges) for a project within a designated period to avoid exaggerated project costs.

Swiss model: 

The government plans to adopt the ‘Swiss Challenge’ mode to invite bids for redeveloping the stations.

How Swiss model operates? 

  • First, the government will invite developers to submit their master plans.
  • After evaluating the proposals, the selected design will be uploaded over the Ministry of Railways website.
  • Financial bids will be invited and the developer quoting the highest upfront premium to be paid to the government will win the bid.
  • However, the project developer, who had originally submitted the plan, will be given an opportunity to match the bid amount.

The government will also ensure that the developer has prior experience in the field of passenger transportation such as railway stations, airports or ports or construction experience in the core sector.

Commodity and Exchanges

What is a commodity?

  • Commodities are products that can be bought, sold or traded in different kinds of markets.
  • Commodities are the raw materials that are used to create products which are consumed in everyday life around the world, from food products in India to building new homes in Europe or to running cars in the US.

There are two main types of commodities:

  • Soft commodities  agricultural products such as corn, wheat, coffee, cocoa, sugar and soybean; and livestock.
  • Hard commodities  natural resources that need to be mined or processed such as crude oil, gold, silver and rubber.

What are the main differences between commodity spot and derivatives markets?

  • There are two types of commodity markets: spot (physical) and derivatives (such as futures, options and swaps).
  • In a spot market, a physical commodity is sold or bought at a price negotiated between the buyer and the seller.
  • The spot market involves buying and selling of commodities in cash with immediate delivery.
  • There are spot markets for individual consumers (retail market) and the business-to-business (wholesale market) category.
  • Spot markets also include traditional markets such as Delhi’s Azadpur Mandi that deal in fruits and vegetables.
  • On the other hand, a commodity can be sold or bought via derivatives contract as well.
  • A futures contract is a pre-determined and standardized contract to buy or sell commodities for a particular price and for a certain date in the future.
  • For instance, if one wants to buy 10 tonne of rice today, one can buy it in the spot market.
  • But if one wants to buy or sell 10 tonne of rice at a future date, (say, after two months), one can buy or sell rice futures contracts at a commodity futures exchange.
  • The futures contracts provide for the delivery or receipt of a physical commodity of a specified amount at some future date.
  • Under the physically settled contract, the full purchase price is paid by the buyer and the actual commodity is delivered by the seller.
  • But in a futures contract, actual delivery takes place later.
  • In practice, most futures contracts do not involve delivery of physical commodity as contracts are settled in cash through an exchange.
  • The financial investors prefer cash settlement because of no interest in buying or selling the underlying commodity, and lower transaction costs.
  • Nowadays, the entire process of futures trading in commodities is carried out electronically throughout the world.
  • For instance, a farmer enters into a futures contract to sell 10 tonne of rice at $100 per tonne to a miller on a future date. On that date, the miller will pay the full purchase price ($1,000) to the farmer and in exchange will receive the 10 tonne of rice.
  • However, under the cash-settled futures contract, the farmer and the miller would simply exchange the difference between the spot price of rice on the settlement date and the agreed upon price as mentioned in the futures contract and there would be no actual delivery of rice.
  • Following the above example, if on the settlement date the price of rice was $80 per tonne, while the agreed upon price of futures contract was $100 a tonne, the miller will pay $20 to the farmer in cash and there will be no delivery of rice to the miller.
  • If, on the settlement date, the price of rice was $120 a tonne, the farmer will pay $20 to the miller in cash and no delivery of rice will take place.

Commodity Market in India:

  • The first milestone in the 125 years rich history of organized trading in commodities in India was the constitution of the Bombay Cotton Trade Association in the year 1875.
  • India had a vibrant futures market in commodities till it was discontinued in the mid 1960’s, due to war, natural calamities and the consequent shortages.
  • In 2002, the Government of India allowed the re-introduction of commodity futures in India.
  • Together with this, three screen based, nation-wide multi-commodity exchanges were also permitted to be set up with the approval of the Forward Markets Commission. These are:
  • National Commodity & Derivative Exchange:
  • This exchange was originally promoted by ICICI Bank, National Stock Exchange (NSE), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Subsequently other institutional shareholders have been added on.
  • NCDEX is popular for trading in agricultural commodities.
  • Multi Commodity Exchange:
  • This exchange was originally promoted by Financial Technologies Limited, a software company in the capital markets space.
  • Subsequently other institutional shareholders have been added on.
  • MCX is popular for trading in metals and energy contracts.
  • National Multi Commodity Exchange of India:
  • This exchange was originally promoted by Kailash Gupta, an Ahmedabad based trader, and Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC).
  • Subsequently other institutional shareholders have been added on.
  • NMCE is popular for trading in spices and plantation crops, especially from Kerala, a southern state of India.

Angel Investors VS Venture Capital

  • Business Angel Investors are individuals, often successful business people who are investing their own personal funds into a potentially rewarding business opportunity.
  • Whereas Venture Capital is invested by firms or companies that use other people’s money. They raise that money by offering investors a chance to take part in a fund that is then used to buy shares in a private company.
  • Business angels use their own money and venture capitalists use other people’s money affects their capacity for risk and of course an individual angel investor doesn’t have as much to invest as a venture capital firm.

Angel Investors Vs Venture Capitalists:

  • Angel investors invest mostly as individuals, while venture capitalists are business enterprises/ companies comprising of several individual investors.
  • Angel investors usually fund start-ups and new businesses where as Venture capital are seldom interested in early-stage, unless there are compelling reasons.
  • Angel investors invest their own money into businesses, but venture capitalists invest money contributed by several investors.
  • Because they are individuals, angel investors are usually unable or unwilling to fund businesses that require huge funds. Venture capitalists, on the other hand can fund businesses that require large funding, since they are holding funds from several individuals.
  • In addition to the invested funds, angel investors usually contribute personal experience and relevant contacts to the growth of businesses they invest in. Some venture capitalists don’t go this far.
  • Angel investors may be willing to “hands-off” your business if they have nothing relevant, aside the capital to contribute. But venture capitalists will always require board seats and complex deal terms including the ability to control subsequent financings.
  • Angel investors usually require very high Return On Investment (ROI) because they take very high risks by investing in new businesses that may tank. Venture capitalists usually contribute to already-growing businesses with reduced risk of failure, so they don’t require very high ROI.
  • Angel investors tend to believe in the entrepreneur and invest in them as a person. Venture capitalists being less emotional and more process involved mainly evaluate deals and make offers.
  • Angel investors allow for flexibility in deal structuring and financial decisions. venture capitalists are rigid.
  • An angel investor fund businesses for motives beyond financial gains (such as social responsibility and community involvement). A venture capitalist is obligated to maximize investors’ returns and outperform other venture capitalists, in order to attract even more investors.
  • Angels tend to avoid follow-up investments out of fear of losing more money, in case the business fails. Venture capitalists usually invest additional funds at later stages to assist with growth.
  • Angel investors are found in virtually all industries and have diversified portfolios. Venture capitalists are involved in limited industries (mostly technology) and they have limited portfolios.