|QA->The GSTcouncil in November 2016 approved four tier tax structure under the Goods andServices Tax (GST). What is that four tier tax structure?....|
|QA->WHICH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED COMPUTERISATION IN INDIAN BANKS....|
|QA->WHICH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED THE FORMATION OF NABARD....|
|QA->WHICH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED THE SETTING UP OF NATIONAL STOCK EXCHANGE....|
|QA->By which committee were Mandai Panchayats recommended?....|
The income disparity in the new India is massive: 36 billionaires in India and 800 million people living on less than $2 a day. The challenge for achieving inclusive growth relates to the revival of agriculture. Farming is becoming a non-viable activity. A confluence of factors, from poor rainfall to the new availability of consumer goods which consume much of Indian familie's incomes, has driven many farmers into crushing debt. The agriculture sector has many problems with a growth rate of less than 2% in the last decade. Further scope for increase in net sown area is limited. Disparity in productivity across regions and crops has persisted. Far from benefiting from the economic boom, many complain that banks don't offer the rural poor credit, forcing them to turn to greedy money-lenders, who typically charge up to 20% interest on a four-month loan. Healthcare and education costs have risen dramatically, while the global price of cotton has become depressed, largely due to the billions of dollars in subsidies Washington hands out to U.S. farmers. The approach to the revival of Indian agriculture seems to be incremental, rather than a holistic strategy. It is important to stress that growth and equity should be pursued simultaneously rather than following the 'growth first and equity next' approach. What are the challenges for achieving 4% growth and equity in agriculture? Policy makers like the National Commission on Farmers mention cost reduction in agriculture as important to compete in a globalised world. The most important problem for the farmers is output price fluctuations. There is a big gap between producer prices and consumer prices. In order to protect farmers from National and international price volatility, a price stabilization fund is needed. The supply and demand side constraints have to be removed to raise growth. The support systems have to be tuned to improve productivity and incomes of farmers with emphasis on small and marginal farmers and dry land areas. One of the differences between the green revolution in the 1960s / 70s and the present 'second green revolution' is that risk is higher in the latter approach as it has to concentrate more on dry-land areas. Trade liberalisation has also raised the risk and uncertainty. Thus, policymakers have to keep in mind the increasing risk in agriculture. Agriculture policies have to be gender sensitive too since the share of women is increasing. The Government is aware that the crop sector may not be able to grow at 4% per annum but horticulture and allied activities like dairying, poultry and fisheries have to grow at the rate 6 % to 7 % to achieve 4% growth in agriculture. Investment in irrigation and rural infrastructure is important for agricultural growth. It is known that public investment in agriculture is lower than the requirements needed for achieving 4% growth. Bharat Nirman Programme is in the right direction but the progress has to be much fasterWhat does the author view as a challenge for achieving inclusive growth?|
Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions. The past quarter of a century has seen several bursts of selling by the world’s governments, mostly but not always in benign market conditions. Those in the OECD, a rich-country club, divested plenty of stuff in the 20 years before the global financial crisis. The first privatisation wave, which built up from the mid-1980s and peaked in 2000, was largely European. The drive to cut state intervention under Margaret Thatcher in Britain soon spread to the continent. The movement gathered pace after 1991, when eastern Europe put thousands of rusting state-owned enterprises (SOEs) on the block. A second wave came in the mid-2000s, as European economies sought to cash in on buoyant markets. But activity in OECD countries slowed sharply as the financial crisis began. In fact, it reversed. Bailouts of failing banks and companies have contributed to a dramatic increase in government purchases of corporate equity during the past five years. A more lasting fea ture is the expansion of the state capitalism practised by China and other emerging economic powers. Governments have actually bought more equity than they have sold in most years since 2007, though sales far exceeded purchases in 2013. Today privatisation is once again “alive and well”, says William Megginson of the Michael Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. According to a global tally he recently completed, 2012 was the third-best year ever, and preliminary evidence suggests that 2013 may have been better. However, the geography of sell-offs has changed, with emerging markets now to the fore. China, for instance, has been selling minority stakes in banking, energy, engineering and broadcasting; Brazil is selling airports to help finance a $20 billion investment programme. Eleven of the 20 largest IPOs between 2005 and 2013 were sales of minority stakes by SOEs, mostly in developing countries. By contrast, state-owned assets are now “the forgotten side of the balance-sheet” in many advanced economies, says Dag Detter, managing partner of Whetstone Solutions, an adviser to governments on asset restructuring. They shouldn’t be. Governments of OECD countries still oversee vast piles of assets, from banks and utilities to buildings, land and the riches beneath (see table). Selling some of these holdings could work wonders: reduce debt, finance infrastructure, boost economic efficiency. But governments often barely grasp the value locked up in them. The picture is clearest for companies or company-like entities held by central governments. According to data compiled by the OECD and published on its website, its 34 member countries had 2,111 fully or majority-owned SOEs, with 5.9m employees, at the end of 2012. Their combined value (allowing for some but not all pension-fund liabilities) is estimated at $2.2 trillion, roughly the same size as the global hedge-fund industry. Most are in network industries such as telecoms, electricity and transport. In addition, many countries have large minority stakes in listed firms. Those in which they hold a stake of between 10% and 50% have a combined market value of $890 billion and employ 2.9m people.
The data are far from perfect. The quality of reporting varies widely, as do definitions of what counts as a state-owned company: most include only centralgovernment holdings. If all assets held at sub-national level, such as local water companies, were included, the total value could be more than $4 trillion. Reckons Hans Christiansen, an OECD economist. Moreover, his team has had to extrapolate because some QECD members, including America and Japan, provide patchy data. America is apparently so queasy about discussions of public ownership of -commercial assets that the Treasury takes no part in the OECD’s working group on the issue, even though it has vast holdings, from Amtrak and the 520,000-employee Postal Service to power generators and airports. The club’s efforts to calculate the value that SOEs add to, or subtract from, economies were abandoned after several countries, including America, refused to co-operate.
Privatisation has begun picking up again recently in the OECD for a variety of reasons. Britain’s Conservative-led coalition is fbcused on (some would say obsessed with) reducing the public debt-to-GDP ratio. Having recently sold the Royal Mail through a public offering, it is hoping to offload other assets, including its stake in URENCO, a uranium enricher, and its student-loan portfolio. From January 8th, under a new Treasury scheme, members of the public and businesses will be allowed to buy government land and buildings on the open market. A website will shortly be set up to help potential buyers see which bits of the government’s /..337 billion-worth of holdings ($527 billion at today’s rate, accounting for 40% of developable sites round Britain) might be surplus. The government, said the chief treasury secretary, Danny Alexander, “should not act as some kind of compulsive hoarder”. Japan has different reasons to revive sell-offs, such as to finance reconstruction after its devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Eyes are once again turning to Japan Post, a giant postal-to-financial-services conglomerate whose oftpostponed partial sale could at last happen in 2015 and raise (Yen) 4 trillion ($40 billion) or more. Australia wants to sell financial, postal and aviation assets to offset the fall in revenues caused by the commodities slowdown. In almost all the countries of Europe, privatisation is likely “to surprise on the upside” as long as markets continue to mend, reckons Mr Megginson. Mr Christiansen expects to see three main areas of activity in coming years. First will
be the resumption of partial sell-offs in industries such as telecoms, transport and utilities. Many residual stakes in partly privatised firms could be sold down further. France, for instance, still has hefty stakes in GDF SUEZ, Renault, Thales and Orange. The government of Francois Hollande may be ideologically opposed to privatisation, but it is hoping to reduce industrial stakes to raise funds for livelier sectors, such as broadband and health.
The second area of growth should be in eastern Europe, where hundreds of large firms, including manufacturers, remain in state hands. Poland will sell down its stakes in listed firms to make up for an expected reduction in EU structural funds. And the third area is the reprivatisation of financial institutions rescued during the crisis. This process is under way: the largest privatisation in 2012 was the $18 billion offering of America’s residual stake in AIG, an insurance company.Which of the following statements is not true in the context of the given passage ?|
|MCQ-> Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions based on it. Some words have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.Notwithstanding the fact that the share of household savings to GDS is showing decline, still this segment is the significant contributor to GDS with 70% share. Indian households are among the most frugal in the world However, commensurate capital formation has not been taking place as a lion's share of household savings are being parked in physical assets compared to financial assets. The pattern of disposition of saving is an important factor in determining how the saved amount is utilized for productive purposes. The proportion of household saving in financial assets determines the channelisation of saving for investment in other sectors of the economy. However, the volume of investment of saving in physical assets determines the productivity and generation of income in that sector itself. Post-Independence era has witnessed a significant shift in deployment of household savings especially the share of financial assets increased from 26.39% in 1950 to 54.05% in 1990 may be on account of increased bank branch network across the country coupled with improved awareness of investors on various financial / banking products. However, contrast to common expectations, the share of financial assets in total household savings has come down from 54.05% to 50.21% especially in post reform period i.e. 1990 to 2010 despite providing easy access and availability of banking facilities compared to earlier years. The increased share of physical assets over financial assets (around 4%) during the last two decades is a cause of concern requires focused attention to arrest the trend. Traditionally, the Indians are risk-averse and prefer to invest surplus funds in physical assets such as Gold, Silver and lands. Nevertheless, considerable share of savings also owing to financial assets, which includes, Currency, Bank Deposits, Claims on Government, Contractual Savings, Equities The composition of household financial savings shows that the bank deposits (44%) continue to remain the major contributor along with the rise in the Contractual Savings, Claims on Government and Currency. Though there was gradual decline in currency holdings by the households i.e. 13.79% in 1970s to 9.30% in 2007, still the present currency holding level with households appears to be on high side compared to other countries. The primary reasons for higher currency holdings could be absence of banking facilities in majority villages (5.70 lakh villages)as well as hoarding of unaccounted money in the form of cash to circumvent tax laws. Though, cash is treated as financial asset, in reality, a major portion of currency is blocked and become unproductive. Bank deposits seemed to be the preferred choice mainly on account of its inbuilt features such as Safety, Security and Liquidity. Traditionally, the Household sector has been playing a leading role in the landscape of bank deposits followed by the Government sector. However, the last two decades has witnessed significant shift in ownership of Bank deposits. While there was improvement in Corporate and Government sectors' share by 8.30% and 7.20% respectively during the period 1999 to 2009, household sector lost a share of 13.30% in the post reform period. In the post independence era, Indian financial system was characterized by poor infrastructure and low level of financial deepening. Savings in physical assets constituted the largest portion of the savings compared to the financial assets in the initial years of the planning periods. While rural households were keen on acquiring farm assets, the portfolio of urban households constituted consumer durables, gold, jewellery and house property.Despite the fact that the household savings have been gradually moving from physical assets to financial assets over the years, still 49.79% of household savings are wrapped in unproductive physical assets, which is a cause of concern as the share of physical assets to total savings are very high in the recent years compared to emerging economies. This trend needs to be arrested as scarce funds are being diverted into unproductive segments. Of course, investment in Real estate sector can be treated as productive provided construction activity is commenced within reasonable time, but it is regrettably note that many investors just buy and hold it for speculation leading to unproductive investments. India has probably the largest fascination with gold than any other country in the world with a share of 9.50% of the world's total gold holdings. The World Gold Council believes that they are over 18000 tonnes of gold holding in the country. More impressive is the fact that current demand from India alone consumes 25% of the world's annual gold output. Large amount of capital is blocked in gold which resides in bank lockers and remain unproductive. Indian economy would grow faster if the capital markets could attract more of the nation's savings and channel them into more productive areas, especially infrastructure. If the Indian market can develop and evolve into a more mature financial system, which persuades the middle class to put more of its money into equities, the potential is mind-boggling.Which of the following statement (s) is/are correct in the context of the given passage? I. The GDS percentage to GDP has shown considerable improvement from 10% in 1950 to 33.7% in 2010, which is one of the highest globally. II. The saving rate however shows an increasing trend, marginal decline is observed under tic use hold sector. III. The share of financial assets in total household savings have come down from 54.05% to 21% especially in post reform era.....|
|MCQ-> Read carefully the four passages that follow and answer the questions given at the end of each passage:PASSAGE I The most important task is revitalizing the institution of independent directors. The independent directors of a company should be faithful fiduciaries protecting, the long-term interests of shareholders while ensuring fairness to employees, investor, customer, regulators, the government of the land and society. Unfortunately, very often, directors are chosen based of friendship and, sadly, pliability. Today, unfortunately, in the majority of cases, independence is only true on paper.The need of the hour is to strengthen the independence of the board. We have to put in place stringent standards for the independence of directors. The board should adopt global standards for director-independence, and should disclose how each independent director meets these standards. It is desirable to have a comprehensive report showing the names of the company employees of fellow board members who are related to each director on the board. This report should accompany the annual report of all listed companies. Another important step is to regularly assess the board members for performance. The assessment should focus on issues like competence, preparation, participation and contribution. Ideally, this evaluation should be performed by a third party. Underperforming directors should be allowed to leave at the end of their term in a gentle manner so that they do not lose face. Rather than being the rubber stamp of a company’s management policies, the board should become a true active partner of the management. For this, independent directors should be trained in their in their in roles and responsibilities. Independent directors should be trained on the business model and risk model of the company, on the governance practices, and the responsibilities of various committees of the board of the company. The board members should interact frequently with executives to understand operational issues. As part of the board meeting agenda, the independent directors should have a meeting among themselves without the management being present. The independent board members should periodically review the performance of the company’s CEO, the internal directors and the senior management. This has to be based on clearly defined objective criteria, and these criteria should be known to the CEO and other executive directors well before the start of the evolution period. Moreover, there should be a clearly laid down procedure for communicating the board’s review to the CEO and his/her team of executive directors. Managerial remuneration should be based on such reviews. Additionally, senior management compensation should be determined by the board in a manner that is fair to all stakeholders. We have to look at three important criteria in deciding managerial remuneration-fairness accountability and transparency. Fairness of compensation is determined by how employees and investors react to the compensation of the CEO. Accountability is enhanced by splitting the total compensation into a small fixed component and a large variable component. In other words, the CEO, other executive directors and the senior management should rise or fall with the fortunes of the company. The variable component should be linked to achieving the long-term objectives of the firm. Senior management compensation should be reviewed by the compensation committee of the board consisting of only the independent directors. This should be approved by the shareholders. It is important that no member of the internal management has a say in the compensation of the CEO, the internal board members or the senior management. The SEBI regulations and the CII code of conduct have been very helpful in enhancing the level of accountability of independent directors. The independent directors should decide voluntarily how they want to contribute to the company. Their performance should decide voluntarily how they want to contribute to the company. Their performance should be appraised through a peer evaluation process. Ideally, the compensation committee should decide on the compensation of each independent director based on such a performance appraisal. Auditing is another major area that needs reforms for effective corporate governance. An audit is the Independent examination of financial transactions of any entity to provide assurance to shareholder and other stakeholders that the financial statements are free of material misstatement. Auditors are qualified professionals appointed by the shareholders to report on the reliability of financial statements prepared by the management. Financial markets look to the auditor’s report for an independent opinion on the financial and risk situation of a company. We have to separate such auditing form other services. For a truly independent opinion, the auditing firm should not provide services that are perceived to be materially in conflict with the role of the auditor. These include investigations, consulting advice, sub contraction of operational activities normally undertaken by the management, due diligence on potential acquisitions or investments, advice on deal structuring, designing/implementing IT systems, bookkeeping, valuations and executive recruitment. Any departure from this practice should be approved by the audit committee in advance. Further, information on any such exceptions must be disclosed in the company’s quarterly and annual reports. To ensure the integrity of the audit team, it is desirable to rotate auditor partners. The lead audit partner and the audit partner responsible for reviewing a company’s audit must be rotated at least once every three to five years. This eliminates the possibility of the lead auditor and the company management getting into the kind of close, cozy relationship that results in lower objectivity in audit opinions. Further, a registered auditor should not audit a chief accounting office was associated with the auditing firm. It is best that members of the audit teams are prohibited from taking up employment in the audited corporations for at least a year after they have stopped being members of the audit team.A competent audit committee is essential to effectively oversee the financial accounting and reporting process. Hence, each member of the audit committee must be ‘financially literate’, further, at least one member of the audit committee, preferably the chairman, should be a financial expert-a person who has an understanding of financial statements and accounting rules, and has experience in auditing. The audit committee should establish procedures for the treatment of complaints received through anonymous submission by employees and whistleblowers. These complaints may be regarding questionable accounting or auditing issues, any harassment to an employee or any unethical practice in the company. The whistleblowers must be protected. Any related-party transaction should require prior approval by the audit committee, the full board and the shareholders if it is material. Related parties are those that are able to control or exercise significant influence. These include; parent- subsidiary relationships; entities under common control; individuals who, through ownership, have significant influence over the enterprise and close members of their families; and dey management personnel.Accounting standards provide a framework for preparation and presentation of financial statements and assist auditors in forming an opinion on the financial statements. However, today, accounting standards are issued by bodies comprising primarily of accountants. Therefore, accounting standards do not always keep pace with changes in the business environment. Hence, the accounting standards-setting body should include members drawn from the industry, the profession and regulatory bodies. This body should be independently funded. Currently, an independent oversight of the accounting profession does not exist. Hence, an independent body should be constituted to oversee the functioning of auditors for Independence, the quality of audit and professional competence. This body should comprise a "majority of non- practicing accountants to ensure independent oversight. To avoid any bias, the chairman of this body should not have practiced as an accountant during the preceding five years. Auditors of all public companies must register with this body. It should enforce compliance with the laws by auditors and should mandate that auditors must maintain audit working papers for at least seven years.To ensure the materiality of information, the CEO and CFO of the company should certify annual and quarterly reports. They should certify that the information in the reports fairly presents the financial condition and results of operations of the company, and that all material facts have been disclosed. Further, CEOs and CFOs should certify that they have established internal controls to ensure that all information relating to the operations of the company is freely available to the auditors and the audit committee. They should also certify that they have evaluated the effectiveness of these controls within ninety days prior to the report. False certifications by the CEO and CFO should be subject to significant criminal penalties (fines and imprisonment, if willful and knowing). If a company is required to restate its reports due to material non-compliance with the laws, the CEO and CFO must face severe punishment including loss of job and forfeiting bonuses or equity-based compensation received during the twelve months following the filing.The problem with the independent directors has been that: I. Their selection has been based upon their compatibility with the company management II. There has been lack of proper training and development to improve their skill set III. Their independent views have often come in conflict with the views of company management. This has hindered the company’s decision-making process IV. Stringent standards for independent directors have been lacking....|
Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the question.
Political ploys initially hailed as master-strokes often end up as flops. The Rs. 60,000 crore farm loan waiver announced in the budget writes off 100% of overdues of small and marginal farmers holding upto two hectares, and 25% of overdues of larger farmers. While India has enjoyed 8%-9% GDP growth for the past few years, the boom has bypassed many rural areas and farmer distress and suicides have made newspaper headlines. Various attempts to provide relief (employment guarantee scheme, public distribution system) have made little impact, thanks. to huge leakages from the government’s lousy delivery systems. So, many economists think the loan waiver is a worthwhile alternative to provide relief.
However the poorest rural folk are landless labourers, who get neither farm loans nor waivers. Half of the small and marginal farmers get no loans from banks and depend entirely on money-lenders, and will not benefit. Besides, rural India is full of the family holdings rather than individual holdings and family holdings will typically be much larger than two hectares even for dirt-poor farmers, who will, therefore, be denied the 100% waiver. It will thus fail in both economic and political objectives. IRDP loans to the rural poor in the 1980s demonstrated that crooked bank officials demand bribes amounting to one-third the intended benefits. Very few of the intended beneficiaries who merited relief received it. After the last farm loan waiver will Similarly slow down fresh loans to deserving farmers. While overdues to cooperatives may be higher, economist Surjit Shalla says less than 5% of farmer loans to banks are overdue i.e. overdues exist for only 2.25 million out of 90 million farmers. If so, then the 95% who have repaid loans will not benefit. They will be angry at being penalised for honesty.
The budget thus grossly overestimates the number of beneficiaries, It also underestimates the negative effects of the waiver-encouraging willful default in the future and discouraging fresh bank lending for some years. nstead of trying to reach the needy, through a plethora of leaky schemes we should transfer cash directly to the needy using new technology like biometric smart cards, which are now being used in many countries, and mobile phones bank accounts. Then benefits can go directly to phone accounts operable only by those with biometric cards, ending the massive leakages of current schemes.
The political benefits of the loan waiver have also been exaggerated since if only a small fraction of farm families benefit, and many of these have to pay bribes to get the actual benefit, will the waiver really be a massive vote- winner? Members of joint families will feel aggrieved that, despite having less than one hectare per head, their family holding is too large. Lo qualify for the 100% waiver. Alliance ministers, of central or state governments, give away freebies in their last budgets, hoping to win electoral regards, Yet, four-fifth of all incumbent governments are voted out. This shows that beneficiaries of favours are not notably grateful, while those not so favoured may feel aggrieved, and vote for the opposition. That seems to be why election budgets constantly fail to win elections in India and the loan waiver will not change that pattern.Why do economists feel that loan waivers will benefit farmers in distress?|