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Fiscal deficit to be around 5.2% in FY14: CRISIL

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Fiscal deficit to be around 5.2% in FY14: CRISIL

December 28, 2013

As per ratings agency CRISIL, government will miss its 4.8% fiscal deficit target by 0.40% this fiscal 2013-14 and suggested Public Sector Units (PSUs) should dip into their cash reserves to reduce the gap by paying extra dividends.

As per the rating agency, taking into account the current scenario, wherein the front loading of expenditure has resulted in 84.4% of the budgeted fiscal deficit target being hit by November 2013, the fiscal deficit is expected to touch 5.2%. As per CRISIL, the government can narrow down its fiscal deficit by as much as Rs 20,000 crore this fiscal by using cash reserves of PSUs. The agency says that top 20 PSUs will have a cash reserve of Rs 1,60,000 crore by March 2014 and are “comfortably placed” to pay a special dividend of 40% of the corpus (Rs 64,000 crore) without impacting growth plans. This amount will be Rs 27,000 crore more than the dividend paid by the companies in 2012 and after calculating the stake of the government in the firms, will lead to excess revenue of Rs 20,000 crore. This Rs 20,000 crore extra income would make around 20 basis points of the fiscal deficit, which can help the government reach nearer to its stated fiscal deficit target of 4.8%. The agency expressed concerns over the revenue collections from the taxation and also about the Government not being able to reach its Rs 40,000 crore divestment target.

Year 2014 to bring 8.5 lakh new jobs: Report

December 28, 2013

As per a survey by recruitment platform year 2014 MyHiringClub.com  augurs well for job seekers as more than 8.5 lakh new jobs are expected across various sectors, including FMCG and healthcare. According to the survey based on a study conducted among more than 5,600 firms across 12 industry sectors, the forecasted number of new jobs in 2014 is higher than the estimated 7.9 lakh employment opportunities created in 2013.

All the employments have been projected in for the organised sector. Apart from FMCG, more jobs are expected in healthcare, IT, retail and hospitality sectors.

Sectror-wise expected number of jobs:

  • FMCG: 1.5 lakh

  • Healthcare: 1.33 lakh

  • IT and ITeS: 1.21 lakh

  • Retail: 86,700

  • Hospitality:  83,400

  • Banking and Financial services: 61,400

  • Manufacturing and Engineering: 51,500

  • Education, Training and Consultancy: 42,900

  • Media and Entertainment: 42,800

  • Real estate: 38,700

Australian school introduces world’s first standing classroom to combat childhood obesity

December 29, 2013

As part of a novel experiment, Mont Albert Primary School in Australia has launched the world’s first standing classroom which aims to combat the menace of childhood obesity. In this experiment being conducted by  the researchers of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, a grade six class at this school has been fitted with height-adjustable desks to allow the student to sit or stand.

The researchers will monitor the standing students with an objective to know if being upright can improve their health, fitness, learning and memory. Pupils will also be fitted with devices to measure how long they spend sitting, with lesson plans revised to reduce the time students are idle.

Why this experiment?

As per scientists, prolonged sitting during the school hours poses health risk by contributing to obesity in students as during these hours children perform less physical activity. Earlier studies have shown students spent two-thirds of a school day sitting, and long hours of childhood sitting can contribute to the onset of suchdiseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

In this experiment in which students are required to attend school hours standing they will  engage more muscles that are likely to be of great benefit for keeping the blood flowing throughout their body and reducing the level of fatigue. If researchers find this exercise beneficial for the cardiovascular health, learning and memory of the standing students compared to a traditional class, this pilot study would be expanded to a much larger trial to find if it can make an impact on lessons across Australia.

State civil services officers to face UPSC test for promotion to AIS

December 29, 2013

State civil services officers will have to face a Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) test and interview for their promotion to the three All IndiaServices (AIS). The Ministry of Personnel recently changed the rules for promotion from state services. The move was opposed by some states includingTamil Nadu.

The selection to IAS, IPS and IFoS from states’ services will be made through a 1000 marks four-stage process including a written exam and interview.

The new norms are

  • A state civil services officer will have to face the written examination comprising two papers – on aptitude test; and general studies in addition to state-specific questions.

  • There will be a third written paper on essay, comprehension and precis type only for non-state civil services officers in addition to two papers.

  • Successful candidates will face an interview and their Annual Confidential Report (ACR) will be assessed by a board.

  • The final merit list will be based on the marks obtained in four components – written exam, length of service, assessment of ACR and interview.

  • No cap on the number of attempts.

  • The scheme might be reviewed after its implementation for 3 years. 

Note: So far, the selection of state services officers into the three All-India Services – Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS)and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) – was done on the basis of review of their seniority and ACRs.

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