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Tamil Nadu government launches free CFL scheme

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Tamil Nadu government launches free CFL scheme

January 1, 2014

In a bid to promote power saving, Tamil Nadu government began the first phase of distributing free Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs to over 14 lakh hut-dwellers in the state. The scheme is aimed at saving 40 mw of electricity.

The government will implement the scheme in phases. The first phase costing Rs 8.77 crore will cover 7 lakh domestic consumers. The Chief Minister also unveiled various sub-stations in the capacity of 230 kv, 110 kv and 33 kv, build in different parts of the state at an overall expense of Rs 509.88 crore.

Millionaire Tax” approved by the French constitutional council

January 1, 2014

The French Constitutional Council approved the government’s controversial “millionaire tax” proposal for companies to pay 75% tax on annual salaries exceeding €1 million  ($1.375 million USD), in line with President Francois Hollande’s drive to limit executive pay at a time of economic hardship. To reduceFrance’s budget deficit, the increase in tax raised discontent among the businessleaders and the football clubs.

About Millionaire Tax

The super tax is one of the President Francois Hollande’s signature policies, to pull out France from its economic crisis.

  • The tax will include a 50% levy on the portion of wages exceeding €1 million paid in 2013 and 2014. It will be levied on companies, not the individual.

  • The tax, for earnings in 2013 and 2014, will hit around 470 companies and a dozen football clubs. It is expected to raise €210 million a year.

  • Including social contributions, the rate will effectively remain about 75%, though the tax will be capped at 5% of a company’s turnover.

Survey by Trend Micro: Bitcoin malware, India among top targets

January 1, 2014

As per a survey conducted by the IT security firm Trend Micro, Bitcoin mining malware is infecting millions of computers globally and extending the threat of cyber security risks for users of the cyber currency. Thousands of computers, including in India, are being infected with malwares related to the virtual currency. Bitcoin mining is resource-intensive and can slow down the system due to the increased CPU load. The infected computers will become very slow on system operation, also appears heavy CPU and power consumption.

Major points related to the survey conducted by the IT security firm Trend Micro

  • Most of the countries of the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are affected by the Bitcoin-mining malware. Japan is the most affected country, followed by Taiwan, Australia and India.

  • Bitcoin users have become the hot target for cyber criminals as bitcoin transaction is permanent and has no reversal of charges.

  • About 12,000 personal computers have been globally affected by malwares (related to bitcoin) which were causing severe slowdown of computer systems making them “virtual assets for the criminals
About Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is unregulated by any central bank or government, but still works for purchasing goods and services from retailers willing to accept it. It can also be traded on an open market that fluctuates much like a stock market. Bitcoin is a distributed peer-to-peer digital currency that functions without the inter-mediation of any central authority. Bitcoin is also called a “cryptocurrency” since it is decentralized and uses cryptography to prevent double-spending, a significant challenge inherent to digital currencies.

RBI extends deadline to issue inflation-indexed bonds

January 1, 2014

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended the time for issuance of Inflation Indexed National Savings Securities Cumulative (IINSS-C) bonds (or inflation linked bonds) by three months to March 31, 2014, from December 31, 2013. The issuance can be closed earlier than March 31, 2014 with a prior notice.

Why RBI extended the deadline to issue inflation-indexed bonds?

  • The operational guidelines (internal to banks) for selling these certificates at the branch level are still in the works.

  • Secondly, it will take time to create awareness among customers in relation to inflation linked bonds.
Inflation linked bonds

  • The limit for investment per applicant per annum: Rs 5,000 – Rs 5 lakh.

  • Eligibility for subscription: Individuals, Hindu Undivided Family, charitable institutions and universities.

  • The interest rate on these bonds would be linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

  • The interest rate would comprise two parts — a fixed rate of 1.5% per annum and inflation rate based on CPI with a lag of three months. It would be compounded on the principal on half-yearly basis and paid at the time of maturity.

  • For senior citizens (65 years and above of age),  early repurchase will be allowed after one year from date of issue and other investors can redeem them after three years but with penalty of 50 per cent of the last coupon paid.

  • RBI will act as a central depository, as these securities will be issued in the form of Bonds Ledger Account (BLA) and held with RBI.

  • Distribution or sale of bonds would be through banks: SBI, nationalized banks and three private banks HDFC BankICICI Bankand Axis Bank  and Stock Holding Corporation of India.

Note: Inflation linked bonds are launched as instruments that will protect savings from inflation, especially the savings of the poor and middle classes.

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