Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Breaking the 40 line barrier

There are sensible speculations that rupee which has already appreciated to 39.60 per $ will appreciate further to the range of Rs. 33 - Rs. 34. Here are a couple of strong reasons :

1) RBI is looking to increase the CRR by another 50 basis points by this year end to wipe off some liquidity to contain inflation within 4 - 4.5 % range

2) The Federal reserve is looking at a 1 basis point cut from the current 4.75 % to 3.75 % by mid January to increase liquidity in U.S.

As we look at the 1st reason, an increase in CRR (cash reserve ratio : which is the sum that every bank has to park in RBI) will mean wiping out a certain amount of money close to a $ 3 bn out of the system ---- > this will increase the demand for money and as a result lead to rupee appreciation against dollar.

The second reason which primarily concerned with the economies of U.S will increase the liquidity in U.S and as a result FII money will flow into India. ----> This again will lead to demand for rupee which will result in rupee appreciation.

Added to this, a bit of recession in the economy of U.S and subprime crisis has led the dollar to weaken against all currencies world over,another reason that can lead to rupee appreciation.

Lets look at a few strong factors for dollar appreciation :

We can expect the RBI to interfere and artificially depreciate the rupee to help the IT , ITeS and export companies but the RBI is giving some strong signals to the export companies to evolve and cope up with the appreciating rupee ever since rupee had broken the 43 line barrier.

The other factor that can lead to dollar appreciation is when the Indo - U.S Nuke deal gets operationalized since then a lot of money will flow from India to U.S. But then again with the Indian politics playing so much against the Nuke deal, we can expect operationalising the deal to be put off for another year or so.

So as of now you can just sit back and look at dollar tumbling over.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Significance of 108

" I have told you a 108 times not to do that and why the hell did you do it. ", this was one of the most common statement of the yesteryear and i have often wondered why pple specifically pick 108 to express something or sometimes anything, i thought 100 was much more a wholesome number than 108 but little do we know the significance and profoundness of such a number, rarely do we understand that 108 is the base for everything.

Now let me start my explanation with an interesting tale associated with 108.

108 Pitha { Sacred Placed }

Long ago, when Lord Shiva was in deep and incessant meditation, his asceticisim was creating a great heat all over the Universe. As a result, everything that then existed were in a huge peril of being destructed, so Lord Brahma to save the Universe requested Maa Shakthi, the mother of the Universe, to use her strenght and wile to seduce Lord Shiva. Maa Shakthi was then born as Sati, the daughter of Shri Daksha. Years passed by and Sati turned out to be a girl of extraordinary beauty and asceticism. Lord Shiva was so attracted by Sati that he took the form of a human and married Sati. The nuptial knot brought about a huge surge of happiness in Lord Shiva and so was it with Lord Brahma as the tryst with destiny saved the Universe.

A few years later, at a feast, Shri Daksha insulted Lord Shiva. Sati felt so humilited by her fathers act that she began a deep meditation in a sacrificial fire which eventually led to her immolation. Lord Shiva was completely hurt by Sati's act and rushed to pull out as much of his beloved's body as he could grab from the sacrificial fire and ascended to the heavens. As he ascended, bits of Sati's body, 108 bits to be precise, fell in different parts of earth. In time, these places were acknowledged and worshipped and were considered to be extremely sacred.


Now that story was interesting wasnt it, though am not very sure of its authenticity.

Lets brush up with some of the facts that adds significance to 108

1) The diameter of the Sun is approximately 108 times the diameter of Earth. There is a belief that life exists at approximately 108 times away from any source of energy or say any star.

2) Consider the powers of 1,2 and 3 in maths : 1 power 1 is 1, 2 power 2 is 4 and 3 power 3 is 27 and when all of them are multiplied (i.e) 1 * 4 * 27 it would give 108.

The logic behind this is that 1 represents 1 dimensional reality, 2 represents 2 dimensional reality and similarly 3 represents 3 dimensional reality, when all three of them are multiplied it would encompass the whole of existence.

3) The 9 planets travelling through 12 signs constitutes the whole existence
(i.e) 9 * 12 = 108.

4) The 27 nakshatras spread over the 4 elements (fire, water, earth and air) or the 4 directions north, south, east, west constitutes whole of existence which again gives 27 * 4 = 108.

5) The Universe is made up of 108 elements according to ancient texts.

6) The number 9 represents wholeness and 108 when the digits of 108 are added it would give 9. Similarly anything that is multiplied by 9 does sum up to 9. The logic behind this the number 9 represents wholeness or God and anything that is multiplied God times only results in God since God is all there is !!!

7) There are 54 letters in Sanskrit alphabet and each has a masculine and feminine form, Shiva and Shakthi, 54 * 2 = 108

8) There are 108 points that define the human body.

9) In Islam, the number 108 is used to refer God.

10) In Jain, 108 represents the combined virtues of 5 categories of holy ones (i.e) its the combination of 12, 8, 36, 25 and 27 virtues respectively.

11) The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool.

12) The Chinese and Taoist use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, the mala is divided into 3 parts of 36 beads each and they represent past, present and future respectively.

HINDUISM

108 Gopis of Lord Krishna
108 Holy places of Vaishnava
108 beads of hindu mala
108 Upanishads

BUDDHA'S FOOTPRINTS

All Buddists accept the Buddha footprints with its 108 Auspicious illustrations. These areas are considered to have been marked on Buddha's left foot when his body was discovered.

JYOTISH SHASTRA { Vedic System }

The Universe is made up of 5 elements namely
air, earth, water, fire and space, from these elements came 3 attributes namely :

Raj (birth)
Sat ( protection)
Tam (death or destruction)

The mathematical or the geographical evidence proves that a circle is 360 degrees in space. When we wonder why this circle or the wheel of life is considered to be 360 degrees only then the logic can be observed if the circle is divided using the remaining 4 elements and its 3 attributes.

The circle itself is considered the element of space since a circle consumes space when we draw one. In this space, the 4 remaining elements and 3 attributes creates an idea of time. The circle is divisible by the product of 4 elements and 3 attributes. By moving 3 times, each element completes a revolution.

So now we have the number 12 { 4 * 3 }, this division gave us the 12 months and also the 12 horas ( 1/2 of a day or ahoratri). We can further divide the wheel of time, there are 27 fixed stars (nakshatras) and along with the 3 attributes it would give us 30 degrees for one part of a wheel or say for a single month. But this is only for the days of a month and the night is unaccounted for. So when this 30 degrees is multiplied with 2 it would give us 60 degrees and thats the reference that we take as 60 seconds in a minute.

Thus the 360 degrees * 30 degrees would give us 10800. For practical purposes only 108 is used eliminating the last two zeros. Using the number 108 we co ordinate with the rythmn of time and space and we remain in harmony with the spiritual powers of nature. The idea of a total universe is represented by the number 108. Offering 108 times anything, the devotees believe that they are showing ultimate or complete respect to the sumpreme !!!

So the next time someone uses the number 108 better dont question its significance.

Hope you guys enjoyed my enlightenment.

Etymology

Etymology is the study of origin and development of words.

Here are a few interesting picks ..

1) Laconic - means short, concise and to the point.

This term actually originated from the people of Greece called Laconians, they are believed to be very brave and courageous and always speak short and to the point. Once in a confrontation between the Laconians and the Athenian herald, the herald said "if we come to your city we will raze you to the ground" for which the Laconians replied just " If " and walked off.

2) Spinster - an unmarried women.

Back in the 16th and 17th century, the women before marriage used to spin yarn in their spare time. But when a women doesnt get married beyond a certain age she was called a spinster which meant she was still spinning the yarn.

3) Nemesis - cause of ruin or death.

Nemesis was a greek goddess who had been a goddess of retribution, anyone who committed sin or any wrong doings had to face the wrath of her big sword.

4) Hat trick - a feat performed thrice consecutively.

Back in the late 19th century when pple played club matches, any bowler who picked 3 wickets in 3 balls were presented a hat for their feat. It was thus termed hat trick later on and pple started using this term in other sport also.

5) Broke - A person with no money or a person who is bankrupt.

Banks in the post Renaissance Europe issued small, porcelain tiles to borrowers in which the customer name and the credit limit was imprinted. When a customer needed to borrow money he had to show this tile to the bank teller, the teller would then check the credit limit on the tile and the amount that had already been withdrawn. If the amount withdrawn exceeded the credit limit, the teller would "broke" the tile on the spot, signifying that no more money should be credited for that person which later on took the meaning as a person with no money.

6) Serendipity - means to discover something accidentally.

Long ago Serendip was the name given to Sri Lanka, Serendipity refers to the three princess of Serendip who on a venture discovered 3 countries accidentally. But i have a feeling this story is a bit fictitious.

7) Maudlin - tearfully sentimental, shed tears for little or nothing.

According to bible, Mary Magdalene was freed of her evil spirit by Christ but the classical painters have displayed her with red and swollen eyes due to some heavy crying for the sins she committed. Eventually this term was used for shedding a tear for little or nothing.

8) Malapropism - ludicrous misuse of words.

Mrs. Malaprop was actually a eighteenth century fictional character in an British comedy
"The Rivals" who constantly confused words and it turned out to be funny in the end. Like in one of her speeches to the nearby countries she addressed them "dear contagious countries" rather than contigious countries which brought a huge uproar of laughter .. Please dont mock at me if that doesnt sound funny to you, after all its comedy of the 18th century.

9) Alarm - ( i dont think you will need an explanation for this word)

The French military needed a laconic term to quickly inform the soldiers about a sudden attack from the enemies, hence they used "all' arme" which meant to get armed. This term later on caught on with the pple and was used to send a red alert to the pple.

10) News - (oh pls dont ask me for a meaning ..)

Well, News is an acronymn for North east west south .. if thats your speculation then you are absolutely wrong. Acronymns are basically a 20th century phenomenon and there are hardly any evidence of its usage before 20th century. So as your normal guess would have been, News is derieved from new which means something that has not happened before, something thats timely.

11) Salary - ( pls ask your boss..)

This word is derived from the greek word "Salarium". Centuries back salt was considered to be extremely valuble and was much in demand in Egypt and the other African countries. The extreme heat in most of the African countries made pple lose a lot of salt in their bodies and thus monthly payment for the work done was given in a form of money that can be used to buy salt, this was called Salarium. Later on this word caught on as salary and is now frequently used.

12) Baker's Dozen - adds up to a sum of 13.

The medieval law specified a weight for a loaf of bread and any baker who shorted that for any customer would have to face dire consequences. Hence a baker would include an extra loaf in a dozen just to be on the safer side. But this story is only partly true, the actual fact was that, during good harvest the bakers were able to make more bread than they could sell hence they would sell all the extra loaves to middlemen. The bakers would give a thirteenth loaf for each dozen to the middlemen and this extra loaf served as the middlemans profit.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Nuke deal or No deal ?

On March 2, 2006 in New Delhi George Bush and Manmohan Singh signed a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, following an initiation during the July 2005 summit in Washington between the 2 leaders over the Civil Nuclear Cooperation.


Before we understand the deal lets first reason out why such an agreement has to be made.


India ’s fast growing economy has increased the demand for energy all over the country to huge extents. Alarmingly our coal reserves will last only for the next 86 years and the oil reserves will burn itself out in the next 23 years, we do have huge hydroelectric potential in the North and North-Eastern regions from where we can harness around 1,50,000Mw of power but our total installed hydro capacity uses only 26,910 Mw of hydro power which constitutes merely 18 % of the total potential.



Even harnessing the full potential of the hydro power will not be sufficient to satisfy the growing energy needs of our country of 1 billion people. This has made it mandatory for the government to push for alternate source of energy which will suffice the huge energy demands of our country and obviously it has to be the nuclear energy.



India has 8 million tones of morazite deposits along the seacoast out of which half can be mined, to yield 2,25,000 tonnes of thorium metal which will give us our much needed energy and last for more than 5 centuries. At present, we have 14 Civilian Nuclear Rectors which produces merely 4 % or less of the total electricity consumed in India . Thus the Indo- U.S nuclear deal was signed to improve the functioning of the 14 nuclear plants and for importation of new technologies, inputs, fuel and whatever else that will be required to increase the amount of nuclear energy produced in India .


Alright now we know why a nuclear deal between India and U.S is required but why is it called a 123 agreement?


Well the Section 123 of the United States Atomic Energy Act of 1954, titled "Cooperation with Other Nations", establishes an agreement for cooperation as a prerequisite for nuclear deals between the US and any other nation. Such an agreement is called a 123 Agreement. To date, the U.S. has entered into roughly twenty-five 123 Agreements with various countries.
Some of the countries with which the U.S. has or had a 123 Agreement:
Morocco

Ukraine

Romania

Japan (with automatic re-processing rights)

Euratom (with automatic re-processing rights)

China (with re-processing rights, requiring approval per each request)

Switzerland

India (draft completed, requires signatures from U.S. and India - the agreement is witnessing opposition within India from parties of the Left Front)


What’s the disadvantage of 123 agreement?


The agreement makes it explicit that if India conducts nuclear tests, the nuclear cooperation will be terminated and we will be required to return all equipment and materials we might have received under this deal. But there are a few provisions to test nuclear weapons if our neighboring countries test their nuclear arsenal. It is debated by the opposition parties that there is a clause in the 123 agreements which says that the agreement should be consistent to the Hyde act.


What’s a Hyde act and why are the opposition parties apprehensive about it?



The Indo-U.S. nuclear co-operation was renamed as the Hyde Act of 2006 on consensus by both the houses of U.S congress after the legislation for the co operation between the two countries was finalized. This Act will soon be signed into law by the U.S. President, and all future agreements will have to conform more or less to this law.


Why do the opposition parties fear about the law that is not yet signed?


The U.S will obviously not have any intensions of doing any favours or provide service to our country or for a matter of fact to any other country, it will just seek to maintain its position as a global powerhouse. Hence the opposition fears that we might be pushed to a position where we will have a weak arsenal protection since we will not be able to make any nuclear tests for the sake of our civil energy demands or we will encounter a huge economic crisis as the U.S will pull out of its nuclear agreement if we test the nuclear weapons.


Either way we will be pushed to a position of weakness and this is what that makes the opposition apprehensiveThe opposition fears that on pretext of conforming to the energy needs of India , we might lose our sovereignty to conduct nuclear tests.


When our neighboring and developed countries proliferate their nuclear armament, India cannot afford to stand still and watch them grow powerful since at some point of time in the far future we should be able to defend ourselves in case of a nuclear war.


Its a very tough decision to make since it happens to be a catch 22 situation and its upto the ruling party to negotiate further and draft out an agreement that conforms well to our interests.