Buzzwords of 2012: GAAR to lobbying; Libor to fiscal cliff

Last Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012 - 13:01

New Delhi: While the US economy awaits its 'fiscal cliff' at the end of 2012, the world of business in India this year confronted with its own maze of buzzwords that included terms like GAAR, Coalgate, OFCDs and lobbying.

While the concerned companies were heard describing their losses as 'negative profit', Vijay Mallya termed uncertain times at Kingfisher Airlines as a 'holding pattern'. Gold was being called 'idle assets' despite its long-standing status as one of the best performing investment products.

The global terms like 'fiscal cliff' and 'Libor scandal' also became quite popular in the country, although many were found wondering their real meanings and impact.

Coined by the US central banker, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, fiscal cliff refers to the economic scenario that the world's largest economy faces at the start of 2013 due to proposed spending cuts and tax hikes worth USD seven trillion, if the existing laws are not changed by the end of 2012.

On the other hand, the term 'Libor' hogged the limelight after a scandal broke out about manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (a benchmark reference rate used in both the UK and international financial markets) by traders and brokers at Swiss banking giant UBS, among others.

The Swiss banks also continued to make news because of the long-running allegations of their status as hoarders of black money, while probes in the US against at least three global banking giants, including UBS itself as also HSBC and Standard Chartered, revealed lapses in their outsourcing jobs to India.

Back home, the initial months of 2012 saw 'GAAR (General Anti Avoidanace) Rule' and 'retrospective taxation' creating a panic-like situation among the foreign investors and others, while 'Coalgate' became a household term amid allegations of irregularities in coal allocation to various companies.

Also, the government's move to kick up the reform process and opening up of the 'FDI' (Foreign Direct Investment) in certain sectors met with strong political opposition, while questions were also asked about feasibility of schemes like 'Direct Cash Transfer'.

During the year, a purely economic term like 'OFCD' also made much news after two Sahara group companies were asked to refund thousands of crores of rupees raised from an estimated three crore investors through their 'Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures', which are a kind of bonds that can be converted into other securities.

Towards the end of the year, 'lobbying' by US companies, including retail giant Wal-Mart, with their own lawmakers kicked up a political storm, as they were found garnerning support in their home country for pushing forward their business interest in India and elsewhere.


First Published: Friday, December 28, 2012 - 13:01

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