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Hindustan Times
December 30, 2012
As the New Year dawns, HT presents a long shortlist of concepts and phrases, products and personalities that dominated economic and business thinking in the past 12 months.


Aakash: India’s tech-showpiece and world’s lowest priced tablet faced a volley of questions on its reported Chinese origins.


Black Money: An illegitimate cash economy that continues to thrive, move across exotic global locales and cock-a-snook at authorities.

Coalgate: A controversy on the award of captive coal to power and steel companies that opened up a no-holds-barred attack on the UPA government

Diageo: UK- based world’s largest liquor company by sales and the producer of Johnnie Walker whisky, which acquired Vijay Mallya-led United Spirits Limited.

Export: Shrinking shipment orders from Europe, triggered by sovereign debt worries in Greece, the cradle of the western civilisation, have hurt India’s export.

EMI: Something that mostly goes up, up and up. Ask any home loan borrower. It remained high in 2012 after the RBI refused to budge despite mounting pressures to slash lending costs.

FDI: Policy that promises, among other things, to enable you to shop-till-you-drop, in a giant deep-discount superstore in your city.

Fiscal cliff: Effect of a series of enacted legislation, which, if unchanged, will result in tax increases, spending cuts of  about $700 billion in the US starting 2013.

GAAR: The controversial General Anti-Avoidance Rules aimed at preventing deals or incomes that are structured only to avoid paying taxes.

Household income: Surging food costs and higher EMIs have shrunk household incomes, as consumers have to pay more for the same goods.

IKEA: Swedish furniture major whose investment proposal to set up large stores in India were cleared by the government, but with a few riders.

Inflation: A monster that the RBI and the government are struggling to tame in a tug-of-war between rising prices and sliding growth.

Jobs: Companies have pruned wage bills to cut corners in difficult times, offering lower salary hikes that barely take care of rising prices.

Kingfisher: A winged entity that has not flown since October leaving those who fly on it, and work for the airline, unhappy and angry.

Lobbying: Art of articulation of views that assumed political connotations after Wal-Mart declared that it had spent millions on activities including “enhanced market access for investment in India.”

Libor: Acronym for London Interbank Offered Rate of interest that banks charge to lend money to each other. Charges of manipulation marred its nature.

Manesar: Synonym for violent labour unrest resulting in the death of a senior company executive after hundreds of Maruti Suzuki workers struck work in a plant, halting production including that of popular hatchback Swift.

Non-performing assets: Short-hand for loans that have gone bad, always at higher risk in times of global economic slowdown.

Newscorp:  The cost of sniffing around. Ask Rupert Murdoch who was forced to close, restructure his flagship company, after closing down the popular News of The World (NOTW), hit by a hacking scandal.

OS: Operating Systems —the battleground for mobile phone makers and tablet manufacturers amid rising premium for mobility. With content and Google-backed Android capturing Asia, Apple’s iPhone sets the agenda for the US.

Preet Bharara: Prosecution lawyer who fought the case to nail Rajat Gupta. An Indian American, he has brought to book prominent hedge fund traders and corporate executives for insider trading.

QE3: An acronym for the third round of quantitative easing (QE) by the US central bank, the Fed, to pump in money in the financial system to pumprime the economy.

Rajat Gupta: The Former McKinsey chief  who was convicted of insider trading, tarnishing his reputation as a corporate leader, philanthropist and educationist, built over 40 years.

Retrospective Tax: A tax on some type of deals such as Vodafone’s acquisition of Hutch’s mobile assets in India that triggereed howls of protest across the corporate firmament.

Rupee: A buck that doesn’t seem to stop falling in value. It hit a record 57.33 in 2012, making holidaying abroad and imported gadgets, among others, costlier.

SS&P: Credit-rating agency that didn’t spare any punches on hitting out at macro-management, or rather the lack of it, of the Indian economy.

Tim Cook: Apple CEO, who successfully unveiled iPhone 5, first major launch after the death of the company’s iconic founder Steve Jobs.

Under-recoveries: Revenues foregone for selling fuel at below costs that oil companies justify to raise petrol and diesel prices.

Vikram Pandit: Former Citigroup chief, whose surprising resignation, just a day after the bank posted strong quarterly results, triggered reports that his ouster was planned for months.

Wal-mart: US superstore that came under scanner for its investment in India as well as spending money on lobbying activities.

X-factor: Something that India’s policy makers will have to demonstrate to perk up the economy that is headed towards the worst growth in 10 years.

Yahoo: New CEO picked up from Google, Marissa Mayer, gave birth to a baby in a two-week break while handling the challenge of turning the ailing internet company around. Now she has to deliver results.

Zuckerberg, Mark: Facebook founder, who proved that social networking can be worth more than $100 billion ( Rs. 550,000 crore).