Economics A to Z: A look back at the outgoing calendar

An alphabetical look-back at the year gone by, in which the global economy wobbled in revival mode even as India geared for a new era of growth amid profound technological changes
Hindustan Times | By HT Business Bureau
UPDATED ON DEC 31, 2015 12:12 PM IST


Arun Jaitley: Indian finance minister who has steered the economy into the world’s fastest growing amid shaky external conditions and an opposition that has blocked key legislations

Alphabet: A holding company that Google has created to oversee its lucrative Internet business and other ventures; co-founder Larry Page is the CEO of Alphabet, while Sergey Brin is the president


Bullet train: Trains that can run at speeds of 320 kmph; Japan is set to fund India’s first Rs 98,000-crore bullet train project connecting Mumbai to Ahmedabad

(AP File Photo)
(AP File Photo)

Base rate: The floor rate based on banks’ fund costs. All lending rates are linked to this floor. The Reserve Bank of India has introduced a new system, which will force banks to fully pass on its rate cuts


Call drop: A call that gets disconnected due to network glitches; the menace assumed epidemic proportions in 2015 as snapped conversations continue to hurt millions of phone users

Cess: A tax on tax, by definition. In November, the government introduced a cess of 0.5% on services to fund the signature Swachh Bharat programme for modernising India’s sanitation systems

Crude oil: The basic hydrocarbon resource for petrol, diesel and others; its price has plunged to a 11-year low at below $40 a dollar on supply glut and falling demand from a slowing China


Diesel: A transport fuel that has had to bear the brunt for sharp rise in vehicular pollution; the Supreme Court has imposed a temporary ban on new registration of diesel vehicles till March

(HT File Photo)
(HT File Photo)

Digital India: An initiative to bridge India’s digital divide, make governance more technology-enabled and public services easily accessible


EMIs: Equated monthly installments that finally started coming down in 2015, albeit slowly, following sharp rate cuts by the RBI

Exports: India’s exports have fallen for 12 months in a row hit by plunging shipment orders with many European economies still battling a persistent slowdown


FDI: A form of overseas investment that India is trying to attract; the government has recently eased FDI norms for 15 sectors, including defence, broadcasting and construction

Foxconn: Taiwanese technology major Foxconn, which has lined up $20-billion (Rs 1.3 lakh-crore) investment plans for India


GST: Goods and Services Tax that seeks to replace a gamut of local levies with a single tax; has remained stuck in Parliament due to lack of political consensus

Gross domestic product (GDP): Total value of goods and services produced in the country; real or inflation-adjusted GDP is forecast to grow at 7-7.5% in 2015-16, down from the earlier estimates of 8.1-8.5%

GMV: Gross merchandise value, effectively value of goods traded annually through online shopping platforms; has become the key metric driving eye-popping valuations of e-commerce start-ups

Gold schemes: A gold “monetisation” scheme and a gold sovereign bond plan launched as part of the government’s plan to channelise idle gold for productive use, wean people away from investing in gold and reduce costly imports


H1B Visa: A kind of visa widely used by Indian IT professionals to work in the US. The US House of Representatives recently passed an omnibus bill making hiring of foreign workers on H-1B and L-1 visas substantially expensive


Inflation: Rate of change in prices that has remained benign, but could be masking a rising trend in food prices; low inflation, however, has enabled RBI to cut interest rates

Indigo: India’s largest airline by market share that listed on stock markets in a much-awaited initial public offering worth Rs 3,010 crore


Janet Yellen: US Fed chief, who finally raised interest rates after successfully overseeing the complete roll-back of QE3 (see QE)amid strong revival signs in the US economy


KV Kamath: Former ICICI Bank MD and CEO who was appointed as the first head of the New Development Bank, also called BRICS Bank, a multilateral institution set up by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa


Lift off: The act of interest rates rising in the US for the first time since 2006. The US Fed eventually raised rates in December; but it did not ruffle markets much


Maggi: Swiss food major Nestle’s popular easy-to-cook snack that was banned on grounds for allegedly containing higher than permissible levels of lead. It was back on the shelves five months later

(HT File Photo)
(HT File Photo)

Monetary policy committee (MPC): A panel empowered to take decisions on interest rates; a proposal that the RBI governor cannot supersede the decisions of the panel had created a stir

Monsoon: Rains during June-September besides bringing relief from summers, are also the life-blood of Asia’s third-largest economy; it failed for the second successive year in 2015

MAT: Minimum alternate tax; a direct tax, restrospective imposition of which led to a sell off by foreign fund houses earlier in the year; the AP Shah panel suggested that foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) should be exempted from the purview of MAT


NPAs: Non-performing assets or loans that have turned bad. NPAs rose to more than `3 lakh crore mirroring Indian banks’ delicate state

Net neutrality: A principle that treats Internet as a public utility and treats traffic equally. It created a storm amid a growing perception that telcos were against it

(HT File Photo)
(HT File Photo)


Onions: A key ingredient in Indian food; it retailed at around Rs 80 a kg in some parts of the country bringing back memories of 2013


Pulses: A source of protein for every Indian; its skyrocketing prices became emblematic of India’s food inflation woes after storms and drought hit output

Poverty Line: An income threshold below which families are considered poor. The World Bank has come out with an updated international poverty line of $1.90 a day

Payments Banks: A new class of banks that were granted approval by the RBI; these banks (eleven in total) aim to deepen financial inclusion. They can accept limited deposits but cannot lend

Pay Commission: A panel that suggests new wages for govt employees. The 7th Pay Panel has recommended an average 23.55% increase in pay for 4.8 million staffers and 5.5 million pensioners


QE: A monetary stimulus through which the US central bank pumped in $85 bn per month to revive the US economy; it was rolled back in 2014, setting the stage for interest rate hikes in 2015

RuPay: India’s own payment gateway system that is giving tough competition to Visa and Mastercard after the launch of Jan Dhan scheme. About 220 million, or 36% of total debit cards in India are RuPay cards

Recalls: The act of car makers offering a free repair of a faulty system in vehicles; there was high incidence of recalls in India involving GM, Honda and others.

Raghuram Rajan: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor who slashed the key interest rate—repo rate—by 1.25 percentage points in 2015; minced no words in asking banks to pass on full benefits of the rate cuts

RNR: Revenue Neutral Rate or the rate of tax that does not erode states’ and the Centre’s existing revenue levels; an ideal RNR for GST is still being debated between the states and the Centre


Sensex: A 30-share benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange, also a barometer of investor sentiments, dipped over 6% this year as US Fed Rate hike hit emerging markets

SECC: Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011, the first comprehensive exercise about rural poverty levels in India; it concluded that the primary breadwinner in 75% households in India’s villages earn less than Rs 5,000 a month

Sports Utility Vehicles or SUVs: A class of vehicles that have been at the receiving end of the battle against pollution; SC has banned registration of SUVs above 2,000cc capacity till March 31.

Sundar Pichai: Chennai-born techie who became the new CEO of internet giant Google, which has taken a new name, Alphabet

(Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)
(Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

Startups: New ventures driven by new entrepreneurs. A Nasscom study says India has the third-highest number of start-ups in the world, behind the US and the UK

Shivinder Mohan Singh: Co-founder of Fortis Healthcare, who gave up his executive role to focus on a spiritual role at Radha Soami Satsang Beas


Tax return form: Proposed forms that required the taxpayer to give details of foreign trips, bank accounts, passport and Aadhaar number; rolled back after protests


Unicorn: A class of start-ups whose valuation, based on fund-raising, is above $1 billion


Volkswagen: The world’s largest car maker was hit by an emissions cheating scandal in 11 million diesel vehicles, over 300,000 in India alone

A measuring tube of an emissions testing device for diesel-powered vehicles is attached to the exhaust pipe of a Volkswagen diesel car in Germany (EPA File Photo)
A measuring tube of an emissions testing device for diesel-powered vehicles is attached to the exhaust pipe of a Volkswagen diesel car in Germany (EPA File Photo)

Vivo: Chinese smartphone maker that replaced PepsiCo as the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tourney


WTO: World Trade Organisation. The global body’s 10th ministerial conference in Nairobi remained deadlocked over protectionism


Xiaomi: China’s smartphone maker, in which Ratan Tata acquired a stake, plans to set up a plant in Andhra Pradesh


Yuan: IMF included China’s renminbi or the Yuan as the fifth currency in its elite special drawing rights; the yuan’s devaluation in August sent stock and currency markets diving


Zuckerberg, Mark: Facebook founder and CEO, who visited India and hosted PM Narendra Modi at the Facebook HQ, donated 99% wealth to a welfare fund.

Mark Zuckerberg with PM Narendra Modi before their mee (Reuters File Photo)
Mark Zuckerberg with PM Narendra Modi before their mee (Reuters File Photo)

Click to read all our year end specials Rewind 2015

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