Ravi Shankaran to be arrested
- Ravi Shankaran who? He is the kin of former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash and accused in the Navy War Room leak case. See Discover It of 20th October 2006, wherein I mentioned about this case.
- The Centre requested the UK government for his provisional arrest under Article 12 of the extradition treaty between the two countries.
- What’s a honey trap? In this war room leak case, one Ms. Raj Rani Jaiswal was allegedly acting as one for the defence personnel. In espionage, a honeypot or honeytrap is a trap set to capture, kill or compromise an enemy agent using sex as the lure. A honey trap is a form of sting operation, in which wrong doers are lured into revealing themselves to a policing organization. While a sting operation targets a known or suspected individual and attempts to trap them committing a specific case of crime, a honey trap establishes a general lure to attract unknown criminals.
The crux of the Iran-US dispute about nuclear fuel enrichment
- The US accuses Iran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran vehemently denies this and says that it wants to develop only nuclear energy for its growing population. Iran has succeeded in enriching Uranium to levels of around 5% in its research work at Natanz but this is well off the 90% levels required to make an atomic weapon.
- My take is that Iran should not be taken seriously in its protestations. While it has got all the oil and gas reserves that will fully meet its energy needs, where is the necessity for it to go nuclear without IAEA safeguards? If its nuclear program is not one aimed at becoming a nuclear power in military terms, why should it refuse IAEA safeguards? It would have been a different story had it been saying that NPT regime itself is a lopsided one (a line that is taken by India all along). But that appears to be not the case.
Tibet’s interest is to be with China: Dalai Lama
- In a very rare speech, the Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying so. This is in sharp contrast with what is so far understood in general. It was usually perceived that the Dalai Lama was fighting for independence of Tibet. But that appears not to be the case anymore.
- He was quoted as having said that the increasing Chinese Han population and deployment of Peoples Liberation Army (China’s military) in Tibet are the obstacles for attaining political autonomy.
Online shopping or e-commerce statistics relating to India
- According to IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India), e-commerce transactions, not including travel, will cross Rs. 2,300 cr or 10% of organized retail market in 2006-07.
India’s iron ore reserves
- Are reportedly at 25 bn tonnes
- Currently about 150 mn tonnes of ore is produced per annum. More than 60% of this (about 90 mn tonnes) is exported.
- Sometimes referred to as NeGAP also, it is National e-Governance Plan
- It was initiated in October 2005 and aims at improving the accessibility and effectiveness of government services with the help of information and communication technologies. It consists of 10 functional components and 26 mission mode projects (MMPs) to be executed over a period of 4 years.
- Central government projects include: National ID, Central Excise, Incometax, DCA-21, Passports/Visa and immigration, pensions, banking and insurance.
- State government projects include: Land records, property registration, transport, agriculture, municipalities, gram panchayats, commercial taxes, treasuries, police and employment exchange.
A loophole in the current SEZ policy
- An EOU (Export Oriented Unit) needs to export most of its output to get tax benefits. While a unit located in an SEZ needs to be a net foreign exchange earner. Thus a company that imports nothing but exports 5% of its output in an SEZ may get more tax benefits than a 100% EOU.
- Plugging this loophole is more important than limiting the SEZs to wasteland, argues today’s ET’s editorial. I can’t agree more.
- China does not build SEZs in the wastelands of Tibet or the Gobi desert. So crying hoarse over agriculture land, multi-crop land etc., being diverted to setting up of SEZs needs to be given a lesser preference than this.
Youth 4 Jobs
- Is a programme of employment generation and marketing mission headed by Meera Shenoy in Andhra Pradesh.
- It is getting rave reviews for being able to tap into the employment potential of rural youth by equipping them with the requisite skill sets needed for getting them gainful employment in the rural areas where the revolution of retail is fast catching up. The retail giants as well as others are now evincing interest in this program. The program boasts of 90% placement of its trainees. It is taken up with the active involvement of the Government of Andhra Pradesh and is partnered by private companies.
- See today’s article by Rama Bijapurkar in ET’s centre page for full details.
About Private Equity as told by David Rubenstein, co-founder of Carlyle Group, a leading PE firm
- PE has come a long way. Back in 1980, PE firms mainly focused on Europe and the US. Today it has become a truly global industry with capital under management at $743 bn and managing assets worth over $3 trillion.
- In PE parlance, very large single transactions (investments) are called the ‘club deals’.
Two more national water ways?
- The Centre is considering declaring two more national water ways which will be named 4th and 5th water ways respectively:
1. The Kakinada – Pondicherry route: This links the Godavari and Krishna rivers and several canals such as the Kakinada Canal, Eluru Canal, Commamur Canal, Buckingham Canal and Kaluvely Canal and will have a length of 1,095 km.
2. Geonkhali (West Bengal) – Paradip (Orissa) route: This 623 km route will integrate the Hijli Tidal Canal and the East Coast Canal, and will link three rivers – the Matai, Brahmani and Mahanadi.
3. The existing three declared National Waterways are:
National Waterway 1 - Allahabad Haldia stretch of the Ganga Bhagirathi Hooghly river system (1620 km) in October 1986.
National Waterway 2 - Saidiya Dhubri stretch of the Brahmaputra river system (891 km) in September 1988.
National Waterway 3 - Kollam Kottapuram stretch of West Coast Canal (168 km) along with Champakara canal (14 km) and Udyogmandal canal (23 km) in February 1993.
- India has an extensive network of inland waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters and creeks. The total navigable length is 14,500 km, out of which about 5200 km of river and 485 km of canals can be used by mechanised crafts. Freight transportation by waterways is highly underutilized in India compared to other large countries like USA, China and European Union. The total cargo moved (in tonne kilometers) by the inland waterway was just 0.1% of the total inland traffic in India, compared to the 21% figure for USA. Cargo transportation in an organized manner is confined to a few waterways in Goa, West Bengal, Assam and Kerala. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration and regulation.