• Some facts and figures about new banking channels
    • The mobile subscriber base in India has touched 250 mn now and is growing at a scorching pace.
    • At present nearly 23% of banking transactions are done through ATMs.
    • Around 50 bn ATM transactions were done across the world last year.
    • Around $300 bn goods and services were purchased online.
  • Intellectuals and mass base
    • It is another good article from SSSA Aiyar on “Why intellectuals have no mass base.” Recommend reading it once.
    • He basically attributes two factors for this:
      • One is the erosion of the rule of law. We have legislatures, bureaucracies, police and courts to provide voice and justice to the people. But these institutions are corrupt and dysfunctional. For results, you often need money, muscle and influence. Thus when rule of law broke down, people need influence outside the formal institutional framework.
      • The first reason gave rise to identity politics. National parties claiming to represent all identities have lost ground. In the 1950’s political parties represented all rival ideologies. But recent decades have seen the rise of parties based on caste (BSP, SP, RJD, PMK), religion (BJP, Shiv Sena) and region (TDP, AGP, BJD). In addition to these some other identity based parties are found in Punjab (Akali Dal), TN (the two DMKs) and Kerala (the Christian and Muslim parties).
    • Then one more aspect is the transformation of caste system.
      • It is not simply an instrument of oppression, as city intellectuals sometimes think. Jatis, the operative caste groups at the local level, are self-help groups socially bound to assist members in times of need. They have elaborate internal norms for such assistance. Most jatis are occupational groups and this buttresses their social cohesion. These have become building blocks of mass politics.
    • Had India’s organs of state delivered justice and voice regardless of identity, the traditional identity groups may have withered away. In fact, they have got stronger with the erosion, sometimes paralysis, of formal processes.
    • Can anybody from sociology background throw in some inputs on this analysis?
  • Chairman of NABARD
    • Umesh Chandra Sarangi
  • Overseas borrowings for power may not pay withholding tax
    • Withholding tax is levied on interest payments on overseas borrowings. Depending o the lender’s domicile, the tax rate could be as high as 20%. The tax is intended to counteract tax evasion and tax avoidance either by domestic or international tax payers.
    • The power ministry has proposed that the sector be exempted from this tax as well as tax on interest and other payments made to non-residents or a foreign company.
    • The above measures are expected to lessen the borrowing costs of the power sector by about 20%.
    • Look at what we noted earlier on this withholding tax issue: 12.03.2007 & 02.01.2007.
  • A recap of the systems of taxation
    • EEE: Exempt-exempt-exempt. In this, the contributions, the interest earned and the final redemptions are tax free. Eg., PPF and GPF.
    • EET: Exempt-exempt-taxable: In this, the contributions and the interest earned are exempt from tax while the final redemptions are taxable. Eg., NPS (New Pension Scheme)
    • Now the pension regulator wants the NPS also to be included under the EEE regime.
  • Fried food may hike cancer risk in women
    • Acrylamide is a chemical produced when the food is fried, grilled or roasted. Research shows that women who take 40 micrograms of acrylamide a day – equivalent to half a pack of biscuits, a portion of chips, or a single packet of crisps – were twice as likely to fall prey to cancer as compared with those who ate much less.

1 Comment:

Nikhil Pavan Kalyan said...

to make note on the topic by SSSA Aiyer,
one point i can stress is that - even with the rule of law and formal instuitutions working, the identity system may not have withered away.....
one way of explaining the reason for this is - the rule of law or the failure of it is not the origin of these identity politics/systems .....

Caste system/identity influence and jatis are there for a very long time and their strength is expanding (to say in terms of MS Srinivasn - sanskritisation!)along with the other channel of intellectual thinking (to be included in Westernization!) - we need to find optimized ways for both of these to go hand in hand - that can make the present institutional system much better