Politics & the Nation

  • The continuing Mumbai seize
    • I am sure all of you have been following the sordid saga through the TV medium. The entire world's attention is now on this still contiuing story.
    • In its lead story ET describes the attack thus:
      • It wasn't an attack on a community or a government. The purpose was not to terrorise the locals. It was an attack on the India story, which is struggling to step out of the shadow of a global slowdown. Specifically looking for and taking holders of British and American passports hostage was perhaps a signal to make India less attractive for tourists and investors.
    • In this hour of crisis, we express our deep sorrow and offer condolences for all those who have suffered pain / loss in this traumatic event. We especially salute all those police, army and other personnel that have laid down their lives.
    • And we hope that Mumbai returns to normalcy from today.
    • I can only reiterate my request to our political class: Please stand united. Don't divide the country in the name of religion, caste, creed or sex. That's what has been proved to be our undoing. This is what has been giving strength to people with nefarious designs on India to succeed in surprising us.
  • As far as opinions are concerned, I cannot but agree with this strong piece from PR Ramesh in today's ET. Read it here.
  • Speaking of unity among the political class, I am left to wonder whether democracy as it exists in India can have a viable alternative?
    • When sections of society feel that their voice is not heard, they resort to seeking an electoral identity with a view to get 'power.' Their aims and goals will revolve around either strengthening or protecting this 'power.' It is in this process that the society gets thoroughly divided and is not able to present a united front against the undesirable / anti-social elements that are able to tap the narrow or parochial considerations for their ulterior purposes. The issue is not just one of presenting a united front against undesirable elements, it is also about establishing and pursuing a coherent policy response on any matter that concerns the country as a whole.
    • Would it not be worthwhile to have a directly elected executive President who in turn will have a Cabinet that comprises of representatives from all sections of the society? These representatives can be elected directly by those various sections through ballot. There is no scope for political parties in such a system. Let the system of politcal parties be given up. Such a set up can possibly present a united front and yet satisfy the political aspirations of various sections of the society.
Finance & Economics
  • The ongoing trauma in Mumbai to hit insurance companies hard?
    • Unlike foreign insurers, who exclude terror risks from their standard property insurance policies, Indian companies cover terrorism. Indian companies are able to provide protection even without reinsurance support because of the creation of a 'terrorism pool' seven years ago. The pool, which initially provided protection up to Rs 200 crore, can now offer cover up to Rs 700 crore as there has hardly been any terror claim.
    • General Insurance is reported to have confirmed that premium collections of over Rs 150 crore are getting added to this pool every year.
  • Housing sector to get a boost
    • THE government is working on a proposal to subsidise housing loans below Rs 10 lakh by asking banks to give loans to individuals and builders at a lower interest rate for five years. Builders will get the loan only for housing projects that are under construction. The government will compensate the banks by providing money from the Union Budget.
  • Effie awards
    • These are the Advertising Club Bombay's annual awards for effectiveness in advertising. Instituted in India for the first time in 2001, they have come a long way over the last eight years.
    • Besides the prestigious Grand Effie, other awards given are — the Agency of the Year Award, the Yahoo! Big Chair, the Marico Uncommon Sense Award and the Brand Equity Bravery Award.
Language lessons
  • We have been learning mostly about English words and phrases under Language lessons, so far. Today, we will learn a bit about economic words and phrases.
    • Black Swans
      • This phrase is coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to describe the causes of the current meltdown. According to Wikipedia, the Black Swan theory "refers to events of large consequence" which are "hard-to-predict, and rare — events beyond the realm of normal expectations." According to Lord Meghnad Desai, the current financial turmoil happened when the supposed Black Swan risks (described as highly improbable side-effects) taken by bankers, financers and investors turn into reality.
    • Ninjas
      • It refers to people with "No Income and No Jobs"
    • Fat Tails
      • It is a statistical term that (as opposed to normal distribution) factors in an undesirably high volatility. Analysts are fond of this term too. In layman terms, it implies higher undesirable risk which is almost an improbability in normal circumstances. Don't ask me what is normal distribution; do you? Just follow this link.
  • VP Singh
    • Though he is known for his personal integrity and moral rectitude, his contribuitons evoke lot of mixed reactions. Take a look at this piece. After all, you may need to pen or mouth a sentence or two when you are asked to do so about your departed leaders.

1 Comment:

Yusuf said...

Events in Mumbai have really disturbed me. I hope the situation is resolved very soon. Its high time that the "Spirit of Mumbai" is used to institute some concrete changes in the system rather than a reason for inaction.

God Bless Mumbai !!