16.12.2008

Politics & the Nation
  • An inspiring win against England
    • It was a test match which was written off by many -- including the enthusiasts.  But the win is all the more sweeter coming as it did and the way it did.  It has inspired many to cheer up.  Tendulkar also seems to have fought off a rough patch that he has been facing of late.
    • Let us hope this kind spirit pervades all of us and we will be able to get on with life; in spite of Mumbai attacks.
  • Would you suggest our adopting Pakistani tactics of bleeding the enemy country?
    • Happened to read India Today, by chance.  Its views were no different from what we have been advocating in our blog on facing Pakistani nuisance.  
    • Was wondering how many of us really care or consider hitting back at Pakistan with its own style of a low intensity warfare.  Any conventional war is bound to cost the country dear both financially and militarily.  Perhaps it may even result in some rogue elements resorting to a nuclear strike, which is not at all desirable.  Surgical strikes like the ones carried out by Israel against Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq are surely one method.  Hot pursuit of terror elements inside Pakistani territory, besides escalating the temperatures between us into a full-scale war, may also result in Pakistan becoming a failed state.  A failed Pakistan is a much bigger headache than what it is today.
    • So what can we do?  Should we also resort to sending bunches of fidayeen to target their terror camps?  Like to hear your views.
  • Cash-for-vote scam gets a decent burial
    • Remember the scam?  It was about the allegations that the Samajwadi Party's Amar Singh had bought off some BJP MPs with the help of money power for propping up the Manmohan Singh government.  
    • The allegations are based on one Sanjeev Saxena delivering Rs. 1 crore at Morena MP Ashok Argal’s Feroze Shah Road residence allegedly at Mr Amar Singh’s behest.  Opposition leader LK Advani’s political advisor Sudheendra Kulkarni and BJP MP Suhail Hindustani, have brought the scam to 'light.’
    • Now the 7 member Parliamentary panel headed by Kishore Chandra Deo, that was constituted to probe into the matter gave a clean chit to Amar Singh, by a majority.  The panel felt that the role played by Sanjeev Saxena can be probed by investigative agencies.
  • Right to Education bill introduced in Rajya Sabha
    • Remember our earlier notings and discussion on the issue?  The piece that appeared in today's ET is a must read for all of us.  It is here.
Finance & Economy
  • What is the stock market manipulation involving RNRL and REL shares that the Enforcement Directorate is investigating?
    • Today's headlines are screaming about this.  What is the issue?
    • RNRL and REL are ADAG (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) companies.
    • These companies have two bank accounts in the London branch of UBS, a Swiss banking giant.  They parked their FCCB/ECB proceeds in these accounts.  The amounts totalled to about $660 mn.  There appears to be nothing wrong with the parking of the funds as it was in full compliance with the FEMA and other RBI guidelines in this regard.
    • UBS bank officials are reported to have fraudulently shown the balances in these accounts as collateral to overdraw money from other accounts for investing these amounts in Participatory Notes through accounts belonging to a number of Diamond traders.  These Diamond traders also appear to be unaware of the transactions going through their accounts.  It was this which resulted in UBS firing four of their officers.
    • ED is investigating the case.  We will know full details in course of time.
  • Snippets of info relating to our economy
  • Is there a BoP crisis staring at India's face?
    • While I recommend a read of today's debate on the issue here, I excerpt for you four solid points given out by Tushar Poddar on why India can still survive the concerns:
      • First, imports are on a downward trajectory. It is well-known that falling oil prices will reduce the import bill. What is less well known is that India’s imports are heavily dependent on its exports. Our main merchandise exports are of refined petroleum, gems & jewellery and textiles which have a large import content — a 1% fall in exports leads to a 0.95% fall in imports. Both of these imply that the current account deficit will be lower going forward. 
      • Second, India is one of the largest recipients of inward remittances from expatriates, amounting to a massive $40 billion in FY08. Although they can be expected to decline somewhat in a global recession, remittances remain the least volatile of inflows. 
      • Third, India’s external debt, and especially its short term debt remains low at 7% of GDP. Even with trade credit drying up, the amount of external payments falling due in the near term remains manageable. 
      • Fourth, India’s reserves are still adequate. Although, they have fallen significantly, the remaining war chest of $246 billion is still 10 months of import cover. Indeed, more than half of the recent decline has been due to valuation losses as the dollar has strengthened against other currencies. These losses are not likely to continue in 2009. 
International
  • Thailand gets a new PM
    • Abhisit Vejjajiva — a patrician 44-year-old with an Oxford education — became Thailand’s prime minister on Monday amid hopes that he can calm the political storms that have battered the country for the past three years. But untested at the pinnacle of power and said to lack decisiveness, he could face one of the roughest rides in modern Thai history. He leads the Opposition Democrat Party, which has lost in the December 2007 elections to Thakshin Shinawatra's loyalists.
    • Though his party supported the PAD's (Peoples Alliance for Democracy) demonstrations against the previous Prime Minister, it has not joined in the demonstrations.
  • I would like to throw a quiz at you: Which is the country (in Americas) that is also facing a possible change of Government?  Becuase of political intrigue?  Shoot away your answers in the shoutbox.  One more clue:  It is a predominantly white country.
  • Global warming: a counter argument
    • It is common place for the knowledged and the high and mighty to take an alarming view of global warming.
    • Shouldn't we also look at arguments from experts who point to us that the world faces much more immediate and important challenges?
    • Read this; you will find it enlightening.  Surely.  Some excerpts:
      • Implementing the Kyoto Protocol at a cost of $180 billion annually would keep two million people from going hungry by the end of the century. Yet by spending just $10 billion annually, the United Nations estimates that we could help 229 million hungry people today. Every time spending on climate policies saves one person from hunger in a hundred years, the same amount could have saved 5,000 people now.
Language lesson
  • Patrician
    • Adjective: Belonging to or characteristic of the nobility or aristocracy

1 Comment:

gyanvikas said...

Hi RamaKrishna,
I am a new reader of ur blog. I want to post my openions regarding India's stand against Pakistan at this moment of time.
I agree that there had been numerous blasts in this country and all the fingers are pointing towards the same accused, Pakistan. But, bombng pak is not a solution of this problem. Pak is one of the major neighbouring countries of India. Political instability over there will only cause increased tension in India as we have seen since last 60 years. Pak in anarchy is far more dangerous than what it is now. After a lomg time, Democracy is trying to get its feet established in Pak. You must have seen the responses of their Political leaders especially Mr. Zardari, who seems to be desperate to establish a consensus among his own people and India.
My take on this problem is to first of all strengthen our own anti terrorism measures, be it police reforms, or new laws or anything. Then simultaneously help Pakistan to achieve a stable governement. Only then we can talk with them on same platform.

Remember, fighting with a mad enemy is always losing the war.

Thanks,
Gyan