Politics & the Nation
  • There is so much more to the Satyam saga than could initially be comprehended
    • It looks like so, going by the newspaper reports that keep appearing with all the details about insider trading, botched IT investigations, humungous land deals etc.
    • I think it will be quite some time before the last in this episode can be said to have been written.
    • Let's just wait and watch the space.
  • Centre's attempts to take Mulayam off the hook in the disproportionate assets case backfires in Supreme Court.  An extract from a news report:
    • The Centre’s brazen attempts to wind up the disproportionate assets (DA) case against ally Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family members hit the judicial roadblock on Tuesday when the Supreme Court disallowed the CBI from taking a fresh line in the case. 
    • Throwing political propriety to the winds, the Centre not only shifted its stand on the case against the Samajwadi Party leader, but also changed the CBI counsel for appeasing its ally. As part of the quid pro quo politics that is being perfected by the UPA government, the Centre on Tuesday replaced additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramaniam as the counsel for CBI with another ASG, Mohan Parasaran. The change — done at the behest of friendly quarters — did not go unnoticed. A bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph asked CBI to furnish an undertaking that it would not change its counsel in future. 
    • The latest stance of the Centre in the case is aimed at making the CBI the authority to decide on the merits of the case. The CBI is known to be mindful of the sensitivities of those in power as well as their friends. Tuesday’s development suggests that the government may not be able to dodge the SC’s watchful eyes in cases against Mulayam and his family members. 
  • The Mangalore incident
    • A motley group of people calling themselves Sri Ram Sene, reportedly attacked the Amnesia pub in Mangalore and assaulted and molested young girls on Saturday afternoon.  The repeated showing of these scenes of young women being chased, assaulted and molested by about 40 hooligans, has put the Karnataka government in an embarrassing situation and it had to condemn the incident and say that the law will take its course.
    • This is one more incident of some ragtag elements appointing themselves as the custodians of culture and saying that something is right or something is wrong for the Hindu culture.  They should leave it to the people concerned to decide as to what is good or bad for them.  
    • The VHP's stand as articulated by its local leader Pramod Muthalik, who has been promptly arrested, only betrays the real agenda of the VHP -- that of trying to be the arbiter and custodian of Hindu culture.
Finance & Economics
  • RBI keeps key rates unchanged
    • Having taken all the measures that it could, before the quarterly review the RBI was left with too little to announce anything in this policy review, save share its findings.  Only time will tell whether or not the bankers take the cue from the RBI and go about reducing the rates.
    • I think the RBI's current stances also is unexceptionable because it appeared to be too cautious to fire all its ammo at one go; given that elections are only a few months away and it is then that the burden of coming out with responses for putting the economy in order will be more on monetary authorities than on fiscal authorities.
  • What is the type of recession that we are currently witnessing?
    • Is it Keynesian or Hayekian?  What is the difference between the two?
      • A Keynesian recession represents a sudden fall in demand, and can be remedied within six months by pumping enough purchasing power into the economy. A Hayekian recession, however, is caused by misallocation of resources over a long period, driven by unrealistic interest rates, ending in a bust that requires years of structural adjustment. Such a recession can last a decade (as in Japan in the 1990s). 
    • For a more detailed explanation and an excellent exposition on the subject, you just can't afford to miss today's article by SSA Aiyar in ET.  Take a look.
Obituary: R. Venkataraman
  • INDIA’S eighth president Ramaswamy Venkataraman passed away on Tuesday. Elected to the post of President in 1987, Mr Venkataraman has distinction of working with four prime ministers in the course of his five year term. Of these, Mr Venkataraman appointed three—V P Singh, Chandrashekhar and Narasimha Rao. 
  • A diehard Congressman, Venkataraman earned for himself a reputation for fair play during his tenure in India’s highest constitutional office. Much of this reputation was earned as he presided over an era when India began its experiment with coalition politics. 
  • Aside from India’s venture into an age of fractured political mandate, Mr Venkataraman had to deal with tricky constitutional and political issues such as the Sri Lankan crisis, the Bofors Gun deal controversy, assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, the Defamation Bill and 1992 stock market scandal.