Politics & the Nation
  • Here is an excellent article on understanding or rather misunderstanding of Gandhi
    • Penned by Salil Misra, it is a must read for all of us.  Take a look.
    • One interesting excerpt from it is about Gandhi's understanding of Religion and Religions. In his world view Religion is a moral order and different religions are sets of belief systems and rituals.  That's why entry of Religion into politics is okay, entry of religions is not welcome.  Therefore, Gandhi wanted free India to be totally secular, based not on the majority of any religious sect or community but on the representatives of the whole people without distinction of religion.  Confusing?  A read of the article will surely clarify things to you.
Finance & Economics
  • What is looked for in a leader by business houses?
    • If you look at Jeffrey Immelt's describing of Obama, you will get a picture.  He said Obama "has demonstrated clam demeanour and forceful action in the few days since he has taken charge as US president."
    • Immelt himself is one of those great leaders in business today, displaying the very same qualities.  What endears him to India is the fact that he announced that GE will not be ditching Satyam.  This is a big morale booster for the employees and other customers of the beleaguered software services firm.
  • What are the top inventions/business ideas according to the top leaders in business?
    • In a poll conducted by ET, the Web, the mobile, the chip and Google are voted as the four biggest ideas ever. 
    • The 25 Great Business Ideas (continued here also ) poll saw honchos sticking to the 4Cs — connectivity, communication, costs and convenience — with another ‘C’, credit card, or plastic money, voted as the fifth-best idea. 
    • The group rated each of the 25 ideas on three parameters — originality, massimpact and relevance over time. The scores were averaged to arrive at the ranking. 
  • What's your take on the petro price reduction?
    • I am sure ET's editorial line as well as mine, will be in a hopeless minority.  But cautiousness on the expenditure front is warranted in the wake of such giveaways.  I support this viewpoint in today's ET:
      • The move would worsen public finances, further compromise the cash position of oilcos and provide, in effect, open-ended consumption subsidies for the non-poor. The issue of oil bonds thus far this fiscal — which would, of course, be redeemed from budgetary funds — add up to Rs 44,000 crore. It necessarily implies cutting back on more pressing heads, such as that for the social sector, for the like amount. It’s clearly misallocation of resources, which would go against the grain of inclusive growth and reform. 
      • Any takers?  I don't see any.  It's election time boy.
    • The total under-recoveries of oil companies for the year 2008-09 are now projected to be about Rs. 1,01,445 crores.
  • Ever heard of Nassim Nicholas Taleb?
    • He is the author of a best-selling book on finance - "The Black Swan"
    • His comment on the present state of US banking system that "we have a very strange situation in which it’s the worst of capitalism and socialism, a situation in which profits were privatized and losses were socialized" is worthy of our note. 
    • An excellent play with words; isn't it?  Of course, he has lot of substance also; not just words.
    • In the context of reports appearing that the US banking system will be sinking about $2 trillion in bad assets and the bailouts announced by the government are sure to make us agree with his views.
    • It is interesting (shout it be trepidation?) to watch the NPA position in our country too.  Reportedly the NPA levels are rising significantly from the first half of 2008-09.  
    • The gross NPAs in domestic banks are 2% — net NPAs stand at 1% only — which means less than one in 50 loans or equivalent in loan amount is not repaid beyond a defined acceptable level of default.  
    • An account is classified as NPA if the repayment process of the outstanding amount does not start within 90 days.  BTW, NPA stands for Non-Performing Asset.
  • Romulus Whitaker: ____ :: Jim Corbett: Tiger
    • Fill up the blank above.  I know I am just kidding.  For those of who don't feel so and those who feel so alike can get a peek into the commitment and work done by this great personality.  Worth reading.
  • US toying with regulating OTC derivatives?
    • OTC derivatives stands for over the counter derivatives.  It includes things like credit default swaps (CDS) whose market in the US alone is now reported to be about $29 trillion.  Draft regulation in the US is reportedly in favour banning most of the trading in CDS.  It appears to be in favour of making even OTC trades to be processed by a clearing house.
    • The overall OTC derivatives market is reportedly about $684 trillion in size.
Language lessons
  • kerfuffle: 
    • Noun.  A disorderly outburst or tumult