Politics & the Nation
  • CEC recommends removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla
    • The recommendation comes about three months before Gopalaswami, the CEC is to demit office on April 20 and is based on a petition by the BJP which had complained against the "partisan" functioning of Chawla. 
    • In 2006, leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani and 204 MPs had submitted a petition to the then President APJ Abdul Kalam seeking the removal of Chawla as Election Commissioner on the ground of alleged partisanship. It has also taken the matter to the Supreme Court.
    • Gopalaswami in his affidavit to the apex court had claimed that the CEC had suo motu power to recommend the removal of an Election Commissioner. Following this, the BJP withdrew its petition in the apex court and took up the issue with the CEC. 
    • Government had maintained in the Supreme Court that the CEC had no suo motu power power to remove an Election Commissioner. 
    • Now it is to be seen whether the government will act on the recommendation at all; as polls are only a few months away.
    • Don't miss this excellent commentary written on this issue by Rajrishi Singhal in today's ET.
Finance & Economics
  • IT department seeks to pry open the Swiss bank accounts of the wealthy
    • In a proposal that is sure to rake up consternation in the political community, the IT department is seeking to add a column in the IT return seeking information of bank accounts held in foreign countries by the tax payer.  Whether this proposal will be allowed to be implemented remains to be seen.
    • Indians reportedly hold deposits worth $1,456 billion, an amount much larger than the value of deposits held by others in the Swiss banks.  Deposits from Russia are estimated at $470 billion, $390 billion from the UK, $100 billion from Ukraine and $96 billion from China.
    • Interestingly, of the 80,000 Indians visiting Switzerland, which is also a popular tourist getaway besides being a preferred locale for Hindi films — more than a third are regular visitors, who go to that country every year. 
    • Dubai also is reported to be as secretive as Swiss banks. 
  • How much money the monetary easing has pumped into our system?
  • Singing praise to India's gone DFIs?
    • Remember DFIs?  Development Financial Institutions?  The ones like the IFCI, ICICI etc.?
    • In the wake of the current global economic crisis, is it time to bring them back from their graveyard?  This article, which explains the current state of confused affairs currently on in tackling the crisis at a global level, ponders whether institutions like them should be brought back.  Why create 'bad' banks by hiving off the toxic assets that banks are currently holding?  Why not create a 'good' bank instead with the healthy assets that banks are still left with?  Satisfactory answers are hard to come by.  But the piece offers us a good peak into how confused is the state of affairs currently.  Take a look.
    • Speaking of these proposals to create 'bad' banks, Joseph Stiglitz one of our favourite authors, has characterised the move as 'cash for trash.'  He said that we should not chase good money after bad.  The plan would leave taxpayers paying for years of excess lending by banks and would deprive government of money that would have been better spent shoring up social security.
  • India debuts in Australian Open
    • Delhi boy Yuki Bhambri created history by becoming the first Indian to win the junior Australian Open title, beating Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas of Germany 6-3, 6-1 in the final.  Look at this pic.  Before Yuki, three Indian tennis stars won junior Grand Slams.  They are Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan and Leander Paes.  Ramanathan Krishnan won the Wimbledon junior title in 1954, the first Asian player to achieve the feat. His son Ramesh carried on the legacy to win the junior titles at French Open and Wimbledon in 1979.   Paes was the last Indian to win a junior Grand Slam when he won the Wimbledon Boy's title in 1990 and the US Open in 1991.  Yuki has also won the title at the Orange Bowl in Key Biscayne in the US, which is considered to be the fifth Grand Slam.
    • It was not just in juniors, even in mixed doubles India walked away with the title.  Sania and Mahesh Bhupati pair beat Andy Ram of Israel and Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy 6-3, 6-1.
    • Then Federer was beaten (literally reduced to tears) by Nadal in the men's final.  It was a gripping five set match.  Superb tennis.  Nadal's fitness is very amazing.
    • All of you would have recorded that Serena Williams won the women's singles title.  She beat Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-3 to clinch the title.